Unsung Heroes Part 6

When I woke up a while later on Sunday morning, I went straight to the news. Irma appeared to be quickly approaching the city where Bob lives. I could tell by social media that he was online so I assumed Bob was still alive. I patiently waited to hear from him.  True to a soldier’s form, Bob and his service dog, Sugar, survived the hurricane. Even tho Irma had lost some of her energy by the time she blew by his town in central Florida, she still caused  some damage.

Bob: May be my last chat for awhile Hun. Keep writing and Prayers to you. Your a very special Lady. Bless her(Sugar). She is going crazy. I’ve had no sleep. It’s like I’m back in Nam waiting for a damn Ambush…48hrs with 2hrs sleep.

Later on he wrote,

Bob: I’ve never been one to give into fear but yesterday evening I had 2 elderly couples on oxygen who were here and needed to go to hospital. So I called ambulance and when they got here, the EMTs said they would take one and not the other. Me being me, I told them they were and off to races we went. I told the one he would or I’d give him a colonoscopy with my 357 and they took both people. They called the sheriff on me. The deputy was very nice. He said he knew how I felt and this time he’d overlook it but not next time….Yes, I was wrong but with my medical training I knew they wouldn’t last through the storm hun. It’s me and my beliefs in always taking care of our elders and it was going to happen or else. I wish you could have seen the look on that EMTs face. The best thing before they left was both ladies gave me a Kiss and said they Loved me. It was worth it all.

We briefly chatted about what Irma had in mind for Florida for the day. He went on to say,

Bob: Sugar’s my baby and I have food for her and MREs for me, that’s the new food they feed soldiers now not like the K rations they gave us. I’ll lose power when it hits, please keep writing…I’ll let you go and take your image with me. Prayers to you and A’ho my Sweet and amazing Lady. My lights are flickering now

Me: I’ll be thinking of you. May Great Spirit and your ancestors watch over you.

Bob: Thank you, they ask me to evacuate(last night) but it’s just not in me. Until we talk again, Steph, know this – you’re the Shining Light in mine and so may others on your page. Bye for now Hun. I’ll will miss you

Me: And I will miss you. Until we speak again. A’ho Healer

At that point Bob needed to take cover because there were tornado warnings for his area. Tuesday morning, he told me,

Bob: Morning Steph, Just wanted to stop in and tell you yesterday I was carrying tree limbs for the people I told you about and a Transformer blew right over me. I hit the ground, it started my Ptsd again very bad. So have a Wonderful day my Special Lady, going back to bed, for car is about out of gas, CVS is closed and no gas getting to stations. Drs. canceled all appts. Out of my meds, so I may not Be on today much.

Thankfully Bob was able to get more medicine but he continues to have problems on and off since then because of his experiences in Vietnam.

He did tell me one weekend about a little fun he had. While they were still cleaning up after Irma, Bob and a friend needed to remove a few alligators from their neighborhood. The fearless Native American warrior and retired Vietnam War veteran threw caution to the Wind and hopped in a golf cart with his friend and corralled the cranky, displaced lizards back to their home.

When he went home, he had a drink and shed a tear. Not because it was refreshing to have on a day like that. No far from it. He toasted the friends he lost from his recon. He’s the only one left. The others have all passed away either in the war, from cancer or from suicide. It’s the only time he has a drink nowadays.  

__________________

In another part of Florida, another Vietnam War veteran lived a very different life. The following is a social media post that his family posted in an effort to find him. By my guesstimations, this soldier didn’t make it thru Irma’s wrath. To protect his anonymity, I changed his name.

John Doe September 15th

During the Vietnam War, every night my Mom stayed glued to the evening news looking to see if her son, “Johnny” was being loaded onto a Medivac chopper. Thankfully he never was.

“After high school he was in the Vietnam War. He came back a different person. The war changed him. He withdrew” and ended up living up and down the Florida Keys for 30 to 40 years while working as a carpenter.

“Almost 50 years (after Vietnam), “Johnny” now lives on a boat in Key West and “Johnny’s” little brothers and sisters are currently searching NOAA satellite images post Hurricane Irma … to see if “Johnny’s “ boat is still afloat. As soon as the Keys open back up … there’s gonna be a “Johnny” convoy heading south on US1.

“September 17th. Update on my brother “Johnny”. A news article reported finding a body in a half sunken boat in the area he lived in. The man is in his “60’s, with gray hair and beard”. This fits  “Johnny’s” description and the location of where he moors his boat … BUT, BUT, BUT … we have no confirmation. It may not be him. Oh, brother … where art thou?”

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Come back tomorrow to read my final thoughts.

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#AngelicFeathers #MessagesFromAbove

“When angels are near feathers appear” ~Unknown

“A feather is a sign from the angels. It is a response to a question, a thought or an emotion. It’s their way of saying; ‘You are loved and are being guided through this by the angelic realm.’” ~ Eileen Anglin

How many times have you been walking along and you notice a feather in your path? Has this happened to you? As you’re walking from Point A to Point B, you’re thinking about something in your life or your heart and it’s heavy. You find a feather on your path. Did you know that you are getting a message from an angel? The message can be one of hope, telling you you’re on the right or wrong path, reassurance or anything in between.

I frequently find feathers along my path and, up until a couple years ago, I used to discount them as a pretty feather that some bird lost. Since then, whenever I need guidance or a confirmation on something, a feather appears along the way. This is what happened with me recently.

Not long ago, my car was laid up and I couldn’t drive it. Needless to say this independent woman suddenly had to rely on friends for a ride. Something I despise. I hate not being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. I absolutely despise asking for help.

One day, I needed a ride to work but no one was able to give me a hand for various reasons. Since my client really needed me that day, I walked 2.4 miles to get there and it took me a little over an hour to get there.

Now mind you, I’ve had some health problems and walking or being on my feet to long is not good. Not to mention if I get to active and/or overheated I have problems with breathing. Thankfully this day was 73° with a gentle breeze but much of my journey was in the sun. With music playing in my ear via my blue tooth, and my backpack filled the more important things from my purse, I set out on my journey.

On the first leg of my trek, my first hurdle was a large hill – all of it in the sun except for a couple small patches of shade on the shoulder of the road. I wasn’t paying attention and, before I knew it, I made it to the top of the hill! After that it was flat or downhill walking until the last couple blocks of my trip. Despite the temperature being 73°, I was drenched in sweat. Gross right?

When I finally got to a nice shady stretch of my journey, I happened to look down and saw on a little white feather. I understood it to mean that my angel was by my side telling me to keep me going and I would be ok. It was also a reminder to keep the faith, I would make it to my destination. I was also being told that I was being supported and protected by my Guardian Angels, Spirit Guides, Ancestors, whatever you choose to call them.

Interpreting the messages we are given by our Guardians is subjective and can be different for each person. It also varies from source to source. Many meanings are the same basic ideas. Often we need to listen to our gut instinct for that meaning. Below I listed some of the colors and their meanings.

Thought for the day: angels are around us, all the time, guiding, supporting and protecting us. The feather their way of comforting, guiding and supporting us. So the next time you see one in your path, simply say, “Thank you for your message.”

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This is a guideline for a few colors:

Black – an angel is protecting your energy doing your Spiritual Awakening. A reminder of the protection of your angels and a signal that spiritual wisdom, and magic are accessible by you within.

Purple – carry messages of deep spirituality, transmutation of negativity, as well as the opening of psychic and spiritual sight.

Brown – signify grounding, home life, and stability. There is an energy of respect, grounded positivity, and balance between the physical and spiritual.

White – your angel is here! A reminder to keep the faith, you’re being supported and protected by your angels. Can also be a sign that your loved ones in Heaven are well, and have successfully crossed over into the Spirit realm.

Black and White – change is coming.

Red – signify life force energy, physical Vitality, stability, strength, passion and courage.

Orange – carry messages of creativity, listening to your inner voice, and staying positive to attract

Yellow – congratulations,  you are on the right path. A reminder to be cheerful and light-hearted, to be present, alert, and to stay focused on what you desire to magnetize these blessings into your life.

Blue – your psychic abilities are unfolding, you are called to work on behalf of Spirit.

Grey – life has been hectic, peace is soon arriving. A call to return to peace within to create it without. Grey is also neutral, and it can be a sign that the answer to your questions is not yes/no or black/white.

Pink – love in the form of romance or a child is on the way. A reminder of the unconditional love of your angels, and a reminder of the infinite inspiration available when you are turned into love.

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Bella’s Thoughts on Angels(698 words)

Written November 10, 2016(edited 2017)

“You can deny angels exist, convince yourselves they can’t be real. But they show up anyway, at strange places and at strange times. They can speak through any character we can imagine. They’ll shout through demons if they have to. Daring us, challenging us to fight.” ~Sucker Punch

I saw this quote and I wanted to write about it. I usually spend a few moments researching the author of quotes, especially if I know I’ve heard it before. For the life of me I can’t find another author nor a similar quote. No matter, I’m sure someone will let me know if they find it.

This is a pretty powerful quote if you think about it. Sure, we can deny that angels exist but they do show up when and where we least expect them to. They can speak or even act thru anyone. Think of all the things in your life or the lives of people you know. Brushes with death averted, lives changed from bad to good because of one thought, one action, and all the acts of kindness just to name a few. I know my life has been affected by angels.

I can’t even count the times I was reckless in my life. I should’ve been dead numerous times, half of which were in my 20’s! I can also recount the times when I didn’t expect to get a job because I wasn’t qualified or when I passed a test even tho I didn’t study. What about the couple of times I didn’t expect to get a loan or a credit card because of poor credit.

And then there are the times when I’ve hurt people and then I asked for forgiveness. I didn’t expect to be forgiven but I was. I think of all the people who’ve helped me when I’ve had some pretty rough times. The things they’ve done or said have profoundly shaped or changed my life in one way or another.   

I’ll never forget in school I had been picked on because the religion I was brought up in “prayed to saints and angels”. I was told that I was a pagan(worshipping more than one God) which goes against the 2nd Commandment.  “Thou shalt have no others God’s before Me”.  One day, I was particularly upset over all the teasing and I asked one of our religious leaders if what my school mates were saying was true. She told me that in a way we do pray to angels, however, the angels take our prayers to our Higher Power. The best way I can define angels is that the word “angel” in the Bible, loosely translates to  “messenger”. Even tho angels are generally depicted as heavenly beings, they frequently appear as human messengers.

After learning this it made sense to me. I looked back thru the hard times in my life and seen the times I had angelic help during those times. I saw when someone said or did something that changed the course of life. One person I still call on once in awhile has been a tremendous helping hand when I’ve needed her. Her stature and her voice remind me of my image of an angel even. I see her as the angel who kicks my butt when I need it, comforts me when I need it and also covers her eyes when I goof up.

For those who have a hard time believing that your Higher Power hears all of your prayers, or those who don’t believe in Him for this reason, the angels hear our prayers and bring them to Him to answer the way He feels we need them answered. Sometimes that prayer is answered in various forms. It could be a song on the radio, something on tv, something someone says or something we read. And then again, sometimes our prayers are unanswered, but usually for a reason.

Thought for the day: If you don’t believe angels exist think about times in your life when someone or something had profoundly changed the course of your life. That person was your Angel, your messenger from your Higher Power

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Beauty is Skin Deep

“Beauty is only skin deep”, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” ~Unknown

Idioms, quotes, and sayings like this are told to us over and over throughout our lives. They mean that physical beauty is superficial and it is not as important as a person’s intellectual, emotional, and spiritual qualities. Basically beauty lies in the heart of a person. Also beauty cannot be judged objectively, because what one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another.

Growing up, I was picked often in school and I didn’t consider myself as pretty. Now I am currently faced with an illness that stripped away any beauty I had left. I’ve also seen the beauty in humanity and the ugly in it. I’ve known ugly people with goodness in their hearts and I’ve know beautiful people with ugliness in their hearts. I think I’ve become a bit of an expert on the beauty within a person.

Today, however, I write about a different kind of ugliness and beauty within. Looking at recent events on the news and social media has motivated me to attempt to put a mirror to the faces that are featured in the news and social media blogs. No, I’m not going to get political. Matter of fact, I want to strip all political features out of this message.

In America over the last few years, there have been a lot of angry people who continue to come out in droves to protest, rather fight with, other groups of people who disagree with them. Call these people what you want – Antifa, Neo Nazi, White Nationalists, or whatever. These angry people can be found on both sides of the political aisle and they have been poisoning our minds with hate, or as I see it, with ugliness. They are people who were our friends, our local and national leaders, and they are even found in the entertainment industry.

By that same token, there are people who have been championing for peace. Tho they seem to be far and few between they are out there. These are the people who still have beauty in their hearts. They look into the faces of the ugly every day and still do the right thing for the right reasons. We’ve heard or known of people like this in the past. People like Rosa Parks, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and others. While we don’t need to be just like these people, having any one of their qualities can help each of us be warriors for peace.

I must admit, when I began this, I was headed in a different direction. I want to shift gears just a bit.

In this time and in this place, the political atmosphere has been volatile at best. Everyone is fighting each other and wearing thin our last threads of unity that have held this country together. However, as most of us know, Hurricane(now tropical storm) Harvey is pummeling Texas as I write this. The other night I found myself joining a social media group about surviving this storm after seeing a friend “checking in” that he was safe. I read many of the posts and comments that other people left. As with any major disastrous event, members asked others to either pray for them, their loved ones and the communities affected by this historic storm.

In the past, when disasters have hit an area, many people post and comment positive thoughts for people they don’t even know. Complete strangers praying and leaving kind or inspirational comments. I did not expect to see what I saw this time. I saw the same if not more of these same prayers, comments and thoughts left for those who are in need. Offers to help and asking how to help were common.

What shocked me most about it was that people who voted for President Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or any of the candidates helped each other. Complete strangers actually reaching out to others in need, their political views be damned. Brother helping brother and sister helping sister instead of fighting. Protesting signs and fists put away for the time being. One thread in particular touched me. Perhaps because I can see myself in her shoes.

There was a young woman all alone with no one to help her evacuate her home because her closest relative lived over 1,000 miles away. She lived at ground zero where most of the destruction happened right outside her door. This woman reached out to this group for prayers and words of comfort as the wind and rain howled thru the night. What she and I both found was human kindness, concern and compassion beyond expectation. There was no one saying, “Well since you’re this race/faith/political party/etc so I’m not going to help you.” or “Since you were to stupid to listen to the authorities and you stayed, you deserve what you get” None of that was said.

This is but one of many instances of the beauty within. This is what makes our country great. This is what we need to see more of on a daily basis not only during times of crisis like this. This is the real meaning of beauty within. Unconditional love, kindness and compassion for each other as human beings no matter what another person’s race, creed, faith, sexual identity or socio-economic status.

Thought for the day: On behalf of all peacekeepers everywhere, put down your angry fists and protesting signs. Get to know someone who is different from you. Understand and respect them, their thoughts and feelings. This is the real beauty in the world.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Hope

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” ~Anne Lamott.

Some time ago while I was working on rebuilding myself, I was given a list of vocabulary words related to rebuilding myself. I knew the meanings of these words, well, so I thought. It wasn’t until I looked these words up in more detail that I began to understand them more. Hope happened to be one of those words.

Hope is something that you want to happen, or the feeling that good things will come. To hope is to want something to happen. It is emotional. Matter of fact, most of the definitions I’ve seen have the word “expectation” in it which is a belief about (or mental picture of) the future. In essence hope is a double edged sword.

There was a time when I’d lost hope because so many bad things had happened in my life. You could say I hit rock bottom in the hope department. My world felt dark and was closing in on me. I wasn’t suicidal but I did pray before bed that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. Every morning that I woke up I was mad at my Higher Power. I thought He’d abandoned me too.

While I was this dark place, the hand of a friend I’d met on social media reached out for me. He loved me until I could love myself. He made me think about myself and the world around me. Sure I had other friends who could help me but their words didn’t impact me like his did.

One day I’d looked for his words of experience  strength and hope but found none. A few days went by and he still hadn’t posted. When I went to his personal page I discovered that he’d passed away. I was devastated and heartbroken.

After some phone calls, email, social media exchanges and a few tears on both ends, I was graciously given a copy of his writings so that I could repost them – on one condition. I had to write my own thoughts with his words until I felt comfortable doing my own writing. Since that day, this shy little girl turned into a confident, but not cocky, woman who feels more comfortable in her own skin. This endeavor has helped me get thru many dark hours when I didn’t think I could.

What’s ironic is that I always hated writing in school nor was I even really that good. I am still amazed today that stuff I’ve written has been read all over the world thanks to social media. And to think, this never would’ve been possible had I stayed in my dark place or taken the risk to honor my friend the way that I do.

Today my hope is that maybe someday this entry will be put with my other entries that I’ve written in a book of daily inspiration. Or that other things I write will be published. This much is for certain, whatever happens, I will never forget the man and his family for starting me on this journey. Nor will I forget each person who has “liked”, shared and commented on my posts. They fueled the flames of hope and gave me the confidence to continue.

Thought for the day: Miracles do happen every day. They may not come with angelic singing and trumpets playing but they do happen. Don’t leave before that miracle happens.

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Who Are You?

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”. ~ C G Jung 

Who are you? Not your name. Who are you as a person? What drives you? What is your passion? This were questions that I was asked some time ago and I had a hard time answering them. Eventually I was faced with having to answer these questions one late and lonely night.

Since I was born I’ve always been something to someone. I’ve been a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a caregiver, a wife, even a friend with “benefits”. While I worked I was was someone’s employee whether I was an aide, a waitress, bartender, store clerk, or stock person. That is until somewhat recently.

It all actually started a few years ago when I hurt my back at work. When I did that I was given those “lovely “ pills for my pain. Eventually, I was eating that poison more than I was supposed to. You know, it’s like they say in that Lays potato chips commercial, “You can’t eat just one.”  

Later, after some recovery and clean time under my belt, I had a somewhat unexpected divorce thrown in my lap, moved to my parents home and cared for my mother. Later that fall I was forced to put my mom in a nursing home, had my significant other move in with me only to move out 1 ½ years later.

It’s not easy living alone. Sometimes the nights are long and lonely. Sometimes in the middle of the night the mind starts racing with all kinds of thoughts. At some point those questions make their way to the front of your mind. Who am I? What drives me? What fuels my passion? To find this out I had to be alone. While being alone I had to get to know me, what I liked or didn’t like, and who or what I wanted in my life. I answered those questions thru meditation, working(rather) playing in my garden, and even setting the house up the way I want it, with or without music.

One of the first things I did was arranged the kitchen, living room and bedroom to the way I wanted it. This is my home, my sanctuary. It’s where I feel safe. That is one of the first and most important things we need to do for ourselves – make sure we are living in a safe environment. After making sure we are living in a safe place the rest seems to fall into place.

It’s also really important to have a positive attitude about your life. Neithet a fantasy attitude and not a negative attitude, but somewhere in the middle. When you begin to feel comfortable in your own skin or you start to feel you’re headed in the right direction, keep doing what makes you happy and comfortable in your skin.

Thought for the day: If you struggle with finding your real, authentic self, the arts can help. Write, paint, draw, sing or play…whatever feels right. There’s no right or wrong way to do it as long as you do it.

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Change is Good

Written July 6, 2017

I’m sure many of you reading this hate change. I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I come by it naturally because my parents used to be pretty stuck in their ways.

As a child growing up we moved twice but both times I was to little to remember. So I never experienced moving until I got older.  Since this little bird left the nest at the tender age of 19, I’ve only moved a handful of times. Each time I had to move in was filled with anxiety and trepidation. I think this is because of my fear of the future. I was(still am) afraid I wouldn’t be able to make enough money to pay the bills and that I wouldn’t be safe, especially when I first lived alone.

Now, I’m a couple years(wink, wink) older and a smidge bit wiser. I’ve learned many lessons along the way. From self defense to home maintenance and everything in between, including a couple acronyms for fear. FEAR – (I can either…)“Forget” Everything And Run or Face Everything And Recover. There’s also False Evidence Appearing To Be Real.

So how is change good? To answer this I’ll share with you a short story my best friend shared with me some time ago. She said, “Say you go to the store with a $5 bill. You pick up a loaf of bread for $2. When you hand the clerk your money she hands you back $3. Change is good.”

In life there are all kinds of events based on change that are stressful. Things like starting a new job, retiring, getting married, death of a loved one and so on.  Changing your residence is ranked fairly high on the list of life stressors. No matter if you are moving from a shack to a palace, this is still stressful. It may be a happy occasion, but it is still a disruption of our daily routines. And I’m sure some of you reading this agree that any disruption of your routine causes stress. I know this is certainly true for me. Moving disrupts the entire family. And it is a real pain in the neck. Plus you have to deal with the packing.

Everyone hates moving. Packing up all of your belongings and then unpacking them is just a hassle. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to have someone do all of this labor for us so it tends to be stressful. It is inevitable that at some point in the moving process someone will snap and an argument will occur. Even if we do not have to lift a finger, moving is still a disruption of our normal routine.

It may take a while until you can get adjusted into your new home. Until you do, you should try to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible, especially if you have children. If you cannot maintain some semblance of a routine while moving, then be sure that you get back on your routine as soon as you get moved. Another option is to change some parts of your routine or create a new one altogether.

Another thing that helps to ease the stress is to be mindful of how we are feeling and ask ourselves if we are indirectly projecting our feelings on our loved ones. Ask yourself,  “Am I really mad at this person for leaving the milk out or am I anxious or afraid the cat/dog/bird/etc will get loose during the move?” Many arguments can be avoided this say. They always say that laughter is the best medicine. Why not watch a comedy the night before or even try cracking some of your own jokes.

A couple of us had a good laugh at my expense when I slipped on the floor and almost fell. When I looked to see if I got away with nobody seeing me I saw a couple people holding back a chuckle. I realized then that it was a good time to relax a bit. In my situation, I was very stressed because of a time crunch and, at first, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough people to help. Now that things are settled, much of my stuff is unpacked and I feel more at home in my new place I realized that much of my anxiety was overblown. Also I’ve decided to work on a new healthier routine.

Looking back I see how silly I was at times but also where I’ve grown. I laugh at myself because I said things like, “What if this doesn’t get done, what if that doesn’t get done what if the weather’s bad, what if…”  In the end, I was out by my deadline and we did get rain on the trip with furniture, I had plenty of help and furniture polish to clean the water spots. At least my sofa and chair were safe in an enclosed van!

Thought for the day: Whether you are moving to a new home, starting a new job, retiring, getting married, or any life changing event, change is good. Even if it puts you someplace you don’t want to be, inevitably it will put you on the path you need to be on.

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