Inspiration Report

Poetry is alive and well and living at the Strand Bookstore. The classic New York City venue is a treasure trove of literature and home to a massive collection of used books. They recently held their first “Share the Love of Poetry Contest” and the first place winner was Sherry Huang, a long time Beliefnet editor.

Inspired by the sonnets, here is here are her wonderful, winning words:

Milton himself got lost in paradise
On his way to Jane Austen for late tea
While Cervantes tried for windmill’s demise
Sendak and his wild things set out to sea
When Woolf said she’d buy the flowers herself
Forster, he searched for a room with a view
As F. Scott admired the Great Gatsby’s wealth
Balzac was paired with a seamstress and shoe
One Bronte pined for Heathcliff on the moor
Oh! Seuss didn’t know the places to go
But Lewis dared step through a wardrobe’s door
To Strand, where loved authors hold status quo
    In eighteen miles all books find residence
    Where written treasures still take precedence
                                   -Sherry Huang


Visit the Strand and see other entries.

Valentine’s Week is the perfect time to acknowledge your spouse or significant other. Create a simple tribute that can truly uplift and transform the one you love–a card or even an e-mail that says what you love about your loved one. We received this interesting article featuring insights from Judith W. Umlas:

Picture this: you are sitting at your desk, disgruntled, frustrated, tired, perhaps you were yelled at during the staff meeting. Let’s face it, today is just not your day. Suddenly, an email pops up, brightening and uplifting your mood. It is a love letter from your partner – the person you thought was the least likely to write such a note. How would you react?

Judith W. Umlas says she experienced the mood altering power of acknowledgment first hand when she was having a down day at work. After hearing about her day, Judith’s husband emailed his wife a heartfelt love letter, detailing and acknowledging every positive aspect of her personality, actions, and looks. When asked where these acknowledgments had come from, as she had never heard most of them before, he confessed rather sheepishly that he has always thought these kinds of things but just did not bother to “get them from his brain to his mouth.” Once convinced of the authenticity of these acknowledgments, Judith was so thrilled with them that almost as a joke, she suggested that he write these kinds of communications about twice a week, since he obviously needed the practice!

The result? For the past four years, Judith has been receiving love letters from her hubby every Monday and Thursday via email. Both husband and wife are clear that these acknowledgments have positively transformed their relationship. 

She was so inspired, she wrote the book, “The Power of Acknowledgment (IIL Publishing, New York).”

Her goal: “To repair the world by improving relationships in every aspect of living. I have seen ‘the power of acknowledgment’ at work and throughout all parts of my life, because it is something that comes easily to me. I have also witnessed how many people can’t, don’t, or won’t do it – or don’t do it enough. Once they grasp the positive results it can produce, they can’t help but try it out and then immediately see the benefits: enhanced work productivity, better relationships and even improved health.”

Visit Judith’s blog for more information.

In Greek mythology, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite, is responsible for opening hearts and helping people fall in love. Agapi Stassinopoulos is the Greek author, actress and motivational speaker who helps women love themselves and discover their “inner Aphrodite.”

Her Valentine’s Day blog on the Huffington Post is good news for women who have a hard time appreciating their inner beauty. She says it does not matter what we look like or how big our hips are as long as we are in touch with the beauty within.

Agapi shares a beautiful message to all of us:

“For this Valentine’s Day, my wish is that you will cherish and embrace yourself and get yourself out of the frame you might have put yourself in. Give yourself permission to let Aphrodite surprise and delight you. Let her come to you from the realm of love, awakening your own inner beauty that is far beyond the image in the mirror — unleashing your soul beauty — which is invisible to the naked eye.”

Read Agapi’s full blog.

I love this Valentine’s Day card we got from Bidawee this morning encouraging us to show some love to dogs and cats–our furry Valentines.

It is one of the most positive animal adoption campaigns I’ve seen in a while.

The list sent out this morning features images of the pets available for adoption with little valentine’s around their necks. And each pet image comes with a valentine written by a person who cares for the pet in the shelter. For example:

Why I Love Ralph: Ralph, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the way you hop on my lap each morning and rub your head all over; the way you twist and turn while I pet you…

Adopt a pet or help out if you can. This is sweet! Meet more pets.