A POSTING FROM SYLVIA BROWDER’S BLOG FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

 

I am thrilled to be featured in Sylvia Browder’s recent blog. CLICK HERE to read the entire posting.Screen-Shot-2012-04-06-at-11.50.15-AM1-300x286

SISTERLY LOVE

This morning I watched a segment on Good Morning America about Elena Delle Donne. A well-known athlete and basketball player who suddenly changed her mind about her choice of colleges and the future of her sport. During the interview, Elena explained she chose to play in Delaware to be close to her family and their home. She indicated her family is the source of her strength. She also related the story of her close relationship to her sister Lizzie who was born with cerebral palsy. Although Lizzie can not hear or speak, she is quite capable of communicating to those in her family and most especially to Elena. Lizzie does so through touch and her sense of smell. The bond between these two sisters is the deep connection of their spirits and one in which expresses the true meaning of love.

Even though these two sisters are a fine example of sisterhood, familial bonds are not the only ties which link women one to the other. We are bound by the inner knowledge which connects us all. We have the gift of feminine mystique and the intuition unique to the female. We have the essence of the truth which is unspoken and kept close to our hearts. It is the way of Avalon and the many centuries of secrets kept locked inside our maiden souls. Our spirits interconnected and ever reaching out one to the other. Searching for the sisters who share a piece of our souls. Sharing the journey and carrying one another through the hardships and celebrations of life.

This heart warming story of sisterly love, has greatly touched and inspired me. So on this beautiful Spring morning, I’m sending my love to all of my sisters. I send it to those related by blood and those who are linked through our spirits. Please know how very well you are loved. I am thankful to each of you for all you have done. You have added to my joy in the best of times and helped to lift me in the worst. I give thanks to God for your presence in my life. May the Angels keep watch over one and all.

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From the Wall Photos: Rest In The Arms Of The Angels

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SACRED SITES: ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo

xti_4364t2-191x300Since childhood, I have believed in the angelic realm. My devout Catholic parents instilled in me the belief of God and His legions of angels. I was taught the winged messengers were sent to earth to guide, protect, heal and manifest the dreams of all mankind. In order to receive their intervention, all one need to do is ask for help and the angelic realm would be dispatched from Heaven and respond to the earthly domain.

My affinity for the Archangels and most especially of Michael did not only begin with my religious upbringing. It began when the Archangel started visiting me as a child. Although I was not exactly sure who he was when he manifested, it was definitely love at first sight. In those early years, he was simply known to me as the “blue man.” A name I bestowed upon him because of his lovely cobalt blue aura. In time, Michael revealed himself to me when finally I asked him his name. On the nights he appeared, I would see him standing in the corner of my bedroom just smiling at me. The warmth of his light felt like an extra wool blanket had been placed on me as a shield. Even though I was but a child, Michael’s presence never caused me fear. On the contrary, it provided me with a deep sense of solace and eased my jitters about the darkened nights.

As an adult, it is obvious through my writings that my love for the Archangel continues. I’m constantly researching angelology and gathering information about Michael and his fellow Archangels. In a prior post, I wrote about St. Michael and a site which is dedicated in his honor. As a result, over these past few days, I have received messages from others who concur with my beliefs. Each of these lovely notes has included a story about an encounter with the ethereal creatures. With so much interest in the subject, I thought I’d use my skills from my prior profession in law enforcement and research historical facts about sacred sites and reports of angelic visitations. So periodically, I’ll post blogs about these sites and some historical facts as well.

For the initial blog, I’ve chosen ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo because it was the first site which popped up on my google search.

Some historical facts about St. Michael…

* Christian sanctuaries honoring St. Michael first appeared in the 4th century.

* Early Christian doctrine depicted Michael as the healing Archangel.

* Over time, he became known as the protector and leader of God’s army.

The story of ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo:

This popular Catholic shrine of ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo or Sanctuario di San Michele Arcangelo (The Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel) is regarded as the place in which the Archangel Michael appeared on several occasions. He first visited in 490, then in 492 and again in 1656.

This lovely sanctuary is located in Puglia, Italy in the hills on the the east coast of south-central Italy. The exterior is fairly unassuming. It is marked by an octagonal 13th-century campanile (bell tower) and a white facade with two portals. The architecture of the shrine is Gothic in it’s design.

The story of St. Michael’s visit is based on the saga of a nobleman who lost the prized bull of his herd. After much searching, he found it kneeling in a cave. Unable to approach the animal, he shot it with an arrow. Instead of the arrow piercing the bull, it switched direction and struck the aristocrat.

Bewildered by the event, the nobleman went to see his bishop. The Metropolitan ordered him to engage in three days of prayer and fasting. At the end of the three days, St. Michael the Archangel is said to have appeared to the Bishop and delivered the following message.

“I am Michael the Archangel and am always in the presence of God. I chose the cave that is sacred to me. There will be no more shedding of bull’s blood. Where the rocks open widely, the sins of men may be pardoned. What is asked here in prayer will be granted. Therefore, go up to the mountain cave and dedicate it to the Christian God.”

After seeing the vision, the Bishop began to fear for his own sanity and dismissed the apparition. Two years later, the City of Siponto (part of the Bishop’s diocese), came under attack by the City Odoacre. St. Michael made a second appearance to the Bishop. This time promising to save the city of Siponto. A violent storm then engulfed Odoacre and it was destroyed. In gratitude to the Archangel, the Clergyman led a procession to the top of the mountain, but did not enter the cave.

For a third time, Michael appeared to the Bishop and beckoned him to enter the cave. The Archangel again spoke and heralded a message.

“It is not necessary that you dedicate this church that I have consecrated with my presence. Enter and pray with my assistance and celebrate the Sacrifice. I will show you how I have consecrated this place.”

The Bishop entered the grotto, where he found an altar covered with a red cloth, a crystal cross, and a footprint on the ground. He then commissioned a chapel to be built at the entrance to the cave, but did not consecrate it as directed by Michael. The church came to be known as the Celestial Basilica.

During a great plague in 1656, St. Michael made another visit to the village. The local bishop invoked the Archangel for protection and the plague ended. As a result, the shrine became even more popular among the pilgrims who visited the site.

This lovely sanctuary built in the Italian hills has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries. St. Francis of Assisi is said to have visited it to ask for the protection of the Archangel. The sanctuary is included as one of the Italy’s sacred sites.

The initial sighting of 490 at ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo dates back over 1500 years. This particular story of divine intervention has been passed down through the centuries and has survived the passage of time. The date of the angelic visitation adds further evidence about the long-standing belief in the angelic realm. A fact which is hard to dispute.

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LAUGHTER REMEMBERED

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My Dad / Bill Coury

Spent last Saturday evening with my daughter and the two youngest grandchildren. We watched movies and laughed at the comedies viewed. The slapstick antics of the actors brought back memories of a gentler time of a past childhood and youth when my family would gather together around the television set. We watched movies of the three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, Bob Hope and Red Skelton too. We enjoyed the films and the actors who played out their storyline with great pranks. But of all those who clambered across the screen, what I enjoyed most on those days was hearing my Father laugh. His robust laughter could be heard above the dialogue of the characters and it seemed to travel throughout the house. His laugh seemed to take over the sounds of the room and drown out any other noises including the actors voices on the tv. This laugh of his was so contagious it would prompt all in hearing range to laugh out loud as well.

So, was the case on this night as I sat in the living room of my daughter’s home. As we watched the actors portray their roles on the big screen television, the two little ones began to mimic the characters with great enthusiasm. They pranced and danced with heightened glee and giggled at themselves as they mirrored the antics of the film stars and one another too. The cackling crescendoed to a higher and higher pitch. And soon, I heard my own voice give rise to the exuberance of the moment.

As I watched the two at play, my heart blossomed at seeing the joy on their faces and hearing the excitement of their voices. And my mind traveled back to a distant time and place when I was young. I recalled the same behaviors of my siblings and me as we watched the favorite movies with our Dad. The memory of the past now merged with the reality of the present. A trait of chuckling now passed on to the next generation. A wonderful legacy of joy abounded in the home of my past and the house of the present. In a few moments time, I was given the chance to revisit a place in time which holds so many treasured memories and pleasant thoughts. Once again in the blink of an eye, life had come full circle and the simple things in life again sustained. Such gifts…

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ARCHANGEL MICHAEL ICON

St. Michael Monastery, Village of Panormitis, Greek Island of Symi

St. Michael Monastery, Village of Panormitis, Greek Island of Symi

Yesterday, I received another lovely letter in the mail from a woman who read my book. In it she described the parallels in our lives. One of which was her belief in the angels and especially her connection to the Archangel Michael. Her heritage and religious background gave her faith and the strength of her convictions.

As part of the letter, she shared a family story and a photograph too. The photo portrayed an icon of St. Michael which stands in a church on the Greek Island of Symi. In further researching the photo, I found the icon hangs in a monastery in the village of Panormitis. A site which is held sacred to its inhabitants and a place where pilgrims have come to pray for many generations. Since this icon was created long ago, it once again bears testimony to the presence of angels. The belief in angels is not one of those fleeting concepts which come and go, or a fad which passes in the blink of an eye. It is a belief about celestial beings which is as old as time itself. With stories which have been passed down through the centuries. This marvelous impression of the Archangel Michael portrays him as I saw him that fateful September day. I viewed him in all of his splendor standing on the field. He was garbed in armor from head to toe and illuminated in white light. He was the warrior ready to do battle and protect all of mankind.

In her letter, this woman thanked me for writing the book which she felt gave her a sense of solace about her beliefs. Although I am grateful for her words of thanks, I feel it important for me to thank her as well. Her amazing story and willingness to share has given me a feeling of peace. It does my heart good to know their are so many others who believe in God’s winged messengers and their abilities to respond in our time of need. Thank you dear lady for your kindness bestowed. May you forever feel the comfort of your angelic guides…

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BOOK READERS WANTED

In the coming months, it is my intention to publish my second book which is entitled: My Life In Black And White With A Smidgen Of Blue.

In preparation for publishing, the book will be reviewed for one final round of edits. With this in mind, I’m informing interested parties about an opportunity to become one of three (3) readers who will be given the chance to read a draft of the book.

The second book is a narrative non-fiction and provides the continuing story from where my first book, In The Shadow Of A Badge/A Spiritual Memoir, left off. The many chapters trace my journey as a law enforcement professional, the PTSD diagnosis, the necessary healing processes and the difficulties faced. The pages also unearth aspects of my childhood, my spiritual path and the origins of my intuitive gifts. Additionally, the narrative is my version of a love story.

Here’s an excerpt from the preface of My Life In Black And White With A Smidgen Of Blue:

Enclosed in the chapters of this book, is the story of my life as I viewed and watched it play out with keen interest and feeling. The chapters are distinctive in their perspective in that in my early years of life it seemed that I saw life in black and white. Based on my strict Catholic upbringing, there was a right way and a wrong way to conduct one’s self. As I matured and grew into the woman who I am today, I see life with its grey areas of choice mixed with its twists of fate, a little bit of luck and some grace as well. With the added touch of “blue” which signifies my years as a law enforcement professional, a new dimension was added to my observations of life and its purpose.

This is also my love story of sorts. It is not the conventional type that one may be familiar in reading. It is however my rendition of all of my “affairs of the heart” that have touched my life and etched themselves in my memory. These chapters provide a look at the “inner sanctum” of all of the various loves in my life. Each is individually defined and respected for the lessons which I learned from them and about myself. Despite the good, the bad or the ugly of the relationships, each of these individuals are to be credited for helping me improve the quality of my life. They are responsible for my ability to see that one must: live with the love that you have because love is a blessing in any form, cherish each moment with those you love because time passes by so quickly, and hold all of the memories of your loved ones to your heart.

Additionally, this story provides the reader with some insight and testimony into my spiritual life. It reveals a close relationship that I have shared with St. Michael the Archangel. Since my childhood years, he has been my devoted protector and friend.

Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved

If you are fascinated by the concept of becoming a reader, please review the following criteria before responding to this post.

1. Send a three paragraph e-mail (500 word limit) about your qualifications as a reader. Include as part of the e-mail:

-Your contact info (name, e-mail address & telephone number)
-Your current occupation and place of employment (to include stay-at-home parents)
-What qualifications make you an exceptional candidate to be a reader
-A list of several favorite authors and the titles of their books
-The reasons you prefer the authors and their respective works
-Any additional insights which may convince me that you are the ideal reader

2. All correspondence should be forwarded to: lleonardi@verizon.net

3. All three readers chosen will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement which stipulates non-disclosure of the book’s content until post-publication.

4. Family members and those affiliated are not eligible.

5. The deadline is midnight on Friday, April 20, 2012.

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THRIVING

Yesterday, I read the following words, “balance your giving and receiving which equals thriving.” So, my initial reaction to these words were questions. Does thriving equal abundance? If so, is this the equation my life is missing? I find myself to be very good at giving, but not so astute at the art of receiving. I believe this practice has much to do with my religious upbringing. The old adage, “it is better to give than to receive” radiated from the lips of my elders both in my childhood home and reiterated in the pews of the family church as well. These words also rang through the halls of the parochial school I attended. With all of the indoctrination, my mind closed to the aspect of receiving. And, my 25 years in the law enforcement profession fortified the belief in giving by serving. Now in these post years of any mid-life calling, my mind streams to a new concept of receiving. But, how? As a weary traveler, I struggle to uncover the essence of this question. Yet, I am beginning to embrace the wonder of opening up my heart and mind to receive the bounty of God’s abundance and the charity of my family and friends. I pray for the ability to learn to do so with gratitude and humility.

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FROZEN MEMORIES

In the early stages of the onset of the 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 which presented itself to me caused the prompting of a frozen memory to become the reality of the day. The past merged with the present and my mind became a tangled web of misunderstood messages, thoughts and (on occasion) ill behaviors too.

Over these many years, the flashbacks have decreased. Now their arrival is usually beset by some prop which resembles past days walking the field and watching all which resulted from 9/11, and post days as I watched over those who suffered most. Yet there are times when the remembrances result because I am inadvertently drawn to something viewed on television or heard in the every day doings of life. One such incident took place last evening as I watched the ending of a movie titled, “Unstoppable.” The storyline is based on a true story. In short, the movie tells the tale of two men who risk their lives to help stop a train which is on the fast track to destruction. Their need to help their fellow man outweighs their fear of imminent death.

Now, I usually try to avoid watching any type of movie or television program which may possibly prompt a negative memory. I abhor any violent programming and tend to prefer the comedies and romances which allow me to dream. But, as I watched the last few scenes of this particular movie, my mind was immediately transferred to the image of the passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93 and the remnants of the crash site. My thoughts focused on what must have gone through their minds in those last moments as they made their choice to help save humanity. I kept hearing the word “heroism” across the whispers of my ear. I felt the mixed emotions of pride and pain for these heroic individuals. And in the midst of these feelings, came a sense of helplessness as well. I felt somehow responsible for not having been able to aid them in some way. After all, I was a law enforcement professional and responsible to serve and protect. And on that fateful day in our history, I fear I failed to do so. If this is the deep-seeded feeling which still lies dormant in the dark abyss of my mind, I pray for a reprieve from the distant memories to come soon and set my mind in motion to heal.

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HEAVEN CALLING

When first I wrote the initial two chapters of my book, I did so in response to the deep-seeded fear dwelling inside my soul. It lived there as if it had a mind of its’ own and a heart beat which breathed life into too. The fear I was feeling was an automatic response to my declining health. I feared losing all of the details of 9/11 and the post days. If I forgot these important facts, who would then know about the angelic visitation. As the effects of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the depression set in, the anxiety flared and my mind became a convoluted version of its’ own design. My mind now seemed to reflect the image of a complex puzzle with the many pieces scattered across the landscape of my once finely tuned mind. I was afraid of all which was taking place and felt as if the real me no longer existed. I had lost control of the issues surrounding me. So, in order to preserve the story of 9/11 and the Angels who presented themselves at the Flight 93 crash site, I removed myself from the pain and authored the pages about the celestial beings. These two chapters were written in 2002 and it would take another eight years to complete the entire manuscript.

 

Heaven-CallingWhen my mind began to open in memory of the tale, the many pieces once fractured began to realign and allowed for the distant memories once frozen in time to retrace and enter the present moments. With this healing, came the realization of the importance of telling my story.

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REVISITING THE FIELD: IN SEARCH OF THE ANGELS

For nine years, I delayed revisiting the Flight 93 crash site. I hadn’t been to the site since the first anniversary events in 2002. I believe I deliberately stayed away from field as a means of avoiding addressing any hidden emotions not yet explored and/or expressed. Nevertheless, I was drawn to it and any news about the development of the Memorial gave me a reason to listen and learn of the most recent news. And, over the prevailing years, I watched as the Memorial went from concept to the beginnings of its’ reality.

In the days leading up to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, my anxiety flared in anticipation of attending the dedication of the new memorial and the services planned. I feared my visit would prompt additional recalls of dormant memories which may cause flashbacks. Also, I was hesitant of seeing the distant faces of those whom I had met some ten years ago. My mood moved between the usual depression and anxious behaviors and caused many a restless day and sleepless nights. In the midst of my mind’s struggle, there was a tiny ray of light which stirred deep inside my soul. It was a small illuminated ray from my spirit urging me to walk the field once again. It shined and peered through the vast and dark murky shadows of my mind. It was a light inside of me which had held the remnants of hope sustained. The hope of recalling a past in sequences of beckoned learning. The hopes of a present with the possibility of new beginnings on each and every day. It was a hope which provided inspiration for what was yet to be. And, the hopes for a future of better tomorrows. A dawning of life in pursuit of the fulfillment of purpose and the pleasure of dreams.

On that day when I once more walked upon the field, I felt as if I could retrace my steps from the long-ago place and space of time. The field which once contained the devastation of Flight 93, now housed the memorial to honor the 40 fallen heroes and their brave story. My eyes misted and my heart beat raced as the memories came flooding forward from the dark to the light. As I searched about the horizon, purveying the entire scene, I found myself searching for the Angels I had once seen.

How my eyes longed to see the celestial beings first viewed on that fateful field. How I prayed for another glimpse of their beautiful faces and illuminated wings. Yet as I looked across the newly created memorial with its’ white and black marble lines, my eyes could not help but transfer to the field of long ago. For a moment, my mind traveled back in search of its’ last view. My eyes opened again and one scene after another recaptured the frames in reflection. Ever so slightly, my mind moved back to the present time and stilled the memories once framed and frozen in time.

I searched the sloping hills with their scenic views of trees and wild grasses and looked for the Angels once more. In an instant to the left of the stage, I saw the Heavenly visitors standing tall among the trees and observed several of the spirits as well. It took but a moment to see them, hear their voices and listen to the messages to be shared. Each came to whisper a “goodbye” and explain it was time to go. They had awaited the building of the memorial for all to remember and to understand. And now, as the instruments played the music and the voices lifted in song, the souls prepared to depart this earthly domain. It was their time to ascend into the great abyss of blue and bid a farewell in their moment of adieu.

Yes, I came in search of the Angels for one last glimpse and to recall. And, on this day of memory, I found them and bid them another welcome and a goodbye as well.

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