I’m Going to Graceland

Sunrise in my own back yard
Beautiful sunrise in my own back yard.

I’m going to Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I’m going to Graceland

Paul Simon, Graceland lyrics

In my high school and college years I was a huge Bob Dylan fan. Despite his gnarly voice I loved his poetic words and hobo way of singing. About ten years ago, Bob was coming to a local amphitheatre not far from my house. Paul Simon was coming too. I wasn’t a big fan of Paul’s but I thought what the heck, I’m going.

A profile of Dylan smiling, wearing a hat, coat, and scarves
Bob Dylan’s Desire album-  one of my favorites.

Paul played first and I was blown off my feet. He was fabulous. Bob came out afterwards, probably stoned, and his voice was worse than I ever remember. Paul and Bob sang a few duos; Paul saved the whole night in my eyes. Bob really didn’t need to come. This was the first and only time I ever saw Bob in concert.

My daughter bought me a cd of Paul Simon’s greatest hits a few years after that concert. I play it in my car and sing or listen while I’m driving. My favorite song? Graceland. I was singing it one day and realized the words.

I’m going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see Graceland
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

(Graceland, Paul Simon)

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

Graceland as we all know is Elvis Presley’s house. I’ve never been there but I’ve heard it’s very nice. When I looked up the meaning of this song as written by Paul Simon, it didn’t say anything about a deity. It mentioned the breakup of his nine year marriage and the trip he took to Graceland with his son.

But look at the words again in that paragraph above. I think of heaven when I read and hear those lyrics. Graceland = Land of Grace= Heaven. Some part of me wants to see Graceland. I do. I’m going to be the big six- oh next year and I wonder sometimes how long I can keep it up. Life is tiring, expensive, and there are some not nice people here. There are also upsetting things, trial and tribulation things. For reasons I cannot explain, some part of me wants to see Graceland. Yes, I really do. I also miss my deceased loved ones- my dad, my yiayia, friends who have passed on.

I may be obliged to defend every love, every ending or maybe there’s no obligations now. Yes, I’m guessing I will asked to give an account of my life when I get to heaven. I hope God takes it easy on me but I’ll understand if He doesn’t. That’s His job. Maybe I’ll be let off the hook for some of my bigger transgressions. That would be nice. And no obligations. Wow, even more tempting.

Maybe I’ve a reason to believe we all will be received. No matter what, I feel loved, cherished and accepted. God is smitten with me and you, I am sure of it. What He sees in me sometimes, I don’t know. But clearly I am adored and I try and remember that every day. Hopefully despite my shortcomings, I will be given entrance.

Lest you think I am going anywhere fast, relax. I have no plans to do so (but recognize this is out of my hands). I am blessed and loved; I have endless thanks to give for my life and those in it. I hope I live for a while yet because I have a bunch of other plans. 😉

I’m thinking of taking a road trip to Memphis. Anyone want to meet me there or ride with me? Let me know….

Join me on my graceful journey.

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Photo by Joe Indovina
Photo by Joe Indovina

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

What do you dream about?

I don’t mean the dreams you dream while sitting still in traffic, or the lofty ones formulated while meeting good friends for dinner. I think of those as goals or aspirations. I am talking about the dreams you dream when you fall asleep.

My dreams have really gone through cycles over the course of my life. About seven years ago, I had finally begun to feel God’s unconditional love working in my life. Where formerly I had always feared wrath and judgement, my thoughts of God had become loving, calm and reassuring.

So during this time of reassurance there were (ironically) large monsters in my dreams. They were at times, ferocious and scary. But in my dreams I was always at a safe distance. I would observe the monsters and think, Well, I probably should get out of the room. Or better yet, They cannot harm me.

The closest I ever came to reading or hearing something similar to my monster dreams was when I read a book written by a little boy entitled, “Heaven is for Real“. When I read Colton’s description of the monsters in Heaven, and of his Savior Jesus’ triumph over them, I really got a chill. His description of the monsters rivaled those in my dreams.

The monster dreams have vanished for now. Lately, my dreams consist of people and places, interactions…. and bravery. I have had a few significant acts of bravery within my dreams. When my mom was ill last month, I had a two fold dream. In it, she was in her home looking out the window of her front door. I was standing next to her. A very large and powerful truck (yep!) came and swallowed her up. I briefly panicked. In the next moment, she was next to me again, we were both looking out the window and the truck was in the driveway, idling. Mom and I stood together and stared it down. It did not harm her again.

I took this to be another sign that mom would recover. Her illness had temporarily derailed her but she would fight back. This week, my mom finally returned home from the hospital. God is good.

One of the most significant dreams I have ever had involved a friend of mine. When Sue told me months ago she was pregnant, I had a dream about her that very night. The whole dream was tinted in pink. My sweet friend just had her baby this week. Guess what? It was a girl.

Do I believe dreams can foretell the future? Maybe. More, I think they are a mirror of our soul. Our fears, hopes and emotions can manifest themselves deep inside of us and dreams are perhaps, the way our soul expresses itself.

Do you believe in dreams? What do you dream about?

Join me on my graceful journey.

A Writing Adventure!

In my latest writing adventure, I have been accepted by Hay House Publishing Company as a book reviewer! This is a good feeling for me as not only do I get to stretch my writing chops a bit, I also get to choose which new books I’d like to review! I love it!

In The Shadow of a Badge by Lillie Leonardi
In The Shadow of a Badge by Lillie Leonardi

For my first official book review, I chose Lillie Leonardi’s recent release “In the Shadow of a Badge.” Here’s a bit about the book and my thoughts regarding Lillie’s story.

Ms. Leonardi worked in law enforcement and was the first female responder to the scene at Shanksville on that fateful day of 9/11. She was the Community Outreach Specialist for the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI and as such, was one of the first to witness the crash scene in that lone field. As she surveyed the barrenness of the landscape, she was overwhelmed by what WAS NOT there. There were no bodies and very little left of the plane and crew of Flight 93.

Lillie chronicles her story beautifully, delving into her law enforcement background and the prejudices that women face in such a male dominated field. There was no place for emotion, crying or falling apart by what she saw.

However, as you can imagine, the sheer sight of the crash scene floods all of the checkpoints she had developed to deal with such tragedies and loss. Her emotions overwhelm her as she gazes upon the sight, wondering how anyone could do such a thing in the name of God. Then, a light comes upon the field and a vision unfolds in front of her eyes. A legion of angels appears, led by the Archangel Michael.  “This archangel stood with confidence, radiance, and an aura of leadership. The saber in his hand angled toward the ground in resting mode. I knew instantly this had to be Michael, for in my Catholic upbringing the Archangel Michael had always been depicted as the warrior. He was also known as the guardian of law enforcement.”

When the vision disappears, Lillie wonders if what she saw was real. She asks God to show her a sign that she was not just dreaming. A bible on the ground, barely singed by the flames of the crash, blows opens in a sudden wind. It stops on Psalms 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd…..” This is her sign. The confirmation of a miracle.

Lillie holds onto the vision of angels but doesn’t tell anyone about it. For years. Finally she is diagnosed with PTSD and thus begins the long road of recovery stemming from years of denial and fear.

What touched me deeply about this book was the depth Ms. Leonardi was willing to go into her soul to tell this story. She reaches into herself again and again to face her fears and tell her story. Her law enforcement background makes a fascinating read and the effect that 9/11 had on her daughter and young granddaughter is poignant, one that any mother will deeply relate to.

My favorite chapter is entitled “Superwoman Has Left the Room.” Lillie wishes to remove her symbolic uniform and cape and ask her old persona to feel safe to return. As those of us who have been through a life changing experience can attest to, it is through the shedding of our previous self that real healing and spiritual awakening can occur.

I loved the spiritual lift this book gave me. I encourage you to read and enjoy it AND be transformed by it. Here’s the LINK.

And of course, here is my disclosure per Hay House. I get to choose the book I wish to review, it is given to me free of charge, and I am not compensated for my endorsement of this book. This review is my personal opinion.

Thanks for joining me on my first book review! What are you reading these days?

Join me on my graceful journey.

Loving (and Remembering) Larry

284298_506253336052658_1811515822_nIt was a day that started out like any other day.

I was happy it was a Saturday. My plans were to meet some friends for coffee at the local Barnes and Noble, then head to my mother’s for a visit. My mom had a cold all week and I wanted to stop and check on her.

By the time I got back home it was almost 4pm. I had missed two phone calls on my cell and was so distracted I didn’t even check the messages. Then my friend Cathy called.

Did you hear about Larry? she said. He is gone. He died this afternoon

All I could say was what? what?

I just saw Larry a couple of days ago. I was in a pizza parlor to pick up some pizza for my son’s birthday. He came up behind me and smiled his big smile and said, hey girl! I gave him a hug and we chatted for a few moments. He looked the picture of health. Except for his eye. He had dark glasses on and he told me it took him three days to get to a doctor. He got some wood in it by accident. We laughed because I said, what is it with guys and not going to the doctor? He said, (with a smile) we just don’t like going to the doctor….

We chatted a few more minutes then my pizza was done. I said bye to Larry….

When I hung up with Cathy, I took a knee moment. It was to honor Larry’s entrance into Heaven and to pray for those of us left behind. We will have a difficult time going on because we will miss him so much. His smile, his laughter, his constant optimism.

I am grateful I had that moment with Larry this week. He was his usual smiling self and that is what I will remember.

My prayers are for Jill now. It is what we all fear deep down- losing someone we love so much.

When my nephew passed away last year it was a difficult time. I talked to my son, who is 27 now, and I said, This is the sucky part of getting older. You lose people. It is not fun. But we can remember who they were and all the good stuff about them.

That is what I will remember about Larry. Nothing but good stuff…

Rest in Peace Larry….

Join me on my graceful journey.

On Heaven, Faith…and Love


I’ve been reading a lot of books lately. Many books, mainly on Heaven and Faith. It has given me much food for thought.

In the last six months or so, I’ve read “Heaven is for Real“, “90 Minutes in Heaven“,  “In the Shadow of a Badge” and I just finished “Proof of Heaven“. Lest you think I am completely off my rocker, I’ve also read “Explosive Eighteen” (I love those Stephanie Plum novels!), just to give my brain a break. And…I’m in the process of finishing “Everything Matters, Nothing Matters” by Gina Mazza and “Help Thanks Wow” by Anne Lamott. Yep, I am steeped in Heaven and Faith lately.

Here’s the hodgepodge of thoughts running through my head about Heaven, Faith and Love.

DSC_00041. It’s all about Love- Unconditional Love. The Universe (God, your Higher Power) loves and cherishes you and me unconditionally. Literally, we can do no wrong. We are forgiven.

2. You and I can have a deep relationship spiritually with the Universe (again God, HP) if we but take some bits of time to connect and feel the spirit deep in our soul. Prayer and Meditation help with this.

3. At the very least, we can have a kitchen sink of faith; the kind that doesn’t answer to any real organized religion. It can be a belief system of our own creation. I think God isn’t really picky. S/He just wants you and I to be happy.

Now, this may not sit well with everyone reading this and that’s ok. I am not aiming to stir up controversy (well, maybe!) but I just want you to THINK a bit.

IMGThat’s what I’m trying to do. THINK a bit. And keep myself open to all that I can learn and feel about God and Faith. There was something I read recently, something that seems too well placed to be just a coincidence. Here it is:

“Once I knew that I wanted to be an artist, I had made myself into one. I did not understand that wanting doesn’t always lead to action. Many of the women had been raised without the sense that they could mold and shape their own lives, and so, wanting to be an artist (but without the ability to realize their wants) was for some of them, only an idle fantasy, like wanting to go to the moon”. Judy Chicago

What do you really want? Do you have the courage to ask for and then receive and accept your dream?

I am beginning to realize that I can truly dare to dream on a higher level and a wish can become reality. Or better yet, I can have no idea what would be right for me and dare I stand back and let God choose for me?

Yes, it is a huge leap of faith. And it is not about taking the bull by the horns. It is about stepping back, letting go and allowing Faith to step in and assist.

(Thanks again to my daughter Michelene and my sister Cally for these photos!)

What’s your brand of faith? Share it with me…I’d love to hear about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.