Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shouting and Screaming Kills People's Spirits

The men and women living in Solomon Islands of the South Pacific employ a unique method to take down trees.  The men surround the tree for thirty days and scream at the tree.  They scream insults at the tree for an entire month, and after that the tree dies.  It always does.  The villagers believe that screaming at the tree kills the tree's spirit.  Shouting at living things, shouting at people, may kill their spirit.  It's something to think about, isn't it?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crystal of the Week -- Unakite

Ack!  Those of you who listen to my show know that I discuss a crystal each week; this week I skipped that on the show in anticipation of our guest calling in -- Dr. Pamela Heath.  She wrote a book that I really enjoyed called Handbook to the Afterlife.  But she forgot to call in.  Oh my -- please don't listen to the episode if you normally download because this what you'll hear, "So, um, I guess Dr. Heath can't be with us tonight, so um here's what I would have asked her.  So . . ."

But, for all those who DID have the misfortune of hearing me live tonight and wanted to hear about the crystal of the week, here you go:

Unakite is known as the stone of birth and rebirth.  With its lovely soft green and dark pink colors, it helps us to grow in love.  Unakite is a combination of epidote and red jasper. Epidote comes from the Greek word epidosis which means "growing together."  Unakite helps our spiritual and physical selves to grow together.  It's also named after the mountain in North Carolina and Tennessee where it was originally found -- Unaka Mountain.  It's found in Zimbabwe and Switzerland.

Unakite helps us to release negativity and unforgiveness.  Holding or wearing unakite is especially helpful to people suffering from a long term illness as it nurtures the body and soul.  A gentle stone, unakite is probably best known for being helpful to pregnant woman and growing babies.  Unakite helps  the baby to grow healthy and strong in the womb.  It alleviates fear and tension surrounding the birth process -- making it an especially great gift for new moms.  I often make a bracelet with unakite beads and a St. Gerard medal because he's the saint of expectant mothers.  Don't ask me why a guy is the saint of expectant mothers.  I just know he's been assigned to help new moms, so I ask him to pitch in and help out whenever I make a unakite bracelet.

If you know someone who is prone to anger, give them a piece of unakite to wear or give them a unakite paper weight to keep near them on the desk or bedside end table as it will help calm their soul and nurture their heart so they're no longer prone to anger.  Unakite also works to increase self-confidence, and as we all know, deep insecurity is at the heart of all angry people.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Money, Money, Money

I love that song by the Ojays.  It served as the perfect soundtrack for Trump's show The Apprentice.  "For the love of money, people will lie, rob, they will cheat/ for the love of money people don't care who they hurt or beat."  There's another song I love even more that I think is sung best by Dianne Schuur but was immortalized by Billie Holiday.  It's called "God Bless the Child" and the lyrics go like this:

"Money, you got lots of friends, hanging round your door.  But when you're gone and spent in hands, they don't come round no more.  Rich relations get crusts of bread and such.  You can help yourself, but don't take too much.  Mama may have, papa may have, but God bless the child that's got his own."

I see so many, way too many, families fighting over money.  I know I've blogged about this before, and so you know my opinion on this matter.  Don't fight over  money.  I don't understand a person who dies and leaves a child out of his/her will.  Does that person really think, "Oooh, now I'll show him.  When I'm dead, then he'll really be sorry."  Really?  Is that all you mean to your child?  Money? Is that how you want to be remembered?  And do you really want to put your other kids in the very weird predicament of getting that money and spending/saving/sharing it knowing that their sibling is feeling hurt, angry and left out?  Really?  This is how you want to exit the world?  God, I'd love to see that life review.  I can picture the guardian angel now, "So after a lifetime of accruing money and using it to manipulate others, you then finished your life by using said money to permanently hurt your own flesh and blood.  And now you'd like to go to heaven.  Is that correct?"


But this week, I met a wonderful soul who bypassed all that pain by taking matters into her own hands.  When I connected her with her father, he kept waving a piece of paper in front of me and saying, "Tell her thank you for handling the will."  So I asked her, "Were you the executor of your dad's will?  He's thanking you for what you did with the will.  It's a relief to him that you handled that."

She smiled and sat back in her seat.  "No, my older brother was the executor, but I know what he's talking about.  Dad left my other brother out of the will because he didn't like his wife.  Well, that and a lot of other things.  They were never close.  But Jimmy and I felt terrible about his decision, so after we settled his estate, we just gave our brother a third of everything.  It's been great because now we're all getting along like we did when we were kids."

I was so pleased to hear her say this.  I can't tell you how many times I see siblings fighting over their parents' will and it makes me so, so sad for all involved.  It's just money.  It's an illusion.  It's simply a piece of paper we use to trade with people to get things which are also an illusion.  None of those things or green pieces of paper matter.  It's what we do with those green pieces of paper that matter.

And what we're supposed to do with our money is this: SHARE.

When I teach my workshop on manifesting, I always finish with an abundance exercise.  I make everyone stand in a circle, and then I take out a $20 dollar bill, 2 $10 dollar bills, a $5 dollar bill and 5 $1 dollar bills.  Then I begin passing the bills out one at a time.  After a moment or so, I stop the flow by holding onto the money when it comes to me.  When we pass on money, when we share it, we're contributing to the flow.  We're giving and receiving.  But when we hoard money and hold on to it out of fear, anger, vengeance or just plain stinginess, no one's happy.  The flow has stepped, and you're left with a lousy $50 bucks.  Yippee.

If you are dealing with this situation in your own life, if someone in your family or step family was purposely or inadvertently left out of a will and are now left with hurt feelings, please consider sharing with them.  You will be rewarded with so much more than green pieces of paper.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crystal of the Week -- Botswana Agate

Botswana Agate helps to heal repressed emotions. It enables us to focus on achieving our life purpose and goals while absorbing any depression and grief.  It allows us to soldier on through times of difficult change and sadness.  Carrying a piece of Botswana Agate is very soothing and calming and will work subtly to help us maintain balance and work through grief. Botswana Agate helps us to overcome addictions, especially to smoking.  Judy Hall recommends placing Botswana Agate on your third eye chakra to help cut any cords to a partner or parent who is able to easily manipulate you.

If you're experiencing a lot of anger, hold a piece of Botswana Agate and meditate on its banded rays emanating out toward you healing your anger, soothing your aura and sealing you in its protective energy.

I read a crystal book once where the author said he keeps a bowl filled with Botswana Agate and Apache Tear.  Whenever someone came to his house who was feeling a bit down, he would give them a crystal to take home.  I love that idea!

Botswana Agate is easily found in most metaphysical stores and on the internet; it's also relatively inexpensive.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Did the Best I Could

I did a reading today where the client's mother came through.  I could tell she had a hard personality, a little rough around the edges.  She kept saying, "Tell her I did the best I could."  My client chuckled and said, "That was her best?"

Louise Hay in her book You Can Heal Your Life discusses how hard and wonderful it was to realize that, yes, her parents had done the best they could in raising her.  She was terribly abused by them, and that abuse shaped most of her life.  It wasn't until she could release them through this forgiving thought - they did the best they could -- that she was able to find her true peace.

Parenting is the hardest job out there, and sometimes the treatment we receive from our parents is the best they can give us.  Our job is to try to realize that and find the blessings awaiting us there.  I believe we choose our parents.  All of my children have, at one point, talked about picking me out from up in heaven.  They've said things like, "I saw you from up in heaven and picked you."  Or "Thank you for agreeing to be my mommy."  One of my daughters said, "I asked if you could be mom and God said, 'She already is.'" My youngest often says, "You're the best mommy I've ever had."  And I always laugh and say, "Well how many mommies have you had?"  She just laughs back.

I'm not always the best mom.  I get angry and testy and impatient.  But I try, and I know that I really am doing the best I can.  Is it possible that your parents -- with all their flaws, warts and all -- were doing the best they could too?  Maybe.  Perhaps. Probably.

It's an interesting fact to wrap your head around, isn't it?

For those of you who read my blog where I discussed my grandmother, she expressed the thought that she really hadn't known the effect of her negativity and had done her best.  And you know what? I really believe her.

Sometimes our best isn't good enough, but should we get credit or give credit to someone who's at least trying? Extending the olive branch of forgiveness is scary and wondrous and fraught with questions:

If I forgive my parent(s) does that mean I'm saying what they did is okay? (No)

If I forgive my parent (s) does that negate all they did to me? (No)

Sometimes, what we're really asking is this -- who will I be if I let go of all this?

All you can do is try.  Nothing good comes from holding on to anger and everything great comes letting it go.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crystal Grid for Addictions

No, I am not attempting to write a blog on addictions or how to use crystals to overcome addictions.  The big A word is too big for all of that.  But, here's what I do know -- in order to overcome addictions, you need a whole team.  You can not, can not, can not do it alone.  And anyone who says they can is, well, an addict.

You need the support of your people -- family, friends, significant others.  You need a grounding in faith.  You have to have faith in something other than you and whatever you're addicted to.  I believe you need to have the desire to surrender -- your will, your addiction, your needs to this higher power.  

But, like I said, I don't want to write a blog on addiction because I'm not trained in that area at all.  However, a mother emailed me recently and asked if I could recommend some crystals for her son who is struggling with addiction.  Ah, I thought, that is something I can do.

What I know about addicts is this: YOU CAN'T HELP THEM.  You really, really can't.  You can't save them either.  They have to come to this realization on their own.  They have to hit rock bottom, and unfortunately, rock bottom is different for everyone.  Toward the end of my father's battle of addiction, I was praying not that he'd stop drinking, but that he'd hit rock bottom.  Thankfully, he did.  He went to rehab and has now been sober for 24 years.  I still have dreams that he's drinking.  I dream that he comes to my house slurring his words or that I get a phone call that he's gotten a DUI.  And I'm sure my dad still battles the addiction inside himself.  But I am so proud of him, of his near daily attendance for almost 30 years at AA meetings, and of what he taught me about how to overcome.

Here's what you can do for addicts: PRAY.  That's where the crystal grid comes in.  Setting up a crystal grid for someone is a wonderful way to actively pray for them, to send conscious light to them and their situation, and to intentionally call on their team for help: their guides and angels and loved ones in heaven.

So, here's how to set up an addiction grid.  You'll need to get several stones.  I've listed a lot below, but make the grid your own.  You want to makes sure you have crystals to help with addiction, protection, courage and love. 

For addiction: amethyst and/or amber
For protection: black tourmaline, black onyx, jasper or black kyanite
For courage and finding oneself again: citrine
For endurance and the ability to obtain our goals: sodalite
For love and forgiveness - especially of self: rose quartz and/or sugalite, rhodocrosite or rhodonite or chyrospace
For our angels' help: petalite or angelite or celestite or selenite
For balance in our moods: lepidolite and blue kyanite
To absorb depression and sadness: smoky quartz or botswana agate or apache tear

You'll need a pyramid or obelisk shaped crystal for the center.  I think amethyst or rose quartz works best for this issue.  Then place the stones around it in a circle.  Underneath the center pyramid or obelisk stone, place a photo of the person you're praying for, and under that place a small piece of paper with an affirmation written in the present tense such as "                      experiences a positive life changing healing that enables him to overcome his addictions, helps him to accomplish his soul purpose and fosters an unconditional self love of himself.  This or something better. Thank you."

For those of you dealing with an addict in your own life, please don't forget to pray for yourself and to get help for you too.  Often, you have a harder job than the addict.  I can't say enough about Al-Anon.  Find a group that suits you.  It might take a few tries, but it's worth it.  When I was in high school, I went to my first Al-Anon meeting and saw three kids from my high school who were dealing with same thing I was -- a parent addicted to alcohol.  We were all mortified to see each other.  I ended up driving 45 minutes to a meeting in New Canaan where I knew no one.  What a relief!  Those meetings give you the tools needed to face life before, during, and -- just as importantly -- after the addict stops using.  Make no mistake, all are equally hard stages.  And you as the codependent can't conquer any of those stages alone either.

My other piece of advice to people dealing with addicts is this: TELL EVERYONE.  Shout it from the rooftops.  My                         is an addict.  There is such power in that.  When my dad entered rehab, my mom made us tell everyone that dad had food poisoning and was in the hospital.  You really are only as sick as your secrets.   I tell everyone about my dad and not because I'm ashamed but because I'm so proud of him.  Shine a light on this nasty thing called addiction and like a cockroach, it will scurry away to find another dark corner of the world.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oops I Did It Again

Tonight I attended my monthly Mandala drawing class.  I love this class and the teacher, Meg McGrew.  Each month she gives us a theme.  We meditate on the theme and then draw a mandala on that theme.  So maybe that's why I made my huge ethical error tonight.  I left there and was feeling all relaxed from the meditation and breathing exercises and decided to stop at my local grocery store.  At the checkout, the cashier was complaining to the guy bagging my groceries.  "My soccer team sucks," he said.  "We're going to crash this season."

And all of a sudden I felt a strong, very strong, grandfatherly male energy around him.  This happens from time to time, and I usually ignore it.  But then the bagger walked away and it was just the cashier and me.  He put the last bag in my cart and I blurted out, "You'll start winning after the third game."

I froze.

I had NOT intended to say that.

"How do you know?" He said softly.

I suddenly realized that I sounded like a creep, like a gypsy fortune teller.  "You vill vin zee game on Saturday.  I see it through my crystal ball."

I felt my cheeks burn red.  I muttered, "I'm a medium and your grandfather's with you."  Then I pushed my cart and practically ran out of there.

I wanted to tell him that I thought he was named after this grandfather.  I wanted him to know that he was meant to be on a losing team because it was guiding him toward his soul purpose -- uplifting the underdog.  He had a useless coach and this had a purpose too; he was meant to be the mental/emotional coach for his teammates.  I could have talked to him for a very long time.  That's how strong this grandfather's energy was.  But . . . and here's the important part . . . I had no right to.  He hadn't asked for that.

I still feel bad about what slipped out, but, wow, that grandfather's energy was really, really strong. So, to all you fellow intuitives out there, don't meditate and shop.  It's a dangerous thing!

Hope you all had a happy and drama free day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crystal of the Week - Amber

Amber isn't really a crystal.  Rather, it's the fossilized resin of extinct pine trees.  It used to be called sap-stone.  It also used to be called electrum because it can be a source of static electricity.  It will attract small bits of paper to it when rubbed.  Often believed to be a stone of protection, Roman gladiators would hang Amber from their weapons and armor.  Amber is an ancient stone with many Greek, Roman and even Lithuanian myths surrounding it.  Amber was given as a gift in The Odyssey, and has been found in  Stone Age archeological sites and ancient burial chambers.

Amber is known as a protective stone of cleansing, purification and healing.   Just as a tree connects the earth with the sky, so too can Amber (tree resin) serve as a bridge for you, enabling you to make significant spiritual connections.  It's holds life force energy in it and will help to safely ground you and protect you along your spiritual journey.

When worn with turquoise, it's known to have calming effects and would work well to help calm anxious individuals.

It's a great stone to wear or carry when you're battling depression as it helps us to release our connection/reliance on superficial aspects of our sadness so we can focus instead on the lessons learned and the blessings that have ensued.

Because it's a second chakra stone, Amber works to increase your creativity and fertility.

It is known to be a good luck charm for people getting married.

Amber is believed to have the ability to draw out negativity and helps us heal both physically and emotionally.

Friday, August 12, 2011

When In Doubt -- Eat Chocolate

Since my last post on Mercury Retrograde, I've heard from many, many of you who are experiencing similar issues.  I've gotten a lot of questions about what mercury retrograde is and how it effects us.

Mercury Retrograde occurs when Mercury decides to travel backwards.  Since Mercury is the planet of communication, when it goes backwards anything that involves communication -- travel, contracts, email, letters, electronics, discussions with others, meetings at work -- can all go awry.  Mercury usually retrogrades three times a year.  Last year, it retrograded four times.  Ouch.

Mercury will travel direct again on August 26.  It's important to be aware of the retrograde periods.  It's not a huge deal.  Every planet -- except the sun and the moon -- retrogrades.  But Mercury is like your annoying little brother.  He enjoys upsetting you.  That's why I think it's important to at least know when the retrograde periods are so you can prepare yourself.  Some astrologers refer to a Mercury Shadow phase and believe that we can feel the effects of Mercury Retrograde 2 - 3 weeks prior to its actual retrograde date.

Mercury's next date to retrograde and wreak havoc?  Are you ready for this?  November 24.  Yes, Americans, you read that correctly.  Thanksgiving Day.  God help us all.  It will go direct again on December 14.  All I can say is this:  I will have all my Christmas shopping done by November 23.  You might think I'm crazy, but I did it last year, I can do it this year.  And I will practice LOTS of deep meditation before my family arrives on Thanksgiving.  Let's start sending light to that date now!

In the meantime, there's always chocolate.

Here's my favorite chocoholic recipe for those of you who love chocolate and peanut butter combined -- perfect lovers of sweet and salty in my studied opinion.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies:

1) Make the brownies:  You can either use the recipe below.  Be forewarned; it's a very rich recipe.  Alternately, you can use a mix.


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbl. water
2 cups of chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baling soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13 x 9 in pan.  Combine sugar, butter and water in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 2 - 3 minutes until butter is melted.  Stir in ONE cup of chocolate chips.  Stir gently until chips are melted.  Stir in the vanilla and set aside.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.  Beat eggs one at a time into chocolate mixture.  Slowly incorporate the flour.  Stir in the remaining cup of chips.  Spread batter into pan.  Bake 25 - 30 minutes.

When the brownies are done, set them atop the oven.  Then take a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter, put it in a microwavable bowl and melt it in the microwave.  Pour over the warm brownies.  Place this in the refrigerator to cool.

While that's cooling, make your ganache.  Place 9 - 12 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Heat about a cup of heavy cream on the stove.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until melted.   Then pour over the peanut butter.  Place the pan back in the refrigerator until firm -- about an hour.  Then cut into tiny, tiny bite size pieces because, trust me, these are very, very rich.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mercury is Retrograde

Wow, mercury is definitely retrograde.  Here's an overview of how it's wreaking havoc in my life:

1) My cell phone shuts down for about an hour whenever I read a text or try to reply to a text

2) My printer broke

3) My Reiki Master class had to be cancelled because 75 % of the attendees can no longer attend

4) A really fun event I was looking forward to this weekend has been cancelled

5) And then this:

Yesterday, I was at a bakery with my children picking up a cake for my father-in-law's birthday.  I was wearing a tank top with a tea length summer dress with spaghetti straps.  It's very 1950's looking -- nothing awry about it -- or so I thought.  An elderly lady walked up to me, patted my back and said to my children, "Girls you should tell your mother not to show her bra in public."  I was mortified!  A tank top is NOT a bra.  My children's eyes bulged and my temper fumed.  "This is not a bra," I explained.  "But thank you for your opinion."  Oh, how I love living in the pseudo proper South.

I also had a very old man cut me off on a major road and when I beeped my horn, he flipped me off -- for five minutes.  He literally drove in front of my with his hand out the window waving the bird at me.  For five minutes.  I only beeped my horn out of instinct.  I had to slam on my breaks, my five year old was thrown forward.  My groceries sloshed around in the back.  I mean, really?

Then we stopped at the bank, and another elderly lady comes up to my youngest and literally runs her fingers through her hair -- YIKES -- and says, "Look at all this curly hair.  I bet they hate it."

No lady, what we hate is random strangers feeling like they can touch us and then make passive aggressive comments about our hair.

What's with me and old people this week?  I am trying to respect you for living so long and all, but hey, help me out.  Make it easy for me to want to respect you.

I am praying that your first week with Mercury in Retrograde is going a whole lot better than mine.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crystal of the Week: Watermelon Tourmaline

Watermelon Tourmaline is the ultimate heart healer. It heals depression, sadness, regret and guilt.  Watermelon Tourmaline encourages a sense of calm as it reduces fear.  When wearing the stone, it cleans your aura and helps you to link to your higher self. The vibrations of this stone encourages patience and balances male and female energy.  It will help you heal from old trauma as it removes imbalances, sadness and guilt.  The green tourmaline will enhance your life force; the pink tourmaline heals and soothes your soul.

Watermelon Tourmaline is a great stone for kids who are having anxiety issues.  It works to heal rescued pets who have experienced trauma.  When placed in a room, it will reduce friction in large family gatherings.

Watermelon Tourmaline is called "The Stone of the Healers" as it helps healers to heal.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Live Your Dream Now

In a reading I did last night, the client's guides and angel kept saying, "Tell her to live her unlived dream.  The time is now."  I hear this message often, and when I do, the client usually tears up and says something like, "Oh, I've always wanted to (fill in dream) but then there's (fill in excuses)."  I want to make something very clear:  God places our desires in our heart.  We don't just simply want to paint or act or sing or write.  Your desire to be a doctor or mother or life coach is not simply created inside you.  It's placed in your heart by your creator because that's what you're supposed to do with your life.  It's your soul purpose; it's why you were created.  To turn your back on your dream, in my opinion, is to turn your back on God.

Follow your passion and it will lead you to your life's mission.

Tonight in church, our homily was on how God doesn't scream at us through earthquakes or great winds.  Rather, he whispers in our heart.

Take a moment this weekend to find a moment of stillness.  Go within; listen to your heart. In the whisperings of your heart, you'll discover yourself, your purpose, your path.  What is God trying to tell you?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -- Marianne Williamson

Who are you not to shine?

It's your purpose to shine.

How will you light up your corner of the world?

Friday, August 5, 2011

An Easy Way to Give Back

I met an amazing woman this week who has found a great and easy way to give back and help others through this difficult economy. When she's at the grocery store, whenever she sees something that's Buy One Get One Free, she buys two, stores the free one in a box in her pantry.  When the box is full, she adds a home baked treat like brownies or cookies and an uplifting note of encouragement, and then brings it to her local domestic violence shelter.  This is a great and economically painless way to give back and help others.  Pass it on!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Give Him the Ring and Tell Him It's From Me

Tonight I connected a lovely client with her mother who passed on a message that made me laugh but that also made a lot of sense.  One of the things she showed me was a small pearl ring surrounded with tiny diamonds.  I asked my client if she recognized the ring.  "Yes," she said, "but I lost in a move, and I've always felt terrible about that."  Her mother shook her head and waved it away.  She showed me a local jewelry store in our town that often sells antique jewelry.  I heard her clearly say in my head, "Tell her to buy another one that looks like it and give it to her oldest son.  I want my grandchildren to have something to remember me by."  I could see this son marrying and having a daughter.  I think she wanted her grandson to give this to a future great granddaughter.  She said again, "Tell her to get a new ring.  Just give it to him and tell her it's from me."

I love this message I heard tonight because it reminds me of what I always hear in my readings from our loved ones in heaven: REMEMBER ME.  Tell my stories, honor my life in some way --  no matter how small.  This mother didn't care that the ring was lost.  The ring wasn't the thing -- it's what the ring represented -- family, tradition and love.

My grandmother was not the baking pies in the oven type.  She scared the living you-know-what out of me to be honest.  She was tough and often mean and rarely had time for me.  When we would visit her, she'd put me in the front parlor with a pack of playing cards and leave me there while the grown ups talked in the living room.  When she died, I barely felt a thing.  That was when I was twelve.  Years later, when I was taking intuitive development classes, I woke up one night and saw my grandmother.  I followed her to my living room.  She was dressed terribly in an old, faded print dress.  Her face looked wrinkly like I remembered it, her hair was still that steel gray color cut short.  She reached out to me with open arms -- something she'd never done to anyone while on Earth -- and said, "I'm so sorry for the way I behaved on Earth.  I didn't know.  I didn't know.  Pray for me?"  I promised her I would.  The next morning, I called my mom and asked her to call everyone in the family to pray for Grammy.  I prayed and prayed.  I said rosaries for her and lit many candles.  About a week later, I woke up and saw that my grandmother was again in my bedroom.  I followed her out to my living room and noticed that she was dressed in a navy blue Chanel suit.  She looked young -- about 35 -- her dark blonde hair was swept back in a chignon, and she wore makeup -- again something she never did when she was here on Earth.  She radiated love and said but two words to me.  "Thank you" and then she was gone.

My grandmother had lived a tough life.  She worked in a factory for over 30 years, married an alcoholic and single handedly raised four children -- two of which were twins (my mom and my aunt).  When she was a young girl, her little sister ran across the street to meet my grandmother coming home from school and stood in horror as her little sister -- just four years old -- was killed by a speeding bus.  If you add up all those things, I think I'd be a little bitter and mean too.  I started to feel compassion and real love for my grandmother.

When I was at my mom's house visiting a little after Grammy said thank you to me, I saw my grandmother's jewelry box -- a very small box lined in velvet, trimmed in marquisette depicting a young girl sitting at a vanity table.  Grammy had very little jewelry -- none that I can think of except her wedding ring, a pearl necklace and a cameo.  I asked my mom if I could have the jewelry box and she said, "Yes, of course."  I love to look at the box and think of my grandmother -- finally at peace and happy in heaven.  God knows, she deserves it.

This year, my mother gave my oldest daughter Grammy's cameo.  I know she'll cherish it because she'll be raised not with stories of my grandmother's bitterness but rather of her strength, of how she managed to endure so much tragedy and leave this earth with four healthy children and 14 grandchildren who will remember her as a woman of faith who endured.

That's all they want from us.  For in remembering them with fondness, we're honoring them and in doing so, we're allowing them to continue to flourish and grow in heaven.