When You Need Some Help

sandor birthdayI have a little notebook in my car and sometimes, when I’m especially worried about an issue I write a prayer to God everyday, just something short, two or three sentences.  Earlier this Fall, I needed something for one of my children. So for five or seven days in a row I wrote out my request. I didn’t realize how my prayer had been answered, little by little, over the course of a month and a half, until yesterday when I was reading my notebook.  God one hundred percent answered my prary. So now I’m writing thank you notes to Him.

I like my little notebook because it forces me to recognize and acknowledge when prayers are answered. And then give the right Man credit.

When my dad was in WWII he was shot down over the North Sea. for four days he and crew members floated in a dingy until picked up by a Dutch fisherman.  Once on board he wrote a letter to my grandmother, Mooie.  He said, “I’ll find a way to study architecture while I’m in prison camp so don’t you worry. Just keep the faith.”

Why in a billion years would he think he could study architecture in prison camp? That’s an absurd and delusional idea. But, as it turned out, he spent the bulk of his time in the POW camp, with a polish Architect who taught him everything he knew.

When I first started in sales I would decided what my sales goal would be each month and then I would write that number, over and over and over. During every sales meeting my boss would look at me, scribbling away, filling up the margins of all my legal pads with 25,000, 25,000, 25,000. I wrote that number hundreds of times and I made it. The next month I wrote 28,000, 28,000, 28,000. Again I made it. this went on and on. My boss was stunned because it was 2008 and the economy had just tanked in a stupendous fashion.  Nobody was making budget. But I kept writing and making budget.

When I was a little girl my dad always told me we could “brain wash our brains.” And a phrase he made me repeat over and over was, “when you imagination accepts it as reality it will become true.”  He also cautioned me not to take this power lightly and do the hard work to make that reality happen. So I didn’t try to conjure up a hippopotamus.  Dad told me I had to guard and respect the power and to share it.

Have faith in the power of your mind. It’s amazing. Do the hard work; its necessary. Give as much as you can, it will all come back to you. And tell God thanks.



A Letter From My Father…1943

irvin-mcdaniel powMy dad, I. Granger McDaniel, spent four years in German POW camps during World War II.  I just found a brittle and faded letter he wrote to his father while a prisoner.  He forged his own birth certificate and high school diploma to join the RAF, so he was just 18 or 19 years old when he wrote this letter, which is beautifully written.

Dear Dad; Thanks for your swell card, it certainly helped! Excuse this lettering I can do better. I have been studying a little Architecture. Just as a hobby mostly history. I’m extremely pleased to know you are getting along so well. We will have a big time when I get back.

I guess I would like to come home and say “Well dad I know now you were right and I’m ready to listen to you now, and start a a-new where I left off” but I’m afraid that pride which I inherited from you, will prevent me from ever doing so.  The hell of this situation is I can’t plan in anyway for the future, however, have chosen my work and now must stick to it. Ol’ fate  kinda slipped me a lousy hole card but i’m hoping that it will suffice to make me just that much stronger. I have some fine ideas for when i get out. One is for remodeling the house. Tell everyone hellow for me and keep Cal. working. If you run across any old Architecture books try and get them for my collection I’m going to have. Take good care of mom for me. Bo-

There’s nothing much I can ad to the beauty and eloquence of this letter.  He was a hell of a man.

Recently a RAF historian contacted me. he’s put up a whole page about Dad’s plane being shot down…and more.

Pilot Officer Irven Granger McDaniel 112297 RAF VR Pilot


God Gave Me A Rock… Literally A Round Gray Rock

peaceI’m reprinting this story because I gave my rock to a friend yesterday.  She is the aunt of a seventeen year old boy who is struggling with all sorts of issues.  She wants to save him so she took her own sister to court to get custody.

When I walked into court I handed her my peace rock because it has the power to help in special situations.

Here’s the story of my peace rock. (And fyi, the aunt’s story had a happy ending.)



A little less than a year ago my brother, Granger, died. It was a pretty horrific and heartbreaking situation. Granger was my last living family member. That’s why I sometimes feel like the last creature from my herd; the last zebra with these stripes.

The day I got the phone call, telling me Granger wasn’t going to make it, I was hanging out with my kiddos, Lexie and Sandor, who was 8 at the time.  We were looking at some funky art in a  tiny gallery on Central Avenue.  When the phone rang I stepped outside to take the call.

I was told he might make the next 24 hours, but it was doubtful.  My big brother was going to die and leave me here, all alone.

My heart thumped with pain and I tried to breath evenly. I didn’t want to break down and wail in front of the kids.  It was really hot that day, almost a hundred degrees but I shivered in the sunshine and I prayed.

“Lord, please help me with this, please help me find some peace and strength to get through this. I don’t have much left. Just help me find some peace, Lord, because I don’t understand this.”

Peace and strength, that’s all I wanted. After I prayed I felt a little better. I took three giant breaths and willed myself not to cry then I walked back into the gallery to find the kids.

Lexie was looking at an abstract painting of a horse, or maybe it was a volcano. I took her hand, it was warm and dry and felt nice. For a moment I stared at the painting with her. “Where’s Sandor?”

“He went out back to play with Daniel and Ben.”

I nodded and decided I wouldn’t tell them about Granger until we got home.

I willed myself not to start crying as I walked to the galleries’ back door. Sandor and two other little boys were squating next to a pot- hole filled with black water.

“Come on Boy Boy,” I yelled. He popped up like a jack-in-the-box and ran to me.

“Look what I found, Mom.” He stuck his grubby hand in his pocket and waited for me to stretch out my hand. Then he placed a smooth river stone on my palm. “Look at it!” he said excitedly.

I unwrapped my fingers and stared at the grey rock. The word PEACE was etched into the surface. I looked at Sandor, who was grinning.”Where did you get this?”

He was bouncing just a little. “I found it in the puddle over there,” he said and pointed to the pot hole. “You can have it,” he said cheerfully than ran off to find Lexie.

Granger did die the next day. I kept that rock in my pocket for the next two weeks.  Now it stays in the cup holder in my car.  I rub when I need to and sometimes, when other people need a little Peace, I share my rock.

I’m pretty sure God and Granger would want me to pass the peace.

**You can comment or write to me at hampoland@gmail.com or find me on facebook. I always need more friends.