Thursday, December 21, 2000
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE: Christmas 2000
Thursday, December 21, 2000
Current Members: 1642
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I'll keep my message short and let the projects, resources, and inspiring
stories that are included below speak for themselves.
May you and yours have a truly beautiful, meaningful, spirit-filled
With Love & Best Wishes,
David Sunfellow & Staff
P.S. Sherry Stultz, the facilitator of NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding,
and husband Vince, are due to have a baby at any moment. If you happen
to see three wise men looking for a new born babe, you can point them
in the direction of Mississippi. You may also want to send Sherry, Vince,
and baby some warm thoughts and prayers...
The Box Project
The Heifer Project
Give For Change
ECO & PEOPLE-FRIENDLY SHOPPING SITES:
The Co-op America National Green Pages
FOUR INSPIRING HOLIDAY STORIES:
Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus
Something To Make Me Happy
The Homeless Man
The Innkeeper's Daughter
THE BOX PROJECT
By Kathleen Blake
NHNE's Holistic Health Resource Person
A few months ago I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Show and she had
a short segment on The Box Project. For over 38 years, The Box Project
has been helping people trapped in America's worst areas of rural poverty.
It seeks out poor families who want to work, learn, and better themselves
and matches them with "Helping Families" who provide encouragement,
advice, and boxes of needed supplies about once a month. As the two
families come to know each other, the project helps build meaningful
person-to-person relationships and empowers the low-income families
to become self-reliant.
Here's how it works:
The dues are $35.00 per year. Your family fills out a form saying how
much money you can spend monthly to purchase needed items to put into
a box and send to a family. The folks match your family up with a family
in need. The receiving families are usually in Mississippi, but since
the Oprah Show aired, The Box Project has been expanding into other
places, like Appalachia and Kentucky.
Once you have been matched with a family, you begin corresponding.
What appealed to me about this project, is that it is one-to-one. No
red tape or beauracracy. No wondering where your money is going. You
are in control. You send what you can and your adopted family helps
you to know what they need.
Besides sending the physical items that they need, it is also a wonderful
opportunity to show someone less fortunate than you that there is someone
in the world that cares about them. In the Box Project newsletter, I
was really touched by some of the things they said:
"It means you have been entrusted with something very precious
-- the hopes, dreams and lives of your sister family. YOU become their
mentor. YOU have a role to play in the history and life of that family."
"Regular sponsorship is not just sending a once-a-month box of
'stuff'. It is remebering kids' birthdays, and the name of the family
dog. It is learning FROM your family just as much as you share with
them. It is SHARING life experiences, ideas and insights. Your job is
to help them figure and work a way out of this poverty trap. We believe
in you. Your family believes in you. They don't just want a hand-out.
They'll take it... but what they REALLY want is a hand UP. Be creative....."
"It's a great adventure in living fully."
I received an answer back from the sister family the Box Project matched
me up with last week. The woman has five children. I asked her in my
first letter what her family needed. She said she would like some pots
and pans and some towels, and since Christmas was coming, perhaps I
could surprise her children with some gifts. I went to Walmart yesterday,
and I cannot tell you the joy I felt picking out the pots and pans,
and some kitchen towels and pot holders. It was more fun than buying
anything for myself ever has been.
So that is my beginnings with the Box Project. I look forward to sending
'stuff' every month to my sister family. But more than that, I look
forward to the building a relationship with new friends.
If this project interests you, here's where you can find out more about
THE BOX PROJECT WEBSITE:
BOX PROJECT STORY ON OPRAH'S WEBSITE:
TO CONTACT KATHLEEN:
Kathleen Blake <email@example.com>
THE HEIFER PROJECT
By David Sunfellow
(The following information was sent to the NHNE News List on 12/13/2000.)
The Heifer Project "combats hunger, alleviates poverty, and restores
the environment by providing appropriate livestock, training, and related
services to small-scale farmers worldwide." It does this through
donations made by people like you and I. A donation of $120.00 will
provide a family with a goat, or you can share the cost of a goat for
$10.00. You can also help purchase chicks (20.00), bees (30.00), geese
(20.00), ducks (20.00), rabbits (60.00/10.00), sheep (120.00/10.00),
buffaloes (250.00/25.00), llamas (150.00/20.00), heifers (500.00/50.00),
pigs (120.00/10.00), even trees (60.00/10.00).
When I first heard about the project, I thought it might be another
western-oriented attempt to "improve" the lives of seemingly
disadvantaged cultures by perpetuating the ills of the West -- creating,
for example, herds of cattle that lay waste to the environment and contribute
to various dairy-related illnesses. But after visiting the Heifer Project
website, it became obvious that they shared similar concerns and were
making a concerted effort to pass on animals and practices that were
truly helpful, eco-friendly, and sustainable.
The worst thing about the project I could see was that some of the
animals that are provided by the Heifer Project will, after they've
provided milk, manure, wool, eggs, and other valuable products and services,
be eaten by their caregivers. If you're a vegetarian like I am, you
might find this objectionable. If so, you can donate a goat, or a tree,
instead of a rabbit, or chick.
In any case, I encourage those of you who are interested to look into
this. With my brother's encouragement, our two families (and many of
our friends) will be using the money we normally spend on Christmas
gifts for one another to purchase a few animals (and trees) to help
our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Perhaps you, and
your family and friends will feel an inner nudge to do the same...
HEIFER PROJECT FAQ:
HEIFER PROJECT WEBSITE:
TO CONTACT BROTHER WES FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Wes Wyatt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
GIVE FOR CHANGE
(Thanks to Tom Atlee)
If the Box Project and/or Heifer Project aren't your cup of tea, you
can support any of hundreds of other progressive organizations working
in 11 different categories, listed on the Give For Change Website:
Charitable donations can be made in the name of family and friends,
who will receive note cards acknowledging your donation in their honor.
(The Heifer Project also provides this service.)
ECO & PEOPLE-FRIENDLY SHOPPING SITES:
THE CO-OP AMERICA NATIONAL GREEN PAGES:
FOUR INSPIRING HOLIDAY STORIES:
YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS
From The People's Almanac, pp. 1358-9
Originally published in The New York Sun in 1897
(Thanks to Noel Fray)
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below,
expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful
author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell
me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
--- Virginia O'Hanlon
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by
the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see.
They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their
little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's,
are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an
ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him,
as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love
and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and
give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would
be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as
if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then,
no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have
no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which
childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies.
You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on
Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa
Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but
that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in
the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever
see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof
that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders
there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside,
but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest
man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever
lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push
aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory
beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing
else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years
from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue
to make glad the heart of childhood.
THE HISTORY BEHIND "YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS"
Francis P. Church's editorial, "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa
Claus" was an immediate sensation, and went on to became one of
the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The
New York Sun in 1897, almost a hundred years ago, and was reprinted
annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.
Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O'Hanlon recalled
the events that prompted her letter:
"Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed
me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn't
any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he
was a little evasive on the subject.
"It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up
as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was
in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father
would always say, 'If you see it in the The Sun, it's so,' and that
settled the matter.
"'Well, I'm just going to write The Sun and find out the real
truth,' I said to father.
"He said, 'Go ahead, Virginia. I'm sure The Sun will give you
the right answer, as it always does.'"
And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents' favorite newspaper.
Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis
P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War
for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20
years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic
man, had for his personal motto, "Endeavor to clear your mind of
cant." When controversial subjects had to be tackled on the editorial
page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually
given to Church.
Now, he had in his hands a little girl's letter on a most controversial
matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.
"Is there a Santa Claus?" the childish scrawl in the letter
asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question.
He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his
desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable
editorials in newspaper history.
Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April,
1906, leaving no children.
Virginia O'Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor
of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master's
from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school
system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an
educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about
her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive
printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas died
on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.
SOMETHING TO MAKE ME HAPPY
By Sharon Palmer
From Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul
I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in a toy store and decided
to look at Barbie dolls for my nieces.
A nicely dressed little girl was excitedly looking through the Barbie
dolls as well, with a roll of money clamped tightly in her little hand.
When she came upon a Barbie she liked, she would turn and ask her father
if she had enough money to buy it. He usually said "yes,"
but she would keep looking and keep going through their ritual of "Do
I have enough?"
As she was looking, a little boy wandered in across the aisle and started
sorting through the Pokemon toys.
He was dressed neatly, but in clothes that were obviously rather worn,
and wearing a jacket that was probably a couple of sizes too small.
He, too, had money in his hand, but it looked to be no more than five
dollars or so, at the most.
He was with his father as well, and kept picking up the Pokemon video
games. Each time he picked one up and looked at his father, his father
shook his head, "no."
The little girl had apparently chosen her Barbie, a beautifully dressed,
glamorous doll that would have been the envy of every little girl on
However, she had stopped and was watching the interchange between the
little boy and his father. Rather dejectedly, the boy had given up on
the video games and had chosen what looked like a book of stickers instead.
He and his father then started walking through another aisle of the
The little girl put her Barbie back on the shelf, and ran over to the
Pokemon games. She excitedly picked up one that was lying on top of
the other toys, and raced toward the check-out, after speaking with
I picked up my purchases and got in line behind them.
Then, much to the little girl's obvious delight, the little boy and
his father got in line behind me.
After the toy was paid for and bagged, the little girl handed it back
to the cashier and whispered something in her ear. The cashier smiled
and put the package under the counter.
I paid for my purchases and was rearranging things in my purse when
the little boy came up to the cashier. The cashier rang up his purchases
and then said, "Congratulations, you are my hundredth customer
today, and you win a prize!"
With that, she handed the little boy the Pokemon game, and he could
only stare in disbelief.
It was, he said, exactly what he had wanted!
The little girl and her father had been standing at the doorway during
all of this, and I saw the biggest, prettiest grin on that little girl
that I have ever seen in my life. Then they walked out the door, and
I followed, close behind them.
As I walked back to my car, in amazement over what I had just witnessed,
I heard the father ask his daughter why she had done that. I'll never
forget what she said to him.
"Daddy, didn't Nana and Paw Paw want me to buy something that
would make me happy?"
He said, "Of course they did, Honey."
To which the little girl replied, "Well, I just did."
With that, she giggled and started skipping toward their car. Apparently,
she had decided on the answer to her own question of, "Do I have
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THE HOMELESS MAN
It was a cold winter day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church
was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow
church members were whispering among themselves as they walked in the
church. As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside
the church. He was almost laying down, as if he was asleep. He had on
a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head,
pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore shoes that looked
30 years old, too small for his feet, with holes all over them, and
his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so
I walked on by, through the doors of the church. We all fellowshipped
for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man laying outside. People
snickered and gossiped, but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including
me. A few moments later church began. We all waited for the preacher
to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church
opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head
down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down
the aisle and up onto the pulpit where he took off his hat and coat.
My heart sank. There stood our preacher -- he was the "homeless
man." No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and laid
it on his stand. "Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what
I am preaching about today."
--- Author Unknown
THE INNKEEPER'S DAUGHTER
From Edgar Cayce Reading #1152
[Editor's Note: The following reading was given to a woman that the
Edgar Cayce source said was the daughter of the Innkeeper. While I don't
know how accurate Cayce's rendering of the Christmas story is, this
particular reading is one of the most remarkable readings Cayce ever
did. Unlike most Christmas stories that focus exclusively on the miraculous
birth of Christ, the Innkeeper's daughter version weds the miraculous
with the mundane: it gives us a provocative look at what an average,
run-of-the-mill human being might have thought, felt and experienced
if they had been present at the world's most celebrated birth. -DS]
Sara was in the Earth when great changes and opportunities were coming
to man by the fulfilling of time and the prayers of many. At the time,
there was much turmoil and strife and the people were pulled between
that which was being presented by the Romans, and the truths or lessons
given by the people of the land...
Sara was the daughter of the Innkeeper, and she stood by and was the
second of those who took the Babe into her arms. What should this mean
in thy experience? Is it any wonder that you have looked long into the
faces of those who were newly born, and wondered what their purpose,
hardships, joys, and sorrows would be in the Earth?
In that time, she not only beheld the experiences of the shepherds,
but also heard the words of the sages of the East who came bringing
gifts to Him whom it had been proclaimed of old should come again. And
He will come again and again in the hearts, minds, and experiences of
those who love His coming. But those who, when they think of Him, and
know what His presence would mean, and become fearful, He passes by...
In that sojourn, Sara was just a year younger than the little mother
who came to the Inn where the entity helped her parents. And she knew
of the event through the meetings which were half forbidden by those
in Jewish law, and questioned by the authorities for the penal law.
She was filled with wonder and desire to know about the occurrence,
and she felt that some great thing in the experience of the world was
about to come to pass.
The entity... requested that she might aid in the preparation of the
quarters for the mother-to-be and father, who were revered by all. For
the leaders had arranged with the Innkeeper for the care which must
be provided for them when they came to register for their contribution
to the Romans. Yet, as the entity waited, expectant, there was the general
rabble, and there were the discussions of those who journeyed to Jerusalem
for the meetings, as well as to the centers for their tax registration...
Then, Sara helped so that all was in readiness. And the late afternoon
sun shone in all its glory on the Palestine hills, as if the voice of
nature were proclaiming the heralding of a new hope, a new birth to
the Earth, and the glorifying of man's hope in God. The specter of His
star in the evening sky brought awe and wonder to all who saw it. And
Sara, being anxious, gazed with wondering awe at that unusual experience.
And she wept with joy in expectancy of a glory surpassing what had been
told of all the glories of her people in the days of old. There, she
felt similar to the experience at present, that a new light, a new vision,
and a new experience were being born in every atom of her being.
When she knew that the den, the cave, the stable had been occupied,
she felt consumed with desire to rush off to see what was happening.
And as soon as her work was finished about the home, she started for
the stable. But as she walked into the open, the brightness of His star
came nearer and nearer. And she heard, even as the shepherds, "Peace
on Earth, good will to men." Again, she felt awe, and the feeling
of a new creation and a new experience as she, with the closer attendant
of the mother, hastened. And all the rabble and all the jeers of a world
She hastened to the quarters where the mother lay, in all awe of a
new experience, and as the light as from His star filled the place,
she first beheld the Babe. That was the crowning experience until the
plea that she, too, might hold the glorious Child in her arms. And as
this became a reality, she had the feeling, "Oh that the world
might know the beauty, joy, and glory of His life in their own hearts,
minds, and beings."
There she saw the shepherds gather. And on the next day, she saw the
Wise Men, with their ladened camels; and she heard their praise for
those who had kept the faith in preserving, keeping, and helping those
who were in need and alone, yet having God with them. She heard the
strange tongues spoken by the Wise Men, and knew and felt the reverence
and awe which were experienced by all.
Sara sought to keep in touch with the mother and Child; and when the
edict was declared, her heart was filled with fear. For her experience
was something to be cherished; yet she feared the law, and the hatred
which would naturally arise in the hearts of those who were persecuted.
For often was her father questioned as to which way the Wise Men went,
and as to the activities of these men who defied the authorities of
Rome, as well as of Herod the king. For days, weeks, and months, she
wondered. And the necessity for menial labor at the Inn brought her
mental and material distress. Yet often in the stillness of the evening,
she reviewed the events, and wondered what had become of His star, His
After the receding of the star, she learned of the flight into Egypt
through the devious ways in which news came by word of mouth, and yet
was kept secret. All of these experiences have become an innate part
of her, so that when she sits alone in the twilight, she can almost
again feel the music of the spheres, and the singing of the morning
stars, as the Earth is quieted. And there enters again that peace, which
is only troubled by the cares of a workaday world.
In the years that followed, she became closer to those in Bethany and
upon Mount Olive; for she took up her abode upon the edge of Olivet,
on the road that led to the great city. And there, word was sought again
of what had become of the participants in that marvelous event which
had become a burning memory in her heart. Yet when persecutions came
from the Romans, and from the Sadducees who persecuted especially the
groups to which she had belonged and from which she had received so
much help, doubts and fears arose within her.
From what she heard, the child had apparently become only another child
among the people. And not until the days when He went again with His
parents and a great company to again register did she learn the truth
of what had happened. This was when it was commanded that the Passover
feast should be kept by all the children of Israel, and she sought again
that glorious Child who questioned the doctors. And she kept close that
she might hear...
From time to time, she sought word of His progress, following His life
almost like a story. And she held to the memories of that evening when
she saw the light, and the Child in the mother's arms. Also, she relived
many times the glorious moment when the Child had been placed in her
own arms, and she had pressed her lip to the brow of the Babe.
When the ministry of Jesus began, she learned every word which could
be gathered from those who heard Him often. And when His visits brought
Him near, and yet her duties kept her close to home near the highways
over which throngs often passed, she became fearful because of the things
that were said. The rejection of His own people when He first began
His ministry, brought tears of scalding shame to her for the ones who
seemed to doubt when they should know.
At last came the triumphal entry from Bethany to the Temple in Jerusalem,
and Sara was among the great throng which cried, "Hosanna to the
Highest; the King cometh." Again, she was disappointed when that
glorious man among men was not proclaimed king. And He seemed to exert
so little of His power to help those who were sick, or in doubt, or
fear. For the entity knew many who had been healed. And she was especially
close to Bartaemus who had often rested on the road close to her home.
After the crucifixion, she was with the holy women and others who sustained
the household which was beginning to feel that possibly the mother,
Mary, had misjudged. Yet Sara knew from her own experience; for she
had not forgotten that choir before the celestial throne which sang:
"Glory, glory in the highest. Peace, peace on Earth to all men
of good will."
She held to those experiences, and they are innate in the present.
She was among the first to suffer martyrdom because of the roughness
of the Romans as they attempted to disperse the crowds. As a result
of her injuries, broken in body, she suffered in the flesh. But then,
as now, she looked ever to Him who is life, light, and immortality to
those who put their trust wholly in Him. For those who have tasted,
felt and known within themselves that He is the way, the truth, and
the light -- no other name is given under heaven whereby man may be
made whole, or whereby may know his true relationship to God.
Hold fast to that, O Daughter of the Innkeeper, O the Beholder of His
Glory. O the joyous, gracious feelings that fill thy soul and being
with the richness of the Earth poured out at His feet. You were with
the lowly shepherds who came to see that glorious sight; and they, too,
were not hindered from beholding the face of their Savior.
And ye, too, O Daughter, may know His face; but turn within. For there
ye may meet Him, as so often ye did in those days, weeks, months, and
years, as ye recounted in your self the glorious events of that day
when the Babe, the Child Jesus, lay in your arms. For He is very near
unto all who call on His Holy Name. He has promised, and His promises
are sure to you, and in you, may you know..."
NHNE MISSION STATEMENT, CREDITS & CONTACT INFORMATION
The mission of NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE) is to answer humankind's oldest,
most perplexing questions: Who are we? Where are we from? What is the
origin and purpose of life? Instead of relying on ancient or contemporary
wisdom, or the knowledge of isolated experts, we are building a global
network of seekers from all walks of life, from all parts of the world,
lay people and professionals alike, that can pool talents, experience,
and resources to unravel life's great mysteries.
We also believe that our planet is passing through a time of profound
change and are seeking to create a global community of like-minded people
that can safely pass through whatever changes may come our way and help
give birth to a new way of life on our planet.
David Sunfellow, Founder & Publisher
a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
P.O. Box 2242
Sedona, AZ USA 86339
NHNE Website: http://www.nhne.com/
Phone: (928) 282-6120
Fax: (815) 346-1492
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