A Hug From Heaven

by Danielle N. Hall

2/4/2018

I find myself having life experiences that often have me saying: “I can’t make this stuff up!”. I have not had a full week go by without me saying these words or having an experience that would provoke me to say those words. I’ve decided to share one of such experiences that I had about a month ago.

The Christmas season is pretty busy for us at work. There are a few different celebrations that take place. Usually kicking off the festivities is a brunch hosted by our admin department for the anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists. There always a variety of food and one of favorite things about this brunch is that I usually have smoothie duty…and I’m reeeeeal serious about my stuff. Each year I choose a different feature ingredient…last year’s was passion fruit. My “special ingredients” are under this table.

Anyhow, the other celebrations we have are an evening gathering at a hotel or a country club, another gathering at the department which is usually catered, and the last celebration is when our administrator takes the admin staff out for a time away from the office. On December 22,2017…two days after my dad transitioned…we had the lunch with our administrator. One of the activities planned was the White Elephant Gift Exchange. I signed up to participate, but in light of my father’s unexpected passing, I hadn’t yet secured a gift.

The morning of the lunch, I stopped at the CVS near my home to grab a gift card and some candy. I first went to look for a gift card holder and these small, plastic, gift bags caught my attention. I picked one up and placed it on my wrist so I wouldn’t forget. I gathered the other items I needed and, as I was shopping, I took note of the employee I observed that he was wearing a white shirt, American Flag print pants & a tie with the same print…during the Christmas season. I thought it to be a bit strange, but proceeded to complete the task at hand.

It is custom for me to view the name tag of the cashier when I approach a register, however, I hadn’t done so in this case. I placed my items and the counter and the gentleman scanned them and rung them up. He gave me my total and I paid for my items with my card. I realized after the fact that I hadn’t added the small, plastic gift bag to the items I was purchasing and I said: “Awww shoot! I forgot to put this on there. Oh well…it’s too late so never mind.” My receipt came out and the cashier said: “Wait! You’ve got something coming to you here. You’ve got $4. I don’t know how much this costs, but it’s a good thing you waited. You can actually now get it.” I told him that it was $1.99 and he excitedly told me I could go get another one. I really appreciated his spirit, but I was a bit hesitant because the line of people waiting was quite lengthy. He reassured me so I got another one.

The total of my items was $4.26. I didn’t have cash, so I took my card out again. He told me not to worry about it because he would take care of it. He got a quarter and a penny and added it to my $4. I told him he really made my day and he was going to make me cry. I shared with him that my father has just transitioned and that these little things really make my heart smile. He told me I was gonna make him cry and he asked sincerely about my mother and her well being. I thought it strange, yet comforting. I was overwhelmed by his compassion. He then told me he was going to come from behind the register to give me a hug. It was such a comforting embrace. I was nervous because the line of customers wasn’t growing any shorter. Nonetheless, it was as if time stood still for me in that moment. He told me to let my mom know he asked about her and he said he’d keep us in his thoughts and prayers. It was at this time that I asked him his name. I was blown away: He and my father shared the same name!!! His name was Robert! I was certain that this guy was an angel. I frequent that CVS and I never saw him before, neither have I seen him since. Just a few days ago as I was thinking about creating this blogpost, I thought again about the attire of the gentleman. The angel wasn’t confused about the holidays. I was SURE that “Robert” was my Dad paying me a visit checking on mom and looking out for me.

It was my Dad…still looking out for his family.

Thanks, Dad for sending me a hug from Heaven! Rest easy 🙂

“Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 (AMP)

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If Loving You Is Right, I Don’t Wanna Be Wrong

by Danielle N. Hall

4/9/2017

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

Lately I’ve been thinking of the beginning lyrics to Kirk Franklin’s Song “Love”: 

“Love, a word that comes and goes, but few people really know what it means to really love somebody.”

As I ponder these lyrics, I’d have to admit that there may be some validity to that statement. In my opinion, what some believe is love just isn’t. Real love is not self-serving. As a matter fact, one of the ways Merriam-Webster defines love is as follows: “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another“. There are many who say they love, but their love only extends as far as your last deed towards them. In other words, their love begs the question: “What have you done for me lately?” Moreover, some who say that they love you may have an uncanny way of keeping track of offenses. I’m so grateful that God’s love doesn’t resemble that. According to His Word, this is what love looks like:

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (VOICE)

This is what real love is! Ask yourself these questions:

-When was the last time you told someone “I love you”? 

-When was the last time you showed someone that you love him/her? 

-Is the love that you have unconditional?

Prayerfully, the answer to the last question is “yes”, but for many of us the truth is that we do attach conditions to our love. With that being the case, can we honestly call it “love“? God commands us in His word to love our neighbor, but He didn’t say to do so only when our fellow brothers and sisters are being neighborly. His word says that “love bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening.” 

I know there are times when I disappoint God and there are times when I may have broken His heart, yet He still has the capacity to love me…in spite of me. He saw the best in me, when everyone else around could only see the worst in me. His love is steadfast and unmatched, He gave His only begotten Son just to show how sacrificial and unselfish His love is. What an example! The least I can do as an expression of my gratitude for this extreme act of loving kindness is to do as He has commanded. If loving you is right, I don’t want to be wrong! Just as He loves me, flaws and all, I extend the same to my fellow brothers and sisters.

Angels Watching Over Me

by Danielle N. Hall

3/30/2017


Two weeks ago from today, I’d had what I would consider a good day. The work day had come to an end and I prepared to leave to head to praise team/choir rehearsal: as is custom every Thursday. What I did not know is I’d be walking outside to a not so good discovery on what had been a good day.  I walked towards my car and discovered that the rear driver’s side tire had gone flat. I had a few thoughts, but my primary thoughts were that this is something that’s gonna cost me both money and time that I don’t have. I called my husband to inform him of my situation and he did offer to come to the rescue. I told him to just hold on and let me think for a minute because it would be quite a distance to travel from where he was to where I was.

My next phone call was one that I’d reluctantly make to the insurance company. You see, the way my insurance is set up, I’d be responsible for fees up front and would have to submit the necessary info to get reimbursement. Before I placed that call, though, I did make one other call and it was  quite short in duration. It kinda went like this: “Lord, please just send somebody to help.” That was my request and I had faith that He’d favorably respond to my call. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew time was of the essence. 

Just as I’d dialed the number to Allstate, a gentleman appeared and was walking on the service road that leads up to our office building. I blew my horn and waved him over and asked if he knew how to change a tire. He answered affirmatively and asked me to pop the trunk so he could get what he needed to handle the task at hand. It turns out it was tougher than what I thought. 

When I solicited his assistance it was 6:20pm. As he was taking care of the tire, I asked him where he was headed and if I could give him a ride. He declined and said that it was just a 5 minute walk. Oh, did I mention this was a 20 degree day?! He informed me that he was heading to the early bird special at Bingo which started at 6:30pm. I again offered a ride and even a couple of dollars. He respectfully declined. He finally said to me: “This could be me one day.” 

While having the tire issue addressed was certainly a blessing, I was more blessed by this man’s extreme kindness, to the point of inconvenience, with nothing expected in return. I thank God for immediately answering my call, for being a present help in the time of trouble, and for His angels who are so busy watching over me because my tire could’ve gone flat while driving on the highway. I was even able to catch the tail end of praise team rehearsal and all of choir rehearsal, while this man opted to both walk in the frigid air and to be late for what he had planned just so he could assist me. Indeed, he was an angel. 

“For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.” – Psalm 91:11 (NLT)

For a closing thought ponder the following: Are you willing to be inconvenienced for the benefit of someone else?

Sweet Somethings

by Danielle N. Hall

11/1/2016

Remember when you were…well nevermind about how old you were, but remember that time when you heard those whispered babbles in your ear and you felt warm and fuzzy? Well, those are what are known as sweet nothings. According to one source, “sweet nothings” are affectionate, but unimportant words spoken to a loved one (usually whispered in his or her ear). I’m a firm believer, however, that #ALLwordsmatter. Sometimes, those sweet words are just what we need to calm a troubled spirit, to soothe an aching soul, or to quiet a noisy mind. Therefore, I choose to call kind or affectionate words, that are uttered by others toward me, sweet SOMETHINGS.


These sweet somethings featured above are just a few highlights of what I’ve received over the past 24 hours. Flowers are best when one is alive and able to receive them. These sweet somethings are like flowers to me. They are pleasant, they are mood enhancing, and they are meaningful.

Perhaps it’s crossed your mind to buy flowers for a loved one or for someone you care about, I submit to you to consider offering a different kind of sweet something: words of life. 

“A soothing tongue speaking words that build up and encourage is a tree of life…” – Proverbs 15:4a (AMP)

Don’t hesitate to be kind and to speak kindly to others. Unexpected kind words can be just as effective as an unexpected bouquet of flowers: they are sweet somethings. I’ll leave you with this note: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.”-Proverbs 16:24 (AMP)

Unnecessary Roughness 

by Danielle N. Hall

6/2/16

MOMENT OF THOUGHT:

Just before reaching the office this morning, the phrase “unnecessary roughness” crossed my mind. It led me to begin to think of how we are sometimes too hard on ourselves. This unfortunate fact can be attributed to (but isn’t limited to) past rejection or hurt from others, embracing the standards of others, or having a propensity to please people. In these situations we tend to lose ourselves and the inclination to love ourselves.


MOMENT OF TRUTH:

For years, I focused the majority of my energy on comforting and loving others and sacrificing for them. It took some time and courage for me to decide that I was going to start making sure I invested in my own happiness and well-being, too. The above picture represents one of such investments. It was taken at the Red Door Spa on my birthday last year. I’ve made an executive decision that this would be a consistent treat for me. Sadly, though, when I initially made the decision I actually felt a little bit guilty and I started to beat up on myself. This is because I’d grown accustomed to neglecting me. I began thinking about how finances are limited and how that money could be better utilized for a household need. Then when I began to reflect on how relaxing and rejuvenating the Red Door experience was, the guilt started to fade away. There are other ways that I’ve been less than kind to myself in the past, but I’m learning to be more loving and caring to me.

MOMENT OF THANKS:

There is a multitude of ways to be kind and gentle to ourselves. Consider the following activity that I thought of this morning:

Write a “Thank You” note to yourself. This may be a little unusual because often when we reflect we focus on struggles, headaches, heartaches, and bad choices. Today, however, I encourage you to do something strange for a change. While you write, sing to yourself the following lyrics: “Loving you is easy ’cause you’re beautiful.”