Sunday, January 31, 2021

Looking above with Peace

Looking above with Peace

Looking Above. We can take it literally and look to the skies, or heavens as it is often called, however the "higher" perspective is to remember that there is a Power and a Presence that is greater than all Life. Its nature is LOVE, and Peace. It is called by many names, Divine Source, Spirit, God, Universal Presence... yet no one name can define its magnificence or magnitude. Each of us is a living expression of this magnificence. 

The outer circumstance or experience of life may not always look peaceful, however we have the ability to tap into the stillness and healing power of Peace, to bring a sense of calm to us or the situation around us. As we move forward on our journey of life, we are encouraged to remember that Peace lives in the Heart of our being. It is with us always.

"Peace comes from the absence of fear, from a consciousness of trust, from a deep underlying faith in the absolute goodness and mercy, the final integrity of the universe in which we live, and of every cause to which we give our thought, our time and our attention." Ernest Holmes

As human peacekeepers, we have the ability practice the presence of Peace through a variety of ways. Things like meditations, mindfulness practices, prayer, walks in nature, listening to gentle music or activities that create calm can help us find inner peace. Doing so allows us to connect with our Divine self. From there we can create loving change in the world by viewing and responding to the world, and all people, through the lens of Compassion, Oneness and Love.

"Any thought which tends to inspire, to comfort, and to give peace to the mind is good." Ernest Holmes

Today and this coming week, you are encouraged to explore the presence of Peace. Think of ways you can create a more peaceful way of "being" in your body.  Find new ways to be more peaceful in the way you speak to the people in your life. Your outward peaceful presence can make a difference in your life as well as life of those around you. 

"When you keep the peace with yourself, you also bring peace to others." Rhonda Byrne

Here are a few questions to contemplate, or talk about with others, to get you started on your personal exploration. What is Peace to you? What Does it feel like? What is the opposite of Peace? What does that feel like? Why is it important to stay in a mood of Peace? How can you/we create and maintain the practice of Peace? Is there an activity that you do that helps you stay in the present moment? What is the most peaceful thing you can remember doing? Think of one way you can bring peace into the world and then share it.

Affirmations: Use these throughout the week, or create a few of your own, to help keep you focused on Peace. 

"Spirit is my source and my power. It flows in, through and as all that I am bringing me Peace." Susan Robinson, RScP

"In the Peace of God I feel the Love of a holy Presence. In this consciousness of love all sense of fear slips away." Ernest Holmes

I am Peace, I am Love, I am calm. 

My thoughts and voice are filled with Peace and loving Kindness. 

Meditations and Mindfulness: Below are a few options for your Peaceful meditations, mindfulness and activities. Choose what works for you or try them all.

Balloon (Peace Out: Guided Meditation) Cosmic Kids - 6+ minutes

Yoga for Peacefulness: Yoga is a great practice to help bring Peace into
the body. Choose some simple yoga moves to do with the children as a
way to find inner peace and wholeness with the Divine.

Coloring: Creative activities such as coloring can have a calming effect to help our brains settle down. Doodle Art Alley is one of my favorite sites. They have been around for years and have free printable coloring pages. This link will take you to their web page so you can explore many options. Or for this week you can focus on Peace with this link. Peace Mandala


Quiet by Tomie dePaola - Sweet book for pre-K about becoming calm

I am Peace - a book of mindfulness by Susan Verde (read by Susan Verde!)

Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox A warm, comforting poem about finding
peace in a community of neighbors.


Paper Plate Peace Signs.
For this project you'll need simple water colors/paint brushes or small sponges - paper plates and - painters tape (blue tape - easy to peel) and a table cover. Use the tape to create a peace sign on the paper plate, then paint your one of a kind
design. Allow your plate to dry. When dry, slowly peal back the tape and enjoy your one of a kind art piece of Peace.

DIY Rainstick Directions. Create a one of a kind rainstick. Rainstick's have a calming sound and you can use them any time you feel the need for a calm moment.

Have a blessed week. 

(Photo credit to Raychan - on Unsplash - Special Thanks to Diane Gesell, Pat Winegar, and Shiya Stone for your contributions: 


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Looking ahead with Love

Looking ahead with Love ~ 

This week we are "Looking Ahead" at our 2021 journey with Love! Love comes in many forms. It shows up in acts of kindness and the ways we take good care of our bodies. It shows up in the way we love our family or our pets. It shows up in how we treat others with respect and it shows up in how we love ourselves. 

Each of us has this loving power. We can tap into it when we are having a bad day, or things don't seem to work out the way we thought they would. 

We can also allow Love to be the foundation upon which we stand. We can live from this love as we journey forward in life. And, when we find ourselves at a crossroads, we can ask ourselves the question... What would Love do? Then listen for the most loving response, choose our path and keep moving forward.

"Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do." David Wilkerson

We know from our studies that God's Love is Unconditional, always present, always guiding, always supporting us no matter what. Period. When we are feeling the lack of love, that is actually a call to Love. Think of it as an opportunity to pause, take a deep breath and follow our heart. Only then can we make new choices, or shift our perspective so that we realign with our Inner Light. Building up a consistent experience of Self love is a way for us to stand in our personal power. Doing so allows us to give from the overflow impacting the lives of others and the world around us in a positive way.

“True self-love is not ego. True love is great humility. Love and compassion for others cannot exist until there is a goodly supply for self. How can you feel the love of God if you do not love yourself? Are they not one and the same thing?” Pat Rodegast & Judith Stanton – Emmanuel’s Book

There are so many ways we feel and express love. There is the love of doing something we really enjoy, like reading, art, playing music or games. There is the love we have for our friends. There is the love we have for humanity that pulls us forward to make a difference in the lives of others. Take some time this week looking ahead to the things you might want to do or experience this year. What loving kindness are you ready to engage in?

"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." CS Lewis

Below are several questions to guide you and your loved ones in a self exploration of looking ahead with love. 

What are some of the ways you can express self love? What is one thing you can do for yourself when you are upset? What is something you can do for a loved one when they are having a rough day? What is an act of kindness you can do for a friend who is sad? Share an act of kindness someone has done for you? Do you feel the benefit of a selfless act of kindness? What is your experience of love from family, friends, classmates and God? Is there a difference? How would it feel to befriend someone who seems to be alone? How would this be considered a gift to you and that person? What would it be like if we lived in a world where everyone was loved and accepted for who they truly are?

"Our eyes are placed in front, because it's more important to look ahead, than to look back." Author unknown

Affirmations are a great tool to use to keep us focused and positive. They can be short or long and you can create your own! 

"I am the ever-evolving living embodiment of Love." Rev. Sunday Cote

"I am on a journey of love." Adrienne Cherry

"I look ahead with love in my heart for myself and the world." Susan Robinson

"Gods love shines though my eyes, my smiles, my actions and my words." Unknown 

This week you have a few choices for your mindfulness practices.

Be Kind to Yourself Empower Tools GoNoodle: 

Heart Blast Mindfulness Practice
Create a quiet space to sit comfortably. Focus your breath on your heart space and gently close your eyes and allow your breathing too slow. Imaging soft warm loving feeling surrounding your heart. If you have any tension in your body send your Love to it and with your slow breath allow it to soften. Relax the muscles in your face, shoulders, arms and hands, chest and tummy, legs and feet. Take a few more breaths slowly in and out. From this relaxed space, begin to focus your Love vibration outward to the world. Place your hands over your heart and start to fill them up with all the love that you can. Fill in every space. Take a breath a bit deeper than the one before and if you’ve closed your eyes – open them slowly keeping your hands on your heart. We are going to take that Love we just built up and send it out to the
World. Now that you hands are full of that love... form your hands into the shape of a heart (Thumbs together on the bottom – fingers touching and curled inward on top. On the count of three, blast it outward for all the World to feel.

Music & Books 

Music has a way of lifting our spirits ~ or calming them down. And stories often have the same effect. Here are a few of both to explore this week. 

India Arie - I am Light - 

The Beatles - All you need is Love (Remastered 2009)

And for the wee ones...
The Kiboomers - I love you song

This weeks books are: 

When God Made You. by Matthew Paul Turner
From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that
they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly.

I AM Love - a book of compassion by Susan Verde Art: Peter H. Reynolds
Love means showing kindness, living with gratitude, and taking care of our minds and bodies. Letting our hearts lead the way can help move us closer to a better world.

The Day You Begin
by Jacqueline Woodson Art: Rafael López
This book will give PreK-K children a boost of confidence and a roadmap for moving forward during moments when they feel different from everyone else in the room. Those moments are opportunities to be brave and to reach out to others, sharing our stories and discovering our commonalities. Ages 5 - 8 • There is much to explore in the link above, including an audio version, a youtube link and just below the image of the book is a teachers guide with a wealth of information. 

So many ideas to explore! 
Create a Mind Map/Collage - of all the ways you are looking ahead in positive way with love. To give you a few ideas of how you might create this I've attached a link to a folder on my Pinterest page called Class Art Projects. Scroll through to see what calls to you and have fun.

Have a wonderful week everyone! 
(Photo credit - Jason Leung -

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Here and Now - Value, Harmony

As we continue our adventure into 2021 we are invited to practice being Here and Now. Being in the Here and Now is a practice that brings us into a state of Harmony with all that surrounds us. In this state of being, we embrace our complete Oneness while accepting our individual uniqueness. 

"Harmony is a beautiful balance between mind, body and soul measured in tender peaceful moments." Melanie Koulouris

We all know that not all moments in life are peaceful or filled with a harmonious state of being. We learn by the trials and errors of our ways. Think back to a time before you learned to do something like ride a bike, or to skate, or to swing. It took a few attempts before you figured out how to do those things. Sometimes in the learning we can get frustrated. When that happens it pulls us right out of the here and now. Somewhere we find the courage to try again until we reach the point where it all clicks into place and we are in harmony with the activity. What is something you've learned that took time before you could get it right? How did it feel when all of a sudden you could do it? 

"Nothing in the Universe can stop you from letting go and starting over." Guy Finely

When life feels a little or a lot overwhelming, turning to Nature can bring us back to the now moment. Birds go about their business of seeking food and shelter when it is sunny or when it is raining. The waves of the ocean crest and fall, in and out, just like our breath.  The breeze gently moves the clouds. Life is always happening all around us. We do not need to carry the burden of life upon our our shoulders, that is God's job. Our job is to know Oneness; to see ourselves connected to life, to all hearts, to all beings, to Nature and the Infinite Universe. The more you can stay centered in the here and now, the more you give permission for others to do the same. We can not change the past and the future hasn't yet arrived. The only moment we can be in harmony with life is the here and now.

"The Divine Mind is Infinite. It contains all knowledge and wisdom, but before it can reveal its secrets, it must have an outlet." Ernest Holmes 

Here are a few questions to discuss with your family. Explore the things that might be taking you out of the here and now so that when it happens again, you can bring yourself back into Harmony with your life. 
What things distract you when you are trying to focus on a task? How do you feel when things don't go the way you wanted? How do you feel when things do go the way you wanted? How are they different? What is one thing you can do for yourself to help you stay focused when you need to be? What is something you can ask for help with? What is your favorite activity to do in Nature and... if you can't do it, can you imagine what it feels like to do it in your mind? 

Affirmations are a great way to help us stay focused on the Here and Now in a Harmonious way. 

Today I give my attention to what really matters.

I live in a loving, abundant and harmonious universe and I am grateful. 

I am whole, perfect, strong, focused, powerful, loving and happy!

Our Mindfulness practice is a Mirroring Game. 
It requires two people to play. If you choose a big person and a small person, then have the big person lower to the small persons level (Maybe on your knees or siting on the floor). Both people will face each other. Imagine that you are looking into a mirror. Each person will take turns creating movements that the other person will mirror back. Start off slowly with one hand, palm out moving in a small circle, then try the other hand. Keep your movements slow so that the person being the mirror can keep up with you. Now move in a way that feels good to you. You can even make silly faces together. Give the other person a chance to lead so that you can be the mirror too. Enjoy the connection of being in the moment with your movements.

We are also combining our mindfulness into our reading time this week. Each book has a video link so that you can listen to the story. 

My Magic Breath by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor 

Breathing makes it Better - by Christopher Willard and Wendy O'Leary

Puppy Mind - by Andrew Jordan Nance


Our creative activity this week is making a Nature Collage or Sculpture. You can do this a few different ways. If the weather is good where you are, it's a great time to get into the Here and Now in NATURE! - Go for a hike, or stroll through a park. Take a small bag with you to put your items in. As you wander on your journey you can choose a few "found" items. The items must be freely available and not attached to a plant or tree. Fallen leaves, acorns, a heart rock, what ever catches your eye. Or if you take a walk on a beach, maybe a few shells, pebbles or a small piece of drift wood. You get to choose what goes into your bag. When you are home create a sculpture out of your found items. Or arrange them on a plate that you can see to remind you of your time in nature. If the weather isn't good to go on a hike gather up a few magazines and find pictures of nature that give you a happy feeling. You can create it like a vision board of all the places you will go when the weather clears up. 

A second option is to create a family puzzle. You can download a pattern of puzzle pieces or maybe visit a local craft store to find a blank puzzle. Each member of the family receives at least one piece of the puzzle and gets to decorate it however they choose. When they are all complete, fit the pieces together to create a family art piece. It will be as unique as you are and all the time you spend creating it will keep you in the Here and Now. 

Have a great week everyone! 
(Photo credit to Jamie Taylor on Unsplash)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Grounding beyond the beginning - Oneness

 Grounding beyond the beginning - Oneness
This weeks lesson couldn't have come at a more perfect time. It is a reminder of our Oneness with each other and this amazing thing called Life. 

The value of Oneness is one of our foundational Spiritual Principles. In the simplest of definitions; it is the invisible essence of Life that connects and unites us with all of creation. Each and every one of us is an expression of God/Spirit/Divine Good. It radiates and resides in us equally. It is up to us to activate it, to cultivate it and to celebrate and share our Divine Good every day.

"There is an intuition within you which already knows that you are one with good, that your destiny is certain and you must listen to this intuition for it is the voice of God in you." Ernest Holmes

Oneness does not mean sameness! Each of us have our own unique way of expression, likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies and more. The things that give us the appearance of "different" are really just the beautiful parts of us that make us, uniquely Us! Take a few moments to answer these questions as a way of your own personal exploration on Oneness.

What qualities or characteristics make us the same? What do you share in common with your best friend, or sibling? What is something that you both have but it looks different? What is something you both do, yet you do it in a different way? Are you right handed or left handed? Do you have blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes? 

"When is see you through my eyes, I think we are different. When I see you through my heart, I know we are the same." Doe Zantamata

Take a few moments to watch the video in the link below: We R all One - The Kids Speak:

Then use these quotes from the video to build upon your concept of Oneness. 

"There is unity in our diversity. The highest good for you becomes the highest good for others. What you do for yourself you do for others, what you do for others you do for yourself. A magnificent journey of me to WE. The feeling of Unity is the feeling of Love. We are a world wide community, a global village. Our differences do not have to create divisions. Our contrasts do not have to create conflict. Variations in our beliefs do not have to bring violence in our lives. Love is the energy that brings us together. Be the change you wish to see. Power with, not power over! One Earth, One World One Planet." 

"The essence of spirituality, is to be constantly aware of the oneness of all; at the same time to celebrate the uniqueness of the individual." Jaggi Vasudev

Here are a few affirmations to support you in your week of exploring Oneness.

"I sense my oneness with all Life." Ernest Holmes

"I am an expression of the Loving essence of the Universe." Susan Robinson

"The unity of all life beats in the rhythm of my heart." Susan Robinson

This weeks mindfulness/meditation practices come in two forms. Chose one that calls to you, or try both of them. Repeat as often as you like.

Starfish breathing - also called Take Five or Rollercoaster. 

Hold one of your hands in front of you with your fingers splayed open. Then using your index (or pointer) finger of your other hand gently touch the point at your wrist. Slowly with your "in" breath move your finger up to the tip of your pinky or thumb (depending on where you started) and then in the "out breath move your finger down. Do this until you are on the opposite side of your hand. Then switch hands and do it again. This is a great practice for when you need a mindful moment of calm. 

Mandala Meditations. 

Coloring mandalas is a form of art and of meditation. Monday mandala has a variety of free mandalas to color. Start with "Flaming Eyes" and meditate on the Truth that we are many lights that come from One source.

Music and Books: This week there is a little bit of a blend in our music and books, and some that stand alone. Try them all to see what fits for you. 

Love is the Only River - A Song for Peace and Unity - by Ian Sloan and Trinity Rose

(This song is So beautiful - recorded by children and teens)

We all Sing with the Same Voice - by Philip Miller and Sheppard M Greene  - video (also a book)

We're different, We're the Same - and we're wonderful - by Bobby Kates Sesame Street -

What if we were all the same? - A children's book about Ethnic diversity and inclusion - by C.M. Harris 

I am One - a book of Action - by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H Reynolds

Creativity: There are infinite ways to demonstrate Oneness and our individualized uniqueness. Below are a few to get you started. If you try these out or come up with something different - share photos (with parent permission) of what you created.

Demonstrating Oneness: 

Using a large ball of clay or dough, discuss how the clay is one substance but we can make an infinite amount of things from it. Have everyone in the house take a piece of the dough and create their own unique something. Share your creations and marvel at the variations of things that all came from the one original substance. You can create your own dough using this Salt Dough Recipe

Or - Have each person in the house trace their hand print and part of their forearm on a plane sheet of card-stock. (For larger hands trace corner to corner lengthwise). Then color your hand print any way you want. Display the art somewhere that everyone can see it and appreciate your diverse expressions. For a variation, you can create salt dough (Using the recipe in the link above)  press your hand print into the dough. Set it aside to dry, then paint it and create a family art project. 

Or - if you are a crafty type and have a supply of beads handy, set out bowls or containers of beads and have everyone create a friendship bracelet, keychain or bookmark. Let your imaginations take hold so that each person creates a unique pattern. Again - you are all using the same substance or materials, yet your individual project will be as unique as you. Share together why you choose your specific colors or shapes. What did you have in common, what was different?

Blessings of Love and Light to you all. 

Susan ~ 

Photo credit to Noorulabdeen Ahmad from

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Timeless Wisdom - Evolutionary Vision - Value: Adventure!

Welcome to 2021! Our Centers for Spiritual Living annual theme is... Timeless Wisdom and Evolutionary Vision. Rooted in Spiritual practices and principles we embark on a personal journey of self discovery and evolution. Think of it as a call to Adventure, which is also our "value" for this week. 

"Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth." Rumi

Every part of life is an Adventure! In order to be prepared for our daily adventures there are things we need to take along with us. First, we will need a Vision (Thoughts/ Ideas). This helps us determine where we want to go, what we want to learn and how we wish to grow. 

What are some of the things you would like to learn, or do this year? What do they look like? Feel like? Taste like? Smell like? How will you feel when you have achieved them?

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

We will need Nourishment (Spiritual Practices) along the way so we stay full of positive thoughts and feelings. Just like food, our spiritual practices help to remind our mind, heart and body that we are a supported by a Power for good that is always working for us! 

What will you need for yourself, for your body, for your mind? Do you need food and water? Prayer and meditation? A special type of clothing? Do you need certain knowledge or to learn a new skill? 

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." Unknown

We will also need some Wisdom Tools (Spiritual Principles) to help us when obstacles (fear, self doubt, etc) appear to get in our way.

What are some of the tools you will need to bring? What would you need if something unexpected happens? What if you get lost? What if you encounter an obstacle? Do you think tools like, Courage, Strength, Faith and Wisdom would be helpful?

"Courage doesn't always ROAR. Sometimes courage is the silent voice at the end of the day that says, 'I will try again tomorrow." Mary Anne Radmacher

Here are a few affirmations to support you this week as you embark on your unique and exciting Adventure. 

"I know that wonderful things are going to happen to me." Ernest Holmes

"My faith gives me courage and I believe in myself." B. Hull, S. Pelly

"I am confident, adventurous and brave." Author Unknown 

Mindfulness practices help our mind make good choices. Unlike meditations, mindfulness is often a short activity that you can do anytime to refocus, recenter and reconnect with your inner presence. Below are two practices (and a video) you can try out at home this week. Get everyone in your household involved and have some fun.

LION BREATH Go to the floor on all fours, take a deep breath through your nose, open your mouth as big as you can, stick your tongue out, open eyes wide, and ROAR!  

Confidence Meditation for Kids by Lars the Lion of the Primsa Pals. 6:18min

SUPERHERO STANCE Stand strong and tall, head held high, legs apart slightly farther than the width of your shoulders, hands in a fist on either side of your waist. Visualize you are your favorite Superhero and take 5-10 deep breaths, in through you nose, out through your mouth. Feel your personal POWER.

Music is another way to connect to our truth and have fun. Here are two links to videos (YouTube) that fit with this weeks lesson of Adventure! (Skip the adds and enjoy!)

“I Want to See you be Brave” by Sara Bareilles 

Children's Books! We have some wonderful story books to share this week to support our Value of Adventure. Some have links to YouTube videos where you can listen to the book being read online. Or stock up your own personal library. 

Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave, by Jessica Hische

What Makes a Hero? by Pamela Bobowicz

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Creativity! There are so many ways you can get creative this using the value of Adventure. Below are a few ideas to get you started. 

Adventure Affirmations: Create a piece of art with a statement such as “LOVE is my Superpower!” as the centerpiece. Then place it somewhere you can see it everyday to remind you of your special unique qualities. Or... create a picture using the values you will need on your adventure. Here are a few words to get you started, Courage, Fun, Kindness, Love, Compassion. 

Plan your Adventure: Create a map to help guide your Thoughts/ Ideas/ Dreams towards your Goals. Decide on your adventure. What kind of adventure is it? What qualities or superpowers will you need on this adventure? Write them down, draw pictures or use symbols to represent your qualities. (Tips, you can use old maps to create a collage, then add your "qualities/values/superpowers" in words to support your adventure. You could draw little footprints on your map to show the direction you will travel.)

Creative Writing/ Storytelling: Write your own story about something new you’d like to do; like ride a bike, learn to swim, or play a musical instrument. Or, tell a story about someone you know who was Brave. Perhaps there is an animal that is brave or the brave person is you. Create a picture, story or book by drawing and/or writing. Make sure to share it with someone so they can support you in your new adventure.

Go On An Adventure: This idea is basically a role playing activity. It feels a little like Mad Libs too. It can start with “Once upon a time..” or  "One day..” there was a character, and they lived here and they did this and that, then one day something happened, etc, etc, the end. The storyteller just leads the story to places where the children can fill in the blank and you end up on some of the greatest adventures. Along the way, add obstacles help to foster problem solving skills.


We would love to hear from you and/or see your creative projects. Feel free to post comments, photos (with parents permissions) and anything you would like to share. We are all on this Adventure of Life together! 

Have a great week. 

Photo credit to: Melissa Askew - on Unsplash


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