Category Archives: Women’s Issues

Book review from Equities.com

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What’s on Your Reading List?

Desireé Duffy | Wednesday, 29 March 2017 11:27 (EST)

For any trader or entrepreneur, the daily grind of reading depressing headlines and perusing a constant stream of data can be physically exhausting and mentally draining. While you may long for a vacation, for most of us, the demands of work are nearly ever-present. However, there is one great way to reset your brain and rejuvenate your spirit: Reading a great book!

No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop bouncing from one great book, and from one genre, to another. A good mixture of fiction, non-fiction, and provocative books are necessary for a well-rounded life.

If you agree, then you’ll appreciate this list of must-read books that you’ll want to add to your list. I understand, you probably have your 2017 reading list planned-out already. Well make room, you won’t regret adding these “un-put-downable” books!

The Fragrance of Angels

Are you ready to get a glimpse of heaven?

Join Martha Brookhart Halda as she shares her incredible journey to the Other Side. Just be warned, you might not be the same after reading this book.

On a fateful night, Halda was thrown from her vehicle during a horrific car crash. She died not once, but three times. Then she came back. Her life changed forever, and when you read this memoir, you will find out why.

The Fragrance of Angels is filled with love and challenges. It is a tale about physical beauty, emotional upheavals, frustrations beyond compare, as well as spectacular triumphs.

There is also a surprise that I must admit, I never saw coming; it is something Martha realized when she visited Heaven, and you will soon know it, too.

This is a book that will lift you up, bring tears to your eyes, and laughter to your heart. Trust me, The Fragrance of Angels needs to be added to your reading list today.

 

SO… after reading such a wonderful book review, and being the first book mentioned in her 2017 recommended reading list, I am super excited for all the blessings coming my way this year.  I also have a review coming from the Huffington Post. What a dream come true: not many authors receive this kind of coverage.

1st English book review. Summer Reads, Carlsbad Style

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WOW, am I ecstatic! My first literary review in English, of The Fragrance of Angels, came out in my hometown mag, Carlsbad Magazine. What a wonderful feeling.

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Wendy Hinman put together ‘Summer Reads, Carlsbad Style”, with the opening of “stretch out your beach towel with books from local authors,” and what a list she put together. I feel so honored to be a part of it! There are so many reasons and people in this issue that make it feel complete, not to mention that Wendy gave me one of the best compliments I could have asked for, which is, “Halda just tells her story and what she learned without being preachy.” That was exactly my intent, so it’s wonderful to know that I achieved this.

She starts out mentioning the renowned local author Victor Villasenor and how his stories describe recognizable environments, and that it is an encore of sorts for the 2016 reading list. I wrote my book honoring a promise to my father, Ray Brookhart, who Villasenor describes in his memoir Burro Genius (pages 296-297.) My father had been one of Villasenor’s teachers, and Villasenor’s words about my Dad describes him to a ‘T’.

However, there is more to this tale. A Fragrance of Angels stands between the magazine’s covers with friendly faces and names. There was Caulerpa Conquest, written by a new friend, Eric Noel Munoz, which covers the story of an invasive marine seaweed that nearly smothered the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Eric was among the key members of a community and statewide effort to eradicate Caulerpa taxifolia from the lagoon. This book was edited by my honey Robert Yehling, so I have a little more understanding of what a huge accomplishment this effort was.

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Next, Shirts & Skins was written by local legend Gregory R. Nelson, Sr. I got to know Greg first at about the age of ten. Greg was like a big brother, a type of counselor of sorts. When he first started out, Greg worked with my dad at The Army Navy Academy and Greg was the cool young guy when I attended summer camp there. The book relates how sports can help create the drive, direction and passion in a man or women, a drive and habit that can later present itself well in business and life. Greg spent years, and many of his philanthropic talents and dollars, raising boys to men at the Carlsbad Boys Club. I also knew him from golfing; we had been members at the same country club. During my coma (detailed in The Fragrance of Angels) he and his stunning wife, Barbie, asked their kids’ youth group to pray for me for the two months I was under. They later told me that my recovery was a beacon of sorts for those kids. I am honored to be in the same summer reads reviews as Greg.

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I don’t know author Cynthia Mestad Johnson, but I can’t wait to read her book Legendary Locals of Carlsbad. I’m sure once again to feel at home reading stories of our wonderful town, many of which I may have already heard.

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The piece d’resistance, when it comes to being at home, is that the cover story is about longtime good friend Billy Stang. The feature article, also written by Wendy Hinman is titled “Pure Stang Pure Stoke – the last of the great soul surfers.” I have to say Billy is certainly that… A Soul Surfer. It was great fun reading Billy’s story as he describes stories of the mid to late 70’s. Billy discusses how he gave up competition and the life of a professional surfer to stay real and keep his sport about the stoke and joy, not the greed.

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I have to say this first literary review could not have been more perfect for me. Everyone in this group of authors did exactly what Billy did — went out and wrote about what we have experienced, not for the cash, but for the pure stoke, the pure joy of life and love. What more do any of us need than that? Enjoy your summer with a good book, a book that can take you anywhere you want to go.

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Thoughts of Easter

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Jesus  My thoughts on Easter.He died for our sins… with arms wide open. Rio Cross

Jesus was here for the salvation of ALL Mankind, for the forgiveness of ALL of our sins. This is what I was raised with, and to me Easter… is by far the most important holiday, more so than Christmas. In “The Book”  I’ve read it does not say for the salvation of only a select few, it does not say for the forgiveness of sins of only a few.

While recently discussing my book, A Taste of Eternity, my girlfriend, a woman I love and respect, suggested that I should review my thoughts to know if I’m Christian. I appreciate her concern, and want to assure her I most definitely am a Christian! However I do not judge others for their beliefs. I was a little emotionally let down by her question but I trust that everything happens for a reason. I feel we are born into our social, and cultural lives for a reason.

I believe in the end only Kindness matters. I believe whether your Christian, Metaphysical, Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, or Catholic you may just well be welcomed into Heaven. During my Taste of Eternity review I was shown that Love is the strongest energy and force in the universe. We’re all looking for something we can rely on, and love is the source most people need. We are all searching for that unconditional love.

I’ve been judged by friends and stranger’s over the past few years for my statement that I believe that the God I saw, the Divine Energy I met, the pulsating sphere of Total Knowledge, would not only let practicing Christians into Heaven, that his love seemed open to All. I’m sorry but I do believe this, the Love that engulfed me was far too great to be judging.Lily

Lord knows I am not a perfect person … I am only human, and we All fall short of what God wants of us. We’ve got a lot to learn but God knows we are worth it. As a human I cannot say why I feel that God is not judging, but I felt only love. My thoughts of late have been that perhaps at a person’s final moments, when we are in front of the Divine, our life review has passed through us and we encounter this magnificent love, perhaps then a non-Christian may have a moment that they may choose to believe in Jesus only. I don’t know what the final moments are for other people, I do not judge them, I pray that they call on their Angels for peace. The only thing I know is that for me the Heavens were full of love, beauty, and colors that would make the most spectacular Easter eggs ever. Eggs                            I send All my wish for A Happy Easter to every one.

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings of a book dream come true

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Christmas often makes people stop to acknowledge all their blessings. The end of this year 2015, I am doing just that exactly.

October 15th, 2015, I entered the Frankfurt Messe book festival amazed by its size! With nearly 150,000 guests, and close to 40,000 venders working the trades show it was over whelming.FM building

 

Once entering the correct (one of four) three-story buildings, I wondered how on earth the sorriso-verlag booth would be found. As we, Robert Yehling (aka Bob editor extraordinaire), and I went down the escalator he verbalized just this worry. My heart and mind halted because, with all his trade show experience, this was the last thing I expected to come from his lips. Worried… I started scanning the mass of booths on the floor below; the escalator seemed to move in a slow time warp, my eyes scanned everything. How will we find it in this seemingly endless crowd?

However, I quickly learned that my publisher Karen Christine Angermayer is a master at marketing and doesn’t miss a thing. Her attention to detail is amazing; she had her logo set high smiling out at the crowds from the very top of her booth. That bright yellow smile of sorriso was like a beacon laying a guiding light for me.FM Sorriso logoFM Christine and I

As we walked closer to the booth, suddenly I saw my own face smiling back at me. The booth was white, its floor a bright yellow, and a photo of each of the five writers she was debuting was displayed in a large 3’ by 5’ headshot (a models dream) on the wall of the booth. Many writers dream of having their books make it to the European market, some wish that they would be given such presence from the publisher, my dream had now come true.FM authors debutedFM sorriso book cover Tshirt

While in heaven I promised God, my heavenly father, the Divine Energy (too many names to chose only one), that I would share the loving grace that awaits us in Heaven.  Once back on earth, after two months in a coma, the first thing I promised my earthly father, Ray F. Brookhart, was that I would write this book, and share the knowledge of the love that awaits us with all people interested in knowing more.

 

Our trip to Europe was full of wonder… the countryside God Germany and Austria are full of (God given) natural beauty, the likes of which a California girl doesn’t get to see often.  We played in the sound of music filled city of Salzberg, enjoyed Mozart street music and so much more.FM Salzberg Bob & MeWe hiked the wonderful hillside of the Austrian Alps in St. Johanna all the while basking in the beauty of this life we have been give.FM Salzberg riverFM St Johann cows  and  Mt

Again last week, another Christmas gift, I was blessed with a visit by my publisher Karen Christine Angermayer, and her charming love Pino, they were here from Germany for business.

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We met in the coastal town of La Jolla California.  While admiring the Pacific Ocean waves, and the many seal’s lounging on the beach.

We talked about sorriso-verlag extending the publishing of Der Duft des Engels to a more International European distribution.

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I could not be more blessed, so this year 2015 and I am certainly whole-heartedly counting my blessings.  I ‘am grateful for Gods blessings in my life yet again.

 

 

I warmly look forward to a new and exciting 2016, and wish everyone a blessed new year. Cheer’s

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The Dead Sea Scrolls, Angels, and the Ten Commandments.

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USC Trojan PICLA Times Festival of Books 2015 -PIC Dead Sea Scrills PIC

We hopped across the street to the California Science Center from the Campus of USC, where I was talking with writers and publishers at the LA Times Festival of Books.

On display were The Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Greek is the predominant language due to nearby Ancient Greece. The Essenes are the sect regularly identified as the Dead Sea Community. The Community had Rules one of them was “All who submit freely to His truth will convey all their knowledge, their energies, and their riches to the community of God.” The Dead Sea Scrolls original writers and copyists considered Jerusalem polluted and profane. They lived secluded, austere lives of piety, and were the founders of the Essene religion (secret order to which Jesus belonged)

The Scrolls were written mostly on parchment, with some written on papyrus. They’re incredibly important documents. They are central to the belief system for Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Wow who’d a thunk it…  that they had so much in common?

The story goes in 1947 a Bedouin shepherd, tossed a rock into a cave and heard a pot shatter, which led to the recovery of more than 900 scrolls. They date between 150 BCE and 70 CE. The traveling “Dead Sea Scrolls” exhibit featured more than 600 ancient artifacts, including selections from 10 scrolls, housed in low light and dry conditions similar to the caves near Khirbet Qumran, where they were preserved for 2,000 years. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth (1,400 feet below sea level).Getty Museum- PIC

I had some favorites, first was the song of Sabbath Sacrifice. These 13 songs were for the first 13 weeks of the Sabbath each year. Yeah now we are talking, these songs were songs of angelic praise, angelic priesthood, and heavenly temple, which gave the community’s sense of engaging in a common worship with angels.  The Scroll known as the Angelic scroll, is apparently loaded with Jewish mystical imagery, and descriptions of angels. It is potentially more important than any of the other scrolls so far examined, and is thought to be around 2000 years old. The text describes a ‘tour of the heavens’ undertaken by its author in the company of an angel named ‘Pnimea‘. The author of the Angel Scroll is taken on a journey where he is shown the “secrets of the universe.” He is taught to contemplate signs in the sun and the stars and through them forecast events. To notice the signs in the raging waves of the sea, and in the clouds of the heavens, and how to use medical plants and stones to cure disease and predict the future.

This was amazingly similar to what I was shown when I had my review.  It was almost eerie to read such a straightforward guideline so close to how I feel when I’m walking in nature, along the beaches of Carlsbad, where the majestic energy and strength of the Ocean can be overwhelming.

My personal favorite is: “a vision was revealed to me from the Most High, and Pnimea, Prince of Angels lifted me up in spirit and I ascended Heavenward above the high places of the clouds, and he showed me the great world and the image of the gods. And I pondered the appearance round about and there was no time and no place and their appearance from the dwelling places of light was like a rainbow in the clouds.”images-25

Well needless to say WOW…when I read a description like this and knowing it is nearly 2000 years old, I feel its descriptions chill me to the core, because it is so similar to what I saw and knew during my Taste of Eternity – it makes me feel normal. No I’m not crazy, I did have a normal experience with and Angel. My Guardian Angel and so have others, even way back than 2000 years ago.Angel- PIC

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Blog: Train Ride of a Life; shared by a friend, not sure where it originated. I wish I could say this was my original thought, but alas it is not, just a truth of how I view life.

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The journey of life is like a train ride, complete with joy, fantasy, expectations, sorrow, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. The stations change route, sometimes by accident, sometimes by destiny.

In birth, we board the train with our parents; we believe they will always travel at our side. Our parents eventually will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

Train RideWith time, other people will board the train. They will be significant i.e., our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will step down, leaving a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats!

Success consists of having good relationships with all the passengers, requiring that we give the best of ourselves! The mystery is that we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way—love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.Train Ride together

It is important to do this. When the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train to Eternity.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Give lots of love and reap success of a full giving life. More importantly, thank God for the journey!

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The difference between a writer and an Author? A Book contract

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March 26th 2015

Today was a momentous day for me. I signed my book contract with Sorriso Verlag to have my book A Taste of Eternity published in German. It is set to come out this Holiday Season. I am so delighted to have my book represented and published by them.

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The publishing company name alone was enough to draw me in. Sorriso is the Italian word for “smile”. This company consists of strong, highly experienced women that combine years of unbelievable creative talent. Their focus is to have all their books deliver what the company name implies… a smile. They want to uplift, motivate, encourage and bring overall joy to their readers. Which is why they acquired A Taste of Eternity: to bring a smile to its readers.

This has been a long road.  I have not blogged for awhile, because I felt and recognized such a negative backlash from publishers and readers questioning the authenticity of Dr. Eben Alexander’s NDE, or the authenticity of anyone’s NDE. Why is it we have so much trouble accepting experiences that range outside our five physical sentences? There simply was not a market for my book for the past past year and a half.

When asked what I thought after reading Alexander’s book, I first replied that there was much I could not relate to, since I am not a neuroscientist or medical doctor. I do relate to the time in my seven-week coma, and a few spots very much like my NDE experience.

However, I sometimes had a hard time determining which were his authentic NDE experiences, and which were experiences he had while in his coma. Furthermore, Dr. Alexander was never officially pronounced dead. I agree that each of us have our own unique NDE experiences, just as we each have our own experiences in life.

Over my whopping 56 years, I’ve noticed that every step, experience, encounter, and basically everything in life happens in order to prepare us for the next step.  There are no accidents. Knowing this is my belief; after a year of no interest in any books on NDE’s, I’m certain you can understand how I saw this delay, not as upsetting but rather as scripted by the heavens, which ultimately led to this publisher wanting my book. I see it as a completely guided direction.

The fact that a company that carries the happy, sunny name of “Smile,” will now publish my book, and its desire to encourage and uplift women, is more than meets the eye. The publisher, Karen Christine Angermayer, was working and vacationing in Southern California, looking for books from American authors. She was made aware of my book and given my proposal and four chapters; within three days, we were Skyping. After telling me how much she liked my writing, she asked for a complete manuscript within six weeks. (If you’ve never tried to publish a book, trust me, this is sweet music to the ears!) A week later, after she returned to Germany, the first version of my contract arrived.

This unique synchronicity was not lost on me.

Today, I get to fulfill the promise I made to God in 2000, and to my wonderful father Ray Brookhart a year later: I would share what I experienced through this book. I would relay His teaching” The most important thing we can do on Earth is to Give, Show, and Express Love. There is no greater accomplishment.Blog Angel - contract

Love is not just for people. Every body and living thing is made up of essentially the same energy, particles, and spirit matter. Look into the eyes of every creature, your pet cat, or a wild tiger. Take a detailed account of every mother-infant relationship, every friendship, every co-existence, every spirit, and you will see the need and desire for love. Love knows no boundaries! While having my life review and visit with God in Heaven, I saw that everything in life is connected and all things have a full life inside them – a kaleidoscope of color, light, love and praise.

Today my heart is full of this kaleidoscope of color, love, and happiness. I give praise that I was able to write and complete this book.

I certainly did not do it alone. I had friends who encouraged me in more ways than they know. They encouraged me to walk, run marathons, work, and accomplish so many tasks that aided in my resolve to write a book about my NDE. They helped me become brave enough to go public with my thoughts and experience, something that, in subjects like this, often lead to direct criticism — the opposite of what A Taste of Eternity is about.

Again there are no accidents in life. Just when I needed it, my life was gifted with the arrival, loving guidance and writing direction of Robert Yehling, a friend of fifty years who has written and edited many books through his Word Journeys business. For the past four years, Bob and I moved through every aspect of this book, shaping and molding my experiences into final form while sharing all the loving and spiritual or emotional energy behind it. It took several drafts and a few “back to the drawing board” moments, but we got there with a wonderful, final six-week writing spree this past winter. Bob acted as my cheerleader, coach, and fan. Without his help, I would not be able to say I am an author.

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Author… l’il old me? Wow. I cannot believe the energy that fills me, rushing up and down my spine. I want to cry, laugh, smile, and scream out in joy.

Today, after dropping my signed contract in the mail, I went body surfing with a good friend. We laughed and played in the ocean, floating in the calm of the Ocean and I could not get this stupid smile off my face. It was sheer ecstasy!!! I wanted to fly away, floating in the sparkling sun as it shined on the waves. I’m sure when I hold my first copy in my hands that smile will be just as hard to remove as it was today. I will experience this Bliss again. I love all the people in my life and remember daily God’s guiding premise: The Most Important Thing We Can Do On Earth is – To Give, Show, and Express Love. There is no greater accomplishment.

Now, I will get to share His love through A Taste of Eternity.

Writing about hard events and life challenges can be FUN – PART 2

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IMG_7242  Writing about hard events and life challenges can be FUN-Part 2.  A Story of Change can be fun; we decide how to accept and view the change.  I choose to move forward with an open heart and eyes.  I had my eyes wide open at The Los Angeles Times Festival of BooksThis place offers a different time, and a unique reality for writers; think about it, they are coming together with their own kind!  A massive group of open and active minds bunched together, all waiting for the chance to share their most prized possession – words.

It was interesting to me, this new way of socializing among writers. A Taste of Eternity is, after all, my first book. People just plop right down next to a total stranger and ask things like, “What are you working on?” “What seminar are you going to?” “What is your view on (name the subject)?” Amazing!

I’m new to this. It’s far more than the usual blanket socializing of the weather, a sport team, or clothing. Because of that, I watched more from a spectator’s viewpoint.  Have you ever watched dogs at a dog park, and seen how they run across the grass and head up to a dog they’ve never seen before. Their tails wag in the air, they crouch down on their front paws, stick their back haunches in the air, and start swaying their head from right to left, teasing the other dog. It’s like they’re saying, “C’mon. Let’s play. I like you. What ya got?” Then, a few minutes later, they are off sniffing flowers and flipping over in the grass, rubbing their backsides, squirming back and forth and looking as if they are making snow angels in the grass.

This describes the unabashed glee and friendliness that the folks at the Festival share with each other.IMG_7228

I have been in settings like this, together with my own kind before. I am a former tennis player, basketball, and volleyball player. I am also a female; hence, shopping is in my nature. However, random tennis players don’t walk up and ask me which backhand I’m working on, and ladies at Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale don’t ask what style I’m developing. They actually want strangers out of the store, and certainly out of the line.  So I’m sure you understand how new these friendly and honestly interested greetings were to me.

IMG_7258We did a walkthrough to assess the books we wanted to buy.  The idea? To trim the selection, knowing whatever we wanted, we had to carry. For the rest of the day. Then of course, we needed to make the vital connection (via the cell phone, what would we do without those?) with my literary agent, Dana Newman.  Determining the location among a crowd of 60,000 to 75,000 people is critical. Tommy the Trojan statue it is! He sure stuck out, and we had no trouble finding her.  During a quick chat, she assured me she would be pitching my book at the festival. No rest from work for her!

I found the Los Angeles Times stage, all set up for a reading with its shade tarp. On this hot day, its shade was inviting.  I noticed with a pleasant surprise that the guest speaker was non other than Prettyfestival of books4   In Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles star Molly Ringwald.  Molly has written several books, but this time, she read from her latest, When it Happens to You. At first, I just  noticed how great she looks, clean, pure, sweet, not Hollywood at all.  I know she’s an actress and I expect her to be able to read the lines ok, but then, she starts to exhibit her story.

She shares it through her voice projection; I’m completely engrossed.  When she finishes her one-chapter teaser, I’m like a little girl at the library story time, never wanting the reading to end.  Her reading felt like a movie trailer… a tease of what’s to come.

My goal is for my book to be the same, to engross every reader.

After Molly’s reading, I found a spot to kick back. A guy plopped down next to me, and began to eat his lunch. Within a few minutes, he asked more questions about what I was writing and what I IMG_7217thought than most of my friends have asked in over a year.  He told me about his years as a Los Angeles Times reporter, the books he’s edited, and his current ghostwriting projects. I told him he reminded me of my honey Bob, and that they should meet sometime; I think they would really hit it off.  Then I headed off to the seminar on memoir.

I took in the panel of memoirists, four women who have all published their memoirs.  I glean a few great tidbits from their information. The room was packed, almost all the 300 or so seats full. I noticed my newfound friend sitting a few rows in front of me.  Afterwards, I saw Bob waiting for me outside the conference hall. I introduced him to my new friend. Just like those dogs at a doggy park, they were pleased as punch to find someone else who spoke their lingo, who totally got it, who had so many similar experiences writing and editing.

Finally, the day ended, with my mind in sensory overload.  I felt so happy, my belly deliciously full like I’d just eaten the perfect meal. I was satiated, filled by The Festival.

A Higher Purpose: Not Fearing Death Part 2

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A Higher Purpose: Not Fearing Death Part 2 of Interview with ‘A Taste of Eternity’ Author Martha Halda

This is the second of a touching, life-affirming two-part interview with Martha, which comes at a most fitting time, as millions begin to celebrate Easter or Passover.

Word Journeys: Why do so many people find it hard to believe someone can have a near death experience, taste eternity, or have direct perception of God?

Martha Halda: I feel it’s because we are too busy judging.  Judgment causes the unbearable fear of non-acceptance.  Think about it, from our first day on the playground, all we want is to be accepted, to be part of the group, invited in.  Some people can’t accept what they haven’t seen, touched or felt themselves. Some need science to prove anything or everything before they will accept it, Often, people are afraid that society will think them odd or mentally off.  To talk about this, I needed the faith that comes from knowing that what I experienced was 100% real.   Faith can go a long way, but first we must to get out of our own way. We need to remove the mighty ego.  Many people still need society to accept it, before they are willing.

WJ: That’s a great point – and leads to my next question. A Taste of Eternity crosses all religious lines – and goes beyond them. When I read it, I saw how you touched and experienced the unifying point behind ALL religions. Could you speak to the essence of spirit, based on your experience?

MH: For me, the essence of spirit is sharing, caring, love, a unity of all things.  I mean all things: everything is energy, it is all particles or atoms or cells, and they are all part of each other.  During my experience, at one point, I had a mental vision or thought that a waterfall would be nice; suddenly, particles from all over a meadow came together and re-formed as a waterfall.  It was as if everything existed to bring pleasure.

 

WJ: Three years after your accident, after being told you would never walk again, you completed the Dublin Marathon. How did the marathon intensify your desire to live life to the max, without fear of what may or may not happen next?  

MH: I know that any day could be my last. When it’s my time, then it’s my time, I have no fear of death; in fact, I welcome the day.  I won’t do anything to bring it on myself, because I want to be sure I get to go to Heaven again, and I don’t want to feel the hurt I would cause my friends.

WJ: How does your family view your experience now, compared with how they first responded to it?

MH: They don’t really view it differently at all.  We don’t talk about it much.  It may have changed their views of life indirectly, but it is a personal thing.  I feel they have a beauty inside their souls knowing that God is there for each of us, and there is no reason to fear death.

WJ: How did your life purpose change from your experience?

MH: Today, I don’t know if I really have one, in the traditional way. I used to have a very clear purpose as a mother. Now, it is just to see life in all things with joy. I want to understand how and why religions say their way is the only right way; the loving embrace of the God I met was not that condemning.  I feel if people would open their hearts and minds to another’s way, they would see the commonality in our beliefs, customs, and lifestyles, and not the differences.

WJ: You came back with heightened senses, one of which is a particular affinity with animals, which you discuss in the book. Could you elaborate?

MH: I just look into the eyes of birds, dogs, cats, birds or deer and can tell if they are happy and well or not.  They don’t fear me, and some will become very assertive toward me in a good way. They know they are safe with me.  That’s all.  When you bring this up, I get the opportunity to feel the way some of the people in my life felt about me talking about my near death experience – shoosh! someone might hear you. (laughs)

WJ: When people read books like A Taste of Eternity, or talk with you about it, what would you like them to take away from the experience?

MH: Simply the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  To give, share, and express love; it’s the most important thing we have to offer! Love is the only Eternal possession we have. When we die, the only thing we take is the love we shared, the memories we make, and our integrity. Everything else stays here.  No U-Hauls in Heaven.

WJ: Finally, last year on your birthday, you did something not a lot of 50-somethings would do: jumped off a 50-foot cliff into the Ganges River near Varanasi, India – not once, but several times.

MH: Well, I was also the only high school girl skateboarder in the mid-1970s who bombed the steep La Costa hills in Carlsbad (Calif.), where I grew up! So it’s not that much of a departure for me. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I’d been white-water rafting all morning with two young ladies from Scotland who were also go-for-it women. I saw the cliffs, told our guide to beach the raft, walked past some Indian men who were thinking about it but were afraid to jump … and I stepped in front of them and jumped. I laugh every time I close my eyes and see the looks on their faces! It was one of those extraordinary moments. I’m always ready for them.

Tasting Eternity: Interview, part one

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Tasting Eternity: Interview with Memoirist Martha Halda

(Interview conducted by Bob Yehling)

For the past 15 years, I have enjoyed the distinct privilege of editing many compelling and even life-changing memoirs, novels and non-fiction books. Few, if any, can match Martha Halda’s story.

On October 8, 1999, Martha suffered a horrific car accident. She was pronounced clinically dead three times. So dire was her condition that her sons, Aaron

"A Taste of Eternity" author Martha Halda

“A Taste of Eternity” author Martha Halda

(then 14) and Nathan (then 11), were brought into her room to say goodbye. Martha remains the only person in the 50-year history of Palomar Pomerado Hospital (North San Diego County) to survive after scoring 0 on her CRAM (Clinical Risk Assessment and Management). Those who score 0 to 1 almost always die; those who score 2 to 3 typically die, or live in a vegetative or severely impaired state. She recovered fully – even completing the 2002 Dublin Marathon – and to embarking on a life purpose that informs everything she does: giving and receiving love, and experiencing each moment to its fullest.

During her passing over, she had a profound near death experience. That experience, how it transformed and shifted her life, and how she carried it forward, is covered in her memoir, A Taste of Eternity,now making the rounds among major publishers through literary agent Dana Newman.

This is the first of a two-part interview with Martha. During this Easter and Passover season, enjoy one of the most transformative and life-affirming interviews you may ever read.

Word Journeys: What two or three things from your near death experience stand out, because of the way they impacted your life moving forward?

Martha Halda: I’d shout it from every mountaintop if need be; We are to share love, to all God’s people and creatures.  I was shown love is the most important thing to give. I have a tendency to tell people, “I love you”. Unfortunately, in our society, this can come off odd (laughs), but love to me is not only physical. I want to take the opportunity to tell the people I care about; it may be my last chance.  Another thing I saw is that all life is connected. There are no accidents in life, only providential events. That has helped me during the more difficult stages.  It is up to us, to choose which way we direct our life, according to events.

WJ: How does that work on a daily basis?

MH: I now try to take better notice of things when they are occurring, knowing there is a lesson I want to learn from them the first time. That way, they won’t have to be presented again, which usually is much harder lesson.

WJ: What are a couple of misconceptions that people who haven’t been through a near death experience carry about them?

MH (chuckles): There are a few. I’ll break them out:

1. Some doctors insist it is only a neurochemical reaction to the dying brain. That amuses me. In my experience, the doctors that think this way are ones dealing with death often, such as oncologists. I feel it is a form of denial or emotional protection.  Others say it’s caused by electrical charges of the neutrons misfiring while people die, similar to the side effects of drugs like peyote, psilocybin, or an LSD trip. I certainly don’t want to suggest this pertains to the majority of doctors; for me it was the exception.

2. That you cannot die and come back. I have been treated as if I were working on the side of evil by sharing this experience.  Some church people do follow an approach that basically says a near death experience would never be a possibility for a follower of Christ.  I am a Christian, I did have that experience, and many Christians find comfort in what I share.

3. Some people are either out of touch, or narrow-minded. My first rehab hospital nurse was this way. When I reviewed my injuries with her, I told her, “I went to Heaven.”  She gripped my arm and said, “never tell anyone, or they will never let you out of here.”  To her, I was crazy.

images-22WJ: You write very specifically and deeply about your near death experience, showing how the concept of time doesn’t exist in heaven. Could you elaborate on how you moved from one place to another, one realm to another, without the feeling of time?

MH: Time had no relevance.  The truly powerful currency came from what was I to learn, the knowledge, and life’s lessons.  My entire forty years of life (as of 1999) was shown to me via imagery, a type of ESP, which included all the human senses.  I felt all the feelings I gave someone, received, or caused a person to have.  My angel and I traveled from one place to another drifting, floating, like watching a butterfly or hummingbird.  We just sort of up and went, gliding to the next place of my review, divinely guided.

WJ: Right after your near death experience, you were put into a medically induced coma. Were you able to absorb your experience while in a comatose state?

MH: Many people think that coma patients are not aware of their surroundings, that you are not receptive, but you actually are. I could hear much of what was taking place and comprehend what was being said.

During my coma, I was also able to reflect on Heaven.  I had more visits from my Angel.  When I became distressed or my pastor was doing laying-on-of-hands healing, she was there; it was like looking out a window to her. She offered me peace, comforting me, reminding me that I would be all right, that God loved me and was looking over me.  The veil of Heaven had been lifted. I had seen the other side, the sweetness, the love, the way in which we are a portion of each other, the way God had intended our lives to be.

WJ: What happened when you first came out of the coma?

MH: When the doctors began lifting me out, the first thing that struck me the wrong way was a country music CD playing; it sounded like a sad woman wailing.  Then the TV …  it seemed evil to me. I remember asking a nurse through eye movement, tears streaming down my face, to turn it off.  The news was so depressing … you can imagine what I thought of daytime TV dramas! (laughs)

WJ: What brought you back to this life – when medical indications, and your own feelings while in eternity, made it seem you would not come back?

MH: My boys, Aaron and Nathan. At first, I didn’t accept that I was to return to life. I begged and bartered to stay in Heaven; it was so lovely, I wanted to stay forever.  As part of my barter, I was shown by God the Father, The Trinity, The Omniscient One, The Ultimate Power, Divine Source, The Absolute, Cosmic Creator – whatever you choose to call it – what would come in my life if I returned … or if I stayed. I saw many horrific things would happen to my boy’s lives, how negatively their personalities would be affected by my death.

Then I was shown my life if I came back, the negatives that would happen. It would not be easy. I saw trials, and heartbreaks. I was given a choice, which way to go. After weighing the two, and seeing the future of my sons, I instantly chose to come back. I wanted to be there for my babies, to love them.

I made a promise to God, if he let me return to my boys, I would tell of his great love, and hence A Taste of Eternity.  It was my choice, but it combined my defiance, some reverse psychology, and the presence of parental wisdom.