Inspiration Archives - Hooray Living / Inspiration Archives - Hooray Living

Hidden Worth

Hidden Worth

Today, discover your hidden worth, your inner beauty!  


Lee Ann offers a wonderful story to illuminate your brilliance.  She reminds you of your greatness every week.  So listen in, and enjoy.  This is for YOU!

On Your Knees

On Your Knees

“Properly understood and applied, [prayer] is the most potent instrument of action.”

–Mahatma Gandhi


Prayer is a critical piece when things appear to be falling apart, when they are shifting, changing, uncertain and unstable.  On our knees, we are stabilized.  It is prayer that is the workhorse keeping us grounded in what is true, loving, right and good.  In this episode, Lee Ann talks about prayer as a way to assist us in tough times.


Hooray Weekly’s Podcast Notes from Today’s Episode:


Here are two prayers that can be pulled out of your pocket whenever you need them.  I love these common, yet profound prayers.


Lord’s Prayer (also called the Our Father or Jesus Prayer):


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever.  Amen.



The Prayer of Saint Francis:


Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.


O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.




If you enjoyed what you heard today, please help me out with a review over on iTunes…and tell a friend to join us each week for our little fireside chats and love.  That would be great.  Also, don’t forget that if you or someone you love needs some encouragement, prayer or a little lift, you can email me at, give me the person’s name and address and I’ll send them some cheer…and send you some too.


Steps for leaving a review/rating on iTunes from your iPhone/iPad:

  1. Launch Apple’s Podcast app.
  2. Tap the Search tab.
  3. Enter the name of the podcast you want to rate or review.  That’s Hooray Weekly!
  4. Tap the blue Search key at the bottom right.
  5. Tap the album art for the podcast. (That’s the one with Lee Ann’s picture on it!)
  6. Tap the Reviews tab.
  7. Tap Write a Review at the bottom.
  8. Enter your iTunes password to login.
  9. Tap the Stars to leave a rating.
  10. Enter title text and content to leave a review.
  11. Tap Send.
  12. A big THANK YOU from Lee Ann and Hooray Weekly!  Love you!



HW 005: Belief

HW 005: Belief

be·lief  (bəˈlēf/)  noun — 2. trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.


Friends, today’s episode is called “Belief”.  This is the tie-a-knot-and-hang-on episode.  When all is said, done and practiced in difficult times—no matter what our strategies for getting through—there is a point when none of these strategies matter at all.  Random acts of kindness, meditation/being still, keep-on-keeping-on action are emphasized because these are things that we can DO.

But today, we consider the foundation…the stuff that is behind the curtain.  What is there when you pull everything away and look?  What keeps you going when nothing seems to be working, when everything has gone wrong?


On June 17th, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, a white supremacist and terrorist entered a bible study at Mother Emanuel and was welcomed with open arms by a black faith community.  But the surreal happened…The visitor pulled a gun and ended their precious, open and welcoming lives with hatred and bullets.

When asked how the people of Mother Emanuel AME have made it through the murders of 9 of their beloved community, the Reverend Waltrina Middleton, cousin of one of the dead spoke about how one goes on.  She said, “because we live in God, I can live into forgiveness.”  Forgiveness and mercy has been a key to many in the black community when facing grief and the constant beat of tyranny and oppression.


In September 1942, an Austrian doctor named Viktor Frankl was enslaved along with his wife and parents in Auschwitz a Nazi camp.  Three of the family were sent to their deaths, while Viktor was marched to another camp where he clung to life until the camp was liberated. Other than a sister, his entire family was wiped out.

As he set about shoring up his fragments, Frankl turned his study to the question “What allows a person who has been stripped of everything to hold on?” His book Man’s Search for Meaning came from that question.

His primary interest was in the prisoners who, in spite of everything, “walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread…they offer[ed] sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”


In both of these true stories, it is evident that the people’s core beliefs are what frees them.


I contend that there is a guiding principle for your life.  I personally cannot know what that is for each of you.  But my experience with many faith traditions, including those who call themselves “nones” with “no faith”, and those who claim Science as their bottom line—ALL of us have something that we know to be true.  It’s a knowing, it’s what you hold in your core, your belly…Science believes that there are organizing principles that cannot be rationally defied, everything can be figured out eventually.  Facts govern.  “Nones” might have as a grounding tenet “that all is basically good or can be made good” or any number of ideas.  Muslims may have as their guiding principle that the idol of the self needs to submit to Allah and peace is yours.  Jews tell a narrative of story and law that to walk humbly with thy God and to repair the world is redemption in this world.  Christians give the most credence and ink to their relationship with Jesus and to the orthodoxy of right thought.  This is where the notion if I believe rightly then I am saved or redeemed.


Buddhism has at its core the path to the elimination of suffering, that human beings can solve human problems on their own.  Buddha was not terribly concerned with the questions about eternalness or who God was.  The story he came up with to answer those questions was:  “if you were shot with an arrow, would you waste time and breath asking who shot the arrow, what she looked like and why it was shot?  Or would you just pull out the arrow?”


What I’m trying to say is that no matter what faith tradition or non-faith tradition we come from, there are those ideas we fall back on, hold onto when everything else is falling apart.  We hold these truths like we do bread and water when hungry and thirsty.


And what do they do for us?  These principles, these bottom lines?


Well, I would say that what we consistently tell ourselves, what we believe to be true can either carry us through choppy waters or can sink us.  So we better have some idea what makes up our foundation.


Personally, my belief or beliefs about God, the world, myself within life, even life itself appears to have shifted and changed over the course of my life.  Yes, I was reared in the Presbyterian faith and dabbled in the Baptist watering holes, but then moved to Catholicism and the Episcopal Church.  Finally, I was ordained in the United Church of Christ, even as I was looking at the Unitarians and Buddhists.  Further studies in Buddhism, Hinduism, New Thought, A Course in Miracles and Judaism (after many years of struggling with the brutal history of Christianity) brought me to a crisis of faith as it were.  I converted to Judaism which left the door open for me to further my journey and to consider the non-duality that Ramana Maharshi taught.  So, friends, I’m always in the search for truth, small t and big T.


But, BUT…while these traditions are wildly different in practice…I always come back to this statement, this truth:  The only thing that is real and true is LOVE.  Love always has been, love always will be.  Love–That which doesn’t change in our souls, in our center.  That which is constant.  That which simply is.  That “is-ness” is who I am.  It cannot be destroyed.  It cannot be damaged.  It cannot stop or end.


So when times are tough, I remember, I go back to, I sit solidly upon the thought that the only thing that is real and true is Love.  That is what is real.  That is what is always here with me no matter what.  Everything else is delusion appearing real.


The truth, the mystery behind the insanity of governments & their actors, the truth behind the dying loved one, the truth behind the perception of failure, the truth behind the discriminating acts and hatefulness, the truth behind any problem I have is that love is real.  Love is here.  I need to be open to it and see it.


So the question I have for you is simple (and hard) but will get you through…


What do you believe?  What beliefs do you hold onto when life seems to be swirling out of control around you?  What is the truth that is true for you no matter what the circumstance?  What keeps your center in place?  What holds you when you’ve let go?  What is the knot at the end of your proverbial rope?


Are you like Reverend Middleton who believes that forgiveness is central to surviving this life?  Are you more like Vickor Frankl who shows that our thoughts are our true freedom?


Think about what your beliefs the next few days.  And test them.  Ask Is this the kind of belief that will see me through tough times?

It’s important to know what that knot is at the end of your proverbial rope.  It’s at this point we know that we have a floor on which to stand, to act, to move, to be our fullest and best selves in the world.


Before you go today, please head over to rate this podcast on iTunes.  And if you find Hooray Weekly helpful, I hope you’ll share it with friends.

Okay, dear ones, may you have a beautiful week ahead.  Know that I love you.  I really, really love you.

Here are some of the resources and links to things I mentioned in podcast:

Frankl, Viktor, Man’s Search for Meaning.

Rev. Waltrina Middleton, UCC Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership Formation

700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio  44115–an online starting point for searching various beliefs/traditions


and…in case you haven’t gotten Lee Ann’s books, you can find them here:

You Are All That: Creating a Great Life with Affirmations

Hooray for You: 365 Get-Up-and-Go-Go Quotes for Your Year


The books are linked to Amazon’s bookstore.  Full Disclosure Alert!  When you purchase books using Hooray Weekly’s link, a tiny pittance of the price comes back to support the podcast.  So thank you very much for any and all your support!



HW 004: Reigning In Helplessness

HW 004: Reigning In Helplessness

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  — Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Today, we meet “learned helplessness” and its antidote, kindness.  We will discover that kindness not only overwhelms and changes the world, but it changes us.  That would seem obvious, right?  But when we are in tough times, thinking outside of the box is not always available to our hurting souls.  So listen in!

If you want to learn more about any of the subject matter mentioned in the podcast, check out the resources below.


Learned Helplessness, Peterson, Maier & Seligman

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Martin Seligman

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, Martin Seligman

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, by Sonja Lyubomirsky


Random Acts of Kindness ideas–visit!


The World Needs More Love Letters — a community of people who write love letters to strangers.  Started by Hannah Brencher when she was dealing with her own pain, she began dropping off love letters in bookstores, coffee shops and anywhere someone might pick them up and find them.  She found that these acts helped HER as much, if not more than the person receiving them.  You can also view her wonderful TED talk here.


And for cheer and daily encouragement, check out The Hooray Daily, bite-sized cheer for you and your community. Life is great! Celebrate!



The books are linked to Amazon’s bookstore.  Full Disclosure Alert!  When you purchase books using Hooray Weekly’s link, a tiny pittance of the price comes back to support the podcast.  So thank you very much for any and all your support!

HW 003:  Finding Stillness

“Be still; stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.” –Lao Tzu


Welcome to the 3rd episode of Hooray Weekly!  So glad that you are here!


Today, I discuss the importance of stillness in our busy, frenetic and fear-filled world.  If you want to find your Hooray in tough times, it is a necessary component for your days.  Listen in to the podcast for some love, encouragement and a couple of meditation/stillness techniques.  Here are two of the practices I mention in this week’s episode.

2 Easy-Breezy Practices for Stillness

  1.  Passage or Verse Meditation–The mind is a funny thing. It doesn’t like to be quiet and shushed.  So why fight it?  This type of meditation is easy.  Get comfortable in a chair or on the floor with your back erect, shoulders down  and away from your ears, eyes closed, arms relaxed with hands in your lap and take some loving belly breaths.  (I go into detail on the podcast for both these meditation practices, so I’m keeping the words simple and short here, okay?)  Next, think of a piece of Scripture or line of a poem or affirmation.  Spend the next 5 to 30 minutes letting the words of whatever you have chosen to come to you again and again in your mind without effort.  I use the line from Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.”  I actually repeat the phrase in my mind 5-10 times, then shorten the phrase to “Be still, and know that I AM…”  Again, I repeat comfortable with plenty of silence between the repetitions.  Then I shorten the phrase again, “Be still and know…”  You get the picture.  Next, “Be still…” (5-10 times with more silence).  Finally, I end with “Be…be…be…”  My mind is soft and gentle since these are words that I know by heart.  There is no forcing to focus my mind or to rid it of unwanted monkey mind.  The unwanted stuff will be there, but with less vehemence.  After moving through the passage, I take some deep breaths, smile inwardly, and come out of the stillness slowly.
  2.  Chanting the Name of God (or your dog for that matter)–This practice is similar to the one above, except that one focuses on the Name of God or a blessing.  Some examples include, Om Shanti Shanti, Heavenly Father (or Mother), Peace, Holy Spirit, Allah, Lord Jesus, Krishna, Illumined One, Great Spirit or Light.  The words are endless.  Just make sure that it is comfortable for you.

And for meditation inspiration, these are the four books I turn to regularly:

Easwaran, Eknath, God Makes the Rivers to Flow: Selections from the Sacred Literature of the World (2009).

Ladinsky, Daniel, Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (2002).

Mitchell, Stephen (translation), Tao Te Ching (1988).

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (adapted by Moshe Mykoff & S. C. Mizrahi with the Breslov Research Institute), The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments (2002).


The books are linked to Amazon’s bookstore.  Full Disclosure Alert!  When you purchase books using Hooray Weekly’s link, a tiny pittance of the price comes back to support the podcast.  So thank you very much for any and all your support!






HW 002: Keep Your Head Down

HW 002: Keep Your Head Down

Welcome to Week 2 of the Hooray Weekly Podcast!


Today, I dive into Hooray Weekly for real.  Exciting!  In this first episode of the “Hooray in Tough Times” series, I offer a few crumbs along your spiritual and emotional path toward freedom, hope and love.  I hope that you find nourishment and encouragement in my words.  We’re on this journey together, so let’s go!


The podcast link is below.  (As of today, the podcast has been submitted to iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud so that you’ll be able to subscribe to the podcast from your favorite podcast directory.  The blog itself will be the place to come to for show notes, which will include a summary of the episode and announcements, as well as links to any resources I mention.  The weekly podcast will always be available here on Hooray Living’s blog.)


Remember, “smile and the world smiles with you.”


I love you!  Here we gooooooo!




HW 002: Keep Your Head Down

“I can’t go on, I’ll go on…”  –Samuel Beckett


How in the world do you manage through tough times of crisis, despair, anxiety and loss?  In this episode, I encourage you to keep your head down.  Keeping your head down is a way through when worlds seem to be crashing in upon you.  It’s one-foot-in-front-of-the-other work and involves doing what is right in front of you and involves praying in whatever form that is for you.


This “keep your head down” strategy is the first of many ways to keep yourself moving through tough times.  Next week, I’ll talk about finding stillness in the midst of the storm.


If you’d like to learn more about the teacher/professor/womanist ethicist & theologian, Reverend Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, I mention in the episode, click to find her books here.  Katie Geneva Cannon, PhD, is the Annie Scales Rogers Professor of Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary-PSCE in Richmond, VA. The first African American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Cannon focuses her work in the areas of Christian ethics, Womanist theology, and women in religion and society. She has lectured nationally on theological and ethical topics and is the author or editor of numerous articles and seven books including Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community and Black Womanists.


HW 001: Introduction to the Hooray Weekly Podcast

Hello friends!  This is it–the inaugural event!  The REAL inaugural event…post-January 20th.  Get your weekly lift here from your host, friend, teacher and fellow traveler, Lee Ann Hopkins.


Today, we begin our journey together, where each week I bring you food-for-thought, something yummy for your Soul and your life.  It’s like having your own cheerleader, coach and teacher–all rolled up into one.


In this short welcome and intro, I discuss:

  • –Who I am
  • –Who you are
  • –What to expect in the podcast
  • –Subject matter for the first series of talks




Please do me the favor of:

  1. Subscribing to the podcast
  2. Rating the podcast in iTunes, and
  3. Sharing with friends, family and colleagues


Remember: “Smile and the world smiles with you.”–Lee Ann Hopkins

The Myth of Self-Sufficiency (or How I Found My Way Out of Lonely)

The Myth ~

We aim for self-sufficiency like a prized trophy.  We do so with the help of mythology.

The American Prairie plays a significant role in our contemporary understanding of self-sufficiency.  During the 1840s and 50s, when gold-diggers, land speculators and homesteaders headed West, a large number of people and families staked their claim to a piece of America smack-dab in the middle of the country, where there was an expansive sky, plenty of fertile soil, herds of buffalo and sweeping winds.  Families dotted the landscape in their sod homes and simple cabins, often with their closest neighbor fifteen miles away.  This environment gave rise to the idea that self-sufficiency was honorable, noble and somehow grand because one counted only upon one’s own wits, resourcefulness and skills.   Continue Reading

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