BOOK THIRTEEN WINDOWS TO HEAVEN

INNER FREEDOM ON THE ROAD
December 2001–March 2002

BOOK 13
FROM THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN

“Prove me now, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:7-10)

Dedicated to Catherine Ponder

I like Catherine’s explanation that the word “Heaven” comes from a Greek word meaning expansion, so it’s up to us to expand our understanding, experience and expression of a prosperous consciousness. Also, “Heaven” symbolizes invisible (spiritual) states of mind, unlike “earth” which symbolizes the visible (physical or material).

This book is in the Travel Series, on our Journey to Inner Freedom, while traveling in our 35 ft. Holiday Rambler. Chapters 2, 4-6 are inspired while reading Catherine Ponder’s “Millionaire From Nazareth.” Chapter 3 is inspired by Gary Zukav’s “Heart of the Soul.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1:Morning has Broken:
Thanksgiving in Del Mar, Ca., Money Makeover’s Ready! Stop at Pismo Beach, Hearst Castle and San Simeon on return to Santa Clara. Carol signs up with Market America!
Chapter 2: Give Us This Day based on “The Lord’s Prayer”
Chapter 3: The True Meaning: Christmas
Life, A New Year
Chapter 4: Fun is FUNdamental based on The Be Attitudes
Chapter 5: Unrestricted Supply based on Loaves and Fishes
Chapter 6: Return From a Far Country: based on The Prodigal Son
Chapter 7: Going All the Way based on The Widow’s Mite
Chapter 8: For a Lifetime based on “Cast the Net on the Right Side”
Chapter 9: I Want to Thank,
About the Golden Globes and Lifetime Achievement
Chapter 10: Life’s Defining Moments, based on Dr. Phil’s exercises
The Big Move, and other Life Defining Moments
Chapter 11: Life is Too Short: to get upset over delays,
Delays and delays; so enjoy the situation and make the best of it.
Chapter 12: Bless Me Indeed
About the Prayer of Jabez by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, and it speaks of life’s blessings midst the ongoing delays. And the virtue of Circling Wagons; and much more
Chapter 13: I’m Not Going Back There!
Light on the mystery of Little Ralph, How to Change Patterns, and the Yardwork Syndrome: a Life Defining Moment
Chapter 14: We’re All Winners
The Olympics 2002, controversy and champions. Dottie and Steve win. Room with a View. Betty’s a Winner. Winners Eat Steak; Maybe Chinese.
Chapter 15: WITH JOYFUL ANTICIPATION
I Move Forward
Chapter 16: TRUE TO YOURSELF
“To Thine Own Self”
Chapter 17: A RIVER RUNS THROUGH
Uncongested
Chapter 18: TURNING POINT TO A NEW LIFE
God’s Promise
Chapter 19: Springtime of My Soul
Change in the seasons and scenery; Our visit with Carol: Stamping and Pizza Party, Computer ordering; Avila: a Word Picture; seals, seagulls and a fish; Awards: clam chowder and Oscars. Life is a Beach.
Chapter 20: This Too Shall Pass Away
Easter Week: The Beach: El Capitan State Beach, Carpinteria State Beach. The Valley: Orange blossoms and Camping World. The desert: Like Jesus’s country. Palmdale and Lancaster; in search of a digital camera. The Mirage: Edwards Air Force Base. Mojave. Good Friday and In the Tomb: Barstow, Ca.
Chapter 21: Moving Forward Toward a Divine Outcome
Resurrection: Sort of; Whiskey Pete’s.The Day After: A crash in the desert; not ours. A Migraine Moment, Diversionary Tactic? Life from the Luxor Parking Lot. There’s More to Las Vegas: Old England, New York, Italy, Paris, and Egypt. Let the Celebrations begin: Lunch at Bellagio’s; Render Unto Caesar, Pizza at The Venetian Canal.

Chapter 22: Detour:The Road Ends

From Las Vegas to Laughlin. The Road Ends over Hoover Dam, and also for us. But, we will forge ahead. Read this to believe it. Life goes on. Business as usual. And a little bit of fun too! The true Windows of Heaven. The End

EPILOGUE: It’s not over, yet!
TO BE CONTINUED: See Next Book

FROM THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN
“Prove me now, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:7-10)

PREFACE
Have you ever been driving along a highway at sunset and noticed the golden windows reflecting the brilliant sun? I think of the “windows of heaven” being like that. In fact, Revelations 21 describe heaven as: “a city of pure gold, surrounded by a wall of jasper, of which the foundation was precious stones and the gates were pearl.” This description, of course, is allegorical, because heaven is a state of mind or uplifted consciousness in which we can reach an ascended awareness, or as Catherine Ponders says, the above words about heaven “symbolically describe a rich state of mind.” So, she says that when Jesus affirmed “Our Father which art in heaven,” he was emphasizing that God’s abundance is found in heavenly, prosperous states of mind.”

I like Catherine’s explanation that the word “Heaven” comes from a Greek word meaning expansion, so it’s up to us to expand our understanding, experience and expression of a prosperous consciousness. Also, “Heaven” symbolizes invisible (spiritual) states of mind, unlike “earth” which symbolizes the visible (physical or material).

One of the important lessons taught in the ancient secret schools of wisdom is that we can draw upon Divine Substance, or the unformed God essence from which all things are created. We do this with our thinking and beliefs, according to our consciousness, and there are many, many steps that must be taken before we reach the state of mind that we can literally create the “loaves and fishes,” as did Jesus.

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, explains that heaven is the Christ Consciousness; the realm of Divine Mind: a state of consciousness in harmony with the thoughts of God. He says, “Heaven is the orderly, lawful adjustment of God’s kingdom in man’s mind, body, and affairs.” This is proven by the bible, “The kingdom of God (Heaven) is within you” (Luke 17:21). However, we must remember that this kingdom is not material, but spiritual.
So, when the bible says, “I will pour out from the windows of heaven more blessings than you have room to receive,” what do you suppose this means?

This means that the blessings appear as ideas, which manifest from Divine Min (Heaven), and then it’s up to us to put these ideas into practical expression. In other words, we must take action, or do something with the ideas, which will then bring about the prosperous life. We start with the proper thoughts about our health and money; thinking wellness and abundance, love, joy and forgiveness. It is not easy, but it is the answer to a prosperous life.

Chapter 1
MORNING HAS BROKEN

The storm had ended, morning had broken, the sun shone brightly over San Simeon State Park, the pounding surf beckoned; and I followed: past the parked RVs and campground, under the 101 bridge and to the lagoon that stretched between me and the sandy shore on the other side. Suddenly I stopped my onward beach walk, feeling thwarted by the dead end and the incoming tide that cut off further northward travel.

However, I knew of a secret path that would take me over the hillside and onto the beach to the south. This meant backtracking through the campground, around the closed field, over the local bridge and along the boardwalk that took me on the other side of the lagoon.

I no longer felt thwarted, but liberated, with the world before me, as I strolled through the sand to the hidden trail and climbed upward to the top of the hill. Soon I arrived at the point and sat on a wooden bench overlooking the ocean sparkling in the winter sun, as the waves crashed to the shore below. And from here I could look far up the coast to a beach community, and I could see Hearst Castle perched atop a high hill, straight ahead and to my right.

I had finished writing “Journey Out of the Hole,” which had recorded Little Ralph and Joanie’s healing and recovery and I intended to take a break from writing, especially if I had to struggle through any more processing. And when I came to the first dead end, along the beach, I proclaimed, “I do not want any more struggle,” because I knew, from a past visit, there was a trail, but it would involve working my way up and over the rocks to get on the other side, and I didn’t want to struggle.

But God had already given me a new title, “From the Windows of Heaven,” based on Malachi 3, which promises, “I will pour you out a blessing more than you have room to receive.” And God assured me that this would be a positive, uplifting prosperity book, as we continue our RV travels, and our “fortunes are restored,” as promised in Jeremiah.
Certainly, this bountiful, beautiful view, on this clear day, indicated a new beginning that would definitely deliver wealth on all levels, including abundant money. And, as I glimpsed the top of Hearst Castle, in the distance, I recalled past tours through its opulent rooms, grounds and pools. And my husband, Van, and I enhancing our prosperity consciousness when strolling through the museum and gift shop on this trip.

In addition, during this month of December, I’d been re-reading Catherine Ponder’s prosperity book, “The Millionaire From Nazareth,” about the teachings of Jesus relating to wealth and abundance.

Therefore, when I came up to the dead end, I said “NO!” And once atop the hillside viewpoint, my vision was uplifted, and I could see forever, a prosperity step advocated by Jesus through Ponder’s book: Go to a high place, not only outwardly, but in consciousness too, with meditation, positive affirmations, or reading inspiring books.

Seeking and finding the secret path made me think of the secret teachings that privileged few, including Jesus, Moses and Joseph, had studied and taught. And, how fortunate I am that I have been exposed to these precious teachings for attaining and maintaining health, wealth and the blessings of a good life.

Yet, as Catherine Ponder explains, there are seemingly undesirable steps of the process, mentioned in the Beatitudes; Beautiful Attitudes, or Be Attitudes, as others have called them. Despite the positive titles, some of the steps, such as chemicalization, are not my idea of fun. However, I am attempting to incorporate her suggestion to affirm, “Thank God for Chemicalization,” because it means that I have completed this part of the steps to prosperous living. Thank You, God!

I knew this was true, as I viewed the beauty of this clear day, with the sun glistening over the water. But soon we would be leaving and it came time for me to continue my walk along the hilltop path toward a parking area.

However, much to my surprise, when I arrived at the other end, the path was covered with brush and a cable was strung across the former entrance, with a sign, which I read from the other side (after stepping over the cable), “No Entrance.” But there had been no such sign from my approach, and I thanked God for the experience.

Once I’d worked my way down the makeshift steps to the sand, I began walking along the beach to return to Freedom (my name for our 35 ft. Holiday Rambler RV). But, again, my path appeared to be blocked, as the tide was rapidly coming in and closing the way around the point.

I felt a sense of panic: would I make it? Or would the next big wave send me running to the high ground with no way out, but straight up? Perhaps this dilemma symbolizes the test, as Catherine Ponder defines the final step before reaching the other side of our trials. In other words, would we continue wandering through The Wilderness, living on manna: enough to meet our daily needs, but nothing extra?

I knew that I was getting tired of this phase of the Journey, and I yearned to return to the wealth and abundance described by Catherine Ponder, and which I truly expected. God knows, I’d studied and taught these prosperity lessons for many years, and I certainly believed them.

Yet, everything changed from the morning Van went into his computer analyst-programmer job and returned home, within two hours, to announce: “Let’s call it early retirement.” His company had joined with another one and his job was eliminated. He was out of work.

Something happened. His spirit was broken and he never worked again. Oh, for a few months he got excited about building our multi-level-marketing business when he and partner, Joyce, tried “Knocking on Doors” (the title of my book about Van’s downsize trauma). But Van is non-social, and neither of the partners were people or sales oriented, so their enthusiasm quickly waned, especially after the cool weather set in. And we began our downward spiral, which I’ve written about in my trilogy offered in “Changing Money Patterns.”

Now, again feeling trapped, but determined to forge ahead, I kept an eye on the waves, and gauged my time, so that I reached the point at the lowest wave, and quickly jumped around the jutting rocks.

Whew! I was now on the other side, and I knew that this incident metaphorically symbolized “Morning Has Broken.” I was now on the other side of my inner and outer Journey and ready to move forward on the Road to Prosperous Living.

Chapter 2
“GIVE US THIS DAY”

Secrets Revealed
“The Lord’s Prayer,” a series of prosperity affirmations, promises that our every need, want and desire can be fulfilled, if we understand and follow the steps taught in the ancient secret schools of wisdom. Information not available to the masses, in those times, but now revealed to all who are receptive. Isn’t this exciting? We are privy to the Wisdom of the Ages which I will share with you, based on the teachings of three learned teachers, Catherine Ponder, Emmet Fox and Charles Fillmore, who have studied these ancient teachings of the masters.
And I will reveal my insights and understanding gleaned from my personal contact from my Inner Guidance during meditation.

“Our Father Which art in Heaven”

As I explained in the Preface, The Kingdom of Heaven refers to the realm of Divine Substance, the formless energy from which all things are made manifest. In other words, God. Now, you know why the prophet Hosea became excited when he learned these truths and exclaimed, “I am become rich, I’ve found me out substance” (Hosea 12:8), as recorded in the King James version; or “Ah, but I am rich, I have gained wealth for myself,” the Revised Standard Version which misses the point of this prosperity secret.

In any event, the everywhere present God, the formless energy from which all things are created, exists as this Divine Substance that we can call forth into manifestation through our thinking, and it comes in the form of ideas, which are also formless. So, we have mind, idea, expression; otherwise known as God (Father), Son, Holy Spirit. But this is getting into the esoteric teachings, which I will bottom-line: God is the Source of all that exists. He is also the idea, and He is the manifestation. How could it be otherwise, since God is omnipresent (everywhere)?

Emmet Fox reminds us that “Our Father” clearly defines the nature and character of God, and also establishes the relationship between God and man: Father and child.” He says that if we would meditate on this fact, all our difficulties would disappear, because we would understand that God is love, and as such He would never cause his beloved children any harm or hurt. Wow! That is a powerful statement. And immediately we ask: “Then how come there is so much pain and poverty in the world?”

Emmet Fox says it’s because of fear, and when we fully comprehend the significance of “Our Father,” every negative thing will disappear. Furthermore, once we truly experience the truth, “Our Father,” we are aware of the
brotherhood of all humanity; and that we are all one family of God, no matter what race, creed or nationality. Then why is there so much fighting and violence in the name of God, or religion? No doubt it is because they don’t understand these simple words and their significance. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with, and express through me, as love and understanding.

“Hallowed be thy Name”
Once we understand that God is All, we affirm that he is all health, wealth, and whatever else we could desire. We realize that we are created out of the same Divine Substance, and we are one. In God, there is no separation, time or distance, and we are calling upon that Divine Substance to manifest now; from the formless to the formed.

The name of anything, God or Jesus included, refers to its nature or character: a rose by any other name is still a rose, because of its nature; it’s not a tulip or a carnation, if the color is the same: a rose is a rose and God is God; Jesus is Jesus. And since God is perfect, and He is good, He cannot create anything unlike Himself; therefore All is Good, no matter how it may appear, because it is created out of the essence of God, the Good.

Therefore, “Hallowed be thy name,” is affirming the wholeness, perfection and goodness of God, and to call it forth is to acknowledge the innate goodness. Therefore, how can one be sick or poor? The only limitation lies within us, our thinking and our pronouncement of something other than God created and called “Good.”
In other words, “What you see is what you get.” And taking it even further, what you believe is what you attract to yourself.

“Thy Kingdom Come”
These words are calling forth into manifestation the wholeness of God in whatever form you need, want or desire, according to your consciousness, or your ability to co-create with God. Because, if you don’t have it in your reality, if you feel unworthy or undeserving, you short- circuit the demonstration. It’s like shorting out electricity and getting static, or less than a perfect connection.

And, by short-circuiting the manifestation of your good, you are actually failing to fulfill God’s will for good for yourself, because God’s will is for good, and He gives you the desires in the first place, in the form of ideas. So it is our duty to bring forth more and more of God’s good into manifestation. What a unique concept!

God has a Divine Plan for His creation, and for our part in fulfilling His will for us. Therefore, when we affirm “Thy Kingdom Come,” we are agreeing to cooperate with God’s Divine Plan for good for our life.

“Thy Will be Done”
What is God’s will? God’s will is for the highest good of all concerned, therefore, His will for you is to have your heart’s desire; obviously, since He gave you the desire in the first place. Desire means “of the father,” so any desire is from God (the Father). And since we know that everything manifests from Divine Substance (formless), we know that it already exists, so we can give thanks, in advance, that our heart’s desire is already ours, and we trust God to bring it forth in His Divine Time and according to His will for good. “Father, let my will be to do thy
will.”

Emmet Fox says we will be truly successful and gloriously happy once we discover what God intends for us to do and then do it. He maintains that there is a place for us to be happy, and our true place is wherever we bring forth the Kingdom of God into manifestation. Therefore, let’s affirm often, “Thy kingdom come.”

“In Earth as it is in Heaven” simply means that the good we are seeking is seeking us in the invisible form (Heaven), and we are asking that it manifest in the physical world of form. I also like to thank God for revealing to me what I need to be doing to fulfill my part in fulfilling His Divine Plan, and to make it clear so that I understand.

“Give us This Day Our Daily Bread”
Catherine Ponder explains that bread symbolizes the rich substance of the universe, which manifests as the fulfillment of our needs, wants and desires. She reminds us that God is extravagant supply and it is only our limited ability to receive that keeps the treasures of Heaven from us. It isn’t enough to recognize God as the Source of our supply, but we must claim it in definite and specific amounts.

However, I find it difficult to make this affirmation, because it seems demanding and willful, and we don’t always know all the repercussions or ramifications of our prayer, so I prefer to incorporate another of Jesus’ examples, giving thanks in advance, knowing that it is already done. I say, “Thank You, God, for giving us this day our daily bread,” because God always provides for our every need, if we acknowledge and are thankful.

Jesus used this form of prayer when he asked that Lazarus be raised from the dead. He said, “I thank you, Father, that you have heard; I know that you hearest me always.” It’s just a matter of our asking and accepting; but most of us can’t think that big, nor can we give ourselves permission to receive. I often ask, “Would you be happy in Shangrila?” Some people can’t accept the good when they do receive it.

As we learn to be thankful for what we have, more shall be given: “You have been faithful over little, I’ll put you over much,” is the promise given by Jesus in Matthew 25:23. During the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Israelites were given manna for the day, but no more, because they were still living in a limited state of consciousness, but once they reached The Promised Land consciousness of abundance, they were not only given enough, but more. However, we also must remember not to be greedy, or even what we have will be
taken from us.

The most important lesson for this prosperity step is learning to live in the present moment; not what we hope to have in the future, but enjoying and appreciating what we have now.

This was probably our main lessons during our RV travels, because if we didn’t learn to enjoy where we were and what we were doing in the moment, it would be gone and we would be elsewhere with only the memories, without having enjoyed the experience at the time. For instance, we are spending the week before Christmas parked in Santa Clara at the mobile home park where Van’s mom lives. She no longer does Christmas, and Van only. participates to the extent of whatever anyone around him is doing; in this case his mom, who is focusing on making the transition from here, because the mobile home park has been sold and she must move within a month.

Therefore, it’s up to me to make my own reality about Christmas, which I do by depending on God and experiencing the true meaning of these Holy Days; to me that means being aware of the birth of Jesus, and the Christ presence within.

I usually avoid the malls and crowded stores, at this time, however my Cousin John came to town in his RV, on his way south. John definitely has a good prosperity consciousness and he enjoys the good things in life. So, when he asked where we would like to go for dinner, I suggested Black Angus, because I had a coupon for two (Van and I), which included filet mignon, baked potato, a sampler platter and chocolate mountain cake for $29.95. John would have gladly paid the full amount, but I’ve slipped into a coupon consciousness, as a result of
these Wilderness Years, so even this seemed pricey. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every tasty morsel, and took the leftovers home for two more meals. I might add that John does not take home leftovers, but I couldn’t resist. In any event, the exposure to this classy restaurant did me a world of good. Thank You, God.

The next day, he stopped by and invited us to go with him to Costco and the Westfield Mall. We did our grocery shopping at Costco and it was fun seeing folks load their carts with goodies, available for those willing and able to purchase. And it definitely expands our prosperity thinking.

The Westfield Mall seemed like entering a whole new world, since it had been so long since seeing the lavish Christmas displays and overflowing counters of merchandise, plus the people rushing about for last minute purchases. However, John was simply out for the exercise and seeing what new adult toys he could add to his Wish List; many are high-tech items that he will eventually buy; and others are inappropriate for his limited RV space. Nevertheless, we had a marvelous time looking, and we didn’t spend anything, but time.

However, I was thankful that John stopped at the Verizon kiosk and showed us the exact items that we will soon buy for our new telephone system, which will allow us to check e-mail and go on-line from the comfort of our own RV, rather than searching out the nearest Kinko’s. I was ready to buy now, but John suggested that we could do better financially by ordering on-line, so I waited. He definitely believes in getting value for the money he spends.

As usual, the time with Cousin John lifted my consciousness into the realm of possibilities and I appreciated that he happened to pass through town at this season. “Our Daily Bread” had been ample, while awaiting the lavish abundance to manifest in the form of an expanded prosperity consciousness that welcomes money, money, money via my website and networking business. I give thanks that our blessings are now appearing in the form of ideas and money from my books, courses and workshops. And I am also thankful for the right people to help with this website ministry.

With this in mind, I asked Cousin John, a retired CPA, if he would be willing to handle the financial management of my website business. He said, “No!” He is retired and not willing to be under the stress of managing anyone’s business; not even his own. “I hired a good tax attorney to handle my finances,” he explained.

“Forgive Us”
Okay, so that leaves the way clear for the right person. Thank You, God. In fact, everyone whom I had asked to assume positions with Inner Freedom Ministry had said “No!” And I asked God “Why?” “Because you are clinging to the past, rather than being open to the new people whom I will bring into your life, at the right time.”

This explanation fit right into the next vital step in “The Lord’s Prayer.” Forgiveness, which entails far more than we have previously understood. Yes, we must forgive and be forgiven, and we all know the intensity of this process. To forgive means to release and let go whatever has existed previously, and to give love in exchange for the negative. What a positive lesson this is.

However, there is much more to this step. To experience the presence of God (His kingdom) we must live in the Present Moment. This means that we must forgive (release) the past. Many of us are still living there, remembering past hurtful actions of others, and even dwelling on the good times, rather than being in this moment. As you can see, this process is not easy.

Furthermore, in order to experience oneness, we must release anxiety and concern about the future. Otherwise, we are there and not here. As Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field,” or “the birds of the air,” explaining that neither category must be anxious, because they are always provided for in the moment. We may question the validity of this statement when we notice droughts, floods, hail and other disastrous events. Yet, when we dwell in the Kingdom of God, we do not question, but we trust that all our needs are being met, according to God’s
Divine Plan.

Therefore, when I tend to become anxious about Inner Freedom Ministry, I ask myself, “Is this something I need right now?”

“No!” Okay, so I trust that it will be provided when the need arises. In the meantime, I am enjoying the Holy Season of Christmas, as God guides, and without the stress of how it use to be, or how it will be in the future. For instance, I had thought I’d take a bus to Oregon and spend Christmas with my daughter, while Van spends the time with his mom. My daughter had recently had surgery and I thought I could be helpful, but she decided that the stress of havingme there would be too much. Actually, I agreed, and I was thankful for her honesty. Instead, I
concentrated on enjoying the season as God wills, such as dinner with Cousin John and a leisurely stroll through the mall.

I must admit that the past tries to rob me of the present, because it was this time of year, as a child, when my mother had her first schizophrenic episode and was placed in a mental hospital, and dad divorced her, thus ending our family.

This history tries to recreate itself every year, and it takes awhile before I notice that it’s happening, such as this year when Van’s mom is facing the trauma of her life being disrupted with her upcoming move. The intensity of the pattern increases when triggered by circumstances that remind my subconscious of that first terrible scenario. It doesn’t matter if it’s happening to me, or someone else, if all the factors are in place. For instance, our first evening with Betty she explained that the movers might not be willing to haul her ’72 mobile unit north to Anderson. We could feel her anxiety and fear, as she outlined an alternative plan, and I silently said The Lord’s Prayer, knowing that she would continue to be in her perfect place. Yet, I also repeated the Prayer for myself, to align with the fact that my life was not being traumatized now, and I could release my past experience.

Catherine Ponder reminds us that God has already forgiven us, and that by our willingness to forgive, God’s forgiving power frees all negative emotions, such as unforgiveness, resentments, criticism, and thoughts of lack, and releases the blocked energies. This allows the positive results to rush through the opened floodgates, as the blessings pouring out from thewindows of heaven, filling the places that were once occupied with negativity.

“Leave us not …”
Periods of testing are part of our growth process, but they are not intended to last forever. They must come to an end, and it’s up to us to ask for deliverance from this Wilderness phase of life. However, when we are going through them, we declare often: “Leave us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Well, of course, God never leaves us, for He has promised “I will never leave you, I am always with you.” I use these affirmations often, especially when I wonder if the trials will ever end, and I constantly remind myself that I am becoming wiser, stronger and more understanding. It’s simply a matter of learning, like going through the grades in school. So, rather than fighting and resenting the lesson, I give thanks.

Actually, this prosperity step in “The Lord’s Prayer” is called surrender, or acceptance. If I am in second grade, I do not complain because I am not in high school; and when I finally become a senior, I complete the lessons before beginning college. And once graduated, the learning continues, even though we have a diploma that confirms the formal education is now over. But the biggest lessons of life are just beginning, so we can be resentful and miserable, or we can surrender and enjoy the process.

In the Exodus from Egypt (bondage) to The Promised Land (freedom) surrender frees us from wandering through the Wilderness Maze, and that’s when we can step into the flooded waters of the River Jordan. We must step out in faith, while the river is still full, and then the waters part and we walk across on dry land. But first we surrender, “Okay, God, I’m willing to give up and take a chance by trusting You. Let it be your way.” What a momentous event!
I must daily reach this point by affirming, “I of myself can do nothing. It is not I, but the Father within who doeth the works.” And I follow this humbling realization by acknowledging, “Thank You, God for your Divine Plan for Good, and thank You, for revealing to me my part in fulfilling my part.”

When I reached this part in “Millionaire From Nazareth,” I rejoiced in Catherine Ponder’s words: “But once you have learned the lesson, you should be freed from it,” and the test period is over. She adds, “Too many people get into periods of testing and just stay there fighting them.”

The way out is: Stop fighting them. Ask that the lesson to be learned is revealed. Ask for deliverance from the experience, and this could come by recognizing the blessing and giving thanks for it.

Unfortunately, life’s journey is cyclic and spherical, like a vortex, always going deeper within toward union with the soul. Therefore, until and unless the lesson is learned and we are released, it will come back at another time and possibly in another form. That’s why we must live life as we are living it, and give thanks for the Present Moment, rather than waiting for it to get better.

I was reminded of this lesson when I called the Realtor for a church-home at the beach in Oregon. I had previously negotiated for the place, and I had been visualizing myself living there, as the base for my Inner Freedom Ministry website. I felt so certain that God had guided me to the place and it would be the fulfillment of my dream.

So, you can imagine my disappointment and frustration when told that my dream place had been sold. I allowed myself to experience the feelings for awhile, but then I began affirming The Lord’s Prayer and I processed through the lessons I’ve written here. There was nothing else to do but release it, trust God’s Divine Plan, give thanks for where I am now, and move forward into the day.

I was actually delighted that I could process through this experience so easily: hours, rather than days; or a lifetime of regret, if I had chosen that route. Instead, I thanked God and asked to be shown my part in fulfilling His Divine Plan for me. Throughout the day I reminded myself of God’s promise: “I will never leave you; I am
with you always.”

Amen!
“For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever,” words of praise and thanksgiving, conclude this powerful Prayer. And they must accompany our Prosperity Prayer, or we are praying amiss.

This Prayer of Adoration was not included in the original prayer, but it wisely incorporates the essence of the first seven statements by acknowledging the oneness and Allness of God as Divine Substance (energy), the Source of all. You will notice that in my writing and praying, I always say, “Thank You, God,” in the thinking they should be, or not, I still thank God, because He knows the Divine Plan for Good, and I don’t.

Once we have reaffirmed the “glory of God,”, there is nothing else to do but affirm: “It is done!” Or “So be it!” Amen.

Catherine Ponder explains that “Amen” means “Let the good manifest Now.” It is a term of completion and an assurance that God has already fulfilled the prayer.

Chapter 3
THE TRUE MEANING

The Reason for the Season
“Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” or “Put Christ back in Christmas” are not needed this year to remind us of the true meaning: celebrating the birth of Jesus, and all that He stands for. September 11th brought home the significance of life, family and God. So Christmas this year was different; and more meaningful.

Robert Schuller, in his pre-Christmas sermon on the televised Hour of Power from the glass cathedral, asked “What if Jesus had never been born?” And then he reminded us that his church would not be there, and all the thousands of services they offer the world would not be there: prayer and prison ministry, food for the homeless, Christmas and Easter pageants and Sunday services reaching millions worldwide via television. Nor would all the other Christian churches exist; in fact we would all be Jewish or Muslim, or worshipping whatever God that
existed before Jesus came to inform and enlighten. I shudder to think of walking around completely shrouded with the ? and treated like a nonentity. Thank You, God, for Jesus, and America, where we are privileged to worship as we believe.

It’s for sure that my ministry would not exist, if it weren’t for Jesus, because I truly believe that the birth of Christ (Love) within us is the ongoing message of Christmas. Of course, “The mystery hidden for ages,” as Paul describes God individualized within us, already exists, but our part is to be aware of its presence and to express it in our daily lives. And I think that message came loud and clear with the bombing of the World Trade Centers.

The emphasis this year wasn’t about the hustle and bustle, such as buying presents and stressing out over the outer activities. It was remembering why we are giving gifts: to express love and to acknowledge those we love. That’s why so many people returned home to families this year; if not by plane, then driving in their cars; or at least phoning or emailing, or in thoughts and prayers.

Of course, the original reason for giving gifts is to replicate the magi bringing gifts to baby Jesus, born in the manger in Bethlehem. So it might be more meaningful to ask ourselves,”What gift of myself can I give Jesus?” and “What gift of myself can I give to my loved ones, and to the world?”

For me, this year, Christmas was about living in the Present Moment, because that’s where we experience the presence of God. And I spent my time and energies as Guided, such as reading “The Millionaire From Nazareth,” by Catherine Ponder, which brought me into the energies and awareness of Jesus, which I wrote about in chapter 2.

One evening I watched reruns of Andy Williams Christmas Shows, which brought joy remembering the first time, and enjoying them now. The same was true when I watched Lawrence Welk’s Christmas show and enjoyed my favorite performers and music followed by the annual gathering with their families. Of course, all those kids are now grown with families of their own, a reminder of the years that have passed.

And I was delighted when my daughter, Dottie, called and actually took time for a long visit and update, which added a special warm fuzzy to my holidays.

It’s Amazing
It’s amazing that without all the seasonal stress, I still got my Christmas Newsletter written and sent, though many went as email, and others went out after I received the incoming cards. Unfortunately, our forwarded mail didn’t reach us until Christmas Eve day, so mine were late this year; and I had to let that be okay. The important thing is that my family, friends and Freedomers will receive my greeting, which was individually sent, thus giving me time to be with each person, as I responded to their cards.

Also, receiving and reading my cards on Christmas Eve began a magical evening for me. After we shared some special snackies, Van went to his mother’s to visit and watch TV. But I chose to remain home and watch “The Nutcracker Suite on Ice,” and enjoy the beauty, gentle energies and music as they skated through the familiar story. And I concluded the evening by watching “Christmas Music from the Vatican,” with various performers singing the familiar songs of Christmas.

Again, it’s amazing that I was alone, and yet I didn’t feel lonely, because I felt so attuned to God, Jesus, and the Christ Presence. It’s as if a multitude of angels were with me and I felt nurtured and loved.

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”
I awoke Christmas morning in time to watch the Disneyworld Christmas Parade in Florida, which entertained Joanie, my inner child. And then my spiritual needs were filled with the taped “Christmas Eve at the Glass Cathedral,” with glorious Christmas music of their choirs (adults and children — girls in long black dresses and wearing pearl necklaces, and the boys in tuxedos), orchestra and organ. I’d been looking forward to the piano playing by Roger Williams, but Robert Schuller announced that the pianist had had surgery and wouldn’t be there. However, before I could be disappointed, he said that we would still hear Roger’s music via a video tape
from last year’s Christmas Eve program, and it was delightful.

As the sermon unfolded, Rev. Schuller said, “Christmas is different this year,” and he referred to September 11th and everything that had changed since then, such as firemen replacing football heroes, and wreaths being placed on graves, rather than doors, and on and on. Yet, he surmised that those who died were angels bringing us the message of the true meaning of Christmas. He said, “Jesus was the beginning of heaven on earth.” Later, he told a story about a young boy wanting to buy his mom a Christmas present, but only having a dime. Nevertheless,
he walked along the stores in his small town, until he came to a florist shop, went inside and asked, “Do you have a flower I could buy for my mom? Any kind or color will be fine, but I only have a dime.”

The florist was about to close shop for the day, but he said, “You know, I think I have something for you,” as he went to the back room and brought out a huge box wrapped in a silver bow. He took the dime and gave the boy the box, which was almost too big to go through the door. In the background the florist’s wife asked, “Jacob, what did you do with the dozen white roses?”

Jacob replied, “I’ll tell you, but first let me explain: “in my sleep a voice said, ‘Make up a dozen white roses and place them in a box with a silver bow. You will know who they are for, and how much to charge.””

I love this story which illustrated the point: “I want to be part of heaven on earth.” After all this, I felt filled with the Christmas spirit, but I took time for a meditation to visit with Jesus, and to remember my loved ones who were no longer on the physical plane. When I opened my eyes, the sun was shining on my little Christmas tree, stuffed Santa and Christmas cards hanging on the valance, and the joy of Christmas seemed to fill our little home
on wheels.

Eventually Van got up singing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas,” and I brought to his attention all the special Christmas decorations: a tiny golden lighted wreath in the kitchen window next to this year’s love-filled card (three wisemen on camels, and a star) designed by Jerry Pitre, and on the table last year’s card (with a smiling Santa), a white dove on a pinecone (from our former neighbors). A small crystal cross (from my daughter, Gail) hangs from the cupboard in front of this year’s Christmas cards, and a flat plastic Nativity scene (like stained
glass) is in the side window. The miniature Christmas tree, Santa and snowman are on the dashboard, and angels fly from the knobs on the high cupboards.

Our home was filled with the Christmas spirit and I felt a warm glow of gratitude and joy, as I turned on the TV for the taped Christmas program of “Peter, Paul and Mary.” I laughed, as they began singing, “We Wish you a Merry Christmas,” as if in response to Van’s song. And after telling Van about Robert Schuller’s sermon, I said that I had learned the name Emmanuel means “God With Us.” Just then, again as if in response they sang, “Emmanuel,” which seemed to bring a mystical and magical presence into our home.

Christmas Past: Christmas Present
Christmas Past has always been with my family, until last year when we were here visiting Van’s mom. Now, in her mid-eighties, she no longer does Christmas, so it’s like any other day.

So last year to make Christmas special, Joanie wanted to walk across the street to the Eastern Indian Cuisine restaurant where we feasted on a strange and unusual buffet: names we couldn’t pronounce and had no idea what we were eating, other than spicy, or not as spicy. But the food was colorful, such as orange saffron or yellow curry. And we were the minority, as everyone else was from another culture.

Van didn’t care much for the spicy food, and ordinarily I don’t do well with it, either, but nthis food seemed nurturing to me, and I was disappointed that the restaurant had gone out of business.

However, when we returned from southern California, we noticed a new restaurant, Curry and Rice, had opened and I wanted to eat there.

Christmas Eve day, I went to the Good Hand Medical Center, an Asian healthcare clinic where I had begun treatment, before heading south. The place was packed, because they would close at noon and the next day, and everyone wanted their treatments. My physical therapy treatment was especially deep and painful, and I knew that it was releasing those tight, blocked places in my body. In fact, I thanked the therapist for my “Christmas Present.”

I felt a warm glow as I also thanked everyone and wished them “Merry Christmas,” as I left. I felt so thankful to this place for its nurturing and healing benefits. I had moved through my prejudice of thinking they wouldn’t speak English and I couldn’t understand them, or vice versa to learning that they do communicate quite well, and they certainly are qualified and competent. Actually, Oriental medicine and healing is much more diverse and effective than modernmedicine with its side-effects, and I thanked God for guiding me to the Good Hand Medical
Center.

When I arrived home, I suggested to Van that this would be a good time to go to the new restaurant, so we walked across the street and into a new adventure. I don’t know what I expected, but much to my surprise, they had an ample array of food displayed in their buffet, and I immediately loaded my plate. Van had decided to order something from the menu, but he couldn’t understand it, and when he saw my heaped plate, he went for it: lamb, chicken, rice, beans, vegetables, breads; everything we eat, only prepared much different; and more spicy, but delicious.
This meal sufficed for the day, other than popcorn and snacks, before Van went to his mom’s.

But now it was Christmas Day, and the second year for joining with Van’s brother, Roy, at his delightful home that he had remodeled himself, over the years. Roy’s mom, Ruth, raised Van. Van and Roy have the same father, however, Roy acknowledges her second husband, Ed, as his father, because he really never knew his dad. Ruth and Ed were here too, and it was fun being with this part of Van’s family.

Roy is single, and he’s a great host, as he busily prepared healthful snacks, which he served early. Later he BBQ’d a London broil, which was followed by the pumpkin pie that we brought. In other words, we ate all day, while sitting around the table chatting. My family was represented by a call from Cousin John, who was with his daughter in Southern California. He explained that they would be guests at a fabulous home in Malibu, some
friend of his daughter’s roommate.

In the evening, Dottie called from Colorado for a short visit, and then used the speaker phone so Steve, Josh, and my granddaughters could say “Hi.” This made a pleasant finale to the Holiday Season, and shortly thereafter we left. But the day wasn’t over, because we went to Van’s mom’s and watched TV. She added a seasonal treat by serving fruitcake from Harry and David’s; and I mean this was all fruit and nuts; no batter, and it was very sweet.
So, we had celebrated Christmas 2001 in the traditional, yet different, way: with family, either in person or by phone. It had been an unstressful event this year, and it had been truly meaningful.

This is Meaningful!
When I began this chapter, I thought it was about the true meaning of Christmas, but nowwe are moving forward, and I realize there is more to write: the true meaning of life. As I’ve said, there is much more to life than the mere surface experience and expression. And, although I’ve shared several pages about Christmas, I haven’t delved into anything at depth. In other words, it’s a nice Christmas Story, so to speak, but what else was going on? Although I said that I wouldn’t write anything more about the negative aspects of life.

I’ve had reason to reconsider my decision. The reason came in the form of the meaningful Christmas present that I bought Dottie and Steve: “The Heart of the Soul” by Gary Zukav. I’d seen him talk about it on Oprah, and I knew Dottie would love the book, because she and Steve not only read his last two, they used it as the basis for their daily personal growth discussions. So, when Dottie and I chatted, we even had time to talk about Gary’s visit on Oprah, and I said that I would buy them the book, if I could read it first.

She agreed, and I launched into another meaningful project, as I spent Christmas week reading about emotional awareness being the journey to the soul. And I was especially interested in Gary’s discussion about the energy system, and how it functions in our body. In addition, he explains about the five energy centers in the body, not unlike the Twelve Centers that I write about, and how they become blocked.

Bottom-line, emotional awareness is the focus of his latest book, with techniques to becomemore emotionally aware. Christmas morning I mentioned to Van that I’d been Guided to read aloud the chapter on intimacy, as a gift from God, so to speak.

Earlier, I suggested that he could let me know when he was ready for me to read, and he’d been going through his morning routine, while I was doing my projects. Finally, I sat on the couch, while watching “Peter, Paul and Mary,” and he was still eating. Suddenly, he zipped in  front of me and turned on the motor, obliterating my view of the TV, and also causing an unpleasant distraction with the noise.

His energies had changed, and reminded me of his past behavior when he didn’t want to do something, or when he couldn’t deal with it. He would indulge in what I term Diversionary Tactics that would seem very reasonable and necessary, but they were really for the purpose of interrupting or interfering; in other words to get his own way, rather than make the honest communication to express his need or want.

In this case, although he didn’t consciously know what I was going to read, his unconscious knew, and it was attempting to block me from reading this extremely meaningful information; knowledge that would impact the rest of his life, because he would no longer have the excuse of not knowing.

Following Gary Zukav’s instructions, I became aware of my anger, and I tuned into my body and felt the pain, indicating points of blocked energy. I remembered past times when this had happened, and how I had felt.

I knew that Van knew something was going on, because he looked around, while still stretched in front of me and reaching to the ignition. However, I said nothing, but kept focused on my own inner process. Eventually he turned off the motor and said, “Aren’t you going to read?”

I said, “No, I’m not.” There was no point reading into his resistance. He insisted that I read, so listening to my Inner Guidance, rather than refuse, as I would have done in the past, I read aloud. However, my voice was till heavy with anger, but I saidnothing. It came to my attention that the words were more impactful in this tone of voice than they would have been otherwise. I also remembered that one of the passive-aggressive ways Van operates is to push things to the limit, and then when the person blows up, he shapes up, until the next time. So, when I didn’t follow expected behavior, the game had ended.

The next day when I asked if he had any comments or feedback on what I’d read, he said that he was still thinking about it. I said, “It’s probably the most meaningful thing I’ve ever read to you, as it applies to you.”
I remembered that I had been Guided to suggest he read the chapter to himself, and he did. Now, I knew that I had been Divinely Guided, and when he finished, I again asked for his input.

His energies had totally changed, as he replied, “It puts together the energy with the authentic power; it’s the energy that goes out from your energy system in love and trust, when you are in touch with how you feel.” It gets back to asking the right question, which is “‘What am I feeling about that experience?’ versus ‘What’s causing that experience?'”

He paused, and then added, “It’s another way of saying a lot of things that you’ve said.” “Yes, it’s confirmation” I replied. But the important thing is that the words had spoken into his listening and he understood. I knew that he had moved through to another level of emotional awareness on his soul journey. Now, it was simply a matter of seeing where it went from there.

On the other hand, when thinking about it, changes were already in progress. Although Van does minimum Christmas on his own, when selecting a card for his mom, I suggested that we each choose a card for the other and read them there, thus saving several dollars, yet getting the meaningful message. He selected one that said, “When you are reading this card, it’s being touched by an angel.” And I was touched by his selection. It kind of put everything intoperspective for me, that he actually felt that way about me, especially with all the hassles we’vegone through in recent years. This spiritual journey certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s one we’re on together, and it feels like we are coming through to the smoother part of the trip, if we keep following God’s guidance.

It Really Doesn’t Matter
The morning after writing the above words, I had another acupuncture session. Since it would be my last (we would be moving on), I asked that Sam (his nickname) do points for my memory, thumb, legs and my digestion. I felt like a pincushion as I lay on the table relaxing while the energies did their thing.

I said my affirmation of God’s Divine Plan for good, and noticed that most everything that I thought it was, hadn’t happened. So, in a moment of awakening, I realized that we’d been doing it all along: the ongoing hassles between Van and I were actually bringing us both into a clearer emotional awareness, which, according to Gary Zukav, is the “Journey to Your Soul.” I said, “Okay, God, I’ll stop resisting and attempting to control the direction of my life, and I’ll accept the way it’s going as your Divine Plan for my life. Maybe we’ll find a place to settle down and maybe my website will blossom forth into fruition; or maybe not. Either way, it is okay.

And maybe the relationship with Van and I will be more harmonious and the trip will be nsmoother, or maybe it won’t, but it really doesn’t matter, because the resulting emotional awareness is all part of the Journey. It’s the true meaning of life.

As Gary says, “Emotional Awareness is the alignment of the personality with the soul.” It’s a matter of continuously studying and being aware of the emotions within us, so whatever events assist this process is part of our individual and collective Journey.

With this new level of understanding and surrender, I could feel God’s healing power coursing through my body via the needles, releasing blocked energy and opening the energy centers within me; whether the five mentioned by Gary Zukav, or the twelve that I’m accustomed to, or the much more complex energy system of oriental medicine. It doesn’t matter; God knows and the healing is in progress.

One Last Time
I made an appointment for one last deep massage the next day, because my neck and shoulders were still tight. Also, I didn’t want to pay the upfront $100.00 deductible medical costs, after January 1st, because my intention was to stay well. As I told Patric, the physical therapist, “I’m going to miss these treatments. I may have to move to Santa Clara.”

Yet, on a deeper level I knew that the need and time for these treatments would be over, with this last one, and I would be moving on to the next phase of my Journey of the Soul. Patric made this a memorable event, first with even deeper acupressure and massage, and then with a remedy that I’d never knew existed, until the day before, when I saw a small flame moving behind the curtain, in the adjoining cubicle, during my session with Dr. Yu (Sam). He explained that it was cupping, a favorite alternative healing method of the Russians. He pulled
the curtain back enough for me to see the clear glass handle-less cups, as the therapist inserted a small torch and turned the cup upside down over the patient. Although I saw a bottle of alcohol used for lighting the flame, I still didn’t understand the concept, and decided that it wasn’t something I needed. Wrong!

After Patric had worked on my left hip for a considerable time, while I groaned and tightened my leg from the intense pain of yet another location of blocked energy, he announced, “I’m going to use cupping.”

I was on my back and couldn’t see the process, but I thanked God for preparing me the day before, as Dr. Yu had explained, “The flame heats the air (in the cup) and creates a vacuum which suctions the cup onto the body, tightens the skin and draws the toxic energy.” Now, I could feel each cup clamp onto my butt and tighten, like a giant kiss. Oh great, now I would have six round hickeys. Thank goodness I wasn’t going for nude swimming afterward; I could never explain this. What some people do in the name of healing!

A Milestone on the Journey of the Soul
When I got home, I felt drained, and I knew that I needed a day of rest and lots of water to process the toxins that had been released from my body, thus freeing more energy. This worked out great, because I still wanted to read several more chapters of “Heart of the Soul,” before mailing it to Dottie so that they could start studying it on January 1st.

I began reading the chapter, “Pleasing” aloud to Van, while he continued his morning grazing (dried fruit, nuts, pumpkin bread, apple, banana and granola). I admit that I am a Recovering Codependent, but Van is still a full-fledged pleaser, and this chapter hit him right between the eyes. Not that the information was new, but it was the combination of timing (Van’s readiness and willingness to hear) and the approach. The author compared resentment/anger and pleasing, as two edges of the same sword, resulting from pain, fear and feeling not worthy; each being a different survival mechanism.

The words spoke into Van’s awareness and listening, and he admitted that he was a pleaser. Even though I knew I was treading on thin ice, the way opened for me to mention his relationship with his mother. He said that he was doing better, so it seemed safe to ask, “So how could you change the pattern?”

He said, “By realizing that she doesn’t have to be pleased.” The discussion continued, going deeper than we had ever gone, and I could feel his energies become lighter. That night his conversation with his mother was different; more outgoing, more confident, and I knew a milestone had been passed.

My Character Flaws
The book zapped me, too, with the chapter on judging, which brought to our attention that what we judge in another is really a character flaw in ourselves. I already knew this, but it reminded me that I had been indulging in this negative pastime, and it had affected my energy system big time. So I needed to look to myself for the causes, and make the necessary changes.

Another chapter that hit me between the eyes was “Savior Searching,” which reminds us that we are not going to find the fulfillment of our lives in another person, a home, car, clothes, or any other outer circumstances. With this in mind, I shifted my attention to remembering that my fulfillment is within, and that God provides the desires of our heart.

As I’m writing these last paragraphs, I realize that the flow of my writing stopped, I have become distracted, such as stopping to eat, and it’s conceivable that there is more work needed in this area.

On the other hand, Van had become involved in the year-end football schedule, which always affects my writing. However, according to Gary Zukav, other people are not responsible for our energy systems, so my job is to examine my emotions and discover the pain, and its underlying fear, and obviously when it comes to being judgmental, I know that I’m not feeling worthy.

Later in the day I wrapped the book and asked Van to take it to the post office while I prepared dinner. With the book gone, I felt a sense of loss, and momentarily wondered how I would free myself from these character flaws. Then I remembered, it’s not the book, nor Gary Zukav, nor even his techniques that frees me. It is God, and I can ask him, or Jesus, to take away my sins (shortcomings), and it is done. Amen!

Confirmation
The last Sunday in 2001 started with my awakening in time to watch Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power on TV for a meaningful New Year message. Instead, the program seemed to be about Christmas, with hymns, including the guest, Randy Travis, singing “Silent Night.” He’s right, even when he sings holy music, it’s still country western. In any event, he shared his story of being rescued from a meaningless life to being saved, reborn and baptized in recent years.

When I think about it, Dr. Schuller’s sermon was appropriate for New Year’s, because it was about the last character in the Christmas scenario. Do you know who it is?

It’s not mentioned in the familiar Christmas Story, but later, in Luke 2: 25: “Now, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon.” We are told that he is a devout and righteous man and “the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Also, that the Holy Spirit revealed to him that “he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” And that one day he was guided to the temple when Mary and Joseph brought their baby, Jesus, for purification. “He took the baby up in his arms and blessed God” and said, “Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace,” then he spoke a blessing for the baby.

Although Dr. Schuller didn’t mention Anna, the prophetess, she too gave confirmation of Jesus as the “redemption of Jerusalem.”

I wonder how much confirmation we need to finally get it that He is our savior? We certainly don’t need to look elsewhere. We simply need to trust, in faith, that the Promises have been fulfilled.

I love the true stories that Dr. Schuller shares, although I often forget the point. This time he told about a pastor whose new church was to be ready for a Christmas Eve Candle lighting Service. But a storm came and broke the plaster, causing a hole above the podium. He prayed and felt guided to walk by a garage sale where he saw a very large tablecloth, which he was guided to buy. On his way back to the church, he passed an elderly lady who had just missed her bus and had sat on the bench to wait for the next one. The minister knew that it would be
45-minutes, until the next bus, so he invited her into the church.

As she sat in a back pew, he noticed that the tablecloth was large enough to hang over the hole, and he began nailing it in place. Once hung, it looked like a tapestry, and he admired the huge cross in the lovely cloth. Just then the lady slowly walked forward and asked, “Are there three initials in the corner of that tablecloth?”
He replied “Yes” and told her what they were.

She said, “That is my tablecloth. Then explained, “During World War II, in Germany, we knew our lives were in danger, so my husband insisted that I leave and I took the cloth with me, because I had made it and cherished it.” She added, “I never saw my husband again. I suppose he was killed by the Germans.”

The pastor offered to give her the tablecloth, but she insisted that it remain in place. After the Christmas Eve service, an elderly man approached the pastor and asked, “Are here initials in the corner of that cloth?”

The pastor replied, “Yes.” The man told him the initials and said, “During World War II, my wife took that
tablecloth with her when she fled Germany.” He paused sadly, and added, “I suppose that she has died.”
The pastor said, “Your wife is alive, and I know where she lives, because I took her home to Staten Island, after she had come to The Bronx to do housework. I’ll take you to where she lives.”
The old man nearly ran up the three flights of creaky old stairs to her apartment, and when he arrived at the top, the husband and wife happily embraced. Somehow, that seems to be a fitting story for confirmation of the true meaning of life.”

What is Important?
I had wanted to take time for meditation, but instead I felt guided to watch “In Touch,” another Christian TV program. The pastor, Charles Stanley, spoke about “What is Important?” And I knew that this was to be the conclusion of my chapter.

He based his sermon on the incident of Jesus’s visit with Mary and Martha, at the home of their brother, Lazarus. The story says that Martha busied herself with preparing the meal, while Mary sat at his feet, as he spoke to the others in the room. Martha became distraught that she was working in the kitchen, while Mary sat at his feet, so she asked Jesus to tell Mary tohelp. But Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken from her.” Needless to say, the rest of the sermon was about priorities, and that giving time for Jesus, and reading scripture, is the highest. He gave twelve reasons why time with God is the highest priority, and he listed the benefits of this time. For instance, it gives us insight and instruction, prepares us for whatever is before us, anchors us for the storms of life, gives us comfort, and it is a source of joy.

He reminded us that our priority is to put Jesus first. I might add that the above is true when we put God first, last and always. At this ending of 2001 and beginning of 2002, I remember that He is the alpha and omega, and everything in between.

Chapter 4
FUN IS FUNDAMENTAL

Happy New Year: 2002!
My friend and partner, Joyce Cole, has an inner child who insists “Fun is FUNdamental,” and the further I travel through this Journey of Life, the more I agree. No more struggle, as Cousin John has announced, as he decided to avoid difficult people and circumstances. With these ideas as guidelines, we awoke to a new day, a new year, and a new beginning: 2002. I had set aside reading “Millionaire From Nazareth,” while zipping through Gary Zukav’s latest book, “Heart of the Soul” about emotional awareness, but now I resumed reading the next
appropriate chapter, “The Prosperity Law of Continuation.”

Catherine Ponder tells us that the word “continue” means “to go on without interruption,” or “to begin again after interruption.”

For many of us, life had been interrupted September 11th, and we had all made it through Christmas and the New Year’s Eve celebrations without further terrorist activities. And the world, at least America, heaved a big sigh of relief as we moved forward in faith that “Everything would be okay no matter what happens.” This quote is from a woman who survived a plane hijacking. She actually was shot and left for dead, but she did survive, and everything was okay; she is even enjoying her fifteen-minutes of fame, as she appears on Oprah, and other
shows.

Look for it!
The survivor’s inspiring story reminds us of what Catherine Ponder says, “No place is barren of good, if we expect it and look for it. This is done by praying for it, and then seeing it, which is the option awaiting everyone who lived through 9-11. We have the choice of living in fear, or moving forward in faith; expecting the good and seeing it, even before it appears. After all, we live in a universe of Divine Substance (energy) awaiting request, so it can come forth into manifestation. It will materialize as struggle, or fun and joy; this formless energy is at our
command.

For instance, Joyce is living in a gold mine, but she hasn’t quite figured out how to bring the treasure from its buried depths to the surface, where she can enjoy its bounty. She reminds me of the story of the couple whose young daughter developed a mysterious illness that caused her to become listless and unable to eat or even talk. The old-fashioned, wise doctor advised her parents to take her to the desert. While there, the father improvised an ant farm in a glassed container, so she could watch them going about their activities. Other people became fascinated with the invention and he built and sold the ant farms, thus providing for his family. The girl
became so interested that she eventually got well and they returned to their former lives. Joyce’s gold mine comes in the form of her stories gleaned while caretaking the elderly.

For instance, she tells of one elderly lady who received cotton flannel sheets for Christmas and mumbled, “I’d rather have satin sheets.” Or, there’s the 93-year-old lady Joyce was assisting from the toilet to her wheelchair, which was padded with a large Mickey Mouse towel, but the woman balked, “I’m not sitting on his face” she exclaimed. Joyce folded the towel with his face downward, out of sight, and it was okay.

When I write these stories, they aren’t that funny, but when Joyce tells them, from her humorous viewpoint, she regales listeners with laughter, and she has endless stories from her caretaking job. however, she hasn’t gotten them written down in a form that she can market, because she doesn’t have enough confidence in her ability to write or to market.

Van’s brother, Roy, has a garage full of his long-handled Grillwizard BBQ scrubbers, but he’s created a block to getting them marketed, because he feels he needs better packaging; but the graphic designer lives in New York and the last time Roy heard from him was 9-11, so he’s at a standstill. Now, he’s selling his home in order to get out of debt.

And I have no room to talk, because I have a website full of books that I haven’t been able to get out into the market place.

So, what’s keeping us from enjoying the abundance of good in our lives? It’s our thinking, or beliefs that keep us limited and in bondage. And I’ve written entire books on this subject, yet I’m still a victim of this negative syndrome that keeps me from moving forward to abundance.

Say, “No”!
“The Prosperity Law of Continuation” is based on the story of Jesus manifesting the loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes, and Catherine Ponder tells us the first two steps in turning lack into abundance.

Step One: When Jesus was told that there was not enough food, He paid no attention to the negative report, using the “no” power of the mind. Step Two: Instead, He affirmed a positive statement, “Give them something to eat.” This, despite the appearance of not enough food. Indeed, He called upon Divine Substance and there was enough and to share and to spare, which we will see throughout this chapter, as we study the prosperity lesson in the story of the loaves and fishes.

Catherine Ponder reminds us to use the good we have on hand by asking, “What do I have? How can I use the good I have on hand?” Joyce is a storyteller and she has stories. Roy is an inventor and he has Grillwizards. Jesus had five loaves and two fish, with which he fed the thousands by refusing to see lack and by affirming the positive.

We can use the same methods that He used, to fill our needs, when we remember that bread symbolizes all the good for a healthy, free, harmonious, prosperous life. And fish symbolize increase of that good: expanded health, freedom, harmony and prosperous living.

Sit Down and Look Up
Jesus had the multitudes sit down in an orderly fashion, which symbolizes the need for us to attain order in order to demonstrate prosperity: clean cupboards and closets, create a vacuum to make room for the good we are claiming. And do what you can on the inner and outer. In this case, sitting down and looking up illustrates the attitude of expectancy, being ready to receive the good (food).

Looking up symbolizes our faith in drawing on divine resources, looking to God as the Source of our supply, whether it be bread and fish, or ideas. For me, this story illustrates that I am to continue doing what I do, writing, and trust that God will continue to guide and provide; maybe not when or how I think, but according to His
perfect plan for good.

At this time, we are parked in a safe, quiet, comfortable place with all our basic needs being met, such as electricity, water, dump. We have an abundance of food, warmth and comfort, and the use of Betty’s car, or walking to the nearby stores, if we need more. Soon we will move on, and we will still have all our needs met, as we continue to live in the Present Moment in an awareness of the Presence of God.

Good Times
But, for now, New Years Day, life continues in a traditional fashion, by watching the 113th annual Tournament of Roses Parade. In other words, having FUN! And the theme for this year is timely for this chapter: Good Times. This year’s Grand Marshall is Regis Philbin, but the youngest Grand Marshall was Shirley Temple, many years ago when she was America’s Darling. Now, she’s Shirley Temple Black, and she’s even been an ambassador.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t spend a lot of times listing and describing the floats, but since this year’s so aptly fit my title, I will indulge myself. I probably won’t be a threat to Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards, the narrators on the channel I watched, but they had a prepared script, and I’m writing mine, as I go along.

I had missed the beginning of the parade, while reading “The Millionaire From Nazareth,” and Van reminded me that it was on, when he awoke, so I tuned in late, in time for Too Much Fun, an entry by the City of St. Louis, which depicted a zoo filled with wonderful and exotic animals, such as tigers, giraffes, zebras, gorillas, and more; many animated, but all brought to life with flowers or shrubs in one form or another. It’s amazing how the designers are able to recreate anything and everything to appear so realistic.

I marveled at these float titles, such as “Here to Have Fun,” or Fun on the Fourth, considering that I had already decided on the title and theme for this chapter. This float was about football, which is appropriate with today’s interest in the sport; in fact, Van had been watching football for several days and looked forward to another game later in the day, which is Little Ralph’s idea of fun. But not Joanie. The parade provided her with several hours of fun. For instance, she laughed at the float titled Helping Friends in Need, with giant kids playing doctor, as she remembered the blue doctor kit her natural mother had sent her one Christmas. And since I was raised by a doctor, my paternal grandfather, it was especially meaningful.

There were also educational entries, such as the long-haired Frisian horses, from Friesland, an area in northern Germany, and part of The Netherlands. These short, black horses have long hair, forelock and manes and look almost like a dog. Not to be confused by the curly-hair horse that sheds its hair, including tail and mane, during the summer. What a strange image that creates. Speaking of imagination, a float titled, Fantasy and Imagination, with ants at a picnic, or Just Imagine, which had a magic dragon and kids on a boat. Not to be confused with the
Dragoons, horseback riders from the American Civil War Society. Unlike the cavalry, these riders do not fight from horseback, but get off their horses when in battle; another bit of education. A float from Ontario, California, titled Entertainment, had several replicas of old cars, all recreated with organic material.

Music, in one form or another is a popular theme, such as the Bandstand from City of Hope, titled Let’s Celebrate. Because I’m from another era, The Forties and Fifties, I enjoyed the float sponsored by South Pasadena titled “In the Mood,” with the Big Band music accompanying the dancers, who would be dancing the five-mile parade route. On the other hand, Bob’s Big Boy float featured a carhop, also from our era, who would
be skating that distance on the street, including an upcoming downhill grade. Joanie enjoyed the float titled “Bee Happy,” with Pooh Bear sticking his hand into a jar of honey, while the floral bee flitted about. And she enjoyed the many floats with butterflies, chipmunks, bunnies, birds, ducks and other animals, such as the one from Long Beach, or the one titled A Day at the Park, with kids, swings and a lemonade stand. And another float with a
park theme, Best Friends, featured a boy and his dog. And maybe the parks have a Carousel like the one recreated as a float, sponsored by the town of Cerritos, making its first entry in the parade with Fun for Everyone.

Let’s take a minute to acknowledge the marching bands, which are interspersed between the floats, such as the 77th Cavalry Marching Band, with a much longer title. Stephanie Edwards lingered over the Salvation Army Band, one of her favorites because of their wonderful contribution to the needy. Or there’s the West Point Pipes and Drums with the marchers dressed in kilts, as they played the Scottish bagpipes and drums. Somehow I missed the Columbine Marching Band from Colorado, where my granddaughter attended the school where some of her friends were killed in the massacre.

However, I was impressed with the float sponsored by the Guide Dogs for the Blind. It had gotten stalled and delayed the parade, but it was so important for this particular float, Guiding Good Times, to continue that it was pulled by a tow truck. You see, one of the riders was Michael Hinkson, the blind man whose guide dog rescued him from the 70th floor of the World Trade Center. Such a joy seeing him happy and waving, with his dog at his feet. I had seen him interviewed on TV.

Also, reminders of the WTC, were several NYPD and FDNY officers riding in a replica of a fifties convertible. Such a contrast: from the fifties to now. Or even from September 11th until now, as the men were happy, smiling and waving. I’d also seen some of the instant heroes. at the various football games, and I’m so glad that we are continuing to acknowledge our heroes for their part in America’s tragedies of 9-11.

Another float honoring heroes, Home of the Brave, sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars, showed Uncle Sam on a motorcycle doing a wheelie, and it also had a giant Statue of Liberty.

Roy Rogers was one of my favorite heroes from yesteryear, and I missed him, but he and his wife, Dale Evans, were brought back to life in the Legends of the West, look-alike horseback riders, along with John Wayne, Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, the Lone Ranger, and other favorites. Speaking of Legend Look-alikes, one float featured Marilyn Monroe, and another, Let the Good Times Roll, duplicated Elvis in a floral treatment. This one featured the major contribution of each decade, such as the space shuttle, landing on the moon, and the computer age.

This could go on forever, but I think I’ve gotten the idea across: FUN! However, it seems like a good idea to mention the award-winning floats: Theme Award: Springtime in the Neighborhood, featuring giant birdhouses and bungee-cord birds jumping from the nest. A loony bird, fearful of making the jump, added a comic aspect to this activity.

The “Most Spectacular” award went to Honda of America’s 55 ft. tall Techno-robot titled, “Thumbs Up For America,” in which the robot lifted its arm into a thumbs up position. The Humor Award went to a float featuring a Rock Concert, made up of elephants, monkeys, and tigers similar to The Jungle Book.

The Sweepstake Award went to a float called Good Vibrations featuring all kinds of giant, moving reptiles, such as dinosaurs, and all those long, hard-to-spell creatures from long ago.

And, of course, the float with the Royal Court, the Rose Bowl Queen and her court, is always a highlight of the parade. This year’s was no exception, as the “fairest of the fair” smiled and waved to their admirers.

Suddenly, the last band passed by, the announcers said “Goodbye” and it was over. But thatdidn’t mean that FUN was over. Oh no! I looked forward to a year of all kinds of fun.

Chapter 5
UNRESTRICTED SUPPLY
“Go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself” (Matthew 17: 27).

An Experiential Aide
I knew when I got into this process that the next chapter in “Millionaire From Nazareth” was titled “The Prosperity Law of Unrestricted Supply,” and I suspected that the Music CD was God’s idea of an experiential aide, as I call these learning experiences.

In any event, Cousin John had given me a music CD for the computer, and I decided to add more fun into my life with music. Unfortunately, when I tried to use it, and the instructions for installing appeared on the screen, I went into technology overload. I pushed various buttons, but nothing happened.

Finally, I asked Van to help, but his mind was on other things, so eventually I gave up. Since I was feeling familiar emotions of frustration, I got quiet and asked my body what was going on with the discomfort.

My mind never has fathomed technical stuff, and I saw flashes from childhood of trying to understand my math story problems, while Dad Freeland sat beside me patiently explaining the complicated equations. Often I had tears of frustration rolling down my cheeks, yet quite truthfully I cherished the time with my adopted father, who was also my grandfather. Otherwise, when not helping me with my homework, he was at the hospital, in his role as chief-of-staff, or behind the closed door of his den, either reading, resting, or whatever. In any event he was
unavailable to me, and I have admitted before that I enjoyed his attention, while I agonized through an endless sea of unfathomable words.

Oh, I can read them, and I even understand their meaning, but I just don’t know how to interpret by putting them into application. Suddenly, I was aroused from my flashback by the sound of music, and I realized that
Van had figured out how the program worked and it was now in operation. He asked me to join him at the computer, as he explained its intricacies. He might as well have been speaking Greek, because that’s what it was to me. Fortunately, as a computer programmer-analyst, Van understands the instructions and he’s able to get it working.

Once we began accessing the program, there was a multitude of songs listed, however, neither of us were familiar with the titles, nor the artists, because we’re not in touch with the modern music. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It’s simply a matter of choice whether or not we wanted to listen. And we were presented with the opportunity to expand our awareness by listening to the new music, or not. At least it opened a whole new world to explore; a world of unrestricted supply.

It’s Magic!
Catherine Ponder explains that this lesson is contained within three short verses, Matthew 17: 24-27 (see quote at beginning of chapter), and its suggestion of magic, or even mind power, has caused historians to question its authenticity. However, she maintains that Jesus often used His mind power to provide prosperity, and this is one example. When Jesus was called upon to pay the tax that defrays the Temple expenses, Peter immediately said, “Yes.” Because Peter represents Faith, and when he’s functioning in his spiritual consciousness, he always says “Yes.” (See my book “Faith is Saying ‘Yes’ to God). It’s only those times when he allows his human failings to take over that fear enters the picture and he sinks into the ocean, or he denies that he even knows Jesus. In other words, he wavers, just as our faith falters at times. In this story, Peter is asked, by the collectors, if Jesus pays his tax (to the temple) and he replies, “Yes.” In other words, his faith is strong, although the group had no money to pay the temple tribute.
Later, Jesus told him how to obtain the money, from the fish’s mouth, which definitely suggests magic. Nevertheless, Peter followed the instructions: He went to the sea, cast a hook, took the first fish, opened its mouth, and paid the temple tax; not only for Jesus, but for the twelve disciples. And thus we have the Prosperity Steps for Unrestricted Supply; unrestricted meaning unlimited, or abundant.

Catherine Ponder easily disproves the theory of magic, as she explains the steps which we are to take one at a time and allow to unfold before the next step is revealed. 1: Go to the sea of Divine Ideas (Universal mind) symbolized by the ocean. 2: Cast a hook, get definite or specific about what is wanted or needed. 3: Take the first fish, symbolizing idea of increase. 4: Open its mouth to allow the idea to unfold and reveal its secret; rather than impetuously act upon it. 5: Use it for the specified purpose; not getting sidetracked. 6: Share the abundance.

Go to The Sea
Napoleon Hill, famous prosperity author, writes “Ideas are the beginning of all fortunes.” He tells of his job interview with a newspaper editor in which the man offered him an opportunity, and then took out his stop watch, while Napoleon made his decision in less than one minute. This decision opened the way for him to become wealthy, while teaching others the success secrets of the rich and famous.

When we go to God (Universal Mind), symbolized by the sea, they are unrestricted. Not getting specific is like going into Sears and saying, “I want to buy something,” without indicating whether you want clothes, tools, toys, or household items.

Cast a Hook
As usual, God gave me an experiential aide when we recently went shopping. We were on our way to the supermarket, but I noticed a Mervyn’s next door and remembered that Van needed new workpants, so I headed into the department store.

I’ve learned that, like his mother, Van doesn’t do well with change, and especially without warning. And, furthermore, he hates clothes shopping, so I found myself dealing with Little Ralph, which meant no cooperation, and it was all up to me. I’d already learned that the bright colors he likes are not in style, so I asked, “Of the few choices for men, what color do you want?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?” I hate being put in the role of his mother, but I’ve learned from experience that he won’t make a selection, so I finally grabbed a pair of bright blue jeans that were softer than the usual
ones, and said, “How about these?” “Okay.” He would have agreed no matter what I showed him. We’ve worked through this passive-aggressive behavior: agree to anything and then resent it, but getting caught off guard,
and not feeling that he had a choice, he’d resorted to this covert method of control, which I’m fully onto.
“What size?” I asked, and handed him the pants, after he mumbled “34-32,” adding something about the ones he has are too short.

Although we’re staying near a Walgreen’s, it’s small and has a limited supply, so again, I dragged him inside to buy a knit cap for our walks in the colder weather. Again, we went through the same process trying to select a color. Fortunately, it’s one-size-fits-all, so I handed him the maroon cap and started to leave. But I noticed the heaters, which we also needed, and stopped to examine them and tried to get his input. Since there was no price, I asked two clerks, and neither seemed to know, but one suggested that it might be about $11.00, so we took it. Van, or I should say, Little Ralph, went ahead and paid. We then went on to the supermarket, where I’d only intended buying a few items, but it’s so seldom that we go shopping, I realized that we needed some staples and I began adding to the basket.

We still had to go to Kinko’s to check my e-mail and publish my recent website additions, but Little Ralph wanted to get home to watch football, so we finished and left.

This story continues, and it is an example of why people don’t get what they want, because they have conflicting interests; they are not in alignment. Little Ralph was definitely not with the program from the beginning, because he had his own agenda: football, and he was in his resistant, rebellious, resentment mode. Therefore, we spent the next day returning or exchanging what we got, or completing the projects, which took us in a different direction than I had planned. Fortunately, Adult Ralph had taken over by this time.

For instance, the pants were too long; the size he usually gets would have been right, and he had refused to try them on, so they had to be exchanged. He hadn’t paid attention when paying for the heater, and he discovered that he’d been charged too much, and when he went back, he learned that the clerk had quoted us the wrong price; it cost much more, so he returned it and went to another store where he paid the same price for the same heater. And then he remembered that we needed more bottled water, so we returned to the supermarket. In addition, he announced that he needed to handle his banking on-line, so another trip to Kinko’s was required.

I wondered why we had to go through this seemingly wasted time, but apparently God was giving us another experiential aide, which is a good example of what happens when you’re not definite and specific.

Personally, I find a conflict between getting definite and leaving it to God’s guidance and direction, but it seems to be a matter of consciousness. In other words, when all systems are in alignment (not an inner child pulling elsewhere), and all people involved are in agreement, the desired energies (Divine Substance) can manifest. But, when discord or inharmony exists, the results are discordant, such as our shopping day.

So, if affirmations, visualizations, treasure-maps or wish lists are needed, then go with them and avoid returns, exchanges and unwanted results. I will admit that there are times when we are in alignment and agreement and our good flows forth in abundance. Bottom-line, pray and keep focused on God, and He will guide you
appropriately.

The First Fish
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, fish symbolize the ideas of increase, but taking the first fish can become a disaster if we are not in alignment with God, because we might receive an idea that we aren’t ready to handle, or it isn’t fully developed.

I get this lesson all the time, because I’m impatient and I want it to all happen yesterday. So, God gives me the lesson again. I’ve told this story before, but it seems to apply here, although it began years ago, and it’s still unfolding.

I had an idea to advertise my “Rainbow Connection” in the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, which reach several million readers. Obviously, I wasn’t ready for the multitude of fish that would have manifested, and my “Rainbow Connection” wasn’t ready either, as I can see in hindsight. In any event, God knew best and not one response came from my investment. The idea needed time to grow and unfold, before application. I learned the lesson so well that I’m still hesitant to make any big overtures of advertising, rather waiting for God to reveal
the next steps. Otherwise, I would have made the same mistake many times, until I learned the costly lesson.

Even now, with my website, I’m anxious to get listed on search engines, but would I be. ready for thousands of responses? The answer is “No!” And I know that God will let me know when it’s time.

Catherine Ponder suggests that we must open the fish’s mouth gradually, while this process unfolds, and that we keep quiet, meditate and wait for the idea to reveal its secrets. She also suggests that we not talk about the idea prematurely with others, because the listener can talk you out of it, or short-circuit the idea, if not in alignment.

Open it’s Mouth
The problem is that I have to make sure I’m not indulging in delaying tactics, because of fear of failure, or fear of success. How will I fill all the orders? It has to be done on-line, because my books are not published, so how do I send them? Fortunately, while with my Changing Money Patterns partner, Joyce, we decided how to receive the money and we learned how to send the books on-line. It’s a good thing we hadn’t started sooner, because we’re using Joyce’s address, which she recently changed, so we’ve avoided that mix-up.

What if I do get out there and everyone sees my website and writing? They might judge and criticize, thus disapprove and reject. So, for me it’s been a long process of evolving and unfolding on the inner, as well as the outer, in preparation for the abundant good that will manifest. This is the period of growth, which gives substance life, and we must wait for the harvest in faith, trusting God’s perfect time and place for the fruition.

Use it as Intended
However, there is a time to take action, as when Peter took the shekel to the collector and paid the taxes, not only for Jesus, but for all the disciples. How many people have received their desired money and then spent it on something else? This happens all the time, and it’s an extremely vital step in the demonstration of prosperity: use the money for its designated purpose.

Again, we’ve been going through this learning process. It’s about the need for a new phone system: one that allows for checking email and going on-line via our cellular phone. So, when Cousin John explained about Verizon, and even took us to a kiosk at the mall, we knew this was the right one.

However, we weren’t able to get it all together at any one place; either it was tooexpensive, or they didn’t have the cable, or we couldn’t figure out what to do to order on-line. Finally, we went in the rain to Radio Shack, a Verizon outlet, and I was so disgusted with the clerk’s lack of knowledge that we walked across the parking lot to AT&T. When I learned that they could provide the same service, I decided that it would be easier to use our present
phone system, which required we buy a cable that they didn’t have. However, the attendant directed us to another place. They had the cable, but we learned that we also needed a PC module, which cost over $300.00, and the system would be much slower than Verizon. Although I was anxious to get it handled, we decided to wait, pray, and see what happened. Van talked to the Verizon company on the phone and got some more information,
such as the fact we would be able to have our base number in Colorado, which was a major factor, so that Dottie and I could talk without extra charge. Van also got the location of the local Verizon retail store.

When I talked with Cousin John, he was in the desert and said his phone system was working great; in fact he still has both systems and his Verizon got reception over 95 percent of the area he traveled, and he strongly advised us to get the Verizon setup, which he had thoroughly researched.

So, despite the fact that I almost settled for the easy way out, using our present phone system, we finally went to the Verizon retail store and bought the system that we had intended buying in the first place, with an improved cellular phone: this one had a speaker phone, which would be much easier on my sensitive ears.

Actually, it wasn’t that easy, because they didn’t have the necessary cable, nor could they arrange for our Colorado based phone number. However, the clerk, Assan Jethmal, made numerous phone calls, until he had determined what needed to be done to order the system by phone, then he called them and stood by while I answered the required questions and the phone was ordered, with the promise that it would arrive on Tuesday.

What an Innovation!
As promised, the phone arrived on schedule and Van read the lengthy directions and started the battery charging, deciding to leave it connected all night. The next morning he pressed the designated buttons to automatically activate the phone, but it “failed,” so he had to call Customer Service. This involved three phone calls and much button pushing, before it finally worked. Thank goodness for his patience, but I wondered how
the average person, who has no technical knowledge, could ever install this set up.

Nevertheless, once the phone was activated, he spent several more hours getting the system coordinated with my computer. In the process, he checked my email and brought in eight messages. What an innovation!

There are Restrictions
However, despite this chapter title relating to Unrestricted Supply, he wouldn’t send out the 17 messages I had written, because it uses up the limited weekday minutes, so my option was to wait until the weekend or go to Kinko’s.

In addition, it would not be prudent to send graphics on the email, because they are so large they take too much time, thus using more minutes. And, of course, it would be necessary to eliminate as many unsolicited email messages as possible; but that couldn’t be done until the weekend, when I could get on-line.

Okay, I could live with all this for the convenience of having instant on-line and email activities. However, the entire process was overwhelming and my ADD (attention deficit disorder) was in an uproar, so I opted to wait another day before actually using the phone. Besides, it wasn’t the weekend.

This seems to be a good time to explain a complexity of our money disorder syndrome, which I’ll discuss at length in Chapter 6. Because of Van’s Silas Marner Complex, he automatically reverts to “less is better,” unless I insist that I’m not willing to live below poverty level in a do-without consciousness. However, I have done it for the past ten years in order to accommodate our present lifestyle that is limited to the Social Security Retirement income. At first, I resented, resisted and rebelled, but throughout the years, I have accepted, because it seems to be the path we are on, at this time. Perhaps for spiritual lessons to be learned, such as acceptance, nonresistance and surrender. Or, maybe it’s part of my assignment of supporting Van on his spiritual “Journey Out of the Hole,” the title of my previous book.

In any event, I’m no longer willing to live “in the hole,” nor support a poverty consciousness, so to me this smacks of slipping backward, unless it is handled “with eyes wide open” in full awareness of what is happening. You see, as a codependent, I too slip into playing the do-without game, and it’s like an alcoholic, once you start you can’t stop. And before you know it, you’re back in the hole. For instance, bargain-hunting and coupon clipping are symptomatic of this pattern, and I’ve gotten good at both. But they are a set up for a poverty consciousness.

Therefore, I must focus on the abundance and limitless benefits of our new phone system, rather than the restrictions.

It’s a Whole New World!
Finally, the third day I made my first call, to Dottie, with Van standing by to explain each step, including the wonderful speaker phone. Of course, she didn’t answer, because they are so busy with their business, so I left our new phone number on their answering machine and awaited her return call.

How wonderful it was to talk and listen through the speaker phone, as we caught up on recent activities without my ear burning, as it did with the other phone. How I love this modern technology, once I learn to use it.
When Saturday arrived, I could hardly wait to get on-line and check out some websites at my leisure.

Today is the Day!
First, I wrote and sent some emails, and received some more, which took about ten minutes because of the slower time and a graphic attachment that had been sent. Fortunately, when I responded to them, without graphics, it was done within a few minutes.

When at Roy’s, he’d shown me how to check search engines to find websites, so I had entered several key words that I thought might lead me to my website, and I actually found it under Inner Freedom Ministry, and also Joyanna Freeland, which took me to the Unity Christ Church website where I am listed.

However, when I searched Money Makeovers, I was shocked to find another book with that title, and now I wanted to take more time to check that website, but the book seemed to be only listed on Amazon.com and I couldn’t find any further information; nor, of course, could I find my own website from that key word. So, I knew that I still had my work ahead of me, of getting listed on the search engines.

My next adventure began with the key word, RVing, which lead me to many listings, but not mine. However, I found some RVer websites that linked to others, so I could also link mine. But I had put myself into Information Overload, and I decided to wait until Sunday morning when I was fresh and my mind clear.

Getting linked to other RV websites, or anything, for that matter, meant that I must be ready to handle responses, such as book orders. And it also meant I would be exposing myself to the possibility of criticism and disapproval. I would think that I had reached this point, after many years of counseling and recovery work, but it still felt scary. Yet, I’d reached the point where I must finally bite the bullet and do it, thus opening the door to unrestricted supply.

Chapter 6
RETURN FROM A FAR COUNTRY: A PARABLE

Just Who is the Bad Guy?
A parable is “a short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle,” according to the dictionary, but I like Catherine Ponder’s definition, “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” The fascinating “Parable of the Prodigal Son” definitely fits either description, as a lesson in morality, but more interestingly as a prosperity story, and symbolic of our individual stories whenever we digress from the straight and narrow path on the Journey of Life.

We’re all familiar with the story of the youngest son who demanded his inheritance from his father and then went to a “far country” and indulged in “riotous living.” Our imaginations can fill in the details, because we have all been to our own far country in one way or another. And, even if we haven’t, there are parts of this story that apply, if we relate to the older son who remained with the father and then indulged in judgment, condemnation and self-righteousness.
OOPS! No doubt I’ve stepped on someone’s toes, but this is mild compared to Catherine Ponder and Charles Fillmore’s description. I wonder why it is that the son who stayed home and did what he was supposed to, became the bad guy, so to speak. Well, let’s investigate.

But, I Digress
But first I’m going to digress from the prodigal son story and share a relevant segment from our own Journey, as we’re learning the lessons involved. As I’m reading “The Millionaire From Nazareth,” we are still waiting for the Big Move “go ahead,” so we’re still parked in Santa Clara and Van is spending every night at his mom’s. I choose to stay home for “Me Time” and ead, write or watch TV.

This arrangement works out great, because we need the break from each other, but I began to notice some subtle behavior in Van that I felt needed communicating. He would return home, after 11:00 p.m., silently begin and complete his evening ritual and go to bed, so I told him that it was feeling as if there was some kind of rivalry for his attention between his mom and me; not on our part, but his. He seemed to be protective and defensive of his mother, and would not respond to any negative discussion, or any comments at all relating to his mother.

I questioned if he had problems in the past with his female relationships, such as his stepmother or first wife, and his mother. He admitted that it did not work for him to discuss one with the other, so he’d learned to keep quiet; a policy he still felt appropriate. However, I suggested that I would appreciate his spending some time with me, if no more than to talk about the TV shows we had each watched during the evening; mine tended to be
quieter and more inspirational; they watched “Law and Order,” and such.

He agreed to my request, but there was another issue that I wanted to discuss. As I’ve mentioned, his mom shows his love by giving him money, which he keeps to himself. Not that I want him to share his money, but it lends itself to the secretive behavior that we’d learned in Debtors Anonymous (DA) is typical of anyone with this money disorder, which some others in his family also share. This obsessive-compulsive disorder can manifest as gambling, overspending, underearning, hoarding or miserliness. There are other symptoms, such as the stock market or compulsive projects and workaholism.

I’ve learned to recognize when Van is slipping into this mode, much like an alcoholic or overeater, and his secretiveness was a clue, so I felt it was time to say something. As usual, he seemed surprised and totally unaware of any unusual behavior, but he accepted my comments and agreed to mention when his mother gives him money.

This is an outer band-aide, and I had hoped that he might have more insight into the depths and cause of his money disorder, but he didn’t. At least he didn’t reveal anything, if he did, which is frustrating to me, because the insights are part of the recovery process; his, not mine.

However, with Van a new level of recovery seems to come when I bring these issues to his attention, and then everything is okay for awhile; until next time, like any other addict or obsessive-compulsive personality.

It’s good that I’m writing about this, because it helps me to realize that I am dealing with an addictive behavior, and for me to assume otherwise is denial. But, Van has so many good qualities that is seems worth my effort to hang in there; just be aware of what’s going on. Another reason I write about these issues is the hope that others with similar issues will read this and find some answers and support. Fortunately, Van is willing to let me share his story and I’ve written many words on the subject, which are not parables, but the bitter truth of the
resulting pain for all concerned when living with these money disorders.

I urge anyone who recognizes these issues in their own lives to contact Debtors Anonymous (DA), or Gamblers Anonymous, or read “Earn What You Deserve” with the subtitle “How to Stop Underearning and Start Thriving” by Jerrold Mundis. More appropriately, I recommend my book, “Knocking on Doors,” which is Van’s story. And for anyone married to someone with this obsessive-compulsive disorder, read my book, “A Codependent’s Downward Spiral and Recovery.” Also check out http://www.Money Makeovers.homestead.com, which is a
website I created and is now managed by my Money Makeovers partner, Joyce Cole.

Prosperity Law of Right Use
As I’m writing, I can see why this story is being shared with “The Parable of the Prodigal Son,” because Van too, has been journeying in a far country, and according to Catherine Ponder, prodigal means “to waste,” and “this parable shows us how to stop wasting our substance through limited thinking and how to return to the prosperity law of right use.”
I don’t think of Van as indulging in “riotous living,” which means lacking in order and peace, because he is a peaceful man, but she says “there is a close relationship between riotous living and want,” and part of Van’s money disorder has manifested as a “Silas Marner Complex,” as I call his extreme frugality.

For instance, despite his many shirts, he sticks with one for each season, and if he gets a new shirt or pants, he gets rid of the old one. This can be a prosperity step, if rightly used such as creating a vacuum, but otherwise, it’s miserly and symptomatic of his money disorder, underearning.

I must admit, however, that some of his extreme symptoms are easing, especially as a result of being with his mother, who has a good prosperity consciousness resulting from good judgment and balance. She lives quite simply, yet she has traveled around the world on cruises, and she knows how to indulge herself when she wants to; but she also is satisfied is a simple setting.

Van, on the other hand, has misconstrued her lifestyle to support his idea of doing without. It’s a complex issue that I still do not understand, nor does he; so we live with it and do the best we can.

Two Birthday Stories
When Van’s birthday came along, I suggested that we invite his brother, Roy, to go with us to Acapulco; the restaurant, not the city in Mexico. We enjoyed the buffet while Roy and I visited, because Van seldom talks during his meal. Roy had brought along his latest design for the logo on his Grill Wizard invention, and we gave input on our ideas, although Van didn’t offer much conversation.

Suddenly, much to my amazement, he began talking about the Van Camp family history, much of which we’ve learned from their Aunt Betsy. Of course, Roy hasn’t had much contact with his father’s side of the family, although there is a stunning similarity in looks, personality and behavior, such as not talking about issues. So, he was quite surprised with all this divulgence of information, but he kept up his part with interest and questions, and we spent three hours in the restaurant.

Somehow, it seemed as if a major breakthrough had occurred, and it was a healing time for the brothers. In fact, Roy asked that we get together again before we leave. That night I went along to his mother’s as part of celebrating his special day, which he usually low-keys. Maybe the change came as a result of my having placed the four “party animals” (a yellow/purple Mardi Gras bear, astronaut monkey, leather-suited aviator fly-guy and
a millennium bear) on the dashboard and when he first got up, in the morning, I said they were celebrating his birthday and I pressed the “Happy Millennium” bear, with the explanation that he hadn’t been programmed to say “Happy Birthday.”

His mom gave him a card and a big kiss, and we watched TV and ate cookies, not unlike the other evenings we spend there. But Van was happy and felt that his birthday had been special, and he thanked me for my part for “The best birthday ever,” much to my surprise. But the biggest surprise came when we first arrived home and he immediately told me the amount of his birthday check from his mother, which far exceeded her usual generosity in showing her love for her son.

Again, it felt as if Van had definitely returned from a far country, like the prodigal son, whose father had greeted him with the symbols of welcome and acceptance, which we will discuss later.

The File Went to a Far Country
The next morning, after writing the above, I attempted to call up this chapter only to discover that it was no place to be found. Immediately my head began to tighten and spin, my chest tightened and I could hardly breathe. Even as these physical symptoms were taking place, I kept thanking God that the file was not lost, because I know that nothing is lost to God. I thanked Him for retrieving the file, as I began a file search, but it didn’t show up.

Now, I felt emotional panic in addition to the physical sensation, and I asked God what this was about, because I knew I had saved the file, otherwise it would still be on the Template, which it wasn’t. Yet, the physical sensations and emotional feelings continued, as I tried to follow the instructions given by Gary Zukav to focus on the feelings and remember when I’d felt this way before. But I wasn’t able to get beyond the terrible sense of panic.

Finally, Van awoke and barely able to breathe or talk, I told him what had happened. He was in a pleasant, positive, helpful mood and reassured me that the file wasn’t lost, as he told me the steps to go through to find it; further than I had done. He remained by my side, as thecomputer searched for the file, but the movement bothered my eyes, especially since I was feeling the head pressures; all this no doubt a result of my panic cutting off the blood supply and the oxygen, much like I’d experienced several months earlier when I had a similar attack. But this time, we were both in a different space, and when I mentioned that my eyes were bothered, he had offered to continue the search, while I laid on the couch and asked God to reveal why this was happening at this time.

The answer came in a flash: I was feeling the sensations that accompanied my original Loss Factor, as a child when my mother was taken away and I went to live with relatives. And all my life, whenever anything similar triggers those memories, I go through the entire scenario. This time the Loss Factor resulted from the missing chapter; the one relating to The Prodigal Son, who “was lost, and is found.” And within this chapter is a recap of Van’s Story, which I simply could not rewrite. It is a very intense and important chapter, and I felt a great
sense of loss.

Suddenly Van said, “Here it is,” and the blood rushed to my head and my lungs opened so that I could again breathe. God had given me another experiential aide; this time sending my chapter to a “Far Country” as a modern-day parable: “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning,” to illustrate the miracle that God works, even on a computer, when I returned to Him, rather than giving up hope for the lost chapter.

The truth is that I had done exactly what Van did, and the chapter wasn’t there; but it reappeared when he searched, because God wanted me to trust Him and to learn this lesson. And I’m sure that it’s a further illustration of the changes that Van and I are going through in our relationship with each other. We have both come back from a “Far Country.”

I might add that while awaiting Van getting up, I asked God if there was something else I was supposed to be doing at this time, rather than the chapter, and my glance fell to a poem, “see my Soul” written by Jerry Pitre that he wanted me to enter on his webpage. So, I calmed down and entered the poem and then placed it on his webpage. Perhaps this is an important step in this lesson: listen to God’s guidance and follow it, even if we think something else is a priority. Had I not done this, I wouldn’t have the realizations that took me deeper into healing my inner child; nor would I have had this important addition to this chapter. And I still wouldn’t have Jerry’s poem in place.

The Elder Son
I asked myself how this experience applied to The Prodigal Son parable, and the answer came that it’s about the lesson learned from the self-righteous elder son who had resented that the father celebrated the younger son’s return. After all, he had remained home, done what was right, and worked hard for his share of the inheritance. His harsh, self-righteous, narrow-minded attitude resembles many of us when we become rigid, intolerant, critical, judgmental, and condemning of others; the very attitudes that I had acquired toward Van, as a result of his Journey in a Far Country.

Although I realized that it had been a difficult time for him, too, I often became impatient and frustrated when he seemed to choose to remain there, or when he slipped into addictive or obsessive-compulsive behavior, as mentioned above. Now, it was time for me to come out of my own “Far Country” with an attitude of forgiveness of his past short-comings, and an acceptance of his return to his father’s home. Like the elder son, it’s time for me to “get off it and get on with it” in an attitude of love, joy and peace.

God gave me another experiential aide while I watched Dr. Phil, on Oprah, counsel a young couple who were asking help regarding the husband’s overweight and the wife’s perfectionism. Personally, I didn’t agree with Dr. Phil’s chastisement of the wife, but that’s because I could relate to her. Also, he missed the fact that the husband was probably an obsessive-compulsive overeater, which, like any addiction or OC behavior, is crazy-making,
which accounts for the wife’s seemingly harsh, rigid attitude.

You find the same thing in Alanon (Twelve Step program for people married to alcoholics or addicts), or Coda (Codependents Anonymous), which is my Twelve Step program. We all become long-suffering, rigid and harsh, and one wonders why we stay with someone who affects us to this extent. In most cases, it’s because the addictive mate has many wonderful qualities, and we love them, so we’re trying to cope and survive.

Dr. Phil also accused the couple of having a parent-child relationship, which is also true for Van and me, although I constantly say, “I don’t want to be your mother.” Of course, the solution is to stop parenting, or leave the relationship. Or, we can keep using the Eleventh Step. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

“All That is Mine is Thine”
I promised to mention the symbology of this parable, which I’ll share in Catherine Ponder’s words, based upon metaphysical definitions: the gift of clothes and the act of feasting represents the restoration of dominion and prosperity, as the prodigal son came to his senses, left his poverty stricken far country and returned to his rightful position as a son of a wealthy father. The signet ring symbolizes authority and this gift indicated that the son was still heir.

The gift of shoes indicated that the son had been completely restored to favor, like the elder son, in his father’s house. Feet represent understanding, which the prodigal son had gained in his far country experience when he realized that he had been squandering his life away, and by returning to his father’s house, which represents a consciousness of God as the Source, he would be returning to the realm of Divine Substance, or unlimited supply: “All that is mine is thine,” as the father said.
This is also true for us when we become aware of Divine Substance that is ours when we return to Our Father’s house, and we affirm: “All Thine is Mine.” I learned this lesson, on a deeper level, when the chapter file disappeared, and was returned. In other words, God gives, God takes away, and God restores according to our
consciousness: squandering in a far country; or living bountifully in our father’s house.

Chapter 7
GOING ALL THE WAY

Giving it Away
I appreciate Catherine Ponder’s understanding when it comes to the story of “The Widow’s Mite,” because she expresses my feelings when she says, “You may have disregarded the importance of this familiar old story. You may have felt it was tinged with poverty.” Yes, and I’ve also struggled with its concept of giving her all, because I find a conflict between its teachings and the precepts of Debtors Anonymous (DA), as it applies to underearning; balance of giving must be observed.

In the past, and even now (if given the opportunity), I would give or spend the majority of my income on spiritual pursuits. But, as a result of all we’ve been through in recent years, after Van’s becoming a victim of corporate downsize and job layoff, I’ve learned to be frugal, which is against my belief system. And most of my beliefs relating to prosperity have evolved from Catherine Ponder’s writings, which are based on the metaphysical teachings of Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity School of Christianity.

Don’t Cheat God
I assume that all this is part of our inner journey to learn lessons along the way. In any event, while I read Catherine Ponder’s account of R.G. LeTourneau’s, author of “Mover of Men and Mountains,” I was reminded of the prosperity law of tithing.

He described a time when he “bargained with God,” by saying, “Instead of giving You Your share now, I’ll put it all into expanding the business, and next year You will get a share to be proud of.”

Then he tells of losses and setbacks in his business that equaled the exact amount of the tithe which he withheld. “He never again tried to cheat God out of His tenth,” and he gave freely and on time, as he went on to become a multi-millionaire.

When Van earned a good income, as a computer programmer-analyst, we tithed our ten percent; in fact, I probably gave far more, and I sometimes feel guilty about spending so much on my spiritual projects that he wasn’t able to save for our retirement. In any event, when he got down-sized and no longer had an income, he stopped tithing. And when he qualified for his Social Security Retirement income, our finances were so limited
that we didn’t tithe for awhile.

Finally, I suggested that we consider that the amount of our tithe would offset the costs of conducting my ministry, such as paper, envelopes, postage, electricity and the other necessary expenses. That seemed to handle the tithe, until I read the above story. Then I began feeling that we weren’t doing it right, and that’s why our finances from the website wasn’t happening. And I prayed for guidance.

How Much is Enough?
In the meantime, I somehow became aware of an increase in Social Security payments, and I asked Van why he hadn’t mentioned it. I suspected that it was more of the secretive money issues, but then he said he had just found out two days earlier when checking our bank statements on-line.

I asked when he planned to mention it to me, and he wasn’t quite sure, but agreed that it was time to acknowledge the $30.00 increase from our combined SS money.

I suggested that it might be a good time to put more consciousness into our tithing by either giving the entire amount as a tithe, or at least my part of the Social Security income, which would be $10.00. I encouraged him to pray about it, and I would too, because I have to acknowledge my own money disorder, which seems to be giving too much to God’s work. So, I  prayed for Divine Order and Balance, as well as God’s guidance.

And, of course, the next chapter in “The Millionaire From Nazareth,” discusses “The Prosperous Mite,” which takes the subject even further and deeper, so obviously the issues of tithing and money matters are next on my agenda.
As such, it seems appropriate to share the highlights of Catherine Ponder’s chapter about “one of the world’s mightiest financial transactions.

The Widow’s Mite
Most of us are familiar with the story, from Mark 12 and Luke 21, of Jesus watching the people cast money into the Temple treasury. But few realize that the “treasury” was a hall where voluntary offerings were placed in a spout-shaped receptacle which had openings set in the outer wall at the visitor’s entrance.

Because these were voluntary gifts, rather than the required tithe, they were in addition to their regular tithe, and as such they were small, so one might wonder why Jesus made such an ado about the widow giving her two mites, worth about two cents. As He said, “For they all did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” In other words, most of the donors gave a surplus from their abundance, but she gave all that she had of her little.

Catherine explains, “a widow symbolizes a belief in lack,” because she feels separated from her good and she feels without protection and power, especially in those times, because a widow had no rights. She wasn’t allowed to buy, sell, or own property and anything her husband owned automatically went to the nearest male relative. Needless to say, she would then be totally at the mercy of the male heir. And Catherine herself, a widow twice, claims that even today widow’s feel bereft of power and protection, as can be confirmed by the many who died during the WTC attack.

However, this widow must have understood the prosperity laws of giving her all being a step in developing a prosperity consciousness so she could rise out of limitation into abundance.

Tests and Trials
I know that it is not easy to turn around the feelings of lack and limitation when experiencing these tests and trials relating to insufficient money. These are the times when we learn that God is the Source of our supply, and our dependency is not on the outer, such as people, jobs or circumstances. I had thought I had these prosperity matters handled, and I even taught classes on the subject. And, in fact, I had been in situations of limited income before, but when Van lost his job and was unable to work, due to some inner traumatic reaction, I became
devastated, desperate and depressed. As I tried to help him through the process, I went further into a downward spiral, which I wrote about in my trilogy of books mentioned earlier; and also in the twelve books telling of our inner and outer journey while traveling around the country in our RV.

But, I do not believe in remaining in a hole, and my books include the upward climb of our recovery: first mine, and then Van’s, as we concentrated on healing our inner kids while traveling and having fun.

According to Our Wills
This seems the perfect time to mention the process of formulating our Wills: Van’s and mine. His took about five minutes, but once I got into listing my assets (on the computer), I realized that I have a lot more than I might think. And I also realized that there’s a lot more to drawing up a Will, including the emotional aspects of disbursing one’s life achievements, like asking oneself “Have I accomplished what I set out to do?”

First I assigned the usual monies, with an amount for charity, and equal amounts going to each great-grandchild and grandchild for educational purposes, and the remainder divided amongst my three children.

But what about the motor home? And what about my computer system and my cellular phones? And there’s my grandmother’s ring, and my vases, pictures and collection of books (which are in storage).

And I have something else of value: my writings and my website. What about them? Who would find value and carry them on to see that they reach readers who might benefit? At one point, I put in a call to my daughter, Dottie, and asked if she would be willing to be the Executor, and she agreed, adding that she knows more about what I would want done than anyone else, and I added that she could keep a clear head about it too. This was a big relief.

But my next question was even bigger. Because she is so involved in their business, I assumed that she wouldn’t be willing to take on my books and website. On the other hand, she has more time and interest invested than anyone else, because she has edited most of them, and helped with the writing and decision making. So, I held my breath and asked if she would be willing to oversee the proper handling of them. She agreed! Not that she would do the actual marketing and promoting, but at least she showed enough interest to be reassuring.

With this in mind, I proceeded to list my various books, courses and programs. Several had already been assigned to interested recipients, such as Joyce Cole has agreed to take over the Money Makeovers program and Carol Myers has agreed to ownership of the Transformation program, which I felt needed to be legalized in my Will.

Then I assigned several other books or programs to people who had shown interest. But I was unclear about who would carry on the Inner Freedom Ministry website (this was before the Flashforward, written in “Return From a Far Country”) until it finally came to me to create a Board of Directors, and I listed the people who still show an interest, and whom I feel would be worthy heirs.

By the time I had finished, I felt that I had, indeed, completed my assignment, at least to the point where it could be carried on by others. This, of course, didn’t mean that I was finished, but it definitely felt good to know that I had reached this place on my Journey. And it also felt good to have given everything away; at least in my own mind. I didn’t feel a need to hold on and control, but I felt a sense of release and relief. And I also felt that I was going all the way in giving my all.

Now, I could continue at a more leisurely pace, knowing that my affairs are in order. But, the next step would be the visit to the attorney’s office, and the appointment had already been made. I looked forward in anticipation to this major step in my life.

Nowhere to Run, No Place to Hide
In addition, while on the subject of giving, I had felt guided to finish an agreement that I had made many years ago to Freedomer, Bobby Lusk, to edit his book, “Nowhere to Run, No Place to Hide.” Now, it was my goal to complete it. And, with that project came the realization that this also needed to be listed in my Will, as belonging to him, and not me or my heirs. It felt good to be completing this agreement, but Bobby’s story is intense, about his childhood beatings and mistreatment, and it’s difficult to write the negativity. However, Bobby’s story of rising above those terrible beginnings is an inspiration, and it’s a joy to complete this project and place it on my website, under his webpage.

Long Overdue
While reading Catherine Ponder’s chapter “The Prosperous Mite,” it occurred to me that she, of all people and places, has been my ongoing inspiration and support. In fact, she is my role-model for my writing, and years ago I had talked with her in person and exchanged letters about where to have my material published. She showed her support and acceptance of my writing by suggesting her publisher, DeVorss Publishing, but when I submitted to them, they said they were not taking new writers. Eventually, I submitted to many publishers and agents; but was never accepted, causing me to feel that it was not God’s Timing.

I’d been reading her words about systematic giving, verses sporadic or one-time tithes, so, of course, it is only natural that my first increased tithe should go to her, and that I would send it consistently. This idea prompted me to write her a letter of acknowledgment, appreciation and gratitude to send along with the check.

Writing the letter became a healing process, as I shared the story of my writing career, concluding with the culmination of those unpublished years fulfilled with the possibility of worldwide exposure.

I admitted to myself that part of the reason for the obscurity of my books is a fear of putting them out there and facing rejection and criticism. But, with her earlier influence, fortified by the recent reading of “Millionaire From Nazareth,” I felt ready to move out of my fear and not only “Open the Windows of Heaven,” but to also open the doors to my website. This would be accomplished by finally getting it listed on search engines, and also by getting the word out there. So, I started the process by giving Catherine Ponder my website address and inviting her to visit.
This happened when I realized that I was using quotes from her book and I asked permission, which is a literary must, suggesting that she could read excerpts on my website. And I also gave her my email address to respond, if she preferred, rather than writing a letter. When I got this far in my letter, I felt that we had developed a safe enough relationship that I questioned whether or not she had a website, and suggested that our networking company sells a website package, including search engines and Ecommerce, among other features, if she
were interested.

How far I had come in a very short time: from an underlying sense of awe toward the immortal Catherine Ponder, prosperity writer extraordinaire, to offering her a website program! And all this resulted from reading her recent book, which augmented the prosperity foundation of my life from reading, and teaching, many of her earlier books, such as “Prosperity Secrets of the Ages” and “Dynamic Laws of Prosperity,” and the popular, “Prospering Power of Love” and “Open Your Mind to Prosperity.”

I wondered why in the world I hadn’t acknowledge her part in my life before, but then I knew that it’s all a matter of God’s Timing, and this is the time. Thank You, God. And thank you, Catherine Ponder. As I’m writing, it comes to me that I will dedicate this book to her, with a fitting Acknowledgment at the beginning, thus fulfilling a long overdue debt of gratitude.

Showers of Blessings
Thanks to Catherine’s writings, I’ve known for many years these principles that she teaches, such as giving thanks in advance and blessing what we already have. Yet, in recent years, due to our small income, I’d slipped into complaint and dissatisfaction, so her chapter about the Widow’s Mite served as a reminder, and I began increasing my thoughts and words of appreciation and blessings.

Of course, the more I gave thanks, the more I could see and appreciate the many blessings that we already have in our lives. For instance, I look out my window at lush avocado and pine trees overlooking a swimming pool (though closed for the winter) where the sun is shining brightly, and we are walking distance to anything we need, or we can drive in Betty’s car, which is parked outside our door. And all this is paid for by Betty, as we are awaiting her Big Move; definitely a major blessing. And, because this is the last month for everyone to move,
there are very few people here, which gives us a quiet, unstressful environment where I can write and relax.
I am also fortunate that Van allows me the time to write, without demanding that I cook or spend time doing something that he wants to do, such as watching football games. In fact, he keeps the volume down so it doesn’t disturb my creativity.

I am thankful that our government still provides Social Security which allows us to live this lifestyle of our choosing. And, I am grateful my dad acquired the money that his widow, Arlene, distributed as gifts to all of us, which I used to buy our luxurious 35 ft. Holiday Rambler RV where we are comfortable, including heat and air conditioning, as needed.
I am especially thankful for the family, friends, and Freedomers in my life, and that I’m able to see many of them on a regular basis, or correspond, and use email; now on my new Verizon phone system with its speaker phone.
I could go on and on, but the idea is to focus on the positive blessings in our lives. There have been times when I looked at all the above from a negative viewpoint, and it took some effort on my part to turn it around in recent months. And when I did, life changed from waiting for the blessings to recognizing that we are already abundantly blessed.

A Time for Having and a Time for Letting Go
Yet, with all this in mind, Catherine Ponder reminds us that it is not only okay to expect more blessings, but it is a necessary part of the prosperity program. She gives many examples, including the widow who gave her all, expecting more blessings to manifest. And Ms. Ponder explains that this is not a one-shot experience, or reading an occasional book, but a prosperity consciousness is built by ongoing exposure to these prosperity principles, and it is a gradual process that takes step by step preparation and doing. And, it also requires discipline and
discernment; there is a time for having, and a time for letting go.

We’ve been learning this lesson in recent years, during our “letting go” time, while learning new lessons along the way, but I expect an increase in our finances. In fact, I know that in God’s Good Time, we will have more blessings, in the form of wealth (money), than we can possibly imagine. And I will continue taking my readers on the Journey, as I share my experience and joy.

Add More 0’s
This story of the Widow’s Mite is a good time to share a prosperity idea that I learned from Cousin John during his prosperous years as a CPA (accountant). He said that being a millionaire isn’t any different; you just add more 0’s.

One time, when staying in Laughlin, Nevada, frustrated about the restrictions of our limited finances, I attempted to become more positive. While giving thanks for our present blessings, I remembered Cousin John’s explanation about being a millionaire. It occurred to me that even millionaire’s, and billionaires, have restrictions on the amount of money they can spend. It’s simply a matter of choice as to how much is spent for what purposes.

When I realized that I have choices, I didn’t feel so frustrated and limited. For instance, when we stay at Laughlin, we can choose to pay for the luxury of staying at the Riverside RV Park, with full hook-ups, cable TV and free shuttles to the casino. Or we can choose to dry park free at one of the casinos, and have more money to attend the live shows and other extras that we enjoy. It’s all a matter of choices.

I found this realization to be freeing, and I remind myself whenever I begin to feel frustrated or get into a lack consciousness. As I said above, in a positive attitude, the very things I looked upon as a blessing had seemed like a curse in my negative consciousness.

Climbing the Ladder
I am writing this subtitle the day after our appointment with the attorney for preparing our Wills. And I can see that it’s an ongoing inner and outer process; one that involves deep inner issues. So, writing it out, as it unfolds, is a healing part of my recovery; or maybe I should say our recovery, because I’m sure that there is much more going on with Van than he is aware of or discusses. Also, as I’ve said many times, this ongoing Journey is cyclic and spherical, and we evolve through the same issues many times on different levels. For instance, I’ve cycled
through with my various levels of self, including conscious and subconscious, and also ego and inner child. However, this time through seems to be assisting Van’s inner child.

I’ve also said that it’s important, while climbing the ladder of success, that one hand isreaching upward to the next rung, and the other is reaching behind, helping someone else. In this case, I am helping Little Ralph up the ladder; and I am also learning the lessons, on a new level, for myself, as I move upward and onward.

I Don’t Know How
I’m so pleased that I had taken time to think through the preparation of my Will, and I took a printed copy with me, which made the process much easier. Actually, the session got off to a rather bad start when the attorney asked for our address and we gave the one in Colorado. It seems that one must draw up the Will in the county where one lives. But what do you do when living full-time in an RV and traveling around the country?

Since we don’t own property, and our California drivers licenses use Betty’s address, the attorney decided we could go ahead. But when she moves, we may need to find an attorney in that county. Or, if we settle elsewhere, we will need to make a change; but, at least for now, we could take this important step of drawing up our first Will.

The usual disposition of money and belongings went quite smoothly, but when it came to my website and ministry, I felt demeaned and inept, especially when the attorney questioned my choices for the Board of Directors: prisoners, including one as Minister of Finances.

Finally, with the attorney’s help, I could see that my Will was not the place to set up the Board of Directors. He suggested that we simplify the matter, for now, by assigning the sole-proprietorship to Dottie and it can always be changed in the future. At least it had served as my thinking process to get me to this point. The next step is to
set up a non-profit organization, which I dread, because I don’t want to go through the process. Yet, it must be done!

In the early years of my ministry, I had gone through the mountains of paperwork to become non-profit, but someplace along the line, it had lost that status; perhaps when it changed names. In any event, if I am to move forward, I must take the next steps. However, even as I am writing, I feel fearful, with attendant stomach and other body discomfort, which are associated with my above-mentioned feelings. After years of recovery work, it doesn’t take much introspection for me to recognize the symptoms and identify the culprit: I fear doing it myself and I don’t feel capable. This goes back to childhood when I was told, “Take care of your mommy, Joanie.” Like most children, I took the assignment seriously, although I didn’t know how; and when she had a nervous breakdown and was taken to the mental hospital, I knew it was all my fault, because I hadn’t taken good care of my mommy.

But God Knows
But I’ve written volumes on this subject, so all I have to do now is recognize what I’m feeling, and why, such as at the attorney’s office. I must realize that I am an adult, not a child, and if I don’t know how to do something, I can find someone who does. But that’s the problem: I really don’t know where to go from here, other than trusting that God will continue to show me, as He has guided us up to this point, including writing the books and creating the website. For instance, when Van and I began this website, we were both at “I don’t know how,” but we took the first step, and the next, and the next, as God guided us. So, it’s simply a matter of trust to know that He will continue to guide us. All we have to do is let go and let God.

The Yellow Butterfly
Actually, God had given us an experiential aide earlier in the day which came to my mind later on, as Van and I talked about the “Board of Directors.”

The letter and check to Catherine Ponder had also been an emotional process, because it seemed to signify a turning point in my Financial Journey, and I found myself completing the letter the same morning I was getting ready for the appointment with the attorney. I thought this would be a simple matter of printing out the letter, addressing the envelope and adding a stamp, but there was more involved. I wanted to add my butterfly logo letterhead, but when it printed out, the butterfly (from an earlier computer system) wasn’t colored. Finally,
Van realized that we needed the updated yellow butterfly logo, which took more time to transfer onto the template. Eventually, we got everything right and printed the yellow butterfly letterhead on the first page.

While searching for the proper logo, I noticed the envelope template, and I decided to use it. Not only did this involve changing to the yellow butterfly, but Van had to adjust the printer to accommodate the envelope, which was more complicated than I had anticipated. Besides all this, Van was trying to get ready for the appointment. Nevertheless, he willingly and pleasantly assisted me through the process of upgrading my letter and envelope to Catherine Ponder. This, in itself, was indication that something wonderful was in progress, symbolized by
the metamorphoses from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Later, God explained that the next steps with my website ministry would take place in much the same way. We would do what we already knew how to do, and we would be guided through the process. It’s a matter of faith.

Faith is the Bottom-line
Faith is the bottom-line of the story of the Widow’s Mite, because she gave in faith, expecting future provision. I’m assuming there is much more to this story than we’ve been told, such as where the widow lived and who was taking care of her. It’s possible that she was amply provided for, because, as Catherine said, a male heir would have received any funds or property that might have belonged to her husband, and perhaps she continued to live in her own home, which had been given to some male relative. In any event, I’d like to think that the widow was
not a street person or a beggar, but one who not only depended on God, but also depended on her husband’s heir to provide for her. After all, we are talking about much different times than now, when widows can depend on Social Security, if not able to work.

The lesson here is that she gave what she had, in faith that more would be provided. And the reason she gave is even more important. I believe it is because she wanted to give, and gave in joy, so it came from her heart. As Catherine says, “If you feel that you cannot share, you are poor in mind and you will remain poor financially. Furthermore, if you say you are too poor to share now, you will find other reasons for not sharing if and when your supply becomes greater.”

What Can I Give?
Again, the message from this story is to give or share from what you have now, expecting the Law of Giving to replenish, not to withhold on the assumption that you will give when you prosper. It works just the opposite, because giving is the first step in receiving. The idea is to keep supply in circulation, rather than hoarding. That’s one reason that I have put my books onto my website so they are available to anyone who might benefit. And I keep looking for new ways to give and to share, rather than withholding.

Speaking of Circulation
Although this next event is not in sequence, it seems an appropriate addition to this chapter about The Widow’s Mite. It took place as we were assisting Van’s mom in getting ready for her Big Move.

She decided this was a good time to dispose of her coin collection, and she asked us to help her sort. During the years, as an investment, she had purchased silver dollars and other coin sets from the bank, and she now wanted to disburse them. Our job was to sort and place one of each set into two mailing boxes and one plastic bag: one box for each of her deceased husband’s sons, and the bag full of coins for Van. His mom definitely was not in the category of the widow and her mite, because the value of these coins exceeded my expectations, after I had taken a rough estimate of the face value of each silver dollar and the other coins: under $100.00 I figured. And I wondered “Why bother?”
But then when Betty wanted to know an amount for insuring the two packages for mailing, she hauled out her brochures for each purchase, with the amount recorded on the page: each silver dollar had cost from $20.00 to $50.00, depending on the issue and packaging, and the other coin sets had cost between $10.00 and $20.00! She had started the collection in the 1980’s, and many of them had increased in value, so she decided to insure each box for $2500.00. So much for my widow’s mite consciousness.

On the other hand, Van would eventually inherit the coin collection, which would add to nour net worth, along with the rest of his inheritance from his mom, so our prosperity consciousness was definitely increasing. Divine Substance was beginning to manifest in expected and unexpected ways.

When I asked Van what he intended doing with the coin collection, once it was his, he said, “I’ll probably sell it to a coin collector.”
Okay, so these coins are circulating: from storage to boxes to the new owners, her former step-sons, and Van’s portion eventually would be circulating to new owners. This is good for a start, and there would be a lot more circulation, as this Big Move continued, which I’ll share in the next chapters.

Out of the Closet
Writing about Van’s mom’s coin collection caused me to feel nauseous, because I know that money matters are something she wouldn’t want made public. Yet, when reading the above to Van (the eventual owner of the coin collection), and meeting with his approval, I said, “She probably wouldn’t like me writing about her coin collection, but it’s so appropriate for this chapter. Besides, I think it’s time to take money talk out of the closet.”

He agreed, and I realized that this too, in a way, is another form of circulation. So many people simply won’t talk about money. Why is it so hush hush? People are more willing to talk about sex than money.

Pandora’s Box
So, I am breaking the money-talk taboo with this above story, and it feels good; a great contribution to circulation. By so doing, I feel as if I am opening Pandora’s Box, yet I’ve learned in my therapy and recovery work that talking about issues is part of the healing process. It’s interesting that I wrote the above paragraphs as a result of reading aloud to Van, and this allowed me the insight to speak an additional paragraph as I wrote it. Amazingly, as I spoke, wrote and read the words, the tightness in my back and head released, and the feeling of nausea left. It’s true, not only is it good to put money into circulation, but it is also healing to put words into circulation, at the appropriate time.

I’ve forgotten the details of the story, but maybe it was a good thing that Pandora opened that box and let the stuff out. That way it could be recognized and dealt with, rather than kept in  secrecy and denial. At least that is definitely a theory of psychological treatment: talk about it! This may not be Catherine Ponder’s interpretation of the Widow’s Mite, but it is mine; and it is a result of a lifetime journey of healing and recovery. And a therapeutic part of my journey is writing out what I am experiencing and feeling. This too is circulation, as I release, let go, and share my experiences in the hope that others who are suffering from similar conditions will benefit.

Chapter 8
FOR A LIFETIME

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Teaching How
The above quote could well be the theme of Jesus’ mission: teaching us how. His first private prosperity miracle took place at a lake in prosperous Capernaum when Peter, James and John had been fishing all night, without success. Jesus not only manifested an abundance of fish, but he promised, “I will make you fishers of men,” and they left everything and followed Him. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus’s ministry began and ended with a miracle about an abundance of fish? But this last miracle has many more details in the Prosperity Steps, as we will learn.
I will also share my Fish Story, as the story unfolds and I learn my lessons for becoming a “fisher of men.”

It is The Lord!
The last Fish Story takes place at the Sea of Tiberius, which symbolizes high vision and its orderly expression. It’s also called the Sea of Galilee. The sea symbolizes the mental realm in which man exists, and fish, the most prolific of all living things, represent ideas in which there is great possibility of increase. Jesus used these ideas (fish) to represent the unlimited abundance of Divine Substance, which confirms that He considered prosperity (wealth) to be important lessons; both in His first and last miracles.

Only seven (number of completion) disciples — Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two others (not mentioned by name) were present for this miracle. Jesus asked if they had caught any fish, and they replied “No.”

At first, they didn’t recognize Jesus, after all He had died, but John, symbolizing love, recognizes the Christ and cries out, “It is the Lord.” And Peter quickly put on his clothes (he had been stripped for fishing) and swam to shore where they found Jesus sitting by a charcoal fire. He invited them to eat the fish, cooking on the fire, and bread.

Here is the most intense and significant Prosperity Lesson, and if we can only grasp its meaning and put it into application, we will have “learned how to fish.” As mentioned, fish symbolize ideas and the ability to increase. Bread symbolizes the substance of the omnipresent Christ body.

A Sneak Preview
Let’s take a quick flashback: Before this story is told in the bible, John, its author, has told about several of Jesus’s appearances, after his resurrection, and then he says, “Jesus did many other signs, but these are written that you may believe: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing, you may have life in his name.” In the name of Jesus Christ is calling upon Divine Substance. Let me explain.

In The Name of Jesus
Okay, stay with me as I explain this prosperity lesson. After Jesus died and resurrected, He ascended into Heaven. The bible says, “…as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven, as he went, behold two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11)

What happened here is that Jesus, who came from God (invisible Divine Substance) returned to God (invisible Divine Substance), thus He became omnipresent (everywhere- present), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient (all-knowing); one with God and as God. In other words, calling on the name of Jesus is asking Divine Substance to manifest in the form that you desire. Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity and author of numerous metaphysical books, says, “I have found that asking in the Name of Jesus Christ immensely strengthens my consciousness of substance, which is so necessary for demonstrations.” He understood and used these Truths.
He said, “The mightiest vibration is set up by speaking the name ‘Jesus Christ.’ This name holds all power in heaven and earth. This name has power to mold universal substance. When spoken, this name brings results.”

We could all manifest loaves and fishes (whatever we desire), if we believed, understood and followed these teachings of Jesus. But most people are so caught up in the doctrinal teachings of the churches that they completely miss the point of Jesus’s life, teachings and death. Catherine Ponder says that we can become practical mystics by calling forth, in the name and presence of Jesus. She means as He is now: at one with God.

I’ve said before that I tend to speak directly to God, but I’m understanding more and more the reason for using “In the name and presence of Jesus Christ.” When asking for answered prayers, we are calling upon Him, as the energies of the universal ethers, or the formless Divine Substance, to manifest (materialize) in the form that we request.

I love Catherine’s choice of words, such as her reference to John 14:14: “If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do.” She refers to this as “one of seemingly audacious promises that Jesus had made.” The word means daringly reckless, bold, yet she describes this promise as “seemingly audacious,” because she knows that He knew that He would return to Divine Substance and that we can call upon Him at anytime.

Jesus is Here Now
I like to take this idea even further, as Catherine suggests, by affirming “Jesus is here with me NOW”! And then I add whatever I might want His assistance with, such as guiding, protecting, prospering, healing or blessing. He is not far off, but here, with me, right now, as part of the air I breathe, and even as part of the very atoms and cells of my body, the same as God, because, after His ascension, when He disappeared into the universal ethers (air), He became One with/as God: omnipresent (everywhere-present), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient
(all-knowing).

When we lived in our big house overlooking the Pacific Ocean in southern California, I bought a huge picture of Jesus in his long flowing robe, with his arms outstretched in blessing. I had it framed in gold, and placed it between the two picture windows where I could see its radiance as a constant reminder of His presence.

And when we moved to our 35 ft. Holiday Rambler RV, I knew that the picture must be on board. However, the only wall large enough is the inside wall in the bedroom, where it faces away from my view. Nevertheless, I know it’s there, just as I know Jesus is here now, even though I can’t see Him.

Why Prayers Aren’t Answered: and Why They Are
If our beliefs are in unison with other factors, the prayer will be answered; if not, it won’t be answered, because we have short-circuited the results. However, sometimes we’ve done everything right, yet the prayers aren’t answered immediately, because of other factors, such as God’s Divine Timing. Or, we have not yet completed all the necessary details, or we are not yet ready for the manifestation. But, when we pray, in faith, knowing that the answers will come, they will appear in God’s Divine Time.

Carrying On or Carried Away
As usual, God has given me an experiential aide to share with you to illustrate this point. It’s an ongoing process, and the latest installment came while I was preparing my Will. Somehow, I got carried away in my preparation and planning, because I’m so anxious to make sure there is someone to carry on this ministry and to make sure the books are published and will reach those who might benefit.

Of course, this is God’s business, and I had again taken on the job of its resolution. So, when the attorney began his dissertation about his skepticism regarding my placing an inmate on my Board of Directors, I felt perfectly comfortable with my choice, but I could appreciate his concern. And, I also realized that I had gotten carried away and that assigning my Board of Directors in my Will was inappropriate, so I asked the attorney not to include that portion. He gladly agreed, but I still felt incomplete about how to proceed with the business structure of Inner Freedom Ministry.

I Can’t, God Can, and I’m Going to Let Him
In the meantime, my job is to keep writing, or do whatever else I am guided to do. For now, that is to read the last chapter, “The Prosperity Law of the Right Side,” in “The Millionaire From Nazareth.” And this brings me to Catherine Ponder’s next step: “Instead of Trying Hard From a Human Standpoint, Look up From Your Tasks, and Reaffirm Your Faith.” She reminds us that Jesus had made a startling promise: “He that believeth on me, the
works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father” (John 14:12). Is this bible verse more meaningful now that you understand that Jesus is letting us in on the secret that He will be returning to Divine Substance?

In any event, this verse confirms my daily affirmation: “I, of myself, can do nothing. It is not I, but the Father (God) who doeth the works.” Not only “I can’t do it by myself,” but I don’t have to. I have God-Jesus to guide and assist me.

The above subtitle is a shortcut version of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous, also used by all Twelve Steps Program: “I Can’t, God Can, and I’m Going to Let Him.” This shortcut also explains the above-mentioned Step 3, which Catherine discusses when relating that Peter and the disciples decided to go fishing, in order to do something, while recovering from the shock and disappointment of Jesus’s death. Even though they now knew that He had been resurrected, they still expected something else to happen. They had thought He would set up his kingdom on earth, and they would all be part of the inner circle. What they didn’t know was that had already happened.
In any event, while waiting, they followed another important step on The Journey: when in a seeming Void, do something while waiting. So, they returned to what they knew, fishing. But after fishing all night, they didn’t catch any fish.

Even though Peter represents Faith, and each of the disciples represents a Divine Power, they didn’t understand about the inner Christ, nor how to contact Divine Substance. The problem was that they no longer had Jesus with them, and they thought it was now all up to them, just as we think it’s all up to us at times, when we forget the Truth.

Catherine Ponder says, “You can try so hard, from a human standpoint, that you become hypnotized by it when you seem to fail.” The solution is to Look up! Reaffirm your Faith. Turn away from appearances and lift up
your thoughts to higher levels of universal abundance: Jesus as Divine Substance.

The Board of Directors
While reading about Jesus’s last prosperity miracle, it flashed across my mind (the sea of Divine Ideas) that I already have my Board of Directors, starting with God and Jesus, and completing the structure with the Twelve Disciples, including Judas, each with his own area of expertise. And they have all been guiding me throughout the entire process of this business, and they will continue, no matter what phase of the program is in progress. Thank You, God. I also know that I will be guided to their counterpart in human form when the right time
comes.

A Lot More Where These Come From
Let’s get back to our Fish Story: when the disciples approached Jesus, by the charcoal fire, even though He already had fish cooking, He asked them to bring more fish from their abundant catch, still in the boat. With this gesture, He is reminding them that there are a lot more where these came from. It’s bringing their attention, and ours too, to an awareness of unlimited supply: Divine Substance.

This is explained earlier when Jesus asks the disciples if they have caught any fish. When they replied “No,” He said “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find.” According to Charles Fillmore, the “right side of the boat” is where man “realizes the truth that inexhaustible resources are always present and can be made manifest by those who exercise their faith in that direction.”

So, when Jesus requested that they bring more fish from the boat, Peter, who represents Faith, “went abroad and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.” Then, Jesus said, “Come and have breakfast.” This significant prosperity step brings our attention back to God (Divine Substance), as the Source of our supply. Although Jesus had prepared the fish and bread, He is reminding the disciples that He, the man, is not the source of their supply; they must look to Divine Substance, symbolized by the full net.

Catherine Ponder shares the basic success attitude, which teaches us to focus on the “right side,” in the prosperity formula that she taught to her first prosperity class, during the severe recession of 1958: “Turn the great energy of your thinking upon ideas of plenty, and you will have plenty — regardless of what people about you are doing or saying.” She reminds us that casting our net to the right side, means to “put into motion definite
prosperous ideas and techniques,” which she shares in her many prosperity books; and she also shares an abundance of stories about people who have put these idea and techniques into practice with amazing prosperous results.

The Right Side
Through the years I’ve read Catherine’s books and I’ve applied many of her suggestions; in fact, they are the basis of my life. Yet, at times, when I’m in a negative mood, and seeing only lack, I am tempted to wonder why they aren’t working.

Then I have to remind myself of the abundant life I’ve lived, and I’m still living. Without going too far into past history, I can relate that I grew up with my adopted father, who was my paternal grandfather, and his second wife, whom I knew as mother (I also knew my natural father and mother, spending much time with them in my adult years). Dad Freeland, a medical doctor, provided us with a prosperous lifestyle, including summers at the family owned Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs resort. I’ve written about my life in paradise in many books. My favorite, “Pilgrimage to Kah-nee-ta,” describes my idyllic childhood at my beloved Hot Springs, which can be purchased on Amazon.com; or another version is available on my InnerFreedom.org website under “Who is Joyanna?”
I even attended a prestigious private school, Catlin-Hillside, and I’m thankful for the superior education I gained there, before transferring to a public high school, after I left my adopted parents and lived with my natural father and stepmother; and later with my paternal grandmother.

My natural dad eventually traded his Portland property for an apartment complex in Del Mar, California, home of the rich and famous during the era of Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Desi Arnaz and Lucy, to name a few. Even today, Anthony Robbins, multimillionaire motivational trainer, lives there in his castle. I’ve mentioned our visit there this last Thanksgiving, earlier in this book.

During my first marriage, I lived in Lake Oswego, where my children attended schools with the elite, who lived in this opulent bedroom community of Portland, Oregon. For a time, in my second marriage, I lived in Costa Mesa, California, near another wealthy community, Newport Beach.

And while married to Van, we’ve lived in Saratoga, (northern California), another wealthy suburb, and Leucadia (southern California), in our three-level home overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with my children and grandchildren nearby. This is also where my ministry, Rainbow by-the-sea, originated.

When Van retired, we bought our 35 ft. Holiday Rambler, and we’ve traveled coast- to-coast and border-to-border, viewing some of this country’s most opulent scenery, right from our living room windows.

Yes, I need to remind myself that I have enjoyed an opulent lifestyle, and that must be my focus, not the down side of our lifestyle when the RV breaks down and expensive parts have to be replaced; and not the necessity to park on Wal-Mart parking lots and truck stops, because we are now living on our Social Security Retirement income.

Even so, we have made choices that have allowed us to spend time in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada, where we’ve attended live shows, such as Debbie Reynolds, Roger Whitaker, Willie Nelson, Wayne Newton and others.

And we’ve been to Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, as well as the beauty of the Smoky Mountains; and we’ve basked in the sun at South Padre Island, along the Gulf Coast, as well as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and the coasts in Florida where we also toured Disneyworld’s Epcot Center, and NASA.

We’ve walked along Bourbon Street, in New Orleans, and we’ve strolled through the antebellum mansions, once lived in by wealthy plantation owners. But, most of all, I’ve been thrilled to spend time with my family and friends, and even seven freedomers; some while in prison, and some in their own homes.

We’ve seen the opulent forests, mountains and deserts of this country, and also its rivers, lakes and oceans; often parked right in their midst; under tall trees in state parks, such as Natchez State Park, where we survived a tornado; or on pristine white sand along the Gulf of Mexico and the rocky shores of Lake Michigan; or in the state and national parks of Washington, Oregon, California, Louisiana, Texas and most of the other beautiful states. And, I have no doubt that we will continue to travel to wonder-full places and visit love-full people.

I’d say that I have lived on the “Right Side,” if the above is an example. And I will be the first to admit that it’s come from putting into application these prosperity laws and techniques that I’ve learned from Catherine Ponder and other teachings of Unity and Religious Science, as presented by their ministers, teachers and authors.

Make the First Move
Reading the bible story, that Peter sprang into the sea, one author referred to him as “impetuous,” but Catherine gives us a different insight. She uses his actions as an example of doing something in faith first, in order to obtain the prosperous life that we desire, no matter what form it appears. For him, it was a matter of getting his clothes on and jumping into the sea in order to again see his beloved master, Jesus. It was the shortest and fastest way to reach his destination, and that’s what he did. We, too, must take a first move toward our desired goals.

When I’ve gotten impatient or discouraged that the results I want haven’t been accomplished, I’ve always reminded myself of Catherine’s words, in her various books, that sometimes the desired results come gradually, or take longer than we expect, because all of the details haven’t yet been accomplished, or we are not ready for the bountiful life that may besiege us. I know that’s true for me, and then I am content to wait for God’s good time.

In this book, Catherine writes about a lady who followed the advice to “sow the seed for another kind of life, and then wait with patience for it to grow.” She had been advised to live as if Christ (Jesus) were with her.” After twenty-four hours of amazing changes in her life, she returned to her mentor and shared her experiences, but added, “but I still have problems.” The lady reminded her that seeds take time to grow; that soon the brown earth will be bright with bloom. And she added: “As you change inwardly, the outer problems in your life will start to change.” She concluded, “You have the magic words: Christ is here.”

Let Them Unfold Gradually
I mentioned earlier about prematurely placing ads in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, with no response whatsoever. The above words reminded me that I had done something similar many years ago, when going on-line first became popular. We were still living in Leucadia, overlooking the ocean, we got on-line with AOL. I can remember thinking, at the time, that I was ready to launch my ministry as I tried to advertise. This was long before websites, and before we had begun our RV travels, and my books weren’t really ready for the public, either, so it was probably a good thing that no matter what I tried to do to put my books and ministry out there, it didn’t work.

Of course not, because it wasn’t the right time. So, I learned the lesson that I can’t force things to happen, but I have to let them unfold gradually, in God’s right time. And even when I began creating my Inner Freedom.net website several years ago, I figured that once I put it on-line, I’d be swamped with responses. But nothing happened. I was lucky if my friends and family even paid it a visit.

About the same time, I’d visited the website of Naked Journey, a Journal about two young lovers who dreamed about having their own RV and traveling around the country. After they’d been on-line only a few months, they had hundreds of visitors, according to their counter; and after a year they had thousands of visitors. I had become acquainted with them and we began corresponding. I really liked their vibes, and I decided to ask them to re-design my website and put it on the same search engines they have. In other words, I wanted what they had.

The gal, Snow, did a wonderful job with upgrading my website, but she never got it listed on the search engines, for some reason, which I can only attribute to God’s timing. In the meantime, while in California, we got together with the couple and began a new friendship, which I’ve written in “Dawning of the New Millennium.” As planned, they found and bought their RV, an adorable camper, and began their travels. They kept an ongoing Journal of their travels, and I watched the numbers on their Guest List increase to over ? thousand. But still
my website had a small number of visits, and no one ordered books.

Whenever I asked God “Why?” the answer came back, “Keep writing.” So, I did, and I still do. Of course, in the meantime, I’ve added a lot more to my website; in fact, I once had four, until Snow put them all under one domain name for me, to simplify matters. We attempted to meet with Rick and Snow when they came through Colorado, after visiting her family in Texas. Although we were all in Colorado at the same time, our paths didn’t
cross again, and they continued north to Minnesota, where they camped along the many lakes. Then they headed east to Connecticut where they visited Rick’s family and decided to buy a home and settle down there, especially after the 9-11 events. By this time their Guest List had reached ?? , and mine was still minimal; mostly increasing by my own visits.

Needless to say, this was frustrating, but I kept doing what was before me to do, which has brought me to this time and place. I also followed the advice that Catherine gives, which is to give away and share, which feels good to me, and it’s why I’m not all that concerned about the progress of my website. I’m enjoying the opportunity to give to the universe, and whoever happens by my website. Again, I know that it’s still not the right time; but it is getting close, and I’ll know when it is right.

Jesus’ Mystic Formula
“Appropriation of the bread (rich universal substance), and appropriation of the fish (prosperous ideas)” is the mystic formula given by Jesus at the Last Breakfast. It summarizes what I’ve written in this chapter. Charles Fillmore explains “Bread symbolizes the substance of the omnipresent Christ body and fish the capacity of increase that goes with it.” So, the Last Breakfast augments the lesson illustrated at the Last Supper, which is
symbolized with Jesus giving communion to His disciples, saying that they are partaking of the body and blood of Jesus, which is symbolic of His returning to Divine Substance, and is thus accessible to all persons.

Catherine explains that this mystical method of prosperity “does not always produce immediate results, because it works deep in consciousness to supply and provide.” I’ve written earlier about this process being gradual, as “one’s needs are always met as the needs arise on a day-to-day basis,” and they are “much more long-lasting than get-rich-quick schemes.”

It Was There all the Time
While reading these words, I thought about our experience with our networking business. So far, since becoming distributors, and doing everything right, we only received a few business volume (BV) checks; then our personally sponsored distributors quit, for their own reasons, and the checks stopped. But the money is continuing to accumulate for us whenever we again become activated. This eventuality depends on our efforts to tell others about our products and business. We are hesitant, because past efforts have seemed futile, with no one we’ve approached being interested in building a lucrative business. So, we’ve stopped; but that doesn’t mean that the money isn’t there awaiting our becoming qualified, just as our abundance is waiting as Divine Substance.

Release and Let Go
Catherine Ponder often speaks of the prospering power of release, and this book is no exception. In fact, she tells her own story of releasing and letting go, not one but three ministries which she founded, before finally settling in her Promised Land of Palm Desert, California. With this in mind, I feel guided to share my releasing story, which took me two years of inner preparation, before finally reaching the place where I was ready to let go of my wonderful lifestyle overlooking the Pacific Ocean and go on the road in our Holiday Rambler RV.

Once we had purchased the vehicle from our son-in-law, Steve, in Colorado, we flew back home and began releasing. I didn’t feel up to going through a garage sale, so I called in a used furniture dealer. He offered me $300.00 for our life’s accumulations, I insisted on bein paid $500.00, pointing out the several antiques and a fairly new washer and dryer, not to mention a lovely maple desk set and other items of value. He agreed, and the last I saw, they were riding on the back of two trucks, down the hill and out of our lives.

Looking around the empty house, I remembered the many years here, with all the family events: weddings, births, graduations, deaths, and all the emotions of the highs and lows of life well lived. But now my daughter, Dottie, and her family had moved to Colorado, my dad had died, and the rest of the family had scattered, so it was time to move on. And we did: in the middle of the night, riding down the hill in a Ryder truck with our Volvo trailing behind. We followed the Halle-Bopp comet all the way to Colorado. We stayed for two months in Freedom, our 1990 Holiday Rambler RV, in a local RV park, to get used to the new lifestyle as full-timers.

And the rest is history
Before we bought our RV, I had told God, “I’m willing to give up our wonderful home, but please give us something of equal value. As I look at our luxurious home, with my recliner, microwave, TV, VCR, oak cabinets and comfortable, convenient furnishings, I give thanks that God definitely fulfilled my request.

From Disciples to Apostles
The disciples also released their former lifestyle, as they again left their boats and nets and became fishers of men. As apostles, they spread the gospel of Truth, as taught by Jesus, throughout the ancient world, becoming the foundation of Christianity. Catherine suggests that they might not have been willing to begin their adventure, had it not been for their failure to catch any fish by their own efforts that morning on the Sea of Galilee. And they realized thatthey must depend on Jesus, now at-one with God, to guide and provide for them.

Yet, their travels were not easy and they went through many ups and downs, as the “nondescript handful of ordinary men became the illumined apostles of the early Christian era.” Catherine suggests that the world is again ready to receive the message of prosperity, based upon the life and teachings of Jesus, and I chuckle, as I think about the motley crew of Freedomers whom I am considering to be the Board of Directors for Inner Freedom Ministry. Could it be that they will take the message out to the modern world: of gangs, violence, drugs
and crime? Who better?

When the attorney recently voiced his skepticism about a prisoner as the “Minister of Finances,” I said, “He was the Lieutenant of Finances with the Black Panthers, and life in prison has changed him “From Revolution to a Spiritual Solution.” This is the title of his book that I am encouraging him to write, and, like the disciples, he has learned his lesson and is ready to become an apostle, so to speak, and reach out to the younger generation with a message of peace and love. However, I find it disconcerting that the timing does not seem to be in his favor. First, he was pardoned by President Clinton, but California’s Governor Davis refused to honor his release. Second, the terrorist attacks have put people in an unsettling mood about such activities, even if they happened nearly thirty-years ago. Third, several SLA members have been arrested with proof of their involvement in a bank robbery, twenty-seven years ago, where a mother of four children was killed; her adult son is delighted to finally see justice being done. So, again, this is a time, like with the disciples, when we must depend on God’s justice and timing, and see how it all unfolds.

Saying “Yes”
The Last Breakfast story of Jesus and His disciples by the Sea of Galilee does not end here. In fact, another entire lesson begins from this point; the need to say “Yes.” Actually, the story began earlier, when Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, just as predicted. And Peter would, no doubt, have carried a heavy burden of guilt, had it not been for the opportunity Jesus gave him to redeem himself.

Whereas Peter once said “No,” to important questions about his association with Jesus, this time he said “Yes.”
The bible says that when they had finished breakfast, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” And three times Peter responded, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” With this affirmation, Jesus gave Peter his assignment: “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep,” and then He said, “Follow me.”

I might add that my first series of books, “Saying Yes,” is based on this story, and the second series, “Transformation: A Twelve Power Process,” begins with Peter, as Faith, saying “Yes.”

Just the Beginning
The most meaningful part of this last chapter in “Millionaire From Nazareth,” speaks to me where I am now on my ongoing Journey, “You may develop a prosperity consciousness and enjoy its visible results. Then you may feel guided to leave it all to begin a whole new cycle of development, perhaps even starting all over again from a financial standpoint.”

Catherine explains that with each time she left “old nets filled with abundance,” as thedisciples did, “in order to move on to new fields of service,” the new challenges caused her to “grow deeper in understanding of prosperity.”

She explains that releasing, under divine guidance, brings “greater freedom and expansion,” and a “deep sense of inner security.” She says, “It is soul-satisfying to prove God as the Source of one’s supply at deeper and deeper levels of consciousness.”

It’s wonderful how God always guides me to the exact words I need to read, or hear, when I need them. For instance, when last in Colorado, I was guided to unearth “Millionaire From Nazareth” from my packed books in Dottie’s basement. I was guided to begin reading it during the month of December, and to continue during January, which brings me to its conclusion at this time, as we are ready to move onward into a new adventure, which I will share in a new chapter, as our Exodus to northern California begins.

Acceptance
Another reason that proves the above words comes at the right time, is because they give me reassurance that I am on the right path, according to God’s Divine Plan. At times, when I consider our present situation from a negative viewpoint, I wonder why I don’t have more financially to show for my lifetime. After all, I’ve read these prosperity books, and even taught them, yet here we are on Social Security Retirement, which doesn’t stretch far enough to cover our monthly expenses.

Of course, we do seem to be provided for, one way or another, but we are still depending on the manna, and I’m ready to be living in The Promised Land of Abundance. On the other hand, as Catherine says, every time she reached that place, she started over, by choice. And I realize that I am cycling through the Journey again, this time with Van, as Little Ralph is processing through his recovery process. So, I might as well accept the situation, because once we’ve completed this cycle, I may find myself starting the Journey again with someone else who needs support, as God guides. And that’s okay, as long as I understand that it is part of God’s Divine Plan for me. After all, I am a teacher-minister, so these realizations bring me back to acceptance; and that’s a good place to be on the onward Journey.

Chapter 9
“I WANT TO THANK …”

The Golden Globe Awards
While I watched the Golden Globe Awards, Van edited Bobby Lusk’s Nowhere to Run, No Place to Hide, manuscript and placed it on Bobby’s webpage. Both projects lasted all evening, and publishing the book on-line took until midnight; that’s when the weekend free phone rates stopped, and so did he. But the night wasn’t over, yet. And all this formulated a new chapter, just as I thought I’d be taking a break from writing, until after the Big Move.

At least I was able to watch the Golden Globe Awards, while Van worked on the computer, and he would glance up as I brought to his attention notorieties of interest, such as our favorite stars from by-gone days, or newcomers whom he doesn’t recognize but watches on TV shows or movies. For instance, there were several second generation actors on hand, along with their parents, such as Martin and Charlie Sheen, Jon Voight and his daughter, Angela Jolie; and Donald Sutherland’s son, Keifer, won an award for his new series, 24, which we haven’t watched.

Seeing a much older, balding Ron Howard receive his award for best director of ”A Beautiful Mind,” and remembering him as little Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, gave a tremendous jolt of the passing of time. We’ve all grown a lot older; and for some the years have not been as kind as to others. On the other hand, consider the alternatives: plastic surgery or death. At least we are alive and well, and able to enjoy life. Thank You, God!

Lifetime Achievements
Speaking of Lifetime Achievements, watching Harrison Ford receive his award, and reviewing the pictures of his career, served as another reminder of the passing of time. In some ways, it seems like only yesterday that we watched Star Wars and Indiana Jones. On the other hand, I didn’t even realize that he was in American Graffiti, and I wondered why they didn’t show an excert from the remake of Sabrina, which I remember from the original cast (back in my days). And as much as Harrison is remembered from those earlier movies, we’ll never forget
him jumping into the water when being chased by Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, one of his more recent films.

As I watched Harrison’s life flash before our eyes, I remembered that he had recently divorced, after a long marriage, and in many ways, his life was just beginning; at least he now has an opportunity to rebuild and reinvent himself, so to speak.

I realized that I am in a similar place in my life: I can look back on my achievements, such as family, ministry, marriage and writing with some degree of satisfaction for a job well-done. Yet, I am on the threshold of a whole new world, as Adam becomes my partner in Inner Freedom Ministry. I can either rest on my laurels and settle into retirement, or I can take a deep breath, gear up and move forward.

Is it Time to Retire?
As the evening progressed and Van was working on “Nowhere to Run, No Place to Hide,” many obstacles delayed the completion of the project. And the need to get up, study the situation and resolve the problems interrupted the ongoing awards show.

In fact, as I contemplated the fact that Van really doesn’t want to assist with my computer projects, I began to think maybe it is time for me to retire. I’m simply not willing or able to go through the stress anymore. The other fact is that my eyes and body reactions don’t allow me to spend the necessary time on the computer for these complicated projects. For instance, I had already spent many hours on Bobby’s manuscript, because it needed a lot of edits as a result of the scanning. Also, he had written it in all caps, which is a no-no, and I started to rewrite in upper-lower case, but after awhile I gave up and left the caps, because of the physical and emotional stress. At this point, I was anxious to get the job completed and onto his webpage to fulfill my promise to him.

I had already transferred about half the book to Bobby’s webpage, which is also time consuming, because all the centerings, italics and underlines are removed in the process, and Bobby had used a lot; it was time consuming to reinstate them. At this point, I asked Van to take over what I thought would be a relatively short job.

But I had not set the proper text frame, so he had to adjust what I’d already done, which caused all the lines to become uneven. This meant that the entire manuscript had to be aligned–line by line, which took many hours. And once that wa s finished, the rest of the book had to betransferred to the webpage, which took an equal amount of t ime.

By the time Van had finished, and started publishing it on-line, the awards were over and it was pushing midnight. The only problem with this is that my free phone-line time would end, and I wasn’t willing to pay 35-cents-a-minute to complete the project, despite that I was anxious to have it done, as I’d promised Bobby. So, Van went ahead and published it without making all the corrections; at least it was there, if Bobby told anyone to see it. However, we would need another weekend to finish the project. Needless to say, we were both exhausted, and I had seriously questioned if we are up to any more of this.

About this time, Robert Altman was given the Best Director award for “Grossman Park,” and watching him wend his way to the stage, he seemed elderly. But when he got before the mic and started talking, one could see that his mind was alert and active. And others commented that it was his brilliant work that made the film, which would otherwise be nothing. So, maybe us old folks still have a lot to offer; we just need to adjust our pace, and have
the necessary support to cause it to happen.

A Beautiful Mind
The movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” based on a true story about a schizophrenic husband and his beleaguered wife who stood by him through the ordeal, swept many of the awards for the movies, such as Ron Howard for directing and Russell Crowe for best male actor. They call it a “Love Story,” but having gone through Van’s downward spiral and slow recovery, I’m not sure. At least I know that something changes in the process. Yes, they stayed together, and she supported him through it, but what happens to their love?

Originally, before I knew what it was about, I wanted to see the movie; then when I saw the clips, I didn’t want to put myself through their ordeal, having been through my own. But, later, as I thought and prayed about it, I realized that I must see it, because it could give insights into myself, and members of my family who suffer from schizophrenia, besides whatever Van’s condition is termed; obsessive-compulsive disorder with a passive-aggressive personality seemsto be the closest description, not to mention his money disorder.

I was glad that Russell Crowe made a good speech about the need to understand mental illness; it’s long overdue. Yet, in many ways I fear seeing the movie, because it will be another issue out-of-the-closet, and I will be able to see the extent of my own schizophrenic tendencies, in addition to see people grappling with the repercussions of the disease — mine and Van’s.
Later, when talking with Van about these issues, I reminded him of the movie’s doctor saying, “You’re trying to handle this with your mind, and it is a disease of the mind, that’s the problem.” Obviously, I’ll need to see the movie to get the full implications, but for now, this will suffice, and I want to move on with the events of the rest of the night, because it didn’t end with the award celebrations, nor with the manuscript Van was editing. Yet, they were all part of it; but only a small part.

Behind-the-scene Cameo
Let me explain with a behind-the-scene cameo, something like a segment of the Golden Globe Awards, which showed an earlier filming of the various rooms where the after-show parties would take place. The workers were busy preparing the rooms, bringing in flowers, adding decorations, setting tables, etc., but we definitely got the feeling for what would follow.
Our scene goes back, to earlier in the day, when Van and I were helping his mom get ready for the movers. The project was for him to move out the refrigerator and remove therollers, so it would stay in place during the move. Once it had been moved out, his mother wanted a cord that reached another appliance disconnected. Van started to complicate the project by trying to work it through the hole, but Betty said, “No, keep it simple. I don’t use that
appliance, so just cut the cord.”

He did, and it all went okay, until he had to tip the refrigerator so she could remove the rollers. Fortunately, I’d been left out of the process, except as a silent spectator; an assignment I am learning to do better all the time.
He wasn’t quite doing it right, and his mom got excited and began shouting at him, but he calmly communicated to her what his needs were, and the project got easily handled. I was so proud of him.

A Midnight Sojourn
In the past, this scenario would have torn Little Ralph up, but in his growing up process, he was able to handle it differently and not allow it to add to his woundedness. I had made sure that I acknowledged him for handling it so well, but it wasn’t until our middle of the night sojourn that I was guided to take the event further. I used it as an illustration of a place where Little Ralph had been stuck, as a child, and therefore not able to move on
through his growing and maturing process in the normal way.

The issue had to do with the fact that he was not acknowledged, as a child, or given reason to feel that he was important, or even that he mattered; not only by his mother, who was a teenager and wrapped up in herself, but also her father (Little Ralph’s grandfather), who resented this child’s early arrival in his daughter’s life. Fortunately, her mother (Little Ralph’s grandmother) accepted Little Ralph and treated him nicely, but she died when he was very young, and Betty and her son were kicked out of her father’s house.

She tried to take care of her child, but she hadn’t been able to cope with her mother’s death and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her doctor told her father that she needed to be taken on a trip, or she wouldn’t pull out of it. So, Little Ralph, around five-years-old, was shipped to his dad, who lived with his mother. All his life, Little Ralph thought it was because he was bad, and not wanted, so it was a healing relief when he learned this story from his mother in recent years.

However, his dad’s family did nothing to change his self-image, and somehow the boy grew up, with feelings of low self-worth, for which he compensated with various survival mechanisms. Therefore, returning to those childhood situations and freeing the stuck emotions is a vital step in recovery, which was happening during our lengthy stay near his mother.

As I explained to Van, sitting at her house every night, watching TV and eating cookies is satisfying to his inner child, but it’s not really a normal, involved relationship. I must admit, however, that the inner and outer nurturing has allowed his body to gain weight, to where he’s not so emaciated looking.

But, it wasn’t until they began preparing for the move, and he went to Betty’s during the day. Now, he had things to do and the healing process went further, as evidenced by him handling the refrigerator crisis calmly, as an adult, without serious repercussions from burying the pain of feeling not okay.

Remove the Steel Trap
I kept receiving input, as this conversation continued, such as the pain from his childhood woundedness being compared to having his leg in a steel trap and dragging it around, without acknowledging that it hurts. It’s called denial, and recognition is one of the first steps of recovering from these childhood wounds, like removing the steel trap.

It was during this conversation when it came to me to share with Van some similarities between his woundedness and Bobby Lusk’s pain. Although nothing had happened to Little Ralph like Bobby’s beatings, deprivation, locking in closets and beratings; the feelings of unworthiness and not mattering had caused him to seek and find his own defense and survival mechanisms.

And, once these experiences have happened, such as in our childhood, we project them before us in all our activities and relationships. This causes the persons with whom we are relating to respond with the kind of treatment that they expect, even though they might not otherwise.

A Happy Ending
In Bobby’s case, the judge, and even his own attorney, treated him despicably, for no apparent reason, despite the fact that Bobby’s abhorable treatment, as a child, should have warranted some sympathy. Furthermore, his murder trial that placed him on death row was for killing an inmate who was known to have a knife and who had threatened Bobby, as well as other inmates. He killed the inmate in self-defense, but that didn’t seem to matter to the judge.
It’s not my intention to go into the story here, but the comparison is a shocking illustration that any of us can be carrying the imprints from our childhood issues and projecting them before us in our daily lives. This is an explanation as to why bad things happen to good people, and why prayers aren’t answered.

Therefore, though this book is not intended to dwell on childhood issues and recovery, it is essential to understand the impact of our childhood on our present ability to become prosperous. It’s called conditioning: if we have low self-esteem and no feelings of self-worth, we are not able to project the conditions and circumstances conducive to prosperity.
Van’s recovery process has been a matter of recognizing these patterns and healing his inner child; a gradual ongoing journey, which is enhanced by his spiritual growth through prayers and meditation.

On the other hand, Bobby Lusk met Mama Ruth, long before he knew me, and her gestures of acceptance and nurturing began his healing process. But, ultimately it was his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and following the bible, that brought the changes in Bobby. Also, he met other supportive and nurturing people, including myself, who have given him a base of love and acceptance.

In time, his changes and his projections, with the help of his spiritual beliefs, opened the doors for Bobby from death row to life in prison; a much better option. Furthermore, he somehow met Susan, a lady who lives in England, and she has become his loving and supportive wife via the mail system.

Simple or Complicated
I’m assuming that it’s no accident that, after twenty-years of Bobby Lusk’s manuscript being in my possession, I have only now been guided to enter it into my computer, edit and place it on his new webpage that I recently created. Although I can see how it relates to Van’s story, I’d be willing to bet that some inner changes have taken place with Bobby, too, which I will share, after I hear from him.

The other part of Van’s story is that his involvement with scanning, editing and moving the manuscript ties in with the cameo about his mother’s refrigerator, and it helps to explain the reason why he makes things complicated, rather than simple. For some reason, it takes both events to bring this episode to light.

The words came through me to explain to Van, and now I’m praying that they will be written, because I don’t remember them.

Van’s desire to be with his mom and receive her acceptance and approval reflects another ongoing pattern: a need to prolong his time with the person he loves by doing things for them, such as moving the refrigerator. But rather than allowing it to be a simple project, his neediness for their love and approval causes him to create a more complicated problem that he can solve, thus prolonging the experience.

On the one hand, he desires the love, acceptance and approval for his efforts, but on the other hand, he resents having to do the project. Sometimes he finds himself in situations that are beyond his knowledge or ability to handle. This explains why he no longer wants to help me with my computer projects; the problems are often already more complicated than he is willing or able to solve. And, he no longer enjoys the challenge, nor does he feel the urge to continue the squirrel-cage syndrome.

One of the healing features of his experience with his mother is that she unconsciously stopped the syndrome by not allowing him to complicate an otherwise simple problem. When I explained this to Van by putting it into words, he understood the compulsion, which automatically allows him to stop the future syndrome from repeating. It’s like he can now remove the steel trap from his leg so the pain can stop.

So What?
So, what does all this have to do with the title? Or with the Golden Globe Awards, for that matter?

It’s about one’s lifetime achievements and the acceptance speeches that began, “I want to thank …” that got me thinking about my life and the people who have contributed to getting me to this place.

I started the process with my letter and tithe to Catherine Ponder, who has been a major contributing factor. And periodically, mostly at Thanksgiving, I have written about the people and circumstances for whom I am thankful, so I don’t want to get into that again.

But, I do want to take time now to again write a “thank you” to Van, for doing all that he does for me and my ministry, and especially for his allowing me to share these ongoing stories of our challenges and over-comings that arise from his obsessive-compulsive disorders and his recovery process on this journey. We both hope and pray that someday these words will reach more people and become an inspiration and guideline for their own Journey of Recovery.
The fact that he was working on Bobby Lusk’s manuscript, while I was watching the Golden Globe Awards, ties the two events together, and appropriately shows why I am thankful to him for his contribution to my life, my ministry and writing.

Those Who Do and Those Who Don’t
The same is true for my family, friends, and Freedomers who allow me to share their stories of recovery from various inner and outer addictions, patterns, or other conflicts. And I also thank the members of my family, and others, who have asked that I not mention them. I’ve written about this elsewhere, with the explanation that my writings are not intended to be a violation of their privacy, but rather an effort to share their lives in hopes they will be a blessing to others who are suffering from similar problems.

Those Who Helped Along the Way
The award receivers usually thank their parents and spouses, and those who helped them along the way, believed in them or gave them the needed push or pull. This caused me to think about the people who have filled those places in my life, and there are far too many to mention right now; the important thing is that I am remembering and I am thankful; and every day I want to take time to think about those who have helped along the way, and be thankful.

For now, I want to mention several people who are no longer physically on the planet, yet they have been a major influence in my life and are part of everything I do, especially as a writer.

Reverend Madge
Reverend Madge was a beautiful, dynamic, powerful woman with white hair in a bun on top of her head, whom I am blessed to call my friend. I can still hear her whiskey voice, as she spoke of the deeper things in life, or as she laughed uproariously over something funny. As deep as Madge may have been spiritually, she enjoyed her coffee and her booze, and was seldom without one or the other. But they did not interfere with her ability to teach, preach or counsel. Yet, she is probably best known for her wedding chapel which she maintained for many years in Saratoga, performing thousands of wedding ceremonies.

After her death, I paid tribute to Madge with a little pamphlet, I Listen to the Whispers, based on her journal writings about love and life, with her little poodle, Miss Tiffany. She had received a “reading” from her oriental master that she was to “share what she had been given” through writing. She agreed to write for 20-minutes every day, which she titled, I Listen to the Whispers. Madge, an advanced spiritual master, considered them to be “kindergarten stuff,” but the value for those who would listen is found in the simplicity of each message.

I know that Madge is one of my angels who guides me, and as I’m writing, I am being reminded that she wants me to scan I Listen to the Whispers and create a webpage based on them, along with her picture (taken in San Diego where she came to celebrate my 50th birthday). It will be my privilege to do this labor of love, and it will soon be listed on the menu of my Inner Freedom Ministry website, and also linked to “Prayer Ministry.” Thank you, Madge.

Chris O’ Connor
The first time I heard her name I loved Chris, without having met her. Someone had told me that she might edit my writing, so I called and she suggested that I attend the class she taught through Palomar College, at the Del Mar extension. How I cherished this woman, and her ability to bring writing alive with her anecdotes from life, especially when she held the same position as Ivana Trump, at the Plaza Hotel in New York. She regaled us with her stories about the antics of Zsa Zsa Gabor and her poodles, when she was married to Conrad Hilton, owner of the Plaza, at the time, or Chris’s wild dance when her shoe flew into the punch bowl, during a fantastic backward dip on the dance floor. And she always had a story to share, such as giving Liberace his first big job, or when she lived in Beverly Hills and her daughter attended school with the children of the rich and famous, such as Lloyd Bridges.

Chris’s beauty lead to her becoming a John Robert Powers model in New York, where she hob-nobbed with the rich and famous, before it happened, such as Jennifer Jones, who became a famous movie actress, and Grace Kelly, another actress who later married the Prince of Monaco, making her a princess.

As a kid, in Texas, she grew up with Walter Cronkite, who was her first date, and, as a model, she also dated Howard Hughes, the eccentric wealthy tool manufacturer. And she eventually married a man who became a millionaire.

Her story goes on and on, and I begged her to write an autobiography, but she never wrote it, although she wrote many stories and books. Her articles were published in newspapers, but her best works, about her own life, remain untold.

Chris didn’t become a writer until her fifties, when she attended a famous writing school in Mexico. One of her writing assignments, for “Readers Digest,” had been to interview Dolores Del Rio, a beautiful and famous Mexican actress, who also made movies in this country. Dolores became Chris’s role-model and she wrote a book about Dolores, whom Chris admired because of her charm and grace, especially in her golden years. However, despite Dolores’ influence, life hadn’t dealt favorably with Chris and she did not master her senior years with much grace, although she would still apply her makeup and resemble the beauty of her youth.

Her domineering mother, a naturopathic doctor, wanted Chris to become rich and famous, and from the stage proclaim, “I owe it all to my mother.” But Chris created her own reality, and in her final years, she attended a metaphysical church and workshops for healing her wounded inner child.

Her childhood issues with her mother caused Chris’s eating disorder and she gained a lot of weight, with a resulting shuffle, as if she carried the weight of the world, the effect of the burden created by her mother. I wanted her to write a book about the inner changes and healing and name it “Emergence,” but it never happened, because, after she turned eighty, she decided that she was going to die; and she did.

I miss Chris, not only as a writer, but as a friend, because fate had it, with my insistence, that Chris lived with us for five years, leaving only a few years before her death. And during those years she edited all my writing, and took me to a level of professionalism that would never have happened otherwise. So, these words are a debt of gratitude, in which I can honestly say, “I owe it all to Chris”! And I know that Chris is guiding my every written word, as my angel-helper. Thank you, Chris.

It’s in my Blood
Of course, I must give credit for my writing abilities to my roots and my legacy from my paternal grandfather, Will Warren, whom I’ve always called Bushwack, for some unknown reason. He was editor of The Oregonian, and writing is in my blood. My Uncle Larry (Warren) wrote for radio shows, Gangbusters and The Big Story, among others; and my other uncles and an aunt were writers (unfortunately, schizophrenia is also a legacy from this side of my family).

The First Urge to Write
Not many people remember Ben Hur Lampman, poet laureate of Oregon many years ago, but I can see him as clearly as if he were here, and I believe that he, and the others who have made their transitions, are still with me; only a thought away. I think Ben Hur Lampman was the first writer to influence me, and he is the one who instilled in me the urge to write. Not that we talked about writing very much, but it’s just that I knew he was one and I wanted to write also.

Women Role-models
These men were influences, as writers, but it’s their wives, Lena Lampman, and Valena Warren (whom her family called “Queenie,” and I call Daw; again I don’t know where I got that name) who were the positive influences on my personal life.

Petite, strawberry-haired Lena Lampman, a former teacher, was the epitome of the perfect wife, mother and homemaker, and I often escaped to her home as a respite from the chaos of my childhood. I wanted to be just like her; however, in the real world, I couldn’t be further from my role model. I guess it’s a matter of the genes, and I’m certainly glad to know I got the good genes from my wonderful maternal grandmother, Daw. As I’m writing, I’m surprised to remember that she was also petite, strawberry-haired and a perfect role-model raising her nine children (3 step-children and 7 of her own), although I didn’t see her very often, once I was adopted.

These women were my childhood role-models, as wives, mothers and homemakers; but as an adult, Madge Van Horn and Chris O’ Connor were my role-models. In any event, now is a good time to say “Thank you.”

“I Have A Dream”
As I’m writing, Oprah is showing home movies of Martin Luther King, as part of her celebration of his day, January 21. She introduced the show by saying, “If it hadn’t been for Martin Luther King, I wouldn’t be where I am today, as a talk-show hostess.” It’s interesting that I don’t think of Oprah as black, but simply as “Oprah,” but she has made it clear that she is very aware of her ethnicity, and I honor her right to feel that way.

The point of this dissertation is to say “Thank You” to Martin Luther King for his contribution to Oprah, and to all Americans, in the Journey to Freedom. And, I might add, we are still a long, long way from fulfilling his “Dream.” And now the intolerance is world-wide, and we are the victims of terrorists who feel that we are not equal to their belief systems, and who would gladly kill us.

As Oprah closed her program, she voiced her personal thanks to Martin Luther King, and she also thanked him on behalf of all “colored people,” and all Americans. A touching show and a timely message for non-violence, peace and love.

So, as I anticipate the possible expansion of my ministry, I think of all the people who have contributed along the way, as I pay them this debt of gratitude. Thank you.

Chapter 10
LIFE’S DEFINING MOMENTS

1, 2, 3
I love the way the Divine Author, God, writes through me; I could never do it by myself. This chapter evolved as the result of three major defining moments. First. Dr. Phil, on Oprah; Second. the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”; Third. The Big Move. As they were unfolding, I thought each would be its own chapter, but then I realized they all inter-relate and can become one momentous chapter, if I skip the details and stick with the main events. It all started with Dr. Phil’s exercise that he calls “10-7-5”: 1. List Ten Defining Moments in Your Life. 2. List Seven Critical Choices You’ve Made. 3. List Five Pivotal People Who Have Influenced Your Life. All this is under the subject of your life becoming authentic, rather than fictional.

“Wrote on the Slate of Who I AM”
I had already begun such an exercise in chapter 9, so while it was still fresh in my mind, I decided to start with this assignment. First, I listed the three women I mentioned: Lena Lampman, Madge Van Horn and Chris O’ Connor, followed by Catherine Ponder, whom I’ve finally acknowledged for her major contribution to my writing life, and I included Ben Hur Lampman in this writing category.

I’d already listed the five, and none could be left out, and there were more, so I continued. I didn’t include my first two husbands, although they certainly deserve a place of importance, especially the first, who is the father of my three kids; but I’m not sure if these men had a “pivotal” influence. Of course, I added Van, because my life sure hasn’t been the same as a result of him.

There were many other people in my life, but the list is already over the assigned number, and Dr. Phil said, “Be sure and add yourself,” which I did. And I would be remiss not to include my four parents: natural and adopted, which also includes my paternal grandfather who adopted me; and with them I must list his first wife, my paternal grandmother, Nana, who gave me a home and a peaceful life in my teens; and so much more; another thank you that is long overdue. And there were so many more, such as my own Auntie Mayme, who (along with Lena Lampman) added a major contribution of sanity amongst some of the insanity caused by my alcoholic adopted mother, during my pre-teen years. I’ve already written books on those turbulent years, and will not elaborate here.

They Shall Remain Nameless
I don’t think the assignment is so much about listing too many, as it is to get us thinking, which it did. For instance, there are others who are equally pivotal, or life-changing influences, such as the therapist who said, “Your parents weren’t able to fill your needs then, they aren’t now, and they never will be able to fill your needs. You have to become your own nurturing parent.” Now, that was a life-changing statement, but I didn’t list the woman who made it, nor did I list another therapist who made a major difference in my life; in fact, there were two others who assisted in my inner child healing and recovery, and I am unwilling not to list them, but I
will not name them here, as a matter of privacy: theirs and mine.

At the Top of His List
In addition to my doing this exercise, Van did too, and I will not list his people, other than to mention that I was flattered that he put my name at the top of his list. Indeed, I would agree that I’m a life-changing influence in his life; and I sometimes wonder if that’s a plus from his viewpoint, so this served as a confirmation.

As is often the case, Van listed a teacher, whose name he doesn’t remember, but the influence remains, which serves as a confirmation to those teachers who try to make a difference; they do! In fact, he also listed his drama teacher, and Van didn’t even take drama, but the teacher still had a meaningful place in his life.

Both of Van’s parents are added to his list, because each had an impact; one way or another, which has taken years of recovery work to heal and overcome. And when he added his own name, he also overshot the five, so added one more: a Navy frogman buddy whose influence, during Hell Week, kept him from quitting, and thus supported Van’s life changing experience.

My Life Script
As we worked on the “10 and 7,” we found that they seemed to overlap, and it was difficult to discern between a “Defining Moment,” and a “Critical Choice.” However, we finally concluded that the difference is that one is a choice that we’ve made, and another is not; in fact, it could be something someone has done to us, for instance, over which we felt we had no control.

Dr. Phil gave an assignment from the three exercises: tie them together to write out your life script, which I’ve already done, and choose not to do again. However, I must admit that writing about these moments, over the years, has been a great tool in my healing and recovery; and Van’s too.

So, I’ll highlight them now: in my personal life there were life changing choices to marry, and to divorce; to stay in unpleasant situations, and to leave; or change them. In my career, there was the choice to become a minister; and the choice to put Inner Freedom Ministry on the website, and asking Adam Martin to become my partner, and his saying “Yes.” As I look at the List of “Defining Moments,” I can see a pattern of being abandoned by
others, or of my leaving them; of people I trusted for support no longer being able to fulfill their position of nurturing, protecting or providing; and it being up to me. And there is also a pattern of emotional abuse and stressful relationships.

But, the patterns changed when I began attending Unity church and studying the positive thinking approach. And life continued to improve after my choices to have therapy and attend the Twelve Step programs of AA.

I can now see that the patterns are there, based on my Life Script, and I understand why they are there. The difference is that I am no longer a victim of them; I have choices and options: I can remain a victim, or I can be victorious. I choose to live victoriously.

Van’s Life Script
They say Soul Mates are counterparts of each other, so it may come as no surprise to notice that Van’s Life Script is similar to mine: different stories, similar patterns. But his series of Defining Moments tell the tale: he made a choice to go into the Navy, and to become a Frogman. He made a choice to attend college to become an aeronautical engineer, and then when the computer courses became available, he added them to his curriculum, a major Life Defining Moment that lead to his becoming a programmer-analyst; a field that fulfilled his heart’s desire.

His personal life was also a series of being left, or leaving, which caused traumatic abandonment repercussions, such as his dad leaving, his mother’s nervous breakdown, and eventually five-years old Van being shipped on a bus to his grandmother and no one there to meet him at the bus station. And there was the time he sold magazines and forgot to save money to pay for them, resulting in his dad saying, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it,” a Life Defining Moment that set up his perfectionism.

Van also has a pattern of abusive and failed relationships, which could relate to one of his Defining Moments, in second grade, when he was hit by a rock that someone had thrown. He didn’t know who threw it, but it caused him to feel that he was unliked; maybe not acceptable, thus establishing a lifetime pattern.

In addition, his efforts of inventing and self-employment followed obsessive-compulsive patterns that ultimately failed, mostly because he quit before he could become successful. On the other hand, his computer-related career brought him financial success and personal satisfaction for his achievements. After I read the above to Van, I asked him, “Since Dr. Phil said that this exercise should serve as a mirror that reflects yourself, what do you see?”
He replied, “I see where I made some good choices, and I see where I made some lousy choices. Some of those decisions have served to make new, improved choices.”

On Course
Both Van and I listed our choice to become RV full-timers, which has taken us through the last six-years of our lives, and this has been a turn-around for our ongoing healing and recovery. During this time, we’ve made many Critical Choices that have kept us on course for our lives. I’ve often found myself facing the pattern of leaving, or forcing the issue to cause Vanto leave. And he lives with the pattern of being unaccepted and abandoned; yet we are still together. And, it seems that we have made it through the crisis, or testing period, and we continue to be on course for fulfilling God’s Divine Plan for us; whatever that may be.

A Beautiful Mind
I’m not sure what I expected when attending this movie; not entertainment, but information, mostly. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find it entertaining and informative, as we watched the true story of John Nash, Jr., the oddball Princeton mathematician, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

The movie seemed to be one “Defining Moment,” after another, relating to his roommate and other classmates, meeting the woman (Felicia) who became his wife, and beginning his career as a professor at MIT.

As the movie progressed, it became difficult to discern reality from fantasy, because it all played out as reality, until the main character had a psychological breakdown. From that point, the viewer had to replay the entire movie to determine what really happened. Fact and fiction suddenly became intertwined, as the man went through shock therapy (this happened in the fifties) and was placed on heavy medications, which he finally refused to take. From here, the movie went through the agonizing process of his gradual recovery, until he finally received the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the theory about mathematical computation in
economics; far beyond my comprehension.

In the meantime, his pregnant wife had their baby, shortly after his breakdown, and she went through the maze of a downward spiral, not unlike I went through after Van’s breakdown (which he still doesn’t recognize as having happened). And this was the part of the movie that interested me, although she was much younger than I had been when Van’s breakdown began, and she was able to support the family on her income, though they lived in rather meager circumstances. Nevertheless, I could relate to her feelings of shock, incomprehension,
overwhelm and helplessness; not to mention frustration, which finally resulted in her decision to leave him. Yet, she stayed and supported him through his recovery process, and watched, along with their adult son, with great pride when he received his Nobel Peace Prize.

Of course, Van saw the movie from an entirely different point of view, as he too has a penchant for mathematical theory and resolution, which he tries to fulfill by figuring out roulette and other challenging concepts. I think he feels that he lives in a world that doesn’t understand or relate to his thought processes, and he finds it equally disturbing (as did John Nash) trying to relate to the “normal” world. In any event, the movie helped me to see his viewpoint, but I doubt if he even sees the comparison between Felicia and me, as far as our mutual downward spiral is concerned.

I might add, that I felt a great sense of relief that I have no symptoms comparable to the delusions and fantasies portrayed in this movie, unless my desire to bring Inner Freedom Ministry into fruition on the Internet is considered in that category. And that will only happen when and if I am God guided. On the other hand, the movie did add to my feeling that it’s time for me to retire, because it emphasized the importance of maintaining a low-stress lifestyle to avoid triggering these underlying conditions.

The Big Move
Talk about a “Life Defining Moment,” Betty can certainly add this move to her List, if she were to make one. However, I must say that she has handled the entire process like a trooper, and she has kept it as low-stress as possible, by spreading out the traumatic events over the last several weeks. For instance, she had us research several nearby motels to find one with a microwave and refrigerator, so one day, while out on errands, she had us stop by the Best Western motel so she could pay for her reservation which would begin the day the movers loaded the truck.

She had also learned that she could stay in her home the day of the packing, and that night. But the last morning, she arranged for us to meet her and we all went out to breakfast, while the movers loaded her belongings. After a leisurely breakfast, we dropped Betty at the motel and Van unloaded what she needed for temporary survival.

Then we stopped by the mobile unit as the movers were loading the last items. By this time the awning, skirting and underpinnings had been disassembled, causing the mobile unit to look open and vulnerable, especially without Betty here to control and protect. However, Geraldine, assistant to the developer, who was overseeing this enormous transition process, was on the site and taking care of everything, which was a big relief. But she needed Van’s assistance in completing some last minute details, which he handled easily, such as the shed could not be transported with the stuff inside, so he agreed to have the movers take it, but they would not take any chemicals or anything in spray containers, so Van had to put them in a shed that was being left.

I was proud of Little Ralph for handling these matters for his mom, and he felt good about it too; another step in his healing and recovery process.

As for myself, I enjoyed chatting with Geraldine and learning all the inside details, such as who is going where and when; and who is fighting their Life Defining Moment by trying to stay put. Most of all, I was impressed with Geraldine’s ease in handling all the complex aspects of this transition process. In fact, she could well go on my list of “Pivotal People,” despite our brief relationship, as she is a fabulous role-model of a successful female business person. I learned this as she discussed her career, including real estate, and investing in several rental
homes.

On the other hand, I’ve learned that I can no longer indulge myself in high pressur activities, because of the attention deficit disorder (ADD) in addition to other factors that now must be recognized and faced. Nevertheless, this does not mean that I am not capable of continuing with my writing, which actually gives me relaxation and release. And, I can always hire people to handle the publishing when the time is right and as God guides. I know it will happen.

Postponement
We had thought that the haulers would take the mobile unit on Thursday, but an overlap with the movers “put things out of rotation,” as Geraldine explained, and postponed the Exodus until the next week.

I didn’t mind, because I wanted to get my laundry done at the convenient laundry room near where we’re parked. Also, we were concerned about the predicted rain storm, due for the weekend, because we still hadn’t gotten the wipers repaired; a job Van decided to postpone until we arrived in Redding.

Also, I wanted another weekend of staying put, so I could use my free phone and on-line time. Furthermore, Dottie had delayed sending our supplements, so they hadn’t arrived; an inconvenience that I found frustrating, and which caused me to re-examine why Dottie has been causing us these ongoing delays due to her inability to get the products forwarded. I really dreaded a confrontation with her, but it seemed to be building up, and I would have to deal with it some time.

I’d already stocked up on food at Trader Joe’s, because this is the last outpost, and I had no idea when we would come across another one. I had also bought a pound of turkey and ham at Boston Market, which I would now have to freeze, because Betty wanted to take us out for dinner each night; not that I ever mind eating out.

Count-Down!
Although Geraldine didn’t think the mobile unit would be moved, I kept a lookout for activities on the street behind us, and sure enough the truck (tractor) arrived, so Van and I rushed over to watch the event. Geraldine had also arrived, with only fifteen-minutes advance notice, and we continued chatting while the men hooked up the mobile unit to the tractor.

These men knew their job, and they had questioned if they could pull the 40 ft. trailer around the existing units, yet they carefully jockeyed tractor and trailer, easing it toward the street. But, they were right, it wouldn’t fit in the first direction, so they unhooked and drove the tractor around to the other side and began easing it toward the street. Suddenly Van hollered, “NO! NO!” and began running toward the front of the truck,
“You’re hitting the shed!”
Everything came to a screeching halt while they examined the damage: none to the mobile, but the shed was dented and knocked off its flooring.

“We’ll just have to buy her a new shed,” Geraldine mused, as an easy solution to yet another problem, averting a crisis-in-the-making. The drivers got back into the cab and tried a few more times, finally announcing, “We
can’t do this. We’ll have to come back on Monday with a crew and use jacks to hand-jockey the trailer out of there.” That ended that, and we all left the scene, with a weekend to wait out the next step in the moving process.

It’s Too Much!
Geraldine had told me more details of the negativity going on with some of the remaining tenants, even showing me a letter that one had sent to each member of the city council, and the newspaper. I shuddered at the extent of wrath that jumped from the page and attack my psyche. And I wondered why I had been privy to such venom, but I realized that Geraldine had been pushed to the edge, and she needed someone to listen and offer support. Being a minister and a caring person, I attract these opportunities to be of service.

However, in recent years, each additional volley adds to my already full capacity, and I’m no longer able to take on these negative energies. It’s like an abstaining alcoholic who slips and begins drinking; his system’s tolerance level remains where it was when he quit, so one more drink can cause death. I learned this in the Twelve Step Program, and I’ve come to understand that the same is true with anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional home, as I did. It’s too much and I simply can’t take anymore.

This realization became more apparent, as the weekend continued and I attempted to accomplish more email, on-line, and phone time. I started out overloaded, because I hadn’t been able to release the accumulated negative energies; not only from the people in this complex, but I was also concerned about my products and I feared another setback like I’d had the last time Dottie didn’t get them to me, and I’d run out, resulting in terrible body reactions, including migraines and other body pain, in addition to emotional stress which would otherwise be
controlled by the OPC-3.

Now, it had happened again, and I chose to send her an email expressing my displeasure; a confront that I prefer to avoid, as my system can no longer cope with it; I’ve had too much for too long. But, it seemed more desirable to express my anxiety to her than to keep it bottled up and suffer the consequences in my body, as more aches and pains.

Frank, the mailman, was aware of my concern over the missing packages, and he had brought our forwarded mail to the door on Saturday. I was happy to have my mail, but upset that the products hadn’t arrived. Now, they would be forwarded to Betty’s new address, because Frank would be off on Monday. Why must I create crisis in my life? Is it so ingrained that it’s attracted, like to a magnet?

I’d hoped that the years of therapy, recovery programs and self-help, in addition to my spiritual base, had offset the negative patterns, but again I felt bogged down, and like an alcoholic, once the addiction took over, the negativity continued via email and phone conversations.

Joyce and I were still trying to resolve the problems with “Money Makeovers,” such as her computer not giving access to the website, which we had installed for her. And, there had been no orders for books or membership. Something seemed to be wrong, but what? In addition, when I finally had the opportunity to visit the website on-line, I checked the counters on my various webpages; the RVing one only had 7 visits, Inner Freedom Ministry had under 200, and Money Makeovers had 289. In the same period, our friend’s RVing website, Naked Journey, had over 24,000.

Now, I began to question my competency, if I should even be doing this project. Maybe I’d gone a bridge too far, and I really do need to retire and simply occupy myself with traveling and writing. In fact, I sent an email to Adam Martin to that effect, suggesting that I had brought the ministry and website this far; his part of the partnership would be to take it from here.
I’d begun my downward spiral, triggered by the local scuttlebutt, and I realized that I may have to protect myself from such future input. Here I am victimized by it, while Betty happily relaxes in her motel room. At least we did get out for one dinner together, but the rains came, in addition to everything else, and she preferred to eat in: leftovers from the previous night. Now, I didn’t even have a good meal to nurture me.

Only Believe
But, the lasting nurturing comes from God, and Sunday morning’s “Hour of Power” sermon talked about God as our Rock and Strength. The son, Robert Schuller, gave an example of a childhood game called “Sardines,” to illustrate our gathering into God. He said that it’s the opposite of “Hide-and-Seek” where everyone hides and “It” has to find them; in this one, It hides and whenever one finds It, they join them, until everyone is huddled together like sardines.
To my disappointment, I’d overslept and missed the opening music, but again the program concluded with “Only believe, Only believe; All things are possible, only believe.” I realized that I’d slipped and was absorbed in negativity and anxiety about the future, so the solution is simply to let go and let God. It’ll all be okay, no matter what happens, and that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

Furthermore, it’s not about how many visit Inner Freedom Ministry website, it’s about the healing process for everyone along the way, including me, Joyce, Adam, Van, and others who are involved.

Chapter 11
LIFE IS TOO SHORT

How do You See it?
“Thank You, God, for perfect weather, a perfect trip, and for bringing us safely to this time and place.” This is a frequent prayer I make while traveling, and it was especially heartfelt when I settled into bed in Anderson, California, that night, after an uneventful, but pleasant trip. A comparatively short trip, but a lifetime away from Santa Clara; because Betty would now begin her new life.

It reminded me of an old story that illustrates such a point: A man is working in his yard when a car pulls up and the driver says, “Howdy, I’m just moving into this town and I’m wondering what it’s like.”
The old-timer asks, “What was your last town like?”  “Oh, I’m glad to be out of it,” the newcomer replies, “the people were unfriendly, gossipynd untrustworthy.”
“Well,” the old-timer drawled, “You’ll find them about the same way here.”
A week or so later he was again working in his yard when another car pulled up and the driver asked the same question and received the same reply, only this one said, “Oh, I’m sorry to be leaving it, as the people were honest, friendly and loyal.” And again, the old-timer replied, “Well, you’ll find them about the same way here.”
So, when we arrived at the Best Western in the small town of Anderson, and Betty said, “Is there another motel? I don’t feel good about this one,” I wasn’t surprised. In fact, I could almost have counted on it, because that’s how she is: nothing is okay.

Trying to Please
In a moment of apprehension, looking at the snow-covered mountains on each side of the valley and Mt. Shasta looming ahead, I had asked Van along the way, “What if your mother doesn’t like it in her new place?”

I’d been raised by a woman who was never satisfied, and like Van, I’d become a full- fledged codependent. You have to in order to survive. Although I’d spent years in therapy and Coda’s Twelve-Step program, I knew how to please, and I fell back on it easily when with Betty. And Van had never given it up, because it’s the only way he knows to relate with women, and he had projected the same behavior onto me.

So, he was in high gear for trying to keep his two women happy when he got out of Freedom and walked over to his mother’s car, and then returned to announce her verdict that there was too much activity in the town’s small shopping mall.

I complained, “But she was worried that the place would be too isolated; now it’s too active?” She’d asked Van to go inside and ask the rates, and if they had a refrigerator and microwave, and he was so stressed that he asked the clerk, “Is there another motel in town?” Of course, that got things off to a good start for living in a small town, but the white-haired woman gave Van directions to another one, saying that it’s the only one she would recommend. We piled into Betty’s car to find it, but Van was so rattled that he couldn’t remember the name, or the directions.
I interjected that it was probably “Best Value Inn,” because True Value, which is the best he could remember, is a hardware store. We made several wrong turns, before finding Valley Inn, although the name was nothing like True Value.

Van had passed along that the other clerk had warned that we should look inside, before we stay, so I was already primed with apprehension, and concerned about pleasing Betty, not to mention myself, because she had offered to pay for us to stay in a motel too. While waiting for service, I overheard the two loud ladies at the counter saying that a big group was coming and they would be filled up, so now I feared a noise problem.

When Betty’s turn came, she explained what she wanted: no-smoking, handicapped, ground floor, and a refrigerator and microwave. However, she decided that since she’d burned her roll on the other one, she probably didn’t need a microwave.

They’d rented the only handicapped room, but offered a reduced rate for a smoking room. Betty wanted to get settled and she knew that I was hungry, so she paid for two nights, while I checked the rooms. Something didn’t feel right, and her room wreaked with smoke odors, so I insisted that she go into her room, before she got unpacked.

Because of her weak legs, due to arthritis, she avoids walking, but she agreed. One sniff and she turned around and went outside, proclaiming, “I can’t live with this.” And I couldn’t blame her. I sure couldn’t stand it.

She decided that she could live without a handicap room for a few nights, if the other one would be vacated soon, but the Best Western was looking pretty good to her now. Van and I returned to the office and learned that the tenants would be there for nearly a week, so Van took her refund and we returned to the car.

Much to my surprise, Betty was remorseful, saying, “I guess I shouldn’t have been so hasty in deciding the Best Western wasn’t okay; let’s go back there.” Then she added, “But you’re hungry, so let’s go eat first.

I was already worried that they might not have what she wanted, and I insisted that we get the room settled first.
When we returned to the Best Western, I felt that the clerk was a bit uptight, and I certainly didn’t blame her, so I said, “We couldn’t find the other motel.” She said, “Oh, really. Valley Inn is really close. Just across the street.”
I laughed, as I said, “Oh, my husband misunderstood the name. That’s the one we went to, but they didn’t have a non-smoking handicapped room, do you?”

She worked with Betty and signed her up for what we wanted. During the conversation, she revealed that the owner had been using the computer and wiped out her spread sheets. Then I understood that’s why she had seemed grumpy, and it had nothing to do with us. Furthermore, before it was settled, she said to Betty, “I hope he leaves, then you can have his room, which is much nicer and it’s right next to mine.” Amazing, with all of Betty’s gruffness, people accept her and are even friendly; she already had a first friend in Anderson. Once registered, I sighed in relief, even though we still hadn’t seen the rooms. This time, Betty insisted that I check them out, and I smiled at this tiny bit of approval from my mother-in- aw. Of course, the rooms were perfect, because we were in the right place, and everything works in Divine Order when it’s right.

Overload
It’s when we don’t listen, and allow our ego’s, or other interference, that things don’t work. And I understood that Betty felt the need to be in control of a situation where she felt utterly not in control: essentially homeless in a new town, and not knowing where to find anything, from a motel to a doctor, bank, and all other necessities for life.

On one of our wrong turns, looking for the motel, she had driven under the freeway to downtown Anderson, and she wasn’t impressed, but then she was totally disoriented and confused; and so were we. However, I told her that her new home would be just a short distance from here, and she brightened, as she said, “It is?”

I asked if she wanted to drive by the mobile park, but she was in overload, and wanted to get settled so we could eat. Me, too. I felt like I was starving, but I knew that my need for food is my way of handling a difficult situation, so I managed to survive while we unloaded Betty’s things from the car and got her heat turned on.

Once her things were unloaded, I checked our upstairs room (so I don’t have to hear people clomping above us) and it was delightful, with a view of Mt. Lassen in the distance. However, I began to realize that I too was in overload; after all, we had made a life-changing transition from cosmopolitan Santa Clara to rural Anderson, during our five-hour trip, and we were all going through our own emotional repercussions; mostly “Will Betty like it here? And if not, then what?”

Keeping in mind that we had selected the mobile park, even though we were God guided, if she doesn’t like it, she’s up a creek with no paddle. On the other hand, we had gotten her information about apartments in the Santa Clara area and she had ultimately made the decision herself to move to Anderson, because she wanted to keep her mobile home, and she didn’t want to pay exorbitant rent. This was the only place that filled both her needs.
Yet, we were facing a lot of unknowns this evening; and we still hadn’t eaten. I’d had in mind to go to Black Bear restaurant, but we were all in such overload that I suggested we eat at Perko’s, across the parking lot.

Adjustments and Acceptance
In the past, while traveling, I hadn’t like Perko’s, but it seemed expedient to eat nearby, and, like Betty about the motel, I decided to get off my position and let things work out with what was available. To my amazement, we had excellent service, and this meal surpassed any that we had eaten so far. My steamed veggies were prepared and served in a bamboo steamer, just like the five-star restaurants, and my baked potato was fresh and delicious. I’d been craving a good beef-barley soup and Betty gave me hers, which was hearty and tasty. Betty and Van also enjoyed their choices, and we left the restaurant feeling much better about life.

I especially felt nurtured when Betty surprised me, during dinner, by saying, “If I hadn’t been so stubborn about staying at the Best Western, we could have eaten a lot sooner.” I reassured her, “Well, it only took an hour, and that way we knew we had the best place.”

Somehow, a milestone in our relationship seemed to occur, too, as Betty began adjusting to her new surroundings. In fact, earlier, as I’d pointed out Safeway being so handy, she’d said, “I don’t like Safeway.” Then she quietly added, “But, I guess I’m going to have to get used to it.” She was beginning her adjustment just fine, however, I’m so used to being in my own home that the thought of trying to figure out what to take to the motel became overwhelming, so once Betty was settled, and we’d returned to Freedom, I said, “I just can’t get myself ready to spend the night in the motel, so you go ahead.”

I’m not sure how Van felt about this change of events, but he still had to walk across the parking lot to Safeway and get Betty’s milk and cereal, and he too, was in overload from trying to please his women, so he said, “Okay.”

When he returned, he was chilled to the bone. Don’t forget, we are about fifty-miles from snow-covered Mt. Shasta, and we are in a valley surrounded by the Sierra mountains to the east, and the Coast Range to the west, and yet we are only 400 ft. above sea level; thus it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer; another reason I feared Betty’s reactions; but she knew this, so it wouldn’t be any surprise, although she had said, “Why did I have to move in winter,” paused, and added, “But the hot summer would have been worse.” I guess she’s trying to make the best of the situation.

Once thawed, Van grabbed his necessities for getting through the night, and left to deliver his mother’s breakfast items and settle into a warm room, and looking forward to a real shower. I left the furnace turned up, crawled into bed and slept soundly all night.

Change is Healing
In an earlier chapter, I mentioned my friend, Madge, and I’m thinking about her, as I’m writing, because she once told me about a time when she had been disabled by an emotionally induced back injury that left her unable to walk. She said that she’d been praying for healing and had been guided to watch a TV show where an author was being interviewed about a book she’d written about healing. She claimed that said certain types of conditions respond to making changes, like even moving pictures or furniture in the house.

As I drifted off to sleep, it occurred to me that the drastic changes we had been making were having a healing effect on everyone involved, as mentioned above, with the changes in Betty’s attitude, for instance; not to mention my own new outlook. And the change, under these circumstances of my staying in Freedom and Van sleeping in the motel room by himself, seemed to add to the overall healing of his inner child in a way that I didn’t fully understand, but it made sense.
I already had been noticing changes in Van, once his mom had left her mobile site, as he had taken charge of the last minute moving procedure. It’s as if his self-confidence was being restored. And one time, in Santa Clara, while driving to a restaurant, with Betty along, our cellular phone rang, and he answered it. First of all, he hates talking on the phone and never answers, but he had it in his pocket, because he was waiting for Dottie to call back about the miss-sent products. The call was from Geraldine and she wanted to talk about some problems
related to the move. To my surprise, he handled the conversation just fine, and never told her that his mom was sitting next to him. Instead, he said, “You need to talk with her about this, so you can call her in the morning.”
When he hung up, I said, “Why didn’t you let Geraldine talk with your mother?” Betty interjected, “I didn’t want to talk to her, and he handled it just fine.”

Oh, my goodness! How much good that must have done Little Ralph. No matter how much praise and boosting I might give him, it’s not the same as having his mother’s vote of confidence, especially at this time and under these circumstances. Whereas, when a child, he might have resented the responsibility, now he was having the
opportunity to relive those childhood issues where he had been stuck, and to move through and beyond them. Thank You, God.

Furthermore, when referring to the incident, in a conversation at dinner, in a confident voice, he said, “That probably will be my first and last time talking on a cellular phone while driving.” In other words, he had done what needed to be done, and he’d made a choice not to do it again, because he felt it was too dangerous and he didn’t feel he had control of the car. His mother agreed that it’s not a good idea to talk on the phone while driving, and we both agreed that we question the wisdom of drivers who do that on a regular basis. But, he had
made a major change by answering the phone, instead of handing it to me, because he knew that he was expecting a call that he would need to handle. This was progress.

Games People Play
I realize that a writer is supposed to refer to the title of the chapter early on, but this time the transition of the move seemed to be a higher priority than the next subject, which explains why I chose this title.

Someone recently said to me, “Life is too short to play the damn games!” She was specifically referring to the male-female dating games, and she listed some that she had indulged in, when younger, concluding that looks, money, car, stature are not necessarily where it’s at; when you get older, there are other more important factors, such as stability, loyalty, companionship, and someone willing to put up with another’s health and financial challenges.

She’d ended the conversation saying, “That sounds like the title of a book, ‘Life’s Too Short.'” I don’t feel like writing a whole book on the subject, but a chapter seems appropriate, although I wondered how it fit in with this one. And, yet, the more I’m writing, the more I see that not playing the games is exactly what it’s about. Or, as Dr. Phil says, being authentic verses fictional; not giving in to the ego and control games, for instance. And, I can hardly wait to see how the rest of it unfolds, as we continue supporting Betty with her transition process. For instance, she had wanted to spend the first day by going to the office of the mobile park and getting her forwarded mail, and I hoped that our package from Dottie would be there too. Speaking of games people play, I still wondered what hers was, but I hadn’t had the nerve to confront her in person about it.

“I’ll Just Have to Get Used to It”
The inevitable day was upon us, as we drove to the Office at the mobile park. Of course, now the trees were barren, but it still looked good, and I could tell that Betty was impressed, although she said nothing; which is not unusual. What she had said earlier, about Safeway, explained her overall attitude: “I’ll just have to get used to it.”

Therefore, she sat patiently at the desk filling out reams of paperwork, without a complaint, as Jeanie guided her through the process. And when Larry, the owner, came in, she introduced him to Betty, and she was greeted like a long-lost family member returning to the fold. And the same was true when Rich, the maintenance man stopped by.

Everything went well, until Betty asked about the mail, which we both knew was being held for us. Wrong! If there was any, it would be in the mailbox, which was locked, and the mailman would have to recalibrate the key and give to her. We could either meet him at the park another day, go to the post office and handle it, or track him down in the park today.
Since Betty wanted to tour the park and drive by her site anyway, that was her option. Van remembered the route through the maze of mobiles and driveways from our first visit when we had gotten the information for Betty. However, when we pulled up in front, it looked quite different; no unit in the space; just a wide gaping hole with cement slabs on each side; and Betty’s steps and porch sitting where they had been dropped by Jim, who had been hired, aside from the mobile and movers, to haul them.

This transition process made me think of what I think it’s like when we die; much like when we’re born: there’s someone to help us through each part of the process: arriving and leaving, or vice versa. Geraldine and the movers in Santa Clara; Jeannie, Larry, Rich greeting her at the mobile park; and also Helen at the Best Western. And, of course, in Betty’s case, the tables are somewhat turned: she welcomed Little Ralph into the world, and now he’s helping her through this transition, with my assistance too.
Again, with the barren trees the lot looked quite different, but Betty was favorably impressed and talked with Van about where the unit and new shed would sit. In her mind, she  had left behind the past and was concentrating on her new life with acceptance; a good attitude for anyone facing transition: don’t fight it, accept it and get on with life.

Getting Off Her Position
Which reminds me of an important detail about the mail situation, which had become our main quest of the day, and this requires a flashback to when we had first told Betty about the park, at the beginning of her quest for a new home. Just as I had feared, when we mentioned that her mailbox was a short distance from the unit, but she might be able to arrange for someone to bring her mail to her, she had flatly proclaimed, “NO!” The baby went out with the bathwater, in other words, she didn’t want to hear anything more about it, and she only glanced at the pictures and shut the folder with all the paperwork that Jeannie had given us for her.

Fortunately, she kept it and had filled out the forms and mailed them when she finally decided this was her best option. Now, as we drove past the mailboxes, Betty said, “Oh this isn’t bad at all. I won’t mind walking here. And if it’s raining, I’ll wait until it stops, or if it’s too hot in the summer, I’ll wait until morning, when it’s cool.” Another major attitude adjustment.

Downtown Anderson
We hadn’t seen the mailperson, as we circled through the park, along the Sacramento River, and back past the Office, so the next option was the post office, which was in downtown Anderson, and Van had directions. Although Betty prefers avoiding the Interstate, he calmly explained, “The directions I have are from the freeway,” and she readily agreed.

Within a few minutes, we were back at the area where we’d turned around, when lost the first night, past the police department, service station, furniture store and several other buildings, turn left and it’s across from the drug store and Ben Franklin variety store. An elderly man sauntered across the street from the pharmacy to the post office, as Van turned around and parked in the handicap zone; otherwise, there was no one on the streets.

Of course, the new Safeway Mall had taken most of the business from downtown, but the post office was busy and two men held open the doors for us, as Van walked his mom through, and she leaned heavily on her cane. What a difference a small town makes! We’d stood in a long line in Santa Clara’s post office, and Betty said she’d stopped going to it years ago, for just that reason. But here we walked right up to the window, and I could see this transaction would take some time, so when I heard that any forwarded mail was in the box, at the site, I took off on an adventure.

I hadn’t been inside a small town variety store in years, and I wanted to see about buying an inexpensive flag for the window on our door, which they had; but not the right size or price. An elderly man, no doubt the owner, greeted me and then returned to his reading. As I strolled around the store, I went back in time, and memories of paper dolls and other precious purchases flitted through my mind. But my thoughts were interrupted as a woman looking like Lucy’s rendition of a homeless person, but obviously the wife of the owner, snarled to her husband, “Did Denise go home? She’s not supposed to leave until 3:30.” “I thought it was 3:30,” the beleaguered owner drawled, without looking up from his paper, as his wife disappeared into the back of the store; an area I didn’t take time to explore, as I was watching for Van and Betty. But I knew there were great treasures hidden in the well stocked shelves, and probably some wonderful paper dolls too.

However, I wanted to explore the drug store, so I wandered outside and through the next doors into a modernized establishment buzzing with activity. I finally spotted the drug items, past the gifts, cards, candles and other unrelated merchandise, but the pungent smell of incense chased me out, and I returned to the post office.

Van and Betty had been given the newly calibrated key and were ready to leave, announcing that we couldn’t check the mail box until after 2:00 PM the next day. So much for expectations of getting our mail this day. Apparently we were in another process relating to the mail, so I’d decided to let it go, and we’d get it whenever, trusting God’s good timing. If necessary, I’d buy some equivalent supplements, which I’d already done for the Glucosatrin.

Home Before Dark
Betty was feeling pretty good, so she suggested that we could drive up to Redding to the Black Bear restaurant that I’d mentioned. This time we took uncongested Highway 273, probably the old route north before the freeway, and Betty was thrilled as we passed farms, mobile and RV parks, and the Industrial area. Also, she got to experience a complete circle of the route to Redding and back; even during commute, on the return trip. Fortunately, Van chose to avoid the freeway, so passed a long line of cars, and zipped right on back to Anderson; about nine miles, and we were home before dark.

It had been a full day, but concluded with Betty having acclimated to her new surroundings, and being pleased. Her good attitude had made it so much easier for all concerned, and why not? After all, life is too short to fight the inevitable.
Okay, so now it was my turn to adjust, and having the extra day made it so much easier to collect the needed items for the night and morning. I stuffed them in a plastic bag, rather than hauling out our suitcases from our basement storage, just to move upstairs.

Once settled, I became thankful for the luxury and conveniences. For instance, Van and I got to watch “Columbo” on cable TV in a warm, quiet room; and we each had queen-sized beds. And of course, there is a matter of having a real shower with a strong water force, without the hot water running out. None of this would be possible in Freedom; since we weren’t connected to electricity, the TV was limited and we had to use the furnace, which meant much more propane in this extreme cold weather. And, as to the bed, I sleep on the couch, because I long
ago realized that we need our individual spaces at night. It’s a matter of different energies.

Same O; Same O
I told Van that I didn’t know what to say about his sore back, because I thought this pattern had been overcome; yet, here it was again: Same O; Same O. It seems to be a reoccurring pattern when Little Ralph finds himself up against responsibility that he doesn’t want, or isn’t able to handle. Rather than saying so, he acts out with negative health conditions, which is not unusual for children. Apparently this time it happened when he was helping with the last of the stuff in the shed; a project that was supposed to be handled by Jim, but he insisted that he had not contracted for it, and besides, if he took it now and left it at the new site, someone might take it, as it would be unprotected.

So Little Ralph, again complicated something that might have been simpler, by trying to push a piece of the shed into place; a matter that he should have asked the crew to do, he explained in hindsight, adding “But, when they did it, they made it look easy, so I thought I could do it too.” A typical child’s reaction to being assigned, or taking on, responsibilities beyond his ability.
“Okay, so you learned a lesson from the experience, right?”
“Right!”
“So, probably that’s all that should be said, but I can’t help but bring to your attention that Little Ralph might have been indulging in his pattern of trying to please his mother, not succeeding, and then getting sick or hurt in a further effort to gain her favor. It’s just a thought that you might look at. The other part of it is that that never worked either, because she didn’t nurture you when you were sick, so you just stay in bed until you decide that you are ready to get up.”
He didn’t say anything, so I added, “The point is that I’m not willing to have you lay in bed all day while we’re here at the motel. There are things that you need to take care of, such as the wiper, the generator, and the call to Dottie; responsibilities which Little Ralph probably wants to get out of doing. The difference is that if Adult Ralph doesn’t know how to do something, he knows that he can ask someone who does know how. So, you probably need to start asking people where to get these matters handled.”

Nothing! Life is too Short!
In any event, Saturday morning, as planned, he got up early and went to the site and waited for the mobile and crew to arrive; and waited and waited and waited all day long. They never showed up, they never called; nothing!

In addition, when the mailman came by, Van asked about the forwarded mail and learned that when the magazines arrived, the mailman thought they were for some of the people who had been living there, so he returned them to the publishers. Otherwise, nothing else had arrived.
Okay, so where is our forwarded package? Where is the mobile? And when will it arrive? When will Dottie call? And why hasn’t she contacted us? For answers to these and other life challenging questions, see the next chapter. I am tired of writing about things that don’t happen. Life is too short! There must be something else.

Chapter 12
BLESS ME INDEED

Rosary of Complaints
I’d awakened early Sunday morning and began reciting my Rosary of Complaints, all the things that didn’t seem to be working out in my life, all the delays, and all the disappointments. Usually I don’t get very far with this negativity, before I start thinking about my blessings, and what I have to be thankful for. But this morning I felt like allowing myself to feel my feelings, and ask God about these seemingly unfulfilled parts of my life: is it time to give up my dreams and expectations? If the answer was “Yes,” I would feel less than satisfied with my life, but
ultimately, I would have to leave the results to God.

Forgetting that I’d just written a chapter about life being too short for these wasted moments, I tossed in bed, allowing my mind to wander through the maze of unfulfilled expectations, thwarted intentions and undelivered communications that rightfully compose an upset. And I acknowledged that there were enough that I had every right to feel upset, starting with the most recent disappointments of the mobile home not being delivered as promised, Dottie not communicating, and our forwarded mail not received.

Then I expanded my List to include the doors that still hadn’t opened: my unpublished and unsold books, my unvisited website and unwanted ministry. And I also listed the people who never respond to my emails and letters; the Emotional Abandonment and Abuse tape was ticking away. In other words, I was wallowing in the unproductivity of self-pity and disappointment, despite my efforts to remain positive and appreciative for my many blessings.

To fortify this effort, I was waiting to turn on the TV and watch Hour of Power, which must be kept low because of Van still sleeping, which was another thing: a husband who does not share my spiritual interests. Oh, yes, he allows me the space to pursue them, and he listens to my books; but bottom-line, he’s not there — emotionally or spiritually.

And I’m the person whose dream was to share a husband-wife ministry, including counseling and teaching, in addition to writing. It never happened, and the clock was ticking away, along with the calendar, as I rapidly approach my 70th birthday. And this reality had been brought home the day before when I read an article by Joan Borysenko, author of “A Woman’s Book of Life,” about “Generativity, Retrospection and Transcendence,” in other words, aging.  She says the final part of the life cycle is one of retrospection, which seems to describe my
current state of mind, though she says it usually takes place in the eighties. In that case, I sure hope I have a lot more of life’s accomplishments to reflect on when I reach that time.

“…Yet To Be”
I must say, however, that she listed many women whose greatest productivity and fulfillment came, after seventy. So, if I can just maintain my health, I can fulfill my personal prophecy: the most productive and fulfilling years of my life are yet to be. Of course, I believe that we can keep putting off our good, until it never happens, if we don’t claim it’s here and now, and give thanks for the good in our present moment.

“Set up for Comeback”
Finally, Robert Schuller, who is in his seventies, appeared and began talking about having eaten breakfast in London the day before, returning from a visit with the pope and other spiritual leaders. Then he introduced his guest speakers for the day, which meant he wouldn’t be giving the sermon, but at least he was physically here, even though he had jet lag, no doubt, and appeared rather uncharacteristically listless.

First, he interviewed Tom Garrot Benjamin, Jr., pastor of one of the country’s top churches, in Indianapolis, and author of a new book, “Mama’s Boy,” about the role of his grandma in his life, among other things. I was amazed as I heard him tell a story similar to Van’s nchildhood experience at the same age (five), when he was not wanted and shipped to another city to his grandmother. Only Little Ralph went by bus and Tom took a train; and Tom’s grandma met him with open arms, saying, “Come to me, Mama’s Boy,” whereas no one met Little Ralph, in this “life defining moment” of abandonment. Oh, yes, eventually someone called his family and he was rescued, but the deep traumatic damage was done. Maybe this is when he should have understood Tom’s comment: “Pain fuels passion,” because those feelings of abandonment certainly fueled Van’s life. But that’s another story, so let me bottom-line this one with Bishop Benjamin’s comment: “Every setback is a setup for a comeback.”

God Granted His Request
But, the highlight of the morning was the talk by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, founder and head of WTV Ministries, a worldwide organization, and more recently the author of his renowned book, “The Prayer of Jabez.” I’d heard of the book, but hadn’t read it; now I knew it was time to buy the book and begin a new venture.

After giving the background of the book, going back to when he was a freshman in seminary, and telling his story, he read the prayer of Jabez, which is from the bible, 1 Chronicles 4: “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.”
And guess what? “God granted what he requested.” Now, what do you think of that? Do you honestly believe that you could make that prayer and have God grant your request? And if so, what would your life be?

You might ask, “What happened to Jabez?” As Dr. Wilkinson pointed out, there is nothing more in the bible about Jabez, nor after much research, did he find anything more about him anyplace. Apparently, that prayer was his contribution, because it comes in the midst of a chronicle of “begets,” but there is one thing more: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers,” and also “And his mother called his name Jabez, ‘because I bore him in pain.'” Okay, let’s see where this story goes.

Dr. Wilkinson said that the key here to the prayer being answered comes in the words, “He was honorable,” suggesting that there is something that we might need to do first, such as ??? I don’t know the answer, but maybe you do.

For me, I think the answer is being revealed on an ongoing basis, and that’s why the floodgates have not yet been opened all the way. So, it gets back to reminding me that my part is to do what I’m doing now, as God guides. And the rest will be revealed in the perfect time and way. So, maybe it is enough simply to pray, and let God do the rest.

“How Would That Look?”
I asked myself, “What would my life look like, if God granted that request?” I must admit that asking myself that question brought me smack up against my Wall, bigger than the Wall of China.

First, I looked at my “Proposal,” for my ministry, and it put me into overload. No way, in God’s earth, if that request were granted, would I want it or be in a position to do it; the time has long past, and I am no longer willing or able to maintain a ministry of that dimension. It’s over! Okay, so let’s be realistic, it’s time to write a new proposal, or give up; it’s for sure that Proposal’s time has come and gone. As I told Van, when he finally got up, “I am tired of pushing the snowball up hill; but if I stop, it will roll back over me and land in a heap at the bottom of the hill where I started.” I could see myself, encapsulated within the snowball, arms and legs
flailing, with no place to go and nothing to do. No more reason to get up in the morning, nothing
to look forward to. The End!

But then, who knows? Maybe that’s where I’m supposed to be. Maybe the snowball was never supposed to go over that hill in the first place. Like Atlas letting go of the world and discovering that it didn’t need him to hold it up. Or, like the movie, “Wholly Moses,” in which Gene Wilder plays a character who overhears God talking to Moses and thinks He’s talking to him, so goes on a quest to fulfill God’s commands. Every so often I have to remind myself of that movie in order to get my life back in perspective. And this is definitely one of those times.
So, “how would my life look if God granted my request?” Probably exactly the way it looks now: living in the Present Moment, as He guides, one step at a time. And that’s the only way I can maintain sanity and balance in my life; anything else is too crazy-making, and too overwhelming. This way, giving up expectations, there is no room for disappointment; and, for me, that is healthy.

Quiet Time
The morning had started with the cellular phone waking us up, and Geraldine telling Van that the mobile would arrive at 9:00 a.m., so he hustled himself together and left. And I’d decided to let God handle things, while I relaxed and read my spiritual magazines. The title of my Daily Reading confirmed my Inner Guidance, as I read: “My soul is renewed as I rest in the presence of God.” It reminded me of the importance of centering my
thoughts in the peace of my soul, so I interspersed the morning with meditation upon the words I was reading.

For instance, I read an article from the book, “The Direct Path,” by Andrew Harvey, a world-renowned religious scholar and teacher. The author was telling of another form of communication with God, which differed from the prayer of Jabez, and it reminded me of a method I had used for many years, after reading “The Voice of the Master,” by Edna Belle Werber.

This approach suggested that you visualize a place where you feel happiness and peaceful, preferably a place with such memories. My place is the hills above the hot springs that my parents owned, where I grew up. From there it seemed as if I could see forever, over the surrounding hilltops and canyons; and it also gave me a view of the river that flowed past another place I often visit in my meditations.

Once you’ve selected your special place, you visualize your master, or your personal idea of God, either in a physical form, such as Jesus, or directly to God, which I usually do. And then you pour out whatever is on your mind that you need to talk about: problems, fears, burdens, or questions.

I talked about my frustration over not hearing from Dottie, and all the other factors in my current Wall, or Dead End, where nothing was happening, either in my personal life, books or website.

Once you’ve relieved your mind of these issues, you visualize the energy of your spiritual being flooding over you, filling you with Light, as you continue invoking Its help in resolving your current needs, while it falls upon you in “great cataracts of power.” Then relax into Its bliss and love, feeling overwhelming peace and love.

I like this part: feel yourself floating into the spiritual image and feel a mutual embrace; or you can simply rest against its healing energies and absorb the love.

The author suggests that you come out of your meditation slowly and ease into the day. However, for the second time that morning, I was jangled by a phone ringing; this time it was housekeeping asking when they could clean the room. I still wanted some Quiet Time to write about the revelations of my meditation, so I said it would be several hours.

Oh No, Not Again!
I had been experiencing some body discomfort, especially digestive disturbances, and I was surprised when my Inner Guidance revealed that my Abandonment Syndrome had been triggered by this Big Move. I had taken on Betty and Van’s anxieties, which often happens, because, as a healer, I am sensitive to the feelings of others. In addition, my own frustration over not hearing from Dottie had set up the scenario.

Once I became aware of the inner cause, the symptoms disappeared, which goes back to Gary Zukav’s suggestion of focusing on one’s emotions or physical symptoms, until they reveal the cause. Now, I could release my anxiety about not hearing from Dottie, knowing that God is taking care of her, and our products.

Ongoing and Answered
But the most important revelation, during my meditation, was the realization that, like Jabez, my Prayer had already been answered; in fact it’s ongoing, as we are always receiving God’s blessings in so many ways. All I have to do is be aware of them, such as our fine motel room, the good meals, and the beauty of the mountain through my window, to name a few. And our good health is certainly a blessing, including Little Ralph’s continuing recovery, as he’s doing his part to support his mother during her Big Move.

It’s for sure, living in an RV, our territory is being enlarged, as travel from place-to-place to visit family and friends, and see this beautiful country. And, even if we didn’t travel, my territory is being enlarged via my Inner Freedom website, and especially our own inner growth, as we’ve created and expanded the website.

And through all of our inner and outer travels, we always feel “the hand of God upon us,” and protected from evil, as I was reminded during my morning meditation.

“Cause No Pain”
However, I paused and reflected upon the word, “that I cause no pain.” Although my ongoing prayer is to heal and ease pain, I’ve no doubt caused pain to others in an effort to protect my own health and sanity.

I’m thinking about some friends and family members whose words or actions caused me to distance, or terminate the relationship. Usually these break-ups have occurred as a result of my own pain and grief that I carry from childhood, because of my Abandonment Syndrome, and also because of my own emotional disorders. When the discomfort gets too intense, I act out, either in words or actions, which have caused pain to others.

As these realizations flashed across my mind, I felt that this Love-month, February, would be a good time to extend an effort to reinstate the friendships. If they choose to remain distant, then it’s on their slate, not mine.

Circle the Wagons
Surprisingly, during my lengthy morning meditation, I was reminded of an email message from my friend, Bonnie, responding to my recent complaint about “nothing working out,” which follows:

“As to your comment regarding how life has been treating you both, and myself as well, I have no simple answer. I have thought about this quite a bit over the past few years. What seems to come up, is a difference in others around us having roots even if they are out of work, they have a permanent dwelling and/or connections where they can hang out, get support from family, friends, neighbors, both emotionally, and in networking to find a job,
as for us, we seem to have become rootless outsiders, never quite able to connect and no one. letting us through the door to prosperity (and I don’t just mean financial prosperity).

This is a type of homelessness when a degree of poverty over an extended period, takes hold, and you lose necessary connections that help you stay connected to mainstream society so as to reap the benefits of home and financial security.

You don’t have to be on the streets and living out of dumpsters. You can also be moving from place to place, seeking a spot to take root and thrive. People get cut off from community through the selfishness of others in our society, and then the stigma of becoming poor. If you lose the trappings of middle class affluence, then others become suspicious of you and are apt to either deny you a job, or prevent you from moving into a neighborhood, or just treat you poorly out in public.

There’s another aspect to this scenario as well. You mention how all your efforts have failed. The areas you have chosen are difficult at best to succeed in.

You hear stories of success, but they only reflect a few who have the intense energy and are gifted for such things. Most people in such efforts, such as networking, don’t do very well. The secret is finding the right area for you to focus your energies and talents. I have no easy answers. Most people struggle to land conventional jobs. Most people have connections when they get a job these days. Otherwise, it’s much harder.

What is a good way to find your path and place in life? I would say, like in the old west days, wagons should come together as a group, and form a circle to fend off the attacking enemy.

I am beginning to realize that this means find a place, take root and stay, and then make lemonade out of whatever lemons you find locally. Because you have to get your foot in the door and the only way is through connections in community and also being able to match up your gifts/talents with your heart’s desires. Connections only come by staying in one spot so that people can catch a glimpse of the wonderful people you two are. Where do you want to live? Really? The Southwest? West? CA, OR, NV, NM, AZ, CO?

Pick a place that’s sunny, has mild winters, not too isolated and positioned somewhere that is civilized enough in ways you like so as to meet others of like-minded spirits. Combine it with a realistic idea of cost of living: include possibility for buying land or being somewhere to start over in a simple fashion, even just living on the land in your RV.

I’m in this same boat . I could do it with you, or if I land a job in a fairly good location, you could join me. Remember, it’s safer for the wagons to come together in order to fend off the Indians; pooling resources, giving each other moral support and inspiration in finding and following our paths.

The bottom line: survival needs come first; and this means finding a place to take root before you contemplate what to do as your vocation. Otherwise, you will spend all your energies having to pack and pull up stakes. Time and time again; it wears you out. Anyway, these are my ideas about the subject you have mentioned.

I’m bummed out by my neighbor, Todd, moving out yesterday. It’s one more instance of being cut off from others because of the rootlessness of poverty. Living in an RV park is a ‘rootless’ experience. You and everyone are always on the verge of moving on. Food for thought. Bonnie”

My Inner Guidance suggested that the people who are becoming part of the Inner Freedom Ministry website, such as Adam and me, as ministers, and those who have agreed to be on the Board of Directors, including Bonnie (as president), and also the Board of Advisors (still being formed), are the members of our “Circle of Wagons.” It came to my attention that it’s not necessary for us to be in one location, as in the olden days when the pioneers were crossing the country and facing the attack of Indians. Our Circle could be through the ethers, a matter of consciousness, so to speak, which is no doubt being done on many website organizations.

I don’t know how all this is going to take place, but my Inner Guidance reassured me that it is happening exactly according to His Divine Plan, so I can only trust and move forward.

Along those lines, I suggested to Bonnie that this is a good area for us to Circle our Wagons, mentioning that Van’s mom is now permanently here, and my brother, Gary, is just over the distant mountain, where he is a caretaker at a forestry station in the winter, and on a lookout in the summer. He could use a support team, and Bonnie and he would have a lot of common interests, as friends. Also, our friend, Kathy, whom we visited in October, lives nearby.

Furthermore, it’s not too far to my family in Oregon, and the mountains are nearby in one direction, and the ocean in another direction; and the big cities are only several hours to the south.

Another Good Idea
As I’ve often mentioned, God often gives me an experiential aide, and I was surprised, while watching the movie, “Patch Adams,” to see that he too was offbeat, somewhat of a loner, and had a dream; he wanted to help people, and he wanted to make them laugh. He eventually founded a program, in Virginia, that is still in existence, despite the many obstacles he had to overcome.

I chuckled at the similarities, because his foundation began with a dilapidated shack and a motley crew consisting of mentally ill patients, among others, and several doctors with whom he had interned. My proposed non-profit organization will include a motley crew of several former prison inmates, college graduates, and others of varied backgrounds. Yet, we all care about people, and we want to help make the world a better place. And, although each is preoccupied with our own endeavors, it’s possible that we can find a common ground for
Circling our Wagons and working toward a mutually agreeable goal. At least, this is the idea I keep hearing, so I’ll see how God brings it about, because it certainly isn’t going to be up to me.

“Anything Can Happen”
The above subtitle greeted me the next morning when I read my Daily Reading, after I’d written the above words, and again I felt that God was telling me something, as it spoke of the unlimited possibilities when we keep attuned to God, the Creator of infinite possibilities. The Reading also suggested that God has created wonderfully intricate outcomes for our prayers.
On this day, Van had checked out his mother’s mobile site as the crew was busily getting it set up. While he was gone, I checked my email and I had a wonderful message from Dottie explaining that she had been going through some deep emotional stuff, as a result of working with Gary Zukav’s book, “Heart of the Soul,” and she hadn’t felt like communicating. She also asked that I not send any messages of being mad at her, which was an excellent communication reminding not to cause her pain because of my frustration.

Although she didn’t shed any light on the missing packages, she did say that she didn’t know anything about the miss-sent diet shakes that we’d received by mistake. So this left the mystery in Van’s lap to resolve, and I felt that he was fully capable of doing it, having done so well in handling his mother’s business.

Chapter 13
“I’M NOT GOING BACK THERE”!

The Wisdom of the Universe
I knew that I had neglected to write about an important incident that happened during one of our dinners with Betty, but it didn’t seem to fit into the other chapters; little did I know that there would be more, and it would become its own chapter. The title had become clear, but I wasn’t sure how to begin, until the answer leaped from the page of my Daily Reading, “In total cooperation, I invite the wisdom of the universe to guide and support me.”

I smiled as I read the rest of the message, while the computer was activating, because I’d just said my ongoing prayer, as I sat down to write: “I know that I, of myself, can do nothing; it’s not me, but the Father within who does the work.” I really hadn’t a clue how this chapter would begin, although I suspected what it would be about, because God had given me the idea. Now, He had shown me the beginning, and I could see it unfold in my mind’s eye; my imagination. Thank You, God, for the blessing of creativity.

The daily message went on to talk about our concern over other people’s problems, and our feelings that it’s up to us to make things work out for them, but reminding us that we cannot be responsible for everyone and everything. Thank You, God!

Responsibility Factor
It so happens that much of this chapter is about the Responsibility Factor: Van’s and mine, and maybe more, as it unfolds. The reading acknowledges that it’s good to be a responsible person, but it’s not all up to us; we can turn the challenges — ours and others — over to God, and then follow His Guidance, if there is something for us to do, otherwise, let go and let God.

There is often a fine line between our part, and God’s, or so it would seem; yet when we allow Him to take care of His Divine Plan, and ask Him to show us what to do in fulfilling our part, we can relax and enjoy life. We don’t have to struggle, force results or make it happen. What a relief! As the bible says, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Of course, this Daily Reading answers some of my questions mentioned in past chapters, because it always applies. But it’s really about Little Ralph’s ongoing healing and growing up process. And it’s about that fine line between my part, and God’s. Actually, what I’ve written so far could be a lesson in overcoming codependency, but it’s an introduction to what unfolded during several dinners with Betty, and other related subjects.

Light on the Mystery of Ralph
That day, Van, more likely Little Ralph, had remained in our room to watch the Superbowl, and I’d gone to Betty’s room to watch a “Murder She Wrote” marathon. Betty and Ralph had arranged that during the Half-time Intermission, he would walk the few blocks to KFC, buy some honey BBQ chicken wings and coleslaw, bring them back, take what he wanted and return to his game. All this went as planned, except that his favored team lost and the underdog Patriot’s won a shattering victory in the last seconds of the game.

Feeling defeated and angry, he returned to watch the mysteries with us, but during the first commercial, while telling of his team’s last-minute defeat, it reminded Betty about an incident that shed more light on “The Mystery of Little Ralph” and she told the story: “On your first day at nursery school, you came home and announced, ‘I’m not going back there'”! Apparently, he had expressed himself then in much the same manner as he related his
feelings about the Patriots losing the Superbowl, triggering his mom’s memory of that event. She continued, “Of course, we wondered what had happened, and it took awhile to get it out of you.”

Van listened intently, as this yarn unfolded, and his mother smiled, as she related the story, “Mom and I didn’t know any difference, and we had dressed you up in this adorable outfit: a sailor suit with short blue pants and a white top with a blue tie, which we realized later, was how you dressed for Sunday School, but not appropriate for nursery school. In any event, the kids teased you, and so you were adamant about not going back there.”

Fascinated with this revelation from his past, I asked, “How did you get him to go back?” “Oh, we dressed him in appropriate clothes and he was okay after that.”

I prodded Van to see if he remembered this Life Defining Moment, but it seemed to be part of the closed archives that his memory refused to reveal. However, he did remember having seen pictures of himself in that outfit. And that’s all he had to say about that. Of course, he seldom has much to say about anything, especially related to his past, so any insights shed by his mom are a welcome revelation to us both, as they help shed light on the “Mystery of Little Ralph.”

“Enlarging Her Territory”
Although these gems don’t happen very often, the more we’re all three together, the more tidbits are revealed. For instance, Betty had decided to “enlarge her territory” and buy a new cable-ready TV; a good plan since hers was around twenty-years old and fading fast.

Keep in mind that she seldom goes anyplace, due to her swelling legs and arthritis, so even going out to dinner is simply a matter of necessity, while staying at the motel. So, when she announced that she wanted to go to Costco, we were shocked, because it involves so much walking. However, Van pulled into a Handicapped Parking and escorted her inside. Fortunately, the TV’s were displayed close to the front door, and there was a large selection, so I quickly took a tour of the rest of the store, but decided not to buy, because I didn’t want to delay them when
Betty was ready to leave. But she had found a set she liked, so Van could return and purchase it when her home is ready.

She further surprised us by asking to check out Circuit City’s TV selection, as we’d been told they have a good supply. Again, Van parked by the door and escorted his mom inside, but she didn’t see anything she liked better, so now it was time for Joanie’s favorite part of our adventure, as we went to Wendy’s for dinner. This made three new places for Betty, in one day, and we were so impressed; and so was she.

She liked Wendy’s chili, fries and Frosty, so we’d struck another winner for local eateries, along with the shopping. Although they were all in Redding, she now enjoyed the drive, along Highway 273, didn’t mind the “city traffic,” and her adjustment to her new surroundings was progressing nicely.

How it Ended
Wendy’s became the imprint for another revelation, as Betty began chatting about her childhood, reminiscing about being a tomboy and not wanting to dress up for her older sisters wedding. Soon she was talking about her dad and that he had such an even disposition, and that reminded her of the time he lost his temper when her brother had been at a nightclub and saw Betty’s husband (Little Ralph’s dad) with another woman.

Betty’s dad and brother went to the VanCamps home, where Betty and Little Ralph lived with his dad’s mom and the rest of their family. They told Betty what had happened, loaded her and Little Ralph into the car and took them home, where they lived until his grandmother’s death. And, of course, Betty had immediately filed for divorce from Ralph Sr., because that’s how it was done in those days. Probably just as well, considering that Betty’s main comment about her first husband remains, “He was a jerk!”

To the Contrary
During the conversation, she mentioned how much her parents enjoyed Little Ralph, saying “Your grandfather just loved to hold you, and he would give you candy all the time, even though your grandmother would say, “It’s not good for him.”

This familial scene came as a surprise to me, because Van had always given me the impression that he wasn’t wanted there and that it had been his fault that his grandfather had kicked them out, after his wife died, and that’s why Little Ralph had been shipped off to his dad, who had moved with his family to Colorado.

To the contrary, Betty had revealed, at another time, that it was because she couldn’t cope with her mother’s death, and she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She again confirmed that the family doctor had told her dad to take her on a trip, or she might not come out of her traumatized state, which is the reason Little Ralph had been sent to live with his dad; not that he was bad, as he’d always suspected. Ralph Sr. lived with his mom (Van’s paternal grandmother), so Little Ralph’s reality was that families lived together.

In talking with Van about this, as I’m writing, he says that he figured that’s how people lived, explaining that he and his mom had either lived with her parents, or with his dad’s family. But after Betty’s mother died, her father sold their big home, bought a smaller one for Betty and her brother (who attended college), and moved to another town. So when Little Ralph visited his mom, he never saw his grandfather. Since his dad’s father never came around either, he just figured that grandfather’s aren’t part of the family.

I suggested that might explain why he never took on the grandfather role with my family; to my kids and grandkids, he’s “Van.” Besides, to Little Ralph, being a grandfather must mean that you aren’t part of the family, and he didn’t want that to happen to him, so he never became “Grandfather.”

But, the important part of this revelation could well be a Paradigm Shift for Little Ralph in that his perspective of having been not wanted would now have to shift, because he can no longer honestly maintain that role.

“I Don’t Want to go There, Either”
As I attempted to write this next segment, I felt blocked; whether by me, or Van, I didn’t know, until I asked him to remind me what we’d talked about, and he didn’t remember either. As I checked the few words on my notes, and we began talking about the subject, I remembered that it had to do with responsibility, which I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. And then I realized that Little Ralph didn’t want to go there, either, no doubt. But it’s a subject that needs to be addressed in written form, as well as verbal.

I’ve mentioned before that when these processes are in progress, the words come through me, and I don’t usually remember what I’ve said, so unless they are given to me again, as I write, they are lost. Hopefully they accomplished whatever they were supposed to, because Van doesn’t usually remember them either, and as I’ve said before, he doesn’t process things on a conscious level, like I do. For him, he seems to sleep on it, and either it’s become part of his consciousness, or it hasn’t; and life goes on.

Control, Responsibility, Freedom
We had come up against an accumulation of matters that needed handling; ours, not his mother’s, which brought up part of the conversation relating to the fact that he seems to do fine when it comes to taking care of things for her; but when taking care of our affairs, he’s barely able to function. “Why is that?” I asked him. Of course, he didn’t have an answer, so I began to give him one.

“I wonder if it’s because when your mother wants you do something, she doesn’t ask, she tells you what to do and how to do it, leaving nothing more for you to do, other than following through on her instructions.

“On the other hand, I try to get your input, ask your opinion or preference, and otherwise give you options. But, maybe for you, that doesn’t work. I recall that you have told me, in the past, that when given a job or an assignment at work, you preferred to be told what to do, rather than trying to figure it out, and that’s why you did not want supervisory level jobs, although you were fully capable of handling them.

Conflict
“I’m wondering if this causes a conflict for you; on one hand, you want your freedom, control and options, but on the other hand, you’ve been conditioned, so that you feel that you need to be told, or have the project outlined. It’s not that you can’t think it out for yourself, but you’ve been so conditioned that you no longer trust your own judgment. Of course, it doesn’t help that I too, like your mom, am strong-willed and able to take control, even though I prefer not to.

I believe that the husband has a role that he performs: taking care of things, such as
money matters, business transactions, protecting the household and even making plans. Yet, you depend on me to do many of these things, which causes a conflict; not only for me, but also for you. “The conflict seems to be ‘I can do it myself,’ versus, ‘I need someone to tell me what to do, or do it for me.’ I think many men have this problem, depending on the role their mom’s have played in their lives. That’s why they need secretaries or wives who fill that need. “This is one reason that Dottie and you get along, because she takes care of things for
you when it comes to the business. Like right now, for instance, there are all these loose ends, such as the package we didn’t receive, and the one we did; and there are more products that need to be ordered, or we need to come up with a different policy. We’re really at a crossroads here, when it comes to this business: are you going to handle it, or not?
“I guess it’s a matter of control, responsibility and freedom. How do you want it handled? Do you want to be told, or do you want to be asked? Do you want to do it yourself, or do you need help?”

He didn’t seem to have an answer, and asked if he could think about it and let me know. I reminded him that he always seemed to carry an underlying resistance, resentment and rebellion, and I wondered if it had to do with always being told, as a child, rather than being given an option, yet he had become so conditioned that he was rendered somewhat incapacitated; immobile, no longer trusting his own judgment, traumatized.

I find it interesting that Van’s last long-lasting job had been in a Think Tank environment with the computer industry, which would contradict everything I’m writing. Yet, he agrees that what I’ve said is true.

So, what is the answer?
I reminded him of an explanation given by John Bradshaw, as to why wounded adult children are angry. He says that one reason is because they have been given too much responsibility too soon, without the proper knowledge and ability to carry it out; that they’ve been robbed of their carefree childhood, and they don’t understand why; only that they feel angry.

This was true for Van. For example, when he sold magazines, as part of a fund-raiser for his school, and forgot to save money to pay for them, as mentioned in another chapter, as one of his Life Defining Moments. Bottom-line, his dad punished him and said, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it.” Again, a conflict arose: between being told what to do, and not knowing how to do it. So, in many instances, his decision is “Don’t do anything.” Understandable, because all this would definitely thwart one’s incentive.

Divine Originals
Apparently God wanted me to truly understand and explain the components that went together to create the Divine Original known as Ralph, because He gave me several experiential aides, as we watched TV over several days. And He made sure that I understood that I was to write about them, as part of this chapter. They were all non-conformists who “marched to the beat of a different drummer,” as does Van. For instance, I’ve already mentioned John Nash, the mathematician in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his
revolutionary economic theory. And he came back to my mind as we watched “Patch Adams,” the movie where Robin Williams portrayed Dr. Adams, another non-conformist who upset tradition with his approach to medicine through laughter.

Then the characters on Van’s favorite TV show, “Jag,” defended a WAF officer who defied traditions, in Saudi Arabia. She refused to wear the traditional gowns, abaya, covering women from head to foot, and she insisted on driving, rather than sitting in the back of the car, among other traditions that she bucked. Therefore, she eventually went to trial for disobedience of the rules, and she won, because of her standing as a pilot, equal to that of a man. She was in charge of a crew, and the restrictions would be demeaning to her status and abilities, as a leader. As a result of winning her case, American military women no longer were required to wear the abayas, however they still had to sit in the back of a car. In other words, as a non-conformist, she made a difference.

On the TV show, “Judging Amy,” I became irritated with a character whom I considered to be running a racket, as I call it. That’s when one becomes accident prone, or develops other patterns, as a result of behavior that began to attain certain results. For instance, this boy wanted to stay at the home of Judge Amy and her mother, so whenever he was sent to a Foster Care home, something would happen so that it didn’t work, and he would get to return. These rackets, usually start as an attention-getting device, and then take on a life of their own, seemingly as if it’s part of who they are.

Diversionary Tactics
They are more difficult to change than most patterns, habits or even addictions. For one thing, the person’s subconscious is unwilling to give up the so-called benefits that caused them to start the racket in the first place, even though it may no longer be giving them the results that they originally desired. In fact, they can become a detriment to a person, such as Van’s Diversionary Tactic, which originally served his purpose of taking attention from whatever is going on that he doesn’t want to happen. They always seem justified and reasonable, unless the
victim of them can recognize what’s going on and call the person on the racket.

Van has become aware of his, at least to the extent that when I call him on it, he realizes what he’s doing, but cannot always stop, because the racket is running. For example, his back condition only occurs when he doesn’t want to do something; mostly it’s a matter of responsibility, which is symbolized by back pain.

I first became aware of this racket when we were helping his cousin, Natalie, prepare for a garage sale that he didn’t want to do. Rather than verbalize his distaste for the project, his subconscious created the sore back that lasted the entire time we were there. Fortunately, God came through with His experiential aide at the appropriate time. I’ve written about it in another book, but I’ll repeat the story here to illustrate my point:
While at his cousins, Van’s step-sister came to the area to visit her aunt, and we were invited to a family gathering at an English Tea Room. I only heard snatches of their conversation, because he sat next to his step-sister, who was at the head of the table, and across from her aunt, and I was at the other end of the table.

Later, when I asked, he explained the story to Natalie and me: “When I was about ten, I’d gone to visit this aunt at their farm. They had a horse that I wanted to ride, but her husband said that I could ride if I would paint creosote along the pumice block foundation of the house. I painted all morning and stopped for lunch, but I still hadn’t finished, so I painted after lunch too. Soon it was almost time to go and I still hadn’t gotten to ride the horse. By this time, I didn’t care if I rode or not, I was tired of painting that damn, smelly creosote. Finally the aunt told her husband to let me ride, and I did. But by this time I could care less.

From this Life Defining Moment, came a pattern that still runs today: in order to enjoy some pleasure, he must pay a price, such as painting the foundation of the house. If the price is more than he’s willing to pay, his subconscious will create a Diversionary Tactic. Of course, long ago, this pattern became automatic, and it goes into play without his conscious awareness.
So, it’s understandable that his subconscious would develop a back problem while helping his mother with the Big Move, even though he consciously wanted to be helpful, especially when it meant getting his mother’s approval and acceptance. And he also enjoyed being near her during this time. All of this, of course, creates an understandable conflict. Anthony Robbins, the motivational writer, describes it as a pleasure-pain syndrome.

It’s easily explained by Pavlov’s dog experiment: dogs were conditioned by two bells of different pitches; one rang when they were to be fed, and the other when they would receive a painful jab. Over a period of time, the bells became closer in sound, until one day the two bells were the same, and the dogs cowered in the corner, not knowing whether they would be fed (pleasure) or jabbed (pain). This conditioning causes psychosis, which takes years of therapy to heal. Robbins came up with a successful healing approach, and you can read his books or listen to his tapes for this procedure.

The point here, is that healing begins with recognition, and I’ve written a short-cut system for “How to Recognize and Change Patterns,” from my book by the same name, which appears in my “Changing Money Patterns” program. The short-cut version follows:

HOW TO CHANGE PATTERNS
Patterns are similar to habits, and can be changed by using the same steps.

1. Identify the pattern:
Sometimes we’re in denial and don’t recognize the pattern. But these patterns are based on childhood decisions we made to cope, or they could be programming from parents, teachers, or spiritual leaders. Then once the pattern is established, it repeats over and over; and we feel helpless to change. Ask God to help identify the pattern.

2. Describe the pattern:
What form does it take? What is its pattern?

3. Determine the pattern’s negative payoff:
Some habits are beneficial and have no negative results, but others can be destroying your relationships, finances, or health. Upon examination, we may find the pattern has some kind of payoff that we are unwilling to admit, especially that it’s controlling our lives. This step will take some honest introspection, but it’s worth the discomfort for the positive results that follow.

4. You must want to change:
If someone else has brought our character flaw to our attention, change may not occur, because we don’t really want to give them the satisfaction. Usually the 3 R’s (resistance, resentment, and rebellion) interfere, and the pattern remains intact. It can change if there’s enough emotion involved on your part, such as a threat that motivates you: job loss, or relationship ending. The pain may become so unbearable that we want to change at any cost. And there is a price, but nothing like we’ve already paid by life not working. So what is the price? Perhaps willingness to look at, and give up the payoff.

5. Change the pattern:
Now define a new, positive habit or pattern to replace the negative one.

6. New direction:
This can be traumatizing, so start with tiny steps rather than an overwhelming change, to fulfill your new pattern. Look at other options, do it differently. Fill the void left by the old habit with new thoughts, activities, relationships, or behavior. This can feel strange and disorienting at first, but persevere until the new habit is established.

7. Keep your thoughts and attention focused on the desired results, not what you don’t want. What gets our attention gets us; so if you think about the old pattern, it’s still got you. Change your focus as we did for habits.

8. Thank God for bringing about the desired results:
We cannot do this by ourselves, but God gives us the strength and ability to change any habit, pattern, or addiction. It’s good to start with this step, and then conclude with it too. And use it often throughout the process.

Origination of a Pattern
The following excerpt from my book, “Knocking on Doors,” explains the beginning of one of Van’s lifetime patterns that surfaced while he was doing yardwork when we lived in our home in Leucadia, California, in the mid-nineties: “When I was about twelve, living in Boulder, Co., part of the contract for the rent of our
apartment was that I do the yard work in the summer and shovel snow in the winter. But no one told me it was part of the contract; all I knew was that it was my job. Seems it would have been nice if they’d let me know that they’d contracted my work as part of the rent agreement.”

I looked at Little Ralph speaking through Van, and a great sadness overcame me as I said, “Well, yes, it’s as if you didn’t get to vote.” He looked forlorn and hopeless as he said, “Yeah, I didn’t have a choice. I never have a
choice about anything.”

I realized that perception came from his inner child, and I also knew it was time to change that anchor, so I said, “But that’s not true. You’ve chosen not to have a regular job the past two years. And you’ve chosen to build the MLM business. And I always ask your choice of what movie we attend. I don’t always like them, but I go so we can be together and eat popcorn.”
Little Ralph looked puzzled, then he lightened up as he said, “You’re right. I do have choices.” A whole new concept was dawning. Then he asked, “You don’t always like the movies I pick out”?
“No, some of them are men’s movies, not my style, but I enjoy being with you, so it’s okay.” He seemed lost in thought as Little Ralph let go of a lifetime pattern concept with the realization that he does have choices, and he does get to vote. He just didn’t get to as a child, especially about the yard work and snow shoveling.
“I assumed it was for the rest of my life,” he’d said, “and from then on I continually thought about leaving home.”
“I can see how those feelings of not having a choice would affect everything you do,” I said. “The three R’s of resentment, resistance, and rebellion would be under the surface at all times. No wonder you start on a project, and then lose interest when it seems you’ve been given more than you agreed to do, such as when you enter my books in our computer. But I thought you were having fun with us working together on the yard.” “At first I didn’t know what was bothering me when I kept getting scratched and stung, and you asked what was going on with Little Ralph. At first I didn’t know, but then the memory of the contract surfaced, and I remembered why I hated yard work, and refused to do it as an adult. That’s why I like this place, because the Association takes care of the yards.” “Why didn’t you say something when I first discussed clearing the brush”? “Because I didn’t remember, and I thought it would be fun together, but after a few days it wasn’t fun anymore. It became a labor.”
“As I recall, I began asking you to crawl under the brush to reach and cut the long honeysuckle branches. You’d keep asking me what next, and I’d be telling you. Then you’d do it your way, anyway, so I got angry and told you to stop asking me. And you’d insist I tell you, so I don’t get the problem. Is it a control issue”?
“I don’t know,” he said. “It seems to me that you would resent anyone telling you what to do, but maybe it’s
become a pattern because you didn’t have a choice as a child, and were always told what to do, so now you request that input even though you resent it. Somewhere along the line you gave up your power of choice because you figured it didn’t matter anyway.”
“That could be,” he said, “I’m not that much in touch with my feelings, wants, or even needs. I don’t ask for much, so I usually get what I ask for.” “I can see where your pattern originated, and I’m glad you’re learning to change it, because it’s certainly true that God gives us what we want, so if we don’t want much, we don’t get much. Now I think your adult self needs to talk with Little Ralph about this no-choice pattern. Big Ralph needs to explain to Little Ralph that choices are associated with the subject of disciplined freedom. It doesn’t mean he can do anything and everything he, as a child, darn pleases, like playing all day. It’s part of growing up to understand that there’s a time to work, and a time to play. He can’t grow wild and undisciplined, but must develop a
balance. He’s in charge of fun, creativity, and flexibility, but he must allow Big Ralph to handle the adult activities.

The Transition Process
The above scenario opened up a whole new world for Little Ralph, but the Transition Process on the Inner Freedom Journey is cyclic and spherical, so we revisit it often at different levels, as we are processing from one to another.

Betty’s Big Move offered Van another opportunity to move to a new level, and being reminded of these past revelations helped him through the latest process, as he again revisited the past.

Chapter 14
WE’RE ALL WINNERS

Courage, Faith and Overcoming
Watching The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, I was enthralled with the American spirit this year, no doubt because of 9-11, and the courage, faith and overcoming required for everyone to arrive at this time and place, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; and also because we have an outstanding team. One of the opening speakers said, “You’re all winners just by being here, and you are Olympians.”

I felt that all Americans are winners, having survived 9-11 and moving forward with life, and I knew the title of this chapter, without clearly understanding what I would write; but, as usual, the ideas began to unfold, and the words will put them into form. It seemed only natural for the American Indians to be featured at this Utah event, and to bring together the chiefs and members of the five tribes who live there; after all, they are the original Americans. And I felt a special kinship, as they pow-wowed and danced, because my parents bought Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs from the Warm Springs Indians, and I lived on an Indian reservation. Most of my happy childhood memories were there, and I remember the colorful costumes of the rhythmic dancers, and the pungent odors of the roaring fires, herbs and dust of their traditional celebrations held in the dirt-floored wooden Long House.
Mother always liked to tell the story about me getting tired of the late night festivities and crawling over to an Indian buck snuggled in his blanket, and saying, “Move over, me’s cold too.”

I imagine that it was quite cold there in Utah, but thankfully we had a clear night for the festivities, right up to the lighting of the torch by three generations of hockey players; although the grandfather had recently passed on, however his spirit was surely felt. In fact the entire team that beat the Russians in 1978, also participated in the lighting ceremony.

Indeed, it was a memorable evening, with the Children of Light, and the skaters, and the pioneers and the fireworks; all recognizing and honoring our American heritage and spiritual values.

My favorite sport is figure skating, and I was impressed by some of the stories of courage, faith and overcoming that prevailed, as Scott Hamilton filled in the human interest. Of course, his story is certainly one of courage, faith and overcoming as he is a winner, not only as a figure skater, but also for surviving cancer.

Scott is now retired from Stars on Ice, and I’m delighted that Van surprised me a year ago last Christmas with tickets for us to attend the Target sponsored skating extravaganza in San Jose, so I felt a more personal relationship, as Scott shared the details of the various performers. I could write a chapter just about the Olympics, and I will be adding more details, but there is so much more that I want to write.

It’s Not All Up to Us
I hadn’t felt satisfied that I was through with the “Prayer of Jabez,” and I’d intended buying the book, but couldn’t find it locally. So, when at Wal-Mart, in Redding, I had it in my hand, and then noticed an audio version, which I bought. However, since we were staying at the motel, I needed Van to replace the batteries in my Walkman before I could listen. I mention this, because his ongoing support will be discussed later.

The entire tape spoke to me exactly where I was, at the time, to take me through my Wall and it answered questions that I’d been asking, as mentioned in previous chapters. The author said, “God wants me to move out of my boundary lines.” In other words, to quote a saying of the ’70’s “Get off it and get on with it,” which I once used as a title for one of my courses, until I realized that it was outdated long before I finished the course, which is still in progress.

The part of the tape that spoke to me in words that I could understand bottom-lined the idea that I’ve made it through the first part of the Prayer, but I’m at a place where I can’t do it by myself; I’ve reached my limit; it’s more than I can handle. Or, as I said, “I’ve reached my Wall.” Right! That’s where I’m supposed to be. Now, it’s time to let God take over. I know that, but I panicked. It’s too much!

This is when we affirm that God’s hand is with us. It’s when we allow God to work through us, knowing that God, the supernatural power, can do anything. So, rather than giving up, or retiring, we take a deep breath and move forward, through the Wall. The secret is to surrender; then we merge into and become one with it. It’s the same step that we must take when we reach the River Jordan, after years of wandering through The Wilderness. Then we step, in faith, into the flooded water, and it stops so that we cross on dry land. That’s the supernatural power that does it for us. It’s not all up to us.

Just Do It!
In fact, as I was taking advantage of my weekend free phone time, while writing my email, I suddenly felt Inner Guidance to get on-line and check out a publisher to whom I had once sent a book proposal. It had been returned to me with a stamp indicating that the publishing company no longer existed. Yet, I recently learned that it is indeed, alive and flourishing. It must be a matter of timing. I must admit that I felt a familiar lump in my throat, tightness in my stomach and lightheadedness, as I searched on-line for the publisher and read their welcoming greeting toauthors clearly defining their policy and requirements. With my email still on hold, I wrote them
down, rather than use the excuse that my printer is in the RV.

Then, still in a panic mode that I must examine further, I located my already written book proposal and began to revise it. There had been some changes since I wrote the original in 1995. The date also reminded me of exactly when I became discouraged and gave up sending any further book proposals. Indeed, it was now time to push through my fears and just do it.

A Firm Foundation
I’d been praying the Prayer of Jabez for several weeks, since watching the book’s author, Bruce Wilkinson, on Hour of Power. Now, I was listening to his voice speak the words that were pulling me through the Wall, and I knew that everything would be moving forward; not only for me, but for those for whom I was praying, including my daughter, Dottie, and their business, and for the members of my new team for Inner Freedom Ministry.

Soon the reports began coming in: Joyce, my “Changing Patterns”* partner and Board Member, announced that, after six-months, she had lowered the asking price for selling her home, and it sold. She was disappointed in receiving less money, but happy to be free of the high mortgage payments and responsibilities of home-owning. Also, she could now pay cash for a much needed new car. Despite her role in “Money Makeovers,” she had concluded that she would be much happier renting a room in her friend’s mobile home and living within her
income, without the stress and pressure of home-owning.

In other words, when she got clear on who she is, what she wanted and what would work for her, God answered her request. From my viewpoint, this is an enormous prosperity demonstration. Life’s not always about more money, but rather it’s about recognizing and living within your own boundaries. And sometimes this is the very place where you strike oil.

I’m referring to Jett Rink, a character played by James Dean in the movie “Giant,” a hired hand on a huge Texas cattle ranch. When the co-owner sister died, she left him a spread of land. Her brother, who owned the rest of the land, tried to buy it back for twice the value, but Jett refused. Though seemingly worthless, it was his own, and he went ahead and measured off his boundaries and put up a barbed-wire fence, repaired the shack into a livable home, and happily continued to make improvements, with borrowed money.

One day oil was discovered on his land, and he began putting up oil rigs, eventually becoming one of the wealthiest people in Texas. But, he hadn’t built his foundation, and he couldn’t handle the responsibility, so he toppled; another victim of too much, too fast, too soon. On the other hand, Joyce has mastered her life and she has built her foundation. Now, she’s fallen back to a level that she can handle, and there is no doubt that God will “enlarge her territories” in ways that she may not expect, at this time, as God’s hand is with her throughout
the next phase of her life.

Although it may seem that Joyce is reducing her boundaries, in truth she is enlarging her territory by releasing her fears. When I asked what she did to allow the sale of the house, she said that she had to surrender the security of owning her home, and the fear of becoming a homeless baglady, and step out on faith into the unknown. And she also had to release her deceased mother, whose money had given Joyce the opportunity to buy the house. Now, she would be standing on her own two feet, with God as her firm foundation.

I will be relating more of her story, as this book continues to unfold, and I encourage you to visit her website, which will be on innerfreedom.org. Click on “Do It Anyway,” on Money Patterns.

“That I Not Cause Pain”
I mentioned earlier about stopping in the middle of an email to write my book proposal. I had been corresponding with my friend, Lynne, for the first time since 9-11, when we had parted company over forwarding email related to the event. She’d brusquely requested that I stop, and I’d over-reacted by ending the relationship.

Finally, as a result of the Prayer of Jabez, which concludes, “that I not cause pain,” I’d decided to write and make amends by explaining why I was upset. Also, I wanted to let her know that I’d left my course, “Journey to Inner Freedom” to her in my Will. It’s the one I mentioned above that I’d changed the name. The reason I’m giving it to Lynne is because she once started to become involved in helping me finish the course, and she has the entire course on her computer. But she had decided to return to her career as an attorney. So, rather than have it remain unfinished, if I don’t get it done, I wanted her to have it, and hopefully she would complete the project and do something with it. In the meantime, I will work on it, again, as Guided.

Lynne had responded to my reconnect-by-email letter, explaining that she had been overcome with grief by the 9-11 events and had acted-out her feelings, so she was glad that I had contacted her. She also thanked me for the gift of the course, but hoped that I wouldn’t die in order for her to receive it. This reminded me that I still hoped that we would be able to work together on it. But, like everything else, it’s all in God’s good time.

In addition to this good news, Lynne agreed to be on our Advisory Board. With her legal background and spiritual training in the same church as mine, she is a welcome asset to our team. Thank You, God.

Lynne had said that she didn’t know what that title would involve, so I asked Van, and he explained that anyone on the Advisory Board is available to advise, in their area of expertise, or refer to someone else, and also they participate in policy making and changing. I’m thrilled that Lynne is willing to participate in this capacity.

“Turning Points “
Van’s input brings me to one of my happiest sharings relating to the ministry and our personal lives, and I’m convinced that the Prayer of Jabez is responsible for the turning point. When I asked Van if he would serve on the Advisory Board with his expertise relating to business and computer related projects, he said “Yes.”

Of course, the healing aspect of being with his mother and helping with her move has been a major contribution, because he has regained his self-confidence and self-esteem as he’s successfully handled many of the details for her Big Move.

At this point, I feel that I need to explain some applicable past history about Van. You see, for many years Van was the backbone and support of our family, not only financially, but otherwise. We could ask him for advise on business, money matters, or just about anything, and his input was reliable, honest and it worked.

His expertise was especially significant when he decided that we would be partners with Dottie and Steve in a multiple level marketing (MLM) business. At first I was a silent partner, while involved with my ministry and writing, but eventually I attended meetings and gave my input, mostly as the emotional counselor.

The truth is that we were all deep in our respective patterns, addictions and wounded inner child syndromes, at the time. But the team forged ahead with some degree of success, despite the bad role-model of our sponsor. In fact, the business had reached a point, financially, that it was agreed that Steve would quit work and devote full time to building the business, which, as a salesman, was his area of expertise.

We all lived together in our big home overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and Van continued supporting the family. Everything was perfect, until the day he came home several hours after going to his programmer-analyst job and announced, “Let’s call it early retirement.” In a “life defining moment,” he had become a victim of corporate down-size layoff, when two companies merged.

At first, he was happy, because now he too could devote himself full-time to the business. But, without Van’s income, Steve felt that he must return to car sales in order to support his family. Thus he took his focus from the business, and soon they moved into their own home, and eventually they moved to Colorado. They continued working with the business, but for awhile, their lives were about survival, as Steve searched for and found a job. However, being in a new place and getting re-oriented, their focus had shifted.

Of course, they had their lives to live, but their leaving forced Van, a non-social person to attempt to build the business on his own. That’s when he and Joyce, who was also in the business, and also a non-people person, decided to become partners and go to neighborhoods knocking on doors and selling products. During the summer, they had fun, as they pushed through their fears and inhibitions talking about the products and business opportunity. But, they didn’t have the desired and needed results, and with the coming of cooler weather their enthusiasm waned.

About this time, the company had some upper-level upheavals that resulted inbankruptcy. Although the company survived the ordeal, our business didn’t; emotionally and financially none of us were willing to weather the storm, so our business folded. Van had received a nice severance package, but soon it ran out and he was forced to apply for unemployment, which didn’t cover our expenses. So, while trying to get himself back
on track, whenever he received an enticing offer, from credit card companies, he took it. Of course, we began cutting back on expenses, but there was still rent, utilities, food, car expenses and other money matters.

This is when I realized that something had happened to Van. It wasn’t a physical stroke or heart attack, or anything visible that doctors could treat, but more like an emotional stroke. He became immobilized, unable to get out the door to look for a job, or even to handle our finances. I’ve since learned that he was traumatized, but without any professional help, it was up to me to assist him through this dark time of our souls, which had deeply affected us both. Ultimately, I realized that we couldn’t continue this lifestyle, because we were now far over our heads in debt, so I consulted an attorney and we filed bankruptcy. We had bottomed-out, and with this turning
point, we began attending Debtors Anonymous (DA), a Twelve Step Program, and another phase of our recovery process.

The problem is that the stress of Van’s condition took me down too, despite the fact I had already been through my inner child healing programs, and I had even facilitated workshops for several years. Our insurance had expired and I no longer could afford to go to my therapist, so now I relied upon the Codependency Twelve-Step program (Coda) and my spiritual path for my support. And, somehow, through the years, we survived.

Probably the saving grace for us came as a result of buying our 1990 Holiday RamblerRV, leaving our big home on the hill, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and going on the road, which we’ve done for over seven-years. These adventures began the Travel Series of my writing, about our inner and outer Journey to Inner Freedom, and I’m writing my thirteenth book. With “Journey Out of the Hole,” Book 12, I decided that we had reached another turning point, and I began writing this book, focusing on our positive and productive lives.

A Big Deal
Now you know why Van’s recovery is such a Big Deal. Furthermore, he reached an even greater level of recovery, recently, when he agreed to take a more conscious, responsible and active part in handling the ordering of products from the networking business that Dottie and Steve are successfully building (more on this later). Actually, we are also Distributors, and we were doing quite well, both financially and otherwise, but the effort of pushing the snowball up hill, got too much, so now we are only using the products

But, first things first, and I am rejoicing that he spent several hours, after much thought and preparation, on the phone and computer in an effort to resolve the mess our products seemed to be in, considering that we hadn’t received them for over a month, as a result of Dottie not forwarding them to us. With this in mind, it’s interesting to note that the very next day, after Van got on the computer about the products, they were waiting for us at his mother’s mail box. In fact, they had been there the day before, but he hadn’t checked the mail. The point is that, with God’s Divine Plan and Timing, it was necessary for Van to do his part first, before the packages reached us.

What is Our Part?
Okay, so the above automatically leads into the next subject: Dottie and Steve, who have been an essential part of our entire Money Makeovers story from the beginning. Even though we are 1/2 a continent apart, and they are absorbed in building their new networking business, the patterns that were in play with our first mutual business are still in effect, until and unless we all recognize and change them.

Somehow, the forwarding of our products is part of it, and I’m hoping the Prayer of Jabez will help us all recognize and move through the process, thus releasing everyone involved. Of course, I realize that we have our part, and that’s all that we can be responsible for, at this time. And I feel that we have been doing our part by facing the fact that we cannot be dependent on Dottie to take care of our business. Thank goodness Van is finally reaching a place where he can again handle these responsibilities.

In addition, we agreed that he will now be more conscious so that he can be aware enough ahead of time to order our products, as needed, and sent to our current location (wherever that may be), rather than with a standing order that goes to Dottie and depends on her to forward. In the long run, this will also save us money, as we often have extra products. In the past, this has been okay, because Dottie sold them for us and would put the money in our joint business banking account.

The Tools For Underearner Recovery
This plan worked okay, until their underearning addiction caught them short, andsomehow the money didn’t make it to the account. And this is where the mutual money pattern comes to the surface.

I tend to feel that it’s the result of our enabling them, in the past, by being too helpful with money to bail them out, and a dependency pattern formed. Then, when we no longer had an income, they were forced to depend on their own resources, but like us, and other underearners, there never seemed to be quite enough income to meet the expenses, no matter how much came in, and they are now making good money. And this is the crux of the matter: an addiction called underearning, which is every bit as compelling and demanding as any other addiction, and equally difficult to change.

Debtors Anonymous gave us the tools:
First: coming out of denial into recognition: “Yes, I am an underearner.”
Second: make a Spending Plan; much like a budget.
Third: writing down your numbers: daily expenditures.
And keep doing it: over and over and over. Like an alcoholic, who can never drink, with this
disease too, you never reach a place of not needing to use these recovery tools.

The truth is that despite the fact we’ve faithfully done our Spending Plan for many years, we still are not able to live within our income; no matter how much or how little we earn. That’s the symptom of underearning, which is another outer manifestation of an inner condition. And, although we’ve worked on these inner issues for many years, apparently they still exist. And, I suspect that they always will, just like an alcoholic will always be susceptible to the pitfalls of drinking.

With this insidious addiction, more money is not the answer; recognition, awareness and constant vigilance is the only solution. Plus being conscious about one’s money habits by keeping a Spending Plan and Writing Your Numbers.

How do You Win With This One?
Of course, the ultimate solution is remembering that God is the Source of our Supply. And getting to the root of the addiction, or the original cause, will also help, but remember, the inner journey is cyclic and spherical. Just as you may think you’ve got it handled, it comes back and bites you, which is what happened with Dottie and Steve.

So, they have been working through to a new level, with the help of “Heart of the Soul,” Gary Zukav’s latest book. As I mentioned in another chapter, this is forcing them to face and deal with deeper emotions, getting closer to the root causes. But until they are through it, they are in a gooey mess stage; like the caterpillar, in the chrysalis, before it becomes a butterfly, spreads its wings and flies.

This stage can be especially painful for the person going through it, and for others involved, such as spouses, family or co-workers. With Dottie and me, I’m not able to help, because, on an emotional level, I’m probably part of the problem.

True Winners
Fortunately, Dottie and Steve appreciate the personal growth necessary to be successful in their business, which means moving beyond your comfort zone. Apparently they’ve pushed through, because they were able to go to Miami to attend their yearly Leadership Training conference. For them, this is vital, because they are successful leaders, having served on the Leadership Team that pioneered the Denver area. And I am certain that they will reach a new level of triumph, as they stand on the stage to receive acknowledgment for their efforts.
Indeed, they will have moved through the gooey mess stage and reached to the skies as they spread their wings, like butterflies and soar onward as the true winners that they are.

Nothing Like a Personal Conversation
In the meantime, Van and I were still trying to figure out why we had received a box of products that we hadn’t ordered, and what to do with them. Again, with his new wings spread, Van took positive action and called our company’s headquarters where he learned that the products belong to our friend, and new downliner, Carol, in Santa Maria.

Apparently, someone in shipping had made the mistake, so all we could do was take the loss and resend the package to her. I’d planned to send an email letting her know that it was on its way, but then it felt right
to call. I hesitated, because her line is often busy when she is on-line, but I took a chance and got through. This action felt good, because I was taking responsibility for my part in the business transaction, and I also had another important matter to discuss; besides there is nothing like a personal conversation with a friend.

While talking with Carol, I asked if she would serve on the Board of Directors for Inner Freedom Ministry, and she agreed to assume the title of Secretary. Now, the Board of Directors was filled. Thank You, God. Obviously, the message for me is to go with what is working, which is my ministry.

Carol had already accepted my gift of the “Transformation” course, and time would tell how this transaction would unfold. On the other hand, when I’d asked her about becoming a member of the “Changing Money Patterns” program, she balked at signing the Membership Agreement, which requires acknowledging responsibility for one’s limited finances, and she decided that it wasn’t for her, adding, “I’m more financially comfortable than I ever thought possible, and I have every prosperous result I’ve ever desired.”

In any event, it’s obvious that Carol is a winner, and I’m proud that she’s agreed to be on our winning team.

Crime Doesn’t Pay
Among the winners on my team, is my ministry partner, Adam Martin. I had received a long email saying that he and his brother, Mike, with whom I had also corresponded for many years, during his incarceration, were talking about renting the pavilion in their local park to do their ministering; and he also said they have a band to play at the gathering.

I questioned whether this was what I had in mind, as far as supporting my website ministry, but I concluded that I would leave it to God’s Divine Plan, and go with the flow. I know that the brothers think big and are capable of making money, which they learned from their dad, Donnie, but at least they both intend to keep their activities legal, because they don’t want to return to prison. And it’s for sure we can’t move forward without money, so I must rely on God, as the Source, to provide in His own way.

I felt certain that Adam and Michael will be winners, once they get on course with God’s Divine Plan for them, and I’ve encouraged them to become ministers, so it’s happening. My prayer is that they will speak into the listening of would-be criminals and sway them from a life of crime; and this would make a great difference. As I told Adam, “Tell them where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what it cost you, what you’ve learned, and what you are doing now; and why crime doesn’t pay.

They are Still Winners
I started this chapter writing about the Olympics, and I intend to continue with updates, as applicable. Unfortunately, the story that I’m going to share is upsetting, because I feel that the gold medal was based on politics and not performance. Nevertheless, it’s what happened, and obviously there is a lesson to be learned. And it’s for sure that ultimate good will be remembered: the winner attitude of those who won silver, and the official investigation into the judging system.

It all started when the Canadian couple, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, skated an outstanding, flawless program, and they thought they had won, as did the audience, announcers, and TV viewers such as ourselves. Yet, we were all shocked that they were given lower scores so that the Russian couple, Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Skharulidze, won. The crowd booed, the astounded announcers babbled incredulous comments, and Jamie cried in disbelief, as the Russian, and their cohort judges sat stalwart with arms crossed. What a travesty of justice!

The only consolation is that the Russian, Yelena, had been injured and near death, so on some karmic level, as announcer Scott Hamilton said, perhaps this is a spiritual award. But, even the Russian couple looked confused and unsmiling over the controversy, and Jamie tried to regain her composure, smile and express a true Olympian Spirit, as they all stood on the podium and received their medals; at least the Canadian couple received the silver, and certainly the accolades of the crowd, no matter what the judges did. Later, in interviews, Jamie expressed the Olympian Spirit with a positive and gracious attitude, as she said, “We’re not bitter.” When asked about the controversy over possible collusion amongst the judges, she said, “We’re skaters, and we just skate.”
David, her partner said, “You have to accept it, and move on.” He added, “You have to have a dream, and you can’t let anyone take your dream away. We love what we do.” Everyone agrees with the interviewer, “You are true winners.”

It’s for sure they are definitely the winners, because they are on all the TV shows, and everyone loves them, whereas we didn’t see the Russian team at all; besides, no one can pronounce their names: Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Skharulidze. Maybe in Russia they are heroes, but in North America, they have already slipped into obscurity.

However, the controversy over the judges continues, especially since the French judge admitted she made a deal with the Russian judge to give points to their couple now, and the Russian would give points to the French ice dance team.

Of course, this couple didn’t need to carry the controversy further, the Canadians were doing it for them, with newspaper headlines, over the couples picture, blaring “ROBBED!” And someone said the couple was bamboozled. Furthermore, there is a loud uproar demanding an official investigation of the judges, especially the Russians, whose scratch-each-others back motto is known to be “Me for you, you for me.”

“Winners Eat Steak”; Maybe Chinese
Van and I walked several blocks to a Mexican restaurant one day for lunch, and passed a Taco Bell with a large banner proclaiming “Winners Eat Steak.” I wasn’t sure if the sign was left from the Superbowl, or applied to the Olympic winners, but I thanked God for another experiential aide confirming that this chapter is a result of His guidance. It’s a catchy slogan promoting their new steak quesadilla, whether or not “winners eat steak” is a true statement; it’s a matter of preference, for one thing.

For instance, one night we all went to Peter Chu’s Chinese restaurant upstairs in the Redding Airport. The place had been recommended by the motel clerk, and she didn’t know if there was an elevator, but Betty was game to give it a try, saying “I’ll try anything once.” Sure enough, they had an elevator that took us to a five-star quality restaurant with classy dark furniture, cloth tablecloth and napkins, tasteful floral arrangements, and a view of the runway where a plane was getting ready for takeoff.

In addition, the service was impeccable and the food outstanding, like a five-star San Francisco Chinatown restaurant. Furthermore, the prices were under $10.00 each, even for the “Family Dinner Combination,” which Betty and I ordered, and the fresh asparagus and prawns dish which Van ordered.

As far as we were concerned, we were winners for choosing to eat at such an elegant Chinese restaurant versus, for instance, Taco Bell serving steak quesadilla; not that we might not enjoy such fare just as much as KFC’s Honey BBQ Wings, which we also eat.

The point is that what you eat does not determine whether or not you’re a winner. In fact, points given by prejudiced judges doesn’t make a winner, either, although it does determine who stands on the podium and receives a gold medal.

And, in our book, Betty qualifies as a true winner, as she patiently awaits the day when she can finally move back into her own home. In the meantime, she is making the most of it, just like the Olympian figure skaters, accepting it and ready to move on.

Chapter 15
WITH JOYFUL ANTICIPATION

I Move Forward
My Daily Reading proclaimed, “With Joyful Anticipation, I move forward to accept the good that awaits me,” and I knew it was time for a new chapter, although it would be a continuation of the winner theme, and maybe an expansion of that idea. In any event, with such an affirmation, I could hardly wait to see the good that awaited us.

The phone call to Carol had quickly expedited the quandary about the wayward products. She didn’t want them! Yes, she’d paid for them, but she had since decided that the shakes didn’t suit her taste, and I could keep them. I like most of our company’s products, but I don’t care for these, either, so Van and I eventually decided to take the shakes to Dottie when we visit for Easter.

Do It Right
However, the more I thought about it, the more I knew this was not the proper way to handle this situation, and if we didn’t do it according to the Career Manual, we were giving a bad example for Carol, which is not being a duplicable role model.

So, I discussed the matter with Van, but he refused to make another call to headquarters, insisting that giving the products to Dottie would handle the matter, as far as he was concerned. Now, I found myself back in early childhood, when my parents were not parenting; my dad had to leave town to work, and said, “Take care of your mommy, Joanie.” Okay, so it’s up to a two-year-old, and when my mother, who had just had a baby, went into her first schizophrenic episode, it somehow became my fault; I hadn’t done it right.

I explained to Van that he’s not a child who sold magazines and forgot to save money to pay for them, and was told by his dad, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it.” If we don’t know\ how to do it, we can find out what to do, but the right thing isn’t keeping the products or giving rhem to Dottie. Carol had paid for them, and she should be given the credit to her account. But, I’m not a child, and despite the fact I felt panic, I called headquarters and talked to shipping, explaining that I would like to return the shakes so Carol could have credit. However, I
was told that I can’t do it, she must make the call and get a number, before they can be returned. Furthermore, it had to be done within 30 days of the shipping date.

Of course, the products had been in transit for several weeks, and then more time had passed since we received them, so it wouldn’t work to wait until we visit Carol in March. I decided that I would send her an email explaining the proper procedure. But I knew that she doesn’t want to be bothered, and we would be back at her saying, “Keep them.” So, what is expedient? But more accurate, what is the right thing to do? Suddenly a
pleasant sunny day with a mountain view was turned into a gooey mess. All I wanted to do was forget it and get on with enjoying my day. But, like figure skaters going for the gold, there has to be difficulties for them to overcome; that’s part of the game.

And this sport had one more difficulty to overcome: Carol had originally ordered a package deal that included several items, but one had been backordered. When she finally got the package, it was empty; the product wasn’t in it, and apparently had been left out when shipped. So, now, in addition to the shakes, she also hadn’t received another item, and it was now past the 30-days, so we would not be able to do anything about it with Shipping.
Again, I felt like the small child trying to handle something that was not really my fault, and that wasn’t even my responsibility. Furthermore, my upline, the person whom I would need to contact (Dottie), was in Miami, and not available; so it was all up to me.

Win-Win
How could I change this pattern and come out a winner, and make sure it’s a win-win for everyone involved?
By this time I was in overload, with no apparent way out, so I took a break, ate my lunch, and read my Daily Reading. Good Timing, because it talked about Divine Appointments in which we can show up and give our gifts, such as calmness, to help in times of crisis — ours and others — when we can be both student and teacher in the school of life. It concludes, “I am blessed and I am a blessing to others.” And the bible verse reads, “Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble” (Proverbs 3:23). I needed that.

I hadn’t read the previous day’s message, and it added more help, “So rather than holding on to a habit or a negative way of life, I release it and welcome God’s plan of good as my way. Expressing my freedom of Spirit, I soar to new heights of fulfillment.” It added, “I do not go through any challenge alone. God is with me.” And the bible verse: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

With this breather, I was able to see more clearly, so I asked Van if he knew the dates of the Leadership Training, and he said that it was over the last weekend; so they should be home by now. Okay, so the pattern is shifting. I do not have to make these decisions alone, I’ll contact Dottie, who is our upline, and also Carol’s, in addition to being her friend.

Although they haven’t been answering their phone for the past month, I bravely picked up my cellular and dialed. After many rings, and the message, another voice came on and announced: “This voice mail box is full.” Evidently they hadn’t answered their voice mail yet, and probably not their email, either. Perhaps they were driving home, which would take longer. Nevertheless, I decided to send along this part of my chapter, which explains thesituation clearly, and wait for a response from Dottie. In the meantime, I would get on with my
life.

One More Time
By this time, two events highlighted the Olympics; both involving so-called old-timers making comebacks: Picabo Street, the world’s fastest woman downhill skier, overcoming devastating skiing-related injuries; Todd Eldridge, men’s figure skater, still trying for a medal, and Elvis Stoyko, another Canadian favorite.

Disappointment haunted each one, as they failed to win their coveted medal. Yet, they are winners, as a fan yelled at Todd, “You’re still a great champion, Todd,” and he replied, “Thank you.” Each of these all-time favorite athletes will remain in our memories as true winners, not only on their respective venues, ice or slopes, but in their personal lives, as well. Now, in so-called defeat, with this “One More Time” effort, they can follow the advice of the Daily Reading: “I know what is true: God’s will for me is good and only good.” And they are now free to move forward with their lives in “Joyful Anticipation.

It Won’t Go Away
Speaking of Ice Skating, the furor over the pairs figure skating goes on and on. But the silver medalists, Jamie and David continue to maintain an Olympic spirit, as they were shown on stage, at an Olympics band festivity. Jamie (with a big smile) was being sung to by the lead vocalist, while David (with a tambourine) cavorted across the stage, leaping and jumping in pure joy. The Olympic announcer, Bob Costas, said, “Too bad they are so crestfallen.”

You can be sure they are approaching life in a spirit of Joyful Anticipation, as the money offers are, no doubt pouring in. They are a hot item, according to Tara Lipinski, an Olympic commentator for TV’s Entertainment Tonight, as she said, “Money-wise, the silver medal won’t make any difference for them.”

And a News breaking Announcement, at the close of Wednesday night’s games, by the President of the French Olympics, said the French judge, who was involved in the collusion, is very fragile and susceptible to pressure from negative influences, as an explanation. Another announcement said that it’s possible that a second gold medal will be given to the Canadian pairs figure skaters, rather than taking it from the Russian couple. Talk about Joyful Anticipation; this story just gets better and better; and it sounds as if everyone involved will be winners, in ways not yet known.

Acceptance and Approval
Speaking of joy, I’m so excited to share an amazing experience. Betty decided to walk across the parking lot to the bank, with Van securely holding her arm, so she could open her new account in a local bank. I sat discreetly nearby, as the transaction unfolded, and when they were nearly through, I moved to the desk where they were sitting. Betty was looking in her purse for something, and I said something helpful, as she was talking to the receptionist. And Betty said, “They have been so helpful. I just don’t know what I would have done without them.”

At last, the words that we both needed to hear! Acceptance and approval, which are not easily given by Betty.

Earlier, as we were walking across the parking lot, I’d told her that we were so proud of her for how well she’s handling these delays and the waiting. She said, “Well, there’s nothing else I could do.” I replied, “Oh, yes there is; you could have complained, been bitter, or made it miserable for everyone involved, but you haven’t done any of that.” “Well, it wouldn’t have made any difference to complain,” she added. “It sure would have made it harder for us all, that’s for sure. So, thank you. You’ve truly shown the Olympian Spirit” I concluded.

As an earlier Daily Reading had said, “I am a blessing, and I am blessed” which was enhanced by the day’s reading: “Incredible blessings await me — blessings I have never before experienced or even imagined I could experience — and I move forward in joyful anticipation.” I could hardly wait to see what would happen next.

I mentioned in chapter 14 about feedback from Carol relating to “Money Makeovers,” and I’d been thinking and praying about it ever since. This is what she said: The understanding that one’s negative thought patterns have caused financial difficulties comes after learning about how thought creates reality. Listening to my Washington guest of a few weeks back reminded me of how one sees the world before that understanding. Every miserable thing in his life was “bad luck, unreliable people, couldn’t be helped, etc., etc. No awareness anywhere that he had created that reality. So, maybe those that need to get out of negative patterns, aren’t in a place to acknowledge that’s the cause of financial problems. Signing an acknowledgment taking responsibility for one’s reality doesn’t make sense to someone who hasn’t been exposed to that concept, therefore may not be a good way to get someone interested in the course. Just a thought.

I sent it to Joyce to see if she agreed that we needed to make some changes in “Changing Money Patterns.” After all, it’s been on-line for over a year, with no responses, so there must be a message there someplace. It could be just a matter of timing, and we still hadn’t gotten onto Search Engines, but Joyce had told a number of people about it, and I had suggested that Carol take the course, and still no interest. Why? I had reached the place where something more than “Joyful Anticipation” must be done, if we wanted the program to produce financial results. What?

Life is on Course
At this point, everything seemed to be on “hold,” so I welcomed another Daily Reading: “I live and move in the divine order of God’s world.” It goes on to say, “a dilemma can be resolved when a missing piece of a puzzle fits, revealing the overall picture and the perfect outworking of a challenge. This is divine order.”

“Divine Order” is one of my favorite affirmations, and it felt good to be reminded of its calming message, as the pieces began to fit into place.

The Olympics were still in progress, along with the controversy over the figure skating judge and who deserved the gold medal. I’d been watching both couples interviewed, and they all had good attitudes, but the winners were beginning to sound like the victims, and vice versa. Finally, the International Olympic Committee decided to do the right thing and a duplicate gold medal would be awarded the Canadian couple.

“Hooray!” could be heard everywhere with this announcement. In addition, the French “fragile judge” who succumbed to pressure, was suspended, but the question still remains: who put the pressure on her?” And what will be done about it? So, this dilemma is being made right, but it’s not over.

When the weekend came, I called Carol to explain the right procedure for handling a problem with shipping, and she informed me that Dottie had already included her on a three-way call with Shipping, but they hadn’t resolved the problem, and she didn’t want to be bothered. So, I concluded that I had done my part, and let it go.

Now, my only unresolved problem was the Money course, and my Daily Reading reassured me: “My life is on course as I stay in the flow of divine order that is moving me and everything that concerns me on a continually forward-moving path.” So, again, I wait in joyful anticipation for the unfolding of the solution to this dilemma,
knowing that God will give me the perfect answer in His Divine Time.

The same affirmation applies to the fact that the permits still hadn’t been received for Betty’s mobile, so she renewed our rent and signed us up for a week, allowing for another three-day holiday, Presidents Day, and we all waited in joyful anticipation for the “forward-moving path.”

Putting It Off
In the meantime, I had pushed through my panic attack and completed the new version of my Book Proposal for the “Saying Yes” series. However, I must admit that it took me over a week, because I was only able to work in short increments of time; otherwise, I would go into overload.

Once it was done, Van and I returned to Freedom and he printed it out, while I preparedthe envelope. Now, we were ready to take it to the post office on Tuesday, after the holiday. Wrong! Even as I waited, in Freedom, I felt chilled, and I came down sick with a cold that lasted all week; and the Book Proposal didn’t get mailed. In addition, it rained, and the miserable weather prevented me getting out, even if I did feel better, which I didn’t.

Okay, so I might as well put myself through my own process, like I do with Van when he’s sick, or his back does its thing, so I asked myself “What’s going on?”

I knew what it was; I couldn’t face any more rejection notices. After all, I hadn’t sent any more book proposals since 1996, when the last one came back with yet another rejection; making the total over 50 sent and refused. And this was when my writing teacher, Chris, a professional writer, was helping me prepare them. Of course, she always said, “You’ll have enough to paper your bathroom wall, before you finally get accepted.”

“The Next One…”
I knew that “the next one could be the winner,” but I gave up, before I got the gold. In fact, as I’m writing, I got this far and went to bed. I couldn’t deal with the issues involved with the rejections: the excitement of finishing a book, the tedious task of preparing the Book Proposal with its Table of Contents, Synopsis, and sample chapters, the long weeks of waiting, in joyful anticipation, for an acceptance; only to open the envelope to another rejection. Sheer, piercing pain that cuts right to the heart.

Avoidance doesn’t seem to be the answer, because the problem is still there. On the other hand, exactly what is the problem? And what is the solution? Is there more to it than simply my fear or distaste of rejection?

Am I ready for the life changes that could happen if/when my books are accepted, published and marketed? And, even if I’m ready for them, is Van willing to have his lifestyle disrupted?

My answer for myself is a resounding “Yes”! In Joyful Anticipation. But Van’s answer is awaiting his insights into himself that he has promised to reveal, whenever he has them. Again, I wait in Joyful Anticipation of that moment.

An Exhilarating Moment
In the meantime, today I’m feeling stronger, and the weather has improved, so I suspect that I will be able to push myself out of my comfort zone and mail my Book Proposal.

The weekend of waiting was eased by the ongoing Olympic games, and highlighted by periodic interviews with the figure skating pairs; and finally the ceremony for the presentation of duplicate gold medals for Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. The arena was packed, as both couples skated in and took their place on the podium; the Russian pair wearing their medals and graciously smiling and posing for joint-pictures with their counterparts. It was an exhilarating moment, as the gold slid over Jamie’s neck, and then David’s, and they stood smiling and
triumphant while their national anthem played. Believe me, both pairs deserved their Olympic gold medal for performance, both on the ice, and off.

Time Goes By
And I continued asking myself what I must do to win my gold. In the meantime, another week had gone by, without the permit which would allow Betty to move into her own home.

Chapter 16
TRUE TO YOURSELF

“To Thine Own Self”
Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” I’ve been experiencing insights about the depths of that quote through various experiential aides, and I knew that another chapter was brewing.

It started when Dottie finally set aside a few hours for us to have the kind of chat I’d been missing for many months. She updated me on their whirlwind motor trip to Miami, and all the excitement of Leadership Training, with the company’s innovative new products and services.

She explained that the money for the trip had miraculously appeared although they had scrimped on any extras, but they had decided no more trips like this; either they have the money to do it right, or don’t go.

They still hadn’t worked their way through the emotional stuff, which placed somewhat of a pall over the event. Airica went too, along with Josh, her steady, and at one point they noticed that Steve was behaving like Van, when at his lowest ebb. Heaven forbid!

But, the significant part of the conversation came from Dottie’s conclusion that she’s tired of trying to fix Steve. The truth is that she’d married him because she’d felt he had such great potential, and spent the rest of their marriage attempting to get him to fulfill what she perceived to be his potential. No more!

This should prove interesting, and made me wonder how she would utilize all that expended energy. Of course, I should talk; if I weren’t trying to help Van through his challenges, I wouldn’t have much to write about. The difference, though, is that Van has asked for my input and support, whereas Steve really isn’t into inner personal growth. He’s a typical baby-boomer mid-fifties adult, who likes his TV sports, BBQ’s and the basics of life.

However, they are both committed to a networking business that requires personal growth to survive the uphill climb to the top; much like an Olympian athlete. It isn’t going to happen, if you don’t make those necessary inner and outer changes; and they both know that. I think the point is that if Steve wants to change, he now has the opportunity to do it on his own, rather than Dottie pushing him up the hill. What a unique concept!

I know, because periodically I make that decision about my attempts to improve Van. But, someplace along the line, he simply gave up, much like having a stroke, and if I hadn’t given him a hand up the hill, he wouldn’t have made it to this point. And, I must admit, that he is now in a better place than he’s ever been, especially with the added healing for his inner child, while having this time with his mother, which may account for God delaying the permits arriving any sooner. Van seems to be happier and freer than ever, so it’s a good time for me to release
any further effort to fix him.

The Right Stuff not Dumb Luck
In any event, Dottie and I got into a discussion that evolves into what this chapter is about: exactly what is being true to oneself?

Because the Olympics are still in progress, they have given much fuel to this subject. For instance, a brief conversation between commentator Jim McKay and Scott Hamilton, who has now retired from figure skating and become a commentator for figure skating. Jim acknowledged Scott for being true to himself, as a skater. I guess it was more what he didn’t say that spoke to my listening, because I had this chapter swirling through my mind.

And then there is the matter of Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldridge; why they can skate flawlessly, like the wind, at World Championships, and win the gold. But when it comes to the Olympics, they freeze, they fumble, they fall; they fail. I can’t help but wonder what it is in their makeup that can’t relax and enjoy the moment.

I’ve concluded that it’s possibly a matter of conditioning. For instance, Tara Lipinski and now Sarah Hughes, both teenagers, won the gold. Perhaps, it’s easier because they never tasted defeat and got it stuck in their craw, such as Michelle and Todd. Also, it meant so much to them, perhaps defining who they are, at least in their own eyes. Whereas, the teenagers were just skating and having fun. Yet, they are all obviously driven by whatever forces determine who is destined to become an Olympic champion. For instance, as they talked about Sarah Hughes, we watched a home video of 4-year-old Sarah saying, “I want to be an Olympic champion and win a gold medal.”

In any event, I’m convinced the elusive victory takes place, or is lost, on an inner arena, more than on the actual ice. And there is an attitude that goes with the Right Stuff of winners. It’s not all a matter of dumb luck, nor is it about how qualified the performer.

Maybe Hypnosis
I can relate to all this, because I’m facing my own gold medal competition; between me and the book publishers. Try, as I may, to overlook the many rejections, and focus on the gold acceptance medal, the rejection possibility is still there. Maybe I should have hypnosis, so it’s no longer in my memory bank.

Instead, like the athletes, all I can do is my best, then turn it over to God, and live with the results.

The fact is that I still hadn’t mailed the Book Proposal. I took it along, thinking we’d stop at the post office, but by the time we finished Betty’s errands, we were in Red Bluff and ready to eat. So today is another day, and another opportunity to get it mailed. But then it’s the long, long weeks of waiting, somewhat comparable to the skaters awaiting the posting of the judges decisions.

However, I’m planning to work on several more Book Proposals, rather than focusing on only one option. And I’m also excited about starting a new webpage for our non-profit status, listing our ministers and Boards, and whatever else is appropriate.

And I’m assuming that Todd and Michelle are now facing some inner decisions about who they are and what will work for them: is there life after The Olympics? More importantly, what are their lives going to be about; what will fulfill them as individuals, now that life isn’t about the Olympic gold? And this is where being true to oneself plays an important part, as they ask themselves what motivates them; is it going professional and performing in the ice shows and finally enjoying a financial reward of getting paid for their abilities. Or is it teaching others
from their areas of expertise?

And, of course, there are some athletes, as in all walks of life, who simply give up, fade into the woodwork and disappear. This can either be a positive or negative, depending on what they do with their lives, no doubt. But, sometimes this is when they really get to find out what kind of mettle they’re made of, as they deal with the day-to-day living, without the fanfare and accolades of the public.

Skier, Picabo Street, for instance, announced that she plans to retire, get married and have a family. I recall when Nancy Kerrigan made a Life Defining Decision to marry, although she hasn’t totally retired; in fact, she’s managed to combine marriage and family with her career, despite the furor of her parents, who objected to her marriage, because they weren’t willing to give up controlling her life, and they felt that she was making a big mistake. Nevertheless, she seems to be quite happy living her own life.

Pleasing
There are so many factors involved in being true to oneself, and I doubt if we ever truly understand what motivates us, but I’m going to enlarge upon several facets that I’ve unearthed through the years, because I think, for most of us, it takes a lifetime to finally unearth what makes us tick, such as the Life Defining Moments, conditioning, influences of adults and peers, and factors such as heredity and environment.

And, of course, the impact and driving motivation of something as simple as trying to please our parents, or others, can form the patterns of codependency, until we don’t have the foggiest idea what we really want, because we are too busy trying to please.

Watching Van around his mother gives me daily insights into this pattern. In fact, as I’m writing, he was sleeping-in when the phone rang and his mother asked if he could go to the mobile site. I’ve never seen him move so fast; within fifteen-minutes he was out the door; otherwise it takes him around four to six hours to make it through his morning routine. But when mother calls, he responds.

Yet, although he is codependent with me, in many ways, I suspect that there is an underlying resistance, resentment and rebellion against being told what to do. His inner child knows that he can’t, or won’t, say “No” to his mother, but he can assert some degree of control with me. In fact, while being around his mother, he’s less inclined to help me; a fact I find more disconcerting every day, because I haven’t been able to get any of my projects done, other than writing, and with my head cold, I wasn’t able to put two thoughts together for over two weeks. Fortunately, I survived with the cable TV and crossword puzzles. But I was disappointed not to
have accomplished more, and it felt like wasted time.

However, I’d been observing the interplay between Van and his mother, and myself, and I’d concluded that being aware of the game he was playing helped, because I could then choose whether or not it was okay with me. In some ways, because of my abandonment issues, I could see why I would unconsciously attract more of the same, in one form or another. What I needed to determine was whether or not it would continue to be acceptable, and if there was anything I could do about it, or wanted to do.

By that I mean that, unless I changed my inner pattern, I would simply attract more of the same; and if I did change it, then Van would automatically unconsciously change too; it’s just the way life is.

Abandonment Issues
On the other hand, although it may seem that nothing was being done, while I was sick, in retrospect I can see that there were many factors coming into play. For instance, my friend and partner, Joyce Cole, sold her home and was moving into her smaller quarters, which involved inner and outer adjustments. It was during this time that I realized something wasn’t right with Money Makeovers, and we were considering some major changes; but neither of us knew what. Finally, I asked, “Is it your abandonment issues?”

She replied, “Yes.”

And we both realized that Joyce’s abandonment issues, like mine, are a major part of who she is and they influence everything she does. Therefore, rather than fighting it, or attempting to change it, we’ll need to accept it and adjust our arrangements accordingly. In the past, when Joyce was involved in our multi-level-marketing business, she felt abandoned by us when we moved, and, of course, she was. In fact, we were all abandoned by the company itself when they filed bankruptcy. Although the company survived and still exists, we all lost interest.

Now, in discussing these issues with Joyce, we both agreed that, despite the years we’ve gone through therapy, workshops, seminars and books, they are still very much part of us, and is a factor to be dealt with. It’s not going to go away, so perhaps the best we can hope for is recognition when it is triggered, and finding a way to fill that emptiness and fear.

This Abandonment Pattern is no new revelation to us, but we both felt that acknowledging and accepting its impact on Money Makeovers was a major accomplishment, and we trusted God to guide us in fulfilling this need to adjust the arrangement. Somehow, turning it over to Joyce to handle on her own isn’t the answer, so she would need to feel part of the overall program; not apart from it. Bonnie’s idea of Circling the Wagons might fit in very nicely; after all, we are all victims of abandonment, so the question is “How could this work?”

Life Goes On
While I pondered and prayed, life went on at the Olympics with Friday night’s Skating Exhibition. What a treat to see the top medal winners and Todd Eldridge simply skate for the sheer enjoyment; no more pressures of competition; simply doing what they do best: skate. The arena was packed and the skaters performed impeccably. Despite winning the bronze, Michelle Kwan gave a gold medal performance right along with Sarah Hughes, who proved herself worthy of the gold with her constant smile and upbeat personality.

The Russian and Canadian figure skating pairs reassured the world that they were equally good on the ice and deserved the duplicate gold medals. The Canadians, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, and Russians, Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Skharulidze, all gave flawless Olympian performances with winning smiles, as the competition and controversy are all behind them; and they are beginning the next phase of their lives.

Scott Hamilton did commentary and I was happy to hear him say that Todd Eldridge would be joining the skating circuit. At last, he would enjoy the financial benefits of his profession. I’d hoped to see him interviewed, in order to hear his personal comments, but I missed that.

Sunday night, I couldn’t believe that 17-days had so quickly passed, as we settled down to watch the Closing Ceremonies: all the fans were seated, everything in place, and the Olympians began filing into their seats, not necessarily by countries, but by friendships and groups. Even the Russians and Koreans, who had threatened to withdraw, were all smiles: with or without their medals, as the case may be.

The formalities and short speeches were made, and the party began, as various popular groups, such as NSync, and individuals, such as Christine Aguilara, Harry Conick, Jr., Charlotte Church, and Willie Nelson, entertained, while skaters, including Scott Hamilton, Kristie Yamaguchie, Kurt Browning, and Ilyia performed on ice. It was a thrilling evening, mixed with music, skating, and lights, and fireworks; not to mention beaming, high energy atheletes celebrating the last hurrah. And then, suddenly, it was all over: the Olympic Torch and all the lights went out, and eventually everyone went home. Just like that: history. And we can all wait for the 20th Winter Olympics in Turen, Italy in 2006. And, in the meantime, the Summer Olympics will return to Greece in 2004. And Life Goes On!

Not Exactly as Planned
For some reason I had a setback and my cold became an acute sinus condition, rendering me flat on my back most of the time. One day, I felt better and managed to go to our RV to print out some personal letters to Freedomers, while our motel room was cleaned. We’d planned to meet Betty and all get haircuts in the strip mall, but we arrived late and Betty announced, “I’ve lost interest; I’m no longer in the mood.”

My disposition hadn’t been good, and I was in no mood to put up with her controlling, so I grabbed my purse and left, saying, “I’ll see you two tomorrow.” I went back to bed and stayed another week. My head was so tight and congested that I couldn’t think, and I coughed unendingly.

I asked Van to mail my Book Proposal, so it was in a pile on someone’s desk, as the time passed. And one day I rallied enough to work on my next Book Proposal, but it became so overwhelming that I gave up and went back to bed.

Someplace along the line, Dottie called and reminded me that unless I get in touch with the underlying cause, I would continue to stuff it, even if I did take medications or decongestants. Nevertheless, Van bought me some Alka-Seltzer Plus, at the suggestion of the cleaning gal, who suffers from sinus attacks, and gradually the condition began to clear. And with the clearing came more insights and realizations about criticism and rejection. I never did take either one very well, because they indicate non-acceptance; not wanted, which is a major
factor of my makeup, no matter how much therapy and recovery work I’ve been through.

I began to examine my life and it seemed to be an ongoing series of relationships that came and went, or who were emotionally unavailable, exactly the description of symptoms relating to codependents. For instance, Van loves me and does many things for me, but he simply is not capable of an intimate relationship on any level. And when you see how he and his mother interact, it’s understandable; he had no role-model of emotional intimacy. Their love relationship is based on money, and him doing things for her; whatever she wants.

And when we are living in close proximity to her, such as now, his allegiance, time and efforts belong to her. He has no concept of how to manage a healthy relationship with both of us, nor is he willing or able to learn, at this late date. In fact, Van once told me that she told him she didn’t want him living nearby, because she didn’t want to see him every time she looked up.” I don’t doubt that at all, because even now, she resents him becoming friendly with the new neighbors, because she doesn’t want them coming to visit. She is definitely non-social and a
loner, which explains that Van came by that honestly, and I must ask myself if I am willing and able to live with that isolationism the rest of my life. It’s been okay in recent years, because we’ve been traveling and I’ve been writing, but this is definitely not me. And that is a stark reality.

So, in my neediness and under the circumstances, it’s understandable that I’ve become incapacitated, so I can get some attention from him. If no more than his bringing me food each night, which also gives me an excuse for not going out with them; I fear Betty’s blow-ups and rejection, which are only a matter of time; she is quite volatile and verbal, and you never know when she’s going to blow up. One time, many years ago, when we were all at a restaurant, Van told his mother that we would be moving to Southern California, and she blew up right there on
the spot, concluding with: “I’ll never live with you, no matter what!”

I’ve lived with volatile and unpredictable women so much of my life, that I can’t take it anymore. It’s like I’m filled to the top and there’s no room for anymore. Fortunately, Van has a mild disposition and is easy going, but there are other features about him that keep me on the edge of my seat all the time, such as the money issues and his inner child, in addition to his emotional unavailability.

Biography: Scott Hamilton
I only thought the enjoyment of ice skating had ended with the Olympics, because “Biography” gave a wonderful presentation of Scott Hamilton that truly explained so much about who he really is. For instance, he was adopted into a family that dearly loved him, but it turned out that he had an internal health condition and he had to have a tube attached to his face and stomach. Because of this condition, he remained small, but once he discovered ice skating, which he dearly loved, the condition healed and he no longer needed the tube. From the beginning, he always had the energy and the drive that propelled him to fame and an Olympic gold medal. And when he got cancer, he approached it with the same fervor, and an attitude that got him well. When he returned to the ice, he skated to the song, “One More Time,” which brought the entire audience to tears, because Scott truly is a winner, within and without. Referring to ice skating, Scott said, “The only disability is a bad attitude. He sure has
the best! Now, he not only is a figure skating commentator, but he’s also being featured in a movie, “On the Edge.” Watch for it.

Stars on Ice: 2002
Following Scott’s biography, we were entertained by the two-hour “Stars on Ice” show, sponsored by Target. Van had given me the gift of seeing the 2001 edition in San Jose, so seeing Tara Lipinski, Kristy Yamaguchi, Kurt Browning, Katrina Witt, and the other stars, was like seeing old friends, and it brought back the memories of that delightful experience of a year ago, before Scott retired, when he skated with them. Such a joy!

The music is always a welcome part of the skating shows, and the words of “The Color of Roses” seem to fit into this chapter, as they say, “Only the ones who believe, ever see what they dream; what they dream comes true.”
And the words of Kristi’s song, “I Touched the Gold,” asked “Do our Journey’s just begin? Did I give up too soon?”

Bringing the Olympics and skating to closure, I watched a special Dateline, titled After the Gold Rush, where they interviewed the various champions. It always fascinates me to hear how these winners approach life, and it’s obvious that they all come up with something within themselves that takes them the extra distance to the gold.
I especially enjoyed a comment by Jamie Salle, of the pairs figure skating controversy, when she said, “What’s important is that we don’t lose sight of who we are.”

Biography: Bobby Darrin
God has been giving me some good experiential aides applicable to this chapter, during my incapacitation period, making me thankful for the motel cable TV. If I’m going to go through this Wilderness Period, this is a good place for it, because I get to watch my favorite shows, “Murder, She Wrote,” and “Columbo,” on A&E, in addition to “Biography.”

I think everyone who makes it to appear on this show has proven that they are true to themselves, because they have reached the pinnacle of success in their chosen field. Bobby Darrin was intent on being a legend in his own time, by the time he was 25, because he had a heart condition and knew that he would die young; and he died at 35.

He had his own style, and belted out “Mack the Knife” to a fast beat, but in later years, after he and Sandra Dee divorced, he became more philosophical and joined movements such as Martin Luther King, and his style changed to quieter songs that he wrote, accompanied by his guitar, and a name change, Bob Darrin, to go with his new identity.

One of his songs, during his Bob Darrin era, “I am most of all I am” voiced his desire to be true to himself. But, the public didn’t accept that version of him, and some said he was cashing in on Bob Dylan’s style and fame. Ultimately, in order to earn more money, he returned to his tuxedo style. But, here was another man with a plan, and he went for it and got it.

My Stroke of Luck
Of course, there were several weekends during my incubation, and I awoke early to watch Dr. Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. One Sunday he interviewed JB Fuqua, an inspiring billionaire who overcame life’s handicaps and built an empire, and wrote a book about it: “Fuqua”. He shared many of his tidbits from the book, but I suggest you buy it and read it.

A more famous person, though maybe not as wealthy, is Kirk Douglas, who had a stroke a few year back, and wrote a book titled, “My Stroke of Luck,” about how he changed and found God, after his stroke.

The man who once played legendary “Spartacus,” and many other roles, such as “Champion,” is now reduced to talking very slowly, but what he says is worth listening to. For instance, his turning point, of overcoming depression, came when his little dog wanted to be let out of the bedroom, and Kirk got up and opened the door, and the dog turned and wagged his tail. From that, Kirk learned that it helps to do something for someone else, even a little dog.
Speaking of being “true to yourself,” the same Sunday Kirk Douglas appeared as a guest, the pianist (once co-host of ET), John Tesh, not only played, but he also sang, along with a group. When Dr. Schuller said, “I didn’t know you sang,” which echoed my thoughts, John said, “Well, I enjoy singing with our church group, so my wife suggested that I include this spiritual music in an album, and I did.” It’s called, “A Deeper Faith.” Another good investment, I’d say.

Biography: Oprah
As we travel across the country, I try to watch Oprah, especially on Tuesday with Dr. Phil, just as an anchor, for something solid and secure in our transitory lifestyle. So, I was pleased to watch her story on Biography, and it gave me a greater understanding of who she is, as a person, rather than a TV icon. And I enjoyed hearing more from her love, Steadman Graham, who is a notoriety in his own rights, but very much part of her life.

I think one of the greatest Life Defining Moment’s for Oprah was when she decided to stop pursuing the sensationalism, and began focusing on making a difference with positive contributions to the quality of life. With this change her shows evolved into showcasing such guests as Gary Zukav and Dr. Phil; and it is now even more popular than ever, and set a trend for some of the other talk show hosts.

She’s been very open about her experiences of being repeatedly raped, as a teenager, and she’s managed to somewhat heal that pain. But, as an adult, she felt the pangs of rejection when her “baby,” the movie, “Beloved,” flopped at the box office. She’s accepted its fate, but the issue is not fully resolved, as to people didn’t attend the movie, which had been a passion of hers for over ten-years. So, what is “being true to myself?”

I can sure relate to Oprah’s feelings, because I’ve had so many projects that I truly believe in and felt would help humanity, yet they never got the support, and never got off the ground. Even my Inner Freedom Ministry website, for instance, has had very few visits, and I have to repeatedly ask myself “Why? What still needs to be done? Is it me, or is it God’s timing?”

I don’t have the answer, as yet, but I have a feeling that by the time I’m feeling better, I will know, or vice versa. And, maybe when I have those answers, I’ll have greater insight into myself and what being true to me is all about.

Trapped Inside Myself
In the meantime, Dottie called briefly Sunday afternoon, announcing that she would be flying out to Oregon the end of March. I had told her that I didn’t know if we would get through here in time to go to their place for Easter, and it would actually be better for us to visit them on our return trip from Texas, on our way to Oregon, and cooler climates during the summer.
She was in a hurry and said she’d call back, which she did on Monday. And during this visit she explained some factors about herself that helped to understand her difficulty in communications: she thinks faster than she’s able to speak, and somehow it doesn’t come out with what she wants to convey, which is extremely frustrating to her. So, in many instances, she simply doesn’t make the effort to explain what she’s wanting to say.

All this came out in explanation of a new product our company is selling, which has alleviated that problem for her. And, I must say, she shared more about herself and what she’s going through than she’s ever done, which must be very freeing for her, and it should be a great contribution for her to add to a book that she said she’s planning to write, called “Trapped Inside Myself.” I can hardly wait to read it, because anything Dottie has to say is worth listening to, as she has great insights into herself and life.

All is Right With my World
One morning, while in the motel, I awoke with the realization that the defining word through all this is congestion. And I suddenly understood that I was going through the stages of the Exodus from Egypt to The Promised Land: bondage to freedom. I’d been facing the blockages, such as the Red Sea, The Wilderness Maze, the River Jordan, and the Battles of The Promised Land, which will be explained further in Chapter 17. And I knew that when I finished, I’d be in a much better place in consciousness. All this internal congestion was part of the transition process, much like the caterpillar in the chrysalis, before becoming the butterfly.

Understanding this process didn’t help me to feel much better, especially when I felt no contact with my Inner Guidance. So, I was relieved when I awoke one morning with my head clearer and my Guidance told me to create a webpage for Inner Freedom Ministry Organization. I was so excited to finally have some forward movement, as I listened within and was guided on how to duplicate an existing webpage, delete the unnecessary data, and add the new information. It went together smoothly, as my head continued clearing and I finally surveyed the
results: the three ministers listed at the top, followed by the Board of Directors, and the Advisory Board, with the Prayer Ministry Director listed at the bottom.

I felt as if our Circle of Wagons was in place, and all was right with my world. I knew that there would be a lot more inner and outer work, on the part of each of us, to become a cohesive support team, but it felt good. And my head and lungs were totally clear when I had finished. Surely this tells us something about the correlation between the inner and outer transition process.

Van’s New Awakening
In the meantime, Van had been making daily trips to his mom’s mobile site, as various workmen arrived, such as PGE to turn on the gas and electric, an AC man for the furnace and new condenser, cleaning people for the coach and carpets; and finally the movers arrived with the furniture. And he handled it all by himself; Betty didn’t go over, other than to decide on the new shed, and it too arrived.

I saw a transformation in Van unlike anything I’d ever seen: fully functioning, self-confident, in control of things, and feeling totally good about himself. Of course, with me flat in bed, and his mom saying, “Take care of it,” he had no choice, and he did it all perfectly. I knew that a God-thing was going on, and I was fascinated, as it unfolded.

Each day he came home and reported his day’s accomplishments to Betty and myself; sometimes together, when I felt like eating out, or individually, if I didn’t. And he thrived on our interest and enthusiasm, as I praised his efforts. At last, Adult Ralph had returned, and I rejoiced. Now, my question became, “Where will it go from here? Will he maintain his new self-confidence, or will he revert to helplessness? It was obvious to me that what he needs is something that he can do to feel good about himself. He’s proven that he’s capable of meeting
the challenge. And my assignment is to make sure that I don’t say or do anything to deflate his ego or defeat his self-confidence. I prayed for guidance on how to fulfill my part in his new awakening.

Everything Falls Into Place
Of course, God would guide me to read these following words from Marsha Sinetar’s book, “The Power of Meditation and Prayer,” as a fitting experiential aide for concluding this chapter.

“Who am I as a person?” is a question Marsha Sinetar, organizational psychologist, suggests that we ask ourselves, as we define our spirituality. She says that the beautiful part about our spiritual journey is that everything falls into place, when we discover what brings us to life, and how to capture and honor that, and she explains that “there are as many ways to express one’s spirituality as there are people and techniques.”

She observes that the happiest people she knows have “cultivated a spiritual understanding of themselves and their Creator.” She concludes that these people have “settled into their place in the larger scheme of things.”

In answer to the question “What did you mean by the title of your book, ‘Do What You Love and the Money will Follow'”? she gave a lengthy reply that bottom-lines to being true to ourselves, as she concludes, “Vocation is our innate being longing to express itself.”
Ms. Sinetar suggests that “each of us has a spiritual way because each of us is unique,” and she suggests that “when we are on a spiritual walk,” it’s best to “put everything in its proper place and just lead a well-ordered, disciplined, quiet, simple life.”

Chapter 17
A RIVER RUNS THROUGH

Uncongested
I remained congested during most of the month that we were in the motel, and I suspected that I was not as much a victim of contagion (someone’s virus) as the fact that I am a sensitive, which means that I often unconsciously take on the physical or emotional conditions of others who are close to me, or whom I am counseling/healing.

In this case, I’d taken on Betty’s feelings of congestion, as she sat in the motel room day after day, without even the enjoyment of reading, which she dearly loves, because she said she could not get comfortable. In other words, she missed her big recliner and ottoman; and the comforts and convenience of her own home.

At least, she did watch TV, and became addicted to the whole new world of cable, which she had never had. Now, it was a must for the new TV set she planned to buy. We all enjoyed the good old shows, “Murder, She Wrote, Columbo, and Perry Mason,” for instance.

Finally, the day came when her mobile home was ready and her furniture in place, with the boxes sitting in the middle of the floor. We all went over and I helped make her bed and we unpacked some boxes so she had dishes and silverware.

The next day we completed our Exodus, as we left the motel and she moved back home. We’d missed the cable TV man, and she still didn’t have a phone, but we unpacked more boxes, and she was able to sleep in her own bed.

As planned, Van drove our RV (Freedom) to an RV park and into a site overlooking the Sacramento River, so when we returned from Betty’s, we too experienced the joy of being in our own home and sleeping in our own beds.

Life on Hold
The next day, Sunday, we stayed home all day. I still felt weak and spent most of the day in bed, savoring my own home and my own energies; not even minding the overcast and rain.
And whenever I looked outside, I could see the river gently flowing by. It seemed to tell me that the congestion was breaking up and my life was no longer on hold. I realized that I hadn’t written on my books for nearly a month, nor had I checked my website. I hadn’t even prepared a meal in Freedom from my well-stocked freezer and cupboards.

Our lives had become so immersed in Betty’s that our time was at her beck and call. We had no life of our own. There simply wasn’t time, nor inclination. That’s just how it was! Part of the reason, of course, was because I was too congested and weak to think, let alone write, and what little energy I had was used to co-operate with Betty’s wishes, as to where we went and what we did.

As a child, and even as an adult, the survival mechanism of codependency totally robbed me of my own identity, needs and desires, so that I was living to please others. And I was good at it. But, attending Coda’s Twelve Step Program for many years, and even doing the Step Study for Coda, I’d gradually unraveled my own identity, and I cherished my freedom to be true to myself.

However, in order to survive around Betty, which at best is a slippery situation, like an alcoholic working in a brewery, I had to resort to the codependency survival mechanisms: please them at any cost. The high price is losing my life and identity; a price that I am not willing to pay for very long.

No Life of His Own
And, as time wore on, I realized that Van was so busy catering to his mom that he had a problem including me in his reality; nor is he able to focus on taking care of our lives. Fortunately, he did find time to write out the checks and pay our bills, but that’s all. Oh, that’s not exactly true, because the first week he took care of Freedom, getting the wipers repaired, and also the generator, which were major accomplishments. But, once enmeshed in his mother’s web, he no longer had a life; or a wife, for that matter.

“Time to Get on Down the Road”
Once in our own home, I asked Van how he felt about the above situation. Unfortunately, he’s so not in touch with his feelings, that he couldn’t even acknowledge that anything was wrong. Yet, he had finally reached saturation with this routine, and he admitted that he was looking forward to “getting down the road.” However, he was not able to put into words how he felt, or how not having a life of his own affected him.

I knew it was vital for him to delve into his feelings and find the words to express how this no-life affected him, because the pattern had formed in his childhood, and he had learned to survive, but what I wanted for him now was another level of inner freedom, as a result of recognition. And, I knew that’s what he wanted too.

Van seems to process things differently than I do; he never seems to get an Ah Ha! But, once he experiences a process, and I bring it to his attention, he moves on from there. And this seemed to be another such occasion, when the most he could say was, “It’s time to get on down the road.” Yet, I knew that life would be different as a result of this saturation process.
For one thing, Little Ralph’s healing (in his relationship with his mom) had allowed him to evolve from wherever his developmental process had become stuck (when he was separated from his mom and sent to live with his dad and grandmother), to the normal stages of Teenage Ralph and Young Adult Ralph, where the normal rebellion from parental control takes place, “I want to live my own life; I want to do it my way.” So far, his only verbalization on the subject came out, “It’s time to get on down the road.”

Divine Order
After a month of silence from my Inner Guidance, as this chapter was being revealed, it came to my attention that there were some other subjects of importance to be shared, such as the monthly subject, which co-ordinates with my “Twelve Powers” course.

By now, we were already into mid-March, which had set back our travel plans, but we continued to affirm: “Divine Order” the monthly subject. As the bible says, “All things should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).

March is a good month for Divine Order, because the weather fluctuates between winter, spring and even summer, oftentimes chaotic, before it finally settles into a more stabilized pattern. And this year was no exception, as the pink and white blossoms burst forth in profusion, and the yellow daffodils, pink camellias, golden crocuses and purple iris seemed to appear overnight, followed by rain, wind and cold, blustery weather.

With uncanny, perhaps predictable March chaos, things that should have gone smoothly didn’t. For instance, Betty had arranged for the cable TV to be installed Saturday afternoon, however, this was our day to move from the motel, and who would think the guy would show up at 12:10, just twenty-minutes before we arrived, thus postponing her installation until Wednesday.

And another time we spent all day waiting for the phone installation, until finally I suggested that Van call and confirm their appointment. He learned that the phone, indeed, was connected and could be used. However, nowadays the phone company does not concern itself with hooking up from the home to the box; that would be up to us. But who does this work? And why hadn’t anyone mentioned it? Van went to the mobile office and learned that all he had to do was splice the cable from the mobile to the line at the box. Yeah! Sure! Like Van knows how to do that. Nevertheless, he bought the parts and talked with a neighbor about making the final
installation.

The Big Purchase
Tuesday, we all drove up to Redding for the Big Purchase: Betty’s new TV set. The question became: should she buy the big 27-inch, or the smaller 20-inch.

Fortunately, we had arranged to take time for ourselves and do our shopping, while Betty sat in a wheelchair by the TV section. Joanie had her mind made up to buy a chicken bake, and she offered to share it with Little Ralph. We felt like sneaky little kids, eating our snack and doing our own shopping, while Betty waited. But it turned out to be a good thing, as she had used the time to watch the in-store TV, and she was quite certain that, as much as she would enjoy the large screen, it would be too big for her small space; it would be overwhelming.
Fortunately, she bought the smaller one, because the next problem was how to get it into the trunk. Even out of the box, it was a tight squeeze, with the help of a Costco employee to assist Van in loading it. The large one would not have fit at all; not even in the back seat.
When we arrived home, the challenge became: How to get the TV out of the trunk and into the mobile? The weather had turned cold, as Van and I struggled to pry it loose; he lifted and I stuck rolls of the newly purchased paper towels (a twelve-pack) under the TV, for leverage. Still, we couldn’t get it out of the trunk, and I began praying for someone to come along and help. To my amazement, a burly Marine in a tank top, with his young daughter, came by. He stopped and asked if we needed help. Did we ever!

He easily lifted it from the trunk onto the TV stand with wheels, which we planned to roll to the mobile, as I mumbled, “We’re getting too old for this sort of thing.”
He asked if we needed more help, but Van (a former Frog Man) felt sure he could manage, and the Marine and his daughter went on their way. We rolled the TV to the bottom of Betty’s stairs, and stood there surveying the situation, when the Marine reappeared and easily carried the TV inside and onto the stand, which Van had
put into place.

I said to his daughter, “If you want to know what an angel looks like, just look at your dad.” And she smiled in obvious pride, as they went down the street. Betty’s TV was nearly thirty-years old, and all she had to do was plug it in and turn it on. But this new TV had to be set-up and programmed, which Van did, as she sat and watched
dumbfounded. When we were all through, she still couldn’t watch it, without a cable hookup. In this park, you weren’t allowed to use an antenna, so now we waited some more.

Trial Run
Wednesday morning, Van got up early and went to Betty’s to meet the cable man for the big installation. I stayed home and wrote this chapter, enjoying a clear, sunny day and my head feeling clear too. That is, until the clouds came in, and suddenly I felt zapped again, and took a nap, concluding that it must be the weather that is affecting me.
I awoke to Van’s arrival and anxiously awaited his report: “It was a Trial Run,” he announced” adding, “the cable man never came, so I called and learned that someone had written it down for tomorrow. So we get to do it all again tomorrow. Mom will have to wait another day for the phone, too, as I’m going to ask him to do it.”

Divine Timing
A second subject for the month is Divine Timing, and knowing that God’s time is the best (only) time, we relaxed and waited. In the meantime, we were also waiting for the awnings to be installed, and the door added to the new shed, as well as the arrival of the contents, which had gotten stranded at Betty’s old RV site in Santa Clara.

Our week at the RV park was up on Saturday, but Van decided that we should wait for the arrival of the shed contents, before leaving. Besides, rain had been predicted for the weekend, so the timing seemed better.

It’s Been Six-Months
Speaking of congestion versus uncongestion, March 11th marked six-months since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, and we watched a documentary titled “9/11” that was actually filmed by two photographers doing a story about a rookie fireman in downtown New York. They actually showed film of the firemen inside the WTC, after the attack, and when the building collapsed and the lights went out. In fact, it was the camera’s light that helped them find their way to safety.

Again, we saw the immense piles of rubble, and the seemingly insurmountable job ahead of them of removing the debris and cleaning up the area. And we also updated shots of the current condition, with the majority of the congestion removed and a gaping hole where the WTC had once been — a terrible reminder of the damage and devastation of that day. However, that night (March 11th) two beams of light were sent upward from Ground
Zero, replicating the image of the two towers that had once proudly been part of the skyline. And, somehow, the Light seemed to give hope and reassurance for the future; a fitting tribute to those whose lives were lost that fateful day.

Journey to Inner Freedom
Throughout our travels, I’ve chronicled our outer journey, and often I’ve correlated the inner journey of transformation symbolized by the Exodus of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt to The Promised Land, based on my course, “Journey to Inner Freedom.”

The original Exodus shows us the steps that we go through on our own inner journey, and the way through the seeming obstacles. For instance, The Red Sea symbolizes the Dead End of mass consciousness; everyone saying “It can’t be done.” If we listen, we are defeated at the onset of our transition process. But, if we focus on God, He will open the way before us, and we cross on dry land, leaving behind all the negativity.

But no sooner have we reached the other side, than we find ourselves wandering through The Wilderness Maze (of purification), which takes “40-years,” meaning however long it takes us to overcome the influence of the past, while we heal our inner child, tame our ego, forgive and forget the hurts, and finally reach the place of surrender.

This time we find ourselves at The River Jordan, another seeming insurmountable obstacle, which symbolizes our own personal negative consciousness, rather than the mass consciousness, as we tell ourselves, “It can’t be done.”

In order to cross, we affirm, in faith, “I can’t, God can, and I’m going to let Him, as we step into the flooded waters. Only then, after we have surrendered our ego, does God stop the flood, and again, we cross on dry land.

Finally, like the Israelites, the Assignment of the Land takes place, as we establish our Right of Ownership. But we find ourselves in The Void; nothing is happening, it isn’t working the way we expected, there is no apparent movement, we are bored. Now what? Do something; anything: plant crops, clean house, write something, paint, make a phone call, go through an open door.

We may have arrived at The Promised Land (an awareness of God as the Source of our good), however, we aren’t home free, yet, because now we are faced with the Battles of The Promised Land. These are all the things that we thought we had overcome, such as inner child issues, past relationships, ego stuff, and more. And the only way to win the victory is to remember God’s promise: “I will fight the battles for you.” And, again, we release, let go and Let God.

This may seem like a hopeless journey, but I’ve discovered that it’s cyclic and spherical, like a vortex, and it’s done in stages. The Israelites represent our illumined thoughts in consciousness which are undergoing spiritual discipline, so that part of us which is ready for the Exodus, cycles through the stages and ultimately finds itself Living in The Promised Land.
Eventually, another group cycles through, and as we pass through each stage, we think, “I thought I had this handled.” We did, but now we’re moving to a new level. And on and on it goes, as the transition process continues.

God’s Divine Plan is Unfolding
I’m mentioning this here, as background for an explanation of the ongoing congestion that I’ve been experiencing. You see, I’ve been on this spiritual journey for many years, and there is that part of my consciousness that happily resides in The Promised Land, but there is more that is cycling through the process.

In my meditation time, God has been explaining that I am going through a major stage of the transition process; like a big chunk of it, so to speak. In other words, I’ve been cycling through all the steps at once, during this month at the motel; thus the congestion. And, not only have I been cycling through, but so has Van; and I always go through the steps with him (and sometimes for him), for some reason. So, when we leave here, we will be moving to a new level in our transformation, as God’s Divine Plan is unfolding, and we are being prepared for our part.
At times I get glimpses of what lies before us, and I become excited, and impatient, as I want it all to happen yesterday. But, God’s time doesn’t work that way, so I wait. Needless tosay, I will report the next phases of our inner and outer journey, as they unfold.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the JGW RV Park, overlooking the river that runs through it, and every day Betty is getting more settled into her new location, as the cable TV and phone are finally connected. Soon the shed will be finished and its contents in place, and the awnings will shade her from the intense summer sun, which can reach 120 degrees.

Win-River
The Sacramento River winds through this valley, as it passes through Redding, Anderson and Red Bluff. Along its banks are many homes and businesses, including the Win-River Casino, about six-miles north on 273, the old highway. Betty enjoys playing the slots, but because of her failing health and unsteady legs, she had decided that casinos were part of her past.

Until recently, it had become a tradition for us to meet Betty at the gambling resort, Laughlin, along the Colorado River. We would stay about three days and nights at Harrah’s, where she treated for our room and meals, and also money for the quarter slots. But, the plane and shuttle bus had become too difficult for her.
So imagine her delight to learn about nearby Win-River. The prospect had been even more enticing, because they advertise on local TV, announcing that they are expanding the facilities to include a dining room with a buffet. So Win-River gives her a whole new lease on life, and a reason to get out and expand her horizons.

With this in mind, the three of us took off on an adventure to explore Win-River. We approached the impressive new entrance, still under construction, and Van let us out to wait  inside. The original setting is quite dumpy, smoky and noisy, and I could see why a new casino would be a vast improvement. And, judging by the number of cars and players, they could afford it. I asked one of the attendants about the new version, and she described an auditorium for guest entertainers, a large dining room, a lounge with live music, and much more room for slots,
including a smoke-free area. The new facilities would open within the month, but we would be. gone, however I looked forward to seeing it all in operation on our next trip, especially the dining room.

But for now, I surrounded myself in White Light, as a protection from the smoke and. noise, and searched for a machine away from smokers. I’m not found of gambling, but Betty enjoys the slots and supplies me with the money, so I play. I hate wasting the money, and I know I’m supposed to be having fun, so I finally found a Big Cheese machine that paid off fairly often, and even had an additional wheel for bonus winnings. That part I like! That is until the machine went through its cycle and I should have stopped, but added several more twenties. Fortunately, Betty played a series of Big Cheese machines next to me, and won a substantial amount on each one, then moved on to the next.

After an hour or so, we’d won enough money to offset most of our losses, and Betty was nready to leave. Me too!
The good news is that, as we drove down the driveway, she said, “Well, if I get bored, I wouldn’t mind driving up here and playing for a few hours.”

Hooray! I knew that Betty was adjusting nicely to her new surroundings, with her new cable TV, and now the option of Win-River Casino. But the chances of her getting bored are remote, because she loves to read, and had a backlog of about a dozen books from her monthly Book Club, and more would be coming.

Chapter 18
TURNING POINT TO A NEW LIFE

God’s Promise
I’m starting this chapter on St. Patrick’s Day, as we wait to begin our new journey, and my Daily Reading says, “Every rainbow is a sign from God that new blessings are awaiting my discovery.” Because of the Irish influence for this day, it speaks of pots of gold and rainbows, which reminds me of the origination of my early ministry, Rainbow by the Sea, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where I published my monthly outreach, “Rainbow Connection” to Freedomers and others.

The main theme for the message is that dreams do come true, which is based, not on rainbows and pots of gold, but God’s promise. And it is true that God gave the rainbow as a symbol of His promise that he would never destroy His creation with another flood. But exactly what did God promise? I remember a poem: “God did not promise skies always blue, or flower strewn pathways all our life through; but He did promise strength for the
day…” There’s more, but I’ve forgotten the rest. The point is that God did not promise that there would be no pain or death. But, He did promise that He would never leave us, and He would always be with us.

Cycles
When I first awoke to this sunny day, I looked at the trees beginning to bud, and I reflected that when we first arrived here, the trees were barren, seemingly dead, so now I wondered if the trees know when they are in a rest cycle, and that they will again bud and leaf into a new beginning. Or is All this transformation miraculously according to God’s timing, and no doubt His grace?

I also noticed that the river, which is sometimes full, had become lower and looking at the rapids further downstream, I wondered if it knew when it was going through its cycles. Of course, in the case of the river, it’s not God’s grace, but the Shasta Dam that regulates its flow, as part of the flood control program.

On the other hand, the spring flowers which had been blooming in glorious profusion for a few weeks, were now fading. With their roots or bulbs firmly planted in the earth, do they know that they will bloom again another season? And is that their only purpose, or are other factors of the their being taking place during this dormant time?

Questions. But where are the answers? Even more perplexing, and much more demanding of my attention are the questions about my life cycles, such as my immediate concern about my lengthy rest period while incapacitated with congestion, which still isn’t completely cleared. Or, as we prepare to move forward, “What next?”

I envy the trees and flowers, because they don’t need to worry or wonder about their next cycle; God’s grace simply fulfills their destiny, and maybe He’s doing the same for us, in our transition process, only we don’t always understand or passively accept it, as does nature.

Adjustment
As I’m contemplating these heavy issues, the phenomenon of adjusting has come to my attention, obviously another of God’s Experiential Aides. The nearest and most visible adjustment has been Betty’s Transition Process, and we rejoice as she has settled into her own home, though different surroundings, and we feel comfortable leaving her, as we move on.

Throughout my resting period, my friend, Joyce, has been sending email updates, as she describes her adjustment to her transition from her own home to a small room in her friend, Bobbie’s mobile home, which I’ve shared in another chapter. However, the most recent email said, “I am adjusting,” and she went on to say that she had received her money, paid off her debts and her new car, and felt relief.

As momentous as this transition process has been for Joyce, the adjustment issue came up in two other stories this morning. First, while watching Hour of Power, I was impressed by the story of Renee Bondi, a young singer who went to bed, after a night of dancing with her fiancé, and awoke at 2:00 a.m. as she dove from the end of her bed onto the floor and broke her neck, making her a paraplegic with no voice. She has no idea why she did such a thing, but the bottom-line is that she went through a difficult recovery program, eventually married, and even
had a child. She has written a book with the title, “The Last Dance, but not the Last Song,” that tells her story. Talk about adjustment! Yes, she recovered her voice and sang an inspiring song, “To Run Another Day.”

While catching up with my Daily Readings, which I’d neglected during my Rest Period, I read “Learning to Love Again: Part II,” which continued the story of Kim and Krickett Carpenter, who had been in an automobile accident; both sustaining physical energies, but due to severe brain injuries, Krickett went into a coma, and when she came out, she had no memory of their two-year relationship, including marriage. Her husband hopefully waited for her memory of their love and life together to return, but it never did. Finally, they had counseling and learned to love each other again, although her personality had changed due to her injuries. Eventually, their love motivated them to remarry and recreate their honeymoon in Hawaii. Again, talk about  adjustment! They now have a two-year-old son, and their story has been in various magazines, and they have appeared on TV shows, such as Oprah and Dateline, and their book is titled, “The Vow.”

I may have some adjustments to face, as my body continues to heal and our lives move  forward, but nothing like these inspiring people overcame.

God’s Healing Energies
When this chapter was being revealed to me, I was guided to a statement by Gary Zukav, “Emotions are currents of energy that pass through us. Awareness of these currents is the first step in learning how our experiences come into being and why.” I’ve referred to his latest book, “Heart of the Soul,” in earlier chapters, but this statement seemed appropriate for my healing process, and it ties in with another message from my Daily Reading: “God’s healing energy surges through me, revitalizing me with life.”

I could sure use some of that revitalizing life right now, as I’m writing, because my own energy is fading, despite all the outer potions and pills I’ve been using. Perhaps it’s time to examine the emotions that are sapping my energy, as Gary suggests in his book.

Of course, my energies are susceptible to weather and barometric change, and we’ve been having a lot of that lately. In fact, the sun disappeared and we had rain and hail, only minutes ago, which always affects my body; just another of the side effects of being a sensitive. Yet, as the message explains, “My body is actually made of the energy and life of God,” therefore His energy also resides within me, not just passing through me. Thank you, God, for your life in me, as me, “into a symphony of harmonious activity,” and “I am healed because my body is created by and made of divine healing energy. Health and life are my very essence.” As the bible says, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Simplifying Life
Joyce’s story of simplifying her life confirms another message in my Daily Reading, “I stay my course in life through healthful choices and regular prayer time.” Amongst the healthy choices mentioned is choosing food that nurtures me, daily exercise and simplifying my activities. In an earlier chapter, this lifestyle is recommended by Marsha Sinetar, and I’ve been hearing it from others on a spiritual path too. This message concluded that such decisions are actually part of one’s identity and attitude for life.

So, I’m wondering if my ideas about gearing up for a more active and visible life may need to be reconsidered. Or is this part of the sabotage efforts of that part of myself that is resisting the Book Proposals getting completed and sent. Yes, I finished one, but the other remains unfinished, and I am discussing this with God: “Is it my will or Yours? Or both? Is it simply a matter of timing?”

In any event, during a meditation it came to me that simplification doesn’t mean giving up, doing nothing, stagnating, or even retiring, as such. What it means is letting go of the stress and anxiety; doing our part, but only as God guides and trusting Him to take care of everything; in other words, it isn’t all up to us.

Congestion vs. Circulation
Still congested, after a month, I meditated about what I needed to do to free myself of this condition. I used an idea from my Daily Reading: “I renew the circulation of good and I experience the riches of the kingdom.” As I thought about my body, I affirmed, “Thank You, God, for releasing all congestion in my body: fluids, blood, air, energies, solids, and in my thinking.”

I placed my hands over my chest, and then my ears and finally my head, wherever I felt congestion, and affirmed: “I release and let go. I am unfettered, unlimited, unbound and free.”
I remembered a statement in my Daily Reading: The circulation of money and other forms of substance to me and throughout my affairs creates financial health and soundness in my life.” I knew all along that healing my congestion would require some changes about money, in order to receive the abundance that awaited us. My left ear had remained plugged, and I concluded that I needed to open the channels of circulation for receiving, because the right side relates to giving and the left side relates to receiving. This is evidenced by the fact that Van and Ihad fallen into a pattern of underearning, which is strongly associated with receiving.

Bottom-line, our money patterns still hadn’t changed, so I affirmed: “Thank You, God, for Your guidance in receiving, saving, investing and disbursing all money that comes to us, our bank accounts, our pockets and my purse. I am open and receptive to receiving the wealth of the universe. ”
My money-receiving consciousness had been awakened, because Joyce had once told me that she would be tithing the money she received from selling her house, and a portion would go to my ministry for giving her spiritual support. A recent email announced that she would be doing it the next week.

Since Van’s retirement and our need to survive on the minimal income from Social Security Retirement, I had become lax in my attitude about money; more likely, I had lapsed into hopelessness. We did our monthly Spending Plan, and no matter how much we cut back, there was never enough: underearning. And I knew that it isn’t a matter of receiving more money; it’s about changing our consciousness, which apparently hadn’t happened. Or, again, it could be a matter of God’s timing.

In any event, it was time to wake up and smell the color green; especially since we had just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and green is the color for the month of March. But I knew that obviously we couldn’t do it by ourselves, or we would have done it by now; and all the books, tapes, workshops, seminars and affirmations hadn’t helped either; even writing my own on the subject hadn’t changed the money patterns. So, asking God to do it seemed the only recourse, and then surrendering to His grace of unconditional love.

Money Patterns
I still hadn’t received any ideas for changing the “Changing Money Patterns” program, but I was open and receptive to God’s Divine Ideas, as I went about my life. And one day an email from Joyce mentioned about noticing the money patterns of her friends, as well as her own. A bell rang, but I ignored it for a few days, until it rang several more times; probably due to my clogged ears.

Finally, I realized that she had given the program its new name: Money Patterns! Of course, that’s really what it’s all about; in fact, I had renamed one of my books about money: “Recognizing and Changing Money Patterns.”

Now, we could move forward! It would mean changing every place the name appeared, but a few clicks on the keyboard would solve that problem.

Growing Up
Actually, it wasn’t just my congestion that was involved, but also Joyce needed to go through selling her house and getting settled, before the forward movement could take place, and it was already happening, as she reported on handling her money transactions “as an adult.” In other words, her inner kid was growing up and ready to take on the responsibilities of adulthood.

Van, too, had been processing through his inner child evolution and seemed ready to assume the responsibilities of adulthood with our finances, and also the ministry.
In fact, when talking with Dottie recently, she said that Steve had announced that his
inner child had grown up, and ever since then his business presentations had improved.
As Ecclesiastes 1: 3 proclaims: “For everything there is a season and a time for every
matter under heaven.” Sometimes it just takes longer.

“The Plans That I Have for You”
Almost daily I refer to the promise of Jeremiah 29: 11: “For I know the plans that I have
for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” only I
shorten it to “Thank You, God for Your Divine Plan for me, and showing me my part in
cooperating with it,” or variations, such as placard on my mirror: “God has a plan for me, and
that’s all I need to know.” How often I must release my anxiety and fall back upon this promise.
For instance, I’d been calling my minister-partner, Adam Martin, for several weeks,
without making a connection. Finally, I was leaving a message, “Adam, I need to hear from you.
It’s too darn far to go all the way to Texas, if you don’t communicate.” Before I had finished, I
heard Adam’s voice, “Hello.”
“Yeah, well, I figured that would get you,” I said.
“I just got home. I’ve been working almost around the clock, sleeping and going back to
work, trying to earn enough money for this wedding and honeymoon,” he explained in a groggy
voice.

Okay, that sounded like a reasonable excuse, so we chatted awhile, but it was obvious his
head was no place but remodeling mobile homes and preparing for his upcoming wedding,
which is as it should be, and I affirmed to him, “It’s all a matter of God’s Divine Plan and
Timing.”

He hadn’t even checked his email, so he didn’t know that I had left a congratulations
message for his having been on parole for a year. A lot had happened in his life since that day in
Tucson, when we met him at the prison, spent the day together as he shopped for a new
wardrobe and hairstyle, and then we accompanied him to the airport and waved goodbye, as he
headed to Texas.

We met him there a week later and celebrated with his mom, stepdad, and brother
Michael. Actually, we were also celebrating Michael’s release from prison which had happened
a week earlier. It was a grand event, after my having written to them both all those years of their
incarceration: seventeen-years for Adam and five for Michael.

After talking with Adam, I knew that nothing would be happening with his part in the
ministry, until after his wedding and honeymoon, so perhaps we would be staying there a month
or so; at least as God would guide.

In any event, while catching up on my Daily Reading, I came across words that described
the situation perfectly: “When my life’s plans seem out of sync, I maintain my sense of inner
calm by relying on my faith in the divine order of God’s plan.

“Despite any appearances to the contrary, the universe is in order, and God is present in
every situation. I put my faith not in what I see before me, but in God’s greatest purpose that is
continually being revealed to me.”

The bible verse confirmed all of the above: “The human mind may devise many plans,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established” (Proverbs 19:21).

“You Will Seek me and Find Me”
God does answer our questions and prayers, as promised: “Then you will call upon me
and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me with all our heart. I will be
found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations
and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place
from which I sent you into exile” (Ecclesiastes 29: 12-14).

If I didn’t believe these promises, I would have given up years ago, about the time Van
went into his slump and could no longer take care of us, or our financial needs, as he had once
done. It was then that I had to depend totally on God as the Source of our Supply, as our Guide,
and as our Protector. And the truth is that He has supplied, protected and guided us across the
country: sea-to-sea and border-to-border. And every place along the way.

A Healing Communication
This eventful day brought one more healing aspect into my life. Dottie had called the
night before and said that she didn’t have time to talk, but she would call the Sunday morning at
8:30; right in the middle of my Hour of Power program. But, I released it to God, and got up in
time to watch the beginning of the program, including the music and interview with Renee
Bondi, and also a reference to Jeremiah 29:11, both mentioned above.

Dottie hadn’t called by the time the sermon started, nor ended, so I got to listen to the
entire program. The main theme, based on Psalm 121, reminded us, “I will lift up my eyes to the
hills, from whence comes my help.” And it spoke of Dr. Schuller’s idea of God: He guides,
Provides and Abides. And He is always with us.

I was glad that I got to hear the sermon, but disappointed that Dottie didn’t call, because
she had said, “Steve will be sleeping in and we’ll have lots of time to talk.”
When Van got up and asked about my phone visit with Dottie, I said, “She probably slept
in too.”

Sure enough, when she finally called, that was her explanation, but she had to get ready
to go to Colorado Springs, and promised to call when she returned. In the meantime, I wrote
much of this chapter and watched a few good cable TV shows.

Another quick call informed me that she needed to get dinner and participate in a
conference call, but she would call later. This time she actually called and had some time to
visit. We chatted about some of the subjects in this chapter and I asked if she would be going to
Gary Zukav’s seminar at the church we attend. She said that they already had their tickets.
In fact, they had also attended an inspiring seminar by Thomas Moore, a spiritual guide
and author of “Care of the Soul.” She was excited about his common sense approach to God and spirituality, that transcends religious doctrine, but is directly between God and the individual, which resonates with our beliefs.

It felt good having time to discuss such topics with Dottie, but soon she had to say “Goodbye,” and make several more phone calls. Busy, busy busy. However, before I would let her go, I said, “You know, I just want to communicate that although we are not much involved with the networking business, I am still your mother, and this relationship is important to me.”

Before I completed my sentence, she interrupted, and said, “I know that for awhile it may have seemed like the business was all that matter, but we’re beyond that now, and I understand what you are saying. Actually, we’ve changed a lot in recent months, but I just don’t have time, or the words, to discuss it.”

All right! Now our relationship was back on track and I could feel the happy, healing energies flowing throughout my body. It’s true that people do exchange energies, and when they are resonating, it is a healing experience.

The good news is that she not only agreed to host my Big 70 birthday party, but she even wanted to meet us in Oregon for that part of the celebration whenever we would get there.

Let the Good Times Roll
I had already sent out an email newsletter informing everyone that I would be celebrating my Big 70 birthday along the way, so be ready to celebrate. And I let Adam know that, after he returns from his honeymoon, and before we headed north and west, I expect to celebrate with them. He agreed.

For another thing, biblically any number with 7, 3, or 11 is a high energy, spiritual number of completion, or new beginnings, and I could feel the excitement and anticipation as I looked forward to the next several months and the year ahead; that is once we were getting on down the road. And I knew there would be fun and adventure to report all along the way.

After Four Months
However, after Van having four healing months with his mother, I had not anticipated that our first night of traveling (at our home away from home, a Wal-Mart parking lot), would end in a painful stand-off. Actually, I had been enjoying our being together again and the trip was pleasant and uneventful, though it was necessary to cover more distance than usual in one day, because Van had wanted another day to make sure Betty was handled. Therefore, he had readily agreed to the longer drive to Paso Robles the first night, in order to keep our appointment with Carol, in Santa Maria the next day.

It felt good to be settled into our own routine, rather than living on Betty’s schedule, and I prepared an easy favorite meal, nachos, and looked forward to a relaxing evening of TV. After we’d eaten seemed a natural time to ask Van, “Where do you want to go, after we leave Santa Maria?” He replied, “Oh I guess we’ll just mosey on down the road.”

This did not give me any information, or at least none that would help determine our next direction. We had already decided that we couldn’t make it to Dottie’s, in Colorado, in time for Easter, because of our extended stay with his mother. So I looked forward to some fun time in Las Vegas and Laughlin, before going on to Texas. Actually, Joanie and Little Ralph always enjoy their time there, and I figured we needed a break, after our four months of confinement. Instead of looking pleased with the suggestion, Van seemed disgruntled, as he said,
“Okay,” like he’d been asked to do something he didn’t want to do. And that was apparently the end of the conversation on his part.

I felt disappointed, because I’d been looking forward to making our plans together. Now, the conversation was thwarted, and all the makings of an upset had fallen into place: unfulfilled expectations, undelivered communications and thwarted intentions. Now, I felt anger, as I retorted, “Van, I would appreciate if you would please give me as much respect, interest and enthusiasm as you give your mother.” He replied, “I do.” And he clammed up.
End of that discussion too, and more fuel to the fire of my upset, as I fired my canons, “After four months of seeing you happily fulfilling your mother’s every demand, and communicating with her easily and extensively, I don’t feel that it’s asking too much for you to let me know where you want to go on this trip. “Furthermore, I’ve put my life on hold, and was available for your mother’s schedule this entire time, without even an acknowledgment or thank you, from you or her.” “Thank you for that.”

The conversation escalated down-hill from there, as I unloaded all the pain and frustration I’d been feeling as Van had virtually ignored me and focused on his mom. I bottom- lined the experience by yelling, “It’s not that I’m jealous, because I was delighted for the healing aspects of your time with your mother, but no other woman would tolerate your behavior, either. It was so bad that it made me sick for most of the time.”

In reply to my volatile questions as to why he had nothing to say, Van replied, “Well, that’s your perception of what happened, so there’s no use discussing it.” Again, I felt totally shut out, and I shouted, “There’s nothing left here. This relationship is over.”

Now What?
I retired to the bedroom and tried to calm down, as I prayed and asked for help and guidance, and I asked, “How could this conversation have gone differently?” and I answered, “It would have been nice if Van could have said, “I understand that you feel that I ignored you, and it probably did seem that way, but this is how I felt,” or he could have said, “Would you like to talk about it?” Or anything other than throwing it back to me as if
I’m the culprit in all this dysfunctionalism of mother-son narcissistic behavior.

Not being a psychiatrist, I had no idea what was transpiring with Van. I had been so sure that his time with his mother would be an inner healing for Little Ralph, and somehow it would help with our relationship too. But apparently that’s not what happened. Now, I began to realize that something far more bizarre and complex was involved, and bottom-line there would be no positive benefits for our relationship.

As usual, under such circumstances, I fell upon the old pattern: fight or flight; or both. And I began trying to figure out how I could move on to life without Van. I’d once been a very independent woman, but I’d become so totally dependent upon him that I knew it would be worse than withdrawing from any addiction. Yet, I knew that I could do it, once I knew where and when, and how. The question is: Exactly what is God’s Divine Plan?

In the meantime, I would go along with the situation as it is, knowing that by morning Van would act as if nothing had happened. In fact, one of his patterns seems to be that he needs a big blow-up, and then he shapes up and everything is fine. But I suspected that whatever Van’s deeply hidden demons, they would remain intact; and I could either live with it, or not.

Sure enough, Van awoke the next morning ready for our shopping at Wal-Mart, before heading on down the road, and showed no indication of any hold-over from the previous night, nor did either of us mention the subject. Life simply went on.

Chapter 19
SPRINGTIME OF MY SOUL

Change in the Season
My Daily Reading suggests that, even before the actual date of spring, unseen changes are taking place, as nature quietly prepares for the advent of spring: the soil has been enriched, and roots have been changing in preparation for sending forth new shoots; all this has been influenced by the snow or rain and the sunshine.

It reminds me that I too, am having a springtime experience, based on the preparation and changes that have been taking place within me, as I am “continually growing and rising upward in my faith and building a firm spiritual foundation.” Although these changes may not be yet be noticeable, the message promises, “I am being transformed by a springtime of my soul.” As I continue to ask God’s guidance for me to fulfill His Divine Plan, the bible verse suggests: “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Stamping and Pizza Party
Carol had emailed something about pizza on Friday night, and since Joanie had been wanting pizza, it seemed like a good idea. But then I checked her message again and noticed something about stamping.

I had no idea what that involved, but I soon found out. Like a Tupperware Party, ladies came to watch a demonstration and buy products. I felt trapped, and like Van, I wanted to return to Freedom, after the pizza, but something told me to stay.

I figured I’d have something to write about, if nothing else. I hate these situations where I am called upon, along with the others, to make things. I am not artistic; my creativity comes in the form of writing, and somehow I got overlooked when it comes to other talents, such as art or music: I can’t carry a tune in a basket.

But, speaking of baskets, and also changing season, we got to make an Easter basket, and also cards and several other items, using supplied materials and rubber stamps for the appropriate springtime designs.

Some of the gals were in Heaven, but I only hoped to live through it. In the first place, I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and all this information coming at me was overwhelming, but the demonstrator was helpful, and I did manage to create everything. Actually, I think Joanie was quite pleased with herself, because creativity tends to be one of her contributions to my life. And she was thrilled with her purple Easter basket, flower, and cards. Ships that Pass in the Night: or Day

For some reason the timing seemed to overlap, and Saturday was the only time we could get together with Cousin John. In fact, he would drive his tow-vehicle the hour-plus from Santa Barbara and back just to see us. So, I arranged with Carol to get together in the later afternoon, so we could have this precious time with John. With the changing season, after he leaves here, he would be driving 2500-miles to Rapid City, South Dakota for the summer, and this would be our only opportunity to see him, until my birthday in June.

First, he would drive to Washington to visit his son, who was in acute bad health due to diabetes, and I wanted to give him some in-person support and a big hug; after all, we are more like brother and sister, in some ways, having grown up together when spending the summers at Kah-nee-ta. His mother died when he was about six-years-old, and he was somewhat raised by Grandmother Casey (Mom Freeland’s mother), who was in her nineties at the time. His dad also lived with them, but he worked nights and slept days, and he simply was not available to John, emotionally or otherwise. So, much like me, he had very little association with his own parents and the only parenting was from the next generation.

But, as kids, we had some good times together, when we weren’t fighting. And then he went into the Air Force. When he returned, he married, and we sometimes got together, but our lives went in different directions; and for many years we didn’t see each other at all, because he moved to California and I remained in Oregon.

In the wild seventies, I’d divorced and moved to Southern California. It was here, when he drove Mom Freeland to visit me, that we reconnected. After that, we kept in touch off and on, but lost touch again, until I made an effort to find him several years ago. And, to my surprise, he too was living full-time in an RV, and traveling around the country. Every once in awhile, such as now, our paths cross, like ships that pass in the night, or day, and then we go our separate ways. Again, as always, we hugged, chatted and updated for a few hours, and John took us to  lunch. This time was somewhat different, because his Binjie dog, Clee (short for Cleopatra), was in a bad mood and I had to laugh, because the dog has John completely trained to jump on command, and John jumps to no one but Clee.

Too soon our time was up, and John drove the hour, back to Santa Barbara, hooked-up his vehicle and began his northward trip; within 48-hours he would be with his son, John Jr., at the remote beach town in Washington, on the first lap of his 2500-trip.

Avila: A Word Picture
In the meantime, we met with Carol and Van gave her some computer support for ordering products on-line for our business and other information. We visited, ate out and took a Sunday drive to nearby Pismo Beach and Avila Harbor, two of my favorite places.

I’ve written about Avila, but it’s always worth another word-picture, with its wide harbor and many fishing boats scattered along both sides of the pier, as seals bark, otters float and clap their fins to open their snack and seagulls add a picturesque touch. The harbor extends far to the south, with Pismo Beach and the other three sandy beaches in the distance. We can see the State Beach Park where we love to stay and walk along that beach; and the dune buggies scamper back and forth to the dunes, which are visible further down the beach.

Carol was familiar with the small beach town of Avila, and she told us that a leak in the oil line had damaged the sand, so the company had been forced to remove and replace all the sand and businesses along the beach; a costly undertaking.

However, Carol was not aware of the best-kept-secret at the pier, so we guided her to the parking lot and began walking along the pier. Usually the pelicans are camped atop the fish cleaning station awaiting leftovers, but this time none were in sight, and we assumed that it’s not their season in this area. And usually the seals are sitting on the barge loudly barking their territory claims, but this time they were swimming and cavorting in the water, along with several otters floating on their back with their tidbit on their front, and clapping their fins against it to open the shell.

As we watched, a woman passing by said, “There are a lot more seals under the pier, at the end; just walk down the steps to viewing platform.”

Now, I learned something new, because I didn’t know about the viewing platform, but sure enough, about six to ten seals floated under the pier, with an occasional bark piercing the their silent domain. Carol took pictures with her digital camera and promised to send me some, especially of the game being played on the front side of the pier: a large seal, with a fish in its mouth, tantalized the overheard seagulls; diving under the water, and then reappearing, as the seagulls squealed demands for their share. But none was offered, and the show continued, until we finally returned to the top deck of the pier.

Like the seagulls, we paused and watched the diners at the Olde Port Inn, and were tempted to stop for clam chowder. But Carol had promised us the Award Winning version at Splashers in Pismo Beach, so we did not succumb to temptation, but slowly walked past the fish market and live crab containers.

Again, Carol was tempted, as she said, “I can’t stand the thought of dropping the crabs into boiling water, or I would buy some.” We laughed, and agreed that clam chowder had more appeal.

It’s hard to leave this picturesque area, but the wind was chilly, and we were getting hungry, so we returned to the car. But first we drove to the newly created beach area of Avila, and Carol moaned at the changes from the quaint old shops to the modern new ones, with the large cement promenade, as she said, “It’s just not the same, but I guess I’ll get used to it. At least the road is wider, and there is more parking space.” I commented, “At least the newcomers will never know the difference, and this new design will probably attract a lot more tourists.” “Yeah, but it’s a shame to spoil the charm of the old town,” Carol mused. We didn’t stop, but turned around and drove back to Pismo Beach, past all the lovelyhomes, condos and apartments overlooking this lovely harbor. I said to Carol, “This is the one place that I would like to live, if we ever settled into a home.”

Award Winning Clam Chowder
Carol parked a few blocks from the touristy part of the beach city, and we walked through the crowds, along the shops, toward Splashes, but Carol’s artistic nature couldn’t resist the shops, so we stopped at several and browsed, as she explained, “These are the kinds of things I would like to feature on my website, as a representative for various artists and craftspeople. I would take them on consignment and receive a percentage of the sale.” “I think it’s such a good idea, I commented. “Yes, but I just don’t have the time while I’m working, and that’s why I want to build my networking business, so I can do this when I retire, in five years.””It’s a good plan, and we’ll sure help you with the business,” I said.

By this time we had reached Splashes, and stood in line outside, as Carol had warned. But the line was short and we soon placed our order and even found a place to sit in this very popular restaurant.

As we awaited the arrival of our order, I read aloud the blurb on the table that explained the history of the building and the restaurant: the name came from the splashes of paint on the walls, which were really cute pictures of animated clams playing beach ball and otherwise enjoying the beach life; a few clams had escaped from their shells and were nude sunbathing, sunglasses and all. What creativity!

Soon Van’s name was called (yes, he was along, but had nothing to say; just enjoying the experiences; and paying for the food) and our clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl arrived. I must admit, this was delicious clam chowder, with lots of clams; also, the inside and top of the bread bowls were included, and we enjoyed our hearty beach meal; truly award winning.

Speaking of Awards
When we returned to Carol’s, she turned on her big-screen TV, in time for the beginning of the Academy Awards. She doesn’t usually watch, but this year seemed to have more entertainment, and Whoopi was doing a great job as Emcee, so Carol settled down and watched. Her adult son, Russell, who lives with her, wanted guacamole (promised earlier in the day), so she set up her cutting board on the dining table (with a view of the TV) and performed magic, as she turned avocados into guacamole, and served it with chips, without missing a beat from the ongoing show.

Often, in the past, I had watched the Academy Awards with my daughter, Dottie, so it felt good to be with her friend, Carol ( who had also become our friend), while enjoying this show. The usual awards and entertainment progressed throughout the evening. But the highlight came when Halle Berry won the first best actress Oscar given to a black lady, and she was so touched by this historic event that her emotions overcame her and at first she couldn’t talk. But, finally she blurted out her speech, relating to those who had come before her, such as Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne, and prepared the way for this auspicious acknowledgment of black people’s contribution to Hollywood.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, Denzel Washington won the Oscar for best actor, which he accepted with an equally appropriate speech, but the best part came when he said, “I’ve been following in Sidney Poitier’s my entire career, and now, when I finally receive an Oscar, he received one before me the same night.” Of course, Sidney, had received his earlier, and he was visibly moved by the honors bestowed on his race this momentous evening.

I can’t help but wonder, “What took so long?” But, again, for some reason, that’s how it is, and we can only say, “Thank God, the time has come!”

Like with the changing of seasons, the so-called soil has been prepared, the unseen changes have been made, and the time is right. Thank You, God!

The Power of God
As I mentioned, earlier, Van had very little to say, most of the time at Carol’s. I must admit that he did a great job of training and assisting her with the computer information, but that was about it. He had reverted to his silence, and I wondered if he were regressing, or perhaps going through withdrawal from his mother. Only time would tell, and I forced myself to shut up and let God take care of the situation.

And, one of the ways God did this was to bring to my attention one of the Daily Readings that seemed applicable. It said, “The power of God is working within and through my loved ones now.”

It goes on to say, “In prayer, I release any concern for the well-being of my loved ones. I let go of any thought that they can be victims of conditions or that they need to be rescued from their circumstances. I visualize them as having the God-given strength to do whatever is necessary to bring about positive results in their own lives. I trust God to know if change is needed, because I know that God is the agent of change that is working in their lives. “I continue to affirm that the power of God is working within and through them to bring about the best possible outcomes.” The bible verse affirms: “In him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

Life is a Beach!
The trip from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara takes us inland to Buellton, where we often stop for the famous Anderson’s split pea soup, and past the turnoff to Solvang, the Danish community featuring delicious pastry. But we didn’t stop either place this time, as we had purchased a supply of Harry’s Mushroom Barley Soup and Le Boulanger bear claws at Costco, before leaving Santa Maria.

Instead, we “moseyed down the road” about fifty-miles, till we returned to the beaches, and stopped at El Capitan State Beach where we stayed for the night overlooking the ocean from our site, nestled in the trees. Now, this is how life on the road is supposed to be!

We walked along the scenic trail above the beach, back to the entrance, and Van filled out the self-registration and paid for the night. Then we returned on the sandy beach, seeing the many families (on Easter vacation) flying kites, walking, biking or relaxing. The disadvantage of this route meant that we had to walk up the steep steps to the RV sites which are scattered along the hillside. But the additional exercise felt good, and worked up our appetite.

Since our inner kids were finally free and happy to be on the road, they selected the bear claws, fruit, cheese and crackers for our evening fare, while enjoying the ocean view, our favorite TV programs, and the neighbors large campfire.

I agreed with my Daily Reading: “Dear God, You are the joy that uplifts me when I am feeling down and that cheers me when I feel anxious about what lies ahead.” Little did I know that I would need to remind myself of this reassurance during the days ahead. But, for this evening, I felt joyous and relaxed; hopeful for more good times as we “moseyed” on down the Road.

Chapter 20
“THIS TOO SHALL PASS AWAY”:
EASTER WEEK

Regression
Morning brought forth a seeming relapse, or regression of some sort, as Van reverted to his withdrawn, disinterested-in-life, morning ritual, which would last until check out time at noon.

I’d given up discussing our plans, because it only caused an upset. However, since the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, I asked if he wanted to go for a walk, but he said that he hadn’t planned on it, so I went by myself.

I followed the hike-bike path north, overlooking the beach and ocean, eventually arriving at the Group RV Parking, which was empty, with the breathtaking full view of the ocean only seen by me and someone who had driven to the overflow parking lot. I took several pictures, while absorbing the beauty, and then returned along another path, pausing a few minutes by the lifeguard station, above the ocean, to take pictures of the breakers below. I dreaded returning to the pallor that Van was causing, because I felt myself taking it on, and my health was regressing into more congestion and coughing; but it was nearing time to leave, so I went back inside and he was just finishing his breakfast.

A Blanketed Sunset and Quiet Evening
At noon we left, stopping to use the dump and fill up on water; hopefully a symbolic gesture of some sort. And then we “moseyed” an hour down the coast, through Santa Barbara, to Carpinteria State Beach. With this being Spring Break, I prayed that we’d find a place to park.

Fortunately, part of the area is a large parking lot overlooking grassy areas for campers, and there were a few vacancies large enough for us, so we parked, though I felt trapped with another large RV next to us, on one side, and the cars of campers parked on the other. But, at least we could see over their cars, and we could even see a glimpse of the ocean through the trees in front of us. So, all was not totally lost.

I fixed lunch and Van took an hour or so to eat. I was feeling so depressed that I ate and laid on the couch. When he finally felt ready to go for a walk on the beach, I told him to go ahead as I felt exhausted.

I’ve mentioned before that, as a sensitive, or healer, I often take on the emotions of those near to me, however I couldn’t understand what was going on with Van, and I feared that my own health was suffering. As usual, in these situations, I began to consider the possibility that the only solution must be to go our separate ways. But, I remembered the Daily Reading about releasing my concern for my loved ones, and letting go any thought of them being victims of any negative conditions, and I made some positive affirmations for Van.

In the meantime, the group of young people arrived for the slot next to us and began unloading and setting up their tents. I’d dreaded a night of beer-drinking, loud music and noise, but instead, I marveled at their quietness, compatibility and efficiency as they set up camp, went for a bike ride, and returned to fix dinner. Because of their unusual behavior, I concluded that they must be a church group.

Van eventually returned and I hoped the fresh air for him, and alone time for me, might have helped our moods, but neither of us seemed much improved. So we silently progressed through dinner, and I went for a walk on the beach at sunset.

The sun had gone behind the fog bank, creating a blanketed orange-gold effect. But the wind had come up, and with the clouds and the setting sun it had become chilly and I began coughing and feeling congested, so I returned home for another silent evening. The TV reception wasn’t good and I still felt depressed, so I closed the curtains and went to bed. Thankfully, their were no sounds to interfere with my sleep, but my body was definitely processing something, whether for me or Van, which required numerous trips to the toilet. I knew a God-thing, as I call it, was in progress, but I had no idea what, as I finally drifted into slumber.

“Where is all this taking us?” “Where is all this taking us?” I wondered, as I prayed for us both, and for guidance. My stepmother had called and announced that my brother, and his family, would be there for Easter. I wasn’t sure if I was invited, but it didn’t seem like an appropriate time, so we continued with our plans to head inland and go to Las Vegas.
Since Van had been so surly in our earlier discussion, I feared having anything further to say on the subject, and I let him come up with the next stop for our “moseying.” Again, about fifty-miles down the road, to Camping World in Santa Clarita.

Revelation
However, before leaving, I had managed to ask, “Are you aware of your changing moods lately?”
He replied, “Yes, I am.” “Do you know what’s causing them?” I asked, surprised that he would offer this much information and hoping for more insights from him. “Sorta,” he responded, adding, “I just don’t have any self-esteem or self-worth, and I realize that it’s my fault, because I gave it all away.”
“When did this happen?” I asked. “Oh, it’s been happening over the years,” he replied.

I about fainted with this much self-awareness from Van, and held my breath, not wanting his openness to stop, as I said, “I don’t really know what to say.” He didn’t say anything. I didn’t want the conversation to end, so I added, “I guess I can ask some questions. For instance, didn’t all the good stuff you did for your mom, like supervising, etc. help your self-esteem?” “Not really.”
“Wasn’t it healing for you to have all that time with your mom that went so well?” “It was just helping Mom.” “What do you think brought about this realization about not having self-esteem?”
“I don’t know.” “Well, as an onlooker, I can offer my observation, for what it’s worth.”

He didn’t reply, so I continued, “It seems like your mom never shows any interest in what you are doing, or thinking, or what’s of interest to you. And your dad didn’t either. It’s like they were totally self-absorbed, and you didn’t matter. Of course, my natural parents were that way too, but I wasn’t raised by them for very long, which helped.”

He said nothing, so I said, “But this time your mom seemed to take an interest in making sure that you got plenty to eat by taking you out to dinner every night.” I paused, and then added, “Of course, that could add to your thing about eating. It’s your only way of getting nourishment from your mom. Funny thing, though, you never gain any weight, except when she filled you up on cookies, while you two watched TV in the evenings, before she moved from her mobile.” “Could be,” he replied.

“Then there’s the other aspect of your relationship, which has to do with her giving you money for your projects, which probably has to do with your money disorder. But otherwise, she never asks about anything you’re doing or interested in, so how would you know how to show any interest in me?” I paused a moment and added, “but you certainly show respect, interest and enthusiasm for your mom, so you must have some reality about it.”

Feeling somewhat on the defensive, I said, “I feel that I’ve made every effort to build up and support your self-esteem through the years.” “You have,” he replied. “Okay, so what do you think needs to be done at this point?” “I don’t know.” He seemed quite despondent, and I had no idea what else to say, so the conversation seemed to end, as Van started getting ready for us to move on down the road, and
asked, “Are we still going to Camping World in Valencia?”

“Well, I wanted to talk to you about this, but I didn’t know where to go with it. I’d thought about having Easter with my family in San Diego, but now with what you are saying, maybe it’s not a good idea. Maybe you need time to work this out.” He agreed, “It might be better.” “Well, how about if I check with Arlene and see what she thinks, as far as Gary and his family needing space?” “Whatever.”

My cellular signal wasn’t strong enough, so I waited until we got to Santa Clarita and called. She encouraged us to join them, but Van was looking more depressed and angry, so I explained to her, and concluded that we’d better skip getting together this time, and thanked her for understanding.

It Came to Pass
In the light of all this revelation from Van, I knew why I’d been feeling congested and weak, and now I felt a deeper understanding of his behavior, and a recommitment to be less critical. I also felt thankful for answered prayers: that it wasn’t just more of the same, but that Van had finally recognized his own feelings and could identify and verbalize them.

But I suspected that things could get worse, before they got better, and I felt somewhat comforted by my Daily Reading which reported that Abraham Lincoln told the story of a king who asked his wise men to craft a sentence that would be true and appropriate in all situations. Their answer was, “And this, too, shall pass away,” a good title for this chapter. I remembered the many bible verses stating: “It came to pass,” and my teachers and ministers confirming that nothing lasts forever, therefore, this too shall pass.”

The Source of my Serenity
The Daily Reading reminded us that “no matter what challenges we are going through, or no matter how great, they will pass.” It continues, “Even when it appears there is no end in sight, I know that the situation is temporary.” And with Easter resurrection only a few days away, I hoped it would be sooner than later.

The reading concluded, “I am enriched with serenity that allows me to gracefully learn and grow through challenges.” I added to these words another affirmation: “The peace of God within me is the source of my serenity.”

“This is the Beginning”
At least, now I knew why Van had seemed to regress, and I felt encouraged that we were indeed at a new beginning, and it reminded me of the end of a movie about the Easter story of Jesus that I’d watched while resting, during Van’s beach walk. After the story had been told and the movie was over, the words flashed across the screen: “This is the beginning.” And I felt certain the same was true for Van.

Crossroads: From the Ocean and Valley …
I felt strange, as we continued on our journey, savoring the last views of the Pacific Ocean for many months and then heading inland through the heady smell of orange groves along Highway 126. For one thing, I didn’t know what to say to Van, but I did feel lighter, and I could tell that he did too, as we “moseyed down the road” for another hour to Santa Clarita, the gateway to The Grape Vine to the north, or Los Angeles to the south; and if one chose to push through that congestion, you would eventually be in San Diego. But our direction would take us east, to the desert, when we got on the road again the next morning.

While at this Last Outpost, before the desert, we went to Trader Joe’s and stocked up on a few of our favorite things. Van decided to fill-up the RV with gas, rather than in the morning, and after we parked for the night at Camping World, he also willingly walked about six blocks and back to get us burgers at Burger King, because there was no place to park there.

It was a pleasant evening, so we walked to Wal-Mart for a few more items, and I again looked at their digital cameras, trying to decide on the best one for me. But, once we settled in for the night, Van reverted to his quietness and I again felt tired and went to bed early. We were not through this process yet, but we were moving forward; circulating rather than congested. Nor were we through Easter Week.

The above preparations were appropriate for Wednesday, which is not recorded in the Holy Week activities, but it is assumed that the day was spent in preparation for what was to come, because Jesus and His disciples had spent Tuesday night at Bethany, the home of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Here is where Jesus basked in the solace and fellowship of His friends, and He also spent time alone praying and meditating in their garden sanctuary. Our day, too, stocking up the food provisions and fueling the RV, was preparation for our journey into the desert; and also the rest of whatever God had planned for us and the Transition Process of Easter Week.

…to The Desert
The turnoff from I-5 to the Antelope Highway, is only about 30-miles from Los Angeles and we were happy to avoid the hectic chaos of those energies and drove about the same distance least, all uphill.
In many ways, these barren hills reminded me of the movies I’ve seen of the Holy Land, and the slow but short trip to Palmdale, now the expanded bedroom community of LA, seemed an appropriate next step in the Holy Week journey, as well as our personal Transition Process. We drove through mid-day, and I felt thankful that we had avoided the tedious slow commute traffic of those who made this trek twice a day, five days a week.

But we too had a harrowing experience when the lanes narrowed and Van attempted to move to his left, only to be cut-off by a two-bin earth-mover truck whose driver had no intentions of letting us into the lane. For a few minutes, we feared a quick trip to the bottom of the hill, but fortunately Van was able to stay on the narrow shoulder, until the truck passed. At first, I felt anger at the driver, but then I felt sorry for anyone who lived his life on such terms that he endangered the lives of others. I figured that, no doubt, he gets his come-uppance in the process of life, and I said a silent, “Thank You, God,” that we had survived. Perhaps this was our taste of the betrayal that Judas was involved in setting up, while Jesus and the others remained in Bethany.

I had expected sunshine and warmth, once we arrived at the desert, but instead the skies were overcast and threatening rain, which often happens during Easter Week, as the drama is being acted out.

Meandering Through the Mall
We too processed through Maundy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. First, we parked in the lot for the shopping mall, across from Kinko’s, because we planned to go there after I fixed lunch. Then we ate, (not the Last Supper, but tuna sandwiches) as it began to sprinkle. Finally, we gathered the computer and crossed the street, despite the rainfall.

Although I can now do my email and on-line with my phone system, we needed to spend extra time on-line to place an order with our business, and I wanted to view a greeting card sent by Bonnie, which would take more time than I wanted to use on a weekday (weekends are free time) and I didn’t want to wait.

Much to our surprise, when we walked through Kinko’s, I saw no outlet for laptops, so I asked and learned that they don’t offer them here. Wow! We got our new phone system just in time. Van assumed that the 9-11 might have had some impact on their decision, but I hoped that it was only this Kinko’s, and the others would continue the service. Nevertheless, for now we returned the computer to our home.

“Let’s go to the mall and look at digital cameras at a camera store,” I suggested. Van agreed and we dashed through the rain and into the mall. Ordinarily we don’t do malls, so wouldn’t you know we found ourselves in the middle of heavy Easter shopping. But the festive atmosphere, kids getting their pictures taken with the Easter Bunny, and bustle of shoppers seemed appropriate as we strolled through the many wings of this mall, mostly obscured from where we had parked.

I’d given up mall shopping, after Van lost his job, because we simply couldn’t spend the money, so most of our needs were purchased at Wal-Mart where, and when, we parked, in our travels. In the past, Van had resisted shopping, in any form, but once we changed lifestyles, wandering through Wal-Mart became part of our exercise and fun (we had also given up our weekly movie and popcorn expense).

Yet, I noticed that Van had taken on his resistant attitude and his eyes looked angry. Then he stopped and removed his shoe to remove some gravel, balancing on one leg. Suddenly he began to topple and I pushed against his shoulder to keep him from falling, or so I thought, at least. But apparently my action caused him to tilt the other way, and he grumbled at me angrily, as if I were intentionally pushing him over. All this, no doubt, part of his processing through his recognition of feeling low self-esteem, and reacting to being mistreated; at least in his mind, at the time. More God-thing, in the form of an experiential aide, I assumed. But his anger triggered mine, and I muttered, “To Hell with you,” and walked away.

This really set him off, and he snarled, “Why would you tell me to go to Hell?”

I wasn’t use to his expressing his feelings, but I knew it was actually healthy, on his part, but I retorted defensively that my intentions had been to help, not hurt. However, he was on his position, obviously based on feelings that had built up for many years, and an argument ensued, as we walked through the mall trying to find a Directory, and then the camera store.

By the time we found the place, he’d become silent, and remained aloof while I talked with the clerk. The additional information threw me into confusion, and with Van’s disinterest, I thanked the clerk and we left the store. However, we continued to explore the seemingly unending mall, as Van silently followed along, past the theaters and food court. Joanie felt the need for nourishing, so we stopped at Dairy Queen and I ordered a small cone. Interestingly, when Van (or Little Ralph) is in this mood, he withholds from himself, as well as me, so he refused to buy one for himself, so I invited him to get a spoon and share my cone. This seemed to bring about a truce, as we continued meandering through the mall, and finally home.

Maybe this symbolized our Last Supper, or it could have been the beef mushroom barley soup that I served later, for dinner.

Symbology of The Last Supper
On the other hand, perhaps the day could be remembered by another symbol. Let’s take a look at the dynamics of the original Last Supper, more or less accurately depicted in the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

Most of us tend to think of Jesus and the disciples sitting at a normal, but long table, however those customs suggest that they sat on large pillows at a low table. Two significant events of this meal relate to issues involving the ego. For instance, the disciples argued over who got to sit by Jesus, and His response can be read in the bible, as can the details of the next event, when Jesus began to wash the disciples feet. Peter insisted that his master should not lower himself to such a demeaning task, but Jesus replied words to the effect,”If I don’t wash your feet, you are not part of me.” I love Peter’s response, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” It gets better, and must be read to enjoy, but bottom-line Jesus prophecies that Peter will deny him three times. The drama begins to unfold as Jesus announces, “One of you shall betray me,” and Peter asked John, who was next to Jesus, to ask “Who is it?”

John indicated Judas, and He said, “What thou must do, do quickly,” and Judas left to perform his dastardly deed of betrayal. Yet, we cannot totally blame Judas, because someone had to do what needed to be done, in order for the events to unfold.

Jesus has much more important words to say at this time, and finally, as they were eating, He blessed and broke the bread, in preparation for the first recorded communion, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup and gave thanks, and gave to them saying, “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins” (Matt. 26:26-28). In the Gospel of Luke these words are added, “This do in remembrance of me.

Symbolically the bread represents Divine Substance, or God as the Source, and the wine represents Divine Life, God as One. But, it’s not my intention to discuss doctrinal policies at this time, nor even to go further with the words and events of that evening, such as the scenes in The Garden of Gethsemane. I suggest that you read the entire story in all four gospels.

Instead, I want to continue with our personal experience of the evening. We moved on to the Wal-Mart in Lancaster, nine miles further, because I wanted to check the digital cameras at Costco (next door) and then decide which one to buy.

The Big Decision took place at Wal-Mart, with the help of two angels (both employees; one a clerk and the other off duty, who happened along in God’s Divine Time). I’ve learned to listen, and then follow my Inner Guidance, but sometimes I get in my own way. For instance, all along I’d been hearing that the HP had all the features that I needed, and ultimately that’s the one I bought, although I would have purchased a Sony, recommended by the employee, if they hadn’t been out of stock. But, they were out, and I took that as a sign to go for the HP, which I took home and didn’t even take from the bag, until the next day. It was all so overwhelming. Money Matters and Ancient History.

I need to pause, at this point, and fill in some information, not only for my readers, but mostly for myself. And this must have something to do with Easter Week, or more specify Good Friday, because it’s happening at this time.

Part of the confusion over buying the digital camera is the money issue. In most instances, with our everyday finances, there isn’t money for such extras. But, I have a small amount of money saved from my gift from Arlene, part of our inheritance from my dad, which I use for my ministry, website or writing expenses. Since the digital camera is for the purpose of including pictures with my book chapters, it is a legitimate expense. Also, Joyce recently tithed a percentage to this ministry, which enhances my available money, and reassures me that buying the digital camera now is appropriate, especially since Van stopped helping with scanning my pictures.

In addition, money issues seem to be in the forefront right now, as I’m preparing to change the title and format to Changing Money Patterns, and both Joyce and I are dealing with our ongoing money issues.

Back in the seventies, when Shirley MacLaine’s writings about reincarnation were in vogue, I too delved into past history through life readings, in which my Motley Crew group of friends at Palo Alto indulged. It was a great time, and great fun, and also extremely informative, as it gave insights into our present lives that weren’t otherwise explained. For instance, I learned that I was Joanna, married to Chuzas, a steward for King Herod, and a follower of Jesus, who helped finance His ministry.

I also learned that, along with the other followers and disciples, Joanna thought that Jesus would become an earthly king, and with such powers He would take care of all their personal ambitions and needs. And that’s why Judas, a Zealot, tried to force His hand, so He would call upon His armies to defeat Rome and become the king, giving his disciples their rightful place in His kingdom.

Joanna’s motive was more personal: although married to Chuzas, it was an arranged, loveless marriage, and she loved the disciple, Philip. She encouraged and supported Judas’s actions, thinking that when Jesus was king He would make it possible for her to divorce Chuzas and marry Philip. In fact, she donated money to further this cause, which is the reason I am still working on money issues in this lifetime.

Okay, so that’s my belief, and it makes sense to me, so now I’ve shared it here. It’s interesting that it comes up as I’m writing about Judas and his part in the crucifixion. If you are interested in these matters, you can order my book, “Not my Day to Die,” which explains in more detail about that lifetime and my friendship with Lazarus, whom I knew in this lifetime as one of the Freedomers, the father of Adam and Michael Martin, and the subject of the above-mentioned book.

It Must be The Crucifixion!
So, Good Friday arrived as a warm sunny day and I took time to re-read the Easter Story, along with my Daily Reading, which said, “Being patient, I encourage myself to have faith in the answer to prayer.” Little did I know how much I would need that message, sooner than later. In the meantime, I caught up with my chapter writing, and eventually Van got up. I read him the Daily Reading: “What I understand about this advice is that with patience I am allowing time for a right and complete outcome to take place. The answer to prayer may come in a heartbeat or over time.”

There was more, but bottom-line, it’s a matter of faith, and knowing that God is my constant and caring companion.” As the morning progressed, at one point I asked Van, “What do you think the ego has to do with self-esteem?”
“A lot,” he replied.
The conversation went on from there, and soon we were into another upset, with my loudly expressing myself and my hurt over his doting relationship with his mother, and withholding from me. This time I was upset because he showed no interest in helping me with my new digital camera, and it went downhill from there.

Yep! It must be the crucifixion all right; the day for crossing out old patterns, limitations and behavior. I went on and on, and this time he stood his ground, and even talked back to some extent. Hooray! Although painful, I felt that it was still part of the healing process, and we both cleared a lot of feelings, which is what the crossing-out process is all about. Remember, for Jesus, our Wayshower, it was an all day process of trials, before the actual crucifixion, and then he was removed from the cross and placed in the tomb.

For us, it was still morning, and we planned to drive about fifty-miles to Barstow. It’s interesting how God gives us visual aids. For instance, we’d watched CSI, a popular program based in Las Vegas. This episode took place with a tour bus, on the road to Las Vegas, that overturned when the driver lost control. Part of the story even referred to the famous McDonald’s Train Station in Barstow, and also involved a mechanic that worked at the tour bus garage.

Now, we would be traveling there, but fortunately we would take back roads, so the imprint of the tour bus would not be too compelling. It would be bad enough to spend Good Friday night at the noisy Flying J Truck Stop with the vibrating truck generators that even shook our home on wheels.

All is not What it Seems
From Lancaster, we traveled north, toward Mojave, truly desert country, and then turned east at Rosamond, planning to pass Edwards Air Force Base, toward Highway 58 to Barstow. I was surprised to see a huge body of water, almost an inland sea, that stretched for miles along our right side.

Finally I realized that it was a mirage on a large dry lake. About that time Van commented on the wonderful four-lane highway we were traveling, which had appeared only as a grayish line on our map, and he said, “The water is parting before us,” or so it would seem. Then we noticed a series of signs, like Burma-shave. The first said, “If you’ve been drinking”; second continued “While you’re driving”; third “And haven’t been caught”; fourth “You’re about to be.” And as we rounded the corner there was a building, as on military basis, with roadblocks and several guards stopping all vehicles. A sign read: Two ID’s required.” “Oh dear, now what have we gotten into?” Of course, Van only had his Driver’s License, and when he explained to the guard, he said, “Do you work on base?”
“No.” Then you can’t go through here. You’ll have to turn around and go back.”

Great! A 28-mile round trip for nothing, and no indication at the beginning or along the
way. I poked my head out the window and said, “Our map didn’t show any reason that we
couldn’t drive through here.”

The guard replied, “There’s a gray box that says ‘Edwards Air Force Base.” While I grabbed for the map, Van pulled away, so I could only complain to him, “There’s nothing to indicate that we can’t go through.”

Nevertheless, we returned back to the highway, as I grumbled, “I’m going to contact Rand McNally and tell them about the mistake they made.” As we drove along, I said to Van, “Talk about the ‘Dead End at the Red Sea.’ The problem is that it’s in the Old Testament, and we’re dealing with Easter, which is in the New Testament.” I paused and added, “I guess those people who continuously show the movie, ‘The Ten Commandments’ on TV during this season must know more than I do about the subject.” “They’re probably Jewish,” Van muttered. “Well, then they should know that Moses and the Israelites were not part of the EasterStory.”

The Mojave Desert and Other Points of Interest
In any event, we finally reached the turn-off and headed further north to the junction at Mojave and then headed east along Highway 58. One of Mojave’s claim to fame is the ultra-light plane, Voyager, that flew around the world, headquarters here. And it’s also the home of a so-called mothball fleet of planes, as well as being the beginning of the Mojave Desert. The only other mentionable information is Boron, the home of the Twenty Mule Team company, Boraxo, once hosted by Ronald Reagan, and later, Dale Robertson.
We could also add that another hassle between Van and I took place along this stretch, when I asked, “Do you think aging has anything to do with your ebbing self-esteem?” He didn’t reply, so I added, “I know that for me many of the things that built mine have gone by the wayside. In your case, you had the glory of being in the elite Navy Frogman group, and later you were on the cutting edge of the computer industry, so maybe when all that came to an end, had something to do with it; and you’ve never replaced those esteem-builders with anything, such as a personal spiritual quest, or inner journey that you willingly pursued; and you never found a substitute to fill your time and interests for your questioning, trouble-shooting mind that thrived in the computer industry.”

He said nothing, and again I felt angry, as I burst out, “Do you have any idea how painful it is to me when you don’t respond? It just adds more fuel to my abandonment issues. Did it ever occur to you that you might handle things somewhat differently, such as acknowledging that you are aware of my issues and that you realize it’s painful for me, and perhaps asking what you could do to help reassure me?

Silence.
Okay, so two can play this game, I shouted, “I’m not having any further conversations with you.”

He rode along enjoying his trip, commenting on this and that along the way, and I said nothing; no responses whatsoever, which didn’t seem to bother him one bit. And furthermore, I could see how freeing it must be to feel no need to respond to the other person. Perhaps I was onto something here.

However, at the Rest Stop, when we stopped for me to fix lunch, I decided to get off my position and respond to his comments, and he didn’t seem to notice any difference; at least he seemed to be in a good mood for a change. Go figure!

When we took a cut-off to I-15, in order to stay at the Truck Stop near Barstow, we stared in wonder as we noticed that Interstate 15 was a virtual parking lot of trucks, RV’s and cars; all on their way to Las Vegas, or wherever. And most of these cars would have left LA, and other areas, much earlier in the day, only now arriving at this half-way spot. Who knows how many more hours it will take them to snake their way across the desert?

We had arrived just before sunset, and soon a glorious golden orange glow filled the western sky, and I said aloud, “Thank You, God, for guiding us to come the back route. Hopefully, by morning the crucifixion will be over and we’ll wait patiently during the ‘day in the tomb,’ possibly staying right here, until the traffic clears; whether it be Saturday or even Sunday. We’d already decided to avoid Las Vegas until after Easter, so we would see what God had planned for us.

In The Tomb
In the past, I’ve dreaded the Saturday between, because it’s not always enjoyable, depending on what I’m processing at the time. But today I looked at it from a different point of view, likening Jesus’s day in the tomb, before His resurrection, to the caterpillar’s time in it’s chrysalis, before its transformation into a butterfly.

It’s a period of time when the final details are taking place to complete the transformation, and I hoped that this day would serve such a purpose in our lives. I’d been looking forward to the weekend so I could handle my email and on-line. But, before I started, I remembered that I hadn’t prepared or sent an Easter Greeting, so I quickly wrote an update newsletter about our completion in Anderson and trip along the coast, through the valley and into the hills and desert. Then it joined my email exchange, but I couldn’t proceed until Van got up and changed the local server phone numbers; which he did by the time I finished my newsletter. When done, I began my task of checking some on-line projects, and again I came upon the dead ends, and I wondered if I was cycling through the Red Sea again, or maybe the entire Exodus Process.

In addition, I had attempted to read the manual for my digital camera, but again came to a dead end, because I couldn’t get the battery test to work. Fortunately, Van was in a good mood, and rose to the challenge, plus he completed the set-up process. All right, we were making progress on this timeless day. In fact, I actually studied the manual and took several pictures, starting with a close-up of Jesus, which travels in our bedroom.
But the ordeal of trying to understand all this technology became overwhelming, so I decided to learn how to put the pictures into the computer on Resurrection Day. Van also was willing to publish my latest chapters and website activity, and he ordered our health products on-line, and requested our mail to be forwarded from our Mail Box, Etc. address in Colorado. With all this activity, we decided to stay at the truck stop overnight and make an early start on Easter Sunday; not exactly a Sunrise Service, but who knows what surprises or miracles that God might have planned. And this seems a good time to move to another chapter, and begin anew on Resurrection Day.

Chapter 21
MOVING FORWARD TOWARD A DIVINE OUTCOME

“He is Risen!”
I awoke early Easter morning, expecting a glorious experience during the day that would culminate in a Divine Revelation, beginning by watching Hour of Power for my spiritual inspiration.

Not knowing when Hour of Power would come on, in this area, I turned on the TV before 7:00, my version of a Sunrise Service. But instead I found a program that showed pictures of the actual garden, and the tomb, authenticated to once have belonged to Joseph of Arimethea: the tomb from where Jesus had arisen. In the picture, it was open, with the stone rolled away, and the inside, exactly as it had been in Jesus time, was empty, but I was surprised at the size, because there was a large weeping room.

In my imagination, I could see Mary, and the other women coming into the garden, and her surprise as she looked into the empty tomb and saw the angel. It said, “Fear not, He is not here; for he is risen.”

What a thrill to see the actual location of this miracle, and I could feel Jesus’s presence as more pictures were shown. Later in the day, I went to www.gardentomb.com and saw the pictures on the Internet, but the enlarged TV version had seemed more real; maybe because I was reliving the familiar events.

 

As I mentioned earlier, my reality is that I lived that lifetime as Joanna, and there is no doubt in my mind that she was one of the women at the tomb that Resurrection Day; and she was with them in many of the scenes mentioned in the bible, so this season and this story are very real to me, because I knew Jesus as a friend, and I felt the pain and anguish of his death from personal experience of having lost my friend. And I also rejoiced when he overcame death through His resurrection.

But the blessing is that He is with us now and always, because when he ascended, he returned to oneness with God, His Father. And the greatest joy is the realization that we are one, for their energies are within us. And that’s the glory of Easter.

It’s About Resurrection
The program ended, and a traditional Christian program, In Touch, came on. I listened awhile, as he talked at length about death. But Easter is not about death, it is about resurrection, overcoming physical death, so I waited for Hour of Power.

In the meantime, Van got up and began making preparations for our departure, which would include fueling and dumping. Since my program didn’t come on at 8:00, I suggested that we get those things done, because it probably wouldn’t be on until 10:00.

Joanie wanted Little Ralph to have the Easter card and basket that she made at Carol’s Stamping Party, so I gave them to him. He doesn’t get excited about things, especially holidays, and in his present frame of mind, I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t seem particularly interested, but at least he took time to look at them. Of course, he didn’t have anything for me, because that’s how he is, so I have to find my fulfillment in other ways, which came later in the day, via the computer. And I’ve learned to appreciate the chores that he fulfills, such as fueling and dumping, which took several hours, because the facilities were busy with holiday traffic.

I’d waited inside the building, as it was getting hot in Freedom and I couldn’t use the AC, when the generator was turned off. Suddenly I realized that it was after 10:00, and I rushed out to Freedom and asked Van to put up the antenna, but for some reason the reception was bad. At least I could hear the music and the interview with Jennifer O’ Neill, a former actress who overcame her inner demons and suicidal tendencies when she found Jesus. She said that He filled the hole that she had felt in her heart and life.

She’d written a book, “Fallen to Forgiven,” and told of her mission to help others to overcome their challenges, and choose other alternatives than suicide. As she said, “I didn’t really want to die, I just wanted help.” I smiled, as God gave me another experiential aide when she verbalized “This too shall pass away,” as advice to anyone despondent, depressed, or in despair. The title of my last chapter seemed even more meaningful with this confirmation, and she added, “God wants us to be healed and released.”

Fortunately, Van finished fairly soon and drove back to where we had been parked and I got to watch the rest of the show in color. This is especially important, because I love the colorful flowers and the giant cross covered with Easter lilies, in addition to the music; it’s all part of the pageantry of the Easter celebration.

This time, Roger William’s, the great pianist, was with us in person, after having been in the hospital and missing the Christmas program. He was looking radiant, and obviously happy to be well and able to play for this Easter celebration. What a triumph for him, too, as he played a traditional favorite, “In the Garden,” and a “Hallelujah” song, accompanied by the choir. Rev. Robert Schuller gave his usual excellent sermon, beginning with the words Jesus spoke to Martha, at the time of Lazarus’s resurrection : “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:14). What a powerful promise!

And it’s About Life
Of course, Schuller’s inspiring, uplifting sermons are always about life, and he told several quotes and stories. For instance, he told a story, concluding “Some people are dead and don’t know it.” And Colonel Saunders, the KFC originator, said, “Get up every morning with something to do.” And Cardinal Spellman said, “It’s not death that you should fear, but that your life may never have a beginning.”

Believe me, I remind myself of these truths every day, and I always start my day by saying, “I am alive, alert, awake, joyous and enthusiastic about life” and I affirm Unity’s co-founder, Charles Fillmore’s words, “I fairly sizzle with joy and enthusiasm, and I spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

I must admit that I don’t always feel joyous and enthusiastic about life, and despite my morning inspiration and personal efforts, this day turned out to be less than the spectacular revelation I expected. However, we did get “moving forward” and I simply had to trust God for the “Divine Outcome.”

I’m not sure what I expected, as we crossed the unending desert, watching all the cars that had gone East on Friday, now coming back home. Actually, despite my careful timing, there was plenty of traffic heading Eastward; probably the Las Vegas locals got out of town to avoid the holiday crowd. But, what I don’t understand is why were there so many California license plates heading to Nevada, or wherever, Sunday afternoon?

In any event, we eventually reached the Rest Stop, and I prepared a ham, potato, veggie, cheese pan-fry. I’d really wanted the Easter Buffet Breakfast at Flying J, but it was expensive, and I had the leftovers that I wanted to use. Besides, we would be eating some buffets in Las Vegas and I’d learned that even millionaires have to make choices, which compensates for my disappointment of living on our low-income.

On the road again, I entertained myself by taking a few pictures with my new digital camera, but there’s not that much of interest while driving through the Mojave Desert, so I took a picture of the sign, and the highway, and the desert. I’d started with 68 pictures on my card, took about 10, and now my indicator showed that I only had 27 left. This does not compute, and I began feeling hopeless about the complexities of technology and my inability to understand. Hopefully I could get Van’s interest in solving the problem, once we settled down for the night.

So Much for Expectations.
When we arrived at Whiskey Petes, at State Line, I decided that we would go inside for a nice dessert, because I associated this place with a favorite at Jackpot, on the Idaho border. But, my coconut pie was awful, and Van’s malt wasn’t good either. Afterward, I asked if it was the same organization as the other, and learned that this was owned by MGM, a huge conglomerate.
Oh well, so much for expectations and disappointments. I’d planned on fixing nachos for dinner, but my system was so upset from the pie that I couldn’t eat, so I made Van and ham sandwich and called it a day on Easter dinner.

I know that Easter is about more than eating, and obviously God was giving me another experiential aide: Easter is about resurrection, lifting up, moving on, living; and this is really an inside journey, which I write about all along. But I suspected there was more that God wanted me to experience and express.

I mentioned earlier that it always gripes me when they show “The Ten Commandments,” an Old Testament story, at Easter and Christmas, which is about Jesus and the New Testament. Nevertheless, we only got three channels, and despite bad reception, this was the best choice.
Beside, I’m writing a course, “Journey to Inner Freedom,” based on the Exodus of Moses and the Israelites, so I chose to watch; and I use the word carefully, considering the very hazy screen. Fortunately I’d seen the movie enough, and knew the bible story, so I had to be satisfied with hearing the words, mostly. In truth, this Easter had been disappointing; nothing had really gone as I expected, and I hadn’t even heard from my family.

However, this is the weekend, and that means e-mail and on-line activities must be done to take advantage of the free time, so Van busied himself with the on-line bookkeeping, and he also published my latest chapters; and I must remind myself that this is Van’s gift to me, when he is willing to do it, which isn’t all that much anymore, since his new-found freedom and independence.

I am Thankful
As part of his activity, he checked my e-mail and reminded me that I had several more to read. I realized that, even if I hadn’t heard from my family, my friends, who are also part of my “Circle of Wagons” had all sent messages, and Carol had sent two great pictures that she’d taken while we were in Avila, and which are in Chapter 18. Thank You, God, for the blessings in mylife. And I also expressed thanks to Van for his computer contributions this day.

An Ongoing Process
I mentioned above that the resurrection is about lifting up, and that’s the idea of transformation, such as the caterpillar into the butterfly, or the whole man into the Christ consciousness, which is an ongoing process that takes place in cycles, one of which is in the tomb, and these three days represent movements of mind that are involved in this transformation process: 1. nonresistance/humility. 2. surrendering to the will of God. 3. Fulfilling of God’s Divine will or plan.
Being reminded of these requirements seemed to be the Easter revelation that I was awaiting, but I was given to understand that it would unfold over the next month; maybe longer. This made sense, since April is the month for the Divine Power of Will, and it’s always an intense month, as the human will surrenders, or merges into the Divine Will. So, I’ll report, as it unfolds.

A Migraine Moment
My Inner Guidance had indicated that Monday, April 1, would be the time to settle our financial account for Inner Freedom Ministry by disbursing and listing the funds that Joyce had tithed from the sale of her house.

I awoke with head pressures that worsened as the day progressed, and I wondered if it was something I’d eaten, the desert energies, something Van was processing, or my own stuff. I’d taken an Advil, but by the time we sat down to work on the money, I wasn’t sure I could do it; in fact, I was lying down, at the time, convinced that a migraine was coming on.

And when I realized that we hadn’t kept the records for this account, for the last year, I knew a migraine was fast approaching. In fact, when Van announced that the finances had diminished to about 1/3 of what I thought, I literally almost fainted. I didn’t know whether to blame him, or me; but it’s for certain that the symptoms of our combined money disorder was apparent.

Nothing to do but slowly extricate the ministry expenses from our personal account, and somehow come up with a balance. Van takes on an attitude of a ten-year-old, despite the fact that he once did financial management for others, and kept excellent records of our own finances. But, somehow, during his year in Debtors Anonymous, he learned something that caused him to recognize the addictive aspect of his money patterns, and that’s when he stopped, like an alcoholic’s abstinence is the first step of recovery.

The recovery program for money disorders is keeping daily records, which he hadn’t been doing, although he had agreed to take care of the money transactions. In any event, the task now came upon me to determine what to do and how; and this is worse than the blind leading the blind.

I suggested that we start with a scratch page to enter the various figures and explanations, until they made sense, and then he could transfer them to the ledger. So, he opened a fresh page and waited for me to give him instructions. Like, he doesn’t know? When I reminded him that he had once been a financial manager, he wouldn’t even listen and said that was all wrong.

Somehow, we muddled through, until all the expenditures, income, and reimbursements were accounted for, and I breathed a sigh of relief to learn that the account actually had a reasonable balance.

Then Van wrote out the checks for the ministry’s tithe to the churches and people where I receive spiritual support and inspiration, and I prepared the envelopes and wrote a note with each one.

These money transactions were overwhelming, but I noticed that when we were done, my migraine had gone away. And it didn’t return when the Advil wore off. Interesting! But I still don’t have any deeper insights into the cause of my money issues. Nor does Van understand the origin of his.
I tried to talk a bit about his money-love relationship with his mother, or maybe the deeply embedded anchor relating to money issues with his dad and grandmother. But neither of us had any “Ah Hah’s.”
But, as usual, I needed to eat, after all this money stuff, and I fixed us a super nachos lunch.

Diversionary Interference
I’d planned to start making the changes on the money website, but after I’d eaten, my head pressures were threatening to return (I wonder why; could it be related to the money website?), so I was relaxing, and Van was still eating. Looking out the window, I noticed a semi-truck coming into the RV parking lot, which always irritates me; mostly because of the generator noise. It disappeared behind me, and I got up to wash the dishes and peered out the kitchen window just as I heard the terrible crunch and saw the trailer hung up on a pickup tow- vehicle, behind the RV parked next to us.

The driver backed up and started to move on, so I grabbed a pencil and paper and headed out the door, determined to get his license plate number. But he had driven through the parking lot and momentarily stopped. I rushed to get the license, but he started up again, and returned to park on the other side of us, away from the other RV. No one else had appeared, so I followed and wrote down his number.

Then I walked beside his truck and noticed a huge gash, nothing compared to the damage
to the pickup and its shell, and I said, “That’s pretty serious, you’d better call the police.”
He said, “Yeah! I’m going to call my boss.”
I repeated, “You’d better call the police.” And I walked quickly to cover the distance to
the front of the casino, in order to report the incident to the security. I ducked inside a hotel
entrance, to keep cooler, and finally reached the inside of the casino, where I spotted a security
officer. I told him what happened, although he seemed a bit dense, but he contacted the mobile
unit, as we walked toward the front of the casino.

Once outside, another security officer, his boss, listened to my story, as the mobile unit
arrived. “We’d better get the camera,” the boss said, and disappeared inside.
I stood by the mobile unit and told him the story, pointing to the semi, just as it began to
move. I said, “We’d better not wait for the camera, he’s getting away.”

I asked if I could ride with him, as I didn’t have on my walking shoes, and I got inside.
Just then the officer with the camera arrived, and we all headed toward the truck, but it was long
gone.

The mobile driver drove on to the pickup truck and groaned at the gaping hole in the
pickup shell and frame. He parked and we got out, as I pointed to the damaged sharp corner of
the pickup and said, I guess that caused the gash in the semi.”

The other officer arrived and then called the California Highway Patrol, since the driver
was headed in that direction. Then he began taking pictures while I explained what I’d seen
happen.

It was still warm, so I returned to our RV, which was cooled by the AC. Soon the mobile
officer knocked on our door and asked me to fill out a report, which I did, and he said that I’d
need to do the same for the CHP officer. But none showed.
Eventually, the owner of the RV arrived and asked “Is there a reason why you are
standing by my RV?”
The security officer asked “Is this your RV?”
He replied, “Yes,” so the officer took him around to the pickup and explained what had
happened.

The man said very little, whether from shock, or he’d been drinking, or maybe just
because that’s how he is, as retired military; an assumption I’d made when I’d noticed that his
pickup had a sticker from Hill AFB. He asked for the license plate number, and then he
accompanied the officer inside to fill out their report.
I’d been chatting with the mobile officer and learned more about his personal life than I
really wanted to know.

When the RV owner returned, he kept busy on the phone, calling his insurance company,
and no doubt making arrangements for the repairs, or whatever. Oh, yes, and the Las Vegas
Metro police; it seems they have jurisdiction here, although it’s over fifty-miles away, and
apparently the Security Officer had only called the CHP, not the Metro police, thinking the CHP
would return. But it didn’t.

I was shocked when the RV owner finally announced that the LV Metro police wouldn’t
be coming, “Because it’s private property and they have no jurisdiction.”
Does this make sense? I don’t think so, but that’s what happened. Nothing! And the RV
owner got inside his RV and drove off, after first asking Van if the pickup was tracking okay.
All in all, the afternoon had been pretty exciting, and I felt good about myself for having
done the right thing. Also, it felt good being involved in life, and Van had even gotten pretty
excited, as we retraced the truckers route and tried to figure how he had managed to hit the
pickup in the first place.

But, the fact remained I hadn’t corrected the money website, nor had we moved on to Las
Vegas. Was I subconsciously creating this diversion to avoid this transition, or was is simply a
matter of God’s timing?

An Overview
Both conditions changed the next day: we made it to Las Vegas, and I began the changes
on the money website. My following email to my money website partner, Joyce, briefly
describes the process, as I respond to her message about not being able to stop smoking.
“ Dealing with addictions, like patterns and habits, is tough, as we all know. There has to
be a strong desire to give it up. In other words, the desire not to do it has to be stronger than the
desire to do it. If the payoff for the addiction is stronger than the payoff to quit, then forget it.
There’s a great website that talks about that sort of thing. It’s called Changing Money
Patterns, but the technics apply to any patterns. In fact, I was reading the freebie “Saying ‘No’ to
Patterns,” and it gives step-by-step “how to” for changing patterns. I hear it really works!
Anyway, I’ve begun making the changes on the website, but it will take time, plus all the
links need the name changed. I removed the link to the Membership program, but they can be
returned in the future, if it seems appropriate. I’ll get the prices of the workshop and books
changed, as I have time. I’ve been having head pressures and near-migraines over it all. I’ll be
glad when it’s done.

Speaking of migraines, I subtitled “Migraine Moments” for the part about disbursing and
recording the money from your tithe check. It was really tough, especially when I discovered that
we hadn’t actually done anything about keeping records for that account. It was a mess! We had
to extricate the website items from our personal checking account register, because we had
transfer funds from my savings to the Wells Fargo account, so Van could write the checks, as he
handles the money transactions for both accounts. Well, sort of. Ever since something happened
to him that caused his change, and then he went to Debtors Anonymous, etc., he realizes that he was messed-up, so he won’t do much record-keeping.

So, we sat down, got out a notebook for a scratch pad, and wrote everything down. When
it was all totaled and balanced, we made a website account in a ledger. This was not an easy
process, but now there is an accounting for the money that we spent for the website, your part for the website expenses, our tithe, and the reimbursements. It’s all there and accounted for.

The upsetting part is that all the money from my dad’s inheritance, I thought I had in the
account, was mostly spent. Fortunately, the reimbursements from you replaced some of it. But,
it’s so important to keep an ongoing monthly Spending Plan, and daily accounting of
expenditures. These are the tools we learned in Debtor’s Anonymous to offset the addiction of
underearning/overspending. If we’d done that, it wouldn’t have been so difficult, and I would
have known exactly where the finances were. We do this with our personal account, but hadn’t
done it with the website account. But, now it’s done.

This is all symptomatic of our money disorder, and these are the kinds of things that are
important to share on the website, and I did write all this in my books. And it’s also in
“Win:Win,” which is available free from the website.

I’m thinking, as I have time, I’ll add more of the chapters, or applicable parts I’ve written
along the way, such as “Migraine Moment.” But, when it gets right down to it, you, Van and I are
still in the recovery process of this money disorder. Cutting down expenses doesn’t cure it. If it
did, we would be living within our income and we wouldn’t be having these financial issues. So,
it’s ongoing. And, if the three of us benefit from the money process and sharing our experiences,
then the website has been of value. Right? And, the truth is that we are all three enjoying the
fruits of a prosperous life. After all, Van and I spent four months with full hook-ups paid for by
his mom; and then over a month in a great motel with cable TV and all the amenities, and our
evening meals all paid for. That’s got to be considered prosperity. And now we’re traveling across the country, and staying at the Luxor for free. Great!

Anyway, I again thank you for the tithe. It was really a blessing, and made a big
difference. It feels so good to have all this taken care of. It was a thrill to send my tithe checks to
the churches and people where I’ve received spiritual blessings.
And, of course, I’ve been taking pictures with the digital camera (bought with the money;
after all the pictures are to accompany my books. It was fun having it here in Las Vegas, as our
kids toured the city on the shuttles, and walking. It was fun seeing England, New York, Paris,
and even Egypt, (we’re parked at Luxor). I just love the Luxor, especially since I’m writing
Journey to Inner Freedom, the Exodus from Egypt to The Promised Land, and also living it.
Boy, did our legs ache, after all that walking. We took the free shuttles, but there’s still so
much walking; even through the casinos, as they each cover a block. And in New York, New
York, as usual, we got lost and walked in circles several blocks.
Thank you, again for the tithe, and I know that you are already being blessed for your act
of giving, and will continue to be blessed.
I love you,
Joyanna”

Life on the Luxor Parking Lot
The money website changes and the email to Joyce were done in the morning, parked at
the Luxor, while awaiting our friend, Jim Deaderick, for our buffet lunch at Bellagio. There’s not
all that much to report about a morning in the parking lot, but I must share the scene: ahead and
to my left are the magical buildings at an entrance to Ex Caliber, the casino with the theme of
England, kings, knights, Merlin, the magician and the knights of the round table. Looming high
in the sky straight in front of us is the pyramid-shaped building of Luxor, and at knight it’s black
with a beam of light that shoots far into the sky and blinking lights that dance up and down the
sloped corners of the building; an awesome sight.
This lot is for RV’s and oversize vehicles, and there are about a dozen; more or less, as
they come and go. A few spaces from us is a station wagon that pulls a miniature house-trailer
that someone is actually staying in.
The point of mentioning this is because we suddenly heard a deep man’s voice (like Hal
in Star Wars) saying, “You are too close to this car. Move away.” Then it boomed out, “I’ve
been tampered with, I’ve been tampered with!” Of course, I had to look out the window, and
noticed that a truck tractor (the cab of a semi, without the trailer) had parked there and the driver
had gotten out, which excited the voice-alarm on the car. It went off several times, such as when
the driver returned, and also when the owner of the car approached.

There’s More to Las Vegas
Van and I don’t succumb to the usual Las Vegas addictive lures, but we enjoy touring the
casinos, and eating, which can be addictive too. Our first stop came while attempting to make
our way through Ex Caliber, and right inside the entrance, coming upon the Krispy Kreme donut
shop and factory (they are made right before our eyes), which we’ve wanted to taste for years. Of course, we couldn’t resist, so we sat down and savored a truly melt-in-your-mouth glazed (for
Van) donut, and a filled blueberry one (for me).

They really lived up to our expectations, but I don’t do all that well with sweets anymore,
and I needed a meal. I hadn’t planned on spending any time in New York New York, but we
chose to walk inside to find the walkway to MGM, and as usual, we got lost in downtown
Manhattan. I must admit, I really experienced the energies of New York this time, in a different
way, after 9-11, and I decided to have lunch at a deli, but they were all so busy and no place to
sit (I hadn’t realized this week was still Spring Break; not only for college, but elementary
schools, and the town was packed), so we went to a sit-down restaurant: America, and shared a
Philly sandwich. To our surprise, the meal was served on two plates, with a pickle, fries and
coleslaw for each of us.

We’d only walked through Luxor, Ex Caliber, and New York, but we were already in
overwhelm and overload. It’s the energies of so many people, and so much to see, hear, and
smell; one’s senses simply rebel. Las Vegas is designed to attack one’s addictive nature, whether it be food, drink, shopping or buying. I must admit that I had been tempted by the hype and smells of all the other deli’s, but it felt good to sit down and relax and enjoy our meal. And this spacious restaurant had a giant plaster-paris replica of America sloping from the ceiling toward the floor which was fun to study.

Toward the end of the meal, I asked our neighbor lady about her veggie wrap, and she
said it was delicious, which began a conversation. They were friendly people from Houston,
Texas, and staying at the Luxor. We thought we might run into them again, but we didn’t; so
many people everywhere.

We finally finished eating and, after a few more going in circles, found the walkway to
MGM, a magnificent casino with massive golden lions at the entrance, and a new attraction, like
the tigers at The Mirage, only these were live lion cubs. Of course, watching them caused
another delay, and I hadn’t planned on spending much time here, either, because we’ve been
here many times. In fact, last trip we had attended Tommy Tunes musical show and I just loved
it. But this time was not about shows or spending money, so we boarded the fast shuttle that took us a mile-away to Bally’s; another casino where we had spent time (before the new
extravaganzas built to lure families; another whole population to spend money), and had
attended George Carlin’s show. This time we quickly walked through and outside to Las Vegas
Blvd. (The Strip) and walked another block to our destination: the new Paris casino, with a
replica of the Eiffel Tower visible for miles.

Did I mention that it was hot? Only in the eighties, but this is the desert, and it seems
more intense, along with everything else that overwhelms the senses, so getting inside where it’s air conditioned is a high priority for us.

Once inside, we were instantly transported to a cobblestone street in Paris, with all the
shops designed to tempt you inside to spend money. As I said, food is my addiction, and my
inner child spotted Len Otre, an ice cream store that also featured French pastries and
chocolates. However, I managed to resist all the temptations and settle for a so-called healthful
mango ice cream cup, but it was extremely tart and the consistency was definitely not Dairy
Queen, so I talked Little Ralph into eating most of it.

This is a good time to mention that he was having a great time quietly taking it all in, and
he was definitely in a good mood, so we were getting along fine, like we used to, much to my
delight. And, after getting lost in New York, his job was to keep us on track, which was a
challenge in itself. Periodically I’d notice that he’d found a map of the casino we were in. But
the Paris casino was quite easy, because the street followed a logical pattern, along the inside
walls of the building. Nevertheless, after our ice cream, we were soon immersed in the Paris
energies, as we strolled along the picturesque shops and followed the sound of music, until we
came upon an accordion player, in front of the courtyard that lead into their buffet. We read the
menu, posted outside, and marveled at the fare being offered, from the four provinces of France,
and we peered through the iron grates to the inside courtyard where the food was displayed and
the people sat at little tables.

But we weren’t hungry, and besides, we’d planned on only one buffet, and that would be
at Bellagio. Wouldn’t you know, we eventually came across Moulin Rouge, which I thought was
a restaurant, but as I studied the menu, the hostess began chatting, and explained that the
restaurant (I forgot the French name) opens at 5:30, and then around 2:00 a.m., it becomes
Moulin Rouge, an after-hours establishments that even features a can-can dancer in their rather
small wine-cellar.

This brought us to the end of our Paris street, and you’ll never guess what we discovered;
the entrance to Ballys. In other words, we could have walked from one to the other, without ever
going outside. I should have known, and I did suspect, because of the Paris posters I’d noticed in Ballys. Oh well, now we know. But, once outside again, this time at the main entrance, we saw
the Arc d’Triumphe replica and a giant hot air balloon; and, of course, I took pictures of it all,
including the outside of the Eiffel Tower from across the street (the distance needed to get the
height).

“Across the street” brought us to The Aladdin Casino, where often stayed in the old days,
before our RV, and when we had money, and also before they tore it down and built this new
extravaganza: a Moroccan Desert. And another street of shops, shops, shops along entirely
different street decor. We walked and walked and walked, seeing and enjoying, but not buying.
In fact, we didn’t even eat anything, although by the time we reached the end, we were
hungry again. However we’d passed the one place, Focaccia, that featured Moroccan food, and I didn’t feel like walking all the way back. I sure didn’t want to eat in a Food Court in Morocco,
so we began the trek homeward. After an afternoon and evening of walking, my toe was getting
blistered and my legs ached. I had brought a fanny pack, instead of my purse and had no
Band-Aids, but I managed to twist some paper napkin around my toe and continue walking.

By now it was after sunset, and my intention was to take a bus, but Van figured we were
only a block from New York, and from there we could take the people movers to Ex- Caliber
and Luxor. Right! Only each casino is a block or two of walking in order to get to the walkways,
Nevertheless, I’ll spare the pain of details, and conclude that we ate at the Food Court in the
Luxor. It definitely wasn’t Egyptian, but by this time I didn’t care; I was hungry and tired, but I
refused to eat a MacDonald’s. Instead, we made our selections at Nathan’s (“Since 1916), and
my chicken sandwich tasted good for this late night snack, while Van enjoyed his chili cheese
dog (he doesn’t get indigestion).

The Birthday Celebrations Begin!
Since Jim insisted on treating us to lunch at Bellagio, I decided to consider it the first of
my Big 70 birthday celebrations, and it was incredible!

Despite the special occasion, I was especially proud of myself this time, because I
selected a plateful of veggies, about 1/2 dozen fresh large shrimp, and some Chow Mein for my
main course, with a small bowl of Caesar’s Salad. Their food is so well seasoned and tasty that it wouldn’t matter what you ate, it would be delicious. That’s why I said that I would like to eat lunch there every day, because there is such a huge selection, and you choose a different entree, or meal, every day. For instance, Jim and Van selected the breakfast items, and that’s all they ate, other than dessert. Well, yes, I did eat dessert; but that’s okay, because of my veggie selections! I’d made a decision not to eat chocolate, but I succumbed to temptation, and it’s not hard to do, considering all the French and Viennese pastries, and other goodies. So, I tried to
select the least chocolate item, a mousse wedge with a layer of dark, light and shredded
chocolate with a white top layer; probably white chocolate, now that I think about it. I also had a
piece of strawberry mousse pie (with real strawberries) and topped it all off with a sugar-free
raspberry Napoleon. Pretty good, huh!

Since fruit is too acid, I was pushing it with the strawberry pie, but the fresh strawberries
were tempting, and I thought about adding ice cream to them; but I didn’t. there were many
types of fruit, and Van chose red ripe chunks of watermelon, honey dew and a sweet plum, along with his pecan pie. The fresh fruit tarts looked so delicious, and since I couldn’t eat them, I
brought one to Van. In retrospect, I should have eaten it. I’m sure it would have agreed with me
in that environment, and under these circumstances: celebrating my Big 70 with Jim.

Possibly a Divine Outcome
Not only is the Bellagio’s environment conducive to peaceful eating, but having our
friend, Jim, with us added to the specialness, as we chatted about many things, including world
conditions, the stock market, and his wife, Patti’s health situation. She is now invalidized with
arthritis and the after-affects from medications to ease the pain, and she is in a care facility.
However, because of the high cost, Jim is talking about the possibility of moving to Panama,
where he would be able to have care for him, and still live comfortably of his retirement money.
With that in mind, he is going on a tour to an area in the mountains of Panama in May, and we
are waiting in anticipation of hearing the results, and his decision whether or not to move there.
In addition, with Patty in a care facility, and her care no longer up to him, he has finally decided
to do something for himself and take some world tours. Van passed along his mother’s advice:
when traveling overseas, leave a day early and get adjusted to the time change, to avoid jet-lag.
Little did I dream, when arranging for our get-together with Jim, that he would offer the
possibility of a “Divine Outcome.” And I was speechless when he said, “I’d like for you guys to
share my home and live with me anytime, if you would like.”
Van responded first with a sincere “Thank you.”

But it took a minute for me to grasp the impact of what he was saying, not just for a few
days, but permanently, as he added, “I’d really enjoy having you two live with me, and this is not
an offer I would make to anyone else.”

Wow! After all my prayers and wondering what we’re going to do when we’ve
completed this trip, here is an unbelievable offer. Even if we never do it, just the offer is
incredible, and gives me tremendous peace of mind. Talk about a gift, if Jim’s offer is any
indication of what is to come, I am really looking forward to the “Divine Outcome.”

A World Unto Itself
But, for now, after spending several hours with Jim, it was time to go our separate ways,
as he made his daily visit with his wife, and we continued with our day, starting with a stroll
around this fabulous hotel casino.

I must say, Bellagio works for me. I love its energies, it’s elegance, it’s beauty, it’s decor;
the softly playing piano, and I especially love it’s buffet. As I told Jim, “If I had the money, I’d
stay here and eat lunch at the buffet every day.” That’s before he made his generous offer for us
to stay with him.

Now, my first project was to take pictures, with my new digital camera, of the giant
flower petal chandelier in the hotel lobby. And then to photograph the spring flowers, such as the
yellow tulips in a row around the circular fountain. And from there to the atrium with its
breathtaking, yet peaceful, awesome Easter creation: colorful flowers and green shrubs, and a
giant butterfly, inside the entrance. Above our heads, giant gold Easter eggs hung suspended
from the ceiling, in two corners, and a giant American flag, in the middle of the room, honored
the 9-11 events. In the far end of the atrium, a huge gazebo rises out of a shallow pool of water,
with flowers all around the edge, with more flowers inside the gazebo. I could stay in this place
for hours, but we had a lot of territory to cover, so we moved along through the canopied casino.
Can you imagine colorful, yet elegant, canopies over each island of slots, with a softly tinkling
piano playing background music?

And all the elegant decor enhances the casino area, and the hallway, lined with pricey
shops and restaurants, that leads to the entrances: The Strip, or Caesar’s Palace? The
magnificence defies description, and I still want to write about the rest of our day and evening.

Render Unto Caesar
It was not my intention to spend time at Caesar’s casino, although it was my favorite,
before these new ones were built, and I was trying to get to The Venetian. But, I discovered that
it’s further down the street, across from Treasure Island, and we have a special route to get there: through Caesuras, take the people mover to The Mirage, and the tram to Treasure Island.

Okay, maybe we’ll see Caesar walking around, as he often does, but not this time. So, we
trudged through the Forum Shops, mostly expensive Beverly Hills companies, and one of our
inner kid’s favorites, FA Max, where we took a side trip up the escalator to the third floor,
stopping for me to walk across the floor piano and hear my own tune, then go inside the lookout
platform (inside the horse) and back down the elevator; kind of a tradition for us.
When we finally got to the end of the shops, the fountain show was in progress, but we
didn’t take time to watch. It had been several hours since we’d eaten, and by this time, Joanie
needed a Swenson’s ice cream cone, another tradition, whether or not she’s hungry. However,
we’d gone down the wrong hallway, and this one came to a dead end, so now we had to walk all
the way back, and out the other hallway of shops, to the statues that come to life every hour.
Fortunately, they were quiet, and Joanie spotted her ice cream shop. Now, we could rest a few
minutes, while eating our ice cream.

The trek from there to The Venetian, though long (several blocks through each casino),
was uneventful and I’ve written about them at another time, so we’ll zip right along to the canals
and singing gondoliers that float through the Canal Shops walkway. Again, we were transported
to another world, as we strolled along the canal, with shops on each side. One can’t help but
wonder how each casino can possibly do enough business in all these shops to pay for
themselves, but apparently they do. It’s for sure the casinos provide the money for the
corporations to continue to expand. And who in the world keeps coming up with these ideas?
Oh well, it’s not my problem. And by the time we’d walked around the canal, we were
ready for another snack, but not a meal, after that big lunch buffet. I asked Van to sign us up to
eat in one of the restaurants, maybe minestrone soup or a salad (even though they are six or
seven dollars), but when he reported a 45-minute wait, we decided to move on. Suddenly another Food Court didn’t seem so unacceptable, especially when we could eat pizza in Italy, so to speak, at the Pizza. My spinach/cheese covered pizza was delicious, and I couldn’t have found anything better anyplace, at any price.

Not only that, but I got to chatting with the lady next to us, and to my surprise, they were
from Oregon. I should have known, as they were so friendly and I felt totally comfortable with
them. They could talk about Fred Meyers or Meier & Frank, and I knew exactly what they were
talking about. They live in Troutdale, and I said that we stop there at the Flying J Truck Stop.
Bob said he delivers UPS there every day at 4:20. Eventually I gave them my email address, and she promised to contact me. hoped so, because they would be good friends, and also, Bob was planning to do some workshops to teach people how to get out of debt, and I wanted to follow-up on this.

We talked a long time, and when we finally got outside, it was dark and late; about 9:00 p.m. This time we would take the Hotel Shuttle, and began our search for these best kept secrets. Not at The Venetian, but through their parking garage to Harrah’s, but the driver was going the opposite direction, and suggested that we walk across the street to The Mirage to catch the shuttle to the Luxor. This meant walking through an alley, another parking garage, and along the side of The Mirage, asking questions until we finally found the right place to wait: by the 35 ft. limo that was parked at the side street bus stop, where a family had alit and was making arrangements for their pickup. Well, we all live different lifestyles. Eventually our bus came, and it was packed, but fortunately most of the people got off, so there was room for us, and a younger woman even offered me a seat, much to my delight. I was really tired and my legs ached again.

This trip should end quickly, as we only have a few long blocks, right? Wrong! With the
stops at the various hotels, it took about another hour, and then it let us off at Ex Caliber, so we
had to walk through it, past the Krispy Kreme Donuts, over the street on the people mover, into
the Luxor, and another block, along the Luxor, to our home. What a long, and wonderful day!

Chapter 22
DETOUR: ROAD ENDS

The Impact of 9-11
On the highway from Las Vegas to Laughlin, at the turnoff to Hoover Dam, a large sign
tells us that the highway over the dam is closed to trucks, RV’s and trailers. We weren’t going
that way anyway, but it served as another grim reminder of the impact of 9-11, and it must be a
terrible inconvenience for those who depended on that route to Kingman and I-40 East.
Personally, having once taken the route that crossed Hoover Dam, I wouldn’t do it again in the
RV, because of the deep descent into the canyon, and the steep ascent up the other side; and the sightseeing traffic is endless, making the trip much longer than it would be, if you could drive down, across and up the other side.

One More Deception of Life
So, despite the sign, we moved forward across the desert for another sixty-miles, until we
came to the turnoff to Laughlin. I chuckled, because another sign read: “Save 50-miles to
Kingman and I-40.” What it doesn’t say is that fifteen-miles of the road is downhill, into
Laughlin, and another distance, on the other side of the valley, is uphill, so for first-timers it’s a
shock, and we wondered how truckers felt about the “short-cut.” The distance they might save is
far offset by the time it takes, whereas they could stay on the flat highway and make much better
time. But, of course, the casinos hope to attract more visitors, as the travelers pass through
Laughlin; just one more of the deceptions of life.

There’s Not Enough Time
The route to Laughlin isn’t any better than across Hoover Dam, but not as much traffic,
which allows better time, at least. However, on the downward descent, while relaxing on my
sofa, I’d begun calculating the time left for our trip to Texas, after staying a week in Laughlin,
which Van had suggested. In addition to enjoying his time there, we had also arranged to have
our mail and products sent to General Delivery, and we didn’t know how long that would take.
But, the same realization came to me that I’d had about my savings account: there’s not
enough; somehow, as with the money, we’d used up more time than I’d expected. With a jolt,
looking at the calendar, I grasped the reality that there isn’t enough time to stay a week in
Laughlin, make the trip at our usual pace, and arrive early for Adam’s wedding.
Van was busy negotiating the downhill grade, so I waited until we stopped to discuss the
subject. This happened at Burger King, by Safeway, where we had driven an extra fifteen-miles
for gas. He questioned the amount of miles we would need to travel, and suggested that we could probably make the trip in time.

Another Road Ends
He’d been in a strange mood all day, and I finally concluded that he was in his arrogant
Young Adult Ralph mode, which reflects self-confidence, but also other aspects that I simply
didn’t feel like dealing with at this stage of my life; it’s even worse than living with the little kid.
Somehow, the conversation shifted to our relationship and I explained that, after years of
dealing with these issues (with him and others), my tolerance level was full.

He retorted, “I’m full too!”
Whoa! Where is this leading?

Apparently, with his new-found self-confidence, he felt that he could talk up for himself,
and before the conversation had ended, we’d decided to go our separate ways.
I left it up to him as to where we would go from here, and he said that we might as well
stay in Laughlin, as planned, and make our decisions while here.

I figured that two phone calls would handle my arrangements: one to Jim for a place to
stay, and one to Adam to tell him I wouldn’t be able to perform his wedding ceremony. I didn’t
relish the idea of starting over, but I knew I could do it, with God’s help.
By the time we had eaten, fueled Freedom and shopped at Safeway, it was getting late, so we stopped at Wal-Mart for the night. Van wanted to buy some items inside, but I was too warm and wanted to stay in Freedom with the AC awhile.
I asked Van, “So what are your plans?
Always, in the past, his answer was, “I don’t know.” But this time he firmly replied, “Oh
I’d like to travel.”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?” I asked
“But you don’t want to travel.”
I said, “Well, I thought going to Texas is traveling, so apparently you’d prefer traveling
without me, so, we’ll need to sell Freedom and divide the money, and you can buy a smaller
vehicle for yourself. ”
“Okay.” And that seemed to end that conversation, so we both fell into silence.
Eventually, he asked, “Are you cool enough to go inside now?”
“Sure.” So we went inside and he bought his items and looked for an AC Adapter for my
digital camera, but they didn’t have one. I found it interesting that, despite his readiness to move
on without me, he was at least willing to help get my digital camera set up for transferring my
pictures to the computer. It’s for sure that I wouldn’t be able to do it myself, but I could sure find
others who could help me with all the technology functions that Van had gradually stopped
doing.

I began to get excited about a near end to the endurance contest that Van and I had been
living, and the possibilities that lie ahead. And I wondered if this was all part of the Divine
Outcome, especially considering that only a few days before, Jim had offered us a place to live.
And when Van had been refilling his dessert, I’d mentioned that we hadn’t been getting along,
and it might be one or the other of us to take him up on his offer; so, at least he had been alerted, but I wasn’t certain if his offer was for us, as a couple, rather than me alone.

In any event, life would be interesting in the time ahead. I remembered that we had been
at this sort of cross roads once before when Van had processed through his Young Adult mode,
and ultimately we decided to stay together. But now I no longer could continue living at the
impasse Van and I had reached, and it didn’t seem as if either of us would be changing, so a
separation was looking really good.

Our Wayshower
While preparing to write this chapter, parked at Wal-Mart, I’d been guided to read my
textbook relating to the time after Jesus’s resurrection in hopes of discovering the significance of
these events in our own lives, at this time. Interestingly, they are definitely applicable, because
the crucifixion wasn’t the end of the road for Jesus, nor was the resurrection. There were still
several important steps that our Wayshower experienced to give us our directions.
For instance, His appearances (after His resurrection) were as much a part of his life as
His ministry, and they continued to give us lessons and directions for our own overcoming, in the
transformation process.

Jesus made ten appearances, after His resurrection, each being a demonstration for our
awakening, as the energies of our bodies are being transformed from the physical to the spiritual. This is evidenced when He made His 9th appearance, this one to the apostles, giving them their commission: “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Don’t forget, He promised that anything He can do, we can do, as He commissioned all His disciples: Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in to the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:18-20).
We fulfill this commission whenever we speak or act in the name of Jesus Christ, and as
we live according to His example and teachings. And, according to His last appearance: “Ye
shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1: 4-8).
So, he was not speaking only to the apostles, but to us all that we bear witness to Him and His
teachings, as we are guided on a daily basis.

Jesus made yet one final demonstration in the spiritualization of His body, the Ascension,
when His energies returned into the atmosphere and merged back to Oneness with God, His
Father, and our Father. He showed us the way, and we can follow when we walk in the footsteps
of Jesus and call upon Him for loving assistance.

It’s my belief that this is the Journey that Van and I are upon, however and wherever it
may lead.

Turn-Around?
For now, at least, we are in Laughlin, and I am writing as the Journey unfolds: the sights,
sounds, feelings and experiences at this Road’s End; for I know this chapter completes this book, no matter which route we take: on to Texas, or turn-around to Las Vegas.

I’m wondering if God is giving me an experiential aide, because I keep getting a
flash-back to the Forum Shops Mall in Caesar’s Palace when I thought we were on the way out,
only to discover I’d chosen the wrong hallway which circled around the performing fountains
and detoured back to the other hallway in order to go to our destination. Are we at another
turn-around? It’s a matter of God’s Divine Plan and Timing.

We Are Here
In the meantime, like the shopping mall directories indicate, we are here, so we might as well enjoy the trip, whether on a detour, road’s end or turn-around, or simply a stop on the way.

Our first objective in Laughlin was to get our mail and products, which we had sent to
General Delivery, so we parked at Riverside and walked through the casino and to the Post
Office downstairs, where we had always gotten our mail.

Another turn-around! This had become a private postal station, like Mail Box, Etc. Now,
we had to drive up the hill to the main town of Laughlin. I’m beginning to see a pattern here, but
whatever. At least our mail and one package had arrived. And, one thing is for sure, we won’t be
going anyplace until the other package arrives, hopefully which Dottie had forwarded. So far, the
one’s she forwarded had been delayed and affected our travel schedule, but it’s all God’s perfect
time, so might as well enjoy ourselves.

We’d already indulged one of our favorite things, at Riverside Casino, and took time for
our 99-cent beef hot dogs; the best in the world, and I’m not a hot dog eater. They usually give
me indigestion big time, but not these, even with the sauerkraut, and we savored each bite while
looking out the window at one of my favorite scenes: the Colorado River below with the river
taxi’s zipping back and forth; the airport and desert sprawling into the distance, framed by the
jagged barren mountains. Of course, Little Ralph loves to watch the airplanes, but he actually
enjoys the entire panorama, and Joanie also likes to watch the ducks and fish floating in the clear water below.
Before getting our mail, we had checked into the Riverside RV park, after discovering
that our favorite site was taken, but we settled for one a few spaces away with the same view
mentioned above (without the ducks and fish which are too far away from our perch on the hill).
Once we’d gotten our mail, we drove by our alternate (freebie-boondocker) parking lot,
which had been rumored to become a pay facility. However, the boondockers were happily enjoy
their free parking, without hook-ups, of course, and I was happy that Van had chosen the luxury
route this time. Another feature being the free shuttle, which I would need because my leg
muscle still hurt from the Las Vegas walking. I sure hoped it would heal, because our legs are
the main mode of transportation to get between the casinos and the mall, or stroll along the river
walk. Otherwise, I would be grounded; facing another kind of dead end.

Taking Care of Business
But, in some ways staying put this trip seemed okay, because we needed to be taking care of business, such as reading our mail; and the upcoming weekend meant computer email and on-line activities, including publishing the changes I’d made to the money website, which thankfully, Van had agreed to do. And, once we made our decision about the direction ahead, I would need to make several phone calls (if we had a change of plans), to Jim and Adam.

My mail included a series of lett rs from Jerry Pitre, and to my delight, he had sent the
beginning of his book, “Revolution to Spiritual Solution,” with revisions, as he went along. I was
excited that the book was finally being written, and I could feel Jerry’s excitement with each
installment. We are a mutual support team, and his letters always make me feel good, because he reassures me that I am doing a good job, at least in ministering to him with my support. And I
know that writing this book is part of Jerry’s destiny, however he hadn’t really gotten into the
meat of the matter, as yet. Oh, he was writing some inspiring words, but the book will take on
substance when he starts to write about himself and his involvement in the Black Panthers, and
that can’t happen while he’s in prison. We found that out when he tried to send me his first draft
and it never reached me; it had been withheld as inflammatory. So, whatever he’s writing now,
will fit later in the book, once he’s out and can write freely. But, I will encourage him to write
more about himself and his feelings, as to why he joined the activist group, and then why and
how he changed, after being in prison. It will take time, but it will be a best seller, when
completed, and it will touch many lives. For now, though, he is at somewhat of a detour too.
I also received a letter from another Freedomer, David Carter, who has been
corresponding since the beginning of my ministry, as he was one of the original Freedomers.
We’ve weathered some stormy times, but we are good friends and support partners too. David’s
main efforts are to obtain his outer freedom, considering that his full time had been served
several years ago, but they keep him in prison because he owns some land that the oil companies are unlawfully using and keeping the money. Unfortunately, there is a conflict of interests with the oil company executive who sits on the parole board and sees to it that David remains in prison. So David has become a jailhouse lawyer on his own behalf and constantly strives for his release.

Van busied himself with the bills and other financial matters, and I wondered how I
would ever manage such things, but I also knew that there are people who do this. For instance,
Joyce has hired a Financial Manager (which Van once did for her) to help get her finances
handled.

Now that she has ‘fessed-up to her credit card debt, symptom of a money disorder, I can see why she feels uncomfortable as a partner in the money website. But, now that I’ve changed the format and the title to “Changing Money Patterns,” I suggested that she could approach it as a support person, something like the Twelve-Step program. In fact, I discussed this subject via email, while Van watched TV.

Despite the fact that we don’t gamble, Laughlin has always been a place where we experience money matters, and then I write about them here, so it seems appropriate to be completing this book about money issues, at this time, and in this place.

It’s Okay to Relax; or Is It?
In addition to our mail, my “People” magazines arrived, so I caught up on several weeks of reading and did the crossword puzzles, while Van watched TV, and with again having the luxury of cable, we had a greater selection to choose from.

Before the evening was over, the spaces on each side of us filled up, and again I felt trapped, especially since we’d turned off the AC and were enjoying the natural evening breeze through open doors and windows. I’d decided to not let it bother me, and soon all was quiet as everyone headed out to the casinos or elsewhere.

After dark, the casino lights were blazing and clearly visible from our windows, lighting the night scene, but we’d done Las Vegas, and enjoyed relaxing.

Obviously the locals and workers are not concerned about the RVers resting and relaxing,
because at 7:30 the next morning I was awakened by a garbage truck, of all things on a Saturday morning in a resort RV park. I concluded that it was planned that way so visitors would get up and to the casinos early to spend their money.

Once it passed, I decided to take time for a quiet meditation, but then a dragging metal noise grated my nerves, followed by a motor starting up. I couldn’t resist the curiosity, so looked out the window and saw a man in the level below us do some kind of work on a car.

A Fight For Survival
This could be another dead end, but I really wanted my quiet time, so I put in my earplugs and returned to my meditation. Immediately I began receiving input that Van was going through more than mood changes; it was actually personality changes, like the “Three Faces of Eve” and his several selves were in a battle for survival. Which would win? I remembered that eventually they merge and the more predominant one prevails, but both parts of the personality are more apparent.

I knew that Van had these conflicting personalities, because I’d been up against them before, but lately they had been changing faster and more often. The quieter, peaceful Van that I met, loved and married usually kept the arrogant, angry one subdued. But as they were coming closer together, merging into one, the second one had been making himself more noticeable, such as during our discussion about separating. It wanted to get rid of me, because once the merging was completed, it would no longer have the covert control. Nevertheless, as Van was getting weller, more whole, I also knew that we were near the end of the road for the duality and the conflict of co-operation vs. withhold would stop.

This is all very complex, and I wish it weren’t happening, but it is, and it helps to be able to write about it, so I don’t have to carry the weight all by myself. Otherwise, all I can do is pray and wait for the process to unfold, while affirming that there is only one presence and power,

God the good omnipotent
On the other hand, I had to admit that not only is Van processing through several personalities, but I tend toward the conflicting parts of myself too. I would prefer to be the pleasant, peaceful person, but his personality changes cause craziness for me, and they trigger my bitchy, fearful reactions and behavior.

With all this going on, it’s understandable why we’ve reached the end of the road. We simply cannot continue together under these circumstances.

What do I Really Want?
As my meditation progressed, I again asked myself: “What do I really want?” My answer is that my first preference is for Van and I to get along and be happy together and continue the Wedding and Birthday Circuit, as planned. Yet, I’m tired of living in the hope of change, so I must accept life as it is now.

Another option would be that Adam and Michael will proceed with their ministry plans and we could stay there and support them and I could participate, if this is part of God’s Divine Plan.

But, if none of the above is a reality, then my third option is to return to Las Vegas, stay at Jim’s and get my website ministry moving forward.

Of course, a Number One wish is that my books would become published and bring about my prosperous and successful life. If this doesn’t work for Van’s reality, then this is a good time for us to go our separate ways.

A positive and Supportive Note
Dottie called, as I’m writing, and her input added a positive and supportive note to my process. For instance, I had emailed her about the situation Van and I are in, and now I added about the personality changes mentioned above.

Of course, God always brings along the person on circumstances that we need at the time, and she reminded me that she’s still reading Gary Zukav’s book, “Heart of the Soul,” and he says that the conflict is actually between the personality and the soul, because the parts of the personality that are in conflict are frightened and resistant to the spiritual growth. There’s a fear that something is being lost or dying.

We talked for at least an hour about similar deep issues, without actually talking about Van and me, but I mentioned that I realized that Van has an active mind and had been used to challenges all his life, as a Navy Frogman and then working on the cutting edge of the computer industry as a trouble-shooter and later in the Think Tank community in San Diego. And suddenly, with his company’s downsize and his job layoff, he had nothing to replace that level of mind action, especially after his short-lived multi-level-marketing (MLM) career ended. And then boredom set in; the opposite of workaholism.

Dottie had just completed reading the chapter on boredom, and she said, “When workaholism and perfection quit working (for a person), boredom takes over. Then she read me the perfect explanation: “Boredom is deep-rooted resistance to experiencing emotions after all efforts to distract attention from them have been ineffective.”

I realized that there is so much more to what’s going on with Van, and therefore between us, on a spiritual level, and our conversation, which covered much more than mentioned here, only scratched the surface.

Get Me to the Church on Time
Later, while Van was taking his shower, I called Adam, and Waynette answered. I asked if everything was going as planned, and she said, “Yes, but we’ve had some problems, such as not being able to rent the large pavilion, but we got the smaller one, so it’s okay.” I said, “I don’t want to add more problems, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make it. Is there anyone else you could get to perform the ceremony?

She about died, as she said, “I don’t know of anyone else, and it’s too late now to find
someone.”

I explained what Van and I were going through, and also the time factor, asking if there would be a wedding rehearsal and how soon we would need to be there, before the wedding. I became clear that there is no way for us not to get to the wedding, so I said “Okay, we’ll be there, but I need to know about what to wear.”

“The men are wearing tuxes and I’m wearing a white formal wedding gown,” she said, adding, “my colors are royal blue and white, if that helps.” I said “I have a royal blue dress that I used to wear for ministry events, but it’s short, is that okay?”
“Sure, it will be fine,” she replied.

I felt better about these problems being solved, and then asked, “Is it still okay for us to park next to your mobile home?” She said, “It’s fine,” and I got directions.

At some point I heard Adam in the background, so I asked to talk with him, and explained all the stuff that was going on. I soon realized that some part of myself had been apprehensive about my part in the wedding, like I might not be able to do it right. He was supportive and reassuring about my concerns, and I began to feel better, as a major weight lifted. After discussing the distance and time factor, I reassured him that we would make it there in time. I hadn’t realized how many unconscious concerns I was having about my part in this wedding, but now that they were verbalized, recognized and handled, I felt okay.

On Hold
Of course, this meant that Van and I would have to put our separation on hold, until after the Wedding and Birthday Circuit. Maybe that’s why God was giving me the visualization of the
turn-around at Caesars; not that we were to turn-around and back to Las Vegas (from Laughlin),
but from Texas; or maybe it’s an inner turn-around.

It does feel right to move forward to Texas, especially since God had given me the title to my next book: “The Wedding and Birthday Circuit,” mentioned above, and which came to me while I was writing “What do I Really Want?” In truth, God always gives us what we really want.

Surrender!
Easter usually comes in April, which coincides with the power of Will; and in that case, it all ties together and makes sense. But this year is different, Easter is over, and therefore it took me awhile to realize that we were actually living out the Easter Story sequence, again, as it applies to Will. Jesus said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 5: 30).

You see, a major factor of processing through the Will is the willingness to surrender,mand the actual act of getting down on our knees in submission to God’s Will. Jesus did this in the Garden of Gethsemane when He fell to the ground and prayed, “Father, if it be thy will, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but thine be done” (Matthew 26: 39).

An important part of this spiritual journey is knowing that Will and Understanding (another of our twelve powers) must work together. The disciple, Thomas, represents Understanding, because he questioned; but once Jesus made the answers clear to him, he understood. For instance, at the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples that he was going to prepare a place where they could go, Thomas questioned, where and how, and Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14: 6).

Will, without Understanding, tends to run amuck, often relying on control issues to fulfill
its purpose, rather than understanding the value of surrendering the ego’s control. Some people are never able to get beyond this step, because their ego won’t let them, so they remain in bondage to the material, rather than spiritual realm; they never enter The Promised Land where the daily manna is no longer needed, because we understand that everything is already provided as Divine Substance, if we but ask. “If you ask anything in my name, it will be given.”

We are combining the Old and New Testaments here, because Moses and Jesus were both leading us to the same place: an awareness of Oneness.

In the Exodus Story, we are told that the Israelites wandered through the Wilderness Maze forty years. This number symbolizes a time of completion; however long it takes to get the job done, to move (in consciousness) from the material to the spiritual. Finally, in time we stand at the shore of the River Jordan, which symbolizes our negative consciousness that tells us “It can’t be done.” Now, there is only one more step that must be taken before entering The Promised Land: surrender. Giving up the ego’s control and stepping, in faith, into the flooded river, trusting God to guide and protect.

What a Visualization!
I hadn’t realized that I was again at the River Jordan, on yet another cycle through this Transformation Process (it is cyclic and spherical, as we process on many levels). Yet, in
retrospect, I see that my subconscious fears were holding me back from moving on to Texas.
For instance, the last trip, when we went to celebrate and welcome Adam and Michael home from prison, our RV broke down, in the middle of the nowhere, and we had to be towed 180-miles to Del Rio for repairs. And we’ve had so many that I dread any more, but the truth is that I must surrender, trust God, and move forward.

Another fear was that being the minister performing the wedding ceremony, everything depends on me, and the Responsibility Factor had become intense. It’s too bad that my subconscious needed to create a split with Van in order to save myself from these fears, but you can see how extreme we can become in this Transformation Process, as the ego fights to survive.

What it doesn’t understand, like with the various personalities and other levels of ourselves, nothing dies, but simply merges into oneness. It’s truly the resurrection!

But first, like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, I had to fall to the ground, submit all of my negative stuff in surrender, and trust God to see us through to our destination: The Promised Land (Oneness).

Without getting into the complications and details of the original Exodus Story, which included the death of everyone (including Moses), except Joshua and Caleb, the importance of this story, at this time, is that once we surrender and step, in faith, into the flooded river (of negativity), God stops the water and we cross on dry land.

In other words, the negativity stops. There is no doubt in my mind that having surrendered my fears and ego stuff, thus changing my consciousness, Van too has processed through his negativity and is ready to move forward; nothing spectacular, no big revelations, because he processes differently than I do. However, I will include an update in the Epilogue. And the saga will continue in my next book “The Wedding and Birthday Circuit: Celebrations, Memories, and Changes:.”

Oneness!
As all this became revealed to me, in my Sunday meditation, I realized that we were overlooking the River Jordan (Colorado River). What a visualization! And, of course, the Wilderness (desert) is all around us, as we’ve wandered through this Transformation Process (from the physical to the spiritual realm). And now, there is no doubt that once across the bridge,on our way to Texas, we will have again entered into The Promised Land consciousness. And this is what “From the Windows of Heaven” is about: Oneness. In this consciousness we reap the harvest of Jesus’s words, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10: 10).

Jesus, our Wayshower, fulfilled His spiritualization process with His Ascension when He literally returned to His Father (God) and remains in the spiritual ethers at-one with God. We know this is true, because Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4: 24). And Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10: 30). We reach new levels of consciousness with each evolution, or cycle. I have no idea the evolutionary process that we must eventually go through to reach such a level, but Jesus promised, “Anything I can do, you can do too.” Okay, that’s my version, He said, “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified inthe Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14: 12).

And He said, “This is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day” (John 6: 39), which He did.

He also promised, “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while,and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14: 18-20 In the same dissertation to His disciples, at the Last Supper, He said, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14: 23).

In this realization, we can understand, in awe and joy, Paul’s reassurance of oneness: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

While writing this last chapter, parked above the Colorado River, in Laughlin, we experienced a glorious sunset: the clouds and sky, above the hills to the west were ablaze with a soft golden-orange glow. And across the river, the hills to the east were bathed in a soft pinkish light. In the meantime, unbeknown to the residents, the windows of gold were reflecting the golden glow, and the Flamingo Hotel, with pink tinted windows, were reflecting a pinkish glow. I felt immersed and enmeshed in the spiritualizing colors of understanding and love, that seemed to symbolize the “overflowing blessings from the windows of heaven,” as the bible promises in Malachai.

From the Windows of Heaven
EPILOGUE

Living in the Present Moment
While in Laughlin, despite our focus on “taking care of business” and making the fork-in-the-road decision about our lives, we managed to have a mini-version of our fun and food routine. Of course, starting with the delicious 99-cent hot dogs at Riverside, and the $1.99 special dinner at Flamingo (steak for Van and shrimp for me) and even strolling along the river walk on our way to a movie at Riverside.

We saw, “The Rookie,” based on the true story of major-league baseball pitcher, Jim Morris, who learned to believe in his dream, even though he was past his prime for baseball. The movie was also about his wife and son, and friends who believed in him and supported his efforts. Van totally enjoyed the baseball, and I got inspiration from the story.

We took time for our Spending Plan and went into confusion again, while coordinating our personal expenses with the reimbursements from Joyce. But, we managed to push through to clarify and balance the accounts; a major accomplishment.

Van figured out how to get my pictures from the camera to the computer and showed me how to use them where and how I want. In other words, it was a productive time.

And finally, we sat down and talked about our relationship and where we’re going from here. Van asked if I noticed an improvement while in Laughlin, and I agreed that we had been getting along better. I also realized that he had been making a conscious adjustment in his attitude and behavior, which he can do when he chooses to; thankfully, he had chosen to. The only problem is that when his passive-aggressive personality is in control, it has the assertive one under its thumb, and that’s not a healthy condition for Van. Yet, under these circumstances, it seemed the best solution to going through the next several months.

Bottom-line, we will continue with “The Wedding and Birthday Circuit,” and we will attempt to give each other space to be our own selves, using the approach of being traveling companions, to avoid the intensity of our personal relationship. I got this idea from a friend who had placed an ad in match.com in an effort to find a compatible traveling companion, and I suggested to Van that with this approach, we would be more respectful, interested and enthusiastic.

By the time we’ve completed this trip, we will decide where we’re at in our relationship. Somehow, having this short-term plan makes it easier to take life on a day-by-day basis, and return to living harmoniously in the Present Moment.

Taking Time Off
As we resumed our travels to Texas, in this new frame of mind, we enjoyed an uneventful, though pleasant trip. I had decided to take some time off from my writing, and not begin my new book until Adam and Waynette’s wedding, with a flashback to my first birthday celebration at Bellagio’s in Las Vegas with Jim.