Archive for December, 2011

Last year through the miracle of WordPress blogs, Leigh Hopkins in Brazil and yours truly in Arizona connected and a wonderful friendship was born. Leigh always inspires me. Today she honored me with taking some questions I had recently asked and beautifully expanding them in her blog. Especially at this time of year they are worth answering. Perhaps it can be the start of a new tradition for New Years.  I encourage you to check out these questions on Leigh’s blog Live Your Bliss and explore the rest of her entire site. She is the perfect example of how turning your life upside down in the USA and ending up in Brazil was the best thing she could have ever done. Don’t just read our questions, answer them. May they be the beginning of an meaningful and insightful 2012.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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I hope you are having a loving and meaningful holiday season. Gina’s Team has been wonderfully blessed to be able to share with the too often forgotten human beings languishing inside. We have sent about 200 Christmas cards to inmates and for the second year through the generosity of Logos Center, were able to gift the 112 girls at the juvenile facility we serve with their own stuffed animal. It’s an entirely new group of girls this year who echoed the words of the girls last Christmas. They told us they had never had their own stuffed animal in their life. In high school I told all my troubles to the stuffed animals on my bed. Didn’t you?  Wonderful what a simple stuffed animal can do.

Diane & Chris Panetta, Gina’s parents, at Mingus with the animals

We were blessed to gift them with such a simple thing. Christmas is all about the gift. I have had many gifts this year,  chiefly the gifts of human spirit. If I named every person who has been a part of the team this year, the list would stretch from here to Sedona. They know who they are. They are every volunteer who wanted to help, every girl in the juvenile facility, every woman in prison or jail, every person who shares our vision that everyone, inside or out, deserves a chance and “Education, not incarceration, is the cheapest form of crime prevention.” They are blessed to be able to share and blessed to be in need.  There is a season for it all.

I’m late with this because my 5th surgery really did exhaust me and I am far behind. However, I wanted to share this “gift” with you. My darling friend, Renee Morgan Brooks, performs ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ better than anyone I have ever heard. Most people just sing the song. Renee takes you to the manger to be there with the family.  Even though Christmas is past, I urge you to give yourself a gift and listen to Renee’s gift of song.

Love and blessings to you all.

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