*** NEW *** EARTH ANGELS #1
WELCOME! to the
EARTH ANGELS Series & Movement
The thirteen journeys of triumph in this first edition of the EARTH ANGELS Series are authentic accounts of how each author overcame a loss, addiction, misstep, or hardship… and went on to thrive. These empowering stories will inspire your creativity and resilience when facing your own challenges, and give you insights for counseling a loved one in need.
Read the excerpts from the book (below) to get a sense of the stories. Should you feel a kinship with an author and want to reach out, you’ll find bio and contact information at the end of each chapter in the book.
More than simply publishing a book, the authors have started an EARTH ANGELS Movement. Together with readers like you, we are seeding love, hope, inspiration, peace, and kindness around the globe. If you’re not already a member, please join the movement at:
One of our greatest hopes is that when you’re finished reading this book, you’ll gift it to a friend. One story, one kind act at a time, we will create the world our hearts desire.
EARTH ANGELS Edition #1
13 Journeys of Triumph
AN UNEXPECTED LIFE
by Aerielle Buchholz
Crystal meth erased all Aerielle Buchholz other needs and thoughts, and replaced them with one gnawing, desperate, constant hunger to keep her pipe full and delay the comedown for as long as possible. She wanted nothing else.
Excerpt from Aerielle’s Chapter
“People are never more dangerous than when they are desperate, and addiction is a cycle of desperation. An addict fighting the crash will do anything to anyone and sell everything including their body and soul to stay high just a little longer.
I had gone from suburbia to the gutter in only a few years, and reality was harsh. I felt elevated among these wild-eyed twitchy creatures around me, but I was really one of them: just as willing to lie, manipulate and steal to get exactly what I wanted.
As many lies as I told, the truth was always there, and the day came when all my deceptions fell away. The truth was ugly, and my web of lies was twisted and expansive. It was so hard to look into the eyes of those who had stood by me, and see their realization, hurt, anger, and sadness.”
IDEALS TO INSIGHTS
by Arnold Vingsnes
There was a time when Arnold Vingsnes believed that anything and everything was possible. Love lost, regained! Unwanted habits broken. Promises to himself realized. But before he knew it, Arnold was out of the I’ve-got-time game. Son of a gun, so much time gone and so little left.
Excerpt from Arnold’s Chapter
“I was nineteen when I connected with the wrong crowd. I wasn’t consciously looking for these folks, but when we met, I recognized them as pseudo kindred spirits. They didn’t buy into society’s robotic-functioning plan. They lived life in the moment. Especially, David.
A family friend, over the years that we’d been acquainted, David had driven a series of sports cars and Harley Davidson motorcycles. Movie-star handsome, he had the long, confident strut of a man born to ride. Though he never seemed to work, he always had money. It wasn’t until we started hanging together, and I became privy to the stacks of money that occasionally adorned his kitchen table, that I realized the source of his seemingly idle income. He was a drug dealer.
Though impressed with what he had—a flashy penthouse, a kickass 63 split-window Corvette, and the meanest looking Harley I’d ever seen—I wasn’t tempted to follow in his career steps. It was the live-and-let-live sixties era when many young folks were dabbling in illicit drugs and living to tell the tales of their trips. With my long hair, beard and penchant for black attire, fitting in with his biker gang friends wasn’t an issue.
Once, David nonchalantly asked if I’d make a drug delivery for which he’d pay me handsomely. I declined. He never asked again. A few months after he asked, he was busted for drug trafficking. I visited him in jail, and we hung out together when he got out. It wasn’t long before he was again behind bars. Old pastimes die hard. Over the years, David never gave up drug dealing, the cops never gave up catching him, and I never gave up our friendship.”
BAR CODE: THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BARS
by Dwayne Fahlman
Right or wrong, to survive in prison, guards and inmates both honor the same code—act tough, or die. When these codes are broken, repercussions are imminent. During Dwayne Fahlman’s twenty-seven years as a corrections officer, he learned that the bad guys are not always on the inside of the bars.
Excerpt from Dwayne’s Chapter
“Bang! Bang! Two rounds from my .38 caliber handgun shot out of the barrel. The escapee had paused two seconds too long before he scaled the wall. I’d hit him dead-on. Daylight, from the observation tower, I could see he was headed for an open field, and fired two more shots. The RCMP caught the guy a few minutes later.
As we debriefed, ‘Good shooting,’ said the RCMP officer in charge.
‘Where’d I get him?’ I asked.
‘In the leg,’ answered a veteran officer.
It was either the most stupid or most brazen escape attempt I’d ever witnessed. Having never shot anyone before, the situation seemed surreal. Regardless, I’d done what was expected of me. A few minutes later, in my supervisor’s office, the attitude toward my actions changed.
‘Why did you shoot?’ my supervisor bellowed.
‘Because the prisoner was running away!’ I answered. ‘That’s what I was trained to do.’
‘This means a lot of paperwork and an inquiry!’
I shook my head without saying another word.
Later that night, I received a call from the jail letting me know that the guy I’d shot had escaped from the hospital. ‘How did that happen?’ I asked.
‘Two guards were knocked down, and he took off. We think the escapee’s headed your way. We’re sending a patrol car to watch your house.’”
COMING OF AGE
by Gerry Beazely
At sixty-four, Gerry Beazely realized the truths in his Grandma Helen’s spiritual teachings. Would his dying wife’s selfless prediction prove to be true too? Perhaps the answer would be revealed late at night, when his grandfather’s spirit visited him again.
Excerpt from Gerry’s Chapter
“Just above and on the bed, was a column of constantly moving white light. It looked like a cross between a lava lamp and a plasma globe that I’d seen at a science fair. Staring at it, my sense was that I was peering into the mystical reaches of the universe.
On the chance that I was hallucinating, I closed and opened my eyes. It was still there.
I blinked a number of times. Still there.
Exhilarated more than startled, I tentatively reached into the breathtaking light. When my arm disappeared up to my wrist, I quickly retracted it. Still curious, I touched the outer glow of the light, surprised when I could feel its energy.
Nothing else happened for a couple of weeks. Then, one night, I felt the bed moving, opened my eyes, and the light was there again.
‘You know who this is,’ a male voice said.
Incredibly exhausted from taking care of and worrying about Sharron day and night, I thought, ‘I’m floundering in the deep end of the pool here. This can’t be happening.’ With nothing to lose but the remnants of my sanity, I said, ‘No, I don’t.’
I heard a chuckle before the voice said, ‘Come on now, son.’
The hair on my skin stood straight. The throaty laugh was that of my deceased grandfather. When alive and time permitted, Grandpa Clifford and I had done many things together, including my working with him as he cleaned the school and the church. He’d always referred to me as ‘son.’”
MY UNSHAKABLE DREAM
by Gwendolyn Wiberg
Stepping out of the Cairo airport, in her mind’s ear, Gwendolyn Wiberg heard, “You are home.” Knowing it was true, she wanted to give away her suitcases and declare that she was an Egyptian citizen, or rather, an ancient Egyptian citizen who had finally returned home.
Excerpt from Gwendolyn’s Chapter
“Two nights later, only short naps for sleep, the now cool, white Giza Plateau sand slipping over my sandals and between my toes, it was as though I were literally walking on the sands of times. Three a.m. on a starlit night, all was quiet except for the excited whispers of my tour companions. Aware that we were about to break the law in a police state, I watched and listened as we made our way to the Great Sphinx. What would happen if the guards of the plateau discovered us, decided we were naughty tourists, took us away to God knows where, and threw away the key? In a heartbeat, my unshakable dream could become my unshakable nightmare.
Our plan was to hold a group meditation within the outstretched paws of the sacred lion with the head of a king. Once out on the plateau, we’d be in view of any guards on duty. I prayed that if any UFOs were flying above, that they please share their cloaking ability and keep us safe. The closer we came, the quieter our group became as we moved pack-like: hearts thumping, eyes and ears keened for any sign of danger.”
ONE, TWO, THREE… WHERE WAS ME?
by Irene Armstrong
Cross-eyed, when Irene Armstrong was four, she was fitted with glasses and an eyepatch. Wearing them took some getting used to; especially, the first morning she stepped outside to help her dad with the dairy farm chores and her glasses fogged. Irene’s dad had a solution for that—carry a handkerchief. It was a good idea because he’d once shown her how a farmer blows his nose when he doesn’t have a hankie.
Excerpt from Irene’s Chapter
“Following Dad’s funeral, I moved into my town house alone. A few days later, on New Year’s Eve, I lit a fire, opened a bottle of wine, and took stock of my life. I wasn’t simply overwhelmed by the loss of Dad, I was angry at him for leaving me. How could he just give up? Who was I going to live my life for now?
The last question was an aha moment. In the equation of variables that made up my life… one, two, three… where was me? For years, I did my best to make him proud. I’d become an accountant because Dad had suggested it was a perfect career for me. Fearing he’d never approve of my mate choice, I never married.
First with Dad and then with my ex-boyfriend, my sense of self-worth was dependent on praise from the men in my life. It was a part of my journey that had served me well in certain areas, and stifled me in others. Regardless, it was no longer a problem—I was on my own. Where to next?”
THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
by Joseph Aquilino
When Joseph Aquilino was thirty, he became one of the over fifty million Americans living with chronic, often unbearable, pain. One day at work, a huge can of tomato sauce fell off a shelf and landed on Joseph’s foot. Screaming in pain, he collapsed on the floor. By evening, his foot had doubled in size and had turned brown with red spots. When he touched his foot, it felt cold and his skin stung. A month later, his pain level and condition unchanged, Joseph was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).
Excerpt from Joseph’s Chapter
“With the intent of helping others and educating the public about chronic pain, in 2011, I started my Blog Talk Radio show, and in January 2014, I created the JGF Foundation and JGF Enterprises. Ironically and gratefully, the person I helped the most was me.
Rather than feel victimized by CRPS/RSD, I felt empowered. My life hadn’t been ruined by chronic pain, it had been redirected. I was a victor with a purpose. Although pain, depression and anxiety remained daily companions, hiding in bed was no longer an option. Feeling sorry for myself was no longer an option. I had work to do!
By informing and supporting those diagnosed with CRPS/RSD, I could shine a positive and hopeful light into the darkness of despair. By educating their loved ones, employers, and physicians, I could help dissolve the skepticism and ridicule that often accompanies an invisible and disabling condition. Unable to participate in activities they’d once enjoyed, I could help chronic pain sufferers alleviate the hurt of losing friends and sense of isolation. As an Internet community, we could count on one another.”
BEYOND REASON: RE-LIVING A NUN'S LIFE
by Josephine Lavallee
Despite the clear image of a past life Josephine Lavallee had visualized during a guided meditation, her skepticism vacillated between disbelief and absolute trust in the truth of her vision. "What if I only imagined glimpses of my life from centuries earlier?" quickly altered to "How could it not be true?"
Excerpt from Josephine's Chapter
“During the thirty-minute hypnotic meditation, I somehow had slipped into my past life from centuries ago. As my mind’s eye image sharpened, I saw a crystal-clear picture of me as a young woman in her late teens or early twenties. I walked alone. The road I journeyed extended for miles, and eventually led to the center of town and a roadhouse tavern. The narrow country lane, only wide enough for a single horse and buggy, appeared rutted, muddy and pebbled. There were several potholes containing groundwater. Viewing this visualization while in a calm state of consciousness, I believed the time was late spring after the thaw. I was in rural France, the homeland of my distant ancestor Louis XIV.
I wore an unattractive, ankle-length, tweed skirt. A light-gray hooded cape covered my hair and flowed over my shoulders and hips. My feet were bare, except for brown leather sandals that crisscrossed over my arches, and then curved around my heels for added support.
I sensed that having been shunned, disregarded and dismissed, I was walking away from a religious order. Although my Mother Superior had rejected me, I felt safe, spiritually protected, and shrouded in divine love. What had I done? Was I unworthy of being a sister-nun? Why had I been ordered to leave by my Mother Superior?”
A MOTHER GRIZZLY BEAR'S LOVE
by Margit Cleven
Margit Cleven's mother was a grizzly bear when it came to loving her children, caring for them, and where possible, protecting them from harm. When her mother died, Margit hoped that she had exited the world without awareness of some of the dangerous activities her kids had braved with great enthusiasm.
Excerpt from Margit's Chapter
“My mom accepted everything I did and said. She was always there for me, not only for our daily phone calls, but also for celebrating special events, helping with my children, lending an ear when I needed to vent, and a shoulder when I cried. With the heart of an angel, Mom always managed to provide protection and love, without passing judgement.
One time, I drove to SeaTac airport in Seattle, Washington, to pick Mom up from her most recent Hawaiian vacation. While she was away, I spent some of my free time at Wreck Beach. It was one of the only “clothing optional” beaches in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was a few dozen miles away from where I lived. Sporting a new tattoo of a wizard on my right calf, wearing a half-buttoned man’s shirt with the Wreck Beach logo on the back, and braless, I wasn’t certain as to how Mom would react.
When she arrived, Mom hugged me as she tried to arrange my shirt so my boobs weren’t exposed. Pulling away, she said, “Margit, you have dirt on your right leg.”
“It’s not dirt, Mom. It’s a tattoo,” I said with an innocent smile.
And with that, we located her luggage, and left the airport. Mom didn’t mention my tattoo again, until I got my second one.”
by Maria Manna
Maria Manna’s family immigrated to Canada from Italy. For her mother and father, it was always about bella figura, which loosely translates into English as beautiful impression. Catholic, divorce was unacceptable. When Maria separated from her husband, she and her parents were shunned by the Italian community. Would Maria’s becoming Klondike Kate—the ambassador of Edmonton, Alberta’s annual festival celebrating the rich history of the Yukon Gold Rush—restore them to grace?
Excerpt from Maria’s Chapter
“Musicians, my husband and I performed at nearly every Italian wedding and baptism in Edmonton, Alberta, where we lived. In addition, I sang at all local Italian funerals. As gossip about our divorce spread, when I would arrive at a community event, shopping mall, or restaurant, people I’d thought were friends would avert their gaze as they whispered behind their hands.
Church remained a safe haven. However, well known throughout Edmonton, even when I attended a Catholic service outside of the Italian community, some members of the congregation would look away as I approached. Though people’s reactions stung, I understood the unwritten and coveted creed—Good Catholics do not get divorced, and if they do, they should not attend Catholic Church.
A regular churchgoer, I knew the masses inside out, and would often recite along with the priest. When no longer able to cope with being shunned, I attended other Christian churches. Despite what people might think, I knew that God would never abandon me.
Though my decision to leave my marriage was a necessary one, I was depressed from feeling alone in my heart. As happens in most divorces, our friends took sides. Almost everyone favored, included, and nurtured my husband. Viewing me as an emotionally strong person, few people realized that I needed support too.”
FAITH AND A TUBE OF LIPSTICK
by Marla C. Lackey
Cancer wasn’t a stranger to Marla Lackey’s family; it invaded their lives. Her grandmother and two aunts had survived breast cancer. Unbelievably, when her mother’s breast cancer was diagnosed, Marla’s dad was undergoing chemotherapy for bladder cancer. Her world seemed to be falling apart.
Excerpt from Marla’s Chapter
“From her breast cancer diagnosis forward, Mom and I extinguished fear through faith—me, by continually reminding her of the lessons she’d taught me about how with God’s help we’d get through whatever was meant to be; her, by demonstrating God’s love to everyone she met.
Following her mastectomy, Mom started radiation and chemotherapy. One day when we were at the clinic for her treatment, we were watching The Price is Right on the small waiting room television when a frail and pale older woman approached Mom.
‘Excuse me,’ the woman said. ‘Every time I see you in this waiting room, you always look so good. What is your secret?’
Popping her purse open, Mom rummaged around before holding up a gold tube and declaring, ‘Faith and a tube of lipstick!’
Amazed that Mom had immediately located her lipstick when finding anything in her stuffed handbag was a feat in itself, I exchanged smiles with the sweet woman. From her ashen skin tone and recessed dark eyes, it was easy to tell that the treatments were taking their toll on her well-being. Seconds later, the nurse called Mom’s name. It was time for her appointment.
‘God bless you,’ Mom said with a wave as the two of us stood and quickly gathered our things. Always fearful of what we might learn from her most recent scan, I felt a familiar jolt of anxiety in my stomach. Putting on a brave face, I kept pace with Mom as she marched toward the nurse.”
APPROVAL NOT REQUIRED
by Oceanna Rivers
Oceanna Rivers held back in relationships. Perhaps to protect herself… maybe because she wanted to be viewed as being special… Oceanna hid behind emotional barriers that kept her boxed like a prisoner in a tiny world, a lonely world.
Excerpt from Oceanna’s Chapter
“Excitement filled my being as I gently and lovingly became aware of my body on the snow-covered boardwalk, my physical self. I don’t know how long I had spiritually disconnected from my earthly form. However, though I felt warm, frost clung to my lashes and my hair was stiff from the cold. For the first time ever, my surrendered-self basked in unconditional love. Never before had I felt such tenderness toward myself, love for myself… and at peace with the world.
It took me a few moments to digest what had happened. While within the light of pure love, essence-wise, I had ceased to coexist with my earthly body. Yet, its heart still beat, its skin still felt cold. While in essence-form, I remained warm, safe, and protected by the light of eternal love.
Once again fully connected with my physical body, fear rose within me as I desperately tried to hold onto my connection to the lovingness of Source. Glancing toward the sky, I searched the falling snow for a glimmer of the essence gifted to me by the perfect snowflake. Feeling none, I ran toward a nearby birch tree. Perhaps I was meant to connect with eternal love through another nature source.
Now knee-deep in snow, I reached out with my gloved hand and touched the trunk of the tree that would hopefully transport me back into the blissful sense of peace.”
THROUGH ANGEL EYES
by Roswyn Nelson
In 2000, once the shock of having macular degeneration fully registered, Roswyn Nelson had a choice to make—she could whine and wail about “poor me,” or she could do a bunch of things on her bucket list. Topping her list was hosteling across Canada and the United States.
Excerpt from Roswyn’s Chapter
“It was still pelting rain when I drove into the concrete-walled compound and parked as close as possible to the entrance of a huge gray building. Having functioned as a jail between 1862 and 1972, it had been transformed into a haven for travelers. That night, it was depressingly uninviting. Except for the rain drumming on my car roof, the immense deserted courtyard was uncannily quiet. Sparse lighting cast grotesque shadows across mud puddles that were everywhere. My car the only one in sight, I assumed there had to be additional parking somewhere else. Too tired, stressed and hungry to look for it, I decided to check out the place before lugging in my sleeping bag, luggage and food. After registering at the front desk, I set out to explore.
I found the kitchen first. Like the setting for a horror movie, it was located deep in a cavernous dungeon. Past dinnertime, there was no one around. The place was eerily silent, and the dim lights failed to penetrate the dark corners. No way I was cooking in there.
I climbed the concrete steps to the lounge on the sixth floor. Doors banged and clanged as I opened and closed them between each level of the dimly lit and cold cement stairwell. The hair on my neck sprang straight as I stood in the doorway of the lounge. The room was in total darkness except for the flickering movie on a huge screen. The whites of a hundred eyes peered at me. Nope, there was no way I was spending time in there.
The sleeping quarters were tiers of jail cells divided into blocks by thick steel doors that banged and echoed in the silence. Each cell contained two bunks for four willing ‘inmates.’ The original steel-barred doors squeaked when opened and clanged when closed. Chills ran down my spine. Nope, not sleeping in there.
There are those who enjoy the stories of ghosts, lost souls, scary bumps in the night, and glimpsing unexplained shadows. Not one of them, I fled to my car. After eating a peanut butter sandwich, I curled up in my sleeping bag and fell asleep to the soothing sound of the continuous rain.”