If you read nothing else today, read this!

I haven’t been blogging for a while because I have been going through some very trying times with one of my sons.

It has been heart wrenching, draining and all-consuming.

A mother’s love NEVER gives up.

I wanted to share a passage with my boys from one of my favorite books, The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino. I feel the message is something that every teenager needs to hear. I knew that it would be difficult for them to read and understand, so I rewrote the passage as an act of love.

The truth is that the message below is for all of us.

Please share it with your loved ones and your children… with anyone who is struggling with depression, loneliness, being bullied, feeling worthless or having thoughts of suicide.

This will always be, in my opinion, one of the most life changing messages you will ever read.

Much love,

Erin

 

 

 

To: You

From: God (Your higher power, the universe or however you perceive God)

 

Know this, I hear your cry.

 

It passes through the darkness, filters through the clouds, mingles with starlight, and finds its way to my heart on the path of a sunbeam.

 

I have anguished over your pain and your cry.

 

Know that I hear you.

 

Be at peace.

Be calm.

 

I bring relief to your sorrow for I know its cause… and its cure.

 

The passing years have filled your mind with fear and doubt and anxiety and remorse and hate. There is little room for joyful memories where these beasts habitate.

 

Cry no more.

 

I am with you.

 

Let me share with you, again, the secret you heard at birth and forgot.

 

You are my greatest miracle.

You are the greatest miracle in the world.

 

Those were the first words you ever heard. Then you cried. They all cry.

 

You did not believe me then… and you do not believe me now.

 

How could you be a miracle when you have made mistakes, when you have lacked confidence and when you have failed?

 

Enough.

I still love you.

 

You have been told that you are special, that you have infinite possibilities and gifts… like an angel in action, you are divinity in disguise.

 

You have been told that you are the salt of the earth.

 

You were given the secret to move mountains, to perform the impossible.

 

You didn’t believe me.

 

The consequences of your own thoughts and deeds lead you to look for a scapegoat on which to blame your failure.

 

You blamed me.

You were wrong.

 

Let us take inventory of your blessings.

 

Are you blind?

No. You can see… and the hundred million receptors I have placed in your eyes enable you to enjoy the magic of a leaf, a snowflake, a pond, an eagle, a child, a cloud, a star, a rose, a rainbow… and the look of love.

Count one blessing.

 

Are you deaf?

 

No. You can hear… and the twenty-four thousand fibers I have built in each of your ears vibrate to the wind in the trees, the tides on the rocks, the majesty of music, a robin’s song, children at play… and the words I love you.

Count another blessing.

 

Are you mute?

 

No. You can speak… as can no other of my creatures and your words can calm the angry, uplift the despondent, inspire the quitter, cheer the unhappy, warm the lonely, praise the worthy, encourage the defeated, teach the struggling student… and say I love you.

Count another blessing.

 

Are you paralyzed?

 

No. You can move. You can stretch and run and dance and work, for within you I have designed five hundred muscles, two hundred bones, and seven miles of nerve fiber all synchronized by me so you can move.

Count another blessing.

 

Are you unloved and unloving?

 

No. No more. Love’s greatest secret is, to receive love it must be given with no thought of its return. To love for fulfillment, satisfaction, or pride is not love. Love is a gift on which no return is demanded. Now you know that to love unselfishly is its own reward. And even if love is not returned it is not lost, for love not reciprocated will flow back to you and soften and purify your heart.

Count another blessing.

Count twice.

 

Is your heart weak?

 

No. Your heart is strong. Touch your chest and feel its rhythm, pulsating, hour after hour, day and night, thirty-six million beats each year, asleep or awake, pumping blood through more than sixty thousand miles of veins, arteries, and tubing… pumping more than six hundred thousand gallons each year. Man has never created such a machine.

Count another blessing.

 

Do you have a skin disease?

 

No. Your skin is a marvel of creation, you need only wash it with soap and water. In time all steels tarnish and rust, but not your skin. Eventually the strongest of metals will wear, with use, but not the layer of skin that I have constructed around you. Constantly it renews itself, old cells replaced by new, just as the old you, replaced by the new. Everyday a new day to reinvent yourself.

Count another blessing.

 

Are you unable to breathe?

 

No. Your lungs are the portholes to life. They support you even in the vilest environments and they labor always to filter life-giving oxygen through six hundred million pockets of folded flesh while they rid your body of gaseous wastes.

Count another blessing.

 

Do you have blood poisoning?

 

No. Within your five quarts of blood are twenty-two trillion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule is an atom oscillating at more than ten million times each second. Each second, two million of your blood cells die to be replaced by two million more in a resurrection that has continued since your birth.

Count another blessing.

 

Are you feeble of mind?

 

No. You can think for yourself. Your brain is the most complex structure in the universe. I know. Within its three pounds are thirteen billion nerve cells, more than three times as many as there are people on earth. To help you file every perception, every sound, every taste, every smell, every action you have experienced since the day of your birth, I have implanted, within your cells, more than one thousand billion protein molecules. Every incident in your life is there waiting only your recall. And, to assist your brain in the control of your body I have dispersed, throughout your form, four million pain-sensitive structures, five hundred thousand touch detectors, and more than two hundred thousand temperature detectors. You are my finest creation.

Count your blessings.

 

Are you poor?

 

No. You are rich! Together we have just counted your wealth. Study the list. Count your blessings again and tally your assets!

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, know that I have given you countless more blessings for the above blessings that you lack.

You have talent, abilities, pleasures, instincts, sensations, pride and hope.

You have the power to change your life.

You have so much. Your blessings overflow from your cup for I have bestowed them upon you with much generosity and regularity.

 

What rich man, old and sick, feeble and helpless, would not exchange all the gold in his vault for the blessings you take so lightly?

 

Never in all the seventy billion humans who have walked this planet since the beginning of time has there been another exactly like you.

Never, until the end of time, will there be another such as you.

You don’t understand or appreciate your uniqueness.

Yet, you are the rarest thing in the world.

 

From your father, in his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love, more than four hundred million in number. All of them swam within your mother, gave up the chase and died.

All except one. You!

You alone persevered within the loving warmth of your mother’s body, searching for your other half, a single cell from your mother so small that more than two million would be necessary to fill an acorn shell. Yet, despite impossible odds, in that vast ocean of darkness, you persevered, found the minuscule cell, joined with it, and began a new life.

 

YOUR life.

Two cells now united in a miracle.

Two cells, each containing twenty-three chromosomes and within each chromosome hundreds of genes, which would govern every characteristic about you, from the color of your eyes to the charm of your manner, to the size of your brain.

With all the combinations at my command, beginning with that single sperm from your father’s four hundred million, through the hundreds of genes in each of the chromosomes from your mother and father, I could have created three hundred thousand billion humans, each different from the other.

 

But who did I bring forth?

 

YOU!

 

One of a kind.

Rarest of rare.

A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live.

 

Why do you value yourself in pennies when you are worth a fortune?

 

Why do you listen to others who bully you and put you down, and why do you believe them?

 

No longer hide your rarity in the dark.

Bring it forth.

Show the world.

 

Don’t strive to be like your friends. Never imitate others. Be yourself. Show your rarity to the world and they will shower you with gold.

 

For all the rules and speeches and scriptures on success and how to attain it, only one method has never failed… Go the extra mile.

 

The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what the task may be. This is a habit that has been followed by all successful people since the beginning of time. The surest way to doom yourself to mediocrity is to perform only the work for which you are paid.

 

Go the extra mile.

 

Don’t think you are being cheated if you deliver more than the small portion you receive. There is a pendulum to all of life and the sweat you deliver, if not rewarded today, the pendulum will swing back tomorrow and deliver tenfold.

The mediocre never go the extra mile. If you only do as little as others, the responsibility for your failure is yours alone.

Do not be concerned if you serve an ungrateful boss. Serve him more. Go the extra mile.

You cannot command success, you can only deserve it.

 

 

To count your blessings with gratitude, to proclaim your rarity with pride, to go the extra mile and then another, these acts are not accomplished in the blink of an eye.

Be patient with yourself and your progress.

Things that you acquire with the most difficulty you retain the longest; just as those who have worked to earn a fortune are more careful with it than those whom inherit one.

 

Be proud. You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator. You are a manifestation of no force but mine, of no love but mine.

You were made for a purpose.

I have never lost faith in you and I made no further effort to improve on you.

 

For how could I improve on a miracle?

 

You were a marvel to behold and I was pleased. I gave you this world and dominion over it. Then, to enable you to reach your full potential I placed my hand upon you and endowed you with powers unknown to any other creature in the universe, even unto this day.

 

I gave you the power to think.

I gave you the power to love.

I gave you the power to will.

I gave you the power to laugh.

I gave you the power to imagine.

I gave you the power to create.

I gave you the power to plan.

I gave you the power to speak.

I gave you the power to pray.

 

My pride in you knows no bounds. You are my ultimate creation.

My greatest miracle.

A complete living being.

One who can adjust to any climate, any hardship, any challenge. One who can manage his own destiny without any interference from me. One who can translate a sensation or perception, not by instinct, but by thought and deliberation into whatever action is best for himself and all humanity.

 

I gave you one more power.

A power so great that not even my angels possess it.

 

I gave you the power to choose.

 

With this gift, I placed you even above my angels… for angels are not free to choose sin.

 

I gave you complete control over your destiny. I asked you to determine for yourself, your own nature by exerting your own free will. You are free to fashion yourself in whatever form you prefer. You have the power to choose to degenerate into the lowest forms of life, and also the power, out of your soul’s judgement, to evolve into your highest form, which is divine.

 

What have you done with this tremendous force?

 

Look at yourself.

 

Think of the choices you have made in your life and recall, now, those bitter moments you would have fallen to your knees if only you had the opportunity to choose again.

 

Use wisely your power of choice.

 

Choose to love… rather than hate.

Choose to laugh… rather than cry.

Choose to create… rather than destroy.

Choose to persevere… rather than quit.

Choose to praise… rather than gossip.

Choose to heal… rather than wound.

Choose to give… rather than steal.

Choose to act… rather than procrastinate.

Choose to grow… rather than stagnate.

Choose to pray… rather than curse.

Choose to live… rather than die.

 

Now you know that your misfortunes were not my will, the power of your actions and thoughts, and their outcomes were your doing, not mine. My gifts of power were too great for your small nature. Now you have grown both taller and wiser and the fruits of all your positive efforts will be yours.

You are more than a human being.

You are a human becoming.

 

You are capable of great wonders.

Your potential is unlimited.

 

Who else, among my creatures, has mastered fire?

Who else, among my creatures, has conquered gravity, has traveled through space, overcome disease, famine, floods, hurricanes and droughts?

 

Never demean yourself again!

 

Never settle for the crumbs of life!

 

Never hide your talents, from this day forward.

 

Remember, a child says, “When I am big.”

A teenager says, “When I grow up.”

A grownup says, “When I get married.”

An adult says, “When I retire.”

And then, retirement comes and you look back over your life and somehow it seems you have missed it and its gone.

 

Enjoy this day, today… and tomorrow, tomorrow.

 

But just as before… you can choose failure and despair or success and happiness.

 

The choice is yours. The choice is exclusively yours. I can only watch, as before… in pride… or sorrow.

 

Remember to always count your blessings, proclaim your rarity, go the extra mile and use wisely your power of choice.

 

And one more thing… do all things with love… love for yourself, love for all others, and love for me.

 

Now wipe away your tears.

Reach out, grasp my hand and stand straight.

 

And always remember…

 

YOU ARE THE GREATEST MIRACLE IN THE WORLD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Part 1: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, The Stalker

He always wore a large straw hat.

I didn’t think it was strange at the time, but as I write this now, I guess it didn’t make much sense to wear a straw hat indoors to walk the mall.

One of my closest friends had purchased a kiosk. She owned two large machines that gave patrons water massages while they listened to music piped in through a headset.

The concept was ingenious and the massage powerful. The idea of having a water massage without getting wet drew many curious people to our kiosk.

Working at a kiosk also drew a lot of other attention.

It put you right in the middle of all of the action, the crowds of people, and front and center in the public eye.

The were no doors to close, no walls to protect you and no option to leave your location.

We called them the “Mall Walkers.”

They were there every morning with their sneakers and water bottles, to walk the mile of mall flooring to get their daily exercise.

“My name is Harry.” He said with a smile.

“Nice to meet you, Harry.” I replied.

That’s how it all began.

As simple as a greeting.

At first Harry would stop by daily to say hello and make small talk.

“How are you doing today?”

Then his visits become longer and more frequent.

His conversation, more questions about me than the small talk of the past weeks.

“So do you like sushi?” He asked me one day.

“Yes, I do.” I stated.

Harry began walking at the mall more than once a day. His walks had become scheduled around my shifts at the kiosk… although it took me a while to figure that out.

One day Harry brought me sushi for lunch. It was a nice gesture but he refused to take the money that I offered him to pay for it.

My friend that owned the kiosk was starting to become concerned.

“He’s just a lonely old man.” I said, naive to the danger that was about to ensue.

I started to dread seeing the top of that straw hat sticking out in the distance above the mall crowd.

Harry started to come to the kiosk for water massages.

Now he was a paying customer and that presented a new problem instituting boundaries with him.

He started to bring me random things that we may have mentioned during our conversation when he frequented the kiosk.

Photos of some roses that he made out of bent metal.

A Costco sized, ten pound jar of artichokes.

A bottle of Pinot Grigio.

I refused every gift, but after becoming visibly angry with me, he left them anyway.

Maybe Harry wasn’t so harmless.

One day, an employee from a store near our kiosk approached me.

“Erin, that guy with the straw hat is circling the parking lot trying to find your car. He asked me what kind of car you drive. I didn’t tell him.”

“Thanks for the heads up.” I said, feeling more uneasy about Harry and not knowing what I was going to do.

Harry started coming to the kiosk for water massages three times a day.

He was a paying customer, but no one needs three massages a day.

He would make excuses about a new ache or injury and linger at the kiosk both before and after the massage.

One night after the mall closed, he tried to follow me home.

I stared at the headlights in my rear view mirror as the vehicle behind me mimicked my every turn… Is it my imagination, or is the driver wearing a straw hat?

I finally lost him in traffic but my heart continued to pound.

Okay, my friend that owned the kiosk was right.

We had to do something.

When Harry showed up saying that he wanted to meet my parents and walk off into the sunset with me, that was about all I could take.

“Harry, you have to leave me alone!” I said firmly. “You can not talk to me or come to this kiosk anymore.”

“Ya know, I pleasure myself thinking about you every night.” He said.

“That’s it! Get away from me! I’m calling mall security!” I screamed.

Mall security told us it was our right to ban Harry from being a customer. They told Harry that he was no longer allowed to frequent our business or to come near it at all, for that matter.

Harry was furious!

He began writing me letters and following me as I walked through the mall on my way to work.

I parked my car in different locations each day, making sure that I didn’t enter or leave the mall through the same door.

Harry would hang around the location of the kiosk and watch through the glass windows of nearby stores.

In the end, Harry approached the kiosk with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine.

We contacted mall security and they escorted me to the safety of their office.

Harry ran through the mall after us yelling, “Please, I just want to talk to her and give her these flowers… and this bottle of pinot grigio…”

Two security guards grabbed Harry by the arms and took him out of the mall.

I never saw Harry again, but I continued to be on the lookout for a straw hat…

In fact, to this day, when I see a man wearing a straw hat, my anxiety level skyrockets as adrenaline pulses through my body.

Even with time, that hasn’t changed.

Join me for Part 2: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, I see Dead People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for straw hats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Up: A Four Part Series That WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!

Are you ready?

Fasten your seat belts…

I am about to take you on an adventure through things that will leave you questioning your own beliefs and everything that you knew to be true.

I seriously hope that you’re up for it.

I’m going to put it all out there anyway.

I’m always open to all of your comments and opinions but if you don’t have an open mind and an open heart, read no further.

Truth is scarier than fiction, no doubt.

These next four posts are things that I have experienced.

I have three, 12 to 15 hour shifts ahead of me so I have to forego sleep to post, it may be random.

You may have to check in to follow the story…

And you may have to put aside everything that you thought was real in the first place.

If you’re up to it, please remember to keep your hands in the cart at all times because I am ready to take you on a wild ride.

Come and join me…

If you dare…

Erin Cooper Reed

 

 

Writing With A Ghost Over Your Shoulder

I once read or heard somewhere the expression, “Don’t write with a ghost over your shoulder.

I love to write and writing comes very easily to me. I write whatever is in my heart at the time and that seems to be working just fine.

Yet sometimes, I pause and hold certain things back.

This I’ve learned, is called writing with a ghost over your shoulder.

Maybe that ghost is the fear of negative opinions or judgments. It could be not wanting to disclose something that might offend, upset or make others feel uncomfortable.

It may be something from your past or present that you are hesitant to reveal.

Your fingers glide across the keyboard, then you glance over your shoulder at that ghost and say to yourself, I can’t write that…

Backspace, backspace, backspace.

Authentic writing is writing with the freedom and courage to honestly express what you want to express, without self-editing.

It should be every writers goal to exercise their own voice and write honestly from the authentic experiences that surround them.

It has certainly become my goal.

I struggle to rid myself of the ghost over my shoulder…Yet, I know that each time I push through my fear, ignore the ghost and post my writing anyway, the ghost loses his power.

The other day, Katherine from Mind Movies texted me and said, “I love your blog! You’re so honest and authentic, that’s why it’s so enjoyable to read!”

Take that, ghost over my shoulder!

Maybe it’s time for you to go find some other writer to haunt!

 

The Eye of the Storm

Sometimes we find ourselves totally unprepared for what life throws at us. There is no forewarning, no current of change, no inkling of the storm that is brewing along the horizon.

And then, there we are standing dead center, in the eye of the storm.

We realize that the saying “Life can turn on a dime” exists for a reason… because it is true.

Maybe it is any injury, or a breakup, an illness or the loss of a job or a loved one. Whatever the storm may be, the eye of it is the devastating life change that turns your world upside down.

The enormity of the situation finally sets in. You go through an array of emotions, shock, confusion, fear, anger, depression, anxiety, uncertainty… then innately, you realize that you have no choice but to face it.

Acceptance is the first step in regaining your ground.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. - Joseph Campbell

Slowly you learn to cope with your new circumstances without even realizing that coping is the second step in embracing change.

Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem. - Virginia Satir

So where do you go from here?

This is the part where your adaptability, courage and resilience takes you places you would never have dared to go if wasn’t for the storm and the eye of the storm that catapulted you to where you now reside.

Maybe through your experience, you find a cause that you are passionate about.

Maybe you have an interest in sharing your experience and helping other people who are dealing with a similar situation.

Maybe you are inspired to create in the form of the written word, art or even an invention.

And maybe, you realize that the storm, the turn of a dime that you saw as a setback, is the exact circumstance that gave you the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

A perspective that not only leads to beautiful and unexpected paths but ultimately leads you to grow and thrive.