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Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 13

13

“Will you live all the days of your life loving God?” asked Pastor J.J.

“I will,” Alexis answered, standing waist-deep in the flat ocean, arms crossed across her chest. Next thing she knew, she was dipped back into the water, head under too. She held her breath, and a split second later, she came out of the water and stood straight up. She smiled as her friends clapped for her on the beach.

“Good for you, Alexis!” congratulated Hannah, giving her a tight hug. Jazmin and Karen stood behind her, waiting to hug her too.

“I’m dripping wet,” Alexis laughed.

“That’s okay, I am too,” said Jazmin, who had also gotten baptized.

“Welcome to the Family,” Victoria told her. They stood on the shore and watched Amber and Joshua Cyrene get baptized together as husband and wife. Little Aja ran around the beach with Aaron.

“Mommy! Mommy!” called Aja, as Amber walked out of the ocean. Josiah handed her a towel.

“Congratulations, Sis!” he told her. “And you too, Alexis,” he said shyly to Alexis, on whom he obviously had a crush.

“Thanks Josiah,” Alexis said. Then, in a burst of courage, she gave him a hug. Josiah turned red. Amber smiled at her parents, Suzanne and Noah, who sat on the grass, watching their son fall in love with Alexis.

***

Alexis lay on a big blanket, soaking up the afternoon sun and basking in glory. “You’re glowing,” Josiah looked at her.

“I feel really good. Happy,” Alexis answered him. They had spent as much time as they could together since Alexis was baptized a week ago. She was surely in love, and it felt nothing like when she and Dan had been together. But she didn’t tell that to Josiah. “I was just thinking about what J. J. said about being chosen. Why me of all people?” she wondered.

“Called out of the darkness into his marvelous light,” quoted Josiah. “It’s 1 Peter 2:9, from memory,” he added. “We are partakers of the divine nature, in Christ,” Josiah told her. “Because He loves us. And it’s all part of His plan,” he said, reaching for his Bible lying above his head on the blanket. Opening it and turning quickly to the page he was looking for, he read, “‘It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ It’s from the book of Luke. ‘Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.’ That’s Ephesians 1:4-5,” he told her. “That about says it all. God’s word is powerful stuff.”

“Yeah,” Lexy agreed. She looked around her at the magnificent mountains jutting dramatically into the sky. Rising up against a bright blue sky, the fluted mountain tops formed a jagged line marking the horizon. A place more beautiful than this can’t exist, Lexy thought to herself. She gave thanks for her surroundings and for the safe haven of the island, and for Josiah and her new island family. It made her feel better to believe someone or something wiser than herself was in control and would take care of her.

“Now that we know the truth, we have a greater responsibility than most people in the world, who were never shown the truth,” Josiah said a little while later, after they had swam. They were laying down side by side, drying off in the sunshine.

“What do you mean, Josiah, by a ‘greater responsibility’?” asked Alexis.

“Well, we have to live righteous lives, not that we wouldn’t. But now, it’s our responsibility, knowing the truth. Here, let me read this to you.” He turned right to the section he was looking for and read, “‘If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’ That’s 2 Peter 2:20-21,” he told her. “Then there’s Ephesians, um, I think it’s 5…” he was flipping through his Bible. “Here it is. Chapter 5:8, ‘For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.'”

“Wow!” said Lexy. “The Bible talks about everything, doesn’t it?”

“It’s a good instruction manual. Keep reading it; you’ll learn a lot,” he advised. She nodded, silently noting that she had called the Bible an instruction manual too. She felt like she had this incredible connection with Josiah. She studied his profile as he looked out toward the water. He is so cute, she thought. His short brown hair and his warm blue eyes seemed to pierce right through to her heart and touch her.

“I never thought about the responsibility,” said Alexis. “What about the people that never learn about God in their lives? Like those living in the city, where I was?” she wondered.

“Well, the Bible says the Gospel–God’s word–will be spoken in all the world before Jesus Christ comes to claim his family. So if they are ready and willing and have not hardened their hearts, they will hear it. That’s what I believe,” Josiah told her.

“Yeah.” She thought about her parents, and Isabella and Dan. Her community, and all those from Masonville. Would they ever listen to the truth? She didn’t know. Josiah touched her hair that had grown a few inches since her arrival to the island.

“So soft,” he said. She looked at him. She could see herself in his dark blue eyes. “You’re beautiful,” he told her. Then he gently kissed her.

***

After a delicious, festive dinner, they sat in a circle around the fire. Light danced off their faces as they talked among one another. Alexis sat next to Josiah and listened to Gregg.

“The end could come at any time, nobody but God really knows. Our job is to be ready, be peaceful and without blame, living righteous lives,” Gregg said, mostly to David who was sitting with his wife, Jennifer.

“I think we must be in the tribulation period,” said Jennifer. “The Bible says God will come after that.”

“And when do you think that will be?” Gabriel asked his mother.

“Some people say it won’t happen because things have been the same for hundreds of years,” Ken offered.

“To God, a second is like a thousand years, or something, right Mom?” Raphael looked at Jennifer. She nodded at her younger son.

“Yes, that’s true. But if you look at the history and read the Bible, you’ll see. God warned Noah about the flood that would destroy the Earth, and people just laughed at Noah as he was preparing, building the ark,” Jennifer said.

“I remember reading that the Lord is waiting for as many people as possible to repent. I can’t remember where exactly I read that,” said David.

“God sent His son, not to condemn the Earth, but to save it,” Gregg added.

“‘For the son of man is come to save that which was lost,’ Matthew 18:11 tells us,” said Suraya Justus.

“I know where it is,” said Daniel. “Look at 2 Peter 3-4. This part tells us that fire, and not water, will end the world this time. Let’s see, let me find it from the beginning.” He cleared his throat and began reading in a loud, clear voice. “‘Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and with the Earth standing out of the water and in the water; Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the Earth, which are now by the same word kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.'”

“If you keep reading, it goes on to say that ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Meaning just what it says. His time is not like our time,” Daniel went on. “Be assured, the Lord is not ‘slack concerning his promises, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'” That’s the part you remembered, right David?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” David answered.

“There’s more here,” said Daniel, his young face looking wise. He glanced up at the faces around the fire, a little unnerved that he had everybody’s full attention. He was usually pretty quiet.

“Keep reading,” Gabriel urged him. Suraya sat next to him and gave him a smile of encouragement.

“Okay. ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the Earth also, and the words that are therein shall be burned up.'” Daniel finished reading and put his Bible down in front of him. “It’s all right here in the good book. Believe it and prepare your hearts.” People nodded their heads in agreement, but there was not very much conversation. The intensity of Daniel’s point caused everyone to contemplate their own lives.

Am I prepared? Alexis wondered to herself. What will happen to my family? Will they be burned in the fire? Even though she was so far away from them, Alexis did not want her family to burn up in the fire; she wanted them to be saved too. “How can we help all those people living in Masonville and everywhere else?” Alexis asked J.J., who had sat down next to his daughter and listened to what Daniel was reading.

“We can pray for them,” J.J. told her. “God’s word will not return void; it’s alive and powerful. You’ll learn this in the Bible too. So, if you ask Him to open their eyes and hears, He will find a way to do it.”

“Because God will make a way, when there seems to be no way,” Suraya added. “I remember singing that song as a little kid,” she told him. “Do you Dad?” she asked J.J.

“I remember,” he told her.

“But how will they even hear about God over there?” Alexis asked him.

“I’m not sure, Alexis. People like Wynn, Juli and Will have been intercessors for those on the mainland for a long time. They’ve led several people to the knowledge of Christ, or at least planted the seed,” J.J. said.

“What’s an intercessor?” Alexis asked.

“It’s someone who intercedes, or prays for others,” Colette told her.

“Oh,” Alexis said.

“And do people see Wynn and Juli or Will? I thought they couldn’t see them or that they were secretive?” Alexis asked them.

“They are a lot more careful now,” Jennifer told her. “But God has led people to them, and then they share the truth.”

“Like me,” Gregg spoke up. “Wynn saved my life.”

“He did? How?” asked Alexis.

“Well, I guess it was about 2025 or so and it was getting really hard to do anything without getting in trouble, because I didn’t get the CHIP. Well, my hair,” he pointed to his long dark hair, “seemed to attract the attention of these thugs in black that patrolled the streets.” Alexis remembered the men in black loading bodies into a truck. “They tried to arrest me and shave my head,” Gregg told them, horrified. “But I managed to escape. It was really a miracle,” Gregg was saying. “I was in prison and it was midnight and I prayed to God–my grandmother had taught me about our heavenly father. The next thing I knew, the door to the cell was open. I didn’t really believe what I was seeing, but it was opened and as I tiptoed out, all the guards were sleeping and I slipped out of the building. I just started running in the night and in the morning, don’t ask me how, I was laying in Wynn’s house.”

“But how? Did you know him?” Suraya asked.

“I’d never met him. But he knew me and knew I was in trouble. Well, the next morning, Will and Juli took me here. And here I am,” said Gregg. “So I think that was God at work. Even though I don’t understand it, I know it couldn’t have happened without Him,” Gregg said.

“Incredible!” said J.J. David and Jennifer nodded.

“God is good,” said Daniel. Several people audibly agreed.

Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 12

12

The sound of running water lulled Alexis back into consciousness. “I guess I fell asleep,” she said aloud, to nobody in particular. Sitting up, she saw Vicky was still sleeping. It was getting dark. “Vicky,” Alexis said, shaking her gently.

“Hmm? What?” said Vicky sleepily.

“Vicky, wake up. It’s almost night,” said Alexis. Vicky sat up and stretched her arms into the air. She yawned.

“I’ve been asleep for that long?” she asked.

“Yes,” Alexis answered, nodding her head.

“I guess we should head back,” said Vicky, getting up. The two girls started walking back to camp. “I hope it’s not my night for dinner!” said Vicky. “I must have been really tired.”

“We’re pretty close, aren’t we?” Alexis asked her.

“Yeah,” Vicky said with a nod.

“You know, while you were sleeping, I started thinking how life is like a garden,” said Alexis.

“Hannah inspired you, huh?” Vicky laughed. “But you’re right. It even refers to that in the Bible.”

“Really?” Alexis was surprised. “What does it say?”

“Well, it’s a parable of the Lord, about a sower,” started Vicky.

“What’s a sower?” Alexis wanted to know.

“Someone who plants seeds,” said Vicky. “So this sower went to sow, plant, his seeds and some seeds fell to the side and the birds ate them; other seeds fell on the rocks and grew, but withered soon because there was no moisture or earth; and some seeds fell among the thorns, which grew and choked the seeds. But some seeds fell into the good ground and grew and produced a lot of fruit.” Vicky paused to look at Alexis.

“So how is that related to God?” asked Alexis.

“Well Lexy, the seed is the word of God. And the earth and other places it’s sowed are the hearts of the people. So the people hear the word, but are so filled with sin or rocks, that they won’t believe it and be saved. They may receive the word with joy and believe it for a while, but as soon as they are tempted, they stop believing because they have no root. Then, those on the thorns hear the word, but the cares of the world choke them and they don’t bear any fruit. And of course, those on the good earth are those who hear the word, believe it, and are honest and good. These people patiently do the will of God and bear fruit that nourishes others,” Vicky finished.

“Wow!” said Alexis. “The Bible seems to talk about all kinds of neat ideas. I’m definitely going to start reading it after dinner,” she said.

“There they are!” said Colette as Alexis and Victoria walked into the kitchen. “Hannah told me she left you two hours ago.”

“I fell asleep for a long time,” said Vicky. “Was it my turn tonight for dinner duty?”

“No. Daniel, Gregg and Ronnie volunteered to make a special meal tonight, so you’ll be tomorrow, ” Colette told her.

“Oh good,” said Vicky, relieved.

“But your mom would be happy to know you’re back,” added Colette.

“Okay, I’ll go tell her,” said Vicky. She turned to Alexis.

“I’m going to go wash my hands and face and change before dinner,” Alexis told her. “See you in a little while. And thanks for taking me to the River Side Cafe.”

“Anytime, Lexy, anytime,” Vicky told her, smiling.

***

“And then, before we knew it, we had lost our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement and most of our other rights,” Allan was saying. Most of the group had finished eating the goat Ronnie and the boys had prepared and they were sitting together talking as everybody helped clean up the kitchen.

“But why didn’t people do anything?” Jazmin wanted to know.

“Like what?” Drew asked his daughter. “They were so distracted by making a living and earning enough money to survive and pay for all of the luxuries they needed, they didn’t have time to think about losing freedoms.”

“That was the idea,” said Will.

“But don’t forget, some people did act,” said Ken. “They were vigilant, but their friends called them paranoid and peculiar,” he said. “When things started coming down, they fled to the mountains. They prayed and were thankful they were shown the light,” explained Ken.

“They, and you know I’m talking about us, were led to a safe place away from the city which was getting ready to explode,” explained Colette, picking up her husband’s thought. “It was full of tension and uneasiness and dissatisfaction, causing crime and violence, fueled by drugs. It couldn’t go on forever.”

“But to some people, it looked like the evil had overtaken the good,” explained Kira. “But the Bible tells us, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ The reality is the good were removed from the tribulation of the city, and the dark turned black. But the light did not cease. It merely existed in a remote place. Set away out of the wind, to burn brightly, keeping the antichrist from destroying the world. What a garden to be in during a time when so much destruction also occurred, under the same sun,” Kira spoke quietly, almost as if she didn’t realize everybody was there.

Nobody said anything. Ronnie began blowing his flute. The high pitches danced in the air. Suzanne strummed her guitar, while others played their drums lightly. She started singing.

“He is the way the truth and the light,

He is the only way that is right.

He is the way, the truth and the light, 

Of my life.”

People played instruments into the night, making beautiful music. J.J. stood up and declared, “Isaiah 42:10-12 tells us to ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song and his praises from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord and declare his praise in the islands,'” his voice rang out into the night, mixing with the music. People clapped.

“Hallelujah!” someone said.

“Praise God and Amen,” echoed into the night. Suzanne started playing again. Several people were standing and swaying to the music. Their voices rose in harmony and made Alexis tingle as they sang loudly.

“Holy, so Holy

There is no other so ho—ly

Jesus, oh Jesus,

Oh might God, you’re Jesus.

Jeee-suuusss.”

They lifted their voices, which Alexis thought sounded beautiful. She felt tears in her eyes and she hummed along with the melody of the soothing song. It was so intense. She fought to hold back sobs that wanted to break loose. The music and the singing were lifting her soul to a higher level where she felt a part of everyone and everything. Her body felt that now-familiar tingling sensation. The Holy Spirit, Karen had told her. She looked out to the sea. It’s so beautiful, marveled Alexis in her mind. A bright light caught her eye in time for her to see it shooting through the dark night sky. “Woah! Look!” she pointed.

Vicky grinned and nodded, swaying to the music. “A shooting star,” someone said.

Everybody was happy and smiling, feeling good. To Lexy, it all seemed a dream. She looked intently at the sky and was awed by the golden trail that followed the shooting star. It gleamed like the autograph of God. Somehow, she knew she believed. Her faith had grown strong in such a short time, but she was sure of a greater force to which she was connected.

“There is no denying the way I feel. This ball of love in my chest,” Alexis explained to Jazmin’s mom, Karen, “seems to grow every time we pray, or I read the Bible, or I hear, you know, like get a thought, from God, and especially when we sing.” Karen nodded at her and smiled. She looked into Alexis’ eyes, her black hair shining in the moonlight. Alexis thought she looked beautiful.

“The Bible says the truth will be revealed, Alexis. I’m glad you have understanding,” Karen said. “Eyes that see, ears that hear,” she added. Alexis nodded, recognizing the phrase from the Bible. They sat quietly together for a few minutes. “Maybe you’d like to get baptized,” Karen suggested.

Alexis tried to remember exactly what getting baptized was. Something to do with the water, she knew. “Baptism is an outward commitment of your faith. As Christ died, so does your former life of sin that was ruled by the flesh. Now that you’re walking in the Spirit, you become a new being, a light in the world. Getting baptized is a symbolic birth of this new life,” Karen explained to her without Alexis having to ask.

“That sounds okay,” said Alexis. “I’ll have to think about it.” Jazmin walked over and sat down next to them.

“It looks like you two are having an intense conversation,” Jazmin commented.

“Your mom was telling me about getting baptized,” Alexis said.

“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved,” Jazmin declared. “Are you going to do it?”

“I don’t know,” said Alexis.

“I could mention it to J.J.,” suggested Karen.

“I wouldn’t mind being baptized again with you,” said Jazmin. “Maybe a bunch of us could do it together?” Jazmin laughed.

“Have you all been baptized?” asked Alexis. Jazmin looked at her mom.

“I think everybody but the little kids, Aaron Farl and Aja Cyrene. They’re a little young,” said Karen.

“How old do you have to be?” asked Alexis.

“Just old enough to repent of your sins and believe in God,” answered Karen. Jazmin was leafing through her mom’s Bible.

“Jesus said in John 3:3, ‘Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,'” she read. “Then in John 3:5, He tells us ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; you must be born again,'” Jazmin read.

“Born again,” Alexis repeated. “It sounds kind of weird, being born again,” she said.

“It’s symbolic,” explained Karen. “You were born in the flesh, or body, and we all sin, make mistakes. But as we learn about the spiritual side of life, we learn that we have a choice to say we’re sorry about all the mistakes we made, the people we may have hurt, whatever it is. So in the spirit we can have a spiritual birth, with water, and become a new creation, pure and following God’s words, loving one another.”

“And the Bible talks about it too?” asked Alexis.

“It sure does. Again, God is telling us how we can be saved,” Karen told her.

“It’s like an instruction manual,” joked Alexis.

“You’re absolutely right,” agreed Karen. “That’s what it is.”

“What other instructions does it give us?” Alexis asked, intrigued.

“Oh, let’s see, there’s my favorite in Mark, Chapter 12, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,'” Karen said, turning to the chapter. “The next verse says, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ so that’s not too hard, right?” Karen said.

“Doesn’t seem like it,” said Alexis.

“I like this one,” said Jazmin. “‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,'” she read. “It says that the word must be preached everywhere before the end will come,” said Jazmin.

“The end?” asked Alexis.

“The end of this life, when we all join God in heaven and live in peace,” said Karen. “Don’t be scared of it, and don’t let today’s world scare you either,” she said. “Listen to what Jesus tells us in Mark 13:7: ‘And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be troubled, for such things must happen, but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles; these are the beginnings of sorrows,’ and we’re already seeing these things, aren’t we? ‘The Gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you will speak; for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost… he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved…. Flee to the mountains… For in those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Song of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.'” Karen stopped, looking at Alexis.

“That is going to happen, really? When?” asked Alexis.

“Well, we don’t know for sure. But let me read the next part. ‘Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you know not when the time is… And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch,'” Karen finished reading.

“Wow,” said Alexis. “Okay, so when can I get baptized?”

“I’ll talk to J.J. in the morning,” Karen promised her. The three women were surprised to see that everyone had gone to bed. They had been so involved with each other, they didn’t realize how late it was.

“We should get some sleep, girls,” said Karen.

“Okay, goodnight Jaz, goodnight Karen,” said Alexis. Both Karen and Jazmin hugged Alexis as they left her at the door of her camp. Alexis loved the bamboo structure covered in palm leaves. Judd and Kenny had built it for her in a couple of hours and even the hardest rain didn’t get her wet. Inside, she stretched out on her soft bed and fell asleep.

 

 

Cosmic Rainbow Connections & Grateful Miracles

Sometimes plans don’t turn out the way you expected, and sometimes miracles happen, and we’re surprised.

Such was the case on last weekend’s trip to take my kids to the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary concerts in Santa Clara. First change was kids turned to kid as my son announced he couldn’t go b/c of work, and b/c he didn’t want to listen to a bunch of old people playing music. Since he’s 17, I obliged and left him home.

My 14-year-old daughter and I made it to the concert with time to spare, after a grueling drive and battling with parking and coordination issues. On the drive up I felt so much excitement about the idea that popped into my mind to give someone a “miracle” with my extra ticket that I’d bought for my son. Selling the ticket didn’t fill me with the joy thinking about giving a miracle did. So we stood outside the entrance as people milled around and I looked for someone who needed a ticket. For anyone who doesn’t know, at every Grateful Dead show, people walk around holding one finger in the air saying, “I need a miracle,” which translates to a free ticket into the show.

A couple walked by me pushing a stroller with two young kids, and, oh my G! “Trinity?” I said to the guy with the long beard and soulful eyes. How amazed was I to see my old friend from Kauai, with his wife, Mary Martha, and 2 kids! I hadn’t seen him in probably 15 years, and there he was, beard, family and all! Talk about cosmic connections…

Soon after, a cute young girl with dark hair walked up with her finger in the air. I made eye contact with her and handed her the ticket. Perfect timing. We walked in to the tune of Uncle John’s Band. “Wo, oh, what I want to know, is are you kind?”

Hundreds of roses were set inside the entrance, so we gathered some. Wending our way to our section through the dancing crowds, a girl said to me, “My name is Rose.” Of course, I gave her a rose.

As my daughter and I made it to our seats and sat down at long last, we listened to the music, which I realized the next night, seemed more of a warm up jam to the familiar songs we know and love. I was run down, sick with a bad cold and just basically exhausted. My daughter had a headache, said the guitar was too loud and was giving her a headache and there was too much smoke. Feeling a little low about the scene, all of a sudden, I looked toward the sky. A beautiful, brilliant and vibrantly colored rainbow arched across the sky above the stadium. rainbow

As more and more people began to notice it, the cheering reached a crescendo and the spirit and energy I remember from that crowd rekindled.

What a feeling of joy and elation that filled the air, and all of our hearts, as that rainbow, amazingly, surprisingly appeared to grace our gathering of almost 65,000 loving souls. Miracles abound, and in the words of my favorite band, “I need a miracle everyday!”

It was the epic beauty of nature that evening that stole the show and won our hearts, uniting us with nature’s awe-inspiring spirit, through the rainbow connection and a light-filled sunset. This is truth, beauty and love.

On the drive home, a patch of rainbow appeared in the wide open sky above us. “Mom,” said my daughter, abruptly and a little too loudly, as she was listening to her own music with her headphones on. “Is it just me seeing it, or is that a little rainbow?” I joyfully saw it too, and it seemed to expand as I drove along the open road. It stayed above us for a couple hours, to my joy and amazement, giving me comfort and connecting me to the cosmic mystery in a colorful, peaceful and miraculous way that I could not have planned if I tried. So Grateful.

sunsetroses

Living Choices

Choices. We make them everyday:

  • Go to school or sleep in
  • Brush your teeth or don’t
  • Work on your project or play on the computer
  • Be on time for the carpool or dilly dally
  • Do yoga or have a beer

And while the consequences of our choices range in intensity, from missing a day of school to getting a cavity or failing math, our decisions impact our lives and the lives of others in more ways than we know.

 “In every moment you make high vibrational choices,

you are supporting our collective consciousness.”

I came across this truth in something I read in passing a few months ago, and it struck me as being so profound, I needed to write it down and display the message to keep reminding me.

I strive to make the right choices when faced with several options, but sometimes (more times than I’d like to acknowledge), I realize in retrospect that I wish I’d made different choices, and I regret it. Despite wanting to live my life with “No Regrets,” the consequences of my decisions often cause me pain or sadness.

Sparking this pondering about choices is a recent decision I made that turned out so wrong. I’ve felt so mad at myself and wished I had followed my heart instead of listened to advice of an outside party.

So a couple days ago while walking my dog I noticed something moving on the ground in the dirt by a bush. It caught my eye and on a closer look, I saw it was a tiny baby bird! Oh my God! I couldn’t believe it. What do I do? Then, as I was kneeling next to it, I saw a second baby bird, moving around on the ground next to it! Another one! I thought about what to do. There was no nest around, and it seemed these birds had fallen from the tree.

I decided I’d take the babies home and take care of them. They were stretching out their wings and opening their beaks, so they seemed strong, but not quite ready to fly. I carefully placed them on the “mutt mitt” I had in my purse, and carried them gingerly home, tugging on Ginger the whole way not to do her business as her bag was otherwise employed for now! photo 2

I got them home and my daughter and I found a shoebox, filled it with some grass and natural materials, and I cut down a small branch from our ficus tree that a hummingbird had made a nest in last Spring, but which was now empty. They were a little tight, but they fit comfortably in the nest! These precious little creatures were so tiny and vulnerable. I gave them a few drops of water using a q-tip, which they took, and I even felt their claws holding onto my hand when I had put them into the nest.

They seemed happy, and were resting nicely in the nest as I figured out what to do and how to take care of them. photo 1 I thought they might be hummingbirds, b/c of the green color on their back, but I couldn’t be sure. I called a vet, who referred me to another vet, the Conejo Valley Vet Hospital. The receptionist who answered was very helpful and advised me the best thing to do would be to put them back where I found them b/c the mother would care for them, even on the ground. “Don’t worry about your smell on them; the mother won’t care at all.”

Wanting to do the best thing for the birds, and thinking of their worried mama, I did what she told me and placed them back near where I’d discovered them, but closer to a tree where they wouldn’t be so out in the open. I prayed they’d be okay, and my daughter and I waited around to see if the mother would find them. She didn’t seem to fly right down to them, but there were lots of birds around, so we figured she’d locate them and they’d be taken care of.

You know how this ends, right? And I hate this part. When I went back to check on them the next morning, they were out of the nest and at first I didn’t see them, but then I noticed 2 small lumps swarming with black ants. How tragic. Pointless. Sad.

And to think I could have probably given them a chance, had I kept them and dropper fed them. Why oh why didn’t I follow my motherly instinct to care for these baby birds in need instead of following the advice of a third party over the phone?

I meant well. But I’m sorry little birdies. The next time I’m faced with a choice like this, I’ll know better what to do. Then, my learning may help another to live.

Energy Points

This thing called energy really is an amazing force. I’m a big believer in synchronicity and following the energy, which reinforce each other.

During a recent late night coughing spasm session with my sick-with-pneumonia child, I realized the power of energy medicine for healing our bodies. After trying everything, from prescription cough medicine to tea with honey and lemon and steam treatments, I sat on my son’s bed, exhausted, and watched his racking cough shake his body until he threw up.

I sighed in frustration and walked out of the room, straight to my book on Energy Medicine, by Donna Eden. I looked up coughing, then lungs and found an entry: lung sedation points. Okay.

I located the points shown in the diagram on my son’s hand, and held three of them for a minute or two. My son’s breathing calmed; he stopped coughing and fell asleep within 10 minutes. Overjoyed, I sent Donna Eden a blessing for publishing this book.

She’s made energy medicine accessible to anyone who can pick up a book and read. The concepts are easy, whether you understand how they work, you just follow the directions, in this case, holding your fingers on three places on the hand, and the lungs respond. There is science, of course, behind it, energetics, and nature. It’s amazing, and so powerful.

I’m discovering so much about energy and how it works in the body. And as it amazes me within, I’m also amazed how energy works outside the body. There is some natural force, and I don’t understand how it works, but I’ve experienced it often, always with a surge of delight and wonder, awe.

Having learned about energy medicine through Donna Eden’s book, I attended a weekend seminar with her and her husband, David Feinstein, at Esalen in Big Sur, California. I knew during the magical weekend that I wanted to learn so much more about energy and how it works as “medicine” for the body. The seminar ended on Sunday afternoon. I drove 4 hours back home, excited more than ever about energy medicine.

The next day I drove to Santa Barbara to do a little work and also shop with my daughter along Main Street. As we browsed through the gemstone rings in a jewelery store, a woman entered the store. “Excuse me?” she said, causing me to look up. As she asked for directions, I drew in a breath, excited!

“Oh my God! Donna!” It was Donna Eden, herself. In the flesh. I said hello and told her I’d just been at her Esalen conference the day before. We laughed at how funny it would be for us to meet up right then in Santa Barbara! She lived in Ashland, Oregon, and just happened to be shopping in Santa Barbara with her daughter.

So what does it mean? And how does it work? Energy knows. I just know that’s how it goes.

Seeds of Change

Not too long ago, I wrote about how happy I was that my holy basil plant was thriving. I’d grown it from seed and it was now over a year old. photo 3 (2)

About 2 weeks ago, I spotted a little critter on the plant. photo 1 (3)

It was stark still, holding its body perpendicular to the plant. “It’s getting ready to form a chrysalis,” I thought to myself. Leaving it there to do its thing, I envisioned the “holy butterfly” that was going to emerge.

Little did I know, its “thing” was to eat every single leaf off my basil plant! When I went out the next day, I was horrified! The leaves were gone and so was the caterpillar, off to find more of my plants to munch. Now I know this is nature’s way, but did it have to eat every single leaf?!

I thought my plant would come back, but after a week of looking at the withering stem turning brown and not one new leaf sprouting, I resigned to the fact that it was gone. I pulled the stem out, feeling the roots break… with a heavy heart. I couldn’t toss it aside, so I hopefully set it in another pot of soil, just in case…

In the meantime, I planted more seeds in its place. It got me thinking about the fleeting nature of life, and pretty much all things. We never know how long they’ll be around, and we can count on the fact that everything changes… as I wrote on a friend’s nostalgic post today about his old house being bulldozed to make room for a new home, “Change is the only constant.”

Change is part of the life cycle. Resist it as we may, we can’t stop it. We can only accept what is and appreciate what we have, in the moment.

Change often brings sorrow, bittersweet melancholy feelings about what we can’t “change.”

Such was the case with the big waves about a month ago (in September) that washed away the Cove House at Sycamore Beach in Malibu. Many of us watched, in horror, as the waves crashed up against the Cove House, destroying its foundation and eventually pulling it out to sea… leaving us only with the memories of what used to be, a house where so much fun was had… Now, the beach remains, with only splintered pieces of wood as proof that the house was ever there at all…photo 4

The Grateful Dead captured the feeling so well (as they so often did) in “The Music Never Stopped”:

“No one’s noticed, but the band’s all packed and gone
Was it ever there at all?

But they keep on dancin’
C’mon children, c’mon children, come on, clap your hands…
And the fields are full of dancin’
Full of singin’ and romancin’
The music never stopped…”

And there is the key… to hear the music, if only in your memory, and keep on dancing… through the changes of our times, because, in the words of another musical sage, “the times they are a changing…”

Planting new seeds, we continue to grow.

Power to the Plants!

It’s been said that the natural world contains a substance to heal any disease or damage on Earth. I was amazed to learn this morning that plants, such as hemp and sunflower, have the ability to clean up the environment even after a nuclear war (!!) These plants can absorb radiation, toxic waste, pesticides and metals!

I read that hemp and sunflowers were planted in Chernobyl to help absorb the radiation in the air. This process is called phytoremediation, phyto meaning plant and Latin remedium, meaning “restoring balance” (thank you Wikipedia!).

So plants can restore balance to the environment; good to know! I am so filled with awe at the fact that plants are so powerful.

This natural power may be viewed as a threat to those who think it should be illegal to grow plants. How outlandish that growing plants would be illegal for any reason! But it’s illegal to grow hemp in the United States! Even as many of us have voted to make it legal in our states to grow cannabis, it remains illegal to grow hemp, which is basically cannabis-free marijuana.

The United States is the only industrialized nation where it is illegal to grow hemp! China grows the most hemp, supplying 80% of the world’s hemp needs, according to Scott Thill – alternet.org in his article, “Ten Great Reasons to Kill America’s Ban on Growing Hemp” published by Wake Up World.

Power to the plants, I say. Grow, grow, grow!!!

Image

Tuning in to the Animal Multi-Verse

There’s something about animals that has always intrigued me. Kids and animals seem to have a natural affinity for one another, maybe b/c their spirits are so pure, they relate.

Pets often take on the role of child sitter or protector, when we’re young. Image It’s a natural instinct. My dog, and I’m sure others too, has an instinct to go and fetch my daughter’s polar bear that she sleeps with. Every morning, after my daughter gets out of bed, Ginger heads to her room to get Polar and brings him out to the living room to cuddle on the couch. Image Is that the sweetest natural awe or what?

More and more lately, I’m seeing examples of interspecies love and communication. I’m wondering if this is a sign of expanding consciousness throughout the planet? As our paradigm shifts, the old story about the cat eating the bird, and the dog chasing the cat is changing. Image

“Wild” and domestic animals are taking care of one another. catanddeer

chimpanddogs When this little chimp’s mom died, a zoo employee decided to take it home to give it some extra lovin. What a surprise to see where the loving came from!

huskyandtuxedokit This sweet kitty was also rescued and cared for by a sweet Siberian Husky, who even nursed the kitty! There’s a video of them too.

dogandhorse In Friendship,

Caring henandpuppy

and Cuddling, pupandkit

these animals remind us that no matter what we look like, or what we’re called, loving and caring for each other is a universal song we can all sing! Tune in!!!

Synchronicity

“Your prayers and questions are being answered by synchronistic events. Notice them in order to increase their flow.”lavenderlabyrinth

Have your Peace & Eat it too

We all love confirmation, right? Synchronicity, timing, and flow are pretty awesome too. When these things show up in our lives, we can feel like we’re on the right path.

 

That’s how I felt this morning when I checked my email and saw this letter, sent to me from the Intelligent Optimist:

 

Dear Tracy,

 

“All these supposedly ‘incurable’ diseases aren’t so incurable after all. That incurable really means, incurable from the outside. If you want to interrupt a physical process called disease, you need to leverage belief systems that can activate biological responses and trigger a self-healing response. You need to change your belief systems.”

 

Absolutely! I had just blogged about the need to believe we can heal ourselves about 12 hours ago on Naturalawes.com. I clicked the link to find even further confirmation.

 

“The Missing Peace in Your Life” headed the page. “Coincidentally,” I had also written that in order to heal, we need to find what we are missing in our lives, that piece, or pieces, that keeps us from being whole (healed).

 

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” – Albert Einstein, via the Intelligent Optimist.

 

Amazing how connected the pieces of our lives are. And the clues we are given that cause us to sit up and pay attention.

 

Finding the pieces that make us whole leads to peace and healing. Believing we can discover these pieces and achieve peace and healing is the “secret to life.”

 

“Rather than genes, it is our beliefs that control our lives,” said Cellular Biologist Bruce Lipton, who wrote The Biology of Belief. Changing your beliefs and perceptions will impact your life at a cellular level, Dr. Lipton tells us.

 

Believing we can makes it so.

 

A piece of cake!