Day 4 – Our Story Continues


What shall this day bring?

Footnote:  a proper  cart did find its way to our “crossing our paths travelers” of Day 1.


A Moment Called Eternity. a poem


Ageless is the question
the significance of life. My Life.

Countless days in passing.

An uninvited flash.
A moment of pause.
As if I alone exist, and no other.

The Answer is revealed!
In a flash.
Within the pause.

A moment in Eternity
is shared and experienced.

One word.


Living outside this moment,
there is no recollection
of the eternity unfolded.

In a moment,
a universe of significance,
of one life,
Made Known.

Ageless continues the question,
whose answer
lives within a moment.

A moment called Eternity.

Salvador Francisco Alaniz

Day 3 – A Thanksgiving Christmas Tree, Washington, IL


Days begin early. My nature for quite awhile.
Coffee is on in the breakfast room, but my little friends from Donnellson are no longer here. An emptiness sets in.
Prepare some items for breakfast and sit where they would have sat and reflect.
A voice from another table asks if my stay is ok. Turns out they are in the room next to mine.
Most of the guests at this hotel are Red Cross volunteers. And most dress in their Red Cross attire. They did not appear to be volunteers.
I fill up my coffee and greet them at their table. And ask where they are from. From Michigan and here for a month.
Perhaps staying here to do some mission work or to assist in some way.    I ask.
They are here to work on their tree farm.
Tree Farm? This time of year? Oh, ask – Might it be a Christmas Tree Farm?
Their response – Yes!
So I go to my table and before I can sit, that presence within me which seeks connections for GOOD, nudges me back
to their table.

“I can not speak for Red Cross or any other agency providing services for those affected by the Tornado in Washington and beyond, but would you
consider providing Christmas Trees to those families affected?”

Their response – YES!

Contact information has been provided to our agencies this morning – Will some have a home this place, a home for a Christmas Tree? One of many questions being worked on.
This family lives in Michigan and has a farm here which they purchased some 26 or so years ago.

Day 3 – Giving thanks for Connected Lives

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Many, many volunteers and staff will be away from home and family. Many individuals and families affected by the tradegy which unfolded will be giving thanks for the many services, resources and peoples who have given of themselves in this time of need.
And the many volunteers like myself will continue to be moved and challenged to live each day, more fully, more purposefully and more forgiving and accepting of the varied relationships in our lives.
The Gift of this Christmas – to those we are in relationship with; to those who enter our lives unexpectedly;  and to those we continue to remain distant to – is as moving as the ending of a favorite movie and as significant as the meaning of Christmas.

A Wonderful Life – an outpouring of love by the simple gift of giving oneself.

Christmas – an outpouring of love by  the same simple gift of giving of oneself.

May each of us be mindful of the angels in our lives, who watch over us.
And may we reduce the “noise” in our lives, so we can hear our angels earning their wings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 2 – A Day Begins


Got up early, to have breakfast and prepare for the day.
Saw a young girl, around 10 years old, walking her 1 year old brother up and down the hotel hallway.
She has early babysitting duties.
Shortly after, I see them at front desk. We chat.
She is from Donnellson, Iowa.
I share with desk and her I like to write.
She says, she does too! And shows me her shirt.
On it on inscribed the words –
“I write to discover my soul.
I read to discover yours!”
And so our day begins –

A Day Ends: Reflections

People coming and going. Gathering some daily essentials from participating agencies.
Lots of sharing, caring and connecting.
A more “holistic” approach to service delivery than in the past.
As much as I am drawn in by each person’s story, and each in turn a memory in time and place – in reflection, I still see this young girl caring for her little brother at the dawn of this new day.
Being at his side while he walked around, exploring what there was to see, what there was to learn.
Carrying him when there seemed to be a need to do so.
Calling his name, asking him questions, and giving him direction.
Each sat at a table together where she had placed some donuts and drink.
She asked me to watch her little one while she went to get another serving.
A meal completed, she stooped to the ground and picked up the crumbs which had fallen. Meticulously.
An image in time and place I shall not soon forget.
Nor the images of the many people picking up the remaining pieces of their lives.

Day 1 – a Journey Begins


Left for Peoria early this morning.

Made my way to St. Paul’s Baptist Church which has provided space for donated items for Catholic Charities.

Met Sara from CC, and volunteers from St. Paul’s, and we moved items brought, into a designated area. Items are picked up from here and distributed to locations within Washington where those affected by the tornado can pick up what they need.

First stop: Connected Hearts

Got on the road again, this time heading to the Peoria Civic Center, sort of a command center for Red Cross, organizing the many peoples and logistics of disaster assessment and recovery. Some Red Cross staff, many specialist volunteers.

Second Stop: Connected Hearts

Having signed in as a volunteer, I was given instructions to head directly to Washington, Illinois; to a large facility called a Multi-Agency Resource Center. There, those affected by the tornado can receive many items and services, part of which are from Red Cross.

Clothing, food, cleaning supplies, counseling services, medical services and so much more. All under one roof. A roof still in tact.

There are a number of tasks I can be assigned to do for Red Cross, in this particular case, Client Services-meeting with affected individuals and providing assistance.

There is an ebb and flow to the nature of providing services. Today was an ebb, tomorrow an expected flow.

Flexibility. A word – a mantra with Red Cross.

Service is never idle.

Seek and ye shall find.

Clean tables, empty garbage cans, meet and greet. Say “hi, how are you” to someone, and mean it. And listen. And listen.

Someone asks if I can assist finding and assembing some kits of items for those coming into the Red Cross outreach area.

Someone asks. The Response –

Myself, and a family who came in from southern Illinois to help, without having ever worked together before, or their having done anything like this before, organize and coordinate their individual helping hands, into a force for GOOD?

Braving the chilly weather outside, the logistics of numerous requests made and the lifting and movement of resources to be made available,  each person began the process of recovery.

The recovery which comes from within and is greater than ourselves.

Third Stop: Connected Hearts

While driving around the block of the Civic Center looking for a Red Cross sign which would tell me
I am at the right place; I could not immediately find, so I drove around again.

There, on the curb was an older man, having fallen over from a walker onto the sidewalk, yet still partially in the street. A younger woman was attempting to help him up, but to no avail.

I quickly parked and ran to their aid.

We managed to get him up and onto the sidewalk.

They live about a block from each other and assist each other as they can.

They were heading home from a local church where they receive food items and clothing. Without a cart, their mutual ability to carry and transport their items home was to much to bear,. And they were going to take public transportation, as they normally would.

After loading their belongings in the van, we begin our journey to their home.  They lived about 4 miles away, yet hard to tell with all the construction detours.

We make it to their home, and set their belongings at their door.

Having an address is useful.  A proper cart is sure to find its way.

They shared much in the van. In a quiet, unassuming way. Both have come to live their lives, serving each other in simple, respectful,
meaningingful ways.

Fourth Stop: Connected Hearts

I have often said that the destruction from these disasters that mother nature throws our way, are in themselves so powerful and life changing.

Yet, never, ever strong enough to break Connected Hearts.


Power / Those Moments


More powerful than the fear of death, is the will to live –

“I’d like to have the ocean, but I would settle for the rain”
“I had to write those, to get to these”

from Rosanne Cash—Talks New Album ‘The River and the Thread’ | Music News | Rolling Stone, one of her quotes in article—“ I had to write those, to get to these”

I had to Live those Moments, to get to these –

Salvador Francisco Alaniz

The profound journey of compassion


Our journey is nearing , and for you, new beginnings and discoveries, or what you so aptly called Life.

Our paths crossed serendipitously,  and impressed shared travels into the sands of time.

Words will be remembered, which, like songs, will bring to mind memories only distanced by time. Fading into melodies once heard.

Remember this, Remember these words, and all shared –

Salvador Francisco Alaniz
(Swami Dayananda Saraswati:  The profound journey of compassion)

Missing you. a poem


The night sheds light of a passing day,
and images and sounds of relationships unborn.

The traveler reminiscing of memories lived,
a seeker of meaning and better truths.

Like shadows which break from their object adorned,
their beauty and spirit seek birth in the dawn.

A whisper is heard from a distance – “missing you”,
a beacon of light to a world once known.

The night and the dawn each bound in time,
give passage to the searching traveler on this journey of rhythm.

A whisper returned, a memory released,
listens patiently for a sound growing fainter in measure.

Yet can be heard a sound from afar,
“Miss you”,
And the night sheds light of a passing day –

Salvador Francisco Alaniz

The Penny. a poem


In his pocket, a small coin,
Once grasped its told, a gateway to forever.

Dare he reach and touch a time so vast,
and travel to a face once known.

No fate there rests in future days,
of endless time, of days gone by.

Yet does he take a coin in hand,
To take him to that one in time.
And in this place of time unbound,
Hold true to feelings, once spoke.

Ye, take he the coin, to promise said,
and there to place and  face are met.
Hold firmly to this coin of mine,
There I stay, til end of time.

Be there no travel back,
from forever to my place in time?

But for the thought of her so real,
her way, her beauty and her eyes invite.
There speak of time, of forever enough?
And there she lives, we live forever more.

Its answer rests in not endless days,
But in each moment, lived and shared.
For in each moment, forever lives,
a penny grasped, a forever enough.

Salvador Francisco Alaniz

Yet to Be. a poem

“What I have always wanted,
is now standing right before me
and now I am not sure how to approach it
nor where to go with it
– I think it is called life.”


I close my eyes in a quiet place
and seek the silence of not the noises of this day,
but the caress and gentle touch of my dreams.

Be still, my thoughts, why do you bother me so,
as I make my way to my special place of hope and visions of me, yet to be.

Have I not traveled well, this road called life,
and shared of myself, wanting only these images of my life, as I see.
Asking so little and of so few, the certainty of happiness is mine to be.

And as I come closer to you, to this image of me
I feel not the same wonder of who I will be.

It is I, with certainty, I say,
It is I. It is me.

Do you not recognize me?
Am I not the same? Am I not me?

In silence, my spirit seeks rest and
a question remains, answered in such an uncertain way –

For when I wake, this day will bring
The answer that can only be.
The answer is “Me”

I will come to know this “me”, at a time and place “yet to be”,
and I will love this person yet to be. For it is me.

With uncertainty my life unfolds its mystery, its wonder and possibilities,
as each day is my creation, yet to be.

Each day on my canvas of me, will I paint with colors so rarely used, and stokes like no other,
and of scenes and backgrounds imagined and some to be.

And this is me, and yet to BE!

Salvador Francisco Alaniz