Hope Dealer – The Book!

Hope Dealer – The Book!

Are you seeing what I’m seeing? I’m as optimistic as they come, but I’m looking out my window into the world and I am stunned and saddened by the infinite amount of hopelessness I see in the lives of so many. Are you frustrated by the hate, hurt, and divide? If so, I’m with you, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Four years ago, I started wondering what my new purpose was. It’s not like I had never visited that question before, but this was different. It was…well, think mid-life crisis on steroids.

I had all of the reasons I ever needed to feel that I had a purpose in life; Two, to be exact; my sons, Nick and Jack. They will always be my primary purpose. But as they have now become the wonderfully brilliant, wise, and talented young men I knew they always would, I took a step back to look at the big picture and got whacked over the head with a mighty two-by-four. The only hypothetically symbolic thing about that sudden wake-up call was the lumber.

So many other things that commanded my attention put me face-to-face with the realities of our time. For me, reality has always been like fly-over country; a fascinating place to see on occasion, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It was like a flashback to when my little 6-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, little carefree-self got so wrapped up in using finger-paints to decorate the walls (and furniture, and windows, and dog) and my mom walked in and yelled, “Look at this mess you’ve made!” I stood there in shocked silence thinking, “I can’t believe you didn’t say anything nice about my artistic creations?!”

But I wasn’t six anymore. As much as I had tried to avoid it, I was an adult and my inner-voice, concussed as it was from said metaphorical two-by-four, yelled the same words that my mom did when I was six, “Look at this mess you’ve made!” Yep. It took a short while to sink in, but as my attention had been on raising those little buggers, I had turned my back to most everything else, and in doing so contributed to making a mess of a world I didn’t want my kids, or any kids for that matter, to inherit.

I wasn’t in charge! It wasn’t my fault the world was falling apart! Besides, I was doing just fine in my own quirky, out-of-the-box, and denial-drenched ways. My initial thought was probably the same as when my mom walked in and discovered me discovering my inner Michelangelo – only this time I knew more words: “Somebody better clean that s*#t up!”

But there was just enough adult in me to recognize that I should probably help clean up that mess, too.

Off I went on my well-intentioned journey of good will, hoping to find a renewed purpose in helping to “fix things.” My exploration took me many places, including back in time from the lessons I had learned from the greatest teachers, coaches, and scoutmasters on earth, through the dark paths of dysfunction and addiction, into the minds and actions of my “bucket ‘o heroes,” and through the entangled webs of religion and politics. And then, Eureka! I found it in the most obvious of all places – the same place I always find my “other” sock!

There it was, HOPE, sitting right in front of me. In fact, it was me. If you’ve ever heard the “Starfish Story” or believe in the concepts of “pay-it-forward” and “be kind to others,” you are already totally on board with this movement. It’s you and I collectively that will change the world, one supportive act, smile, and positive action at a time.

That’s it, folks. That’s what I have to offer. The rest of this book is filled with nudges, winks, and prods that might help you. You’ll get some juicy details of my life and a few others as well. Stories connect us because of what we have in common, rather than what we don’t. They usually fall under one of what I call “Hope Dealer Principles.” What matters most is that we each do our best to be a Hope Dealer, because if you need one, chances are, you’ll be one. And that’s a purpose worth living for.

 

Peace,

~ Billy Soden

Hope Dealer

 

Written by

Born in Los Angeles and voted off the island by the age of two. :) Billy Soden's very large family of 7 migrated east, poor as dirt, making a short stop living in a Wyoming shack that had no plumbing (seriously, only an outhouse). After discovering no other humans lived in the gorgeous but uninhabited "Forever West" state, they yearned for the city life again (and plumbing) and traveled further east where they settled in Minneapolis, current headquarters of Hope Dealer. Billy spent most of his career in music education and community education, as a teacher and administrator. He is a survivor of writing education curriculum and policy, grant writing for the fine arts, marketing copy for quarterly community events and classes, and successfully transitioned from paper post-it notes to on-screen post-it notes. Billy currently writes for the world's largest non-profit independent television and media company, NTD Television and The Epoch Times. Based in New York City, with a global audience of over 55 million viewers, Soden's stories contribute to the shared vision of uniting humanity, hope, and freedom through the authoring of engaging stories that portray the intensely compelling unification of all humankind and the planet. Billy has been a featured blogger repeatedly on a global blogging site with more than 35,000 contributors and an average of 1.1 million unique monthly visitors. His blog, "How To Squeeze A Football Team Into A Sardine Can; Growing Up In Small Spaces," touched the hearts of many through a condensed telling of growing up in a large blended family. Billy has published his first book, "U Be U," in April of 2017 and is soon to release his second, "Hope Dealer." Born with a trombone in one hand and a pen in the other, Billy's passion for music and writing developed early in life. Soden describes himself as a lucky "hack writer" and coined the term "Beatbusker," and labels himself as such. "I'm a hybrid writer," says Billy. "Kind of a cross between a beat reporter and a street performer (a busker). I know all the words. You just have to put them in the right order to make them get up and dance!" Billy is currently contracted to acquisition talent to perform with Ethan Bortnick on his number one PBS Television Program, "The Power of Music," and live performances. Ethan has helped raise over $50 million for non-profits around the world and has shared the stage with artists such as Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncé, Josh Groban, Reba McEntire, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, and many others. Soden is thrilled to contribute to the humanitarian efforts of Ethan Bortnick and Sun and Sky Entertainment. Above all, Soden is most proud to be the father of his two sons, Nick and Jack Soden, who are both students of life and currently the University of Minnesota. Nick marched with the World Champion Blue Devil's Drum and Bugle out of Concord, California this year and Jack has been a state and nationally recognized musician, which led him to the decision to major in Psychology. Hope Dealer is an extension of Soden's personal beliefs and mindset that everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others daily; regardless of social status, wealth, title, or current station in life. "If you are breathing," says Soden, "you can become a Hope Dealer."

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