The Face of Happiness

Thank you for the smiles…

The Happy Guide

We live in world so intense. Worried about our finances, jobs and family. So i think that we need to explore every opportunity to give this healthy smile on our faces. In this post i want to make a gallery with happy faces. Smiles that can make our day brighter. I want to start a gallery with the color face of happiness. Here is the beginning….

happiness 6happiness 7happiness 5PUBLISHED by catsmob.comhappiness 3happiness 2135582_180940885256891_7749741_oHappyCatk,NzE1MTAxNjAsNDc5MzQwNjU=,f,beautiful_girl_dark_hair_smiling_beauty_eyes_woman-f90040fc511920087a583f1f71d09939_himages8smiling_girl 5images 6666smiling_girl3images 5555HappyCat


I am going to post more of this photos in this gallery.  Hope they will provoke this smile on your face 🙂  !

View original post

A Gift of Life and Death

A Gift of Life and Death
by Macrina Wiederkehr

I want my death to be a gift, a birth.
 When in that final breath
I breathe myself back into God
 I want to be drawn into you also,
into the world of stars and earth,
plants and birds and animals,
into the roaring sea.
 I want to be an intimate part
of all the universe.
 And so, as I am breathed back
into the heart of this world,
into the hopes and dreams
and joys of the people,
into the yearnings
and the tears and sorrows of this world,
my death will be a birth, a gift.

I want my death to be a gift
and the only way my death
 can be a gift, is
if my living is a gift
 right now, today
in this frantic, confusing, lovely
messy moment in history.

Oh, just to be here visible, and unhidden,
alive with a hope that has no boundaries,
ever aware of the immense goodness,
at my fingertips, within my reach,
receiving and sharing that goodness
 midwiving it into being,
tasting the incredible truth, that
every day is a good day for living
and every day is a good day for dying.

I want my life to be a gift
 so that my death can be a gift.

My Silent Retreat

Dear Readers and Blog Followers:

I will be on a silent 7-day retreat part of this week and next, without internet access. Anyway, technology would defeat the purpose of the silence needed for spiritual discernment.

I have some favorite poetry scheduled to be posted while I’m gone, but I’d ask your patience in the delay of any of my own postings until I get back at the end of next week. In the meantime, for those of you who might be new to Soul Gatherings, here is a list of past posts that people have told me mean a lot (in no particular order). Perhaps they will speak to you as well.




From the Archives:

1) You Are My Sunshine

2) Dancing with Chopin

3) The Last Good-bye

4) Katrina’s Circles of Grace

5) Remembrance

6) Remembrance II

7) We Are Not a Number

8) Wounded Hearts

9) Of Hospitals, Loss & Love

10) Thoughts for my Son on Mother’s Day

11) The Welcome Angel

12) Mouse Therapy Expert

13) A Few Thoughts on First Responders

14) The Lion Sleeps Tonight But the Leopard Doesn’t (I & II)

15) My Journey with St. Francis, the Jesuits & Pope Francis (I & II)

In Gratitude – Part II

Once again – my humble gratitude to fellow blogger and new-found friend Ajaytao2010 for nominating me for the above awards. Although I am still too new to blogging to understand much about these award nominations, I am supremely grateful to Ajaytao2010 for acknowledging my attempts at inspiring and touching people through sharing stories of special people whom I’ve had the privilege to meet, offering my favorite quotations to consider or even some published poetry that has touched me at some moment during my life.

I am also grateful for the new visitors it brings to Soul Gatherings, whether from these nominations, someone reblogging one of my posts or another blogger suggesting one of their followers take a look at my site. Another great benefit – it brings me to some absolutely wonderful blogs that are new to me, where I am able to meet people who inspire me to continue reaching out. There are some terrific sites out there, just waiting to be discovered, and given enough time, I hope to become an avid visitor to many of them.


1-Display the award logo on your blog.

2-Link back to the person who nominated you.

3-Answer 7 questions.

4-Nominate (no limit of nominations) other bloggers for this award and link back to them.

5-Notify those bloggers of the award requirements.

In keeping with nomination guidelines, here are my answers to the 7 questions provided to me:

1) If you could create your own planet, what would it look like?

It would have waterfalls, majestic mountains and dramatic valleys, beautiful flowers and towering trees, still lakes and endless oceans, natural rock formations, blue skies and white clouds, riotous colors everywhere (but especially purple and countless shades of green), and animals living peacefully in their habitats, unthreatened.

2) If you could visit one nation you have never visited before, what nation would that be?

I’ve already been to the ones I’ve always wanted to visit, so I’ll say Chile or Botswana.

3) Have you ever taken a long-distance train trip?

The longest were only about 4 hours: once in Peru, going to Machu Picchu and the other going through beautiful Alaska. On my bucket list: a train trip across the Canadian Rockies or through South Africa.

4) What is something you would collectively change about humanity?

More tolerance, compassion and understanding of others, recognizing that we all have far more in common than differences. Hopefully, that would bring more cooperation and working together for the needs of the many, rather than the needs of the few. Peace.

5) What is your favorite song?

I can’t answer any of these with only one thing. A few that come to mind: The Prayer (Andrea Bocelli), Ave Maria, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, The Last Song (Elton John), Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel) & Until the Last Moment (Yanni).

6) If you could meet one person who is still alive, who would you choose to meet?

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

7) If you could choose one symbol to represent you, what would that symbol be and why?

A lighthouse standing on gray rock overlooking the ocean, with lots of purple flowers and shrubs around it.

Now, to nominate some of my fellow bloggers:











If you aren’t already familiar with the above bloggers, take a few moments to peruse their sites. To the bloggers: keep up the good work!

My blessings and gratitude to all who have shown me the way…

Today’s Quote

The Essence of Existence
by Viktor Frankl

There are three main avenues on which one arrives at meaning in life.
The first is by creating a work or by doing a deed.
The second is by experiencing something or by encountering someone;
 meaning can be found not only in work
but also in experiencing another human being
in his very uniqueness…by loving him…
Most important, however, is the third avenue to meaning in life:
by suffering.
Even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation,
facing a fate he cannot change,
may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself,
and by so doing, change himself.
He may turn personal tragedy into triumph.

The Greatest Miracle in the World

“However, I am not that sort of a ragpicker.
I seek more valuable materials than old newspapers and aluminum beer cans..
I search out waste materials of the human kind,
people who have been discarded by others, or even themselves,
people who still have great potential
but have lost their self-esteem and their desire for a better life.
When I find them, I try to change their lives for the better,
give them a new sense of hope and direction,
and help them return from their living death…
which to me is the greatest miracle in the world.”
~ Og Mandino, The Greatest Miracle in the World

If there is any one thing that being a Licensed Mental Health Professional can teach you, it is that every single person you meet has a story. Some are easier to detect, while others are cloaked in near perfect images of success. The complexity of these stories is enhanced by gender, socioeconomic status, culture, genetics, upbringing, faith tradition, age, marital status, family situation, education…the list goes on.

But every person has a story…

In my work, I am privileged to be a co-journeyer with another person when they choose to share even a small part of their story. The details of some of their stories can crush you; I often find myself marveling at their strength and courage. Indeed, I do not know if I would still be standing if I had to go through what some people have gone through. And yet many of them retain their inherent goodness as they keep pushing forward…

The single mother whose younger son was tragically killed in a car accident by his older brother, which she was reminded of each time her oldest son came home from school…

The woman whose father had sexually abused her since she was an infant, with whom she had three children, receives word of his terminal cancer diagnosis and is torn between wanting to forgive him and wanting to condemn him…

The man who never told anyone else about his molestation when he was a little boy at the hands of his stepfather…

The former gang member, his body covered in tattoos, crying about how his mother died in her native country without knowing that her son left the gang and started a new life…

The teenaged girl, left pregnant from a brutal rape, whose daily morning sickness reminded her each day of the horrific incident…

The Viet Nam veteran who was plagued by flashbacks of his best buddy being blown into pieces right next to him…

The teen-aged girl, without siblings, who lost both her parents within 6 months of each other – her mother to cancer, her father in a car accident…

The woman who suffered from schizophrenia and refused psychotropic medication, who was evicted from another apartment every 3 months…

The woman who committed suicide because she could not see a way out of an abusive relationship…

A successful business woman who was now living out of her car because of her husband’s secret gambling addiction…

A young woman who would seek shelter in a closet during every thunderstorm, unable to forget how her mother used to bathe her in scalding hot water to try to cleanse her daughter of her fear…

“Each of these individuals and everyone else in the world
still have their own pilot light burning inside them.
It may be very diminished in some,
but…it never, never goes out!
So long as there is a breath of life remaining,
there is still hope…and that’s what we ragpickers count on.
Just give us a chance and we can provide the fuel
that will be ignited by any pilot light,
no matter how diminished it may be.
A human being…is an amazing and complex and resilient
organism capable of resuscitating itself
from its own living death many times,
if it is given the opportunity and shown the way.”
~ Og Mandino, The Greatest Miracle in the World

We are resilient, we human beings.  And we are even better when we are joined in our pain by someone who cares…by someone who believes in our worth…who does not judge us, but rather sits with us in unconditional positive regard…who holds on to hope until each of us finds it once again…by someone who is simply present.

So I will continue to be present with those in need, whether those dying at the end of life or those dying while they pretend to live. I will search out those who have been discarded and slowly help them to believe in their worth. If I can find them, then they can find themselves.

And in our connectedness, together we will transform their diminished pilot light into a burning blaze that shines brightly for all to see.

Circles of Compassion and Grace. Remembering the Ragpicker’s instruction by following his very own:

Laws of Success and Happiness

~ Count your blessings. ~
~ Proclaim your rarity! ~
~ Go another mile. ~
~ Use wisely your power of choice. ~
~ Do all things with love. ~

And remembering that we humans are indeed the Greatest Miracle in the World…

In the Twilight of Memory

The Farewell
from The Prophet
by Kahlil Gibran

Farewell to you and the youth I have spent with you.
It was but yesterday we met in a dream.
You have sung to me in my aloneness,
and I of your longings have built a tower in the sky.
But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over,
and it is no longer dawn.
The noontide is upon us and our half-waking has turned to fuller day,
and we must part.
If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more,
we shall speak again together and
you shall sing to me a deeper song.
And if our hands should meet in another dream
we shall build another tower in the sky.


For all those who have lost a beloved,
may you meet and speak and love once again
while singing a deeper song.

~ Theresa

My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech

Zach Sobiech died on Monday, May 20th, 2013. He was 18 years old.

When he was 14 years old, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer found in children. Zach endured months of chemotherapy and had several surgeries. In May, 2012, more cancer was found in his lungs and pelvis. Rather than have surgery to remove his leg and part of his pelvis, Zach and his parents decided to enjoy the 6 – 12 months he had left.

So, Zach decided to write songs. His song “Clouds,” which you can see below on YouTube, has had more than 4 million views.

“My closure is being able to get my feelings into these songs so they (family & friends) can have something to remember me by or lean on when I’m gone.”


“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living…” ~ Zach Sobiech

Zach got to drive his dream car for a week, courtesy of his parents. His girlfriend Amy (“I love her to death; I will love her to my death.”) stayed by his side, as did his close-knit family and school friends.

He inspired so many people that Rainn Wilson of YouTube’s SoulPancake channel made a 22-minute documentary called “My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech,” which you can watch below in its entirety.

Have a box of tissues close at hand.

But don’t have them because of Zach’s death this week; rather, have them handy because of Zach’s life. His wisdom is more than most 50-year olds, and his heart is bigger than most, too.

After I watched the documentary, I felt stronger and blessed for having met him, my tears more happy than sad. And I wasn’t able to stop my smile in the midst of my tears, just for having met such an amazing human being.

Zach – My life is richer for having listened to “Clouds” and having watched 22 minutes about your 18 year life.

Eternal rest, Zach Sobiech, and may perpetual light shine upon you.

Your soul dazzles and shines with your light.

You are beautiful. You will be remembered.

My thanks…

Of Hospitals, Loss & Love

When I worked in the Pastoral Care Department of a hospital that was designated a Level I Trauma Center (See: We Are Not a Number” & “Wounded Hearts“), my duties were varied – praying with a patient right before their surgery, comforting a family waiting in the ER for their family member, rushing to any room that was involved in a Code, contacting family members for any patient who was brought in by Medevac Helicopter, or even sitting with anyone alone in the ER, looking scared and in pain. That last description was just about everyone.

In the rare event that I had a chance to try for some rest in the on-call room, I would prop my feet up and close my eyes until the beeping of my pager broke into my reverie. Either that, or the whirring sound of the helicopter blades as the Medevac neared its landing pad on the roof. Then it would be off the bed, out the door, racing to the trauma bays. “ETA – 10 minutes.” Just enough time to arrive at the ER, get suited up, ready for whomever was brought in.

Sometimes it was a motor vehicle accident or an ATV rider without a helmet vs. a tree, a drunk driver crashing into a building, a lineman electrocuted by live wires, a lonely person who jumped from a bridge or took too many pills, someone rescued from a burning house or a factory explosion. All sorts of traumas passed through the doors.

Staff included ER doctors, nurses, chaplains, phlebotomists, x-ray techs, security guards, physician’s assistants – all standing in their appointed spot in the small area that included two fully equipped trauma bays, waiting for the flight nurses or EMTs to arrive with their patient. I never saw anyone or anything that was unprofessional; the focus was always on each arriving patient and doing whatever possible to save their lives. The staff moved as a team with quiet precision.

On a particularly busy night, our latest arrivals were a young mother and her child from a motor vehicle accident; her husband and their second child were taken to another hospital near-by. Thankfully, the child escaped with minor abrasions and a concussion, and was already in a bed in pediatrics. The mother took more time to stabilize with some broken ribs, a fractured wrist, abrasions and contusions. Following our treatment, she was whisked off for a C-T scan.

Business as usual followed each patient – housekeeping cleaned the area, doctors signed off on computers, security locked up valuables and technicians moved aside their portable x-ray machines.

Suddenly the double doors from inside the ER swung open and the young mother was brought back in. Puzzled, we looked to the tech who wheeled her past us into the surgical suite adjacent to the bays. This operating room was normally used for those patients with injuries severe enough that there wasn’t enough time to make it to a regular OR.

Knowing she didn’t need surgery, someone asked what was wrong.

“This seems to be the only private area available. The other hospital notified us that the husband will be okay, but we need to tell her that her other child died.”

The double doors to the OR shut with a quiet whoosh. Through the window I could see the doctor take the mother’s hand as he leaned closer. Two nurses stood at the other side of the bed. With that terrible news delivered in the gentlest and kindest of ways – the kind of news from which you never recover – we heard a cry released from the depths of her being, the OR suite unable to contain the sounds of her grief.

It pierced our ears and our hearts. Then, total silence. Not one sound came from any of us – and there were at least 20 staff present – as we froze in place. For us, nothing else existed but the mother’s agonized cry. It tore into us, demanding our respect and mindful attention.

In that terrible moment, it seemed as if the cries of all parents who ever lost a child (the worst loss) echoed through time…through generations…and reverberated off the walls of this very place.

A doctor stood in his scrubs, head thrown back with eyes closed, fists at his sides. Two nurses held each other in a tight embrace; the woman from housekeeping held her mop in mid stride; a resident’s hand stood motionless above a keyboard, typing stopped in mid-sentence; a security guard turned toward the wall.

My eyes met the doctor’s, whose mirrored the pain. In a single movement, my back slid down the wall and I held my knees in my arms, the tableau frozen with her raw grief.

After what seemed like forever, but could only have been a minute, a voice overhead announcing the ETA of another trauma snapped us out of our absorption. The area became a buzz of activity as we picked up where we had left off, grateful for the respite offered by much-needed focus, occupied with our assigned tasks.

We could push all of this aside, but the mother could not. We could hug our own children that night, or call to remind them of our love, but the mother could only do that with one child, rather than two.

Once again, as medical professionals we were reminded that regardless of our technology or expertise or willingness to switch places in order to keep children from harm, all stories do not have happy endings. Once again, there was no good answer for the question on everyone’s lips – “Why?” It was beyond our human understanding. And it hurt. It hurt terribly.

But for a brief moment, in that hospital, there were no differences in skin color or language, in gender or faith tradition, in economic status or profession, in looks or bank account. We were joined through threads of pain and compassion, of despair and hope…and of love.

We were together. Interconnected.

Although no one moved, you could almost feel our arms reaching out to the young mother in her grief, comforting her, reassuring her. And if you looked closely enough, you could almost see the faint outline of a little girl kissing her mother’s cheek good-bye…

Be well, my child. Play and laugh and sing. Your family loves you and will always remember you. And even though we never met you, all of us with your mother that night love you and remember you as well. In the too-short time you lived, you mattered to so very many of us.

From deep in our hearts, we send you our eternal blessings.

Circles of Grace and Compassion. A Circle of Love.