Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Changed My Mind

I Changed My Mind
There comes a time in everyone’s life when we have to learn difficult lessons. Sometimes the lesson requires us, in order that we may continue growing, to do a complete 180 from the direction we were heading in, and turn around and go back the other way. Sometimes this requires letting go of a long belief that things can be one way, and one way only, to land in favor of what actually will work to start us moving forward again when we seem to be stuck or stalled out in our journey through life. One of those things that we sometimes need to do but may find it difficult because we somehow feel guilty for it, is simply changing our minds about whatever it is that we realize is impeding our progress. This story has to do with that, and the rhetorical question at the end.
[Note: this is a hypothetical story utilizing metaphor.
So, I went to the store a few days ago, and there they were giving away free samples of a new variety of coffee. Well, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a coffee aficionado, and I like most kinds of coffee, especially if it happens to be of the more or less gourmet type (which this was) – well I’m not too keen on the obviously “artificially” flavored kind like “hazelnut”, “vanilla almond”, “Irish Cream” and so on (you can keep those!! Pllleh!)
I graciously accepted my sample of coffee from the person who was handing them out, and tasted it, rolling it around in my mouth a bit before swallowing. I decided I liked it pretty well, and so purchased a bag of the beans and took it home so I could brew some there.
The first pot-full was pretty good. I enjoyed it to the last drop. The next day I brewed another pot and drank some. It wasn’t quite as tasty as the first pot or even the sample had seemed. Oh well. I decided to give it one more try – three’s a charm right? So I brewed a third pot the next day exactly as I had the first two… which was pretty much the way that I have always brewed coffee – measure the beans into the grinder, then set up the pot with the right amount of water, grind the beans just so, put them in the filter basket and away we go… Well, it smelled pretty good, so I poured a nice big cup for myself, measuring out the half and half into my cup (I WILL drink coffee black, though usually only if it has proven to be of exceptional quality to me – I rarely if EVER add sugar to my coffee; that’s like putting ketchup on a New York strip – heh, well, I’m vegetarian these days, but once upon a time I used to be a steak aficionado too).
Okay, well maybe three wasn’t a charm. You know what? That coffee really didn’t taste any better than the second pot I brewed. If anything it was even worse. It was just plain bitter AND left a nasty bitter aftertaste in my mouth. So, I put the bag of beans back in the grocery sack with my receipt and took it back to the store. The store refunded my money, no questions asked.
But here’s my question; even though I tried the sample at the store and said at the time that I liked it – in fact, as I recall I mentioned that I liked it very much, thank you, and really looked forward to a continued experience with it – does the fact that after I had tried to have that continued experience with my new variety of coffee, and then after it left a bad taste in my mouth and I decided that I didn’t like it after all, make me a hypocrite?

I’m just wondering because while I was at the store returning the coffee, I happened to be standing very near to where they were handing out samples of it again, and overheard someone refusing a sample, citing that they had tried it before and though they had liked it initially, after they took some home and brewed it there decided it was too bitter for them and changed their mind about liking it (just as I had). The person giving out the samples accused that customer of being hypocritical because the customer was now saying she didn’t like it when she had liked the sample the first time she had been given one.
My answer to my own question is: I think not. What difference should it make to someone else, even and maybe especially the one giving out the samples, if I first liked what they gave me and then when it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I change my mind about liking it? …  unless it really makes a difference to them what their customers think of their product and they are willing change it so that more people enjoy it... I did not perceive any indication of that being the case in this instance however…
So what do YOU think? Am I a hypocrite for changing my mind?
Should any of us ever be made to feel guilty for changing our mind, whether it is through our own perception of what others might think if we do, or someone else’s criticism of the fact that we did?

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Little Miracles" Addendum

I've posted some photos that I took of the forsythias mentioned in my "Little Miracles" post - you can view them HERE: (or just click on the PHOTOS tab in this blog). :-D Enjoy!!!

“Simple Gifts” – A Message from Archangel Ariel and Archangel Michael

“Simple Gifts” – A Message from Archangel Ariel and Archangel Michael
(as received by Ariel DeAngelis on April 5, 2013)
This isn’t our usual fare, perhaps not appearing to have much of anything to do with what the world might be interested in at present time, though we assure you it IS pertinent to what you are currently experiencing. So relax, shhhh, rest here a while, and enjoy our gift to you; your joy is our joy.
They were both soaked to the skin; the cold driving rain was relentless. Her long skirt caught at her ankles as she hurried to catch up to him after he had mounted their beloved roan mare. Fast in the saddle, he held out his hand for her to take so he could hoist her up.
In one smooth movement she went from standing on the ground to being seated sideways on the saddle behind him. She struggled with her skirt to pull it up to where she could bring one leg over the saddle to sit straddling the horse, preparing for a fast ride through the wet darkness. The dark of night held tight around them as they gathered speed.
This night was a particularly cold one for mid-summer. She sat behind him in the saddle, raindrops pelted her face like little bullets made of ice and water, and though she felt them plenty, she didn’t care. She was right where she wanted to be. Others might think of it as pure misery, but she knew that THIS was living! She held onto him, her arms tight around his waist; his rain-soaked shirt heavy and cold against the skin of her arms. On through the darkness they rode as fast as the mare could carry them. She wanted to be home too, and she knew the way.
After a while they rounded a familiar bend in the dirt road that was rapidly turning to mud. They could smell the smoke of the peat fire coming from the chimney of their little home on the hill. Soon a soft amber glow from lanterns inside the home could be seen coming through the fat-cloth that now covered the window openings to keep the night’s rain and wind out. The mare slowed her pace to a more comfortable trot, though still hurrying to get herself and her riders in out of the stormy weather.
Slopslopslop her hooves sounded as surefooted she climbed up the short hill to where a lean-to shelter built up against the front of the house served as her stable in summertime. They were expected and so another flap of fat-cloth had been pulled down along the open side of the lean-to, to offer a little more protection from the rain. The two riders ducked their heads as the mare carried them under the front edge of the roof. Once underneath he held tight to both her hands as he helped her swing down off the saddle. As she was safely on the ground he swung his leg over the mare’s haunches and in another single, smooth movement dropped to the ground beside his Love.
She looked at him, then at the horse, and taking in a deep breath, smelling the familiarity exclaimed,
“Oh… I remember this!” It had been a long time since she had stood under that lean-to… at least it seemed like it to her.
He smiled at her knowingly. He grabbed and tied the mare’s reins loosely to a post which served as a porch railing from which the horse’s blanket was hung. Though the weather had rained on them the whole way home, the mare was thirsty and so he took a bucket from where it hung on the far wall of the lean-to and braving the continuing downpour, plunged it deep into a rain barrel that hugged the side of the house just under corner of the eves. He set it down in front of her and she drank with gusto.
He reached up and took the saddlebags down, and set them aside, then unbuckled the saddle and took it off, stowing it to the dry side of the lean-to. Then he reached for the rough woven clothes that would serve to towel the horse off after the ride through the rain. He handed one to his Love and they both set to wiping the mare down, and she snorted and stamped her feet lightly in sheer bliss from the welcomed rubdown. He grabbed the blanket, threw it over the mare so that it spread out and then smoothed it over her. The mare again shuddered slightly, shook her mane and snorted in bliss at his gentle touch. He ran his hand under her chin and down the front of her neck checking for her cool-down. Then patting her gently twice said,
“There go Maggie. I’ll back after a while wi’ some hay for ya”, he reached down picking up the saddle bags slinging them over one shoulder, and then looking at his Love and smiling, motioned to her, “Come!” he said in his commanding tone. He turned and strode up the three steps to the door of the house and pushing the latch with his left hand swung the door open.
Aaaaah… the smell of home wafted out to them as she followed close behind him up the steps and into the main room of the small two room house. She had always marveled at how the amber light from the lanterns shone outward in the dark illuminating his golden hair that even when soaked, as it was on this night, fell in soft curls well below his shoulders gently swaying in the breeze coming from the house, as walked through that doorway into the interior. She never ceased to be captivated by his tall, strong and handsome form.  
Inside they were instantly greeted by three small children who jumped up and down in uncontained delight at their return.
“Mama, Papa!! You’re home!!” Boyd and Bryce exclaimed almost in unison. Not quite twins, they were still only a little more than one gestation period apart in age at 9 and 8 years respectively; close enough to think each other’s thoughts, but not so close that others in the village couldn’t tell them apart by looking at them. And then there was Carol-Lýn, song of the land in her papa’s heart. She was small for her age at 6 years, but strong and lithe. She jumped up in the air just as Glenn dropped the saddle bags to the floor and reached out. She landed neatly in the crook of his elbow, where he held her to him and gave her a big, wet kiss on her cheek. She didn’t care that Papa’s clothes were soaked through… much the way that her Mama didn’t’ care that they were either. Ærin gave her two sons a hug and a kiss, both at the same time, then turned her attention to Glenn and Carol-Lýn, holding them both close and reaching up to kiss her daughter’s cheek as well. Glenn bent down and put Carol-Lýn back on the floor, then picked up the saddle bags and opening one side of them took out a satchel that was laden with gifts from the journey. First he pulled out a little toy cart made of wood and handed it to Boyd, who’s eyes lit up instantly and he set to playing with it running it along the floor… Next, Glenn reached into the satchel and produced a little toy horse, and handed it to Bryce, who was equally thrilled with his gift. He and Boyd played together pretending to harness the horse to the little cart… And then it was Carol-Lýn’s turn. She had waited so patiently, but was now nearly bursting at the seams, so excited to see what Papa had brought her from his and Mama’s journey.
Squatting down to Carol-Lýn’s height, Glenn turned around concealing from her what he was taking out of the satchel. And then he turned back around suddenly holding out a little doll and made it dance in the air for Carol-Lýn. She squealed with delight as Papa made the little doll talk to her in some unknown language that only he and Carol-Lýn understood. She made a grab for the doll but Glenn kept it back just out of her reach, until she reached for it another couple of times and then he relinquished it to her awaiting grasp. She ran with it through a doorway into the other room of the house which served as the children’s bedroom, continuing the conversation with the doll that her papa had started.
In a corner under the loft, laying on a cot next the fireplace was Glenn’s own mama watching the happy reunion and smiling warmly. She knew instinctively that it was now her turn to receive the gift from their journey that she had been waiting for, for so long; the reason that Glenn and Ærin had gone on the journey in the first place.
“Mama,” he said to her, looking at her all teary-eyed. And a tear slid down Ærin’s face as well. The two of them had been away for so very long, Mama’s hair seemed to have gotten a little grayer and her face a bit more gaunt than they remembered when they had departed some months before. Glenn bent down at Mama’s side and reached out embracing her. Mama, being Mama of course commented on his wet clothes,
“you need to change to some dry clothes or you’ll catch your death!”
“No Mama, not ‘til you’re given what we brought ya!” and with that he reached in and withdrew from the satchel the last thing that it contained; a small dark-blue glass stoppered bottle containing a clear liquid. Mama held out her hands to receive the precious treasure; a treasure that would mean the difference between life and death for her. Inside the bottle was a special potion that could only be found in a little village high in the mountains of the lands far to the south of where they lived in their little house on the hill, in a warmer part of the world that took several weeks to reach even on horseback, and by boat across the great waters. It wasn’t that Mama was sick actually, rather that she was quite old and reaching the end of her life expectancy, but she and Glenn and Ærin all knew that it wasn’t her time – there was much they had left to do together in this life before she was finished and would allow herself to move on to the next. And so, with precious potion in hand she carefully un-stoppered the bottle, as she had done so many times before, put the lip of the bottle to her own lips, tipped it up and swallowed the contents as they poured into her mouth, until for all intents and purposes, the bottle was empty. Then she handed it to Ærin, who held the bottle upside down over her own open mouth until the last drop fell out and landed on her tongue, as was the custom they had come to over the years.
A warm glow spread across Mama’s face and hands, and some of the gauntness began to disappear, being replaced by healthy youthfulness. The grayness of her hair still remained, but they knew through experience that even that would be gone by morning. Glenn looked up and noted the same beautiful glow emanating from his beloved Ærin; her pale blond hair looking extra bright even in the dim light from the lanterns. Mama reached out and pulled gently at Glenn’s wet shirt sleeve silently imploring him to now follow her advice of changing into something dry,
“After I take care of Maggie,” he stated with authority, and Mama nodded in agreement. Then Mama looked at Ærin, and Ærin nodded to Mama in acknowledgement of the same request, and then moved off to go change her own wet clothes.
Mama lay back on her cot, closing her eyes, dreaming already of the next day spent with the children, chasing butterflies and frolicking in the sunshine like a child herself, down by the meadow stream that ran past at the bottom of their little hill.
Glenn opened the door and stepped outside. Though he could still hear the sound of water running off the roof into the rain barrel, the downpour had slowed to a gentle sprinkle now and the wind had died down completely. Maggie was standing there, a little restless, waiting for him to come back as he had promised. He un-tacked the mare, hanging her bridle on the wall on the dry side of the lean-to. He then ducked around to the other side of the wall that separated one side of the lean-to from the other and came back with a nice, big arm-load of hay for the mare. Pushing the bucket aside with his foot he tossed the pile of hay down in front of her and she began munching away. Taking a couple of steps back he sat himself down on the top step of the small porch and propped his head in his hand, resting his elbow on his knee, watching the horse as she nibbled on the hay. She looked up at him, nodding her head up and down and whinnying softly, compelling him to lean toward her so he could hold her close to him and rub her nose. He closed his eyes in that sweet moment, and was lost in his own version of the day to come. Time slipped past as horse and man communed.
Glenn opened his eyes and realized that the rain had completely stopped, so he arose and stepped out from underneath the lean-to and looked up at the sky. Brilliant stars were peeking through gapes in the clouds, and he said aloud,
“It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow Maggie!” The slow, rhythmic sound of Maggie’s breathing told him that she was also already lost in her own dreams of what the morning would bring… He stepped silently past her and reentered the house. The wonderful aroma that met his nostrils upon doing so reminded him that he was long overdue for some food himself, and Mama, having anticipated his and Ærin’s return (as she always seemed to do unerringly) had made one of her famous stews which he realized was now smelling for the first time since they’d arrived home. His stomach grumbled in grateful anticipation. He noticed that the room was now lit only by the light from the dying embers in the fireplace. All was quiet. The children had been fed and put to bed, and the lanterns had been dowsed. Looking for his Love he called out to her,
Mama stirred on her cot…
”Up here Love…” she whispered down to him from the loft. “Shhhh, you’ll wake Mama…”
“What are ya doin’ up there? Aren’t ya hungry?” he tried to use a softer voice, which for a man his size was almost impossible. Mama stirred again.
“Already ate Love… “ she replied softly, smacking her lips at the memory of the taste of Mama’s fabulous stew. “We saved ya some”, she continued, sounding drowsy as her full belly fueled her motivation for sleep.
Glenn went to the pot that had been covered and set to keep warm by the fire. He lifted the lid and took a long whiff of the wonderful smelling concoction. Replacing the lid momentarily he went to the wash basin that had also been left by the fire, rolled up his sleeves and began washing his hands and face with the warm water in the basin and then dried off with the soft cloth that had been left beside the basin. He remembered he’d promised Mama that he’d change his clothes once he’d taken care of Maggie, but his clothes most of the way dry now, and Mama fast asleep, he curtailed that and went straight for the food. Even though he knew better, he hoped Mama would never know. Too hungry to bother serving the stew into a smaller bowl he sat right there on the hearth and ate it with the stirring spoon straight from the pot… and as it had happened – they had left just enough for him, or what to HIM was just enough for him. He finished it quickly and putting the pot down, poured himself a fresh cup of water, and chased the stew down with it, swishing the last mouthful to remove all traces of food from his teeth.  He didn’t want anything, not even Mama’s stew, getting in the way of what he had planned next – to go climb into bed next to his beloved Ærin. That thought made him smile one of his bright-as-the-sun smiles.  Ærin was secretly watching him from the loft and she couldn’t help but smile too when she saw his smile – it always made her smile just as big, without fail. God! How she loved that man! Her sleepy thoughts drifted past all they had shared in their life together, and another tear of joy slid down over her cheek.
Glenn put the cup down unlaced his boots, took them off and set them by the fireplace where they would dry out overnight, and then headed toward the ladder that he would climb to the loft, undoing the ties on his shirt then taking it off and hanging it on a hook on the wall near the ladder. Bare-chested, he climbed the ladder to the top and slung his leg up into the bed which took up the entire loft area. As always he narrowly missed hitting his head on the rafters as he hefted the rest of his large frame up into the bed and came down with a soft thud right next to Ærin. She giggled at the practiced precision of this nightly maneuver. Even though they hadn’t been home in months, he didn’t miss a beat. He propped himself up on one elbow, with his head in his hand and looked down at his beautiful wife, still lovely as the day they married. She looked up into his eyes; eyes she couldn’t help getting lost in every time she did. He closed them and bent down and kissed her tenderly on the lips, and she sighed, melting into him as if their two Souls were one.
Below them, laying on her cot and having pretended this whole time to be asleep, Mama opened one eye a slit and looked up at the underside of the loft overhead, listening to the soft sighs as the two lovers drifted off into their own dreamland.
And she smiled with her own sigh of contentment, knowing that love had come home, finally, at last.
We are Archangel Ariel and Archangel Michael. Thank you for enjoying our simple gift to you. <smiles>

Thursday, April 4, 2013

“Little Miracles”

“Little Miracles”


I went for a walk this afternoon ~ just got back. As you might expect I had headed down to the park to sit a while on my favorite park bench… Yes, I still do that. ;-) On the way, walking down the sidewalk I passed by all the houses that usually have flowers blooming in their yards by this time of year – well, this year Spring is quite late in coming. In fact, as I walked I remarked to “myself” about how bare all the shrubs seemed to be for April 4; not even any leaves. Yes, sure there were some daffodils blooming in a couple of yards, but all the flowering shrubs were completely bare, except for some leaves that still clung to branches still blackened from the winter frosts. I made special note of the forsythia hedges in one yard that are usually in full bloom by this time.*SIGH* Not a single sign of the blooms that were to come.  So, I continued on my way to the park, wondering about that, and how long it would be before we saw any signs of life from them. I made a conscious intent to spread some sunshine and sprinkle a little Love over the area, you know kind of like in cartoons when they show Mother Nature walking along and a swathe of springtime following after her.

I arrived at the park and sat on my favorite bench for a while until I got cold, and then I decided it was time to head back. I walked back home the same way I had come, going back past all the houses that I had passed on my way to the park. As I approached the yard that had the forsythia hedges that I had made particular note of on my way TO the park, I noticed that they were all flush with bright yellow! I reached the first hedge and saw that it was literally covered with little bright yellow buds that weren’t there when I was first walking down to the park!!! I almost couldn’t believe my eyes!! This was the very same hedge that had NOTHING, not even any leaves to speak of, on it not more than an hour before!! I walked past it and on to the other hedge that mirrored it on the other side of the yard I was walking past. Same thing; it was COVERED in little yellow buds, and in fact, they were so far along in their blooming process that I expect by tomorrow they will likely be pretty close to being in full bloom!! AMAZING!!! I wondered if maybe I was looking at different bushes than the ones I had made special note of on my way TO the park, if maybe somehow I had missed the buds getting ready to spring open on these, but no, in fact I wasn’t. I know this because although there ARE other forsythia bushes along the same sidewalk along the same street that I HAD passed on my way, these are the only ones that are specifically and carefully formed into hedges outlining the borders of the property they are planted on!! AND not only that, but in my attempt to possibly find the bushes that I MIGHT have seen instead on my way to the park, I found that ALL of the forsythia bushes along the sidewalk, all the way back to my house, were now covered in little, bright yellow buds, getting ready to burst open into full bloom!!!

And I wondered to myself “How did THAT happen??!!” and a familiar voice inside my head laughed and said, “You know very well how that happened!” and I laughed too and replied, “Oh yeah, I guess I do!!” Hahahahaha! How amazingly awesome is THAT??!! :-D

I’ll go for another walk tomorrow and take some pictures and put them up for you all to see! :-)

This picture of forsythia was taken in 2011 ~ these flowers were
blooming on the same hedge that I have written about above...