A Spiritual Connectedness

Creation of Adam, hands in detail
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I lost my dear nephew a few weeks ago, I had a dream the following week. My father, who passed away 14 or so years ago, was in my dream. He was so close to me, close enough for me to see his face. He reached his hand out and touched me. I woke up, startled. Then a calmness came over me. I felt reassurance. This to me was a sign, a sign to let me know that everything was all right. My nephew was in a peaceful place.

Once, I was sitting next to a co worker at lunch. We were discussing the latest event we had planned together and I said to her, Have those table linens been picked up yet? Just then, the delivery guy came to the door and announced he was there to pick up the linens.

I am a spiritual being living a human life. When I can be quiet and listen to my inner voice, chances are I will hear something really interesting. If a situation begins to unfold in which I feel like I might be in the right place at the right time, I try and ride with it. Sometimes, it’s a little unbelievable.

I think you know the kind of situations I’m talking about. You think of someone, the phone rings and it’s them. Maybe there’s a desperate situation of some sort and someone just happens to show up who takes care of things. Sometimes I’ve been the one to show up; sometimes it is someone else. I think the scary part is the powerlessness of it. We are not in charge of the universe. God has a plan for us but we are not on the planning committee. That can be disarming. But, it can also be an exhilarating experience to go through the day, waiting for the next miracle to unfold.

Each day is a gift. Let’s untie the ribbon…

Join me on my graceful journey.
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God Between the Clouds

There was a time when I was afraid of storms. As a little girl, I remember hiding my head under the covers whenever lighting and thunder would strike. I remember telling my kids when they were little that, during storms, God was bowling, just so they wouldn’t be afraid.

Last night, after a whole day in the Pittsburgh suburbs of sun and clouds and clouds and sun, the clouds finally won out. Around 6:30pm, it started to storm. I was meeting some friends at 7:15 and took Route 30 just when the sun was going down and the clouds were letting up.

The sky was so stunning I couldn’t help but stop at a small church and take pictures from the parking lot. Hope you enjoy the shots as much as I did.

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Sky Watcher

Photo by Michelene Cain

It’s been a rough week.

Some things happened this past week that were so beyond my control. I badly wanted to take charge of the unmanageable situations, line them up like obedient soldiers, solve each issue one by one. When it was all over I could feed everyone chicken soup and chunky homemade chocolate chip cookies. I just wanted to make it all better.

Instead, I’ve eaten a few too many Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies and prayed for help. Please God, keep me from interfering where I shouldn’t. I can so justify my reasons for intruding, but at this stage of the game I know better.

Assisting others can be one of my star attributes. It can also be one of my biggest character flaws. When I do for others what they can do for themselves, I am robbing them of their own opportunities to grow or feel their own emotions.

For me, the fine line of distinction with regards to assisting others is my motive. Do I want to ride in on my white horse and save the day? Is my offer to help motivated by my own ego? Or is someone in genuine dire need or danger? Sometimes I need a good friend to help me figure things out.

When I am troubled by events beyond my control, I become a sky watcher. God speaks to me through the sky.  And so the past few days, I have taken every advantage to stare at the morning sunrise, the afternoon sun or clouds, and the deep dark sky filled with the stars and full moon of last week. I can be alone for a few minutes and ground myself again to my sense of purpose. That is, I am here to be of service, not to force my will on anyone. And I know deep inside that when I allow my loved ones the opportunity to solve their own problems, I give them (and myself) a great gift.

Photo by Michelene Cain
Join me on my graceful journey.
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Faith….In Unlikely Places

I was in Sante Fe, New Mexico staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast with my sister Cally. It had been the first time ever I had gone on vacation purely for myself without husband or kids in tow.

The second day we were there, I mentioned to Cally that we should call our mom (Katherine!) and let her know we had arrived safely. We dialed the number and Katherine answered. After a few minutes of how’s it going, how’s everything, she said to me “are you sitting down”?

So I sat down. I said “What’s up?” She said “Guess who called? Your cousin, Christina…”.  

Christina

This was big news. My cousins, Christina and her older brother Jason, had gone AWOL for a few years and we did not know what happened to them or where they were. Christina calling my mom was nothing short of a miracle.

A few weeks before this momentous phone call, I had been to a small old church for a meeting of friends. For some reason, I thought of my two lost cousins all evening. I happened to use the bathroom (in the basement of the church, of all places) and while I was in there I thought, Dear God, Where are they?

Faith sometimes appears in the strangest of places. I’m sure it appears in church of course. But I know it often happens outside of typically holy places. I never thought praying in a bathroom, especially an unfamiliar bathroom, could have such amazing results.

I don’t remember when I called Christina. It might have been there in Sante Fe or when I got home. I can share with you that the following December, she and her daughter Ariel took a train and shared Christmas with us. Now she comes with her husband, Julio, and occasionally her stepson Adrian. A few years ago, we went to Jason’s wedding and met his now wife- Angela. Jason had a new baby, Jamiya, almost two years ago.

It never ceases to amaze me that we have all been reunited and can look forward to many years together. Whenever I see Christina get out of her car, after a long trip to Pennsylvania to visit us, I pinch myself.

When we turn the impossible over to God, amazing things can happen. Things that we need not have any hand in. All we have to do is believe.

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Cedar Lakes West Virginia

Almost Heaven!

I can see why John Denver used to sing about West Virginia. Why he sang,  Almost Heaven, West Virginia.

Jim and I were at Cedar Lakes this past weekend for a spiritual retreat. Cedar Lakes is a conference center in Ripley, WV. The ride was easy and we had good company. We were there with friends and it was unbelievably beautiful despite the chilly weather. I came home completely in love again with West Virginia!

Saturday was cold and windy so we didn’t walk much. I wanted to get some pictures though so I bundled up and took the camera outside. This beautiful covered bridge was part of the view from our lodge room window.

Sunday morning was cold and crisp. The sky was clear and blue. It was wonderful to be among friends but the pictures say it all. I’m going to let them roll…

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Good Orderly Direction

Sailboat
Sailboat (Photo credit: Stephen Downes)

In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I am 54 years young. The era of my 50’s sometimes seems like the most haphazard of my life so far. I can’t remember a decade when I have felt so much like a ship without a rudder.

When I was a small child, I couldn’t wait to be all grown up. In my 20’s it was all about marriage, making babies and managing top sales in a home party business. In my 30’s it was raising babies and starting a real, bricks and mortar business. My 40’s felt powerful, career and otherwise, with the selling of my business, utilizing my skills, and the start of a personal journey for some much needed balance, serenity and faith.

What can I say about my 50’s so far? Well, I feel rich in blessings, deep in spirit and more comfortable in my own skin. I also feel slightly worn out, like a pair of old slippers that are finally broken in. I have let my hair go back to it’s original (non dyed) color. It is an interwoven mix of silver and soft black. I receive lots of compliments on it and alternately, my share of folks who can’t help but stare at it.

My hair, just like me lately, is a wish to be authentic. To dig down deep and present myself as I truly am.

But back to the ship without a rudder. I’ve been thinking that maybe this is a good thing. I have always had goals, aspirations and dreams. I have always loved a good challenge. Maybe for once I can let the wind take me where it wishes and I can give up steering the ship so strongly for a while.

Good Orderly Direction (GOD) for me is about loving myself enough to follow a path that unfolds as it’s divinely meant to. It could unfold into something bigger than I can imagine, or it may just be the rest I’ve been craving. Hopefully it will be a direction that sets my sails for even greater spiritual awareness.

Sunrise over Vero Beach, FL
Join me on my graceful journey.
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My Idea of Heaven

On my way home there is a spot on the highway where, if the sun is setting and it’s in exactly the right spot, the brilliance of the rays captures my attention and inspires me to think of heaven.

One day it was lightly raining when I was approaching this spot and I wished I had a camera in my car to capture the image. It was sunny, rainy and hazy all at once (like potential rainbow kind of weather). When my car began to go further into the yellowy haze, I felt momentarily engulfed. For a brief second, I was scared. Then I was not. Then, I was in awe. I wondered is this what the entrance to heaven may be like? The experience lasted less than one minute. But I can bring it up in my mind anytime and I often do.

I grew up hearing about heaven and hell in church. My take on religion when I was a child and later into adulthood was that you either behaved or you were done for. God was the big police officer in the sky.

Thankfully, I no longer believe in a punishing God. I believe in a loving, forgiving God and a God with an occasional great sense of humor. My current views of heaven therefore, can involve some silly stuff. I’ll save some of my thoughts for another blog post, but today I want to share with you my absolute favorite idea of what heaven could be.

various potato dishes: potato chips, hashbrown...
Yay! Endless Potatoes!

My favorite idea of heaven is that of endless potatoes. Yes, you read correctly- potatoes. Potatoes in every way shape or form. Crispy french fries with melted cheese and crumbled bacon on them. Mashed yukon gold potatoes with lots of butter and maybe some roasted garlic cloves smashed into them. Baked potatoes with lots of butter and sour cream. Even sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar.

Get the idea? And, of course none of these would contain any calories whatsoever. I would just eat and eat to my heart’s potato content and none of my potato feasts would show up anywhere on my stomach or thighs!

When I am with potatoes, nothing else really matters but the potatoes. Meat be gone! Salad….for bunnies! I love potatoes! Hopefully, when I walk through those pearly gates, God will be standing there with a big plate of yes, cheesy potatoes!

Join me on my graceful journey.
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