Glow: “Coming Home”, recounts my journey of self-discovery throughout the African continent and how I learned to transform my suffering into highly positive vibes through the practice of Love in Action. After years of struggle and lack of self-direction, I reached a point where I knew that I had to let go of my old self, heal myself, become a blank page for life to write on, and to connect with the world on a larger wavelength––the wavelength of compassion and love. “Coming Home” is about how my first and powerful teacher of transformation, Rev. Ann Mugane, also called Mama John, taught me to turn the death of my mother and the end of my marriage into a catalyst for global change. I wanted to write about this experience for others going through tough times to help them learn how to transform their negative experiences.
Mama John’s faith accomplished miracles that glowed brightly at her Merciful Redeemer Children’s Home amid utter darkness. I remember witnessing what felt like prayer after touring the school the first time I visited her in Kenya. Mama John turned to the nearly 100 children gathered before us and said, “We are people expecting MIR-A-CLES! You may not know. But God KNOWS our needs! And I always tell you that when you pray…God answers prayers in HIS OWN WAY. You never know what God is going to do after today. Isn’t that an answered prayer? He is a God working MIR-A-CLES. He is a God working MIR-A-CLES. We are expecting Him to perform miracles from today! AMEN!”
Although Mama John was a fervent Catholic, it is her towering conviction that anything negative could transform into a positive, and her relentless faith that has left her mark in this world.
She received the miracles she talked about just like she said––not in her way or her timing. So did I.
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Glow: “Sanctuary”, is about how in the midst of establishing our animal sanctuary in Sicily, Italy, I would need sanctuary the most. Tecla and I decided to dedicate Rifugio Isola del Sole to my son Blaise, after he took his life. When we conceived of the sanctuary, it was our experience that anything dark could be transformed––a rebellious past, being the black sheep, not fitting in, feelings of unworthiness and shame. However, I had no idea how dark the world would become in the years after we first established the Rifugio. “Sanctuary” recounts my experience starting and running a much-needed animal sanctuary in an area of the world with antiquated laws and non-existent humane education. It recounts my personal journey throughout all the ups and downs that come with creating something so profound, the difficulties in starting from scratch, and how to transform any dark journey into something positive as I discover that where there is love, there is life.
Inspired by my experience with Tecla in Sicily, I visited other animal sanctuaries around the world––including Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Hawaii––to uncover their stories and understand how they used their unique glow to affect positive global change in the world of animal welfare.
Glow: “Sponsored”, tells heartfelt stories that speak to the positive impact of sponsorship and highlights expected and unexpected ways the experience has enriched the lives of everyone involved, including my own. Sponsorship is much more than a beautiful way to make a difference. It also teaches us that our differences aren’t that great. The more I work with different people in different countries all over the world, I realize just how similar we really are. We all need the same stuff––nourishing food to eat, a safe place to live, education, health, and the ability to pursue our unique strengths and talents. And it was this simple discovery that caused me to expand my sponsorship to more and more countries.
Over the past 16 years, I’ve had the joy of sponsoring over 40 children around the world through PlanUSA. “Sponsored” profiles the wonderful stories that transpire from the sponsorship opportunity, told from the perspective of formerly sponsored adults, and highlights the transformational difference sponsors made in their lives. To give a deeper context to the stories, I have also profiled the staff at PlanUSA and the role they play. PlanUSA also works against sex trafficking and for the betterment of girls’ rights around the world. A subtext of the narrative includes some of these stories about the countries and customs of the sponsored children.