If a tree could talk

January 7, 2019

Ever walk by an interesting tree and wonder about it? Old is It? Do animals live in its branches or inside part of its trunk? What stories could it tell you about people that have been walking by. Some trees are called witness trees because they’ve seen horrible events… or maybe two people got engaged under a tree. All of these are possibilities if a tree could tell you what it’s seen or heard.tree

What is precipitating this question for me? Recently there was a tree that fell across the walking path behind my townhome. As I stood looking at this huge brown tree devoid of leaves, essentially dead, it fell across the path, having fallen due to excessive rain, I wondered about its life.

After a heavy rain storm, I decided to get out and take a walk on my to find the path blocked by this fallen tree. For some strange reason I actually felt sorry for the tree, as it had come to the end of its life. Then I thought again. No, perhaps it was the end of its living life but in death it would provide a means of life to other creatures. Does that mean it continues on in another fashion?

Can we say the same thing about our own lives? When we end our physical lives and change our form do we continue on in another fashion and live life in another form ourselves? It might be another version of us; the spiritual version that is eternal just like the tree continues on even when it decays into bits of wood and then into bits of earth. It then becomes elements that give nourishment to plants and other living things.  As we change form do we help other living things to flourish? Does the spirit inside us help others to flourish? I believe we can do so when we become spirit guides also known as guardian angels. This is when our souls choose to help others while we are in spirit form.

Just as this tree will one day provide a place for a nest for birds, a home for squirrels as well as mosquitoes or even other little creatures, we too can help other people thrive once we cross over.


Angels on my Shoulder

December 10, 2018

During my recent trip to Portugal I had several experiences where I felt that synchronicity was at play to the extent that it must be my angels at work helping me. The story I’m going to relate in this article is that of my day trip to the historic town of Sintra, where just when I needed help, it was available to me.

After several attempts to take a group tour on this particular Saturday during my vacation failed, I decided to go it alone. Armed with travel brochures, internet information on the key sights, and information of what not to miss, I left my hotel about 8:30 am with a very positive outlook. I had already mastered the metro system to the point of knowing where the nearest stop was and where to get off, but I didn’t know how to find the connecting train station for the out of town trip to Sintra. Buying the ticket was easy at the ticket booth which was manned with a live person, asking in English is a forte of mine as I don’t speak Portuguese.

angelThe next step was to get off the metro and find the train station. I started to inquire of my fellow metro passengers who either didn’t understand me or didn’t know. This was strange to me since it was with in a short walk of the metro stop. Everything is different when one is in another country and not familiar. On the third try I happened upon a family with an elderly gentleman who seemed to be the local resident and the others, the visitors. In asking this group about the location of the train station, I discovered they were from Poland. I chimed in that my heritage is Polish as my Mother’s father came from Poland in the early 1900s, a town called Silencia. To my surprise, I was told that they came from this same place. I was asking for help from people of my heritage land! As we got off the metro, the elderly gentleman, most likely their father, speaking no English but made to understand my goal from his relatives, pointed the way to the train station. Yes! Mission accomplished!

Having my ticket in hand I quickly found my train on the track already arrived. I barely made it into a seat before the train left so my timing was quite good. As I settled in the seat I had found after searching for one up and down several cars, I noticed French spoken near me.

 In my usual brilliant way, I asked the young woman closest to me “are you from France?” She replied, “yes, we are from Lyon”, referring to the 3 couples in her group. This brief introduction began a conversation about our day in Sintra and planned itineraries. After hearing about the place I wanted to see they changed  their plan and decided to join me. I was thrilled. We all got off the train together and for the next 6 hours became a new unit, wherein I was treated like one of them… something like being an adopted Mom. The young woman had left her 8 month old baby at home for this weekend away with her Mom so perhaps she was in a very nurturing mode.

It turned into a wonderful day for me, where at first I thought I’d be alone I was accompanied by a nice group of friendly people all day while touring interesting sights. We even stopped and had tea together. It was a very warm feeling to chat and interact with these young people for the day. About 3pm we parted company as our desires changed… with me wanting to view the inside of the Pena Palace and their only wanting to see the outside gardens.. We said goodbye with invitations from the young woman to visit Lyon.

About an hour later I walked down the hill, took the bus back to the train station, then the train to the metro and as I was coming up the stairs from the metro station I looked up in amazement… could my eyes be deceiving me? There was the same group of French people looking just as amazed! I knew then that I had been experiencing a divinely inspired day complete with angels on my shoulder to look out for me. How else could I have met the same group back in Lisbon?

Although I had a two week vacation on my own and did some organized tours during that time, some of my best moments were when I just trusted that I’d be ok on my own and went out into the great unknown. It was when I was in the hands of my guides, that I was truly guided.

Comments are always welcome.


Help, Don’t Hurt

October 15, 2018

There are so many times that people are passionate about an issue but their rantings only hurt the situation rather than helping it. We have a word in Jewish, Kvetching! And it is the equivalent of bitching, moaning and complaining consistently. So whenever we open our mouths to state our opinion, I’d like to suggest that we make constructive criticism meant to help rather than hurt all concerned.

In this article, I’d like to commend Queen Latifah for her recent commercial extolling the benefits of a good higher education. Apparently, as she explains, she’s achieved great success in life, but without the added benefit of a college education. From the sound of it, she feels and conveys in this ad, that with such advanced study, she may have had a better life, an easier time moving forward, or made more money earlier on. Now, of course, she’s well known as a prominent acting/singing personality and is making the big money as they say. But inwardly she still feels that a degree would be beneficial. To me, establishing all these benefits for her community and others at large is a great service to her listeners.helpful

I would also like to contrast her approach with the radio announcer typically on at the same morning slot. I listen to a morning radio show that caters to a predominantly black audience. The announcer of this show has a segment that he calls “a Racial Observation” during which time he refers to events of the day that point to the divide between the black vs. the white community. Perhaps a white policeman arrested a black kid and used force or a woman was assaulted and the perpetrator not prosecuted….in any case the situations are always where he is pointing to racial tensions in this country. During other parts of this show, people are making fun of multiple baby mammas and kids going home to empty houses, being raised by single Moms who don’t know where the father of their children are…. The point here is that neither accountability nor responsibility is discussed, rather just how awful things are and how unfair the system is to his group.

Well I’m a senior and there are a lot of things that are unfair to me too, but rather than kvetch, I’d rather give charity to help others and send positive energy to law makers to make it better for all concerned. In the end, I believe I will be taken care of by the powers to be because I live a heart centered life guided by my faith.

So back to Queen Latifah:. I salute her effort to extol the virtues of a higher education because it is the pathway to getting a good job and making something of one’s self. I had to work hard for my degree and in the end it has served me well throughout my career. So doing what it takes to go to school at night or by day if possible is a great way to be accountable and take responsibility for one’s life. So the next time you have something to say, keep it helpful and not hurtful. Comments are always welcome.

 


Trusting Guidance

July 26, 2018

Ever get a funny feeling in your stomach and realize that a little voice residing there is telling you something?  It’s becoming well known how the stomach has a second brain with lots of emotional intelligence. But the point of my story is that I get my own inner guidance in many ways, one of which may be discomfort in the stomach.

Over the weekend, I had dinner with a dance friend. Our plan was to enjoy dinner and the jazz group that was playing at the Vietnamese-French restaurant nearby, then we would drive to a local dance venue. It would take about 30 minutes to drive over. Normally, this would be a routine trip, nothing to be concerned about except on this evening there had been reports that heavy rain was due to fall. I tried to tell myself that a bit of rain was nothing to fear; that said, I kept remembering the terrible rain that I drove through back in January when a truck tire exploded and like a missile sent the remains crashing into my car causing me whiplash and $2,000 damage to my almost new car. Needless to say, it was upsetting and traumatizing. I had come out of it alive when such a crash could have killed me. Hence, there was trepidation over driving in heavy rain.

My friend was insistent that I go out with him and to help alleviate my concerns he offered to drive me and then take me home later since we’d met up for the dinner as dance friends often do. I reluctantly agreed. So off we went under an umbrella with me thinking, “Well, it’s not raining hard now. Perhaps we’ll get there before the downpour”. We were only about a mile from my home, and the local plaza where we’d eaten, when I felt a really strange feeling in my chest and stomach. I don’t normally have such pains. I told myself that it was only a 30 minute drive and that I would be ok. I assumed it was just a bit of fear after having had the accident back in January; leftover trauma, so to speak.

alarmAs we approached the highway entrance, an alarm on my cell phone caused me to say, “Stop and pull over”. I knew the sound of that siren type of alarm. It was used to indicate an emergency situation. In this case it was the NWS warning people to get off the road due to the impending dangerous weather, heavy rain and possible flooding. My reaction was immediate. I said, “No! I’m not going.” And we turned around and my friend drove the short distance back to my house.

Now one might ask,”Was it a coincidence that the alarm came in just before we got on the highway when it would be more difficult to turn around and go home?” We were only one mile away, so returning was easy. And my friend certainly understood at this point so no harm done in any case. I got inside the house and was totally grateful to be safe, then settled into the rest of the evening in front of the TV with my cat Skylar. I was never so happy to be in my PJs!

I do believe that my angels were watching over me. That when I needed them, guidance helped me with an outward signal that staying in was the right thing to do. The next day I saw on the local internet about all the down trees, accidents, cars that got stuck in water, people that had to be rescued from their cars, etc. it wasn’t a joke, nor a figment of my imagination. There had been real danger and I had been warned. I am truly blessed. Comments and observations are welcome.


Stand by your beliefs and you will be supported

May 1, 2018

Recently I watched a TV evangelist talk at great length about how God promises us that we can be ten times better if we just “believe”. He then went on to give examples of how this can come to be; one of these stories was of Daniel, a well-known central figure in the Bible.

According to Good News Translation/The American Bible Society, the following passage tells the shortened version of the story of a young man who along with others of his day stood by their beliefs and came out not only momentarily victorious, but generally many times stronger.

The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2 The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.

 

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4 They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5 The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6 Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

8 Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9 and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10 Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, “The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don’t look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me.”

11 So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12 “Test us for ten days,” he said. “Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look.”

14 He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15 When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16 So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.

17 God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king’s court. 20 No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.

Daniel

The point of the story is that Daniel and his comrades chose what they believed to be the correct behavior regardless of what others thought. In this case, the heavier food would indeed slow them down while a lighter diet kept their heads clearer and facilitated higher performance. In the end, Daniel rose up through the ranks as he aged and eventually became the leader of the city, while his comrades were also appropriately rewarded for their service.

What does all this mean for you or me? Well, it means that even under duress, if we take the higher ground, we will be supported by the positive forces in nature. Recently, I had 3 nasty things happen to me during a very short period of time. In just one week, a pipe burst flooding the lower level of my home; while the house was being repaired I was very sick with the flu; then at the end of the week when I finally went out my car was hit on the highway during a flash rain storm by an exploding semi-truck tire. It was almost as if it all was meant to happen to show me that I could live through lots of duress. Although each of these things were quite distressing, I kept my perspective and believed that it was all part of the divine plan. In fact, I believed that there was some lesson I was meant to learn. Perhaps that God had saved me – each time. I could have been away when the pipe burst; I could have gotten ill during a vacation rather than a week when I had to be home anyway; and the exploding tire hitting the car could have killed me. So I had lots to be grateful for. I continued to believe and stay positive.

The next month I left for a 2-week vacation and everything went very well… or at least the challenges I experienced were all kept under control. I had a wonderful time. I went on the trip believing that I had had my “three” bad things happen to me so that nothing else would happen this year! It was certainly one way to look at it! I believed and I was supported. We always have the choice to make daily how we will believe, and whether we will take the higher road when under duress.  

 


Blessed or Cursed

February 14, 2018

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare: to come home to a flooded home. From that perspective I was fortunate that the pipe burst in my home 36 hours after I returned home from a two week trip away. I heard water rushing in the lower level and after thinking, “there’s no laundry in the washer, why do I hear water running?”  I rushed downstairs to find water pouring from the ceiling. In disbelief for several seconds as I watched huge amounts of water gushing out of 3 ceiling lights onto the wood floor, I ran for a largwaterfalle bucket to put under one of the larger spots. At first, I thought I had a leak and then soon realized it was a much bigger problem. Very soon the bucket became too heavy for me to lift so I found a smaller bucket to literally bail water from there into the bathroom toilet about 20 feet away. I repeated this maneuver for about 2 hours. At more than middle age, this became very tiring but I just couldn’t stop. The water was relenting. I finally let the water spill over the one bucket long enough for me to turn off every water valve I could find with little result. I figured I had a burst pipe as the weather had turned very cold just days before. The pipe must have frozen and when I came home from my trip and began to run water throughout the house essentially thawing the pipe, it burst from the pressure.

As my wits began to return, I found my cell phone and in between bailing the water I started with the phone calls. First I notified my nail lady that I wasn’t going to make my appointment for my nails. Being the lovely person that she is and the wonderful relationship that we have, she sent her husband over to help me (fortunately, he’d just gotten off from work due to the icy road conditions). Within 30 minutes the two of us were working bailing water and doing our best to move furniture out of the way of the water. It felt like a small Niagara Falls in the lower level which by the way has a 12 foot ceiling so there’s a long way for the water to fall. Next I called the insurance company who said they’d try to find a mediation company to come out to help me; meanwhile they instructed me to call the local county water service to turn the water off at the street main. The county was unusually cooperative, not only responding to my frantic call within 40 minutes or so, but it did help calm the rush of water… yet not entirely. Next I tried to reach plumbers to fix the rest of the problem.

There were so many people with burst pipes in the area and the day was wearing on into late afternoon by this time that I was getting negative answers from the plumbers and water mediation companies that the insurance company provided. I was frantic. Finally I was given the name of a plumber by a company that couldn’t come out so I just called them. These people came out and essentially ripped me off, merely getting the water shut off but not fixing the problem. Next I went upstairs and after searching my files found a prior company I had used years before when a different water problem had occurred. They came out right away and took over. The plumber had gotten the water off, but the room was soaked and a mess. The mediation firm tore the room apart, moved the furniture and began the process of taking out the water-wet walls, taking up the wet floor and getting the room dried out.

This process took close to a week and most of this time I was sick with a very bad cold so I slept through it even with the banging going on downstairs.  When I finally did go out that Friday night, I was very happy to be out of the house. But on my way home, there was a flash rain storm and a huge semi-trailer truck driving by blew a tire and hit my car leaving black marks across two doors and damaging the front driver’s side to the tune of about $2,000 damage. I was pretty shook up by the incident but walked away from it (after driving home as it was still pouring rain). Insurance covered the 10 days for the car to be in the shop, repaired and the loaner car. So, does God hate me with all this or am I blessed? The answer is coming up shortly.

The following week the next company came in to start putting everything back together. They repaired the ceiling, the walls and swept up the floor. Then I started to see the damages. Many of my draperies, and other personal belongings were not handled properly and sort of just thrown aside rather than boxed up or moved to safer areas. If I’d been there and not half dead with the horrible cold I would have made sure where things were put and how they were managed. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Later that week I saw how my new fiberglass door frame had been gouged when one of the guys was pulling up the floor. Luckily I knew of an artisan who could fix fiberglass much like a boat is reshaped after a hole. Then I sent the bill to the company responsible and it was paid. So although it was great aggravation to locate this repair firm again, the damage was fixed. And my things were recovered mainly by my moving them myself after the fact to a safer location upstairs.

I still am trying to find a good vendor for the floor… I’m a bit worried about how things will be managed while the work is being done so I’ve scared off a few vendors. That’s ok. If they don’t want to be careful or responsible then they aren’t the right ones for me, especially after what I’ve been through.

Now here’s the message from all this. If it had to happen it did after I returned from vacation. I was home at the time to save my furniture. None of it got ruined. The bad cold enabled me to sleep through the first week and not know about the damage until I had more energy to deal with it. And the damage was repairable. The car accident was a reminder that none of this is life or death – but the situation with the car could have been.

My verdict: I’m blessed and yes God must really love me to protect me and make sure it all works out ok.


The Divine Plan at Work

September 15, 2010

Once again I find myself being guided by divine providence. Or, perhaps, I’m manifesting what I’ve already created? Just a couple months ago, I found that I needed more money than I was bringing in. Not an uncommon situation. In my case, independent health care and pre-existing conditions resulted in an astronomical monthly premium after my 18 months of COBRA ran out. The additional expense was excessive and I decided to “ask” for help in the way that I know best. I sat down on my bed and said, “God I need help paying for my healthcare”. That’s pretty straight forward. Well, right on schedule, a friend sent me an email and then followed up with a phone call, insisting that I apply for a government position as a project manager. She and I had worked together on a prior job a few years earlier and she was still working at the same location and knew of the need for additional staff. I wasn’t keen on the idea of going back to work for the FED, since I’d already been there and done that, so to speak. But after some consideration I determined that it certainly would be a good way to get my healthcare covered.

 Besides, perhaps this was what I was supposed to do… as in being led by my own guidance to get my prayer answered. I never looked for a job, the opportunity came to me.  Completing the application was quite a chore, as it took several days. I dutifully answered all the questions after looking through my many years of experience. Sometimes I think that one gets a government position through sheer fortitude of will to maneuver through the paperwork process.

Several weeks went by without any word. Then on a most auspicious day, I got an invitation for an interview. It would have been my father’s 93rd birthday, had he not passed on three years earlier. From my vantage point, this was a domino falling into place letting me know that I was on the right track. It was a sign.

 The interview is tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. The right thing is the one that works out.


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