Me too. Until now.

“I want all of the girls watching here now to know, that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘me too’ again.” Energetically stated by, Oprah Winfrey, when she accepted the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille award during the Golden Globe Awards 2018. #GoldenGlobes

https://www.facebook.com/GoldenGlobes/videos/1884721461569863/

You know, every time I watch Oprah’s Golden Globe 2018 Cecil B. DeMille’s lifetime achievement award acceptance speech, I become so emotional. I understand that it’s not just because of the words within the so well-crafted speech that connects Oprah (along with us) back to her childhood, or even her captivating and powerful delivery. Yes, her speech builds up to a certain momentum–that’s true. But, Oprah uses this time, so elegantly, to teach us a grand history lesson about Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks. And to emphasize why that lesson is so important.

While I understand that we may not always share the same word definitions, personally, yes, very personally and deep, Oprah’s speech resonates with me. Why? Because I have “been there.”

I have been in too many situations where I have been sexually harassed, intimidated, berated, held back from raises or promotions, mentally and physically abused, and more. And whether through ignorance, immaturity, or low self-esteem (low self worth), on some level, I allowed men (and even a few women) to belittle, bully, manipulate, or coerce me into doing things that—at least at the time—were not in my best interest and made me feel even worse about myself.

Yes, you may think that I am strong. And many times I had to be strong. But I am sensitive, more serious than joyful, and quiet. I studied, prayed, and doggedly pulled myself through it all, (believing always with God’s help—even when I found myself in the most brazen of situations) because I had children to raise. And while I learned, forgave, and mustered through, there were times I faltered. There were times I got angry and stood up for myself and my children. But those times were rare, because it seemed there was always someone else standing near to be critical of my stance, not knowing (how could they?) of all the prior bullshit I had endured.

Only because of where I am now can I say, “Everything resolves to gratitude.

Because now, I get the end game. I’ve glimpsed the Great Beyond that awaits us all, where all of the tiny entanglements between us, all of the reasons, and nearly inconceivable intentions will be revealed!

I understand We Are All Connected, and that we are on a mysterious, yet marvelous journey in this life. That every little thing matters. That love, faith, gratitude, and joy are our rewards, and that we can experience them NOW.

The gratitude I carry with me today having come through all the chaos, does not mean I think it’s okay for abuse or bullying to occur, nor do I think it’s okay for anyone to remain in an abusive relationship. However, I know not everyone in an abusive relationship knows HOW to ask for help, or HOW to get out. I know that they may feel trapped.

More to my point though, is that I believe in hope, even if it’s only a glimmer, or only a fractal.

Take one step forward, then another. Hope. Ask. Share. Trust. Move forward with faith that you can heal, and that you can be free.

As my wise sister-in-law has taught me, “never let anyone steal your joy.” And there is always something to be joyful about, even if it’s only breath!

Live while you’re alive! Do things with people who fascinate you! Dream big!

Focus.

Only you see life through your eyes. Only you can decide what’s right for you.

To those who do not like Oprah, or do not understand her speech, it’s probably because you have not been through hell, or not the kind she spoke about.

I would encourage you to refrain from judging her speech on snippets, pundits remarks, or whatever political motivations you might think she has, etc. because for some people (like me), her speech was so vindicating and liberating that we may never be the same!

I’ve been waiting a lifetime to hear it! And I am not alone. So, please, don’t steal our joy!

Thank you, Oprah!

Here’s to the many who will be empowered to say, “Me too. Until now.”

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Everything resolves to Gratitude. Everything.

So today’s story (boys and girls), is about Gratitude with a capital G, in ALL circumstances:
A typical scenario
A corporate office type, yet meditative gentleman, drives over an hour each way to work, one afternoon notices a car flashing his lights at him.
Was the following driver a Good Samaritan (an angel) perhaps? Trying to warn our meditative man of something wrong?
As it turns out, after the gentleman arrives at work, he checks his rear tires and finds tread hanging from one of them! He has a spare, but prefers to buy two new tires.
He calls his wife on the phone.
But, his wife informs him that they have “no money in our budget for tires.”
Our main character becomes disgruntled.
Later the this man feels he wasn’t bold enough with his wife.
However, from our vantage point, we can see that neither realized:
A) they should be grateful the man has a job and that he got to work okay (and did not have a tire blowout or cause an accident)
B) the good samaritan or angel warned him about the tire
C) that new tires are cheaper than accident related costs (deductible, time off work, etc)
After a tense dialog with wife about the tires…Man said his wife is under pressure preparing for a Bible study program.
We find that the irony in this story is:
What is the point of Bible study (or any spiritual practice) if we cannot open our eyes to all the blessings afforded to us in the moment they occur?
Caring About How You Feel
Wayne Dyer shares his own personal experiences with forgiveness, inspiration and creativity, and staying in tune with Source Energy while Abraham delivers poignant answers to both Wayne’s and in turn, humanity’s most pressing questions.
Do you have to constantly be aware of your thoughts? I mean they just come and—
No, but you do have to care about how you feel, because if you care about how you feel, when you start down the track that is not in keeping with the Source within you, you’ll feel the emptiness. Emptiness is a good description, because that’s exactly what it is. You have diverged from what Source thinks about a particular subject or situation.
That’s amazing, because years ago when Wayne first got a cell phone, he had to put an outgoing voicemail message on it, and was very heavy into Abraham-Hicks’ work at the time. And so his message said, “This is Wayne Dyer that you’ve reached. And I want to feel good. So if your message is designed to do anything other than that, you’ve reached the wrong number. Perhaps then you want to call Dr. Phil or someone, you know, who wants to hear bad news.” And so it was, that for many years, that was Wayne’s outgoing message on his voicemail–because he always wanted to feel good.
That’s the message that Source has, too.
Right. So when we’re having thoughts that don’t make us feel good—we’re in a relationship with someone that doesn’t feel good; we’re in a job that doesn’t feel good—is Source Energy going to offer us some experiences that are going to match up to what we are thinking that is feeling bad, feeling horrible?
It isn’t Source that’s giving it to you. There are no lessons being applied.
Well, I mean certain people show up in your life experiences, synchronistic kinds of things.
Things are always working out for you—always.
So, it’s like your gauge to look at your feelings. What does this feel like in my body? And if it doesn’t feel good, instantly go back to whatever thought it is that I’m having that is allowing this to take place? I mean, can we all just always feel good all the time?
The way Abraham likes to explain it is that when you offer a thought about anything, Source, who is always walking with you, thinking with you, living with you, is having a thought about the same thing.
That’s really important to hear.
And when you feel good, your thought is in sync with the way Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient Source thinks about it. And when you feel bad, you’re off the track of what Source knows about it. And you also have to understand that you are the one who came up with the desire to begin with. You are the one who told Source who-you-are and what you want. In other words, you are the creator of your own reality. Source is the one who holds the vibrational frequency of what you’re asking for.
If that’s a little much to grasp, think of it this way, you envision how you want your life to be, and God puts everything around you, for you to live your life, just as you envision it. However, you often can’t believe that is true, so your lack of Faith, makes that true. You live smaller than you could.

Not to dwell much about the negative thought, but “Do I have an improved option?”

Instead of labeling our thoughts positive and negative, let’s say, improved or not improved.

In other words, it’s the best thought we can find, at the time (as all of this is done “in the moment”).

Depending upon the lens you see life through, it could still be a negative thought, but it might be enough to shift your feelings a bit into the happier place.

So, we have to take negative and positive out of the equation because that causes someone else to want to apply their standards about whether it’s positive or negative, and nobody else can apply their standards.

The only question is, is it an improved thought for me?

I have been saying, “Thank you for helping me make a better choice” for some time when confronted with strangeness, odd or baffling behavior. Ahhh, yes, this takes a bit of practice (or play).

Now, I’ll say, “Thank you for helping me make an improved choice for me.”

Take a walk outside and look at all of the abundance of nature that surrounds you. God created that. And then think to yourself, God created You! As we learned in the Beattitudes, if God clothed the flowers in the field so gloriously, would God not also do the same for you, if you were to but Believe it into being?
It’s not possible for you to desire something that would be detrimental to anyone, and feel good at the same time, because if you set forth an intention like that, you would deviate from the vibration of Source and you would feel the emptiness of it. So, there is no need to worry that something you may want, would in any way reduce it from someone else (or keep it away from someone else). It is not selfish to desire. It is only selfish to hoard what you have. Desire, create, and then GIVE out of Gratitude!
So, it really is all about caring about the way you feel, about thinking more deliberately and on point about how you feel. And maintain your FOCUS.
My take aways on this are:
Ask myself, does this thought or statement, unify or divide?
How does it make me feel?
Emotions were given to me by my LIMITLESS, Ever-Living, Filling ALL Space, Creator Source Energy God — do I honor my feelings??
If not, then move toward finding ways to feel better (not worse) about whatever subject I’m thinking about.
Is X of value to me right now?
Abraham or anyone else’s opinion is irrelevent.
It’s only ever and always about, “How does it make me feel”?
Better feeling thoughts about work:
Who’s running the asylum?
Not my Circus, not my monkeys!
Thank you for helping me make a better choice.
I can always choose to be kind.
I can always send them love.
How you feel about yourself, affects others. Walk in Gratitude ALL ways.
And if you ever feel that you’ve messed up, it’s okay. Because in the end, everything resolves to Gratitude. Yes, really, it does.
Thank you. Namaste. OM

Metaphysical musings on The Beattitudes 

For this journey let us first discipline the discussion by presenting you with some definitions, which hopefully can be shared, as:

  • The BE-attitudes. Attitudes of BE-ing, how we can be, or may become perfect. (As in “Be ye perfect…”)
  • Perfect. A way of BEing whole, flowing with the electrifying presence of, or perfected in the awareness of God.
  • Metaphysical. Anything beyond the physical manifestation. More than being physical. Unanswerable mystery. Each being either distinct from God (as in, mirror likeness) or part of, flowing with God.
  • God. LIMITLESS, Ever-Living, Filling-All-Space, Creator Source Energy. Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and End. Chi or Qi. YOWAH or Great Spirit. All That Is And Ever Shall Be. OMnipotent, OMnipresent, OMniscience.
  • God Bumps. A bodily feeling of an electrifying presence believed to be the flow of  Limitless, Ever-Living, Filling-All-Space, Creator Source Energy flowing through you. Do not ignore it, or deny its presence, as that would be blasphemous against your knowing, yes, even your alignment with God. Denying the power thereof would be akin to blasphemy.
  • Translation. A different way of interpreting the same words. That is, my heavy assumption is that each Bible translator had the same original papyrus or scroll from which the specific books were translated.

About the markings (acronyms) used throughout this article:

I am quoting/referencing first from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) here, and I will be citing (not presenting the entire scripture for brevity’s sake), and then I will note the reference to the Holy Scriptures of the Restoration (marked as HSR) and the Ferrar Fenton (FF) translations to provide additional meaning, as I feel appropriate. Finally, I will add the metaphysical musing (MM) after each segment of scripture, which are thoughts and words that flowed to me by grace for our continued learning.

MM opening statement: The sermon on the mount, or Beattitudes, written long after Jesus the Christ physically walked the Earth, was learned and held deeply fast by His disciples, who then, in turn, taught others and founded churches.

As you might imagine, the ones who learned these sermons directly from Jesus and were disciplined in living His teachings, would teach and write (or have scribes write) the messages, as Jesus’ words were like literal food for the disciples–they would give their own lives for the Word.

It has been said that the Beattitudes were compiled from many of Jesus’ own sermons, as presented during different times and various outdoor locations, so it would seem natural that if one would desire to draw closer to Him that you would sit with, or meditate upon these words to obtain each nuanced meaning, yes, every deep and profound aspect that can sustain you, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Much love and many blessings to you in ALL ways. Amen.

The Beatitudes

Matthew Chapter 5 

When Jesus saw (FF: observing) the crowds, he went up (FF: ascended the hill) (HSR: into a) the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

(HSR: Blessed are they who should believe on me; and again, more blessed are they who shall believe on your words, when ye shall testify that ye have seen me and that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe on your words, and come down into the depth of humility, and be baptized in my name; for they shall be visited with fire and the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.)

Blessed are the poor (FF: gentle) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (HSR: Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit, who come unto me; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)  MM: Many readers are confused by the terms, “poor in spirit”, or even “gentle in spirit” here. But we must remember why Jesus is teaching his disciples, to prepare them for a time when he will not be in the physical form, and the disciples will need to go into all of the world and convince them to come unto Christ Jesus. I believe this is why the HSR adds the two verses prior to verse 3 in the other Bible translations).

Blessed are those who mourn (FF: the sufferers), for they will be comforted. MM: It seems all have at the least, one moment of suffering in their life. It would be good to know then that Jesus really, loves you–through and through.

Blessed are the meek (FF: kind-hearted), for they will inherit the earth. MM: Do you want the Earth? It doesn’t seem like many people want a pure Earth, the way in which it was at the beginning of humankind. Most want to rape and plunder Earth’s resources, including its inhabitants. If you really want to inherit the Earth, act like it. Show me. Plant a garden. Plant a tree. Learn how to plant flowers in a garden instead of using pesticides to keep the bugs at bay so your vegetables will grow healthy. Sing to the plants. When you take a plant for food, plant the seeds from it to propogate more food. OMniscience has given you all you would ever need, but you misuse it. Learn. Appreciate. Be mindful of needs vs. wants. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (FF: satisfied). (HSR: filled with the Holy Ghost). MM: When you know that you know. For me, it’s when I feel the inner physical sensation of God Bumps, as I have coined the term, explained elsewhere in my blog articles.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive (FF: shall secure) (HSR: obtain) mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (FF: God Himself).

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (FF: shall be declared God’s own sons). MM: Curiously, many other times in the Bible, it refers to all men and women as being God’s children. Must it be then, that we have all been created with the capability to be peacemakers?

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted (HSR: for my name’s sake) for righteousness’ sake, (FF: on account of righteousness) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (FF: You are blessed whenever they curse and persecute you, and say every vile thing against you, falsely, because of Me. Be glad and delighted…). MM: For many, this may be the hardest lesson to learn in this life. If you had another turn at it, would you want it? Maybe it would be wise to sit with this one longer, until you really get the fullness of its meaning. 

13 You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste (FF: strength) (HSR: savor), how can its saltiness be restored? (FF: with what can itself be salted?) It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. (FF: It is then good for nothing, but to be flung out and trodden under foot by mankind.) MM: Note here that when we lose our ability to make peace, and allow peace to be the norm on Earth–that would occur after all people would come to know Christ Jesus–then we are again on/in the ground of the Earth, similar to the Hell that was discussed earlier.

14 You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket (FF: corn measure), but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works (FF: conduct) and give glory (FF: praise) to your Father in heaven. MM: Especially to the light workers, you must set the bar really high in this life–love one another! When you speak of others, raise them up! Let all whom you encounter, walk away feeling the best that they can about themselves. 

17 Do not think (FF: imagine) that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill (FF: complete them). 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven (FF: the heavens) and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass (FF: disappear) from the law until all is accomplished (FF: has been completed). 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, (HSR: he shall in no wise be saved in the kingdom of heaven) will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (HSR: shall be saved in the kingdom of heaven). 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (FFIf, therefore, any one shall make light of one of the least of its commands, and shall teach men so, he shall be declared the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever teaches them and acts up to them, he shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that if your righteousness does not surpass that of the professors and Pharisees, you can by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven.) MM: God is great, and God teaches everyone via life experience. That’s why we’ve all come to this Earth.

21 You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times (FF: You have heard that it was said by the ancients), ‘You shall not murder’; (HSR: Thou shalt not kill) and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ (FF: if a man should murder, he would be liable to punishment.) (HSR: shall be in danger of the judgment of God.) 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. (FF: But I tell you, that every man quarrelling with his brother will be liable to punishment; and if he should call his brother ‘Scoundrel,’ he will be liable to the High Court of Justice; and whoever shall call his brother ‘Rebel,’ will be liable to the branding by fire.) (HSR: But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of his judgment, and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, or Rabcha, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire.) MM: This is one of the passages that is often most frightening as we are not told what we are not supposed to kill. The Essenes ate from living plants, without killing the plant, because of the way they interpreted the law. At some point, the word “kill” became “murder” to insinuate that we should not murder another human being. I also believe this is why in many states of the USA, we have abolished capital punishment. And no doubt, this is also the main reason Christians, and people of faith, are against abortion. If you forget other passages of the Sermon on the Mount, this is certainly one that needs to be pondered and well understood. When you kill with your intentions to break a creature’s spirit, use a hateful tone of voice, or other hurtful physical actions, are these not just as harmful?

23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. (FF: Therefore, even if you have carried your offering up to the altar, and you should there discover that your brother has suffered any wrong by you, leave your offering even before the altar, and go away; first be reconciled to your brother, and then returning, present your offering.) MM: Giving tithes to a church does you no good, and certainly doesn’t do your soul any good, if you are holding any kind of hurt feelings, bitterness, jealousy, or such against your brother, neighbor, family member, or anyone you have had any kind of personal dispute with–either in person or online (virtual / social media). Make up with the person or whatever you have to do to patch things up, forgive the person and yourself, and then, feel and notice the love you hold for the person and yourself within your heart–before giving any tithes (gifts, money, or service) to the church. We are each mirrors of each other, and aspects of God, so we cannot hold animosity against anyone, for any reason, without a kind of boomerang effect turning that angst right back around on us. God will not accept tithes from us while our heart is in such a dark state.

25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser (FF: make friends with your accuser quickly) while you are on the way to court with him, (FF: while you are in his company) or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. MM: Make amends with anyone who believes you have wronged them. As was just stated previously about tithing, this lesson goes far beyond tithes and offerings to God. What hurts one, hurts all. We Are All Connected.

27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks (FF: looks lewdly) at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Note: The NRSV, nor the FF contain this next verse, however, I believe that the King James version does include it. HSR: Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.)

29 If (FF: If, therefore) your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better (FF: it will be profitable) for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell (FF: perish in the Pit). 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away (FF: from you); it is better for you to lose one of your members (FF: limbs) than for your whole body to go into hell (FF: perish in the Pit). (HSR: Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.) MM: The word Hell in the Bible is referring to the ground beneath our feet, or within the Earth. It was long thought that since fire/lava flowed to the surface of the Earth, from deep inside the Earth, that Hell must be a terrible, never-ceasing pit of fire. People used to say, they were going “helling for potatoes” when they were going to go dig potatoes out of the dirt. Hell should not be thought of then, as a place of terrible burning torment. However, Hell as in meaning one will lay forever in the dirt, is nearly just as gruesome of a thought, for if one does not know God in one way or another and is cut off from God, then spending eternity in the grave could be considered just as awful and lonely. From another perspective, your eye, or your view of the world, can be hell if all you see around you is dark, evil, or foreboding. One can live in that kind of underworld. And in that scenario, when we see bad all around us, we think it’s all bad. But the good news is that you don’t have to live like that. You can choose to see with new eyes, or realize the abundance of nature around you, of the beauty of life. There is good in the world. Choose to see it! This also reminds me of a philosophical question. Do you believe the Universe is friendly? The way you answer that question will clue you in as to how you see the world.

31 It was also said (FF: decreed), ‘Whoever divorces (FF: dismiss) his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity (FF: fornication), causes her to commit adultery (FF: he represents her to be an adulteress); and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. MM: Some see this as God’s intent to punish women, but others see it as a way for God to hold the married man accountable, since in the old days, and in many times still today, once a woman has married she has lost her dowry, any gifts her parents had to give her and her husband, and of course, her virginity / youth. We know from other scripture verses that God hates divorce. Could it be that is because divorce is costly and cruel to all parties, especially the couple’s children. It causes so much suffering. The next verse discusses breaking of oaths, marriage is of course, one of the highest oaths anyone can make to another person, so it should be obvious that it must not be entered into without careful prayer, fasting, and the most discerning of knowledge of yourself and the person you intend to marry. These verses show us how loving God is, by showing us that God seeks to spare us of the hurt and pain of divorce. You see some animals in nature only take one mate for life, how much more does God want this for us.

33 Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely (FF: not perjure yourselves), but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word (FF: language) be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one. MM: When we speak from our aligned selves, our innermost self that is a spark of God, what we speak resonates with (vibrates with “like” frequency) all of creation! Ahh, the sweet Harmony! Yet, how often can it been seen, that even after leaving church or synagogue, one might curse or swear at someone who cuts them off in traffic, which might have put our friends and family at risk of accident or injury? Often, so it seems, the cursing is done out of fear. Many people vow never to eat a certain food again, drink a certain beverage, or vow to repay another, even swearing in God’s Holy name, and then very quickly forget what they vowed to do. God is LIMITLESS! God is OMnipotent, OMnipresent, OMniscience! God has created everything! God rules over ALL of Creation, of which you are only a fractal part and has full reign to teach you in duplicitous, mirror-like, or LIMITLESS number of ways (using any means). Yet, you believe, just because you have a mouth that can say anything, that you have been given the gift of breath to be able to make hollow vows? You can only make your hair light or dark by a chemical process, but God is ruler over ALL. Might you consider this before you take God’s name and make any kind of vow in the future. Note: the so called evil ones are of lower vibration. Keep your vibration high (pure positive), not focusing on, or speaking of the lower vibrations and automatically the lesser vibrations are kept at bay.

38 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer (FF: Do not contend with the wicked). But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you (FF: drags you to law) and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. MM: What you resist, persists. You can battle someone to the death. What good does it do? Where you flow your attention and Energy, that vibration is the one that will grow. So, if you find yourself with one of a lower vibration, you have the ability to choose to depart from that person. Don’t hang out with those who make you feel bad! You’ve been told not to cast your pearls before swine, and this verse is aligned well with that philosophy. If you’ve chosen to stay around this one of lower vibration, however, you must give, and give some more, perhaps until it hurts, so that you will not make this mistake, or misstep, again. Whatever you give, of course, consider it charity to the lower vibrational one who does not know any better. Turn, leave and be blessed as you walk away. It doesn’t hurt you to give to a beggar, as it ALL belongs to God anyway! It wouldn’t hurt you at all if you were NOT ATTACHED to “things.” But in the instance of someone hurting your feelings, that should show you what you are prideful about, and because God loves you dearly, he sent Jesus to teach you that you do not have to carry the pain or embarrassment around with you of any particularly hurtful incident, just move forward. Only swine wallow in their mud forever, and you my dear, are a pearl.

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for (FF: bless) those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise (FF: He raises His sun) on the evil (FF: bad) and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors (FF: extortioners) (HSR: publicans) do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles (FF: extortioners) (HSR: publicans) do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. MM: Ah, this is a good one! So many people interpret this literally, splitting all kinds of hairs about who your neighbor is or is not, and who your enemy is or is not. Ah, the bicker about all of that and miss the larger point entirely! It may sound difficult, but it is really simple. If you can bless your enemies, EVERYTHING in life is easier! No one ever said that everything, every transaction, every relationship, every encounter, would be fair. No! But, this is a Universe of inclusion, so the sun and the rain occur for all. The higher your vantage point though, the more beautiful and fair the world looks. Therefore, aim your sights high. Love big! Turn from the ones who seek to do you wrong, give them whatever you need to in order to cut them loose, then you’ll be able to help so many more who really deserve your generous gifts. Wholly, see all others with as much compassion as you can muster. One day, you may be in need of that same compassion.

Matthew 6

Beware of practicing your piety (FF: charities) (HSR: alms) before others in order to be seen (FF: with the intention of being observed) by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. MM: Ah, once again we are taught a lesson about pride. Just as we were instructed to give to the poor, and go the second mile when we feel victimized, we can choose whether we seek our rewards in this physical manifested life, or in the spiritual (only real) life. Seek ye first the Kingdom…

So whenever you give alms (FF: do a kindness), do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised (FF: secure the praise of men) (HSR: have glory of men) by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. MM: It seems that Jesus had quite a lot to say about pride. Was it because He lived in a time when a lot of supposed righteous people really did not know God at all, much less, live it? I dare say, even today, hypocrites abound–especially in the churches. Would you be so bold (like Jesus) to overthrow the money tables at your churches bingo event, bake sale, yard sale, or other money-maker?

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you (FF: return it to you openly)MM: Who stands when they pray? Who kneels in their prayer closet? What religions teach people to stand and pray in the streets? Was Jesus really concerned about a person’s bodily position and location, or rather, wasn’t He most concerned that people who say rote (memorized) prayers, do not truly know (feel in their hearts) what it is that they are asking from God?

When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do (HSR: use not vain repetitions); for they think  that they will be heard because of their many words. (FF: make use of no babble, like the heathen; for they imagine that they will be listened to because of their volubility.) Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (FFDo not therefore imitate them; for your Father knows your necessities before you can ask Him.) MM: Again, by now, don’t we all get Jesus’ message pretty clear? Pride and prayer do not go together. Where one is, the other is not. Humility, brokenness, and simple words that you really feel, with heartfelt intent, that is all that is needed when you pray. In fact, you’ve already prayed enough! God knows what you have need of before you pray, so why not just sit in silence instead? Be still and know that I Am God.

Pray then in this way: (FF: Consequently, you must pray in this way) (HSR: Therefore, after this manner shall ye pray, saying)

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.
12     And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,
        but rescue us from the evil one.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

(FF: “Our Father in the Heavens; Your Name must be being Hallowed;
Your Kingdom must be being restored
Your Will must be being  done both in Heaven and upon the Earth.
Give us to-day our to-morrow’s bread;
And forgive us our faults, as we forgive those offending us, for You would not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from its evil.
For if you forgive men their faults, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. But if you do not forgive those who wrong you, then neither will your Father forgive you your misdeeds.”)

(HSR: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. They will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, who trespass against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses.”)

MM: Truly, Jesus is asking you to trust in God. Have faith. No one, not even the richest most wealthy person will take ANY of their THINGS with them when they die. And all will experience a physical death. And further, even those with all the money, stocks, bonds, gold, diamonds, and so on, can lose it all with one bad decision, or government or otherwise. No amount of insurance can give you peace of mind about EVERYTHING. So, give it to God. Give it ALL to God. 

16 And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on (FF: dress) (HSRanoint) your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. MM: Who fasts anymore? For many years I did not think I could ever fast, perhaps it is the same with you. Why? Because Americans in particular, are conditioned (programmed) to eat at least 3 times a day! Once I decided to really study natural health and nutrition, along with many different kinds of ‘diets’, and even, look into how the Essenes, monks and guru’s lived, then did I decide to try fasting. The health benefits alone are absolutely astounding!!! If I had any severe health issue, the first thing I would do is fast. I am so serious about this one particular topic that I have other articles on that, which if you want, you can read here and here–after you finish this one of course! Sweetly, as soon as I finished writing that, about health, it flowed to me that Jesus was teaching about fasting for the spiritual opening, expansion, and understanding it can bring! Yes, ahh, blissful enlightenment!

19 Do not store (FF: hoard) up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume (HSRcorrupt) (FF: destroy) and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. MM: Who still has difficulty understanding what Jesus is talking about? The most important thing in your life should be to please God. 

22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy (FF: sound), your whole body will be full of light (FF: illuminated) (HSRThe light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single to the glory of God, they whole body shall be full of light)23 but if your eye is unhealthy (FF: diseased) (HSR: evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! MM: Now, I will share some words my mother wrote in the margin on this page of her Holy Scriptures: “The light of the body is the eye, let it be single to the purpose of God.” What is flowing to me is that the only way to rightly interpret this passage is metaphysically. When you consider what Jesus said before, about plucking out one of your own eyes should it offend you, causing you to lust after a woman or to covet someone else’s possession, it should be obvious that this is not about your physical eye. It may be referring to your third eye, or the part of brain that discerns right from wrong, light from dark, or about the densities of vibration. It may also refer to the “I” of “I Am”, the Great Spirit of God within YOU. If God’s Spirit is within you, you will be spiritually healthy, but if you have done all you could to disconnect (not acknowledge) God’s Spirit within you, the Divine spark of God that we are all given at birth, then you will be spiritually dead.

moms verse.jpg

(HSR: Additional verses: And, again, I say unto you, Go ye into the world, and care not for the world; for the world will hate you, and will persecute you, and will turn you out of their synagogues. Nevertheless, ye shall go forth from house to house, teaching the people; and I will go before you.) MM: It is interesting that Jesus was telling his disciples, those disciplined enough to LIVE Jesus’ teachings, that the world would hate them. That the world would persecute them and kick them out of their synagogues. I can tell you that while I can appreciate the artistry of the architecture of temples and churches, those buildings do not represent “church” to me. When two or three of us gather to talk about God, Spirit, and the ever unfolding of OMniscience, that is where my “church” is, and I believe God is with us in that moment! We Are All ONE.

24 No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted (FF: honor) to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. MM: Myriad of books have been written on this subject. But I tell you, if you believe that God owns it all, and we are but a fractal of the ever-reaching, ever-effervescencing OMniscient God, then how can we store up any part, of anything, and call it “ours”?

25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about (HSR: take no thought for) your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about (FF: respecting) your body, what you will wear. Is not life more (FF: more important) than food, and the body (FF: itself than its clothing) more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air (FF: Just look at the birds in the sky!); they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value (HSR: ye not much better) than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying (FF: fretting) add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider (FF: Reflect upon) the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive (FF: flourish) today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven (FF: fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles (FF: heathen) who strive (FF: hunt eagerly) for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things (HSR: Why is it that ye murmur among yourselves, saying, We cannot obey they word because ye have not all these things, and seek to excuse yourselves, saying that, After all these things, do the Gentiles seek)33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. MM: This continues to provide examples about what to put first, God, or making money. If you but only put the Kingdom of God first, then all of the other things, whatever you have need of, will be given to you. Ahh, doesn’t this simplify this a bit? Before your feet hit the floor each morning, give thanks, pray, meditate, study any and all words that will align your innermost BE-ing with OMniscience OMnipresence that is ever potent, OMnipotent, to ease your way each day. What an Aha this knowing is! How freeing is this? You are not a slave, you are free. The truth sets you free, and the truth is knowing that you and ALL belong to, are a part of LIMITLESS OMniscient God. YOWAH. Great Spirit. 

34 So do not worry (FF: fret) about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries (FF: trouble) of its own (HSR: the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself). Today’s trouble is enough for today (FF: The care of each day by itself is quite enough). MM: It is not needed that you cry about what happened yesterday. Nor will you be anxious about anything that may or may not happen tomorrow. Stay in the NOW. Be present, real, compassionate, and kind with everyone you deal with. With new eyes, you will not see trouble. You will see ease and grace. Love!

Matthew 7

Do not judge (FF: condemn)(HSR: Judge not unrighteously), so that you may not be judged (HSR: but judge righteous judgment)For with the judgment you make (FF: according to the sentence you pronounce) you will be judged (FF: convicted), and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck (FF: dust) in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log (FF: chip) in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye (FF: eye of your brother)MM: Some say that “neighbor” refers to another of like-mind. However, typically a neighbor is defined as someone being situated next to or very near (another). When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, he used the word neighbor to define those who happened to be traveling that same road. If we use logic to define the word neighbor, we can discern that a neighbor could be someone we like, versus an enemy that we would choose to stay away from. However, we often cannot choose our neighbors or our family, as we would choose our friends. As well, if we are to love our enemies as Jesus loves us, this seems to expand the meaning in a flowing-outward way. If, therefore, you can love your enemies, everything in life becomes easy. And since Jesus came to forgive us, and indeed save us from suffering and anguish in the after life, it would seem to fit together that He would want to reduce our earthly suffering as well by having us learn to love, looking over differences, and helping anyone when we can, in the moment. Prefer communication over conflict. Side with cooperation over competition. 

(HSR: Additional verse: And Jesus said unto his disciples, Beholdest thou the scribes, and the Pharisees, and the priests, and the Levites? The teach in their synagogues, but do not observe the law, nor the commandments; and all have gone out of the way, and are under sin. Go thou and say unto them, Why teach ye men the law and the commandments, when ye yourselves are the children of corruption?)

Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, (FF: for fear) or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul (FF: rend) you.

(HSR: Additional verse: For the world cannot receive that which ye, yourselves, are not able to bear, wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you.)

Ask, and it will be given you; search (FF: seek), and you will find; knock, and the door (FF: it) will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake (FF: serpent)11 If you then, who are evil (FF: corrupt), know how to give good gifts (FF: bestow benefits) to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things (FF: benefits) to those who ask him!

12 In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (HSR: Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.) (FF: Whatever therefore you wish men to do to you, do the same yourselves to them; for this is the law and the prophets. MM: It seems that by reading different translations of this verse, one could take it in a few different ways. It’s normally thought of as the Golden Rule, but I have met Christians who have told me the Golden Rule is not biblical. Like many things, it is open for debate and interpretation. If you have been following along to this point however, and see Jesus the Christ as a teacher, it seems reasonable to ascribe one meaning to this, yet, if you look upon Jesus the Christ as perfect, and the son of God, son of a LIMITLESS, Ever-Living, Filling-All-Space, Creator God, then I am inclined to believe he is teaching us a Universal truth, that however we wish people to treat us, if we treat them in the pleasing, fair, honest, and kind ways we wish to be treated, it will teach them by example, that we desire to be treated in like manner. It will also set an example (or boundary) for them to know the kind of treatment we will not accept, or at the least (if we are the long-suffering kind), we will not endure forever. 

13 Enter through the narrow (HSR: strait) gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy (FF: well paved) that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14 For the gate is narrow (HSR: narrow is the way) and the road is hard (FF: difficult the path) that leads to life, and there are few who find it. MM: If it seems hard to do, that’s most likely the path you should take. You did not choose to come to this earth to have it easy and eat bon-bon’s all day, you came to have many experiences, and learn many lessons. You will not take any physically manifested things with you to the Great Beyond when you leave this earth, but you will want to live a Connected and joyful life, both now and beyond, in whatever form or fashion the eternally, brilliant, pulsating, and thrilling Great Beyond looks like. 

15 Beware of false prophets (FF: false teachers), who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly (FF: in their hearts) are ravenous (FF: plundering) wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good (FF: useful) tree bears good (FF: useful) fruit, but the bad (FF: worthless) tree bears bad (FF: worthless) (HSR: evil) fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (FF: be used as firewood)20 Thus you will know them by their fruits (FF: Reject their produce; for by this you can recognise them)MM: Again, we are admonished to use enough discernment, so as not to be fooled. A good tree might make a mistake now and then, but overall, its fruit is useful. False teachers can come in many roles, not only as a religious teacher. False teachers might be in your family, or someone you may wish to marry. Consider the fruits from anyone you may hold up on a pedestal and take much advice from, before you sign any commitment, be careful of whom you are aligning with. It is said in other scriptures that it is unwise to be unequally yoked. Also, it is quite wise for you to examine your own fruit, to be careful that you learn from any missteps and apologize promptly and with sincerity. If you seem to find trouble at every turn, it might be you who is the worthless tree, producing worthless fruit, so seek out wise counsel and be ready to do the inner work to make the desired changes so for the rest of your life, you will produce useful fruit.

21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ (FF: Master!, Master!) will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy (FF: preached) in your name, and cast out demons (HSR: devils) in your name, and do many deeds (HSR: wonderful works) (FF: wonders) of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ (FF: depart from Me, you traders in lawlessness!) MM: This is the passage that most clearly establishes that there must be a way for us to know, along with the visible fruits of our daily thoughts and actions, whether we are in alignment with God in every moment. This is where the aforementioned God Bumps come into play. Once you know the feeling in your mind and body of alignment with the Divine, straying from that alignment in any moment, is what is meant by this passage as one who does not do the will of God. This also reminds me of a saying from my papa, “A mouth is made to say anything.” So, also a mind can conjure anything. So, just because people use the name of God, Jesus, angels, or such when they make bold claims, speak in tongues, pray aloud, and so forth, does not mean they are genuine. When the Spirit is moving you to speak, it will feel to you as though a team of wild horses cannot stop you–and often, after you have spoken, you will not remember what you said. Some call this channeling, or divine revelation. As well, if someone tells you they have a message from God or Spirit for you and you do not feel the message resonate with your inner being, let it be. In my experience, if a message is meant for you and you do not accept it initially, it will keep coming around in various other ways. Typically, if I receive the same or very similar message three times, (that I otherwise did not resonate with) I pay attention to it.

24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine (FF: listens to these precepts of Mine) and acts on them will be like a wise (FF: reflective) man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell (FF: the storm raged), the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act (FF: practice) on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall! (FF: and its wreck was complete!)” MM: We are given to know that if our foundation (inner being) is true, if our inner compass is in alignment with God, we can withstand or weather, any storm. There is another scripture verse that goes, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” It seems fitting to remind us of this at this time. Know who lives in you, who guides and directs your path. Observe your thoughts, as they become your words.

28 Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29 for he taught them as one having authority (HSR: from God), and not as their scribes (FF: professors)MM: I can imagine the many people who had never been allowed in a church or synagogue (due to their poverty, illness, or status), and Jesus speaking to them with authority. He would have spoken loving words to them and a message of hope and grace. His words would have brought an end of suffering to those afflicted with disease. Genuine words, not pious, ego-filled words. I can imagine His smile, his hand reaching out to those who begged for mercy or healing. I can imagine His love. It has been said that Jesus could get angry, but to whom was his anger directed. He demands honesty when we serve in His name. If you are attempting to reach your friends, family, neighbor, or enemy, be certain to lay your ego aside and then only speak as the Spirit leads. Being a member of any religion is not what saves any of you. Only what God sees and knows of you in your heart is what will save you. Make sure your whole heart is pure with the intention of always producing useful fruit. 

References:

New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible can be found at:

https://www.biblegateway.com

Holy Scriptures of the Restoration

http://amzn.to/2k0uy8s

Ferrar Fenton Bible

https://www.truthunity.net/books/ferrar-fenton-bible-matt.-5

https://www.truthunity.net/books/ferrar-fenton-bible-matt.-6

https://www.truthunity.net/books/ferrar-fenton-bible-matt.-7

Note: By way of writing and presenting this article, I am in no way adding to the sacred words of Holy Scripture, but I am using them in an effort to teach and enlighten ALL. If the words flowing through me in the sections marked as, MM, do not align with your truth (your particular knowing), that’s okay. These words are only offered as another of the myriad perspectives available at any given point in time. Just give thanks, as do I, for your participation.

Love One Another.

Amen. Namaste. OM

 

 

My Conscious Calling

I’ve shared this publicly before (on another website) back in 2008. But I found it again and thought I’d update it a bit to share here, on my personal site.
My conscious calling?
To redefine and grow mySelf in all areas of my life, with grace and ease, while sharing my truth openly and freely with others. Hopefully, my words will assist others, and empower each to find, or redefine their own truth, open to new things, see the Universe as friendly, awaken to the unseen world around them, and love God and others, more deeply and profoundly.

We are all connected. And I honor this knowing by maintaining a Facebook group by that name, and a blog page about all the ways we are connected.

I continue to learn and share about the mind, spirit, soul, and body connections we share, especially as it comes to bringing clarity, focus, and vision into my life and those I directly connect with, living every moment acknowledging spirit, and eating more plant-based raw foods + superfoods to enable more vitality to the body I inhabit.

I am a creative and technical computer systems professional, and I currently still enjoy the “play” of that. When I find it no longer amusing, it will leave my experience like a falling leaf from a tree.

For many years, I’ve been a participant on many internet sites such as, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, MySpace, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp, Amazon, Facebook (on and off), this particular blog site: Take It Upon Yourself, Being Wholly Vibrant, and more! I previously wrote about natural and holistic information under the name of: Mind 2 Xdreamz, and I previously developed and maintained a marketing website called Design2Xdreamz because the unlimited potentiality of being online fascinated me!

My secret to healthy living?

  • Understanding that the body obeys mind and spirit,
  • Understanding that no one needs to suffer,
  • Acknowledging and accepting that everything happens for a reason,
  • Joyously allowing and relishing in even the smallest of synchronicities,
  • Eating a mostly raw food diet and getting enough sleep and exercise so that the body I inhabit (my temple) is healthy and able to do everything I have been purposed on this planet to do,
  • Just “Be”ing,
  • Praying for all those I meet whenever they come to mind, breathing in the breath of God while walking, breathing out the life breath to the plant world, Using Energy Medicine and essential oils daily,
  • Living in a state of gratitude and harmony BE-ing connected to all of you,
  • Loving my family: My aWEsOMe supportive husband (so glad he found me in 2001), two grown children (Marie and Matt), our super duper and sweetie pie granddaughters, as well as, all living beings–plants and animals–on this, and the other side of the veil,
  • Knowing and seeing with “real eyes” that I am more than what you or I see. I am not my name, face, or any physical attributes. Thank God!

Honoring our Connections

My two adult children, and now my three amazing granddaughters are definitely my heart, and thrill me to the core to know and be with them, as I know so much more now about how our ancestors continue to live on in the DNA and bloodline these babies carry on–every relative of theirs continues to live on, physically through these girls, and also to the children they may have in the future. It makes my heart so full to think about it!

Of course, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life was to say yes, when my wonderfully  gracious, intelligent, and loving husband, Richard, proposed to me. Back then I didn’t want to be in a relationship and didn’t even believe in marriage anymore, my how times have changed! Now, I officiate weddings (as a Florida Notary Public), and it’s one of the work/play things that makes my heart soar! I love the whole idea of marrying people, bringing love birds and like-minds together with our LIMITLESS, Ever-Living, Filling-All-Space, Creator Source God as witness. OM

We care for our family and my friends – we reach out but do not suffocate – we’re here when they need us.

On religious / spiritual matters

I believe the Holy Ghost/Spirit of God is available to all of us. I never understood how people could believe God spoke once but never spoke again.

I believe the Bible, as translated correctly, is the inspired Word of God. I’ve known people in my life who must believe God is dead though because they do not believe He ever inspired anyone to ever write any other books. The logic of which, always escaped me.

I believe God is LIVING OMNIPRESENCE.

I believe there are many books, songs, art works, and more that are inspired by God, but I also believe that even if we read, memorized, fully understood them all, we’d still only have a glimpse into the LIMITLESS reality of God.

Since age 8, I have been a member of the RLDS faith (later renamed Community of Christ), but though I am affiliated, I no longer attend any one particular church (organized religion) because when I am talking and sharing with others about God and matters of the Heart and Spirit, that’s where “church” is.

Matthew 18:20 says, “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” That’s my church. That’s also when I feel what I call my, “God bumps”–yes, a very tangible tingling sensation in my body whenever I synch up with another on a deep or profound topic.

I believe we are each responsible for the care and feeding of our bodies in order to be in balance. We need to feed our mind and spirit, as well as our physical body. I have a lot of knowledge in the holistic and natural health area, but I’m always continuing to “do” what I know–integrating it all.

I believe our bodies can be healed by connecting with Spirit, acknowledging, and accepting the healing. If we fight, deny or resist, or in any way want to remain sick, we will. But to be ill in any way is not our purpose. We are called to be “whole”. Our purpose is to “be”. When I ask myself if these thoughts I have are true, yes, I believe they are absolutely true.

I challenge my thoughts everyday, so that I can weed out those thoughts that do not serve my (or others) best and highest purposes. I believe we all have the ability to “calm the waters” all around us, either by prayer, or action. We affect so much more than we know. And sometimes not throwing the pebble into the pond is the best action to take.

Careful — Your tone is showing

Every sound you utter is a certain tone. Yes, even when you grunt, groan, or hum—the sound you emit comes out as a specific tone. And tones transmit our intention. So, be careful dear ones, your tone of voice is showing what’s in your heart.

For years I’ve been curious about the “tone of someone’s voice” because I grew up in a house where arguing and yelling was the norm, and I hated it. 

There’s no blame here, as it wasn’t only my parents arguing. When I would retort in defense of a scolding, mom would say, “don’t speak to me with that tone!”

It became commonplace for me to cover my ears whenever anyone would raise their voice. And I always wondered, “why”?

I have come to know that I’m upset by harsh tones of voice because I am a sensitive, or empath.

Understand that my physical ears could take it, but the experience of someone yelling or screaming in anger near me would shake my emotional world.

Moreover, I knew my ears weren’t the problem because I’d attended many rock concerts over the years, and hung out with family and friends at many “Bike Week” events (motorcycle engines roaring) and that didn’t bother me. At least it didn’t bother me for many years. But something about a person yelling near me, with their intention of anger would totally upset my apple cart.

I knew there was a difference between someone screaming for help and someone yelling out of anger. I could hear it in the tone of voice. So, for the sake of this post, I’m probing the intention of anger / hostility.

Books have been written about how hurtful words disrupts the body and spirit. I believe that’s got a lot more to do with the tone of the voice delivering those hurtful words, than the actual words themselves. Especially since we’re all empowered and have the ability not to accept into us, the meaning of any word. (See my previous article, “Words are only as powerful as we allow.“)

Conversely, tonal frequencies can be healing to the body as I explored in my Tibetan bowl article:

“…specific tones (or frequencies) that resonate deep into your body. The harmonics of the tones can help you experience a connection throughout your entire body. And when we feel “connected”, a sense of calm and relaxation can be achieved.”
I now have a conscious choice when anyone is angry within my vicinity–I can leave. I do not have to subject myself to ill intent. I am sure over the years I have left too, in particular I can cite a couple of marriages ending (not solely due to the arguing, but I wouldn’t tolerate in any longer).
I believe this tonal thing is also why I resonate so much with peaceful music, and calm public speakers. I will not attend any lecture or other type of event where an angry tone of voice is being projected at people. I FEEL it. And I love the cells of my body too much than to subject any of the 70 trillion of them to that kind of abuse.
I know that loving intention produces a calming and gentle power within one’s body, mind, and spirit and that’s where I choose to reside.
For those who say fighting, arguing, and so on is a normal part of marriage–I beg to differ. My third husband and I have never raised our voices in disagreement in over 14 years together. There is a way to communicate, even debate, without spuing painful words at oneself or another.

Backed by hard science?

To a degree. Brain waves have been measured by scientists for many years. And scientists say that while we’re awake our normal brain frequency is in something called, Beta. Certain sound tools, or modalities can train the brain to shift into deeper Alpha and Theta brain wave frequencies. These are the frequencies one experiences after deep contemplative, mindful, or other types of meditative practices. Science can measure brain waves and make a correlation between sound therapy and the body’s healing response. Thus, sound is a type of energy medicine and can help the body heal from pain, stress, and more.

The bones and organs in the body all possess a different resonant frequency that can be scientifically measured.

It’s not possible for you to desire something that would be detrimental to anyone, and feel good at the same time, because if you set forth an intention like that, you would deviate from the vibration of Source–the spirit of God within you–and you would feel the emptiness of it.
Ah, at its essence sound is only vibration. Sound is only interpreted vibration by the hearer…
In the womb I was made from everything my mom breathed, ate, drank, thought, and felt. I had no say about those things. I felt the resonance of the vibrations of her intentions and emotion. What were the intentions of my mother? Was she worried? Thankful? Apprehensive? Eagerly anticipating? Joyful?
Intention can set the stage for what’s going to be most predominant in a child’s life!
May the tone of your voice always convey the intent of your heart.
Thank you. Namaste. OM

Who Am I?

I AM my ancestors (who continue to live in my DNA and blood), and Everything I’ve experienced up to this point since the moment of my physical birth–and perhaps from Beyond it too!

My physical body consists of “star stuff”: dirt and water, the elements of the earth and stars. I breathe, because our Creator Source once breathed a soul essence into a human being. No human has ever created another living breathing life from nothing. We make babies from a male and a female human BE-ing. Our breath originated somewhere. WE human BE-ings can only share breath. Our essence came from some ONE. That is logic.

Let me present some definitions to you, as you may need some context around this article before you can really “get it.”

  • Ancestors – anyone who shares my DNA and/or blood. I see this as a line, past, present, and future. What I experience today (in the Now), ah yes, is driven, or built upon, the foundation that all my previous living relations have experienced. This line allows me to affect change in the lives of those I am currently related to, as well as who will come down in the future–my legacy).
  • Blood – the viscous liquid coursing through my veins. It is a well established fact, and proven by my mother, that when a mother and father’s blood is incompatible a baby cannot naturally come forth from them. Yes, of course today it is known that with medical intervention a baby can be saved–but at times, there are still complications from the blood mismatch).
  • DNA – The biological, scientific explanation of the genetic carrier of information (deoxyribonucleic acid) that exists inside of each of us–not seen by the naked eye–which allows each of us to self-replicate. This substance is claimed to exist in “nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes.”
  • Aware / Awake person – One who has an open mind to acknowledge that there’s a lot more information around us than what our established five senses interprets on a daily basis.
  • Everything – All of one’s vibrations, energy, thoughts, ways of interpreting, and actions.

Why does it matter?

If I know who I am, then it gives me many clues as to why I’m here, and my purpose for living. Also, I feel it matters to my family, both past, present, and future.

Why am I writing this now?

To ease feelings associated with loneliness and loss, both for myself and others. And my hope is that the more we research and discuss our Connections, the better we can use our experiences to heal ourselves, and loved ones.

Background.

I’ve been interested in my genealogy for many years, and in particular my Native American roots since I love and am drawn to so many things said, and made by Native Americans. However, after my mom passed away (transitioned to the other side), I began experiencing stupefying co-incidences. Actually, I began experiencing incredible synchronicities even before, mama crossed over. And as an “aware” person, I began noting these occurrences and writing them down.

Before my mom passed, but after dad had called me to tell me she wasn’t doing so well, I had decided that I needed to find a piece of jewelry mom had given me years ago. In looking for the item though, I didn’t find it. Instead, I found a beautiful old watch of hers and a pocket watch, which I think had belonged to my grandfather (though I’m not sure).

I placed both items on our coffee table and felt better having these pieces near me. Call it a vibration thing, I don’t know. But I felt a bit better.

It was only a day or two until I got the call from dad that mom was unresponsive. My mind still wasn’t sure that meant she had passed though, so I’d reached out to my nurse friend to ask. I had kept busy for several hours that morning, pacing, and waiting on a confirmation from dad. I knew I wanted to get to where they were and be with dad–it was a “pull” that I’d not quite felt before. While preparing for the multi-state drive, at some point the thought came to me, “It was my time.” And bingo. That’s when it hit me. The synchronicity of the items I’d found was mom’s spirit telling me that it was her time to go, and for me to be okay with it–since she’d confirmed it by having me find not just one, but two, TIME PIECES!

She used to tell me as a teen that I was thick headed. So, I laughed out loud because I knew this was her way of reminding me of that also! That if I didn’t “get it” from finding her watch, then she’d make SURE that I understood that it was her time by having me find that second time piece! Aha! Mom was with me. I had even told someone a week or so prior that mom’s dementia sort of had her “one foot in this world, and one in the other.”

When my husband and I arrived in West Virginia, my dad was outside of the local hotel to greet us! No time was wasted! And as the Universe would have it, as we walked into the lobby of the hotel and conference center, a lone man was sitting there softly playing his guitar and singing. The song? One of mom and dad’s favorites, “Unchained Melody.” There was also, at this same time, a taxidermist convention going on–and my paternal grandfather was a taxidermist! It caused me to ponder, is mama (in the Great Beyond) hanging out with my grandparents? What a comforting and cool thought.

We spent several days with dad, but then it was time to go home. Before we could get out of the state however, my uncle would not take no for an answer that we needed to come to his home because he had something of mom’s for me. My aunt even got on the phone to tell me there was a mink coat amongst the things mom had put in their cedar closet. I couldn’t imagine my mother having a mink coat, so yes, the curiosity got the best of me and I did one of the purely selfish things I’ve ever done. I decided we’d drive a 3 to 4 hours out of our way, and go see my aunt and uncle and pick up whatever mom had packed away. My uncle also surprised us by calling my cousins and had them come to the house to visit us–something I’d never imagined would happen, but oh, how joyous that reunion was!

Finding mom’s wedding suit, and many special coats that I remembered mom wearing, along with other clothing she’d put aside, was all so very comforting for me. And as I spent weeks looking at old photos and seeing mama wearing these clothes, totally made me feel as though she was guiding my efforts. I poured through many photos in order to put together mom’s eulogy and photo slideshow.

In the weeks that followed, we would all discuss what kind of service to have for mom. My dad, so overcome with grief, would call me almost daily, and often I could hear the shakiness of his voice on the other end of the line. I tried my best to reassure him that he had more to live for, a purpose yet to fulfill.

Eventually, we’d agreed to honor my mama by having my uncle, mom’s brother, facilitate a memorial service for mom. I wasn’t going to go, but when I learned that my dad’s sister (who lives in California) would be there for her reunion during the same week, and wanted to also attend mom’s service, I began looking for a flight up. Initially, the airline I normally use, didn’t have any direct flights in. I tried to console myself that I’d just have to miss the service. But, out of the blue, the thought came to check ALL airlines, and I was able then, quite easily actually, to book a flight up with one airline into one city, and the return flight home with another airline out of a neighboring state–in the same town as one of my cousins also, whom I’d always wanted to visit with at her home!

More synchroncities.

As if, the audacity of the synchronicity of finding two of mom’s time pieces wasn’t enough, don’t you know that when I got to West Virginia for mom’s memorial service, my dad presented me with another time piece of mom’s, her favorite, “footprints in the sand” wrist watch!

Also, what really knocked my socks off, was that as soon as dad and I arrived at my uncle and aunt’s home for the service, I saw my uncle and he was wearing an indigo blue long sleeved dress shirt! If you haven’t read one of my previous posts called, “That Tiny Blue Dot” then you won’t understand the significance of this synchronicity, but the importance of it was not lost on me!

As well, the tables set up to be used for mom’s memorial service all had indigo blue plastic table cloths on them! I couldn’t have been more wrapped in love during that day, knowing mom was with me.

At  one point during the service an eagle or hawk flew directly over head! And after the service, I learned that the beautiful blooming tree (that can be seen in the videos I took of the service) is a crepe myrtle, and more than that, it had been brought back by my grandparents after a trip they’d taken years ago to Florida! I’d never known them to take a vacation in their lives, especially not all the way to Florida! I was astounded!

After the service, dad and I checked into the hotel. Quite purposely I had booked us a room at the same hotel where my dad’s sister was staying so we could visit more with her.

As it turned out though, it seemed mom had a hand in this from the other side, as while dad and I walked into the hotel restaurant area, he is looking around and tells me that he hasn’t been there in years—since he had picked up mom and one of her friends when they had imbibed and didn’t want to drive home! I was stunned! I had heard mom say she used to sell Avon at one of the hotel restaurant lounges during a particular span of time (when I had moved away and was busy raising my kids), but I had never gone there with her, and all these years later the hotel’s name had changed. Turns out we were right where we needed to be, as the friend dad mentioned, joined us for a cocktail and a beautiful conversation later that evening after my aunt left to attend a reunion function.

The morning after we’d returned home, I had awoken with a song in my head. It was an old song. Gilbert O’Sullivan’s, “Alone Again” would play over and over in my mind, and with it came the feeling that mom was giving it to me, to help me cry and release the grief.

I continue to notice and enjoy the many synchronicites that mom’s provides me. Most recently, it was meeting an artist friend who paints using a lot of indigo blue, that she herself had not realized she was using!

The importance of writing it down.

Historically, the church I was raised in kept intricately detailed genealogical records. They are publicly known for this. Because of this, and since it was always the church’s practice to offer their members something called a patriarchal blessing, mom had learned that she was from the tribe of Manasseh.

I also know, but as of yet have been unable to prove, that my mother, and her mother, carried the blood of their Native American (Cherokee) relatives. Since the Native American lineage is traced via the mother, and recorded on tribal rolls, I’ve bought many books on the Cherokee tribes and have found my grandmother’s maiden last name, but not her mother’s maiden last name. So many of the tribal rolls don’t even show a first name, or only first initials, making proving my Indian heritage nearly impossible. Please reach out to me if you have any suggestions. My great grandmother’s name was Hannah McGill Calhoun of West Virginia and her mother’s name was Louisa McDonald McGill.

Since I’d give anything to find some handwritten family history by my ancestors, I began writing, and later, blogging, so my granddaughters will have something to be able to know and understand a bit about their grandmother–me.

The importance of learning and continued growth.

You know, while writing my mother’s eulogy these words came to me, “I could burn a lot of people.”But I felt, based upon everything I’ve learned and accepted up to this point in my life, that it would be better to honor mom’s memory, life, and who she raised me to be, by choosing instead to elevate, and take the high road so to speak, because I am not angry anymore. I’m not.
For three weeks I poured through pictures of mom and my relatives. I cried. I got angry. But, I employed tools and tactics that I’ve learned over the last 10 years or so, to press on, release, and let go. By the end of the time I spent preparing my loving mother’s eulogy, I got to the point where I could just say, “Thank You.” Not just to my mother, but to many relatives and friends who, over the years, came and went, and taught us all many lessons.
I thank each of the people who have touched my life, for good or bad, for my personal growth. I believe the word “lessons” and the word “blessings” have a lot in common. And that either by the sins of commission or the sins of omission each of us can learn, if we are open to learning. Oh, we could bury ourselves in the dirt of these so called sins. But I make a conscious choice to learn from what’s happened to me. And now, I believe after we cross over in the ALL, that we then are able to see all of the intricate Connections, and come to know of the Why things had to happen in every circumstance, the way that they did.  All learning produces strength of character and more importantly, strength of spirit.
Do I still get mad sometimes? Yes.
Do I want to get revenge? Yes.
Would it change anything? No.
So, this is why I practice self-help, self-care, prayer, meditation, and other mind-body-spirit modalities. And slowly, I let go of the anger–and I get another side benefit from all of this work too, the resentments vanish.
You know, it’s ironic that mom’s remains are in her old bedroom of the house she was born in.
The place she would attempt to come back to once, and my grandmother (according to what mom told me) said, “You are welcome, but not with Sheila.” Either because she said this, or my mother interpreted her words to mean that because I was a part of my father, my grandmother did not want me to live in her house. My grandmother (at least at that time) did not like my dad, and I guess, that was the reason for her answer to my mother’s request.
These are the kinds of things I can’t seem to forget.
I believe the reason some memories nag us, is not to heap guilt (which is just another kind of thought) on us, but to remind us that we’ve missed a legacy lesson.
Mom always taught me to turn a thought about a problem, “over and over in my head” until a solution presented itself. Well, I sat with this for some time until a new thought came to me, “Let go of my hurt feelings, angst, even anger towards my granddaughter’s father. As I mentally released him from the prison I’d constructed in my mind for him, I’d break the spell (so to speak) of my grandmother’s words about me! Thus freeing my grandmother, my mom, myself, my daughter, my granddaughter, and so on! This is one small, or huge, example of the lesson I needed to learn. Perhaps I could apply it similarly in other situations?
Have I made mistakes too? You betcha.
Once, I talked with mom and dad about somehow helping them to buy them a new double-wide or other kind of trailer on their property, and they said, “No.” I replied something to the effect of, “Then, you can stay here in this place and let it fall down around you.” Ugh! My words came out the way that they did based upon the helpless feelings I felt at the time. I almost found it hard to live comfortably wherever I was living at the time, while watching my parents live in what I deemed was substandard housing. Plus, I had felt so much sadness that I couldn’t somehow free my mother from the trappings of her then painful life. But I realized later, there was nothing for me to feel guilt about since I did offer, and my offer was met with much resistance. Because I haven’t worked on freeing myself of these particular thoughts (resistance), you guessed it, my son is now going through this very same “clean up the property” experience with my dad.
You see? We each have a choice. We can accept offers of love and help, or we can choose to turn our backs and do it all ourselves.
Of course, now my mother is free. Free at last. And me? I will continue to seek solace in God and every living creature. Not in ashes. Not in trying to change the past.
While visiting Marie and my beautiful granddaughters over July 4th week, I said that perhaps mom’s strong faith, returned to her as her dementia progressed. She lived in utter gratitude daily for papa caring for her and any and all things my son, Matt, and his then wife, did for her. Total gratitude.
I believe the gratitude my mother displayed taught me to place great importance upon healing (with love and conscious awareness) those who carry her blood. All of her love beats within my spiritually open heart.
I Am Free.
Blessed be. OM

 

Eulogy for my loving mother, Betty Ann Williams

The following are my warmest thoughts, love, memories, and knowing of my mama, Betty Ann (BettyAnn) Williams, who passed away during the early morning hours of June 8th, 2017.

Where do I begin? Ahh, at the beginning, of course!

Betty Ann was the middle child of three. She had an older sister, Alberdia (also passed) and a much younger brother, Jim.

Mom, her sister, and parents lived through the depressive days of the 1940s. Life was hard back then. My grandparents taught my mother and her siblings the importance of hard work, honesty, integrity, establishing and maintaining a solid reputation, faithful church attendance, and service to others.

For many years, my grandfather was a truck driver, owning a maintaining a semi-truck tractor. He was also a farmer. I recall stories of my grandmother and grandfather putting in a large garden and raising animals. Mom always spoke fondly of those days, in particular about how her mother loved roses (grandmother had real knack with growing rose bushes), and that mom’s sister loved ducks! Mom gravitated to the cats–especially the calico variety of kitty cats. She naturally attracted them.

My mother’s parents always had farm animals around too, and would butcher one every so often. My mom used to tell me stories about that. Mom didn’t want to like a certain pig too much, as eventually she knew it would be on the dining table! I know a lot of people don’t care about such things, but my mom did! She just couldn’t get emotionally attached to something that she knew would end up being food!

I still hear mama’s voice in my mind about her early life, and how she loved helping her mother string beans, cook, and bake–oh the banana nut cake that my grandmother taught my mom to bake was so delicious that just the memory of it makes my mouth water! She also taught me about eating my vegetables (as most of my friends’ moms taught us to do!) though often we didn’t want to listen or heed that necessary instruction.

Mom grew up eating the freshest of food and knew exactly where her food came from. I barely recall the farm though, because my mom’s dad passed away when I was six years old, and after that, grandmother only kept a small garden–the animals were gone. Many years later, mom would work at a grocery store, and use her knowledge of various meats to educate her customers. Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the very things we learn when we are little, continue to assist us throughout our life?

Early life

BettyAnn had the most amazing naturally curly hair. My mom used to tell me about how her mother would take her hair, section by section, and wrap it around her fingers to create a stunning look. Even as a young girl, in this portrait, you can see how mom’s ringlets would dangle. You can also see that back then, the middle part was a way of parting one’s hair that would stay with mom for most of her life.

Mom said she didn’t like the special attention that the look of her hair used to bring. And that’s because mom never sought to be front and center. She preferred to be in the background. When singing in church, for example, mom didn’t want to be highlighted. Betty Ann never sought the spotlight. Though mom worked hard, and dutifully in a variety of jobs during the course of her life, she only wished to be privately acknowledged, if that. My mother was humble. She had a heart for service.

As a student, mom put a lot of time into her studies–she loved to read. She dreamt of being a writer. She told me many times that she had a book in her and that she hoped to write it one day. As meticulous as my mother was, and as many notes as I found of hers over the years, I know that is an aim she would have loved to accomplish.

Devout Christian

Speaking of reading, Betty Ann loved her Bible. I have mom’s three in one Bible that is probably about 80% marked up with notes and underlining!

Mom’s mother and father always had their children in church, and mom used to talk with me often about summer church camps she attended. She really enjoyed those outings!

Mama was also very proud of her father, my grandfather, who built many churches of their faith. He was also quite devout and he lead his family in a steadfast way. Their beliefs were followed up by wonderful good works, seen as a natural outcome from having solidly developed one’s faith.

My grandfather cultivated such a steadfast reputation around their hometown, that my mother, in particular, took that very seriously. Their “name” meant everything to them.

In this photograph, which included my grandfather’s brother and his wife in the back row, from left to right you see my aunt Alberdia (my mother’s sister), my grandmother, my uncle Jim (he was a young boy then), my grandfather, and then, kind of off to the right–my mother.

Mom was a prayer warrior and deep thinker. Whenever mom was trying to resolve something she said that she’d turn it over, again and again, in her mind.

Most of the things mom loved to study and talk about were of a religious and spiritual nature–my mother had a thirst for God!

Betty Ann was devoted to her family and church, and was as solid of a witness for Jesus Christ as I ever knew. She would defend the Lord until her dying breath, that was how certain she was.

My mother read a lot. She spent long hours in prayer and solitude. Looking back, I have wondered about all of the books she read. She loved John Wayne, and later on, Clint Eastwood. Mom sought the hero, the tough and rugged kind of many who would take care of her, and whom she would help to build a solid life with.

Mom also loved her parents home, and loved property. She never really liked small plots of land, always dreaming of having a house on acreage. That dream must have begun even as a girl. To this day, I learned all I know about mineral rights, from what my mother taught me as a teenager. It always amazed me to know how intelligent my mother was.

Little things really meant a lot to my mama. She thought deep thoughts, and ruminated over many things. She would tell me, “Whenever you’re trying to figure something out, just turn it over and over again in your mind until an answer comes to you.”

Mom also had many dreams and experiences with the Holy Spirit over the course of her life–especially her young life. I always felt that mama had a strong faith in God, and particularly in Jesus–so I kind of had a problem when worry and fear would set in. Even when I was about eighteen years of age, I realized that just having a strong faith, did not solve all of the problems in the world.

Yet, my mother’s strong faith allowed her the ability and stamina to reach out to others, even though she might be going through her own problems.

I recall many a night that mom would take me to one of her friends’ house to visit, often staying up until the wee hours of the morning talking about God, Jesus, Christianity–especially how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a true Christian faith, and how the Book of Mormon was the second witness, or second testimony of Jesus.

My mama could explain the Book of Mormon and the history of the RLDS faith better than almost anyone I knew. I’m sure my grandfather could too, but I was too little when he passed away to remember any of his sermons or such.

Spending years in church though, yes, even Sunday school, taught me many things, and created a Divine curiosity too.

Mama used to tell me if loving God was the only thing she’d ever taught me to desire for my whole life, then that was good enough for her to know she’d raised me right. Awe! Mom used to talk with me quite a lot about her spiritual experiences, and always hoped that I would also have similar experiences. I think my mother would be very pleased to know that I allow myself to be an open channel for God, and not only that, but that I meditate and seek daily for access to God and the LIMITLESS Omniscience that I perceive God is.

I am gifted that my mother, and her parents too, were believers in  present day revelation, which means, that God is Alive, and speaks to us in myriad ways. I honestly believe that my mom would be the most proud of me, not because I raised two loving children, or had a successful 30+ year career in technology, but that I am humble and OPEN to God–at all times, and in ALL ways.

I know mom wanted me to save more money, but I also know now, that from where she IS, where she continues to exist, she knows that none of us are defined by the money or things that we possess. So, again, I believe the Earth held great value for my mother. That God placed us all here to be good stewards of the Earth and all of the creatures God placed upon it.

 

In this picture, mom, her dad, her mother, and her little brother Jim, went to Fayetteville, North Carolina to visit her sister, Alberdia. I love this picture because I have so few of my grandparents. And because mom was smiling so sweetly.

My aunt Alberdia had lived in North Carolina for some period of time while her husband, my uncle Bob, was in the military service.

My mother was always very happy to drive, and if memory serves, mom had driven the family to North Carolina on this trip, which may have helped to explain the lovely smile she had!

Mama used to tell me that her father was always so busy giving to others (of course, a wonderful trait), that they did not often take trips together as a family–this would later continue to be the case with my mom and dad during my formative years.

(NOTE: I’d love to hear comments from any of our family about these and the other photos.)

I recall mom telling me about someone that she might have married, but the gentleman was Catholic. Mom’s RLDS faith was so important to her that she couldn’t bear to marry this other man (whom she’d known for some time before she met my dad) because any children they might have, would need to be raised Catholic. And while the structure of both the RLDS and the Catholic religions are similar, they are nonetheless quite different, thus mom ended the relationship with that man, before it even began.

Some of the best days of my childhood was spent going to church with mom, my grandmother, my aunt Alberdia, and my uncle Jim along with many close and long-time family friends, singing in the choir or just as a member of the congregation, and learning about the many wonders of our faith. We had prayer meetings, testimony services, baptisms, and more. And ever Easter was a celebration of our resurrected Lord. As I grew older, and even when my faith wavered, mom always reminded me that God had my back. That God would never, ever leave me. A strong faith she had, oh yes, absolutely.

School days

I don’t know much about my mother’s school days, but mom did ride the bus to school, just like I did. I can only imagine her sitting alone most of the time, perhaps reading a book or daydreaming.

Mom never liked the color yellow.

When people say that words don’t hurt, don’t believe them.

Dad has recounted that even when he would buy a piece of heavy equipment that was yellow, mom wouldn’t like it parked anywhere she’d have to look at it. When dad or I would ask mom why she didn’t like yellow, she would recall a time when she’d worn a yellow dress to school and about how a boy on the bus had commented something crude about “girls that wear yellow…” were easy, or something to that effect. After that, she never wore that dress again and grew a strong disdain for anything yellow.

 

Ironically, my five year old granddaughter, my mother’s great-granddaughter, Jennifer Ann, loves the color yellow–in fact, it’s her favorite color and has been since she could name a favorite! I think there’s some karmic healing going on there. At least, I hope so.

I’ve often looked at the photograph of my mom in the white blouse and dark colored shorts, looking down. I am sure it was one of those pictures when a person isn’t ready for the shot. However, it does say something about how meek my mother was. She was as gentle and humble as anyone I’ve ever known.

My mother loved animals too! All kinds of animals, but especially the little ones. Bunny rabbits, kittens, and squirrels were some of her favorites. Once when I was little, mom found a mouse that had just had babies, and she even card for each of the babies, as if we needed any more mouse around! It was kind of funny, but oh so very heart-warming that she cared so much, even about the seemingly needless little creatures, and that I’m sure most women would have wanted to kill.

Growing up, mom was very close with her family, as well as many special church friends. While raising me, she emphasized the importance of friendship. She remained friends with many of the same members of our church, who became as family, even until the last 10 or so, when dementia took it’s toll on her.

BettyAnn also held the priesthood members of the church in high esteem. In reading many of the passages she underlined in her 3 in 1 Bible, she had strong feelings about women holding priesthood office. That, among a few other things that I don’t need to into here, caused mom to quit attending church; even though she didn’t attend church however, my mother never disavowed her faith, and always prayed for her friends of her church, otherwise called her church family.

 

When mom started working, I think she put as much of herself into her work that she could. She didn’t just take pride in her work, she literally worked to a higher standard, as if God only was her supervisor. She put forth the very best of herself that she could when she was working.  I only wish that my mother had been more appreciated, at the time, for all of the effort she put forth, and for her incredible integrity.

Looking back, it seemed that my mother was always working–often two or even three jobs at a time. When I am sad about my mother’s passing, it usually centers around how hard she worked, and that in the end, I question how much of it matters.

Betty Ann knew the value of a dollar and could make a penny squeal. She worked and saved for everything she ever had, beginning in her teenage years, if not earlier. Mama knew how to buy quality and well made clothing, like the jacket in this picture. She put several things aside at her mother’s home in a cedar closet, and it surprised and warmed my heart to receive those items after her passing. I hope she will be honored to know that I am passing most of the clothes, that even after 40 or 50 years, are still in good enough condition to be put away for her great granddaughters to wear one day.

Many times mom did without many things in order to save money. She sure knew how to prioritize! In fact, mom left a legacy to me of how to only spend on what’s important.

Betty Ann was so happy to graduate high school. Her mother, my grandmother, only had a 4th grade education and though it didn’t stop my grandmother from accomplishing many things in her life, she was certainly proud of her children when they graduated high school.

Mom graduated in the Parkersburg High School (West Virginia) class of 1957. When the Statler Brothers song came out about the class of ’57, my mother loved it!

Whenever I would fuss about having to walk very far during my high school days to change classes, mama would tell me of all the times she would have to nearly run across the huge PHS campus to get to class. Looking back on some history though, I now read where PHS was one of the first high schools in West Virginia–and perhaps, that’s why it was such a large school!

Though my mother loved school and believed in education to help a person become successful, I do not recall that she had any desire to attend college, preferring rather to work and earn money. As well, I remember mom telling me that she even worked while she was in her last year of high school.

I love how my mother signed her high school graduation portrait to her beloved parents. I think that might have been the thing to do back then. But again, it shows the honor and respect mom had for her parents.

Speaking of respect, that word meant so much to my mother. And she strived always to respect anyone she came into contact with.

 

Love of driving

Betty Ann loved to drive! Mama often told me how excited she had been to be old enough to drive, to work and save her money to buy a car. She would volunteer to drive her church friends to church, church camp, or other types of activities.

Thinking about my mother’s love of driving then, it would make total sense that my parents would first meet at a drive-in restaurant. Looking back, I can see how unique it must have been for mom to have a rare night out that didn’t involve church, in order to meet my papa!

Some of my best memories as a child was when mom would take me with her and go out for a drive. We usually had plenty of reason to drive since we lived 17 miles from my grandmother’s house (the one in these pictures). If I couldn’t sleep, had a belly ache, or other health issue, mom would put me in the car and just drive. I am sure it calmed her down, as much as it did me.

Mom told the story for years about how once, when I was a wee toddler, I’d somehow managed to open the car door while the car was in motion! It scared her about to death, but she reached over and grabbed me by the hood of my winter coat, saving me. Whew!

Beautiful loving soul

By the time my mom met my father, she had grown into a beautiful young woman. In fact, when my father took her to him small home town to meet his family, some one hundred miles from where my mother was raised, he has told me many times over the years that many of his family, friends, and neighbors had thought he was bringing a movie star home.

As beautiful though, as my mother was on the outside, it was her genuine heart and love for God and desire to help others, that really touched people’s hearts. Mom was a friend to many, no matter their outward appearances. Granted, if someone–rare though it might be–would offend her deeply, she could turn away, but I can only count on one hand in my whole life, any such occurrences. Someone had to cut to the quick, and strike at mother’s abiding faith, before she would walk away from them. And since I believe that eulogies should always focus on the positive, that is what I will do from this point on.

Selfless connection. Yes, that aptly describes the inherent love my mother felt towards nearly everyone she ever met.

 

From my teenage years on, I questioned my mother many times about God, Jesus, our church, and family history. Mom always had much to say about her father, who not only built their family home, but about the churches, and other homes, he had built. Mom had the utmost respect and love for her father. Mama also loved her mother very much. In a way, you could say that my mother worshipped her parents–and their marriage set the baseline for the one she dreamed she would have.

When my dad met my mother, they were both out with friends. My mom had ordered a sandwich at the drive-in restaurant and my dad asked if he could have a bite of it. At first mom told him that he should buy his own, but if I recall the story right, she did oblige him to take a bite. When dad asked for her name and number, she gave her name, but said he would have to meet her in church if he wanted her number–or I suspect, to date her.

Betty Ann was ever so surprised the day (I think it was the following Sunday) that my dad walked through the doors of our church. He found her, and the rest as they say, was history.

Both would recount the story later on about how dad asked how old my was and she replied, “Twenty.” Then, she’d asked how old dad was, and he said, “Twenty, too.” It was not until they were filling out the form for their marriage license that mom would learn that dad meant he was twenty also. She had thought he was two years older than her, apparently for a bit of time, and was a bit upset at the revelation of his true age!

 

 

Mom and dad were married at her parent’s home in 1960. And as my parents were married in a home that my mother’s father built, I was also married in the home my parents built. The synchronicities have not been lost on me. However, just so you know, I am not romanticizing or placing my mama on a pedestal–yes, she was human–but for certain, if you knew BettyAnn, you knew how she felt about you.

Many years later, I would come to know that even after my first husband and I had problems, my mother continued to talk with him. She never held a grudge against him, though as one might imagine she could have, for I was her only child. And we all know how most mothers can be a fierce lioness when it comes to their babies.

I love the many early photographs we have of mama. She was always simply elegant and statuesque. I’d commented on more than one occasion how she could have been a model, but mom said it was never her way. She preferred to be in the background. She never sought the spotlight. She was shy, so being the center of attention in any given scenario bothered her.

 

 

 

 

Beloved Wife

My dad reminisces of his and my mama’s wedding day (January 6th, 1960). They married at my mother’s parental home with mom’s family by her side.

Being as honest as the day is long, my mother wore a beautiful light cream colored suit, a-line skirt, with a mink collar pinned to the suit jacket’s collar. With all of my mother’s family in attendance, I know from the photographs, mom was supremely happy.

Dad still marvels about mom’s 17″ waistline and how he could put his hands around her waist until his fingers touched! The way mom used to explain it to me, she accomplished that feat by wearing those skinny belts and keep pulling the belt in, one hole at a time day-by-day, until she had cinched her waist to the size she wanted it to be.

You can really tell how tiny mom was in these wedding photographs. When I came along, two years later, I remember always loving to visit my grandparents home.

 

So much efforting
Over the entire course of mom and dad’s marriage and life together, mama followed her Biblical principle of being a help mate to my papa. Mom would help dad with manual work around the house, especially during the years when they built our home in Boaz, any contracts that needed analysis, preparation of business, banking, insurance, and all other manner of legal documents. I look back now and realize that watching mama assist my dad with these things, most assuredly paved the way for me to learn how to use analogies to explain complex topics to others (and why I became a techie/business analyst.

Isn’t it amazing to think about how all of the times of effort and struggle that at the time, seemed so harsh–were the very hurdles that helped us master and achieve our desires?

Mom and dad were so in love, and so passionate. At times, they’d argue about things that made no sense to me, but they were the yin and yang, and to achieve balance, at least at times during their marriage, they needed till the rocky soil in order to come in to agreement.

 

 

 

In the twilight years of mama and papa’s marriage, my mother would tell me over and over, “I don’t know what I would do without papa”, and how much she still loved my dad. And my dad continued to love my mom. Unless you witnessed the two of these amazing people together, you just couldn’t understand their love.

I will remain eternally grateful to my papa for the care he took of mom during the last few years of her life, when she couldn’t do the simplest tasks for herself. I may never understand their profound connection and love, but I am so in awe of it. I cannot begin to imagine the loss my papa feels now, and how he misses his wife, my mother. The very best friend either of us could ever have.

I know there are times in every marriage when people feel like they can’t continue on with each other, for a variety of reasons, some small, some extreme. And some of those reasons can be brutally painful. But even in the worst of times, during a loss of baby, infidelity, fights, death of a parent or sibling, bankruptcy, or harsh arguments, only a rare few marriages can sustain. Personally, I don’t know how people survive or even thrive in the midst of such turmoil, but I’ve witnessed it. I’ve witnessed two people pull together, even when I thought they would tear each other apart, and make it through. And honor their vows–until death do they part.

 

 

 

 

I recently asked dad, “Who took this picture”? He just said there always seemed to be someone around to take a photo.

I’ve always loved this of mom and dad, kissing, while out in the lake’s water. I think it sums up their life together very well. Water is often moving, never standing still, just like a marriage. It can get rough, even produce outrageous waves that can topple huge ships. But water can also become smooth as glass when there is no wind.

No matter the storms of life, my parents’ marriage survived. Until the end. And my mother knew love that only few find in this life. May she rest in peace knowing her husband and family have loved her beyond words.

Endless love.

 

 

 

 

Miracle Baby

Mom and dad had only been married two years when I came along. And during my childhood my mother had so many miscarriages, that she would later call me her “miracle baby.”

For a long time, I wasn’t quite so comfortable with that label because it made me feel like she expected so much of me. And I was sure that my getting married so young, and having my own children, let mom down. However, the last visit we had together, Easter Sunday 2017, I told mama something that had only recently dawned on me. That between me, my two children, and my daughters three children, mama had back all six babies that she’d “lost.”

When you look at these photos of mom holding me as a newborn, and even how my mother’s mother looked at me, I can see such an abundance of love that it still gives me “God bumps.”

 

My grandmother was not always the most warm and loving grandmother, and for years I struggled with that. I know my grandmother had been a wonderful mother to my mother and mom’s two siblings, because mom always told me so. It’s funny isn’t it? How each of us perceive another so differently, even from how that person is / was most of the time. And how our memories of people change over the years.

I find it fascinating now, to look back and remember with much more fondness and adoration. And interest! I’d love to know more about my grandmother and her lineage.

And as the baby in these pictures, I am so curious as to what the conversations were that were going on at that time.

 

 

 

 

You’ll see this picture, taken at Christmas time, and how happy mom and I were to be at my grandmother’s house. It looks like we had so many presents that they spilled out from under the tree (which was in the corner to the left) and in front of the television set in the living room. Grandmother always put out such a nice display in her living room at Christmas.

Mama was still tiny after having me at this time. And always beautiful, with naturally curly hair which many ladies envied.

Loving Mother

For the better part of my mother’s life, she lived by the biblical standard of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and kept a spotlessly clean house. I remember people saying one could eat off of mom’s floors, and that certainly was true, especially when I was young.

 

 Anyone who visited us would quickly notice what an immaculate housekeeper my mom was. Mom used to hard wax the wood and linoleum floors of the first house we lived in to the extent that, as a young girl, I could skate on them in my sock covered feet! Mom would warn me to be careful as I skated across the living and dining room floor!
I remember wanting to be old enough to help mom with the floor waxing, as somehow, she made it look so interesting! And as I grew older, mom did let me help her strip the old wax from the floor, and then she’d shoo me outside to play, while she applied the new coat of wax.
Everything mom did was meticulous. She would often tell me that if I wasn’t going to do something right, to step aside, and she’d do it herself. But though we would have our share of mother and daughter disagreements, I knew in my heart and soul, that above all, my mother loved me. Calling me her “miracle baby”, my mom adored me. She didn’t give me everything I wanted, as some might have thought. No, my mother instilled a strong work ethic in me, that I’ve actually had to do some work on undoing over the years because it made me hold others to the same high standard–and not everyone can live up, or work up, to those!
I distinctly recall being about six years old, and when I went to sleep one night, mom laid down with me in my bed. I think I had been upset about something. My grandfather died when I was six, so that might have been why I was upset, but I don’t recall. I do distinctly remember telling mama that I couldn’t breathe without her, and that she could never die. Of course, mom consoled me and eventually I cried myself to sleep.
 I don’t have many pictures of mama when she was pregnant for the other babies.
One of the stories I heard many times over the years though, involved the baby girl mom named, Christina. Baby Christina was the infant that most nearly made it, but that was lost at or nearly at full term.
The most poignant part of the story was that Christina would be only one of mom and dad’s lost babies to be buried. And as mom told it, her hospital window overlooked the street to the cemetery. So, mom could see the procession when the Hearst brought baby Christina to the cemetery with my dad following behind in his car. She was in a double room in the hospital and the lady beside her had her baby in the room. It had to be one of the most heart-breaking times of mama’s life. I cannot even imagine!
As I recall the stories from my mother, there were several pregnancies that did not go full term. One was the first baby, when mother believed they were gassed in their first apartment. Then I came out, full term, and fine. After that another baby, that I believe was my sister, Christina. Following were three more, the last of which, had to be taken, in order to spare my mother’s life. It was at the time when my father had to make the call–the doctors said, “Sir, it’s either your wife, or your child.” And mom had been in the Catholic hospital and moved to the city hospital because the Catholic hospital would not “take the baby.” To this day, I cannot imagine the gut-wrenching decision that had to have been for my father. And on top of it, to transport my dying mother to another hospital in order to perform the procedure! It seems ludicrous to me now!
 I only have a couple of photos from mom’s early career days.
This photo was taken at Trader’s Federal Savings and Loan Association when mom worked for Miss Virginia Engle.
I wish I had a picture of mom when she worked for the Calvin Calendine Insurance Agency in Parkersburg, because once when I was fifteen years of age, a couple came him (perhaps it was the Calendine’s themselves) to a restaurant where I was working, and asked if I was Betty Ann’s daughter–as apparently I looked just like she had when she worked for them!
If mom wasn’t at work somewhere, or I wasn’t in school, I was with my mama. I love thinking about that!
I hated being an only child, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Nor would I have ever wished any of the hell that my mother experienced on her, for continuously trying to have another child.
Mom and dad wanted so much to give me a brother or a sister, but sadly, mom lost one baby after another–I was the only one of six pregnancies to be born onto the planet. You can see in one of the photos how tired and drained mom looked–it was a picture of her that was taken in 1968 after losing one of the babies that damn near killed her. In fact, my dad had to make the unthinkable choice–to allow the doctors to save mama or the baby! What I couldn’t have known was that my mom had been in congestive heart failure. Had the doctors not taken the baby, mom would have surely died.
Mother had many friends and no matter what hell they might be going through, my mom would talk with them, pray, and be there for them when often, no one else would. As a child, I recall many times going along with mom to friends’ homes and falling asleep on a couch. I soaked in my mother’s compassion and capacity for “being there” when others needed an ear.  And mama always had me with her.
 There was a period of time when mom was into wigs. I don’t think this time lasted too long, but I remember it fairly well.
One Christmas in particular, mom was so thrilled to receive–what I think was–a fifty dollar bill from dad, along with her gifts. I love that you can see an old, but popular lamp behind mom, drapes that used to hang in the picture window, the first Lazy Boy chair mom and dad had, and those hard wood floors in the background.
For years, mom wouldn’t let me put the icicles on the Christmas tree. When she finally let me, it was only after she taught me how to hang them properly, one by one at a time.
Family heritage
This was from a picture my cousins sent to me. I loved the way mom and dad looked here! I can almost remember going shopping with mom to buy the clothes we were going to wear on this rare vacation. aWEsOMe!
 We were visiting my dad’s oldest sister in the northeast. I recall going to Canada once at about this same time, though I cannot be sure it was on this trip. We took so few vacations over the course of my childhood, you’d think they would stand out more to me, but alas, I seemed focused on the bond I had made with my cousin.
I think my mother and father only had one portrait taken in their whole married life. It was a black and white photo that my daughter has to this day in the original frame. I asked my artist husband, Richard, to Photoshop my mom out of the photo and colorize it for the memorial service that my uncle is going to hold in her memory.
I will place the photo here, but I do think the snapshot photos do speak volumes about my mom and dad’s life together. They were always busy working, and making a home for me, and of course continuing to have other children, which so sadly and unfortunately were not to be.
My regret for my mother was that she did not get the opportunity to get to see my daughter’s twins that have only very recently come into our family. It nearly feels like some cruel joke of the Universe. But, she did get to see their pictures and video of our five year old granddaughter, when I last saw her Easter 2017. I want to believe that she knew these were her great-grandchildren as she described as doll babies, and beautiful, and so wonderful!
This picture was mother when she was 30 years of age. I can remember the blouse that mom had on under the black jumper, because she kept this outfit in her closet for many years. Again, the frugal nature of my mother was outstanding.
As well, my mother nearly always wore a cross around her neck. Dad has told me that even unto the last few weeks of mother’s life, she had a simple gold cross on the gold chain around her neck. It would be the only jewelry that she would wear, that she could tolerate wearing.
 When we went to West Virginia, arriving the day after mother’s passing, dad gave me the gold chain that he’d removed from mother’s body. I put it on. It still had some of mama’s hair wrapped around the clasp. That was probably the hardest part for me. Knowing that I had the tiniest part of my mother to carry on with me.
 Of course, I had not told him that I had saved a few strands of her hair from when I’d seen her at Easter and I had used my comb to comb through her hair. Nor did I mention the memories of all of the times my mother would sit with me to comb the knots out of my naturally curly hair when I was young. We both had such tender heads that combing our hair was something very difficult to do, preferring to brush it instead, for most of our lives. Only now that my hair is beginning to thin can I use a comb. And mother’s dark thick hair had turned to thin and gray, but still curly, even unto the last time I styled it for her.
Sharing of Recipes

My grandmother was a wonderful cook, and my mother and aunt learned so much from cooking and baking with her. I can still taste many of the delicious recipes that my grandmother made, especially her luscious banana cake with chocolate frosting. Mom would make this too, but somehow it was always just a bit different.

Mom also made a kicking fudge candy, that one of my cousins still makes to this day from her recipe. My mother also made a fantastic pot roast, that my aunt MaryAnn learned to make, and also continues to prepare it for her family.

Growing up, mom always cooked green beans. I still have fond memories of helping mom and grandmother string beans fresh out of the garden.

The memories of particular recipes linger for each of us.

 This photo was of an older boat that papa had bought to restore and sell. I think it was about 1976. It seems like we always had a boat. We went to the river as much as we could on the weekends. It was really the only down time my parents had.
As I’ve said, we didn’t vacation every year like a lot of families. But my parents did believe in buying, restoring, or fixing just about anything, and then reselling it. So, while it seemed we had a lot of stuff, I never became too attached to anything. Just as soon as I’d fall in love with a car, it’d be gone! Mom had a hard time with that also.
We typically only traveled to see family. The only times we went somewhere that didn’t involve seeing family was when we went to Ocean City, Maryland or Myrtle Beach. And then there was the trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. My first trip to Florida, but it was for a somber occasion, as it was for one of my dad’s friends, the man who was with my dad the night he met mom.
On one of our trips to the beach, my grandmother went with us. I don’t recall much about the trip, other than I think I made a friend while playing in the sand. I was pretty good about making friends easily like that (I’m just not so sure why I didn’t make as many friends at school). Vacations were different times though. People seemed so much more relaxed.

My dad loved to fly. H bought a Cessna, much to the chagrin of my mother, and got his private pilot’s license. Mom is pictured standing next to the plane. I don’t recall her ever going flying with dad, but dad took my daughter up in the air once. He took me on one of those helicopter rides, with someone else flying and that was enough for me! I couldn’t wrap my mind around my dad flying, so I guess that’s why I never wanted to go. But, somehow, I let my daughter go–I wonder if she remembers that!

It’s kind of ironic that I would later work (and go to school) for the Harvard of the air, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and work at the Kennedy Space Center! How funny can life be?

Mom was always  proud of my accomplishments, but she had a difficult time with my going to college while working and raising Marie and Matt. She would often strongly suggest that I take a semester off, because in her words, “…your children won’t be around forever.” But, silly of me, when Marie and Matt had returned to live at home with me, after being out of the house for at least a few years, I poked fun at mom because they both of my children had come home. But, looking back now, oh, I am getting paid back in spades! Karma. It is what it is.

 

This picture was taken at my dad’s family farm. I was seventeen, so mom and dad would have been 39. It’s hard to imagine it now, but I used to think 30, or 40, was “old.” But look how young they looked here! Wow!

On top of looking great, my mother was one of the strongest women I have ever known.

I cannot imagine the pain she survived. Even if you only consider one of the stories–the one about mom laying in her hospital bed (a 2 bed maternity room in those days) and the lady next to her having her newborn in for feedings, etc. While that seems almost unthinkable, my mother mourned her loss, as she looked out her hospital window and watched the hearst going by (carrying her unborn infant), with my dad’s car following, directly to the cemetery. I don’t know the strength it takes to go on, but somehow she did.

My mother lost five babies in total (at different stages of development, with at least two of those because the hospital either didn’t type her blood at all, or when they did, they typed it wrong). But there were no lawsuits.

Mom went on to raise me, have a career, build a house with my dad (that one couple loved enough to steal–but that’s a whole other documented story that I could tell), and lived until she was almost 78 years old, nearly 58 years with the same man, my dad.

Throughout writing this eulogy, I have strived to keep my focus on mom. I realize that I’ve ranted a bit, and derailed, but it’s because my mama and I were pretty much tied at the hip, until I met my first husband. When I started dating, and going across the state line to Ohio, my personality began to change. I became independent and mom told me several times that I was drifting away from her.

We had been friends, as much as mother and daughter. I, always being my mother’s closest confidante. I wish I could say that I continued to confide in my mother after I began dating, but it was true what she had said, we had drifted. That is, I allowed myself to drift from her.

More and more we began to live separate lives.

I realize that’s the nature of things for a lot of people, and I am not the only one who has run off from the protection and solace of her mother’s arms while yet a teenager. While I have few regrets, leaving mom and dad to get married so young is one of them, though I have made peace with that, due to having my own children and knowing they might have never been, had I not made the choices I made when I was seventeen.

When I hear the Stevie Nicks song, “Edge of Seventeen”, I remember those days with fondness and self-forgiveness. All is as it should be.
 Even though I was close with my first cousins, and one of my third cousins, I felt so alone during those days. Oh! To know then, what i know now!
 
Mama was close with her sister, Alberdia. And this photo, I think, was at one Christmas at my aunt Alberdia’s home. Mom and my aunt had both sold Avon for many years, and they had much in common.
One time, many years later, my dad related a story to me about mom and her sister sitting up until the wee hours of the morning visiting. He said they giggled and laughed like little girls.
As it turned out, that night would be the last visit that they both shared together. I think of what they must have talked about, and how much life experience and wisdom they shared.
I am thankful for all of the Thanksgivings, and all of the Christmas times we spent at my aunts house, and I am ever so grateful to be in current contact with Alberdia’s children–my first cousins. Our family legacy continues.

A loving grandmother

Oh how happy mama was when her first grandchild was born! She was blessed to have my husband and myself living so close, so that she could see her beautiful granddaughter every day! I remember taking this picture when they came to visit us days after coming home from the hospital. And my daughter, Sheila April-Marie (Marie), loved her mammaw and pappaw!

By the time I had my son, Allen Matthew (Matt), two years later, we’d moved about a half an hour away, and we still made time to visit–the bond and the love was so strong between my parents and my children. The visits continued even after we’d moved to Florida. I am so very glad we were close, and had so many visits, and shared so many wonderful times together.

Even though we didn’t live near each other in Florida, mom and dad would meet me half  way many weekends and take Marie and Matt to their home for visits several weekends or more per year.

Mom really loved her grandchildren! I’m sure in many ways she felt as though, by having them with her, it was like having a couple of her lost babies back.

Speaking of mom and dad’s unborn babies, mom and I talked about them often most of my life, until mom progressed in her illness, then she started to forget how many babies she had lost. That’s when I knew we were losing her.

In the beginning it was just mom’s short term memory that started to go. Then she’d forget how the ball point pen worked. She quit typing me letters. Oh, I used to get the most beautiful long emails from my mom! I am certain many were lost as technology changed though, and I am so sad about that. Then mom failed at being able to use the phone. That probably worried me the most of anything. So, papa did his best to always keep her with him, as if she’d been home alone, she wouldn’t know how to call anyone for help.

 My children were oh, so blessed, to have my parents as grandparents! The love that mom and dad showed to my children were incredible!
Leaning on the Everlasting Arm
Many times over the years mom told me she felt trapped in her marriage, however during the last 7 years of her life she would tell me how grateful she was for my dad, “papa”, and that she didn’t know what she would do without him.
Mom had come to accept the course of her fate, and not only forgive, but embrace all of the aspects of my papa, whether she agreed or not, and allowed him to care for her, do everything for her, that in earlier years she wouldn’t have even dreamed.
 Mom and dad argued a lot over the years. And I saw my mother cry–a lot. I often felt bad for the struggle my mama endured. Sometimes, mom would tell me that she and my father would fight because they had so much passion for each other. It took me years to accept, understand, and allow the dysfunction of their relationship. In fact, I had to get married and move out, and have children, in order to experience anything near to the tumultuous relationship mom and dad had before I really understood. Then it took many years of prayer, meditation, and inner work (energy medicine) to come to the place of the allowing. Allowing those choices.
Mama would also tell me that while improving the property where they would build their dream home, every time she chopped a tree down, she would hear or feel the words, “This is all in vain.” Several years later, those words would return to her, as clear memories, when she and dad left West Virginia for Florida.
My mother and my father made their life what it was. What might seem frivolous or simple to many now, took me years to accept–that each of us live by the thoughts and choices we make. I can only hope my papa can find purpose and joy in the rest of his life, as I know he has many healthy and strong years ahead of him. I so want him to be happy! I know he misses mom so much; he longs for his wife and best friend!
The red knit sweater vest that mom is wearing in this photo was one of the garments that mom had kept and stored away at grandmother’s house in the cedar closet. I am now taking it to New Hampshire to give to my daughter. I know she will wear it with great love and admiration for her thrifty grandmother!
I have learned that all any of us can ever do is Be Here Now, if we want to feel better and leave the pain of the past behind. And as I’ve been writing this eulogy that lesson has returned to me many times–even during my writing when a friend called to remind me!
After everything, all I can truly tell you is that all of the hard times, all of the prayers, all of the harsh words, all of the warmth, all of the moments, the days of our lives, what we perceive as the good, and the bad, all of it, it all resolves to Gratitude. And Thank You, is the best prayer you can ever utter.
This was a classic photo of my mom and I, and Marie, while I was pregnant for my son, Matt. I remember that day so clearly, as if it were yesterday. How does that happen? How can one time stand out so complete in one’s mind that you can remember the feeling of the fabric of the shirt you were wearing, or the smell of food cooking?
You can see the double front doors behind us and the large picture window above the doors. There was a foyer there, with a wall that was built in such a way, that you could look down on whoever was coming in or going out of the house, but they wouldn’t necessarily see you. The living room and foyer were on different levels. I’ve never been in any other house like the one my mom and dad built–ever.
I remember sitting alongside mom and dad as they sketched out the blueprint for our home. They built it from every dream they’d ever had about a house. It had so many special things in it. And some things, just sort of happened. We call them design features nowadays. Little things like, “What are we going to put on top of this wall?” would come up in daily conversation. Eventually, it just got carpeting laid upon it. And we used it as a sort of catch-all for books or magazines, mail, or such.
 Oh wow! I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t talk about the river. Mom, dad, and I spent a lot of time out on the Ohio river. I have so many memories of being out on the river, with one of the boats we had, or with friends.
Mom and dad continued the habit of going out on the river, even after they had grandchildren too, which I know my kids loved, and so did I.
This is one of those times at the river! It was evidently during the annual regatta time, because of all the other boats in the water.
Mom had started smoking. It wasn’t like her at all, but it was indicative of the ridiculous stress she was under at that point. I am glad that I could salvage this picture, because that’s my darling daughter, Marie, when she was about two years old. Mom and dad would take her out in the boat with them. And Marie had my sock monkey with her that day. Ha! The same sock monkey that I still have, which mom later found the hat for it and gave to me. He has been with ever since and sits beside our bed.
While I can’t say that we always went to every regatta, the ones we did attend were a lot of fun! I have wanted to return for many years during regatta time, but haven’t been yet. Thankfully, our dear friend, Liz, sends us lots of photos.
Marie and Matt always enjoyed their time with mom and dad, whether on the river in a boat, or just swimming in the pool. When you live in West Virginia, you have to get out as much in the summer as you can, because it doesn’t last long.
I love this photo of mom with her hair up. She always wore her long hair up when we went boating or swimming, and she was so pretty. It really showed off her high cheekbones and beautiful face.
 I wish something hadn’t been on fire in the background of this photo though, as it disrupts from the view of the old Williamstown bridge in the background, and of course, all of the boats.
My mother was statuesque and lovely. She was beautiful inside and out, as they say. When she walked into a room, people noticed. And she spoke softly, but carried a big stick, as they say. She could be quite firm in her statements, but they were always infused with care and compassion. My mother truly was an angel on earth, as my dad always said.
 I love this picture of Marie with mom and dad in her little life jacket. Yes, mom and dad were always careful while boating, especially when they had their grandchildren out with them.
Dad often said it made him a little nervous during regatta, because there were so many boats on the river at the same time, and many people were drinking beer and such. Though this photo only showed a portion of mom, I included it for dad and Marie.
I also love the water, and this one feature the river almost as prominently as it does my family.
Back in those days, the cameras we had were not always the greatest. We kept up with technology, having Polaroid cameras and Kodak, but I didn’t even know what a 35mm camera was until I was in my teens. So, if you have a photographer in your family, you’re blessed! Haha! Your family photos are probably a lot more centered and focused than ours.
Notice that Marie was wearing the same tank top in this picture, when Matt was just a month or so old, as she was during the regatta photos. I am so glad that my grandfather (my dad’s father) was able to meet my children. This is such a great picture of mama holding Marie, and grandpa holding Matthew. This was taken while we were visiting my grandfather in Newville, WV.
I used to wonder how my grandfather could live on the farm without many of the staples of life that I’d become accustomed to having. But now I believe, my grandfather was richer than many of us. He had peace of mind, and love in his heart for all. He read daily, and walked the hillsides. He kept pictures of his family on the wall in the living room, and I believe he prayed for each of us–everyday.
My mama and grandpa would have long talks each time we visited. I wish I’d had a recorder! They could get to the real meat of life, and of God.
My beautiful mother. Mom always loved tapestries and there was a large one hanging on the wall behind her. I’m not sure, but this may have been one that my uncle, my mother’s brother, Jim, gave her. I know he had brought her a tapestry back from Germany (when he’d been stationed there), and she cherished it. Later, I believe she bought one or two more. I know she had this one of the horses, and another of The Last Supper.
I suppose pictures are good for things like this. To be able to look back and remember special times. To look at things our family and friends gave us, and think fondly of the people who were so thoughtful to give us those gifts. Even the smallest of things.
 Mama always loved brick houses, my thought is that was probably due to her father building the house where she and her siblings grew up. Also, since my dad was a builder, mom understood the strength of brick. Even our first house in Boaz, where we lived since I was 3 years of age, was brick.
So, when mom and dad built their large new home on 6 acres, they got a great deal on a massive amount of bricks, and sought out professional brick layers to put up all of the walls.
You can see a lot of brick and stone in these pictures behind mom and dad. The walls of the main living and dining room part of the house were double brick walls! One wall for the outside and one for the inside, with concrete poured in between. That house is a fortress! It was so well built that I imagine it would take an earthquake to bring it down!
I wish the lighting was a little better on this picture, but I think you get the idea.
Mom and dad finished the house in 1978. I lived in the house for about a year, before I got married in Nov. 1979 (in the house–yes the living room was so huge, we had the wedding there!) and then, my husband and I moved back into the trailer in the front of the property that mom, dad, and I had lived in while building the house.
 This is a rare picture that I have of mom standing beside her Cadillac. She really enjoyed this car and it upset her very much to give it back to the bank too, when everything fell apart with  their business. Though friends had suggested mom and dad incorporate their business, so they wouldn’t lose things, such as their home and personal vehicles, they didn’t do that. If that is one lesson we all learned through that time, it was this: if you’re going to run your own business, incorporate.
Looking back now, I am so glad that mama was able to have some enjoyment in things like driving her Cadillac. She’d always worked so hard, fingers to the bone, that having something to show for it, and really enjoy it, was a small reward for her efforts.
Even as a small child I knew well the love of material possessions. And a car was always a huge deal for many of us. I couldn’t wait to drive when I turned fifteen and work to pay for my own truck. So, I can very well feel the feelings mom had for her car. I think she only had this one for a couple of years, but at least she did that. At least, that was something.
Of course, my more than my mama loved cars, she outrageously loved her grandchildren! My mother would take my kids every few weekends, or babysit whenever I needed! She couldn’t wait to have Marie and Matt over to the house! She’d take them to church on Sunday’s, play in the pool in the summer, or just let them run around and be kids on the property. Mom was always cooking, baking, and so on, so she fed her grand babies well!
Mama and Marie at their house in Boaz. My rocking chair is in the background that mom had kept from when I was a baby. Also, the dress mom was wearing in this picture was one of the dresses that she’d kept in the cedar closet for over 30 years that came back to me. Though it was much outdated and out of style, I gave it to a church, along with a few other things, in hopes that someone else would get some use of it.
I am so glad when I look back on all of the wonderful memories I have of our time in the house mom and dad built, especially the times they had my children there, and played in the living room, basement, and outside in and around the pool.
We had so many joyous family times. Naturally, there we just times we sat around and talked, or watched television together, but there were lots of exploring in the woods, cutting of firewood, cooking, dining, and such.
Lots of family and friends would visit and many times (during the summer) we’d all end up in the pool. Mom was usually the last person in the pool though, as there were so many other tasks to take care of first.
Mom was an aWEsOMe hostess to any guests who arrived. I remember the little things, like making sure everyone had a beach towel at the pool, and doing the laundry later, after everyone had gone.
 One of our long time friends, Liz, told me recently that she remembered helping to clean the pool too when she would come to visit and stay for a swim. That was mom’s generation though, always work before play, always helping a neighbor, friend, or family. Selfless action. Always giving, and rarely taking time to receive.
I’m noticing so many little things now, ways that used to think and live. And how differently I perceive life now. The years mom and dad got to live in and enjoy their home were to be limited though. And that’s one story that can still burn me a bit.
You see, after all of the hard work, and years of sacrifice, mom and dad would lose their business and home, even personal property like cars, during a short period of time when the business climate sank in the early 1980s.
For my mother, more than losing the property and home she loved, what really hurt, was the smear campaign and tarnish on her reputation that occurred when she and my dad had to file bankruptcy and turn their properties over to the banks.
I find it hard to think that due to a poor business climate, coupled with the fact that someone who, once they saw the house under the guise of buying it, could become so envious and devious, that they would do anything to possess it! Quite frankly, it still blows my mind when I think about how some bastard was able to connive and manipulate his bank into getting mom and dad’s house. It’s a huge reason I made up my mind years ago that I would never work for a bank. But, that’s all I’m going to say about that right now.
My mother kept intricately detailed records. She’d been a bookkeeper for years, trained by one of the best in the business, so I have all of the documentation. I have it all. The ledgers, the statements, the hand-written letters of what happened. And all of the names involved. It was scandalous.
 Lucky for some, I focus my energies on love and healing. Ah, that feels better. Plus, I note that karma has already come back around on that thief. As I’ve heard rumors that the couple who incredulously took mom and dad’s house, didn’t live there but about a year before passing away. Don’t worry, I can’t dwell on the debacle for long, it twists me to the point of nausea.
When I see this photo, it reminds me of all of the times mom cooked and baked for us in her beautiful kitchen.
At this time, mom was working at Big Bear in Marietta, and I can still take the London Broil she used to make on the Jenn-Aire range! We all ate well when we visited mom and dad, because mom knew the best cuts of meat to bring home after her shift. She never complained about cooking either–as it must have been her first love!
Shortly after this photo, we moved to Florida.
Florida living
After only living in Florida for a couple of years, I was divorced and living in a duplex with my children. Mom and dad visited often, even living with us for several months to help me get back on my feet, so to speak. These photos, of mom and Marie, were during a such a happy Christmas–and includes on of the best I have of mom when she was shocked at opening of one of her gifts. I love it. It’s a favorite!
This is what gift giving is about as far as I’m concerned. Surprise, and exquisite joy! I know it’s fleeting, but it’s so ultimately precious.
I can recall this particular time, as if it were only yesterday. Pictures do that, don’t they? The freeze a slice of Time. Ahh!
 Notice how the best pictures, and the most fun and joy shown in these photos, are of when we are together with our loved ones. It’s not about the homes, cars, or other possessions, though they are nice, they are temporary. Though they can remind of us of our loved ones who helped us, or gifted us with these things, they are just things. And people are what’s most important–cherish the people in your life, now.
 I love how close we were then. Mom would go to Treasure Island during the day to clean hotel rooms or condos, and I was working at Embry-Riddle. Dad would cook breakfast and get Marie and Matt off to school. Some days, if we’d overslept, I would take the kids to school on my way to work. One time in particular, I remember getting pulled over a block from the school for speeding. But my hair was wet and my short was skirt, so no ticket for me! Haha!
Mom and dad really helped me a lot that summer. And I could have been more grateful. We had barely lived in the duplex for one year when I met the man who would become my second husband. Mom approved. But he tricked us all.
 1990s
Here was mom and dad and I at my second wedding in the early 90s in Daytona Beach. I think mom was happy that this time, I was to be married in a church. Even though she, nor I really, knew my second husband that well, she and dad were there by my side. And they always enjoyed having my children with them on weekends.
If for no other reason, and yes, I realize all of learned many lessons through those times, I was glad that we had the wedding to have these photos taken. They were the last professional pictures I would have with both of my parents.
 On at least one occasion, mom came to stay with us for a few days as I know she was there when Marie had an issue at the church school. And I’d only had my kids in the church school during part of one school year, the same year we attended that particular church.
Mom’s hair was very long at this time. It’s difficult to see, but in the photo with her back turned, where she was talking with my uncle Jim (mom’s brother), and my aunt Janice, you can see that mom’s hair was half way down her back! I’d forgotten that she’d worn it very long like that for many years–as you could see from her much younger days when she’d worn it very short.
I was also very happy that my uncle and aunt could attend my second wedding. I know that added much to the happiness mom experience during that event.
I remember my daughter always being skeptical of her new step-father, and with good reason. Yet, I wouldn’t learn my lesson about him for several years.
My mom and dad accepted the husband, but you’ll note I am not including any photos of him. This is after all, a eulogy about my mother, and it’s already had too much about me in it.
My uncle and aunt had come to the wedding and for a visit and that, as well as, how the wedding would be handled, had been my center of focus.
 I could be mistaken, but I think this was the only time my mother’s brother and wife visited us in Florida. I know it’s difficult to arrange times to visit family when one is on vacation, but I can tell you from experience, if you can do it, then make every effort to visit your family. It’s time like these that people will remember, and put in a eulogy later on. It meant the world to have them visit.
 We had lived so far apart for so long, that seeing family in our new home state, was priceless.
 Many times in life we question our priorities, which event to attend, or whom to spend time with. Consider the family and friends who will be there for you when making such choices.
As for conversation, anyone who knew my mother could tell you that she could talk, and talk, and talk–with anyone! Mom never met a stranger. And she was an excellent listener. But yes, many of our old friends have told me during these last weeks, that one of the things they remembered the most about mom was that she could spend hours in conversation with them.
One of mom’s friends, Linda, told me they used to stay up all night talking about God, church, and the Bible, until Linda’s husband, Jerry, would come in at 7am in the morning from working nights. Of course, I was there too! And would have fallen asleep at some point, while playing games and such with Ginny and Debbie, Linda and Jerry’s girls.
 One of the best things about my second marriage, was the times mom and dad came to visit us–especially at Christmas.
I found a couple of pictures of mom and dad opening their gift when they visited us. I love their smiles!
Mom and dad stayed over only a few times, but I was always thrilled to have them, even if my then husband disagreed. My mother was never the in your business “mother in law” type.
She actually could have been nosier or more “in our business” and I’d have probably left him even sooner!
 I love mama’s smile here. As well as dad’s smile. They were both really happy for me and my children to be in a home at that point. I actually think they had a few months where they didn’t worry about us during that time. But that was to be short lived.
Not that anyone got into trouble, but my marriage was quite rocky, and I didn’t hold that back from them. Once I confessed to them that I had learned my second husband was an addict, they prayed for us night and day, and eventually, the Universe provided a way for me to exit the marriage. Though four years later we reunited, that was only to prove to me that I had done the right thing by leaving previously. And my children and I were on our way to a better life.
 This is one of the rare photos I have of mom, just after she woke up one morning, while she enjoyed a cup of coffee. Mom always loved her coffee! Over the years she went from drinking about a pot of coffee a day, to just a few cups, but always, there was coffee. It makes me smile to smell a cup of coffee and even if ever so briefly I think of mom.
 I remember telling mama that I loved the smell of coffee but not the taste, even when I first began working in a restaurant at age fifteen. Mom would encourage me to try it, citing that it would help wake me up in the morning and aid one in their digestion (to put it nicely).
Yet, even though I tried it, I just never accepted the taste of coffee. Though my husband now would tell you that I bogart his White Russian cocktail on occasion for a sip, because of the coffee flavor! Haha!
Sometimes a long day requires coffee.
 Though my second marriage lasted only a few years, this was yet another Christmas where we could find time to enjoy being together as a family.
Dad had began growing a beard and letting his hair grow, and mama loved that! Oh, sometimes she’d tease him about getting hair cut, but eventually she grew to love his beard and hair and come to acceptance about it. I learned a great deal from my mom about acceptance of things I could not change.
I only bring up some statements about my life, to help to put certain things in perspective, and why the background of many of the photos are different.
My daughter has counted it up and that in her life, she’s lived in over 27 different places. Of course, she’s lived in more places than I, but I tell you this to give you some perspective.
 I always loved having mom and dad visit us, even if I didn’t always show it. I mean, I think I showed it, but sometimes, I had to think about the man I lived with. Sometimes, there were things happening that were out of my control. At least that is how I saw it back then.
I am glad I continued to change and grow, always seeking more. And always teaching my children that they never needed to stay “stuck” as mom had often referred to her own life.
You’ll note that in nearly every picture of mom and dad together, they were always touching each other, arms around each other, holding hands, hugging, or such. And that has always been, no matter the quarrel or argument. There was always peace, somehow, some way.
 Eventually, after my second marriage ended and I’d spent about three years alone, I took a consulting job that moved us back north. Mom and dad came to see us off, and these were a couple of pictures I found of us together to commemerate that time.
We had met at the flea market in Daytona Beach for some shopping and to have hugs goodbye.
I had bought a Jeep and my son would have been 16. Once again, my mother had to say goodbye to my children, and once again, I later would come to know how much this hurt her. I knew we’d be back to visit, but I was off to pursue a big leap in my career. It was my opportunity to shine. And mama was happy for me, but so sad to see us go.
This is dad, mom, and Matt. We just took this pictures kind of quick, so I don’t know where Marie was, or if I just missed a picture where she was included.
 You can probably tell that once again, we had met at the flea market.
Florida is full of flea markets. Perhaps that’s another reason I love Florida. A synchronicity would be that when dad sold CB radios, he would take mom and I to weekend jamboree’s. Those were always such fun times. And something about a CB radio jamboree reminds me of a flea market. I guess it’s the atmosphere.
 At this point, mama was still getting around very well, and she was enjoying retirement. She and dad were able to get out and about often and such. They would go to yard sales and flea markets, and even to the beach!
 These couple of photos were taken at my first cousin Lori’s wedding. My hair continued getting more blonde, and mom was showing a little more age. In particular, one of my cousin’s, Carol Sue, had cancer, and it would be one of the last times I would see her.
Obviously the picture of mama and Carol Sue, means a lot to me. Both of our dear angels in Heaven.
 I had been traveling at this point, doing IT consulting work, so I only got to see mama a few times a year. So, seeing her at Lorie’s wedding was also a treat for me!
It’s funny too, that I used to know each article of clothing mom had. I can honestly not recall her having this cactus top before! But, she always loved wearing her hair scrunchies that a friend of mine had made.
Here’s mom and our cousin, Carol Sue.
Carol Sue, a wife, mother, and nurse with a heart of gold, was my dad’s oldest brothers’ youngest daughter. She is survived by her son and husband.
Mom and dad attended Carol Sue’s funeral and said it was one of the hardest things they ever had to do. I didn’t attend Carol Sue’s funeral, but mom and dad relayed how beautiful of a service it was. I only recall how supremely sad they were to see her in a casket. Mom said they could never take it if something happened to me, before them.
Though you can see how different Carol Sue and I looked in these pictures, earlier on we had looked more similar–except for Carol Sue’s dimples. She had the best dimples! I wish we could have been closer.
 This was mama at home in about 1997 or so. She was reading the paper, sitting underneath an artwork I had created for mom and dad and given them a year or so two prior.
I didn’t claim to be an artist then, nor do I now, but I was led to create something with a big sky and sea, and then glue shells onto it. I’ve seen some such creations since, but never quite like the ones I’d painted in acrylics. I gave several away at Christmas, but I kept the one I liked best for mom. She loved it.
She took off her glasses for this photo.
 My mother loved her grandson so much!
She was especially thankful whenever he would visit them in later years, and mow their yard, or help them around the property. She knew dad couldn’t do it all alone, though he certainly gave it his best.
Anytime Matthew would come to visit, mom was always so very thankful.
I like to think that my daughter, son, and myself inherited my mom’s soft and huge heart! Her empathy, compassion, and loyalty to people were some of her most beloved qualities.
I know people say one must be careful of who they trust, and I can see where that’s true in some situations, but my mother was more trusting than fearful, and for that I am eternally grateful.

This was another Christmas when we were celebrating together in 2000 or 2001 when I had moved back to Altamonte Springs. Mom and dad had come over to visit and we all enjoyed a great time.

This is Matt, mom and dad, sitting on a couch Matt had found for our apartment.
 Later on, Matt rented his first house in Deltona and mom and dad had come over to visit him. They loved relaxing on this chaise lounge type of chair that Matt had. You can see how comfortable they were. As I recall, we’d all enjoyed a wonderful visit together.
 I’m sure we had some wine and chocolate covered cherries, one of our annual traditions.
 I remember how proud mom was of Matt, for working and being able to have a home of his own. She always valued a dollar, and of course, hard work. She would often tell us to save our money. Over the years, mom just couldn’t believe how much homes cost, and how much rent we paid for housing. She always dreamed of having a place where we could all live near each other.
Some of our last times together
This was mom and my daughter, Marie in 2007 at our last house for Thanksgiving. I also believe this was the last year that mom wore makeup.
This was one of my favorite pictures of mom and Marie together in the last ten years. When mama would put her hand on my face, similar to how she’s cradling Marie’s face in her hand here, that was one of the things that made me feel most special. I will never forget her doing that to me, the next to the last time I visited mom and dad at their home in Florida.
 This is mama and papa with my beloved Beau (Shih-Tzu doggie) in 2008 at their home. I used to visit and take both of my fur kids with me over the years, and eventually, it just became Beau.

Mama loved Beau so much, that I have a feeling that is why she was so accepting of their fur baby doggy, Sundae, when she came to live with them.

Again, you see mama and papa holding hands. They often did this. And it always warmed my heart to see it.

 

 

 

In this photo, you can see that mom is wearing one of two blouses she had that she enjoyed the last few years of her life. The picture of mom and I was in 2009 at our last house. The one that follows, was of Matt and mom in 2012. Just once again displaying how frugal mom and dad have been.

My dad and I have talked in the last couple of years about life. What’s life about? Why are we here? What comes after? There are so many ideologies. Different faiths. Myriad of opinions. But no one has died and come back. Oh, yes, I know some who have gone and returned after a short time of being pronounced dead, but even they have only but glimpsed the beyond–and their fascinating and intriguing stories differ.

In the end, it seems none of us will know for certain what lies beyond–until it’s our turn.

 

 

During the last few years of mom’s life, my son, Matt, was constantly checking in with mom and dad. He only lived about thirty minutes from them, and he and his wife, Jenn, would go to visit them. Matt would mow the yard, and they would take food in, and Jenn (thank you dear heart) would bathe mom. As well, dad would take mom and go to Matt and Jenn’s house, and though Matt and Jenn were both holding down full-time jobs, they always somehow made time for my parents. Matthew loved his grandparents as much or more perhaps, than his love for me. And for that, I am also eternally grateful.

 

 

 

 

This group photo of mom and dad, myself and my husband, and Matt was taken in November 2012 at Matt’s house. We’d all met there for a visit and celebrated Thanksgiving about a week early.

Mom was having a hard time getting around, and using a cane, but she was still happy and getting out with dad quite often.

Matt and his wife (at the time), Jenn, took such wonderful care of my mom over the course of the last three or four years. I cannot thank them enough for their compassion and love.

I believe the last time mom and dad visited Matt and Jenn at their house, Jenn helped mama take a shower. I will be forever grateful to her for that. Mom had always been very modest, and had never asked anyone to help her. So, I knew it was a combination of mama needing the help, and also of Jenn’s ability and capacity of being able to talk with mama in such a way as to help her with such a task.

 

 

This was the last picture I have of Marie and Jennifer with mom and dad, and it was taken in April of 2013 in Daytona Beach.

This was also about the time that dad had begun dressing mom daily, and I knew the top she was wearing had a little more to it, turns out she had the skirt on too, but it was just bunched up. As mom lost more weight, dad had been searching through her closet and found this. It was the same outfit, top and skirt that mom had worn to my second wedding! I didn’t realize it at the time, I only knew it looked familiar. Looking back through old photographs, I now know why I’d known it was familiar but wow! Awe!

I’m also so glad that we had more than a few minutes to share together that day. I believe mom did know Marie and that Jennifer was her great-granddaughter. In this next picture, mom seemed to be reaching out for Jennifer, perhaps even to give her a blessing. I will never know for sure, but certainly there was great love there. And in the end, that is all that matters.

 

 

 

 

 

Mom had not cut her hair, but it had been breaking off. I know one of her wishes was to have died with long flowing hair, and that makes me sad when I think that she didn’t. However, I know that was something out of her control, and perhaps not even something she gave any thought to in her final years, so I know it’s only my thoughts about it, that make me sad.

I am so very thankful, and my heart is so full of love when I think about how my mother had this special time with her great-granddaughter, Jennifer. I believe mama knew Jennifer was her great-grandchild, or at least her grandchild, during this visit, since this was four years before her passing.

I know people say that when you have dementia you are attracted to babies and young children whether or not they know they are a relation. But mama was still wearing her wedding  band in this photo, on her little finger, and I feel that since she still had the mind to wear that ring, then she knew who Jennifer was.

You see, I had had mama’s wedding band for sake keeping for several years. However, when we bought our RV mom and dad had come for a visit, and that was in 2010. At that time, I had given mom’s wedding ring back to her during our visit.

When I saw this picture, and saw mama wearing her ring, I knew there was still a bit of “mom” in mom.

 

 

 

This was mom and dad at Matt’s house for Christmas 2015. Mama had been losing weight the last few years and I was glad to see her wearing a pretty pink top. She’d been wearing hats a lot also.

Thank you for reading this and for any comments or corrections you would like to add. I’ve spent about three weeks going through the photos I’d scanned and saved, and presented the best ones of mom in this post. But I would love to see more. If you have any to share, please email them to me at:

sheila(dot)murrey(at)gmail.com

My wonderful husband also helped me to produce a loving video slideshow with the photos here and many more, along with two of his original songs that I believe my mother would have loved. I am including the link for you next: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6H6zdoVTa8

Please do keep in touch, and let me know things you remember about my mother. And if you’d like to connect on Facebook, also email me about that (as I know some have had trouble finding me on there).

Much love and many blessings to you in ALL ways,

sheila