The Boston Bombings: Missing Pieces

Interview for OtherSide of Life Radio

Tune in Thursday, June 27th

I am pleased to announce that I will be a guest on OtherSide of Life Radio Thursday evening, June 27th. The interview will take place from 7 PM to 9 PM.

I will be joined by my friend and former colleague Ken McCabe, retired FBI administrator. We will discuss tragic incidents and their residual effects. Psychic Lillee Allee and bombing witness Kevin Jones will also participate in the conversation.

To hear the live interview, visit BlogTalkRadio Live or OtherSide of Life‘s page. To speak with host Art Shaw during the show, call (818) 394-8534.

OtherSide of Life Radio is Boston’s insightful talk show that explores spiritual practices, religious beliefs, paranormal experiences, health and wellness, and inspirational stories. Click here to learn more about OtherSide of Life.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with host Art Shaw, my fellow participants, and listeners.

Blessings…

Lillie

P.S.  Look for news of another radio interview to come soon!

BOOKS-A-MILLION: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Please accept my apology!

Please accept my apology!

Dear Family & Friends,

I hope this note finds each of you doing well.

Today I arrived at the Books-A-Million (BAM) store in Nashville, Tennessee for my book signing. As I eagerly walked into the bookstore ready to meet-and-greet one and all, I soon found myself greatly disappointed.

It appears due to some error in coordinating the book signing it did not take place. So I wanted to extend my deepest apologies to any individuals who may have stopped by the BAM to share in your personal stories and have a book signed.

Please know how well I appreciate your continued support and regret today’s faux pas. Hay House (my publisher) is looking into the matter to determine what transpired. Hopefully in the future, there will not be a repeat of today’s blunder.

Again, I am very sorry for any inconvenience you may have encountered.

Thank you!
Lillie
                     “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
                           ~ Benjamin Franklin

Reconciling an Irreconcilable Past

When my ex-husband became very ill recently, I received a telephone call from my daughter.  She was on her way to the hospital to be by his side in the emergency room.  Her voice was so filled with fear that it prompted my heart to immediately respond — a response without the angry tones of a bitter ex-wife, but rather that of sincere empathy and concern.  In those initial moments of my unexpected reaction, I felt the mixed emotions of kindness and harshness stir inside of me.  I instantly felt conflicted by the duality of the feelings.  Yet somewhere deep inside, my spirit beckoned me to take the proverbial high road.  So I did just that and explained to my daughter that my thoughts and prayers were with her and her dad.

In that moment of reckoning, it appeared I had made a conscious positive choice over the negative path of indignation.  By doing so, I felt a release of anger and an inexplicable uplifting of my soul.  Instead of remembering the hurt imposed in bygone days, I recalled the memories of a young man I once knew.  In place of the painful thoughts from the end of our life together, my mind swept quickly to the beginning and the kindling of new love.  At that time, he was everything a young woman desired in a suitor and in a budding romance.  He was handsome, smart, kind and attentive.  He courted me in a way that made me feel like a princess.  And when I became pregnant, he rallied to my side and that of our unborn child.  He stood up against his parents, my parents and the opinions of the local parish priest.  He rose as my knight in shining armor, ready to champion the cause and accept his responsibility as a husband and a father.

In the initial years of our marriage, life was good.  We shared in the experiences of being a young couple enjoying the pleasures of one another and our newborn child.  When we moved into our first apartment, life became quite pleasant as we bonded into a family.  That is, until alcoholism came knocking at the door.  In the years that followed the onset of the disease, the drinking escalated and so did the ill behaviors.  And after what seemed like an eternity, our marriage became another statistic and ended in divorce.  Through the years that followed the dissolution of our life as husband and wife, the relationship became extremely complex and the communication almost nonexistent.  The leftover emotions took hold and seemed to prevail for far too long.  So in the initial moments of learning of my ex’s ill health, my response was quite perplexing; as was my sudden need to settle the past not just for my daughter’s benefit, but for mine and possibly his, as well.

From the time of our marital separation to the moment of the telephone call alerting me to my ex’s illness, I had always told my daughter to keep her heart open to her father.  For in my own heart, I knew it was the best guidance to provide.  I believed that the bond between a parent and child was paramount to the maturation and well-being of the offspring.  In my mind, no matter the age, this intrinsic relationship is the strongest of human ties.

In providing my grown daughter with these words of wisdom, I felt the need to embrace the concept on my own.  I found that my heart had likewise opened to my ex again.  Not in the familiar pattern of love, but in the form of a release — a letting go of sorts from the emotional pain inflicted and the regrets.  As I moved in this newly-understood direction of forgiving the past mistakes, I hoped that this release would become a permanent part of my being.  If indeed these feelings were lasting ones, then perhaps the remorse felt would diminish with their presence.  Not the rue over years lost, nor for what could have or should have been, but the raw emotions that once dwelt inside me when I sensed no ability to reconcile an irreconcilable past that had tainted my mind and held my heart captive.

reconciliation

The path to reconciliation.

Tennessee Tour Announcement

InTheShadowOfABadge

Media Tour Scheduled for June 13 – 18

I am pleased to announce a book tour in Tennessee this week, June 13 through 18.  Books-A-Million will be hosting two book signings in Jackson and Nashville (see details below).  WNWS Radio in Jackson will also conduct an interview on June 13 (details below).

In anticipation of the Jackson book signing, The Jackson Sun featured a story about my book, In the Shadow of a Badge, on its June 6 cover page.  I am grateful to all those involved in sharing my story and making this tour possible.

Many thanks to Arron Alexis at Hay House, Steve Bowers at WNWS, Christine Corbitt at Books-A-Million, my assistant Samantha Coury, Jacque Hillman at The HillHelen Group, LLC, Jesse Hillman at The Jackson Sun, Libby Murphy at Key Artist Mgt., Keith Sherley at WNWS, Karen Stone at Hay House, and Cally Jamis Vennare at Cally Jamis Vennare Communications.

I look forward to visiting with family and friends, meeting the BAM patrons, and sharing in this wonderful opportunity.

Blessings…

Lillie

 

Tour Details

The Power Of One

Throughout the tumultuous history of our nation, the power of one man’s or one woman’s voice has permeated across the land and inspired others to bring about change to improve the quality of life for the masses. Historians have documented the influence of men like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and female leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks who rose to the occasion and shed light on civil inequalities. Thus, resulting in significant improvements in the rights of others. As Americans, we have relished this diverse and rich history with great fervor and commitment to protect our freedoms and take satisfaction in our ability to do so. This segment of notable men and women served as wonderful role models who informed our nation and stood against adversity in the name of us all.

Sometimes, a lone voice rises from an unknown individual who shouts loud enough to be heard. And in recent weeks, the power of one such voice reached a national audience. It was the voice of a single man who chose to aid another human being in need. In hearing the cries of a woman in distress, he rose to the occasion and responded accordingly. When she was powerless to fight for herself, he acted on her behalf. In a precious moment in time, he chose to champion a cause when others may have turned a deaf ear. As a result of his actions, the lives of three women and a little girl were forever changed for the better.

In my former career in law enforcement, I was privileged to witness the actions of the brave men and women who served to protect. And in the heat of battle, I was in awe of their deeds. Yet despite the many incidents that were responded to and resolved, I had an expectation for my fellow officers to fulfill their role in a manner befitting their chosen profession.

As I contemplate the exceptional behavior displayed by one, I do so in acknowledgment of this amazing man. Over these past few months and years, like many, I have watched as other individuals have risen on a singular occasion to help their neighbors in need. I am reminded that during each instance, it began with the power of one. One man, one woman, one voice ready to protect and defend, for the good of all. In my mind, each of these feats have helped to restore faith in our humanity and hope for a better tomorrow.

The power of one man, of one woman of one voice.

The power of one man, of one woman of one voice.

 

In the Line of Fire

In the early onset stages of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), flashbacks were a common occurrence in my daily life. They were a constant reminder of what I saw, what I heard and what I smelled. Any similar prop that presented itself caused the prompting of the distant memory to become the reality of the day. The past merged with the present and my mind became a tangled web of misunderstood messages and thoughts.

Over these many years since September 11, the flashbacks have decreased. Now their arrival is usually beset by some incident that resembles the carnage viewed on 9/11 at the Flight 93 crash site. These remembrances result because I am drawn to a story viewed on television or heard in the daily occurrences of life. One such incident took place this past week as I watched the tragic events at the Boston Marathon unfold. Like others, I was transfixed to the television and listened as every fact was presented by the newscasters.

As I watched the video of the explosion replay time and time again and heard the screams of the injured, my mind became less focused on the violent act and more drawn to the reaction of the individuals in the crowd.

What I saw was truly inspirational. Instead of running away from the epicenter of the incident, many ran toward the carnage that was now very visible to one and all. These first responders were not only those dressed in blue uniforms and wearing a badge — or the insignia of the emergency medical services — they were the everyday people participating in the once jubilant occasion of the marathon. They were the marathoners who had just triumphantly crossed over the finish line. They were the bystanders awaiting the arrival of a loved one. They were the volunteers who helped to organize the event. And they were the many faces who were once part of an enthusiastic crowd of on-lookers. Yet when they witnessed the tragic results of the terroristic acts, they did not give flight. Instead of fleeing the scene, they turned toward the danger and ran in the direction of the devastation to assist others. These amazing individuals moved in tandem with the police officers and other emergency responders who were there to render aid. In photo after photo published by the news agencies, there were innumerable people who displayed acts of heroism in response to the horrific events of the day.

A hero is defined as a person noted for a courageous act. And courage it is said, is not the absence of fear, but rather, the judgment that something is more important than the fright felt. By placing themselves in harm’s way, I view these brave men and women as heroes. For they committed selfless acts of valor and portrayed the traits of fidelity, bravery and integrity.

In the years since 9/11, our country has watched as one violent act after another is perpetrated against humanity. And each time, we have witnessed the devastation to human life. But as we all suffer from the effects of these tragedies, there are also positive themes that prevail time and again: the indomitable spirit of the citizenry of this country; the gentle hand of a stranger; and the willingness to reach down and uplift one another. With each tragic event, our nation has risen from the ashes because of fearless individuals like those who served at the Boston Marathon and in the days that followed.

Although these amazing individuals do not wear a badge, nor have they sworn an oath to serve and protect, they have served as bravely as any law enforcement officer and earned a well-deserved badge of service for their courageous acts. As a former law enforcement professional, I praise those who chose to respond in the best interest of mankind. And give thanks for their willingness to place themselves in the line of fire.

A Word about Heroism

A Word about Heroism

When The Memories Fade

When the memories fade from the mind of a loved one, it is a dismal situation to witness and experience. The initial glimmers of the destructive path to the brain’s once vibrant mechanism bring about a sense of great loss and agony for all involved. The individual who has been affected by the illness feels the weight of this internal turmoil most of all. The emotional pain suffered in knowing that a beloved family member is slipping away is quite distressing. Not only from a psychological perspective, but in the physical and spiritual senses, as well.

When my maternal Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there really wasn’t much known about the disease. The behavioral patterns were evident, but in that time little research had been conducted to better understand the devastating effects of those stricken, let alone the availability of any medication. Even my grandmother’s physicians tip-toed around the subject, as did most family members. When my grandmother began to behave in an unfamiliar manner, the family would just smile and whisper about her suffering from an ailment known as “old-timers.”

As the disease took hold and her mind became convoluted – as did any thought she voiced – our family watched the disease destroy her body and spirit. Over a period of eight long years, our family observed her transform from a once robust woman into an emaciated and bed-ridden patient who had no memory of anyone including her only daughter, my mom. This metamorphosis caused such suffering for Mom and tore at the very fabric of our family life. In the last years of my grandmother’s life, she had no control over any of her faculties. And when she died, Mom felt as if the years had only left her with sad memories.

In recent months, another beloved member of our family has been afflicted with early stage dementia. Although it is hurtful to watch my aunt begin to decline, it has also brought some joyful moments into our lives. Between the repeated conversations and snippets of the present days come the stories of the past and her youth. Mixed in with those reminiscent moments are tales of her childhood, including accounts of my dad and grandfather. These narratives are ones I’ve never heard before and depict a look into the early life that she shared with two of her favorite men. My grandfather had passed away a few years before I was born, so I never had the privilege of meeting him or spending time in his presence. But in listening to the stories of a time gone by, I feel as if I have caught a glimpse of some tender moments in all of their lives. These fragments of my aunt’s memory have provided a chance to share in the impressions sustained inside her heart. And have warmed the cockles of mine.

As her mind travels down memory lane, she smiles in remembering her best-loved  people, places and things. She recalls the youthful pranks of siblings, days spent in the kitchen preparing holiday meals and the loving manner of a kind and caring father. In those moments of recollection, it appears as if her very being becomes illuminated and the damaging nature of the disorder loses its hold on her mind. In some ways, it has brought a familial gift of sorts. In the intermittent moments of memories captured from the past, a heartfelt sentiment is recalled. And the joy once felt is again displayed and shared by all.

Memories light the corners of my mind...

Memories light the corners of my mind…

Keeping The Scales Tipped @ Happiness

When I contemplate individuals in my life who have the right to be bitter, my Maternal Aunt is the first person who immediately comes to mind. In the span of her lifetime, she has lost two husbands and her only son. Her first husband passed away when she was nine months pregnant with their fourth child. He succumbed to pneumonia while in the hospital, post gallbladder surgery. In the years that followed, my Aunt struggled to raise her four children without the benefit of their father. She worked at a job, cooked, cleaned, sewed garments and managed all the issues it usually takes two parents to accomplish. After being single for nearly a decade, she remarried and gave birth to her fifth child. And when the youngest of her children was a mere toddler, her second husband passed away from a major stroke.

In the years that followed, the hardships of life once again came knocking at her door and she suffered another heartbreaking event. As a result of an extreme allergic reaction, her only son died from anaphylactic shock. This loss was a traumatic blow to her psyche and one which appeared to traumatize her spirit.

In the days following her sons’ death, I watched as my Aunt struggled with her faith and her will to move forward in life. It was the only time in my memory of her that I can recall observing her strength of resolve compromised. During this period in my life, I was serving as a police officer and had viewed death under many a circumstance. But this loss left not only me, but every family member, feeling unprepared for the sorrow and aftermath that followed. In the subsequent months, I watched my Aunt struggle to reconstruct the pieces of her shattered life and that of her four daughters.

As I viewed her doing so, I felt privileged to witness the strength of her indomitable spirit. Each day, I observed her with her family and friends and I marveled at her ability to retain her kind and caring manner. And at that particular time, it was very hard for me to understand how she was able to preserve a sense of kindness when life had dealt her such a cruel blow.

Once I asked my Aunt a question regarding how she had kept herself from allowing the bitterness to overtake the happiness. And her response provided me some insight into not only her life, but an “aha” moment in mine as well. She responded to my query by saying, “Think of the two emotions as you would the scales of justice. One side of the scale holds the keys to happiness and the other the path to bitterness. Now with this in mind, try to keep the scale tilted in the 51% of a happy life. If you do, you’ll be able to find the joy even when life deals you an unfair misfortune.”

When she finished with her reply, she smiled that familiar grin, patted me ever so gently on the arm and walked away. At that time, I wasn’t astute enough to understand that her smile camouflaged a deep sadness. Yet she wore that grin well and seldom ever frowned.

As the years have passed and both of us have grown much older, I am still in awe of this wonderful woman who found her way past the bitter moments in life and chose a path to a more worthwhile approach toward a heightened state of awareness. Through her enduring examples of resilience and inner strength, I have come to better comprehend the words of wisdom she shared with me more than 25 years ago.

In watching her respond to the traumatic events in her life, I learned the importance of letting go of the bitterness. Because holding on to it not only causes problematic health issues, it also removes the ability to experience the fleeting moments of joy. Throughout these many years I have grown to admire my dear Aunt. Not only as a beloved family member, but as a woman of great fortitude. For in her resilience, I have found a shining example to emulate. And in her smile, lies the constant reminder of the light that is illuminated from within.

Beloved Aunt

Beloved Aunt

Crossroads

First blog for Huffington Post

First blog for Huffington Post

Changing careers in midlife is not an easy transition for anyone — especially once you’ve hit the over-50 classification and acquired your first AARP card. Prior to the arrival of the big 5-0, it was a subject I gave little thought to or worried about. That is, until my world came crashing down around me and I woke up one morning to find my life had been permanently and irrevocably altered.

These many months and years of economic decline has brought all too many midlifers to a turning point in their lives. Their direction, once set on a straight parallel of travel, was intersected by all too many fast-moving vehicles. Their Global Positioning System (GPS) appeared to go haywire, and many found themselves lost and without an inkling of how to regain their sense of direction.

After spending almost 26 years as a law enforcement professional, I too found myself lost in an area of unfamiliar territory. Despite my every attempt to reroute my life, I was left stranded with no ability to turnaround. In other words, my pink slip had arrived and I was discharged from duty because of my medical inability to perform. My ill health now prevented me from working the job I had loved and one in which seemed to identify my very person. It was a position I cherished and one which allowed me to contribute to humanity by serving in the best interest of my fellow man.

In those first months of trying to determine which direction to travel, I found solace in writing my thoughts and feelings on many a yellow lined, legal-sized tablet, a practice which I had completed for some 40 years time. The notebooks accumulated over time and lined the upper shelves of my bedroom closet. Some were very dusty after many years of neglect and others were on the top of the pile with little wear and tear. So, as I pondered the present situation, I kept hearing the soft whispers of a promising future. A future which encompassed the past practices and many years of penning my innermost reflections.

As I turned inward to decide how to proceed, I recalled the advice I had given many before. When I mentored young people who thought they might be interested in choosing a career in law enforcement, I would inevitably end the discussion by advising them to match their passion with their career. If they followed these few words of advice, in time all would fall into place.

With this same advice in mind, I questioned myself, “What am I passionate about?” The singular word which kept reiterating in the small spaces of my mind was, “writing.” I contemplated the word and decided not to question it. After all, it had been an important aspect of my life for these many years.

In the years which followed the onset of my illness, I wrote incessantly. Initially, as a form of healing to cradle my emotions and frame my behaviors. The writing was therapeutic. Over time, the words merged into pages. Then, the pages formed into chapters. And in time, the chapters transformed into a complete story. Each day, the pages were added one to the other and before too long my story became a book.

The experience of writing was cathartic. For I had related the tale of 9/11 and my involvement while serving in my professional capacity at the Flight 93 crash site. All of the faces, places and details were jotted down and converted into my first book.

On November 11, 2011, I launched my first book and felt elated at the prospect of a new-found career. Now, I find myself standing at the crossroads of a road yet traveled and joyful at the aspect of throwing all caution to the wind and my GPS as well.

“In The Shadow Of A Badge ” reflects my story about an angelic visitation during my initial moments at the Flight 93 crash site located in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is a first-hand account of the spiritual experience I encountered while serving in my professional capacity as the Community Outreach Specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburgh Division. What I saw and/or heard is a personal interpretation of the events leading up to and following 9/11 and, in particular, the Flight 93 crash. The book also details my on-going journey of personal healing and recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following my experiences that day, as well as some significant historical facts.

 

 

Find Your Shoes

“Find your own shoes and you’ll find your way.”

Words heard and passed on from my Father. Spoken in a time when I most needed his wisdom. What they meant, I had no idea at the time. Yet in his speaking them over me, I felt my spirit stir. Soon the meaning became a mantra of sorts. In the endearing moments of the past, the minutes so fleeting and precious, I have found my shoes. They are replicant of my fathers and varied as well in their design. They are the shoes of a daughter, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. They are the shoes of an author, a warrior, a believer and a seeker of the truth. And most importantly, they are the shoes of a child of God and a mirrored image of His love and light. It appears I have finally found my shoes and they fit me just fine.

In The Shadow Of A Badge…

A reflection of my polarity. An angel and a warrior in design.

A reflection of my polarity. An angel and a warrior in design.