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More Mother’s Day Gifts

9 May

Anna’s Mother’s Day gift to me was a gift certificate to my absolute favorite charity – KIVA.  If you aren’t familiar with KIVA it is the latest in micro-lending.  For $25 you can lend money to women and men across the globe who are entrepreneurs.  They pay you back over a period of one year.  So, it’s a loan program – not a hand out.  You choose who you wish to loan to.  I’ve been a member of KIVA for almost a year, and as of today have made 12 loans.

Anna and I sat down this morning to finalize my Mother’s Day loan, and it didn’t take long to make our pick — in fact our pick was made for us …  by Liz.

The very first loan application we saw was for a 20 year old woman living in Peru named Lizbeth!  Are you kidding me??

Anna and I looked at each other and burst into laughter.  How could we NOT choose Lizbeth??  Of course we did.

Another stunning example of how Liz shows us that she is still very much a part of our family!

I love you Liz and Anna!  I am SO BLESSED to be your Mother!

A New Perspective

10 Apr

Why is it so difficult for us humans to trust and believe that God is always present and working in our lives?  I struggle with this alot – I always think, “well, he was there for me last time …. but will he be present again this time when I need him? ”   Time and time again, He proves to me that he continues to lead me down the path and I continue to follow.

Last weekend I was asked to be a speaker at a women’s spiritual retreat in rural Minnesota not far from my home.  I am getting fairly comfortable with sharing my story with groups and I rather enjoy doing it.  I always practice and ask for God’s presence to make it all that it should be.  He never fails me.  But at this retreat I was also asked to do intuitive readings for anyone who wanted one.

I’ve been struggling with this for a while – am I really meant to do this?  After all I’ve been doing email readings for people for the past three years … but to actually have a real live person sitting right in front of me waiting with baited breath for whatever information I got for them felt unnerving and I didn’t feel adequate.

But I also knew if I stepped out in faith and trusted God that I would be helped to do it.  About three weeks before the retreat I began to express my fears to God and I just kept hearing the same words – “Just trust the process.”  What I assumed was meant by that was the very deliberate process I use to obtain intuitive iformation for people.

Not only was I helped – I was literally given step by step instructions on what to do.  I can follow directions and I did right down to the letter. 

When I went to bed on Friday night I really had no plan on where to do the readings or even how I would do them.  When I woke up on Saturday morning it was as if God had plopped step by step instructions into my brain.  And I followed each and every step.

1. Do the readings in your room – it’s quiet, it’s confidential and it will be calming for you and for those you are reading.

2. Go get the sign up sheet and copy down each person’s name and the time of their readings.  Then return the sign up sheet to the registration table – and be sure to write a note on it so everyone knows they need to come to your room at their specified time.

3. Take those extra note cards you brought along, cut them in half so you have enough.  Then write down each person’s name and time at the top.

4.  Now relax, focus and ask the Universe for some descriptive words that would describe that person.  Write them down on each notecard.  Next, ask what the goal for this weekend was for them.  Write that down.  Next ask for some words of guidance for the future.

I did that for each person and it was a wonderful way to begin each reading.  Amazingly (or not) every person related to the information that I gave them and that led to other questions that I again received guidance and passed on to them.

A few wanted to speak to loved ones who had died – so I used my pendulum to see if the loved one was present.  None of them were – however, as soon as I would put the pendulum down I was flooded with information from the loved one.  This happened on three different occasions.

One gal came in and shyly told me that she had always been able to see things and she never really knew if they were real or not and it bothered her.  “You were so supported in spirit last night,” she told me.  “I could see someone standing next to you the entire time you were speaking. ” That was so lovely to hear.  I always ask Liz to help me and even though I was 99.9% sure she had been by my side, to hear it from someone else was total validation.  And, my validation, proved to this gal that what she was seeing was very real.

I also did an angel card reading for each person. You shuffle the angel cards and choose three, and lay them each face down on the table.  The middle card represents your current situation.  The card to the left represents the past, and the card to the right represents the future.  We flip them over one by one and talk about them.  I would write down the angel card information on each person’s individual note card, and at the end of the reading I would give the note card to the person.

It hasn’t been all that long since I was the one getting the reading and  I know how important it is to walk out with something on paper so you can remember what you are told.

All in all it was a wonderful experience and my sense was that my clients each benefited as well.  And that was the best feeling of all.

What I also realized is this is not about me.  I am simply a willing conduit between the Universe/God and the people that I deal with.

A few days after returning home, it hit me that the message I had received to “trust the process” really was referring to that very deliberate and explicit set of instructions I received that Saturday morning.

God proved to me once again that He will always be there for me.  But will I continue question God’s presence in my life?  I’m sure I will, because I am, after all, only human.

When Art Imitates Life!

1 Apr


Anna showed me this For Better Or For Worse cartoon – this was definintely me – a few years ago … Saturdays were meant for cleaning , washing clothes, getting groceries and many other things.  I would make myself a “to do” list – and I always had way more things to do than time to do them.  I’m sure many mother’s can see themselves in this cartoon.

Family Weekend

18 Mar

Last weekend was a great family bonding weekend for Anna and I.

I’m always surprised and saddened when people tell me that they don’t get along with their family and choose not to have a relationship with them.

Family is one of the most important parts of life.  I know there are circumstances in life that warrant a cutting the ties from close family members, but many times it is petty, ego-centric ideas that cause the separation.

On Saturday the Wencl women gathered for what we hope will be an annual event.  We had several college graduations, a birthday and a retirement to celebrate.  What better way to celebrate than to eat, shop, drink, eat, gamble, swim, sleep, eat again, and gamble a little more!

On Sunday the Baldwin family gathered to celebrate birthdays. 

The weather was beautiful both days and it was glorious and just plain fun.

Family = Fun = Love

Reflections of 2008

16 Jan

Before we get even further into 2009 I’d like to reflect on 2008.  I got this idea from Anna.  Name your top ten occurrences of 2008 Mom, she said.  I thought for a bit and now, almost three weeks later, I’m finally getting around to doing it.

It’s hard to pick #1 but here goes:

1.  Seeing Barack Obama live & in person last February in Mpls.

2. Spending 5 days in NYC with Anna (the best tour guide there is).

3.  Finally letting my family in on my life these past 5 years.

4.  Getting my story of The Letter published in a magazine.

5.  Being a workshop speaker at the Women & Spirituality Conference at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

6.  Having Anna graduate from college.

7.  Spending time with my sister as she deals with breast cancer.

8.  Seeing WICKED (twice)

9.  Having a month off from work to reflect and relax.

10.  Gathering with family and helping at Maddy’s graduation party.

11.  Spending a week on a houseboat with my husband, my parents and my sister.

12. Marking the 5th anniversary of Liz’s death with a TV interview and a picnic at the U of M.

I realize I’ve got 12 things listed.  I couldn’t stop at ten.  Too many things have happened this year — most of them were good … but not all.

All in all, 2008 was a very good year.  But I’m very excited and hopeful that 2009 will be a good year as well.  How do you define a good year?  You continue to learn, to  love, and to give back.

Toward the Light Radio Show

25 Sep

On Sunday, September 28th at 4:00 pm (CDT) I have the honor and privilege of being a guest on the Toward the Light Radio Show with the Rev. Juliet Nightingale.  Juliet and I have been trading emails for a couple of months now, so it will be wonderful to speak with her and share my story.

Happy Birthday to Me – Yippee!!

31 Jul

It’s offical — I’m now 54 and loving every minute!  Can’t wait till next year when I’ll be 55 … I can eat off the “old peoples” menu as my Dad calls it!  And the way I see it, I now have exactly one year to convince Roger that I want/need to retire at 55!  In 2009 I’ll have worked at SPX for 35 yrs and I’ll be 55 yrs old … the company doesn’t have the Rule of 90, but hey it’s a good rule and one I’m determined to follow … we’ll see!

I got the best present I could ever get yesterday and it came out of the blue.

I got an email from Marjorie Savage at the Univ of Minn … she was sending out a letter to students living off campus this year and she was going to address fire safety … did I have any suggested input?  You bet I did!

I’ve been trying for at least two years to get the U of MN to do more to address fire safety and for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen … but now it has … here is what will be going out:

FIRE SAFETY MESSAGE – Five years ago this fall, three University of Minnesota students died in a house fire near campus.  For all parents, and especially for parents of students moving into apartments or houses near campus, please talk to your student about the fire precautions and check your student’s new home for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  Take a tour of the home looking for potential fire hazards.  Before your student goes to sleep that first night, ask him or her to think about two exit routes from all areas of the house or apartment and talk with roommates about exits and meeting places a short distance from the house.

Kim Wencl, the mother of Elizabeth Wencl, who died in the fire five years ago, recently sent an email message recalling her daughter’s move in day that fall:  “I remember our moving day in September, ’03 … it was hot, and we were busy, and we didn’t take the time to talk about fire safety.  It’s so important for parents to bring it up and make the kids think about ‘what if’ scenarios.  Move-in day really is the perfect time.  The kids may roll their eyes and say, ‘Yah, I know,’ but it will stick in their brain and perhaps make a difference down the road.

I think it is also important to let kids know that some of the biggest contributing factors to fire fatalities are careless smoking and alcohol consumption.  And when fatalities occur, overwhelmingly, they are because of these two contributing factors.

We will mark the fifth anniversary of the fire on September 20th, and I don’t want any other families to lose a young adult in such a senseless, preventable manner.”


I’d been trying to think of a meaningful way to mark this momentous fifth anniversary … to make some good out of something bad.  Yesterday, it came to me.  If we can work it out with the U, we’re going to put a flier together, it will include the picture of Liz-Brian-Amanda and the caption will read, “Do you know what happened to these U of M students five years ago?  They lost their lives in a house fire … just blocks from the U.  DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!   And then we will list basic fire prevention tips.  By then kids will have settled into their new homes and it will serve as a good reminder.

If all goes as I’m hoping it will, we’ll be on the campus of the U of M on Friday, September 19th handing out the fliers.  I can’t think of a better place to be.


It’s been a while!

18 Mar

Wow … I knew I hadn’t written in a while, but I didn’t realize just how long it’s been!  Life is good … a little boring and predictable, but very, very good.

I just made the decision last week to be open to doing telephone intuitive consultations for anyone who wants one.  I’ve been telling myself for over 2 yrs now that I would never do that … and yet here we are.  I’ve really gotten information so easily for people when they email me … I decided to challenge myself and see what happens.  The process is always the same, no matter if it is done via email, over the telephone or in person.

I’ve also decided I want to continue to tell my story out loud to anyone who will listen.  I’ve applied to be a workshop speaker at the Women’s Spirituality Conference in Mankato next October.  I will need to speak for at least 75 minutes, so my journey to intuitive knowing will be a part of my talk.  I have a strong sense that I will be given this opportunity.  I will know for sure sometime in June.

It’s been a long winter, and Spring is on the cusp of reality now.  The snow is slowing disappearing and soon the grass will be green and new life will abound.

I’m reading Oprah’s book club selection, “A New Earth” by Eckart Tolle.  It is a great book and I’m doing the online classes that Oprah & Mr. Tolle are hosting for 9 weeks.  Such fun … and it is so refreshing to see so many people embracing the principles of spirituality and getting to know their spirit/themselves in very new, wonderful ways. 

I took a community ed class on energy healing.  It was very interesting and even though we barely scratched the surface of all it has to offer, the benefits I felt for myself and the hands on training we did in class was very beneficial and just plain fun.

Easter, my favorite holiday, is just a few days away!

Blessings to all who read this.

We were a part of history

4 Feb

Anna and I got to be a part of a little bit of history on Saturday.  We joined the thousands, (20 +) who were at the Target Center to see & hear Barack Obama.

I got up early on Saturday to do some of the chores I usually do.  I also had some quiet time.  I set an intention that things would go smoothly for us during our day, that we would have very good seats, and that we would have fun!

Roger wasn’t interested in joining us so my friend Julie came along.  We left Owatonna at 10:00 am.  We got a little goofed up getting to the rail station and I remember thinking, “I hope this isn’t the way the whole day is going to go.”

However, we got to the rail station and as we waited for the train, met a very nice couple who also going to see Barack.

 They were precinct captains and had already spent many hours working on the Obama campaign.  We had a great time talking politics all the way to the Target Center.  When we arrived they invited us to follow them, as they were going to find someone in charge who could explain where we needed to go.  It took only a few minutes and they found someone who explained the method to the madness of lining up 20,000 people!

We found the line we needed to be in; it was 11:45 am and thus began the wait.  It wasn’t bad though.  It wasn’t that cold, it wasn’t snowing, and there was no wind.  The line wrapped all the way around the Target Center and we watched as it continued to grow and grow.  It ended up wrapping around a huge parking ramp quite some distance away.  The crowd was excited, but not out of control.

At 1:30 pm the doors opened and our line started to move.  Things went very fast and by a little after 2 pm we were in our seats … just five rows up from the floor.  We had a fantastic view of the podium where Barack would be standing.

We were set!  We could visit the restroom, buy some food, and relax … and we did all three!  Music was playing and it was fun just to sit back and people watch.  It took a while but the Target Center was filled to capacity with many people choosing to stand on the floor rather than sit in the nose bleed seats.

Barack arrived about 4 pm and spoke for about an hour.  It was so much fun to actually see someone you have only seen on TV.  He is a very charismatic speaker. 

Watching Anna was priceless.  She was so happy and so excited to see the man she thinks should be our next President.  I was so glad that everything had come together so perfectly to make that happen for her.

Afterwards we made our way to Itchiban’s and had a wonderful Japanese dinner … where the chef cooks right in front of you spinning his knife and spatula and entertaining us while we ate and he cooked.

We were home by 8:45 pm. 

It had been a fantastic, memorable day.  And everything just flowed.  I realized our little trouble with directions to the rail station really worked to our advantage.  If we had reached the station without getting lost, we wouldn’t have met up with the wonderful couple who were not only great conversationalists, but were so helpful once at the Target Center, and our seats were fantastic.  It was another validation for me that setting an intention for what you want to happen is a powerful tool and one we can all use when we need to. 

It was one of those days that will live in our memories for years to come.  And there is nothing better than making those kinds of memories with those you love.

What a difference a few hours can make!

30 Jan

I hadn’t written a post in a month and this morning I decided to post just a little something.  Nothing much had been going on and I was kind of lamenting about my “boring” life right now.

What a difference a few hours can make! 

I got a call from my friend Julie today.  Her Aunt Clara passed away and the funeral was today, so she was not at work.  About mid-afternoon my phone rang and it was Julie.

She excitedly told me she had to call me … they were going through an old family bible and they came across some family history.  As it turned out another Aunt that she had always known as Jennie, was really named Johanna.  Why is that so exciting you may ask?

It is exciting because quite a few months ago Julie had asked me to try to intuitively get some more information from her parents about an infant sister that had died at birth.  As far as Julie knew her baby sister didn’t have a name. 

I remember getting information rather easily and I had told Julie that her baby sister’s name was Johanna … or Joanna … the spelling with or without the h was a big bone of contention between her parents.  One wanted it with an h and the other didn’t.

And now today, many months after this reading, the name Johanna was found in the family bible.  The signficance of it didn’t hit me until I hung up the phone.  Wow, this was a huge validation that the information I had received had been “right on.”

It’s always nice to receive validation … it makes me smile and know that what I now do for people is real, it’s valuable to the receiver, and it makes the world a better place.  And, there’s no better feeling than that!


I got home from work late this afternoon and realized that the free tele-program with Susan Apollon that I signed up for last week is tonight!

I got an email from  Anna loves Barack and with her 22nd birthday in a little over a week, I had gone on his website to order a tee-shirt for her.  Unknowingly I was now on his email list.

He’s coming to Mpls on Saturday the email said.  Suddenly, it clicked in my head.  Anna had called a couple of days ago to tell us she was coming home for the weekend … it’s time for a new mother – daughter excursion to the Target Center on Saturday to see Barack!  We can take the light rail downtown and make a day of it … afterwards we’ll eat at Itchibans … we had made plans to do that before we went to see Lion King last October, but time got away from us that day and it didn’t happen.  This Saturday it will!

Our church newsletter came in the mail today.  There was an article in it about the BLUEMAN GROUP.  They are coming to Mpls in March and our church is selling tickets.  When Anna and I were in Las Vegas over Labor Day there were signs for the BLUEMAN GROUP everywhere!  Of course, I was clueless as to who they were (and I still am).  Anna raved about them and had wanted to see them.   We didn’t see them then … but guess what?  We will be seeing them in March!

On February 8th, we are going to my sister Sue’s in Redwood Falls.  We will celebrate Anna’s birthday and go to Jackpot Junction for supper and try our luck and do a little gambling.

What a difference a few hours can make. 

This morning, I didn’t think I had much to look forward to … life seemed boring!  Guess what …. it doesn’t feel boring anymore! 

Life is good …. life is joyous … once again another lesson learned …  amid the mundane activities of life … exciting things pop up unexpectedly to make you smile … expect the unexpected … what a great way to live!