GREETINGS, my friend! I have some stories to share that I hope inform, inspire, and enCOURAGE you … and meet you right where you are this day.
You might have met or heard stories about my soul sister, Fatouma Ahmed. She is the FUEL for our PoP (Place of Pause) and my nudge to “Hold the Mic, Raise the Volume” for yourself … and others this week!
LET’S START with our PoP.
Take a moment to pause,
to breathe, to be quiet.
When I think about today’s PoP for the hard days about “Lamenting, Together”, my dear friend, Fatouma, comes to mind immediately. Fatouma’s heart cracked in two when her son passed away several years ago. Her wails of lament will remain in my heart and ears forever.
According to her Islamic faith tradition, for forty days of du’ua, of prayer and mourning, her tribe of sisters and brothers gathered and encircled her. She did not mourn or pray alone. We lit candles, brought food, prayed, sang, and cried, together.
One day, she said to us,
I am a very strong woman, but without you and Allah, peace be upon Him, I wouldn’t have made it. There is no doubt in my mind; I wouldn’t have made it through this alone. I am African, Muslim, woman, grandma, sister, mother, wife, aunt, friend. Allah, peace be upon Him, gave me everything. He has given me the world as my family. He gave me you.
Her sacred text, the Quran, speaks to this:
And as for the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer.
When it comes to the big stuff, the really hard days,
we are not meant to find solutions or care for ourselves alone.
The greater the struggle,
the greater the grief,
the more we need each other.
Sometimes, our lives depend on it.
For more about LAMENTING, TOGETHER and for a guided Place of Pause (PoP), check out this PDF excerpt, the video series of 10-minute PoPs on YouTube, and the Ablaze books.
I share these 40 PoPs so you can BE STILL, FILL UP with peace, and navigate life with strength and courage. There is much clamoring for our attention 24-7 with LOUD, FEAR-based, PANIC-inducing messages – but let’s practice peace, together, in EVERYday life. Not only are we better, together, but dare I say that our lives depend on it now more than ever.
“Hold the Mic, Raise the Volume!”
Fatouma and I were invited to speak as keynotes at an event last week at St. Mary’s Academy. Fatouma was the afternoon keynote. Her story and the person she is never ceases to amaze and fills me with such love! And the student body at St. Mary’s Academy agreed, as they leapt to their feet with loud shouts and hearty applause for a rousing standing ovation as she wrapped up her talk.
Here are excerpts from the write ups for our keynotes and 2 breakout sessions. (If any educational, faith, or conference communities come to mind who might want Fatouma and/or me to speak and guide them through these experiences, email me.
Kicked off, together with her soul sisters, Fatouma Ahmed (on stage, from Ethiopia) and Devisara Hannah Badi (virtually, via video from Nepal), we’ll first raise our voices – and the roof! – in prayer, blessings, and celebration for the day ahead. Sarah Davison-Tracy will then guide our community into an experience of each of our one-of-a-kind gifts and purposes on the planet. Sarah’s infectious passion to be a global activist, bridge-builder, and person who holds the mic up to the mouths of sisters and brothers with stories to tell around the world is sure to spark your own ideas and excitement to make a difference in the world. With videos, photos, and stories of beloved friends with a focus on her travels to and work in Nepal and Ukraine last year, she will invite our students and staff into places of pause, quiet, and soulful pondering … and into steps of inspired ACTion for the days ahead.
Fatouma Ahmed will share an intimate glimpse of several “chapters” of her life – when she was a twelve-year-old child bride, what life was like both in a refugee camp in Africa, her terrifying (and hilarious!) first experience on an airplane, being a Muslim in America post-9-11 (not easy!), and her new chapter of love and marriage. Get ready to learn a lot, belly laugh, and fall in love with a brand-new soul sister. Her life has not been easy—far from it!—but the arc of each of her story is aglow with faith, family, and friendship.
Take a pause from the BUSYness of student life, and simply enJOY a moment of pause and peace. Sip Ethiopian coffee, munch on popcorn, and be guided through some tools to cultivate a life with deep roots of faith and friendship, no matter how dark or difficult the day, by 2 soul sister friends. Fatouma is a Muslim and Sarah is a Christian. Together, they have lived nearly thirty years of friendship and faith. While we’re together with you, we won’t just talk about ideas, but we’ll guide you through a few of our favorite practices to help you cultivate joy, hope, and peace in your everyday life – especially valuable when school is stressful, the global news is overwhelming, and life gets topsy-turvy!
EVERYday and EVERYone Philanthropy
OUR CURRENT Seeds of Exchange monthly fundraiser is to feed artisans and their children in Kenya through our partnership with Imani Collective. Watch or listen to my conversation with Imani’s founder, Jenny Nuccio, including the ways in which their food program provides tea and a well-balanced meal to fuel and nourish women … and helps their kids to thrive.
Head here for MORE inspiring stories, beautiful videos, and nudges from my heart to yours to do what you can to learn about and tangibly care for our sisters and brothers, and their kiddos, in Kenya.
If you donate (thank YOU!), a nudge check the “monthly” box when you do, so your monthly donations will be directed towards our fundraisers throughout the year. Know that you are helping people each and every month. Consider stretching and giving as much as you can. If that’s $10 (=2 lattes a month!), that is plenty! *All donations are tax deductible.*
OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS, we’ve partnered with people in more than a dozen countries around the world and raised just over $200,000.
In Case You Missed It Last Week …
Take a listen to (or watch) the How We Change the World podcast, on which my soul sister and podcast host, Deborah Rohan Schlueter, invited me to join for a conversation (more info below) that I think you will LOVE.
YouTube | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Podcast website
Have a blessed and beautyFULL weekend!
You are loved.
We belong to each other.
Let’s standTALL, together,
and light up the world!
xo, -Sarah DT