A Picture Perfect Day

A Picture Perfect Day

Remembering Moody and Day of Hope

March 25, 2017

A Picture Perfect Day

Written by Sharon Cecil

Father Bob Mueller, pastor of Good Samaritan United Catholic House Church and Vice President of Development at Hosparus Health presided over the Remembering Moody portion of this celebratory day.

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Wayside Christian Mission Choir – Sang at Remembering Moody

A BEAUTIFUL Day in every Way

The Day of Hope that followed Remembering Moody, honored Moody’s passion for the underserved children and families that We Survive serves. These children and families were always near and dear to Moody’s heart.

Moody believed that when you give, you are given an opportunity to change lives.  He knew it takes a village to make things happen.  We Survive volunteers continue to be a testament to the power of service.

Words are powerful, but I am lost for the words that convey the GRATITUDE I feel at this moment.   “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Painting Rocks Music Eating and fun Portrayal of Hope tapestry Playing Frisbee Making Gods Eyes at the creek GS Troop 476

Special THANK YOU to all our supporters and volunteers for making this a very special day for everyone!
In case we have missed anyone, please know we appreciate your help.
 
Sponsor
Sedulo Group
 
Supporters and Volunteers
Wayside Christian Mission Choir
Rachael and Jeremy Hunt
Heidi Joy Stenson
The Wildflower Chronicles
Girl Scout Troop 476
Jacqueline McMillian-Bohler
Debbie and Bryan Lewis
Robertson Family
Fr. Bob Mueller
Sunshine Joe Mallard
Mary and Gary Jewell
Jacqueline “Blue” Browning and Family
Anita and Tony Seekins
Jenniffer Truitt
Hometown Pizza
We Survive
Taxes on the Go Offers Hope for the Homebound

Taxes on the Go Offers Hope for the Homebound

Written by Sharon Cecil

In the fall of 2015, I found myself in a situation where I was pretty much limited due to a fall that created mobility issues. To the knee injury that imposed restrictions that I referred to as “stair incarceration” add blustery wind and a flurry of snow accumulation, home became my husband’s and my sanctuary.

During this time, there were a lot of people sharing stories about how it was hard to get out of their home to get things done. The information shared took me on an explorative journey to seek out services that are available to you when you are homebound.

Two services that I felt were vital included getting your taxes completed and food for the pantry.

Taxes on the Go Offers Hope for the Homebound

TaxFormIt is inevitable, that January brings with it that time of the year. TAX time! It can be one of the most grueling tasks that you procrastinate about for multiple reasons.

One young man’s story was fascinating.

Michael Fitzmayer has done tax preparation for more than 35 years. He will tell you that he has seen just about every type of tax situation in that time.

Mike started Taxes on the Go. He will come to your home with his laptop in hand and prepare your taxes.   He has the capability to e-file, but needs to file from his office to ensure that it is sent from a secure network.

In order to help people that were less fortunate than he is, Mike started doing Taxes on the Go. Mike wanted to be there for people who were in recovery situations and be able to reduce the cost for those with lower incomes or stressed financial concerns.

Mike talked with me regarding, “People with low incomes are going into tax preparation offices and being taken advantage of by paying very high preparation fees.”

When you can’t leave home, there is always the option to do your taxes yourself when you have access to the internet. For many people, they don’t have the luxury of owning a computer and internet access due to their financial limitations. Or health issues such as sight might make that option prohibitive.

Thank goodness that there are people like Mike who have put a personal touch to taxes.

Taxes on the Go takes the worry out of getting your taxes done if you can’t leave home.

Contact Mike at Taxes on the Go 502-640-8782. He will also prepare taxes at his office.

FYI—If you live in Louisville, you might want to check out ValuMarket’s Curbside Direct, Louisville’s original online grocery shopping platform that allows customers to buy all their favorite grocery items online in a safe and convenient way. Or check with your local area store to see if you can call in the day before to get your order delivered.

From Humble Beginnings a Childhood Vision Soars

From Humble Beginnings a Childhood Vision Soars

dovepeaceglobeFrom Humble Beginnings a Childhood Vision Soars

There are so many stories that could be shared about Moody Cecil’s love of nature and how he grew up walking the land that his grandparents owned, later owned by his parents and then passed down to him.

As a child, his Aunt Dumpy would take him hiking and his Uncle Lovell took him fishing on a regular basis.  On Sundays, the family would gather at the farm for Sunday dinner.  Moody’s mom (Alma) and dad (Moody Sr.) carried on the Sunday dinner tradition.

Cathy, Kent and their cousins Rita and Anita enjoyed their regular Sunday get together which included  hiking, playing in the creek, floating stick boats, making homemade ice cream with an old time hand crank ice cream maker and many other activities.  Anita says, “I have so many wonderful memories of Sunday dinners with Aunt Alma, Uncle Moody (Sr.), my dad, Junie (Moody Jr.), Cathy, and Kent. I will always cherish those memories as some of the best times in my life.”

Although Moody, Jr. (who we all knew as Moody) recognized that he was not cut out to be a farmer, he realized at a very young age he loved being on the farm.  Moody decided when he acquired the land; he had been given the privilege of being steward of the land.

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Moody and Cathy

Moody was dedicated to working with youth and the vision of creating “a legacy for future generations.”  He began exploring the possibility of a Certified Stewardship Forest (a designated given by the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Moody’s children Michelle Wolf (Matt), Cathy Bellamy (Rob), and Kent Cecil (Stephanie); and grandchildren Kyle Wolf, Kate Bellamy, Jordon and Leah Cecil enjoyed being at the farm.

Moody loved to fish.  When each grandchild was born, he bought them fishing poles.  Rob reminded Moody’s wife Sharon that Moody had taken Kate fishing for the first time.

Rob also shared a Memory Moment about when Cathy, Kate and he were having lunch with Moody at Uno’s Pizza on Bardstown Road.  Kate was 3 or 4 at the time.   She looked at her Granddaddy and asked why he lived on the other side of Louisville.  Rob said that Moody calmly explained to Kate about our blended family, and said to Kate, “Cathy is my daughter and you are my granddaughter and I love you so much.”   Kate was completely satisfied with this information and never brought it up again.

One of Sharon’s fondest memories is of grandsons Jordon and Kyle going fishing with Moody and Kent.    They were thrilled that they caught a fish.  Excitedly, the boys came running back from the creek and told Sharon that they had caught a 5 pound bass.  When in actuality, it was a 5 inch bass.  Through the years, Sharon would tease Moody about how he had not only taught the boys to fish but also taught them how to tell fish stories.

Moody was a fierce champion for both the young and old. With his extraordinary love of nature, it was decided that Sharon and Moody Cecil would create an organization that would offer health and wellness programming that provided “nurturance in nature.”  In 1994, We Survive was born.

GazeboIn 2004, Anita said her wedding vows under the gazebo at We Survive—now referred to as Haven of Hope.  What a wonderful memory and tribute to her grandparents Florence and George Hahn.

As time passed, Moody’s memory began to fade. He lost many of the memories he held so near and dear.  Despite this, Moody never lost his desire to be around people of all ages or his love for nature. He even attended LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited on November 5, 2016.

Moody’s passion was working with children from all walks of life. He enjoyed being part of the planning and participating in Day of Hope http://wesurvive.org/day-of-hope/  activities at We Survive’s Haven of Hope.

 

Moody Cecil

March 23, 1932 – December 19, 2016

To read more about Moody’s story, read Amazing Vision Offers Guiding Light.

 

To Donate or Comment (and share a Moody memory) visit the

Moody Cecil Memorial Fund

A fund for the Haven of Hope Arts, Cultural and Nature Center.

beacon-of-hope

I know you would be standing beside me today,
if heaven was not so far away.

Like We Survive’s Beacon of Hope,
your presence has a far reaching scope.

Amazing Vision offers Guiding Light

Amazing Vision offers Guiding Light

Amazing Vision offers Guiding Light

Moody Cecil 3-23-1932 to 12-19-2016

Moody believed that when you give, you are given an opportunity to change lives.

The family farm, which was passed down to Moody, was where he took his children and grandchildren fishing and hiking on the same ground he walked on as a small child. By the time the house had been passed on to him, it had been vandalized and burglarized. It was all grown over and you literally “could not see the forest for the trees.” But, Moody had a vision for the land.

HPIM1257All possibilities were explored to see how the land could be best utilized. Moody wanted to take the gift he had been given and share it with as many people as he could. Working with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Moody realized that he didn’t have to plant walnut trees or any other trees. He already had beautiful gently rolling woodland that has since been designated as a Stewardship Forest by the Kentucky Division of Forestry- creating a “legacy for future generations.”

In 1994, Moody and Sharon co-founded WE SURVIVE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education to the community, break stereotypes, inspire strong youth leaders, and bring hope to others. We Survive’s headquarters is located on the land Moody so dearly loved, Haven of Hope. Over the years, the Haven of Hope has welcomed thousands of people to explore nature and bond with others when they have attended a Day of Hope, seminars, workshops, and weddings. There are plans pending to establish the Haven of Hope Arts and Cultural Center.  There will be a formal announcement at Moody’s Celebration of Life the Spring of 2017—date to be announced.

 

moody-and-michelleMoody cherished the time he spent with his daughter Michelle and grandson Kyle when they were young.  As Michelle says, “My Dad was the most patient and kind person. There wasn’t a child or animal that didn’t like him. He had a special calmness that made everyone that met him feel comfortable. He loved nature, and I am honored that he passed that quality on to me. I loved skipping rocks, taking walks together, or just sitting together watching nature around us. My Dad taught me what the truly important things in life are. I will cherish all the memories we had together, and the love you showed me. I love you Dad!”

Moody’s passion was working with children from all walks of life. He enjoyed planning and participating in Day of Hope.

Help us keep Moody’s vision alive with a contribution to the We Survive – Moody Cecil Haven of Hope Memorial Fund.

To share a message with Moody’s family, go to the Fern Creek Funeral Home site.

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a
thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our
actions run as causes and return to us as results.”  –Herman Melville

HOPE is the Thread that Pulls us TOGETHER!!!

Life Can Smother the Light

Life Can Smother the Light

Life Can Smother the Light

Written by Sharon Cecil

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

 

handoverballoflightIf you haven’t figured it out, life is not easy.  As you travel the journey of life, there is not anyone that hasn’t faced some dark moments during his or her life.  But we need not let life smother out the light.

 

When approaching the topic of poverty, we see and hear the feelings of hopelessness. Collective hopelessness is NOT acceptable.

We learn from each other and need to respect each other’s differences.

We all have childhood memories.

I grew up during a time when everyone was like family, whether you were a visitor in their home or they were visiting you, you went outdoors to play, got dirty, drink Kool-Aid and eat ice cream.  You would want to play outside until dark so you could catch lightning bugs.

Neighborhoods were small communities.  Everyone tried to look out for each other.  We knew to respect each other and help one another.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Barbara Anderson

In talking with, Barbara Anderson, who is a LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Ambassador on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Executive Director of Haven House Services, I learned that,  “Despite five years of economic recovery, poverty is still stubbornly high in America. More than 45 million people, or 14.5 percent of all Americans, lived below the poverty line last year,” according to the 2014 Census Bureau

Realizing that we are in a time in history when need to be healing and honoring our differences, I was reminded that I didn’t like having to do memorization assignments for school.  I do remember enjoying memorizing the Gettysburg Address.

The Gettysburg Address started by saying,  “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”   The teacher who had us memorize the Gettysburg Address emphasized the fact that we are all “created equal.”  That statement gave me a feeling of empowerment.

We know that there should not be power over people. Yet, there are situations where that happens.  There are instances such as abuse, abandonment, discrimination, neglect, or war just to name a few that are only part of the multi-situational issues that face those vulnerable to poverty and feelings of hopelessness which makes them feel powerless.

youarenotalonemuralBy letting our neighbors know that “You Are Not Alone,” communities need to come together to use their knowledge to find solutions, share resources and educate on the importance of respecting people’s differences.

Let’s NOT Let Life Smother out the Light!

LIGHTFEST Re-ignited has a de-LIGHT-ful message.

This is a great time to for you to a join the growing list of 2016 LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited communities. Together, we will LIGHT and UNITE to make the world a better place with this simple message of HOPE on November 5, 2016.

As a nation, it is important we end poverty

 

Life is indeed a pleasant road.

To those whom fortune blesses;

But ’tis a thorny path to those.

Whom poverty oppresses.

~ James Lendall

Day of Hope Inspires

Day of Hope Inspires

Written by: Ryan Hatfield

mortar and pestalMarch 15, 2016

I first became involved with We Survive and Day of Hope as a first-year pharmacy student. The Day of Hope event was the first service learning project I had undertaken in pharmacy school. I didn’t really know what to expect other than I knew I was going to help provide health education to underprivileged children and their families.

Each of the pharmacy students were paired up with one of the children from the shelter. The child with whom I was paired was one of the older ones there, and he was definitely not thrilled that he had to participate. I tried talking to him and getting him to open up, but all I got was nowhere fast. I get it—we are from two vastly different worlds, and to be completely honest, I probably would have been just as aloof as he was if I was in his shoes.

The day itself had various activities. There was an educational component to it, of course, but the children and families also got to explore nature. For most of them, I’d hedge a bet that it was the first time they’d ever been out of the city. The young man with whom I was partnered started loosening up a little when we went on the hike, but he really came out of his shell when we went down to the creek. He absolutely loved being able to explore the creek. His biggest prize was the frog that he caught. We had to pry him from the creek when it was time for the groups to change activities. He did a 180 from the time he arrived at the farm to the time that he left. Being out at the farm did wonders for him, even if it may have only been for that day.

The children and families that participated in the event were so gracious and so thankful. If not for the Day of Hope, I don’t think a lot of these folks would have the opportunity to get out into the country and experience nature in its true form.

Seeing the children and families being able to enjoy their day with playing games and being out in nature and being able to forget about life for a while was a great opportunity for me as well. I’ve participated in the Day of Hope event each of my 3 years in pharmacy school. I graduate in June, and while I know that I won’t always be able to attend the Day of Hope event every year, it is an organization that I do wish to continue to support.

 

Ryan Hatfield, PharmD

Sullivan University College of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

Attitudes Are the Real Disability

Attitudes Are the Real Disability

henry-holden-1

Henry Holden

In 2014, Madison Pierce from Los Angeles, California was given an assignment to write about someone who not only inspired her but also overcame adversity.  Madison shared with us her story regarding Henry Holden a LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Ambassador.  As we Celebrate Hope in 2016, STAR Ambassador Henry Holden will shine brightly for LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.

“Attitudes Are the Real Disability”

Written by Madison Pierce, Los Angeles, CA

image1Henry Holden’s life journey has inspired many people all over the world to not give up and have determination. He was born in Germany in a displacement camp called Fahrenwald, near Munich, on March 20, 1948 and is known for never letting his disability get in the way of anything he sets his mind on. Faced with a disability that left him unable to use his legs, Henry Holden speaks primarily at colleges, influencing and inspiring students and all who listen.

Henry Holden was 4 years old when he remembers walking with his mother, and couldn’t walk correctly. Later that night he woke up and started screaming. His parents called the ambulance which took him to the hospital. The emergency room doctors informed Henry’s parents that he was faking and could walk just fine. After more tests, the doctors realized that Henry had polio in both of his legs and would be permanently disabled, never able to walk again without the help of crutches and/or braces. He has had about six arduous surgeries on his legs. Even with his polio, Henry was gallant and still played baseball, football, and other sports with his neighborhood friends. Henry’s determination to assimilate was as powerful as Edison’s perseverance in developing the light bulb. His parents had high expectations for him, and for Henry, that was very important. It was both his parents and his neighborhood friends that inspired him to never give up on himself. According to Henry Holden’s website, “Don’t DIS the ability” is his “compelling message.”

Henry Holden currently is a motivational speaker, actor, comedian, writer, and two-time LA Marathon participant in a wheel chair. He speaks mainly at colleges, and has traveled all around the United States of America, and internationally to England and Bermuda. He has given over one hundred speeches. He recalls one time he was speaking at a school in Minnesota and the people who brought him in said that a student was going to drop out. The student decided not to after hearing Henry speak. Sharon Cecil from the Courier Journal states, “Thank you for showing not only me but also the world what can be done when will overcomes adversity!”

Henry Holden has been seen on many television shows. Some of these shows include: Becker, TJ Hooker, After M.A.S.H, Knotts Landing, and Hunter. He loved performing in these shows because they didn’t focus on his disability. He played characters that happen to have a disability. He is most proud of the show Kids Incorporated, a Disney show that Fergy was on. The show’s message that people can do anything they want, regardless of having a disability, made a big impact on people’s lives, especially the children who watched the show. Henry Holden has also written The Hitman and Other Short Plays, which features Henry as one of the characters. The Hitman was made into a 10 minute short film. Stated on Henry Holden’s website from one of the audience members at a recent conference, “What you’re doing is opening the eyes for people who didn’t know they could see”. “Mr. Holden is an excellent speaker. He is not only positive and humorous, but stands as an excellent role model. Mr. Holden, I greatly admire you!”

img_8007Henry Holden has made a difference in many people’s lives, telling them to never give up; never let anyone tell you, you “can’t” do something, show them that you can. He never felt indignant about his disability, it only made him more singular. As his famous and well-known slogan goes, “Attitudes are the Real Disability!”  Henry resolutely states “There is nothing negative about an individual. Everything about a person is positive. You just have to focus on the positive.”

A “mustard-seed” and ME

A “mustard-seed” and ME

A “mustard-seed” and ME

Written by Sharon Cecil

Mustard-Seed_2_311x311I have worn a mustard seed charm (amulet) necklace for almost 26 years after a diagnosis of cancer.  The mustard seed is coupled with an ATTITUDE charm on one necklace.  HOPE and Faith go together like Love and Marriage.

A few years later, my husband and I started We Survive, to educate, empower, and inspire our community to promote hope and complete body wellness in order to achieve optimal health.

“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.” ~~ Florence Nightingale

Adversities are varied and many need medical attention when it comes to our body, mind and spirit.  Adversity can lead to uncertainty.  As a nurse, my specialty is Psychiatric and Mental Health nursing.  I wonder if you have ever thought about how nurses bring people back to life.  I will say that if you only fix one part of the problem, the rest of the body may have difficulty feeling completely balanced.

In 2015, while working with the homeless population, a young wide-eyed innocent and enthusiastic girl seemed to have an answer to life’s problems.  This 4 year old homeless child said to a group of people, “If you have hope, you are happy.”

We can restore balance in our lives when we take a simple concept, such as HOPE and work with it.  Like Florence Nightingale said about the “mustard-seed,” you can let it take root and watch it grow into a mustard plant.  Just like an apple, there is a question that lingers, which I will ask about a mustard seed—how many seeds come from a mustard plant?

With 2016 being an election year, all forms of media are surrounding us as if they were a wagon train.  This has led to media frenzy.  There is commentary everywhere on raised voices, lack of tolerance, bullying, protests, etc. Multiple issues such as joblessness, healthcare, taxes, and so much more are a great concern to Americans.

What can we do to come together and show our support for the future of America?

 

CAST A VOTE

FOR HOPE

for a

Brighter Future

 

You may ask, “How can one person make a difference?” or “How can I cast a vote for Hope?”

Florence Nightingale is known as ”the Lady with the Lamp,” because she carried a lantern as she make her rounds to hospitalized patients and homes.  As she revolutionized nursing, she became an icon for the nursing profession and impacted healthcare around the world with her “crusade to save lives.”

How can one person make a difference

It takes one person with an idea connecting with a community.  You can read Florence Nightingale’s story to see how she made a tremendous difference.

 

How can I cast a vote for Hope?

video picture1November 5, LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

Shine a Light of HOPE

                                                                                                             

November 8,  Election Day

Be sure to VOTE

                                                                                                        

November 5, 2016 LIGHT UP!

We ask that on November 5, at 6pm Eastern Time, wherever you are around the world, display a Light of Hope.  It can be a porch light, candle, cell phone or flashlight…spread the word to friends and family.  This can be done as a group or individually.  You can do your activity on November 5 or anytime throughout the year.  Contact us at lightfest@wesurvive.org for more information.

Is being called Pollyannaish insulting? 

Is being called Pollyannaish insulting? 

Written by Sharon Cecil

Is being called Pollyannaish insulting?

Glad

I have often been referred to as a Pollyanna. The definition of Pollyanna according to Merriam-Webster dot com, “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.”

I have considered being called Pollyanna a compliment. Think about how much gladness Pollyanna brought to the little town of Beldingsville, Vermont.

FYI— Did you know that there were sequels to Pollyanna known as “Glad Books,” published throughout the years? If not, check it out.

Being positive (Pollyannaish) can be catching…Even inspiring. A nurse by the name of Fran was my inspiration and virtual mother. She said that the best medicine was being positive and laughter. She was one of the greatest influences in my life. She was ABSOLUTELY right!!

During childhood, reading was an escape from the world around me. I loved reading happy stories like Pollyanna, mysteries and drama. The same thing goes today. As I’ve gotten older though, my reading time has taken a hit since watching happy movies, mysteries and dramas on TV.

The original LIGHTFEST held at Churchill Downs was, “billed as a `day of light and hope, “Bill Wolfe, The Courier-Journal March 24, 1997. It was an event that gave joy and gladness to all that attended.

Let’s cast a shadow on the cloud of doubt.

Let’s show the World that there is truth in being GLAD

Join the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Movement

Shine a Light of HOPE

On November 7, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time, be apart of the LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited movement and display a Light of Hope. It can be a porch light, candle or flashlight…this can be done as a group or individually

Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

Written by Sharon Cecil

Is hope just a dream or can it fly?

Some people have called Sharon and Moody Cecil dreamers.  They had a dream of changing young people’s lives by offering hope and inspiration.  As we know, the Cecil’s are not the only ones who have had their hopes and dreams become reality.

KiteKeyDuring a Creative Expression  program held on June 22, 2015.  There was a discussion about Benjamin Franklin being a dreamer.  The conversation evolved into a consensus that Benjamin Franklin would take a dream and make it happen.

Growing up we heard that Benjamin Franklin invented electricity by creating a lightning rod using a Kite and a key.

Benjamin Franklin is best known for this kite and key experiment. As dreamer, He wanted to improve people’s lives with practical ideas that he put to the test.

Inspiring Hopes and Dreams

When you lose Hopes and Dreams, it can change every facet of  life. We Survive implemented Day of Hope programming  to IMPROVE IMPOVERISHED LIVES.

In 2014, LIGHTFEST Re- Ignited was born.  It was a way for We Survive to renew their promise to spread a message of HOPE Worldwide…By re-igniting LIGHTEST, originally held in 1997, We Survive brought back the Light shared over 20 years ago to inspire our youth to aspire and realize “the Power of the Dream.”

 

Are your dreams something that can take flight like a kite?

 

Contact We Survive and explore LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Activity opportunities. These activities can be done throughout the year.  By holding an activity, you will

IMPROVE IMPOVERISH LIVES

 

Christina Onassis, wealthiest woman in the world (1950–1988) had everything life could offer.  Yet, it is said that she was not very happy.  She said, “Sometimes when you have everything, you can’t really tell what matters.”

 

As a 4-year old homeless girl said during a Day of Hope conversation, “If you have hope, you are happy!”

 

We are asking that everyone around the world be part of the LIGHTFEST movement.  On November 7, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time, display a Light of Hope.  It can be a porch light, candle or flashlight…this can be done as a group or individually.