Wholehearted Living~Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell would have been 195 years old today. Or we might have announced at the church social that she was “195 years young.”

Any recognition for Maria would most definitely have to have been at night, since that is when she did her best work.

Maria was the first professional woman astronomer. A rare accomplishment in Puritan Massachusetts.  Maria Mitchell was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1818. She was the third child of 10 born and she was taught at first by her father but then she intrinsically motivated herself with further studies. Google’s logo today honors Maria Mitchell.

Maria Mitchell at the telescope

There is a quote attributed to motivational speaker Les Brown that advises ““Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Maria did this very thing, a very rare thing for the times, and maybe even today too.

Using a telescope in 1847, she was the first to discover a comet, now known today as comet C/1847 T1.

Mitchell was also the first woman admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As a faculty member at Vassar College, she taught astronomy. There is a crater on the moon named for Maria Mitchell.

And she must have felt God’s grace. Like the stars, her life reflected praise.

She said, “Every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God.”

When you look at the night sky tonight, remember to whisper a Happy Birthday wish to Maria Mitchell.


Read more about Maria Mitchell at the Writer’s Almanac

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Wholehearted Living: A Story from the Pavement

On some Thursdays, there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

Jennifer Dukes Lee at Monday's Boston Marathon

Jennifer Dukes Lee at Monday’s Boston Marathon  http://jenniferdukeslee.com/where-was-god-in-boston/

A  stirring perspective from the Boston Marathon by Jennifer Dukes Lee:

I stood shivering and bouncing among 8,000 runners that cool May morning when the gun shot off.

My dad stood at the starting line, pumping his fists in the air. And he would be there again, with my mom and sister, at mile four, and again at mile seven. I remember how proud they were for me, even though I scooted along at the back at the pack.

Bob, a pastor-friend, told me a few days before the race to pay attention while I was running because the half-marathon was more than a race. It was an opportunity to see God. 

And so I saw… Click here to read the rest of Jennifer’s story


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Whole-hearted Living Thursdays~October 17~Felix Baumgardner

On some Thursdays, there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

Felix Baumgardner entered the edge of space on October 14, 2012, and then jumped! He made history as the first free-fall skydiver to break the speed of sound.  Just moments before Felix jumped from space, he spoke to the One who made this dream come true.

See also at this link: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0JM9MCNU
Music: Switchfoot, Dare You To Move

Sometimes stress is a blockade against Whole-hearted living. This post by Denise offers Ten Ways To Reduce Stress In Your Life
Life In Bloom


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Wholehearted Living Thursdays~July 19

connieOn selected Thursdays,  there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

At 101 years old, Connie was still riding her horse every day. She taught over 36,000 girls to ride at a girls summer camp over a span of 70 years. She was a huge inspiration to many people. Her health was great and her mind was sharp.

When asked about her secret to longevity, she said, “Well Honey, you just don’t let that rocking chair take over…you get up and go even if you dont want to.”

Thanks, Connie for your whole-hearted living advice.


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Whole-Hearted Living Thursdays~May 31~Liz Murray

On selected Thursdays,  there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

Liz Murray  was born seven years before my daughter. She is the founder and director of Manifest Living,  a company that provides a series of workshops that empower adults to create the extraordinary things in their lives.

Murray was born in the Bronx, New York on September 23, 1980 to poor, and drug-addicted parents who would later each contract HIV. She became homeless just after she turned 15, when her mother died of AIDS, and her father moved to a homeless shelter. Murray fought through some incredibly difficult circumstances and was finally able to turn her life around when she began attending the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Chelsea, Manhattan.

Though she started high school later than most students, and remained without a stable home while supporting herself and her sister, Murray graduated in only two years. She was awarded a New York Times scholarship for needy students and was accepted into Harvard University, matriculating in the fall semester of 2000. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard is her memoir and she says, “my passion now is to help transform the lives of others.”

Liz Murray has broken the generational pattern of violence, of substance abuse and of homelessness.

And she is all of thirty now.

Your comments and thoughts always welcome~!

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Whole-Hearted Living Thursdays~May 3~Inspiring Women

For awhile now, some Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

Always keep learningI was delighted to see a digital anthology of Wholehearted Living stories carefully collected and archived at my friend, Garrett’s blog, Quit Taking It Personally   (which is also an awesome life affirmation too).

Click over to Quit Taking It Personally  and read about Rachel’s Daily Pep Talk from a Best Friend, Maria and her commitment to teach encourage girls to pursue math and science, Joanne’s change in perspective and several more inspiring stories. Real people living real, awareness-filled stories…just like you! Read these stories: they are short but packed with inspiration.

Your comments and thoughts always welcome~!

And a digital P.S.: I am very interested in your 10 Books to Pack for a Move from yesterday’s post


Previous Whole-hearted living stories

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~A Scottish Farmer

For awhile, some Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Paying It Forward Works!

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’

‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.

‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.

‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’ And that he did.

Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill … His son’s name?

Sir Winston Churchill.
Keeping Springing Forward and Paying It Forward!

~~~ More Wholehearted Living Stories

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~Heroes Among Us

February 23, 2012~`~Everyday at Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom theme park a ceremony occurs amid the rides, cartoon characters, shops, and cotton candy. In Towne Square, the Flag Retreat ceremony includes saying the Pledge of Alliance, flag salute, marching band performance, parade of active and retired armed forces members, singing the Star-Spangled Banner, and retiring the colors.

Part of the daily ceremony agenda includes honoring veterans, who carry the flag down Main Street USA after it has been taken down from the flag pole. In January, 2012, although still recovering from his injuries in Afghanistan, Army Sergeant Cesar Sanchez left his electric wheelchair to walk and carry the flag down Main Street.

Sergeant Sanchez said, “If it’s for the colors, I’ll walk.”

Disney cast members who assisted with the ceremony that day were stunned by his courage and resolve to honor the Stars and Stripes in this way. Many in attendance observed his fortitude and took pictures.

Army Sargeant Cesar Sanchez

Kelly Glassburn, Manager of Marketing & Communications, Disney’s PhotoPass Service wrote, “Sgt. Sanchez shared that he was injured while deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, serving in an elite Army company responsible for finding and clearing improvised explosive devices. He was injured during one such mission, but calmly reminded me that it was his job to do so. Stunned silence was really all I could offer in return and a meager, ‘thank you’ squeaked out between a few tears, hiccups and deep breaths.”

Sgt. Sanchez received both Purple Hearts on the mission that injured him because he insisted on doing the sweep first, before leading the rest of his team into the danger zone. Because of his concern for his team, only the vehicle that Sgt. Sanchez was traveling in exploded , saving the members of his team.

Sergeant Sanchez’ wife Farrah is also in the Army. She told Kelly Glassburn, “Please tell everyone how proud my husband and I were to join the Army and serve our country. We love our jobs! I also want everyone to know how proud (daughter) Emily and I are of Cesar and how very much we love him still.”

Because of Bravery, Because of Grace, we live in a country of heroes, superheroes, who live unselfishly and wholeheartedly.

Other Wholehearted Living Stories

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~October 6

For awhile, some Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Gleaners and Gleaning

Millions of pounds of edible yet unsellable produce would be left to waste on farms across our country if it were not for the thousands of volunteers who collect food for people in need. Groups like Glean for the City in Virginia, the D.C. Central Kitchen, and the national Society of St. Andrew Gleaning Network organize “gleaners,” who gather food left behind after harvest, a
practice that dates back to the Old Testament. Visit http://www.endhunger.org to learn more, donate, or volunteer.

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~September 22

For awhile, some Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Fresno school official has a gift for giving

Superintendent Larry Powell is retiring for one day, then going back to work for much lower pay so he can give his original salary and benefits back to the school district.

It was supposed to be a quiet thing; no fanfare, no press releases 

Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell and his wife, Dot, a retired principal, had figured out a way to help imperiled programs in their struggling school district. 

He would retire for one day. Then come back to work at a pittance compared with his former salary — putting more than $800,000 of his salary and benefits back in the district’s coffers. 

But in tough economic times, when public trust has been repeatedly battered, word of an elected official giving back money quickly made its way from a Board of Education meeting to national headlines. Powell spent his “retirement” giving television and magazine interviews.

“We were trying to not create a big stir,” said Armen Bacon, spokeswoman for the Fresno County Office of Education. “But we’re living in a time of despair and people are so hungry for stories about the impact one person can make.”

Powell officially retired Wednesday. The district was contracted to pay him $235,000 plus benefits a year through 2014. He went back to work Friday, rehired at a salary of $31,020 with no benefits, to run 35 school districts with 195,000 students.

By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0901-fresno-superintendent-20110904,0,4431218.story

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~September 8

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories

Irena Sendler 1910-2008

During World War II, Irena Sendler worked in the Warsaw, Poland Ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist. Irena smuggled Jewish children out; infants in the bottom of the tool box she carried and older children in a burlap sack she carried in the back of her truck. She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and
out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids’ and infants’ noises. Irena managed to smuggle out and save 2500 children. She eventually was caught, and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar buried under a tree in her
backyard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunited some of the families. Most had been killed. She helped those children get placement into foster family homes or adopted. Last year Irena was
up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won – for a slide show on Global Warming.

Via Sherilee Coffey at http://pinterest.com/sherilee_coffey/

Whole-hearted Living~Mary Stroebe~August 18

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories

“I think I’m young, so I act like it.”~ Mary Stroebe

There is a picture on my office vision board of tulips, Huntington Beach pier, the rock I climbed on my birthday, and Mary Stroebe.

In 2006 Mary Stroebe, took part in her twelfth triathlon.

                                                                      …at the age of 88

The silver-haired great-grandmother from Wisconsin competed in at least twelve triathlons, an event that combines swimming, biking and running. She competed despite a titanium rod in her left shin and you know, being on this earth for nine decades.  In her first triathlon in she joined her son Bruce and her granddaughter in a three-generation team. Each one competed in one leg of the race.

“I just watched them and said that looks like fun,” she said. “I can do that.”

Despite doctors’ orders that she not participate, in 2006, Mary, with the titanium rod firmly in place, competed anyway. Maybe it was her life-long athleticism or her training in the Navy Waves or as a public school teacher. But Mary Stroebe competed until

“Each year I think it’s my last,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s time to hang it up. Then it comes and I think it’s fun to do it one more year.”

And so she did, until 2008, when at age 90 she retired.

“It’s been nice – more than I deserve,” she says of her notoriety. “I won’t let it go to my head. I just think it’s something other people could do if they put their minds to it. You have to train for it, but that’s part of the fun.”


Wholehearted Living~ Ruby (but not my Ruby)~August 4

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Ruby is 17 months old and now that we’re in the homestretch, I’ve been thinking a lot about our time together over the past year. I hold so much in my heart, but one thing above the rest.

I think any of us would say that when we’re out alone or with friends – at restaurants, movies, or particularly when we’re shopping – we don’t interact much with the people around us. Why would we? Everyone is busy, preoccupied with their own errands and agenda. Not much eye contact or connecting with random strangers. All of these little worlds doing their best not to collide.

The scene is altered when you’re out with a service puppy.

Time For a Smile, gently click here to read the rest of this story then please cast your vote for Raising Ruby for “Best Blog Post” at the 2011 Petties Awards & help us spread the word that smiles, rather than stares, can make a world of difference for individuals with disabilities.

Wholehearted Living~Rex Pemberton~July 28

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a  Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

In 1885, Clinton Thomas Dent, president of the Alpine Club, suggested that climbing Mount Everest was possible in his book  Above the Snow Line.  On 31 May 2005 Rex Pemberton, at age 21 became the youngest Australian to climb Mt. Everest. Rex’s love of challenging heights began early. By the age of 10 Rex wanted to climb every hill and mountain he could find, by 16 hewas on an expedition to Bolivia and Peru where he climbed 6,025-meter Mt. Huclca Huclca.

Before he could even step foot on Everest, Rex had to overcome the financial challenge of raising in excess of $100,000 from cynical sponsors. He also had to find a climbing team he could trust in such a demanding environment. His sister Caroline, a future Miss Austrailia wrote some of his climbing updates from basecamp.

The effect on the human body in a hostile, high-altitude environment has been described by Rex as ‘taking one breath feels like you are running back-to-back marathons and then swimming 50m pool lengths.’ But, as Rex said,

I am connecting with the mountain, I am not battling her

What mountains do you need to connect with instead of battle?

This is a 6 minute video highlights of his climb

Wholehearted Living~Beatrice Arinyula~July 21

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a  Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Hope Enough…

Beatrice Arinyula lives in Lutacho village. She joined a new type of farmer’s co-op, One Acre Fund, and is waiting for her harvest. She is suffering from hunger and faces the daily reality of doing work in her fields on an empty stomach. So do her children, Loreen and Rukia. Their father, who was a policeman, died in 2007, and since then, the family has faced an uncertain future.

But Beatrice is now optimistic. Her half acre of maize is full of strong, dark green stalks, and she anticipates one of the best harvests of her life in August. With the seed and fertilizer she received from her co-op, combined with the training provided by her field officer, Beatrice is on her way to producing more than enough food to feed her family.

Story from Nick Handler, the Kenya Country Director for One Acre Fund

Wholehearted Living~David Arms~July 14

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a  Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story |

Pain is a Part of It~But Not All of It

Artist David Arms has a thoughtful blog called “Coffee Break” In this post, he writes of the pain of creating, “Pain is a part of the story~~NOT the end of the story.”

But I knew without a doubt that all of this “discomfort” was an important part of the process for this particular painting – and I was able to rest in it. I somewhat “embraced” it. I was confident that these discomforts were necessary as I painted through the pains of someone else’s story.

Enjoy a summer break and read this post. http://davidarms.com/coffee-break/2011/06/story/

Wholehearted Living~Mercedes Warrick~July 7

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a  Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story.

Today, she was Not Supposed to Make It, But Mercedes Warrick is living proof of the wholehearted life!

Things are not quite going according to plan for a lot of people. I am sure you know someone who is using their retirement in order to bridge the gap between unemployment and their next job. I am sure you know someone whose biggest investment, their home, has been lost as values have floundered to the bottom up position.

By just about every statistical measure, I am not supposed to make it. I am not quite certain what that means. I am a black woman, mature, divorced and about six years ago I experienced a home invasion.

We are in a time of major adjustment.

I believe profoundly neither me nor we will become that which may be numerically expected. Why? We believe in Higher Source. I have spiritual first aid. I would like to share some of my favorite items:

1. Do an inner peace ritual that connects you to the Divine.
2. Love, transforms ALL! Get some, be some, give some!
3. Write, sing, dance, create!

And remember: When people tell you that you “must trust in God,” do the best you can. Surviving is a moment between living and flourishing. Rejoice! In all experiences there is God.

By Mercedes Warrick
Mercedes Warrick is The Intuitive CEO® at The Achievement Sanctuary® and author of The Soul Inspired Tune Up®. Her website is www.TheAchievementSanctuary.com or www.facebook.com/thesoulinspiredtuneup.

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