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June 1st – Unlike Any Other

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I’m not sure how to describe the events that seemed to…what’s the word…erupt?  today, so I’ll just say that, as the past few weeks have been producing what seemed like first a trickle, then a flow, and then an avalanche of gifts and synchronicities, the past few days have gone over the line into magic.

I’m a trainer for State government and, were it not for the salary, I’d probably stay in my job forever.  State pays, for those who don’t know, are nothing like Federal government pay scales, but I digress.  I truly love my work, but I can’t make a living at it unless I supplement with other streams of income.  A mere three or so weeks back, someone I actually reported to a few years ago showed up in one of the classes I teach and had the generosity of spirit to offer her name and title as a reference for another state job I’d had my eye on.

The following week, I won money (for the second time in less than a month) in the state lottery.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was a win.

Week next, I mentioned in one of my classes that I wanted to reforest the front 2-3 acres of my land, which would be good for the watershed, the air quality, and some sound abatement and privacy.  Within three days I had 500 baby pine trees.  As I told the story to my co-workers about how it felt as though a waterfall of blessings were being bestowed, I still had yet to see progress toward a betterment of my career/financial situation; but still, it felt as though a floodgate had started to part, and I was the grateful recipient.

Last week, after I had finished teaching a Grants class (not grant-writing, but related by virtue of the accounting that is part of the grant management process) I was sitting in the back of the classroom reading my students’ evaluations, when a man and a woman came into my empty classroom.  They said they’d been told to come and see if someone could help with a grant they wanted to apply for.  It was one they hoped would provide funding for turning a historic building into a social and temporary-residential facility for U.S. military veterans.  I could see that their hearts were clearly in the right place but they had never done this before and were as lost as a ball in tall weeds.

By the time they left, I had agreed to write their first grant free of charge, and to also go and speak about any part of my book I chose at their Rotary club meeting.  I put in a slip for several hours of Annual Leave (State-speak for vacation time) and we agreed I’d meet them at the Rotary venue and go after that to the VFW post.  During the days between when I met Robin and Ed, I reviewed the grant they were considering with the detail eye of someone who’s been teaching about grants for more than six years, and I dreaded telling them they were barking up the wrong grant.

Today was the big day, and while I managed to get out of the office right on time, go home and get the dog fed & out and get on the road in time, there was something a bit shaky-making about speaking in front of people who aren’t the “captive audiences” I deal with when I teach for the State.  The Rotary club meeting involved what I’d estimate to be around 30 people, which is not a big audience in my experience.  My voice didn’t shake (I don’t think) but I know the hand holding the microphone did.  I did a 10-15 minute talk on paradigms, and how those around aging (the subject closest to my book’s heart) can dictate how we age whether it’s what we’d choose or not, and that we do get to choose.

I forgot to use the giant Anatomy and Physiology textbook I’d brought to quote the authors (doctors & scientists, anyone?) about the fact that the real cause of aging and death are still a mystery; but I was truly honored when people came up to me and repeated back certain things I’d said and told me they were really going to start thinking about leaving their T.V.’s on anywhere near where they might fall asleep, that they’d start noticing on purpose how many “aging” related messages they were being bombarded with, and so on.

After the Rotary meeting, my hosts Robin and Ed and I were were off to the local VFW, where a beautiful building erected during the 1800s had become a gathering place and a refuge – not to mention a cause.  With 1/3 of my Masters degree in Historic Preservation under my belt, I had appreciation for details not everyone might; while at the same time, having been a general contractor, I saw and felt things I knew would need serious upgrades if not removal and replacement.  The strength of their hearts and dedication swept me, and I found ideas and energies I think had probably been hidden beneath the rules & regs of my State employment for years.

It’s hard to describe how, after having been married long ago to a Viet Nam veteran and hearing his stories, the memories of these men were so familiar, as though very little time had actually passed.  Was 1966 really 50 years ago?  The theaters of war had changed, but not the people, and not their stories.

If I were a wealthy woman, I’d buy these guys their building and then help them get it into the kind of condition it needs to be for the things they want to do.  As it is, all I can do is be their grant writer, advise them on the right way to keep their accounting in line,  and provide my ideas and enthusiasm.  Judging by the “Social Membership” with which I was gifted, along with the warmest hugs and hand shakes I’ve enjoyed in a long time, it felt like that’s enough.

If anyone reading this would like to donate to the refurbishment of the Augustine Inn in Middletown, DE or help these vets, please let me know, using the Contact link on my website,

Be well, and yes, I’m back and promise to keep up with you all.










Author: Sherry Ellesson

Originally from New England, I've lived in several parts of the U.S. and settled in central Delaware in 1997. I currently work as a trainer/educator and have been writing professionally off and on for over 20 years. I recently finished writing my first book, Young For Your Own Good and it launched in May of 2014 (bookstore.balboapress). My website is and I hope to develop a thriving, active community who value health in mind, body and spirit.

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