Christmas in the Pifer Home

After my mom passed away I found the following article in her collection of memorabilia. (I have typed it out because it is so hard to read on the yellowed newspaper article.)

Christmas tree on our tower

 

A Tree Grows Where?

There are several advantages to having the tallest Christmas tree in town—it’s pretty, a terrific conversation piece and there is no worry about theft of light bulbs.

That distinction belongs to the Dr. Lawrence H. Pifer family, 2120 Manchester Road, who have six feet of lighted tree atop 128 feet of tower for a grand, glowing total of 134 feet of twinkly holiday greeting.

The tree is visible for over a mile at night and remains lighted from sunset to midnight.

The idea started about 12 years ago as a lark to see which of Doctor Pifer’s friends could brave the climb up the tower, which normally serves to hold antennas for the doctor’s ham radio equipment.

Long looks at the lofty tower narrowed the field of climbers until only the doctor was left to handle tree planting duties.

He held the title of tower-climbing champion until this year, when the duties were turned over to his 13 year old son, Robby.


The story behind it all:

My family was unique… and I mean that in the best way possible. When I was a young girl, I was somewhat envious of my cousins who had a more traditional childhood. Looking back now, I appreciate how fun and unconventional our household was.

Our house was a place where people gathered. My dad was a gracious and generous host and my mother was an excellent and adventurous cook. Together they created a space where their adult friends, as well as our childhood friends, felt comfortable . Everyone wanted to come over and hang out at our house.

It was not a luxurious house. Just a simple ranch style in a middle income neighborhood. But it was like a palace to my brother and I after growing up in a very modest house where for a while my brother, Mom and I shared one bedroom . The little house had no air conditioning in the summer and a small black and white TV. So moving into a larger house where we each had our own rooms and air conditioning from a window unit AND color TV was like hitting the jackpot!

My brother, Rob and I knew we were blessed. Our biological father left when I was 5 years and Rob was 18 months old. We had seven years of living with our single mother and being raised partially by our wonderful grandparents. Then Mom found “the one” and eventually married the man we call “Father.” He adopted us and gave us the Pifer name and we never looked back. He WAS a dad to us and couldn’t have loved us more if we were his own blood.

Our dad was single for a long time before we came along. He had his share of romantic encounters and outdoor adventures and never really wanted to settle down, but he loved our mom so much, he ended up with a second family. He had raised his two children and they were on their own when we came along. He may have given up his romantic encounters but never really stopped having adventures.

Every Thursday night, he had his buddies over for a “card party”. They would drink, smoke cigars and carry on downstairs in the basement. I don’t know how much card playing actually went on but it sure sounded like they were having fun.

I adored our dad. He was a very important part of my life, but my brother Rob was SO much more like him than I. He inherited that good host quality and was always a lot braver than I was about having adventures.

I am sure it was a drunken bet with our father’s card party gang that lead to Dad climbing the 120 foot ham radio tower in our back yard to put up a Christmas tree every holiday season. He did that for years until he finally felt his health was not good enough to keep doing it. At that point, my brave brother stepped in to carry on the tradition.

I was talking with my brother the other day and he said he was never scared to make that climb. He said the view was amazing from up there. Truthfully, Rob would have done anything to make our father proud.

Our house was always full at Christmas time. Our step-brother and sister came, sometimes with friends and sometimes with their grandmother, Hon. Hon was a feisty little woman and we all loved having her there.

My brother and I have different memories of Christmas in the Pifer home. His involve conspiring with Hon to unwrap all of their Christmas presents to see what they were getting and re-wrapping them so they wouldn’t get in trouble. They would do this while the rest of us were off doing holiday errands.

I remember we had a large Christmas tree with blue fabric balls that the cat would love to bat off the tree. We would find them later unraveled under the sofa. Trying to keep the tree standing with big dogs in the house was a constant challenge. From gerbils to tropical fish to iguanas we always had pets in the house. The cat and I curled up on the bearskin rug by the fire is a very fond memory for me.

It was always cozy and festive at our house during Christmas. Plenty of good food and drink. Lots of presents, music and fun.

We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of having to wait for Christmas Morning. I suspect it was a plot by my parents so they wouldn’t have to get up so early on Christmas Day. For whatever reason, we would sleep in and then have a big meal on Christmas Day.

Life was good in the Pifer home in those days! Sure do miss that!!

Appreciate your crazy family while you have them folks. And if it is too late for that, remember only the good stuff. The rest isn’t worth holding on to.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Take Time for What is Really Important

changed priorities

 

There is a nice man that comes to one of my yoga classes. He said to me the other day, “I wish I could find time to come as often as you do, Stephanie.” He had commented that I was really showing progress with my yoga poses. I told him I have been doing this for over a year and come 3-4 times a week. He runs his own business and pretty much can schedule what he wants to do during the day. Yoga is not a priority in his schedule. I am not making any judgments on him. Yoga is a priority for me for several reasons, but in general, exercise doesn’t really do you any good if you only do it once in a while.

It is the same way with Spiritual Practice. Whether you prefer to go to traditional church, practice meditation or some other form of spirituality, if you only do it once in a while you don’t get much out of it.

I was discussing that with my husband while on our way to the spiritual discussion group we lead once a month. I intentionally scheduled the meeting to not interfere with anyone’s church schedule or for those who like to sleep in on Sunday. Still so many people find reasons not to come, even though they say they enjoy it when they manage to get there. It is not a priority for them, so they find lots of reasons not to come.

We have a friend who likes to make coffee dates with us only to, more often than not, cancel on us at the last minute. There’s always come “good reason” like a client or her family needs her. She wasn’t always this way with us.  It has become very obvious that our friendship is no longer a priority in her life and every thing else comes first. If there is nothing better to do, she might show up.

Then there are those folks that, when you invite them to an event or party, say they will “try to be there”. You can pretty much bet that means they won’t come, so why don’t they just say, “I can’t/won’t be there.”

Decide what is really important to you and set your priorities on that!

If you love someone, don’t just say it. Show it by your actions and how much priority you give them in your life.

If you want to be good at a sport, foreign language, music or art, take time to learn it, practice and practice some more. Make that passion a priority and the results will speak for themselves.

Quit making excuses and finding “better” things to do when someone is counting on you to show up for them. It may be uncomfortable or challenging sometimes, but maybe you both will grow and benefit from that little bit of time you spent together.

Whether it is spending time with your child, your God, your pet, your lover or friend, giving your time and attention is so important. If you can schedule a dentist appointment and keep it, you can schedule time with another being and show how much they mean to you by keeping that appointment.

 

 

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It’s Never Too Late!

Never too late

In my lifetime, I have learned to never say “never”, because something happens to make you do that very thing you swore you would never do.

A little over a year ago, I discovered yoga. Well actually, thanks to the help of some really great and patient teachers I discovered I could actually do yoga. With a body that was so run down and overweight, I had pretty much written off any type of yoga. After trying it once years ago, I swore I would never again attempt a yoga pose.  Exercise of any sort was a struggle for me, even dancing, an activity I truly love, just wore me out. Now yoga is not a miracle cure for anything. I have had to really work at it and try things I found to be a bit scary, but with the encouragement of Marti Lee, Marilyn Gibson and Jeannine Becerra, I not only tried it, I accomplished more than I ever imagined and have stayed with it for more than a year.

Yoga involves not only physical activity, but meditation and spiritual connection as well. Teaching you more about how to take care of your entire self: mind, body and spirit.

The other day, I felt muscles in my arms. For a minute I thought it was a tumor but then I felt the other arm and flexed and it is actually muscle developing. Then I noticed them in my thighs. It is like my body is waking up thanks to something I said I would NEVER do!

I believe we should not get so comfortable in a routine that we quit trying new things.

Lately, we have been leaving the TV off at night and spending time in nature. Planting a garden for the first time in years, and we are BOTH tending it. Granted my sweet husband is doing most of the physical work, but that I have the energy to help and plan has been a very big blessing for me. Some nights we just sit on the deck and talk as we watch the sunset. Then when we come in we don’t even turn the TV on. Maybe it’s my imagination but I think I am sleeping better now.

In a few days, I am having my 60th Birthday. It’s an odd feeling. Part of me feels if I stand on my tippy toes, I can see the end of my life from here. Not a lot of time to do the things I have always wanted to do. I am grateful for an amazing life so far, but there are a few things I have been putting off, thinking “some day”. Like going to France. I studied French for years and have never used it in a practical situation. Starting my own radio show. I loved hosting a radio show and have let that fall by the wayside. And finishing my book(s), workshops and establishing my own practice as a healer and counselor. So many things I could still accomplish.

I have on my vision board a picture of a woman who took up ballet at the age of 50. In the picture she is en pointe and a very beautiful ballerina. I studied ballet as a child and realize how hard that must have been to do at her age. Her picture inspires me to realize that it is never too late to do some things.

After all, I got married for the second time at age 50 and lost my job a few months later, which led to re-inventing myself; a process that is still ongoing.

Regis Philbin, found his true calling in his 50′s and worked at it until he turned 80. At a young age, he knew he wanted to be in show business, and even though things didn’t work out for him early in life, he persisted, finally achieving his dream.

And Barbara Walters just retired at age 80-something. She has had an amazing career, and even though she wasn’t accepted by her male colleagues early on, she found a niche and persisted and followed her dream all these years, paving the way for women to find a place in journalism.

I really like a quote by Marina Keegan, “What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. … The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. … We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.” Marina was an accomplished writer who died at age 22, just after graduating from Yale. She was very young, yet wise beyond her years. That goes back to the quote in the picture that some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. Marina’s words spoke to me as I realize I am beginning a new adventure at this point in my life and I will embrace what the Universe has in store for me!

I am hanging on for the ride!

 

 

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Focus on the Good

Have you ever had a perfectly nice day at work, but then right at the end of the day you have an unpleasant encounter with a co-worker, client or boss? Then you go home all upset and tell your significant other how awful your day was. Why is it we remember only the unpleasant or challenging experiences and the good ones don’t get so much attention?

More smiles less stress

 A few days ago, I dropped my husband off at a job site where he was contracted to teach a class. We got up in plenty of time and stopped for breakfast along the way. We laughed and talked and things seemed fine. As I went to drop him at the door, he got really fussy at me for the way I parked the truck. He got out and got his things and left without another word. I spent the whole morning being upset about that last little experience and pretty much let it ruin the rest of my morning.

At home, we have  been working on a vegetable garden this year. The weather up to now has been pretty dry but today promises rain. We had a few things left to plant and went to the nursery to secure some compost, top soil and those last few plants. We were laughing and enjoying the cloudy, breezy day. As my husband was loading our purchases in the back of the truck, I overheard a conversation he had with another man. The man was complaining about the rain coming on. My husband’s response was “Yes, isn’t it great?!!” The man replied, “Not if you are a golfer!” as he stomped off to let the weather affect his whole day in a bad way. My husband jumped in our truck and we came home and joyfully got our plants in the ground before the storm hit, happy that Mother Nature will water our garden for us today.

We all have choices at any moment of any day. We can let one bad experience cloud the memory of a day that possibly had several GOOD moments. Or we can shrug off the one unpleasant event and focus on the good. Which choice will you make? On a rainy day, will you be the gardener or the golfer?

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Holy Family of Geese

Goose mother and chicksI go to yoga class at a Catholic church. I know it sounds odd, but it’s a beautiful place and the ladies in the class are fun and very nice. I was confirmed Catholic as an adult, but haven’t been a practicing Catholic for a while now. Still I enjoyed that transition in my life and have only good memories about that time.  As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not very traditional. and I have since moved on to a lot of other things. But I still have a lot of love and respect for the Catholic church.

That’s probably more than you need to know, but it sets the tone for what I am about to share with you. This church backs up to a very nice pond that is home to several geese. They waddle and honk around all over the church grounds leaving their little trail of goose poop everywhere but otherwise seem pretty harmless. The other day, when I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed they were paired up more than normal and it felt like something wasn’t right. They were fussier and some were just sitting in the grass in pairs, almost like they were moping about something. I sort of disregarded my feelings about that until I got into class and one of the “church ladies” announced that the night before they took all the goose eggs away. One lady volunteered that they rubbed the eggs with corn oil to keep them from hatching.

Does anyone else find it odd that the Catholics who are so against abortion for humans are literally preventing the little baby geese from being born? I understand that the geese can be a nuisance, but it seemed to me a really sad event.

When I googled putting oil on goose eggs, I came to a page from the Humane Society that described the practice as “addling” the eggs. They say, “The humane way to limit flock growth and stabilize goose populations is to keep eggs from hatching.” It may be “humane” by human standards but it seems sad to me.

But as one of my more traditional friends has told me in the past, life isn’t a Disney movie. Animals and birds don’t have feelings like we do. Well, sorry folks, I am NOT buying that. I think every being has feelings and a sense of loss when their babies die.

Anyone out there feel the same?

As a P.S. I went to class this morning and heard that a few of the baby geese did hatch. I smiled to myself and said “Mother Nature wins”….and yes, if they lived in my back yard, I might feel differently about all this.

 

 

 

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At the End of the Day, What Really Matters?

If you died tonight, would the people that you love know how you feel about them? This thought came to me very early this morning. You know that space between being asleep and awake? This thought popped into my head as if it were whispered to me by a spirit guide.

So after wondering, “Am I getting ready to die?”,  I thought more about the question and started mentally taking inventory of who I needed to speak to and how I would do it without sounding morbid. I thought about making a list and leaving it to be read at my memorial service, but then it occurred to me that maybe the message was more about telling folks while I am still here physically to give them hugs. Love laugh difference

The longer I live, the more I realize that what really matters is not how much stuff you have or the shape of your body or what sort of work you do. The thing that I would look back on with regret are the words that should have been spoken, or maybe those words that were spoken in anger or hurt that you wish you could take back.

I saw a report on the news last night about a man who was a Concierge at a Cancer Clinic. He literally hugged everyone that came into the clinic, whether it be doctor, medical assistant, patient or patient’s family. He figured he doled out around 1300 hugs a day. Some of the patients who made miraculous recoveries, credited his love, caring and hugs as being part of their cure. This man looked them in the eye, sensed their fear and pain. and attempted to heal them with his love. Of course they were treated with all that modern medicine knew how to do, but some who were deemed “terminal” by the doctors, were healed without any good, scientific explanation.  The power of love is an amazing thing!

I have also been doing some personal research on the power of laughter. I am usually a pretty serious person, and for various reasons am pretty much in pain every day. One night we were watching a silly movie and I got tickled about something in it and laughed and laughed until I had tears rolling down my cheeks. The next morning I woke up without any noticeable pain. The only thing I did differently was that I had a laughing “fit”.

I have a friend Patrick Sterenchuck who teaches “Laughter Yoga” and just being around him makes me smile. He radiates happiness and shares his Light with anyone who comes in contact with him. I have since done some research and learned that laughter and crying are very similar responses. There is a fine line between the two and both can serve to release pent up emotions that we need to get out of our system. So those of us that were taught not to cry, could use laughter to release pain, sadness, or tension.

So after reflecting on all this, I am asking myself, “Do I make a difference in this world? Do the people around me know that I love them? What is mine to do to make the world a better place?” Changing the world can be as simple as doing an act of kindness, or giving a hug or a smile to someone who is having a bad time. Make eye contact with the person in the wheelchair or a homeless person. Let them know you see them and value them. You may never know how a small thing can turn the world around one life at a a time.

 

 

 

 

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There is a Disturbance in the Force!

Andrea and StephIf it is true (according to Ephesians 4:25) that “we are all members of one body”, then when one of us is hurting, it makes sense that all of us feel pain.  It is unfortunate that some people are so good at covering up the pain that even those close to them don’t feel it. Last month a bright light in our world extinguished itself.  In trying to comfort myself, I am writing this and hoping it will comfort some of the many that loved her.

I didn’t want to like Andrea Beerman. She was a member of the Core Council at the Center for Spiritual Living in Kansas City and a regular presider during our Sunday service.  She appeared to be a little too perfect with her slender body, beautiful smile, poise and eloquence on stage, and thriving career. She was a real easy target for envy and jealousy. So I did what I often do when I don’t understand someone and want to move past it. I invited her to lunch and she agreed to meet me.

Her choice of restaurants endeared her to me. It was a cozy, neighborhood joint run by a couple of friends of her and her husband. It is important to me, as it was to her to support local businesses. We sat down after the usual lunch rush and had a chance to relax and savor our food and spend time getting to know each other. After a couple of  hours together, I still did not like Andrea, I LOVED her.

Underneath the “perfect” exterior was a woman that had been heartbroken by the break up of her first marriage and judged by others because of her amazing metabolism. She told me, “I know people think I eat and then go in the bathroom to throw up, but it’s just not true. I was blessed with a great metabolism handed down by my folks and I exercise.” Oh and she is 30 something, which helps too, but she never looked her age. She had beautiful skin and a youthful demeanor. That too had the potential to hold her back.

Andrea had to fight to establish her dental practice because people told her she was too young to have her own business, but she had faith in herself and did it anyway.  She did what any wise woman would do, she surrounded herself with people who could see her greatness and support her in her efforts. I never heard her say a bad word about anyone. She would just smile and ignore the comments about her “skinny” body and “overly cheerful:” disposition. From that day forward, I would not tolerate any snide remarks from anyone about her. Instinctively I wanted to protect her. Somewhere deep down I must have known how fragile she really was.

In the process of our conversation, I asked her why in the world she wanted to become a dentist. A pretty and intelligent girl like her could do anything she set her mind to. What was it that made her want to have her fingers in other people’s mouths every day? She laughed and said ever since she was a little girl she knew she wanted to be a dentist. When she played with her dolls, she would pretend to fix their teeth. I said, “Oh, so you were like Hermey the elf on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer?” She was thoughtful for a moment and then smiled that big, beautiful Andrea smile and said “Yes, I guess so!”

After that we spent a bit of time together over lunches and at church. We kept saying, “Let’s get together again sometime soon.” But that was not to be.

Andrea was a cheerleader for me. She often presided at our Sunday services, and once read an article I wrote on stage, giving me full credit. She gave me a beautiful birthday card this year and made sure she texted me a “Happy Birthday” wish on the day! She cheered me on with my new ministry efforts, and wrote “I am so glad to be on this journey with you”.

I invited Andrea to be a guest co-host on our radio show, and she was, in her usual style, VERY prepared. We had great fun that day interviewing the amazing young man, Chris Yamas.  At the end of the show Chris told Andrea that she had a “beautiful smile”, and she did. Andrea was beautiful, inside and out!

Last month, my dear friend could not take the pain of this world any longer. Without reaching out to any of the wonderful support system she had established for herself, Andrea killed herself, leaving us to wonder what could have been so awful that she couldn’t lean on one of us to help her through it.

Of course there is gossip and speculation about her life and the “why’s” and “should have’s”  but I won’t listen to it. In my heart I am still protective of her. All I need to know is Andrea is now at peace with whatever demons chased her in her short life. The lesson for us left behind, is that we never know what is going on in someone’s world. It is so easy to be envious of someone who seems to have it all, but perfectionism has its price.

Andrea left us a legacy of love and kindness. She was an amazing woman and her presence here will be greatly missed by so many of us that loved her. Everyone she touched has been changed by her life and death. Her brilliance stays with us even though her physical body is gone. I noticed at church that we are treating each other with more kindness and consideration, and being mindful to really keep in touch, not just mouth the words. We may not have told her while she was here, but hopefully she now knows how valuable her life is to us!

According to Wikipedia: In the original Star Wars film, “the Force” is described by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as an energy field created by all living things, that surrounds and penetrates living beings and binds the galaxy together. When there is pain or suffering inflicted on any of us, it creates a “disturbance in the Force”. Andrea’s death has created quite a disturbance in the Force and left a big hole in my heart.

According to Oprah Winfrey: “We are all role models for each other and you never know the moment that you impact somebody or touch somebody.”

Be gentle with each other because you never know what someone is dealing with privately. And tell those you love how you feel about them NOW! Words left unspoken are heartbreaking when there are no more opportunities in this lifetime.

P.S. Due to the number of spam comments I received on this page, I disabled the ability to comment. If you have any positive or constructive comments you would like to add, please email me at piferstone@gmail.com and I will add them to this post. Thank you!

 

 

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The Christians and the Pagans

Interfaith ImageI have been studying Interfaith Wisdom and have been reading stories about how people from different faiths have reached out to help each other.

Most of the stories we see on the news dwell on all that separates us. They only tell a fraction of the story. So I set out to find examples of unlikely alliances between people of different faiths to see the bonds that unite us as One.

This story is from a pastor who followed his heart. He was a Christian minister who befriended Soo Lee, a woman of Korean descent who practiced “White Magic and the Wicca religion”. He and his family became very close to Soo and her son and developed a relationship of mutual trust and respect.

This is from It’s All About God by Samir Salmanovic.

“Some months after we met Soo, my church hosted the annual gathering of a national network I belonged to that consisted of mostly professional clergy and church leaders.  The main service was going to include a closing segment we entitled ‘Testimonies of Failure,’ with six leaders who would tell us how they failed in their religious work.  It was not to be ‘how God turned things around for me’ or ‘how my failure has actually been a blessing’. There would be no explanations, no justification—just standing up, sharing the misery, and sitting down.  I had a month to find someone who could address these hurting people with some healing words.

“I thought of people who had cared for and encouraged me and Soo immediately came to mind. But the thought seemed preposterous. Soo? How could I ask a witch to pray over a group of pastors?  She could neither defend nor advocate for our religion—she was an outsider.  But the experience of being a part of Soo’s life had opened a crack in the wall that separates “us” (those on the inside) from “them” (those on the outside). Then a thought broke through, a possibility that I found both burdensome and exhilarating. What if God is on the outside too?  Does God have to be absent out there in order to be present in here?

“The thought of inviting Soo into the inner sanctum of our Christian experience ripened like wine, intoxicating my orthodox faith.  Everything that I had been taught told me that God, in God’s infinite wisdom and love has chosen to dwell in our religion.  It was a kind of certainty one can stake one’s life on.  But then everything I had experienced with Soo—and as I began recalling others like her over the years—told me that God dwells in the lives of people. All people. Drunk with these thoughts I hesitated.  Which should win? Religion? Or Life? Should I use life to prop up my religion? Or should I use my religion to honor life?

“’Okay, I’ll do it!’ Soo said with a smile when I asked her. Then she added, ‘But only if I can pray to God as Mother.’

“’Soo’ I said and paused, taking time to swallow a momentary feeling of regret for approaching her at all, ‘some of these religious leaders are worn out and beaten down, and on that day, our goal is not to expand their theology, but to comfort them.’

“’I understand, Pastor Samir. That’s all right. For now. Let’s leave the discussion about the Christian obsession with phallic power for some other time,’ she said with a gracious smile. ‘Is it okay if I pray to God as Holy Spirit?’

“’Wonderful!’ I said relieved.

“On the day of the gathering, after the six ‘losers’ had shared their stories, the congregation was quiet, stunned by tales of the stark reality behind much of religious work and community organizing.  Most of us religious people who go to our places of worship to receive goods and services assume that our faith is triumphantly marching forward on all fronts. Nobody wants to be part of a losing battle. So talking about failures devoid of happy endings created an unbearably empty space in our hearts.

“The Sacred Scriptures say that in emptiness, God creates.

“Then it was Soo’s turn to pray. After introducing her to the crowd, I stepped aside, regretting my choice again, my jaws tightening, my palms sweating. How did I get myself into a situation of bringing a witch to bless a conservative Christian crowd? Did I want to lose my job?

“Or was I heeding the call of Jesus—losing my life in order to find it?

“With the steady voice of a person who has no doubts that our ordinary lives are saturated with the Presence, she said ‘Dear Holy Spirit. I am not a Christian. But I and my son are cared for in this church. These people who follow you work very hard to make a difference in this world and love people like us. Now they are tired, disoriented, discouraged. Please make them see how important their work really is. What would our world be without people like them?  Help them continue caring so that people like me might find a better way.’

“There are religious experiences that have the power to re-start our hearts, when fresh faith in God, humanity and world is uploaded into our soul systems.  This was one of those moments.  A hush fell over the crowd and Soo’s words lingered in the air like a sweet heathen scent.  While some sat there paralyzed by the offense of her presence at the church pulpit, many of us basked in her compassion for us. We were hoping if we just stayed quiet, there would be more words from her, interceding to our God on our behalf.

“Life won.

“After the crowd dispersed, I sat on a pew in the empty sanctuary to jot down these words in my notebook: ‘We are scared of finding our God in the other. Why do we fear something so wonderful?’”

It’s all about getting to know each other as people in order to better understand each others religious beliefs and create a world of peace.  It would be nice if we focused on these inspiring stories instead to the stories of hate, conflict and loss.

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God’s Timing is Perfect!

Recently I have been moved to make room in my life for something new and exciting. I don’t know what that is yet, but I am staying open and paying attention to the God winks I am getting.

I have a lot of projects unfinished: my book, my workshop, my degree, the organizing of my home….A lot of things vying for my attention, but I feel there is something more important and urgent tugging at my sleeve trying to make me notice.

What it is boiling down to is this:  I want to create a spiritual home for those of us that don’t fit in to traditional religious structure. Not a church, but a safe haven for those of us that are seeking to explore our spiritual nature without the danger of judgment or persecution.

I am not just talking about gay folks. Although all you have to do is post something on Facebook in support of gay marriage to feel the wrath of people that call themselves “Christians”, but hate gays and their “hidden agenda”. So of course our gay friends need support, but what about the folks that feel blessed with spiritual gifts and an understanding of nature? Those so-called “Christians” might call them witches or evil and have some Bible verse to back up their unexamined beliefs.

What if there was a spiritual home for people of every faith, or belief system to come together and share their wisdom?

I know people who practice Shamanism, Wicca, and even psychic mediums who would feel uncomfortable if they expose their true nature in a traditional church. Yet these same people are among the most spiritual, loving people I have the good fortune to know.

Now I belong to a lovely church that purports to be  “trans-denominational”, honoring all paths to God.  I know Wicca followers and psychics who come there and feel comfortable. In an attempt to make all feel comfortable though, we almost never speak of Jesus and what he tried to teach us. We “honor” all traditions by only touching on them once in a while.

Unlike some spiritual seekers, I was not traumatized by my Christian upbringing. I have always felt a connection to Jesus, just not in the way traditional religion would have us believe. There are a lot of things about Jesus’ teachings, I would like to explore more in an open setting without the threat of condemnation or judgment. I feel there is a need for a sacred space  for those that feel a calling to follow Jesus’ teachings without the traditional theology and dogma. But it’s not only about Jesus and his teachings.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), “Some heavily oppressed and discriminated against groups, like Wiccans and other Neopagans, often refuse to reveal their religion to a stranger… because of safety concerns.” How sad is that for a country that was founded on religious freedom?

Wiccans are not the only misunderstood group out there. How many of us actually know and understand what Shamanism is? What about the Rosicrucian Order? Islam? Judaism? Hinduism? Even Buddhism, although it is widely practiced is not widely understood by a lot of us.

The article I wrote earlier, “Can Psychics be Christians” was based on the fear of the unknown realm of the psychic world. I believe we are all blessed with a certain amount of psychic intuition, but some folks actually have a gift that they have honed into what could be a real blessing for those around them, yet they are condemned by certain Christian sects as being evil.

They say “Knowledge is Power”. Wouldn’t it be nice to quit scaring the Christians? Maybe if they learned more about what they fear, whether it be gays, psychics or witches, that fear would dissipate and we could all live in peace, not just “tolerance”. We might even learn something valuable from each other.

I feel there is great Truth and wisdom in all major faith traditions. Why not have a place where they can all be taught and shared? A place where we can ask questions, study and share the wisdom of ancient religions, practices and beliefs. Would anyone out there be willing to join me in this venture?

I feel like I have been in limbo for so long, wondering what my true purpose is in this life. For the past several years, I have been provided some amazing teachers and mentors. It’s been like a spiritual internship of sorts for me. Now I feel it is time to take a step out in faith.

While I was contemplating writing this article, one of my Facebook friends posted something, and the title of this post jumped out at me. “God’s Timing is Perfect”. We all know timing is everything. So maybe I do know why I am freeing up my time right now.  Someone once told me to be careful about telling God that I am open and ready to being used for whatever my true purpose is. You might just get an answer that is grander than anything you could have imagined.

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Can Psychics be Christians?

I was disturbed by something I read in a blog today. A woman said she was “psychic from birth” and knew because of that she could not call herself a Christian. She said she has helped people with her psychic abilities and never uses them for personal gain, but has been told that using her gifts makes her evil.

To me being psychic is just using your intuition and being in touch with the spiritual realm, or a Higher Power if you will. Some people believe the information passed on by a true psychic is given to them by angels or guides. How is that evil?

Some Christians speak in tongues. Catholics believe the wine and bread taken during communion is actually the body and blood of Christ. The Mormons even have special underwear. Some people might think these things are odd, but they don’t call them evil.

So why is passing on a message from beyond the grave considered evil by some Christians? Didn’t Jesus say, “Anyone who believes in me, will do the same works I do, and even greater works”? If they truly believe that Jesus rose again after death, why is it bad to believe our dead friends and relatives can do the same and might want to communicate with us through an intuitive person?

If we were truly in tune with our Higher Power, we wouldn’t need a psychic to relay these messages anyway. Some people have a gift and some people pay attention to their intuition and develop their psychic abilities. Most of us don’t take the time or have the belief system to do that. Thus we need psychics.

I have also encountered some Christians that may have had a psychic experience or a message from “beyond the grave” in a dream for instance and deny that it is really that. They say it was “just a dream”, but if you have ever had a true message while you are sleeping, you know there is a difference in the way you usually dream and a visit from “the other side”. Who are we to ignore messages when someone goes to great lengths to communicate with us? Isn’t that a bit rude?

I am not saying there is not a dark side to some of this and it is important to stay in the Light. Although I don’t believe in duality; that there is actually a devil trying to lure us into evil, but there are some malevolent spirits, just as there are unhappy, dangerous folks in this world. It is vital to guard yourself against all of that.

And, like in many professions, there are fake psychics out there that try to take advantage of folks that are grieving and desperate. But what about the truly gifted folks who are just trying to help people by passing on genuine messages? They can give hope and comfort when they come from an authentic source.

Just calling someone with psychic abilities or someone that has had a psychic experience “evil”, seems a bit misguided and extreme. Our world is full of people afraid of things they don’t understand.

What if instead of calling things evil or bad, we try to learn about them and see where they are coming from. There is always something to be afraid of in this world. We get to choose whether to succumb to fear and ignorance or embrace the differences and grow a bit in the process.

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