Tag Archive | Religion

The Summer of Love & Death … A Wedding!

Mike&DawnWedding

My brother, Mike, and bride, Dawn.

Mom was so excited for Mike and Dawn to be married!   It was time!  They had been happily together for 6 years.  Dawn brought Mom with her when she bought her wedding dress.  What fun they had!  It was a special time for Mom and Dawn.   There was a perfect space in a closet at the folks, to store it safe and sound.  That way Mike couldn’t sneak a peek!

hanged white applique corset wedding gown in between white window curtain inside room

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A big concern Mom had, was getting an annulment with the Catholic Church, before they were married.  Despite Mike and Dawn’s attempts in trying to do this, it wasn’t going to happen.  They talked with a Pastor and found out there is a time-frame of 9 months to 2 years for the annulment process to be completed, and just because one goes through the process, does not mean you will get one.  The cost of it, not a huge deal, was enough to add another piece of angst in the midst of things.  There was also Mom’s time-frame.  Her lung cancer diagnosis and hospice, was definitely speeding up the wedding date.

Mike was beginning to feel overwhelmed and worried.  Both he and Dawn wanted the folks to be pleased.  Mike came over and talked to me (I’m the big sister),  expressing concern, not knowing how this wedding was going to happen.  They simply loved each other and it was hard having it be so difficult – on so many levels.  I asked him if he trusted me – of course he said yes – it’s the ‘Big Sis’ thing!  I became a licensed Wedding Officiant/Minister through the Universal Life Church and our local county.  I would work with them on a beautiful ceremony and file their wedding license.  Then … Dawn, Mike and I talked with the folks, explaining it would be a legal wedding and spiritual … and at some point in time, Mike and Dawn could go through the annulment process and get the marriage blessed in the Catholic Church.  All in all, it was a special conversation and the wedding was on!

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Jake was on the music, Rochelle was on the flowers, Mike was on the venue – Lum Park, Tim was on set-up, Rick was on tools and electrical stuff, Patrick and Darlene were on host/hostessing, Nicky and William were on photography.  Laura, Jake’s wife was on helping us all be cool, calm and collected – ’cause that’s how Laura is.  We-all were on food.  Kyung was still on her work gig/assignment in Africa.

In the midst of all of this, the folks were getting new shingles on the roof.  Mom would ask me to go out and see how it was looking.  Check on the guys, make sure they had enough water …. She enjoyed all the activity.  In spite of her determination, Mom’s breathing was becoming  more labored.  She was using oxygen all the time.  Her strength was weakening.  We all loved her hospice nurse, Kelly.  She and Mom had a very special relationship.  One day, Kelly said we were going to have to look at a different way for Mom to be at the wedding.  Outside was not an option.  I sat close to Mom and told her, she would have the best seat in the house – either with live video – or in heaven.  The boys would know how to set the video stuff up, and some of us would be at the house with her and some would be at Lum Park.

Going outside with Kelly, she said the cancer was progressing much faster than we thought it would.  It was time to call Kyung home.  I needed to tell Mom.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Then Dad.  Then the rest of the Fambly.  Then close friends.  Life is real.  So is death.

There was talk of having the folks renew their wedding vows with Mike and Dawn. The wedding date moved up and in the house with Mom and Dad.  Kyung arrived. It was early evening.  She and Mom had precious hours talking and being together.  The very next morning, Mom began her journey to heaven.  The wedding would wait.  Her life was celebrated, with tears and joy.

close up of purple flowers

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The next weekend – was The Wedding.  I was nervous about being the Celebrant/Officiant and hoped it would go over ok. The preparation with Mike and Dawn was so special and included both her Mom and our Mom in the ceremony.  When we were finished, Dad’s home-care nurse came up to me and said Dad wanted to talk to me.  I took some deep breaths … knelt down in front of him in his wheel chair … he took my hands and with tears in his eyes, he said it was a beautiful ceremony, he was so proud of me and it was a job well done.  Oh my goodness … MY prayers were answered!

Yes … Mike and Dawn are living happily-ever-after.

And Mom … Still has the best seat in the house!

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Fambly Wedding Photo – Cheers to Mike & Dawn!

A week after Mom’s funeral and a week before Dad’s.

Mom’s Story                Dad’s Story

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https://www.debendres.com

A Summer of Love & Death – Mom

It was a tough summer for our ‘Fambly’.

It was a summer of Love.

Both my folks were dying …

Let me share about our Mom …

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Mom, Dad & The Big Kids

“Fambly”

We, Fambly = Mom & Dad, 7 Siblings/Spouses/Significant Others/Children & Little Children, filled the consult room, waiting for the oncologist to talk with us and share Mom’s diagnosis.  It was the day after Mother’s Day.  Apprehension, faith and love were holding us together like a superglue.  Mom had lung cancer.  The wonderful oncologist, tenderly held Mom’s hands, looked her directly in the eyes, and said with her permission, Hospice would be contacted that day.  It took our breath away.

Life is real.

In 2 months, she was gone.

Before she left … We sang to her, shared silly stories … maybe a secret or two.  We painted our toenails with her.  She had a dress to show us girls – she hoped wouldn’t be ‘too fancy’ for her funeral!  The rosary was prayed.  We cried.  Lots and LOTS of tears.  A Priest came to visit.  Mom and my little brother, Jake, planned the music for her funeral – so special. (He was amazing singing through. it. all.  Making Mom proud ’till the very end!!).

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In the middle of the night, she left us.  We were with her.  Dad made it very clear he wanted to be with her at her last breath.

Everything became still. 

Silent. 

Peace-filled.

Before we called the funeral home, we made a Fambly Circle. (Every night after supper, Mom would have us go around the table and say something we were thankful for.)  In our circle of love for Mom, we each shared a story, or something we were grateful for, or got in trouble with/lesson learned – ’cause life is real with Mom.  More tears, then laughter!!  After we shared, we started singing some of her favorite songs – someone(s) got out their phones to get all the words right!  We ended with Silent Night … the harmony so precious.

 

It was a silent, holy night …

We love you, Mom!

(She’s still dropping feathers to say ‘Hello’!)

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With Love and a Grateful Heart,

Your Daughter,

Debbie

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Dad’s Story     The Wedding Between 2 Funerals

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That Odd Little Word … Chakra!

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Wheels of Energy Throughout Our Body

In my last blog, I shared how I came to be an Energy Worker, and talked about wheels of energy called Chakras flowing (or not) in our bodies.  I realized, when I first heard about Chakras, I was taken aback because it came from ancient Hindu, Buddhism and Taoism wisdom and teachings …  Far removed from my upbringing as a Catholic and very foreign to me.  Sometimes, we fear what we don’t understand, and sometimes we’re told it’s wrong to delve into things that don’t fit into the line of particular religious teachings.  In that respect, my limited understanding is – it opens the door for evil to enter – it is not ‘Of God’ – ‘The bible says …’ – ‘The catechism says …’.  All shared in good faith and protection of one’s soul – and I have had my share of comments, concerns and anonymous letters to protect my soul and save me from the perils of hell.  I understand where these kind souls are coming from … and it’s ok.

We are each responsible for our own walk in life.  My walk has led me, through my quiet meditation time with God/Spirit, to an awareness of these energy centers, called Chakras.  I feel them, sense them in myself and in others.

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Our bodies are filled with energy – everything miraculously working together to carry us and our Spirit through life.  Besides our bodies, we have thoughts, emotions and the Spiritual part of ourselves, that make up our whole “Being”.  All of this is energy.  It’s ebbing and flowing every minute of every day.  We can sense when someone comes into a room, we can often sense the mood they are in.  No words needed.  We feel their energy.  When someone leaves, or company goes home after a gathering, or someone dies, we feel the emptiness.  When someone is suffering, we can often feel their pain – and they may be miles away.  It is their energy.  We send them good thoughts, we send them prayers, we send good vibes, we hold them in our hearts.  This is energy flowing between us.  Soul connections.  Heart connections.  Spirit connections.  For me it’s God who’s got this all going.  Divine.  Sacred.  Universal.  Miraculous.  Precious.  Love.  Along with … Pain.  Suffering.  Loss.  Fear.  Anger. Control.  Mistakes.  Forgiveness.  And more Love.  All of this carries energy.  Lots and lots of energy.

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Sometimes energy flows and sometimes it gets stuck.  When energy gets stuck, we don’t feel well, do we?  The stuck energy can affect any one of our organs, how we breathe, how we sleep, and how we communicate with others.  We can feel grounded, safe, secure, or float-y, not able to trust or focus.  We can feel creative or blah,  confident or insecure – not able/or willing to trust our gut.  We can love and receive love, or close ourselves off from love, because we don’t want to be hurt.  We can speak our truth – or not – for fear of what others might feel, think, or say about us, or to us.  We might have flashes of intuition, where we just understand something with no need for conscious explanations, simply, a quiet knowing.  We’re open – or not – to Spirit/God and the support and guidance we are given as we walk this path called Life.  This …. all of this … is energy.  Impacting our Chakras.  Not scary.  Just real Life.  We live with these ebb and flow energies every day.  In our own unique ways.  Because that’s how we roll, we were created as individuals and no one walks our path but us.  This is the energy I work with my clients = Life.

Wisdom is wisdom.  It carries Truth through time.  Past, present and future, wisdom is supportive and thought provoking.  Wisdom came with creation – call it ancient – and will follow us through the end of time.  I look at the goodness it brings, the support it provides and the lessons it teaches.  I am grateful I was open to the confirmation I was feeling with my clients and their energies – and the link and understanding of the 7 Charkas.   I’m glad I listened to God/Spirit and was brave enough to walk through that door!  The blessings that have unfolded over the years, are countless.

opened brown wooden gate

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Here’s my sense of the 7 basic Chakras – Energy Centers in your body and the wisdom carried with them.  I’m not going into details with this … this is a blog, not a book!!  ; )

  1. Root Chakra – base of your spine – supports your basic needs – food, clothing, shelter – security, trust and stability. Color/Red
  2. Sacral – below your belly button and above your pubic bone – sexuality and creative expression.  Color/Orange.
  3. Solar Plexus – stomach – personal power – trusting your gut.  Color/Yellow
  4.  Heart – bridges our body with our mind, emotions and Spirit.  It’s our love and the connections we have with each other and a conduit to healing.  Color/Green
  5. Throat – communicating and speaking our Truth.  Color/Blue/Turquoise.
  6. 3rd Eye – Center of forehead.  Intuition/Awareness.  Color/Indigo Blue
  7. Crown – Top of head.  Spiritual Connection to God, ourselves and others.  Color/Purple

I like pictures … so here you go!  Sitting, standing, walking, skipping, sleeping … you don’t need to be sitting yogi style to recognize the energy of Chakras in your body!

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The beauty of you.  The beauty of all of us.

We all want to trust – ourselves and others.  We are sexual beings with creative juices running.  We practice the wisdom Life teaches us, and trust our gut to keep us from making a wrong move.  We desire love, give love, share love and with love, there is healing.  We communicate in many ways, trying our best to speak our truth.  Intuition is a gift – we all have – it’s trusting and practicing it!  Spirituality is our blanket, encompassing our Being while we’re here on earth, listening to the wisdom, affirmation and guidance God gives us and receiving all embracing Love.

People have asked about being Catholic – I’m not a practicing Catholic, any more.  I’m grateful for the foundation and faith I have because of being raised Catholic.  Honestly, I’m not playing within their many rules, so it’s best to be me … and continue my walk with the Love, compassion and faith I share, knowing God is present – always.  For those concerned about my eternal well-being … I’ve nearly died, and through that time, there was clarity and peace.  I know, no matter what, it’s all ok … God’s love and being true to who I am, while I’m still here … is what matters!

And so … I continue to enjoy my clients, my time with them, and the wonderful things that unfold.  If you feel off-kilter, seek a recommended Energy Worker in your area.  Personal references are the best.  Trust your gut when meeting someone new, if you are not comfortable with them, it’s ok to say so and leave. (Really – this is for ANY situation in life!!)

Thank you for following along with me!  I hope you have a better understanding about Chakras and Energy.  Until next time …  Wishing you peace and joy.

Namaste

Debbie

www.debendres.com

How I came to be an Energy Worker

 

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The power of touch …

Cultivating Quiet Healing From Within Since 1990

I remember, nearly 30 years ago, when I was going through Massage School … the teacher had spent some of our class time talking about energy and Chakras.  I was fine with all we had been learning and training and practicing on, until this odd word and topic came up.  Chakra origin is from from Sanskrit meaning  ‘wheel or circle’.   We have 7 main wheels or circles of energy in our bodies (Chakras) – from the base of our spine to the top/crown of our head.  Mind you, I came from a strict, traditional Roman Catholic upbringing, and anything to do with ancient traditions from the Hindu Religion, Chinese Taoism and Buddhism was strictly taboo.  I made up my mind, I would leave all the Chakra stuff behind and focus entirely on the bodywork of massage therapy.

building

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Back then, people still thought of massage therapy in more of the ‘flashing red light’ mentality.  Oh my … that led to some interesting encounters!   I spent the first 3 years of my practice educating clients on the benefits of therapeutic massage to help with stress management, pain management, increased flexibility and boosting their immune systems.

I was/am highly empathetic and can feel pain clients are experiencing.  In the quiet time working with them, I was becoming very much aware of the heat that would flow through my hands, and at times, there would be a feeling of something ‘blocked’ with their body.  I would spend focused time (and prayer … Catholic girl, remember), on the blocked area, hands hot with heat … and there would be a shift – and the block was gone.  I would ask clients what what happening in their life.  I was aware of the physical part of them, and also gave focus to their thoughts, emotions, and Spiritual well-being.  There seemed to be connections with the energy they had flowing or blocked and what I was feeling.

I was beginning to notice nudges – intuition – whispers of Spirit/God – dreams – to ‘pay attention’.  Circles and wheels.  Circles and wheels.  Then it clicked: Chakras.

brown carriage wheel

Photo by Navneet Shanu on Pexels.com

Hmmmm ….

I realized I was being led to look deeper into the ancient wisdom of these energy wheels in our bodies.  I was also realizing God as I knew God to be, was bigger than any box I could dream of … and the lid to that box was blown off … up into the Universe somewhere.  I was opening my heart and Spirit to what ancient wisdom had to say about energy, circles, wheels, health, balance, flow … body, mind and Spirit.

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And when I did – everything clicked!  Chakras made sense to me.  They affirmed the awareness I was experiencing with clients.  The energy we have in our bodies is miraculous.  It helps me with the energy work I now do with clients.  The power of compassionate, loving touch, brings peace.  The questions I may ask, or the clarification I may offer, is in tune with what I am picking up with their energies – their Chakras.

And … I still pray and God is still present!  I keep listening to the whispers of Spirit/God and do my best to ‘pay attention’!  I’m grateful for the continued blessings clients receive and the energies of peace and love that follow them out the door.

With a Grateful Heart,

Namaste

Debbie

www.debendres.com

 

 

Ripples of Compassion & Love …

We live in a world filled with compassion and love.  This world also can be cruel, where words and actions can darken our day and put fear in our hearts.  I’m choosing to put my time and energy into kindness and compassion.  Following the election, and some of the negative comments and beliefs about people who are disabled, or immigrants, or LGBT, or a color that isn’t white … or practice an unfamiliar spiritual path … has made me look at my life and realize how blessed I am because of these beautiful human beings, that could be put into categories of concern being disabled, not white, gay, etc …

I was raised being around people who were mentally and physically disabled.  My dad worked as a Recreation Specialist, in a State Hospital, passionate about seeing each person as an individual – perfect in their own unique way.  We kids played with them, learned how to square dance and snow-shoe with them, fished, climbed trees … all kinds of things!  Dad believed nature and being outdoors, provided an environment of healing and mixing up life with adventures was a good thing. He had a dream of creating a year-round camp geared specifically for the disabled.  As crazy as the idea was, he gathered amazing people with different skills and strengths who thought this dream was pretty good … and with alot of hard work and hoops to jump, together they made it happen.  The lives that continue to be touched through this camp are countless.  Compassion and love made/make this happen – lots of voices, lots of action … for beautiful mentally and physically disabled people. (His name was Dick Endres)!

http://www.campconfidence.com/

One of my best friends in college was gay.  He was a great guy.  Over-the-top-crazy-fun- gay-guy.  He didn’t ever want my mom to know he was gay, because they had such a good time together and he was afraid she’d reject him.  He just loved her, and compassionately kept his secret.

My sister is Korean.  She is amazing and the work she has done all over the world has touched many lives.  She has her own  management consulting firm with a long standing commitment to help international development agencies further their vision, mission and objectives.  Compassion and love in action.

Her boyfriend is African-American.  He has shown compassion with his loving care of both our folks, especially while they where dying.  He’s also been a teacher for one of my brother’s groups of friends who had not experienced any person of color – ever!

One of my grandson’s is disabled, struggling with mitochondrial disease.  He is incredible, as are his mom and dad and 2 brothers who put every bit of their life, their love, their compassion into making their lives together the best it can be – and it’s not easy – but they are doing it beautifully, in their own way.

I was married for 22 years.  We have 4 children.  It didn’t work, although he tried … he lived a life that wasn’t true to who he was and so much of his life had been lived in fear of people finding out …  he’s gay.  He met the love of his life and they’ve been together for nearly 20 years.  His parents and siblings love him for who he is.  When he’s in town, we’ll meet for coffee and visit and it’s good!  (It did take a while to get there)!  He’s got his own relationships with the kids. Sometimes, being true, compassionate and loving to yourself is the most important thing you can do.

I’ve been fortunate to be guest at a wedding with my sister – her friend is Muslim and the wedding was beautiful, compassionate and full of love.

I’m also a Licensed Wedding Officiant/Minister and have had the honor of Officiating a number of weddings, including couples who are gay and their marriages are recognized and legal.  They have experienced years of needing and receiving compassion and love.

And so no20161121_101051w, I wear a safety pin with a heart on it.  It’s my bridge of love and compassion reminder.  It indicates support for those in fear of being bullied or persecuted for who they are.  I want to honor race, gender, those with disabilities, LGBT, immigrants and those who practice spiritual paths other than my own.  It’s a bridge of love that crosses the barriers … oh, so many barriers … and recognizes the goodness and Light in others.  I’m handing them out to my friends … I can be a bit of a ripple of in this tiny corner of my world – it’s one thing I can keep practicing …

… compassion and love ….