Many of the morals and principles that we live by throughout our life were ingrained in us by our parents when we were young. Among other things, parents are largely responsible for building the character of their children. They are our role models. Children are sponges—they absorb all that they see, hear, and feel. When I was a child my mother used to tell me that, although she was a good and honest person and wanted me to be the same, it didn’t pay to be that way. She said that dishonest and conniving people are the ones who get ahead in this world. I might note that I received many other mixed messages growing up. Though I was young, somehow I knew in my heart and my soul that her perspective was wrong, I just didn’t understand why. But as I observed the world around me, it often appeared that she was right. That was a very confusing message for me to process. For one thing, my mother was deeply observant and faithful to the Jewish religion. She expected her children to be the same, tolerated nothing less from us. But I had to wonder, did my mother actually have faith in God, or was she observing Judaism by rote and programming? Who was this God I was supposed to be praying to? By the time I was a young adult I had dismissed the concept of a higher power, and became fascinated with guys who were crafty and manipulative. I never strayed from my personal wholesome, honest convictions, and always found myself trying to corral the rebellious behavior of the objects of my affection. I wanted them to be better people, but that effort never paid off. Still I admired their cunning ways. It seemed that those kinds of people were the movers and shakers of this world. Ironically, my mother despised them all. I don’t want to stray too far from the focus of this article. I explain much of my tumultuous life in detail in my memoir, Fine…ly. My article, “How I Found Faith,” discusses the path I took to spiritual awakening. The point that I am trying to make is that what we see with our eyes is not always the truth. Even our experiences can be deceiving. We often think that people who do bad things in this life and don’t get caught have gotten away with it, that maybe it doesn’t pay to be a good person. Let me state now with the utmost conviction: that is merely an earthbound illusion.
We are spiritual beings who are writing indelibly in the everlasting book of our eternal soul. Nothing goes unnoticed by God or The Universe. Anyone who thinks that they have gotten away with a bad deed should reconsider and make amends. We should never deceive ourselves into believing that if we perform the rituals of a particular faith, but do not live an exemplary life, that our bad deeds will ultimately be ignored or erased. I must have always known intuitively that this is true, even though I was young and not in touch with the reasons why. Now that I can explain it, I feel compelled to share the truth, as I know it, with others. The truth is that goodness always prevails.
Please visit my website http://www.randigfine.com to learn more about my memoir, FINE...LY: MY STORY OF HOPE, LOVE, AND DESTINY.
“Coincidences are spiritual puns”~ G.K. Chesterton We’ve all heard the common mantra, “There are no coincidences.” Whether believer or skeptic, we have all experienced these fascinating and seemingly random occurrences in life that seem too improbable to be chalked up to just chance. Often we find that the timing of these messages, people, and things relate directly to current issues; that which we are presently in need of. These amazing experiences actually happen to us more often than most of us are aware of, simply because we do not pay attention or see meaning in them. Often they go unnoticed because they are symbolic in nature and need deciphering. One of the most successful self-published books of all time, The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield is a story based on the concept of recognizing the connection between coincidence and spiritual growth. It portrays coincidence as a fork in the road; a sign indicating a more direct route to our most profound path in life. The story does not suggest that missing the sign means we will not find our way, we always have options. Rather it indicates that there are many different routes we can take and choices we have the free will to make as we navigate through our lives. In the 1920’s, the Swedish psychologist/physicist Carl Jung first coined the term “Synchronicity” to explain what he referred to as “meaningful coincidences.” The word comes from two Greek phrases meaning, “Joined with” and “Time.” He developed this concept while investigating the phenomena of the collective unconscious, and after observing the many astonishing coincidences shared by his patients. In Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, the 1952 article he published in a paper with related study he stated, “What I found were ‘coincidences’ which were connected so meaningfully that their ‘chance’ concurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by an astronomical figure.” He was captivated by the idea that life was not a series of random events, but rather an expression of deeper order.Though Jung coined the term, his concept of synchronicity was not groundbreaking. It had been an integral part of many Eastern philosophers for centuries. The principal is based on the universal concept that the whole universe is a living, breathing entity, and everything in it is interconnected. My memoir, Fine…ly: My Story of Hope, Love, and Destiny, is a story about the tremendous role that synchronicity played in my life. I reveal the many recognizable, mind-blowing “coincidences” that occurred over the years that ultimately brought me to a place of healing, serenity, and happiness. We can all think about our lives and all the amazing ways that things have come together for us: The chance meetings with people that reveal just the information we’ve been looking for, the trip we took to a foreign country where we ran into someone we knew, the song that came on the radio at the exact time that we needed to hear those words, the book given to us by a friend that sent us on a life-altering spiritual quest, or the person we ran into that offered the healing solution to our illness. Synchronicities exist. They show us that our inner world is in sync with our outer world. Each day we attract meaningful “coincidences” that help our souls to evolve. The amount of synchronicities we attract is in direct proportion to our level of conscious awareness. The more attention we pay to the “coincidences” in our lives, the more frequently they will occur to guide us on our way in our physical experience. As we remain open to and aware of the synchronicities experienced in our own life, we will find our life flowing in ways we could never even imagine.
Love Always, Randi
If you enjoyed this post please subscribe to It’s a Fine Life http://www.randigfine.com FINE...LY: MY STORY OF HOPE, LOVE, AND DESTINY is available through my website or Amazon.com. Also for Kindle, Nook, Etc.
Excerpted from the memoir Fine…ly, “I believe that there are divine reasons for the pregnant pauses in our lives; the times when our life seems to come to a screeching halt and we are rendered powerless over it. Those are the times we should pay especially close attention, for those junctures may be the most profound times in our lives.” ~ Randi G. Fine. It seems that every time I gain momentum in my life, some bizarre physical ailment comes along, out of the blue, and takes me out of the game for awhile. This odd phenomenon generally occurs once a year at random times; I am never prepared for the forced time-out. Last Tuesday I woke up feeling great, sat down to read the paper, then stood up and felt the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life; it was as if the insides of my left hip and thigh were on fire. I recognized the pain as sciatica, having had similar pain years before, though nowhere near as agonizing. Determined to head it off at the pass I grabbed the iPad, and then lay in bed and searched Google for sciatica pain remedies. The advice was alternating use of ice to reduce the inflammation and heat to relax the muscles. I more than willingly complied. Within an hour the pain had gratefully disappeared so I took a shower, ready to move on with my day. After the shower, as I dressed, I felt the nerve pain rushing back into left hip, and then radiating down my leg. The level of the onset pain had been a ten, now it was a twenty– inhumane and unbearable. I was unable to care for myself for an entire week; sitting at my desktop computer was tortuous so I couldn’t get any work done. I’ll spare all the details of the suffering I endured and just say that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, if I had one. Those who know me personally or through my writing understand my dyed-in-the-wool belief that everything in life has meaning. Though it didn’t make the pain easier to bear or less frustrating I understood what was going on; it was obvious to me that I was deliberately being side-lined. This episode was not about pain or suffering; it was about resting, re-connecting with myself, and gaining perspective on what truly matters. Though I am still experiencing pain and am limited in my physical abilities, I am far better than I was a week ago and improving a little more each day. More than a week has gone by with my incapacitation and lack of focus, and what do you know…everything is as I left it. There have been no calamities and no catastrophes. My dear friend tells me that she always knows I am doing better when I add a new post to my blog. The proof is in the pudding…or in this case the posting. I’m back.
Love Always, Randi
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to It’s A Fine Life http://www.randigfine.com FINE...LY: MY STORY OF HOPE, LOVE, AND DESTINY is available through my website and Amazon.com. Also for Kindle, Nook, etc.
The desire to love is not itself love. Love is as love does. ~ M. Scott Peck, M.D. Love is often characterized by the overwhelming feeling that is commonly associated with it. We have all experienced the giddy feeling of falling in love, a feeling that eventually fades and gets replaced by reality. Genuine love is not a feeling but rather the act of what happens when the butterflies inside of us stop fluttering, the act of commitment. The choice we make to commit ourself to another person is what allows us to make the transition from falling in love, which is a feeling, to the act of genuine love. To genuinely love another means to care deeply about their spiritual growth, to be willing and ready to attend to their needs regardless of how we are personally feeling. Healthy loving means having the discipline to be able to set our own agendas aside and shift our attention to our beloved. It is the willingness we have to extend ourselves beyond the comforts of our own limits to nurture the other person. Healthy, mutual love is the act of two people with separate identities, who are fully secure and capable of living without each other, making the choice to share their lives with each other. A healthy, loving relationship exists when the distinction of individuality between the two commited participants is honored and sustained. Authentic, mature love can only grow in the soil of respect and acceptance of the individuality of ourself and others.
Love Always, Randi
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The attraction we have to other people is often felt immediately upon meeting them. Think about the people you know or have met in your life who seem to naturally draw people to them with an unexplainable magnetism. These people give off a vibe that makes us feel, comfortable, happy, and energized in their presence. They exude an inviting sense of compassion and support. Open-hearted, authentic, kind, and loving people seem to have a harmonious air around them. In the workplace, those that enjoy their jobs give off happier vibes then those who don’t.
By contrast, we have all experienced meeting people for the first time who make our skin crawl, give us the creeps. What about the psychic vampires who, just by being in their presence, seem to suck our energy and drain us or make us feel ill? Some people instantly put us on guard, make us feel attacked or demeaned. We may find ourselves questioning their intentions, and feel uptight, guarded, and anxious around them. Have you ever had the sense that you needed to get away from someone but you didn’t know why you felt that way? Those who impact us this way are rarely conscious of what they are doing.
Whenever we come into contact with another person we exchange energy. The energy that other people emanate can profoundly influence our health and our state of mind.
The energy that surrounds each and every one of us is called our aura. The aura consists of seven layers, and reflects aspects of our being such as health, vitality, emotions, psychological patterns, and spiritual nature. Auras are specific to each person; they are our spiritual signatures. Our auras are not separate from us; they are reflections of who we are at any given time. The aura that surrounds each of our bodies, often referred to as ”The Human Energy Field,” is a collection of electro-magnetic radiation, spanning from microwave, infrared to ultraviolet light. It normally extends between three and eight feet out from our bodies, though it could be more or less. Our human energy field is more powerful than we can ever imagine.
The colors and intensity of our auras have very special meanings. Our auras reflect our attitudes, therefore they are constantly changing. The colors perceived by the eyes, or instruments that can see them, appear as a spectrum of light ranging from shades of red to shades of violet. They can also be brown, black, or white. It is the shade and intensity of the color that reflects a positive or negative condition. Brighter, lighter auras indicate levels of optimism, spirituality, and health. White is the perfect color, the Divine Light, perfect balance and harmony. Duller colors may indicate blockages, unresolved issues, illness, guardedness, fatigue, and negativity. Black auras can reveal a range of human conditions. A clear, jet black aura often appears in energy workers and can signify mystery, power, dignity, and potential. Dull black may denote an unkind or dishonest nature, but can also represent insecurity, depression, fear, grief, poor health, secrecy, or deception. This is what is manifested when there is a disconnection from, or disruption of the flow of our life source.
The aura is a reflection of the nature of our body and soul. Auras can be vibrant, expansive, and beautiful, or they can be close to the body, murky, and threatening.
Our aura is our personal bodyguard. It is important that we keep strengthening our auras in order to protect ourselves against energy zappers and illness. Our auras can be strengthened through meditation, healthy living, and sunlight. Chanting, and listening to comforting, relaxing music such as classical, religious/spiritual, or new age are healing tools. The use of positive affirmations that resonate with our spirit can be a very effective way to keep our auras strong and healthy. It is very important to eliminate negative thoughts and unnecessary stress from our lives. There are many other ways to accentuate the positive energy in our lives; smudging with sage, essential oils, flower essences, crystals, and bathing or swimming in salt water are a few more examples. We should always be mindful of or limit our exposure to negative people, places, and things.
All of us have the ability to tap into the energy force that will keep our lives in a positive light. Always remember to surround yourself with good vibrations!
Love Always, Randi
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to It’s a Fine Life http://www.randigfine.com My book, FINE...LY: MY STORY OF HOPE, LOVE, AND DESTINY is available through Amazon.com, my website, for Kindle, and for Nook. To learn more about my compelling story, please visit my website.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain. We are all likely to be wronged by others more than a few times in the course of our lifetime. Living in this imperfect world we will surely find ourselves faced with the dilemma of forgiveness, over and over.
When someone that matters to us is hurtful, we will naturally feel painful emotions such as anger and sadness. We may find ourselves dwelling on the injustice of the situation and holding grudges. Gradually these negative feelings overshadow the positive feelings in our lives, leaving us filled with resentment. This leads to spiritual paralysis and detrimental physical destruction. The stress of these self-defeating attitudes may wreak havoc on our immune system, raise our blood pressure, and possibly lead to substance abuse. We may find ourselves suffering from anxiety and depression. By clinging to the pain of the past, allowing the wrongdoing to define us, we allow the joy of the present to pass us by. Life may begin to feel meaningless. If we are consumed by the past, our bitterness may infiltrate and impede every new relationship, every new experience.
The decision to forgive is not an easy one. It may be challenging, especially when the wrongdoer does not offer a sincere apology or show heartfelt remorse for their actions. Forgiveness is a hard concept for many of us to grasp, on the surface it may seem like we are handing someone a “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” giving them permission to have crossed the line with us. But forgiveness is all about our peace of mind. It doesn’t justify the wrongdoing, it releases us from the grip that hinders our well-being. It takes away the power we have given to the other person, releases the negative hold they have over us. Forgiveness is a promise we make to ourselves to change our life, allowing serenity, happiness, and healing to flourish.
We can sincerely forgive someone without excusing their actions. Compassion, taking the other person’s circumstance into consideration, is important. Putting ourselves in their shoes may be a very helpful healing tool. We should also look at the emotional energy we have expended on the betrayal; is it proportionate to the offense? Forgiveness is a process that takes time; in the end it is our choice whether or not to share our forgiveness with the person who wronged us. In some cases reconciliation may be impossible or inappropriate.
Through the act of forgiveness we learn empathy, understanding, and respect. When practicing forgiveness we must be mindful that there will be times when we will want to be forgiven. How can we ask for something that we are unwilling to give? We must always remember to show the mercy, faith, and love that we expect from others.
Parenting is far from easy; it takes consistency and tenacity. While raising children, we plant many seeds in them and hope they will grow. It is difficult to know how we are doing as parents and what the end results will be, because these seeds take many years to cultivate. We may feel like we are not getting through or making a difference, but have no fear. We get out of our children exactly what we put in to them. It is often not until they leave the nest that we see the fruits of our labor.
My two children are grown, but when they were young they were very different, as most siblings are. My oldest was mature, even tempered, compliant, and self-motivated. She was always a high achiever. My youngest was needy, mouthy, quick to anger, and only motivated in the things that gave him pleasure. He never applied himself in school. Parenting my oldest was very easy, but not so for my youngest. He required a great deal of patience, understanding, and guidance. Interestingly, they both turned out level-headed, self-motivated, high-achieving, grounded, and highly self-sufficient.
One of my philosophies in raising children can be likened to that of walking a dog. You give them the freedom of as much lead on the leash as they can handle, but carefully watch them and shorten the leash as needed. Children need room to move, think, and express themselves as individuals. When parents are overly strict or dictate every move for their children, the children will eventually rebel, often in ways that are unsafe. And they never learn to think for themselves or stand on their own two feet. As parents we never want to give our children reason to rebel. In fact, we should give them every reason not to rebel.
Here are twenty parenting tips. I was very successful in using them; I hope you achieve the same results.
1. Always think before you speak. Your child will absorb every word you say, whether it appears that they are listening or not. 2. Be impeccable with your word. Don’t threaten then not keep your word. Don’t promise and then renege. These actions are very confusing for a child. They will become angry and distrustful. 3. Teach by example. Your children will do as you do. If you yell, they will yell. If you hit, they will hit. If you make unhealthy choices, they will do the same. 4. Be clear and consistent in your expectations. Children feel safe when they know and understand their limits. 5. Teach your child to develop clear emotional boundaries. They should have a healthy sense of what is and what is not acceptable behavior to tolerate from others. Show them by example by demonstrating the boundaries that exist between the two of you. Do not mesh with your child. 6. Be strong as steel for your children. Give them a secure, safe place to fall when life hurts. Never let your child see you fall apart when they are hurting. That is when they need you the most. 7. Be your child’s greatest advocate. Put your own insecurities aside and always stand up for your child’s best interests. 8. Encourage the development of your child’s inner beauty. Teach them to be kind, understanding, fair, and loving. In the scheme of things, that is much more important than their outer beauty. 9. Use every life example possible to demonstrate faith and hope for your children. Allow them to experience some disappointments so that they develop the skills to deal with whatever challenges life may throw at them. 10. Be open, available, and nonreactive. If your child fears the reaction they will face when they tell you the truth, they will learn to lie. And when they lie, they are in danger of making bad decisions and succumbing to negative outside influences. 11. Listen carefully to what they say. Read between the lines. 12. Love your children unconditionally. Encourage, don’t judge. 13. Plant seeds of self-love and self-esteem in your child. If your child is not as successful as he/she can be in school, tell them that they are smart anyway. Accentuate their strengths and their potential for success. They will eventually incorporate that thought into their self image and rise to it. 14. When you disapprove of something they are doing, discipline the behavior but never tell the child that they are bad. If you tell them that they are bad, they will be bad. They believe every word you say. 15. Do your best to demonstrate optimism for your children. 16.Never rehash old issues with your child. Never say, “I told you so.” Approach everything from this day forward. 17. Your child should never be more concerned about you, than you are about them. Be the parent, don’t be needy with your children. 18. Be vulnerable; show your child that you aren’t perfect. Admit some of your mistakes past and present. If you share things that you did, whether right or wrong ,when you were younger, your child will relate to you better. They will find you more approachable. 19. Pick your arguments. Remember that children go through stages. As long as their choices don’t cause irreparable damage or bodily harm, the less emphasis you place on these temporary issues, the faster they will grow out of them on their own. 20. When your child is using drugs, drinking, or doing something potentially dangerous, use tough love IMMEDIATELY! Nip it in the bud before the problem takes on a life of its own. Revoke all priviledges: cell phone, car, computer, video games, etc. Evaluate their friendships and make changes if necessary. Make them earn their priviledges back. Be clear in sending the message that this behavior is unacceptable. Never withdraw love. These are the times they need the most support. As much as they will fight against what you are doing, they will always know that you are acting out of love and in their best interest. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to ” It’s a Fine Life” http://www.randigfine.com
“Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements.
Why do most of us find it so difficult in the face of an insult to not take it personally? The concept of “Not taking things personally,” is easy to understand but very hard to apply.
The first thing to remember is that we can’t control what others say to us, but we can control our reaction. That is easier said than done. When someone demeans our character, insults us, or gives us a backhanded compliment, our natural response is to question our own worth. We analyze their comment, trying to figure out why that person said what they did and if we deserved it. Why do we consider the validity of others’ viewpoints when they criticize us?
Everyone views the world differently and everyone has opinions. What is important to remember is that opinions are just opinions; they are not absolute truths. They are based on a variety of influences that have nothing to do with us. Others’ comments are projections of their own issues and inadequacies, they are not about us. Still it is very difficult to not take offense.
Many of us fear rejection. When we take things personally, we take a rejection that is not about us and make it about us. We give away our personal power and disrespect our integrity. This reaction is based on our own insecurities, our need for acceptance and approval, and/or from unresolved issues. Few of us are 100 percent happy with ourselves, we all have weak areas. This feeling of inadequacy, no matter how miniscule, allows the ill-intentions of others to cause us to question our self-worth.
The best way to retrain our responses is to retrain our mind. It takes practice and strength to change the pattern. The word “Me” is a key factor in our awareness. Whenever we hear ourselves saying something like, “How could they say that to me,” recognize that we have personally taken on the importance of the statement. We have to accept that not everyone will like us, and that we don’t have to go out of our way to please others to be liked. When we heal our sore spots we are better equipped to let things roll off our back.
“When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don’t take things personally.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements.
Love Always, Randi
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to It’s a Fine Life http://www.randigfine.com My book, FINE...LY: MY STORY OF HOPE, LOVE, AND DESTINY is available through Amazon.com, my website, for Kindle, and for Nook. To learn more about my compelling story, please visit my website http://www.randigfine.com Listen to my blog talk radio show, “A Fine Time for Healing: A sanctuary for your emotional wellbeing.” In depth discussions on life-skill topics that heal and enhance our life experience. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/randi-fine
"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh"~ W. H. Auden
A few days ago I went to visit my ex-mother-in-law, along with my daughter Cammy (her granddaughter) who was in town for the weekend. I usually visit Cammy’s grandmother three or four times a year for various reasons. I have known her for thirty-one years and have been divorced from her son for twenty-five of them.
We haven’t always been close; there were years when our relationship was strained and we didn’t speak at all. Many factors, including proximity and issues surrounding my divorce to her son, contributed to the lapses. We both suffered a lot of hurt and tragedy over the years from my ex-husband who has since passed on. Though our relationship may have been distant from time to time, I always nurtured and encouraged her relationship with my daughter. I have healed and moved on with my life - she has not. She is merely a shell of the woman she used to be…but she hasn’t lost all of her spunk.
This is a woman who was known for her outrageous personality; loud, funny, showy, attention seeking, and brutally honest. One never knew what would come flying out of her mouth or when it would happen. Through the years I’ve been embarrassed, insulted, and lambasted by her, but I have also laughed until I thought my sides would split open. There were just as many times that she loved, doted on, respected, and praised me. With maturity I have learned to overlook her guileless comments and look to the truly kind woman that lies beneath.
It is a good thing that I understand where she is coming from and that I have a sense of humor about myself, otherwise I would have been furious over what she said to me the other day. She was trying to be funny, but her comment didn’t land quite the way I believe she intended it to.
Over the past six months I have been experiencing some weight gain. I know it’s related to hormones…I am at that age. But having always had a thin and shapely body that was easy to maintain, I am not accepting this change very well. I don’t mean to insinuate that I am largely overweight; I just feel like I woke up in the wrong body and can’t seem to find my way back.
So, my daughter and I walked into her grandmother’s apartment the other day, and the first thing she blurted out upon seeing me was, “You’ve gained weight!”
I laughed…she wasn’t telling me something I didn’t know, though I was secretly hoping it wasn’t that noticeable. I explained what was going on with me, and then the topic moved on and the focus was redirected. Despite the seemingly insulting greeting, she was clearly happy to see us, interested in what I had to say, and she praised me many times.
Cammy and I stayed for a little over an hour, and then hugged, kissed, and said our goodbyes. As we were about to walk out the door to leave, my ex-mother-in-law suddenly revisited her opening sentiment and shouted, “Goodbye Fatso!” Once again I started laughing, considering the source. Then Cammy and I left.
My daughter was appalled after hearing what her grandmother said to me. Once we were alone and out in the hallway, she looked at me dumb-struck. “That was so mean! I can’t believe she just said that to you!” she proclaimed. “Her comment didn’t bother me…it was just Grandma being Grandma. She was just trying to be funny… she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings,” I responded,undaunted.
The next morning I received a follow-up telephone call regarding our visit. She wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed our visit and how great it was to see us. She never made reference to the “Fatso” comment, but she did make a point of telling me how beautiful she thoughtI looked, and told me not to lose a pound. I knew she spoke with sincerity…the art of lying is definitely not her forte.
It wouldn’t have mattered to me if she had called the next day or not; I know who I am…and I know her heart.
The scenario was truly hilarious… I laugh every time I replay it in my head. I have added it to the list of the outrageous antics that I’ve witnessed from her over the years, and I am grateful to have those colorful,comical memories to recall.
Humor may present itself in the oddest ways. We have to learn to laugh at ourselves, and we have to learn to laugh at life.
For a more in depth study of the characters in this article, please read my memoir, Fine…ly: My Story of Hope, Love, and Destiny, available as a paperback or e-book through Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/4479qrt