The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Category: Outside The Box

Life's Energy

Do you know someone that sends a tingle up and down your spine? I mean, someone that raises your spirits, which seems to “energize” you and makes you feel better in his, or her presence? You are picking up this person’s energy, their “life force”, and it’s not imaginary; it’s real! You feel inexplicably drawn to this individual, and it’s a feeling that will take you by surprise when you are fortunate enough to experience it.


If you have a husband, wife, partner, or “significant other”, you know what I’m talking about. Love is the benchmark that most of use in relating to the type of energy I’m referring to. At this moment you’re probably recalling the first time you got “zapped” by the intense emotion of real love….good feeling, wasn’t it? 


Then there are those very unique relationships in which two people give and receive energy between one other. These relationships aren’t reserved for spouses or lovers; quite often they are between friends or acquaintances. Jackie (my wife) and I have found this in each other, and it has served to make not just our marriage, but our bond, so strong. When I am down, she lifts me up, and hopefully I am able to do the same for her when life throws her a curve. Individually we are both very strong; collectively, we are a force to be reckoned with. Add God to the equation, and, well, “…with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 The end result is that among all that Jackie is to and for me, she is still my best friend….even after 20 years (this April) of marriage.


Conversely, at some point there have probably been people in your life that have had just the opposite effect on you. These people can lower your spirits in an instant; you feel like they are draining the very life out of you. Guess what? They are; they’re feeding off your energy, and if you’re around them for any period of time, you feel absolutely drained. This too, is very real; be aware of it.


Here’s the funny thing: Some of these people are aware of what they are doing, what I like to refer to as “inviting me to share a seat on their pitty pot in life”. You know, it’s the “misery loves company thing”. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have compassion for people when they’re down. You just don’t want to get into the habit of “feeding” their weakness, because you will indeed find yourself taking a seat right next to them, which is doing no favors for either of you.  


Still yet are those that don’t make a conscious effort to sap your strength. They are just lacking something in their lives that creates a void, a void that your energy can fill, even if the effect is only temporary.


I know that just a week ago I was urging you to share your light with people, as found in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world…..let your light shine before men….” I’ll remind you that to “share” means to tell, allow to use, or to give a portion of something to someone. A portion. Share your light with others. Share your energy with others. Don’t give all of either of these away, and don’t let anyone take all of them from you!


Okay, I’m gonna step “outside the box” for just a minute and talk about something; some of you will understand it, some of you will think about it, and the rest of you may think that I’ve lost it! And that’s okay. Look, I’m not trying to win a popularity contest on this site, or in life. During the past two years I’ve learned that you lose a few friends when you speak openly about your faith in general terms, and even more when you speak openly about God. Those relationships I may have lost along the way have paled in comparison to what I have received. I’m sorry; I went on a tangent, which I am prone to do….back to the topic.


I want you to take a moment to think about someone you know that absolutely walks with God every day. Think about their spirituality, the depth of their faith, and the inner-strength that you would assume comes with that faith. If you don’t know someone with these qualities, think of, I don’t know, a priest, pastor, minister…you know, a person of the cloth. Got someone in mind? Good.


Now think about this for a moment….there are people that walk with the devil (or whatever term for evil you prefer to use), on the dark side, every day. These people also possess an inner-strength, and it is not a good one. They would like nothing more than to corrupt you, steer you off course, and rob you of your “light”. Beware of these people….they do exist. If you are around an individual or group of people, and you sense that something is wrong, trust your instincts! Say a quick prayer, or just ask God to protect you from anything not of Him. Look, I’m not trying to scare you. I’ve told you all along that I want to share what I believe to be true. It has been my experience that the closer I get to God, and the closer I get to doing His work, the more the devil does to thwart my efforts.


I’m not suggesting that you walk in fear. I’m asking you to walk with the awareness that evil does exist, and that the devil doesn’t go after bad people; he already has them….


Try to keep company with people that lift you up, that gladly share their energy, their “spirit”, with you. As your “walk’ in life changes, so too will the company of those you keep; you’ll want it that way. Do your best to stay away from those whose mere presence brings you down. I know, I know, there are individuals that you have to be around, like some family members or co-workers. But that doesn’t mean that you have to share in their misery, or let it rub off on you. When you must be in the company of these individuals, you will find that your awareness of the situation will make things better….not necessarily for them, but certainly for you!


Each day, ask for discernment in recognizing those with whom you may share your energy, those from whom you may receive energy, and those that you want to keep at arm’s length. You’ll be surprised by the amount of intuition you are given as you walk the path of life.



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Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 02/23/2009 at 7:29 AM | Categories: Outside The Box -

The Tattoo

Do you have a tattoo? If not, have you ever wanted to have one?


Since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with tattoos, for various reasons. My attention was drawn to some tats (slang) because they were works of art. Some tats have a clearly defined purpose as a memoriam or tribute to an individual, i.e. God, Mother, loved one, country, etc. Conversely, I could stare at some tattoos for hours trying to make some rhyme or reason for their existence!


My underlying question was “Why?” Why would someone want a tattoo? What could have enough significance to warrant the permanence, and the frequent ridicule that often comes with having a tat? Fashion statements, statements of defiance, and statements of life; all good reasons for getting a tattoo, I guess.


Truth be told, I’d always wanted a tattoo, but never got one. It wasn’t the anticipated pain. It wasn’t the price. It was the permanence of a tattoo, as in forever. I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to have on my body for the rest of my life!


Until August of 2006….it’s another of those days that I can remember as vividly as if it were yesterday; I just can’t remember the date (at 56, I can use the excuse of old age!).


Jackie and I were watching Miami Ink, which is a television series about, you guessed it, a tattoo parlor (I used to watch it every week; I told you that I had a fascination with tats!). So anyway, this guy and his son enter this parlor to get crosses tattooed on their back and arm, respectively. While I didn’t like the designs of the crosses that they chose, I liked the concept.


I looked at Jackie and matter-of-factly said “A lot of things may change in my life, but I will never stop being a Christian. I want a tattoo.”


The next day Jackie accompanied me to see a local tattoo artist that had been recommended by a friend. We put our heads together and came up with a potential design for a tattoo.


Two days later that potential design became a reality!


If you look closely, you will see:




His crown of thorns.

The wings of the Holy Spirit.

The sword of a warrior.

The letter "M" which stands for Maniscalco.





And oh-by-the-way, apart from the crown of thorns, this cross wasn't designed with any of the above in mind!


Okay, the fact that I got a tat doesn’t warrant an article on this website. A lot of people have tattoos, right? What’s the big deal?




That night Jackie and I were sitting in the kitchen admiring my new ‘work of art’ when I looked at Jackie and confidently said “It’s official. I’m officially a soldier of Christ. I’m here to do His bidding.”


Jackie sat there in stunned silence as the last of the sentence came out of my mouth. I can only imagine how I may have appeared to her; to say that I was merely stunned would be a huge understatement! I had never even formed a thought like that in my mind, much less say it out loud… a person!


Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed about what I’d said; I was actually, amazingly, filled with a sense of pride, and emboldened by a new found courage! I did feel like a soldier of Christ, and I was indeed ready to go out and do His bidding. Obviously, I still feel that way…..


I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase ‘born again’ used in religious circles. I was never really fond of the saying. I mean, if someone already knew who God was, how could he be ‘reborn’, as faith applies?


Okay, okay, all of you guys that are really steeped in the bible and theology-----CALM DOWN! I know that the term means being born in and of the spirit of Christ; I know because several of you have told me. I neither disagree nor agree with you, but I would rather use a term that I think is more in keeping with what I believe happened to me on that day in August.


I was awakened to recognize the spirituality of God that was already in me! I offer you this line of thought:


I believe in the omnipresence of God; He is everywhere and in everything. There is no place that He is not. If you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around this belief, stick with me on this journey and you will come to know what I mean. I will continue under the assumption that you agree with me on this. 


If you believe that God is omnipresent, that He is everywhere, then you should understand that He is in all of us. Yes, that means you too! Still with me?


If God is in us, so too is His spirit, and all that it encompasses. Which leads me to believe that I was not ‘born again’ unto Christ; I was awakened to His presence within me!


I’ll offer more insight on being ‘born again’ in the future; promise.


You can say that I was ‘born again’ the day I got my tat; I won’t disagree with you. Or you can say that my tattoo day was the day that I woke up. Either way, that day, that moment, would prove to be a huge turning point in my life.


God heard my proclamation. And I believe that He knew my intentions to be pure. You see, I didn’t make that vow to stand up for Him expecting something in return. What I said aloud to Jackie, and to myself, was what I felt in my heart, pure and simple. What He has seen fit to bestow upon me since that day is, well, is beyond any fairy tale that I could have written for myself.



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Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 12/15/2008 at 8:07 AM | Categories: Outside The Box -


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