Monday, September 27, 2010

Speaking Up for Children

Peace comes into our hearts when we reach out to bless the children around us. Children have a trusting, sincere quality that invokes the best in us, that inspires us to love ourselves and others better. As we seek to serve the children in our communities, we will discover that they give us more than we ever give them. There is nothing more priceless than the love of a child.

The first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi state bar, Marian Wright Edelman cares so deeply about children that she founded the Children's Defense Fund. She has published her ideas in several books, including The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. She is a pioneer is speaking up for the rights of children that are often neglected in our cultures.

Consider some of her thoughts as they relate to enhancing your inner peace and joy:

• Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.

• If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.

• If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.

• I'm doing what I think I was put on this earth to do. And I'm really grateful to have something that I'm passionate about and that I think is profoundly important.

• You really can change the world if you care enough.

• Service is what life is all about.

• When I fight about what is going on in the neighborhood, or when I fight about what is happening to other people's children, I'm doing that because I want to leave a community and a world that is better than the one I found.

• Never work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night.

• I don't care what my children choose to do professionally, just as long as within their choices they understand they've got to give something back.

• If you as parents cut corners, your children will too. If you lie, they will too. If you spend all your money on yourselves and tithe no portion of it for charities, colleges, churches, synagogues, and civic causes, your children won't either. And if parents snicker at racial and gender jokes, another generation will pass on the poison adults still have not had the courage to snuff out.

• Being considerate of others will take you and your children further in life than any college or professional degree.

• You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.

• We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

• When Jesus Christ asked little children to come to him, he didn't say only rich children, or White children, or children with two-parent families, or children who didn't have a mental or physical handicap. He said, "Let all children come unto me."

© Carol Brown

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

12-Step Programs and Peace

The twelve-step basics can help anyone—whether or not they are an addict—find peace. And aren’t many of us addicted to something--whether its worry, work, anger, computer games, television, Internet, gossip--if we are really honest with ourselves? If we’re not an addict, isn’t there some issue or problem with which we need the help of a Higher Power?

We know that twelve-step programs are invaluable for anyone struggling with an alcohol addiction, and others have been created for those dealing with drug, sex, pornography, shopping, gambling, and food addictions and that classes are available to help those whose spouses or loved ones are addicts. Please consider how the steps of the twelve step program can enhance anyone's peace of mind.

• Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.

• Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

• Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Godand

• Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

• Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

• Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

• Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

• Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

• Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

• Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

• Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out

• Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Notice how the Lord proclaims His mission in Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor

I have discovered that turning my life, my marriage, and my weaknesses over to a Higher Power brings me peace. God can heal our broken hearts, lives, and relationships as we trust in Him and submit to His will. He is the supreme Healer, Peacemaker, and Source of light and truth. Allow Him to enfold you in the arms of His love today.

© Carol Brown

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Life Is not Fair

What a month! I was called to serve on a federal jury that proved to me it is better to be judged of God than of man. Although I breathed deeply and used every stress management technique I could muster, I returned home with a heavy heart when a majority of the jurors voted for a verdict that I felt was wrong. A young women’s vehicle was hit by a driver who ran a red light, and the woman’s artificial knee joint was ruined by the impact. However, the jurors refused to compensate this woman, so she is left to purchase a $16,000 prosthetic knee on her salary as a day care worker. Truly, life is not fair.

My son, who suffers with a chronic health condition, left for basic training last month. Every time I think of him or begin to worry, I pray instead for him. That gives me peace, although I know he faces nine difficult weeks with less than optimal health.

My friend, Diane Haines, passed away last month. To say that Diane is a saint is not an exaggeration. She is one of the dearest women I know—kind, patient, full of faith, loving, compassionate—and she will be deeply missed by her husband, her ten children, her brothers and sisters, and all of us who know and love her. Amid the grief I feel at her passing, how grateful I am to know she is in a place of peace and happiness, where there is no more sorrow or suffering.

Life is not fair. People we love die. Our children suffer. Bad things happen to good people. Although we feel sorrow when we mourn with those who mourn and seek to comfort those who need comfort, yet, amid the sorrow we can find peace. We can remember that God is always just even when man is not. We can replace sorrow with serenity when we pray for those in need, including ourselves, and we can trust that a loving Father waits with open arms to welcome His children home.

So how do we deal with stress that seems unrelenting? Pray. Trust in God. Don’t try to change things that you cannot change. Surrender you worries and concerns to a Higher Power. Take time to grieve, and honor your emotions.

© Carol Brown

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Teachers of Peace

The following is the text from a little booklet called "Steps Toward Inner Peace" by Peace Pilgrim. These inspiring thoughts are not copywrighted, so you are free to use them as you wish. Enjoy!


1. Assume right attitude toward life

Face life squarely and get down below the froth on its surface to discover its verities and realities. Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth. Helping to solve collective problems contributes also to your growth, and these problems should never be avoided.

2. Live good beliefs.

The laws governing human conduct apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. Obedience to these laws pushes us toward harmony; disobedience pushes us toward inharmony. Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe. No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.

3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.

You have a part in the scheme of things. What that part is you can know only from within yourself. You can seek it in receptive silence. You can begin to live in accordance with it by doing all the good things you are motivated toward and giving these things priority in your life over all the superficial things that customarily occupy human lives.

4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.

Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities. Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification. Wants and needs can become the same in a human life and, when this is accomplished, there will be a sense of harmony between inner and outer well-being. Such harmony is needful not only in the individual life but in the collective life too.


1. Purification of the bodily temple.

Are you free from all bad habits? In your diet do you stress the vital foods - the fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts? Do you get to bed early and get enough sleep? Do you get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and contact with nature? If you can answer "Yes" to all of these questions, you have gone a long way toward purification of the bodily temple.

2. Purification of the thoughts.
It is not enough to do right things and say right things. You must also think right things. Positive thoughts can be powerful influences for good. Negative thoughts can make you physically ill. Be sure there is no unpeaceful situation between yourself and any other human being, for only when you have ceased to harbor unkind thoughts can you attain inner harmony.

3. Purification of the desires.

Since you are here to get yourself into harmony with the laws that govern human conduct and with your part in the scheme of things, your desires should be focused in this direction.

4. Purification of motives.
Obviously your motive should never be greed or self-seeking, or the wish for self-glorification, you shouldn't even have the selfish motive of attaining inner peace for yourself. To be of service to your fellow humans must be your motive before your life can come into harmony.


1. Relinquishment of self-will.

You have, or it's as though you have, two selves: the lower self that usually governs you selfishly, and the higher self which stands ready to use you gloriously. You must subordinate the lower self by refraining from doing the not-good things you are motivated toward, not suppressing them but transforming them so that the higher self can take over your life.

2. Relinquishment of the feeling of separateness.All of us, all over the world, are cells in the body of humanity. You are not separate from your fellow humans, and you cannot find harmony for yourself alone. You can only find harmony when you realize the oneness of all and work for the good of all.

3. Relinquishment of attachments.

Only when you have relinquished all attachments can you be really free. Material things are here for use, and anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you. You can only live in harmony with your fellow humans if you have no feeling that you possess them, and therefore do not try to run their lives.

4. Relinquishment of all negative feelings.

Work on relinquishing negative feelings. If you live in the present moment, which is really the only moment you have to live, you will be less apt to worry. If you realize that those who do mean things are psychologically ill, your feelings of anger will turn to feelings of pity. If you recognize that all of your inner hurts are caused by your own wrong actions or your own wrong reactions or your own wrong inaction, then you will stop hurting yourself.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Peace Pilgrim

Mildred Norman felt called to promote peace when she was 44 years old. She left her home and for thirty years, walked tens of thousands of miles throughout America teaching about peace. Depending on the kindness of strangers, she wore only the clothes on her back and carried a few possessions in her tunic which read, “Peace Pilgrim.

She said, “ I belong to no organization. I have said that I will walk until given shelter and fast until given food, remaining a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace. And I can truthfully tell you that without ever asking for anything, I have been supplied with everything needed for my journey, which shows you how good people really are

“With me I carry always my peace message: This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love. There is nothing new about this message, except the practice of it. And the practice of it is required not only in the international situation but also in the personal situation. I believe that the situation in the world is a reflection of our own immaturity. If we were mature, harmonious people, war would be no problem whatever - it would be impossible.”

Her thoughts are worth considering as we journey to peace.

• Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.

• As I lived up to the highest light I had, higher and higher light came to me.

• For light I go directly to the Source of light, not to any of the reflections.

• Humanity has only scratched the surface of its real potential.

• If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.

• My appointed work is to awaken the divine nature that is within.

• No one can find inner peace except by working, not in a self- centered way, but for the whole human family.

• One little person, giving all of her time to peace, makes news. Many people, giving some of their time, can make history.

• Praying without ceasing is not ritualized, nor are there even words. It is a constant state of awareness of oneness with God.

• Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return.

• The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one's life.

• The way of peace is the way of love. Love is the greatest power on earth. It conquers all things.

• There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing are right for you. The criterion is: Have they brought you inner peace? • There is something to that old saying that hate injures the hater, not the hated.

• To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your possessions. When you at last give your life - bringing into alignment your beliefs and the way you live then, and only then, can you begin to find inner peace.

© Carol Brown