Pictorial Sunset Essay

This is a series of pictures of the sunset the other night on Treasure Island Beach, one of the St. Pete barrier beaches.  The first is a picture of the grandkids playing in the Gulf as we sat in the lounge chairs, sipping mojitos, waiting for the sunset.  Hope you enjoy the pics!

sunset 1

sunset 2

sunset 3

sunset 4

sunset 5

Pictures taken by me, March 27, 2018

Snapshots in Time

sunset

This week Dan’s daughter and two grandsons have been visiting. It is the first time I’ve met them, outside of a facetime call on Christmas. I was nervous with hope that we would like each other. It is important to me.

It’s a quick visit, only a few days. Not enough time to get to know each other really well. It is enough time to know I like her, and the boys are wonderful. Still at that age of wonder about things. We are getting along as well as anyone could expect after 48 hours.

What I’ve really loved are a few snapshots of the time we’ve been together. The first is when she came to me when we were alone and hugged me, telling me that she was “so glad that you guys found each other.”

The second was when Dan came to both of us, put his arms around us at the same time, and told us how happy he was that we liked each other and got a long so well, because it was so important to him.

The third was when she and I were both at his bathroom sink in front of the mirror, combing our hair as we got ready to leave to go somewhere, and one of the grandsons walked by (the bathroom is open to the bedroom without a door) and said, “You guys look so much alike.” We looked at each other and realized we were wearing the same color shorts and shirt. It was so cool that he saw us looking alike, not just dressed alike.

The fourth was last night. It was the end of a busy day with the grandsons, topped off by having dinner at a beachfront restaurant with picnic tables in the sand and watching the sunset (see picture) as the kids frolicked in the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico. They were in their pajamas, ready for bed. Dan and I were in the kitchen with them who were telling jokes, corney kid type jokes, mostly knock-knock jokes. We were telling them back, and laughing, just having fun. as the kids went to bed, when the oldest grandson, who is 8, came to me and gave me a big, authentic hug to say goodnight. It made me so happy tp get that hug. A simple act from a young child, but it held so much meaning for me. I could see the younger one watching, and who knows, maybe I’ll get a hug from him too.

I think (hope!) it will be a long time before I have grandchildren of my own. I won’t ever have a daughter, but it seems there’s a possibility that Dan’s daughter and I could become close, over time. No expectations, but if I have any manifesting powers at all, that’s what I’d love to have happen! So much possibility!

Time to get my day underway. Dan has gone ahead of me this morning, to buy the Krispy Kreme donuts for the kids that he promised them. So I’ll need to catch up with them soon.

Love and light to all.

 

(Picture taken by me, last night, on Treasure Island Beach)

Question of the Day: What Is Your Greatest Struggle?

Question of the day.

What is your greatest struggle?

Is your struggle an internal struggle, a physical struggle, or maybe an attempt to achieve some goal? Or something else altogether?

I’m doing the Oprah-Deepak 21 day meditation, and there is quite a lot of focus on changing the choices we make, consciously, to break bad habits.

I would say that my biggest struggle right now is my weight. I lost a lot of weight, and it is creeping back on. I struggle to keep it off. I think some of the reason it’s creeping on is the med I take for rheumatoid arthritis. Weight gain is listed as a side effect. I haven’t gained a lot back, but about 12 lbs. I’m not happy about that at all. I am, however, trying to consciously make better choices about what I eat, to offset the tendency to hold on to weight caused, I believe by the med. I believe this because I’m not eating any differently than I did when I lost the weight.

I used to struggle with letting go of people who were toxic to me. I think I finally learned how to choose what I wanted for my own life, and keep people out of it who didn’t contribute to my happiness. I’ve also learned to choose people who are more similar to me, and remove the drama from my life. I think that drama can be addicting, the highs and lows. But after awhile, I just got sick of it. I once said to my writers group, that I didn’t understand how I can be so on top of my game in most areas of my life, so focused and know what I want, but make such bad decisions about the people I let into my life. No more. I’ve let go of a few people, male and female, that served no positive purpose in my life.

So tell me, what do you struggle with? Finding love, losing weight, letting go, achieving financial goals? I’m betting that for most of us, the internal struggles are much more difficult than the external.

As ever, love and light to all.

Boats and Other Stuff

I’ve been preoccupied of late. I miss my writing time, but it’s all good. I’m preoccupied with good things. Awesome things.

We have made an offer on a boat, pending a satisfactory survey. The kind of boat we want is not particularly popular down here. Everyone wants fishing boats here, because you can go out fishing most days, and the Gulf of Mexico is generally a pretty calm body of water. On it’s bad days it’s a lot like Long Island Sound up north. And the season is year round here. So it’s understand able. We want a small cruising boat, so we can spend a couple nights out on the hook, or maybe drive down to my sisters, about 25 miles away. We found a very nice 27’ boat, with a trailer, with air conditioning which is a must down here, and a generator, very unusual for a boat this size. What it means is that we can run the air conditioner when we are anchored out. Since this type of boat is not too much sought after down here, the prices are very good on them.

It’s not for sure, and we are trying to curb our enthusiasm, lol. Because who knows what the survey will say. The boat is 16 years old, and up until now has been in fresh water, not salt water, which makes a difference. The survey should be completed in the next week to 10 days, and then we will either begin to out fit this boat, or look for another.

This boat thing is occupying a lot of our time. It’s not the only thing, though. We’ve been working on my house, cleaning up the yard, Dan laid a new brick walkway to my house, we’re having company this week, and my little sister in 3 weeks. We’re still exploring house options too, and learning about the market down here, though we’re not ready to sell either house yet.

And my windows….they are another story altogether. They still aren’t fully installed, or inspected. I am so angry about this, but it does me no good to be angry. I just have to get through it. The main problem is that with the hurricane last fall, they are installing about 10 times their normal amount of windows. They are happy to sell the windows, but scheduling all the work is another story. They are using subcontractors they don’t normally use, and it shows. The people that did these windows for me are just not competent. I’m sure it will be resolved though in the next couple weeks.

It’s very cool to have so much good stuff going on, with absolutely no drama about it. Every day I pinch myself. Just so grateful for the life I’m living now.

As always, love and light to everyone.

A Ride With An Angel

The other day, when I put up a post asking what people were reading, I got into a discussion with Thelonelyauthorblog ( https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/99938820 ) about the book the Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. It was one of my all-time favorite books. He asked about other books I’d read by Coehlo, and I remembered The Valkyries, and the rather profound journey it took me on, actually starting with The Alchemist. I thought it might make an interesting blog, though I suspect it will take some time to get the story out correctly.

This is a true story.

Back in 2008, I asked for The Alchemist for Christmas. I actually ended up with 2 copies. I was at my sisters for Christmas, the first I’d spent with my family in many years. (I’d left my ex in 2007 and was not yet divorced.) I remember the night before my son and I flew home, we all watched the movie Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. It was an ok movie, nothing outstanding.

My son and I were sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane back home, and I pulled out one of the copies of The Alchemist and just read the back cover. On the cover, they mentioned his book The Valkyries. I thought, “Hmmm. I haven’t heard that word in 50 years maybe, and now I hear it twice in 12 hours.” I decided it was a sign that I should pick up the book and read it when I got home. Which I did, as soon as I finished The Alchemist, which is a short book and I had lots of time to read back then, lol. It was probably January of 2009 when I read The Valkyries.

Let me also put in a note here about how broke I was then. Really broke. Taking care of my son, and working, even though I was getting child support, it was tough, because my boss decided right then that we could work no more OT for awhile. I generally worked about 5 to 8 hours of OT a week, and it made a substantial difference in my paycheck to not have that included. I was paying rent, and driving an old car, and my ex was holding 100% of our assets until the divorce was final. (That’s another story, but the synopsis is that eventually, in 2010 we went to the Supreme Court of CT, and I won and he had to give me about half of what he was holding.)

The IRS owed me about $1250. They had lost my return, which had been filed on time. Then when I sent another one, they found it. Then they sent me a check, which I never got. In fact, 2 checks each about 6 weeks apart that I never got. I called them again and asked couldn’t they send it certified or registered or something, since this was now the 3rd time I was asking for it, and it was the end of January or beginning of February 2009, 8 months after I originally filed the return. Of course in the IRS’s helpful way, they said no. And that I’d have to wait 30 days before I could request another check. Sigh. This does really have something to do with this story!

The Valkyries is a book that tells the true story of Paulo Coehlo’s own search in the Mojave Desert for his angel. He believes that we all have one, and he wanted to meet his. He was directed by his mentor (whose name I cannot remember) to go to the Mojave and there he would meet people who would help him. It was a little cryptic but he’s pretty believable. He meets this group of motorcycle riding, preaching women who criss-cross the desert preaching when they need money. Sometimes sleeping on the desert floor. They guide him on a journey, rather unwittingly, and in the end, I believe he meets his angel. I believe he tells the truth. . I remember making an involuntary gutteral noise at the end of that book. It’s a pretty amazing story. I don’t want to be a spoiler for anyone who might want to read it. Like all of Coehlo’s books, it is a fairly quick read, not unlike the Alchemist.

Fast forward a week or two. I was a little worried, no, a lot worried about making ends meet. I got up one morning, a Friday, and said, “you know God, I know this is all gonna work out, but I could really use another sign (I’d had some good ones already) that everything is going to work out.” Meaning with my divorce and financial settlement, etc. That day, driving to Walmart on my lunch break I was gifted with seeing a complete sundog. The complete rainbow around the sun, the bright spots on either side, one on the top and bottom, and the spotlight effects that come from the sides and reach out miles in front of it. Sundogs are one of my favorite phenomena (thus my jewelry making business, sundogsdesigns) and this is the only time I’ve seen the whole thing. I stood in the parking lot of Walmart, laughing, and saying thank you. As good a sign as I could get.

I was feeling a lot better about things after that, but as the weekend went by I fell back into my funk, and worry. I was sick of living in limbo, having nothing, him having every penny we’d ever made together and me struggling. That Sunday a power plant in that was under construction blew up, killing 6 people. I lived about 5 miles from it as the crow flies and the shock waves could be felt where I lived. That set me back, such a darkness fell over me.

Now it was Monday, and back to work. And still feeling anxious. I know what to do when I am anxious. Meditate, read something that will set my mind at ease. So, as I left for work I grabbed The Valkyries as I was leaving because it was the book handiest out of my considerable collection of spiritual type books.

At lunch that day, I drove to a cove on the CT river, about 3 miles from work, and sat by the water, always where I go to ease my mind. I ate lunch, and then opened the book randomly, and re-read a bit about Paulo Coehlo’s search for his angel. I felt a little better, a little more centered, and grounded. I went back to work.

I was scheduled to work til 7 pm that day, as I did every Monday. When I left work, it was cold and dark being February in New England. The rush hour traffic was over. I got on the highway, in light traffic, and fell into deep thought about angels, from reading the book. Like, are there really angels hanging around us? Energetic beings who we only have to ask for help and they will give it? (Because they can’t help if you don’t ask, right? They have to be invited in, I’ve heard.)

As my thoughts went on, I felt my right arm get warm, near the passenger side of the car. I rubbed it a little, idly, and then suddenly it occurred to me to ask out loud….”Are you here, Angel? Are you in the car with me?” I repeated it a few times. It seemed ridiculous, but at the same time compelling. Momentarily, a car pulled up behind me on this empty highway. It then purposefully pull out of the lane, went around me, and then pulled in front of me, again, purposefully. Most cars would have pulled out to pass me in the left lane and just gone on in that late, since there was no traffic at that hour of the night, on a divided highway to rural areas. But this one pulled right in front of me, close enough for me to read the license plate.

It was “Angel-7”. Really. After I caught my breath a huge calm came over me. I drove the rest of the way home in silence, with my unseen passenger.

I normally stopped to pick up my mail as I was driving into the condo complex where I lived, at a large bank of mailboxes. Normally, on the night I worked late I didn’t bother to stop, and would just wait until the next day. However, as I drove by the bank of mailboxes, I heard a voice. Well, not really a voice. I’m not sure what it was, but I heard, “Get your mail.” Without another thought, I parked the car, and walked over to the mailboxes. I unlocked my box, and pulled the mail out.

On the top of the pile of mail lay my check from IRS for $1250. 7 Days ago the IRS had told me that I would have to wait 30 days, and call back to get the 3rd check back. But there it was…..

I drove the short distance to my condo, and went inside. I walked in the door, sat down on the couch and just cried. I was so overwhelmed with what had just happened. Over the next few days I began to realize the scope of this journey, beginning with watching the movie Valkyries.

This is my true story of encountering my angel.

Love and light to all.

Question of the Day: Prayer, Meditation or Both?

Question of the day

Do you meditate, or pray, or both? Which do you do more often? What do you believe is the difference between the two?

I have gotten out of the practice of daily meditation that sustained me for a long time when I was alone. I guess that getting out of the practice is due to the major changes in my life, mainly being in a close loving relationship. I’ve done my meditation sporadically, but not with any regularity. I have always done all of the Oprah – Deepak Chopra 21 day free meditations, and when I was notified of a new one starting up, I vowed to get back into my regular meditation practice, starting with this free meditation from Oprah and Deepak. (The link to this, if you’d like to join it is chopracentermeditation.com )

I have always heard that when you pray, you are talking to God (or whatever your name is for the higher consciousness), and that when you meditate you are listening. That sounds about right to me. Meditation helps to keep me grounded and centered, but when I find myself troubled about something, a prayer comes out, and sometimes it comes out when I’m meditating. I also find prayer a good way to express gratitude for all I have.

I have done meditation in many ways: Enhanced by gongs, crystal bowls, bells, drums, or just vibrational music. Oprah and Deepak always have a mantra for you to repeat. I find that the biggest obstacle to meditation, expressed by numerous people, is that they can’t clear their mind. Well, hey! Neither can I or anyone else, at least at first! We can’t stop thoughts from running through our minds, but we don’t have to get attached to them and carry on an internal dialog. I think that the practice of meditation helps you to learn how to clear your mind, but it’s not a prerequisite for sitting quietly, and allowing you to go inward to find peace.

So tell me, what is your practice? How do you see the relationship between meditation and prayer? I’d love to have a conversation about this.

As always, love and light to all.