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“We all at certain times in our lives find ourselves broken. True strength is found in picking up the pieces.” –Jill Pendley

“Prayers are always answered. You don’t have to beg or make deals with the Creator when you pray. The key is to pray with faith, knowing and believing that, what you ask for, you already have!” —Iyanla Vanzant

20140726-093903.jpgGotta have a leap of faith!

miraclesI didn’t know how to write this.  I didn’t know how to share this or if I should, because this is so inexplicable and just totally blows the mind.  Yet, I write this with humbleness.  I write this because it is a HUGE reminder of how faith works and how miracles do happen each day.  I write this to be grateful and thankful to even be this close to this kind of a miracle.

I was born Catholic, but am now an Interfaith Spiritual.  My family is Catholic.  We have deep faith, but we have never heard of St. Faustina before, and we will never ever forget her.

Day 118 (2/8/14):
(You will see a “#” and a number next to something, please see the legend below for some after the fact details.)

Late this morning, I went to Auntie J‘s house, because a prayer group was coming to pray for healing for her husband, Uncle M.  The prayer group was the Divine Mercy group.  It was a group of people who helped Auntie J‘s close friend and neighbor’s son who had lymphoma and who is now cancer-free.

In another part of the country, during our prayer, Uncle M‘s sister, Auntie M, was making her way to Northern California to help with both Uncle M and his brother (who had visited Uncle M, but was hospitalized also, but is now discharged).

Auntie M almost didn’t make it to Northern California due to the cost of the flight, but a last minute deal (like 75%+ difference) came through.

At the airport, Auntie M kept noticing an elderly woman continuously staring at her. She had long white hair (not the usual elderly gray hair, but pretty white) and had a calm expression. She began to feel uneasy.

On the plane, when she was seated, the elderly came by her row. Auntie M was surprised to see her. The elderly lady told her she came from her seat in row 29. She asked Auntie M if she was hungry, and she replied “no,” because she started to get scared.

She felt this lady follow her, even after the flight. At the restroom, this lady even washed her hands in a basin next to hers, eventhough, there were several basins available.

Worried about how to ride BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and to find her stop, she didn’t notice the elderly lady until she was in front of one of the three ticket machines against the wall, when the elderly lady came to stand before her. She told Auntie M, “give me your credit card.” Auntie M briefly thought the lady might run away with her credit card, but the lady said, “it’s all right.” Auntie didn’t see her swipe the credit card (#1, see legend for details), but her ticket came out right away.

Then later, with her mind still heavy with figuring out where she needed to go, she boarded BART, and realized the elderly lady had followed her in, and sat next to her.

The elderly lady told her, “you seem like you are in deep thought, and your mind far away”. She took Auntie M‘s hand in hers in a very tight clasp (#2, see legend), and said, “let me tell you a story.”

The elderly lady spoke about what happened to her husband who, at 71 years old, had a heart attack–pretty similar to what had happened to Uncle M. She told her that her husband was able to open his eyes, speak, and through intensive rehab could walk after a year. (#3, see legend)

The lady told her a few things also before she left. Bear in mind, Auntie M never told her where she was going and anything about why she was coming here, especially about Uncle M. 1. “Your stop is two stops from here.” 2. “Your eyes are like your brother’s.” (#4, see legend)

When the elderly lady left her at another station, Auntie M realized what she wore (a white, long-sleeved shirt and white pants, with a black scarf. The only thing was that she couldn’t remember what kind of shoes she wore). She did not have luggage. She only carried a small wallet. Then when she turned to watch the elderly lady leave, she was completely gone.

She asked another passenger in the BART car if she had seen the elderly lady who was sitting next to her. The other passenger told Auntie M… “What lady? You were sitting by yourself.”

At around this time, I was in Uncle M‘s hospital room with Auntie J, my Mom, and Auntie J‘s daughter (who was trying to reach Auntie M to find out where she was, so she could pick her up). My cousin received a call from Auntie M that she was at the BART station, and left to pick her up.

Auntie M was unable to call my cousin because the elderly lady had held her hand during the whole entire BART ride. She was still in very much thought about her inexplicable encounter when, finally, she saw my cousin trying to flag her down.

When Auntie M arrived at the hospital to see her brother and place her hand on Uncle M, Auntie J told us all later that she looked really different in the beginning. Like she was radiant.

When we all convened at the cafeteria later that evening, Auntie M recounted what had happened to her during her journey to Northern California. Auntie J and my mom told her we had a prayer that morning. When Auntie M tried to describe the elderly lady to us, my mom, all of a sudden, said, “maybe she was St. Faustina.” Things got all excited and weird for all of us at the same time.

Auntie J‘s son googled “St. Faustina,” and showed Auntie M an image of her, and Auntie M began to cry. The elderly lady looked exactly like the image of St. Faustina, and in place of her nun’s headdress, was completely white hair.

When we took Auntie J and Auntie M home, because of the earlier prayer, there was the Divine Mercy Jesus statue and St. Faustina’s picture on Auntie J‘s formal dining room table. Again, she almost broke down. She couldn’t understand what had happened and why it had happened to her.

Legend:
#1: Auntie M called her credit card company, and there is no credit card transaction for her BART ticket. Her airport meal that day came through. Auntie M also never told the elderly lady where she was going, but the ticket was exactly for her stop.
#2: Her hand felt like a sauna.
#3: The elderly lady’s story was similar to Uncle M‘s heart attack and situation. My Uncle M is also 71 years old. Everyone is hoping the story about the recovery will be the same.
#4: Upon hearing Auntie M‘s story when the lady said, “your eyes are like your brother’s,” Auntie J mentioned to us that two days ago, when Uncle M had opened his eyes very wide, she never realized how her husband’s eyes were just like Auntie M‘s, and she has been married to him for decades!

Day 119 (2/9/14):

At 3:30 a.m. this morning, Auntie M had a dream. St. Faustina came to her and said, “your brother will be all right.”

We held the Day 2 novena prayer for Divine Mercy today. I believe that we now all feel renewed faith, not only for the Divine, but also for my Uncle’s recovery.

I am grateful for this inexplicable… miracle. Thank you for our renewed faith.

Here are some links I found about Divine Mercy and St. Faustina:

Divine Mercy
St. Faustina

FamilyI went to pay my respects to my co-worker and friend, P‘s, family.  As I entered the funeral home, I saw P‘s late brother’s wife speaking to the Priest who was going to officiate the prayer tonight.  She was speaking to him about her late husband, N, in such a loving way.

After the prayer, P‘s other older brother, spoke about how it was like growing up with his older brother and how he had looked up to him.  N‘s youngest son and then, lastly, his widow, spoke about his life and of his last days.

It’s often hard for me to go to wakes such as this, but although there was sadness for their loss, the family’s faith and solidarity felt really strong. Although I prayed that they will be alright in all ways–emotionally, psychologically, and financially, I really felt that this family, especially N‘s immediate family, was going to be alright, without any doubt.

They also felt and expressed their gratitude for N‘s life.  His widow spoke of how grateful they were that they had more time with him.  N had not known he was sick or how much his cancer had spread to his entire body. He never suffered until the very end.  He was able to enjoy his life with his family, and he felt he did not have any unfinished work, even if his life, at 51 years, was short.

I am grateful to know that N’s family will be alright. I am sure he will watch over them all to ensure that too. 🙂

Photo credit: Courtesy of http://www.beautifulwalldecals.com.

NaBloPoMo_011614_465x287_pressure

Prompt: Monday, January 13, 2014
Eleanor Roosevelt said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Tell us about a time you felt your strength.

In 2009, I went on a personal leave from work. For three of five months, I lived in Japan and used it as a base to travel to other areas of Japan and other nearby countries.

A woman traveling alone can find herself in a lot of interesting situations, but it was the most empowering experience of my life. I learned so much about myself, and I grew so much as a person.

You find ways to cope. You find ways to solve problems in a more creative way. You find ways to rely on yourself and find your strength.  You find ways to trust and have faith.

South Korea was the hardest place that I visited because of the language barrier and the currency.  I had a survival Korean book which didn’t help, and although I do like Korean dramas, they didn’t help me pick up a lot of vital phrases I needed then. HaHa

I was unable to study the Korean currency prior to my trip. The internet connection where I had lived in Tokyo only worked part of the time. There were extra zeros in the Korean won.  When I tried to pay for my bus to the hotel with several bills, the cashier took one 10,000 won bill, and push the remaining bills toward me.  That was a cheap ride, and that lady was kind and honest!

The hardest situation I encountered during my solo trip (again also in South Korea) was when the bus dropped me off (on the way to the hotel).  Before we left, I tried to converse with the bus driver to confirm my stop.  Somehow, I think he went over a little.  For over an hour, I exchanged bills to coins from a nice lady at a store for the pay phone, made several calls to the hotel who couldn’t make out where I was, hailed cabs but would leave unable to help me once they learned I could not speak Korean… all while standing in the rain.

After trying to figure out my situation for over an hour, I stopped and prayed for help. Then within minutes, a cab pulled up in front of me releasing its passengers.  The cab driver knew a little bit of English he picked up from his daughter who was studying in America. He asked me to come into the cab and placed my luggage in the trunk.  I handed him my paperwork on the hotel, but the information was not in Korean character form, so he asked me to point to the hotel’s phone number.  I did and he called the hotel on his mobile and asked for directions.  He got me to my hotel.

I was very grateful for the help this man gave to me. He could have left me in the rain like the other cab drivers did, but he took the time to deal with a foreigner.

I was very grateful for the help after I prayed. I’ve gotten help before after I prayed, but I have been geared to be so independent and to be so self-sufficient that I forget that my life could be simpler if I just ask for help.  LOL

That experience solidified in my heart and mind that…
1. All my prayers are heard
2. I am never alone
3. I will always be alright, no matter what

I just have to remember to stop being stubborn about doing things alone and ask for help. 🙂

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