Elephants of the Pacific Northwest

Part 1

As we descended the trail, I sighted the hind end of an elephant, a cow, off to our left, not far away. She was feeding, as elephants usually are. We stopped to observe her, and snapped a couple photos. We started to head off down the trail, but then we realized that two other cows had joined her. Of course, they all were ladies in this small herd of Asian elephants. No bull, or bachelor, was nearby. When these females started to move away, so did we.

Second female in upper meadow

However, we rejoined them after turning north at the pond, and entering the meadow. These three ladies have been named:  Chendra, Rose-Tu and Sung-Surin, also known as “Shine.”  I wanted to know, who is considered to be the matriarch in this tiny herd?  In a brilliant blue, clear sky, the sun shone with a gorgeous, full, mellow light, perfect for photography. On this last day of autumn, the temperature also was just right. In the meadow, we first encountered Rose-Tu, likewise eating. We were able to get quite close to her. The gland at her temple (the side of her head) was secreting its fluid. And she is pregnant, due around the beginning of next year, 2025. A previous child of hers, a boy named Samudra, was born in 2008. His father is Tusko.


One time, as a youngster, Samudra casually walked over to Tusko’s food, and began to eat. Towering over him, his father cocked his head and glanced down with one eye. He swung his trunk to one side, then swiftly swung it back again, thereby knocking little Samudra away from his food. Samudra tumbled across the ground, and eventually regained his composure in an upright position. His mother, Rose-Tu, was observing this ‘training moment,’ and she actually appeared to have a smile on her face. Samudra undoubtedly learned the lesson:  not to mess with Dad’s food again.  As a child, he also enjoyed running up to a wet, slick floor, and then sliding across it. Although still an official member of this small herd, Samudra is now a very big boy, a teenager, nearly 16 years old. So he is almost ready to leave the herd, and join the ranks of the bachelors. (In the meantime, Samudra is kept apart from the females.)

Chendra (left) and Rose-Tu in background
Chendra up close

In the meadow, Sung-Surin, or Shine, joins Rose-Tu, and they feed together, standing side by side. I realize that Chendra remained behind, in the distant section of the meadow where we’d first observed her. Many years ago, Chendra’s arrival was heralded with much excitement and enthusiasm. She came from Sabah, Malaysia, where she was born in 1993. She is a Borneo pygmy elephant, which is a subspecies of Asian elephants.  For this reason, Chendra is much smaller than the other two, weighing approximately 4,545 pounds. And she also has tusks, which appear as short, dull stubs because her caretakers keep them filed to a safe length. I walk to a viewpoint and have my picture taken with her in the background. Soon she begins walking in our direction.  I record some video as she saunters along the trail, and before long she is very close to us. With her trunk, she begins to root in the dirt and grass beside the trail.  This permits me to take some up-close photos of her. I wonder what she is finding as a result of this effort. Occasionally, she tosses some of the dirt onto her back.

Her trunk curled up to her mouth

One notable discovery we made that day was the title of an important book by Katy Payne:  Silent Thunder: In the presence of elephants.

To be continued . . .

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“Waiting” and “11:11” experiences from readers — like you (Part 1)

I wanted to share this with you. We are on vacation this week. We delayed our departure one day because I came home from Wisconsin sick. We made it to Wallowa Lake at 2:30 today and when we went to start our Suburban to drive from the lodge down to the lake it was suddenly running rough and the transmission is now shifting very rough. This may change the rest of our travel plans. 11:11 comes to mind.” (smiley face)

I received that text message from Eric in Oregon a couple of days ago. This is how I replied:

“Thank you SO much for sharing your adventure with me in real time! I guess you are referring to page 95 of my book where we were having mechanical problems with our Subaru, and I glanced 11:11. Yes, perfect alignment amid all that is happening right now, and so I am praying for the perfect vacation for your family.” (8/13/23)

The section of my book to which I referred in my response is from Maxim 4, “I and my life are in Perfect Alignment at this moment.” Below I’ve reprinted the paragraph for you:

I may not feel it, when I see 11:11 on the clock. For example, I recently glimpsed 11:11 PM on a Friday night. On that night, my wife and I were immersed in mechanical problems with our Subaru—specifically, the “hill holder” feature with manual transmission. It got dark while we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive. And it was raining. So when I spontaneously saw 11:11, I said to myself: “At this moment, even amid all that’s happening right now, I and my life are in perfect alignment.”

The preceding paragraph in my book — Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims — says this:

What do these parallel lines represent? Sometimes I see them as parallel roadways or corridors. Sometimes I see them as open channels, or conduits. No matter how I visualize them, these parallel lines represent Perfect Alignment. Those parallel lines, 11:11, are perfectly aligned. And so whenever I spontaneously glance 11:11 on a digital clock, I can claim the promise that “At this moment, my life is in perfect alignment.”

I also received a very nice card with a note in the mail from Lynn in Colorado. This is what she wrote:

I have been reading your books and have enjoyed both of them. Thank you for sending them to me. I admire anyone who has writing skills like you do. It is so true about waiting on the Lord and it is all in His timing. I have prayed for my three nephews’ salvation and my sister and brother-in-law’s also for years, and recently my nephew, much to our joy (my 25-year-old nephew) accepted Christ into his life. God put into his life a very nice young girl whom he is going to marry who is a Christian.

Here’s how I responded to her:

I deeply appreciate the testimonial you shared about your nephew’s journey of accepting Christ after years of prayer and patient waiting. It serves as a powerful reminder of the profound impact waiting can have in our lives.

On a personal note, I’m currently in a period of recovery from the aftermath of shingles. It involves repairing nerve damage, which is a gradual process. In a way, this period can be seen as a season of waiting on God’s healing. During this time, I find solace and inspiration in meditating on Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Similarly, my wife is also in a season of waiting. She recently experienced a closed door and the death of a vision she had cherished, after applying for a position with a faith-based nonprofit organization that holds great meaning for her. Despite this setback, she remains resilient and continues to volunteer her time there, trusting in God’s perfect timing and plan.

Lee Cuesta

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Most complete explanation of 11:11

Note from Lee Cuesta:  Because today is 11-11, it is appropriate and timely that I post this excerpt from my book, Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims. It is a thorough exploration of the “11:11” phenomenon. The following excerpt is from Maxim 4, which is “I and my life are in Perfect Alignment at this moment.”  Furthermore, today is 11-11-22, and of course, 22 = 11+11. Quite significant.

My oldest son, whose career puts him in front of a computer screen for most of his workday, takes screen shots every time he spontaneously glances 11:11 in the lower, right-hand corner.  Likewise, I sometimes make a note of these moments.  For instance, on February 7 last year, I glanced at my digital watch, and it was 11:11:11.  How awesome!  This year, I saw 11:11 AM on 11-1 (November 1).  Recently, I spontaneously observed 11:11 on our digital kitchen timer while counting down, backwards!  Of course, I catch sight of 11:11 on digital clocks many more times than I can remember.  Perhaps you do, too.

On May 6 of this year, my daughter sent me a text, in response to one I sent her.  She was living in New York City at the time, and I am on the West Coast.  This is what her text said:  “Ok!  You texted right on 11:11. Impressive :)”  Then I replied:  “Guess what?  I noticed that, too!  Although it was 8:11 here, but I realized it would be in NY.  I’m glad!  Very significant :)”  So even with the time zone difference between Eastern Time and Pacific Time, 11:11 appears spontaneously.

Whenever my wife unexpectedly sees 11:11, she announces “once: once,” because “once” is the Spanish word for “eleven.”  By the way, that’s the title of my novel:  “Once: Once.”

When my wife closed her account with a local credit union, she received a check for the remaining balance.  I’m sure you could guess the amount:  $11.11.

What do these parallel lines represent?  Sometimes I see them as parallel roadways or corridors.  Sometimes I see them as open channels, or conduits.  No matter how I visualize them, these parallel lines represent Perfect Alignment.  Those parallel lines, 11:11, are perfectly aligned.  And so whenever I spontaneously glance 11:11 on a digital clock, I can claim the promise that “At this moment, my life is in perfect alignment.”

I may not feel it, when I see 11:11 on the clock.  For example, I recently glimpsed 11:11 PM on a Friday night.  On that night, my wife and I were immersed in mechanical problems with our Subaru—specifically, the “hill holder” feature with manual transmission.  It got dark while we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive.  And it was raining.  So when I spontaneously saw 11:11, I said to myself: “At this moment, even amid all that’s happening right now, I and my life are in perfect alignment.”

How often do you unexpectedly see 11:11 on a digital clock?[1]  One time when I glanced 11:11 on the clock on our coffee maker, I realized that it wasn’t even set to the correct time! 

My oldest granddaughter, like my oldest son, also takes screen shots whenever she sees it, usually on her phone.  Recently she stayed with us for a few days, and as soon as she arrived, the first thing she did was show me her vast collection of “11:11” screen shots!  She calls 11:11 her “angel number,” and this is valid because—as we saw in Maxim 2—angels are messengers.  Prompting me, or nudging me, to look quickly at the clock in that precise moment is one way of letting me know that I’m in tune with the divine frequency, which is an affirmation—and confirmation—that I am in Perfect Alignment.[2]

So strong is her conviction that my oldest granddaughter had a small 11:11 tattooed between her wrist and the base of her thumb, nearly always visible, as a constant reminder.  She wrote to me: “Ultimately it reminds me of you and it’s a way to stay connected with/to you.  In addition to that, it tells me that things are going the way they should, and it also represents a form of luck.”  She requested that I create the original 11:11 for her tattoo in my own handwriting, which I did.  What’s more, the number on her lacrosse jersey is 11.  So when you consider front and back, it is “11-11”!

As you can see, this conviction has been firmly adopted by our family.

Seeing 11:11 spontaneously means I am in Perfect Alignment at that moment.  No matter how it feels, I am in the right place at that moment!  So seeing 11:11 is both affirmation AND confirmation of that spiritual reality. 

Allow me to dispel a myth.  Seeing 11:11 does not mean you should make a wish.  Making a wish is the antithesis, the diametric opposite, of waiting on God.  When I’m waiting on God, I am claiming a promise, not making a wish.  So “11:11” is NOT a time to make a wish.  Rather, it is the moment for affirmation and acknowledgement of the alignment and blessing already in my life, and therefore gratitude.  It is the moment to express thanksgiving.  It validates that I’m on the correct frequency because the cosmic, universal, divine, spiritual forces have prompted me to glance at the clock in that precise moment.

The importance of 11:11 is so significant that it’s upheld by our nation—and the western world after World War I.  It is Veterans Day in the USA, Remembrance Day in Canada—November 11, or 11-11—which began as Armistice Day.  This is one of the few Federal holidays that never shifts to a Monday.  Armistice Day on November 11 marked the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, at 5:45 AM, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

In fact, I once happened to be in a major home improvement store at 11:11 in the morning on November 11 when this announcement came over the loudspeaker:  “Hello, I’m an associate and veteran here at The Home Depot.  On this Veterans Day, please pause with me for a moment of silence to recognize and reflect on the service and sacrifice of all veterans, past and present.  (Here there were 20 seconds of silence.)  Thank you.  And to all our veterans and their families, thank you for your service.”

My son, the same one who takes screen shots, sent me a link to a song by Andrew Bird, an internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, whistler and songwriter who picked up his first violin at the age of four and spent his formative years soaking up classical repertoire completely by ear.  The name of the song is “11:11,” which Bird wrote and performed.  I have read and listened to the lyrics of this song many times.  Even though I can see no connection to its title, the fact that Bird called it “11:11” reveals the social significance and recognition of this concept.

[This post was an excerpt from my book, Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims. The paperback and hardcover editions of Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims are both available to buy on Amazon.  For the complete book, order here:



Here also are the Identifiers for each edition: ISBN 9798845851901 (hardcover); ISBN 9798433571730 (paperback).]

Copyright © 2022 by Lee Cuesta.

[1] You can send me your response via the email address in the Contact Information at the end of this book. 

[2] I will discuss frequencies in the next Maxim.

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Seven Viking Days: Second Edition far surpasses the first

(Here’s a terrific idea for you from Lee Cuesta:  As a Baby Boomer, you likely have grandchildren who would adore this new Second Edition of Seven Viking Days!  I think you’ll love it, too!  The grandkids will love having you read it to them, as do mine.  Plus you can do the Activity Pages with them that are a part of the Deluxe Edition.)

Today is October 24.  On this date seven years ago, in 2015, the first edition of the popular book, Seven Viking Days, was published. It is illustrated by artist Mia Hocking, and written by author Lee Cuesta.  Publishers Weekly proclaimed: “Hocking succeeds in creating a dreamy, multilayered backdrop for the sun’s stories … while Cuesta gives readers a taste of Germanic, Norse, and Roman legend.” Midwest Book Review stated, “Vibrant details about Viking lives and history … lovely illustrations create a collage of images and backgrounds. …The result is a gorgeous presentation of Viking vignettes that will interest adults as well as children.”

October 24, 2015: Launch Event for the first edition of Seven Viking Days.

A fun and well-attended Launch Party was held at an open market in Oregon (in front of the bookstore that sponsored the event) on the book’s publication date, October 24, 2015. In Viking attire, Lee Cuesta and Mia Hocking signed books; Hocking’s original artwork was displayed; special cookies representing the days of the week were served; and a drawing was held for memorable souvenirs.  Later, the book and the authors were featured at an Authors Fair in Beaverton, Oregon.

Now, precisely seven years later, the Second Edition of Seven Viking Days has been published.  It is a very special anniversary because the alignment of sevens is significant. Today, the Second Edition celebrates the seventh anniversary of the original publication of Seven Viking Days.

The email announcement from Kindle Direct Publishing that both hardcover and paperback are available to buy on Amazon is dated October 20, 2022. The hardcover is the Deluxe Edition, which includes a bonus section with Activity Pages for ages 3 to 8. Both versions of this Second Edition now present the quality of Hocking’s unique artwork in a far superior format, widely surpassing the quality of the first edition; in other words, the content has been remastered. Her vibrant, captivating illustrations make Seven Viking Days a hit not only with children and grandchildren, but for their parents and grandparents as well. Professional photographs showcase Hocking’s original 3-D, relief artwork crafted from mixed, recycled media, creating a collage of images and backgrounds.

Hocking teamed up with Lee Cuesta, who thoroughly researched ancient Norse and Scandinavian myths and legends to uncover the authentic origins of our days’ names. So Viking tales of Woden, Fenrir, Frigg, Saturn, Thor and his hammer, Mjolnir, and more fill this book. From these tales, Vikings named the seven days of our week. Cuesta weaves these stories in the context of Viking lifestyle, history and society. The result is a gorgeous presentation of Viking vignettes in an engaging, spirited conversation between Sun and the Viking boy, Canute, which reinforces the correct sequence of the days with repetition and symbolic icons, enabling children to learn the names of the days easily and accurately.

The respective ISBNs for Seven Viking Days, Second Edition are as follows:

ISBN: 9798819658871, Paperback; full-color; 66 pages; $14.99.

ISBN: 9798356237157, Hardcover, Deluxe Edition; full-color; 80 pages; $20.

Hardcover, Deluxe Edition; full-color; 80 pages
Paperback, Second Edition; full-color; 66 pages

The paperback is the authentic Second Edition, rendering the contents of the first edition in a superior fashion. Now the hardcover, 80 pages in length, is the Deluxe Edition with a bonus section that contains Activity Pages for ages 3 to 8. These Activity Pages include connect the dots, a maze, Which 2 Are The Same? (featuring Vikings and longships), drawing pages, and much more. The first edition of Seven Viking Days is no longer in print.

A link to Lee Cuesta’s Author Page is provided here, which provides direct links to the amazon pages for both books.  In addition, a link to the official website for Seven Viking Days is located here, vikingdaysbook.com, which includes printable copies of the activity pages.  With the permission of their parents (or other adult caretaker), children may send photos of their completed activity pages to be posted on the official Seven Viking Days website. To submit photos of the child’s work, send them to the email address listed in the contact info on any of Lee Cuesta’s websites.

A resourceful professional artist, Mia Hocking’s passion is mixed media (recycled) visual art. This book expresses her abstract style with a specific vision and purpose. The Sequoia Gallery in Oregon has exhibited her work, which represents core life philosophies of environmental consciousness and personal journeys. One side of Lee Cuesta’s family came from Denmark, sometimes called the “Heartland of Viking Society.” So this book reveals his roots. Cuesta is an author and professional journalist. He gained extensive cross-cultural experience while working with a nonprofit organization. An internationally recognized public speaker and writer, he’s been published online and in periodicals such as World Pulse, Indian Life, Northwest, InSite, Eternity, Prisma, El Faro and Apuntes Pastorales. Cuesta also has published two other books.

He now resides in a forested area of the USA’s Pacific Northwest where he enjoys bicycling and kayaking with his wife, as well as hanging out with their grandchildren. In fact, he dedicated this second edition of Seven Viking Days to their seven grandchildren  Their sixth grandchild, a boy, shares his middle name with his grandfather, Lee, and he was born just ten days after the publication of the first edition in 2015.  Cuesta had to miss a reception for Seven Viking Days at the Sequoia Gallery due to the birth of his grandson because they occurred on the same day!

A final note:

If you are following this blog, you already know that Lee Cuesta’s newest spiritual, self-help book, Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, was also published recently. This is a preponderance of sevens.

In Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, Lee Cuesta draws upon 40 years of experience to unpack the deepest, fullest meaning of waiting on and for God, along with why and how. With lively and upbeat guidance enabling the reader to implement these principles, he shows that waiting is a positive spiritual practice that delivers success while reducing stress. The book is rich with Cuesta’s autobiographical adventures and lessons as he implemented waiting on God, and for God, in his own life. These truths are universal; so followers of all faiths and spiritual traditions likewise will benefit from Cuesta’s insights. He relates the experiences of more recent historical waiters, as well, such as William Carey and Nelson Mandela. A maxim is generally any simple and memorable guide for living. Immanuel Kant said that a maxim is a principle of action that one gives to oneself, and Lee Cuesta’s in-depth and compelling explanation of these 7 Maxims reveals the lifestyle of successful spiritual waiters.

The respective ISBNs for Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims are as follows:

Hardcover ISBN: 9798845851901

Paperback ISBN: 9798433571730

Copyright © 2022 by Lee Cuesta.

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Press release you can use to announce Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims

My new book, Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, was published last month, both hardcover and paperback, and already the publicity is popping! It all started with a press release, which I invite you to reprint, or use as a basis for a more in-depth article, and distribute as widely as possible! First, I want to share the link to the press release that was published at PR log on September 7.  It is located here. Again, you are welcome and invited to reprint this release in your own publication or on your website, as well as to contact me for further information.

Next, the press release was picked up by The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle, and they printed this abbreviated version on September 11 –

In addition, The Daily Herald posted this identical article on their website, with live links to my websites.

Then I received a very thoughtful and considerate email from Michelle Roedell, the Editor of Northwest Prime Time in Seattle. Here is what she said:


I recently received an article about a new book by Lee Cuesta.

First of all, congratulations on the new book! Such an accomplishment.

I wanted to let you know right away that Northwest Prime Time doesn’t cover anything related to religion, so this is not a good fit for us.

However, I wish you all the best.

Warm regards,

Michelle Roedell, Editor
Northwest Prime Time

So even though the publicity for Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims was not a good fit for her publication, she took the time to congratulate me, and wish me all the best!

I also received positive comments from a person in a highly placed position in the marketing division at David C. Cook, a major publisher in Colorado Springs, after he read my new book. He wrote this:

“Very nice way of bringing in the correct part of waiting in this chapter. It needs to be said, which Cuesta does, that waiting is NOT sitting on the couch, waiting for God’s call. Rather, it’s that convergence of being diligent in the meantime as God sets up His future purposes for us.  Cuesta brought the thought home of waiting being a discipline, an art and a needed skill to be acquired. His summary of fear of success and action steps is perfect. I like the bullet points Cuesta gave in the final pages, and it helped to coherently bring the maxim together.”

Another reviewer posted this:

“We all want more peace in our lives as well as the knowledge that our lives are in alignment with what we are meant to be doing. Lee Cuesta’s Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims is a must read for anyone searching for lifelong fulfillment. Waiting is a fundamental part of the human experience yet for such a seemingly simple concept, it tends to be one of the more difficult aspects of life for us to implement. Cuesta masterfully unpacks these seven maxims and shows how we can live a successful life by waiting on God.”

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Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims is now LIVE!

I’m excited to post this announcement!  The paperback and hardcover editions of my book, Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, are now published and available to buy at Amazon!!

Stan Guthrie, former Managing Editor and Columnist for Christianity Today, provided this endorsement for me, and so this is now included on the front cover: Lee Cuesta is “obviously gifted, hard-working, and passionate about communicating through the written word.” 

You can see that my book’s subtitle is “Transformative guidelines that reveal the positive perspective” … of waiting on God, or waiting for the Lord.  I will give you the direct link in a second, but first I have two requests.

First, when you visit the page, I would deeply appreciate it if you purchase one of them!  This will greatly assist my on-page conversion, which one tutorial explains this way:

“Amazon doesn’t just care about how many sales you’re getting but also how many sales you’re getting in proportion to the number of visits your book page is getting. This ratio is your sales conversion. If a large portion of the users who visit your page end up buying your book, then your conversion is good — and the Amazon algorithms look favorably on this.”

So in this way, you are greatly helping my marketing effort, because each sale boosts the book’s ranking higher in the search results, especially during this launch phase.  You will see that the prices are very reasonable and affordable.  Plus you obtain an awesome book!  It’s a win-win!

To discover more about my new book, you can flip back to my previous post (April, 2022), where I included the book description that appears on its Amazon page.  Of course, when you actually go to the Amazon page, you also can utilize the “Look Inside” feature.  For instance, here is my book’s Table of Contents:

Maxim 1
If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done.
Page 1

Maxim 2
I must make sure I take the order correctly.
Page 23

Maxim 3
The Four P’s are these:
 Persuaded, Power, Perform, Promised.
Page 49

Maxim 4
I and my life are in Perfect Alignment at this moment.
Page 75

Maxim 5
I must recall how I walk across the boards of a pallet
 while carrying a bulky crate.
Page 109

Maxim 6
I must reclaim and implement in my life
this ancient discipline.
Page 153

Maxim 7
I must not fear power, success or leadership.
Page 183

Page 225

Contact Information
Page 233

Page 239

Maxim 7 includes a section about the fear of success.

If you want me to sign it, then have it SHIPPED to me from Amazon; send me an email to let me know you are doing this, and provide me your mailing address.  In the email you can mention if there’s anything special you’d like me to write when I sign it; otherwise I will compose it.  And then I will ship it to you after I autograph it, probably the next day.

Also your purchase enables you to act on my second request, which is this: please post a positive review!!  Right there on the Amazon page, and you will be a Verified Purchaser.  As one blogger wrote:

“Good reviews prove that your book is worth reading and instill trust in your customers. When was the last time you bought a product with no reviews?”

Now that I’ve expressed my two requests, here are the links –



Here also are the Identifiers (just in case you need to enter it in the search bar)––

ISBN 9798845851901 (hardcover)
ISBN 9798433571730 (paperback)

I also created a new Author Page at Amazon. You can view it by clicking on the link here, and from there you can go to the book page.

As soon as the eBook is available, I will post that link as well.

Of course, (I don’t need to mention this) you are welcome to purchase more than one; give it to friends and family members who may be interested; send one to influencers that you’re familiar with, or acquainted with (podcasters, pastors, book sellers, Bible study leaders, librarians,  etc!).

Actually I have a third request: please notify select members of your own network about this publishing event!  You can tell your friends (or contacts) who may be interested in this spiritual approach to waiting and reducing stress; send them the link to this blog post if it’s appropriate, or copy portions of it; etc., etc! (You know, it’s word-of-mouth.)

My next blog post will be the response from one reader of Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, which is actually a discussion guide that he wrote for the book.

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Book Description: Successful Spiritual Waiting — the 7 Maxims

As I mentioned in my blog post last month, my new book will be published soon through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).  I will let you know immediately when it’s available for sale on Amazon – possibly next month (May 2022). When the paperback is published, the eBook will likewise be available, if you prefer that format. 

My book’s title is Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, with the subtitle: “Transformative guidelines that reveal the positive perspective.”  It is a very attractive paperback, measuring 5.5 by 8.5 inches, precisely 260 pages in length (252 pages of content and eight pages in the front section).  My book will be listed under the categories Self-help/ Spiritual. So this month, I am posting below the complete Book Description as it will appear on Amazon. One more detail: here is the link to my Amazon author page –

Lee Cuesta Author Page.

Book Description

Such a fresh and unique approach to waiting on and for God has never been published before. Lee Cuesta draws upon 40 years of experience to unpack the deepest, fullest meaning of waiting, along with why and how. With lively and upbeat guidance enabling the reader to implement these principles, he shows that waiting is a positive spiritual practice that delivers success while reducing stress. Cuesta defines “success” as achieving and fulfilling one’s life purpose, and he describes in detail how to succeed in the area of spiritual waiting.  The book is rich with Cuesta’s autobiographical adventures and lessons as he implemented waiting on God, and for God, in his own life.  He’s an ordained minister, and served as a missionary for over 14 years. Due to his own ecclesiastic background, in this book he uses the Bible as his basis, exploring the lives of preeminent spiritual waiters, such as David, Abraham and Noah. But the truths are universal, and Cuesta also quotes from the Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad Gita. So followers of all faiths and spiritual traditions likewise will benefit from Cuesta’s insights. He relates the experiences of more recent historical waiters, as well, such as William Carey and Nelson Mandela. Lee Cuesta is the author of two previous books, as well as multiple articles, including two about waiting for God, in both English and Spanish. Throughout his career, he has observed that if the topic of “waiting for God” is written about at all, it is usually with a negative connotation. Other writers bemoan, “Why does God make me wait so long?” This book departs diametrically from that point of view. A maxim is a concise expression of a fundamental moral rule or principle. It is generally any simple and memorable guide for living. Immanuel Kant said that a maxim is a principle of action that one gives to oneself, and Lee Cuesta’s in-depth and compelling explanation of these 7 Maxims reveals the lifestyle of successful spiritual waiters.

Lee Cuesta

P.S. And more good news:  Seven Viking Days, my full-color children’s book, illustrated by Mia Hocking, will soon be available again (also via KDP and for sale on Amazon)!


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Note: In this blog post, I am reprinting the Afterword from my newest, about-to-be-released book. In fact, I already have uploaded the book to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), and I will soon be reviewing the proof copy — the actual print version of the paperback. This will go live on Amazon in a few months from now, along with the Ebook. One reason I haven’t been posting on this blog recently is that I’ve been busy completing this book — in addition to the episode described in the following “Afterword.” The title of my new book is Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, with this subtitle: “Transformative guidelines that reveal the positive perspective.”


I spent the first week of the year 2022 in the hospital. Eight days. My wife called 911, and when the paramedics arrived, they said they either transport me to the hospital as fast as possible, or I’ll die. Snow covered the ground and roads. I remember seeing it as they pushed my gurney across the front yard. The night’s darkness amplified the flashing emergency lights; two vehicles had responded. Inside the ambulance, I heard the driver say, “I’m goin’ red.”

My oxygen saturation was around 84 percent, according to the pulse/oximeter on my fingertip. At that level, my survival was unlikely without intervention. In the emergency room, the doctors told me that if I refuse intubation and my heart fails, they will not resuscitate. The reason was that reviving the heart is of no value when the lungs aren’t able to function. And the X-ray showed that my lung capacity was approximately 50 percent. The covid test came back positive.
With my consent, they administered a steroid and monoclonal antibodies, which have FDA approval for emergency treatment. I needed the monoclonal antibodies, daily shots of the steroid, plus a medication to prevent blood clotting. In addition, supplemental oxygen was vital in the ICU, in my hospital room, and even after going home. Without these, I would not have survived.
How does this relate to waiting for the Lord? The very first Maxim: “If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done.” In other words, if we had tried to do it ourselves — i.e., treat my illness — I would be dead now. We had to call 911, and let God take over.
A huge prayer team was mobilized. Thanks to my wife, my daughter, my sister — I don’t know the full extent of all the people involved — a multitude of prayers and directed consciousness were being sustained on my behalf. As a result, my healing and recovery were 100 percent miraculous.
God had to do it. Allow me to reiterate: if we had tried to treat my illness ourselves, I would be dead. If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. In a way, I had to go to the hospital in order to generate and mobilize that level of prayer support. I definitely had to go to the hospital to receive the medicine and treatment that I needed to survive. God heals. After my experience, I know that healing is always a viable probability.
This experience has a wider application; namely, any time we try to confront life’s crises by ourselves — i.e., whenever we try to resolve life’s supreme challenges on our own — the result can be devastating and catastrophic. The outcome would have been catastrophic for me if we’d tried to treat my illness without intervention. A catastrophic result is not inevitable in every situation, as it would have been in my case. But the risk is high that the outcome won’t be optimal if I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that the circumstance requires skills and resources that are external to myself.
Remember how I restated the first Maxim? It won’t happen unless God does it.
This is not to say that I was removed from all responsibility during my healing and recovery. To the contrary, as I wrote in Maxim 5, the waiting process requires work. To regain my health, I had loads of work to do, both in the hospital and afterward: wrestling to hang on; concentrating on my breathing; physical therapy exercises. While in the hospital, I realized I must never permit myself to slip back; I must always keep fighting forward. When there is good progress, I cannot rest; I must capitalize on that strength to move farther ahead.
So God had to do it; otherwise I’d be dead. BUT ALSO I had to contribute my full effort to keep forcing myself forward to survival; never allowing any step back or retreat. My daughter wrote in an email to me, “I too definitely believe that your recovery was miraculous but I also strongly believe that your intentionality and dedication to meditation and mindful breathing is what allowed you to make such an incredible recovery and so quickly.”
During my time in the hospital, I received the realization that my will to survive was not for my sake, but for the sake of my family: for my wife, for my children, and for my grandchildren. I was to survive for them. As if to reinforce this realization, on my first day in the hospital my wife organized and sent to me a blue notebook with photos of these family members, along with notes from them. And I didn’t solicit this; as usual these days, my wife and I are on the same intuitive wavelength.
Following my discharge, my wife and I started meditating together nearly every morning at sunrise, facing east, which in Feng Shui represents health and family life, which I know now are vastly interconnected.
Hearkening back to what I wrote concerning prayer in Maxims 2 and 5, I further realized that in itself — or, by itself — prayer isn’t the power. The power of prayer is that it summons and directs the Universal Power. Prayer is the directing/ focusing/ concentrating of the Infinite Universal Power (God’s power) into a spotlight and a laser. So clearly, they work in tandem. Universal Power is wielded in response to fervent prayer.
In addition, like the ringing of a gong or a bell, this experience appears to toll a permanent death of my vision to go to India. In the hospital, especially after seeing the X-ray they took in the Emergency Room, I sensed very strongly that my lungs are so essential and vital, yet so fragile and finite. At first, this brought me to tears. I juxtapose this with the extreme air pollution and overpopulation of India’s urban areas.
One of the wildlife rescue organizations, which includes elephants, and at which I had hoped to volunteer, is located in the Mathura district adjacent to the city of Agra. Agra is in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a densely populated state of approximately 241,066,875 people. That’s over 241 million. By contrast, New York State population in 2021 was estimated to be only 19.8 million. California’s 2021 population was over 39 million, which means that Uttar Pradesh has six times more people than California.
This dense population contributes to the transmission of disease, while the air pollution fosters weakened lungs.
I had also planned to spend time in the south of India, such as the states of Karnataka and Kerala, where human-elephant conflict is escalating. This is due in part to the close proximity of the Bannerghatta National Park to Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), the capital and the largest city of the state of Karnataka. And Bengaluru, a city of more than 8 million people, continues to expand closer to the park’s boundary. One of my sources in India stated: “This is perhaps the only national park in the world (Bannerghatta) that has a wild tiger and a wild elephant so close to a metropolitan city.”
In this southern region, the population and pollution are less severe. The air may be cleaner, but there is no opportunity for hands-on interaction with the elephants. So my plan seems to be changing. Perhaps I will be traveling to Sri Lanka and Thailand instead.
In the meantime, I am waiting for the Lord. Although I am still in my “death of a vision” phase, he may resurrect and fulfill my vision supernaturally in a way — and with a destination — that I cannot foresee.
I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, January 6, 2022, which is Epiphany, or Kings’ Day, which we celebrated while living in Mexico. That is the day to exchange gifts, instead of December 25. This was my greatest Kings’ Day gift.
My post-discharge follow-up appointment with my doctor was at 11 AM on 1-11 (January 11). With that pair of elevens, I knew that my life and I are in perfect alignment.
This experience was like halftime, as in the football game, and now I’m back on the field to play the second half. Now every day is such a source of joy and inexpressible gratitude. New beginnings; better than before.

Lee Cuesta

Copyright © 2022 by Lee Cuesta. All rights reserved.

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Covid culture shock without ever leaving our city

by Lee Cuesta

I have lived and worked on two continents, and in multiple countries. Culture shock is inevitable. I remember a cab driver in London, and even though she was speaking English, I could not understand her! I remember seeing bull fights on the television screens in the Mexico City airport. In Guatemala City, I remember cockroaches on the bus, and slugs on the floor inside the house.

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. It’s when the novelty and excitement wear off, and the reality sets in.

We are feeling culture shock, but we didn’t go to a foreign culture; the foreign culture came to us.

In Mexico City, just the simple sound of the truck engines reminded me that I was in a foreign culture — along with all the crazy traffic and the smell of air pollution. Or listening for the truck to arrive in your neighborhood, ringing its bell, which meant it was time to bring out your trash — and give the workers a tip.

Typically, one experiences culture shock when he or she travels to another culture. In our current situation, however, it is reversed: we are experiencing shock because the different culture has come to us. So we are seeing signs of anxiety, stress and confusion — and feeling them ourselves — which are symptoms of culture shock.

This is due, of course, to the rapid social changes that are occurring. The covid culture has arrived, bringing these already familiar circumstances: Weddings and karate classes online. Playgrounds closed with yellow caution tape. Suspicions that elicit action from contact tracers.

Where I live, I feel like I woke up at the masquerade party. Face masks are now mandatory, and so at the home improvement superstore the other day, I saw customers with full facemasks, covering their entire face; one looked like Chewbaca. Great for the shoplifters.

Lines on the floor require social distancing at the check-out counter, but none of this is required for rioters and protesters. However, the rioters have discovered the benefit of wearing masks to conceal their identity. Watching the civil unrest in our own cities, or on TV or mobile devices, we feel like we live now in some sort of Middle Eastern culture.

Today, in our society, multitudes experience culture shock without ever leaving their homes — literally — because their own culture is changing before their eyes. When we do leave our homes, it’s like we’re living in a foreign country. We are feeling culture shock, but we didn’t go to a foreign culture; the foreign culture came to us.

In addition to culture shock, our day-to-day society now exhibits symptoms of future shock. This is the title of a book by Alvin Toffler published in 1970. Future shock is now defined as “physical and psychological disturbance caused by a person’s inability to cope with very rapid social and technological change; any overload of a person’s or an organization’s capacity for adaptation or decision making.”*

Every day we are witnessing the inability to cope with very rapid social and technological change. There is deep personal and social uncertainty, plus an inability to move ahead with future plans. The future is too uncertain.

Future Shock sold millions of copies at a time when society was in churn, amid riots over the Vietnam War, the maturation of the civil rights movement and the growth of centralized mass media. Toffler defined the phenomenon as ‘too much change in too short a period of time.'”**

“Too much change in too short a period of time:” this creates instability in our society. So we worry: when will it be stable again? Yet when our culture does stabilize, it will not be the same culture that we remember. It has changed permanently. It is a foreign culture. And perhaps it is impossible to regain stability. Perhaps instability is the new normal, which provides little hope for escaping these feelings of culture shock.


* https://www.dictionary.com/browse/future-shock
** https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/alvin-toffler-future-shock-author-who-predicted-disconnection-modern-world-n601501


Copyright © 2020 LCEA. Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety, or in part, with the condition that its source (this website) and its author (Lee Cuesta) are both acknowledged.

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Solitude and quietness in a tranquil zone accessible only by kayak

Also:  How to disembark without acting clumsy

Lee Cuesta kayak in Catherine Creek wetlands of Lake Cassidy.

I realize it seems like a cliché to say it was a perfect day of kayaking.  But then I realized that every day kayaking IS a perfect day!  And so that’s how it was on Lake Cassidy today, the second Monday in May.  Lake Cassidy is located in Snohomish County, east of Marysville.

Recreational areas reopened in Washington state as restrictions during the co+ vid controversy (henceforth referred to as co-con) are beginning to loosen.  So first I bought our annual Discover Pass, now available again, which had previously been unavailable online because of the co-con.  When you purchase it online, you’re able to print a temporary pass, and the permanent one is delivered via USPS.

Now, the big, main point of this blog post comes at the end of our outing on Lake Cassidy.  So if you want to skip to the end, feel free.  It has to do with the device I built of PVC, which shows up randomly and occasionally in the photos in this post.  Keep reading if you want the highlights of our outing, which includes an adventure in the marshy wetlands where the lake feeds into Catherine Creek.

Lee Cuesta kayak in Lake Cassidy.

The day was sunny with high clouds.  Temperature was pleasantly warm, not a scorching heat, but rather more of a radiant warmth, perhaps enhanced because I was wearing compression sleeves, primarily as a sunblock.

We saw a very blue Great Blue Heron, flying low over the lake twice.  Not only him, but also the sky appears much more blue, thanks to the co-con restrictions, which, in turn, causes the lakes around here to be more blue.  This heron looked quite large — huge wingspan, of course — with his legs curled up beneath him.  Lake Cassidy also is home to a family of eagles.  While bicycling along the Centennial Trail, we had previously identified their nest, which today was occupied by two juveniles, while their parent was searching for their meal.  (In this not-too-clear photo, the eagles’ nest is visible to the right of center.)

We heard the juveniles calling out to the parent.  First we saw him (or her) soaring above the lake.  But then, oddly, we found him prancing on the ground on the northern shore.  To us, this seemed like unusual behavior.  We kept our distance on the lake, to not disturb him, while I tried to capture this on video.  We speculated that he had just captured his own meal, perhaps a rodent, and was consuming it.  Eventually he took off and soared away to catch the next prey that he would take home to the nest, and his hungry offspring.

There are almost no houses or buildings along the northern or eastern shores because there is essentially no solid shoreline.  Instead, it is very marshy with cattails, lilypads and other water plants.  So mostly there are modest, older houses set far back, with long docks stretching beyond the marshland to the lake.  Thus, Lake Cassidy is not overdeveloped, unlike most of the lakes around here.  Two geese flew low together across the lake; the remainder of their flock was resting on a long front lawn at one of the houses.  And I saw one lonely duck, while my paddling companion was investigating whether there were any frog eggs in the marsh along the shoreline.

Catherine Creek wetlands

Lee Cuesta kayak in Catherine Creek wetlands of Lake Cassidy.

Several birdhouses are mounted on poles along the lake’s southern shore, and they appear to be occupied.  Exploring this southern end of Lake Cassidy is the highlight of this outing.  “Fed by Little Martha Lake, Lake Cassidy drains southward to the Pilchuck River via Catherine Creek.”* My paddling companion was ahead of me, and as I headed through the water-lillies and into the tall bulrushes and coontails, I could no longer see her.  She was completely hidden.  In this wetland area where Lake Cassidy converges to form Catherine Creek, narrow channels meander through the marsh.  I paddled into a wider area among the tall reeds by myself, but soon decided I should find my companion.  It was so much fun exploring this secluded area.  We continued following the creek, noticing a slight current, until we came to a bridge crossing it.  That’s when we agreed to turn around and head back into the lake.  This adventure allowed us to discover perfect solitude and quietness in a tranquil zone with bird sounds and dragonflies, accessible only by kayak.

Lee Cuesta kayak in Catherine Creek wetlands of Lake Cassidy.

In case you were wondering, how does Lake Cassidy compare in size to one of our favorite lakes, Blackmans Lake (that’s right, no apostrophe) in Snohomish?  Well, Lake Cassidy itself is roughly twice as big, and its watershed is approximately five times bigger.  Here are the stats: 

“Blackmans Lake is located within the City of Snohomish, just east of Hwy 9. The area of the lake is 62.9 acres with an average depth of 14 feet. The watershed, or the land area that drains into the lake, covers 510.7 acres and about 50% of that land is developed.”

 “Lake Cassidy is located north of Lake Stevens and three miles east of Marysville. The lake covers 131.0 acres and has an average depth of 11 feet. The watershed, or the land area that drains into the lake, covers 2,649.6 acres and about 18% of the land is developed.”

I never realized before how shallow are some of these glacier-formed lakes.

Lee Cuesta kayak in Lake Cassidy.

How I now disembark

And now for the most important and final event of this outing!  Perhaps by this point you’re wondering how that PVC contraption works, the one you’ve noticed in the photos.  As usual, I paddled hard and fast in order to beach my kayak on the gravel launch area.  I laid my paddle aside, tethered to my kayak with a lanyard.  Then I began to remove my new PVC device from its cargo location.  Once free, I inserted it into the cabin.

The two long arms in the front, which you can see in the photos, extend inside the cabin toward the bow.  Then I take the T-shaped leg and insert it into the top of this piece.  By the way, that T-shaped leg is dual-purpose.  I also used it to push off when launching my kayak at the beginning of the outing.  Then I attach the brace between the cross-arm and the leg, forming a strong triangle structure.  (The purple piece in the photos is not part of it.  It’s only there to support it for the picture, which isn’t needed when it’s inside the kayak.)

At the current age of my current body, and after my legs have been dormant for approximately two hours, I’ve discovered that disembarking from my kayak is the most difficult chore of the outing.  So this PVC apparatus permits me to pull myself up, and then stand with stability.  Slowly (being a Tai Chi master) while holding the device for support, I lift one foot and place it outside the kayak.  Still gripping the device, I lift my other foot out, and I have successfully disembarked using my new device!

At that point, I feel super good about disembarking without being clumsy.  It really worked!  I was elated.  So of course, my new device has a patent pending, and if somebody else tries to sell you one who claims that “one size fits all,” don’t buy it. Each style of kayak is unique, and so my device must be custom built.  Of course, kayak manufacturers could make these for each of their kayak styles.  Licensing agreements are available.  Or, after this co-con is over and relegated to the inglorious section of our global history, I’ll come over to your house and build one for you.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  And to all you Baby Boomers like me:  have fun again!

Lee Cuesta



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