Mi Tio Favorito

my Favorite Uncle

When I think of you Tio Carmelo the image of your soft brown eyes that expressed kindness and love, along with your gentle smile that exuded compassion and warmth.

Tio Carmelo you are and will always be this humble gentle soul, your quiet presence was always welcomed by me.  You were one of my role models in our home that demonstrated kindness, compassion, love.

I watched you demonstrate your love to all of my eight siblings, along with all our extended family. 

Tio you were a man of few words, however I witness how you were present with everyone you came in contact with.  I watched you make eye contact with everyone you met, along with your soft smile. You demonstrated your love with your quiet reassurance.   

When every I would see you,

I’d hear, “Mira Jojo.” 

It wasn’t the two words that you uttered that were memorable,  but the love that exuded when you expressed them.

I have also witnessed the love you have expressed to your four children, whom you have raised as a single father. Watching you with your children and shower your grandchildren with love.

Deep down I wish I had you as my loving father.   

Tio Carmelo you have taught me what a true fathers love can look like.

You also were the one that helped me learn how to drive, even though I startled you at times.  When I would drive to close to the car in front of me and break really fast.  You would calmly tell me I shouldn’t drive so fast and break so suddenly.

I am grateful that you had calm disposition when I was starting to learn how to drive.  I can appreciate even more now that I have been in the passenger side when my oldest daughter was learning how to drive. 

What I am thankful for the most is you Tio trusting me to drive your car and supporting me with your calm deposition.

Tio Carmelo you are kind, generous and loving man and you will be greatly be missed.  I am so truly blessed that you were my uncle.

I have watched you with the relationship with your oldest sister, which is my mother.  It didn’t go unnoticed when you sat next to Mamí, when she lay on her hospice bed.  You sat next to her and held her hand. I watched you exchange a few words to one another. I wanted to sit next to the both of you or be a fly on the wall and listen in to your conversation.  I witnessed Love, Compassion, Kindness permeated the room and if  two souls that were very similar, it was the both of you. 

Your light will shine on for every and you will never be forgotten.

Here is a quote that I know to be one of your souls purpose on this earth.

“The light remain

There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone.  The light remains.”  author unknown.

Also, you are the reason I titled my book Como Coco.

When I was reading my mother’s eulogy at the church that I wrote fifteen years ago it read as follow…

I know without a doubt in my mind that you are in heaven because your purgatory was here on earth….Y ahora Mamí puedes desir ques eastas..Como Coco, and now

Mamí you can say…  Como Coco”.

I looked up after saying “Como Coco” and I locked eyes with you Tio Carmelo, and you were gently nodding your head up and down with a smile confirming exactly what she said and you know to be true.     

So, I say to you Tio Carmelo…that you are in a better place and I’m happy that you are not suffering with cancer anymore. 

I know without a drought in my mind that you are in heaven because your purgatory was here on earth.  Y ahora Tio puedes desire que estas

  “Como Coco.”

And now Tio you can say “Como Coco.”



“The light remain

There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone.  The light remains.”  author unknown.


Como Coco

“Como Coco.”  Two Simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying you’re strong and robust.  If the juice of the coconut is sweet inside that means life is sweet, because if it isn’t you woulds say Como Coco Rancio,” Which means the coconut juice is sour inside.

Joann DJ Ehlman,

Intuitive Life Coach, Intuitive Reiki Master Practitioner, Author & Speaker

Author of Como Coco -The Journey 


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 Come full circle



Webster dictionary definition of full-circle: “through a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation or to a complete reversal of the original position —usually used in the phrase come full circle.”

Well, this weekend my husband and I had the pleasure to have a full-circle moment when we were able to celebrate Apex’s New Mayor Jacques K. Gilbert.

Ok, so let me begin with a little back story. When my husband and I agreed to move back to North Carolina from Nashville, T.N. a few years back in July 2017. We were making an indelible decision for our whole family.

The housing market in N.C. had changed considerably since we moved in 2006. In the back of our minds, we wanted to settle in Apex, even though I still had fond memories of Holly Springs. Well, because that is where my husband and I bought our first home, where we started our family. We also had wonderful memories of good friends we had met in our first neighborhood in Holly Springs. Apart from the warm memories, we had made in Holly Springs, it had grown up in the eleven years since we had been gone. We also couldn’t find a home that met all our criteria when we were searching for our home.

So, we started searching for homes in Apex, N.C with the help of a wonderful re-estate agent. Despite the effort of our agent and our numerous houses that we looked at every day for a week. We couldn’t find a home that met all our families needs, that’s when doubt started to rear its ugly head to whether the move back to N.C. was even the right move for our family. Despite our reservations we needed to continue our home search in N.C. because we accepted an offer on our home back in Nashville, T.N.

My husband and I were mentally exhausted from our grueling long week search added with 90 plus weather in July. We were starting to second guess our decision to move back to N.C. and had reservations to whether our decision to move to Apex was even the best option for our family. I said a silent prayer. “ God, please let us know if we are making the right decision?”

We stopped for lunch at Subway in Apex at the Olive Chapel Plaza. We sat silently eating our lunch when my Husband John noticed a Police officer walk in and order lunch.

He says, “Go ask that Police office about the area.”

I turn my head to my right to glance behind me to see if I can see the Police Officer in uniform.

I say, “I don’t see him.”

My husband points him out, He says, “He is not wearing a uniform.”

I get up and I begin to walk toward the police officer in civilian clothing. I notice he is eating his sub and I feel bad that I will interrupt his well-deserved lunch break. I put my reservation aside because my husband is insistent I ask him because we both have concerns. We both want to gain insight into whether we are making the right decision to move to Apex.

I say, “Excuse me, I was wondering if you could offer some insight about the area?”

The plainclothes officer looks up at me with a wide smile and I felt a sense of relief. His eyes light up and his good-natured personality shines through immediately. I am so relieved.

He then says. “Have a seat.”
I don’t expect that I say, “My husband asked me to ask you.”

He says, “Where is he?” I point to where he is sitting, he continues with, “Call him over.” I wave my husband over, he immediately comes over.

He introduced himself as Jacques and we find out he is a Captain of the Apex Police Department. He tells us about the area and how it’s growing. We find out that he is a native of Apex and numerous other information that we didn’t know about and we were so impressed with…

When my husband and I left from speaking with Captain Jacques. We both were grateful that he took the time to speak to us and share his insight over his lunch break. My husband and I were so impressed by him and the service he provides for Apex, N.C.

When we left Captain Jacques, my husband and I felt a sense of relief from the doubt that was setting in because we couldn’t find a home. We felt re-energized that we were making the right decision to move our family to Apex, N.C. , because he answered all of the concerns we had that day.

So, a serendipitous moment happened when I met a lovely lady named Jeannie for lunch, she is now my dear friend. In our conversation over lunch, she mentioned she was helping with an up and coming event to celebrate Jacques as our new Mayor. I, of course, was blown away that she knew Captain Jacques. I then told her how my husband and I met him after I said a prayer to God if we were making the right decision to move to Apex.

So the full circle moment was last weekend when my husband and I re-introduce ourselves to Jacques K. Gilbert at his Apex Mayoral Inaugural Ball Celebration. We wanted to let him know what an impact he left on us a few years back, when we needed validation to whether we were making the right decision to move to Apex, N.C.  We were impressed once again that he remembered my husband and I, when we told him how we first met in 2017 at Subway.

Congratulation! Jacques K. Gilbert for becoming our Mayor of Apex, along with becoming the first African American Mayor of Apex. N.C. It couldn’t have happened to a better person. We support you and we thank you for your continued service.

Joann DJ Ehlman,
Intuitive Life Coach, Author,
Speaker & Reiki Master

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  Don’t rock your boat, be guided home.


Faith is when someone tries to rock your boat and if you don’t have it anchored, you can easily feel your equilibrium has been thrown off.  You will feel you’re not on stable ground. 

If your Faith is not turned onOk, let me explain,  it reminds me of the program on the Morning Show I watched on Sunday morning, they talked about gyroscopic stabilizer called a “Seakeeper”, if it’s not turned on, your boat becomes unstable and begins to rock.

Faith is what keeps the boat from rocking when a huge wave comes crashing in. Faith is the stabilizer and Intuition is like the anchor that you throw in the deep dark sea when you are in the middle of the ocean to keep you fasten and attached to your Faith. 

When you find you are surrounded by the sea and you have fear coursing through your veins. You want to reach for Faith.  It is what keeps us vigilant and protected from any unknown sea creatures that could emerge from the ocean.

Intuition lets us know if there is something pending, or if we have to work something out or just to let us know that God/Universal forces have our back, etc.   There are numerous glorious reasons to have Faith and follow your Intuition.

Faith and Intuition go hand in hand when you surround yourself with Faith and let Intuition be your guide.  Faith is like being the Captain of your ship and Intuition is your compass. 

Faith is your lighthouse that is solidly built onshore that emits illuminating light through the fog and Intuition allows you to be guided home. 

by Joann DJ Ehlman, Intuitive Life Coach,

Intuitive Reiki Master,

Author & Speaker


“Como Coco.” Two simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying you’re strong and robust.

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Just Good News Here!


           Have you every noticed something that catches your attention and it makes sense to you, but you catch yourself looking around to see if anyone has noticed it too? 

          Have you ever seen the same three digit numbers such as 4:44, 1:23, or 1:11 ; or four digit numbers such as 12:12, 11:11, or 12:34.  You glance over to the clock, look at your cell phone or look over at a license plate? You see the same number over and over again. Have you ever been told something just at the right time? Have you ever just seen something that just made sense to you but, no one else?

           The first thoughts that I had years ago when I kept seeing the same numbers over and over again was I think I am losing my mind.  I would sometimes talk out-loud. I would say, “What the heck is going on?.” Another day it happened again. I would say, “I must be looking at the darn clock a lot.”

So, here is the Good News, are you ready to hear it?… 


You are not just seeing things and you are not alone. 

Signs are everywhere. Especially if you are like me, I am a Intuitive/Empath and lean on

my faith, which has guided me through my life thus far. Those numbers that I saw repeatedly 

are called Angel numbers, but I’m not here to talk about the Angel numbers I am here to talk 

about, signs.

What I found charming since I moved back to North Carolina is that I noticed more 

personalized licensed plates, and not just numbers on the license plates.The personalized license

plates I have seen in North Carolina are phrases that read “PEEKHEN” (Peak Hen), 

“HWLFMLY” (Whole Family), “CUPCAKE”, “LADYBMOR” (Lady be more) etc. Which I 

find very clever and interesting to read when I’m driving through town.

Let me share my story and I am only sharing GOOD NEWS. 

 It was difficult moving back to North Carolina from Nashville, T.N.. Even though I never

wanted to leave North Carolina in the first place. When I moved back to North Carolina it was

challenging to keep my spirits up.  Being that I am an Empath, I could feel all the emotions my 

family were feeling and let me tell you it was heavy.  Feeling all the low emotional vibrations just 

was so burdensome. The heavy weight on my shoulders very heavy.  

Despite all the tools that I learned to keep me centered, grounded and protected. I was struggling with my self-care.  I was

being consumed by the lower thoughts of mine as well as my  family’s. My spirit was being challenged and my inner strength

was fluctuating while trying to hold my family together. I felt I was falling apart most of the time.

So, let me share with you some Good News!  

Signs,  that I have gotten since I moved back to North Carolina that lifted my spirits up just at 

the right time.  When I saw “LVYOU” on someone license plate in front of me while I sat in the

carpool lane waiting to pick my daughter up.  It was just at the right time that I needed to see 

those words to be comforted. Another time I was feeling down while driving my car on the 

highway when a car pulls in front of me, it caught my attention.  I noticed the license plate right 

away, it read “PUTTABOY”. I will not translate it in Spanish, but it got my attention and 

it made me laugh, which lifted my spirits.  My intuition knew it was my mother in spirit trying to

make me laugh to raise my vibration. 

Another time I was praying in the car and asking my angels to give me a sign that 

they are with me and guiding me.  When I stopped in front of car that it’s license plate read 

“ACHANL4UC” (Archangel for you see). I was so thankful that I was shown that they were

and for that message then I  saw “WNDRWAMN” (Wonder Women) on someones licenses

plate.  I then realized what fantastic way to be uplifted by God, Spirit, my Guardian Angels, and 

loved ones who are in spirit.

 So, have you ever noticed Signs or numbers or what one might call coincidence? 

If you have received signs,  lean in and listen carefully. What I’m about to share with you is

Just Good News. 

Signs let you know we are being guided.  It is exhilarating when it happens!

You see what most people call coincidence, because they can not be explained and then doubt

what they witnessed. 

Please read carefully, it happens for a reason

Sometimes we cannot explain to someone else, but we know what we are being told.

When we tap into our intuition and we ask for guidance we are pleasantly surprised on how we

can be guided when we have unwavering faith. 

Signs are everywhere and I love to spread that there is only,  Good News Here.


by Joann DJ Ehlman, Intuitive life Coach, Author & Speaker

 “Como Coco.” Two simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying you are strong and robust.” 


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Como Coco or Como Coco Racío…. Sweet or Bitter Sweet moments in my life. I’ve had my fair share, however, the one that stands out the most, is when my mother died on my birthday. Yes, you heard me right, my mother died on my birthday. Just think about it, let that emotion sink in, so can you imagine for those that have had or have a caring and loving mother. Envision your mother dying on your birthday? Well, it sucks, just putting it mildly.

I know what you are probably thinking. That is just tragic that your mother passed away on your birthday. That you will always remember for the rest of your life, your mother died on your birthday. You will never be able to celebrate your birthday again.

After, wallowing in my grief with a double whammy. I would start to think that, I’m not the only one that has experienced something tragic. “It could be worse.”  Those thoughts “It could be worse.” somehow would ease the discomfort and lessen the pain for me. Sometimes “It could be worse” would help me lift up my spirits or I better yet, I would think. I should count my blessings because I could be living in the worst circumstances.

Yes, I do realize people have had and are experiencing far worst in their life. The notion of someone else having it worst then me… would help me get out of my funk. However, it happened just the other day someone said, “It could be worse” after hurricane Florence just recently swept through our area in N.C.  I thought of those words “I could be worse” and had an Aha moment… that is what people say to placate their emotions.  I thought how messed up is it, to think that way. You ask, Why?. Saying “It could be worse” is messed up thinking because I shamed myself into thinking that I shouldn’t feel sad about my mother’s passing and that I should get over it, and be strong.

I would then begin to think how my daughters will never get to experience my mother’s love, and the feeling of sorrow would wash over me again. I then would proceed to spiral downward into the deep rabbit hole of depression.  I would think my mother is in a better place now, she is no longer suffering in pain. I would ebb and flow and experience a roller coaster of emotions.
The thoughts of how dare I or I shouldn’t celebrate my birthday. I would shame myself into not feeling the pain of my loss. Losing my mother and the loss of not being able to celebrate my birth. It was one of my bitter-sweet moment. However, I’ve had the choice, to choose to feel the pain and let it ride its wave or I can hold on to the pain and shame myself through life.

I can attest to you, you do come out on the other side a stronger person. However, don’t shame yourself out of your emotions. Don’t say “It could be worse.” or I shouldn’t feel this way because essentially you’re shaming yourself. You have to allow yourself to go through all the stages of grief. Which are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Not necessarily in that order.

How you experience your grief, is unique to you. You have to allow yourself to go through every emotion before the healing of grief can begin.

I thought initially, I’d never be able to celebrate my birthday because my mother died on my birthday. Well, it’s been several years since my mother has crossed over to the other side. I can honestly say I can celebrate my birthday and relish and honor my mother for giving me life. I can say if my mother’s friends were to come up to me and ask me how I was doing I can say with a resounding  “Como Coco”… the last words that my mother said, that shocked my spirit and embedded in my soul.

“Como Coco” Two simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying that you’re strong and robust. If the juice of the coconut is sweet inside that means life is sweet because, if it isn’t you would say “Como Coco Racio,” which means the coconut juice is sour inside.

I would say with a resounding “Como Coco.”

You can read on page 204-205 of my book Como Coco: The Journey to find out more why I titled my book Como Coco or you can get a sneak peek into my book on Amazon with the link below.


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My Abuelita ( my grandmother) isn’t what you would see in a typical American commercial today….with short gray hair, fair-skinned sitting next to her grandchild on the sofa reading a book or baking cookies. My Abuelita was a petite dark-skinned woman with long black hair that she always combed back in a ponytail or bun. She never read to me. I don’t know how much formal education she had, but I do know she liked to drink her strong black coffee every morning. I don’t know if it was Puerto Rican coffee such as Yaucono, Pilon or Café Bustelo. What I do remember is her kitchen would smell like Starbucks. One whiff of that robust coffee was enough to waken all my senses.

When it was time for supper; my abuelita wouldn’t go out to the local market and pick out a chicken that she wanted to add to her arroz con gandules. (rice with chickpeas) a staple in a Puerto Rican household. My Abuelita….instead would walk to her backyard grab a hold of one of her chickens and slay it. YES! you heard me right. She would slay the chicken with her small bare hands. She would SNAP the chicken neck swiftly. I was told you had to kill the chicken quickly so that the animal wouldn’t suffer. I know….I know… That sounds horrible. I realize that. I couldn’t stomach her doing it when I was a kid. I was just feeding the chicken grass clipping just a few days ago. I would walk into the kitchen when the deed was done, Thank God; but….that is how My Abuelita would start preparing her dinner.

Exercise… My Abuelita didn’t stroll around the block briskly to get fit. She would walk up and down the steep hills of Jayuya mountain streets to the local market to purchase items that she didn’t grow in her backyard. That could be the reason why she was so thin or she was so thin because she was a chain smoker. I remember her yelling down the hill at my mother. “Julié!!! tarjame cigarrillo!!!.” “Julié!!! bring me back cigarettes!!!”

My Abuelita also didn’t have the modern conveniences like washer and dryer, dishwasher, ice maker or even a toilet. I had shared my experience with my Abuelita’s outhouse. If you haven’t read it yet. Check it out the chapter “Abuelita’s House” in my book Como Coco-The Journey, but getting back to my grandmother’s modern conveniences she had none. Hell…she didn’t even have hot water.

I just remember my grandmother being a strong petite woman. She didn’t smile very much. she wasn’t really affectionate either. She raised 4 children by herself. She was a single woman who never got married. Unheard of in those days. When My Abuelita suffered a stroke my mother convinced her to move with us to the States along with my sister, my mom, and I. My Abuelita lived with us for a short while because she was too independent. She said. “She lived all her life by herself and she didn’t need anyone to take care of her now.” My mother didn’t agree with her. My mother wanted to take care of her in time of need, but she respected My Abuelita’s wishes. My Abuelita went back to her home in the mountains of Jayuya, Puerto Rico.

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Como Coco and Como Coco Rancio (bitter and sweet) all wrapped up, in my life moments.

When I was in high school and found out I got the role of Glenda, the good witch, in the Wizard of OZ; I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have a lead role. What an incredible Como Coco moment; however, my mother didn’t come out to see me perform because of her religious beliefs. She felt (or the church felt) it was worldly, not a religious event so she wasn’t allowed to attend. It was a sour moment for me…a Como Coco Rancio moment; however, I had my oldest sister come to see me perform along with her daughters… a Como Coco moment.

I was nominated homecoming queen… a Como Coco moment. I didn’t tell my mother that I was nominated because I was bitter that she didn’t show up for any other school event…many Como Coco Rancio moments. I finally told my mother that I was nominated for homecoming queen. She did show up at the corner of the street to wave at me, while I rode by in the limo… a sweet moment, a Como Coco moment. I also won Homecoming Queen… another Como Coco moment.

I went into preterm labor and ended up in bed rest with my first child. That was a difficult time for me because I didn’t know if my baby girl would make it. It was a Como Coco Rancio time for me. I had it in my head I would be healthy. The baby would be healthy. I would be active. I would continue at my job working at the bank. I’d continue working out at the gym all the way to the very end of my pregnancy. I struggled many times to keep my spirits up. I had many sorrowful moments thinking about the outcome. All those thoughts came tumbling down until I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl… a wonderful Como Coco moment.

I’ve recently been awakened to something traumatic that happened to me when I was a baby. I have a lot of bitter sweet moments in my life, but I try to hang onto all the Como Coco moments in life. Don’t get me wrong, some of my Como Coco Rancio moments were and still can be very challenging when I think about what happened to me. I still think about it now and again and I have emotional wounds that I’ve had to release in order to heal. I’ve released a lot of pent-up, harmful emotions just recently. I still have them bubble up now and again. With my faith, I’ve gained strength. I’ve gained wisdom on how to heal myself.

Embrace whatever tools you have to help you through the emotional and physical pain. Do what you love doing! I do Zumba because I love it. I meditate when I can. I practice yoga when I can. I pray often and write often in my journal. I try to eat well. I use all the positive tools available to me to help me. Once again I want to stress, use positive tools that are available to you to get you the through the tough emotional pain. Sing in your car loudly when you’re driving alone. Dance in your kitchen by yourself or with a loved one. Go for a walk. Take a hike. Talk to a good friend or a trusted family member that will support you. Hug your children and your grandchildren. Play with your pet or pets. Listen to music you love. Soak a warm bath with sea salts or Epsom salt. See a Holistic Counselor. Get a massage. Visit a Chiropractor. Receive Acupuncture. Receive Reiki. Get a mani or pedi or both. See an Energy Healer. Use all the healthy tools to help you release the emotional pain that’s pinned up inside. 

Life is constantly changing. I’ve grown and I’ve learned so much, even after I published Como Coco-The Journey. I’m currently working on the next book subtitled Spiritual Discovery. I can’t wait to share my newer experiences with you soon. Until then I leave you with: 

Embrace all the precious memories. All the good that has happened in your life. Give thanks every day. Count your blessing every day. When I count my blessing.  My life is Como Coco.

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