Chose Freedom or Stay and Meet Tía’s Needs, be Paula Rose Michelson

Authors Comment

I believe we define ourselves by what we do and say. When our actions match our words we are congruent, and therefore usually happy. If each of us were able to peer into our heart I believe we would discover that dissatisfaction or sorrow stemmed from our disavowing what we held most dear. We aren’t happy or happiest when we allow something or someone to take center stage in our life. For we don’t know how to be other centered until we meet and fall in love with the lover of our soul! But that’s a discussion best saved for another day.

The Text

                While the doctor showed himself out, Naomi hurried to Tía’s room, opened the door, and entered. “Tía, do not worry. I am here.”
                “Good,” the old woman whispered. She motioned for Naomi to come close. “Did the doctor talk to you?”
                “Yes.” Naomi fluffed the old woman’s pillows.
                “So you know, the doctor says I need a companion to help me,” she rasped, her eyes appealing to the young woman for her assistance. “I am getting along in years and this fall has weakened me. I want you to stay with me.” She took a deep breath and continued, “Years ago you told me how you cared for the blind, old grandmother. I know you have a caring heart and will make it worth your while to stay and tend me. Since you have a desire to educate yourself, I will arrange for you to go to school so you can become an American citizen. If you decide to stay, I will leave you my savings, this house, and my business. I will make sure that you will have a good life and can make a living. I am giving you this opportunity because though your heart has not always been at peace with what we negotiated, you held to your commitment. I know that if you commit to my care, you will stay and complete your obligation. Many will commit to staying, but few will follow through on their word. I know that you will. Think what this will mean to you in the future. After all, what are a few more years if, after I am gone, you can have a life of ease that you would never have access to without this inheritance?” Vida closed her eyes and it seemed to Naomi that she had fallen asleep. She was about to leave when the old woman roused herself and muttered, “Think about this offer and let me know what you decide.”
                Naomi left the room, feeling as if she were in a stupor. Aware that she needed to think about the ramifications of accepting the offer, she sought solace, walked through the kitchen, and sat by the fountain. Over her years of isolation the solitude of this place, which reminded her of her family in Spain, had given her a great deal of joy. She ended each day either sitting by, or, in harsh weather, looking at the fountain, for it was the one place where she could have a few minutes or, on rare occasions, an hour to herself. This time, she did not sit for an hour or two. Instead, the night passed and the sky filled with the soft rays of morning. Still she did not move. Even the cheerful birdsong, which greeted her every morning when she awoke, went unnoticed. My dream is almost within my reach, she thought. In the next breath she wondered, Can I put my plans aside again or will I have to give up my dream? Her conflicting thoughts were impossible to sort out. Then she remembered all her tía had done for her and admitted, I owe my tía everything. How can I say no to her? She knew she could not leave and hesitantly, halfheartedly, agreed to stay.
                Even as she did, she tried to find another solution. It was through her process of letting go of childhood dreams that she allowed her feelings of longing and personal need to wash over her. Overwhelmed, she cried out and put her hands over her eyes, aware that the very thought of choosing to stay was more than she could bear. Spent, she lowered her head and sought God. She prayed and sat still while she waited for tears to come. No tears fell. None came. Since the children in Spain had ridiculed her and her family, she had been unable to cry for herself. Even when she had worried about her looks being unacceptable, she had not cried. Now she felt there were no more tears left. For she had cried them all long ago. She shivered and reached for the old woman’s lap cover to throw over her shoulders. As she pulled it tight, she heard a thud.
                Gripped by fear, she bolted from her chair and ran into the house. It was still somewhat dark inside, but she knew her way and was in front of Tía’s door in an instant. She entered and flipped on the light. Tía lay prostrate on the floor next to her bed. Naomi hurried to her side and rolled her over. She saw the look of humiliation in the old woman’s eyes. It was a telling moment for both of them. While Naomi struggled to get her tía back into bed, she realized, I could no more leave her than I could leave myself. She pulled the covers around her benefactor. “Yesterday I stayed with you because of our agreement. Today I stay because you asked.”
                “Call my lawyer … and have him come over,” Tía croaked. “Documents must be drawn up.”
                Naomi nodded and closed the door. She walked to the old woman’s study, felt the weight of responsibility heavy on her shoulders, and silently prayed, Adonai, help me. If you are listening, help me to do what I must.


Authors Observation - I believe that each of us, like Naomi, have called out for divine intervention. For I have spoken with many who struggled and eventfully decided it best to believe that there is no God because their prayer was unanswered.

Sometime what we thought was important changes as we mature. But for those forced to stay or become something other than they were intended to become that process may not occur. If it does at some future date occur the outcome might be very different than the one originally expected.

During these times one might ask, “What can I count on?” Isaiah 57:10 says, “You wearied yourself by such going about, but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.

I wish Naomi would have known the comfort found in Isaiah 40:31 for it says, “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” But Naomi had no Bible because all of them and every religious book belonging to or dealing with anything Jewish were burnt during the Inquisition. When she finally obtained a Bible she only reads what she knows, thus staying trapped by her lack of understanding of how much God loved and cared for her.

Today you have access to Gods Word which reflects his love and desire to care for and comfort you. Therefore even if you, like Naomi, chose to stay when all you wanted to do was go, you are never alone unless you chose to be.

Consider the choices and ramification, and then reflect.


Until we meet again may you know Gods Shalom for the peace that transcends our understanding is there for all who love the Lord and are called His! 

A Change in Plans, by Paula Rose Michelson

Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”

Naomi believed that her time had come, and that the reason she had left home and hearth fifteen years before would be fulfilled. Yet, just as she prepares to leave she must make…

                                    A Change in Plans

                A painful wailing interrupted Naomi’s sleep. She assured herself it was only a dream, turned over, and pulled the covers close. A moment later, she heard someone calling. She was on her feet. It was not a dream but her tía sobbing. “Help, call the doctor!”
                “I am coming.” Naomi threw her bedroom door open and ran down the hall. When she reached Tía’s room, she paused for a split second to pray and collect her thoughts before she turned the knob. She opened the door and froze. Her benefactor lay crumpled at the side of her bed.
                Naomi rushed to her side. “Do not try to move me. Call the doctor!”
                Knowing there was not a second to lose, Naomi ran to Tía’s office and dialed doctor’s number. When he answered, she exclaimed, “Tía has fallen! Come at once!”
                Doctor Apayo arrived in what seemed like minutes. He examined Tía and spoke with her privately. When he came out of the room, he told Naomi, “I usually discuss my patient’s situation with a relative and no one else.” His gaze settled on her. “But you are as close to her as a daughter would be if she had one. She will not recover. She suffers from severe malnutrition, which caused her legs to bow as a child. That, coupled with the deleterious effect of her rheumatoid arthritis, makes it impossible for her bones to hold her weight anymore. At one point, an operation might have helped, but she refused to have one, saying her niñas needed her. These issues and her intermittent wheezing in the cold weather necessitate complete bed rest. Though, as I said before, she will not recover.”
                Naomi noticed his look of concern and wondered at the timing of the unfortunate fall. “What does she need?”
                “She needs someone to live with her, someone to take care of her.” The doctor’s gaze intensified, leaving Naomi no doubt as to his thoughts.
                “But, Doctor, I am to leave here shortly.”
                “I heard that. However, can you not consider staying for her sake?
                She helped you when you needed help. Can you not be generous and do the same for her?”
                Naomi wanted to yell “no.” Yet, as much as she longed to go, she knew her heart might cause her to stay. “Have you told her what you told me?” she asked in hushed tones as Tía called for her.
                “Of course,” the doctor said as they walked toward the door. “Now hurry. She calls because she needs you.”

Perhaps as Naomi rushed to Tía’s bedroom to tend her, she remembered that in Ezekiel 18:4 God said, Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die,” and had a change of heart. Or maybe she felt guilty for even thinking of leaving the old woman at such a time.

Perhaps you have been challenged as Naomi was. For giving up what you have striven for, even for a short time, when confronted with someone else’s dire need may feel like you must betray yourself. But remember in Jeremiah 29:11, God said, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

My prayer for Naomi and you is that you learn to wait upon the Lord and when he calls you that your highest joy will be to answer his call. Until we meet again I wish you shalom…peace. Not peace as the world sees it, but the abiding peace that refreshes

Almost Free, by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors Observation

Everyone has a calling that only their heart hears. For some it is to forge into the unknown. Others know early on that hearth and home is their portion. Still some, like Naomi, never hear what their heart is conveying because altruistic to the core of their being, without knowing it, they seek a higher call. Once they have determined what they are willing to sacrifice all for, like the Salmon that swims upstream to spawn, they never give their lot a second thought as long as they can accomplish the illusive goal that their heart is fixated upon.


What is your hearts desire?

How will you accomplish your goal?

Who or what might stand in your way?

What would happen if_______________?

The Text

                When their session ended, Naomi headed to the kitchen to wash the morning dishes. I never knew she could be so kind. She glanced at the clock and realized that her tía had spent an inordinate amount of time explaining the Bill of Rights.
                “But, Tía,” Naomi remembered asking, “why do I need to know such things?”
                “It is one of the foundational documents of this country. It is important that you know what you have so you do what is necessary to keep this country the free place it was intended to be.” Naomi thought about how she had come to this place and silently admitted, Freedom is hard won and easily lost.
                The outside world beckoned as it always had. Instead of pretending that she did not notice, this time Naomi allowed her desire for freedom to engulf her. Her feelings of claustrophobia surfaced and her situation seemed to hem her in on all sides. She struggled to fulfill her obligation—for fulfill it she would because it was her desire to leave knowing that she had done all she had promised. Tía kept her word and taught Naomi a little about the world outside. Yet, it did not occur to the young woman that her eminent departure was on Tía’s mind until one evening when she stayed out late, entered the casa and said, “Naomi, I have something for you. Come and see.” She pointed to a baby-blue valise.
                Naomi hurried toward her. 
                She smiled. “I have a new suitcase for you!”
                “But, Tía, I have a suitcase.”
                “That is old and worn. You are to begin a new life in a new country. I intend to send you off with a new suitcase. I want you to put it in your room. You can look at it and plan. Plans are what take us from what is to what is yet to be. Without a plan, nothing happens. Always remember that.”
                “Gracias.” Naomi took Tía’s gift and turned toward her room.
                “I … I … wish you would … stay with me.” Tía’s voice was so unfamiliar in its hesitancy that it did not sound like the old woman at all. Naomi stopped but did not answer, nor did she act on her urge to run to her tía and throw her arms around her. “But … I know you must … go.”
                Naomi turned and looked at the old woman. “Why did you treat me differently than the others?”
                “Because … you are different.”
                Naomi nodded. “Tía, being here has been the greatest blessing and yet the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I thank you for all you have done for me and for what you taught me. But I must go.”
                “I thought so.” The old woman fought to regain her composure, and forced a smiled, though it was tremulous at best. “Of course you must go … after all … you have plans. Soon you must be on your way.”
                “Thank you for understanding.” She turned toward her room and counseled herself, This is not the time for false hopes—for my family’s sake, I must forge ahead. She entered her room, put the suitcase down, pulled out a sheet of stationary from her side table, and sat on her bed. The blank page looked intimidating. After all this time, she was surprised to find herself wondering how to begin her letter. She wanted to let her tío know that she would come to him soon. Yet she fell asleep looking at the piece of paper. Her subconscious mind seemed to dictate,
                Dear Tío,
                My time of servitude and hiding is ending. I look forward to meeting you in the light of day and enjoying the freedom of this country where we do not need to fear being who we are.
                Your sobrina,

                No, she told herself, use English. Sign it, your niece, Naomi!

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

To order your copy or Kindle of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing visit

It Would Have Been Enough! by Paula Rose Michelson

Although Naomi’s dream is about to come true, it is important to remember that any change is stressful.

~~~~~Reflective Questions

Have you been in a situation that caused you to think your dream could never be realized?

What would you do if you knew your dream was going to come true before you were ready?

Have you had a dream come true before you where ready? What happened? What did you do?

The Text~~~~~

                Naomi set Tía’s breakfast tray down on her bed. Tía picked up her newspaper and noticed its rumpled pages. “I see you are becoming interested in other things.”
                The young woman realized her tía knew she had read the paper before putting it on her tray and blushed. “I will be leaving soon. I have to learn something about this land if I am to make my way in it.”
                “I suppose.” Tía waved her away. As an afterthought, she added, “In my office are books that will assist you. Read them if you like.”
                “Yes, Tía.” Naomi exited the room, closed her sponsor’s door, smiled, and whispered to herself, “She will keep her word to me.”
                The next morning when Naomi brought in her breakfast tray, Tía smiled at her. “All the other girls I brought here were content with whatever they learned with in the casa. However, since you wish to know more, I will give you some additional information about this land and how to manage your way in it.”
                Setting the tray on the bed, Naomi responded to what she assumed was Tía’s wordless invitation and sat down on her bedroom chair. Aware that she had done the unthinkable, she stood immediately.
                Tía observed her reaction and chuckled. “You have done all I asked of you and done it well. However, to become a student you will need to sit and listen. You may want to write things down so you will have your notes to refer to later on.”
                “Good.” Naomi grinned.
                “Why so excited?”
                “Because I thought I would leave here as I came.”
                The old woman rose from her bed and motioned for Naomi to follow. She entered her office and sat at her desk. “None of you believes me when I say I will follow through with what I promised.”
                Naomi sat down across from her. “Tía, I came to you with nothing. You sheltered me. You gave me a way to remain in this country. If that was all you did for me, it would have been enough.”
                “Yes … well …” Tía fought back tears. She opened her desk drawer and picked up a document. “Now we begin.”

~~~~~Authors' Comment

During the Passover Sedar, Jews sing “Dayenu!” The translation, “It would have been enough,” holds special meaning for each person because during this, the greatest of all Jewish celebrations, each Jew is exhorted to think of themselves as if they, not their ancestors, had been lead from slavery to Pharaoh by the mighty hand of God.

~~~~~Authors’ Observation

When we approach a situation or an individual as if we are owed something we miss the blessing. Furthermore, we might come across as headstrong, uncaring, or worse. Since you may not be a Jew or find yourself held captive as Naomi was, dayenu takes on a different aspect reminding you that if you chose to use this simple word with a powerful message it can remind you that enslavement to something is a choice that can be undone.

Since some of you might think I’m misguided or unaware, below I have posted the scripture I base my claim upon.

Isaiah 52:3 For this is what the Lord says: “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.”

Passover and Dayenu are all about redemption. Not the redemption found in the world, but the redemption the Lord offers. So to quote a section from Isaiah 52 “…Free yourself from the chains on your neck…” 

Today dear reader, I wish both the Lords shalom (peace which transcends all understanding), and his dayenu (which allows you to chose another path).

Until next time, may you feel free to chose your blessing,
And chose your life!