Friday, September 27, 2013

Street Angel

I grabbed my pencil and a pad of paper. It had suddenly occurred to me that I wanted to write a poem to read onstage at the LA Music Awards Voting & Press event. This was huge, I have never spoken on stage in front of so many people before. Just the thought of it made me shake. But at the same time, it was like an adrenaline rush. It was trying something new and out of my comfort zone. By now, I am pretty used to being around big crowds, having people gawk at me in my angel outfit, having photos taken of me, and making home YouTube videos, but stage fright is a whole different beast to wrestle! 

My hand was shaking a little bit as I hung it over the paper, contemplating what to write. My flashbacks started:
{Taking my wings out of my trunk that first day of my Angel Project, my whole body was trembling. I was wondering if I was stark raving mad for acting on these inner promptings. I was so new to LA, I barely knew my way around yet. I had met a few people but didn't have any friends yet, I was that new. And there I was, deciding to dress like an angel in a strange new land and go stand on a street corner. I think I was struggling more with what I thought of myself than about what others were going to think of me. Buying the angel outfits and creating the posters was a start, but it was those epic first steps to actually go out on the street corner, that were the scariest. The notion of what other people thought of me quickly set in as soon as I saw people looking and staring at me. I was glad when all the people I encountered that first day had a positive and supportive response. But there were plenty of people who acted like I didn't exist. Like, people would literally walk right past me, I'd smile/wave/say hi to them, and they'd look through me like I was a ghost or something. That was strange to me. But standing there with my posters and posing beside people who wanted to take a photo with me, felt so...amazing. In the sense that, it meant what I was doing was "working" and having a positive affect on others. The messages were resonating with people. It was a bliss in my heart that I felt like I was doing a good thing, without expectation of reward, simply because I followed my soul's urges and was fulfilling that.} {Read related blog: "The Calling"}
-------------(I go off on a tangent now)-------------------
Maybe I really am a ghost to some people! You never know what someone else's view of life looks like...I've read that if you vibrate at a high enough frequency, that you will be invisible to some other lower-vibrational beings. Pretty cool. If you think about it, that's the way Angels work. I absolutely believe in them now since I've seen two of them. Just glimpses. They were transparent beings that move around really fast in the sky!! Just the fact that they presented themselves to me, the fact that I saw them, that I saw something supernatural for myself, I believe. I know they're around. I've used this line in another blog: It's easy to not believe in things until you see them for yourself. Same goes for "aliens". There are so many advanced forms of life and energy in this universe that the average human mind can't even fathom it, and many people have no awareness of it or don't even contemplate it. I've met some supernatural people here in LA. I'm talking about people who have strong energy fields that you can FEEL (at least I could!), and meeting people who are so clairvoyant, they can tell you what you ate for breakfast in some detail. It's nuts! in a cool way!
--------------(Back to the poem story)--------------------
When I was finished writing the poem, I was most pleased. I felt like I'd put my emotion into it, and the words held that energy somehow. The stage appearance wasn't what I was expecting, which was actually good because I ended up feeling more calm than I thought I would. I thought it was going to be 900 seated, silent people staring at me, but instead it was a crowded, rather dark, big, double-decker room (had a balcony of both seated and standing people) with some noise of people talking in the background. However, when I went up on the stage to speak on the microphone, it did seem like it got much more quiet than it had been earlier during the event. People were....actually listening! It was awesome that people were coming up to me afterwards saying they liked my poem. It's always nice to feel validated.
{Photo taken at the LA Music Awards preliminary voting and press event; prior to the main event- video below:}

I try to not rely on other's people's opinions and validations as much since having a higher awareness of things than I ever have had before, but it's always nice to be encouraged and supported! That's what keeps me going with this angel project! I maintain that if I'm able to positively affect even just one person a day, then I consider that a success and progress to me. I want to serve, help, uplift others in whatever random ways that I can. That stuff makes the heart sing. Here are 2 quotes for you to ponder so that you'll understand what I mean more, at least one facet, when I mention having a higher awareness of things: 1) "When I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others, I stand strong in my own divine power." 2) "When I recognize and acknowlege my personal power, I no longer need to feel superior or inferior to anyone else." Both quotes are from the wise author and speaker Deepak Chopra.

Thank you everyone who supports me, reads my blogs, watches my videos, does good deeds, spreads kindness, and helps others! Your good works in life don't go unnoticed, the Angels see and the universe will reward you back in some way!

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Grocery Store Day of Giving and Gratitude

How profound a simple trip to the grocery store can be...

Today I decided to make a short trip to the grocery store for just a few things. When I was walking towards the grocery store, I noticed a woman sitting on the ground near the entrance holding her toddler daughter and a sign saying she was homeless and hungry. I saw several people pass right by her without even taking notice. I just took a class recently that instilled the phrase in my brain "As I give, so may I grow" and that phrase whispered to me. I dug through my purse and handed her $10; she looked so grateful and told me "Thank you, God Bless you". As I was inside the store, I passed a woman in a wheelchair who required a nurse assistant to push her around to help her with groceries. As I was leaving, a man was walking around with a gas can and said he just needed about $1 more for gas. I gave him $2 just to be safe. He too, smiled so huge and said "Thank you God Bless!" So many people in need. When I got home and finished putting away my groceries, I sat down and just began to cry and give thanks for so many things. I'm thankful that I can afford to have a car and afford to put gas in it. I'm thankful I have my eyesight and all my limbs to be able to drive and walk to just do daily activities like going to buy groceries and put them away. I'm thankful I have a place to live and food to eat, and means to afford those things. I may not have a lot of money, but I have enough and all my needs met, and enough to spare to help others in small capacities.

Give thanks daily, be grateful for what you have. So many people have so much less.
Look for ways to help others.

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dragon Rider

Remember the wind, blowing your hair
Remember the kites, flying in the air
Remember skipping in the sands
Remember Earth energy, flowing up through your hands
Remember the Sun, warm on your face
Remember the Eagle, soaring over with grace
Believe in things that you can't see
Empowered with wisdom, you shall be.

~Mandelyn Reese
(My tribute to the "Dragon Magick" class at the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light Mystery School)
Back story:

On the weekend of September 14th & 15th, 2013, I was initiated into the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light Mystery School. It used to be a very secretive society, but since the approach of the New Age shift, the school decided to start being more public.

During the initiation class after one of our breaks, upon returning to the classroom, the instructor and I noticed that a tiny red dragon was laying on the floor by her chair, directly out in front of me. She picked it up and said, "That's odd, I had that little dragon inside a little draw-string bag on the counter over there, but I guess it wanted to be out, because it's somehow here on the floor!"
I had already been seeing signs about dragons in the days leading up to the initiation, like seeing people wearing dragon shirts. I took all of those as signs that I should attend the Mystery School's Dragon Magick class the next weekend: Sunday Sept 22, so I signed up.

The whole class was very magical, especially our trip to a pretty park overlooking the Santa Ana dried river bed. As I was standing near the edge of the cliff, with the wind wildly blowing my hair, the poem just started to come to me in my head from things I'd observed and the activities we did at the park as a group. The most magical thing was when a large, beautiful Eagle (or hawk) with a white underbelly spotted with black dots slowly soared over us as we stood in a circle. It flew off into the direction of the sun until we couldn't see it anymore. It was such a cool sign! It looked like the bird pictured below:

On our lunch break, I was at a grocery store that had a small cafe in the back corner, and as I was heading towards the cafe, I noticed a small white dragon statue, right at my eye level on the shelf! I decided to buy it, since when we were learning about the different kinds of dragons, I resonated the most with the first kind: White Dragons. White Dragons are the ruling clan over all dragons, and are of the highest purity and teachings. It seemed meant to be that I buy it. I wrote the poem about the class on the bottom of the statue in memory of the class. :) The dragon is holding a pearl, which is the oldest known gem on Earth, and is a symbol of wisdom, purity, innocence, and faith.

~Mandelyn Reese

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

I was at a tiny convenience store in the 3rd Street Promenade shopping strip recently, and this lady in line before me at the register was clutching a bag of chips and holding a $1 bill. When she went up to the counter, they told her $1.07. She started frantically waving around her dollar bill and saying that the Promenade workers used to get an employee discount. The lady at the register shook her head "no" and the manager guy behind her said there was no longer any employee discounts. This seemed to fluster the woman with the chips and she seemed distraught while continuing to flail her arms in frustration. It appeared she was going to abandon her chips, so I stepped in and bought her bag of chips for her. I told her it would be my random act of kindness for the day. Both she and the register lady looked at me in surprise. I don't recall her saying thank you, because she seemed upset about no longer having a discount, but I hope it helped her to feel better. Acts of kindness and help don't have to be huge or grand to make a difference in someone's day. Show kindness to others. It's food for your soul!

Seize the day! Look for ways to help others.
~Mandelyn Reese

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The ER Visit

On January 24, 2013, I felt like I nearly died of a heart attack. Earlier in the evening I had been verbally attacked on the phone by a close family member for having moved away from Texas, and basically blaming me for everything falling apart for them because I moved, and then I was verbally attacked yet again on the phone for no reason out of the blue by a man (who I determined later was a psycho bipolar guy); who was cruelly telling me with a mean tone of voice that I was going to fail and would be "destitute" from doing my Angel Project. I experienced heart-attacked symptoms right after those phone calls. My heart felt like it had some seized-up palpitations, and my left arm shot out stiff, and felt numb, cold, shaky, and tingly from my left side all the way down to my fingertips. I am only 30 years old, how could this happen? I laid on my floor for awhile letting it pass, and eventually decided that I better call 911, because I'd never experienced anything like that before and it freaked me out. Not only did my heart and arm act crazy, but my right foot (the one that's been injured since January 2012) had begun to go completely cold since the night before, like it wasn't getting proper circulation, AND my left breast/armpit area had been hurting for a few months and had been progressively getting worse. I have never had to call 911 for myself before and never had to go to an ER or been in an ambulance, but this incident scared me enough to want to have some hospital staff check me out. I didn't have insurance, and I knew it would be costly, but I felt that it would be worth it to pay for the medical bills over time if they could help fix me. My health was in shambles and I desperately wanted some help.

The ambulance staff arrived shortly, and they put me in a chair, not on a gurney, and took me down to the ambulance. It was only a 1.5 mile drive to the hospital down the street, but they later billed me $1,400 for just the ambulance.

As they were wheeling me into the hospital, I couldn't shake the feeling that it felt like a staged set up with actors. The staff were all lounging around the entrance area, and they began joking around at me as I was wheeled in. I wasn't exactly in the mood or condition for joking, but I managed a weak smile.

They put me in a curtained area, and I laid there for a long time, with nothing happening. Eventually a business-looking woman with office attire and glasses came in and sat next to me. She made me sign my life away on a thick stack of documents before they would help me. I was feeling so bad that I could barely read or sign the papers. My signature on many of the pages is half tilted down the line because I wasn't functioning very well.  When she left, I laid there again for more time, and suddenly one of the staff members put their cell phone up to my curtain and played the song by Rhianna called, "Take A Bow" and they STARTED playing that song at the line where she says, "You look so dumb right now". I was deeply shocked and dismayed by this. Was this some kind of cruel joke??? Or a crazy sign? How could they be so heartless??  Maybe this particular hospital is used to getting the rich people who have minor panic attacks or something, because it was an upscale area hospital, but I was truly feeling awful and really hoping for help and care, but it seemed like they were making fun of me. Or maybe because I didn't have insurance, they didn't really want to help me. Who knows.

A young male doctor arrived, and wasn't very nice at all. He didn't seem to take me seriously, and came across very rudely with his tone and the way he looked at me. He said they'd take some blood and send me for a scan.

A nurse with long scraggly hair came in to take my blood, and she seemed VERY fake with her sincerity. She really hurt my arm taking my blood vials too. I've had blood drawn many times before, but however she went about doing it really hurt more than ever before. Shortly after she left, she returned and told me that "something went wrong with my vials", and she would have to retake my blood! She proceeded to repeat the painful process all over again! In hindsight, they were probably just taking the opportunity to rob me of my blood or something, not that I'd mind being a donor to someone in need, but the whole blood-drawing scene I experienced was very fishy to me.

I went in for the scan, and the technician says that the injection of fluid will make you feel like you pissed yourself. How lovely. And it did feel that way.

After the scan, I was put back in the curtain area again and left there for what felt like a pretty long time.
Eventually a different doctor came in to see me, this time a young female doctor. I felt like I was on the set of Grey's Anatomy. She said they didn't find anything wrong, she wrote me a prescription for Advil, and told the nurse to discharge me. I was so dismayed. I hadn't been helped at all or been given my blood work or scan results.

The nurse came in and threw a plastic bag on my bed. "Get dressed" she said, without any care or kindness.
I didn't want to, I felt shafted. I wanted some kind of help or better treatment and didn't get that. I laid there for just a few moments sulking in shock, and the nurse came and told me again to get dressed, so I did.
She led me down the hall. I was slowly limping on my cold numb foot and holding my left side where my pain was. I was still in my pajamas and pink bath robe. She took me to their lobby and told me to go home. I just sort of stood there in disbelief, because I'd arrived in an ambulance and had no one with me to take me home. I asked her how was I supposed to get home, it was pouring rain hard outside. She said I could call a cab, and then she turned and left me there. The lobby was totally empty, I was the only patient there. There were 2-3 staff members behind a desk in the lobby, but they paid no attention to me. The nurse reappeared and suddenly tossed me a coin. "There, you can take the bus" she said. As I said before, it was pouring rain outside and I was in my pajamas. I didn't particularly want to venture outside in that mess to wait for a bus and be seen in public in my condition. People would probably think I was an escaped mental patient limping around in my pink bathrobe and report me!

There was 1 red couch and lots of chairs in the lobby. I went to the couch and laid on it, trying to figure out what to do and processing the whole experience. I laid there looking dead and all alone for AN HOUR AND A HALF with tons of hospital staff pouring in through the front doors passing me, and no one ever checked on me. Not once. No wonder you hear about how some people actually die in lobbies and aren't discovered until hours later. There is such a lack of real compassion in this world. It's particularly sad that our country's medical field has become so heartless in many ways.

Eventually one of my friends came to pick me up and took me home, thankfully. I was eternally grateful for that.

I was relaying my story to one of my friends, Susana, who runs a small thrift shop that benefits the poor, and her response was disheartening: "Now imagine if your skin was brown", because she, too, has had some bad hospital experiences. She said that because she is a Hispanic woman, she's been treated really badly every time she's had to go in for anything. She started to tell me her stories, and I felt bad for her.

What has become of our medical field these days? How can they treat people like this and get away with it? It's like one big evil hungry machine. They can bill patients whatever the hell they want, and ruin people's lives with those amounts. With all the various charges (ambulance bill, individual ER doctor bill, blood work bill, scan bill, and hospital bill) it came out to a total of nearly $8,000 for that one 3-hour nightmare experience of not getting any real help and being treated like crap. There was no way I wanted to pay that amount for how I'd been treated. I found out that several of the bills offered patient assistance applications, so I went to work on filling all of those out, and managed to get most of my bills erased, except for the chest scan. I felt very lucky that I was able to get out of those bills. Some people get hounded by collections agencies or have to file for bankruptcy over medical bills.

This whole society is so jacked. Check out this video with great info about why healthcare costs are insane in the USA:

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Bully

When I was younger, I had a "best friend" who was a taller girl that I'd known since grade school, but she and I didn't become friends until 6th grade. For purposes of this blog, I'm going to change her name, and call her "Kathy".

While we shared many fun times and happy memories together through middle and high school, it wasn't until a few years ago did I realize she was a pretty big bully-type figure in my life all those years. (We didn't hangout as much after high school since she went to a college in a different city. We haven't been in contact for 2 years now). She would do things to me that would physically hurt or embarrass me, and also pull mean pranks on me that would hurt my feelings. For whatever reason, I just put up with her antics because I always considered her my best friend.

I will tell you just a few of the top stories about the things she did to me that were rather cruel, but I experienced a lot of various forms of bullying from her throughout our years of friendship.

Story #1: One time at a sleepover at her house, she and another girl secretly rubbed IcyHot cream all over my pillow and sheets, and sat there and laughed at me while I was bewildered at why my bedding smelled like strong chemicals and affected my skin. They didn't tell me what they had done until the next day. I was really upset by that prank. Another time at a sleepover, she tried to get me to wet my bed by putting my hand in a bowl of warm water. Thankfully it didn't work on me. And again at yet another sleepover at her house, she took photos of me while I was sleeping with my underwear exposed, and she took the photos to school and showed them around to everyone and the boys I liked to embarrass me. She seemed to enjoy humiliating me.

Story #2: One time in 8th grade Honor's Reading class, we had to read this whole book over our Spring Break, because our evil teacher was going to give us a test on it the day we returned from Spring Break. (Way to ruin our holiday week!). I had a trip I was going on with family, and I managed to read the whole book while on the airplane. Upon return to class after our Spring Break, I was actually looking forward to the test, because I felt like I would ace it! My assigned seat was in the back corner of the classroom, and I was the first person to finish the test. When I got up and proudly started to walk to the front of the class to turn in my test, Kathy stuck her longass leg out in front of me, and tripped me in front of the whole silent class, and I totally wiped out and tumbled loudly to the floor. My skirt flew up and exposed my underwear to everyone, and the whole class roared in laughter at me. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life, and all caused by my supposed "best friend".

Story #3: One time I had my birthday party at my house, and we were all playing some sort of game in the front yard. Without warning, Kathy pulled both of my ankles out from under me, and I crashed to the ground and started crying from both the pain and embarrassment. My Mom says she'll always remember that particular one because she was witness to it.

Unless you have awareness of it, you may not even realize you're being bullied. Sometimes it depends who is doing it and what place they have in your life. It's not just kids at school who suffer from bullies, a lot of adults deal with it too. For some people, it's a parent, sibling, boss, or even their romantic partner. My Dad was a bully to me also, big time. (Read my blog "Conditioning: The Ultimate Mind-F*ck"). I had a waitress job that I only lasted about 2 months at a few years ago, because the "boss" was a young female who treated everyone so cruelly, no one could stand her. She was especially mean to me and this other girl really bad every single shift, and the other waiters noticed her targeted attacks on us. I quit in grand style, leaving her a nasty note (which was all I could muster to stand up for myself at the time). I know an adult man who is a family friend, who was physically and verbally abused by his bully wife for 22 years (they finally divorced a recently). Male-targeted spousal abuse is actually a little-talked about problem that many men suffer from. Many people say that you have to stand up to the bully. That can definitely be good and work in many situations, but for some it can be dangerous. Regardless of any bullying situation, there is help available, and I encourage those who suffer from it to seek out counsel and help from trusted sources.

Anti-Bullying is a cause that I strongly support, which is why I'm a proud sponsor of Kid's Resource, which was founded by my friend Gerry Orz, an 11-year old activist who has made films to address the issue in schools and even got the California Senate to recognize December 12th of every year as Bullying Prevention Awareness Day.
With Gerry Orz, founder of Kids Resource and Lisa Mae, founder of Equality TV

May more people become aware of this issue and work to reduce it. Spread kindness and help others.
~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The War Vet

Never take your health for granted. Thank God everyday that you can walk, see, hear etc...
I used to be the picture of health, and then all that changed. In January 2012 I was in Vegas with a small group of close friends; I didn't go to Vegas to party, I was there assisting my longtime disabled friend, Adam, to get around so that he could hang out with his family. Adam has Lou Gehrigs's disease (aka ALS) which is a devastating degenerative disease with no known cure, and I'd been helping him with his groceries weekly for almost 2 years. Adam, his mom, and sister enjoy meeting in Vegas for their little family reunions, because they all live in different states. He asked me to accompany him to Vegas so that he could have help at the airport, on the airplane, and to just be a friend to hangout with while we toured around Vegas. He even got me my very own hotel room! It was my first time getting to see Vegas, and I was really stoked.
Me, Adam's mom Susie, Adam, and his sister Jessica at the hotel Bellagio

Three days into our tourist vacation in Vegas, my right foot began to really hurt, for no apparent reason. I hadn't gotten drunk and fallen or tripped or anything. I limped around on my bad foot for 2 more days, and then limped on it at home for another week before I decided that the problem wasn't getting any better, so I better go see a doctor. A friend was kind enough to donate her sister's used crutches to me, and I went to Texas Med Clinic. I didn't get any help there, but the next day a friend called and gave me a referral to see a foot doctor. Turns out I had a stress fracture in my foot, so the doctor fitted me with a boot-cast and ordered me to use the crutches and wear the cast for a few months. 

Long story short, I have ended up seeing several foot doctors, healers, and chiropractors over the last year and 9 months related to this one injury. My body has just never been the same. Once you break something, it's never quite the same...and that applies to pretty much anything. Having the foot injury ended up throwing my entire skeletal system out of alignment, because I was having to limp around and put all of my weight on my other foot. Honestly, both feet have bothered me ever since. One doctor's theory was that an old ankle injury I had back in July of 2007 never healed right, which led to the stress fracture. I'd also been a promotional model for 6 years prior, and that required me to be on my feet for hours for our shifts, usually in high heels. 

Once the stress fracture happened, it turned my life upside down even more: I had just gotten divorced a week before the injury and was trying to figure out my next move, and the next minute I couldn't walk right or work anymore. My life was in shambles. After the doctor ordered me to be on crutches for a few weeks and wear the god-awful boot-cast, there was a period of time where I was confined to my house and couch. It felt miserable. I was always such an active person, and always on the go. Suddenly, it hurt too much to even walk for awhile. The crutches hurt my armpits so much after awhile that it made me feel like my boobs were throbbing too. My "good foot" ended up hurting so bad from all the weight applied to it, that I ended up having to crawl around my house. After so many days of crawling around my house, my knees looked and felt all jacked up; in fact, my knees looked scarred for months after the crawling days. I was still room-mating with my ex-husband at the time (long story), and even though he had a new girlfriend, we were still friends and got along. He saw my predicament, and felt bad watching me have to crawl all over the house, so he ordered a new battery for a dismantled electric wheelchair he'd bought years before for a robot project, put it all back together, and let me use it to get around the house, which was such a blessing!
The electric wheelchair

Even after the stress fracture healed, I continued to have major pain and problems in my foot, ankle, and back. The chiropractors I saw said my alignment was really jacked up. I'm still seeing one to this day since I'm still not 100%. At it's worst, I could see my shoulders were uneven in the mirror, and my pelvis stuck out on one side more than the other plain as day. It was gross. But I'm making progress, slowly but surely. I have endured an epic amount of physical pain related to my foot injury while doing my Angel Project, since the bulk of my Angel Project is about being out in public and going to events with poster messages.
See my special footwear? It sucked.

Early in the time of just getting put into the boot-cast, I had been couch-ridden for 2 straight days at one point, because it was just too painful to get around at all. I was really depressed. But it forced me to sit and re-evaluate my life, and also re-evaluate how I perceived myself as being productive from one day to the next. I couldn't do as much as I used to be capable of, so I had to learn to be satisfied with completing smaller tasks, like just being able to reach the cabinets to put dishes away or something. It was very eye-opening to have my freedom and mobility taken away from me in the blink of an eye. It even helped me see a bit of what my friend Adam has to deal with, since his mobility is severely limited with his disease. After 2 straight days of being stuck on the couch, I felt determined to get out of the house, and I didn't care if I broke my other foot trying to do it! I was going crazy. I limped out of the house, stuffed my crutches in the car, and drove to a nearby Starbucks that had a nice outdoor patio, so that I could enjoy some fresh air. 

While I was ordering my coffee at the counter, it occurred to me that I had no idea how I was going to actually pick up and carry the coffee to a table outside. You can't really use your hands for anything else when you're using crutches. As I was standing there debating this fiasco, I heard a man behind me ask, 
"So what happened to you?" I turned around, and saw a guy who appeared to be about my age standing there. He pointed down at his foot, and when I looked down, I saw that he had a prosthetic right foot. How ironic. I told him the story about my foot, and he offered to bring me my coffee when it was ready! It was so nice of him to offer, since I was literally just trying to figure out how to get my coffee before he spoke to me. 

Once I got outside, I began to feed the birds with spare crackers I had in my backpack purse, and enjoy the nice day. The guy (I forgot his name) brought me my coffee, and we ended up sitting together and talking for an hour! Turns out he was a 27 year old war veteran; he'd lost his foot to a hidden landmine in Iraq recently. He showed me photos of his foot before they amputated it: it actually looked like a normal foot after they'd repaired it, but he said it was so jacked up inside that they went ahead and amputated it and fitted him with the prosthetic. I couldn't help but notice that this young man seemed to have an underlying sadness about him. He didn't smile much and just seemed down. It was a pleasure to have his company though, at a time when I was feeling pretty bummed and distraught.

In hindsight, I felt like I'd gotten a glimpse of how "things could always be worse". My foot was thoroughly messed up, but at least I still had my foot. At least I would be able to walk again, some people aren't afforded that luxury. I was grateful for the chance meeting and chat with the guy, because it gave me a new outlook on things and my situation. No matter how bad things appear in your life, chances are they could be worse, and there are people out there who are in much more dire situations. Be thankful every day for what you have, and count your blessings. Focus on the positive, and minimize thoughts about the negative.

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Related blog "Miracle at the Post Office":

Monday, September 2, 2013

A church turns away an angel?

Very early in my Angel Project, when I was still a "new kid on the block" in LA, I was told about Agape International Spiritual Center. It's like a big church for the spiritual crowd and was founded by Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, a speaker who was featured in the popular documentary called "The Secret".

The person who had told me about the church is a dear friend of mine, Dr. Ed Jor-El Elkin (I'll call him Ed), age 77, who was really instrumental in helping me initially get connected to some contacts around LA. I met him at a gas station during my first week doing the Angel Project while I was on the streets with my posters. I consider him to be one of my angels, because he took me under his wing to show me around a lot since I was so new to LA and still figuring out my calling to spread messages of kindness. However, Ed was from Hawaii, and was only able to show me around for a week before he had to fly back to Hawaii.
Dr. Ed Jor-El Elkin
Photo snapped by Ed the day I met him on the street at the gas station

The morning after Ed flew back to Hawaii was a Sunday morning, and I woke up feeling really sad that he'd left, because he'd been so helpful and kind. I had the feeling of "What do I do now?" because I still felt like I was floundering in uncertainty about my Angel Project. I had planned to go to Agape's Sunday service for the first time that morning, and I was laying in bed debating whether or not I felt up to going at all. Even though I felt sad, I went ahead and put on my angel outfit and drove to Agape alone.

Upon arriving at Agape, I put on my big angel wings, grabbed one of my posters, and made the trek to the outdoor New Guest sign-in table. There were people already standing in lines waiting for the early service to let out so they could go into the sanctuary. I signed in, put on my purple "New Friend" ribbon, and got in the back of the New Guest line.
My ribbon is taped inside my diary

The ushers began to let everyone in, and when I got to the front of the line, the usher told me I couldn't go in with my wings on. He actually wasn't very nice about it. It took me a moment to process what he was saying. I was thinking, "Are you serious??" I tried to explain who I was and what I was doing, but he maintained his position. A second usher even came up and also said the same thing. I was shocked. 

With a heavy heart, I turned away and sadly walked back to my car. I had no one to be with and got rejected on my first visit to a place that I hoped would accept and support me.

Once I got to my car, I decided that I was just going to go home. As I was putting my wings in the trunk of my car, I began to cry, and tears streamed down my face. The whole incident was the straw that broke the camel's back, since I'd already woken up sad. 

Suddenly, an old man appeared beside me, seemingly out of nowhere. He was leaning against a tree that I'd parked next to like a cool cat, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette, and wearing all white. "Angel, why are you crying?" he asked. I fumbled for my words, and began to explain to him what happened. I noticed he had a cute, small service dog on a leash with him. After I told him what happened, he told me his name was Tyrone, and he offered to have us sit together at the service. That sounded better than going home crying, so I left my rejected wings in the car, wiped away my tears, and walked with him back to the church.
Tyrone and his service dog

It sucked to not get to wear my wings into the service, because everyone was looking at me funny since I still had the rest of my angel outfit & accessories on, but once I got settled into my seat, and his little dog sat in my lap, I felt a lot better. I got the feeling that God sent Tyrone into my life at just the right moment, to lift my spirits and help me along with my next steps with the Angel Project.

After the church service was over, Tyrone took me with some of his nice friends to San Pedro, where I got to hangout on one of the biggest yachts there! The yacht belonged to a millionaire owner of an upscale seafood chain, and the owner himself made me a sandwich while I enjoyed the beautiful sunset over the bay.
The yacht
Picture I took on my camera of the sunset that night 
Group photo

I was so happy that the day had completely turned around from a dreary one to a dreamy one! 

Tyrone ended up being my next helpful angel in LA, because he, too, took me under his wing and introduced me to a bunch of new people who became my friends.

Life Lesson: Sometimes when bad things happen, don't get too discouraged, because something wonderful could be just around the corner!

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

(P.S. Be sure to read my blog from April called "Red Carpet Crasher!" because it describes how fate allowed me to have a personal hangout with Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith when I crashed my very first red carpet event as the LA Street Angel!)