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Fence Posts: The Role Aunts and Uncles Play in Our Lives

fenced in sheep

Aunts and Uncles are Like Fence – Guide – Posts in Our Lives

I find myself grieving for my Aunt that I just lost a week ago.  It wasn’t clear to me how much sadness I felt over her passing until I awoke from a dream last night – in the dream, I was sitting on my cousin’s bed, crying in her arms about losing my Aunt and what I said in my dream was this:  “It’s like we’re losing all of our fence posts.  And I feel so helpless; like I can’t do anything to hang on to them.  No matter how much praying I do, I can’t save them or bring them back.”

When I awoke, I realized, perhaps for the first time in my life, just how important – and what a significant role my aunts and uncles have played in my life.  Our grandparents, on my mother’s side were blessed with eleven children, which made for 22 aunts and uncles in total.  Which is a wonderful blessing; until it comes time to say goodbye to them due to illness or aging.  Then, it feels like a part of you is being lopped off every time one passes from this physical world.  It’s so much blessing – and so much to lose.

I realized that my aunts and uncles have been so much more than simply relatives to love and get to know or laugh with – they have been fence posts, keeping the “protective twine” around our family.  They are, so to speak, the wiser, older sheep of the flock that keep safe the young lambs as they grow up.

They have taught us so many things.

I remember most vividly many of my aunts and uncles coming to visit and playing cards late into the evening with my parents and what always stands out in my mind, besides their boisterous – and sometimes cantankerous behaviour – is their laughter and simple enjoyment of spending time together around the dinner table.  There was so much laughter!

I remember one incident in particular with my aunt who most recently passed away.   Now, she was full of laughter and joy; but she also had a very stern – some would call it frightening to a young, impressionable child – way about her and she expected above else, that we nieces and nephews show respect to our elders.

She was not short on discipline or advice and I remember her saying something to me that I didn’t quite hear or understand – and my response was my casual, ten-year-old, “What?”  Well, she grabbed a hold of me by the elbows and said these words to me that were forever seared into my brain:  “You don’t say ‘What’!  You say pardon!”

I can thank my Aunt for that because I am sure for the rest of my life, I have always said pardon – rarely “what?” whenever I haven’t quite heard something right.  It’s funny how afraid we were to repeat the error and yet there was never a harsh hand – only timely given words – from our aunts and uncles.

I cannot begin to write how many lessons my aunts and uncles have taught me over the years; but here are a few “Guide/Fence posts” they surrounded all of us with:

1.  Respect your elders.

2.  When life gets hard, stand together and find the humour in it.

3.  Celebrate life whenever you can and focus on the positive because “There’s no ill wind that doesn’t bring some good.”

4.  Appreciate what you have every day and work hard.

5.  Be a good steward of money.  Rarely borrow and rarely loan.

6.  Family is everything.   Spend quality time together.

7.  If you get married; try to stay married and work things out!

8.  Tease, have fun; but be kind and compassionate.

9.  Give of yourself and volunteer your time.

10.  Learn all you can while you’re here; laugh as much as possible and love each other above all else.

Aunt Lois: you scared the heck out of me sometimes and you made me laugh more times than I can remember.  I miss you and I cannot wait until we are all together again!  Thank you for being a part of this family and being such an important guidepost in all of our lives!

We will always remember you!

If there’s an aunt or uncle – or many – that you know have been an important guidepost in your life, I encourage you to tell them today!

Three Sheeplittle lambs

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What We Focus On, Grows

Let Us Not Limit God!

Sometimes our attention to something can be important, like driving.  No one likes a distracted driver!  Sometimes, however, if we are focusing so much on one thing; we can miss other things or opportunities in our lives.  For a great example of this watch this video at the end of this post. This is the same if we focus on negative things in our lives, whether that be illness, pain, debt, lack, insecurity, worry, regret or un-forgiveness.  We will no doubt see more of it in our lives and be presented with more experiences that confirm our beliefs about it! Why?

Because it is a universal law that what we focus on, think about or worry about actually expands and becomes our reality.  This is why after we finish praying, petitioning and thanking God for what He is doing in our lives; we are to keep our focus on the positive and be at peace.  This is why scripture also states: …And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  {Philippians 4:7-9}

Too often, after we pray for or about something, we go right back to thinking or worrying about our problem. I have a wonderful story of a very close friend who when given a death sentence, chose to focus on what was “right” and “pure” and “lovely”.   Over 13 years ago, at the age of 25, she was diagnosed suddenly, after a seizure, with a grade 4 cancerous brain tumour and given 18 months to live.  She was pursuing her modeling career in Toronto at the time and this was a devastating blow to her, her family and those around her who loved her. She was told by her doctors that they could cut out most of her tumour, but that there was nothing they could do to save her life because the tumour actually had roots that went down into her brain cavity and were inoperable.

Do you know how she responded?  She told the doctors she wanted the surgery anyway, even though it meant losing her long strands of beautiful hair, her modelling career and could cause irreparable damage to her memory and brain functions.  And then she told them – and us – something else.  She said that this cancer would not take her life, that she wasn’t going to focus on the tumour;  but she would be focusing on her healing and the power of God instead!

She began to eat differently, went to homeopathic doctors, pursued any activity – when she wasn’t feeling sick from the radiation and chemotherapy – that was fun and made her laugh.  She took her focus completely off of the tumour and refused to speak of it or give it any attention!  And do you know what that blasted tumour did?  It grew back – a second time!  And still the doctors told her she was sentenced to death – by their worldly knowledge of cancer – even though almost two years had passed. So, she had it removed again and then she went right back to praying, loving, living and having fun.

In 2002 when Pope John Paul came to Toronto, by miracle or sheer determination of a mutual friend of ours, who had written to ask if our friend could be one of the ones that was blessed by the Pope on his visit, our friend was chosen!  She said, “I’m going to get blessed by the Pope and get my miracle!” She did and John Paul laid his hand upon her head – not knowing that she had a brain tumour at all – and blessed her! That was in the fall of 2002.

By February 2003 – even though her doctors knew in late September, but didn’t want to get her hopes up, if you can imagine – she was told that her tumour, roots and all had completed and miraculously disappeared!  Now, in 2015 my friend is cancer-free, living, loving and still having fun.

Do I think this is possible for everyone?  Yes.  Do I wonder why some get their miracle and others do not?  Yes.  Am I hear to pass judgment on God and what prayers get answered and what ones do not?  No.  What I am here to do is to help heal – emotionally, physically and psychologically whomever God puts in my path by either my teachings, my prayers, or my hands (if that’s how he instructs me) and trust that if HE wants me to share these stories, there has to be a reason.

So what do I believe?  I believe that God does not discriminate and therefore what is “available” to one, is available to all.  I believe that our bodies are great instruments of communication and they are constantly sending messages to our brain and to us.  I believe that if we were to actually love ourselves enough to be at peace – to have full faith – to focus on what IS right in the world and what IS right with us – to stop telling ourselves that we are “broken”  and to focus as Joseph Prince states: “On the 99% of our bodies that is healthy, instead of the 1% that isn’t”, we would see more healings, more transformations in this present day.

Why do I believe this and who told me this?   Jesus did when he said: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  {Matthew 6:25} And when he said this: Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. {John 14:12}

My faith in healing is great because I also have two sisters who have overcome the odds of a brain tumour and multiple sclerosis.  What else can I do but write about these miracles – and my belief in scripture’s promises and in healing – even if some are offended or disagree – I put my faith in what God says is possible; not what humans think – and are constantly being told by doctors based on PRESENT day knowledge and medicine – is possible. Remember, mankind once believed the earth was flat and fought to the death to prove they were right!

I believe in miracles.

I believe in the power of the human spirit and our minds – once they are made up!  Maybe this will inspire you too! How our Focus affects what we see:

Inspirational video on man who didn’t listen to his doctors:

The Power of Prayer: Why do we need to pray?

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I have often been asked; and have asked God this question:

If God knows exactly what we want and need, why do we have to pray?

This is an excellent question and it was answered for me about ten years ago, only days after I asked it.  I “happened” to be watching a video of a minister who was speaking to this very question and what he said (I am paraphrasing on memory here) was this:

“In Genesis, the bible states:  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, to be like us. Let them be masters over the fish in the ocean, the birds that fly, the livestock, everything that crawls on the earth, and over the earth itself! {Genesis 1:26}  This is extremely important because in the very beginning, God gave humankind dominion – the ability to rule and be masters – over all the earth.  And at that time, God took his own hands “off” of the earth and because he loved and trusted us so much, he gave us full autonomy over everything – including ourselves and our own thinking, decisions and actions and of course, the consequences of those actions.  What this means is that because He gave us Free Will; he is governed by his own law and that is to never intervene UNLESS we ASK him to.”

When I heard this, it resonated with my soul and that is why I am sharing it as it seems that it is in fact, VERY important as to why we need to pray to God.  It not only opens the channel of communication between ourselves and God and illustrates to Him that we do in fact need him and trust him; but it actually allows God (and his ministering angels), legally under His own law, to work in our lives and on our behalf.  When we do not pray, but hope that God does something in our lives, we keep him bound by his own creation law.

We need to open ourselves (and our arms) up as it says in Philippians: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. {Phil 4:6}

What is this scripture telling us to do in terms of prayer?

#1:  Do not worry or be anxious for anything!

This includes our health, finances, family, friends, safety, future or any of the details – no matter how small – of our lives! We are to give it to God and he will see to it that every area is looked after (and the very best will be given to us).  ***By the way, the adage:  “God helps them who helps themselves”  is NOT biblical.  It was a quotation from Benjamin Franklin.

Now, I am not encouraging us to just sit around on our laurels and hope God does something in areas of our lives where we can actually take action or change something for the better.  God wants us to be responsible.   However, in those areas that we do not have control or cannot change right away; I do believe we are to NOT worry or be anxious or strive to make things happen (not worrying and TRUSTING God, in and of itself allows God to work on our behalf).

#2:  But in EVERYTHING, pray and ask (let our requests be known to God) and petition (humble ourselves and do not be afraid) to reach out and get as many people as we can to “sign on” (pray for) our needs. I will honestly tell you that when my little 4.5 pound Maltese dog, Francesca, who has been in my life for 7 years (I got her two months after my father passed away to help with my sadness) was diagnosed with a cancerous, mammary tumour this past summer, I felt silly reaching out and asking my prayer group to pray for her.  After all, other people in the group had serious illnesses of their own or knew someone close that was struggling with something.  How could I ask for prayer for my little dog? However, I felt God prompting me to HUMBLE myself and ask anyway.  And so, I did.  And I was unbelievably humbled by how many of my friends reached back and told me they were praying for Francesca (and shared their own stories of pets that they had prayed for).

The other thing I realized is that there is nothing too small or too big for God to be concerned with and the reality is, I have no husband or children and my two little dogs (I have another Yorkshire terrier, named Jack) are extremely important and a great source of love in my life.  Why shouldn’t I ask that Francesca be in perfect health?  Was she not too, created by God?  And as it turns out, she had not one but two surgeries as she was also spayed at the same time, so imagine a little 4.5 pound dog with two huge “Franken-Franny” scars on her belly.  That was in late August and now almost six months later, she is completely healed – without even a trace of a scar on her tummy!

So, in EVERYTHING, pray and ask!!!  And most importantly:

#3:  Gives Thanks:  Even before – especially before – we see our prayers answered, we are to give thanks to God BECAUSE we trust him to do the thing we ask and to give thanks AS IF it’s already been done.  This is called FAITH and we know what God says about faith.  Our faith pleases him greatly:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  {Hebrews 11:1}

And in addition, God tells us:

Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see…By faith I understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. {Hebrews 11:3}

In other words, even though we cannot see our prayers manifested in this very moment, we know that they will be made visible, because everything we see in our physical world did once not exist  – so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible – and came into existence through our thoughts, visions, dreams, desires and imaginations by God’s willingness to create these things – or supply the materials – by which humankind has been able to make them.

Remember, no house on this earth ever existed before someone thought of it, designed it, planned it and then created it out of God’s resources on this earth.  And it was God who gave us these wonderful minds to think, design, plan and create!  He wants us to enjoy what he has already given us; he also wants us (just like Him as we are made in His image) to think, to dream, to have vision, to imagine and to create all sorts of wonderful things and also to desire them:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus {Philippians 4:19}

So, in EVERYTHING – every aspect of our lives – we are to have faith that God not only truly cares about every detail, but will help transform and make them better IF we ASK, PRAY, PETITION, and GIVE THANKS in FAITH that He will deliver!

Recalculating our Inner GPS: God Positioning System

An Introduction to listening to our GPS: 

God Positioning System through Gratitude, Prayer and Surrender

We cannot recalculate our past.  We can only bring about transformation and turn in another direction in the immediate present; and hope that this brings us to our preferred destination.

In order to “get out of our own way” we need to SURRENDER our thoughts and allow our mind and body to be recalculated!  Generally, we believe our thinking begins in our minds – our brains; however many scientists are discovering that our body – or the ‘mind’ of the subconscious, which works without us having to think at all – and is an operating system that has been developed since our conception and trained since birth to run our digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular – to name only a few – is the same operating system that learns to control our thoughts, based on consistent programming, which eventually turn into words, actions and habitual behaviours.

For many reasons, we should be grateful that throughout the day, we have this operating system to manage our bodily functions and that we do not have to think or worry about making our own stomach digest food, our heart beat living blood through our bodies or commanding our lungs to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide and thereby allowing us to go about our daily lives.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to think about these things?

We would not be able to focus on anything else – or get anything accomplished! Perhaps, in one sense, this would be beneficial. Isn’t this why the very ancient buddhas and sages encourage us to focus on our breath – in order to help us feel more connected to these miraculous cellular cases – our bodies – that keep us “together”; and also be aware – and grateful – that something with a greater intelligence – a greater love – than us, is always taking care of us whether we are aware of it or not!

However, while we need this operating system to sustain our bodily functions throughout the day and when we sleep; we are quite capable of thinking for ourselves regarding our decisions and actions – and yes, even our thoughts.  We can think about and reflect upon our own thoughts.   The problem with letting an over-riding operating system determine our thoughts and therefore our actions, is that this system is often rooted in our past and works from automatic responses to thoughts, desires and fears based on our experiences.

I only need to ask how many times we have found ourselves at the refrigerator door or about to open that package of cigarettes without asking ourselves if we are truly hungry or need to inhale toxic smoke into our lungs.  Or how did we drive the last 15 blocks while thinking about the argument we had with our friend before we realize we’re already home?  How does this happen?

The answer is that our body mind – has been trained to be on autopilot in order to allow us to function on many levels. The problem with this is that while it can allow us to do many positive things – it can also cause us to create what I like to call GPS glitches where we need to constantly recalculate ourselves to get back on track.  This often takes a lot of time, energy and self-inflicted pain that we needlessly go through in our lives.

This is because our bodies have become like unruly, spoiled brats that have time after time, demanded something and to quiet the discomforting tantrums we feel inside, we defer to autopilot and give them what they want without even truly considering the long-term effect.

The fact is that the long-term effects of the thoughts we already chose in our past, have now manifested themselves as issues in our present, such as bad habits, weight issues, health and money issues, or feeling trapped in emotionally un-supportive relationships.  How many of us, because of an impulsive choice to spend money in the past, are now working to pay debt off in the present?

Recently, I heard Joyce Meyers say this:  “Our body only loves what we allow it be introduced – and get used to!”

If we do not think one small choice can make a huge decision, how is it that one potato chip or one cookie turns into an entire bag being eaten?  Now, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t enjoy these things in life.  However, if we introduce our bodies to something without consciously thinking and exercising will-power in the beginning, it isn’t long before our body goes on autopilot and begins to crave more and more.

Imagine introducing a good friend to someone who you know to be toxic or untrustworthy.  Then ten years later, you hear how much that friend suffered because of that relationship.  This is what we do to ourselves in every given moment when we choose to introduce ourselves to a person, situation, or thing without checking into our own GPS:  God Positioning System – or intuition as many call it – about whether it is the best path to go down.

How many times have we made a choice to eat, drink, reach out to that toxic friend, say yes, when we really mean no; or get back together with someone based on automatic reflex, simply because our bodies crave the “high” or the praise we receive and very conveniently forget or push aside the lows or the chaos that soon follows?

We need not focus on regrets or past decisions, but we do need to empower ourselves in this very moment, taking ourselves off autopilot from our thoughts, our feelings and our “knee-jerk” reactions and begin making conscious choices – to step back if you will and truly look at the paths we are about to step out on – before we choose one.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. {Romans 12:2}

In other words, instead of conforming to the patterns of the world – thinking and behaving like everyone else – or to the patterns we’ve created in our own lives; we need to take time to listen to our intuition – our GPS – and pause to hear what it is guiding us to do, so that we start off on the right path to begin with and do not have to recalculate ourselves once we realize; oops!  I’m going down this rugged, arduous path again!

Is it possible for us to recalculate ourselves from ill to healthy; overweight to active; negative to positive; judgemental to accepting; controlling to allowing?  Yes.  If at each moment, in awareness, we catch each thought; look at it without judgment; thank it (because it’s our body or ego trying to keep us from change as it perceives it as a threat) and then let it pass through our mind without acting on it or letting it hook onto the next negative thought, we will train our body mind to begin sending more positive, peace giving thoughts.

We know that once that feeling of fear, anxiousness, anger, dread or desire is produced by the rapid onslaught of thoughts; it is not easy step back from that path.  In fact, we often make decisions in this place that lead to more problems such as cursing someone (which hurts our cellular bodies), sending a not-so-nice email or over-reacting and beginning an argument.

The good news is that it becomes easier and easier to catch the first thought and gently sweep it away and replace it with a better, more healthier one.  This may not work every time; but it will work sometimes and the more and more we can regain our peace rather than allow our thoughts to steal it, we are making progress.

Next Post:  Refund and Exchange Policy – How to exchange our negative thought for positive ones!