Author Krista Tibbs

Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Category

When I Wish You Merry Christmas

In Being Human, Original Fiction, Spirit on November 22, 2014 at 7:29 pm

WhenIWishYouMerryChristmasBlue2

When I wish you Merry Christmas
I’m remembering all the love
That I’ve been blessed with through the years—
from here on earth or up above.

I wish you joy and hope and peace
and all that swells your soul
And that you’ll recognize your blessings, too
and feel you’ve been made whole.

I wish you Merry Christmas
from the memories of my youth;
I hope you will be heartened
by a special memory, too.

I wish you silent moments
like a walk through falling snow
Or light that bathes your whole hometown
and warms you in its glow.

I wish your spirit to find purpose,
and if purpose has been found,
Then I hope you’ll find a voice
that spreads your gifts to all around.

May your focus always land
on what brings cheer into your heart
And look past the petty other things
that dampen your true spark.

I hope you’ll find a home
where you forever will belong
Where any broken places in you
will be healed and come back strong.

But if your strength has all been drained this year
or nothing feels like home
I wish renewal through your winter.
Please know you’re not alone.

I pray that you’ll believe
in something greater than this life
And feel the peace of knowing
there is solace past the strife.

I wish your soul much deeper
than just happy holidays
So when I wish you Merry Christmas
this is all I mean to say.

© Krista Tibbs
Author of The Neurology of Angels

Book Videos: Uncertainty Principles and The Neurology of Angels

In Being Human, Original Fiction, Politics & Government, Science, Spirit on November 21, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Fiction: A Ride on the Wind

In Original Fiction, Spirit on November 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Photo © bigfoot – Fotolia.com

Once I took a ride on the wind, to the Beyond. I go there often in my afternoon dreams. So far away that even the animals don’t know me; I am just another tree moving with the breeze.

There is a clear, cold stream, with rocks and no fear–of spiders or snakes or bears or of social settings or expectations–just experience. Cool, fresh experience and an exploration of what’s inside.

Smells are only sweet in the Beyond. Not the fake sweet of the freshman summer, not the planted sweet of Grampy’s roses, but just clean.

Potential means something different here. It sounds like a color: the deep potential blue of the mountain tops. It speaks of size: the potential of trees. It is the sound the wind makes: potential. Beyond cleans the meaning back to when the whole world ahead was exciting and full of shivers.

There is no dread sense of living up, no suggestion of being less or below, no dark holes that can swallow, because the Beyond is above it all, where only the wind can go. It is a mountain top, but not for falling. It is words, but nothing dark, only sunshine after rain.

The wind stirs up again and carries me back to my life. But I do not dread, because the experience is multiplied by the sharing. So I bring back some of the sweet inside.

The Beauty of Bridges

In Commentary, Science, Spirit on January 5, 2012 at 3:50 am

I don’t love heights, but I love bridges. To me, the middle of a bridge is the most beautiful spot in the world, literally and figuratively. Because bridges aren’t just for getting from one place to the next; they provide a vantage point to see both where you were and where you are going — if you take the time to pause during the transition.

A lot of the most interesting things in physics and in life happen in transitions. The Great Smoky Mountains are named so due to the ever-present mist, which is water suspended in the transition between a liquid and a gas. Who says physics isn’t beautiful? Anyone who’s felt the moment when a friendship turns into More also knows the beauty of a transition.

There is danger in getting stuck on a bridge, especially when on one side there is relief from what you left behind and on the other side is the hopeful vision of what lies ahead. That point in the middle is pure freedom. Moving forward can be hard, because it means crossing over into reality, which rarely lives up to its possibilities.

Of course, not all transitions are great or interesting or even wanted. But that’s when a bridge is also a friend. It’s going to take you from what you lost to whatever comes next, but it will also provide a safe place to rest in between.

Click below to see pictures of breathtaking bridges across the world:
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/03/the-worlds-most-beautiful-bridges/

Update 28 Jan 2012:
Call me oblivious, but it didn’t occur to me while I was writing this post that the banner on my blog contains a bridge, as does the cover of my book. I am also partial to the semi-colon and have been since high school, much to one teacher’s chagrin. I bring it up, because today I heard a semi-colon described as a bridge between two thoughts. So I guess it’s true; I really do love bridges!
 

Easter Admission

In Commentary, Spirit on April 4, 2010 at 4:31 am
We all hope that when we’re faced with a moment of truth, we’ll stand up for what’s right and for the people we love. I want to believe I’d run back into a burning building for my niece. So to know the moment is coming and to lack the strength to live up to it…it just makes me sad to consider the possibility. So whenever I think of Easter, I think first of the story of Peter, which I think is the saddest story in the Bible.

If you haven’t read the New Testament or have forgotten the story: Peter was Jesus’ best friend, and as Jesus was taken off to be crucified, he said Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter was sure he would never do such a thing, but each time someone pointed out that he was an associate of Jesus, he said it wasn’t true. When the rooster crowed the next morning and Peter realized what he had done, he cried.

If he had admitted to being Jesus’ friend, Peter also would have been brutally crucified. In this day and age, the crucifixion is a little more subtle; it works on your character by negative connotation. I think it’s the reason the percent of Americans identifying themselves as Christians dropped from 86% in 1991 to 76% in 2001.

Those 10% are part of a larger group who have converted to the category of “no religion”. I think many have the same core beliefs they always did, but they don’t want to associate themselves with those who give organized religion a bad name; either the radicals who perform bad acts, or those who make an example of the bad acts to disparage the religion.

And I understand. When I started the notes that turned into this blog, I wrote down what I believe, and then wrote 16 pages explaining why I have considered atheism and agnosticism and why it makes sense to choose to believe in God, and what I think about who Jesus was, and all the ways that I’m not a “radical Bible-thumping wingnut”, to quote a famous judgmentalist. Usually in person, I shortcut to the point that I believe in reincarnation, which is a great way to water down perceptions, and is my own personal brand of denial.

It’s a good thing Easter comes every year, because it reminds me that I don’t want someone else’s actions or perceptions or judgments to define my belief system. I’m not in a burning building, and I’m not facing an angry mob about to murder my best friend, but for what it’s worth:

I choose to believe in God. I believe the Ten Commandments are written on the heart of every person, and it’s called our conscience. I believe in free will, and because of that, I am thankful for Forgiveness. There is a verse in a frame on my living room wall because it speaks to me: “Live by the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.” It happens to be from the New Testament.

Amen.

Strength in Sadness

In Being Human, Commentary, Spirit on September 2, 2009 at 12:48 am

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month thinking about the Emily C. Specchio Foundation. Most of the organizations I donate to are born of sadness, but none have touched me in the same way as this one. It seems that Emily Specchio’s life was a seed that her family cultivated in their grief, and I admire them tremendously for it. To me, sadness is the most debilitating of injuries, so to see evidence of strength where I wouldn’t think it could ever live is hope-inspiring.

I’m reminded of a lady I met during my first visit to Westminster Presbyterian in Alexandria, VA. I had been to many kinds of churches before, and I was often left to cry alone in the pew throughout the sermon – or worse, pressured to talk. But this lady sat next to me and just gave me tissues. Then at the end of the service, she said it was wonderful I could experience such emotion.

Noone had ever looked at my tears that way before. I always considered them to be a character flaw and something I learned to hide everywhere except in church.  So when I found out the lady’s name was Bea Hurt, it made sense. Like she was put on earth to give us permission to feel.

I think about her often, especially when I want to stop caring about people because the sadness or meanness is just too much. She reminds me that the same part inside that allows us to hurt also allows us to hope, if we can look at things a little differently.

Emily Specchio Foundation

In Announcements, Being Human, Spirit on August 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

Today’s post is a special interview about the Emily C. Specchio Foundation , whose mission is to encourage, identify and financially support university undergraduate and graduate students who want to change the world for the better, both nationally and internationally. In her 21 years, Emily Specchio managed to inter-relate the ideas of academic excellence with social responsibility. Emily was part of the Phi Sigma Pi national honor fraternity and embodied the virtues of Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. She participated in fundraising for cancer research, Teach for America, tutoring children, and the Foundation for Peace. Emily was a marketing major and graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Tech University on May 13th, 2006, but sadly passed away suddenly and unexpectedly two days later of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm  . The foundation celebrates Emily’s life by following her inspirational lead in continuing to support charitable organizations close to her heart.

 
Question for Kate: The foundation website includes a quote from Emily: “Sunsets remind me that there is always beauty in the world, even when you feel like everything is falling apart.” It sounds like Emily had a great outlook and tried to live it every day, which is truly inspirational. Who established the foundation?    

The foundation was established and is completely run by Emily’s immediate and extended family. Emily, my sister, was an extremely vibrant, determined, and giving young person. Growing up she always found ways to give back to her community. This started at a young age with volunteer trips with my mother to help out our county nursing home, and blossomed throughout her teenage years as she participated in four separate humanitarian trips to Appalachia and the Dominican Republic, and frequently mentored young children at the elementary school close to her university, among other activities. She was a lover of life, a “chaser” of sunsets, and truly believed in the power of the individual to make a difference.

Our family was completely shocked by Emily’s sudden passing – it occurred only two days after her graduation from Virginia Tech, and less than a month after my wedding engagement. One headache, one day changed our family forever. Emily had her whole, promising life ahead of her. There were no signs or warnings. However, my family is extremely tight-knit and determined, and while waiting in the hospital on the day of Emily’s passing, plans were being made to accomplish something special in her honor. The initial idea was to form a scholarship in her name at her beloved alma mater, Virginia Tech. We set this up and were quickly astonished by the outpour of support. It became apparent to us that this movement was bigger than we realized and we promptly started a foundation that would allow us to grow and accomplish further initiatives to honor Emily and follow her inspirational lead in giving back to others.

 

So far, the foundation has provided scholarships to 9 young women in marketing studies and has reached full endowment. Do you keep up with the girls who received the scholarships? What kind of work are they pursuing now?

The Emily C. Specchio Memorial scholarship at Virginia Tech has been so successful! Due to the wonderful generosity of the supporters of our foundation, we have raised enough money to fund the full tuition for a study abroad semester for two Virginia Tech students each year. As this scholarship is now fully endowed, it will be given every year in perpetuity.

I do still keep in touch with all of the past recipients of the scholarship. They are wonderful young women who have a commonality in their strong drive to succeed and compassionate interest in the world. Six of the recipients have now graduated from Virginia Tech, and all list their study abroad experience as one of the things that most changed their life. Many of them have caught the “travel bug” and take every opportunity to learn about new cultures and places. This is so enjoyable to see as the study abroad program also affected Emily in the same way. 

 

One of the preferences for the scholarship is that the recipient has or will study abroad in Switzerland. Why?

We tried to model the preferences for the scholarship around Emily’s college life. She was extremely strong academically, graduating magna cum laude in 2006 in Marketing. As mentioned, she also was very active in community service, leading Relay for Life teams, mentoring children, and helping beautify the Virginia Tech campus. But, hands-down her favorite experience in college was her study abroad semester in Lugano, Switzerland, which is run through the Marketing department. This is a very unique study abroad program as it places a high priority on traveling and learning about other cultures for the curriculum. During her spring semester abroad in 2005, Emily traveled extensively throughout Europe and really developed into a strong, independent, and compassionate woman as a result.

Emily loved Lugano so much that she had made plans to return after her graduation to start a masters program in social marketing with an option to enter a Ph.D. program after the 1st year. After seeing Emily fall in love with Europe and her transformation as a result, we decided that we would use the memorial scholarship as an opportunity to expose additional students to other cultures, opening the door for students who may not traditionally be able to afford such a luxury as study abroad. We also rank the scholarship applications by academic excellence and strong history of community service. This scholarship is gaining in popularity every year, with the number of applications tripling since its inception in 2006. From this scholarship, we hope to allow other young men and women to learn about the world and hopefully inspire them to make a difference.

 

I understand that your yearly fundraiser, A Night with an Angel, last year raised upwards of $45,000 and has allowed the foundation to expand into some new initiatives, one of them being the Ambassador program, which will award grants to young people with big ideas for community outreach either domestically or internationally. Can you share with us some of the ideas or your thoughts about the applications you’ve received so far?

I am so happy to report that our annual “A Night with an Angel” benefit has continued to grow each year, even despite the current hard economic times. It is held every May, near the anniversary of Emily’s passing. It helps our family focus on something positive during that time of the year, and has been very healing.

Once we reached the point of a fully endowed scholarship (our initial goal) we recognized the potential of the foundation for accomplishing much more in Emily’s memory. Starting this year we’ve launched several new initiatives supporting and encouraging youth to make a difference both locally and internationally. These new initiatives include the ambassador program, a partnership with the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) to fund students involved in improving inner-city life in Newark via legislature, supporting young women entrepreneurs with Kiva.org, and the start of a mentorship program at Gilbert Linkous elementary school in Blacksburg, VA where Emily often volunteered.

The Ambassador program is one of our larger efforts, and we’ve already received support and interest for the position. Some of the applications thus far include ideas for microlending efforts in Africa, humanitarian efforts to set up medical clinics in the Dominican Republic, and local mentorship programs. We are very excited to see all the applications and encourage anyone with great ideas to apply! 

 

Background: The Ambassador program requires a clear statement of project goals and mission, along with estimated timeline and funds required, and The Foundation provides mentoring to support the ambassador to help set up a blog or website and raise funds for their cause. The ambassador must present their project ideas and progress at a minimum of five venues (schools, organizations, churches, etc.) and The Foundation will provide funding for the project as well as a 2:1 match for money raised by the Ambassador for one year.

It sounds like the Ambassador program is set up not only to assist the young people in their projects, but to provide them with the experiences and responsibility to continue such projects on their own in the future. How did you come up with this idea, and what kind of time, effort and people does it take to keep up this program – and the foundation in general?

The Ambassador program was thought up by a cousin of ours, Marco Ambrosio. Marco graduated college a year after Emily, and was inspired to become a social entrepreneur and writer. He raised his own funds after graduation to complete a global HIV project exploring the disparate realities of living with HIV around the world. He gives frequent talks about his research and is currently writing a book entitled “Hope in Action”. His blog and website are linked through our foundation homepage.

Marco spearheaded the idea of an ambassador program for our foundation. He realized the potential for one individual to make a difference, but also the lack of funding and mentorship available for driven youth. We hope that our ambassador program, which provides funding and mentoring support, will promote youth-driven community service. We are prepared as a foundation to put in as much time and effort as required to fully support and help our ambassador complete his or her goals.

All of the work done for our foundation is completed by family members on a voluntary basis. My parents and extended family help organize our annual fundraiser as well as mailings to our supporters. I have setup and manage our website, twitter, and e-newsletters. Marco has volunteered to act as a mentor for our ambassador(s), and we hope to establish a network of past ambassadors through the years that can provide valuable advice and information. We will also help design a website/blog for our ambassador and help them set up speaking engagements to further their cause and inspire others. Many of my family’s spare hours outside of work are spent on foundation development, but it is very rewarding and enjoyable. We are so excited about this new initiative, and hope to see this program grow with each passing year.

 

The foundation also has a team through Kiva , and with only $400 has provided 8 microloans to women entrepreneurs in their 20’s living in developing countries. Each of those loans has already been paid back 30% or more, freeing up that money to be used elsewhere. It seems like even individuals can get involved at this level; can anyone participate in microlending through Kiva and support Emily’s vision? 

Microlending is truly a way for any individual to make a difference – it is no surprise that this idea recently gained recognition by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. Kiva.org is the first person-to-person microlending site that connects microlenders to entrepreneurs in poverty-stricken countries. Our interest free loans have been to women involved in many different career fields from storeowners to farmers, and live everywhere from South America to Asia. Kiva has an extremely high rate of repaid loans, which allows us to continue to fund additional entrepreneurs. You can actually see the money loaned taking action in an individual’s life, which is so rewarding. We have established a foundation team page on Kiva (http://www.kiva.org/community/viewTeamLoans/?team_id=5173) where supporters can view our loans, and even join the team and select their own entrepreneurs to support!

 

Is there anything else that you would like people to know about Emily or the Foundation?

First, I would like to extend a thank you to Krista for choosing our foundation to showcase for the month of August – we deeply appreciate her support. Second, I would like to stress that we are still a young foundation and would love to hear any comments/feedback/suggestions that any of you may have! Please do not hesitate to contact me at kate @ emilycspecchiofoundation.org. This foundation serves as an extension of Emily’s life. Although she may no longer be with us in mind and body, we truly feel that her spirit lives on through all the people that our foundation helps. Thanks to all for reading!

 

For the month of August, $2 from every copy of The Neurology of Angels sold through the book website will be donated to the Emily C. Specchio Foundation.

Unwitting Angels

In Being Human, Commentary, Spirit on May 14, 2009 at 4:04 am

I’ve been thinking lately about people who have been angels in my life, which I didn’t recognize at the time, and who probably didn’t even know it themselves. One that comes to mind frequently may seem silly; he was the first stranger to ever ask me to swing dance. I was just learning and was prepared to feel like an idiot, but he told me never to apologize because it’s the leader’s job to make me feel like a pro. By the end of the song I wanted nothing more than to be a good enough follower to come back and partner with any dancer in that club. So when he mentioned a place where there was a live band every Wednesday, I decided to go, even if I couldn’t get anyone to go with me. The first Wednesday, my angel was just leaving as my friend and I arrived. He said hello on his way out the door, and that was the last time I ever saw him. I had so much fun that night that I went back every week for more than a year and eventually also attended a number of weekend dances in the area, but there was nary another glimpse of him. It was like he had just appeared long enough to point me in the right direction.

 

Of course I know he was only a human being whose path crossed with mine at an opportune time, but what is an angel but a person who comes into your life for a reason? And silly as it might seem, I believe dancing was a big reason for who I am and where I am right now, through 10 years, 3 states, and a heartbreak.  It is what gave me confidence to go out alone rather than sit at home wishing for my friends to become interested in the same things as I am. Every time I was asked to dance that first year erased one more memory of Friday nights at the school gym standing by the wall, waiting and waiting for someone to ask. It was something fun I found in common with people in graduate school. It was the scene of the best date I’ve ever been on. And now, Mensa has become an important part of my social life, although I was a member for two years without having the nerve to go to even a single dinner function before I finally attended a thousands-large week-long world conference because the agenda included a dance every night and a live band at the final banquet.

 

Next month, I’ll be going to a wedding that I’m actually looking forward to – which is not the usual reaction for a single girl travelling halfway across the country without a date to spend a weekend surrounded by couples in marital and familial bliss — because there will be swing dance lessons and music for the reception.

 

I read a poem once that people come into your world for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

I think those like my swing dancer who come for a reason are the easiest to spot as angels. Those who come for a season are the most painful, because they require letting go — but that is the topic for another post; I have already shared far too much today!

Being the Hand of Destiny

In Commentary, Science, Spirit on March 24, 2009 at 3:45 am
 

 

Leading to the election last November, there was a lot of talk about Barack Obama being destined for the presidency this year. If such a thing were being said in retrospect, one could find a number of indications that it was true. But when such things are said in the middle of an election, if it sways people to vote for a candidate because they think he is destined to win, then is it really destiny? Doesn’t that just make it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

 

I don’t mean for this to be a political post today, so for a less charged case study, let’s take David Cook who won American Idol last year. I’m a fan of his music, so I sneak over to the David Cook Official forum every now and again, and there is usually a thread or two about the fortuitous occurrences that led him to the show, the state of his particular talent and experiences at just the right times, and the momentous fan experiences, all touted as evidence that he was destined to win because he’s meant to do great things in the world. Now, I’m not questioning that David Cook is a decent guy who’d like to do great things in the world, but the interesting thing happening now is that a large number of fans who want him to fulfill their visions are donating to causes that he cares about and volunteering in his honor, which is allowing him to have an influence in a way that he wouldn’t have had if he were not the winner of American Idol. It’s a good outcome, but it’s circular reasoning; it may now be his fate because the voters have made it so, not because it was inevitable.

 

One might argue that there’s no real distinction between a prophecy that comes true and a prophecy that is made true. But in one case, we are passive participants along for a ride, and in the other, we have an active impact. In the former, people are not responsible for the consequences; in the latter, knowledge matters. My previous posts this week have reached the conclusion that inevitability is rare; information can sway the outcome even in — or especially in — critical moments. (So don’t even get me started on the evils of announcing the winning candidates to the nation before voting is over everywhere, or revealing the identity of an “alleged” criminal while the jury has yet to be chosen…)

 

I’ll have a post later this week about premonitions and prophecies, but the reality is that most of us don’t know the future. So the best anyone can do is to make sure people who are making the decisions are armed with understanding. I think the best shared understanding comes from outcome models that are based on combined knowledge and history, and I’ll post about that later this week as well. For today, the bottom line is just that we all have a piece of information that could change someone else’s understanding– senators and presidents and fellow citizens alike — because our perspective on the future is based on our own unique set of experiences. So how do you make yours known?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When does the future become inevitable?

In Commentary, Science, Spirit on March 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

 

The future is only inevitable when every combination of actions that we choose will lead to the same outcome or when everyone who could have influence for better or for worse chooses to take no action. So the more impactful the particular future is, the less likely it is to be inevitable, because it takes a monumental confluence of decisions to reach it. You could react to this idea by thinking that either a) one person has too little influence to matter or b) one person could change everything.

 

So, at what point is an individual’s choice inevitable? One of my characters tells another that she shouldn’t second-guess her decision because everything in her life prior to that point led her to it. But even as she said the words, something about them nagged me, the implication that she had no other option. History includes the very last second prior to the present second. If someone had stepped in just then and painted one possible outcome she didn’t foresee, then her choice might have been different. But one could make the argument that every previous second led that someone to decide not to step in. And so on and so on back to Adam and Eve. So does this mean that Calvin was right, and all of humanity is predestined?

 

It comes down to a scientific question: is the experiment replicable? The past and future could be viewed as one closed loop, and even if you travelled back in time, just your presence in the past would lead to the future that made you travel back in the past (e.g. the movie 12 Monkeys and its analyses).  In that case, history is replicable, time is linear, and the future is essentially predetermined. But maybe that’s only the view if you’re looking at what has already happened. Maybe at certain critical moments, there are a million possible futures.

 

So when are those moments, and what happens in them? Is it religious or is it scientific; are these mutually exclusive? I have my ideas, which I’ll post a little later, but I’m curious about what you think…

 

%d bloggers like this: