Monday, December 23, 2013

Photos commemorate husband's love

I love stories like this one! I read it online here:  "Mom's memory lives on in sweet dad, daughter photos" by

***

The day before Ben and Ali married, they closed on their house so they did wedding photos in the empty house.  Ali's sister Melanie (a professional photographer) took the pictures.

Then, in 2011 Ali passed away from cancer, leaving behind her husband Ben and a 1 year old daughter named Olivia.  Eventually, he and Olivia were ready to move out of the house they had shared with Ali.  He asked Melanie to once again take pictures in the house - this time of him and Olivia.  In a moving series of photos, Ben and 3 year old Olivia are captured in similar poses as a way of saying goodbye to the house he and Ali lived in.

In her blog the Nunerys, Melanie describes feeling her sister Ali frequently and the signs she uses to communicate.  During the photo session, she received one of these special signs and felt "nudges" of guidance from Ali.

In his blog Rock Pink 4 Ali, Ben explains what he was feeling during the photo shoot and what he continues to feel for Ali.

I especially connect with Ben's quote, toward the end of Ramisetti's article:

"I hope that people can see it as evidence of a love that Ali and I shared
that is still very deep, [and] that love carries on, and it doesn't die," he said.
"People who don't know us personally but may have
experience with losing a loved one can see that as an example of healing and life moving on.
It doesn't mean that we forget our loved ones,
but find ways to remember them and keep that memory going."
 
What a beautiful way to say "I love you" to his wife and their life together and what a creative and inspirational way to say "goodbye" to their home.  When a loved one dies, photos are a wonderful way to honor a LOVE that NEVER DIES.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lessons from a Child: Pray

Every school day, I bundle my two children and walk/drive/run to the school bus stop in order to get my kindergartner to school.  Sometimes we are hurrying to the meet the bus.  Yesterday morning was such a morning...

After some delay, we arrive - whew!  While I chat with another mother, my son is playing in the snow.  He didn't want to put his gloves on at home and now he hands are freezing.  We put he gloves on, but they are still cold.  He bursts into tears just as the bus pulls up.  "I don't want to gooooooo!" he wails and refuses to get on the bus.

A very human part of me wants to yell, "get on the bus!  It took us a lot of effort to get ready and get here in time. The roads are snowy and icy, I need to nurse the baby, and I don't want to drive you to school." 

But I refrain from such a speech of monster proportions, and instead I say "let's talk about it in the car", and bustle him back into the heated vehicle.

"I don't want to go to school," he sniffles.  "Why? What's going on?" I ask.

"I want to play at home.  My friends knocked my building of blocks down.  We had a substitute [teacher] yesterday.  And my hands are cold," he explains.

So we discuss each issue in turn.  We resolve them and then he says he feels sick.  I asked him, "where?"  "In the middle of me," he replies.  All of the sudden I get a flash of inspiration.  "Is this physical or spiritual?"  He responds, "Both."  I ask him if he wants to pray about it.  He says "yes", so we pray.  When we are done praying, he feels better and he hands are warm. 

"What do you want to do now?" I ask.

"I want to go to school," he says resolutely.  Okay, I say.  I have just enough time to get him to the school before he's considered tardy.

During the drive, I ask him: "When you are school, if you feel overwhelmed what are you going to do?"  I thought he would tell me he would speak with his teacher or use his words to talk.  After all, we had discussed those as solutions.

"Pray.  I am going to pray," he responds definitively.

I am blown away.  We talked about solutions, but it was the activity of prayer that altered the energy for him.

Prayer is powerful.  Never forget the important role of prayer in your life and in the lives of others.  By reaffirming our connection with the Divine, we set our fears, doubts, and issues aside as well as place our faith and trust in God's hands.  As is well.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Eagle

While driving to Fredonia on the back roads, I spotted a large bird flying down the middle of the road straight toward me.  When it was 100 feet in front of me, I recognized it as an Bald Eagle.  Although I haven't seen an Eagle in years, the white head and brown body were unmistakable.  And so was the spiritual message for me.

Moments before, I had just been asking the Divine about an aspect of my spiritual journey.  And here was the answer!

Those of you who are familiar with the Eagle as a symbol know already what I am about to write.  Eagle symbolizes connection with the Divine.  It is associated with the ability to live in the realm of Spirit, and yet remain connected and balanced on the Earth plane. 

For many Native American tribes, the Eagle represents a state of Grace achieved thru hard work and a completion of spiritual tests.  The feather of the Eagle is considered to be the most sacred of healing tools. 

When the Eagle flew into my life today, it was reminding me to take heart and gather my courage, for the universe is presenting me with an opportunity to soar above the mundane level of life in a new way.  So I shall pray and feed my soul with Spiritual Food and remember that the Light is always available to me.

When a "sign" presents itself clearly in my path, I pay attention.  I am grateful the Divine works with me in such obvious ways.  As the Eagle flew over my vehicle, I was uplifted and full of joy.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lily Dale Children's Acre

One of the organizations I am involved with in Lily Dale is the Children's Committee.  I thought I would share what we have been doing... especially because I am the chairperson of the committee *smile*

HISTORY
Early on in Lily Dale's history, this community understood the importance of children. Even before the Auditorium was built in 1881, a Lyceum was formed for the children. They felt that training of the young was important.

Then, in 1928, the Andrew Jackson Davis Lyceum Building was constructed and given to Lily Dale for the children's use by Mercy Cadwallader. The grounds of the "Children's Acre" featured the Lyceum Building and a beautiful garden with a playground adjacent to the building for the enjoyment of the children.

Today, the Children's Acre also features a basketball court, playground areas, a ball field, and more. All of these areas are in need of continual maintenance, repair, and/or improvement.

In autumn 2011, the Children's Committee formed to address these issues.  The mission of the Children's Committee is to improve the Children's Acre space for Lily Dale’s children and visitors and to make the Children’s Acre into a safe, attractive, and fun place for children and families.
 
Our committee continually discusses and researches ways to improve the Children’s Acre space, organizes Children’s Acre projects, and raises money for the Children’s Acre Fund.
 
PROJECTS
In April 2012, we launched the Playground Refurbishment Project which included:
  • digging out the old woodchips, laying down commercial grade weed barrier, and putting down new woodchips to the correct safety depth.
  • Painting the old playground equipment
  • Replacing hardware, bolts, and swing chains
Many volunteer hours and months and months of planning went into this project. Manual labor was provided by many volunteers from the Lily Dale community and Cassadaga Job Corps, and the Lily Dale Maintenance Crew. Monetary donations from various individuals and the Children’s Acre Fund have gone toward purchase of new swing chains, new bouncy animals, new sports equipment, and other improvements at the Lily Dale playground and Children’s Acre.

In June 2012, we also made a low cost (virtually no cost) improvement to the Children’s Acre by creating a Natural Play Area with the climbing logs, stepping logs, and stump seats. Natural Play Areas are outdoor spaces designed for play that are made of natural components such as plants, logs, water, sand, mud, boulders, hills and trees. These components represent the larger wild environment in a way that feels safe and manageable to young visitors. A few man-made components might also be carefully integrated to support creative play, encourage confident exploration and help children develop a lasting affinity for the natural world. And we thank Cassadaga Job Corps for also helping us to create this special nature space for the children.

In late June 2012, we installed an official "Children's Acre" sign.  And in June 2012, we installed a new bench and 4-way spring rider.
 
Visitors to Lily Dale often remark about the wonderful improvements to the play spaces and the addition of the Natural Play area.

Last summer, the Children’s Committee organized a Victorian Ice Cream social fundraiser event to benefit the Children’s Acre Fund. The committee is organizing another Victorian Ice Cream Social for this coming summer 2014.

The LD Children’s Committee also organizes an annual playground clean-up day every spring.

THE FUTURE
The Lily Dale Children's Committee is currently researching ways to make improvements to the Children's Acre, especially ways to the restore the basketball court, the volleyball court, the ball field, and to add additional play elements for children in the 8-16 age range.

To make these improvements a reality, we are looking for donations of materials, resources, and time from individuals and organizations. 

To donate, feel free to contact me as I am the chairperson of the Children's Committee (and have been for the past three years).  Or send your monetary donation directly to the Lily Dale Assembly office, designating it for the "Children's Acre Fund".  Your generosity can provide the children with updated and safe equipment and repairs.

It is important that Lily Dale maintains kid-friendly spaces.  As a resident and mother, I appreciate having a playground to take my children to.  The houses are close together and personally I have a postage stamp for a yard.  *smile*  Also, I feel it is important that the many visitors to Lily Dale have a place for their children and grandchildren to play. 

Also, please "LIKE" the Lily Dale Children's Acre page on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Dale-Childrens-Acre/267119563351186