God-Given Tools For Stress

We have to have some stress in our lives to keep going forward. However, when we have too many negatives in too short a period of time, our stress level greatly increases! I have been watching how I react to major changes in my life. First, I hold myself together to take care of and help others. I encourage others, love others, and help others. When I was in my early 30’s, my mother died. I did great helping my Dad until I left Oklahoma City and started home. While driving, I became so sick that I had to stop in New Mexico for two hours at a relatives’ home before meeting Don and our children in Ruidoso. When I arrived, he took me straight to the hospital to get a shot to help me. I slept over twenty-four hours. I was 38 when Don died. I already had taken off six weeks to help him while he died. The funeral was over, and I felt pressure to get back to work. After all, Dawn and Johnny had to go to school, and I was now the sole supporter. Two years later came a five-year negative marriage and divorce. With the divorce over and still not believing that I made such a mistake, I went to bed and did not awaken for over 24 hours! Now Pearce died, the brother that we helped out of diabetic reactions in the middle of the night, in the daytime, anywhere that we discovered him “out.” It was non-stop until the funeral and stayed non-stop with all that had to be done following the funeral. Again, I was forced to look back to myself and take care of myself, because after two weeks of non-stop, I had problems! Between John’s eye surgery on June 10th, which was stressful enough, and then his brother’s unexpected death on June 11th, I held myself together again for two weeks before becoming ill. With too much stress, our immune system suffers. How could I be sick?

I had to drive John to many appointments! I knew what I had to do. I encouraged others to do this in seminars for years. First, balance me every morning by doing prayer and at least ten minutes of meditation or by reading something inspirational for ten minutes, then pay attention to what I was putting in my mouth. Was it junk food that we are all tempted to use when stressed or healthy snacks? I needed to force myself to go toward health, lessen my caffeine intake, regain more balance in my life, and allow God to take over how to do some things rather than me. In other words. Later in the day, I would sit down and make prayers rather than running all over, I could get out of God’s way, and God/Spirit/Angels could help us with all we still had to do. Eventually, I went to see my doctor and followed the doctor’s orders. It has now been two weeks of being sick, and I am finally better since I got the crud. I feel like me again

Since I strongly believe in the “power of prayer,” so I easily turned to prayer. I pray every day for everyone else. Suddenly realizing John and I were at the bottom of my prayers, I moved John and myself to the top of the list for healing his eye and getting rid of my nasty, nasty cough. I also consciously watched every word being said in my prayers for the two of us and others. There is power in every word we say and every thought we have, so I also became more focused on positive, healing thoughts, words, and visual pictures when praying for us and everyone else. These are only a few of the God-given tools I used. I watched for signs as to what to do to help my Self.

We had so much to do, and we had stopped watching movies in the evening and relaxing. The television had not been turned on “at all” for three weeks. Finally, we picked out a movie we knew nothing about to watch. Would it be good? Who knows! The messages in it were great! There was no coincidence that this movie is what we picked, but what was my sign? Was I to be more grateful? Was I to release negativity? The movie we watched was titled “The Dreamseller” on Netflix. There was one line in it that movie John and I both loved. It is “The first to benefit from forgiveness is the one who forgives. Not the forgiven.” That immediately took me into our past and into some of the healing ceremonies that we attended. The person requesting the healing was always asked, “Is there anyone that you need to forgive or anyone you still resent?” If the answer was yes, the medicine person said that he would reschedule the remainder of the healing until the person receiving the healing took the time to take care of “his or her forgiveness and resentment of the person mentioned.” “When you let that go, releasing the negativity in you, we will complete this healing.” I always returned to watch the healing be complete and the miracles following the healing. Others not willing to let go of resentment or forgive sometimes improved, but I did not see the complete healing like took place with those who went to work on releasing negativity. John and I loved that movie so much that we watched it completely again the following night to stop feeling resentment within. If you decide to watch, listen to the words carefully and read the subtitles. It does have subtitles, but it is so worth watching!

How can one release the resentment towards someone that hurt them badly with their words and what they did in your life? When I was hurt and felt some resentment towards a person, I had a mentor suggest to me, “Get on your knees every day and pray for that person that hurt you and that you resent. Ask every morning first thing for what you want for you that day, only ask it for the person you are angry with that hurt you, not you.” I put the shoes I was to wear under my bed, so I would have to get on my knees in the morning. (Today, I use a chair rather than get on my knees.) I could hardly get the words out initially, praying for someone that hurt me so badly. A short time went by. I began to feel different. Slowly, every muscle in my body changed when I said my prayer, and I eventually felt peace within, which later brought peace without. At the end of thirty days, I put her in the God Box. All negativity was gone, and I could wait to see the results. I watched the change in her! Today, we are great friends. I had practice, especially with that bad marriage. Now I do it when need be.

I also knew that I needed to re-energize to keep going because there is still so much to do. Sometimes we have to step back and re-energize. We have a perfect example of prayer and stepping back in the Bible with Jesus. How could I do this? Before getting sick, I went into every meeting with John everywhere he wanted to go. I answered the phone and talked on the phone all day sometimes. That takes energy also! For the last two weeks, except for one of his doctor’s appointments, I remained in the car and did nothing while he took care of his business. A great time to pray! I created positive thoughts for both of us and prayed for us and others. For instance, I visualized a strong tree? Do you know that you can go to a tree when you get frustrated or angry, place your hand on its bark, and give the tree your anger? Think about it being “The Giving Tree.”

Visualize moving the negativity within you out, through the tree, on up to the top, and disperse for those in Heaven to help you heal. I have done that at several gatherings. I also have done it before some talks. Some find me strange! Ha! Focusing on nature, season changes, etc., which we often follow without paying attention, I realized that today we are all in the heat of summer, halfway through the year. This is a good time to work on relationships close to you or changes to make when the leaves fall off the trees. It is a great time to think about “Are there any beliefs that are no longer working in my life that has been passed down to me? “Are there any perspectives about life I need to change? What irritates me that I can release? What fears do I have that I need to let go of? Do I need to reduce the time I spend on my iPad or watch television or video games instead of relationships in person? I can do all the things I know to increase faith in my life (meditate, personal prayer life, use my God Box more, make prayer ties). Perhaps this will give me the courage to be true to myself at all times and pay more attention to what I value in life.

Remember what I said in an earlier blog. With every loss, my faith became stronger due to what I learned. The spiritual part of Self increased. Each loss taught me so much! I learned more about flowing and waiting to see what God/Spirit brought next. I have been with money in my past and without money, feeling like I had many friends and then feeling alone in life. I have had life turn upside down on me and then put into divine order. I used everything I could to help me remain positive about possibilities that will come in the future. This helped me stop pushing against the stream and taught me to flow more through life rather than forcing it, trying to control it, or meet everyone else’s expectations of me. Instead, I could still set goals and allow everything to happen in its own time. I learned more about how to flow, giving God and Spirit time to create and do the work while I did my part to gently and carefully step forward!

Life today is amazing. John and I started life over again together. My life with John is fantastic. We have amazing friends. Our children are wonderful. We love our relatives, all of them. All of this came after those stepping stones of loss taught me so much, and I finally spent the time to “look within” for peace so that I could bring “peace without” for me and hopefully be a guide for others. Our security is within, not without. Our treasure from Heaven is also within, not without. It is not money. We each have it within! When found, one can be happy with or without and can go through a negative in a new way!

LESSON: Learn to appreciate the negative and the positive! Take steps to release what is negative. Watch for “your” signs. The more you listen and spend time gaining inspiration from what you, yourself, hear through others and dreams or a Holy Book, or through an amazing thought that comes to you. Listen for God/Jesus/Spirit. You may get a “literal sign” on a highway that speaks to a thought you have been thinking. Pay attention is the lesson! Watch what happens in your life as the season changes, as a loss takes place. Watch it all! Soon you will appreciate the negative as well as the positive, and all will be well again.

GIFTS:

I received major reminders that I “must” go back to the basics of what I have done to relieve stress.

I got well, and John is slowly getting better. He does not have Chron’s disease. Prayers we all have said works. Thank you! Those many prayers were a huge gift! Please keep those prayers up. He is still the one-eyed John and cannot yet see out of the eye he had surgery on!

My gift was a surprise that so many people commented on the blog about “it”! Amazing that so many are now reading my blog. I heard from relatives, friends, and people that I did not know! My prayer has been from the beginning that my grandchildren will eventually read my blog and that this blog will perhaps touch someone’s life.

Grateful for my life and for yours!

What Happens When “It” Happens

Normally June is filled with celebrations of birthdays for two children, three different grandchildren, and remembering John’s brothers. Even if we are not with them, we buy gifts, try to mail cards, and make calls. Last month, the month of June began with special dinners with special people. June also brought a scheduled endoscopy and colonoscopy for John, where we learned a cat scan was being set up for John to acquire more information. On Monday, June 7th, John and I had a routine eye exam. And “It” began. There was a surgery on June 10th and a death on June 11th.

A few days before the appointment, John noticed one eye was having a problem, but there was a scheduled appointment to see both of us in only a few days. When Dr. Mendel walked into the examination room to check on my eyes, I said, “Dr. Mendel, I hope you are taking care of John’s eyes. He needs to be able to drive at night because I no longer can.” Dr. Mendel: “Susanne, I was going to wait to tell you, but John has a bad eye. He has a hole in one eye. I have just set him up to see a specialist. As soon as you get out of this chair, you need to take him to Edmond to the doctor for the emergency appointment I just made.” I was stunned! My thoughts consisted of “Why had we not insisted on John seeing Dr. Mendel when we casually stopped by and upped our appointment by a few days? Why didn’t we tell the receptionist what John was experiencing with his eye? Then I switched to mad at Dr. Mendel and John for not telling me there was a problem six months ago after his last appointment. Why was Dr. Mendel not checking more often on the problem Dr. Mendel noticed at that time?” You know, it is always easier to blame someone else.

I canceled my afternoon plans, and off we went. On this challenge of quickly driving to the specialist’s office in Edmond, I thought about some of the stages of change I taught in every seminar on change! First, I was shocked when John told me a problem he was having with one eye but was more shocked when Dr. Mendel told me there was a hole! (so first, shock) Then I apparently denied (next, denial) to myself a serious situation we were facing. Dr. Mendel told me the problem. My attitude changed. I became angry (anger with others and with Self) with myself for not paying attention to what John said the previous week about a problem with his eye. He did not seem worried, so I did not worry. We arrived at the office in Edmond. The receptionist was waiting for our arrival. However, the doctor was with another patient. We had a seat and waited. I was totally disgusted with myself for not insisting John pull into Dr. Mendel’s office the previous week and tell him his sight was diminishing. So now I had not only blaming Dr. Mendel and John but also myself (blame). It is also easy for self-pity to set in and perhaps depression. (next one might have self-pity or depression). Or one can begin to focus on actions to move forward and make the best of every day even though they’re in pain. It is good to allow time for grief which I did not do when my first husband died. However, when people go through “it,” many never get past the stage of self-pity and anger. Next, behavior improves (attitude changes) as we begin to think rationally about our situation and create a plan for ourselves. With a look within Self at the situation, we begin to use new knowledge, understanding, and skills to accept where we are at present (acceptance).

Yes, I was sitting in a doctor’s office thinking about all of the stages we go through when faced with the challenge of change. While waiting, I also thought about when my first husband, Don, died and how long it took for me to move through the stages between the doctor in Mayo telling us that he had cancer and then six months later, death. It took time to let go, accept it, and heal. Death, divorce, any life-changing accident or event, or maybe even losing sight in one eye can bring about change. The time it takes for each person to move through the stages is different for everyone. After Don died, I ran away from my life, thinking that would relieve some of my feeling of “not fitting” and the pain of loss within. I made some big mistakes. Hold onto faith that you can and will move through this. Hold onto that trust and belief that tomorrow will be better and life will eventually become better.

The doctor called us in. By the end of the meeting with the doctor, we gained a plan, a scheduled surgery for Thursday, the 10th of June. Due to my inability to see at night and having to leave at 4:00 a.m. for the surgery, a fantastic friend drove us to Edmond so that John could acquire his surgery. After surgery, we received follow-up instructions. John was to lie on his stomach for three days with his head facing the floor. Also, he was to return the following day for a follow-up. We understood that John could not drive. I was now to be the appointed driver until he could hopefully see again with his bad eye. Well, we got home about 2 o’clock. All went well until 5 a.m. the next morning when our sister-in-law telephoned and yelled into the phone, “John, you and Susanne get over here. I need you. Pearce is dead.” Who was Pearce? He was John’s older brother. John had literally jumped out of bed when the phone rang, answered it. As he sat the phone down, he immediately ran downstairs, telling me not to bother getting dressed. We arrived at their house, which, by the way, is not far from us. There were many police cars, an ambulance, and unmarked cars. The home was filled with police, EMTs, and others. Martha was in shock. John stood and visited with the police and others that he knew from being a Judge. Another friend, that is more like family, offered to drive John to his follow-up appointment for his eye surgery. I needed to remain with Martha. Did John keep his head down? No. So from the time of Pearce’s death, John did not do anything he was supposed to do. Thus, they might have to redo the surgery if it had been ruined. By the grace of God, he was still alright. Al helped John, and I was able to stay with Martha and help her digest what just happened unexpectedly to Pearce and to her!

Needless to say, June was not turning out to be a normal June. We had two “it’s,” one right after the other. When difficult situations arise in our life, change takes place. Sometimes we choose to change our priorities, and then there are times when we are forced to have a huge change in life. We need to remember that all is being put in divine order in every situation we are in! To keep going, it is good to keep our eyes on “small miracles” that take place. Sometimes our lives are turned upside down, and we do not understand; however, when we look back a few years later, we can see all we learned from what we went through and the positives brought forth. Many times our compassion for others is increased, and empathy is gained.

When “it” arrives in life, know it is normal to go through these stages and grieve for our old way of life. However, get up and know each day is a new day. Watch for those small miracles that arrive unexpectedly to you to help you through. It may be as simple as a smile someone has for you as you pass by, a telephone call that you needed, or a cloud passing overhead that is shaped like an Angel. Know that there is a divine plan for you, and you will see what God has planned for you next when it arrives. It takes time.

We will not know if John’s eyes are okay with all he did after the death of Pearce, nor do I know how long I will need to be John’s driver. What I do know is that I changed my priorities with all of this happening. I changed commitments that I had made from “yes” to “no.” I did not do my blog for several weeks. And I may still be a little sporadic because now we are learning some of our children and grandchildren will be coming and going the rest of the summer. Always remember that relationships are more important than “things.” Love is the answer.

LESSON: DIfficult lessons of change teach us to look within. We might gain the opportunity to change our perspectives about life. What we learn will perhaps show us that it is time to let go of a belief that no longer is working in our life or that there is help out there we can call upon when we need it.

GIFTS: After the death of Don, I was still helping everyone else and found myself two years later married to a great teacher. I then began stepping back and learned how to help myself. First, I got counseling. Then I began studying codependency and attended Ali-Anon. I finally began taking care of myself. I had literally lost “Self” following Don’s death. The study of Self brought new answers and a kinder me. I was kinder to myself as well as others.

I learned to build on lessons in the past to not move to the dark side of life again. I wanted my light to shine brighter than it had ever shined as I moved forward in life. My life lightened!

I taught other people how to flow rather than fight the stream of life. A difficult time is a great time to practice flowing. I practiced.

I attempted to be “like the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark” every day! Some days I failed at this but took care of my Self on those days.

I was single ten years and then I met someone I love dearly that brought a new experience to me. We have a peaceful, wonderful marriage that I would not have had if those difficult times had not forced me to my knees and made me get to work on my Self!!! So I love the negative in my life as much as my positive in life! My prayer every morning is to turn whatever appears negative into a positive!

Lunch With Rick Cheney

Here is the story of Rick Cheney. On the way to church, John asked if I would like to go to Legend’s in Norman for lunch and then to Oklahoma City for an event we discussed over breakfast. I happily agreed. As we turned off Highway 19 on the outskirts of Pauls Valley, driving up the ramp entering I-35, we saw a clean-looking man hitchhiking that looked unbelievably hot standing with his thumb out. He only had a small bag in his other hand. I thought about the times my car had broken down during my lifetime, and some kind person stopped to help me in some manner. I wanted us to pick him up but was still thinking when John said, “Do you think we should pick him up?” “Yes!”

As soon as he settled into the back seat of our car, I began asking questions about where he was going and a few questions about his life. He shared that his granddad taught him carpentry in his past.  He earned his money to make this trip by working for a woodworking business in Austin, Texas. Now he was on his way to see his parents and a newborn grandbaby. It had taken several days to get this far. His first ride was with a young couple that he thought was nice, but when they stopped for gas, he decided to take the opportunity to go to the bathroom quickly. When he returned to the car, it was gone. They took his suitcase, money he saved from his carpentry work, clothes, everything, and cell phone. That was hard for him to digest. That led to a discussion about letting go, how God works, and my book, “When Spirit Speaks.” He asked for a copy. I said that I would be happy to send him one, so he gave me his Dad’s address and telephone number where he planned to be in Michigan.

By the time we got to Norman, we had invited him to go to Legend’s Restaurant with us. He was hesitant but said that he would be grateful. In Legend’s, as we went on visiting, Rick shared, “I have to tell you two something. I have been in prison. He was quite afraid that what he shared would have a negative reaction from us. However, I smiled and responded with, “That is okay, Rick; we have other friends that have been in prison.” I went on to share that John was a retired Judge. He thought that was interesting because his second ride was with a retired Sheriff. We took him onto Oklahoma City and dropped him off far North on I-35, where it might be easier to find another ride. We also gave him a small amount of money to help. When I got home, I telephoned his father. He was reticent at first but finally figured out that I was okay. I explained we picked Rick up,, and he was still fine and on his way. His mother called me back a few days later, wanting me to know their prayer group that met once a week was so happy we telephoned them. She said their whole prayer group wanted to make certain I knew how much they appreciated that telephone call because they had been praying every week in their group for Rick for years. After Rick visited with them for a few weeks and then left their home…vsited for the return trip, she wrote me a letter that I treasure. 

That was gift enough for me, but guess what happened. Our minister requested John present a sermon at church. John quickly decided to speak about Rick and did so. He talked about scripture in the Bible and how generosity is given to others and often returns to us from the oddest places. During regular conversations the next few weeks, we learned that people hearing his sermon had gone into a restaurant and purchased someone else’s meal as a gift anonymously. A few months following John’s presentation, we went to Legend’s again. We ate well and then ordered a dessert and coffee. When John asked for the ticket, the waitress said that someone else in the restaurant had taken care of it.

I asked if it was a friend of ours that was also eating there. She said it was not. Pretty soon, almost all within the restaurant had left. We were in a great discussion. Only one other couple that was still there. I asked the waitress again if it happened to be a couple sitting not far from us. She would not say but smiled and nodded yes. I went over as we left and thanked them. It was so great. They were younger and said they had been watching us and just wanted us to have a great afternoon. Interestingly, they were Native Americans. Little did they know how much we had the opportunity to give on the reservation and did so many times. Our Native American experiences came into my heart with this gift of a beautiful meal at Legend’s Restaurant. They had no idea of our connection. How wonderful!

LESSON: Listen to both your gut and heart when making a decision. If the answer is yes, no matter how unusual it seems, follow that answer within that was received. We picked up a stranger that we later learned was a carpenter and had also been in prison. It reminded us of the story of the “good samaritan” in the Bible and Jesus.

GIFT: All three of our lives were touched. And that energy continued as I made contact with his Dad and later with his Mom. They, in turn, touched other peoples’ lives through their prayer group that had been praying for Rick.

It felt so good to have helped someone. Then when that young couple in Legend’s treated us, wow! My theory has always been “when you give to someone; eventually, you receive.”

When John was asked to do a sermon, he told our story about Rick. He also shared our philosophy of “To Love Is To Love All” and give. Buy someone’s lunch anonymously or unexpectedly. Pay for the person going through the line that you have never met, etc. Later, when you need it the most, watch what happens! God and Spirit are watching. It is an amazing life we have been given the opportunity to live!

The Recipe

In 1965, I was living in Marysville, Missouri, when I decided to make biscuits. I liked rolls, not biscuits. However, I had watched my mother, grandmother, and aunts make biscuits at different times. Biscuits seemed so fast to make and so easy. After looking through several of my recipe books and making a few long-distance telephone calls, I did try, and I did not like any of them. Finally, while living in Las Cruces, NM, in the late ’60s, I made biscuits that all four of us in our family really liked! Finally!

When we lived in Portales, NM, I came home from work one day and looked to see what I could make for supper. With it being time to go to the store, it would be creamed tuna over biscuits. This was one of our favorites, with a few vegetables along the side. We had just finished eating when the phone rang. A friend, Nancy, wanted to know if I could take the boys to Boy Scouts? I, of course, said “certainly.” On the way to Scouts, I asked my friend’s son, Matt, “Why is your Mom not driving to scouts tonight?” He explained that she was taking all of her baked goods into competition at the fair with others. My mind began whirring. “Hmmm, I had cooked biscuits for dinner. Suppose I could enter my biscuits in the competition?”

When I got home, I called the Fair Barn and, to my surprise, someone answered, and after a polite greeting, I asked, “Is it too late to enter biscuits into the competition?” The lady’s answer was, “No, but you only have thirty more minutes.” I then explained I wanted to bring biscuits and wondered how many I should bring. She said, “Bring four.” When I hung up, I quickly looked at my biscuits. I had three uneaten ones left, but I needed four. I decided to look in the trash to see if I could gather one up that might not be too bad and quickly take it to the fair barn. There was one at the top of the trash with one bite taken from it. I brushed it off and arranged the four biscuits on a plate, and I was off. The one with the bite out just made the biscuits look tempting. To my surprise and my friend’s surprise, my entry won 1st place! They were then blue ribbon biscuits.

Years later, my daughter was living in San Francisco and was working in a five-star restaurant, Gary Danko’s, when she telephoned one morning and said, “Mom, I just made your biscuits to take to the staff today since it is a holiday and we all have to work.” My children and our grandchildren love these biscuits. A month or two later, she telephoned and said that the pastry chef had asked for my recipe and wanted to make them for her family at Christmas. When the pastry chef returned, she went to Gary Danko and asked him if they could start serving these biscuits on the menu. Now Gary has won the James Beard award several times. I know him because Dawn worked with him for so many years, doing his training and working in almost every position serving customers. She next took on the role of maitre de’ several nights a week. Gary agreed. Biscuits were served with lobster soup.

Dawn had fun with our biscuits being on the menu. One night as a couple left the restaurant, Dawn said, “Did you enjoy the meal?” The lady replied, “Yes, but my favorite was those biscuits! Do you think the Chef let me have the recipe?” Dawn replied, “Those are my Mom’s biscuits, her recipe.” She could not wait to tell me the response of the lady and others about our biscuits. So the life of these biscuits went from a blue ribbon win in Portales to being served in a five-star restaurant.

Here is the recipe:

Sift together 2 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Now cut in one long stick (8 tablespoons) butter until everything looks crumbly. Pour in 2/3 cup of milk and stir. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. It just takes a minute or less. Now pat out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut it into the size wanted with a glass or biscuit cutter. Cook in the preheated 450-degree oven for about ten or twelve minutes. This makes enough biscuits to fill one long casserole glass dish, 12 to 16. If they are not brown on the top, cook a few minutes longer. Delicious! When there are six people to eat more, I usually make 1 1/2 the amount. Sometimes I double the recipe. Even if there are leftover biscuits, they can be warmed and served again.

LESSON: Sometimes it takes multiple tries to get it right! But when it is right, it can become a family favorite and even a favorite of others.

Gifts: Every time I make biscuits, I think of my grandmother, my mother, and my favorite aunts.

People were shocked that I won the Blue Ribbon in Portales and that I made biscuits that were good enough for a five-star restaurant. They knew I worked hard and traveled in my job some, had two children that I had fun with, a husband I supported in his endeavors, and I believe they were shocked that I cooked! I cooked lots until Don got sick. I did not begin cooking again very much until John and I married. Then the biscuits were back! Now I have four children that love my biscuits, as well as a great husband that appreciates them

Killers Of The Flower Moon

This movie is currently being shot right here in Oklahoma’s Osage County and adapted from the book “Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann. Eric Roth wrote the screenplay. Both book and screenplay tell the story of the Osage murders and the struggles of the birth of the FBI. The book was only released on April 18, 2017, and quickly became one of the top fiction books of 2017. The movie is an American crime drama produced and directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with Robert De Niro playing a major role. It is an excellent book, and I look forward to seeing this film.

In 2017, John’s fraternity’s class from DePauw University had a reunion in Savannah, Georgia, and we went. It had only been six months since the book was released, but we were the only ones attending the reunion that had not read the book. They were horrified that we had not read the book and were even from Oklahoma. Everyone asked John about Osage County and if he knew about the murders of the Osage people for their oil wealth in the 1920s. Soon after we returned home, our cousin Jona Kay brought John this book as a present for his birthday in October. John read it cover to cover. I had great difficulty reading it because we spent lots of time on the Rosebud reservation, and this book pulled pain up in me whenever I read it. One reason is that I have great empathy and compassion for Native Americans. Whenever we were first going to the reservation, it felt like we were entering a foreign land. The joy that came from our experiences on the Rosebud Reservation that brought gifts and understanding to us. We saw how many of them live hard lives and have no way out, even today. There are no jobs to be had, the automobiles they have do not work, or perhaps they did not own one at all. One has to spend time there to see why and how this has all come about. It is much like being in a third-world country. Not many have the ability to leave even if they choose to do so. Problems can be traced back to those that took advantage of them or made poor decisions for them, and most were whites.

Another reason this story was difficult for me is that I do not usually enjoy murder mysteries. This true story basically presents devious schemes of murder and tells what murderous white men did to acquire vast wealth being generated for Native Americans with oil rights. This Osage Indian murder mystery is interwoven with the story of the newly formed FBI and its new director, J. Edgar Hoover. It also brings in the history of the Texas Rangers as they applied their frontier skills as lawmen of the Old West. The Rangers use their honed investigative skills as lawmen to assist the newly formed suit-wearing pencil pushers from Washington, D.C.

Of particular interest to me was the author returned from New York City to Osage country several years after doing investigations and interviews of people about past events. The reason for the return trip was to attend a ceremony. He describes an Osage/Ponca Dance, a ceremony of the Osage/Ponca people. In the mid-1880s, the Osage received this dance, traditions, and drum from the Ponca people. It is a dance that is religious in nature and is called In-Lon-Schka. It takes place yearly. While John and I were attending and doing Native American ceremonies, we met an Osage elder named Abe Conklin and his wife, Vickie. Abe attended many ceremonies with us. He also attended meetings in my apartment to learn the Lakota language and gain more information about the Lakotas. We were honored to meet our friend Abe, the Osage Fancy Dancer and Elder. Apparently, it was mutual. Before John and I were married, Abe adopted John as a brother and me as a sister. One day Abe telephoned and said he entered a statement “All Roads Are Good” to people making decisions about what to put over the door of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Abe could not hide his delight when he learned that his statement “All Roads Are Good” was chosen!

It was our friend, Abe Conklin, that invited us to Gray Horse for a ceremony. He mentioned it to us several times. We were honored to be invited, and when we arrived, we were honored to sit with the family. To our surprise, Abe called John and me to come to the center of the dance circle where drumming, singing, and dancing took place. We were then each presented with an Indian blanket properly draped around us, and we were shown how to wear it. We both knew it was a great honor to be gifted a blanket in this way and were happy they showed us the proper wearing of it. We had learned there are several ways to wear a blanket as a form of communication. It can be worn around the waist, over the shoulders, or in several other positions. Each position conveys to others the well-understood meaning of anger, agreement, hostility, openness, and so many other ways that I do not know or understand. I do know this. We were honored, delighted, and humbled by our treatment and acceptance as Abe and Vicki danced us around the circle in front of all in attendance at Gray Horse before leaving the center of the ceremony. Part of our experience in that room included the living descendants of the Osage people portrayed in the book, which made the book’s reading all the more meaningful and personal. It also brought back memories of that day at Gray Horse.

John and I were fortunate to have similar experiences with elders of the Taos Pueblo, the Kiowa, and the Rosebud Lakota Sioux. This book brought up wonderful adventures we were lucky enough to have had that now seems like a dream.

When John and I married in 1995, we asked Abe to officiate a Native American Blessing Ceremony for John and me one month following our marriage. He laughed and said, “Well, it seems a little strange to bless the marriage of my brother and my sister, but I will be happy to do this.” He brought together a fantastic ceremony.

LESSON: When carrying love in our mind and heart when entering foreign territory, it is good to remember that every person we meet also has love and God’s light at their center. If they act like they initially do not accept or appreciate your presence, keep that warmth of love within and continue to be kind. Blessings do eventually surround you!

GIFTS: Abe’s saying, “All roads are good.” When we were being honored at the Gray Horse Ceremony by the ancestors of the people the book portrayed, people that suffered at the hands of non-Indians, I experienced their qualities of compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and healing. I saw wounds and injuries could be righted and healed as these qualities transcend the differences in culture from which we all arise.

All roads are indeed good and so are the people who travel them.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a great book demonstrating greed and much more! A book to be read.

Lunch With Ford, Dinner With Reagan

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Unbeknownst to me, my first husband, Don, drove from Portales, NM, to Albuquerque, NM, and back to Portales in one day. Then he told me that he had just filed to run for US Congress from our district in New Mexico. I was so upset. We had lived only two years in New Mexico and were essentially unknown in the political world. Yes, we had discussed that someday we would get involved, but surely not when we had two children who needed our attention, were still paying for his Ph.D., and were living in a rent house we did not like. How ridiculous! is what I thought. Plus, I was also about to explode because there was no discussion. He let me rant and then said that I could either come along and enjoy this adventure or stay mad. Which would it be? He suggested I calm down and we go to get ice cream whenever I was ready.

This was the beginning of Don’s political career. I was still in my position with the ENMU Drug Prevention Center and loved all that I was learning about what kind of help people with mental health problems needed, not just drug abuse. I also was taking two classes a semester towards a degree. Don began campaigning on the weekends and then all of the time. A very awkward situation took place while he was gone at our house. It was a pretty Saturday morning. I was in the tub taking a quick bath. Expecting my cousin Lawanda, I left the front door open to come in when she arrived. When a knock came on the door, I expected it to be Lawanda. I said, “Come on in.” Then I heard the door open, and someone entered our living room. I called, “Lawanda, I am almost finished.” Then I heard a man’s voice say, “I am not Lawanda, but I will wait?” I was mortified. I had left the bathroom door open so that I could hear the kids playing outside, and thought “Is he where he can see me from the living room if I step out of the tub?” I intended to wrap a towel around me and go to my bedroom, but now what?” Thank goodness! I heard Lawanda’s voice. She was introducing herself to the unknown man.

I said, “Lawanda, can you come into the bathroom?” She did so and laughed when she saw my quandary! She then went into the bedroom and grabbed my robe for me to put on. I finally was able to get out of the tub. With a full-length robe on, I entered the living room to speak to the man that had to let himself in. It was State Senator Colin McMillan, head of the Republican Senate in New Mexico. He told us that he drove from out of town to see who this person no one knew of was that now is running on the Republican ticket for U.S. Congress! This visit became more embarrassing. We visited for a short time before he invited Don and me to a reception to meet others. It was to be held in Roswell, New Mexico, in a few weeks. He was then ready to leave. We stepped onto the front porch with him, saying, “Thank you for coming.” As he visited a few minutes more before leaving and was looking right at me, I leaned against the pillar on the front porch of our rental house, and the pillar fell off the porch. That wasn’t very pleasant. That did it. I planned to find a house to buy. I did find one just being finished and dealt directly with the builder. I also found a way to buy it. Don was stunned when he called home a few days later. I told him about Senator McMillan’s visit and said, “I am moving. I just made arrangements to purchase a home by trading the piece of land you previously bought(without telling me) in hopes of us building a home at a later date. You need to drop by home and sign some loan papers.” He knew not to say anything, and he did get home a few days later to sign those papers. Within a few weeks, the house was finished. Dawn, Johnny, and I moved ourselves to our new home.

We had only been in that home for a short while when a letter arrived from President Ford. The letter was addressed to Dr. and Mrs. Donald Trubey, so I opened it. We were invited to a week-long training for candidates running for Congress or Senate. Next, an invitation arrived in the mail personally inviting spouses to attend the training and a White House luncheon with President Ford. This all sounded like a great learning experience, and meeting President Ford at the White House would be an excellent experience. We both attended every single training they offered, and I was right. I had a great time the entire week. Spouses had our own training, and mentors critiqued us on our speaking. They made suggestions, such as I might want to change my party from Democrat to Republican. They also had us make presentations on subjects of their choosing. I was provided material to study before presenting. I disagreed with the material I read and objected to what they wanted me to say. My mentor helping me said, “You will need to know this because what you will be presenting what it is that your husband will be supporting with us.” Not wanting to offend Don, I relented and presented the source of information even though I did not believe what I was saying. It did not feel right. I wondered how many go to those offices and go against their own beliefs.

June 23, 1976, was the day of the luncheon, and I was excited. When it was time, a bus took our group to the White House. We got off the bus and walked to those stairs leading up to the door that I always saw on television. When we got to the top, Don said, “Wait here. I am going to find a bathroom and will come right back. Wait so that we can go upstairs together.” I said, “Go on, I will wait.” Then I turned around and watched as others were getting off the bus and heading up the stairs. Suddenly, I got a fun idea. “I can pretend to be the First Lady welcoming people to the White House.” I immediately imagined myself that way and began seeing what it might feel like to be “The First Lady.” I began shaking everyone’s hand, smiling and trying to help them feel more comfortable entering the White House. The soldier standing at attention leaned over me and said, “You know that you are not supposed to be doing this, don”t you?” I responded, “I assumed I was not, but I will only do it until my husband returns.” I continued welcoming each person, and he stepped back into position. That new energy moved through me, and apparently, I did take on a new facade while greeting each person preparing to enter the White House. Don returned and said, “What are you doing?” I smiled and said, “Pretending.” When I was going through the buffet line, several people looked at me and suddenly realized that I was the one standing at the door. Each one was stunned when they realized it was me that welcomed them. All commented on being with me the last four days and evenings and then not recognizing me “at all” when I greeted them. Some said they thought I was the First Lady or someone special. It worked. It was a great beginning.

Upstairs, Don and I entered a large room with a beautiful buffet prepared and ready for our luncheon. We each got a chance to visit with President Ford. Something fun happened when we were introduced. We both got tickled! He was questioning me, and I began questioning him. Something I said made him laugh. A gentleman then interrupted us and said that we had to stop talking because so many others were waiting to speak with him. I saw him only once more. A group of us wanted to eat dinner together that evening for memory’s sake, and no one seemed to be able to get a reservation within walking distance from the White House. I began talking to the Chef and others serving the buffet about where to go. The chef suggested a restaurant had previously turned us down. I shared that information, and the chef instructed me to go into the kitchen and tell them that he said I was to use the phone. They would help me. The cooks in the kitchen gave me the restaurant’s number to call and said, “I am calling from the White House and … ” when they first answered. I did just as they said. Immediately, they took my reservation under my name. As I hung up, I saw President Ford and his Secret Service men stepping into an elevator out of sight of others attending the luncheon. He tried to step off the elevator to come to finish our talk, but they would not let him do so. He called to me loud enough that I could hear him say, “Goodbye and thank you.” So that was my lunch and my meeting with President Ford.

Later during the campaign, Don ended up with what they thought was a bleeding ulcer. He happened to be at home. I took him to the hospital, and he was transferred to a larger one almost twenty minutes away in Clovis. He almost died. It was the beginning of cancer that he fought for the next five years of his life. However, we did not know that until six months before he really did die of cancer. The phone rang in his hospital room. He was to attend a dinner the next evening in Albuquerque, NM. It was a fundraiser, and Don was to receive part of the funds. People were expecting him. Understanding how bad he was, they asked if I could come. I did not want to leave him and go, but Don also wanted me to attend in his place. They said they would send a plane for me and see that I got to come home immediately after dinner. I made arrangements at work and for sitters to be with Dawn and Johnny and reluctantly went. I felt certain that I would be seeing Representative Manuel and Jean Lujan, and others that I recently met. Our US Senator, Pete Domenici, might also be there. When I arrived, I was quickly escorted to the downtown Hilton Hotel. They were sorry I did not get to come in time to attend the $1,000 cocktail party held earlier. Next, they showed me where to stand in line. Everyone that was to be in line was already in their position to enter the room—all but me. Someone said, “You will go in right before…and then I saw him… Ronald Reagan.” I had no idea he was going to be at the dinner. They introduced me to him. We shook hands and smiled. Then the ones ahead of us began entering as the M.C. announced their names. The ballroom where the $100 a plate dinner took place was well lit. I noted that we would have to walk across the entire ballroom to get to the stairs to go up on the stage. When it was my turn, I was surprised when they turned all of the lights off in the entire room. It was dark. Then they put a spotlight on me the entire way across the floor as they played “If You Knew Susie Like I Knew Susie…” At the time, I was going by Susie as I had done from the time I was a few months old. (I did not switch to “Susanne” until I got out of that bad second marriage. I wanted to go back to my pure self and began by going back to the name on my birth certificate, which was “Susanne.”)

After I got onto the stage, a gentleman directed me to my chair next to the empty one by the podium. Next, I watched as the lights came back on, and Ronald Reagan walked across the room to his music. To this day, I do not know why I got the spotlight on me. Ronald Reagan sat by my side next to the podium. He was to be the main speaker for the evening. We visited lots during dinner. He had no one on his other side, so it was only me or be silent. W had fun. We talked about everything from marriage to taxes to children. Ronald Reagan told me that he brought California out of a bad situation, but he had to raise taxes to do it. He also shared that he had been studying taxes on bread. He said that it would only cost pennies if we could eliminate all of the taxes on bread. We left that discussion and visited about his love for Nancy. Then he looked at me and said out of the clear blue sky, “Nancy has an excellent astrologer. In fact, Susie, I use her when I am stumped and have needed to make a difficult decision. She has been a great help.” I thought that was very interesting. I remembered his words, and in l988, I had my first reading by an astrologer and thought of Ronald Reagan as I was trying to figure out some of my most difficult choices in life and why I made them. I learned that she had written many books. She became a great friend when we both lived in Norman. She is an excellent person as well as an excellent astrologer. Gloria Star is her name.

Don died at midnight November 30th/December 1st. Sixteen years later, after marrying John and moving back to Pauls Valley, where I was born and where so many relatives live or have lived and where both sets of grandparents lived, I went to the courthouse and changed back to Democrat as I was beginning to see how beliefs were changing in the Republican party. Do we really need something that labels us? We are all God’s children, and we are all unique.

LESSON: When we begin seeing Self differently, we can do wonders. When our mind begins to agree with our heart and soul, miracles happen! (I would not ever have gotten that position at ENMU at the drug abuse center if I had not followed my boss’s advice in Iowa City and started seeing myself as “executive” material. Seeing myself that way involved turning down four other jobs first as I waited for an executive position. (My mind worked fast to give me a new energy surge and different energy as I played the role of “First Lady at the door, which was just absolutely fun.”) Of course, I was doing a simple affirmation in my mind “I am First Lady, and I am welcoming my guests.”

GIFTS: I got to meet President Ford and watch how personable he was as he related to people. When I think of him, he makes me smile. This whole week of Ford’s training was a gift to me. I learned about, participated in, and actually watched the training for congressional candidates and spouses. This training gave me opportunities to plant seeds in the minds of those running for office about the need for mental health funds from the federal level to every state, talking about how it would help individuals and their families and our law enforcement officers.

Dawn and Johnny were with a great couple they liked for the week. I did not have to worry about them. (I was generally the one to stay home and take care of Dawn or find a babysitter to take care of them, if necessary, to meet Don on the weekends to help his campaign. I attempted to keep the family intact, attend children’s events if possible, and worked to support the family financially. Not having his salary was hard during both of his campaigns.

I was stunned when I looked up and saw that Ronald Reagan was right behind me in line and that it was him that helped guide me about what I was to do. After Don’s death, Ronald Reagan mailed a 9 x 11 color picture of us talking after dinner to me. The picture included him, our friend Congressman Manuel Lujan, and me. Ronald Reagan signed the picture and wrote a note on the back. Manuel also signed it. When he became President a few months after signing that picture. Manuel Lujan, Jr., became Secretary for the Interior under him. I received a letter asking if I would be interested in a position in his administration. I wrote back something like: “No because I feel like I need to remain in Portales and maintain a stable home for Dawn and Johnny until they finish high school.” Ha! A year later, that changed. Ask my children about those next years with dating and a marriage that was “not good.” They had anything but a stable environment! Lessons are hard; they do teach us!

Being at that event and visiting with Ronald Reagan was not only a great diversion from sitting in the hospital room watching Don while he was in so much pain, but it turned into a delightful evening that I did not think I would enjoy until I got there. We never missed another dinner. I was always with Don at the head table.

Fearlessness?!

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Do we dare join the ski patrol when we do not ski? When we were living in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the late 1960s, Don entered the house we had purchased and made an announcement! While teaching at New Mexico State University that day, a student had told him about a meeting for people wanting to be on the ski patrol. It was to be held in Ruidoso, New Mexico, the following Saturday at the ski area. Thoughts ran through my head. “Is he crazy? We have neither one ever skied. Our children are 2 and 3, too little to enjoy this!” When I shared my concerns, he talked me into getting a babysitter for a day and going to the meeting the following Saturday. Explanations consisted of “there is no snow right now. They will not be testing us to see how we ski this weekend. We can see how much a cabin might cost us to make it easier for traveling back and forth on the weekends that we have to be there.” He was determined and also said, “If you do not want to do this, then I will do it alone. There will be lots of cute bunnies on the slopes.” That was mean! Saturday arrived. We went to the meeting and learned that we would all have to go through EMT training that would be offered free for everyone planning to patrol. That sounded like training that might be helpful to have at any time in our lives. I was in! We met families that owned cabins in Ruidoso that day. One invited us over following the meeting to look at a paper they had at home listing rentals.

I liked their entire family, and we accepted their invitation and thought about the possibilities of a cabin. Arriving at their cabin, I perused the newspaper and showed Don what I had found. On the first call, I was horrified by the cost of renting a cabin for the winter. On the second call, I asked, “How much are you renting your cabin for this winter?” She hesitantly responded, “Well, we do not have a cabin for rent, but will you hold on?” Me: “Definitely.” When she returned to the phone, she invited us to come to meet with them about renting the cabin.” We went and loved it. It was a two-bedroom small log cabin, kitchen with cheerful red and white tablecloth on the table, living room with a fireplace, rustic! The woman told me a story while we were in the kitchen about her and her husband coming home to find a bear in the cabin. She shooed it out with that tablecloth. After her story, I asked the scary question, “How much will you want for rent? We will only be here on weekends and are sharing the cabin with another couple.” Both she and her husband responded, “$60.00 a month.” We could definitely do $30 a month each! Surprised, we quickly agreed and told them how much we would take care of their place. The next morning, the telephone rang, and I answered. It was the owner of the cabin. She said, “Hello, Susie, I need to talk to you about something.” I thought, “Oh no, she wants a larger amount. Then, to my surprise, she continued with, “We would like to lower your rent to $45.00. You see, we have a light that we leave on outside. It comes on and off automatically. The charge for that runs about $15 a month. Would this be okay?” Me: “That is not necessary. We can pay you the $60 and pay for the cost of the bill for the light.” She would not have it. She said they had never rented and really liked us.

Now about skiing! There was a small ski area, Cloudcroft, close by. We went to that small ski area, took a lesson, and began our life of skiing. Cloudcroft opened before Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso opened. Perfect timing. When Sierra Blanca opened, we began our life on the ski patrol. We loved that ski area, the employees of the ski area that were mostly Native Americans from a local reservation, and our friends on the ski patrol! We all learned to ski. Helping many that came through the Ski Patrol Station that had gotten hurt was also rewarding. By both Don and I working one hour a day, our whole family skied free. Our two children, Dawn and Johnny, loved going to the cabin and spending time with other children whose parents were on the ski patrol with us. They began skiing at ages two and three. They initially began skiing with them between my legs. Next, they left me, went up the beginner’s lift, and could come down the baby slope. The is when we put them in ski school. Ahhh, my first day to practice my skiing by myself. I took the lift up the mountain and began down a slope I felt like I could handle. That is when I heard someone crying. It sounded like Johnny. I almost panicked but followed the cry and found him. He had left the class and found me!!!! Well, that was the end of ski school for him. He always skied with me until Dawn joined us. Then we three skied. And we all got better and better. We were on the ski patrol for two winters and then took a break while Don got his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. Returning to New Mexico in l970, we went back on the ski patrol and rented another cabin. As I got a job and life became more hectic, we eventually stopped renting the cabin, and then we let go of our beloved ski patrol. Don had decided to run for U.S. Congress.

I walked into the new arts center wanting to learn about macrame and walked out teaching macrame! Can I do it? With Don out of school and with no money to get started, I needed money. I learned there was a new building downtown that had recently opened where they sold art supplies. I did not have a job yet, and our children were now five and six, so I decided to see the art gallery one morning while they were in school. After looking around to find something for children to do at home, I asked the lady behind the desk, “Do you have any macrame books?” She said, “Yes, we do. It is becoming so popular.” I walked over and picked out some books about doing macrame and then retrieved jute to practice with. When I got to the desk, she said, “Would you consider teaching macrame here?” I hesitantly replied, “Certainly I would. What are you thinking?” She said, “We need a beginners’ class. Perhaps you could teach one in the evenings once a week. If it really goes over, we could have two a week.” I took on the persona of someone that knew what they were doing and replied with, “That would work perfectly for me. Let’s begin with one for beginners and meet once a week. We just recently moved here, and I do not know many people.” She said, “Oh, do not worry about that. We will do all of the advertising and have them sign up to attend here. Give us a call in a few days and tell us what supplies you want them to have to begin the class.” As I walked out of the art gallery, I was ecstatic! This was going to be perfect. Don could watch Dawn and Johnny while I taught a class. I had not ever done macrame in my life, but I did not lie. One book I purchased was about how to begin doing macrame. That was the first item I had the participants purchase plus some jute… just like me… and we met in a beautiful room designed for classes to be held at this beautiful venue for art supplies. I made about $260 a month during that first class of eight sessions. I made more the following class offering another beginners’ class and an intermediate class. Practicing at home, I got better and did bigger projects, winning a blue ribbon at the county fair and the state fair.

Do I dare attempt a job for which I am not qualified? When we arrived in Portales, where Don was going to teach after completing his Ph.D., I took my resume to the Dean of Student Affairs and said I knew there were problems I could help him with. Eventually, he called me about a position. I turned down three jobs the Dean of the Student Affairs called and told me about. My last boss in Iowa City at American College Testing told me to stop taking the kind of jobs I normally took; he said not to take anything below an executive position. The Dean telephoned the fourth time and said that I would be very interested in this position. He asked that I come for an interview. I laughingly said that I would not do it because he did not know my value. He ignored me and continued talking until I became curious. After arriving for my meeting with him, I watched as he pulled my resume from his drawer. I also watched his expressions change as he discovered that I only had an AA degree in Business from OU. He wanted someone with a Master’s Degree in Sociology or Psychology! I suggested he let me volunteer for whatever the job was that he called me about to help him. I also asked why he called me to meet with him if he had not looked at my resume? He said that he noticed that I could get along with people in high positions and the hippies of the day young people. Disappointed that I had no degree, he turned my suggestion of volunteering down. I left, and he called again in a few days, asking me to meet with the lady over volunteers. I went to that interview about volunteering. It turned out the position was to work for a drug prevention program connected to the university. It had problems, and they wanted me to close it down in six weeks. I told the nice woman that interviewed me that I could try to do what they wanted. You see, I thought volunteering to shut down this program where they had been looking for a Master’s Degree person to run the program would help me practice being an executive.

The lady I met with explained that they were going to be losing their funds in six weeks. I suddenly got the bright idea to say, “If I can keep the funds, can I keep the position of Director?” The response was, “Yes, but you won’t be able to keep the funds.” I learned the funding was $21,000 a year. I asked where they acquired their funding and if I could talk to them. She said, “It’s in Santa Fe, but they will not give it to you.” Me: “Will you give me a chance and let me go talk to them?” Hesitantly, she said that I could do that. Two counselors had been working there, plus a secretary, but one counselor and the secretary had already quit. Thus, it would be the one counselor and me. She felt that I could close the records and the books. I accepted the position of Director for the University’s Prevention Center. Now here was my surprise. I thought I would be volunteering. Frances, who was interviewing me, then said, “How much do you want to be paid?” I was stunned. I thought I would do this for free and had been setting all sorts of requirements for my taking the job and working for nothing. I muttered out a low amount and left to see what I could do. The other employee quit the next day. He was mad that he did not get the job! The counselor who quit had a caseload of 20. I told each of them that I liked people but had no training. They all kept coming. It was just me. I did go to Santa Fe and meet with the Director of the Funding Agency. They doubled the money we received from the state for the next year rather than take the money away in six weeks. With no other mental health program in town, people from our community came to our center. The Dean and I hired a real counselor to work with me with the new funding, and it all began. He made me keep my 20, and he took the new ones.

Eventually, with more money coming in, we grew so big that the Dean asked me to leave along with my program. I called and got papers to apply for a non-profit corporation. We developed our own Board of Directors for what would be known as Mental Health Resources, Inc. We did, in fact, completely separate from the university. Not knowing how to do anything helped me. Can you believe that? I did not hire a lawyer to get our non-profit status. I did not know to do that. I did it and thought everyone did it this way. I had no idea that most groups hired a lawyer to acquire non-profit status until a man came to our center and asked who we hired to get our non-profit status. Another thing that I had never done was write a grant. Again, I wrote my first one by reading instructions and simply answering the questions. I was also counseling and developing programs for first offenders and their parents, plus other programs to help people. This required more staff. Serving on many state committees, I thought about who needed help, such as prisoners returning home. What programs would I have wanted to attend if I needed that help? Looking for additional funding sources, I went to the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency to programs designed to help prisoners. I added to my own education plus training while working with new ideas for our center. And I began being asked to do programs in schools, speak, and work with the state mental health/drug abuse/mental retardation association to develop and get a law passed at the state level to help mental health situations in all areas. I loved my position, my job, and the many lives we were touching. When I learned there were funds for an abandoned building in the middle of downtown to be refurbished, I wrote a federal grant to acquire the only funds available. New Mexico only had enough money for one building to be refurbished and made into a mental health facility. We got it. When I left ten years later, we offered seven counties a comprehensive mental health center, had 168 employees, and a $1.8 million budget per year. I left to enter the marriage that created even more pain than Don’s death. For ten years, I loved my position, my work, and all we accomplished.

Decided to start my own nutrition business and help people health wise. I have already written about this, and it also was a success even through a bad marriage. Then I changed and it was again time to let go.

LESSON: Sometimes, when we step off a cliff and try something we have never tried before, we might land standing tall. If we do not, we can usually remove ourselves from the situation and take a different path. Practice replacing fear with love – love and faith for both its negative, which we learn from and the positive experiences that bring passion forth.

GIFTS: My creativity soared in the above four situations.

I learned to ski so well that I could have been on the Ski Patrol that serves the mountain rather than taking care of people in the patrol’s first aid station where the ski patrol brought problems. I suddenly realized the ego wanted me to pass the test to pick up and take large people in the sled down the most difficult slopes. Putting my ego in check and my masculine side in check. Knowing I could succeed, I declined the final part of the test and was happy with what I had been doing. I loved snow skiing, as did our whole family. I did smile when I could ski right past all of the ones still standing at the top of a ridge looking down the slopes was able to whiz by and head down the steep slope and its moguls.

Teaching macrame meant that I had to stay ahead of my students. It kept me on my toes. I created wall hangings and even a hanging lamp that actually won the New Mexico state fair.

My creativity and not knowing I was not qualified to be doing something brought about increases in the numbers of clients and innovative programs to help people of communities I lived in and others.

Having no signs of preparing me for any of these activities above, they just appeared, and I stepped forward. I thanked God many times for what came forth. However, I began having signs to guide me when I began wanting more spiritual answers about life. That is when I committed to Self and God to pay attention to what I was being shown. Perhaps I have always been presented with signs, but I did see them or take the time to notice or was not awake enough to notice. Paying attention made life even more of an adventure!

Sharing My Dining Expertise

Soon after I married John, Ragna, John’s Mom, telephoned and invited us to come over for lunch. We went. Soon after we began eating, she pushed a brochure about Austria over to me and said she was inviting me to take a trip. I politely looked at the brochure and then replied, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I cannot go. I truly appreciate the offer, but now is not the time.” She said, “Are you certain that you cannot go?” I again replied, “Yes.” We finished eating and left. As soon as I slid into the car, John said, “Susanne, why didn’t you say that you wanted to go?” I explained that I did not have money for a trip like that. He said, “My mom was paying for it.” I told him that I had not ever been given a free trip, even by Shaklee, that did not cost me money. He said, “Do you know that you are now married and that I might be able to help out?” I knew we both were beginning again, but John convinced me that we could do this. I could go. I called Ragna back and explained why I had said no. She was so pleased and explained that she was taking Beverly, her daughter, and Sandie, her other daughter-in-law. She felt that by doing this, I would quickly bond with the women in the family. Now I had been coming to family gatherings for five years before marriage and did not think of this being a bonding event. It was!

After purchasing a proper all-weather coat and a smaller suitcase than anything I owned, I was ready. When the time came, I was excited. We flew overnight. Ragna was in her 80’s, and I was in my 50’s. We sat together on the airplane, an overnight flight. She literally talked to me and shared all night! We did not sleep, arrived in Germany, and took a bus to St. Wolfgang, Austria. When we arrived, her three daughters thought it was time for a nap. Ragna looked at us and said, “No, we cannot take a nap. We need to see the downtown area and stay up. There is a reception this evening that we are attending, and then we will go to sleep. That will help us adjust to their time zone.” Ragna was a great traveler. She had been to so many foreign countries that none of us argued with her.

This was a beautiful town just a little East of Salzburg, Austria. The town was St. Wolfgang. We could go to Salzburg by ferry. We could see the Alps. Our scenery and the trip were fantastic. Not only did Ragna pay for our trip, but she also gave each of us $200 to spend on the trip. We each purchased our own lunch every day because that did not come with the trip. It, in itself, was so expensive that some days we actually skipped lunch. Now I have two stories to tell about this trip.

First story: This new mother-in-law of mine had so much energy! Where did she get it? I had less energy than she did. We took a steam-engine train originally built in 1893. It was the steepest steam cog-railway up the Schafberg Mountain. We had to climb a long hill to get to the place where we would board the train. Of course, Ragna was way ahead of us, walking up, up, up! And we were doing our best to keep up! Another sign of her energy took place following an episode I had in the middle of the night one night! Sandie and I were in a king-size bed in our room when I could not believe that I had an accident…diarrhea hit! We had to get up, strip the bed and remake it. I luckily had no more accidents in bed that night. I told Sandie that I did not think I should go on the adventure Ragna set up for us the next day. We both felt that was the best thing for me to do. I could stay in the hotel, look at the beautiful Alps in the distance, and be ready for the evening and our adventure tomorrow. Well, Ragna and Beverly knocked on the door, and they were ready to go to breakfast. I explained my situation and what had happened. Ragna said, “Just a minute.” She left and returned. That is when she threw me a diaper as she said, “Now get out of the bed. It would be best if you had something to eat before we go today. You are going.” I could easily see there would be “no rest” on this trip, not even if someone felt bad. Apparently, she had learned to push through everything that tended to hold her back in her past. I loved her attitude. I adopted it, got up, was careful what I ate and drank, and we were off for the day.

Second story: We had made a reservation for a five-star restaurant for dinner. We ate a good breakfast at the hotel and skipped lunch because we wanted to be really hungry when we went to that five-star restaurant. When we finished going to our destinations we planned for the day, we headed back to the hotel and dressed for the amazing dinner we thought we were going to have. When we arrived at the restaurant, they seated us. The room we were sitting in was not large. There were white tablecloths on all of the tables. Place settings were wonderful, and we had a small centerpiece of fresh flowers. A gentleman brought us menus to peruse. Following us placing our orders, we were each brought a small plate with a fancy 1 1/2″ x 3″ light yellow with what look like herbs sprinkled on top. Now here comes me, Miss Wisdom, in response to comments my mother-in-law and two new sister-in-laws made. They were saying, “What is this?” I replied, “It is an appetizer. When John and I ate with Dawn in her five-star restaurant where she worked, we received an appetizer to enjoy while waiting on the rest of our food. This must be our appetizer.” (Didn’t I sound smart?) We were so hungry from skipping lunch that we devoured this what I told them was their appetizer.” We each ate our food and the bread that came. I asked our waiter if we could have more butter. He looked at me and said, “No, we brought you butter already. You ladies ate all of your butter.” And he brought no more butter. Now we all got tickled. I thought I was such an expert! They believed me. Ragna was laughing so hard that it was all worth it. We decided we had better pay and leave. We were laughing so hard that tears were running down our cheeks. Ragna was laughing so much that we had to help her walk. She said, “They are going to think I have been drinking too much.” It was a great night, a beautiful night, and lots of fun! We could not believe that we each ate so much butter to begin the dinner. It was delicious!

LESSON: When you are invited on a paid vacation and want to go, say “yes”! That adventure taught me so much in so many ways.

GIFTS: We went into Germany and saw the parents of friends that I knew from a doctor that sweat with us. came to pick us up and drove hours to their home for a family meal. Then they returned us to our hotel.

Every day was great, and we did get to know each other so much better.

I have made a conscious effort to not act “so smart” again…ever! Every time butter is served, I remember our experience, how I attempted to sound like I knew what I was talking about, and what happening in my life. I continue to share my experiences in my seminars and the way I understand what is happening in many of our lives, but I know that we each have our own experiences and our own truths about things and sometimes we can be wrong. That butter was not our appetizer.

The Superconscious Mind

Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

With several people asking for more information about affirmations and then every article or devotional that I picked up also mentioning affirmations, I finally decided it was time to say more about what will hopefully help. Affirmations became a part of my life when I was attempting to grow my business. To grow my business and help my organization, I found a man speaking on his success to other groups in my field and made an appointment with him. Arriving fifteen minutes early, a lady ushered me into his office to wait. I sat down and observed a large whiteboard with a list of what appeared to be goals. I noticed the words “superconscious mind” on the board. Just then, he entered the room, and I asked, “What does the superconscious mind mean?” He replied, “I do not have time to explain. We will talk about that later.” We never did.

When I later began going through my most difficult time and began reading inspirational books about ways to remove limitations by changing what was within, I began to understand the subconscious within me. I thought some of the material I was reading sounded both simple and yet crazy. That is when I began to see what would happen with affirmations. I also tried some exercises to improve my own intuition. I wrote and used affirmations to help me change. As I began opening to new ideas and possibilities, I checked my beliefs versus the beliefs of others. I also began to step over self-limiting boundaries. This helped me see that some past beliefs were no longer mine. I began drawing to me different books, different people, and unusual answers. I not only read, but also listened, always checking myself to see if what I was drawing was better than what I drew in the past or if a past relief was no longer necessary. I learned that for me, it took prayer, trust, listening, intuition, and affirmations to reach my superconscious mind that we all have! I initially fasted once a day for four weeks for answers to begin, began meditating, and found a support group through Al-Anon. Most of you already know how all of this came about. I watched as my intuition became more accurate.

Intuition is your divine guidance. It is when you might get a message as simple as “stay in this lane rather than changing lanes” or “do not turn until you get to the next corner.” It is what we call a hunch. It is, however, God within, the eye watching over us. Someone that always follows the reasoning mind finds it difficult to listen with clarity and follow intuition. It is also difficult for someone that does the same thing every day and allows deviations to upset them. Every moment we can link with intuition gives us a definite lead to our signs. So many times, we attempt to think our way out rather than intuit our way out! Intuition is a spiritual faculty we each have.

Affirmations will help you develop and open unexpected new doors. However, your own action must come first. Write affirmations that will help you release fears in your life by writing words about what you want to come to you. Affirmations can release a feeling of being weak or a victim of circumstances that is causing defeat. They help overcome doubts and negative vibrations about Self. Remember this! One person with perfect peace and filled with love and goodwill can dissolve all negative vibrations. Jesus even said that “All power is given to bring Heaven to Earth.” And this God-given power is also within each of us in our “superconscious mind.” To work with God’s power, you must give it the right of way and still the reasoning mind. That means our part is to activate our faith. Act as though “I am.” Therefore, affirmations in the present tense help. For instance, I said an affirmation like this, always including my name, and I made certain it was in the present tense…as if it were already happening. Exciting words helped me remember the affirmation and brought smiles to my face as I said them. So always write a few words into your affirmation that bring excitement to your life. You might add a few sentences to affirmations to support what you said.

“I, Susanne, am opening daily to God’s guidance in my life. I am listening for answers and am excited about receiving them.” Then I took some simple actions to show God and Spirit that I was serious. I not only began saying affirmations every day, but I also did something else that was fun. Every night when I got into bed, I began working on a Temple. It would be my Temple within that I could go to when necessary. I visualized walking down a path until I came to a place to build it, then I began. I gave it a strong foundation because I wanted a stronger foundation for my life. I had fun designing the inside. Much of it was glass so that I could see the beautiful land outside. I also made a door on the right side of my Temple. I created a waterfall on the left side and placed a stage in the center. When I completed the entire building, I went to the door on the right and opened the door to invite anyone that had a message for me to enter. This was a great way to go to sleep and forget the day. This relaxed me and prepared me for answers to come.

I also listened feelings and my intuition to messages within when I did simple things, like go to a restaurant. I might walk over and sit down at a table. Before eating, I felt what I could. If I felt uneasy, I took note. I would get up and move. If I felt comfortable in my seat, I happily remained. Carolyn, a friend of mine, and I met for lunch one time. We were at a cafeteria, and the food looked delicious. Carolyn, a minister friend of mine, was also working on intuition and “listening within.” We picked a table, and we both felt it was not right. We moved to another table, and the energy felt much better than at the first table. Perhaps people were negative before our sitting down. By the way, this normally did not happen. Because of that feeling, however, and because it was unusual for me to feel that way, I paid attention. Active faith impresses the subconscious.

I do know that before I was listening, I would receive signs and ignore them. Many unhappy situations entered my life because I had impatient desires or wanted to avoid a conflict. That happened in my own lifetime. I wrote another affirmation. Knowing we each have an inheritance from God, I began doing this affirmation. “I, Susanne,, with God’s help, am drawing to me that which is mine by Divine right! I am receiving my inheritance as I speak, and I thank you for it.” That affirmation helped me become a true student of God/Spirit/Jesus and gave me the idea to place God at the top of my list each day, even in my planner. Then I listened. Answers sometimes came through intuitive thought, words others said, a line I read in a book that caused me to think, dreams, even a movie. It was as if my eyes were open and my hearing was magnified in all parts of my life! I began to see my personal inheritance being formed. All life is vibration, and affirmations improve your vibrations in life. With higher vibrations, watch what you draw to yourself and how your life improves. My life appeared to fall apart, but then it came back together in a much better way for me.

You combine with what you notice or vibrate toward! If you are vibrating to injustice and resentment, you will meet it on your path. To change your mood, you must change your vibrations. Turn on a different current in your thought, and you will feel the difference within immediately. Then you will see it without when you are stepping forward. Saying affirmations helps you “be a master of words.” It is difficult to control your thoughts, but you can control your words. Your tools are your words. Be certain you are building constructively. Remember that we are each Spirit in a Physical body. It is good for us to understand this spiritual law. “Whatever we send out comes back to us, and what you do to others will be done to you.” I have watched with my own eyes when this has happened to my Self in my past and others. I have cringed as I listen to words being said that I know will come back to a friend or see actions a person takes that I know will eventually be returned. I do believe karma sometimes happens right here on earth.

What happens when evil appears? See-through the evil, knowing out of it will come good. How can a person obtain peace when his/her whole life is in turmoil? By saying an affirmation. I am saying this again, always know that even if you cannot control your thought, you can control your words, and eventually, word wins out. Most people attract inharmonious conditions because they have been fighting battles and carrying their own burdens. We have to get out of God’s way so he/she/I can harmonize or adjust to the situation. Put situations that need help in a God Box and get out of the way. If you do not understand a God Box, go back to my God Box blog and read. That will help you. Next, write an affirmation to help you! Say it every morning and every night before going to bed, or put them on the sun visor in your car to say when you are by yourself driving somewhere. If you are waiting, do something to show your faith. Put your focus on something like “cleaning out a closet and talk to your divine source” while doing it. By the time you finish, your faith carries you through. You may have even received an answer while cleaning out. Intuition is an excellent guide. Follow it in little things and then trust it in big things. We can learn how to transmute all failure into plenty and all discord into peace. Every morning I make a short prayer of gratefulness to God, and then I add, “Thank you, God, for turning anything that appears negative today into a positive. Amen.

Very few bring into life what is rightfully theirs. Instead, they live as outsiders of their heart’s desires. What is rightfully theirs seems too good to be true. When you are spiritually awake, nothing is too good to be true! Keep walking toward being wide awake to bring your good into manifestation. Talk to God and Spirit like they are friends. Give thanks for a new day. Talk about constructive things. Do not look back and hash over hard times or discord with someone. Give thanks for a new day. Be immune to all adverse appearances. Be wide awake to bring good into manifestation. Know there is a way out of despair and limitation, especially when discouraged, angry, or resentful. Ask for “Reveal to me the way.” Make an affirmation to turn everything around. Prepare for your blessings and intuitive needs. Do not run away from a disputation of which you’re afraid.

LESSON:

The only person I can change is me. When my life became unmanageable, I surrendered. Affirmations can help me and you in all parts of life situations. They can help us go to the center of Self to find joy and peace within. Affirmations greatly helped me change my subconscious about many parts of my life. Change through affirmations does help a person reach the superconscious mind.

GIFTS:

Following the death of my husband in my 30’s, I thought there was no other single person in the world. Following a divorce in my early 40’s, I also felt this way. I had done affirmations about achieving in my work, but I had not used them in my personal life. Working on me helped me see that I had low self-esteem on the inside while I was a high achiever to others. I began creating affirmations that helped me like myself more. I created an affirmation about drawing interesting, intelligent, and kind women to be friends.

I realized that I did begin drawing men to me, but they were all married or separated. That led me to a realization that I did not know how to be single in my subconscious. Subconsciously, I was used to being married. I had been married for 17 years, single two, married for five. So I felt that was why I kept drawing those men. I wrote a new affirmation about liking myself as single and how much happier I was getting each day. And I focused on being perfectly happy and comfortable with myself as a single.

On a beautiful Fall day, with no date for three years and really happy with myself and my apartment rather than my house, I wrote that I would like to draw a kind, compatible person to have fun with that was a male. Nothing seemed to be happening, Spring came, and then I drew fourteen single men that “asked me out” in about a six-week period. I realized that the affirmation I created said something like “I, Susanne, do not know what I want for a compatible mate and, with God’s help, it might be fun to be like Cinderella at the Ball. In early Spring, men seemed to be everywhere. They were standing in line at the grocery store, at a talk I was giving, at a restaurant when I was with four other women. (That one walked over and gave me his card saying that he had been watching me and would like to get to know me. He liked my smile.) I went on one or two dates with every one of those men but told each of them that I could not go out anymore for a while. I also shared with God that I was too tired for this. I decided to rewrite my affirmation and begin again. Six weeks later, I walked up on the porch of this house, knocked, and John answered the door.

I wrote an affirmation about having affluence, having enough for me to live on, and giving to others. I wrote one about stepping over self-limiting boundaries and “knowing” my own beliefs. I wrote an affirmation about bringing Heaven to Earth. I, in fact, wrote affirmations about love in my family, about becoming love within and without. I wrote about anything that I felt to be a stumbling block to improving physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I wrote affirmations about my healing as well as the healing of my children. After that affirmation, Dawn moved back in first. Next, Johnny returned home from the Navy and also moved in with us. Both of them lived with me for about a year, and we all three loved it! We got to know each other in a new way and had the opportunity to heal Don’s death plus my bad marriage that hurt us so badly in our past.

As I said these affirmations, I watched my life evolve and change! Yes, it took time. Once a year, I also hid out for a weekend. During that weekend, I made vision boards and wrote affirmations, knowing I could add new ideas to my vision boards and could add affirmations.

A Life of Its Own

I know that we have a life of our own and each living creature has a life of its own, but I never expected a book to have a life. I wrote steadily on my book, and then I struggled with sitting down to finish “When Spirit Speaks.” Trying to realize why I realized what I was stating in the affirmation I was doing each morning. I was saying, “I, Susanne, love having a published book.” Those words struck me. There was much to do before this book would be finished and published. To finish the book, I had to sit down in front of my computer and type the rest of the book. Next, I had to decide about publishing the book. Do I send it to publishers, or do I self-publish? Remember, words manifest. I immediately wrote a new affirmation and began repeating it every morning. “I, Susanne, with God’s help, love sitting down in front of my computer and writing the completion of my book. God is continuing to help. Spirit is also helping me. Words come.” I shortly noticed that I wanted to sit down more often to work on my book, even turning down invitations so that I could spend more time writing. I did not think about the money it was going to cost or anything. I typed and worked way into the night on many times.

I found the printer to make what I wrote into a real book; a person I trusted could do the project. I then began to have some thoughts of fear! Every time I had a fear thought, I pushed back the negative thoughts that kept me awake at night. “What if people do not like this book?”, “What if my family disapproves?”, “What if the Lakota Indians I honored do not like it?” I then would change my thinking by following every negative thought with four positive thoughts. “What if everyone or most like my book. My life experience might actually help someone take their limits off also?”

After completing the book, I received the telephone call that the 1,000 books were ready to be picked up. The printer said the cover done by my friend Kevin looked good, and he was proud that he took this project. Well, it was still somewhat scary to think about releasing the book. Even with all of that work on changing my thinking, I wondered if I should just put them in a closet and wait a while? I did not. I began sharing my book with a few friends. My first book signing and introduction to my book came about from friends in Pauls Valley putting together a book signing to be held at our depot! People actually came. I signed my first books and was in our local newspaper. During the first year, I sold most books through talks at clubs, seminars for individuals, and book signings. I carried books in the trunk of my car and sold books that way. This led to signing books in a few independent bookstores. Most were sold at book signings in peoples’ homes with a short talk for a group or at a seminar I was doing. In that first year, I had sold over 950 books from my trunk.

Understanding that I could not do much with larger bookstores until I could find a distributor, I began my search for one that would handle my single book. Eventually, I applied and was accepted by Ingram, a distributor for Barnes and Noble and Borders. With almost all of my first books gone, I ordered 5,000 copies and got a new cover. I began contacting bookstores with a distributor and new copies, sending packets to them, and scheduled signings. Then I began driving all over the state and into other states for presentations. John did not go with me. My book seemed to be guiding me, and I would travel with my book. It took me by invitation to be a guest speaker at a whole life exposition in San Francisco, CA, and then in Austin, Texas, and another in Dallas, Texas. One time I was scheduled opposite Wayne Dyer. What amazed me is that I had over one hundred in my room for my presentation. What were they doing here when they could be listening to Wayne Dyer? This is a fun story in itself!

Other presenters had been presenting during the day. I was scheduled for 7:00 pm and was a little worried when I saw that I was opposite an author I liked. I felt like an unknown. I might check out some of the other presenters during the day. When I went to their rooms, there were only about seven people, maybe as much as fourteen. I thought, “Did I drive this far, so far that I had to get a hotel room for six or seven? I thought and then went outside and chose a tree that I could place my hand on and make a prayer. I visualized a “tree of life” and this tree sending the message to God and out to people. I asked that the right words come to me to touch everyone in my room in some way that would be helpful for their lives. Shortly before 7 o’clock, I went upstairs to the room where I would be presenting.

To my surprise, the room’s door was closed, and a few people were ahead of me in line. Apparently, they did not open the door until each talk, so I stood in line with attendees and waited to enter the room. While waiting, I listened to two or three women visiting about how boring the presentations were that they attended earlier and how they would leave if they found out this speaker was just as boring. I smiled but did not let on that I was the speaker. More people seemed to be lining up behind me. Interesting! Finally, a person opened the door, and we went in to be seated. I followed those women I had been eavesdropping on to the seats they chose and sat down by them. The room kept filling up while we waited for 7 o’clock to arrive. I went to the back of the room and told the person to introduce me that I was there and returned to my seat in the middle of a row by the three ladies.

At exactly 7 o’clock, the woman went to the front of the room and said a few words about me. As she did so, I stood up and also walked from my seat to the front of the room to present. The women sitting beside me were more than a little surprised because we had been casually visiting while waiting. Beginning my talk, I explained that I had three women in the room that planned to leave if I was boring. Smiling and having fun, I said, “They are going to be my barometer to show me if I hit the “boring” line.” I looked at them, and they were grinning from ear to ear. Continuing, I told the audience how surprised that I was that so many people were listening to me when they had an opportunity to listen to Wayne Dyer at this time. Then I said to several, “Why are you in this room tonight?” “What brought you here?” I received a few answers that did not tell me much, and then one said, “I liked the title of your talk.” I responded, “What did you see my title was?” She said, “Hearing Your Ancestors.” Oh, no wonder! These people thought I was going to channel ancestors! So now I understood.

I responded, “Oh, now I know why all of you chose this room. You thought I was going to give you perhaps answers from your ancestors! There has been a mistake. After I tell you the mistake, I hope you stay; however, if you leave, I understand. Apparently, there was an error in typing that resulted in a misprint. I sent the topic of my talk to be advertised. It was Hear your Answers. But if you want to know how to make contact with your ancestors, I can include that.” I looked around the room, and no one was leaving. With not a seat left, there was standing room only. People were standing all the way around the room. Amazing! All stayed, including my three ladies that were not bored. I did a totally different talk than planned, and, by the end, many had laughed, and a few had shed real tears. About fifteen minutes after I began, one lady did raise her hand after I began speaking. I looked at her and said, “Yes, do you need to leave?” She responded, “Please know I am not bored, but my daughter cannot find this room, and she has been looking for it. She just texted me. I am to meet her downstairs and bring her here. She came to hear you speak. I promise that I will be right back with her. Save my seat, please.” I loved that!

I spoke at another Whole Life Expo in Dallas. Because of my book, a lady that had already read “When Spirit Speaks” approached me when I finished speaking and asked if I could be a chapter in her book. She said that she already had permission from Oprah to be a chapter, and then she named others. I agreed and, after several interviews, I became a chapter. It is entitled “Dream It, Do It.” EJ Phillips, a woman I met in Sulphur, purchased my book and read it. She then telephoned, asking me if she could interview me for her book about several Oklahoma women. She drove to Pauls Valley to interview me for her book, Woman: What She Has Done, Where She Has Been.

Another adventure took place when someone sent my book to the women’s prison in McCloud, Oklahoma. An inmate who read it and shared it with others talked to the woman over their prison section. They asked Mabel, a woman responsible for some women, to help them with a request. Mabel telephoned me, saying several women had approached her about calling me. She then explained that she was surprised with their request because many of them had given up faith in God. They wanted her to ask me to come to pray with them in the Native American way. Mabel went on to say that I would have to get permission to do this from the Warden of the Prison. I told her that I would contact him. She gave me his name. I met with the Warden, shared my background, and explained what I had been asked to do. I said that I could do a seminar for the women and then pray with them afterward. He wanted me to do it. I charged them nothing.

After a few months of praying together, they wanted more. They asked if I could help them have a sweat lodge and a medicine wheel to use when I was not there. Mabel and the warden watched these women change. It was an honor for me to listen to their stories, watch them confess their regrets, and see a difference in them. They released their anger toward God. They discussed possibilities for them. I shared that many go to church when they have troubles and pray. Prayer builds the energy, and one feels that energy when they enter a place that people pray. We talked about anywhere people go to pray in a good way is good. They paid attention. Some actually began going to church services offered to them at the Prison. I had no idea how long I would be coming to this prison, so I wanted them to have other resources besides me. About fifteen women prisoners were always in the sweat following my presentation. The energy was strong in each purification ceremony (sweat). I told them that if they ever wanted forgiveness from someone on the other side, they could make prayer about it and tell the person they were sorry. I did that before we began the third round, the prayer round. Listening to those prayers in that round was both sad and amazing. One by one, they were sharing their truths, making a prayer, apologizing for what they did. That much energy must have affected me because when I finished the fourth round of the sweat, I stepped into the open air and immediately threw up. It happened again when I returned and did another sweat for people wanting to participate.

On my last sweat that I had the opportunity to lead at the prison, the door opened at the last minute, and another person swooped into the lodge. To my surprise, it was the warden. He asked to join us because he could not believe what was happening to his most difficult prisoners. He shared that he was so proud of them, he could see they were changing, and he wanted to get some of what they were getting, whatever it was. It only took a few days for the word to get out about the warden coming to our sweat. He got into trouble with those above him. He was asked to take the sweat lodge down, and a few weeks later, the warden was fired due to his action. Mabel was also released, and the new warden did not think I should keep coming to the prison or holding the self-help seminars. A prisoner telephoned me when she was released and shared that the women kept making prayers. They wanted her to thank me. Many went back to church because they regained belief that God was love and forgives. Some prisoners gave me gifts they made. This experience offered surprises from beginning to end. I loved it and felt humbled for the feasts they prepared each time I came and for all they shared with me.

The book was born on April 7th, 1997. Letters began to come from people I never met sharing with me what they received from this book. I decided when I was in fear that if it helped one person, it was worth five rewrites and publishing it. Those letters I initially received made it all worth it. “When Spirit Speaks” is still out there, touching lives. That amazes me. This is 2021. I still unexpectedly receive a letter or a phone call thanking me for this book. I have not ever met most of the people.

This book traveled further out than my presentations in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. For instance, a person from Oklahoma went to New York and was surprised to find my book on her sister and brother-in-law’s coffee table. How did she get it? Her sister was surprised that her sister from Oklahoma knew me. A preacher from Detroit had me come to a women’s retreat. How did that preacher have the book? Another woman from New York telephoned me when I lived in Norman and wanted to come to Oklahoma to do a vision quest. After discussing it for a while, I agreed to do it. She did come to Oklahoma to do this. To my surprise, she learned how to make prayer ties from the book. Where did she get my book?

This book also brought forth stories, lots of stories. People that attended one of my talks would approach me about something they felt happened after a relative died or following a friend’s death. When I spoke on the book to some progressive clubs and some not-so-progressive clubs, people attending the talk would hold back and then share with me after others left. Generally, they shared their truths. They said they had never told about something that took place in their lives that caused them to believe some relative on the other side wanted to give them a sign. They had not told their story before because they felt no one would believe them. They wanted my opinion on it. Because I opened up through this book, they had no fear talking to me. They knew I would not think they were crazy.

Yes, my book had a life. I initially worked to help it get into someone’s hands, and it then led me on a journey. After several years of speaking about “When Spirit Speaks” and doing seminars away from home, I decided that I wanted to remain home on the weekends with John or do more activities that we could do together. After all, we had only been married a few years now. I wanted this to be a good marriage. After being in a marriage where my husband did not spend time with me, I cherished my time with John. Looking back, I may have passed up my “tipping point” with the book. If I had continued traveling and speaking, no telling what could have happened. Why do I think I may have reached a tipping point? I was invited to Arkansas to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble, where I was presented with a very nice present from the woman who invited me to sign in Little Rock. Then I went to Dallas and was met with multiple presents from people that came for a talk and book signing. Next, I went to speak at Barnes and Noble in Norman. With a great article in the newspaper on the morning of my talk and a picture of the book on the front page due to a mistake in the run (a God/Spirit moment), over 52 people attended my talk and signing of books. They ran out of my books. Luckily, I had some in my trunk. About that same time, though, I kept receiving signs. Ingram kept messing up on my bill and my orders. With multiple phone calls, I always corrected everything. However, it just kept happening. Listening to my signs, I did step back. I presented seminars in my own home. And I still serve those that ask for a talk of any kind, for a seminar, and an order for a book here and there.

LESSON: The more one shares about Self, is honest about difficulties and doubts, and then shares new understandings received, the more others begin to feel free to do the same. Courage is gained, and the truth is learned—signs guide when one watches for them. A smile, a simple conversation, an article, a talk, or a book one writes can touch a life! Let go of fear and watch what happens in life. A final lesson is this: Writing heals not only you, but years later, it may heal others as well.

GIFTS: Healing for me! Stepping Beyond Self-Limiting Boundaries and I continue to do this!

This book created invitations and new adventures such as being invited to do five-day retreats for people in Arizona, weekend retreats, speaking at whole life expos where I knew no one before my arrival, speaking at women’s retreats, Cyndy’s Spirit Fair, and helping people I never met before that learned about the vision quests here in Oklahoma and wanted me to help with theirs when they committed.

This book brought forth my truth, and I released fear on speaking about my experience in life and boundary lines I released from my life. In a Sunday School class John and I attended one Sunday, the teacher asked if anyone in the class had ever experienced the Holy Spirit. No one said a word. Not one. I was sitting quietly. John reached over and squeezed my leg under the table as he mouthed, “tell them.” I ignored his first try. After his second try, I finally said, “Yes, I have. Being asked, “When?” I replied, “Every day, I see how the Holy Spirit works. On some days, it is more amazing than other days, but I have had so many opportunities to see and understand Spirit, the Holy Spirit. That is another story in itself. My understanding began in New Mexico. My gift was to heal and be able to share some unusual and amazing experiences with others!