Thursday, September 14, 2006

Carnival of Hope: Volume 1, Number 1

Welcome to the first Carnival of Hope! I'd like to thank everyone who sent me posts, whether or not I used them. Reading through all the submissions was a very heartening experience for me, and I hope you'll have the same reaction to the final edition!

I'm still getting the hang of formatting, and putting the carnival together was much harder than I expected, so this first go may be rather rough. Please bear with me as I learn. If anyone out there with lots of carnival experience -- that would be you, Kim! -- has advice for me, please share it. In the meantime, I'm delighted to have found this photograph of a flower pushing through a concrete sidewalk; I plan to use it as the Carnival of Hope logo from now on. It reminds me that seemingly small things can possess enormous power.

Nickie from Nickie's Nook knows something about pushing through barriers. She reminds us of the power of persistence (and prayer) in her very moving post about learning to work with a guide dog, Never Forsaken. Facing yet another physical challenge, this one involving chronic pain, she discovers the healing effects of Just A Few Words.

The supportive presence of friends can indeed make the difference between a lousy day and a great one, as Karma explains in Get By With A Little Help From My Friends Part II from JewBuQuest: From Abuse to Happiness. Your Faithful Blog-Carnival Editor reveals the dark roots of her Disgusting Cheerfulness, and advocates small steps that can have big effects on chronic depression, in Making a List. Checking it Twice. And Keagirl, the blogging urologist of UroStream, likewise attests to the great power of simple steps -- this time surgical ones -- in Happy day.

Elsewhere in the hospital, ER nurse Kim of Emergiblog offers us a sobering look at the importance of hope to family members in Where There Is Life, There Is Hope. The end of hope, Kim says, is the beginning of shock and grief: a terrible moment, although it's one we will all experience at one time or another.

Certainly most of us cling to hope as long as possible, especially when it comes to the illnesses of those we love. None of us would choose to suffer, or to watch those we love suffering. And yet the compassion created by shared pain can overcome seemingly insurmountable distances and "bring the world closer," as Amanda of Imagine Bright Futures tells us in her beautiful post Empathy.

If you're looking for a lighter way to make the world seem like "a smaller, friendlier place," Suite 101's Jennifer Miner recommends that you join her in Geocaching with My Portable GPS. But if you're geocaching and encounter a sign that says, "Not a Through Road," have faith and don't turn back! That's what Will Shetterly of It's All One Thing learned from Today's Inspirational Message.

Yet another way of bringing farflung people and places closer is the goal of the National Geographic All Roads Film Project, "showcasing breakthrough film and still photography from indigenous and under represented minority cultures around the globe." Thanks to Lee of Chrysalis Dreams for sending me that link! And closer to home, Lee describes the comfort and wonder of ordinary, everyday routines in her lovely post Comics and Ritual.

How do we cope when our everyday peace is shattered, when our sense of safety is broken? Each of us can decide to respond with vengeance -- or with love. I have to admit that I've avoided most of the 9/11 anniversary tributes, because they're too painful. But I can only find hope when I read about a mother whose message to her firefighter son, killed at the World Trade Center, is, "We know you're telling us to smile more." Tracy Coenen of FRAUDfiles Fraud Blog shares this story in A tribute to John Patrick Tierney. "This was my contribution to the 2,996 Tribute, in which one blogger honored each of the the 2,996 victims of 9/11."

Post-9/11, Violeta's proposal at Questallia to make each day Forgiveness Day couldn't be more timely.

And yet forgiveness can be very hard-won. Sometimes it seems impossible. And sometimes our ability to forgive depends on whether we consider ourselves insiders or outsiders. Ali Eteraz, a progressive Muslim living in Europe, tells us, "That is the solution to fighting hate: make people feel like they are insiders." Be forewarned: his essay on this subject is challenging, and the comments on his post are even more so. I almost didn't include this piece, because so much of it seems to participate in the very us/them, politically polarized rhetoric I want Carnival of Hope to avoid. I'm still nervous about whether I'm doing the right thing by putting it in (and I expect that some of my readers will have strong opinions on the subject!). But reading it made me feel like that flower pushing through the sidewalk; when I kept going, I arrived at a very thought-provoking story about eleven-year-old Ali, an outsider, being defended against school bullies by two other kids who said, "We aren't all like that." I wish the defense hadn't been as brutal as the assault, but I certainly can't argue with Ali's conclusion: "The fundamental human need is one of recognition." If you haven't been scared away by this introduction, then, read The Fanatics, Not Foreign Policy posted at Unwilling Self-Negation.

Returning to gentler territory, we find Elias, an Australian teacher who grew up in the war-torn Middle East, reflecting on whether his childhood experiences have made him Grateful for Every Day? And elsewhere on Elias' blog, Ramblings of an Australian Teacher, we join him in rejoicing in the power of education, which holds out one of humanity's brightest hopes for the future, in Teaching is a Privilege.

And that concludes our first edition. The second one will be posted on Friday, October 13, surely a good day for a Carnival of Hope! Please send your posts directly to SusanPal(at)aol(dot)com, or submit by clicking on the BlogCarnival button on my sidebar. The deadline is 5:00 Pacific Time, Thursday, October 12.

Thank you for reading, and may all your hidden flowers tunnel their way towards the light!


  1. Wow Susan! Tears of joy sprang to my eyes when I read your description of my post. That you like it means so much to me!

    Thank you!!!

  2. Great job, Susan, it's obvious you put a lot of effort and thought into this. Thank you for including my posts, and for your kind words!

  3. When you mention formatting, do you mean creating links? I find BlogAssist very helpful. It's Mac freeware; there may be something similar available for Windows and Linux.

  4. Hi! Beautiful! I tried to trackback to the comments but I am trackback impaired, I guess.

    Congrats on a GREAT first edition!

  5. Lee: You're welcome!

    Nickie and Kim: Thank you!

    Will: Actually, I was just talking about the gruntwork of putting all the links in and then trying to find graceful narrative transitions from one to the other. BlogCarnival had collected a bunch of links for me and even put together a "draft" of the carnival, but I had to remove a lot of their coding, and then I had to go get other links from e-mails people had sent me, and then I had to figure out where to put everything and what to sy about it, and then I had to test all the links in the final version to make sure they worked.

    This took four hours; I hope it gets faster. (Thursday's the end of my teaching week, when I'm always a little mushy-brained anyway.) From now on, I'll keep a running file of links, which should help.

    In the meantime, thanks to all four of you for your contributions, and don't forget the upcoming edition!


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