Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Childhood Dream...



A family friend took this picture yesterday of our home in PA in the midst of the snowstorm... Just seeing it brings back a thousand memories-- including one of a childhood dream I had... the meaning of which I never understood until now!!

I dreamed that in the middle of the night, a very short, fat man pushed me out of a second story window and off the roof of our home... As I was falling, Jesus caught me, and we went flying around the yard together, hand in hand, like Superman and Lois Lane... I remember feeling the wind on my face and was convinced upon waking and for years after- in my childlike faith- that it really happened...

Just recently I discovered that my sister had the exact same dream in that house... Today we are both flight attendants, and I recently started a flight attendant run mission flying baby formula to orphanages in third world countries... I started wondering if my little dream may have been a little prophetic! Then, just now, for the first time, I found myself wondering about the role of the 'little fat man' in my dream... and suddenly I remembered the Penguin from the cast of "Batman!" I decided to Google him out of sheer curiosity, and this is the description I found: "The Penguin is a supervillain... one of Batman's oldest, most persistent archenemies... a short, rotund man... a mobster and thief."
Wow!! If that doesn't spell it out... The old as time battle between good and evil... with Superman even flying off the pages of one world to fight the Penguin in another... all in a small child's dream... revealed some thirty years later!

I would say it was prophetic indeed-- that little fat man is still trying to push me around! But with Superman by my side, all I can say is: "SHAZAM!! TAKE THAT!!" ...lol ;)

Jesus... still the greatest Superhero of all time... :)

For more on the "Formula One Life" mission, simply click on the title of this post...thank you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Meet my Father...


I dreamed I was back in my hometown... excitedly awaiting the arrival of my boyfriend who would be meeting my father for the first time. I was not in the house in which I grew up, however, but in the house of my very first best friend– who lived at the top of a main street which led to the highway. My father worked at a military base on the highway and was getting ready to go back to work. My boyfriend- who had chosen to walk to my house- was terribly delayed... and in my dream, I could see him just coming out of the woods and walking along Front Street– the road of lowest elevation in our hillside town. My father kept looking at his watch, growing impatient, and then decided to send me in his prized corvette to go pick up my boyfriend who was taking too long... I drove off and found my boyfriend slowly making his way up the main street toward our home, when suddenly a storm broke, and it started to rain... I thought my boyfriend would be relieved to see me with the car, but instead, he refused to get in and insisted on walking uphill in the storm... When I drove back home I found my father waiting outside, now, keys in hand, ready to leave for work if my boyfriend did not arrive within minutes... I pleaded with my father to wait just a little longer as I could see my boyfriend in the distance slowly making his way up the hill toward us... My father shook his head and said “No... Time’s up. The gate is closing...” He was referring to the security gate at the base which observed and enforced strict arrival times. I was heartbroken as I watched my father leave... and my boyfriend arrive minutes too late, cold and drenched, saying only, “He could have waited...” Then I woke up...

This dream broke my heart again on waking, as I understood the symbolism and realized what it might signify... You need only capitalize a few words for what is possibly a much deeper meaning... my Father, the Gatekeeper (in the house of my very first best friend, i.e. my Father's house)...working at the secured base on the Highway... sending His prized possession to give a lift to His late son, so that His son could arrive before the Gate closed...

Sadly, this dream came true in a certain sense, and the gate did close on my relationship with this man... I know my Father, however, is still waiting on him... and He will be for as long as it takes...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Be(a)ware of Manhole...

I dreamed I was skating along a road that started to go downhill, when suddenly I fell into a manhole... I was then in a dark tunnel that quickly became narrower and narrower until it was crawlspace only... There was a very long trail of people behind me and a few in front of me... It was so dark and constricting, I could barely breathe and it was getting hotter and hotter... I was sure I was going to have a panic attack and hyperventilate or suffocate when finally we reached a small opening that led up to another manhole-- covered by a grate that I could see people walking over... I was so relieved to be near the front of the line so I could breathe the little bit of fresh air coming in from the manhole... but there were so many people behind me still suffocating in the dark... Then I noticed the silence. All these people behind me were on the verge of death yet nobody said a word, suffering instead in complete silence... Then I noticed that the few people in front of me who were actually close enough to the escape and had breath enough to cry out for help did not...! All I could think in my weakened condition was "...people are dying down here!...why are you not crying out for help?!"

Then I woke up...

It was one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced in a dream, and I believe I was allowed to feel it for a few reasons... to have deeper understanding of those who feel so deeply entrenched in a "manhole" they no longer have breath enough to cry out... to encourage those who do have breath and nearness enough, to cry out... and to not be, myself, as one walking over the grate unaware of the desperate need to help... but to cry out, myself, for those who, tragically, cannot...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cliff Hanger...

Last night I dreamed I was on a cliff with a man from my past... The cliff was actually a small ledge on the side of a steep mountain overlooking a bottomless canyon... The man from my past was afraid of heights and was frozen solid against the wall of the mountain refusing to get near the edge of the cliff. I kept extending my hand to him reassuring him we would be fine but his fear of falling kept him paralyzed. Finally, I became exasperated trying to help him and said "Then what are we doing here?!" And with that, I flew away...

I then saw him from a higher vantage point... still standing alone on the ledge... and since it was not humanly possible to scale the steep mountain, the only escape from that ledge was death itself...

When I looked again I saw his clothes covered with graffiti...

Then for one brief moment I saw a friend of mine named James... and then I woke up.

After a moment, I realized that James represented the book of James and one very relevant verse I know by heart. James 1:27: "Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." I slowly began to understand... The man from my past had been spiritually abandoned by his parents... leaving him distressed and stained by the world and ultimately a spiritual orphan... I reached out to him with 'pure religion' ...caring for him in his distress... but if he will not take the necessary leap of faith off that ledge... I can do nothing more...
 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Holy Smoke...!!

Last Sunday in Rome, my dear friend, Ana and I went to a beautiful Mass, a beautiful dinner and then on a beautiful walk along Via Del Corso... when suddenly we came upon this masterpiece of "chalk art" on the sidewalk! It was a copy of Caravaggio's "Dinner in Emmaus" where Jesus was recognized by the apostles only after breaking and blessing the bread... I started taking pictures... first one, then two... then on the third I asked Ana to take one with me in it... and this SMOKE shows up in the picture!! I looked at Ana and she looked at me, and we knew it was something otherworldly... Then it hit me: Father, Son... and on the third shot-- Holy Ghost... coming right out of Jesus' image and hovering between Ana and me as she took the picture!! "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst." (Matthew 18:20) ...and if you don't believe that, check out this sequence!


Take one...


Take two...


Take three!! (...and no- no one was smoking!)

...and right after the Holy Trinity... ;-)


...a kind passerby took this last one of the two of us...

And that concludes another awesome layover in the eternal city...!

Arrivederci!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Testing... the Waters...

During crew break on my last flight to Tel Aviv...

I dreamed I was a passenger sitting in the front row on some sort of simulator... The Captain, sitting right in front of me, turned around and asked, “Are you ready?” I nodded I was, but before I could even take a breath to prepare myself, the bottom fell out from beneath us and we were plunged deep into raging white water rapids... Far beneath the water’s surface, we were propelled along at an enormously high speed, and I was convinced I would die crashing into one of the many jagged rocks around us... Then I saw bubbles leaving the mouth of the man sitting next to me, and I realized I was about to drown, myself... But just as my own breath expired, to my amazement, I found I could somehow breathe under water! The next thing I knew I was walking up a long corridor coming from beneath the ground and leading into the light... I was still dripping from the water, but instead of looking drenched and exhausted, I was glistening, refreshed and invigorated! There were two people waiting for me at the end of the tunnel-- one of my best friends and one friend from work whose name is Angela... Angela was beaming and asked me excitedly, “How did it go??” My best friend looked at me in serious anticipation, awaiting my reply... Then I woke up.

Once again, only now that I write it down, do I understand this dream more in depth... It is obviously a dream of testing. I have had one of the most challenging seasons of my life, spiritually, so I believe God is confirming that I have indeed been put to the test... and by Him- the Captain. But He is also such a loving God that He has protected me from every jagged edge on the course... And while in the depths of despair, when I realized I could no longer breathe on my own, He was and always is the breath of life needed to survive... It is sad to note that I came out of that tunnel alone. The man next to me did not make it. But it is also important for me to understand why I didn’t hear my own answer to the angel’s question (see my “What’s in a Name” post!). “How did it go??” God is leaving that up to me... as my friends look on to see how my faith holds up beneath the surface and under pressure...

This morning, in the book of Job, I saw this side note by Max Lucado. “A time of suffering... may prepare us for a time of counsel...” Since none of us will get through this life without a serious crisis or two, we must counsel each other through the raging waters... to hold onto the life preserver of faith and keep breathing by Him... and to resurface in time a survivor... refreshed and glistening as a fresh water pearl...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Across the Judean Desert...

On another Tel Aviv layover, I took another awesome day tour... this time to Masada and the Dead Sea! I can’t believe how many bible stories I passed along the way– from the Road to Emmaus (where Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection), past Bethany (where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead) along Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives (where Jesus ascended into heaven) and then (only minutes later!) into the Judean Desert (where Jesus was tested)! We then passed Jericho and the very caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered until reaching the beautiful blue Dead Sea – across which lie the Jordanian mountains of Moab (from whence came the book of Ruth!)


The Dead Sea... (through the bus window!)

For those of you who don’t know, the Dead Sea is so named for the fact that nothing can live in it due to its’ extremely high salt content. I found it particularly amazing that the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were also located here-- in the lowest and saltiest place on earth (remember Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt after looking back...?!) ...and it is, indeed, largely “deserted” to this day!

We first ascended Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea, built between 37-31 BC by King Herod (!) as a palatial fortress for himself in the event of a revolt... He never did use it but sent his wife there, instead (and then later killed her, too!). It is most known, however, for its use by a group of Jewish rebels and their families, who in 66 AD– during the First Jewish-Roman War and after the destruction of the Temple– fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountain top, using it as a base to fight the raiding Roman Empire.


The ancient ruins of Masada...




Awesome mosaic floor from the Byzantine period!




The oldest synagogue in the WORLD... and the most posh place for Bat Mitzvahs, today! ;-)


...wait- I wasn't ready! ;-)




The tower window...

The end of the story is tragic... The Roman troops surrounded Masada by the thousands and built a ramp by which to storm the fortress... The Jewish freedom fighters, seeing their inevitable fate, decided they preferred death to surrender... And so 900 men, women and children committed mass suicide, together on the mountain plateau. The conquering Roman soldiers burst onto the scene to find nothing but dead bodies, a burning fortress and silence... Today Masada is a Jewish cultural icon and symbol of Jewish freedom from oppression. An absolute must see if you ever go to Israel!

After descending Masada, we drove just a few minutes down the road to the world famous En Gedi spa with mineral mud baths and beach access to the Dead Sea.


The lowest place on the PLANET-- 420 meters (1200 ft.) below sea level!

Unfortunately, no one told me to bring a one piece bathing suit, so when I saw the “conservative undertone” of everyone else, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it in a bikini (lol!). So I coated just my arms and legs and looked ridiculous like everyone else for a few minutes before rinsing off...only to then see another woman from our group going topless! Frankly I found the whole mud bath experience totally overrated and a little... gross!


My friend, Leonardo- getting a little dirt beneath his nails! ;-)

Floating in the Dead Sea, however, was awesome... but don’t shave your legs before you go! and don’t go under!! (Why do I have to learn everything the hard way?!) Nothing can sting your eyes like the wicked salty waters of the Dea Sea!


...yes, I floated, but I'm not posting me in a bikini! ;-)

I stole a couple salt crystals off an immersed bicycle exhibit and a floating barge with a fresh water hose (for those who make the mistake of going under!) :-0



Finally, we headed home and made one stop where I was able to hop on a camel for a ride around the gas station... lol! It was scarier than it looks!





...thank goodness it's over! 

Private Message with Priority...

I was actually in the Holy Land when I had this dream a few days ago...

I dreamed I was in the Holy Land, so I really wanted to hear from Jesus while I was in town. I mentioned it to someone who was very close to him, and the next thing I knew, I had a voicemail from Jesus on my cell phone! I was so excited that the most famous person in the universe called me on my cell phone that I was going around to everyone saying “Do you want to hear Jesus’ voice...?! Here– listen...!!” The only problem was, I never did hear the message myself! Then I woke up...

The first thing I thought of was the time I got a personal voice mail from Benicio Del Toro- who was trying to reach his friend who was with me, at the time, without his own cell phone. I listened to that message over and over! lol! But now– and only as I write this down– I am beginning to understand the missed message from my dream... If I was that excited about listening to Benicio del Toro’s voice, how much more excited should I be about listening to God’s voice! Yes, I was excited to know I had a message from Him, but I failed to listen to it... I have always been challenged in the listening department, as I’m sure I have at least a slight case of ADD... But still, I can do better, and I must do better– most certainly when it comes to listening to His voice (...mail! ;-)

God knows I want to share His message with others-- as I did in my dream-- but a good messenger must always first get the message, herself... ouch. :-0 ...message received!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Holy Land...

Well, I finally made it to the most famous place on earth... On a day trip from Tel Aviv, I managed to make it to not only Jerusalem but Bethlehem, too! We started out at the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and the garden of Gethsemane. Twenty thousand tombstones line the hillside facing the Temple Mount– with ancient souls waiting to be among the first raised from the dead on the last day according to Scripture... This is also the place from which Jesus is said to have ascended into heaven...and there are a few different churches that mark the spot...!



(I don't want to know what that man is doing...! :-0)

We continued on to the Old City and the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall)– the closest accessible site to the holiest spot in Judaism– the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount-- which of course is occupied by the Dome of the Rock mosque... (incidentally, did you know the term Palestine comes from the biblical Philistine? ...how history repeats!)





Fortunately, I came prepared with my hotel notepad which served as a prayer tablet for the whole group! I started to stress out, though, over the writing of the prayer– like it was my one and only chance to write the perfect letter to God and I should have started it weeks ago...! Needless to say I was the last one in the group to finish tucking my prayer into the Wailing Wall– where there was actually a woman wailing next to me... making it hard to concentrate on my own prayer! The whole thing was rather surreal, actually... and of course I forgot to back away from the wall and so had a huge overreaction as I did an about face and then overcompensated by "backtracking" way past the backwards zone! :-0



Afterwards, we walked along the Via Dolorosa where the Stations of the Cross are marked with chapels of prayer...



The Fifth Station, Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross...


Modern day Via Dolorosa...

We ended at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre- a massive monastery encompassing the sites of both Jesus’ crucifixion and entombment. Again there is some debate among Christians as to the exact location of Jesus’ tomb, but it is universally accepted that this is indeed the site of ancient Golgotha (place of the skull) where Jesus was crucified. This was another very surreal experience as flocks of tourists buzzed about, like me, praying and picture taking, trying to strike a balance between reverence and capturing such a moment as an eternal keepsake... In retrospect, I wish I had just put my camera away...




The stone beneath the altar marks the place of Jesus' crucifixion...



The Anointing Stone- on which Joseph of Arimathea anointed Jesus' body before entombment...


...the tomb of Jesus...

Finally, we drove about 15 minutes down the road to Bethlehem. Sadly, our Israeli guide was not able to enter into the Palestinian territory with us, so were handed over to a Palestinian guide outside the secured entrance. Once inside, we stopped for a quick photo op. with the "little" town of Bethlehem in the background...



and then went straight to the Church of the Nativity...



...and made a grand entrance! (ok- I missed the story behind the door..!?)



Inside we witnessed the very place where Christ was born... appropriately marked by a beautiful star on the earth...


...and a few feet away, where he laid in the manger...



For many people, the Holy Land experience is once in a lifetime... It was a blessing, indeed, to see it once... but I’m hoping, myself, to make it back at least once more... Shalom!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All Things Israeli...

It’s the strangest thing, this job... You are handed a schedule, and from one day to the next, a once foreign land, culture and people are suddenly a part of your world... That is how Israel popped into my life, last month!

Here are a few pictures from Tel Aviv’s famous market... I thoroughly enjoyed the friendly Israeli merchants, the amazing Dead Sea products and, of course, the freshest, most delicious produce from a land that is blessed, indeed!

Stand by for pictures from Jerusalem... coming in June! :-)










...love the camouflage yarmulke!


...I knew menorahs were Jewish, but I thought chalices were Catholic...!


...I would fail this test with flying colors... :-0


...olives and oil from the Holy Land... you can't beat that! Shalom!