The University of Braum’s

John and I go to Braum’s regularly, except during covid! We are now back doing it again since we have had two vaccinations, one booster, and had covid. Why do we go to Braum’s? We have great discussions with no phones ringing. Sometimes John is the one giving me instruction, and sometimes I am the one giving him instruction. We even take a pad and pen just in case one of us has an “aha” moment! Discussions are on multiple topics, everything from the Bible to family situations to spiritual lessons to goals we each have set. As we watch and listen to others, we also learn. We decided our Braum’s should be called “The University of Braum’s.”

One might see diversity at our Braum’s. It is a great stopping point for a fast break when driving down the road. It is also easy to get to as one pulled off for a break. Pauls Valley Braum’s sits right off I-35 at Mile Marker 72. At times, one might think they are sitting in an international airport while having a good sandwich or ice cream. Have a seat and listen. At times, people come in off the highway speaking languages of the world.

One time I encountered a group of Muslims that stopped for a break. Both men and women were sitting in a long booth. The men were talking, and the women seemed silent. When I was getting water, one of the gentlemen was waiting for me to finish. I spoke, but he did not reply. Then I noticed how the men were talking, the only ones speaking at their table. The women seemed silent. Eventually, I excused myself from our table and headed to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands, the Muslim women entered. They were laughing. I spoke, they smiled, and two commented. I washed my hands longer than usual, listening to them having fun with each other. Then I watched when they returned to their table and sat with the men. They were again quiet. Was this out of respect, or was this a cultural teaching, or both?

Another time we went in, and Chinese people were speaking their language. The young girl behind the counter was having a slight problem understanding part of their order. I tried to help but to no avail. And then a Japanese family was there another time. They could speak their language as well as English. They asked us to help them with directions. John went to our car for a paper map and was able to help them. Then there were the ones we met while waiting in line from France.

There are also those behind the counter that bring diversity to this Braum’s. It makes me smile to write this because we have had so many different experiences right off Exit 72, where Highway 19 enters Pauls Valley. Behind the counter is a young man from India. Initially, he spoke with a broken accent. We eventually learned that his parents owned multiple hotels in our area and Dallas and other large cities. When his brother received his inheritance, he got a hotel and a significant amount of money. His Dad would not let him receive his legacy until he could speak fluent English well enough that people could easily understand him. His parents encouraged him to take the job offered to him at Braum’s. They felt it would be the perfect place for him to become proficient in the English language. It took him over a year to speak well enough that his Dad said he was almost ready to learn about the hotel business before receiving one. So we had the honor of learning about this attractive young man. We became friends. He shared that his parents wanted him to go to India with them to find a wife. They wanted to begin the process of an arranged marriage. He told us, “I am not ready yet. I do not want to get married until I am older.” His Mom was Christian, and his father was Hindu. This new information made for a fascinating discussion. His Mom believed in one God while the rest of his family believed in many gods.

Then there was a great young lady that was LGBTQ. She shared her life with us and her difficulties with a person in her family needing physical help. Thus, she had to put off her marriage and was helping a family member before she could reschedule her wedding. There was no one else that could do it. We also learned that she had taught herself how to write and speak Russian. These two young people who have now gone forward in life helped us see beyond the counter. Some behind the counter taking orders and making food are in recovery programs. They shared their history and years of sobriety with us because they were proud of their success, and John was the Judge that helped them when running Drug Court. Paying attention, we also realized how many disabled people come to Braum’s. They can get groceries there more easily there than at a grocery store. John and I have offered to help someone we noticed having difficulty getting their groceries from the door of Braum’s to an automobile.

Yes, we have a Braum”s that is amazing. It has been a significant part of our lives. Miracles happen there. As we look out the windows, we see where parents are exchanging children or where a grandparent is returning grandchildren to parents. Then when I had car fever and did not know what automobile I wanted, we sat watching out the window for what I might like. Once I saw an automobile that I liked. I stepped outside to look in its windows. With the car sitting in the same spot for a while, I thought a person might have parked it at Braum’s while taking a quick ride with a friend for some reason. When I was looking in the window, I noticed a group of people coming out of Braum”s. They were visiting on this lovely day outside, and I thought they might be saying their goodbyes to each other. Finally, the older man came over to me and said, “I hate to bother you, but we have to leave. Is there anything I can help you with?” Embarrassed, I said, “No, I just love your car and may want to get one of these.” We both laughed. He climbed in. I returned to John watching us and laughing inside.

Yes, we have a hub at our Braums of multiple kinds. See us in Pauls Valley sometime. Do not hesitate to give us a call, and we will meet you there.

Statements That Might Help With Change

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new!

One reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.

Sometimes you have to forget what is gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what is coming next.

Be the change you want to see or become.

And when I wanted to make a change and needed the courage to do it, I went back to the sign that I made and placed it on my desk. It read, “If there is no change, there is no change.”

Have a happy week. I hope to return next week with a short blog on “The University of Braum’s.

Living Life

Gratefulness fills my heart today with what comes from the invisible world as well as the visible world. I am even grateful for difficult times in life that have taught me so much. In the last few months, we have had two deaths in our family, a brother that lived here in Pauls Valley and a sister-in-law in Oklahoma City. Our sister-in-law that lives here needs our help. In addition to this, John and I are having multiple doctor’s appointments. Every day this week includes a doctor’s appointment for one of us, plus we have to take our sister-in-law to the city to see a doctor on Friday. In November, a family of four will be staying with us for three weeks!

Children and grandchildren will be with us through Thanksgiving. Next, comes Christmas and all four families are thinking about coming home? We did that a few years ago, and I am not sure either one of us got to talk to anyone. John and I were always working, preparing the next meal, getting everyone ready and in the cars to go somewhere, etc. We decided that they think we are still 40! Ha! With all of this, my first thought is, “How am I going to get a blog out every Monday?” I still have a list of more blogs that I hope to do. It generally takes me two days to do a good blog, one to write and the next to change and correct. I already skipped some weeks when the deaths took place. There was more work to be done following our brother’s death. He had too much. It makes us want to downsize as soon as possible. That work is continuing, and his wife also needs our help.

I want to continue my blog because I am surprised by the joy I get from stepping back into my situations through my blog. Plus, some of you have been fantastic readers. How do I know? Some encouraging comments have shown up. Any of you can leave a comment on Facebook where my blog shows up. I hope you will leave a comment because comments help me know who is reading my blog.

I intended this blog for grandchildren to read my when they were in their forties to learn more about me. Boston, a son, helped me get everything set up, including a webpage. Then a daughter called while we were working on it, and I told her. I shared what I was doing with only two friends who asked me how I was spending my time. However, some of you saw the blog and gave me feedback—this delightful surprise caused me to keep going. I got excited about just sharing it with everyone, hoping that it might help someone. For me, it was a way to touch lives in Covid. Now I want to continue. I am encouraged with every comment.

If possible, I want to write one inspiring paragraph that could help all of us, myself included! I may even be lucky enough to write a line worthy of putting on a refrigerator as a reminder. We will see. As we see four doctors this week, I am filling my life with gratitude, and I hope you do the same with whatever you do. I am grateful for everything, from the air we breathe to all within our earth and the answers we receive from above. Our adventure in life seems to surprise us sometimes, and all can change in a heartbeat. What if everything that is happening to us is happening “for us?”

I hope you feel the love I am sending to everyone that reads this. Have a great week, and do not hesitate to write a question if you have one or send me an idea you want me to cover. Once in a while, when there is time, I might take the opportunity to have fun and write one of my longer blogs. I plan to go back to my regular blog in January. By the way, last year, I wrote no goals for the first time since the 1980s. I am now making notes for what I hope to begin or ultimately achieve in 2022! Are you jotting down any ideas? Now is a perfect time as the leaves fall and the tree prepares for rebirthing! Have a happy week!

This Time Of The Year

The cooler air and the feel slight breeze this morning felt great. It brought memories of happenings in my life during the Fall of the year. Leaves are preparing to fall off the trees. Some will be bright colors. Perhaps those represent good closings that will come into my life through this transformational time. Some other leaves will be all brown or partly brown. Maybe those leaves represent a difficult closing in life during this time of the year. Still, green leaves also drop to the ground. Why are they green? Those leaves just might be the goals in life that will continue until next year? Once, when doing a seminar during this time of the year, I asked participants to go outside and find a leaf that represented them. When we begin relating ourselves to those things around us, we become more aware of our relationship to “all.” Try this. See how it represents you. After comparing yourself to a leaf, hug the tree and listen to your thoughts. How are you like that tree? Once I had a vivid dream and in looking at what my dream was about with a friend, she said, “Let’s look at every item in your dream and see how it relates to you.” We did just that. When it came to a simple part of the dream where I picked out a pen to use in writing a note, she said, “How do you think that other pen beside it felt when you picked the other pen? Have you ever felt this way?” Now every time I pick up a pen when it is sitting alongside others, I think about that interpretation of my dream we worked on.

This time of the year has also presented a time of many closings in my life. My husband died at age 39 in the Fall of 1979. This year my brother-in-law died, and my sister-in-law died. I left a position I liked the most in my life during the Fall of 1981. It was building a seven-county comprehensive mental health center and I left to marry a second husband. It was a “wrong choice” as a marriage, but a fantastic experience to teach me so many things! My divorce began in the Fall of 1985. After a two-day court trial in early 1986, I got out of the marriage. John and I dated for six years and then, in 1995, we married. I began closing down my Shaklee nutrition business and my apartment in the Fall of 1996.

During those years between the man that carried major lessons into my life and John, I began a practice of setting goals and writing affirmations every year. This beginning came during the time of Fall! I jotted down notes. Where are my priorities going to be for the upcoming year? What goals do I want to keep in my life next year? What do I want to release from my life? What causes me stress and am I ready to release that? Those are the questions I asked myself as I watched this transitional change in weather. I noted the physical part of my life, including not only my health but also my environment. Then I paid attention to my mental part of Self, my thinking process. Do I want to turn off the TV and focus more on my relationship to God/Spirit and then to family? Next was the Emotional Part of my Self. How are my relationships? What is my heart happy about? How can my heart open to my love for “all,” even those difficult to love. Are there energy-draining relationships that would be good to step back from? Then I move into the Spiritual part of Self, asking myself how I might keep that personal relationship open with all that is invisible? With situations I am struggling with, perhaps this is a good time to put my divine source, Jesus, in the center of my page and ask about each “What would Jesus do in this situation?”

Some very good things have also happened in my life during this time of the year. Due to an amazing dream right before I awakened this morning, I decided to do share with you a special event shown to me in this vivid dream. I stepped back into my Native American Vision Quest days and was outdoors explaining to a group how to prepare for (1) a vision quest and then (2) how to do a vision quest. To be exact, I was even sharing with those in attendance in the dream how to build a fire, how to lay the tobacco first depending on the reason for the quest or quests. I had been taught by a Lakota Medicine Man that would not call himself as such. Others would, but he would not. My dream was detailed.

Why did I have this dream? Fall is a good time for a Vision Quest! Perhaps I was being sent a gift of times past in my life. When the sun hit my face and awakened me, I wanted to stay in the dream. It felt like this dream was a great gift when the sun hit my face and I became completely awake. I got up with a sense of gratitude for all I learned during that twelve years in my life where signs appeared to show me that I was to look at the Native American path to finish my healing through Native American ceremonies. The doors were then thrown open for this to happen through John. I was actually standing on the steps of the house we live in when he told me that he had been to Sun Dance and he had been doing sweat lodges. Then he asked if I wanted to see if this path was for me. What I received has left me in awe ever since that time. We both immersed ourselves in Lakota spiritual experiences in Oklahoma and South Dakota. Other tribes in Oklahoma also shared their ceremonies in Oklahoma with us.

I did my vision quests in the Fall. I also supported others, including John, in theirs. I was receiving answers that I had waited long to receive, and I loved it. I have done four quests. John also did multiple quests. He even did one of his in New Mexico. Gary asked me to do my last one at Bear Butte, South Dakota. John, Savannah, and I went to South Dakota. Supporters even traveled that far to support. It was a great, great trip for all. Everyone got answers. When we did quests at home or somewhere else, we camped for four to eight days. Now that may not sound like fun to some of you. However, those that came, even ones that did not like to camp, were surprised at how much they received in their experience. Every person entering the land where a quest takes place learned to set ego aside as they stepped onto the land. They also learned to watch for their own answers, especially when a quest was taking place. After putting hundreds on the hills to do vision quests, I was told that it was time for me to start putting women on the hill. John also began to put men on the hill about that same time. We watched miracles take place.

Can you tell I pay attention to my dreams? I learned to follow my dreams shortly after my first husband Don died in 1979. So I look at “Did my dream relate to something I saw on television right before bed?” or “Is this a message for me?” I especially like those vivid dreams that do not relate to anything else. In looking at why I had this dream, I knew it was this Fall weather that carried me back to our experiences. I also knew that a discussion on our porch with good friends may have triggered this dream. We had a great conversation about “Killers of the Flower Moon.” It was John, myself, and three great women friends. John shared our experience when we were invited to the Gray Horse Ceremony by our friend Abe Conklin. They knew exactly the ceremony John was talking about due to how the ceremony was described in the book. They wanted to know more. John explained that Abe Conklin, an Osage Elder, had invited us to this annual Inlonshka dance. He asked us to call to confirm that we were coming. We did call Abe and Vicki to let them know that we would be there. When we arrived, we were invited to come to sit with the family. Later in the day, we were called to the center of the circle. Both of us walked to where Abe and a few others were standing. We suddenly realized that we were being brought to the center to be honored. A Pendleton blanket was wrapped around us that we were to take home following the ceremony. As part of the honor, we were allowed to remain in the center and were danced around the entire circle for all to see. Vicki helped me fix my Pendleton properly, We followed Abe and John around the entire circle. We felt ao humbled and so appreciative. Before this, Abe had taken John as a brother and me as a sister. Prior to that, Abe joined us weekly at my apartment in Norman where Gary taught the Lakota language to some of us. He also lead a blessing ceremony for our marriage in 1995.

LESSON: Pay attention to dreams. Write them down as soon as you can or they may leave and you will not remember. Evenually you will understand specific items in your dreams that are showing you something about your own life. You will understand as you watch what is unfolding in life when you have the dream. Dreams help you. Your dreams eventually will turn into prophesying dreams and that will help you in life. Look over your life. Perhaps make a timeline. Our divine source will be a partner that helps create an amazing life. I have had multiple lives in this lifetime, and I bet you also have had multiple lives. Just sit down, stare at a wall, and think about this.

GIFTS:

My biggest gift was all of this continued to remind me of how amazing my life has been and how amazing the lives are for those reading this. We each have ups and downs, excitement and difficulties. It takes time to transform our lives into what we want when we have difficulties, but and it is worth it to do the work to get there.

A reminder to list my roles in life again and see how I want to prioritize them. What do I want to release? Also, what goal is important for next year? What do I want to draw to me?

Reminder to enjoy this beautiful weather and know it will change. Seasons change and life changes! And we can learn to have joy at the center of self through all seasons and as we move through all difficulties.

CLARITY

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For a long, long time now, I have had something with me whenever I drive anywhere. It is my car’s license plate that reads “CLARITY.” When my car died as I was going into Pauls Valley in the 1990s, I purchased a brand new Toyota Corolla and added a personalized car tag to the vehicle. What I had been striving for at that time was clarity. I wanted to be “crystal clear” about my beliefs and about changes I was making in life and to so many decisions I was making for my life. For instance, “I have been married a year. Is it time to let my apartment go?” “What do I need to do to become more balanced in my life?” “Why are so many beliefs that I held in my past changing?” “Am I just becoming me?” “Do I need to give up my nutrition business completely to seriously promote seminars in Oklahoma that I used to do in New Mexico?” And the questions went on and on in my head.

I had made so many mistakes in my past that I questioned myself. Yes, I wanted clarity in my life. To my surprise, this word was available. I received the tag saying “Clarity” and put it on my car, having no idea others might appreciate it. However, it did touch other people’s lives. When attending a meeting in Oklahoma City, a woman stepped into the room where the meeting was being held, saying, “Who owns that car with CLARITY on the license plate?” I said, “I do.” She then continued, “That made my day. Thank you.”

This appreciation of my license plate continued, and I continued working on clarity in my life. I even had a minister stop me and ask, “Do you think you have clarity about everything?” Why in the world do you have that license plate? I answered something like this, “I will be watching for clarity in my decisions the rest of my life. It is a reminder to take life a little slower and think before I act. When making some decisions in my past, I reacted a bit fast as I was hoping to satisfy my physical self by jumping to something different and satisfying my emotional self without thinking. I did not look at how it might affect everyone else or affect my own life down the road. It just might take care of my situation in the present moment. Have you ever done this? As I stepped towards gaining my answers from God/Spirit rather than others, I “listening to God/Spirit” and began checking myself. I realized that I could not hear answers, but I could check what I felt like when my answers came directly to me as I listened and watched for answers. Here is one activity that I would do when I was making a profound change.

I had worked for years building a big business for me and helping others develop their companies selling Shaklee products. I was in a new marriage, was still working on my business, and was writing a book about my spiritual journey. This book seemed to be taking years to complete. In addition to all of this, I also still wanted to spend more time with God/Spirit through prayer and meditation and Native American ceremonies. Did I have the courage to let go of a business that was bringing in money? Could I make the same amount of money or possibly more by creating and doing seminars in firms and individuals? In making such a decision and for other choices in my future, I did this exercise.

First, I made a circle and divided it into four sections: one was for the physical, the second was for the mental, the third section was for the emotional, and the last was for the spiritual part of the Self. In the center of the circle, I placed my divine source. For me, it was Jesus. I made a prayer for my help in receiving answers. Next, sitting in the direction of the physical part of the circle, I asked questions and listened to what thoughts came. If I let go of my nutrition business, what would happen? How would these changes affect my life and my marriage? Physically, how would this change my life healthwise, timewise, stress-wise? What will my physical surroundings look like for my business? Next, I moved and sat behind the “Mental” part of the circle. What could happen with this change? What could happen that is (1) good, then (2) not good? Would I be worse if I made the change than I am now? How? How might I be better? Listen to thought. Listen to the wisdom that comes when you are quiet and waiting in each area. Now move to space behind the section on the Emotional part of Self. Ask questions like “How will this affect my relationships in life? With myself, with family, with others. How does my heart feel about this? Listen. Now move to sit behind the Spiritual part of Self. Again ask questions: What would your divine source do in this situation? Will this change improve faith in any way? Will it help me spend more time doing what I value? Listen carefully. Evaluate.

You will have your questions in each section and your answers. Questions will come to you when you take the time to do this—no need to write them down. Just sit and do it. This exercise will also help you balance your life. Then what vibrations will you exude to others? The time you spend doing this simple exercise will release chaos and confusion. You will exude vibrations of peacefulness and contentment as you gain understandings for your Self. So much more is available to us when we take the time to participate in a self-made exercise like this. Enjoy doing this when you need to make a tough decision. See what you learn about YOU. It is amazing what comes.

LESSON: There are activities you can do to gain insight into your Self. You can hear your answers. You will pay more attention to your attitude, your words, and your actions. You will “feel” when it is not correct, and you will feel when you have found what your soul wants for you.

GIFTS:

This exercise gave me help in making my difficult decisions.

I watched as my faith kept increasing, my ability to be true to Self kept growing, and I spent more time in my life with what I valued.

Walking forward after deciding to release me from a business I built, I missed many of the people I talked to regularly, but I saw new doors open. I also still have many that remained good friends.

I finished my book and self-published it. I have sold more than 4,000 to date. The average sales for a self-published book are 250. I feel fortunate. Of course, I did not know that. I ordered 1,000 initially and ran out. I then ordered 5,000 more, still not knowing that number of 250. So I have a few left if anyone knows someone that might want one. Or I told John if I had a funeral, he could pass out books.

The Giving Tree

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If you have ever had a child, you may have read the book,The Giving Tree. I was blessed when I received this book as a present from a friend. In my thirties, I fell in love with this book. My children were in their teens at that time. I did share it with them, but the words seemed to mean more to me than to them when they were that age. Ordering the video of the book allowed me to present The Giving Tree in seminars for families of First Offenders in New Mexico. Why did this book hit me so strongly? The book is about a tree that grew to be tall and beautiful. It offered shade to many people, plus sometimes an apple to eat for nourishment. The tree gave and gave in different ways until it was old. Then it continued to give even when it had lost many branches. It inspired me,

Then in my late 40’s, I attended a Native American ceremony on the Rosebud Reservation and watched a cottonwood tree “be prayed for” that would give its life to be used for the ceremony John and I were attending for the first time. That tree brought the giving tree in my book to life as we saw how it was treated and how it gave and gave for the people. John and I watched this same respect and honor for a tree being cut and used for Sun Dance each year. We traveled and attended this ceremony more than ten times. Each time, the tree was caught by many when it came down. Participants of the Sun Dance then carried the tree that was chosen and cut until it arrived a few days later at the place where it would be covered with small prayer ties on the trunk of the tree and prayer flags in the top of the tree. This tree was always handled gently from the very beginning and until it was placed in the center of the circle for the Sun Dance. When the tree arrived on the land of the ceremony, the ones carrying it laid it down carefully on a long bed of sage. The tree was then finally raised. It stood tall for all to see during the ceremony as it remained in the center of the circle for this four-day ceremony. There is so much more that I could tell, but you would not want to read it all! I will say this: After watching how gently all people attending treated this tree and also how they handled other sacred objects, I returned home and began handling my Bible differently. It is a sacred book that I do not let touch the ground. Nothing is set on top of it. When I carry it, I attempt to do so carefully and with reverence.

This ceremony draws people from all over the world. Many people of different religions gather once a year to pray for peace, harmony, and resilience. A variety of religions are represented. We prayed together from sun up to sundown, spent four to ten days together when we attended and treated each other with honor and respect. It has been wonderful every single time. With all our differences, we lived harmoniously, visiting each other and helping one another. We accept others that were different from ourselves. It is an amazing experience, and it is what I hope to happen in this world.  

This tree in the center of a circle at Sun Dance made a drawing of a “Tree of Life” in our home come to life for me. When I returned home, I began to pay attention to every “tree of life” drawing or painting that I saw in real life. The feeling of sacredness returns every time I see a picture of a tree standing alone or see a drawing that represents a tree of life. My thinking about ancestors that had already died and those still alive entered my mind more strongly. I wished I had talked to some of them that are already gone more. Some of them had answers to questions that I did not think to ask. My life was busy, and I kept thinking that I would spend time with them later. Later never seemed to come.

Looking at the cottonwood tree at Sun Dance, I paid attention to the fork in the tree.  Everything is both feminine and masculine. That tree represented both masculine and feminine to me. It was another way I was like a tree. I am both masculine and feminine, just as each of us is! Above the fork in the tree is “all that is above,” our divine source and Spirit. Below the fork, the tree’s trunk represents all that is happening on earth that we need help with. So many prayers are put on that tree’s and so many prayers are said for so many while the ceremony occurs. I focused on where I wanted to be on the tree. I wanted to be right below the fork of the tree with one foot on the other side so that I might hear my answers from God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit and one foot here on earth so that I might stay grounded. I also focused on staying balanced in life. Once I realized my place, I never experienced the world the same. Today I see Heaven differently and everything here on earth differently.  

Confirmations of my realizations once I found my place on the “tree of life” began to appear. What were my confirmations? Simple items to support that my prayers were being heard about my tree coming alive to meI. For instance, I received a card with the “tree of life on it” from a friend that had no idea about my new understandings.  Was I manifesting this with my thoughts about the tree? I received another card with a tree of life on it also. Then I received a necklace with the Tree of Life pendant from my granddaughter. Later I received another necklace from my daughter with the Tree of Life as a pendant. She had it made using real jewels to represent every person in our family. These unusual manifestations continue to come forth through other people.

So, do you remember that what you do in your earlier years becomes a part of your foundation? Example: I decided to find an answer by fasting one day a week for four weeks in the early forties.  Then in my late forties, I found myself doing Native American ceremonies where I fasted for three and four days at a time. I call these things that happen “strengthening my foundation.” At some level within, using The Giving Tree repeatedly in seminars in New Mexico in my thirties was the beginning of my guidance in finding a live tree that would become a giving tree to help so many that have prayers of healing for many people, for all life, and the earth, plus prayers of gratitude. 

LESSON: Be open to receiving answers! Pay attention to what is being given to you or sent to you. Next, look backward to see what happened in your life and how it was built. Are you today building your foundation stronger, or is it built on sand? We can always strengthen our foundation, no matter what age we are! Is there something that you did or believed in the past that expanded in your future? Or did it catapult you into a different situation? The biggest lesson is “Pay Attention.” 

An understanding of how Spirit works do come as when we watch closely every day.

Giving brings blessings back to us.

Gifts came from being open to what was presented to me. I listened to my gut, and it felt right. It brought answers. I discovered what I had a passion for. Answers from God to the many questions that I carried with me about my mother dying, and then later, when Don acquired cancer, we learned he was terminal. I was searching for answers here on earth from God, and I got them.

I take the time to pay attention to relatives and my children and grandchildren. I have many answers for them, but they are much like me. They do not ask. Perhaps they will before I die, or perhaps I can send them an answer from Heaven. Who knows?

   

   

A Tree Of Life

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I was walking through our house and noticed a framed drawing painted by someone years ago hanging on the wall. It has a trunk and limbs and leaves, plus other items growing on the limbs. This brought about thoughts about my tree of life and perhaps yours.

I believe we each begin as a thought of God. We enter this world headfirst. Somebody pats us, and we take in that first breath of life, and that is when our soul enters. We are turned right side up, and so much begins to happen. Hopefully, loving arms are ready to help us enter a family we chose while still in Heaven. We choose the family we choose for what we are to learn here on this earth. We have a “tree of life” and are added to other relatives’ and friends’ trees along the way.

My tree includes past and present relatives plus extended family plus friends along the way that became a part of our family during my time with them. My tree encompasses an amazing lifetime. I invite you to think about your tree of life. Being 80, having four children, spouses, grandchildren, and those that came before this time of life, I had past life experiences on the tree. I added my grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends that have been like sisters and brothers, teachers that touched my life, and all in my past on my tree that represented all of the love that I have had in my past. I also added some that I never had the opportunity to meet because their stories touched my life. I even put a few relatives and a spouse that hurt me and allowed me to learn more about myself on my tree. They went on a limb alongside a few that gave me the skills to heal.

In my late 40’s, I was asked to speak at a seminar to be held at the Civic Center in Oklahoma City. While waiting for my turn, a friend asked me, “Are you more enmeshed with your mother or your father”? I said, “I do not know.” She turned and casually said, “Do this. Write down the issues that you have had in this lifetime and are still having. Next, write down your Dad’s issues in this lifetime and what your Mother’s issues were before she died. Even look back to your grandparents if you know some of their issues. Now look to see which side of the family you are most enmeshed with.” All of that only took about twelve minutes. I always thought I was most enmeshed with my mother and her side of the family, but I quickly found out that I was enmeshed with my Dad and his side. She quickly said, “You have the opportunity to heal all of the issues you wrote down, and it will make everything better for all of those that are on your “tree of life” today and all that will be coming in the next seven generations.

That was all we did, for I was the next up to speak. Walking onto that stage in front of those people, I had difficulty focusing on the present. I felt like I needed to go home and get to work on myself. This information I just received about my life so quickly had inspired me to go further with what I had been doing to improve my life. So rather than inspire them to keep on keeping on and give them ideas about what might be good to do to help their own lives, I wanted to go home. However, I did get it together, and my talk turned out to be helpful for them. I took my list of issues home when I left and went to work on reorganizing my life and what I could do to work on those issues that were handed down to my Dad and then to me. I knew I had to rid myself of each issue. I must heal my past to change my future. The paths for healing everything from money problems to checking my beliefs began to open. It felt like my whole tree was flourishing as I changed.

Today I wish I had spent more time listening in my life. I wish I had spent more time talking to and listening to my grandparents, great-grandparents, and even parents. I wish I had asked them questions about what they saw their issues in life were. What did they see happen in their grandparents’ lives, etc. What were their happiest moments? What were the most difficult times? Instead, it was much more important for me to play or go to work, make more money, or visit my cousins or friends. I see our own children and grandchildren doing the same thing. And I imagine this is in every generation. Interestingly enough, I did not see this on the reservation when we visited, perhaps because they did not have as much stuff as we all do.

My next blog is going to be Part II of the Tree of Life. It will be about the Tree that I see in my mind when I think of the Tree of Life.

LESSON:

Our Tree Of Life brings us so much more information than we expect. Listen and think about all of those people that are part of your tree. When you have an opportunity to talk to someone older than you, listen. Watch to see if younger ones are having some of the same issues as you have mode through. If it is possible to visit with them, do so. We cannot change anyone else, but we can tell stories, and perhaps they will have a seed planted within through a story.

GIFTS:

The amazement with all the meaning of a Tree of Life when focusing on one, imagining all the leaves, or perhaps drawing one yourself.

Appreciation for all of those before me that have touched my life and appreciation for all of those that are in my life today.

Love within and without.

Positive Thinking

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What is positive thinking? Positive thinking is having thoughts of hope and thoughts of a bright future of possibilities. It is not focusing solely on the negative. It is thinking about the good that might appear around the next corner of your life. It is creating your life. Negative thinking can also create your life. Positive thinking will draw blessings to you. Negative thinking draws negative. You can control your thoughts and your words. When I was in a negative space and was having a negative thought, I learned to go back and create four positive thoughts to make up for the one negative thought. This, I found, helped to overcome the negative! Eventually, I did not have to do this often as I learned more about myself and my reactions, and my life straightened out. I learned how to see the positive in most situations even though it appeared negative initially.

Eventually, I learned about an electromagnetic energy field. That was about forty years ago. I became fascinated with the subject. I found very little information about it at the time but began my own experiments. Now more information is finally coming out about “the electromagnetic energy field we each have. It is actually being shared with some nurses to help them understand how they might increase healing for patients in a hospital setting by checking themselves and their energy field before stepping inside a patient’s room. They expand their electromagnetic energy field by thinking about something positive and then carry peace into the patient’s room. Every one of us has this electromagnetic energy field. When improving our thoughts and words, our energy field expands. This energy field we carry can touch many lives besides our own as we enter a room or spend time with others! It also will help us draw to us what is truly ours. As our inner habits change, our soul even becomes happier.

Positive thinking definitely expands your electromagnetic energy field, which helps you in every part of your life. You feel more confident and secure in life with a good energy field, and you draw good to your life. When you are thinking about something ho-hum, but not negative, your normal energy field is about 18″ or so around your body. However, if you are thinking about something negative, it disappears. When your thought is focused on something outstanding in your life, it expands far beyond that 18″ limit. Know that your energy field will affect others you pass by also. I have been thinking about what we could do if more of us think more positively. It appears to me that we could greatly affect “peace” within and “peace” without. In other words, we could bring Heaven to Earth as is stated in the Bible.

I had an example of positive thinking to follow. My mother stayed positive even though she learned that she had diabetes when she was pregnant with me. They did not know nearly as much about diabetes as they do now. I was born in January 1941, and from that time on, we struggled. Many times things were challenging in our home. You see, at that time, they canceled one’s insurance due to diabetes. Yes, they used to do that. She would do fine for a while and then be in the hospital a week or so. She was my best friend. They advised her not to get pregnant again. She did her best but did get pregnant with my little sister, who was born three months early and weighed only one pound, six ounces. No one expected her to live, but she showed them! I was six when she was born. My father thought he could begin his own window business. Hospital bills for my mother and sister seemed never to allow him to get ahead. After being in an incubator for months with no touch, Mamma and Daddy could bring her home. I was so excited.

Even with money problems, health problems, and much debt, life felt good. We lived in a three-bedroom, one-bath home, and my mother saw that we were happy. I attribute that to her positive thinking. We were also going to a church that taught God had unconditional love for each of us. The minister taught faith, hope, love, and the belief that good will always overcome evil. Everyone left every Sunday feeling like they could face the week inspired. That included me. Yes, we had lots of stress and tension in our family due to misunderstandings, such as Daddy getting home late and being unable to telephone unless he stopped, not having enough money, and other such things. With all of this, I felt that we were happy, plus “hope” made me believe that something good was coming just around the corner.

During my formative years and grade school, I became “the peacemaker” in the family. I was fascinated when my sister threw temper tantrums and could get her way. That did not work for me by any means. Instead, I tried my best to keep the peace. During those many years, I also watched my mother closely to ensure that she was not going into a reaction that would sometimes lead her into a coma. My caretaking skills increased. While growing up and then going to college and getting married, I transferred my actions at home to my personal life and became a great and sick codependent.

My best lesson during life was how to stay happy even through the most difficult times. I heard my Dad repeatedly say to me when times got tough, and he caught me not smiling, “Susie, where is that smile? Go inside, clear down to your belly button, and feel a smile. Then move that smile move up, up, up until it comes to your face!” Try this! You will be surprised. When I was upset, I sometimes had to smile a couple of times, but it did help and usually worked. I used it in college, walking across campus when I felt “out of sorts.” I used it through marriages. I did my best when I was going through my first 17-year marriage, the terminal cancer experience with my husband until his death, and then that second difficult marriage that brought me to my knees with not many smiles. The gift of that marriage was that I had many lessons and was taught how not to repeat my mistakes.

As that second marriage got worse and the emotional abuse got worse, I tried to stay focused on faith, positive thinking, and affirmations to face the world every day when I worked. Finally, this brought me to my knees and began my search for God’s answers, not mine. I had lost myself. The same positive thinking that I talked about and taught in New Mexico came to the forefront with nothing working in my life. It helped me to release fear, look at new beliefs, and move forward on a path of my own. Positive thinking and opening to what I was being shown allowed me to acquire counseling. That did feel awkward since I had been an administrator and built a large mental health center in New Mexico. I added fasting for a month, one day a week, to acquire further guidance. I had always been closed to the idea of fasting but was watching for God’s answers that were coming to me. God brought this answer through a man I did not know on a ski lift as he shared about fasting. I listened and opened to the possibility. I was desperate for answers. That lead me to Al-Anon, where I gained some wonderful tools we can all use when upset. Al-Anon brought me back to being my “Self.” Every seminar I did for the United States Department of Education included positive thinking. During that ten-year period in Oklahoma working on me, I began doing seminars in Oklahoma and always included “positive thinking.” Then when I married John after being single for ten years (a twenty-seven-year marriage so far), I went from doing seminars for institutions, associations, and businesses to doing seminars for individuals wanting to improve positive thinking techniques and become more open to all of life! So think positively, expand your energy field to help you, and know what you are doing to reclaim positive thinking is helping others!

LESSON: Watch blessings come to you as you learn how to stay more positive. Know you have help from the invisible world. Be happy. Smile more. God and Spirit are always with you, waiting for you to ask. Know that sometimes answers take time. Watch for little and big gifts and be grateful! Give what you want to receive, and have no fear about giving.

GIFTS:

Three years after my divorce, my life turned around. I practiced positive thinking did affirmations, simplified by making many changes in my life during those three years. Today life is amazing. In fact, it always has been. I can now see how my life’s timeline and all that I did brought me a huge change in life. I attribute much of this to feeling positive. My thinking, words, and actions tend to remain positive, smiling, and loving. Sometimes I do slip just like we all do. It only lasts a short time, though! Try all of these suggestions I put into my blogs, and smile as you watch what comes back to you. At the same time, do allow yourself to grieve when you have a big loss. Even during that time, It will help your health if you can have some good thoughts or unexpectedly have a good laugh!

Another gift is that I have a God that I talk to about everything. I began a close relationship with God and God became my partner in creating the life I have today.

Letting go of beliefs that no longer work brought amazing answers and new beliefs God showed me.

An amazing and appreciated relationship with all four of our children and grandchildren

Many unexpected gifts my whole life! As I look back, I can see how God and Spirit worked with me through every loss and gain. Unbelievable and surprising gifts came at times when I most needed them.

I gained wisdom about making it through the most difficult times in life knowing something better does come!

When asked, I can then help others move through their most difficult times.

Are We Unteachable?

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Apparently, I sometimes am! Or am I just slow to catch on? For instance, I am now 80 years old and did something today at lunch for the first time. Am I a slow learner or just slow to change patterns in my life? Am I teachable? Yes, but maybe I have a harder time with my answers when they are not given to me, and I have to figure it out for my Self! Here is what happened. John and I went to a Chinese restaurant that we enjoy. Usually, a waiter asks what we want to drink. Me: “I want mine with no ice, please.” John: “I also want water, but with ice.” Then we go to the buffet and acquire the food. I sit back down at our booth and see my napkin with a spoon and a fork inside. Realizing that I need a knife to cut my broccoli, and I do not know where the knives are, I try to get the waiter’s attention. I have done this every time I have gone into this restaurant. Sometimes I get frustrated because I cannot acquire the waiters’ attention. Suddenly, John and I talked about patterns, simple ones; I realized I could help the waiter by asking for a knife when I tell him what I want to drink. I began eating in this restaurant years ago, and I just now figured this out! Yes, I have had the previous pattern for years! It was my pattern! Ha! Today, though, I asked for the knife initially, and when I sat down and looked, my water was there, and my napkin with a spoon and fork rolled neatly inside. The waiter had nearly placed the knife with the blade resting on the napkin not to have it on the table was neatly placed. How great! No more frustration! It is difficult to change patterns, and this was a straightforward one. Think how difficult it is to break bigger patterns.

How long do people live with emotional or physical abusers before taking steps to change a pattern? Someone on the outside can clearly see that something is wrong, but it is much more difficult to admit to ”self” that we can improve life if we are willing to change our own pattern rather than trying “to control” someone else’s behavior. So how do we become aware and take steps forward?

Sometimes we go back to the way we have been taught. We choose books to read that might help us. That is the way I began a huge transformation in my life. I turned to books. I told God I would listen for the name of a book, and when I heard it three times, I would buy it and read it. We have always had teachers who taught by reading books or memorizing what we needed to know. That gives us book knowledge.

Perhaps I was ready for another type of teaching and was guided to the Native American path that John and I were both on for twelve years. I will never forget when I stepped onto my first reservation experience for a ceremony and walked up a hill to find a seat on the ground to listen to the Elder and leader of the ceremony. I heard someone say as we were walking, “Listen carefully, we are going to receive a teaching.” I expected something quite different from what we got. No paper or pencil, no pages passed out that we could have for a guide, no instruction.

Their way of teaching is to ask you a question, tell you a story, or perhaps later send you out on a task. They do not come back and quiz you on what you learned. Instead, they watch! One of the things that they are doing is to distinguish between the people attending the ceremony. There will be true teachers, and then there are others that are “would-be teachers.” There are also people that “think they know it” but do not.

This Native American teaching is never meant to be definitive. Their whole way of teaching is for you to learn the answers! You will never be taught more than 80% of a particular story or teaching. The teaching they give always leaves room for you to fill in the blanks. This Native American way of teaching is a medium for you to find your truth within YOU!

A true teacher, in this way, will never tell you that you are wrong or argue a point with you. The purpose is for you to find your truth within yourself. It is not to make you over in the image of your teacher. The true teacher is to help you find out who you are and see what talents, gifts, and skills you can discover and develop within. The whole purpose of their teaching is to assist you in finding your Self! The fact that I am passing this along is not for you to go out and teach others this as great teaching…because this is only my understanding of how they taught us.

I truly thought I was unteachable at first. I did not understand the point of the stories, nor did I understand why they were sending me on some of the errands they asked me to do. I began to understand a little when a ceremonial leader would ask me a question like, “What did you learn when you went to collect the sap from the tree? What did you learn about yourself? What did you think about when you were collecting the sap?” I was much more used to my teaching from reading books and what people told me. You know, parents, preachers, and others. I took everything literally. For these answers, I had to look within. Slowly, I learned about why someone suddenly told me a story on the reservation. Sometimes it took me quite a while before I got the “aha” and received my teaching from the story!

I thank all of the teachers in my lifetime, everybody from parents, relatives, and even those that brought me my most difficult times (they were great teachers on what not to do or what not to choose ever again). I love life. We may all think we are unteachable, but we are not! We can learn. We learn from without, but learning from within is amazing!

LESSON: When a teacher appears in life that is a true teacher, listen. Listen to the four parts of Self, the Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual part or, in other words, body, mind, heart, and soul. If the teacher is good, it will be great. Know the teacher will eventually no longer be in your life once you have learned!

GIFTS:

Gaining new patterns and new understandings about my life as well as all life!

Gaining more compassion and empathy for self and everyone else!

Gaining a relationship with nature and all within and upon this earth!

Appreciation for all teachers that taught me!

Maybe I am still open and teachable since I am now “asking for a knife along with my water” in both the Chinese restaurant today and when I go to the Mexican Restaurant where I generally ask for a knife to cut the tortilla on the bottom of my chalupa! New patterns, a simple change. It makes it easier for me as well as the waiter!

Openness To Possibilities

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I had a dream a few nights ago about a cousin that I could ask for advice following the death of my mother. Her name was Margaret, and she had a sister named Julia. I always knew that they were both there for me when I needed them. They both were from Pauls Valley, and I loved growing up going to their houses to visit, playing with their children that were my cousins, having fun. Margaret and Julia drove from Oklahoma to New Mexico when Don died. I came home from the funeral home one day, and there they were, both sitting on the floor of my bedroom, looking at pictures. That surprise lightened my day. Margaret came back into my life in a big way when I returned to Oklahoma while in a bad marriage, filed for divorce in l986, and then had to sell my house in l989 and move into an apartment. To my surprise, Margaret moved from the apartment where she lived into an apartment in my apartment complex.

Margaret seemed to have less fear than normal, a positive attitude, and was interesting to watch. I attribute that to her family and their unconditional love. She married young, had a baby (another of my favorite cousins, Judy.) As it turned out, Margaret’s young, good-looking husband was an alcoholic. Having enough of his escapades, she picked up their baby and turned to her family. When women did not get a divorce, and not many women worked, she divorced, got a job with a bank, and went to work to help support both she and Judy. Eventually, she became involved with her sister’s brother-in-law and married again. This time she stayed married for years until he finally said enough of the wrong things to her. The last ugly thing he said to her caused her to stop in the middle of cooking dinner. She turned off the stove, packed a bag, and left. She was 65 then. I was on the phone with her daughter Judy, who lived not far from my apartment in Norman when the doorbell rang. Judy returned to the phone saying, “Susanne, Mother is here with her suitcase. Apparently, she left J.D. and is going to file for divorce. I better get off the phone and see about this.” It was true. After owning her own business and leaving everything behind, Margaret began looking for jobs that she, sixty-five years of age, could qualify for the next day. She planned to begin again! J.D. begged her to return to him, but she was not about to do so. As soon as possible, she moved into her own apartment. Not liking her apartment, she decided to move into the complex I was now living in.

After moving into the apartment downstairs, she was asked to be the house mother for the Chi Omega house at Oklahoma University. This job brought her a raise and more vacation, plus she loved the girls. Are you noticing that she had no fear of change? She definitely was also open to new possibilities with every step forward she chose to make. She encouraged me to keep stepping forward and was the inspiration I needed for my losses. I met Al, who lived upstairs two doors from me. I soon noticed that Margaret was visiting me more. She had noticed Al. Al was from the Isle of Man. He called himself a Buddhist Christian, was about Margaret’s age, and I introduced them. The two of them were talking for hours at a time. Eventually, she and Al called, asking for a meeting with Judy and me. They wanted our permission to move in together, explaining how much money they could each save. Both had come from two bad marriages. Judy and I both said, “Yes.” They were living together by the following week! That was quick. This was in the late l980’s. Margaret was in her late 70’s. Al was a little older. They explained that, at their age, they needed to hurry if they were going to try this! Margaret’s siblings got quite upset. They thought they were living in sin. This was in the late ’80s. Margaret and Al did marry about a year later and lived happily married until Al died five years later.

John and I married, and I moved to Pauls Valley. Not long after Al died, Margaret decided to move back to Pauls Valley. She rented a house suggested by a rental agency here. It was across the street from us. Several years later, and having some health problems, she decided to move into an assisted living center here in Pauls Valley, the Willows. When moving, she telephoned John. She said that she wanted to bring us some jelly. John said, “Come on.” She walked over and brought KY Jelly, not the jelly we were expecting. We laughed and laughed about that. She lived in the Willows until she ran out of money, completely out. She next moved in with Judy. With neither of them liking this, she moved into the nursing home in Norman, not far from Judy’s. Margaret was beginning to have problems with dementia but could cover that up pretty well. After moving into the nursing home, she began telling stories about her life with Al. She kept saying that they used to go whaling. It was not true, but she told an amazing story to all of the people sitting at her table and to others, including her doctor. The story had so much detail that everyone believed her. John, Judy, and I did not realize people believed her stories. But then Sandy, her granddaughter, received a telephone call from the doctor. She grabbed the phone because he rarely called, and she feared the worse. But here is what he said, “Sandy, your grandmother told me that you were writing a book about Al’s adventures in whaling. Do you have a copy? I want to read it.” We were amazed that he thought it was true! Margaret thought her stories were so true that she convinced others they were true. Amazing!

Al was in a mustard pot. When Al died five years after they married, he was cremated. His children spread his ashes. However, Margaret kept some of his ashes to mix with hers when she died. She did not know what to do with them. John and I gave her a mustard pot, a small crock, that perfectly held the ashes. She filled it and put it in her cupboard in the kitchen, moving it every time she moved. When moving into the Willows, she left Al and telephoned us, saying, “Will you bring Al to bring me? He is sitting on the kitchen counter.” We did take him to her. When she moved from the Willows to Judy’s and then to the nursing home, she lost Al somewhere along the way. We all looked for him and eventually found him. I took him to the nursing home. By the time she died at 98 at the nursing home, no one could find Al again. Where is Al?

Obviously, Margaret had ups and downs, but she remained “open” to new possibilities throughout her life. She called one day and asked what I was doing for lunch. I told her that I had plans to go to lunch with a young friend who asked to talk with me. She announced that she was going with us. I reluctantly agreed but decided my young friend might gain something like “a bit of wisdom” from Margaret. Sure enough, this young lady posed a question to Margaret. She asked, “When in your life were you the happiest?” Margaret replied quickly, “From 80 to 85. It took me that long to take the time to learn about me, which then helped me lose negative patterns and gain new ways of having a great marriage.” This young lady was surprised that she said from 80 to 85 were her happiest years. She also stated that at 85, she was still learning and growing and could not wait to see what new possibilities God would bring next.

LESSON: Pay attention to what God sends and stay open to new ideas and new possibilities. Do new things. Go to a seminar that might bring new “aha’s” or “new ideas.” (Margaret even came to a few of my seminars in her late 70’s.”) In her 80’s, she and three others in their 80’s went to Colorado and hired a guide to take them on a one-day river rafting trip. The guide almost backed out when he saw who hired him.

GIFTS:

Margaret was an Elder cousin/friend that showed me how one could have ups and downs at any age, set new goals, be open to what might come next, and remain happy within.

She was a gift. I do not know if she intended to stay close to me and then to John and me or if God just kept opening the space for her to be close.

I had the opportunity to do things for both John’s Mom and Margaret that I could not do with my own mother since she died when I was in my late 20’s. I took them to doctor appointments, for emergency room visits, etc. They were both a joy to be around even when they felt bad.

A positive attitude and opening to the joy we each have within is a huge help for our own health and happiness in life. I had a good example of a person that did this and had the courage to be true to herself!

I had the opportunity to attend her marriage to Al, officiate Al’s funeral, and then co-officiate with another cousin Margaret’s funeral.