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My Obsession with the Number 23

A good number of people have asked why I seem to be so obsessed with the number twenty-three.  I’ll devote a few paragraphs here to give you the condensed version of why the prime number has become a big part of my life.  I don’t expect anyone to claim any significance the way I have, but will ask for a few minutes of your time to give you some background.

For twenty-five of my twenty-nine years in the public school classroom, math was one of the subjects I taught.  To be honest, I never really was that good in math, but my struggle to understand concepts I believe helped me to reach those that were going through similar struggles.  It was the “I’ve been where you are and know how you feel” mentality.  So it suffices to say numbers have always been an important part of my life.

About eight years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life and to be honest, not a whole lot of anything made any sense.  Separation and eventual divorce, recovery from addiction, and general upheaval has a way of doing that to you.  A fellow teacher, noting that I was really struggling, suggested I take up the hobby of numerology.  While I wasn’t a person that put a whole lot of store in what the numerologists seemed to be implying, it did peak my interest.  Somewhere along the way, I discovered the number twenty-three kept showing up over and over in my life.  That was the seed it took for me to study the number even further.

During my “investigation” I found out that both of my parents were twenty-three years old when I was born.  I was conceived in 1958 and those digits sum to twenty-three as well.  My son is twenty-three years younger than I am and my daughter was born on my sister’s twenty-third birthday.  Needless to say, the beginning of life is important to all and the presence of those numbers at my life’s beginning was too obvious to ignore.  * Note – I can say with some certainty that I was conceived on October 9, 1958, but I don’t want to raise your skepticism too early.

I also took a look at my birthdate in its numerical form:  7/6/1959.  If you sum the first four digits, you get twenty-three.  If you sum the last two digits, you get 14.  Since I am a person of the Christian faith, I began to look at the 23-14 combinations I could find in the Bible.  The first reading that seemed to have significance was Numbers 23:14.  It was there I found the name of the church I attend, Mt. Pisgah.

The next significant passage came from 2 Samuel 23:14, which contains the name “David” and “Bethlehem”.  David is the name I was given at birth and Bethlehem is the name of the town where Mt. Pisgah is located.  The most puzzling verse is Matthew 23:14.  In most translations of the Bible it’s not listed.  The Gospel of Matthew goes from 23:13 to 23:15.

So what did I take from all this you might ask? In a time during my life when not a whole lot was making any sense, I turned to God to find meaning.  I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where church was an important element.  But it wasn’t until this difficult time in life when any of it began to take hold.  The different scriptures gave me assurance and bolstered my faith to the fact that God knew exactly what was going on in my life.  He had been there at the beginning and I had no reason to question He was still with me now.

So each time I see the number twenty-three, it’s like a “wink from God” that says amidst the chaos of my life, He is ever present…. He always has been and He always will be.  Now do I sometimes carry it a bit too far?  Perhaps so, but it’s something that I’ve held onto during the darkest valleys of life and I’m not about to let go.  I know some may think it’s pure nonsense and insignificant, but then it was God talking to me through a language He knew that I would understand and pay attention to.

And that my friends is the short version.  There are a lot of other situations that the number has kept showing up.  I just have to smile and know that there is One that knows me and will always have my best interest in mind.

David Lee

Time for a Re-Do…

Well, my plan was to write an entry each day for twenty-three consecutive days. And as many of plans do, they got off track. So tomorrow is a new day and regardless of how I may feel near the day’s end, I make the intention to write something…anything.

I have no excuses for not writing. I’ve actually written in my journal quite a bit. Perhaps some of what I’ll write tomorrow will be from those entries. I’ve had a four day weekend, free from work, so they’ll be no excuses.

Tomorrow is another day…and it will be a good day to have a good day.

David Lee

Day 2 of 23 in Self-Reflection

I’m the type person who’s always looking for “signs” out and about each day. Especially when they involve numbers of any sort and of course, those are everywhere to be found on license plates. On my way to get a bit to eat this morning, I spotted a car in front of me at a stoplight with a personalized tag that read simply “Isaiah 43.” I also noticed that the car changed lanes just as the light turned green and took another route. So I just happened to be at the right place at the right time at the right sequence of lights to be able to see the message. And me being the person I am, I knew I needed to investigate what Isaiah 43 was all about.

After getting a bite to eat for breakfast, I headed to my home-away-from home, Barnes & Noble and sought out a Bible to do some research. The “Bible aisle” was rather crowded, so I picked up “The Message” translation of the good book, which was right in front of me. And here’s what I had to share about Isaiah 43:

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,

    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,

    the One who got you started, Israel:

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.

    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.

    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.

When you’re between a rock and a hard place,

    it won’t be a dead end—

Because I am God, your personal God,

    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.

Holy Bible

So the message to me on this Saturday morning was easy to decipher — whatever situations I might be facing in life, God is there for me and will never abandon me. I have a painting in my bedroom that I’ll share on another day. It shows a ship being tossed and turned in a storm on the high seas. And this reading from Isaiah reminded me of that type of storm that can happen in all of our lives.

These past twenty months have not been easy for any of us. With the pandemic still in full force, it’s almost like a nightmare that will never end. As if life wasn’t difficult enough as it is, we are all pressed to the limit and long for the days before things got so complicated.

So as I went about the rest of my day, I was assured that there will always be those fears in my life, there is the Good Shepherd that will always be with me. As far as I’m able to turn my will and my life over to His loving care, I will be able to find calm amidst the storms in life.

David Lee

Day 1 of 23 in Self-Reflection

Today I start a conscious reflection of my life at this point in time. My thoughts wander from here to there and I’ve found that daily readings to start each day are a good source of motivation.

One of my readings this morning came from the book Embraced by Lysa TerKeurst. It was recommended by a friend and I’ve found it to be quite insightful. It has one hundred readings and I’ve managed to make it through twenty-nine of those in the five weeks I’ve had the book. Today’s reading was especially helpful in the context of my life’s journey, which has taken a lot of twists and turns here of late.

One paragraph in today’s reading sticks out in my mind and has been both underlined and circled in the actual book:

“I don’t need a better position to get where I should go. I don’t have to figure out my path and strive to get ahead. I need God’s Word to guide me. As I follow Him and honor Him step-by-step, I can be assured that I’m right where He wants me to be, to be doing whatever He wants me to do.”

Lynn Terkeurst

Life has a way of throwing a lot of twists and turns at us. We can think we know where we should go and what we should do, only to find out otherwise. Life choices that we make, whether consciously or subconsciously, can lead us down paths that aren’t for our better good. Then there are those choices we make that can lead us to a place of enlightenment and fulfillment. And yes, the choice is ultimately mine.

Another reading from my morning’s meditations lends itself to this same train of thought and speaks to choices that we make in our daily lives. The book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, details the choice-making process and offers invaluable insight.

“When you make any choice–any choice at all– you can ask yourself two things: First of all, ‘What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?’ In your heart you will immediately know what these are. Secondly, ‘Will this choice that I’m making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?’ If the answer is yes, then go ahead with that choice. If the answer is no, if that choice brings distress either to you or to those around you, then don’t make that choice.”

Deepak Chopra

So from today’s readings that I have shared, what are my real takeaways for my life today?

  • I am exactly where I am supposed to be in life, doing exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing, to learn the lessons I need to learn.
  • When in question about what life path to take, I need to turn to God, the “Universe” for guidance. The answers are there if I am willing to look and earnestly seek.
  • I don’t need to know the future path my life’s journey will take. I can keep the faith and trust in the journey when I have communication with the God of my understanding.
  • I need to try to live in the present moment and not be worried about the future and what it may bring.
  • I need to be conscious of those choices that I make in life. Conscious decisions have both consequences and rewards and I need to think through those before moving forward.
  • With each choice I make, I need to ask whether it will bring happiness and joy to myself and those around me.

Lots of things to consider from today’s readings. I’m grateful for the teachers in my life, both past and present, that have pointed me to where I’m at today. There are many of those people out there who either consciously or unconsciously have given me invaluable food for thought this day.

David Lee

Taking Notes: Side Effects of Melatonin

I’ve recently been taking melatonin to get a more-regulated period of quality sleep each night. While the supplement itself has been effective, I’ve also noticed some changes both physically and mentally during the daytime hours. So I’ve done a bit of research and here are the side effects that at least one article mentions.

  • Melatonin Side Effect #1: Daytime Sleepiness (Grogginess) – I haven’t noticed this being a big problem, especially on days when I’m working.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #2: Interferes With Pregnancy – I don’t guess I really need to be concerned with this one…I list it because it would affect some of you reading this list.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #3: Worsens Depression – Although I don’t think I have depression and while the article states melatonin is not the cause of depression, I have noticed an overall lower mood when taking it over several days. This one is definitely on my radar.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #4: Dosing Confusion – The article says that melatonin should be used to establish a more stable sleep pattern if you’ve gotten away from one. But it shouldn’t be used over long periods in place of getting to sleep with your body’s natural melatonin.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #6: Headaches – I haven’t had a problem with this one, but will list it to keep it on the radar just in case.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #7: High Blood Pressure – Definitely one to keep my eye on…I do take two meds for blood pressure and it states it can have an effect on those….I probably need to use that blood pressure monitor I purchased over a month ago and haven’t even taken out of the box.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #8: Over Sedation – I’ve been taking more than the recommended dosage each night….probably don’t need to be doing that.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #9: Dizziness & Nausea – Has not been an issue for me at this point.
  • Melatonin Side Effect #10: Infertility – Once again, not a concern for me, but list it here for others who may be reading.
  • Source: https://10faq.com/health/melatonin-side-effects/?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=701-717-3049-1362493182&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=57235675351&utm_term=melatonin%20side%20effects&gclid=CjwKCAjw2P-KBhByEiwADBYWCvjSXPbTnAp2ZV_DwgcDyWz0zMWoC0CXw4KRYTSThbrpViFUwwnMfhoCdKYQAvD_BwE

It’s been a while….

It’s been a long while since I’ve written and shared here on my blog. So for today, I’m setting a goal of writing and sharing something each day for the next twenty-three days. Truth be told, it may not be anything of an earthshaking nature, but share I will.

Life over the past several months has thrown quite a few curves and many times quiet reflection is need to try to gain a fuller perspective. I’ve done enough quiet reflection for now and will be sharing some of the things that I’ve learned,,,some of the interesting things that run across….perhaps even share some of the pictures I’ve taken here of late.

Saturday, October 9th will be my first of twenty-three days of sharing….I guess that will take me through the end of the month and hopefully share some of my experience, strength, and hope in the process.

David Lee

My thoughts on all that…

As we prepare to begin another school year, covid is raring its ugly head all over again. And with the resurgence comes so many questions about how to keep ourselves safe, especially younger folks that the delta variant of the virus seems to be affecting this time around. All the while, vaccinations and mask requirements have become a political and emotional issue instead of seeing it all from a scientific standpoint as we should be doing.

I don’t by any means have a crystal ball, but I see an increasing number of positive cases as we approach fall. With the school year beginning anew and holiday season approaching, we once again will be in situations that would foster the spread of the virus. The numbers thus far for the month of August aren’t looking good.

My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that mask mandates will soon become commonplace again. Worst case scenario, businesses and schools will once again have to be closed and lockdown put back into place. In the words of Catawba County School Board member Jeff Taylor, the only school board member to vote against making masks optional, “I hope I’m wrong.” It’s certainly not anything that any of us looks forward to in the approaching months. I like to be optimistic, but I also can’t ignore where the statistical trends seem to pointing at this time.

And those are my thoughts on all that.

David Lee

Random Thoughts on This Day…

Today is a pretty important day in my life. It was exactly 6940 days ago, nineteen years, that I began my journey of recovery from alcoholism. It was a Saturday and it was seemingly like any other day as I awakened. But that was soon to change and a series of events were set into motion that changed my life forever.

Today I can look back on this day that occurred nearly twenty years ago and realize it was a part of what was meant to be a part of my life. You don’t do to yourself what I was doing to myself with mass consumption of alcohol and not feel the effects of it. It took its toll on my family and of course, myself. Little did I realize at that time that the journey of recovery was a rest-of-my-life proposition and the lessons I’ve learned are ones that have made my life so much better today than they were back then.

No, things today aren’t perfect,,,but I’ve learned to deal with life on life’s terms and above all else, have developed a faith in a power greater than myself that keeps me in balance. There are so many people that I need to be grateful for during that time, each having a lesson to teach me about how to best live this life I’ve been given.

Today has been like so many other days. I went for a long walk this morning, a habit that I’ve just recently picked up. Later this evening, I’ll do so again. I’m the member of a local city commission and went to one of those meetings and then went to my second therapy visit. Who knows what the rest of the day might hold; I’m just grateful today not to have to worry about where the day might lead.

Tomorrow will be a teacher workday to start my forty-first year of teaching. I have two interim positions lined up for this school year and have actually had to turn down several others. These positions have given me purpose as we head into the second half of the year. I never envisioned that retirement would include continuing to do what I did for twenty-nine years. But I also have no doubt I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in time in my life.

What will the coming days and weeks hold? There’s no way to say. I do keep in mind that the pandemic is far from over and is raring its ugly head again. I’ll need to make sure to keep doing those things I need to do to protect myself. I was reminded this past weekend that the God of my understanding has a purpose for my life and is always beside me each step of the way. Faith tends to grow in a person that’s seen the darkest of days and I consider myself no exception.

So those are just a few of thoughts rambling through my mind this day. I’m going to try to do a better job of recording my thoughts and observations each day and share them with whoever finds their way to my blog.

David Lee

Quotable Quotes – Synchronicity

“There are no coincidences. We meet people intentionally who have been put on our path for a reason– sometimes sooner, sometimes later. — Kenneth Harris

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We are like islands in the sea,; separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” — Thomas Moore

“Everything happens in perfect timing.” — unknown

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” —Madeline Sheehan

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” —C.G. Jung

“This is called synchronicity — a state in which you almost feel as if you are in a collaborative arrangement with fate.” — Wayne Dyer

“Between thinking and seeing, there is a place called knowing.” —Caroline Myss

“No one is sent by accident to anyone.” —A Course in Miracles

“An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance.” —Chinese proverb

“Miracles happen every day. No just in remote country villages or at holy sites halfway across the glove, but here, in our own lives.” —Deepak Chopra

“In the tapestry of life, we’re all connected. Each one of us is a gift to those around us, helping each other to be who we are.” —Anita Moorjani

“I believe there are no random meetings in our lives- that everyone we touch, who touches us, has been put in our path for a reason.” — Susanna Kearsley

“You won’t miss a sign from the universe. It will keep getting louder and louder until you get it.” —unknown

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” —Leonardo do Vinci”

“The universe is giving you signs every day: in your sleep, on your timeline, in your conversations, on the radio, in the sky- pay attention to the people you meet. THe universe is communicating with you.” —unknown

All the above quotes are from Dr. Kenneth Harris’s book “Synchronicity – The Magic. The Mystery. The Meaning.”