Tag Archives: Inspiration

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Signed – Publisher for A Taste of Eternity

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This February 2016 has proven to be a very fantastic month for me. After traveling to Frankfurt, Germany in October for the debut of my book at the Frankfurt Buchmesse, the world’s largest book fair, the flurry had started to settle down. Life was getting back to normal with the grind of learning a new job.

However, on the first week of the month, a box arrived, filled with over 20 copies of Der Duft des Engels, the German version of A Taste of Eternity, published by German publisher sorriso verlag. It was overwhelming when I saw my face in a photo plastered on the wall of the book booth in Germany, but to actually hold my book in my hands? With my picture on the back cover and “author” under it? Well, this blew me away.Der Duftdes Engels: book cover.jpgFM Christine and I

Now to top things off, for this magical month, I just signed a Publishing Agreement with Open Books Press to print A Taste of Eternity in English with a release date of September 1. If you’re an author, September 1 is one of the most coveted publishing dates of the year — it’s holiday shopping season, and a time when people start to move toward the holidays themselves… which have a central place in my book. I start the book with “life can be summed up in three words, family, adventure, and perseverance. “  This still holds true for me and it has been with all three that this loving project has been able to come full circle, and allow me to fulfill my promise that I would write this book.Open Books Press Publishing Agreement.jpg

I want to share a bit of the book to tide people over until the book releases on Sept. 1 (don’t worry; I will share more tidbits throughout the next few months):

 

 

CLIFF JUMPING WITH GOD and WRITING HIS BOOK, A TASTE of ETERNITY

On my 53rd birthday, my crazy streak popped up. Bob had seen it the previous summer, when we bodysurfed 10-foot waves in Carlsbad and marveled about it later on Oceanside Pier, which shook from the waves whose spray hit onlookers’ faces. He also remembered how, when we were in high school, I was one of the few girls to bomb down the steep La Costa hills on a skateboard.

This time, I outdid myself. While whitewater rafting down the upper Ganges outside Varanasi India, I celebrated March 16 in a new way — by jumping off 30-foot cliffs into the river. My fellow travelers, all in their 20s, wouldn’t try it. Neither would the Indian men standing on the edge. (In the photo in this blog, I jumped from a spot about 10 feet above them; this was taken in mid-jump.)Raft on Ganges India.jpgMe jumping of cliff into Ganges.jpg

But I jumped. I went for it. Why not? This is my life — and I’m going to live it to the max. I am not afraid of what comes next. I’ve seen it. I look forward to my return.

 

I continue to be excited and motivated by the visions I received during my near death experience, my Taste of Eternity.  I will also keep up my search and understanding about religions and how they are changed from the ways they were originally practiced.

I am a Christian, as in Jesus Christ is my divine teacher.  I completely honor other religions and know that the All Powerful, Loving God Energy I met in Heaven would not condemn others for following their religion with the depth of their heart and the example of their actions. My focus is to love and be loved, none of that judging and condemning stuff for me.  I know I am far from perfect (isn’t that an understatement), and I tend to over-react when I feel I’m wronged. This whole experience is not one I would ever change, my desire in writing this book has always been to share the incredible love and beauty I know awaits us when we die – we’re not alone as we travel to Heaven. God sends us each an Angel, and He is the one holding us in his arms all the way to Paradise.

 

October Angels in Germany – A Taste of Eternity becomes A Scent of Angels

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It has been a long road, the one that leads to Eternity… and to Germany. I feel so blessed in both cases, and am blessed yet again in the month of October.

 Book CoverIt was in October 1999 that I had my Taste of Eternity, which lead to my wanting to write and publish my book about sharing the beauty I know awaits us in Heaven. Three years later in 2002 in October I was blessed, again, to be able to compete in the Dublin Marathon, to also be one of the top fundraisers in the US for the American Diabetes foundation.

Now finally… I am blessed, yet again in the month of October. This time that blessing comes in the form of my book making its debut. The title has changed, the language has changed, but it is going to market at The Frankfurt book fair, the world’s largest book fair. The title has changed from “A Taste of Eternity” to “Der Duft des Engels” which translates to “The Fragrance (or the Scent) of Angels”. So it will be on the wings of Angels that I fly to Frankfurt in 2 days on October 14th, 2015.

There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of authors who wish they would have their book printed in a foreign language, or make it to print at all. I am one of those very lucky few, that not only will achieve this, but it will be to release my first book. I feel like a southern bell making her Debut at the big ball. I want to dance and twirl and sing out loud I’m so pretty, I’m so pretty but really changing the words to I’m so lucky, I’m so lucky. Twirling just the same.Frankfurt City PIC

Please don’t think that the coincidence of all these wonders of good fortune happening in October is lost on my blonde California head. I accept that we are not the ones in control of our fates. I do completely believe that these gifts were a blessing from above. While reading a review on the book festival in Publishers Weekly, I had to take pause because there was a paragraph, which spoke directly to me. Now as I pack my bags to fly to Germany for this live time event, I do take pause, and review all the wonders of this life. I wanted to share this with you.

{Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: A New Era Begins.  Welcome to the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair—and publishing’s next act}

Whether you’re hurrying from meeting to meeting or just wandering the halls, try to pause for a moment to take it all in. Publishing has entered a new era. And the conversation is no longer about print or digital, Kuyper says—it is about meeting the needs of the consumer.

Frankfurter Buchmesse, a.k.a. the Frankfurt Book Fair; Vibrant, Inspiring Memories and Discoveries

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Books create worlds and new ideas. They help to shape our society and its values.

My desire in writing my book A Taste of Eternity is to do just that: I want you to experience (as much as a book will allow) my view of the Love I experienced and which is offered to each of us in Heaven.

Now, I get to do it halfway around the world, when A Taste of Eternity makes its worldwide reveal at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, a.k.a. the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the three largest in the world.

I can’t believe my lucky stars that this is the place of my book’s debut! The Frankfurter Buchmesse takess center stage of Frankfurt every October (October is an auspicious month. My accident that led to my taste of Eternity happened in October 1999, and I completed a 26.2-mile full marathon in Ireland three years later — after being told I would spend my life in a wheelchair). Located on the banks of the river Main, with its skyscrapers intermingling with the historic part of town, it is often jokingly called “Mainhattan”.Frankfurt City PIC

The most famous son of the city by far is novelist, playwright, poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was born there in 1749. During his lifetime, Goethe wrote the equivalent of 140 books 400-pages long (a task now fully appreciated). His protégé, Rudolf Steiner, established the education philosophy we know today through the Waldorf Schools. Now, Goethe’s legacy is preserved by the book fair.

The Fair is a vibrant publishing landscape, Dynamic! It’s international, interactive and inspiring. The gathering place for the Who’s Who of publishing — publishers, agents, film producers, booksellers, and authors! It’s clearly the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licenses worldwide. The industry comes together to create something new.

         More than 7,000 exhibitors are expected from over 100 countries. Frankfurter Buchmesse will be home to publishers from Asia, the Arab world, Australia, Canada, France, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latin America, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Scandinavia, Spain, Southeast Europe, Turkey, UK, and the USA.Frankfurt PiC  Having my Book debuted there offers the opportunity not only wished for by authors worldwide but hopefully (I pray) will give me an opportunity to expand my network, build bridges into the future, and make new memories and discoveries.

I promised God, and my ‘Pop’s” Ray Brookhart that I would write this book. They asked me to share all the memories I could layout there, describing the Divinity of Heavens Colors on my empty white pages. Feeling guided all the way, God has made this Heaven sent.

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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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.

Sorriso smile

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.

Blog Beach Chairs contract

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.

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IMG_1293            In life (my whopping 54 years), I’ve noticed that every step, every experience, every encounter, and basically everything in life happens in order to prepare us for the next step to come.  There are no accidents in life.

            Often, the things that happen to us, or the stories we choose to tell, may not be occurring so we can learn from, but actually for others to learn. Something might happen that makes us wonder what am I supposed to learn from this?.  Have you ever had that thought of Why am I saying this right now?  Why is this the story I’m sharing? I sure hope no one hears me!  I believe that often, our actions or words are there for someone else who needs them — either to help, encourage, or serve as an eye opener for life’s learning.  I like to call this the trickle down effect

Think of the trickle down effect as a waterfall: each drop cascades into a pond of shimmering water that provides a fuller life.  I can also see my life in the same way; each step or action I take prepares me for the next step.

I was an athlete early in life. As the baby of five kids with three older brothers, I had to be athletic, just to be allowed to hang out with them.  If you want to run with the Big Dogs, you can’t pee like a puppy, right?

If I hadn’t been so athletic, I probably would not be walking now.  After my accident and taste of eternity, I was told I would not walk again. My family was also told that, more than likely, I would be a mental vegetable living in a wheelchair. To deal with this challenge, I needed the dedication that my high school and college athletic years trained me to have.  I had the focus to draw down into my gut and ache my way through to the next goal line.  Believe me, ache is a state of being after lying stiff in a coma for two months, and you suddenly tell your body it’s time to get up and get going again!

My athletic background got me ready for the focus I needed to put out my best efforts in rehabilitation.  After the rehabilitation, I loved to walk, simply because I could.   A grateful viewpoint can change your perspective when the only parking space available is the farthest away. 

Then came the next seemingly impossible challenge: I found in my lap (or P.O. box) an opportunity to fulfill a life long dream – doing a marathon.  I still wonder how I received the invitation to fund raise for diabetes, in a marathon, in the third anniversary month of my accident. On top of that, I’d talked about it the day before with my girlfriend Cathey Anderson (a fund-raising marathoner).  The VERY next day! Odd.  I had six months to train, and needed to increase from five-mile walks every day to 26.2 miles on race day. Thank goodness I could combine the athletic focus and grateful viewpoint.

While walking my miles, I share with girlfriends Judy Anibaldi and Lisa  my plan to fundraise via the marathon.  Sure enough, the trickle down effect kicked in. They shared my goal with their book club; one member of the group, Cheryl Walker, wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The article she ended up writing on me reached so many people that the donations poured in. Not only was I able to compete in a dream race, the Dublin (Ireland) Marathon, but I was one of the top fundraisers in the U.S.  I learned so much more along the way in terms of fundraising, and I’m now able to speak openly about my accident, and most importantly, my angel and Heaven.

My motto for the marathon was Yard by yard it’s hard, but inch by inch it’s a cinch.  During all of this, I raised more money than needed, and then met a 21-year-old girl with diabetes who was training for the marathon. She was having difficulty raising the funds needed to compete.  One day, while we walked together, she said, “When you’re meant to do something, the whole universe works together to make it happen.”

That really made an impact on me. I transfer my extra funds to her account, and we walked over the starting line in Dublin together.  Score another one for the trickle down effect.

images-11     The pond made by the trickle down effect continued to grow. An official at the hospital that first treated me, Palomar Pomerado Hospital, contacted me. They asked me to do fundraising in my area for a hospital expansion. I was elated to help; after all, their doctors and nurses saved my life. We had a helicopter presentation in my neighborhood to raise funds Second; I spoke at an evening event to a larger crowd,  and shared my hope: “We need to be a village and be able to take care of our village. Now please open your wallets and write a big check to the hospital.” That’s me – I tend to be direct!

People happily donated, knowing it could well be themselves who would someday need the hospital’s help.

Then my past modeling experience was called into play. The hospital asked me to shoot T.V. public service commercials to promote their larger vision. I find I became one of four advocates for a $496 million bond measure, vital for the expansion of all the Palomar Pomerado community of hospitals.  I was so grateful to give back. The ensuing article and commercials were fantastic – and an old classmate from my elementary and high school years wrote a letter to the editor in support of me. One of my girlfriends told me about it and identified him as “your boyfriend.” No boyfriend for me at the time; I was then married! I had no idea who he was.

In 2010, I was watching a friend’s band, and in walked the old classmate. My girlfriend was right – he became my boyfriend … ten years after he wrote that letter to the editor.

When I was in Heaven, I promised God that if I came back to this life, I would tell everyone how loving and great he is through sharing my story. I spent ten years after the accident trying to figure out how I would reach a larger audience beyond my smaller North San Diego County community.  It turned out this new love of mine was a long-time journalist and book author … hum.  Unfortunately, all my time was taken up working, just to keep my head above water in the expensive Southern California lifestyle. How was I ever going to write about this?

Suddenly, in 2011, I lost my job. That caused me to lose my home. Consequently, thirty years after last sitting in a classroom, I found myself back in college, taking those writing classes I desperately need to be able to write this book, lovingly and legibly.

Wow, who’d of thunk it … losing my job and home would be such a great thing, an open opportunity to move forward?

Often, when we lose hope and think it’s the end, God smiles from above and says, “Relax, it’s just a bend, not the end!”

I feel the trickle down effect still filling my life. I have been so deeply touched by the vast, happy and pleasant responses to my blogs and my effort in writing A Taste of Eternity.