I have always loved this photo. I love the imagery and the possibility of an angel walking down the street doing her own thing, holding a basket of groceries as she passes people on the street.
Yep, just another day working miracles, completely unnoticed.
The image is a bit grainy because I scanned it from a notecard I received from my dear friend, mentor, and former boss, Mary Ellen. I framed the notecard and this image has been sitting front and center on various bookshelves throughout my career since the day I received it in 1999.
It's a reminder.
It's a reminder that miracles happen everyday and all around us.
Some are noticed, some are not.
Some of those miracles are, well, miraculous. Divine intervention.
Other miracles are orchestrated by ordinary people.
Ordinary people who are extraordinary because they care enough to help, guide and mentor people in hopes of outweighing some of the destruction that also happens everyday and all around us.
Last month I was the recipient of the actions of an angel here on earth. Someone nominated me for the Real Estate Staging Association's 2018 Most Influential list.
Not only did I not know this even existed, I had no idea who nominated me or why. I even replied to the nomination e-mail asking why I was nominated and received a "LOL" back.
No. Really. Why?
I mean the nominees for this list are industry heavy hitters with years and years of experience. One is even credited with CREATING the home staging industry?! Are you kidding me?!
I'm a few months into my 4th year and, although extremely thankful for being included in the group of nominees, I'm in way over my head on this one.
Then another guardian angel hinted that it was because I was "promoting education in the market in a creative and fun way."
Ok, I get that. I have fun with the House Trained: Home Staging Workshops for Realtors I do with David Weekley Homes. Through that, we've helped a fair amount of Labrador Retrievers find homes by donating to Happy Labs Rescue.
But that's LOCAL, and this is a NATIONAL award.
Then another guardian angel pointed me toward my blog, this blog - House Trained: Thoughts, Musings and Home Improvement. Last fall this blog was named One of the Top 100 Home Staging Blogs on the Planet by Feedspot.
A nomination, I assume, came from another guardian angel because, clearly, my blog has very little to do with home staging and everything to do with the ‘Thoughts & Musings’ part of the title.
NOW we're getting somewhere...
So, since this a NATIONAL award, I pulled analytics from my website and was shocked. I figured visitors to the site (and blog readers) were from the United States and maybe Canada. What I didn't count on was the International readership.
I pulled every set of geographic visitors from the day I launched my website (2.27.15) to current and every year and every which way you could imagine. You know what I found out?
The United States, Canada & India are consistently my top 3 in terms of readership and visitor rankings.
Not so close, but consistent, is China at #4. Then, rounding out the top 5 are Russia, Germany & the UK - all tied for #5.
Whoa. Who knew?!
But it makes me immensely happy to think that 'blogging' about some of my experiences is resonating with people across the globe. It's the ultimate shared experience. We are all, after all, all living under the same sky with the same struggles, hopes and dreams.
I. Love. It!!….Now THAT'S a miracle.
Sometimes miracles are a combination of divine and human intervention like Jason Seaman, the science teacher and football coach who tackled the Noblesville School shooter last week. I happen to know another Jason (H.) who also risked his life to save others - running into a house that was on fire to save a family.
Scientist would argue that it's the fight, flight or freeze mechanism kicking in. I would argue these angels on earth were in the right place at the right time to do the right thing.
Speaking of science and angels on earth (never thought you'd see that in the same sentence, huh?!), there are a handful of doctors and therapist who, I believe, earn their wings on a daily basis.
I can’t mention therapist without giving Bill Hartman (IFAST Physical Therapy) & Himanshu Saini (Neuro Clinical Therapist at RHI a.k.a. my former vestibular therapist) credit as the best brains in the business. I love these guys 💕
It's no secret I've had an ongoing combative relationship with the medical community at large through my own medical issues and rehab as well as being my father's medical power of attorney and, more importantly, daughter.
While my father was in a coma in ICU I remember telling one of his critical care pulmonologists in a seething, I-am-about-to-lose-my-sh**-type voice that "sometimes the medical community gets it wrong. If I had listened to my doctors I'd be jacked up on pain meds living some sort of half-life." I don't remember what he said that set off my seething response.
I didn't see him again during the 6-weeks Dad was in the ICU.
Until a few weeks ago when I was sitting in his office, as a new patient.
I didn't immediately recognize him as the same doctor from 2 years ago in the ICU. I guess I had always assumed that doctors who worked in the hospital were a lot like Vegas - who and what goes on in the hospital, stays in the hospital.
Through the course of the questions and exam I learned that I liked him. I genuinely liked him. We have things in common. He has a personality. He's smart, but more importantly, he’s wise. He asked me how I was FEELING. I was so used to spewing off my symptoms at this point that he stopped me in my tracks when he said "Yes, but how are your FEELING".
Well, Dr. Sunil Jhajhria, I'm FEELING like I owe you an epic apology. Which I will give to you in my next appointment in July.
This brings me to my next point about guardian angels, sometimes they don't even know they are helping.
This is where my dad's surgeon comes in, Dr. Raja Mahidhara. He and his team were incredibly competent and, at the same time, so kind to Dad while he was under his/their care. This is why I reached out to him when I found out I needed a pulmonologist.
I trust him and respect him.
Odd thing about Dr. Mahidhara, I liked him the instant he walked into Dad’s room. Keep in mind, Dad’s room was a revolving door of doctors, and I tend to not like doctor’s in general.
However, when he walked in the room, I felt my 12-year-old self run up next to him jumping up & down, clapping her hands like “It’s you! It’s you!”
I’m not sure how I feel about the concept of past lives, but I will say this reaction caught me so off guard it took me a few minutes to reconcile what just happened with the reality that I was just meeting this man for the first time and, ugh, he’s a DOCTOR.
I actively tried to not like him (seriously?!). But he’s a thinking doctor, he doesn’t just believe everything that is spoon fed to him. He took the time to explain a complex situation in layman’s terms with just the facts.
That’s when I realized, that’s what all these doctors (plus, Dr. Debra McConnaha, my former low vision and neuro rehabilitation optometrist at RHI) have in common. They question and balance the information coming at them with what they see and know to be true. I’m not sure how they reconcile that on a daily basis but they make it look easy.
Dr. Mahidhara (technically his nurse - good doctors are busy) gave me a few names of pulmonologist and Dr. Jhajhria was the one I chose because, out of all the choices, he fit within my timeframe for other specialists I was seeing.
Random? Maybe. But I don't think so. I think I have been given the opportunity to right a wrong and I'm going to take it.
Speaking of unusual responses in stressful situations, a rental property my brother & I co-own was the backdrop for a SWAT-type situation earlier this month. Thankfully, no one was injured & no, drugs were not involved.
Ironically, this happened the same day as my appointment with Dr. Jhajhria. Which posed an interesting dilemma - should I actually tell him and his staff the truth as to why my blood pressure was a bit high during my initial office visit? I opted not to.
Seriously, no one in their right mind would have believed me anyway. I'll save that for the follow-up appointment in July as well. I'll gauge his reaction after I apologize. Hee...heee...
That evening my brother came in the house pretty upset about the situation that day.
I kept vacuuming.
He unplugged the vacuum and declared I needed psychotherapy because I wasn't upset.
Side note: I may very well need psychotherapy but it has nothing to do with an isolated situation, but rather, as you can gather, a cumulative affect of bizarre events relentlessly assaulting my overall well being.
Truth is - I'm not sure why I wasn't more upset.
Maybe because thankfully, no one was injured. Or maybe my source of understanding comes from my own out-of-character events I did in 2016, as a direct response to my father's passing and the aftermath. I still can't talk about these events because of the statute of limitations surrounding them.
The point of even putting this in the blog is to illustrate how our stress levels and response to stressful situations are a by product of our experiences.
Two or three years ago I would have flipped out had I received this news. A few weeks ago, even in the same day as another stressful situation, it just bumped my blood pressure a bit.
Which, you guessed it, brings me back to my final point about guardian angels.
Receiving miracles - divine or orchestrated by angels on earth working behind the scenes, creates a responsibility. A responsibility to understand and to help others.
In case you were wondering the image above is from the book The Possibility of Angels by Keith Bosley.
Keith, I think it's fair to say, we're beyond the possibility of Angels.