11 minutes reading time (2140 words)

Things from Heaven

Originally posted in December 2009, lost in the virus of 2011, found October 2016. Please enjoy...again.
Before opening their gift shop, the Richardson family was going through hard times. Mr. Richardson was out of work, and nobody was hiring in his field. As a last resort, Keith and Francesca decided they wanted to open a store, but had no clue what kind.

They looked into opening a thrift shop, but could not find an organization to sponsor them. So, they decided to open a shop of their own. One night, Mrs. Richardson had a dream. A friend of hers, that she had not seen for many years, but whom she had known committed suicide, came to her with a book. She read the book along with her friend. The book was about angels.

The next morning Mrs. Richardson was overtaken with the realism of her dream, and told her family all the details. She stressed how she read every word along with her friend. Their son, Kevin, looked at his mother and just shook his head. He had just recently been taught that because of the way the human brain works, you cannot read in a dream.

The Richardson family, however, took this as a sign. Keith then proposed the idea to his father, who was funding the startup of the store. His father thought it was the worst idea he had ever heard. So, he demanded that they sell gourmet food along with a few angels. His reasoning was if the food does not sell, at least you could eat it.

The food did not sell. The angels continue to be enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently at Things from Heaven?
Francesca and I believe that there is a divine order to life. As events unfold it is like walking a labyrinth; you can never see the whole picture. We know we would not change anything on our path of life. Everything is a lesson. 
For many years, we felt our store was in a bad location. We were next to a liquor store that attracted numerous panhandlers who harassed our customers. We were also two stores down from a pornographic shop and just half a block form a bar that had a reputation for violence. Furthermore, we were below a transient hotel that houses people when they got out of prison. These tenants made people anxious about coming to see us. We thought this was a curse, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
A group of real estate investors began buying up all the storefront properties in downtown Ventura. They then tripled the rents of the occupants forcing them to move out. This happened to the owners of many of our neighboring stores, our landlord was making such a lucrative business from his transient hotel that he refused to take the sum of money the real estate investors offered him for our building. We recently signed a new lease agreement with our landlord at a fair price that extends our stay until at least 2019.We used to say that our store was located between a used bookstore and the Star Lounge. Now as our neighborhood has changed, we say we are between American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.
angelinfronofprayerwallI know that you been interviewed several times before, but it is such a wonderful story, would you mind telling our readers how the prayer wall started?
 We opened our store in April of 1995 with only a $5,000 investment. We had only glass shelves to put on our walls and two jewelry cases. We had no standing display cases in which to put our angels. Shortly after we opened, my (Keith) parents purchased a writing desk at an antique store and gave it to us to display our angels.
My parents’ intentions were good, but to Francesca and me this was the ugliest piece of furniture we had ever seen. Most of it was made of molded plastic made to look like wood. We agreed that after we made some money in our store that the first thing we would do was to get rid of the writing table.
About a month after we received the piece of furniture, a woman who appeared to be in her mid-thirties, came into our store and shared some really sad news with us.
She said, “I’ve just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I need to leave a prayer in your store.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your cancer, but we don’t have a place to put a prayer in our store, I said. “Why don’t you leave a prayer at the mission-it’s only a block down the street?”
“I need to leave the prayer in your store,” the woman insisted.
She then found a piece of paper, wrote her prayer and took some tape from our counter and taped it to our ugly display case. We just did not have the heart to take it off. In time, other people saw the prayer and asked if they could put one too. We finally put sticky notes pens and tape on the writing desk and people began leaving their prayers in our store.
In November of 2007, the Ventura County Star ran a full-page article about our spontaneous shrine. The same day KCBS news also ran a news story about the prayers. There were over 18,000 prayers on the shrine before the stories ran – now we have more than 20,000 prayers.
The prayers on our shrine are from people from all over the world who have visited our store. They include men, women and children. We now have prayers from just about every race, culture, language and religion on earth.
grp of angels
You must have many memories of people placing prayers on your wall, is there anyone in particular that made an impression on your heart and why?
Francesca and I are continually amazed by the stories that people tell us after they place prayers on our shrine. We have had more than 30 people tell us that they had been told by doctors that they could not have children and came in the next year pushing a newborn baby into our store and writing thank you notes to God.
One time a couple came in pushing a carriage with boy and girl twins in it. They said that one had prayed for a boy the other had prayed for a girl. Each of their prayers was answered.
A very moving miracle occurred at our shrine this year. Andrea Capsulo’s daughter, Rayne was born with a serious illness “Binary Artesia.” The hospital tried to operate in order to alleviate the child’s disorder. The procedure failed. The child was hospitalized for stasis of the liver (a fluid infection) and they said the girl needed a liver transplant.
Rayne was put on a donor list at “Priority One.” She however had a rare blood type and a donor could not be found. She was close to death and the doctors had little hope for little Rayne’s survival. Out of desperation Andrea and her husband came to our store and put a prayer on our shrine. Within a week, Rayne received a liver from a donor with her rare blood type.
Rayne is now home and has had no complications. Her blood tests are coming back with great results.
Andrea says “For those of you who say there are no miracles, think again. They happen everyday. Our child was meant to be here and do great things. Have faith in angels and God. They will not leave you alone.”
Lakey gallery
 How did you manage to have not one, but two artists, who have their work at the Vatican?
We did not mean to get Andy Lakeys’ or Bill Jeralds’ art in our store. We feel that we are blessed by God and He brings us amazing miracles every day.
We received the miracle of Andy Lakeys’ art just after we opened our store in 1995. Andy Lakey is the most famous living angel artist in the world. His work is collected by numerous celebrities and world figures and hangs in the Vatican. His art has been featured on numerous television programs including Oprah Winfrey and Good Morning America.
Just after we opened our store, a tall dark haired woman named Pam came to our store and insisted that I contact Andy Lakey about getting his art in our store. I was hesitant. Our store was so modest and our location was so bad that I did not think an artist as famous as Lakey would consider putting his art for sale here. Pam was persistent however and refused to leave the store until I called Andy Lakey. I finally got Lakeys’ number from a gallery owner who had placed an ad in an “Angel Magazine” When Lakey did get back to me he sold me three little painting which I paid for with my rent money for the next month. In the end we outsold all of his galleries throughout the united states from our little angel store in Ventura. We now have the largest ongoing exhibit of Andy Lakeys’ art in the world.
In the fall of 2007, lightning struck twice at our store. A local artist named Bill Jeralds brought us some pieces of art he had just completed.
“Do you think anyone will buy these?” he asked.
What he showed me was some of the most beautiful and unique angel art I had ever seen. They were angels made out of plywood. What made them really unique was that Bill had made them out of tiny pieces of wood he had glued together. We learned of Bills’ story and how he had lost his long-term and short – term memory due to illness and that he did not know how he was making his angels since he had no background in art or woodwork.
Within a month of having his art in our store, Bill was featured in a story in the Ventura County Star and in a news segment on KCBS. About eight months ago Bill learned that there had been a prayer vigil held for him at the Vatican when he was sick. He was told that an Archbishop in Orange County had led the vigil. Bill contacted the Archbishop and sent him one of his wooden angels.
In the fall of 2008, the Archbishop found that Bills’ angel s’ facial expression had changed from smiling to sad after the fall of the stock market. After comparing photos of how the artwork looked when he received it. The Archbishop concluded that a miracle had occurred and contacted the Vatican.
When Pope Benedict XVI learned Bills’ story, and of the miracles of his artwork, he requested a piece of art for his personal collection. The next thing I knew we had two of the three living American artist with art in the Vatican displaying their works in our store. Both displays are the world’s largest.  
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Do you ever get overwhelmed by the impact you make on people’s lives?
We do not think we are changing people lives. We believe that it is God. You cannot change people; they have to change themselves.
We do nudge people and refuse to accept their poor me scenarios. We also know that one has to love themselves before they can receive love, good health or abundance. When you love yourself, you will always make the right decisions.
What we are overwhelmed about is how we have been chosen to run our spiritual ministry in downtown Ventura for the past fifteen years. This continues to be a learning experience for both of us. 
Keith Richardson is currently writing two books. The first a sequel to The Secret of the Butterfly Lovers titled TheLegend of the Butterfly Princess. The Richardson have traveled all over China and Tibet as well as Mongolia to write this book. It ties together all the loose end of the first book.
His other book 17 Steps to Enlightenment tells the most important messages my spirit guide Chang has given me over the past six years. These include loving yourself and manifesting abundance. It appears that 17 Steps to Enlightenment will be the first of these two books to be published. They expect to have it in print by late 2010. The Legend of the Butterfly Princess will probably come out in 2011.  
Francesca Richardson is helping write and edit both books. She is also writing poems and prayers to lead into both book’s chapters.
Heaven's Gallery (formerly Things from Heaven)   Please read this extraordinary story about the power of prayer.     
365 E Main Street
Ventura, California 93001
(805) 648-5689
A Sweet Tasting Room!

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