Larry Webb


This page is dedicated to short stories or poems written by other people besides myself. I prefer humorous stories, but that isn't a requirement.

Mom’s on the Roof
and I Can’t
Get Her Down
__________________________
After Death-
A Faith Healing Story
__________________________

By: Cynthia Meyers-Hanson
My official Author Page is @
http://mchanson714.weebly.com/

Call from the Worried

The Hospice Counselors and nurses wanted us to believe that cancer was not all bad. It gives you time to talk and make peace. Sudden death is worse. I couldn’t think of anything worse than four months of acute pain, vomiting, and suffering.

I was dead tired as I entered my own house one day. My family was somehow surviving my absence. All my non-work, waking hours were spent at my mother’s bedside. My house was a mess; something that usually caused me stress. As I picked up some trash, the telephone rang. It was my mother-in-law. She was surprised to hear my voice.

Remembering her cancer is in remission, I told her all the bad news, “I hope you get hit by a truck! Do you understand what I mean?”

She lost it on the other end of the line. Finally, my mother-in-law responded, “There was a time we thought she would make it. Oh, Cindy, I am sorry.” The phone clicked to silence.

Without further explanation, she knew what I meant. Once you have been through cancer, you realize the pain of slow death is worse than sudden encounters. I don’t care what Hospice people preach, slow death is more stressful for everyone.

After I hung up the telephone, I pulled myself up into bed and suffered all night. During those hours of darkness, all my husband could do was listen to the muffled sobs and feel the erratic vibrations as I gasped for breath at uneven intervals.

That night, I remembered my grandfather. About four years ago, he was in danger of dying. He was scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery. My grandfather made the relatives track down my mother and her sister. He talked to them about their natural mother. He told them what a good woman his wife, their mother, was. It was a forgiving time as they discussed their mom who had committed suicide.

Never having met my natural grandmother, Inez, I knew her. She was one of my inner voices of conscience. Though my grandmother died before my birth, I felt she knew me.

The relatives who loved Inez automatically love me because they see her in me. What they don’t know is my secret. My grandmother is one of my guardian angels. That is why my mother always used me as her mom, her confidant. I was the link to her past.

As my thoughts wandered before sleep, I remembered a conversation between my mom and her dad after his bypass surgery. She told him she wished she could trade places. She wanted to take his suffering, healing him. For the man who raised her, she was willing to sacrifice.

I felt the exchange take place as my soul jumped screaming, “No! Be careful in your prayers and wishes.”

At the time, I didn’t realize the bond to those who raise and teach you could be so strong. Even I had bid for more days for a loved one. After all, I volunteered eight years for her from my life. Four years ago with her father, I didn’t understand Mom’s wish but I understood it, today.


***

The Holy family

I had another recurring dream. There was a dull light in the corner of my bedroom. It illuminated a picture of a mother holding her child. They delivered a message, “We are pleading at the right hand of the Father.” I knew that the prayers in Heaven were for my mother. They were preparing her way.

By now, it was January 9, 1991 and my husband’s birthday. On the way to work, I did my usual routine stopping by my parent’s house, talking to the Hospice nurse, and checking on Mom. When I arrived, the nurse on duty told me my mother woke up and wondered why she was still alive. She informed this lady that this was the day she was supposed to die while insisting a month had passed since she left the hospital. Actually, it was less than two weeks since she came home.

“She better not die today and ruin my husband’s birthday!”

My mother never really liked my husband but he had taken over the care of her child, Stacey. Now, she owed him some respect.

I informed everyone, “Don’t help her count the days.” Nor were they to tell her the calendar dates. “We don’t want her to count out the month she has left to live.”

After telling that particular nurse the plan, she smiled and I left for work. Seeing my director in the hall, he asked, “Why aren’t you with your mother? Isn’t she near death?”

“My project is scheduled to complete January 15. I have a couple of problems in the software left to solve.”

“Take whatever time you need to be with your family.”

My husband and director were leaving for Boca Raton on business. They would be driving, and were concerned as to where the nearest airport was in case my spouse had to make a hasty return. We chatted a bit more. Then, I informed my boss that my mother thought the doctor told her she would die that very day. We laughed as I told some mother-in-law jokes. After that conversation, the day remained uneventful.

My husband left on his business trip, and Mom survived many days past that jaunt. There were many false rumors that she was near a coma state. Various Hospice nurses informed Dad that this could be the day, and he’d call me confused. I’d call my brother, sister, and aunt. We’d all rush to her bed and nothing.

After this happened a few times, I informed every Hospice nurse, “Don’t burden Dad with her approaching death.” Adding, “Call me if Mom is in a coma or dead.” I’ll be the one to inform my father. Short of him walking in on one of these events, contact me first.”

Dad couldn’t bear all these false alarms.

As a consequence, the kitchen at my parent’s house took on the appearance of party time. We’d come to his rescue staying hours in the kitchen visiting. Finally, one day, my aunt called us all together to discuss putting Mom out of her agony so that we could all get on with our lives.

“They can just put her into a morphine sleep then she can coast right into death,” plead my aunt.

Sometimes, the nurses couldn’t help my mother when she became uncomfortable. The extra doses of morphine would already have been used up when “Break-through pain” would rack her body. I would flee out of earshot so I wouldn’t feel her agony. Tonight, remembering those hours of hearing my mother complaining, I feel mixed emotions. I couldn’t stand it anymore but in some ways death still seemed worse.

The other siblings had not experienced the suffering to this degree. They couldn’t understand Aunt Betty’s pleading. I wanted to see the pain gone so that I could rest. Simultaneously, I didn’t want to lose my mother. It was a problem that seemed unsolvable.

Meanwhile, Margie was mad at my aunt for butting in. After arguing, she left the table for a walk. Lighting up his pipe, my brother, Mike, followed her outside.

My parents lived on five acres in an area of dirt roads. It is a very quiet neighborhood and very dark due to the lack of streetlights. While Margie and Mike wandered the streets, my aunt expressed her feelings to my father.

“The kids only have opinions. She is your wife. You have the final word on this matter.” Speaking swiftly, “I can’t sleep while my sister suffers. Regardless of your decision, I can’t stand it anymore. I won’t come to say another good-bye after tonight.”

Betty wanted peace for herself and her sister. Who could blame her? The reality was that Aunt Betty was due for her own follow-up cancer tests this very month. What if the pain in her joints was breast-to-the-bone cancer! The same disease that was killing her sister could be consuming her as well.

However, Margie doesn’t empathize well. Thus, my brother was outside calming her. Finally, I left the table, too. Joining my sister and brother outside, we discussed calmly the ‘what ifs.’ It was a bit windy but still unseasonably warm. ‘Mom isn’t dead yet. The weather has been mild this year, and she hasn’t developed pneumonia,’ I ventured to think.

Speaking up, “I understand why Betty is asking us to put Mom in a morphine sleep state. She doesn’t want her to be so sick. However, I had to be the one to tell her that the cancer had recurred! And, I had to be the one to tell her she was terminally ill! I refuse to tell her we will be putting her to sleep!”

“It sounds like what you do to a dog!” Margie exclaimed.

“Maybe, we should ask her what she wants,” my brother reasoned.

Aunt Betty mourned when Mike said, “We are going to ask her. We can’t just inflict this mercy of sleep upon her.”

Betty went down the hall to talk about this plan with Mom. Returning to the kitchen, “My sister wants out of this suffering as much as I want it for her. Let me know what you decide. I cannot keep coming.”

While the rest of my family went down the hall, my aunt and I hugged in the driveway.

On my way back through the kitchen door, the Hospice nurse stopped me, “Are you really going to put that lady into a false coma state?”

“No, we are going to talk to Susan, the RN. Too often lately, mom had ‘break-through pain.’ She needs more morphine.”

After my response, this nurse was relieved.

As I entered her bedroom, I remembered two months earlier when my mother stated, “I will never get back to the master bedroom bed.”

Tonight, I believed it. I stood at the edge of the room thinking about people at church who would say they were praying for my mother. Always, I quickly responded, “Don’t pray for her as much as you pray for Stacey. Already on her second mother, Stacey needs your prayers. She is the one left behind again.”

My thoughts continued; I remembered my own petitions to God. Praying for Stacey, I offered eight years off my life if He would give more time to my mother. Stacey is being abandoned a second time. However, this mother is not leaving gracefully. She is fighting to survive. It was a Thursday night and T-minus two weeks. As per my instructions, no one was counting. In fact, no one helped count off her last month of life.

My thoughts were interrupted when our mother began to anxiously call us all closer to her bed. She wanted Dad present, too. Once we were all gathered, her glorious announcement began, “A month ago,” she began retching.

For four months, projectile vomiting racked her. By this point in time, we were all tired of watching this illness progress. The Hospice nurse gave my mother some anti-nausea drugs, which didn’t seem to work. “That drug is useless,” I whispered, unafraid of the nurse’s reaction to my comment.

However, she became a little calmer and continued, “I want you to know that the doctor is wrong. I am not going anywhere. The rumor that I am dying is false.”

Margie and Mike immediately kneeled at her bedside as if they were in reverent prayer. They kneeled and began chanting their approval of this miracle. This revelation was that she was not dying, after all. She hugged and kept speaking to them, “I have shopping left to do.”

Both siblings broke into rambling about how she would be taken to the mall by them. She could use their credit cards. They would facilitate her shopping.

“Anytime you want, Honey. Name it,” Dad sung repeatedly.

While this spectacle took place, I fled the room. My mother was rejecting all the religion she taught me as a child. I was mad at her. I was angry about it all. I began to cry somewhere in that long, dark hallway. My sister came to tell me it was all right to feel bad. After all, at the hospital, weeks ago, Father Matt told her crying was okay. However, her permission was to grieve because she’d miss Mom. On the other hand, I was upset because the same woman who told me the miracle of childbirth was creating one more person that would see the face of God was now turning from His face. I was confused.

Margie and Mike coaxed me back to the room. My brother tried to explain, “Cindy feels bad because she delivered both bad messages to you, the one about the cancer recurrence and the one about you dying. She thinks you are mad at her for having to tell you all the bad news.”

Mom held her arms out to me. Whispering something about missing her, I let her know I didn’t buy the miracle idea. As she held me, the image in my mind of the baby being held by the mother returned. Together, we were pleading for mercy; this cancer was unbearable.

Finally, she spoke, “I am staying here for you.”

With all my knowledge and wisdom, I said quietly, “You are not allowed to do that. You can’t love me more than God.”

“I can’t.”

“No.”

“Then, I’ll miss you.” It was agreed that we’d miss each other. It was about a week before the real miracle began.

Meanwhile, there was a song on the radio that I loved because it was turned around in my life to have spiritual instead of secular meaning. It was the postman song by Stevie B titled “I’ll be Your Guide.” Tonight, the letter was in the mail, and we were a week from the special delivery package. I could find my peaceful spot in that song.

A few weeks back, my mother told her cancer counselor, “I always find peace in my family and the Holy family.”

The Holy family is Jesus’ parents and Himself. That night, the exchange in her bedroom was very close to the example of the holiest family. It was an exchange of pure, unconditional love.


***


Conversations about Death

My aunt and I talked one night about the signs of approaching death. I revealed to her that Mom had a telephone call from a nurse named Inez. It wasn’t a nurse at all. It was their deceased mother.
My aunt told me that my mother told their father, “Fred Astaire was just here for a visit.”

My parents were once good dancers. They won many contests in their youth. My mother used to say that one of her criteria for choosing a mate was that he knew how to dance. My father fit that bill. Now, close to forty years later and unable to walk for well over three months, a great dancer was visiting her bedside.

Did Inez call? Did Fred Astaire visit? These things were not as important as what they meant. What we decided was that my mother was closer to Heaven each day. She would soon be dancing with Fred Astaire. Dancing in the clouds with her mother, Inez.

I told my aunt about my recent dream. “It was so weird! Mom came to me through the passage to the kitchen. Meeting in the doorway, ‘I’ll go get Dad so he can see you walking again, ‘I offered. She motioned for me not to call out for him. She hugged me and left. She was wearing her red Mumu.” By the end of my story, my aunt was unreachable. She was sobbing in dead silence.

“You know, I keep seeing a light over your mother’s bed in my dreams,” she said more composed. “Oh, dear God! The end is so close! I just hope it doesn’t last too long. She is suffering so much.”

My aunt and I were not the only ones having visions. A good friend from work had a strong desire to reveal a dream to me. One day, she sat down at my desk and began telling me her story.

“I don’t know how to say this to you without you figuring I am strange,” Ann spoke in measured speech. “I had a dream about your mother last night. Well, I didn’t actually see her but it is a message about her.” She stared at my face trying to determine if I’d guess she was full of wild imaginings.

“What was the dream about?”

“After waking up to take care of my son, you know that stage right before sleep really starts? I was just to that point, when I saw a door in front of me.” Very cautiously, Ann watched my every move wondering if I understood her intentions. Bravely, she continued. “The door began to open and this incredible light came from the door. It was so bright. The message is, ‘your mother is going straight to Heaven.’” She finished quickly then added, “Do you think I am nuts?”

“No!” Ann and I chatted about God and messages. She realized I was open to God’s plans and sure her message was genuine. “She wants to dance again. She will in Heaven.”

My aunt and I shared other telephone calls about the approaching death. Ann and I shared many conversations, too. As a consequence of my openness to other’s ideas, I began meeting many people who had lost relatives to cancer. Along with my relatives and Ann, all these new friends grieved with me before and after my mother’s death.

During this time, God sent many signs of His presence. Children are open to His messages. There are some side stories about three girls most affected by my mother’s cancer that I would like to share with you. The three children live in my home; they are some of her grandchildren.

One is Jenny, age five. During the last days I spent with my parents, she spent time with the angels in my house. She told me these angels were all over our house, and she wanted to know why they were telling her things. These angels told Jenny she had a future brother.

The second child having visions was Julie, age seven. “Grandma is coming back from Heaven for a visit during my birthday party!” She claimed. Julie had other experiences, which will be discussed later.

The third child has seen my mother dancing with my father in the kitchen of my house. Stacey is more reluctant to tell her stories about visions. She is ten. These stories show you what we do to God and His messages, as we grow older.

Bless the beasts and the children because they are more open to the reality of the two worlds, Heaven and Earth.

Many times before this stage in the dying process, Susan told me about the two worlds opening for a short time as the soul passes. She believed as a Hospice nurse that all things are possible. With all these visions before and after this inevitable death, I began wanting to see the ‘miracle of afterlife’. Instead of dreading the walk down the hall to her bedside, I began rushing to my mother so that I wouldn‘t miss seeing the soul pass as my mom left.

As with any terminal illness, anticipation caused many calls to come into my parent’s house. People were curious about her condition and wanted to say their goodbyes. I would tell them the latest news about Mom’s condition sharing my growing strength with them.

“It’s like having a baby. You can be sure you are in labor but still you cannot predict the minute the child will be born. So there you sit during someone’s labor awaiting the miracle of the birth. Dying is the same except that this time the labor is to leave this earth not to enter it. No one but God knows the hour,” I informed these callers while reconciling death in my own mind.

Often during our telephone calls, my aunt taught, “The angels are sent out to protect His people when the two worlds open to pass a soul.” She continued, “Watch for the signs and messages from God.”


***

Flip me to the Ground

January and December were unseasonably warm. I was glad because my greatest fear was that my mother would get pneumonia. It was bad enough to be dying. At least, it should be a peaceful death.

Standing outside my house, I talked with neighbors about my mother’s condition. One lost her mom to breast cancer. Tears were in her eyes as she relived the experience with me.

Another neighbor, Helen, suffered breast cancer about two years earlier. She shared this occurrence with my mom. After the school bus took her child to school, she jumped in the car and drove over to the crowd that was developing around me. She was on her way to church and prayer group. She showed me a container of water promising to come by my parent’s house later.

Finishing the sidewalk conversation, I left for the house. Feeling a little better, I felt this overpowering need to pray with my mother. After Linda left the room, I sat down talking to Mom.

“Do you want to flip me to the ground?”

This conversation was our first since my bout with walking pneumonia. What I really meant was, ‘are you mad at me for believing you are dying?’ Quickly, Mom nodded yes.

“I will be okay. I will take care of Stacey. She will be okay, too. Mike has Sandy. She will help him through this ordeal. Margie has Andrew to take care of her. Debbie has Bob. I’ll watch out for Dad.” Rapidly, I unloaded this message. “Do you want to pray?”

Staring at me, she motioned to pray. “Our Father,” I shook. “Who art in Heaven,” somewhere about here every other word was followed by a deep gasp for breath.

Muddling through this prayer and the “Hail Mary,” my mother physically reached out to me. “I am staying here for you. I am not leaving.”

With fire in my eyes, I retorted, “You are not allowed to love me that much. If God comes, you have to leave. Stop loving me so much!” I was perturbed because she taught me never to choose anyone over God. “You are not allowed to choose me over God,” I scolded.

As I fled her room, Linda grabbed my arm. “You know you have just done a loving act?” Then she turned to my mother and told her it was hard not to love Cindy. “She is so loveable, right?” Mom nodded in agreement.

Just then, a car pulled in the driveway. Helen arrived. I met her in the yard. She asked, “What prayers does she prefer?”

“She seems to respond to the ‘Our father’ and ‘Hail Mary’.” Being Catholic, she agreed those were good prayers. I took her to my mother’s room where we sat down to pray and talk.

Helen began, “Do you remember me, Mrs. Meyers?” My mom smiled which meant yes. “We shared cancer at the same time. I was just finishing treatments when you had your operation. Remember?” My neighbor was not sure that Mom knew her and was trying to get a connection going before they prayed.

How could my parent forget the woman that spoke to her on the telephone the day after my mom’s mastectomy? The woman on the other end of the line delivered words of faith and hope that after treatments Mom would live on. By the end of the conversation that day, Helen feared never seeing her own children grown up. This woman trusted God but she still wondered about her own destiny.

On the day after my mother’s operation, I witnessed their conversation about trusting God’s Will and living His Will. They widened each other’s faith commitment as they discussed the uncertainties cancer brings to life. That is the day they shared a faith in a loving God. Today would be Helen’s last personal conversation with my mother. In spite of cancer’s return, these two women shared faith, hope, and love.

“You have two girls,” my mother finally spoke up.

“Good! You do know me,” smiles were exchanged. “You know what I brought you? I brought you some holy water from Lourdes. I carry this bottle with me. Some of my relatives were in Europe when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer like you Mrs. Meyers! They brought me this water, and it healed me. So, I want to share some with you. Is that okay?” Helen was nervous but it was really brave of her to face my mother. After all, as her child, my mother is my reflection if I develop that same cancer. However, for Helen, my mom was more than the possibility of her own fate; she was reminded that caner can recur. Admittedly, my neighbor is much braver than I am.

Slowly, Helen opened the bottle of water. The holy water arrived. True healing could begin for Helen, me, and my mother. This lady made the sign of the cross with water on my mother’s forehead. Then, she prayed.

“Our Father,” Helen’s eyes shed their own water.

This time it was Helen that my mother reached out to hold. We had come to comfort the dying but the dying had, also, comforted us.

As they prayed, I thought of my Aunt Betty who had gone through a personal battle with cancer. It was hard for her to watch her sister. The mirror was held too close to Betty therefore she was unable to face the image projected. In fact, more than once in this ordeal, the RN from Hospice called to comfort Aunt Betty. For my aunt’s sake, Susan reviewed peaceful cancer deaths as opposed to the treacherous ones my relative witnessed in her past. She tried to alleviate the horrors my aunt remembered from her memories.

At this time, the healing from Lourdes’ water was a prayer for a peaceful death. We requested a lack of fear of the unknown part of death. This holy water performed its cure.

Helen and I left my parent in Linda’s care. We visited in the kitchen with my dad. He was stuck somewhere between 1960 and 1970. Being her first visit with my father, Helen enjoyed his old stories. However, I worried because he was fleeing faster and faster from today. While the rest of the world was somewhere in early 1991, he was lost deep in the past.

Meanwhile, Helen told cancer stories about her relatives already dead. She commented on my mother’s strong faith and Dad’s love for his wife. Then, she left for her own daily rituals and problems. After that, she kept track of the cancer through me.

After Helen left, my mother and I discussed healing. “Sometimes the answer is no,” I explained remembering a sermon on unanswered prayer.

The priest said, “When I hear someone say that their prayer went unanswered, it is because the answer is no.”

It appeared that we were getting. “No,” for a response.

“We had a miracle when your legs were saved. Maybe, we are only entitled to a certain amount of miracles in a lifetime. Possibly, our limit had been reached.” Adding, “It doesn’t mean God isn’t on own side. It just means no, this time.”

Mom understood me even if my own wisdom was beyond my level of comprehension. The holy water was already working; my fear of walking the hall to see death’s door had been replaced. This holy water brought healing to one of us in that room, me.


***

It’s Pizza Party Time

In November, a very close friend of mine went to the hospital with me to see my mother. Back then she said, “Your mother looks more angry than sick.”

Charlett encouraged me to be hopeful and to pray for a miracle. She buried her father after a battle with cancer. This woman survived two brain operations. She faced mortality in her own life, and she inspired me to believe in the probability of extended life for my mother.

In the moments of panic about the death verdict, I called Charlett. She picked me up and drove me to meet my family at the hospital. During the car ride, she encouraged me to be honest and discuss the inevitable death. This wasn’t a change in faith but rather an acceptance of God’s Will. Charlett walked me up to my mother’s hospital room.

Upon arriving, we found my father and sister. Noticing Mom’s eyes were shut, I motioned for them to follow me. As we walked to the family waiting room, I decided the best way to deliver the news.

‘There goes that migraine I get when I try to be strong,’ I thought. Until cancer hit my family, I never suffered headaches. Now, daily, I lived with a headache the magnitude of a migraine.

Seating my family in the sunny room that Ryan and I went to at Thanksgiving, I proceeded to tell them what the doctor told me over the telephone. I talked slowly, wheezing and coughing throughout the story. “The doctor says she is dying.”

Margie’s eyes hid behind a waterfall. Even though she told me two months ago that our mother was in her last year of life, the reality struck.

“Mom was in there telling us that you left town to avoid her!” Margie blurted out adding, “She is mad at you for leaving her now.”

“I’ll go see her to let her know I am still here.” I responded, “Aunt Betty, the church priest, and Mike are on their way to the hospital.”

Returning alone to her room, I found her eyes were open. From the doorway I chirped, “So what’s this I hear about me leaving town to avoid you?”

Mom had a look on her face like a child would have if they had hidden their mother’s favorite broken vase. Hoping not to have this vase found, she smirked as I approached her bed.

Gently, I reprimanded her, “I am sick and was home trying to get healthy. I called you many times to tell you why I could not visit. Don’t you remember?” I paused at her bedside and in my conversation. At this point, Mom had a huge grin on her face. I finished my lecture on loyalty, “Remember I almost cancelled a trip to Europe for your sake? So why would I leave now? I just stayed home to keep from making you sick.”

My greatest fear was that my mother would get my virus and complications of pneumonia would set in. Then, she would be on a respirator to breathe, and it would be my fault. It is funny how when a doctor says someone is dying you still worry about these living types of things.

“I want to go home,” she finally mustered up the courage to mutter.

“We are arranging it. I have some calls to make to Hospice and to get an ambulance or patient transport vehicle.” We smiled. Then the hard part came. “Do you know what is happening?”

“No.”

“Didn’t the doctor tell you?” I was so mad that I was going to have to be the one to tell her she was dying, Why was everyone else ‘whimping out’ on me? No one followed me back into her room. They were leaving this painful task up to me. However, I was angrier with the doctor for deserting us and abandoning his job of prognosis to me.

“Let me go home! I have a stomach virus, “she whimpered.

My colon twisted in fits but I was trying to stay brave. Positive I would double over in pain and fall to the floor, I grabbed the edge of her bed to stay in balance. “You have cancer. Don’t you remember?”

“I do?” She acted quite surprised. There was a pause that seemed to last an eternity while we just stared at each other. Finally, one of us spoke, and Mom asked, “What does that mean?”

I kept hearing Charlett’s counseling in my mind, “Someone has to be brave enough to discuss the fact that death is approaching. It’s hard but you’ll feel bad if you don’t say good-bye correctly.” By now, Charlett was downstairs on her car phone trying to get Hospice and the patient transport service arranged.

Leaning over the bed, speaking carefully, “You were barfing, right?”

Every time, I saw my mother spit up in these past months, I fled for help mostly because I wanted an excuse to retreat from the suffering. I’d exit the room looking for help even when the help was already nearby.

“Yes! It is a stomach flu. That’s what they told me,” she admitted to regurgitating episodes.

‘A step in the right direction?’ I thought. Asking, “That’s what who told you? Who told you it was just a stomach flu?”

“Linda.” Linda was the cheerleading Hospice nurse who believed in miracles and wanted her new friend to live forever. This nurse was trying to help us but my mother was clutching her fantasy right now. Someone had to mention death. We needed to say our goodbyes properly. Linda’s job included helping my mom enjoy her remaining days while the family’s task was to say our farewells.

“What does the doctor say?” I was trying to find another source to confirm what I needed to face with her. Desperately, I hoped she already knew. Would my question cause the truth to be released?
She muttered, “He won’t let me go home.

I told her I talked to her oncologist and that she would be going home soon. “It will be tomorrow before Hospice, the ambulance, and the doctor will be ready to let you go home.” Sad is not a strong enough word to describe her mood. “You need to be patient.”

“Don’t leave me here one more day!” Then, my mother let me know she trusted very few people. Promising to make calls and arrangements in front of her, she knew I wasn’t lying about going home. I told her that her son was on the way. I informed her that the two of us decided to get twenty-four hour Hospice care.

“The doctor won’t let you go home without it.” In fact, he suggested Hospice house if we couldn’t get it all arranged in time. Now, came the bad news, “Mom, do you know what is going on?” I procrastinated but in my thoughts I heard Charlett scolding me.

“No! I have the stomach flu but I’ll be okay” she insisted.

Sarcastically, asking, “What are you vomiting?”

“What?” She used a tone of voice on me that was like a kid trying to pretend that they did not eat the last cookie.

Reprimanding her with a cold stare, I prodded, “You know.”

“Blood,” she admitted. I was pleased to be making progress towards honesty but afraid that the truth was coming.

“Just where do you think that blood is coming from?”

Timidly admitting, “I have an ulcer.”

Exasperated and trying not to show it, “Didn’t the doctor tell you?”

“Tell me what?” By this point, the cat and mouse game was getting harder.

“You are dying.” My colon tightened and my heart constricted. I secretly wished she’d vomit so I could flee the room in search of help. No such luck.

She immediately spoke, “I am? Why didn’t the doctor tell me?” I had no response to her question.

The migraine moved to my chest, ‘Why didn’t the doctor tell her? Oh, God! I told her she had cancer again. Now I told her about her own death. Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!”

“When am I going to die?” She acted so surprised that I was perturbed. Had the doctor placed this burden of diagnosis on me?

The doctor told me that my mother could live THREE days or at the most a week. I told the others this and warned them not to be surprised if once we get her home she gives up.

Still the lone messenger in her room, I did what anyone in my shoes would do; I lied. “He told me that you were going to die in about a month.” I couldn’t help this exaggeration of days. Secretly, I wanted her to live. Quickly, I added, “But, he isn’t God. It could be longer.”

Silence, then I began to demand the holy water again in my heart. However, I didn’t really know what my thoughts meant.

“Well, that’s that!” Mom declared, finally. “Now, I don’t trust the doctor! He didn’t tell me the truth.”

I reproached her, “Your doctor didn’t want you to live up to his expectations.” After a short pause, “It’s up to you and God.”

Finally, the rest of the relatives arrived in her hospital room. So, did Father Matt. When this priest talked to Mom, she was more accepting of him. This time, no one threw the priest out of her room. As he discussed death, Margie began sobbing.

My mother’s turn to lecture someone, “Don’t you believe in God?”

Father Matt retorted, “Go easy on Margie.”

After that, all my mom did was stare at me. ‘Oh, no, I delivered her death message,’ I thought wondering if she’d ever forgive me for being straightforward.

Promising to stay with her, I was tired, sick, and hungry. We ordered pizza and tried to have a party. If you can enjoy yourself in a hospital, we did.

In the middle of the pizza party, a patient left. As he wheeled past us, he yelled, “Tootle loo.” We all laughed except mom.

I kept trying to get her cold, distant stare to leave me. So, I’d jest. For instance, I kidded her that I spent her ambulance money on the food, and she would have to stay in the hospital.

My mother tried to talk to us but all she managed to say is, “I’m dying in a month.” All her visitors received that message which replaced her pleading, “I want to go home.”

The next day, Linda and I met at 8A.M. to bring my mother home. Linda asked how she was.

“Great! I am going home today.”

That same day, my father went to the funeral home to make secret arrangements. Later in the day, my brother arrived. Mike and I went to the funeral home to approve the arrangements and pay the deposit. The whole time we were there, we kept getting interrupted by my aunt and the Hospice nurse’s calls. If they could find a drug that usually was reserved for hospital use, I would learn how to administer injections. This drug might help; they promised. In the middle of arranging her funeral, I was being told to hurry home to save my mother’s life with this drug.

My illness was consuming me. My family was placing burdens on me that were causing me to be emotionally drained almost beyond repair. The physical result was I had walking pneumonia and didn’t even realize it.

This was my second battle with walking pneumonia. My first time with this illness was when I was a teenager. During this first experience, I was near death. Facing my own mortality, I had an experience that made more sense to me as I left the funeral home, today. I remember the darkness of that night and then a light. Listening to two voices, I overheard my own destiny. One man was telling the God-like man that I was at the gates of Heaven.

“No, I don’t know why she is here,” the man explained.

The Godlike voice told the other man to send me back. “She has not done the mission of her life. Her job on earth is not done. Send her back.”

Jumping out of bed, I threw the light on in search of the voices and the light. Then, I prayed and went back to sleep.

Today, leaving the funeral home, that dream or event was coming forward to my mind. That past experience was preparing me for mortality. Now, I was ready to take my mother by the hand and lead her to the gates of Heaven. Again, I was going to have to turn back. Although, I knew where she was going when she leaves this world, it didn’t make it hurt less. I felt the way Jesus felt when he heard Lazarus was dead. I cried.

As we drove away from the funeral home, I mentioned to my brother that I needed to rob our mother’s small savings account to cover the check I wrote. I felt guilty to be taking her money. My brother assured me that if a miracle occurred she would understand why we pre-arranged her funeral. Nervously, I made the savings withdrawal. Meanwhile, a big part of me hoped the medication I was going to learn to administer would save her life. However, the reality was causing me to count the money I’d just withdrawn, deciding if I had enough to cover the cost of a funeral.

Leaving the bank, I mentioned that Edith was due back in town to help. The New Year approached. I celebrated with a handful of Hals cough drops, a blanket on my parent’s couch, and a needle in my hand. This drug was given every six hours to calm the vomiting so that my mother could attempt eating.
I wore a white mask over my face to protect her from my illness. I could no longer control the dry, hoarse cough. We could only find a T-shirt for my mask.

Trying to end that cold stare. I’d joke, “Who was that masked girl?”

The haunting gaze from the hospital remained on her face. She barely acknowledged me. I was sure she hated me for giving her the death verdict. It made me ill, very ill.

When Susan arrived at the house the day after the holiday, January 2, she sent me home to rest. “We will take over now, Cindy. The drug isn’t working, and you need sleep. Go home.”

On the way home, I could barely see the road even though the sun was bright. I was sobbing. Meeting an old friend who I hadn’t seen in over six weeks, I told him my mother was dying.

“You wanted her to make it through the holidays. You got your wish Merry Christmas, Cindy. “He added, “You know, she is leaving for a better world.”

Smiling again, the conversation turned to other topics, and he made me feel better for a few moments. That day was the last time I tried to save her life.

Edith arrived again. So, I had the weekend off to sleep and get well. Someone told my mom I had walking pneumonia. Like a mother, she admonished the people around her saying, “Tell Cindy not to come around until she is not sick.” They took care of her while I took care of me.


***

The Last Hospital Stay

Whenever Mom was in the hospital many of my friends came to visit her. Although they barely knew her, they felt compelled to visit. She asked quite candidly, “Who are you? Why are you here?”

I remember one day; some friends brought a few scarves for her to wear. Their philosophy, “You look better; you feel better.”

One friend rambled on about how much she cared for me and that she felt the need to accompany me to the hospital. She added, “How is Cindy’s mom feeling today?”

My mother flooded the hospital room with tears. The friend left wondering if she did more harm than good. The reality that made her cry was that Cindy was afraid and her friends came to help ease the fear. This idea made her feel bad for me.

Whenever she questioned me about the visitors, I answered, “They are my friends. Coming here is their way of helping me deal with this cancer.”

Then she looked at me knowingly. She was not a social creature. My mother knew that what all these visits meant was that her shiest daughter learned how to express herself. Now, the world came to her daughter’s rescue in our darkest hours. These visits convinced her that I would survive this experience. Even though I’d miss her, I‘d have tons of moral support. The friends continued their visits at her home. Some even brought meals which by now Mom couldn’t keep down at all.

Life with a terminal illness doesn’t get easier. We admitted my mother to the hospital by emergency ambulance on the morning of December 26. Linda called me at 8A.M. My mother had been sick all night and the blood in her vomit was worse. I told this nurse to call 911 and get her to the hospital fast.
I got a babysitter for the three girls and rushed to her side. My first words to Linda were, “She wanted to make it through Christmas. She got her wish.”

We waited for hours for her to be admitted. As fate had it, Dad met Dr. P. in the cafeteria, and the doctor paid his patient a brief friendship visit in the emergency room. It was the last time she saw the man that gave her back her legs. After they confirmed that she would stay, I went home to my children. I felt ill and went to bed. The stress caught up with me.

During the seven- hour wait in that emergency room, while they tried to decide whether or not to admit her, Linda stood by my mother’s side and gave us moral support. In fact, the nurse sat with us her whole shift. She also donated a pint of blood for her patient’s sake. This Hospice nurse knew this road all too well. She was not only a home health care assistant; she was a person who had lost two of her closest relatives to cancer. She buried her mother and father after terminal cancer won the battle. Now, she faced losing a friend she had just met.

The next day, my family went camping, and I planned to stay home and rest. Mom was safe in the doctor’s care at the hospital, and I was extremely tired. Due to my own illness, I was told to stay off the cancer ward.

Telephoning her, she informed me, “I want to go home.”

On December 29, the doctor telephoned me. When he told me mom had three days or at the most a week of life left, my adrenaline went out of control. In spite of my calmness while speaking with this oncologist, the panic struck. I began dialing my sister’s house, my brother’s number, my aunt’s telephone, and the priest. I dialed so fast that I reached all their places simultaneously. During a brief discussion, my brother decided to bring her home. We wouldn’t let her die alone in the hospital. I called Hospice for round the clock care to be set up.

In the middle of all these telephone conversations, I kept getting interrupted by Mom’s telephone calls. Repeated call waiting tone meant she was trying to get through to me. She wanted to go home NOW. Upon reaching me, my mother hollered, “You don’t understand! You don’t understand! I just want to go home.”

Having just hung up from the telephone conversation with her doctor, I understood more than she knew. Hearing my dad struggling with her, I imagined her as she tried to get out of that hospital bed and walk home. They dropped the telephone while Mom whined and fought to leave.

‘She can’t walk. She’ll fall. She hasn’t walked since October,’ I thought. Unable to get my call waiting to release this sequence, I heard all the upset, I was inept again.

“Please, pick up the phone,” I chanted, yelled, and screamed over and over again. The hollering was not helping my already sore throat. Finally, I got my father to realize I was still on the telephone. “Hold her. Tell her I am on the way. Dad, she is dying. Just hold her. I’ll be right there.”

Mom figured if she left the hospital ignoring the doctor’s death verdict, she’d live.


***

Holy Water

By now the toll of cancer adversely affected my father and me. I tried to hold down a new job and two households. I did maid service as well as being with my parents. When my brother discovered there was no money left in their bank accounts and that I was getting physically ill, he told me to hire a maid. He paid for it so that I could spend more time with my family and less with a dirty bathroom.

My father was dying with my mother. He was stuck in the past; all he did was reminisce. His singing was getting louder. For some people that may sound like he was fine. However, I grew up with my family, and he was getting depressed.

I called my parish for help. Telling them that Mom was dying from cancer, “She needs to talk about God with someone other than the secular counselors from Hospice.”

Father Matt went right over to the house. He tried to prepare her for the reality that Hospice care meant she was terminal. The nurse and my mother threw him out. I called him back and asked him to continue visiting my parents.

‘Help her die,’ I thought. She continually acted the opposite of how she raised us spiritually. She rejected death as being God’s Will. She depended too much on humans instead. She was scaring me.

“How can I die someday in an accepting manner when she is rejecting God so loudly? After all, she has always been so close to God and His Will. Now here she is saying the opposite. I am less religious than her and if she is afraid of death imagine how I will be. If she doesn’t change I will not be able to deal with her death or mine!”

Susan and the Hospice counselor told me it was not a rejection of God or death but that it was denial that she would have to leave Dad, Stacey, the others, and me behind.

“Your mother feels that it is not the right time to die. She knows the task of raising Stacey is not done. Your father is too dependent on her. Your mom knows her death will impact you in many negative ways. You will get all her burdens dumped on you.” Continuing, “In front of you, she is rejecting her own death. It is the denial phase. She will come around to acceptance.”

After this lecture, Susan sent the Hospice counselor to my parent’s house in search of me. They all began worrying about me. My health was failing, and they saw the burden of Dad and Stacey’s care invading my life.

In turn, I kept calling the priest out to see my parents. At times, for no apparent reason and without prompting from me, the priests dropped by the house.

I repeatedly saw images in my dreams. There was a dimly lit mother and child in one vision. Their message was, “We are pleading at the right hand of the Father for your sake.”

During this dream, Mom was walking again, and she was wearing a red flowery Mumu that she owned.
Each time, while watching this vision, I indicated, “I am going to call Dad to see you walking again. Mom would shake her head no. Then, she hugged me and left.

I’d wake up searching and thinking, “We need holy water. The holy water is a part of this miracle. It is the healing water we need. Where is that darn holy water?”

One thing happens to children of cancer victims that does not happen to the spouse. They are not only heirs to physical estates but they are heirs to chance, luck, or destiny. They carry that person’s genes.  

They cannot avoid the fact that medically they can follow in the dying person’s footsteps. Part of my desire for my mother to beat cancer was the hope that faced with the same diagnosis, I too could live on.

In fact, I encouraged her to continue treatments long after believing it could work. She knew that all they learned, right or wrong, went to the next generation’s benefit. So, she continued on with chemotherapy long after she really wanted to live.

One day in November, my father was caught in the hopelessness of this disease. My parents were crying. Sitting in the room with them, I cried for the first time since the day I told my mother to call her oncologist because the cancer was back.

“You are my mirror. What if I get cancer, someday?”

Selfishly, I was scared for my own fate. Pain-filled, I had watched her gag for three months daily. Repeating my own mother’s words, “I hear it is painful to die from cancer. I was hoping you would not have lived through this pain.”

Then, I went home wondering where the holy water was.


***

Leaving Home- Would She Return?

I put a baseball cap on Mom’s head and the ambulance drivers loaded her into their wagon. Stacey sat with her. Driving behind them to the hospital, I shed tears. Luckily, I can cry and not get puffy red eyes fast. When I arrived at the hospital, I pulled my nerves together, and like a well-trained soldier rushed to my mother’s side as they wheeled her to a room. There, I awaited today’s orders. In the room, my pacing began from window to her bed.

She was in great pain in her back and legs. The morphine pump would not disperse enough to calm her. The Hospice number was left behind at home. Hospice was such a new service for us that I didn’t realize I needed their telephone number or the name of the RN on the case. After all, I only met Susan once.

Quickly, I dismissed the initial shock of Hospice being on the case. I knew from college days that this organization was for the terminally ill but my heart still would not believe my mind.

My mother wanted to know, “Who says I will never recover or walk again?” She demanded, “Who thinks I am dying?”

I was left alone with her because my father rushed home for telephone numbers. Fidgeting, I tried to ignore her questions.

“Here,” she said removing jewelry from her body, “take these and put them somewhere safe. Keep them, Cindy.”

Jokingly, I said, “I am going out partying with Stacey after I hock these diamonds!”

My mother told me she wanted me to do just that, “I am in good hands now,” she added. I didn’t know if she meant God’s hands or the hospital’s. Desperately, I wanted to believe she meant God’s hands.

“Get the radiation treatments, recover, walk again, and then flip all the doom and gloom seekers to the ground.” We made a pact for her to do just that. Meanwhile, we discussed the time when Aunt Betty made a promise to bring a faith healer to her sister. Betty thought that was the only cure left. My aunt was sure in her mind that my mother would die but her heart wanted the opposite. The faith healer came to my parent’s house one day. It didn’t work.

Today, my mother remembered that day, “I thought I’d jump right up and walk that day. I kept waiting. Cindy, will I ever walk again?”

“If you want to, I suppose anything can happen. Sure you will,” I assured her. Mom did walk fourteen steps one day but she never really walked again. Each step was torture for her, and it was misery for me to watch the therapist working with her. It was such a struggle and so much pain for so few movements of normalcy.

My mother spent Thanksgiving in the hospital getting radiation treatments. We brought her a little bit of everything including her favorite, lemon meringue pie. She tried to eat as my brother lay in her bed and she sat in a chair. She held her grandbaby, Kyle, and talked to Ryan. I took Ryan for a walk because the look on his face showed he had enough of grandma’s illness.

I remember the first time my five-year-old raced down the hall to see grandma after “chemo” began to take her hair. She got to the bedroom door and began backing up.

“Gr... Gr... Grandma, you cut your hair,” Jenny managed to get out.

We told her it was grandma’s Halloween costume. She told grandma that she didn’t like it and to grow her hair back out. When I noticed Ryan had that same uneasiness, I took him for a walk to a sunnier side of the hospital, the waiting room.

My mother returned home after twelve radiation treatments, we were encouraged. The oncologist said, 

“We are killing tumor, which is unusual for this form of cancer.”

We hoped this thing was in remission and so did the doctor. A physical therapist began coming to her house. Meanwhile, we ordered a day nursing assistant to clean Mom and care for her needs. This nurse began wheelchair therapy bringing mom out of her bedroom to partake in meals with any company there. Again, the company was Edith; she was up from Miami for the weekend.

The Hospice nurse, Linda, made my mother talk; I mean real conversation. This nurse believed her patient was special and that a miracle could happen. She became a family member, which was not good for her to do. Linda told me time and time again that Mom could make it. By this point in this episode with cancer, I was ready to relinquish my cheerleading role. This nurse took my job of encouraging my mother to flip her doubters to the ground.

Things got easier for a while. My brother had set up maid service to give me a break. Dad had company and help from the Hospice home health care assistant. Life became hopeful or, at least, tolerable. However, the cancer villain was taking its toll on my father. He wrote some notes about giving up and locked himself in his room. Linda called me at work for advice and help. He, to put it mildly, was burned out from his wife’s constant care. The dreaded thing was happening; Christmas was approaching.

Linda spent those last days with her patient trying to help each moment produce enjoyment. In fact, our city sent Santa around on a fire truck throwing prizes and candy. Hearing sirens and rumors of Santa on the way, Linda stood outside the house waiting. Her plan was to stop Santa and ask him for a special gift. He obliged her wishes walking to my mother’s bedroom window. He tapped on the window to get her attention. This nurse will never forget the last gift Santa gave my mom. It was a huge smile.

I completed my Christmas shopping early. I had done all my parents’ gift purchasing as well. Everything was wrapped and set in my mother’s view as a positive reinforcement to make it through Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve with my family. It was pathetic to say the least. However, our mom tried to be a trooper. Watching her grandchildren for her last time, Mom opened her gifts. The pain was so bad; we put her back to bed.

All she did for days was vomit. She had been spitting blood for a few days. Death was approaching. The blood in her vomit was a bad sign. I stared at the Christmas tree knowing she would never share another Christmas with us.

I spent a good part of Christmas day alone with my mother. During this time, it was hard for her to keep any food down, so I prepared a bland meal for her of spaghetti noodles and hot pretzels. She tried to make me happy by eating a few bites. However, her headaches were getting worse because the cancer was taking over her brain.

“Will I ever walk again? Cindy, please, help me sit up. If I can sit up, I can try to walk.” I pulled her body to a sitting position but she fell over to the other side. Her Christmas day was a disaster.

To make it worse, my father made her lay in bed in a new position to avoid bedsores and to relax the painful side of her body. However, she hated the view and the window blew chilly December weather at her bald head. Upset, she was unable to walk away and fix her bed her way. I was flustered trying to help her. Mom was miserable on her favorite holiday. I called for reinforcements. Margie and her husband, Andrew, came over helping me move the bed away from the window.

After an argument about moving Mom, Dad left in his car. Meanwhile, her head ached so I looked for Tylenol. It was a far cry from a Merry Christmas.

Linda, the Hospice nurse, called on Christmas day and knew it was not a pleasant day for us. Dad returned. This nurse scolded him. “Give that lady anything she wants! It’s Christmas day!”

Linda cared too much, and it was apparent to us. She was there not only for her patient but also for my father and me. The rest of the onlookers began to resent Linda’s take charge type of caring. They thought she was misleading Dad and me with her desire for a miracle cure. However, for the two people closest to the everyday reality that Mom was dying, Linda, like Edith, was a Godsend.
At this point in this cancer ordeal, the rule became that everything should be done to make Mom comfortable and happy.


Friendly Visits

Edith came many times from September through January. She spent her vacation days making meals for Dad and cleaning up. She tried in vain to get her best friend to talk, to laugh, and to cry.
All mom did for Edith was say, “I love you.”

Edith forced her to get tests and set up an appointment for one minor operation. She became a pro at arguing with medical staff to perform a procedure, “TODAY, so that we don’t have to make a second ambulance trip!”

By this time, all medical trips were by patient transport methods or ambulances. Life was changing quickly. The money was running out. Conversations with my mother were getting shorter. She abandoned television and most of her pleasures in life.

During one of Edith’s trips, Mom had a tube inserted into her veins for direct access chemotherapy. The oncologist never restarted these treatments. However, the catheter was used to administer morphine and glucose so the operation was not totally wasted.

Mom did love Edith. During one of her visits, we had a makeshift birthday bash for Edith. It ended in disaster as Dad irrationally scolded the kids for giggling, laughing, and playing in the house.

“Get out! Leave! My wife is terminally ill,” he hollered.

In our minutes alone, Edith and I discussed the reality that was being ignored in front of my mom. We talked about our friend who was dying.

“It is going to be over near Christmas.” I confided in Edith, “I have had that fear for over a year now.”

We knew I was right, in spite of our hearts’ desires. Edith told me that she would be here for me whenever I was in need. Even today, she continues to carry out that pledge of undying friendship to me. She has been my second mother since my birth. My mom encouraged that relationship.

By now it was mid-November and Thanksgiving was days away. Again, a call came to me from my younger sister, Margie. The test results were in from one of those days spent outpatient. Mom was going to be admitted for radiation treatments. Rushing to her side, I set up the ambulance ride.

Arriving home, Dad thought aloud, “Don’t you trust me to take care of my own wife? You had no right to set up a hospital stay without my permission.”

“The doctor set it up! I followed orders!”

I didn’t want to be the first to say the cancer had spread rampantly so I told Dad to leave the room. After all, I was the one who carried the trauma of telling my parents that the cancer had returned, and I did not want any new burdensome messages to give out. He left for the kitchen. I followed a few minutes later.

“Dad, the test results are in.” I was relieved to see him understand the unspoken part of my message.  

He calmed down so I could return to her room.

My mother was staring into eternity. Turning to me, she said, “Well this is it. I guess I am going to die. You know the worst part is that I am going to miss you.”

I wanted to reprimand her. After all, Mom taught me that in Heaven you do not miss people on Earth. Now, she was telling me the opposite. The recurring migraine headache returned. It had been over a year since I began pretending I was not afraid of the dark cloud that hovered over our family. Now here I was fighting off a migraine headache while I tried to control the tears.


***

The Healing Begins

All mom wanted was a hot pretzel from the shopping mall. I went shopping for some new clothes with my husband and began insisting irrationally that we bring a pretzel to her. My husband’s mother survived cancer, and he did not realize why I was acting as if she was in her last days. It was mid-October, and Christmas was near. I had to give her whatever she wanted even if it was 9P.M. I began verbal insistence on purchasing the pretzel.

“Look, the kids are tired. She probably isn’t even up. Let’s just go home,” My husband offered between my quickened speech.

It didn’t matter that the kids were whining or that it was past bedtime. The last thing I wanted to be told was that Mom was probably asleep already. She asked weeks ago for a hot pretzel and she’d have to wake up to get her wish.

My husband took us home, but I stayed in the car. He got out and took the children into bed one at a time because they fell asleep on the way home from the mall. Alone, I delivered the hot pretzel that by now was lukewarm. Arriving at her house, I noticed my sister’s car in the driveway. I popped through the kitchen door and clopped down the hall to my mother’s room. She had been moved to Stacey’s bed because it had a rail, and it was easier to get in and out of that bed. Margie was in the room with a very wide-awake mom.

“Pretzels,” I chirped, glad that I had brought more than one.

Stacey, Margie, and Mom followed me to the kitchen. My mother walked very slow and looked frail for her two hundred pounds. Upon entering the kitchen, I noticed she was losing her hair in clumps. The first round of chemotherapy a year ago had only thinned it, but this round was destroying her hair.

“You are going bald,” I joked.

She looked up from her seat and over her pretzel as if to say, “What’s it to you?” What she said aloud was that she needed a wig like my husband’s mother wore at Jenny’s birthday.

My mother-in-law forked over the wig as soon as I told her that Mom had made that comment. It was the cancer that had brought them closer. They kept track of each other. Many times they discussed the possibility that one or both of them may die from their cancers. However, it was suddenly a reality, and my mother-in-law shared my mother’s load whenever she could.

Every Tuesday was “chemo” day. Dad took her. She went straight to bed upon returning home. I would call and get an update. We counted down the sessions. “Okay, that makes four sessions- only eight more to go.”

This time, except for the excessive bedtime, she appeared to be handling the chemotherapy better. She was not vomiting like the last time.

“Thank God,” I announced too soon.

It was nearing November. Stacey would be turning ten, and we wanted it to be special. We decided on the children’s Polynesian Luau at Disney. I made the reservations for Stacey, a friend, my two children, and three adults. As the day approached, it became apparent that my mom would not be attending. I decided we could videotape it for her to see later but the event would proceed. I invited my sister to come using my parent’s reserved slot.

Dad began to bow out of the activity, too. It was Stacey’s birthday and neither of her parents would make it to her party. They adopted her when her natural mother, my other sister, gave her to them. She was two months old when they took over her care and by age two her adoption was final. Stacey knew no other parents. Without them joining us, the party went on as scheduled. In spite of the circumstances, the relatives attending this function enjoyed themselves. After the party, I dropped Stacey home. She hollered nasty things at mom about her sickness and her constant barfing. This child was locked in the stage of grieving called anger.

By now my mom didn’t go a day without vomiting at least one of her meals. Stacey was getting angrier with violent outbursts like that night. I left her there knowing in my heart how much my mother was hurting. It wasn’t just physical; she was dying emotionally, too. This child she had cared for was being vicious. I was old enough to know regrets, and I worried for Stacey’s wellbeing.

The next day, she talked with me about Stacey’s rage. “Your Dad is very angry, too! Take Stacey home with you until I am better.”

My mom had been bedridden since October’s end, and it was almost December. Every day, she was going to walk the next day. She constantly consoled herself with the idea that when she got rid of this backache she’d walk again. The pain went the length of her back and down her legs. She blamed it on her lack of exercise.

“Tomorrow, I will feel better,” she constantly hoped.

We all wished it could be true, but it became harder and harder to believe. By now, my husband kept warning me to prepare for the worst. He wanted me to get all my ducks in a row for the inevitable, death.


It’s July – Why Not Cancer?

I spent weeks planning my thirty-third birthday. The invitations were sent. Mom always told me if you want twenty people to attend a function invite twice that amount. Therefore, every person I knew was invited to come to my birthday bash. The goal was to have a crowded house. However, an event that changed my life was going to blind me to the joy of my own birthday celebration.

Aunt Betty went in for breast surgery due to a cancerous lump. A few days before my birthday, Mom came into my office to announce this fact to me. I looked up from the telephone and saw my mother prancing to my desk. She informed me of my aunt’s upcoming operation.

Without pause, I mentioned, “These things tend to run in families. You should get a mammogram done immediately.”

“The test is already scheduled.”

The results of the mammogram came back days before my birthday. My mother tried to hide her upset. However, my plan was to leave on a family vacation immediately following my party. Unable to keep her secret, she grabbed her telephone and called me. During this conversation, she announced that the lump in her breast was almost definitely cancer. She needed to know when I’d be back, so she could schedule her surgery.

I was on a portable telephone and began to pace the floor as we talked. Five years earlier, my mother almost lost her leg to diabetes, and I was sure a doctor in the health cast news could cure her. A year before today, she announced that her foot ulcer was healed to the point that the doctor had left the room in tears. Dr. P. wasn’t sure he could save her foot but he had. Now, just a short year later, our faith in God was up for another test.

Pacing and grasping at hope, I reminded her that her leg had been saved. “It is not necessarily a bad thing. God saved your leg, which you need to walk. Now, he is taking a part you don’t really need.” 

Remembering people who have lived after cancer surgery, we discussed how far medicine had come.
In my silent periods on the telephone, I was gently reminded by my memories that my mother-in-law had been a cancer victim. Three years earlier my mother-in-law announced she was having an operation on Monday just like President Reagan had had for his colon. She made her outburst at a small, family gathering for my thirtieth birthday. The conversation went quickly into a name for the baby I was carrying at the time. Luckily, that party was small, family, and intimate. It didn’t completely stop the celebration for me. After all, it was my mother-in-law, not Mom.

This showstopper was my mom. Even though I knew my mother-in-law was still in remission, I thought all night about my mother’s upcoming surgery. I kept thinking, “She is going to die near Christmas. It’s her favorite holiday.”

Every Halloween was followed immediately by Christmas music and decorations in my younger years. I am not an avid collector. Pack rat describes a person opposite from me. Until people discovered I learned to love Christmas collections from my mother, no one ever knew what kind of gift to purchase for me. Now, my heart wouldn’t stop telling me that she would be in misery and dead in her favorite time of year. Fear paralyzed me because it was July already. December comes quickly after the summer.
The night of my thirty-third year in this world was party time. At least fifty people arrived with covered dishes. I found my way to two people whose mothers survived breast cancer. My party centered on conversations with them. The rest of the people probably didn’t notice that the hostess was distracted all night. My only mingling was during the cakes cutting. I drank three wine coolers and lost my sense of correct sentence arrangement. That’s how I made it through. Close friends commented on the three drinks I had because I never drank more than two wine coolers.

My mother was at the party. She pranced around and entertained everyone. Therefore, when I announced at the PTA staff meeting a few Tuesdays later that my mom was ill, one of the board members, a party guest, sat in disbelief. She questioned, “Did you just find out?”

“No, I’ve known since my party.”

“But, your mother was there and happy. I had no idea!” She exclaimed.

As indicated previously, after my birthday party, my family left on a trip to South Seas Plantation somewhere on the West Coast of Florida. It is surprising that this trip was one of my favorite vacations because I called my mom every day to see if she was still alive. Most of the time, I was somber and pensive. In the quiet periods during that trip, all I could think was that my mother was dying. Even though I knew many cancer survivors, the image that Mom would die near Christmas chased me.

On the morning of my mother’s operation, I raced to get to the hospital. I found her room and sat with my sister, my father, and her. The sun was so bright that the day was filling the room. The clock roared as it clicked off the minutes. Two thoughts filled my silence. One thought was, ‘Would she survive?’ The other worry on my mind was, ‘Would my brother make it from his home to the hospital on time to kiss Mom before the operation?’ As they put my mother on the stretcher to bring her down to surgery, I stood at her side. The others left to the family waiting room. I felt compelled to walk her to the doors beyond which I could not enter. My face was burning as it became flushed. If they could break from severity, I’d have broken my facial muscles as I whispered good-bye. Turning away and fighting back tears valiantly, I developed a migraine that lasted until I saw my brother approaching, “You just missed her; she is in surgery. Mom knew you were coming. Good thing you called.”

It is funny that I heard Dr. P.’s page to surgery moment after she left for her operation. He is the man who saved her leg from amputation due to diabetic ulcer. Next, we waited close to a century in the family waiting room.

Finally, the doctor performing this surgery arrived. “Mr. Meyers,” he addressed my father, “It indeed was cancer. As discussed, I performed the radical mastectomy. The nodes looked good, but I took four for pathological testing to be sure. Your wife will be in recovery for a few hours. Why don’t you take a break and come back at 7P.M.?”

When we returned, she was so groggy from the general anesthesia that she didn’t enjoy answering the questions that my father and siblings posed. I suggested we leave her in peace and come back the next day or as our schedules permitted. She looked relieved that we were going.

A few days later, my mother told me that the look on my face before her surgery made her desire to live on. “Stacey and you give me a reason to survive. So, I am going to take chemotherapy and live to see Stacey graduate from high school.” Stacey is my eight-year-old niece who was adopted by my parents. At this point, Mom took hold of a reason to live.

There were many setbacks during the six months of chemotherapy and that first year. The area of the surgery got staph infection. Her diabetes caused the complication. Next, my mom lost her hearing and the family doctor told her the cancer must have spread to her brain. Early tests did not prove this theory to be true and some of her hearing did return at a later date. However, the worst trip back to the hospital was six months later.

My husband and I got a trip of a lifetime. The company was sending him to England. I was going, too. Our mothers volunteered to help with our two children so we could traipse through Europe in peace. A bad feeling filled my soul; my mom was going to be hospitalized soon. In my mind, I kept trying to cancel the trip.

“You seem uneasy about your upcoming trip. Don’t you want to go?” She questioned me about my plans.

“If you are sick, I will forfeit my trip,” was my response.

“I’m fine. Go and have fun!”

For the most part, the trip was a dream. The trip to France was a lifetime goal fulfilled. I studied French and wanted to spend part of my college education in Paris. However, my strict Catholic parents wouldn’t hear of a girl leaving home except for marriage or the convent. So, married, finally, I arrived in Paris. Thoughts about Mom fled my mind the whole time I was in Europe. Mainly, I thought of how much fun it would be to return and live here for a few months. ‘What an education that would be for my children! It would be an unforgettable experience.’

Just a few days after I returned home, my father called. He was peeved and perturbed. My mother was sick and refused to go see the doctor. Apparently, he had a V.A. clinic appointment of his own and was nervous about leaving her alone. I had the day off and promised to check in on her.

The first call made to her was a bit nerve wracking. She was in pain and let me know it, but she said she’d sleep and get better. Calling back an hour later, I heard her pick up the telephone and put it back down. Futile attempts at calling her continued with no answer. I threw Jenny, my youngest daughter, in the car and raced to my parents’ house afraid of what was happening. Flying through the kitchen door and calling for Mom with no response, I thought, ‘Oh God! What is it this time?’

After close to a year with cancer and setbacks, you begin to dread the next hospital stay. However, the alternatives are even more formidable. Once at her bedroom door, I found her alive but too sick to get to the bathroom to vomit. So there she sat at the edge of the bed. Immediately, I called the doctor.

Today, the doctor’s office was too busy. They were taking no more appointments. Meanwhile, the children were due out of school and Dad would be home to help me soon. However, in the minutes that surrounded me, I began to think that if this bad feeling didn’t pass I’d dial 911. Finally, the doctor’s office called back with an anti-nausea prescription.

After the telephone conversation, I told Mom I headed to pick up my niece and my daughter, Julie. “I will return with this prescription as well.”

She just waved me away vomiting and moaning from pain. Standing there, a thought overwhelmed me, ‘I love my mother but if this is her future I cannot keep her here on my account.’ Finally, I was off to the school and then to the pharmacy to save her life.

When Dad got home, he began talking her into another hospital trip. She relented the next morning and was admitted through the emergency room. This round at the hospital was diabetic coma, not the cancer. She recovered, and we had some good months from June to September.

Near the end of July, Mom complained of a throbbing in her chest that was getting worse. She had returned to gardening and had taken a fall in the yard. A neighbor pulled her up off the ground. Was the pain a result of that event? The pain was getting worse each day instead of better.

All the blood tests were coming back good and the bone scan done in April was okay, too. When my mother reported the pain to her surgeon, he said it was probably just a sprain and put some heat on it.
After that doctor’s appointment, I went to visit Mom. The cancer treatments destroyed her hair, but it was almost restored. She had it all puffed up. Even though the smell of Ben Gay filled the room, she looked the best I had seen her in a year. So it was hard to believe the cancer was already attacking.  

She attended Jenny’s fifth birthday and Ryan’s fourth. Ryan is my brother’s child.

She held her grandson, Kyle, almost the whole day on Ryan’s birthday. My brother’s second child shared my mother’s birth date. His birth was the bridge that renewed their friendship. My brother did his share of rebelling and false witness against his parents. However, my brother was now a parent and he was becoming a son again. So it was providence that the last grandchild Mom held and kissed was born on her birthday.

As the summer faded into a memory, the pain in her chest grew stronger. The family doctor, finally, saw her because the throbbing was unbearable. An X-ray was taken immediately. The thing causing the problem was in the shape of a triangle. We thought that maybe it was a leftover sponge from last year’s operation.

My sister spoke our thoughts aloud, “It could not be cancer! The body doesn’t grow in the shape of a triangle.”

I called Mom, daily, as she went through more cancer tests.

“It is a sign. It is a sign from God. We are about to be a part of a great miracle. That is why whatever it is in your chest is triangle. This shape stands for the Trinity.”

The Trinity is God as three entities. I was as sure of my interpretation as I am of my first name. Except my human will wanted it to mean life for my mother. As a human, I was unable to see death on Earth as any more than the loss of my mom.

My sister, Margie, works for one of the doctors on the case. She knew it was cancer before us. The oncologist was looking for my mother. On that particular day, no one was home. Margie panicked because the cancer was back. Not knowing what to do next, Margie called me at my desk at work. I answered, and she immediately told me that the spot on Mom’s lung was cancerous.

“Find Mom and tell her to call the oncologist for an appointment," She reported to me.

I was without a car. Any other day, I could have jumped in the car and gone. A friend was leaving work early for college courses that afternoon. He drove me to my parent’s house and dropped me off.
When my mom walked in from her lunch date with Dad, she knew something was wrong. “Why are you here? Where is your car?”

“Call the oncologist immediately. He wants to talk to you.”

“I knew it was too easy. I knew I wasn’t going to get off with just a little chemo. What is wrong, Cindy?”

“It’s the cancer. It’s back,” I answered calmly.

My mother got all her courage together then called her doctor who told her the same news. He set her up for a consultation. Upon hanging up the telephone, she looked at me questioning, “Did I sound cool enough? Was I brave enough?” I stared with no path for my thoughts until she added, “I hear it is painful to die from cancer.”

We cried and hugged. She proceeded to call her sister and her best friend, Edith. Acting positive, she decided to put on the wig hat, go the chemotherapy route, and survive. A feeling of ineptness began to fill my soul.

In the days that passed right after the news, I stared at the calendar and wonder what day my mother would die. It was like looking into a cave entrance and not knowing you had already passed the threshold. As I stood inside the cave, all sense of direction was lost, and all I could see was the darkness before me.

Mom had to see a heart specialist because if she could not pass the stress tests the oncologist would not do the next round of chemotherapy. I accompanied her to the appointment with her heart specialist.  

Afterwards we went to lunch at Morrison’s cafeteria. Waiting hours to eat, this lunch became very solemn because she couldn’t enjoy the chicken she ordered. Her favorite food was chicken but today she was too weak from the stress tests to enjoy this restaurant.

Looking up from her plate, she said, “I guess, this is when reality sets in.”

I took that to mean she realized how sick she was. It was the burden of knowing Mom was not going to live this time.

Edith called earlier in the week and made plans to vacation at my parents’ house. Therefore, when we got back to their house, Edith was already there. She arrived from Miami and visited with Dad for a few hours before we got back home. After some small talk, I left Mom and her best friend there to talk, laugh, and cry together. Reality was setting in for just about everyone.

A couple of weeks after Edith’s visit, the heart tests revealed that my mother had a strong heart. When 

Edith called me for the news, I said, “Mom has a good heart.”

Edith commented, “In more ways than one.” Adding, “I just wanted to know the status before I called your folks. Then, I know how to talk to Jean when I call her next.”

This was the beginning of Edith calling me first while bracing herself in the event of bad news. That way she could call my parents with all her defenses up if the day’s news was bad.

A few days later, I noticed my mother was counting the days aloud. I asked her what all the counting was. She said, “Cancer takes 120 days to metastasize and go through the system. If it has done that I won’t make it.”

Then, she counted ninety days since the first pain in her chest. “Borderline,” she commented. “It depends on how many days it was there before the pain.”

I was the first to admit to myself that it was cancer and that meant probable death. However, I was the last to believe it in her presence.

“Don’t worry about it. Let the doctor tell you when to worry,” I consoled.

This was the beginning of the cat and mouse game where behind her back I prepared for her death but in front of her we talked about positive life reinforcing things. As I dangled my mother by her own tail, I would act like any playful cat. Her health was all downhill from there. I would not wish cancer on anyone.

“I hear it is painful to die from cancer.” It is distressful to watch someone you know fulfill their own prophecy and die a slow, agonizing death.


***

Foreword- I Will Survive

When I tell people about my recent losses, they just reel back and ask me how I am surviving it. I simply look at them and say, “I don’t know.” While my parents may have left some pennies behind for the heirs to squabble and fuss over, my mother left me the story of her journey beyond this world’s process of dying. She asked me over and over again if I would be okay the day after she left. With all the strength of my soul, I affirmed her question by saying, “I think so.”

In the veil of darkness, at 2:24A.M., on Thursday, January 24, 1991, my mother’s body gave up its last round with breast cancer. In the gloom of night, at 9:15P.M., on Tuesday, February 19, 1991, an emergency call came into my house from one of my father’s neighbors. My father had killed himself.  

After a routine mammogram on March 5, 1991, my doctor told me that I had an irregular mass and needed more tests. The tests revealed that it was not cancer, but I found myself thoroughly exhausted. How much can the human soul take?

One day, while at church, I heard a sermon about an African tribal leader who lost his very young son to death. The priest remarked, “At the funeral, this father seemed joyous, in spite of his loss.” Continuing, “When I asked him why he didn’t mourn the son’s death, this leader said that he could not question his God’s Will.”

Through primitive faith, the tribal leader taught the learned priest the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount, “Thy Will be done.”

The missionary priest said, “This leader of men took his orders from God. He didn’t live by, ‘My will be done.’ This man’s total acceptance of God’s Will gave him the inner peace to accept his child’s death.”
This missionary priest told the congregation he wished for faith that strong. As I wrote this book, I prayed for the same strength.

Sometimes events occur in life that do not make sense until we reflect back on them. Some of the things I will share with the reader are translations so that they will make better sense. Others are events exactly as they occurred. Many of God’s mysteries are beyond human words and concepts. Thus, I will interpret ideas into more fluid ones for the reader. Some of the translations were easy enough for me to handle alone. For other communications, I needed a parish priest to explain the symbolic idea to me. In God’s Will, my mother delivered every key for each door God would allow me to access. However, I had to find each door and open it.

The outcome of this story is not just death, but it is a story of peace. In your darkest hours, I hope this book can generate the strength you need to survive a loss. If you need to widen your faith in a loving, caring God, I pray these words can help you. Remembering I lived through it all, I hope to deliver courage as well as faith, hope, and love.

My favorite phrase is, “I am surviving!” And so will you.



***


His Story
Compiled By: Cynthia Meyers-Hanson
It can be purchased via
AMAZON author site https://www.amazon.com/author/mchanson714

or
SMASHWORDS http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=mchanson714




Almost Heaven Continued
By
Cynthia Meyers-Hanson


You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
(Psalm 77:13-15)


Breathless

My young life felt unbearable; my father suffered mental illness pouring it out on his family. We suffered dysfunction; I never truly trusted any family member except, maybe, my mom.  

When I asked for a sixteenth birthday party, she informed me that my lack of boyfriends and girl pals signaled no need for a celebration similar to the one my sister enjoyed two years prior to that request. Feeling isolated, with no hope, I began slowly giving up life. Being a coward, suicide was not my option. Instead, I allowed the next big virus to overcome me.


In the middle of the night, after repeated relapses of this illness, my body succumbed to walking pneumonia; I was breathless. As I let go, my room became as bright as daylight but no one had turned on the lamp in the area. The radiance spread out from just behind me encompassing the entire space while slowly surrounding me as if in a hug. I knew its origination remained behind my line of vision but avoided turning towards that glow. It felt as if I spun towards the source’s brilliance that my soul would be captured and moved to the afterlife; I remained a bit of a coward in that moment. My spirit wasn’t sure what it really wanted but God knew His Plan.


Soon, I heard two, male voices chatting about me. One commanding Spirit asked why I arrived at the Gates of Heaven. St. Peter replied that he had no idea because it was not my time, yet. The booming, authoritative man commanded, “Then, send her back! She has not yet completed her mission.”


My bedroom fell dark as I realized that my mind and soul was engrossed in “The Lord’s Prayer.” At that moment, I had no idea what my mission might be but I knew God sent me back to finish it. My spirit was a bit shaken by this experience; I was breathless in anticipation. 

I kept that encounter secret until my mother’s deathbed. She shared her ‘tonsil operation’ vision; at age ten, she was in the tunnel with The Light but was sent back. While smiling, I mentioned that God made me stop short of Heaven, also. After that testimony, unconditional love- A.K.A. my mom- was breathless. This time, she raced towards the light to be with God in Paradise.

The Missionary
Textbook Case

After breaking my bone in multiple places, I spent hours waiting for doctors to decide my fate. From the first ER, they transported me to a trauma center. In spite of having my loved ones by my side, I worried so I prayed.  

When we arrived at the specialty hospital via ambulance, a girl with the waltz of a ballerina came in to set me up in my hospital room. We found out she lived two counties away but chose to be a Patient Care Technician there because a trauma doctor saved her life.  

She’d been texting and lost control of her car amputating her legs. In spite of the fact that she coded, that physician reattached those limbs. Now, about a year later, we met before my partial shoulder replacement surgery.  

She’s a text book case of why texting and driving is bad. More importantly- she’s a text book case in trusting God’s Will because her surgery made her stronger in life as well as shoring up her faith. She showed how much she cared when that young lady lovingly told my family her story showing me the path through my own surgery and recovery.  
God’s love joined us as we repaired life’s damage.

Her patient

Harmonizing in the Spirit

I recently wrote a friend an e-mail about my accident because he was going through hard times. To this day, that intersection- where I faced death- makes me think about bypassing it and taking a different way home. But, I try to face it head on to get over the fear.  

I don’t remember all of my car wreck but a few things come to mind. Right after the other driver plowed through my vehicle, in that intersection, my body felt queasy anytime my eyes opened. It felt worse and worse- soon after the accident. So I shut them keeping them closed tight.

I remember parts of the ambulance, helicopter ride. All my injuries that made them call for that emergency transportation caused me extreme nausea; I continued to keep my eyes closed even while coherent. It felt better that way. However, I was awake and aware while in the air; I heard the paramedics and people on the radio repeating that I coded. At that point in time, I felt light as if my soul detached from my nausea-ridden body but there was a peace not a fear in that knowledge. It wasn’t scary just bright and kind of nice to be hovering away from my physical pain.


During the flight, I heard myself singing a religious song. I felt calm and happy enough to sing. It may have been my mind or soul enjoying the tune because the crew just kept administering medical aide trying to revive me.

Later, my dad said that he heard the same song that my soul sung; it came on the radio as he raced to the teaching hospital to see me- alive- hopefully. Unaware of my peaceful reverie, separated by miles, my father harmonized with my soul belting out the same exact tune while sensing that God guided him safely to the trauma center.


During the ordeal, I remember being very serene as well as aware that if I permanently coded (died) that my family and girlfriend would be in MORE PAIN emotionally then my body currently, physically suffered. As we landed at the hospital, I was very aware of the lifesaving activities taking place even though my brain felt semi-comatose, in a coma, or worse. Quickly, nurses and staff raced to me to help; they cut off my clothes and prepped me on the run for surgery and other life saving procedures.


One nurse kept chanting, “We can’t let this one die; we have to save this one.” God lovingly agreed restoring me to life.

The Not at Fault Driver and Soul


Trust in God heals the heart, mind, and soul.


***

Miracles
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)
It’s a Miracle:

I heard of people being blessed by others. The old lady being helped across the street is a millionaire and bequeaths all her wealth to that Boy Scout that assisted. However, those occasions are so rare they make the news as fascinating events. One day, while in real estate, I wondered if I’d ever get a listing. I had helped a few people but being new my chances were still very slim. All of a sudden, the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a young man I gave advice to without knowing his connections. He was a big developer and wanted to give me all his business because I had passed his test. That guy posed as a stupid, young builder to see if anyone in our office would help him. I did answer his questions without any payment or future promises. Due to this good deed, he gave me tons of listings and leads; I made the million dollar sales club in my first year as a realtor.


God uses bad events to show His Will 
as well as power to convert evil to His Goodness.


We were fooling around wrestling when my friend inadvertently disconnected my head from my spine. Instantly, my lower body was paralyzed. I forgave my friend immediately while promising him as well as myself that I’d walk again. Some people think I suffer MS or some other disease due to my gait but I relearned to walk by brute force and strong will. God gave me the strength to forgive and move on.


Humans call events that surpass expectations miracles.


I really wanted a child after more than ten years of marriage but my OBGYN discovered issues lowering the probability of a natural conception. We tried some procedures to fix my biological issues but my womb remained infertile. One day, feeling pretty sorry for myself, I prayed for a miracle. All of a sudden, I felt a presence in my backyard. Jesus literally arrived through the back door promising me a child. I not only had my first daughter nine months later but another daughter because my body knew how to make babies- with God’s intervention.

It was the night of September 10-11, 1998; my dream scared me because we were flying into the wild blue yonder for a vacation soon. In the nightmare, a plane landed improperly on the runway; it made a belly up landing. Even while awakening, I swore this wasn’t probable even if it was possible. Turning on the morning news, there it sat on the runway; I think it was a UPS plane. It’s a miracle that my dream was about a cargo not a passenger plane because I felt relieved that it had fewer passengers than a tourist filled flight. Even so, I prayed for those on board.  

I was boating one day with my husband and daughters when to my surprise, I envisioned and reflected on my long lost grandfather. I hadn’t seen him since his third wife ex-communicated him from my mom and her sister. There- he was front and center in images racing through my brain. When I got home, I discovered that the sheriff’s department sent a man to tell my mother that her ailing father just had a major heart attack; that old relative requested a hospital visit from her before he met his Maker. God keeps us connected even when we think we are not.


Funeral Humor

Unexpectedly a young mother died in a car accident. Her best friend, a cancer survivor that relied heavily on the deceased soul bravely volunteered to do the eulogy. Another young friend decided to gift those present with her angelic voice.  

The singer worried about her strength to make it through her songs. I drove her early to practice so her husband could await their babysitter before following us. As she belabored her fear of crying instead of singing during the part where the words are “and I will lift you up on eagles’ wings…,” I joked about other creatures and song lyrics. Lines from “Mickey Mouse” poured out of my mouth breaking her tension.  

As we laughed, I parked my car and told her to look at me and watch my lips because they will be harmonizing with that other animal song. During the actual funeral, my neighbor didn’t have to find my face because as we entered the church the face of the clock hit us in the funny bone. This Orlando church made its timely purchase at Disney World; there the mouse stood greeting us with his arms marking the hours and minutes.  

God has a sense of humor, too.

The Joker 


You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
(Psalm 77:13-15)


Breathless

My young life felt unbearable; my father suffered mental illness pouring it out on his family. We suffered dysfunction; I never truly trusted any family member except, maybe, my mom.  
When I asked for a sixteenth birthday party, she informed me that my lack of boyfriends and girl pals signaled no need for a celebration similar to the one my sister enjoyed two years prior to that request. Feeling isolated, with no hope, I began slowly giving up life. Being a coward, suicide was not my option. Instead, I allowed the next big virus to overcome me.
In the middle of the night, after repeated relapses of this illness, my body succumbed to walking pneumonia; I was breathless. As I let go, my room became as bright as daylight but no one had turned on the lamp in the area. The radiance spread out from just behind me encompassing the entire space while slowly surrounding me as if in a hug. I knew its origination remained behind my line of vision but avoided turning towards that glow. It felt as if I spun towards the source’s brilliance that my soul would be captured and moved to the afterlife; I remained a bit of a coward in that moment. My spirit wasn’t sure what it really wanted but God knew His Plan.
Soon, I heard two, male voices chatting about me. One commanding Spirit asked why I arrived at the Gates of Heaven. St. Peter replied that he had no idea because it was not my time, yet. The booming, authoritative man commanded, “Then, send her back! She has not yet completed her mission.”
My bedroom fell dark as I realized that my mind and soul was engrossed in “The Lord’s Prayer.” At that moment, I had no idea what my mission might be but I knew God sent me back to finish it. My spirit was a bit shaken by this experience; I was breathless in anticipation. 
I kept that encounter secret until my mother’s deathbed. She shared her ‘tonsil operation’ vision; at age ten, she was in the tunnel with The Light but was sent back. While smiling, I mentioned that God made me stop short of Heaven, also. After that testimony, unconditional love- A.K.A. my mom- was breathless. This time, she raced towards the light to be with God in Paradise.


***

Taking a Chance at a Dance

I bought a single ticket to go to a church dance to meet other singles my age- over fifty. Then, cold feet developed as I decided my marriage was just over, and I was not ready to mingle single. I advertised to church members that my ticket was for sale- even free to someone that might use it.

A man called to collect that dance pass. Just before he arrived, I tripped blackening my face and eye. He asked me why I gave up the ticket. He, also, asked me- bruised and all- if I’d consider joining him. We eventually married. Providence Provided? Or, love prevails?

D. Speaks Out


God sends perfect love.


Marriage

He was new to the company; she seemed too shy to ever date. As the secretary for these two computer programmers, I approached a colleague, another woman. “Do you think I should set those two up by inviting them to a party where only four guests arrive- my husband, them and me?”  

The other co-worker didn’t bat an eye as she said that someone needed to get the ball rolling so they could get married. I thought that woman was joking but the two eloped months after their first (arranged) date.  

God moves us to our destiny but, sometimes, we need to take the first steps- trusting the future.

Their secretary


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
 Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)


A Connection

On Valentine’s Day, I sat in a car garage waiting room reading one of their magazines. The article was about a lady with a child riddled with cancer. The doctors informed the mom that the girl would not pass over without the single mother’s permission because the child didn’t want to leave her parent upset.  

The mom moved bedside telling her little girl to go to Heaven if the pain was unbearable; her daughter did. I cried and blubbered.  

When I got home, my baby girl mentioned that at school she felt someone died. “The mom in my vision was beside herself in grief.” After her summary, I just gasped.
The mind connection between mother and child brings about this telepathy because God bonds us all in love.

A mom’s tale


God’s love connects us spiritually.


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)

Floyd Flies Past

When I taught religion, the kids prayed that Hurricane Floyd would fly past Florida not making landfall. The next week, they came to class sad because their prayers were answered but parts of Carolina were flooded. As a solution to their guilt, we began a fund raising campaign to raise money to help the victims of that storm. We were raising pennies, loose change, and mad money for the RED CROSS.  

Unfortunately, when the pastor found out, he said unfair things, "You can't be telling the kids that they have the power of prayer like you do. You can't do the penny idea because I just got new doors and locks. Someone will break in to steal the pennies."  


Flabbergasted, I told my teaching aide that we'd stop but she got angry at the church elder. That woman spoke her irate mind to anyone that would listen.


In response, I suggested we pray about it- even though there isn’t that much power in prayer according to that ‘man of the cloth.’ We huddled in the classroom ten minutes before class. When the two of us looked up, a surprise met our eyes. Beside all the kid's posters about donating loose change for the victims on the classroom’s pegboard, a gift already arrived.

Evidently, someone collected pennies, and they had tacked a clear, bag full of them on that poster wall. This money let us know our good deed was recognized outside that classroom. They were truly ‘Pennies from Heaven!’ Therefore, we decided to go against the minister; and we let the kids finish what they started. To keep the doors safe, we let everyone know that I wheeled out the cash in a suitcase after each class- not leaving a dime to break in and steal.  

In response to my open defiance, the man was unsure of God’s Will. I was reminded not to put up posters anywhere because he had just painted all the walls and didn't want them gummed up with tape.  

Our collection became solely word of mouth outside our dedicated poster area of our class space.
In spite of all these hindrances, we met the goal of $1,000 worth of pennies. After that year, I formally quit teaching religion at that church. In fact, I moved to a different church. I waited because it wasn’t the class’s fault and I didn’t want the kids to suffer my loss.


One day, a friend invited me to a mission lecture at my previous congregation. At the service, I could NOT believe my ears. It seems that the religious director had a GREAT idea according to the pastor. The kids were collecting pennies to feed the mission community of the church. I almost stood up to tell the reverend that he was a hypocrite. However, ‘vengeance is mine saith the Lord.’ So, I waited for that bad pastor’s fall from Grace instead of being part of a disgraceful shouting match!


The missionary followed and his introductory words set my soul at rest, “Thanks for coming out, today, to hear about God’s compassion and forgiveness. There is someone here that may feel alienated from the pastor. That individual even may feel this estrangement is their responsibility but I’m here to say that God feels it is NOT their fault. Welcome to all of you especially that alienated soul. The Lord wants to heal you with his love.” Looking up, from my estranged soul, my eyes caught a glimpse of a fleeing individual. Stymied by an obstruction in his pathway, the pastor glanced at me as I did at him. Unsure that I was the only individual alienated by that ‘man of the cloth,’ at that moment, it didn’t matter.  

I heard through the grapevine that the pastor lost his position later that year. It helped me remember that God has the final say. Don’t let men (even of the cloth) make your decisions for you; follow God’s lead. He makes no mistakes.

A damaged soul heals


Love is the great miracle cure.
Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.


Roses and Golf

I had no idea a co-worker’s wife fell ill; the man smiled daily. However, his spouse struggled with cancer in and out of remission. Currently, she battled the disease ending up hospitalized for the last time. She fell into the coma phase of that plague, which was not similar to an accident induced coma. People die within hours or days of this sleep of death. Discovering her fate through rumor mill, our department’s sympathy led us to purchasing roses to be delivered to her bedside.
The very next day, the co-worker called in to our boss taking a personal day or two off. His wife passed over. Our supervisor called a brief meeting to announce the lady’s fate, “Lee Gulf mentioned that, when the roses arrived, she briefly became conscious. They happened to be her favorite color.” We’d picked yellow to signal light and happiness. “Her final smile made his day. He wanted to know how we managed to choose that color. I told him God guided our decision!”
He did.
Later that year, Lee Gulf went back to his second love- golfing. One day, he died while still on the course. I imagine that he died happy with his wife awaiting him on the other side.

An account from Mr. Golf’s co-worker


When we understand how to love one another,
we understand the depth of God’s love.


Faith, Hope and Love- 
especially in unison- are miraculous.


***

Holidays & Other Gifts

The Lord preserves the faithful, 
but the proud he pays back in full. (Psalms 31:23)


Christmas Lights

After driving my friend to the airport for her flight home, I noticed a neighbor’s house adorned with all the same decorations as my home. It made me think the word ‘peculiar’ but never occurred to me there might be a reason for that sight.  

Arriving to my house, something weird hit my psyche, our statue type decorations were missing. After realizing what potentially happened, I leaped from the car and called my family outside to investigate this situation.


“I know where our stuff is!” My voice declared.


“Let’s go get it back!” The children demanded.


We did by knocking on the door of our neighbor and asking if they shopped at the same store as us. They laughed about the silly vandalism returning our items immediately.


That Monday, while teaching religion class for middle school aged children, I talked aloud about the silly prank. “That was your house?” One of my less than honorable students interrupted. He and his pals roared with laughter admitting they encouraged the redecorating process. “We can bring the stuff back; none of us realized it was your house. We just thought it would be funny!” After his confession, I smirked and explained that my decorations adorned my lawn once again while warning my class that some people might not act as kindly if they discovered the culprits!


That same day, as my husband tinkered with the string of lights in our bushes trying to make them work, he discovered they were cut up and shredded. Their condition explained why they never lit up. “I guess that was part of the hoax! I’ll call their parents tomorrow to get repaid the damage.” My husband suggested calling the police first to put the malicious act on record. 


The next day, after carpooling to school, I raced down a back road thinking of all the things pending on my agenda and the short period of time to execute my plans. Looking up, an oncoming police car shined its lights, which screamed, “Emergency!” Slowing my engine, I rolled down my window to the oncoming vehicle.  

The law enforcement officer did the same looking at me perplexed, he asked, “Can I help you?”


“Your lights are on,” I pointed into the air.


“Ooops! Left over from an accident I just left. Thanks!” He turned shades of Christmas red as I drove on relieved he didn’t register my previous speed. I casually drove off towards my home.


As suggested by my husband, the police non-emergency number received my vandalism complaint. When the cop arrived, my door opened to the same man that forgot to turn off his patrol car, emergency lights. Holding the mangled Christmas string of lights in my hand, I laughed due to the peculiar vibes of the whole situation.  

Just before explaining my situation, I joked, “Two light problems in one day! Good thing they aren’t heavy!”  

He realized immediately that we just passed on the country road. Before he pulled out his paperwork, a truck turned into my driveway. My lawn man jumped out arriving to be paid. As he approached my front door, a giggle interrupted the policeman and me, “Oops! My trimmer mangled those lights on Friday. I forgot to tell you. Take the replacement cost out of my check!” Timing is everything.

Turning to the police man, I announced, “Never Mind! It wasn’t vandalism that destroyed my Christmas decorations!” Not this time anyway! What are the chances?

That’s the problem with clandestine destruction, you can’t be sure you blamed the right individual. Maybe, that’s why the ultimate judgment is the Lord’s?  

From a Sunday School Teacher
Told You Snow

We went to Tennessee for a week at Christmas hoping to see snow. My uncle explained, “We rarely get more than sleety rain before January.” In spite of that warning, we prayed for an unusual gift; then, Christmas Eve, we went to bed being awakened by my bellowing brother. Miraculously- answered prayer from innocent children- it was snowing- not just flurries- it was sticking.

By one of the kids


Watch the doors of sheer abundance open 
when you believe that you are directed & protected
 by the highest source.


Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:8)


Some stories are simply celebrations of life.
Other tales are celebrations due to gifts from God.


2 of 3 Wise Women

When a friend spoke of faith, another pal always added, “because the Bible says so!” Or, some variation of veneration and praise for that book occurred from the two of them.
My debate during our work breaks routinely followed, “Who says the Bible is right?”
“God says so!” One friend habitually and exasperatedly responded.
“When and where?” I’d ask for clarification.
“In the Bible!” Her religious cohort answered as if that statement was enough to make it true.
I wondered why they took things so naively without more research than that. However, I let go of the debate before it heated up.
That year, I put out my nativity scene even though my faith was not all that stable. As my hands put the items in place, that scene reminded me of something lacking. One of the three wise men never arrived in my home because the ‘yard sale find’ only had two of them. After setting up the display, I prayed, “I know you can’t be tested and that faith is in the unseen such as the missing king but…”
The next day, something drew me to the nativity decorations. To my amazement, a third wise man stood- stately- just outside the scene. I grabbed it to make sure my mind didn’t imagine this display. It felt real; the best and most wise man sent me a sign. Bible or not- God exists and is willing to show you his glory even in little ways.  
Look for a sign or read the Bible! I’m not joking!


***

He who belongs to God hears what God says.  
The reason you do not hear is 
that you do not belong to God. (John 8:47)

Jesus spoke the word to them, 
as much as they could understand. (Mark 4:33)

***

Christmas

My grandfather and I toured Key West on bikes. He remarked, “There is an interesting story on every block.” To prove his point, we stopped in the Bohemian part of the small island to chat with a man fixing his moped. The happy man rigged the back of his vehicle with a Christmas tree and boom box.


“You ride that thing around town?” My grandpa politely asked.


“Usually at night,” Jack answered wide eyes and bushy tailed. “I’ve been doing it all my adult life. They say Key Weird; my antics remind everyone that some of us are people of the Lord. My motor bike uplifts the residents and tourists nightly from Thanksgiving through The Three Kings Day in January. ”


“How do you spread the gospel after the holiday season?” My elder dared ask Jack.


“I don’t; God does!” He opened his Bible sharing as his relatives and neighbors joined our crowd. We’d planned on finding a church that Sunday but through that man’s testimony God found us.  


That night, the music blared and cameras flashed as our Bohemian preacher flashed by us on his caroling moped alit by traditional Christmas cheer- his brilliantly glowing tree.


Behind him came another vehicle; the one his group fought against. The mini car had a screaming light above it advertising nudity and perversion. Jack drove through Duval Street as many times as it took to advertise the opposite way of life surviving Key West’s more prominent and loud residents.

A granddaughter remembers


Santa Statue & Tree Sings

I bought a fabric, Christmas tree because it had jingle bells all over it. When turned on, it rocked those items declaring the season. It fascinated my young girls.


A year later, I pulled out the tree, which had no batteries during its storage in my garage. Plopping in the fresh batteries, a weird thing occurred. That tree not only jingled its bells, it sang “Rock Around the Christmas Tree.” It shocked me to hear the song but we found this other talent amusing- if not amazing based on how long that tree took to shout out its verbal message.


That year, I bought a Santa statue that had a music box in it. However, when I got the item in the mail, someone or thing wound it too tight. Thus, it would not belt out the tune, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Disappointed, I placed it on the counter determined to return it for a replacement statue. However, the holidays are busy so it rested there for a week.


On the same day that I pulled out the singing tree, the statue unwound. When the tree sang out, the Santa statue answered. They did their duet amazing me to my core. When I looked at my calendar, it shocked me to see my first lecture for my book about my deceased mom was scheduled for that night. She liked the holidays; she loved me. The music drifted to my soul hugging me while encouraging me concerning my pending speech. God sent comfort and promise as I left to encourage others.

An author speaks


***

Miracles
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

It’s a Miracle:

I heard of people being blessed by others. The old lady being helped across the street is a millionaire and bequeaths all her wealth to that Boy Scout that assisted. However, those occasions are so rare they make the news as fascinating events. One day, while in real estate, I wondered if I’d ever get a listing. I had helped a few people but being new my chances were still very slim. All of a sudden, the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a young man I gave advice to without knowing his connections. He was a big developer and wanted to give me all his business because I had passed his test. That guy posed as a stupid, young builder to see if anyone in our office would help him. I did answer his questions without any payment or future promises. Due to this good deed, he gave me tons of listings and leads; I made the million dollar sales club in my first year as a realtor.


God uses bad events to show His Will 
as well as power to convert evil to His Goodness.


We were fooling around wrestling when my friend inadvertently disconnected my head from my spine. Instantly, my lower body was paralyzed. I forgave my friend immediately while promising him as well as myself that I’d walk again. Some people think I suffer MS or some other disease due to my gait but I relearned to walk by brute force and strong will. God gave me the strength to forgive and move on.


Humans call events that surpass expectations miracles.


I really wanted a child after more than ten years of marriage but my OBGYN discovered issues lowering the probability of a natural conception. We tried some procedures to fix my biological issues but my womb remained infertile. One day, feeling pretty sorry for myself, I prayed for a miracle. All of a sudden, I felt a presence in my backyard. Jesus literally arrived through the back door promising me a child. I not only had my first daughter nine months later but another daughter because my body knew how to make babies- with God’s intervention.

It was the night of September 10-11, 1998; my dream scared me because we were flying into the wild blue yonder for a vacation soon. In the nightmare, a plane landed improperly on the runway; it made a belly up landing. Even while awakening, I swore this wasn’t probable even if it was possible. Turning on the morning news, there it sat on the runway; I think it was a UPS plane. It’s a miracle that my dream was about a cargo not a passenger plane because I felt relieved that it had fewer passengers than a tourist filled flight. Even so, I prayed for those on board.  

I was boating one day with my husband and daughters when to my surprise, I envisioned and reflected on my long lost grandfather. I hadn’t seen him since his third wife ex-communicated him from my mom and her sister. There- he was front and center in images racing through my brain. When I got home, I discovered that the sheriff’s department sent a man to tell my mother that her ailing father just had a major heart attack; that old relative requested a hospital visit from her before he met his Maker. God keeps us connected even when we think we are not.

***

Love Continued
Taking a Chance at a Dance

I bought a single ticket to go to a church dance to meet other singles my age- over fifty. Then, cold feet developed as I decided my marriage was just over, and I was not ready to mingle single. I advertised to church members that my ticket was for sale- even free to someone that might use it.

A man called to collect that dance pass. Just before he arrived, I tripped blackening my face and eye. He asked me why I gave up the ticket. He, also, asked me- bruised and all- if I’d consider joining him. We eventually married. Providence Provided? Or, love prevails?

D. Speaks Out


God sends perfect love.


Marriage

He was new to the company; she seemed too shy to ever date. As the secretary for these two computer programmers, I approached a colleague, another woman. “Do you think I should set those two up by inviting them to a party where only four guests arrive- my husband, them and me?”  

The other co-worker didn’t bat an eye as she said that someone needed to get the ball rolling so they could get married. I thought that woman was joking but the two eloped months after their first (arranged) date.  

God moves us to our destiny but, sometimes, we need to take the first steps- trusting the future.

Their secretary


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
 Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)


A Connection

On Valentine’s Day, I sat in a car garage waiting room reading one of their magazines. The article was about a lady with a child riddled with cancer. The doctors informed the mom that the girl would not pass over without the single mother’s permission because the child didn’t want to leave her parent upset.  

The mom moved bedside telling her little girl to go to Heaven if the pain was unbearable; her daughter did. I cried and blubbered.  

When I got home, my baby girl mentioned that at school she felt someone died. “The mom in my vision was beside herself in grief.” After her summary, I just gasped.

The mind connection between mother and child brings about this telepathy because God bonds us all in love.

A mom’s tale


God’s love connects us spiritually.


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)

Floyd Flies Past

When I taught religion, the kids prayed that Hurricane Floyd would fly past Florida not making landfall. The next week, they came to class sad because their prayers were answered but parts of Carolina were flooded. As a solution to their guilt, we began a fund raising campaign to raise money to help the victims of that storm. We were raising pennies, loose change, and mad money for the RED CROSS.  

Unfortunately, when the pastor found out, he said unfair things, "You can't be telling the kids that they have the power of prayer like you do. You can't do the penny idea because I just got new doors and locks. Someone will break in to steal the pennies."  


Flabbergasted, I told my teaching aide that we'd stop but she got angry at the church elder. That woman spoke her irate mind to anyone that would listen.


In response, I suggested we pray about it- even though there isn’t that much power in prayer according to that ‘man of the cloth.’ We huddled in the classroom ten minutes before class. When the two of us looked up, a surprise met our eyes. Beside all the kid's posters about donating loose change for the victims on the classroom’s pegboard, a gift already arrived.

Evidently, someone collected pennies, and they had tacked a clear, bag full of them on that poster wall. This money let us know our good deed was recognized outside that classroom. They were truly ‘Pennies from Heaven!’ Therefore, we decided to go against the minister; and we let the kids finish what they started. To keep the doors safe, we let everyone know that I wheeled out the cash in a suitcase after each class- not leaving a dime to break in and steal.  

In response to my open defiance, the man was unsure of God’s Will. I was reminded not to put up posters anywhere because he had just painted all the walls and didn't want them gummed up with tape. Our collection became solely word of mouth outside our dedicated poster area of our class space.

In spite of all these hindrances, we met the goal of $1,000 worth of pennies. After that year, I formally quit teaching religion at that church. In fact, I moved to a different church. I waited because it wasn’t the class’s fault and I didn’t want the kids to suffer my loss.


One day, a friend invited me to a mission lecture at my previous congregation. At the service, I could NOT believe my ears. It seems that the religious director had a GREAT idea according to the pastor. The kids were collecting pennies to feed the mission community of the church. I almost stood up to tell the reverend that he was a hypocrite. However, ‘vengeance is mine saith the Lord.’ So, I waited for that bad pastor’s fall from Grace instead of being part of a disgraceful shouting match!


The missionary followed and his introductory words set my soul at rest, “Thanks for coming out, today, to hear about God’s compassion and forgiveness. There is someone here that may feel alienated from the pastor. That individual even may feel this estrangement is their responsibility but I’m here to say that God feels it is NOT their fault. Welcome to all of you especially that alienated soul. The Lord wants to heal you with his love.” Looking up, from my estranged soul, my eyes caught a glimpse of a fleeing individual. Stymied by an obstruction in his pathway, the pastor glanced at me as I did at him. Unsure that I was the only individual alienated by that ‘man of the cloth,’ at that moment, it didn’t matter.  

I heard through the grapevine that the pastor lost his position later that year. It helped me remember that God has the final say. Don’t let men (even of the cloth) make your decisions for you; follow God’s lead. He makes no mistakes.

A damaged soul heals


Love is the great miracle cure.
Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.


Roses and Golf


had no idea a co-worker’s wife fell ill; the man smiled daily. However, his spouse struggled with cancer in and out of remission. Currently, she battled the disease ending up hospitalized for the last time. She fell into the coma phase of that plague, which was not similar to an accident induced coma. People die within hours or days of this sleep of death. Discovering her fate through rumor mill, our department’s sympathy led us to purchasing roses to be delivered to her bedside.


The very next day, the co-worker called in to our boss taking a personal day or two off. His wife passed over. Our supervisor called a brief meeting to announce the lady’s fate, “Lee Gulf mentioned that, when the roses arrived, she briefly became conscious. They happened to be her favorite color.” We’d picked yellow to signal light and happiness. “Her final smile made his day. He wanted to know how we managed to choose that color. I told him God guided our decision!”


He did.


Later that year, Lee Gulf went back to his second love- golfing. One day, he died while still on the course. I imagine that he died happy with his wife awaiting him on the other side.

An account from Mr. Golf’s co-worker


When we understand how to love one another,
we understand the depth of God’s love.


Faith, Hope and Love- 
especially in unison- are miraculous.


***

LOVE
And now these three remain:
 faith, hope, and love.  
But the greatest of these is love. 
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Love Reigns Supreme:

My dad did something weird before he died an untimely death. He called my brother to take him fishing, and they talked about life. After months of meaning to get together, he invited me to lunch and did a life review moment or two as we ate. He passed away of a heart attack that week; it’s as if he knew. Possibly, God gave him the chance to finish his life and thoughts for all of our sakes. What a gift! Thank God!

Before we married, I let God show me if my boyfriend was right for me. After we wed, our marriage had ups and downs but our friendship and faith helped sustain us. On our 31st anniversary, we discovered how close we became; we gave each other the same exact greeting card.

Often, I went to the NCO club on the local base. Living in Germany, I enjoyed practicing my English that way. Once I felt proficient, that scene bored me. Forgetting about the Friday and Saturday night, happy hour- with the wee hours of the morning dancing that followed- my life went on. Then, one night a friend begged me to accompany her to see a man shipping back to the states in six weeks; she took a fancy to him and wanted every moment to build a relationship he wouldn’t leave behind. Sitting at his table, his friend chatted with me. Before they shipped out, she lost her zest for her suitor but I married his friend. God puts us in unexpected places to work out His Plan. I am happily married and living in the states.

We lived in the same borough of New York and ate at the same McDonalds. I always enjoyed watching the ‘souped up’ cars parade on week-ends. He helped trick out some of those vehicles so usually came to proudly watch the gathering. However, my husband and I didn’t meet until we rented across the street for each other in a totally different state. God decided it was meant to be and set up our encounter.

We had an ongoing family feud, which upset my six year old daughter. She went to her room to pray; reemerging she proclaimed, “All things are possible with God including forgiveness and mercy.” Then, she warned, “You have to be more like God.” Out of the mouths of babes! 

I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because you have hidden these things 
from the wise and learned, 
and revealed them to little children. 
Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
 (Luke 10:21)

My kid used to pray for snow but we live in Florida. Today, her last name translates into English as snow. She has seen snow arrive in Florida because she has children with that last name. Thank God.


We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

My mom never liked my husband. There was a tradition in our family of a waiter spilling water on a loved one on their birthday. This year, on my birthday, the server inundated my husband instead of me but we are joined in Holy Matrimony. I figure my deceased mother from her perch in Heaven finally asked God to bless our union with Holy Water!

Never having permanent grandparents, as a teen, I adopted an elderly lady. When she moved back north to retire, she’d mention two things during phone conversations; she wanted to clear the title on her home for her estate and relative’s sake. Mainly, she wanted to kiss my angels, my two daughters. I visited her one spring. At breakfast, she mentioned the land was finally secured for her Will. Then, she kissed my two daughters. Sending her pictures of our visit, my heart warned that she’d never open that envelop. It was returned to sender with a note reading, “Deceased!”
Thank God He moved me to visit her before it was too late.


I’ll Have to say I Love You in a Song

My nephew had a near fatal car accident. On the scene was an off duty paramedic and a family friend. One helped the shocked child while the other called his mother. Right before airlifting him to a trauma hospital, right before his coma, his mom arrived to say, “I love you as does your dad.”  

She called my brother; he raced to the hospital praying. As he did a song came on the radio convincing him that this tragedy would heal his son and their family. The boy lived; years later, he shows no major signs of the injuries and broken bones.  

During many bad events, God comforts us in any fashion possible from lyrics of a song to people being in the right place at the necessary time. You have to be open to His help to see and witness the depth of God’s love for mankind.

Aunt’s Account


Love conquers all;
spiritual love between the Maker and His created
is the highest form.


***


HOPE
Anyone who is among the living has hope. 
(Ecclesiastes 9:4)
Hope more not Hopeless:

I had a setback in life and prayed to see an old friend that always brought cheeriness into dark corners. I searched for her especially at the church she once haunted. Surprisingly, I met her at the grocery store after praying the Sunday before to hook up with that lady. Thank God.

Due to dysfunction, I lost track of a family member. My spirit felt it was time to reunite and put injuries aside. There, she stood in my pathway at a local mall. There was no way to avoid the reunion predestine by God and agitating my spirit before this reconciliation. The Lord moves us to forgive and hopes we will show His level of mercy when that day arrives.

I didn’t live near my nephews as they became young adults. When they suddenly lost their parents, the boys happened to be in a town next door attending college. God placed them nearby so I could be their relative (and rock).

As I stood at the post office watching the pending rain let loose outside, a man in front of me in line broke my silence. Weird weather, more quakes, famine, war- it makes one wonder if our affairs are in order for the arrival of The Lord. People need to get God’s message out. In my arms was my book about faith healing being sent to a stranger I’d randomly chosen Online. I was doing my part.

Due to the economy and other disasters, we were down on our luck when a relative called asking for money to fly home. Feeling bad, all I could offer was prayer that a Good Samaritan would front his airline ticket home. As he put down the line, a stranger overhearing the distress helped.

Our religion class heard about the overhang of a church walkway falling on a young mother and paralyzing her. We prayed she’d regain mobility. We donated part of our allowances sending her enough money for a nice, family dinner out. Many months later, she sent us a note telling us that she bravely walked out of Physical Therapy and enjoyed a nice meal at a good restaurant. God loves when we come to Him like His children in prayer.

During my surgery, I felt like my essence or soul rested in a lighted space full of peace. My consciousness knew there were sick relatives and friends verging on death but that I was not leaving to Paradise with them. Six hours after my operation began, I discovered my uncle was in a terminal coma while I was under anesthesia; he died early the next day. Plus, a good friend lost a loved one awakening me from my drugged sleep when she rang my cell phone bedside at the hospital; we mourned, together. I believe Al and Murphy followed the light while my body and soul simply awaited my awakening. In that moment, God gave me the serenity to face my adversity post that operation while giving other souls that day His Everlasting Peace- Paradise.

A Tradition of Hope


When dad lost his job permanently, mom prayed for a sign we’d survive this early loss. That week the priest gave her two hosts at communion. Was the sign pointing to a second chance at life? Her spirit felt so.  

When we heard my husband might lose his job of thirty plus years, I prayed for peace. When I went to communion, my bread was shaped in a triangle- God in three persons? Immediately, I dropped it on my chest retrieving it quickly back to my mouth after recovering from the startled event of both- the near drop to the floor and its shape.  

Later, my mind realized that I actually received part of the larger host broken up by the priest. His sermon had been about relying on God to bring you through tragedies such as layoffs and health issues. We’re not to give in the false promises of the Devil’s agents that play off human fear. My Eucharist was a big sign screaming trust me; this message was sent by God.

A Sign Witness


Generational Hope

One night, my neighbor inspired me to recount a family legend. A union soldier knocked on my great ‘southern belle’ grandmother’s door on his way home from the Civil War ending. My relative practiced her faith over the values of her neighbors. When this northerner asked for food, she nourished his body and soul sending him on his way- soon after. As he left, the man turned back saying, “Blessing and end of curses on your family. When you see the shooting star, remember that God rewards those that feed the hungry especially an enemy.”  

As I explained this legend feeling confident that my ‘just laid off’ husband would quickly recapture gainful employment, a star swept across the sky. In response, my neighbor and I smiled while my finger mapped its direction. We agreed that the sign in the Heavens remained optimistic, that night!

Sal’s Belief


***


Eve

Eve finally met the man of her dreams. She was eighty; he was ten years younger. Before their nuptials, her heart medicine started internal bleeding. She thought about cancelling her marriage instead of turning into the younger man’s burden. We prayed for her because the lady deserved to live happily ever after. Her bleeding stopped, and they married. Travelling and enjoying the moments together, the couple found happiness in their second chance at love. Ten years later, she quickly died of a stroke; Eve never weighed down her second husband. God is good.

A witness


Gold loves Faith built on trust
rather than prerequisites of proof
 of His existence and caring
through miracles.


The Presence- The Presents

Anne remembered her special time as she participated in her First Holy Communion. Early in the morning, she dressed quickly putting on her white outfit with its veil. When her parents failed to ready themselves for her big day, Anne’s dedication to her faith gave her the strength to jump on the bus and find the church- alone. Awaiting her family’s arrival, her heart sank as her peers arrived surrounded by the love of their parents and siblings.


Loneliness took control as she lined up to allow God to be a permanent part of her body and soul. Her comfort came at the moment she realized God the Father greeted her inviting her into His family celebration. He hugged her through that sacrament, her First Communion. 

During mass, being able to go to the communion rail with the adults felt special; uniting with God through that sacrament enhanced that feeling beyond explanation. Anne felt “the presence” of the Lord every time she partook of the Bread of Life or communion. 

Anne’s Faith Saved Her


Through The Storms He Performs


After Wavie’s near fatal, car accident- she stopped short of entering Heaven while in a coma but her journey brought her closer to God as she explains her near death from her point of view.

After dropping in on Hell, the God-directed journey moved Wavie to another scene. Her soul floated in the middle of an ocean still connected to her body and its car wreck injuries. She felt alive even though her mangled condition remained. As she laid face turned upward in this sea of knowledge, her spirit felt one of the lily pads that cradled her body. The place glowed with a special light. Even though she could not see Heaven directly, her soul realized that God stayed at her side guiding all the revelations.  

The best way to understand her recollection of the sea near Heaven is to witness a sunset full of radiant colors or envision the glow of light on an object enhancing it to fantasy-like. She witnessed glorious beauty while perched on that lily pad in that ocean. This place looked crystal clear and perfect beyond this world’s definition of splendor. Great clarity filled the depths of this ocean as well as The Creator’s growing revelations. However, her eyes were partially blinded in the same way a human sees things when looking directly into the sun. When something is back lit, the human eye sees an image. It is incomplete and not in its fullest glory. Therefore, in spite of the clearness of the ocean and the clarity surrounding her, her spirit could not peek directly into the place of the Son, Heaven.  

Through this full journey, Wavie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God guided all the parables and messages in this testimony. Physically, being enveloped and kept safe in the cradle of the lily pads, this encounter sent absolute contentment through her soul. Wavie depicts the feelings as similar to a warm embrace of another person that is full of love. Picturing a hug from a close relative comes close but not as perfect to the intimacy of Heaven’s touch during this part of her journey to the other realm.  

She felt enduring love from the Creator while drifting through this part of her afterlife journey. As she witnessed this scene in His World, this lady felt safe while all the parables and lessons swirled in her head. Her spirit accepted that God’s messages would become clearer and make total sense in her future years. In spite of the revelation that she was not fully ready to enter The Kingdom, Wavie felt light and love.

Possibly, her description of Heaven was not fully developed because if you enter into His Kingdom that means your death occurred, and you do not return to this world. In other words, it was a near death experience. Her complete vision was left to the future instead of during her comatose trip. Someday, a fuller more perfect view of the light-filled place would restore this memory, and she’d enter it for an eternity. She hoped for Life Everlasting in God’s house as she knew her destiny included returning here for a bit longer. Meanwhile, Wavie had her testimony to share provided by this coma and people awaiting her return. 

Her Testimony- an Excerpt


***

Hurricane Prayer

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew massively threatened Florida; he was the first in a series of monster storms that taunted our coastline. My religion teacher was a college graduate with geology background. She explained the continental shelf and why NASA sat in our state where it did. “The underwater landfall breaks a storm faster because the shelf starts sooner there. Therefore, even a horrific cyclone will slow down.” The lady even drew pictures. “We are directly west of Kennedy Space Center and far enough inland to experience less brutality than the coast- even!” Finally, she explained how upper air patterns can destroy the furious wind patterns. Realizing we remained worried, after her secular presentation, she offered a prayer. “God we ask that this hurricane decrease in power and drop rain in the ocean where water belongs!”

“We ask that it not hit land anywhere near us!” I added to be sure God knew our full fear.

“Amen!” The class roared back at this storm.

Hurricane Andrew with 155 MPH made a sudden turn hitting South Florida head-on. It hit Homestead instead of our homes. We felt relieved but sad for the victims of this category 5 storm; the third largest hurricane in the Twentieth Century. Maybe, our faith spared us but others suffered great loss from the aftermath of that cyclone. I need to add that people need to be careful what they pray for because God listens.  

A Sunday school student


Whimsical Prayer?

We drove on a whim in our new truck to see snow. Without proper weight in the back, our extended cab truck fishtailed in ice on the dark side of a mountain. Hovering precariously over the edge; I prayed this cliff hanger would end well. When my young daughters suggested we exit the truck, my fear kicked in; 

“Don’t move! Don’t even breathe! Leave your seatbelts on, too!” Cars wedged and skid past us while oncoming traffic pushed them too close to our vehicle as I prayed. After ten scary minutes awaiting a crash down the mountainside, our ordeal ended with another Florida vehicle with ‘four wheel drive’ maneuvering in front of us, linking our two cars with chains, and towing us to safety. Thank God!

A Florida tourist’s cliff hanger


God protects His faithful,
 but the proud He lays to ruin.


When FL Meant Flames

After we still faced droughts in Florida. That particular year, 39 of 67 counties battled the blaze; some counties shut down with mandatory evacuations. Who could forget that horror?

A few years later, wells not fully replenished ran dry. Our religion class decided to pray about it.

“Dear God, send rain,” One soul began the dialog.

“But, not flooding showers,” Our teacher added.

“Let it rain enough to fill our reservoirs,” Another kid added.

“Let it rain steadily,” A girl kept the prayer going.

“But, not a deluge or torrentially- because if it comes too fast, it may harm people and property.”

“So, let the rain be more like misty winter rain!” A classmate declared while we all realized May showers are heavier than during the colder season.

“We just want drinking water not damaging rain,” A guy explained for God’s benefit.

“Enough water to quench our thirst but not to cause damage!” Our teacher recapped.

“No lightning!” A smart aleck added.

“Right, nothing damaging or that would bring back fires such as in 1998,” Our teacher noted as we all fell to silence reliving the trauma of that year.

“Let it happen soon!” I added knowing how dry the rainy season had been.

“Before our next religion class,” A girl in the back added.

The rain fell that week-end. Suddenly the day turned colder than May in Florida as ‘in came misty wintery showers.’ Happy Mother’s day, May 14th, the day of our answered prayers. Thank God.

A student from a prayerful religion class


We prayed for rain. It came as a LIGHT shower at first.


You did not choose me, but I chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. Then the father will give you whatever you ask 
in my name. (John 15:16)


***

A Mystery writer

We had a huge gold fish surviving in a tank with barely an oxygen source. He’d jump out of his small confines but only when we were present. Fatso trusted that we’d return him to the safety of water before he’d pass away. He trusted us just as we need to trust God.

It was days before the millennium, our religion teacher had extensive computer knowledge. She explained why ‘end of file’ or “1999” didn’t signal end of modern life as we knew it. She suggested we refrain from believing doomsday people. She was right; when the century changed, it was business as usual. 

I spent the eve of the new millennium, New Years Eve 1999, on a friend’s lakeside dock enjoying food as well as their professional ranked fireworks. That was the only fire in the sky as gloom and doom from news reports failed to materialize. You can store up all the supplies or lies you want but God is in ultimate control! Thy Will be done on Heaven and on the earth.


Often- God rewards Faith
through answered prayers.


I stayed behind to see the Pope; my friends left for their next backpack town without me. I wondered if I made the right choice to stay since I had no ticket to allow me into the square. Two lost souls, a mom and her adult daughter showed me three tickets to see the Pope. “If you can show us how to get the Vatican City and this square in time, the third seat is yours. God answers prayer and faith. 


Not so- UNHAPPY

My Kindergarten aged daughter had homework; she expressed her desire to complete it with an adult’s help. My agnostic husband stepped in. I heard them from a nearby room. “Okay, it says here the happy face is Yes. The sad face means No. Do you understand?”

“The smile means good and the frown means No,” She kind of got it. “We do it like that all the time,” My husband felt comfortable with her response.

“Okay,” He read her story to her; it was about Adam and Eve. Knowing he had fallen away from religion, I moved closer- in case they needed my guidance. “It says here to answer the questions yes meaning smiley face or no…”

“The frown,” Our daughter showed she’d been attentively listening.

“Adam and Eve ate the apple, yes or no?”

“What?” My daughter asked for clarification.

“Adam and Eve ate the apple is that right or wrong?”

“Unhappy face,” My daughter answered.

“No, honey,” His agitation began. “Did they eat the apple or not?”

“Yes!”

“Then, we color the happy face,” My husband explained.

“Nope, the frown!” His baby girl declared refusing to color the wrong face.

“I don’t know what your religion teacher is teaching but I remember that they ate the apple so you color yes or the happy face,” His anger came through his aggravated tone.

“No, I color the sad one because- daddy- it was a very unhappy day when Adam and Eve broke God’s rule and got thrown out of Paradise.”

“She’s right; the question structure was wrong,” I commented as my totally frustrated husband noticed my presence followed by my giggling.  

“You can finish with her; she’s making me mad!”

I did. Eventually, that child started his conversion back to faith. Thank God for her innocence.

Her mom


The devil is mean, sneaky, and a liar.
God is good.
All that He is, has, and can do, are available
to his children. Boo yah take that devil!

Providence

Right before leaving for church, I caught up on some e-mail and social network sites where I have inboxes. A pastor reminded us that the Devil loves to ruin the Sabbath. Don’t let him anger you with little annoyances, today.  

Before hopping in the car with a flat tire, I noticed that it might be smart to choose a different vehicle. Being lucky to own a second car, instead of doing my usual reaction or grumbling- like Donald Duck- under my breath, I went on to church smiling at that timely message.

A Parishioner


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)


God Provides

Being Catholic, I wanted to see the Pope while in Rome. A nun there told my daughter where to go to ask. She e-mailed me the data from her backpacking adventure. I was due to join her a week later when he college friends would go their separate ways, and we’d visit some cities I dreamed of touring.  
Quickly, I sent my request for an audience and a FAX number of a friend in Germany. The friend got the confirmation of tickets and drove them to me in Switzerland. Arriving in Rome after hours on a train, on the night before, a guard dressed like a joker stopped me until he noticed my letter. He pointed to the staff door to retrieve my seat numbers.  

My kid and I got messed up on the bus route arriving twenty minutes before the audience with the Pope in the square. We had nearly back row seats as we heard thunderous applause along the golf cart route. He passed within touching distance of our location. Meanwhile, the early birds in the front section were actually further from the Pope. The first will be last? Or, meant to be?


A belated backpacker

***


Faith
When the Son of Man comes, 
will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

Keeping the Faith:


Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth,
 if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, 
you can say to this mountain, 
‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. 
Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)


Each time my husband’s company faced a layoff, I’d pray for four more years to complete kid’s college. I must have the faith of a mustard seed because God granted us twice that number of years. 

While working at a downtown sub shop, I fed many business men. Many street people peeked in hungry and tired. One day, a hobo dared enter the place. To my astonishment and pleasure, a suited soul paid for his lunch. Simple acts of kindness witnessed restore faith!

Walking around PR by the city wall and Fort, I snapped an odd weathering of that natural brick façade. It appeared like there was a visage, and it felt like The Lord’s face.

I dropped a fully executed Post Card in Keys; I realized this error once at the Post Office. Retracing my steps, the wind kicked up discouraging me. Months later, it arrived to my daughter’s mailbox. A miracle- or true humanitarian found it placing it into a post box.

When my husband was hospitalized, I felt compromised as well as unsafe in my home. It may just have been misplaced anxiety. However, one night, a robber or villain came to my porch and door. As he jiggled the door knob and rattled my stability, I prayed for protection. Out of nowhere, the porch light that never worked clicked on brightly. That protection felt Heaven sent.

Before leaving for Europe, no one- not even my travel agent- warned me that the new Euro System required a new smart chip in my credit card. With some cash and all my accommodations made, that meant I had NO money for food or extras after a few days. Left high and dry at ‘Fontana di Trevi,’ a fountain in Rome, I had too little cash for the taxi I hailed. The driver helped me return to the campground, anyway. Restores your faith!


The reward of an intercessor
is not answered prayer –
it is fellowship with Jesus.


A relative declared bankruptcy; his last client should have been furious. However, being Christian, they shared honestly. The man gave my relative one of his rental properties to live in until he got back on his feet.




***

The Father’s account
DRUG Verses THE FETUS

I wanted to have a second child. My dad used to say from his experience about rainy and snow days in this fashion, “Only child; lonely child.” My dad missed out on sharing experiences and alliances against the adult world. He had no one to turn to in times of crisis other than a generation above and later below him. Thus, my father advised against having just one baby. 

After my first pregnancy, my health problems arrived but I still wanted a playmate for my little girl. However, the issues grew needing medication to resolve. I’m not dumb but the doctor failed to warn me against pregnancy. In fact, my physician knew I tried for a second birth as I thought the medication would fix the issues and help with conception. You know about assumptions; we both made them. When I conceived, we did the math. It became possible, even dreaded, that the child started in my womb at the same time the medication actively infiltrated my system.  

The doctor announced, “The good news is that sixty per cent of the women with that drug still in their body miscarry. The body has a way of discarding the potentially handicapped because of those remaining pregnant to term only one per cent has birth defect. The child’s limitations range from missing a finger to cleft chin, to other minor issues. Many of the extremely deformed babies don’t come to term.”

I went home to tell my family. My mother asked me, “What will you do? Our religion doesn’t permit abortion.”

Jokingly, I answered, “Hope for a miscarriage if the child is badly formed.” When I almost lost the baby in the third month, an emergency sonogram revealed a heartbeat and a very energetic fetus.

At least one of my relatives went on and on about getting rid of this mistake and starting over with a fresh pregnancy. When I spoke to my mother, she asked, “How do you feel about that idea? More importantly, what will you do if this child is not perfect and that relative tells you, ‘I told you so?’”

It weighed on my mind long after my body decided to keep the fetus. I arrived at an answer, “I could have a perfect child, and then it could be harmed in an auto accident or something. Would I abort it then? If that was even possible! I can’t play God then, so I can’t do it now- either!”

Even though I came to terms with that thought, it plagued the quiet times during my pregnancy. My mind wondered- if the baby was ill, would I be blamed. My brain feared the possibilities. It really wrecked the last two weeks of the pregnancy. My baby would survive- like it or not.

I lived in a town mostly filled with the elderly because my home was in Florida. Every Sunday, the two things happened. We heard lists of the sick and dead in need of prayer. The congregation passed my first baby then toddler around the place as we participated in this church time. On ‘Right to Life Sunday,’ as I entered the sanctuary, a man holding a poster called out; “You and your two children should be on this poster!” He pointed to my daughter and tummy.  

“You have no idea!” I agreed. My daughter arrived a few weeks early and that seemed to be the only abnormality in this whole experience.  

A young mother’s saga


Two the Future

Delivering my first child about four months premature, he survived a day. We bonded and gave him a name. When I became pregnant with my next baby, I feared early delivery so kept my condition a secret until I passed into the third trimester; my son went to term. Trying to produce a sibling, I lost track of the fetuses my body discarded way before their delivery date.


Exasperated, I opted for a tubal to soothe my emotional pain and my body of the burden of spontaneous miscarriages. Before the procedure; they checked me for pregnancy; I was but said, “I’ll be back in a few weeks to tie my tubes.” Nine months later, I returned to deliver a daughter. Both children are now adults.

An Exasperated Convert





Real Life
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, 
before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Open Adoption

A friend whispered about her unexpected pregnancy. The quiet discussion evolved from the fact that marriage remained the issue. Her partner had not yet decided his feelings on this topic. Later, they did marry.  

Almost daily, the young lady came to me to talk about her life. I got the feeling something about the future birth bothered her, so I explained my personal experiences hoping to calm her birth fears. 

She broke into a nervous laugh. Again, she had a secret to tell about her pregnancy. “When I was a teenager, a boy gave me a son. Against his as well as all the parent’s wishes, I opted for an ‘open adoption’ rather than take the life of my unborn child. The baby calls me his aunt. That’s fine with me because I know he lives happy and well with his new parents.”

Eventually, with my coaxing, she told her husband about her first child. Her spouse must have taken it well because they remained married and created three daughters together. Her only regret revolved around her inability to give the man she loved a son while she already had one.

Her philosophical view included, “Some girls that I knew chose to abort; their lives went really poorly. I have been blessed because I chose life instead of death!”

Jules Explains her Situation


Thou shalt not murder.


Marty’s Angel

When I was expecting my second child, the phone rang and a friend that was, also, pregnant told me about a prenatal test for spinal bifida that she would be having. The reason this idea came to mind was that her co-worker lost his five year old daughter to that disease. If she could avoid years of misery for her unborn child and spare problems in her life, this procedure seemed appropriate. She wondered if I agreed and would, also, schedule this medical test. After due diligence, I decided that if my child had a deformity, disability, or plague that couldn’t really be cured, I didn’t want to spend seven months worrying about it because my religion prevented the abortion route that she might do.

Years later, I talked to my husband about acts of God verses acting like God. He brought up a workplace associate without provocation. His tale is etched into my mind to this day. We were at a ‘middle class’ steakhouse while on a vacation. It was dreary outside. My spouse droned on about this guy that was a vice president or director at the company. ‘Pitiful’ is how he described the man after he lost his child.  

“Evidently, the five year old died in his arms. It changed Marty. He went from high powered executive to pathetic. They demoted him.” I pictured a strong man cut down by depression and in need of understanding. My husband dislikes weakness; you could hear it in his voice.

Just before my mother died, I went back to work in the computer field. It was the height of independent telephones companies coming online. In other words, our contracts were from Sprint and unknowns as Bell lost their monopolies. We raced with software to get a lion’s share of these newbie businesses. Thus, I was working split shifts, middle of the night hours, and days to get my code to work. Marty worked feverishly alongside me on his code. My first impression of him was teddy bear and nice.

One night, as we awaited software to load in our telephone simulation equipment, we began talking about motorcycles and how this biker group paraded in town to stop abortions. “It stopped me in my tracks literally and figuratively because roads were blocked temporarily.” Marty curiously asked me why I thought bikers might be con life instead of pro life. I had no real answer. So, his story began.

“Years ago, I thought I had the world in my hands. My career was successful being a major player in this corporation. My family of three children and a wife seemed contently settled. Then, the wife got unexpectedly pregnant.”

“So, you were pro abortion?” I interrupted.

He looked down at me in every way. Then this huge, teddy bear continued, “No, don’t miss my point!” He retold those five years with his baby girl in detail yet in brief. “When the child arrived, the doctor took a look at her and with no emotion said, ‘We should let this one die. She won’t last an hour!’” 

My co-worker seemed to be fighting tears as he recounted those moments. “‘Can anything be done?’ I asked; the physician informed me that the teaching hospital- a helicopter ride away- might salvage what was left of life for this child suffering from severe spinal bifida. My reaction included my command, 

‘Get the helicopter here and transport my daughter! I’ll meet the doctors at the other end.’” Marti failed to explain the situation to his wife even forgetting to hug her goodbye. I, also, learned that he made it to the hospital over an hour away almost before that helicopter.

He responded to my inquiry about what happened next, “They saved her life; my wife thanked me for making our decision. We had five years of multiple surgeries to maintain our daughter’s life. While we saved her- that child taught us about pure, unconditional love. She helped us reset our priorities- especially me. I missed too much of my children’s daily life beating my way to the top.”

My fellow employee continued his tale, “For example, once I had my own operation to remove my gall bladder. Instead of resting six weeks, I went back to work almost immediately. However, corporations don’t care about your personal sacrifices in the end. It’s all about the money. Having this challenged child caused us to rethink the house, the cars, and the time spent chasing the ‘American Dream.’ Our little angel taught us more in five years than a lifetime pursuing that dream.”

“When she died in your arms, you went off the deep end in depression and gave it all up?” As my colleague told his rendition of his story, I combined my friend and my husband’s thoughts because I realized this man was the same person I heard about five or more years ago.

“What?”

“I think I heard your tale twice. Once from another employee; she had the test done to spare her spinal bifida if her second child carried that gene,” I explained my sudden outburst. “A couple years later, my husband told me about your misery and job status or loss.”

“They missed the point. I would NEVER have aborted that little girl especially once I saw the love and joy she provided our family.” Then, philosophically, he added, “I asked for the reassignment. I can go home and not worry about the corporate balance sheet. I just have to get this code to work. By the way, I rode in that biker parade last Sunday. Look for me next time we stop traffic!” 


With a huge grin he added, “Abortion? You have no idea until you’ve been there why God gives you a potential trauma but if you are lucky you touch a part of Heaven while on earth. I know my lips and soul kissed an angel goodbye and then let her return to Heaven the day my youngest daughter died.”  


Conception a Perception:

During my daughter’s birth, my blood pressure caused me to code. While the doctors attempted to revive me and deliver my child, God told me to go back and finish the task of raising her. Except for short term memory loss that still haunts my mind, she and I suffered no major permanent damage. Thank God.

When my acquaintance was raped, her husband and she decided to keep the unborn child because they spent years on an adoption list. Remarkably, they felt a child half the wife’s blood was better than waiting and getting two unknown sets of genes. Their faith in God’s plan for their lives stunned me.

A co-worker chose abortion on two occasions and for selfish reasons each time. The first one happened when she was still a teen. On another occasion, she was no longer in love with her husband and divorcing. When she found her third mate, she discovered abortion is the worst form of birth control. In spite of repeated attempt and a score of doctor interventions, they never reproduced. Think twice before you follow her example! Like her, God may make you live with the consequences of your bad decision.

An acquaintance aborted her love child. Every time she witnesses cruelty to the innocent, such as one day when we watched a documentary on the beating to death of sea lion cubs, she overly reacts in excessive tears and mourning. I figure her deed left its mark on her conscious.

A relative created a child before he was an adult. His mom and his girlfriend’s mother helped the teen girlfriend seek an abortion. Due to twists and turns in his life, he never had a natural child; he felt empty. Thou shalt not commit adultery includes fornication; both choices have consequences.  


Not Kevorkian:

I work as a nurse in an emergency room. It’s not as hard as you might think. Many failing patients resuscitate unexpectedly. Later, they explain to our staff what it felt like to be near death; invariably, the patient describes their spirit floating above the scene while in painless bliss. Some explain a light and its brilliance. Many live their final days unafraid of the last step in this life because they return to their physical bodies sure of an afterlife and a loving God.

I went to administer Last Rites to a parishioner. He’d had surgery and started to bleed out or die. Barely conscious, I felt his spirit praying with mine as his nurse stood bedside ready to capture the moment of his death for the hospital records. During our petitions to God, the dying man stopped bleeding coming back to life. Sometimes, prayer heralds the onset of a phenomenon to the scene. The medical field calls it a spontaneous healing; the faithful call it answered prayer. I thanked his last physician or Dr. God, the ultimate healer. 


Nurse’s Lament

While working in the nursery at a local hospital, I inadvertently allowed a chemical into a baby’s eyes. Immediately, I flushed the child’s face and called in the pediatrician. It looked as though I blinded that infant. My next step included a tear-filled confession to the parents.
I prayed that day, all night, and most of the next morning. When the eye doctor finished peeking into the condition of that child’s vision, his huge smile spoke volumes. Doctor God completely healed that poor child. Thank God for the little miracles of life.

A Nurse Confesses


Healthy Restart

My nanny wanted a husband and children so badly that she discussed it nearly daily with me. Her first husband cheated on her but wanted to come home. He offered no future children. In fact, he feared having babies so much that he used that as part of the excuse for his affairs, which made no sense because that behavior might snag him multiple babies.

She separated from him but thought about tricking him into a child. I cautioned her against it explaining how raising a baby alone would too demanding. She thought it might bring him home to her permanently. I explained the pros and cons of that idea. “He might resent it! He probably would cheat, again!”

As she contemplated her decision, friends introduced her to a new man. This guy had a very young baby. The wife recently passed away. She didn’t die in childbirth. In fact, her daughter played a very small role in the mother’s death.  

Years earlier, the natural mother had cancer. Thinking it was gone, she wanted to start a family. After years of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy, the couple’s first born arrived in her womb. Cancer restarted alongside this good news. By time they discovered that sad fact, the terminal disease ran rampant.

“We MIGHT be able to save you if you abort the fetus,” The doctors didn’t even call it her child- her long anticipated daughter. “If you remain pregnant, we can’t assure you that the cancer will be controllable by the time of the birth. Plus, you may lose the child through spontaneous abortion.” Her body might naturally do this procedure.

The pregnant lady decided to take her chances. Her husband nervously went along with her wishes because this might be their only chance at having a child- naturally. In the seventh month, the doctors did many tests and much soul searching telling the young couple about the hopelessness of the mother’s illness. As this mom awaited a cancer death, her child awaited life. The decision to take the child early giving the baby a chance at survival arrived. The doctors performed a C-section taking the infant two months early. Thank God that very few disabilities for the infant arrived with that decision.  

The young woman kissed, loved, and played with her baby asking the dad (her husband) to find a mom for their little girl as soon as possible. In fact, she informed all her relatives and friends of her desire to have her child in the hands of a new mother as soon as she passed over.  

That’s how my friend entered the picture. As soon as someone heard she separated from her spouse because of her great desire to have children, mutual friends recommended the meeting between the man, his little girl, and my nanny.

As my child care worker told me her dilemma, I spoke carefully, “Make a list of what your husband wants and doesn’t want in life. Make the same list concerning this new man. Then, ask yourself if either man can fulfill your own list of future needs. Maybe, there is a third person out there for you.”  

After the lists and agonizing meditation, when the little girl couldn’t yet say ‘mama’ her new one moved in married to her dad. Their nuptials came less than nine months after his first wife passed. Then, less than two years later, the husband’s second daughter arrived with his second wife, a healthier woman.  

They raised their new family together.  

The last thing I heard; my nanny believed she made just the right decision leaving her cheating spouse for the good man of an unbelievably unselfish, deceased wife.  

Barbie’s tale


***

Spook Hill

Before attending mass, a friend brought me to see Spook Hill. Is it an optical illusion or truly a haunting site and sight? I’m not sure but to rid ourselves of that troubling thought, we attended Holy Ghost Catholic Church that same day in that same area of Florida. The remedy for evil is to always seek God.

A tourist

Don’t follow the wrong directions.


Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
(John 16:24)


Mt. Rainier

Due to work commitments, my husband arrived in Seattle days after us. We’d gone to Mt. Rainier on a sunny day- when ‘The Mountain was out.’ However, once my spouse arrived, all we witnessed was rain and more precipitation.


“You should see The Mountain!” The girls taunted.


“Let’s go!” He agreed.


“No, daddy, when it is out!”


“It’s always out!” He interrupted.


“No, it’s hidden by the clouds,” I explained how the white glacier peak is disguised and stealth behind foggy conditions.


“Since we leave soon, we need to go to Mt. Rainier today or never.”


At that warning, we piled into the van including his mom and her husband. The whole drive the fog got thicker not weaker but visibility wasn’t so limited that it ruined the nearby views. My husband saw the waterfalls, rivers, and rapids formed by the snowcapped mountain and its glacier’s melting. He took in the alpine views and evergreen lined route. He enjoyed the Kodak moments having no idea that this peak could be better.


After a few snow fights that were more like ice arguments, because the white stuff landed there ages ago, we took the winding road home. I kept praying my husband would get to see Mt. Rainier shine because it’s spectacular. It glistens warmly on the days it’s not fogged in, which according to the area’s natives- The Mountain being out- is rare.  

As we drove past some cow pasture, even though I lost my bearings being turned around by the curving highway, something inside me screamed, “Look out the passenger window. The wind briskly moved cloud cover as I shrieked, “Stop! Pull over! Look! Look!”  

My husband screeched our vehicle to a halt while our radio played something that sounded like Gregorian Chant. We piled out to take pictures while some of us chanted, “Hurry! Hurry! The wind is about to blow more cloud cover over the peek at Mt. Rainier!”


It happened so fast, the answer to my prayers, that one of our children bellowed excitedly, “Did you see it, daddy? Did you look in time? The Mountain was out!”


The next day, we ate breakfast at the Seattle Needle. As we circled the building, Mt. Rainier peeked out, again. This time, its splendor lasted more than a moment. God can answer prayer as quickly as the wind changes direction. He can, also, help the pleasure last if you trust the prayer will be answered.

Eyewitness- I witness


Don’t be afraid, just believe. (Mark 5:36)

In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my spirit on all people.  
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, 
your young men will see visions, 
your old men will dream dreams.
 (Acts 2:17)


Nightmare

One night, I dreamed about an earthquake. It took place just like my college Geology professor described one. There were gas, mainlines broken that resulted in fires all over the place. Damaged waterlines shot plumes but not close enough to quench burning piles. Roads were layered on each other as highway bridges collapsed. Other asphalt peaked and fell where sinkholes formed. Building toppled and some lost all their glass but stood tall. Destruction reared its ugly head everywhere. The vista revealed the pieces of life left behind in the rubble. As I lunged forward, realizing the nightmare was over; my ears swore they heard my mother-in-law calling out from the epicenter.


After fully awakening, I felt relief that the vision was over. Turning on the television, the 1994 Earthquake startled me. My mother-in-law was on vacation in California. At the moment, I wasn’t sure how close to the epicenter and destruction her husband and she were. The news continued reporting that some casualties did occur along with the property damage.

We learned later that week that they felt the tremors thinking it was fierce wind blowing their travel trailer; they were not hurt. Later, the news reported that sixty people died and seven thousand injuries occurred. Twenty thousand people were homeless. Three freeway bridges and roadways were destroyed and impassable. The quake toppled or damaged four thousand buildings. The 6.7 earthquake in LA left gas lines flowing with fire and water lines spewing until their liquid ran out.  

My dream was real; that idea scared me. I found it difficult to think about the earthquake as a true situation that my relatives escaped. Or, that I dreamed- a premonition. You don’t have to believe it; I do.  
I arrived at the conclusion that God gave me the dream to teach me to trust His Ways; even in an earthquake, those meant to survive do.

The daughter-in-law’s vision


***​


Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 1:31)

Now to each one the manifestation 
of the Spirit is given for the common good.  
To one there is given through the Spirit
the message of wisdom, 
to another the message of knowledge 
by means of that same Spirit,
 to another faith by that same Spirit, 
to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 
to another miraculous powers, 
to another prophecy, 
to another distinguishing between spirits, 
to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, 
and still another the interpretation of tongues.  
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, 
and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
(1 Corinthians 12:7-11)


7th Heaven

On January 14th, as I entered church instead of staying home to watch the Dolphins win the 1973 Super Bowl, my eyes scanned the building mostly occupied by women. At communion, my glance out a window revealed a sign in the heavens that almost appeared like skywriting from an airplane. The number 7 appeared and repeated, there. Nudging my mother, my finger pointed to that vision. As we left the service, the cloudy numbers were fuzzier and fading but still looked like some variations of seven.  

“We won by seven points!” I declared.  

When we flipped on the radio, the announcer revealed the winning score, “Our home team, the Miami Dolphins just won Super Bowl VII scoring 14-7 in a close game!”

God cares about even the smallest details of our daily life; He even counts the number of hairs on our heads as well as points scored.

A doll fan reports


Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
For what do righteous and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 
(2 Corinthians 6:14)


An Omen

My fiancé despised my mother telling her off- often- in front of others. When, my best man died a week before my marriage, his death gave me pause. A drunk driver took him out on the interstate. Without giving it a second thought, my mother declared that his death meant my marriage would fail; she called it an omen or sign from God. I married, anyway. A year later, infidelity by my wife ended our union. She married the father of her unborn child. Maybe, I need to pay more heed to God’s signs.

A sullen soul


God speaks to our soul in ways we understand. 


I will instruct you and teach you 
in the way you should go; 
I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)


Hurricanes of 2004

Talk about ‘Ground Hog day,’ the movie- that’s how it felt when starting Friday the 13th of August Hurricane Charlie rumbled through ending that day with a bang. Many lost their lives and homes as that storm failed to lose power or momentum as it raced across Florida at warp speed. Tornadoes wreaked havoc everywhere the storm passed. In a strange coincidence, earlier that same day, I’d heard that a school friend with the same name passed away. There’s no escape when it’s your turn!  


Just as people felt life was back on schedule, the task of preparing for another hurricane arrived. Francis meandered through this neck of the woods completing damage started by Charlie. Roofs finished sagging or tearing loose and power outages finished rotting food that survived the first hurricane. 


Again, as power finally came back on everywhere including remote parts of this area, a third storm taunted while approaching Central Florida. Would this never end?


A phone call came to my home; a stranger asked me; “Is it true another tropical system is headed our way?”


“Yes,” The news says batten down what hatches are left and be prepared for another bout with a hurricane.”


“I was just about to get to the pile of rubble, that were my trees before they came down, off your property.”


Being in a fairly new and forest free subdivision, I laughed, “You dialed the wrong number; none of your brush is on my lawn.” He thanked me for my patience after realizing in his state of mind that he’d randomly dialed but hit a Florida resident.


Later, at the store, buying more water to replenish our stash from the first hurricanes, a lady approached me grabbing my hand while asking, “Is it true? I’ve been out of electricity for weeks; is another hurricane set to hit us?”

“Yes!”

“I’m so tired of cold showers, loud generators, and no fresh water!” She muttered as she walked away. Turning back, she added, “Sorry- you didn’t upset me- the news did!”

Hours and hours or days later, Jeanne finished stalling over us. When she left, my daughter’s telephone rang but no one talked to her when she answered it.

“That’s strange!” My kid wasn’t referring to the lack of communication on the line as much as the calling number. It was 867-5309; a 1982 popular tune by Tommy Tutone contained that phone number. The lyrics sang about a special girl that a man searched for named Jenny- that daughter’s name. 

Even weirder, after some Internet research, I discovered that in 2004 a real person launched a campaign trying to find that imaginary girl. The guy dialed every area code with those last 7 digits to find out if Jenny might answer- not my daughter- a fantasy gal. Did his dialing malfunction during the storm sending the numbers to my Jenny’s line?

Adding to this coincidence, my deceased mother’s name was Jean or Jeanne when she was a kid. We felt most of these details signaled that Heaven watched out for us during those hurricanes. Just before she died, Mom told me she’d be storming the Heavens on my behalf. These events made me wonder! I believe that God has mysterious ways of communicating with us including changing fury into a reassuring message or outcome.

A recap of stormy weather



***


Signs & Omens
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs
 in their presence, 
they still would not believe him. (John 12:37)

Witnesses’ Briefs:

We were tired after a long day learning geology on the field. As many snoozed during our bus ride, I felt a presence. It made me feel like praying the Lord’s Prayer. As I got to, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” our driver tangoed with an oncoming car and a cliff. He miraculously maneuvered us to safety; Thank God and prayer.

While going through a trying time, in prayer, I mentioned to God, “A penny for your thoughts!” That day, at the grocery, agonizing over budgets, a nickel fell from nowhere landing on my shoulder. I took it as five times the normal thought and God saying, “Don’t worry; I’ll always feed you!”


When we allow it, God guides us well.


My sister went missing during her grieving of our parent’s deaths; they died within weeks of each other. For days, I had no idea where she went. Suddenly, surprisingly, I drove into a parking lot to find her a mess but in the safe custody of a policeman. He brought her to a help center to find her grief support. Obviously, God knew where she escaped during this trauma and directed my path.

As I stood looking at a lake lot to build my home on, my mind wondered what the people on the other side were like. We ended up purchasing a lot across the water, and I found out. Sometimes, your mind, heart, and soul lead you to a different location. Listen to His message planted there.

It rained on my wedding day. Some say that’s a bad sign- that the marriage will fail. At least, I got two sons out of that ordeal- I mean matrimony!

I was on the playground when the kick ball rolled under some bushes near the air conditioners. Leaning in to reach the ball, my spirit screamed, “Stop!” Looking deep into the leaves, branches, soil, and crumbled school papers, I realized my body avoided a near brush with near death as a snake sat poised for the kill. God’s message to my soul stopped and saved me.

There was a jail nearby. I was a worry wart. As my husband showed me a lot for our new home, my ears detected the gun firing range for the local sheriff’s department. In spite of my qualms, something inside told me that I’d move to that very spot. Later, that neighborhood suffered what some called a curse, which had nothing to do with prisoners. Some Christian neighbors and I helped comfort those in dire straits due to multiple unrelated, parental deaths. I was meant to be there to help. Why fight God’s Plan?

The car was on empty as I drove it to 666 on the odometer. I should have stopped for gas and went that extra mile because of that ominous number. But, I parked it in our driveway because it was so late. The next day, on the way to the gas station and work, my husband left this world due to a fatal car accident. I’m sure the feeling in my soul the night before warned me of the inevitable course of human history because no amount of calculating or recalculating can convert the number of days God planned for someone’s life- including my husband.  


Command certain men not to teach
false doctrine any longer 
nor to devote themselves 
to myths and endless genealogies.  
These promote controversies 
rather than God’s work- which is by faith.
 (1 Timothy 1:3-4)


Quite a Lesson

I went on a New Age Guru’s Internet site to understand the draw and why people follow his gibberish. While there, I ignored a sound in my soul and home. Suddenly, it occurred to me that the noise was real and coming from my laundry room. When I opened the door to that room or the Gates of Hell, a raging current made a stream through my house.  

My washer had been overflowing for at least a half hour. This event taught me to be mindful of where I spend my time and more aware of things going on in the here and now- before it’s too late to save things.

Scared Straight


Be careful not to succumb to the lack of humility; 
God alone is in true control of our lives.


***


What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight;
what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the rooftops.
(Matthew 10:27)


Casper

My elderly mother babysat my children one night. Suddenly, there was knocking at the front door; the banging at the locked door changed to louder and more aggressive as my mom approached. She tried to peek out the peep hole but the darkness of night blinded her. Her hand attempted flipping on the porch light; however, despite changing the bulb repeatedly, the porch light blew immediately. It had not worked properly in ages. Thus, we gave up changing it.


Just as the pounding at the door started, my son’s bedroom sounded as if it were in wicked commotion. My parent decided to high tail it to my kid’s room to protect him if the people at the door were wreaking the havoc. Arriving at the threshold, due to his night light, she noticed my son on the ground. Flipping on a lamp, she raced to his side realizing all the banging and thrashing stopped.


“What happened?” She asked my coherent and uninjured son.


“I dreamed bad guys came in my room so I jumped from my bed.” He slept on the top bunk ever since mom moved in with us. She took over our daughter’s bedroom and that kid slept on the bottom bed. Grandma interrupted our other child’s sound sleep when she entered their shared space.


“What happened?” A groggy sister asked about this scene.


“When I jumped from there,” My son pointed to his bedding, “Casper saved me placing me on the ground- right here.”


My mom realized something strange about his story coinciding with what she thought might have been an attempted home invasion. Settling the children, she snuck back to the front door. It had become quiet and peaceful. The stranger thing is that the porch light suddenly worked, which helped her peek at the empty stoop.


Something saved my mother and children that night from what we swear was an attempted robbery or worse fate. Talking to the neighbors, we discovered the previous owners died in the house. One died naturally and at peace with Her Maker. Her husband tormented himself to death committing suicide. We aren’t afraid to live in the haunted home because it appears the good angels remain in charge.
God is the victory over the evil in this world.

Eyewitness report


Guardian angels protect innocent children from harm.


But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes,
he will guide you into all truth. 
He will not speak on his own; 
he will speak only what he hears, 
and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)


Wasn’t My Will

A neighbor supported a certain woman for city council. That friend wanted Sue to win because she felt, “we need a woman’s voice on the board, and you refuse to run.”


I didn’t make a habit of voting for people I don’t believe in just because they fill a minority order. However, my pal thought I voted for the lady, so she asked me to accompany her to the poll closing party at the woman’s home. Not wanting to divulge my secret ballot status or hurt the neighbor’s feelings, I meekly walked in behind my friend as the telephone rang. It was less than half an hour since the voting finished in our small town.


“Sue won!” My mouth disconnected from my heart and brain while declaring the news.


“How do you know?” My friend asked.


“The phone just rang to give her the news!” Strangely- I insisted as if possessed.


“It’s probably a supporter asking for directions to this party.


“Nope, she won!” My persistence showed.


As we walked into the living room, Sue hugged her canvasser and smiled at me. I barely returned the favor. Moments later, her husband stood in shock while handing her the phone that he’d been on, “They’re declaring your victory due to a landslide.”


That’s when I smiled! Not because she won but because I was right! Her victory wasn’t my will at work. The only thing I could figure was that God directed my spirit because my heart and mind really wanted to see her lose.  


A neighbor’s report


God can make us better people 
than we really are
 if we allow His guidance into our life.


Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 
(Matthew 6:10)


Three’s a Charm but Four Fascinates

Roberta was my mother’s maid before my mom died. That lady gave up her last two weeks pay in lieu of flowers. I lost touch with that woman.  

One day, we met at the grocery. She hugged me declaring, “I look for you each Sunday at your mother’s old church. I so miss your smile! You’re an inspiration especially the book you wrote about your mom.”  

Thanking her for her vote of confidence, I informed her that my church is in a nearby town then we exchanged personal data to keep in touch.

Later that same year, I spoke with my yard man while standing in my driveway. I handed him my book because his family faced cancer and my mom’s story might help. After he thanked me and drove away, my mailman flagged me down. I thought he had a package for me to sign to receive.  

Instead he declared, “Ever since reading your book, my eyes have searched for you in a crowd. Here, you are right under my nose!” He explained how reading my words helped him put memories and his father’s soul to rest.


Soon after, my aunt tricked me into taking her to a school reunion out of state. I unwittingly told her we could go if I won the lottery. My understanding husband allowed me to accompany her even when we lost. We stayed at a relative’s home; they hosted a barbeque.  

When that lady introduced me to another, the stranger declared, “I know you; you’re that author that wrote about her mom’s cancer and miracles. I’ve been praying to meet you- even planning a trip to your state.”


“How would you find me once you got there?” I wondered aloud.


“I figured if I got that far- God would make our paths cross as well.” She defiantly spoke warning me in her tone of the power of prayer. “He did me one better and sent you to my state.”


“I guess that explains why I lost the lottery but still arrived here with my aunt,” My laughter filled the air. That fan took my aunt and me to dinner asking me to write more books because she felt moved by that one she found in her dad’s possession after his death. Her father (Our Father) introduced us in that way. We still communicate to this day.


I met the next woman online in a chat room before those sites were popular. We exchanged stories, and I sent her a free copy of my book. Years later, the same year of my aunt’s school reunion, my husband got a sudden trip to Canada. It occurred during the Calgary Stampede so I tagged along.  

That online friend wanted to meet so I suggested the very public celebration. She told me to look for her in the square where volunteers served a pancake breakfast. Without a cell phone, without exchanging pictures, without more than a promise to meet, we found each other in the crowds.  

“Our spirits knew each other before we met in person,” She explained why it was so easy to spot one another. I think she memorized the cover picture on the book. However, given the multitudes of others present on the square, it still felt as if our friendship was meant to be. It still goes strong years later.

Mom used to say, “Three is a charm!”  

Meeting up with those four souls to continue friendships- the way it all happened- is just spooky. Actually, it’s more likely the Holy Spirit directed our paths, which is fascinating.



Author temporarily on the roof with mom and God


The events may be God communicating
while showing individuals
the correct path in life to take.



No good tree bears bad fruit, 
nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  
Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. (Luke 6:43-44)

***

Bootlegging the Keys

While vacationing in Key West, many strange people did sidewalk art. Some colored directly on the path way. Others serenaded by-passers. Some residents displayed sculpture, paintings, body painting, framed photography, and other traditional as well as conventional based wares. People roamed past purchasing from or donating to these eclectic artists including: pantomimes, living statues, and various island characters.


Two people stood out. One acted sad and dejected pushing his wheelchair with his hands and feet. He reeked of booze and defeat. I wondered why he hobbled in that human-powered vehicle as if his tragedies signaled his end.

Soon after strolling gingerly past his misery, a man missing one of his legs took center stage. Instead of giving up, this soul bore pirate’s attire posing for pictures with the tourists and his parrot.  

“What a good sport!” I spoke my thoughts. My family agreed as we noticed him hop on his scooter to ride home from a weary day on his peg leg! In that moment, I realized that God provides chances for us to make right choices; we should not give up until He signals our end.

One of my key moments


The wall was made of jasper,
and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.  
The foundations of the city walls 
were decorated with every kind of precious stone. (Revelation 21:18-19)


Follow the correct treasure- Heaven.


Jasper my Friendly Ghost

My factory job right after high school introduced me to Jasper.  

A good friend from class worked part time through a work study program. She helped me secure a job at the same location as her mother, aunts, and self. Located on the rail system, the textile factory hired varied skills.  

The Cuban women and other talented seamstresses worked in the manufacture portion of the three buildings. The college graduates found their place in cubicles randomly surveying the factory to make sure it ran correctly as well as effectively. Others took care of loading and unloading from trains and semi-trucks. Shipping and receiving handled containers filled to the brim with multiple forms of jackets from windbreakers to ‘snow ski ready’ bundles. Some staff kept the building maintenance in line. Still others including me filled orders for the department stores in this modern world. 


My work space consisted of a fifteen by fifteen room complete with a folding table, pricing gun, pen holder to write notes on orders, and boxes. There were garment cartons towering everywhere. While some of them housed future and current orders as well as sat empty awaiting my task to fill them, other containers stood as semi-permanent, pseudo walls. Two, passable openings finished the space. One structure felt permanent, and the other sat open ended. A door led to the railroad tracks where weekly a train stopped; it carried jackets that sweat shop workers in foreign lands produced.  

When the whistle blew, all hands or staff raced to form a line to unload cargo swiftly allowing that coach to move on. As the task occurred, some of us less brawny types counted and inventoried those boxes before they became pseudo walls in one of the three buildings. One structure housed container-made corridors, only. As far as the eye could see, the vision of an infinite number of coat boxes left a vivid impression. 


Meanwhile, walking in that building felt treacherous. Older boxes leaned and towered too tall to allow any safe retrieval. Sometimes, the stronger guys pushed the top ones loose. When they toppled, those items struck other rows causing The Leaning Tower of Pisa to come to mind. Everywhere, the maze of nearly toppling or towering stacks taunted anyone travelling those pseudo halls. Plus, poor lighting cast its spell on any items gathering dust in that larger building. Luckily, the guys gathered most of our supply cartons to fill orders so I rarely took my chances in those dangerous corridors. Sometimes, I wondered why the train and trucks kept arriving when that factory felt so full of jackets awaiting future shipments.


Repackaging one day, our college educated supervisor peeked into my space. Fulfilling a small order to a small retailer, he reminded me that the prices go up if the client is an established, brand name store. He, also, recapped other color rules. “If the client fails to state a particular color jacket give them the one we have too many of in storage.” After I nodded to his commands, he added, “Remember, if we don’t have enough of a particular size, let me know so that the girls in the factory can change out labels; we always move the size up so no one ever complains not even their customers.”

While doing these factory duties, my mind warned about a bleak future if I failed to make it to college. ‘It would stink if this job became my career.’ As I daydreamed, the doorway behind me remained open indefinitely. The box towers didn’t support a true door so anyone could wind up behind me while initially undetected. That particular afternoon, a man carrying a push broom snuck in watching me sort, price, fold, and box my order. After agonizing over something, he moved in closer pretending to be sweeping and cleaning this part of the factory.  

Looking up, I glanced over this ghostlike man; my eyes shot up and down as well as locking on his face. At first, I tried to assess if his gray skin resulted from textile dust or a lack of exposure to the sun, which seemed strange given the place we lived in. Florida touted, “The Sunshine State!” Avoiding the light felt near impossible.  


Before finishing my assessment, the man grabbed my right hand. That appendage remained posed to plant a price tag under the sleeve in the manner a co-worker trained me. However, he grabbed the plastic staples and their gun before my aim hit the intended target, under the coat’s sleeve. This man seemed a bit agitated by the business as usual attitude all around him; he displayed his concern without words. Taking my pricing materials and a coat, he put the price stapler at the hole in its cardboard tag and then to the under seam of that windbreaker. When he tried to pull the trigger, it failed due to his frailty.  

Not trying to be rude, I put my hand on the pricing gun and accomplished the task asking, “Like that?”  

Smiling wide, he nodded. Without words, he communicated his concern as I reacted with compliance. Then, the man left sweeping things but not under the rug.


At lunch, tables buzzed about Jasper. Evidently, my friendly ghost swept to keep busy but wasn’t really on the staff or ever a janitor. A year before I appeared on this scene, the owner of this textile business suffered a major stroke. After months of rehabilitation, he roamed the makeshift halls. It bothered him to see the plentiful leaning towers of rejected jackets as well as the backorders piling up. Jasper hated the spoiled orders from low rent shipping lines. The guy felt his management placed his business in disarray, decline, and potential bankruptcy after years of building his empire.  

Everyone talked of the good old days with Jasper at the helm. I kept thinking the Spanish ladies said Casper. In my mind, to relieve pressure, I kept calling him my friendly ghost. However, in my heart, I understood his upset with destruction of his well oiled machine. However, Jasper’s wandering fate taught me something else. As hard as anyone works for this life’s spoils, one disruption to health and wellbeing can destroy us if our full worth is in the physical world of our existence. Our goals need to be set higher- towards Heaven.

A factory worker remembers


Guardian angels ward off evil threats.



***



The Hunt

While in real estate, I met an elderly couple that lived in the worst possible place and in the hardest type of home to sell. The prefab house rested near a very active train tracks and its crossing signal as well as a busy intersection, which meant it was noisy all the time for these residents. They heard motors revving, honking horns, and loud sounds from traffic from various types of cars as well as clicking, whistling, and rustling of the nearby tracks as trains scurried past.  

My partner called me to the location to help her assess the value of the property, which the man and woman purchased just three years earlier before the wife’s health began to fail. They looked younger than their ninety plus years. Even their facilities felt keen and very alert for their ages.


As we sat down to talk business, my Christian partner couldn’t bear deflating their idea of the value in their home, I boldly stated; “You’re at a busy crossroad including the street and train tracks. Your prefab house is a step up from a trailer and will be hard to secure financing on due to the current deflation in the economy. The water well in suburbia is another negative.”


The pleasant looking man turned an evil eye towards me readying for the kill. I stopped short allowing my real estate comrade to play good cop. “What my friend means is this sale may take months.”


“What I mean is the person that sold you this place three years ago caught himself a tuna. It was never worth what you paid for it even in a good economy.”


His wife touched his hand to keep it from slugging me. We set a price equal to the amount he paid as his spouse spoke, “Our children told us to get rid of the place and come live with them before I pass.” She indicated in her tone that she knew the price was fair even though they might lose thousands.


“I’m sorry!” My voice allowed that statement to arrive less gruff in tone.


“For what? Telling us the truth?” The elderly soul smiled and winked as if she understood her husband’s ego better than we did.


“We can cut some of our commission,” My partner added her Christian idea to the mix.


The husband willingly signed up to sell his home after that conversation. When the house got a contract for a thousand less than they paid, my partner took the turn at bad cop presenting the terms and conditions. This old couple lost that money plus their share of the closing costs and broker commission.  

My partner, Mrs. Hunt, allowed me to be the Christian for a change, “We decided to forfeit the selling agent and listing agent commission since we happened to be both. In other words, our boss will be paid but we will close this deal without personally being paid.”


“You shouldn’t do that!” The wife warned.


“The person that sold you this mistake shouldn’t have been paid either!” My response resounded.  

“That’s life!”


At that, the woman punched her spouse lightly in the arm remarking, “I told you they were angels sent to rescue us so we can go home to our children.” She smiled pointing directly at me, “I knew God sent that one to help you see the light. Don’t you see Him standing right beside her?”


I’m not an angel but I was quite possibly an agent of God, at least to that soul. When they moved, she tapped me on the shoulder at church when they attended services with their children. Then, one day, her husband touched that same shoulder, “Thanks for convincing me to sell my home, my wife seemed relieved that I’d be taken care of when she departed.” His spouse never returned physically to that church but she remained in his heart until his own death. You could say that after his wife died that prideful man remained on the right track until his own caboose signaled his end of the line.

Mrs. Hunt & her partner’s narrative


God offers the Keys to Heaven-
if we ask- His door is always open.


EVERYDAY PEOPLE 
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” 
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

Answered Prayers:


Oh well- God is good-
cause this chick in this store was talking smack
& I said "hold me Lord!" –
See Jesus lives-whew-close call- LOL


While we were away in the Keyes, the baby boy I baby sat for was thrown from the car as his mom pulled out in traffic. The paramedics had to keep him conscious so his little brain would not give in to the swelling. When I heard the news, I prayed and prayed. He got better and showed no permanent signs of damage. Thanks God as well as the paramedics He sent to keep the boy’s brain alive and well.

While on a field trip, literally, I wanted to find a Trilobite to impress a boy in my college geology class. I found a fossilized fruit instead impressing all my professors as well as their associates. Funny how life works; God has a sense of humor.


WHAT God says He will do...

He will do!
He may not always come
when you call Him
but always RIGHT on time.


I prayed about my job change. Walking behind my principal; I discovered he was no pal of mine. All the signs pointed to leave, that arrogant man never turned or changed. God sets up a time to help us hear a truth so we can make a decision on our prayer. Listen closely because God can be subtle or extremely obvious when giving guidance.


I basically have a job!!! :)
Thank you Jesus and all those praying :)


The Spirit helps us in our weakness. 
We do not know what we ought to pray for, 
but the Spirit himself interceded for us 
with groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26)




Being Christian

My parents adopted me; I was a blue baby. They paid for surgeries to correct my heart defects but my heart never quite healed. My mother dressed me like a peasant, and classmates taunted me. When my dad discovered my mother’s cruel behavior, he divorced her keeping me but I never forgot how it felt to be ridiculed based on my looks. When I heard about Jesus and the taunting He suffered; I could relate. It was easy to become a Christian as well as to stand up for other people being judged by appearances instead of their good hearts.

From a young girls heart


All this I have spoken while still with you.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, 
whom the Father will send in my name, 
will teach you all things 
and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:25-26)


I am glad God does miracles. 

Holy Ghost

When my long time friend divorced, she moved back home with her ailing mother. The break-up wore on Dawn’s soul to the degree that depression took over her spirit. Tears seemed a ‘way of life’ and almost too much for her sick mom to bear according to that lady. That elderly woman answered the phone several times describing the grief stricken daughter, my pal. 


“I keep praying the Holy Ghost will comfort her because I have no idea how to handle her tears.” She hesitated, “My spouse never cheated on me- that I know of- anyway. Here, she lost a second scoundrel to another woman.”


“Sad! I can’t relate either but try to be there for her,” My voice interrupted her lamenting.


“All I know is even if she answers the phone; I know when it is you.” She hesitated, “You are the only friend that makes her roar with laughter. It’s music to my ears. I’m sure the Holy Ghost sent you.”


Her use of the old terminology for the Holy Spirit or third person of God startled me a bit. Soon, my friend and her children moved back out to her own place. However, one night, in the wee hours, she stood out on the proverbial ledge overcome with the grief of raising two kids alone- one from each marriage. Placing a call to me, my soul leaped from bed and answered the phone. No one ever calls that late unless bad news needed to be delivered so I quickly responded. 

“I can’t do this alone!” She wept inconsolable at two in the morning.

After a few, “you’re stronger than you think,” statements- the tone changed. Maybe it was sleep deprivation that led conversation about needing a vacation into an idea. “Call Maury or Springer! Get on their show so you can have a free trip on them. You can tell them all about your husband’s double life.”


“You mean how he convinced me that his secret government work out of town is why I couldn’t reach him. He operated under a pseudo name while there.”


“You mean Dumbo or Bozo?”


“I was Bozo the Clown and a real Dumbo accepting his lies while he lived with that other woman part-time.”


“Wonder what line he fed her?” I jested, “Got to go to Florida to stop the Haitian immigration as a member of The Coast Guard?”


“As a phantom member,” She joked with me; by then, we were roaring with laughter. 


“At least, you’re not the only silly woman accepting his fibs! Wonder how many total idiots there are out there?”  

Luckily, she didn’t take offense at that remark even though she could be counted in that pack. My friend got stronger each time we talked. She eventually raised her sons into fine young men in spite of the fifty per cent genes from both estranged and cheating husbands.  

When her mom took terminally instead of chronically ill, I found out from my friend’s sister. Calling my acquaintance, she admitted to being too busy to let me know of the tragedy; “It’s advanced cancer! They give her months!”


On the day her mom passed, I felt a warm glow nearby while trying to call my friend but no one answered her phone. Arriving at work the next day, my friend’s relative- that worked for the same company as me- was absent. I asked her best friend if she knew the status.  


“Her mother died, yesterday.” Startled, I forgot to ask for details and funeral arrangements. As I walked away, a statement drifted after me, “The service is tomorrow after work!”


On a hunch, I called the same funeral home that my parents’ used. In all the years we were together, I never asked my friend her mother’s name. The place had a lady matching the age of her mom; the viewing and memorial was scheduled for the right time and day.  

After, arriving on site, my friend greeted me, “I don’t want to witness my mother dead; I certainly had no intentions of inflicting her lifeless body on my friends! That’s why I didn’t call you.”


I smiled, hugged her, and thought, ‘The Holy Ghost sent me.”  

Later, during the eulogy, a distant relative had the stamina to do the speech for this family. She spoke of the lady’s veneration of God’s Holy Ghost. Failing to call His Comforting Presence the Holy Spirit, I knew God sent the message; my friend would survive losing someone that gave her unconditional love- her mom.





***


Stroke of Bad Luck

My husband gave me the best. As a builder, he built me a mansion on a huge, skiable lake. As a thoughtful spouse, he lavished me with bobbles, trinkets, and material possessions as well as whirlwind tours of practically every hot spot on the map. The epitome of success and my doting husband describes that man.


One day, just after the launch of his largest planned subdivision, my husband collapsed right in front of me. I dialed 911 quickly and panicked more than ever before in my life. In the ambulance, he barley responded. Even his responses might have been stretches of my imagination according to his trauma doctors.  


After days of bedside vigils, the hospital staff declared him brain dead asking me if I wanted to take him off life support. I collapsed into a nearby nurse’s shoulder while sobbing. After digesting the shock of that moment, when my eyes looked up, the staff member supporting my grief stricken body was a long time friend; she just happened to be on duty in that moment.  

Not ready to pull my beloved’s plugs, my decision included awaiting the arrival of his children from a previous marriage. They were en route from other regions. 

That night, my acquaintance and my spouse’s nurse took my wobbly body and soul out for coffee after her shift. Since she worked in ICU and ICC most of her career, the lady witnessed many things from unexpected recoveries via spontaneous healings to unexpected collapses into dead.  

Unfortunately, she provided examples, “One of my patients just received a sponge bath. He smiled as I returned with a warm blanket for his comfort. Rumor had it that his doctor expected to move him out to the less terminal wing of the hospital in the morning. Suddenly, as I exited his room, he reached out while grabbing his heart whispering, ‘Oh, the pain!’ He passed quickly but not before adding, ‘Merciful Jesus!’ That man glowed as he crossed over, which is the only reason his death didn’t floor me.”

I wondered why my friend provided such a story to a woman deciding the fate of her husband. Before asking her intentions, the nurse continued her anecdote, “I hope my tale gave you peace that there is more to life than meets the eye.” She attempted to justify telling me that sad, cautionary tale adding, 

“No one, not even the doctors know the outcome of illness. Only God knows the moment we will die. Don’t let the doctors become your Master. You can choose your husband’s right to life.”

“What if he is a vegetable for years?”

“People have recovered from comas telling everything they heard and saw during their absence. They are still present even if quietly resting.” She went right into her proof, “I’ve worked the brain injury halls of this and other hospitals. People recover and awaken when you least expect it; God chooses the day.”

She spoke so authoritative that I had no doubt of my decision to allow God rather than the doctors to move my husband back to health or Heaven. When his children arrived, they opted for putting him out of his misery or pulling his life support, which his physician warned meant sudden death. Against the will of all those around me, I took my spouse home on life support and with round the clock nursing staff. If his children whispered one more time about the waste of money when he was already gone, I’d slash them from my Last Will and Testament, which appeared to be superseding my husband’s intentions- at the moment. My spouse- barring a miracle- which I hoped for- seemed to be heading to Heaven, anyway! In fact, after three month at home, after weeks of little sleep for myself, I called his offspring from his first marriage to report that their father rested in peace- now.  

His funeral felt strained by the brokenness of his life and his children’ intentions. However, loving my spouse with all my heart, I carried out his Will not mine giving the kids residuals from the estate after selling off his construction company and our estate.

Alone, my move to a condominium occurred quickly after my husband left for Heaven. Lonely, I suddenly missed the nurse pal from the hospital. My mind decided that it might be good to rekindle that friendship. However, in my confusion, I’d forgotten to ask for her phone number or address. As I wandered the grocery store buying essentials for one, my heart longed for an understanding soul to mourn along side.  

While staring at the beef, when a hand brushed mine, my eyes glanced up to see her smiling face. She sang out, “I thought about you all day; we heard that your husband lost the battle and left for Heaven. How are you?”

“Alone and lonely!”  

Surprisingly, my cart was empty as was hers. She looked at her watch, “Want to go next door for a coffee or lunch?” This Good Samaritan asked.

We talked an hour- maybe more. Again, I left without her personal data to reach out to her during my mourning. Maybe, that was selfish to think she should be my private, grief counselor. A few months later, I joined a support group at the suggestion from my family physician. As I grieved my life, my mind flipped though pictures including that nurse’s interactions with me.  

Parking my car to enter the support group, recognizable laughter filled my heart as my friend hollered out. “We really need to stop meeting like this!” There, she stood with a huge smile. Given the circumstances, I wasn’t sure if her grin seemed appropriate or not. In a short instant, my soul felt healed by her presence. In spite of her own loss, she seemed in good spirits even during our meeting.

Again, self absorption caused me to fail to ask her for her personal data so that we might stay in contact. Sadly, she never returned to the grief group so I stopped going a few months into it.  

A few years later, at the end of my rope, I sat in the coffee shop near the grocery contemplating suicide as well as reliving fond memories of that friend. It should not have surprised me when her voice rang out, “We really need to stop meeting like this!” As my confidant, she sat beside me allowing me to grieve and mourn to my heart’s desire.  

It felt as if I zapped her of her positive energy with my lamenting of my losses. However, this time, she handed me her card so that my life didn’t get so out of control before I called her. She’s more than a friend; that nurse is a saint or a human angel. When I tell her that thought, to this day, she- always- humbly blushes. I swear that lady planted one foot in Heaven- years ago.

God consoles us in our losses through others as well as His Spirit of the Comforter, whatever we need to make it through the mourning.

An excerpt of a larger story


God knows our needs before we utter
a word internally or externally.



***


DREAMS
Reverie Other Spiritual Messages:


Has the grass turned green in just 72 hours!?
...miracles embedded in spring!
Hope you are loving it too.

.
After a fatal storm, I talked with my family practice doctor, a Christian. Often, he advocated my inspirational writing. Thus, I felt comfortable explaining a recent dream to him, “The Lord sent me a message as I slept. He worried that people were not listening to His Spirit pouring out on this troubled world. He ended His communication with, ‘I thought I had more friends left in this world!’” This part of my testimony felt less encouraging, “I responded, ‘So did I!’”


A Dream might be
an unconscious problem solving session.


For three years, I dreamed repeatedly about a house with water in the front and back as well as to the side. The house had a great room with lots of wood and cabinetry. We moved to a peninsular road after I drew the floor plans in the middle of one night, and we found this land building my dream. God guided the path way before the vision materialized.  

I kept dreaming that a vehicle crashed through our brick fence hurting a child. I was ‘Hell Bent’ on moving even if we lost $10,000. A month later, the news reported a bus and Mack truck collided at the bus stop behind our previous house. The truck went through a student and the brick wall killing that boy. Thank God He warned me to leave the area; thank God I gave up money to stay safe. However, I felt bad for the family of the victim. Our school board moved all bus stops off main roads the very next day!


The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of judgment. (Proverbs 10:21)


COOL DREAM


At Christmas, Grandma Ellen came to her granddaughter Susie’s new house for a party. Ellen’s husband and she were invited to the other side of the family’s celebration due to her off and on illnesses and the thought that that year might be the last chance to be with the elderly relative at the holidays. 

When Grandma arrived, she complained to Candice that John and his wife were not there. Her daughter-in-law, Candice didn’t want to tell her that they were in NYC because another grandmother was recently diagnosed with cancer. The younger woman simply told Ellen that John went to NYC to celebrate the holidays with his wife’s side of the family.

Ellen remarked, “I made it a point to come here because John is fun to chat with. I’ll very much miss sitting and talking with him. At many past parties, he always took the time to speak to me.” 

Months later, when Ellen made it to Hospice House already in a coma, Susie was doing John’s taxes. He felt moved to tell Susie about a weird dream he had had that Monday. In his vision, John sat with Grandma Ellen talking and talking about Heaven and how she was safely, there. 

That same Monday, in unrelated conversations, Ellen’s eldest son, Mark, mentioned to his step-father, "Mom looks different, today. I feel like her spirit is gone, and her body just won't stop."

Neither John nor Mark knew what the others were saying or thinking. Plus, missing her at the holidays, John had no idea of Ellen’s worsening health condition.

After hearing about the dream, Susie blurted out, “Grandma is at Hospice dying.” That’s when, John asked for Mark’s phone number to tell his reassuring story. When her son listened, he believed that man encountered his mom in that weird dream because it was the same day he felt her spirit left her body.

Later, in conversations, Mark asked his spouse, Candice, why John would have this dream since he only met his mother a few times. That wife told him about his mother’s comments at Christmas- about loving conversations with that man. “Your mom wanted to talk to John; so, apparently, she did. Actually, God allowed it!" Candice added.

“Why John instead of one of the closer family members?”

"If we say we chatted with her in a vision - it is JUST A NICE DREAM. But, if a near stranger- that had no idea she was near death- says he talked to her in a vision about her pending death, it is a gift and message from God! It can’t be doubted as authentic!” Candice added, “Plus, it’s a present for your mom. God gave her the last chance to visit with John instead of dying still missing her last conversation with him at that past Christmas party!” God healed their spirits.

John’s vision


A Dream might be a reenactment
or jumbling of waking events.


Andalusia or Delusional?

Last night, I had a very vivid dream. There was singing and conversations in it as well as very pretty scenes. It was so real that my brain thought I was awake. It went on and on for hours; it seemed! But- I know it was less than an hour because when I woke up to use the restroom a few minutes earlier I checked the time.

In the vision, some silly things my mind’s eye saw were a spa being built by a restaurant that was already open in the same space. The holiday atmosphere with the joining of fun venues made me think of Mia and her current education goals. 

Then, I witnessed a train full of cars and thought of Sissy. I felt like we all received one of the cars from that train. It's a dream! SMILE!

Plus, there were old buildings around an arched water system or crescent waterway, which I assumed was a pond or something. The nearby buildings fronted on it instead of backing up to that lake. They were really old but restored structures; my mind decide their circa as 1920s or 30s; I’m from the USA and that is old for us. These places were bright but not real colorful with pictures of seahorses and fish on them. I couldn’t decide if the beautiful lake was a sea.  

However, the area reminded me of Jewel and restoring brown buildings back to usable. Some town's people explained how proud they were that this place came back to life (I thought they meant renovations of the buildings not people coming back to life.).

Downtown, a huge party full of singing and dancing took place. Everybody seemed happy (EVERYONE). The dancing made me feel Dee would love this place.

Someone asked me how I arrived in Andalusia, which my brain thought they said, ‘this delusion.’ In spite of my feeling that this was a strange visualization, my mind explained, “My tour began by taking a right turn on a side street. It was a road always within reach that I rarely used but it got me here.”

In the vision, there was talking- not just images. Dialog has happened in my dreams before this one- but rarely. In the morning, after awakening, I looked up Andalusia to discover a place on the Mediterranean Sea boasts of Corpus Christi (Heart of Christ) and celebrates Jesus (The last Thursday of the month on the current calendar right after this dream was ‘The Feast of Corpus Christi.’). I thought- okay the dream had to do with happy and with Jesus. Happy to be with Him!

However, my spirit felt there was ‘more than meets the eye.’ The place kept coming to mind. All day long, I thought, “I’m delusional- no Andalusia.”  

Once home, I looked up some tidbits about that area on the sea. A city in Andalusia is Cadiz. Recently deceased, grandma was from Cadiz, Ohio. That USA town was named after that ancient village in Andalusia. I believed her soul must be very happy in the restored place (Heaven). When I told her son, my husband, about the dream; he smiled.


All the girls mentioned during this dream were her adult granddaughters that are close in age and relationships. These associations may explain why these particular family members felt present in the messages of the dream. After this nighttime vision, Mia finished a technical course and works for a cruise line where food and spa’s abound; she does massage therapy. Dee dances for a professional sports team. Sissy still loves cars as does her husband. Plus, we just discovered that Andalusia is, also, an old cracker town; it’s near a job site Jewel frequents as environmental permit agent for the state. It sits near Crescent Lake. God helped me sort out this dream or His communication about the lives of those affected by grandma’s passing.

A relative’s perspective


A Dream might just be a goal or fear
reviewed by the mind.


Rocky Mountain High

While high in the Rocky Mountains, a dream included that a Michael I knew passed away. Startled, my body lunged forward in bed because my husband and brother have that name. Hearing my husband’s snoring, I decided that dream incorporated the treacherous memory of our car trip up to Pike’s Peak earlier in that vacation. The next morning, in the hotel lobby, the television newscasters went on and on about Michael Jackson’s death. I called my brother to hear his voice, anyway! Dreams might be justifiable fears, which are replaced by the realities of each day. Thank God for the morning without mourning.

The relative’s version


He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9)


The Vision

At school, I mentioned that we planned on vacationing in Seattle, Washington. I knew a few things about the area. It rained all year, there. There would be glacial mountains such as Mt. Rainer, nearby. We’d be staying with grandma in the campgrounds on a military base in Tacoma.


One night, before our summer trip, I had a weird dream. I stood in colorless mountains, which were very bright and glistening white. It felt extremely cold so my brain kept demanding a jacket, which was nowhere in sight. So, I ducked inside a library to read about the rainy season or year as is the case in that area. Giggling at my jumbled thoughts encountered in that dream, I reminded myself to pack a light coat even though our vacation occurred in July.


Staring out the window from the airport to our transient home in the recreation area, I asked, “Where are the mountains?”


“You can’t see them on rainy days because they have glaciers and are as white as the foggy conditions right, now.”


“I see,” but really didn’t understand because the Smokey Mountains were green and lush as well as very visible in most weather conditions. I kept this idea to myself while searching the skies for signs of the peaks.


After stopping at the gate to check grandpa’s credentials, the van followed a winding path through huge, majestic evergreens. My rambling thoughts- about their beautiful image blocking the hilly terrain- were interrupted by grandma, “Turn right at the library or you’ll miss our campsite, again!” The mention of the library took me off guard so I listened to them argue about the best way to their travel trailer.


As grandpa parked his van, grandma warned, “Pull on your jackets; it’s colder than you think outside.” She was right; for summer the fifty degree weather took us southerners by surprise.  

The bigger shock was my dream being reality. How did I know all this stuff having never stepped foot in this area in my life? I was guided by God, He knew the white glacier mountains would be colder than expected as well as the fact that the campground sat near the Tacoma Military Base’s library. God’s Spirit guides us until Heaven.

A trusting and guided spirit
Dream may be communication
from the Holy Spirit to the heart, mind, and soul 
while avoiding interference
 from man’s conscious ability to reason it away.


The Creator’s Dreams

Not all dreams are created equally. Some are reliving the past, others solve future problems, and some are direct messages about personal life. My brother and I dreamed about a Holy Spirit filled book. He and I agreed on everything but the title. In my dream, the ex-preacher would evangelize- again- touting his first joint venture with God and me. When two or more are gathered in accord, a Holy Spirit filled dream may just be the answer to common and unspoken prayers.


A Dream might be
unleashing a past event. 


Tunnel Vision

Every time I ran a fever, a nightmare revived. Extreme apprehension enveloped me as a light through a dark tunnel raced towards my face. Before it hit, I always woke up. This horrible mental picture reoccurred for years. No words to my parents or other relatives could fully describe my emotions as I’d call out for help in the middle of the night. My soul dreaded my thoughts about this tunnel vision; that fear developed from that alarming dream.  

One day, while still a teen, as my parents played cards with some neighbors; the adults in the room talked about worst vacations. I overheard tales of rats, memories of creepy crawling bugs, and accounts of motels with filthy rooms as well as green pools. Then, my dad described a family vacation from Florida to Philly before expressways infiltrated the south. “Just after the second baby was born (me), we travelled north to see the relatives.”

“We left after work to get a jump on the trip. Ed always gets off by three in the afternoon,” My mom, Jean, added.

“Plenty of daylight left!” Her spouse or my father announced.

“He raced down country roads and four lane highways to make good time before dark.”

“I decided to drive on through the night while the girls slept,” My father explained. “Chugging along, my eyes never saw it coming. I missed the railroad, crossing sign and warning as well,” He laughed nervously. “Long story made short, as I clicked across the railroad ties, my eyes caught the light of an oncoming vehicle as it barreled along. If I hit the brakes, an accident was certain.”

“Something woke me up!” Mom interrupted his train of thought, “The baby stopped snuggling on my shoulder and cried out. As I looked the direction Candy focused on, my heart screamed about the train headed right at us.”

“We flew over the tracks in time to avoid collision!”

“Our guardian angels saved us all!” My mother declared.

My memory had no words due to my age when it really happened. As soon as they completed the tale, my nightmares related to a passage and its illumination ended. When that communication about the basis of my fears occurred, it quickly healed my soul. My mind no longer triggers that fear in dreams because my psyche healed as a result of that vacation tale.  

Soon after, in a hopeful tone, I could use the phrase, “Light at the end of the tunnel.” It meant something good instead of an unspoken nightmare.  

God reveals the truth in due time while guiding us along the path of life.

Past Dreamer’s Conversion



The Meek Win

A man stood bragging to a very tan, athletic lady as we awaited a bank teller. He talked about his team’s championships and his talents as their coach. Humble escaped his understanding as all his accolades flew out of his lips. After he walked up to the next teller, I meekly asked her if she played soccer like my daughter.  

She answered all my unspoken questions including the phrase, “I play for the national team.” I explained how happy my daughter would be to see them win the World Cup but wasn’t sure I even said that right. She invited my daughter to the China scrimmage, “Just tell the staff Brandy sent you; and they’ll let her sit with us on the bench.”  

I did; she did. Meanwhile, my daughter lived a dream come true.

Later, that summer, the women’s national team took first place and Brandy became famous overnight as the lady using her soccer jersey as a sort of flag. God gifts the humble inviting them to a place of honor in the bench with real winners.

A Humble Spirit



***


and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
  to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, 
  and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. 
  They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
  a planting of the LORD 
  for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)


Stingrays

My wife loved a good day or week at the beach; she’d walk for hours near the breaking waves. We spent many vacations alongside the Atlantic as well as each other. When she died of a rare disease, I decided to forgo a gravesite and bury her privately in the ocean; we opted for cremation long before that second decision. Therefore, I knew one day after her formal memorial that I’d deposit her remains at her favorite shoreline.


When her son invited me to visit him at a beachside condo a couple months later, I loaded up the car with my beach attire, some soft drinks, a snack or two, and the jar containing my loving wife. Once there, I roamed near the breakers picking the best outgoing stream near a tidal pool to deposit the ashes. Flinging her into the air helping the ashes catch the breeze and a wave, I suddenly noticed something strange.


Visiting that very location, my wife and I often encountered shark groups munching, dolphin families frolicking, bait fish fleeing, seaweed foaming in the breakers, shells tossed in on the incoming tide, jelly fish sharing their sting, and other marine life. However, today I’d witness a first. After tossing the last of my wife’s remains, my eyes met a school of stingrays.  

The sting of the moment, that final goodbye was met with their rays of hope. That’s the message in that moment, “Awesome!”

A Mourner’s Story


by the power of signs and miracles,
through the power of the Spirit. 
So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, 
I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
 (Romans 15:19) 


Burning Memory

A lady at church died the same way as my father just weeks earlier. The news carried her suicide story indefinitely and from every angle. Reporters were too engrossed with her tale; she drove her car to a private area igniting her funeral pyre. News people missed our story but caught a similar one in a nearby orange grove months later.  

Urban legends about a serial killer developed. Thus, when church elders talked with me, they asked me to keep my story low key for the sake of that woman’s young children. Those kids already fought with mental issues and irreconcilable grief according to the religious messengers. Yet another copycat tale might push them over their own mental brink!

I’d have taken to my grave the story of the second self-murder at our church except that a few years later, some people that knew about dad gossiped about a serial killer in our midst. They repeated their claims to my younger, more impressionable sister as well as me. I prayed to know how to squash the lies as well as help people digest the truth about my father’s suicide. Due to that promise to the clergy earlier in this saga, when I heard about the rumors, my hands felt tied. The murderer was mental illness not another mysterious or unnamed soul.  

My prayer was for direction on how to handle the growing and false urban legend. Until someone pointed out the husband of the deceased female victim, I had no idea how my own prayer might be answered. The man happened to be a part of my life all these years; I had no idea until the day our mutual friend filled in the blanks about Coach Hall’s deceased wife. Up until that day, my mind and soul never realized that he lost his wife weeks before my dad and pretty much the same way; he was the man I prayed to meet.

Before that insight about Coach Hall’s first wife occurred, a vivid memory happened. It revolved around a day that I decided to ask permission to allow my kid to skip an athletic practice for a religious commitment. Before approaching him, his fellow trainer handed me a pound of lard and malarkey about separation of church and state, “If your child skips practice, we’ll bench them- star player or not!”
Making my way up the stadium stairs to ask for a second opinion, I tripped to my knees in front of the coach. He put out his hand to help me stand upright as I laughed about my depth perception that plagued me all my life due to my eye problems.  

“Are you okay?” He compassionately worried.

“I’m fine!” My words reflected my habit of passing off injury as nothing- physical and emotional. 
On that day falling prostrate as if praying before Coach Hall, he commented on the possible absence, 

“God comes first. If we need a player to win a game, we’ll place them in the game. Don’t let ‘benching threats’ stop you from doing your religious obligations!” I felt he understood more about life than his younger underling so I did what I had to do.

Then, years later, I wanted to tell the truth about the dual suicides at church. I had no earthly idea where the husband of the first lady to burn herself to death lived. Daily, I prayed for guidance while teaching about the power of prayer to my students. God decided the time was right, again.

Upon entering my religion class that I taught, my adult aide spoke briefly with me. “My daughter quit her recreational soccer to play tennis,” Val mentioned out of the clear blue sky or for no apparent reason.  

“She misses her teammates but especially their coach!”

“Oh yeah? Who was her coach?” I asked mostly out of politeness.

“The Coach’s name was Hall!”

“Oh, he coaches our junior varsity high school team!” I recognized aloud.

“Yeah, I know. He, also, coaches your Junior Varsity football team where my son played.”

“I heard that!”

He is such a nice man, and so active in the community. He is great with kids!”

“I get that impression!”

“Too bad about his wife!” She mourned aloud.

“What?” I explored in the minutes before the class bell hastened children into the room with us. “What happened to her?”

“She died. It was so sad. She was so young!”

“Cancer?” I ventured. “A car accident?”

“No, a murder. Didn’t you hear about it? It was the talk of the town. A serial killer ended her life in a car fire to destroy the evidence. Then, that man from her church died the same way. I’m not sure but I guessed that he murdered himself in the same fashion that he killed her.”

“What?” My alarm went off with the class bell.

“I think that man killed her and covered up the evidence by setting her on fire. Then, he felt remorseful and ended his life the same way. He went to the same church you know?” She defiantly added, “A stalker and murdered at this church!”  

That was a new and far-fetched explanation for the two deaths given what I secretly knew. It felt time to reveal the truth and connection. My tirade started, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I knelt before the man I’m looking for! Oh, my God!”  

My aide had no clue as to the meaning of my chant. My prayer was answered swiftly. Now, I could tell the whole story- to him. And, others? Suddenly, I had a story about suicide to finish with my kid’s Coach.

That next Friday, upon entering the school’s concession stand to help their sports booster club raise money, I began my private search for the words and the timing. Gaining my spunk, I pulled that coach aside, “I need to talk to you. It is not about sports.”

We walked in silence into the dark parking lot. Far from the crowds, I began to unload, “Do you know who I am?”

“Jen’s mom!” He searched my face intently.

“No, do you know we are connected even before she joined your team?”

“I haven’t a clue!” He stared.

“Let me tell you that years ago my mother died from terminal cancer,” The corral gate swung open and the horse bolted, “My father was certifiably insane- under a doctor’s care and off his medication for months. He committed suicide!”

“Is that right?!” He repeated that phrase until I memorized his every inflection.

“When did your wife die?” My bold question stung his heart.

“What?” He recoiled.

“I want to be sure it’s you before my tale continues!” My dialog desperately explained searching his eyes for his internal light to go off.

“My wife died,” then, he divulged the year. “It was all over the news. A fire, self-incineration! It was treated...”

“As a murder, at first,” my words completed his sentence.

“Yes, but within days the evidence revealed suicide,” He spoke candidly. Was it because he knew about my suicide horror or was this man simply healthy with his past and these facts?

“I know that is what they did when dad died.” I compared my life to his. “I wanted to be sure before I continued. Did you realize that a similar death occurred in your church the next month?”

“Yes, I heard something. However, I figured people were confusing my wife’s death with a second funeral. So, I dismissed the gossip!”

“Not gossip!” I warned. “Let me state that my father missed my mother and needed a way to end his life that worked!” Then, I blamed the media for a portion of my grief. “Evidently, your wife’s suicide brought plenty of television and newspaper reporting. They exploited the facts even to the ‘how to succeed at self-murder.’”

That coach added, “Yes, they did.” He recalled the media coverage candidly.

“My father wanted to die. Keep that in mind!”

“Is that right?”

Then, I bucked, “My father went to your church and committed suicide in the same fashion as your wife. I was told to keep it a secret. Lately, it has needed to be fully explained, and I prayed to meet you. I need to allow my dad to rest in peace; his true and full story needs to go down correctly in history. I’m sorry!” Next, Coach Hall learned about my vow of silence to protect his children.

“I’m so sorry that some well-meaning person kept us apart. Good thing God put us back together. My family is fine. We got over it. It appears you suffered a huge burden. God is good to finally help you find me and put this story to rest!” We were interrupted by a horn because Jen’s game ended and my family was ready to go home.  

Everything has a time and purpose under Heaven. All the things were finally exposed; all vulnerabilities challenging my family’s life and innuendoes expressed could finally be put to rest. My dad committed suicide as a copycat because he missed mom; he wasn’t a serial killer!  

A Religion Teacher’s Prayer and Thanksgiving



***

After they prayed, the place 
where they were meeting was shaken. 
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit 
and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:31)


Premonition

We went with some friends to see a childhood play. After, we talked briefly in our front yards about special plans. The neighbors planned on going boating the next day with her husband’s company and family. She explained how they form a flotilla culminating in a delicious dinner at a pier then back home.  

As she bragged of this yearly tradition, sadness came over me; I knew it wasn’t envy. It felt as if the next day would go extremely wrong but I bit my tongue rather than rain on her parade.

On their way home from the celebration meal, two women fell into Lake George, which has dangerous undertows. They couldn’t swim. The neighbor’s brother-in-law rescued both women before sinking from fatigue. They recovered his body the next day. 

After that, I wondered if I had told my neighbor to be more careful if my concern might not have materialized or if she’d have marked me as crazy. I decided premonitions guide us but cannot change God’s Will or plan for our lives. Thus, I let my feelings ride.

The widow was left with four children. Two she brought into this world with her deceased husband. The others had a biological mother, his first wife. However, she cared for the girls since they were infants or toddlers so she gained permission to keep the four children as a family in her home. People warned her at the wake that no man would take up with her and so many responsibilities. 

They made me so mad, I debated, “Ignore them; there’s a man out there that will love you for the kind of woman you are taking on all the responsibility as you have.”

A year later, good (God) news arrived. The mother of four met a father of more kids; they wed producing one child to tie all the bloodlines into one family unit. Two heroes came through that mom’s life, her two husbands. God is good especially when we choose correctly.

Barbie’s neighbor

For God is greater than our hearts,
and he knows everything. (John 3:20) 


Same Name


Too many of my relatives have the same first name especially the males. I have a cousin, brother, and husband with this problem. One night, my dreams became a nightmare. In the morning, the night vision materialized. In my sleep, my soul felt a death in the family. When I greeted my husband at the breakfast table a small relief filled my terrified spirit.

My brother lived ‘out of control’ due to a messy divorce that he grieved incorrectly. Calling my mother to check on that relative, relief continued to calm my fears because that sibling answered the telephone.  
Then, he handed the line to my upset mother.

I knew a fraction of her bad news before she delivered her message, “Last night, outside a bar, someone shot to death your cousin (same name as my brother and spouse).” I knew my mom worried about her child going the same route as she added, “Death is so final; no more chances to get life right!”

My relief turned to brief mourning but the distant cousin’s murder didn’t plague me as much as mom’s assessment of the amount of time for our chances to find the right path to Heaven.

Picturing It

My officemate at work had one child. He enjoyed talking about her and sharing pictures. “We wait for Allie to get home from college then crack a bottle of wine and decorate our Christmas tree! It takes hours because each ornament has meaning due to the story behind it. We reminisce. Often, we look through picture albums and scrapbooks as well.”


When I quit my job, Rich replaced me. He didn’t want to take my position because he disliked the company as much as I did. So, he told me a secret on my last day, “Now, that they made you train me before you left, I can tell you the stupid management will pay for the way they mistreated you- forcing you to quit and all.” He snickered, “I’m resigning right after they pay for my holidays off; I found a better job!”


Rumor control told me about his resignation. I turned my back to the gossiper and happily screeched, 

“Yes!” Then, I calmly spun back around saying demurely, “Really?”


“You act like you knew, already!”


Years later, I thought and thought about Rich all day. Maybe, it was the holidays bringing on this nostalgia. Coincidentally, that old associate crossed my path. As we caught up on past business acquaintances, she brought up Rich’s name. “How the heck is he?’


“He died last Christmas right in front of his wife, daughter, and son-in-law. He had a heart attack while sipping wine, viewing picture albums, and decorating the tree.”  

God took him at his best; how apropos!

Rich’s ex-officemate


God comforts each person
at the level they can understand.




***


From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise. (Psalms 8:2)


Grandma’s Visit

My mother-in-law had a massive stroke; doctors told us to brace for the worst. We didn’t bring our young twin boys or my wife’s older son to the hospital; we wanted their last vision of their grandmother to be good. Another relative took care of our children as we sat vigil at grandma’s bedside. She passed within hours, so we made it home before dawn curling up in bed.  


In the morning, a very agitated child sat in the kitchen with the relative baby-sitter. My wife’s older son is trainable, mentally disabled; he has a low IQ. There Don sat arguing that his grandmother came home last night. Before my wife could explain the death to her son, he told his version of the night before.


“Grandma came to my bed. She asked me to help you guys feel better when the dawn comes. She told me to take care of the twins especially Mitch!” He continued, “She explained that she’d be with us forever but no one else would see her at the house besides me.”


Amazed, after he finished his vision, we explained her death to that son. We briefly recapped the stroke situation to his half brothers when they walked into the kitchen. The significance in Don’s message from grandma manifested much later.

Ten years passed; Mitch got a rare disease that caused massive weight loss. Due to his age, we feared illegal drug use. When his gaunt body became unavoidable, we took him to the doctor to find the root of his issues. Sadly, Mitch was in very poor shape and none of it was his fault- after all. We brought him to the best doctors but he passed away.

Don’s story the night grandma crossed over made sense all those years later. We needed to especially watch over our son Mitch. Some days, we wonder if we waited too long to seek medical intervention but the physicians on his case remind us of how rare his condition was. Luckily, my wife and I never harmed that son with our thoughts about his possible street drug use because we’d have felt guiltier when he died. I feel that God warned us ahead of time so that the harshness of the blow was lessened in our soul, and we can cope.

A father’s enlightenment


Rejoice with those who rejoice,
mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:1)


Newsworthy

My ex-husband left me for his secretary. None of my children were hurt because I couldn’t have babies. He became a father within months of our actual divorce. The child was his girlfriend and his baby; he quickly remarried.


My ex-spouse and his second wife divorced in a more ugly way. She practically took his business dangling his son in his face. I heard this all through the grapevine, which hurt more because I still cared about him. 


One morning, as I dreamed that my ex called to say I loved you, my vision included the man apologizing for harming me. He asked for forgiveness mentioning how much he regretted ruining our lives for sex. After my soul let go of the pain that man wreaked on my life, my mother abruptly woke me with her telephone call. 

“Turn on the news. Turn on your TV. Quickly go to Channel 9!”


The reporter stood at the bay near Tampa telling viewers about a possibly abandoned and capsized fishing boat. The owner was reported missing by his spouse a day earlier. Evidently his sons were aboard when it encountered the storm in the harbor that day.  

On another station, their newscaster mentioned a few more facts. “Only one body remained on board. The coast guard is searching for the father and other son. One of his sons was trapped in the cabin of the vessel. The body of that man had been recovered and identified by his mother.” Startled explains my reaction when the cameras revealed the mom standing with police in the port; it was my ex-mother-in-law.


“I just felt his presence in my dream. God let him apologize and mend my broken heart before he left for Heaven,” I gasped to my mother. “God is good!”
They never recovered his brother or dad’s bodies.
Later, I testified about my sleeping vision to several friends.

B. describes the scene

Field Trip

I escorted a bunch of teens on a field trip to the Head Start Center. While on the bus, my eyes scanned the fellow adults, which led me to my position beside an elderly woman. “You here with a grandchild?” I asked.


“No, I’m a retired teacher with nothing to do. I volunteer at this school to keep busy.” She offered more information than expected, “I have no relatives. Both my sons and husband died in a fishing accident in the Gulf of Mexico.”


Unwittingly, I asked, “Near Tampa?’


“Yes!” She looked at me more directly. “My husband and one son were…”


“Never found but the other was in the cabin drowned.” I finished her explanation to both of our amazements adding, “Barbie told me your story- I think!” My friend had an unusual name; the lady beside me sat dumbfounded as I told her about my friend’s dream on the day her ex-husband passed away.


“We were meant to meet because I always worried if Barbie healed her broken heart. My son treated that kind soul so badly. I’m glad we shared this tale because now I can let my son rest in peace! You are the answer to my silent prayer! Thanks be to God!” The woman on the bus with me looked serene in that moment. I’m glad God let me deliver the end of the testimony.

Barbie’s friend finishes this tale


God sends people our way
with messages to help us cope
 with the side effects of other’s actions.


Good News- Bad News

My husband went in for an exploratory on his lungs because the doctors suspected cancer. I have good news and bad news, “They found no signs of cancer. However, a blood clot went to Jon’s brain; and he became vegetative.” That information arrived to all my friends’ houses as soon as I found out.


My husband hovered in the twilight for weeks; my best friend watched our three children so I could cope and sit a vigil bedside. I’d return home in the wee hours of the night missing moments with my children. Then, it happened; I felt it before the telephone warned me. Jon passed in my absence. My pal ushered me out to the hospital before the children woke up so that I could make arrangements without them under foot.


When I came home hours later, everyone at my house looked mystified, stunned, bewildered, etc. Carl spoke first, “Mom did dad come home last night?”  


“It was a dream,” My daughter enlightened us. “Dad won’t ever come home, again.” Dragging her privately aside first, I asked her what she knew. “Dad came in my dream saying goodbye. He died. Don’t worry! I’m not afraid because he is in Heaven watching over us.” Her face appeared enchanted as opposed to anxious or afraid.


As soon as she announced her news, I pulled my youngest son into the room. “What do you know about last night?”


“Sis and I visited with our dad; he was on the way to Heaven!”

“You visited together?” I asked.

“Nope, dad came to each of us separately. He wanted to be sure that I promised to be good so I’d make it to Heaven later in my life,” My youngest briefly explained their conversation.

Looking up amazed by their candor and peace, my eyes noticed my eldest son as he began speaking. 

“It was a dream?” He stood wide eyed.

“Yes, a vision!” I announced.

“He wasn’t home from the hospital?”

“He was here just not physically,” I realized my son had no clue that his dream might actually have been a healing vision of his dad’s soul departing earth.

“Because he died,” My other two offspring announced without realizing the other sibling had not quite digested the night before.

“No wonder he asked me to be the man and take care of the family. I thought he meant until he felt better.”  

As my son realized that his father died the night before, instead of sobbing, his eyes lit up. He became as serene as his brother and sister. God gave my children and husband the gift of goodbye before my spouse left to Paradise. We did cry about our loss but not right then.  

A family’s saga


God comforts through visions and dreams.



***


We believe that Jesus died and rose again 
and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus 
those who have fallen asleep in him.
 (1 Thessalonians 4:14)

My father-in-law had lung cancer due to his smoking; he died quickly after a year of refusing to see a doctor. He probably guessed he had cancer. As Hospice and a hearse came to declare him dead the radio played ‘Spirit in the Sky!’

My mother-in-law had colon cancer the same time frame as my mom but survived over twenty more years. In the end, her doctors thought she had brain cancer and treated for that. However, she had a rare neurological disease and died soon after their misdiagnoses. When she died the song blaring on the radio was “How Far is Heaven?”


When dad passed the theme song from the movie ‘Ghost’ played on my car radio; mom passed about four weeks ahead of him. God showed me they were back together through that musical mystery.

The song ‘I'll be Your Guide’ played as mom passed over; the Holy Spirit has guided me ever since that day.


Death is the destiny of every man;
 the living should take this to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)


When my mother in law was dying and no one was listening, she whispered to me, “I’ll be gone by March 1.” The last time, while we sat alone on her porch, a day before her terminal coma, she looked at me and without words said goodbye then smirked as if to say, “Remember!” I did her eulogy March 1. God prepared me to be strong for my husband and his extended family including my children.

One strange day, I answered my phone and a little girl asked me to tell her mom she was wearing her purple sweater and was fine. She gave me a phone number, which I called. Her mother reacted flabbergasted because that daughter had been murdered years ago. Thus, she worried about those last moments of her child’s life as well as how her child was doing in Heaven. I’m not sure why God sent me the communication instead of the mother directly. Possibly it was to help that parent know it was His Message not just her own fantasy or desire at work. The woman I telephoned thanked me for being a part of answered prayer. She could finally put her child to rest in peace.

God provides gifts of insight
as well as vision
so that trust builds
between humans and His Holy Spirit.


One night, in a dream, I heard a neighbor pleading her case to stay bed side with her accident victim daughter, “I just need to know Sadie is going to be alright!” She repeated that comment as I woke. That thought chased me all day because her daughter was in a coma, her son was in a body cast, and that neighbor died instantly in a car accident the evening before; that bad news arrived right after my night vision. I believe the soul lives on, and there is no unfinished business because God (the being Ann pleaded with about Sadie’s destiny) allowed that mom to invisibly sit vigil until her daughter came back to life.  

Joan died young from cancer leaving two daughters and a husband behind. With extended family’s help, her spouse found a new love but waited to marry until his oldest daughter entered college. The young one barely remembered mom and knew the other woman well. His youngest girl was excited to let her dad’s girlfriend in as her new mother; this lady just happened to be an in-law so the females were distantly related- anyway. A year after their nuptials, due to cancer, the man went to Heaven to be with Joan but he left his high school daughter with a loving soul, her second mom.

My mom died between 7and 9AM. My mother-in-law died between 7 and 9PM. Eight is the Biblical number of new beginnings; I believe they made it to Heaven.


I will instruct you and teach you
in the way you should go; 
I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)

The Crane

What do you say to a co-worker the day after his newlywed brother’s funeral? His brother sacrificed his life as a crane operator to save the lives of co-workers by dropping the weighted ball on his cab. As my associate entered the area most gave condolences saying variations of, “So, sorry to hear the news.” Or, the cliché words, “Your brother is in a better place!”  

As the young man approached my desk, I stood and announced, “Sacrificing your life to save others is an immediate ticket into Heaven!” He hugged me so tightly, I felt like toothpaste.
“You said just what I was thinking!” He explained his behavior.

A different co-worker


For this reason a man will leave his father 
and mother and be united to his wife, 
and the two will become one flesh.  
So they are no longer two, but one.  
Therefore, what God has joined together, 
let man not separate. (Mark 10:7-9)

A Wreck

I went through a bloody divorce. My daughter came from my first wrecked marriage but favored her step dad. She took his side in the spilt, which harmed my heart and soul. However- my son knew the truth. Our mutual child defended my honor- daily- to his half sister and dad. Down on my luck that child was moving back home; I was excited to have him around the house, soon, again.


My son went out to get a moving van but never made it there. A fatal car accident took him from me just when I needed him most. After my extreme loss and upset, I called an acquaintance because others told me she could help me grieve. In fact, she’d written an amazing book about the afterlife; mutual friends informed me. I called for a copy of her book but the author informed me that it was years out of print and only her copy remained in her possession.


That loving soul promised to re-enter the story one chapter at a time e-mailing me her book that way. She kept her promise. I healed while she stumbled upon another way to produce her books; they are back in print due to my son’s death.

An author’s supporter


I feel; God feels too! It’s the ability to empathize!



***


ALMOST HEAVEN

I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing 
at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56)

Grief Support

If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets,
 they will not be convinced 
even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke 16:31)
Grieving Souls Report:

We tried to help a bird that fell from its nest because we recklessly climbed a tree. It died. At its funeral, attended by the neighborhood children that helped damage then tried in vain to cure that bird, we tried to decide on a song to memorialize and eulogize that winged creature. Every religion possible seemed to stand graveside. In spite of marking a Popsicle cross our song was “Mickey Mouse” because we all knew the lyrics.

There was an angel girl at our church. Each Sunday, she wore a wide smile and placed her jacket, raincoat, or purse just right before reverently watching the pastor throughout the mass. Her face never showed boredom when it came to God’s messages or time spent in service. She appeared to be all of four years old with glowing auburn hair that lit her face majestically. I cried the day the priest announced she died of Reyes Syndrome but she left behind a legacy of caution about aspirin possibly saving thousands of other children in the wake of her loss. God can turn a tragedy into a major learning curve for humans.

My dad died in a fire. Imagine my shock when the news reported from a raging forest fire in a nearby town. My brother sent his workers out with all their work trucks loaded to the brim. The last man was told to say the coast was clear but my sibling remained behind fighting the flames with water hoses from his well. People either scratched their heads or prayed that he’d come out alive. The fire encircled but never entered the metal structure my brother hid in after his hoses melted. Thanks God for answered prayer. 


God answered my prayer.
It’s stopped raining now I have to go outside!!


As a Hospice nurse, I felt I knew and saw it all. One day, preparing a patient for a holiday week-end, she had months left in her according to my records and hunches. Upon packing up my paperwork to leave, turning back, I mentioned to that young mother, “See you next week!” However, she retorted that she doubted it. She passed of an unexpected bleed out soon after I left. God makes the ultimate call on our life and death.


This is what these words mean: Mene:
God has numbered the days of your reign 
and brought it to an end. (Daniel 5:26)


When mom died, a light came on. Now, every time a light randomly turns itself on, I think of mom as well as God lighting the way to Heaven.

The night my grandfather began actively dying, I felt his soul pass. My aunt waited for dawn before relaying his passing to me- even though I already knew. God pre-warned and comforted me.

When a family member dies, no matter where we live, we know it because a door bell or some other thing begins ringing. An angel’s getting wings!


Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant 
about those who fall asleep, or to grieve 
like the rest of men, who have no hope. 
(1 Thessalonians 4:13)

When Rose and Alex talked about her husband and his father’s death, they always said, “Juan didn’t die; he went to the next level of life. Love never dies.”

We visited my mother in her nursing home Christmas Day. After all the greetings finished including hugs and kisses with mom, a nurse entered the room, turned a bit green, and pointed out that my mom just passed away. What a nice Christmas present!

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

When my heart grieves anyone’s death, I remember Jesus cried for Lazarus, which gives me permission to mourn my loss.

The lights flickered anytime anyone in the room doubted my mother’s witness as she passed over. Even today, if a ‘Doubting Tom’ interrupts an idea born of her memory, the power surges and lights flicker- like a candle in the wind. I believe it’s God saying to trust His witnesses.

My soul is weary with sorrow; 
strengthen me according to your word. (Psalm 119:28)


When I was still a child, my mother committed suicide. A friend that suffered the same parental loss later in life handed me a grief book. I read it and shared it with my dad. We talked about our pain just days before my dad’s death. That friend’s kind act gave us the time and motive (that book) to mend our relationship and past. Thank God for sending her with the healing message.

During Hurricane David, we sat vigil at our daughter’s hospital bed due to her cancer. When she passed, a bolt of heat lightning lit the sky. Every time I see that natural occurrence, my mind feels relief that my child is with the light- God.

My daughter died in a car accident. After such an event, as a parent, you feel as if you should have done more to protect your child. When my husband and I released her ashes into her favorite lake, they turned flesh colored before swirling into a rainbow of hope. That strange appearance left her passing less unsettling. Thank God for that small saving’s grace.



***


Left Behind

As I gave my passenger oxygen to help her ailing body breathe, my story came from my soul to assist the breath of her soul. She probably thought I was nuts to bring up my first words in the back of an ambulance transporting her to medical aid, “My father died recently but I’m not in sad mourning because his death changed me!”  

The lady laid fully coherent, because due to her allergies, I could not administer pain relief to her physical being. She looked me deep in the eyes as if to say, “Do tell!”

So, my testimony continued as I attempted to squash her fears about her future. “When my mother called to warn me of my dad’s illness and potential death, I jumped on the first plane to Columbia.” It probably came as no surprise to my passenger that my native land was not the USA. “In Atlanta, my flight was delayed twelve hours, so I missed my dad’s passing but not his funeral.”

Her eyes pierced my own soul as she whispered through the oxygen mask that I’d placed on her to relax her nerves, “Sad!”

“Not really as depressing as it could have been because I knew something about my father. He preached and lectured me as a child about the importance of being right with the Lord when your time comes. While in college in the states, without being horrible, I dabbled in things that would not have made my dad proud. At his funeral, the realization that I wanted to see him, again, hit me hard. I found Jesus and can be happy that one day I’ll walk with my father in Heaven.”

The woman being transported smiled as if she fully understood as the back doors of our vehicle flew open so we could bring her to the trauma doctor awaiting her arrival. As I left, the woman reached out with her mangled arm and held my hand in hers revealing that her injuries might heal. Either way, as long as we mend our spiritual brokenness, life’s worth the pain- especially if it redirects our path to Heaven.

A paramedic’s anecdote


Preaching to His Personal Choir

My father was a preacher by profession; he professed his faith that way. All of his children were required to do a few things including attend church every Sunday to hear his lectures, again. He often delivered our home influenced sermons to his multitudes; my mother and their children unwittingly wrote most of his instructional material. Thus, our family took note of his terms and conditions for life as the chosen people of God and as our father’s offspring. We learned every nuisance of the Ten Commandments as well as the deadly sins trying to avoid incrimination from dear old dad and his flock.


Before his untimely death, my brothers didn’t worry as much as some of us about his sermons and lectures. Teen revolts for independence, sexual pursuits, and other transgressions took precedence over our father’s warnings. Along with those cautionary signals, our dad always added forgiveness and unconditional love, which became his double edged sword a times.  

When our father took ill, none of us expected the results. The night before his death, he called us to his hospital bed doling out advice, warning, and praise. The next morning, we were mourning his loss, which reset the tone of our lives. My brothers reformed- immediately- as they realized how short life can be. They understood the desires of our dad to have us walk with him in Heaven- again- one day.


After our father departed, we all went to college or trade school taking on praiseworthy professions and lives in honor memory of our father- both in Heaven and from this earth.

From a nurse’s lips


God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit
distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:4)




Pennies from Heaven
By
Cynthia Meyers-Hanson

Renee and I met during a ‘high kick’ tryout. Both our daughters tried out for a dance, summer camp. As we sat in the lobby of a local dance studio, we talked about our jobs. The professional woman became a doctor, an anesthesiologist to be exact, after much prompting and moral support from her father. She discovered that I took up writing after my mother died because my first book centered on that parent. We discussed those parents in more detail after those revelations.


Her dad enjoyed the outdoors including horseback riding. One summer, while in Banff in the Canadian Rockies, he decided to take a tour with a group of fellow sportsmen. His wife stayed below in the quaint town. She probably heard the commotion and medical vehicles trying to rescue her spouse as he fell to a heart attack that day. People tried in vain to revive the man.


After his passing, family members found pennies in the weirdest places including his shoes but not penny loafers. After finding the odd change all over his things as they cleaned out his possessions, various family members mentioned that- since his soul passed- they’d been finding pennies in the strangest locations in their homes, cars, places of business, churches, etc. They decided that they were ‘Pennies from Heaven’ or messages that dear old dad was fine. This thought was comforting especially in the light that he died quickly but while doing an activity he enjoyed.  


As we left the tryouts, a penny awaited me on my car seat. The next day, I found one in my shoe, which made no sense. I found a one cent (one sent) piece here and there for a month after that conversation.  

“A penny for your thoughts!” Let me give you my two cents. I think you are right Renee, and I believe that God is showing you just how happy your dad is in Heaven.

A writer
Therefore, since we have such hope, we are very bold.
(2 Corinthians 3:12)



***


Heaven Opens to the Left

My lawn man explained his father’s passing this way. “All of dad’s children, grandchildren, and his wife gathered bedside. We sat vigil as he struggled while fighting passing over. The room felt highly agitated so my one year old daughter reacted by being extremely active. She wasn’t whiney just nervous busy.”

“Suddenly, for no apparent reason, my little girl stopped touching everything in sight looking at her grandfather. Both of their faces seemed to glow in unison as he opened his eyes calmly locking his stare to hers.” He continued his monolog, “The baby glowed as if she was a Cherub as my father slowly reached high.”

His story provided more details; “We thought dad wanted to hold his grandchild one last time but his arms were high and to the left. She remained to his right shining with a huge smile. He passed right after a sunny feeling entered the room; the atmosphere and my baby remained radiant for a bit after my father was pronounced dead. Then, the area went back to normal, and we felt grief stricken.”


I entered his monolog, “The Hospice nurses that cared for my mother before her death said they think Heaven opens to the left because many souls praise their Creator with hands held high into the air and that direction.”


Amazed while analyzing quickly, the man responded, “That notion makes sense because ‘no one can come to the Father except through me (Jesus).’ If the thrones of Heaven face you as you die, the Lord sits to the right of God the Father. Heaven opens to the left as the passing soul faces those thrones. Thus, the person would reach high and towards the Son because God’s mercy comes from that man’s victory over death; our chance at eternal life comes from His direction!”
In unison, we agreed, “Heaven opens to the left.” 


And- eventually- it unlocks to all those left behind if we follow his direction (Biblical teachings) as well as direction. (John 14:16)


A.M.M. account


Sometimes, people receive signs
from The Comforter or Holy Spirit
declaring that all is right in Heaven and on earth.


Everything is possible for him who believes. (Mark 9:23)



***


Real Life Angels
By
Cynthia Meyers-Hanson

As a child, our neighborhood had a club like the Brownies or Girl Scouts except we called ourselves The Helping Hand’s Club of COC. We showed many lost or lonely souls as well as other people how to enjoy life. From talent shows at Nursing Homes to groceries to families in need, we did it all.  


One morning, after delivering cookies to Habitat for Humanity (because as middle school aged girls we couldn’t help with building due to liabilities), my mom took us to McDonalds. In the beginning stages of our neighborhood based group, none of the other girls ever brought cash for- just in case food or gas.  


My mother footed the bill every time we stopped for our refreshments. As usual, the girls called out what they wanted as a confused cashier input their orders. Usually, as part of her charity to her community, mom failed to stop that greedy behavior. However, that morning, being low on cash, my mother jested; 

“Mom doesn’t stand for made of money. We stopped for the restroom and drinks only.”


As faces went red due to embarrassment and most of the girls matched the third hand on the homemade shirts that we wore announcing our club, a friendly man behind the six of us offered the cashier a solution to deleting the bad order from her machine. He leaned forward with a fist full of ones. 

“Their order is on me. Bless you girls for your community service.”


“Wow, a real life angel!” One of the group members happily squealed while taking her food to a table.

A Memory from an Evans Terrace Girl


An angel might be a physical
rather than spiritual messenger of God. 
You can never be sure
who is standing behind or in front of you in line.  
Some might be Good Samaritans or angels
 on a mission from God.



***


Angels Among Us
By
Cynthia Meyers-Hanson

When you have a child, as a parent, that baby feels special. After having my first infant, every time I looked at her face, my eyes swore they took in a Heavenly Vista. Divulging this thought to my mother, mom mentioned that she never met a baby like my daughter, “There’s something special in her spirit that shines through her eyes. As a Catholic, I wished for a nun or priest to come into the world via me. I just thought it might be one of my direct offspring.”

“You feel it too?” My voice exclaimed, “When my eyes meet hers, I see dusty roads and impoverished people being helped by my humanitarian baby.”

“Yes, she’s the one!”

“Never tell her,” My soul warned us aloud, “because I want my daughter to make that decision on her own. Being forced into service of God is not a happy way to follow your mission or goals.”

Even as she died, my mother never divulged the secret of that conversation to that child- or anyone. After my parents passed, my two daughters started a community service club. The other child was actually the mastermind- not the missionary soul. However, they participated equally.

In 1997, when Princess Diana passed away, the world mourned as did my oldest girl. When Mother Theresa followed secular royalty to the grave the very next month, a radio broadcaster screeched, “What is going on in this world? Is God calling all HIS angels back?”

My teen-aged daughter spoke from her shot gun position in the car, “Don’t worry, mom! God is not calling all of us back yet; I’m still here!”  

Her observation startled me even though I still see it in her eyes and life. I dared not say a word about her statement or my feeling about her from birth. However, flabbergasted describes my emotion. 

As my girls matured, her sister went to Africa first; my baby girl felt compelled to help with their pandemics and orphans. Since mom was in Heaven, we couldn’t discuss if we labeled my first born too soon or if my youngest was the true missionary soul. A year later, my oldest daughter not only went to Africa to help orphans but began sponsoring children from impoverished areas as well as volunteering in service to her community. She took on children in need of mentors in our hometown. As my girls matured, her sister went to Africa first; my baby girl felt compelled to help with their pandemics and orphans. Since mom was in Heaven, we couldn’t discuss if we labeled my first born too soon or if my youngest was the true missionary soul. A year later, my oldest daughter not only went to Africa to help orphans but began sponsoring children from impoverished areas as well as volunteering in service to her community. She took on children in need of mentors in our hometown.

Meanwhile, her career path made her an environmentalist; she saves wildlife and nature. One day, she boldly asked, “Are you surprised I want to continue missionary work?”

While driving her to the airport so she could do that task in a foreign land, my remark arrived- naturally, “No, I’m just surprised it took you so long because I expected you to be a humanitarian missionary much sooner.”

One lady’s essay


See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven
always see the face of my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 18:10)



***


Music to My Ears

Yesterday, all day, my mind thought of my aunt because I missed going to see her before the youngest kid settled back home from her college dorm. Auntie lives close to that child’s university. That older relative had been chronically ill. She is my deceased mom's sister. I thought about her as my daughter ran back up to the campus to sell back her books. However, due to a cold, I wouldn’t be able to go with my kid and drop in on my ailing relative. I hate to make ill people sicker.  


We were already late getting ready to go out for my other daughter's 21st birthday celebration. My family celebrated a few weeks early because Jewel would be gone on a college expedition when she hit adulthood. Plus- when she returned, her sister would be gone on a different university trip. So, we decided to celebrate as a family- now- in spite of my horrible cough.


Just before the birthday girl jumped in the shower, she stood talking to her daddy and me in our great room. Nearby, in the foyer to our house sat a wood book shelf full of angels. Some of the statues had built in music boxes. All of a sudden, the three of us heard something in that area. I thought the other two kids were at the front door talking. They were late coming back from pre-checking into a hotel (our surprise gift to the 21 year old). However, the noise continued while no one came through the front door. It was like a scratchy but harmonious sound. It grew louder.  


My husband asked, "What the heck is that?"


My daughter warned, "Don't tell me the sound is coming from nowhere. That’s going to scare me!"


I boldly approached our foyer, "Oh, my! It’s this angel statue; it’s singing. It's playing ‘Happy Birthday.’" I picked it up, "Did someone wind it- today?"


"Now, you are scaring me! That music box turned itself on?" My daughter pointed and made a face.

"Yes, this music box angel is playing out of the clear blue sky. It is singing to you."


My husband gestured that I was frightening our kid. "Maybe someone turned it on, today!"


"Probably!" 


"I didn't!" Jewel exclaimed. 

"I didn't either but maybe your sisters did!" Daddy added.

"This angel was given to me my first birthday after my mom died; it’s from Auntie! See, she holds my birth date in her hands and plays the melody." I explained while toying with it in my hands and examining it as if I was a detective. Then, I twisted the statue to replay the tune. 

"Now, I am scared!" My kid added agitated. 

"Why, it is only a birthday song from my aunt!"

When the two other girls got in, I asked who touched the angel this week. No one did!
I think it was apropos that the angel turned itself on because that week my girls gave me flowering plants for our new yard for Mother's Day. Their garden selections were inspired by flowers their deceased grandma liked. As we planted my favorite day lily, I remembered that my mom gave me a similar one almost 17 years ago for our previous yard; I wondered what day the single bud on this new plant by the front door would open. To my surprise, astonishingly, it was in bloom as we left for dinner.  
 It should NOT have amazed me because the birthday girl told me 14 years ago that her grandma promised to visit her from Heaven on her birthday- but then never came. A flower would be left by our front door to prove it was grandma visiting her. Back then, she was a child full of wonderment. From age 7 and for the rest of her earlier birthdays, we all noticed and discussed that a special flower never arrived at our front door for that daughter. Since it hadn’t happened, the child became convinced that she was wrong about that promise. Also, advancing age caused her to dispel all her childish memories and predictions.

When my eyes noticed that bloom as we exited for her 21 birthday party, I knew if I brought up that prediction the girls might shudder. Even as I believed that the melodic message was from my deceased mom via God, my decision included not further scaring my daughters. I didn't want to make them more apprehensive than the singing angel statue already did. Instead, noticing the flower, I just smiled inside. I believe God allows these messages to show He cares about keeping all love connections going. Look for the signs of His Love.

P.S. In August of 2007, I moved that angel statue so my first grandbaby wouldn’t break it. One day, when my hand grabbed a picture of that granddaughter to show off her big blue eyes to a friend, I discovered that that angel was in a worse location! My brisk movement inadvertently tossed that statue to the floor where it decapitated and broke off its wings. Sadly, the statue went in the trash. However, its story remains in my memory- forever!

Mother’s witness


Sometimes impossible things just happen,
and we call them miracles.


The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit 
that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:16)



***


Mom Wasn’t as Amused
By
Cynthia Myers-Hanson

Sometimes, after making mistakes, I pretend that nothing happened. The attempt is to blend into a crowd instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. For instance, many times, while wearing a light winter jacket that has extra-long sleeves, while in a public restroom, I get tons of water collecting down its sleeves. If the faucet flows too fast, there is so much liquid I can’t nonchalantly empty it before my blunder is discovered.  

The very first time a coat made me look ridiculous, it was because I didn’t realize how much H2O accumulated, there. When I reached downward to get a paper towel, my jacket sleeves dropped its huge load to the floor. Acting cool, I trashed the place with paper while trying to clean up my mess as quickly as humanly possible. After succeeding, I turned to excuse myself smirking all the way to a church pew.

Those seats and kneelers were not strangers to my contained and hidden merriment or hysterical eruptions. Many times, I engaged in more obvious outbursts of laughter and inappropriate cheer. In my youth, mom always sat us front row and center; everyone got a clear view of our family’s actions. As a teen, we went to a thousand year old church; it was actually only a hundred plus. The pews wobbled, the kneelers felt as though they’d collapse if used too much more, and the whole place felt like a minor earthquake about to happen.  

One Sunday, my sister and I pushed off the kneeler at the same time. That rail with its hip height wall contraption semi-detached flipping forward; we sat down quickly to avoid the crash. Immediately, our seats rocked backward but didn’t topple on the parishioners behind us. We didn’t pretend that nothing happened. Instead, the two of us roared with laughter at our sudden, surprise landing. As was her church tradition, my mom pinched my sister and me to make us shut up.  

Catholics like to do their physical exercises during the mass. We sit, stand, kneel, walk, and then do it- again! Each time a new position came up, my sister and I exchanged the ‘all-knowing look’ then giggled- unacceptably. We anticipated the pinch but chuckled louder each time the pew moved.  

This reverie went on for an hour. After mass, while leaving our aisle, mom lectured us about having too much fun at church! Why can’t that Sunday activity be fun?

~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~

The Vase

I had a vase; it took the shape of a beautiful flower rising up into a flowing bloom. That piece of art, also, went from crystal clear to smoky white. I loved it. 

One Sunday our pastor explained how people are more important than things. He told a brief tale about breaking his mother’s favorite ceramic statue; the saint forgave him immediately simply explaining about being more cautious in the future. No one in his story turned red faced, hollered, or cried. He asked us to consider that example remembering mistakes- just like our sins- are forgivable.

The very next day, my four year old manhandled her Nerf (soft foam) football tossing it at her younger sister as she toddled past. Guess what she hit bull’s eye! I heard the crash, the glass shatter, and her shocked remark, “Ut Oh!”

As I entered the scene, it took all my strength to keep from going ballistic. Counting to one hundred as fast as possible to see if that activity contained my anger, I found myself laughing about her strength and direct shot. ‘Bull in a China shop’ raced through my mind as I forgave the four year old asking her to play catch and fetch outside in the future. That Nerf ball was given to her to protect people and things from her energy turned target practice. It didn’t seem to work but the Sunday sermon did! 


The vase was so unique I never found a substitute flower holder but replacing my child would have been harder so I could live with that! Besides- it wasn’t like I’d ever have placed flowers in that unique, ‘nearly one of a kind,’ ‘piece of art’ vase.

~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~

Rolling with It

We went on a jet ski outing for Mother’s Day. It felt more like a Father’s day activity but I rarely speak my mind because I chose my battles. My idea of fun is a nice restaurant but I didn’t plan my festivities.


My spouse just purchased our second jet ski; it was a three person, personal, watercraft vehicle. Evidently, it rode more stable than our two person one. No one told me that fact. ALSO, my other family members failed to warn me that our youngest had limited skills maneuvering the original vehicle; I rarely rode with anyone. When everyone wanted to go to the island, that required us doubling and tripling up.


It should have been obvious when two of our children jumped on the three seat jet ski after the baby jumped on the two person one that I was in big trouble if I chose to ride with the sole kid. The alarm should have sounded when my husband suggested that he control our youngest.  


She kept suggesting, “Mommy, go with me!” My hubby had already stated aloud that if he joined her that he’d control the wheel. His tone and command made me wonder but I acquiesced and hopped on the Jet Ski with my baby; after all she was a pre-teen and aware of how to drive the thing. We all took and passed the boating course and test.


Halfway into our adventure, she thought she saw a snake, turtle, or alligator. Slamming on the brakes by releasing the gas, the unstable vehicle rolled completely around righting itself in the up position. Somehow, she managed to hold on remaining on the craft. Meanwhile, I launched like a human rocket landing beside someone’s baseball cap. Mystery of the floating object solved!
When the others caught up, my spouse laughed, “Are we having fun, yet?”


“Well, this unexpected swim is quite refreshing. I’d say I’m having a dream come true this Mother’s Day!”Not understanding my sarcasm or fully understanding it, my baby added, “Oh! Happy Mother’s Day, mommy! I’m glad it was just someone’s lost hat that scared me into stopping.” 

I chortled while still clearing water from my head, “Amazingly, my glasses stayed on; so I can see what creatures share this water with me!”


“We tried to warn you!” Another kid added, “She threw me in last week; I didn’t want any brain sucking amoeba water up in my nose, today.”


“Yeah, daddy tried to take your place and stop you from drowning!” We all broke into laughter as I mounted the original personal watercraft jet ski as the driver this time.


In my lifetime, I roll with it quite often; maybe, I need to be a bit more cautious about things accepted in my world. That child did do one good thing for me that week-end. She submitted me as Mother of the Year for the local paper getting extremely mad that I only got an honorable mention. I was just glad to be alive! 

~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~M*m~~

Technology & Mom

When I got my first pager, it was dialing or number activated, only. My mom thought it was just a portable answering machine. Instead of dialing her phone number after the tone, she'd talk to it. Then, my mom would complain that I didn’t return any of her calls. Later models worked better for her; they were more like portable answering machines! My mother was delighted when cell phones arrived because there was no wait to speak with me!



***


The fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
(1 Corinthians 3:13)


Reading- My Future

When I met my teacher, she seemed cool. When I’d complain that my sister’s bad deeds translated into my parents being overly protective as well as concerned that I’d turn evil, she’d smirk as if she’d been there, done that, moved on. Overtime, I realized that she was my ‘kindred spirit’ having followed in the footsteps of an ‘out of control’ older sibling.  

One day, she finally confessed; “As a teen, I faced my sister’s consequences as if I was just a vile. Our parents took out punishments on both of us; my sister didn’t seem to care as much as I did about being respectable.”  

Almost daily, that teacher allowed me to eat lunch with her because we both had that hour off, and she did understand my feelings. She counseled me as well. “The way out is to get a good education and control your destiny. You can then leave your parent’s home and never look back- except to love them in spite of their mistakes.”


As we talked, I found out my situation was a bit different. She had good grades and high goals even in her teens. I took her reading class because I couldn’t pass the state test to graduate high school. My parents warned me that this year was my last chance. If I failed, they’d withdrawal me from school so I’d just get a job. My teacher’s opinion was that a job never gets you ahead and keeps you dependent on parents or others.

“You need a career- a college or vocational school is better than merely a job!”


“I can’t read well enough to pass!” I declared.


“Who says so?”


“My parents, teachers, and myself!”


“You’re giving up?”


“At 18, still in the 11th grade, wouldn’t you?”


“Nothing would stop me but it appears you agree with the verdict.”


“Don’t you?”


“Would I be wasting my time teaching you to read if I did?”


“You have to do your job!” I pointed out.


“I don’t have to do this job!” She smirked, “My husband is rich!”


I believed her. “What can I do to pass?”


“Everything I teach and tell you to do comes from years of experience. I learned from ‘the school of hard knocks’ and can show you the way out of high school and into a career!”


After that, when she said jump, I never even hesitated to ask how high. One day, my mom came to school to withdrawal me without awaiting my test results. My teacher got on the phone with my guidance counselor, “No, I won’t send her to your office to quit school; the girl is 18 and not a minor. She wants to graduate.”  

My parents went home angry as Hell; I moved out with a friend’s family. My test results were scheduled to arrive a month later. I felt confident that my passing grade would happen even though my class was two periods long and all of us were expected to fail according to the odds, statistics, and administrator that just wanted some growth to keep their grant.  

One day, I could tell by the look on our teacher’s face that our test results arrived. Before we opened our scores, our teacher spoke to cushion the potential blow if we failed the standardized test. “Okay, let’s be honest, you’re expected to rise your scores over last year but not to pass.”


“You calling us dumb after encouraging us to work hard!” We should have said that but mumbled and grumbled instead.


“I’m expecting miracles!” Our teacher answered the undertones in the room.


As Scurry opened his envelop, he declared with a huge grin, “You were right; I can’t pass a test if I sleep through it!” He waved his passing scores in all of our faces flaunting his graduation status. As a senior, his ceremony was a month off- now.


I meekly opened my scores hearing mostly tears and depression from my fellow classmates. Not able to look at my paperwork, our teacher placed her hand on my shoulder and exclaimed, “You’re smarter than you realize!” She meant I could succeed if I set my sights on college. Her tone, also, told me I’d be graduating next year. In fact, four of the dozen of us went from second or third grade scores to the required tenth grade ones, and four more students retook the test that summer after a little bit more encouragement from our patient teacher, and they graduated on schedule.

Sometimes, your angel is your teacher that shows you how to believe in yourself.

An at risk student’s saga



And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Counselor 
to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. 
The world cannot accept him, 
because it neither sees him nor knows him. 
But you know him, for he lives with you 
and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)




***


SHORT  ANGELIC TESTIMONIES

Bellevue

While on vacation in Seattle, we enjoyed an event that was related to a place called Bellevue. Translating from French, belle is considered beautiful. In English, vue means view. We learned more about that name while hiking to Snoqualmie Falls. My mother-in-law and I fell way behind my three girls and her husband. Lagging, we talked about the children, expectations, and goals of the current trip to Washington State.


“I’d like to see the canal between the salt and fresh water system, the farmer’s market, and Mt. Rainier. Most of my girls will vote to visit the mall but ignore them. They can do that back home!”


As we made our way to the fence warning about the falls and danger, the two of us noticed two things. The girls and their male guide disappeared from view, so we were sure they ignored the postings. We saw people on the other side of the lake being created by Snoqualmie Falls; they seemed to be walking behind the waterfall. 


“Oh, no!” I exclaimed, “I hope grandpa didn’t take them there the hard way because there is a bridge to that section of the park; it’s a safer way to view the backside of the raging, descending water!”


“If I know my husband, that is them walking behind Snoqualmie!” My mother-in-law pointed out a group but they weren’t wearing the right colored clothing. Thank God.


Suddenly, a man distracted our worried minds. We didn’t remember anyone following us on the trail. Neither of us noticed him anywhere nearby as we stopped at the sign warning people to stay put or go back up the mountain. Regardless of these thoughts, he interrupted, “It’s so picturesque! But- I know where two falls are far more gorgeous!”


Turning his way, his blue eyes penetrated my soul in a strange sensation. I believed Heaven filled his thoughts. He winked without moving physically because the experience felt spiritual. Finally, my feet caught their bearings so my mouth could speak, “Really? Where?”


“I’m from Bellevue; there is a place called Twin Falls. The two cascades are a beautiful vision to behold. You can enjoy them from more than one place on the trail while there!”


Turning to my mother-in-law, I remarked, “We’ll have to see if the girls and your husband want to go there.”


Two of my kids interrupted my comments, “Grandpa and Jewel escaped over the fence ignoring the warning about the lake and falls. They are playing on some rock outcrops.”


Looking back to thank the man while worrying about my brave daughter more than her step grandfather, I noticed the man from Bellevue vanished as quickly as he appeared. There was no sign of him on the path back up to the café and parking lot nor was he passing nearby the lake. My heart and spirit kept reliving his eyes, which felt majestic or angelic.


After waving my kid back to safety and scolding their adult guide, we stopped at that café for lunch. As we sat at the picnic tables enjoying the shaded breeze, I mentioned Twin Falls and Bellevue.


“I think I know where that park is; its near Seattle or Mt. Rainier. Let’s get back on the Interstate and find it. Sounds like another fun hike!” Grandpa took the heat off his misadventure by redirecting us to the next bit of natural entertainment.


We drove to ‘God knows where’ stopping in an area that looked nothing like a state park but our driver swore we arrived at Twin Falls. It could have been the craziest thing we ever did if that stranger at Snoqualmie meant us harm rather than moving us to a beautiful view. As we exited the car, only one other vehicle appeared in the lot. However, I immediately felt safe because I heard the rushing water.


“At the very least, we found a river full of rapids,” Our male tour guide joked as all the females traipsed behind him.


We walked and walked beside the babbling stream. Then, the six of us hiked some more but no fall was in view- let alone two. Plus, the scenery felt generic to the region or nothing like I imagined. In fact, we could hardly see the brook we followed while wandering and meandering parallel to it. Then, the shouting began; it wasn’t the blue-eyed man causing the commotion. It was the majestic spot causing the ruckus.


“Oh, my God!” My youngest raced back to her grandma and me to describe the scene. “There are two falls, and the bridge you stand on to see them is so cool!”  


We quickened our steps to meet the real Belle Vue of Washington or Twin Falls. The transient man was one hundred percent right! The two were Heavenly. By that I mean- the man and the falls.  


As we exited, it dawned on me that we never saw the owner of the other parked car. Was it his vehicle? Was that guy a messenger of God, an angel, or just a really kind soul? We’ll never know for sure but the beautiful view was worth trusting our instincts and following the whims of the soul instead of giving in to the mind’s fears.


An angel might just be a human
 on a mission from God.


God sends angels with comforting words.


My electrolysis described an accident her daughter’s friend had. While awaiting the jaws of death to cut her out, a woman held her hand and comforted her. No one saw her guardian angel besides that young driver but that spirit lady was right. The girl survived the entangled mess.

In my pre-teens, the parish priest asked me to place my hand in the wounded area of a statue of Jesus- to recreate the ‘Doubting Tom.’ He said, “Our savior relives the pain of our inequity each Easter and day; we need to lessen His spiritual injuries and pain by striving for His Perfection.” Standing nearby- my heart, mind, and soul realized that what I feel translates to God because Our Lord witnessed humanness as well as Divinity. Sometimes, He is the messenger as well as the message originator. In short, I feel God feels- too.

A year after my grandmother died, I saw a multitude of angels in our living room. It felt like a wall of angels in our home. When I mentioned this vision to mom, she freaked out because that day was her deceased mother’s birthday. Obviously, God let His agents say, “Happy Birthday- your grandma (or mom) lives with me in Heaven.”

I gave a friend a grief book on the anniversary of his father’s death. It was a tragic loss when that occurred because he was still a child. This (now grown) man explained my deed in relation to his life then asked, “How did you know?” Answering that I was clueless but God must have used me to help him; we praised the Lord- together. Not all messengers are angels because those open to God’s Will deliver other’s good tidings as well.

“They think I’m an angel but I’m human.” Nora frequently says as she helps parishioners.

I stood with a Deliverance Minister joking about dueling banjos. He prayed over some people asking God to relieve them of curses and sins as well as show them the path away from the power of the devil. A mighty wind blew in as he prayed; when some of us gathered looked up a nearby car had a message license plate that read, “Get Out!” Apropos! God uses messengers as well as signs that are the message.


Do you think I cannot call on my Father, 
and he will at once put at my disposal 
more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)


An enemy, a relative, approached my door to taunt me- once again. That soul dropped everything in her hands when she saw the legions of angels protecting me. Having no idea of the new treachery approaching my home, all I remember of that day was a bright, warm, cuddling light entering my living room; I felt protected.

As a teen, I sat in class listening to gossip about a girl that had an illegal abortion then bled to death. Being ready to puke, my spirit prayed for peace. Suddenly, invisible, enveloping arms comforted me pushing me further from the evilness of my ease dropping. I felt that my guardian angel reset my thoughts to love verses the results of illicit sex.

Before big games, we prayed that the team that worked hard and played as a team should reap the benefits instead of praying to win. Sometimes, our guardian angels showed God and their approval of our unselfish prayer because it seemed as though angels provided their wings as we won against tough odds.


Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)




Motivation

It’s easy to be uplifted by another’s tragedy because, as an observer, you suffer less pain than the victim. For the most part, your body and soul experiences the inspirational part of their misfortunate circumstances. Rarely, does the spectator wish to be the suffering soul but the witness gets to live vicariously through the other person’s adversity. These stories are important to share because they help humans keep faith, hope and love alive in their lives. For years, I wrote about others’ deaths, near deaths, and triumphs over trials and tribulations. In comparison, my life felt like a ‘cake walk.’


After breaking my upper arm and getting a partial shoulder replacement, I faced my moment of true faith. After years of writing, compiling, editing, ghostwriting and co-writing others uplifting narratives, where their hardships turned into triumphs, I suffered my moment of trust in God’s Plan for my life.  

About thirty days after my upper shoulder replacement surgery, my physical therapist sent me to my surgeon suspecting an infection at the site of my operation. Having a trauma surgeon and it being Friday, I had to enter his world through the emergency room or slowest possible method.

Four to five hours later, the ER doctor excitedly said that if my arm was infected that the apparatus (unspoken= arm) would be removed to save my life. Racing in my room, my doctor’s intern scurried around taking pictures with his cell phone of my swelling; he ordered blood tests and scans to detect infection. The man agreed with the ER physician’s prognosis before disappearing. For hours after the tests, my mind wandered through the ‘what ifs’ of my situation. In the end, all I could do was cling to the end of my rope and pray.

Hours later, my surgeon’s associate came down to the ER. He was visibly and audibly upset but not at my arm. That man seemed livid at the staff for starting antibiotic before the test results warranted them. After explaining himself and my condition to me, that medical associate sent me home without scheduling surgery because my arm was NOT red hot due to infection. Many other things happened in the ER during that more than nine hour ordeal but I left with my left arm still attached as well as facing months and month of rehab. In short, my silent prayers were answered.

As a result of my ER minor miracle and inspiration, this book idea developed. This is a collection of stories from years of talking with people about their relationship with God. It runs the gamut from the power of prayers as well as living life filled with faith, hope, and love. This book contains stories and short prose from various walks of life. It, also, has ‘one liners’ or more text from online chats and discussions.

No author names are used. For the most part initials are inserted in the stories presented because these testimonies were penned by God’s Word then portrayed or witnessed by humans and other beings including angels and saints.  It’s not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor. (Proverbs 25:27)  In other words, no one is special except the source of these accounts- God.  

For the most part, these testimonies are small and larger miracles. Their inspiration evolves from the interaction between God and our human spirit. He intervenes when situations appear to have lost all control providing clues that He regulates the outcomes of these events, dreams, and visions. The results include encouraging tales and ‘silver linings’ that attach to those hardships. As a human, our control is our reactions to such harsh conditions. In other words, the soul involved in the drama can find the inspiration that leads to faith, hope, and love or choose an alternate path that may lead to a feeling of abandonment or depression.  

Through good and especially bad times, God offers guidance. When accepted, the types of Devine Interventions included in the text of this book reveal the depth of His daily interaction with humans as well as the depth of His caring. Furthermore, sometimes, tragedies startle us enough to promote or reawaken our faith in a Higher Power; they may urge a soul to grow stronger in trust in the Devine Plan of life. The goals of this inspiration anthology are similar. May the reader grow in peace and trust through Faith, Hope, and Love as presented through the undercover witnesses in this compilation. 
Furthermore, For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:18)’

To  be continued next week.



***


These stories and more are in Cindy Hanson's book, It’s a Celebration; the free eBook and read is exclusively @ https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/108154


Spring Sprung into Easter…

~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~

Easter Bonnets

When my youngest daughter was three, I bought my girls boring hats for the holidays; at least, mom must have thought that way. She grabbed the baby’s bonnet embellishing it with all kinds and colors of silk flowers. The hat reminded me of Minnie Pearl on the TV show ‘He Haw.’ It still had the price tag on it just like that whimsical hick would wear. There was no returning that fedora after the decorations were added. To cap it off, mom made my youngest wear it with pride. Mom called people over to admire that Easter bonnet with all those frills up on it. She made us capture it in pictures as well. Due to her age, my little one posed bigheadedly but with innocence!

~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~

FRY (Fri) Day

Being Catholic, I asked mom what she’d give up for lent; she quickly remarked, “Fish!” I reminded her that the season is about sacrificing so you can’t give up things you don’t like and call it even with God. Then, I remarked, “Don’t say you’re giving up your family, either!”

~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~

Egg Hunt

My dad’s club held its annual Easter Egg Hunt. As youngsters, we happily hunted eggs hidden under the shade of Palmettos, palms, mangrove trees, and other native Florida plants. All the colorful flowers made disguising those eggs easier even in some open fields within the fenced property. It was a pretty tame event due to all the parents’ precautions.


The coveted egg was announced before the organized mayhem. We searched high in branches of trees and low in grassy weeds to find that yellowish sparkling treasure. Most of us found other colored eggs. Surprisingly, two youngsters found yellow eggs. A boy found the expected prize trading it in for five dollars. When my sister arrived moments later with a rotten egg that appeared yellow where it wasn’t brown, the leader of the contest stood dumbfounded.  


She must have found a hobo’s leftover lunch in that thicket just outside the fence. In spite of the fact that she ventured out of the parameters of the contest, an elderly couple marched up to the prize center donating five dollars for her rotten egg.


My sister got a lecture on the way home about leaving the gated area of that club. She, also, got a new record from a new group the Beatles. Their song was entitled “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” That girl repeatedly played that vinyl on our record player! Mad that she was rewarded for misbehaving, I remarked, “I’d never hold your rotten egg filled hand!” I sure showed her how envy works and why Easter exists!

~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~

Plastic Eggs

When my children grew up, we had fair Easter Egg Hunts. They had to stop collecting for their baskets at a certain number of eggs. If they wanted to find more they had to place them in a sibling’s basket.  

This taught them not to be competitive with siblings; I didn’t want another Cane and Able on my hands.
Plus, they looked for plastic eggs because I had no intention of handling a rotten egg days, weeks or years later because it wasn’t discovered by them during the contest. With all the ones I put out, it was easy to forget all the hiding places. Plus, those plastic things held most of their prizes so there was no need to give too much out after the contest completed. There was no grand prize, either; their big reward was the fun of the hunt.


In Florida, I quickly learned not to fill those eggs with melting chocolates. They had loose change, stickers, and notes about potential stuffed animal or other prizes in them. The messages were traded for anything not able to fit in the plastic eggs.


Then a funny thing happened, we broke all the rules when our first grandchild practiced for the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. We trained her how to spot the eggs; this mentoring went on for days until she was ready, willing, and able to do what it took to completely fill her basket. Unfortunately, some eggs had melting chocolates; others carried sweet ants along with their Jellybeans. It smacked of rotten eggs! The moral of this story is, “Be careful the prize may not be worth winning!”


~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~

Egg lessons

My mother-in-law always had plastic egg hunts for the kids. She filled them with dollar bills including the coveted $5 treasure. To be sure each kid got the same amount, each of her grandchildren were given a color to hunt. One could only open blue eggs; one got yellow; and so on. At the end, she monitored that each child had $10 total! No one cheated under her watchful eye. Everyone went home happy with their own treasures.

“You don’t need to usurp others to be happy!” She, also, counseled me to put the same number of gifts for each of my children under my Christmas tree because, “They count the presents at this age. It doesn’t matter the dollar amount. If one got one more gift, you’ll hear their complaints.” She was right on both counts!

~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~~()~

Other Weird Things

I pulled out the old, plastic Easter Eggs to prepare for the hunt. Recycling those shells allowed me to spend more on the prizes. Plus, I was ‘going green’ before it was fashionable.

As I opened those old plastic shells, there were unexpected treasures in them. For the life of me, I could not figure out where those eggs came from. When my family arrived to the room, I asked, “Did you open all these eggs last year?” Knowing that each had money or other prizes, my question was rhetorical and puzzled the kids. You could see their whimsy and amazement in their eyes.

Opening my hand, I showed them my amazing find, which were slips of paper with typed messages. Those eggs were like Easter Fortune Cookies. They held notes about Jesus and love; they held promised of hope and faith. No one could figure out how those note strips got in the eggs that were co-mingled with other old but empty eggs. God does have a handle on mystery.

This year, after being in our house for four years, after staring at the same picture by my computer for at least two years, I noticed another strange phenomenon. The paint by numbers framed art, the inspiration for the cover of my first book, had something unusual adhering to it. That picture of Jesus holding a lamb while caring for a little boy and girl as they stroke a calf was decorated in one corner. I lunged towards it to find some plastic hay from a long forgotten Easter basket along with a strand of tinsel

Where did that stuff come from? The hay might have been from one of my children’s stashes but I have never used tinsel. Reminiscing, my brain traveled back in time to try to make sense of my discovery. I painted that scene holding those weird decorations when my niece was baptized; it hung near my mom’s deathbed. Once my niece moved in with me, that framed art piece stayed in one of the hallways in our previous house. Rediscovered two years after moving here, I pulled it from our garage where it sat gathering dust in an open box. After sprucing the frame, I hung it near my desk.  

Years later, after finishing writing two children stories, I looked up seeing the decorations appeared on that frame. One of my books was inspired by my father; he loved tinsel especially draped perfectly on a Christmas tree. God does the strangest things appearing in incidents and things when and where we least expect Him.  

Those minor miracles or wondrous experiences always frazzle me at time. Thus, I tend to undo and toss His messages. I try to escape the signs and symbols of God’s watchful eye. However, I never really evade His presence or presents. Thank God! In the end, I wouldn’t really want to be His rotten egg!



***


Diamonds and Rainbows

On my honeymoon in Hawaii, we arrived late at night to our hotel. We were ocean side so the panorama was pitch-black. The next morning, my hubby drew open the curtains to reveal Diamond Head. That was the only landmark I was familiar with before that trip so I exclaimed, “Cool! Diamond Head is right there!”

Later that trip, as we waited to go to a luau, my husband showered as I sat on a chair admiring the ‘mountain meets ocean’ view. We’d put up with scattered showers all day, which caused our dinner to be moved indoors to the celebration hall instead of beachfront. We’d griped to each other about the rain’s impact on our idea of a great luau. As I gazed at the setting sun, I silently grumbled about the sunny, cloudless end to the afternoon wondering why we still had to meet indoors.  

“They probably don’t have time to reset the tables, chairs, service station, and stage for the entertainment,” My spouse commiserated with me before he’d left to shower.

Suddenly, it happened. I believed the remnants of the rain caused the effect. Over Diamond Head sat two rainbows. Knowing they are fleeting, I screamed; “Come quick! Come Look!”  

As fast as possible, I grabbed our camera shooting the scene. The next day, while dressing for dinner, the colorful arches appeared in that same location. Their appearance had nothing to do with rain; the bows seemed to come from the ocean to the shore daily as the sun kissed Paradise Island goodbye. This farewell occurred every single day we stared at Diamond Head.

On that trip I learned that treasures don’t always come from where you expect them. Keep a watchful eye out for your own rainbows peaking over diamonds!

~~$~~$$~~$$$~~$$$$~~$$$~~$$~~$~~

Unique Rainbows

I never noticed rainbows in the sky other than before, during, and after rainstorms. Then, one day, I sat outside on a lawn chair as my toddlers played in their sand box. The afternoon sun made the Heavens clear but the balmy breeze kept the day light and airy. As I looked up thanking God for the day, the setting sun cast a shadow- more like a bright spot. It played out in a rainbow of colors that mystified me. In that moment, I thought my eyes had seen it all.

Then, one day, as we struggled to sell a house, I felt at ‘wits end.’ As I drove the curvy road out of our subdivision, dew dripped from trees hanging over the street. My elementary aged kids sat in their car seats murmuring about this and that. While drawing in a deep breath of despair, my van became illuminated by a break in the trees lining my lane. It cast bright rays thru the mist on the windshield.  

Suddenly, many rainbows danced into my car. I’d never experienced anything like it. It felt magical.
Our house sold that evening. Wow, talk about silent, moaning prayers being answered. I found the treasure at the end of each of those bursts of color; it was in God’s hands.


~~$~~$$~~$$$~~$$$$~~$$$~~$$~~$~~

Walking on Rainbows

People sing, write, and talk about walking on sunshine. What about rainbows? Can there be just as much merriment in that moment- if it is even possible? Don’t rainbows remain aloft in the heavens above?

When we entered Yosemite, Half Dome stole my breath making my body tingle in wonder. When my family saw the main falls, I stood in reverence to The Creator of such magnificence. As my spouse, kids, and I entered our cabin by a babbling brook, my soul heard its melody of happiness.  

The next day, when we got up close and personal with the tributary falls, rainbows escaped their flow bouncing all over the man-made trail. I danced with their shimmering light as they landed at my feet. There was an awe inspiring moment as I skipped, twirled, and swayed on water sliding through those colorful arcs.


I learned that you can find the end of the rainbow but the ‘Pot of Gold’ is not always obvious; it’s elusive. You know something is simmering and shimmering in your presence but you just can’t quite place your finger on it. Faith is the key. There has to be trust that a Higher Source controls the plan keeping the falls in their right path while the beautiful outcomes of such cascades are in the rainbows just within reach at just the right moment!




***


Rainbow- Treasures in a Job

My husband’s company experienced over five years of layoffs. Anticipating the worst, we sold before the market was flooded with his colleagues’ homes. While in an apartment, his first job interruption occurred. As he carried a box full of personal items to the parking lot, a man he’d promoted witnessed his march to unemployment.  

Stopping my spouse, he asked, “Why you?”

“It’s nothing personal just reductions.” My husband had walked his share of people out the door and often told me that he was not paid enough to take that long stroll to HR with the person. “You know they are soon to be without enough to feed, clothe, house, and medically treat their family.”

My hubby had asked around- to bosses that he managed or promoted in the past- wondering if they had an opening he might fill. Some of his closest friends declined his call or never got back to him. Their restraint was the only hurtful side effect of his trek that particular day. Those pals avoiding him felt worse than those guys just saying no.

The man standing with him at the threshold of endings and beginnings explained why he hadn’t called back, “I was out of town in a training seminar when the layoff lists were written, and people were shuffled. I could have laid off three guys to save you back to my group. Give me a week to reverse your situation. Go on vacation while I reinstate you to my department.” That guy made good on his promise.

Months later, we arrived at a party held by an ex-employee, ex-colleague, and friend. It felt good to have an income but sad to see the people grieving at the gathering because many including our host had not found stable employment. His family pulled their hair out from upset over their economic situation. The wife took on a job to help make ends meet. She greeted us whispering, “I made my husband invite all of you to let him see he still has friends who care.” That made my heart sink lower knowing he suffered isolations as well as his loss of a job.

Groups formed at the party- those employed avoided those struggling to find good work. Those laid off commiserated in a corner. It seemed most of the kids played as if nothing bothered them. The wife of the household mingled through all three groups trying to spread the cheer.

Between the pool, playground, and lakeside boating- most people found ways to be entertained as many things were left unspoken concerning economies. The hostess stood near me talking about the skiers ‘bobbing for gators.’ She joked about the possibility if the boats didn’t scare those swamp villains off.

She droned on about the job loss, her mate’s ego deflation, and other things as I politely interjected clichés. “God will provide.” With a bit of guilt for being retrieved from the laid off group, I added, “I’ll pray for you!” The wife of the man that saved my family interrupted to add that her prayer group had been doing just that for a year, now. Even with all those voices petitioning God, the guy relied on his wife’s new job and hit or miss prospects. Our words of concern felt so empty.

As we stood on the water’s edge, a typical- yet unique- event occurred. Afternoon clouds built to thunderstorm levels. Across the lake scrub oak, pine, and palm landscapes disappeared behind a building wall of murky mist. This scene rarely if ever played out in this season because tropical waves make clouds so heavy they released their rain long before caressing the earth. Foggy, hazy rain typically happens in the winter- only. Soon this wall of vaporous water veiled the lake moving close to us as the sun threw tons of light right over our area.

“We need to get in a safe location in case lightning starts,” Mothers repeated while grabbing their children under the covered lanai or inside the house. Moving to safer ground, the hostess, boss’s wife, and I stood on the outer edge of the screen porch discussing how sunny it seemed as that fog rolled in. Soon, a rainbow raced over the top edge of that mist landing so close to us that the homeowner’s face colorfully glowed.

“Weird,” She wondered if we could see the colors blinding her.

“The rainbow is landing on you!” The prayer group member described what she saw.

“I’ve never seen the end of a rainbow before in my life! Wow, what a tremendous message from God. He is looking after you and giving you His treasures- right now!” I blurted out with deep conviction. This odd event ended as fast as it started; the party resumed. Soon after that gathering, the host family did find their way out of their decline and darkness.

Did the ego building rallying of friend help the man out of his slump or was it the rainbow’s effect? At another party, I chatted with the wife. She believed God still cared, which helped elevate her mood leading to a better outlook for her spouse and children from her party day on. Her husband found steady work after that summer celebration.  

“Looking back, my husband really treasures the time he had off with the kids as well as his new career!” She giggled as we relived the wondrous moment of that foggy Rainbow. “Until that celebration day, all rainbows and promises felt stuck in the Heavens!”



***


Four Leaf Clovers & Leprechauns

As a child, my dad tricked my siblings and me into weeding the clover out of his St. Augustine lawn as well as his gardens. He told us that a four leaf clover was lucky while holding two three leaf ones in such a manner as to cleverly disguise his hoax. My parent proudly and shrewdly announced a contest. “If any of you finds one just like this clover leaf, I’ll give you a dollar.”  

Back then, a single bill was treasure only surpassed by a ‘pot of gold’ at the end of a rainbow. We believed those colorful arches remained in the Heavens, while due to dad’s ‘sleight of hand’ trick, the other find felt possible. From the ground, we’d pull out vegetation for hours trying to find the elusive four leaf clover. Our search got us to weed. Cleverly, my father’s manipulation saved him hours of labor. If time is money, he gained riches. His trick did bring him the ‘Luck of the Irish!’ 

Meanwhile, while racing around trying to find my fortunes in life, I came across a neighbor and friend. She stood staring into a bush. “What is in there?” I wondered aloud while momentarily stopping.

“A Leprechaun!” The young girl proclaimed. “At least, that is what my dad says. If you catch him, you get a secret wish.”

“Like blowing out a birthday cake’s candles or breaking the wish bone of a chicken or turkey?” I asked for clarification.

“Yes, except you have to find and catch him, first!”

“Do you mean put him in some sort of prison then demand a favor?” I tried to imagine the scene as if he’d be a ‘Genie in the Bottle.’ “How will you single handedly capture him?” My thoughts pictured a man and a young girl embattled, and the man bigger and stronger always won.

“You just have to catch him!” She reiterated her point.

“What?”

“You catch a glimpse of him then demand he stop short of hiding, again. If you see a Leprechaun, he has to grant your wish.”

“Have you ever spotted him?” My excitement level rose because that would be easier than physically detaining a man- even a short green one.

“No, but my dad swears he has,” She declared full of faith in her parent’s honesty.

Something inside me questioned her beliefs. As I raced off, it felt a bit saner to look for the four leaf clover than to wait for a small but happy soul to arrive from a bush and grant wishes. Some of her idea might have been a remake of a Bible narrative. God has made appearances in burning bushes.  

Maybe, her parent confused his myth with those tales. I imagine the place she stood would have been better lit and God easier to see if HIS Story was repeating itself. Instead, the dark leaves camouflaged her green-colored, elusive Leprechauns.

In spite of my doubt, I snuck back to that brush a few days later. She must have given up hope of finding that green, happy elf or troll because that girl left the vicinity. Nothing but a slight breeze rustled the branches; I noticed a patch of clover nearby and weeded her family’s lawn instead of awaiting a secret visitor from that shrub.  

After some more research, in other words, I asked my half Irish dad, my mind was less confused. “Do short, ‘green dressed’ men live in plants and grant wishes if discovered?”

“Yes, but Leprechauns do NOT live in Florida. They are natives of Ireland!” 

After that, I envisioned a bunch of midgets or short people in green outfits living far far away in a very foreign land! After that experience, I still looked for the occasional four leaf clover. I never found one nor did I see a Leprechaun anywhere except fantasyland. The lucky clover might be closer to reality than the little, green men.

Speaking of men, they think females gossip and make up stories; now, you see how dad’s, which are male, start rumors and legends! Guys, also, contend women are more frequently the cunning manipulators. Obviously, males are just as crafty at children and wo-manipulation.


***


The Moose Clock
By
Dave Perry
(Send Dave feedback at) yn1perry2001@yahoo.com

The End of the Hardware Store Pop sat behind the register, Mom just inside the backroom door smoking a cigrette. "You know we can't smoke in here with the Customers Mom", Pop yelled back to her.


"Like I care". Mom replied. Her standard answer. 

"It's against the law now." Pop insisted.


"Throw me in jail" was her response. It's 855am at the Mom & Pop Hardware. For over 30 years they hold this conversation as they wait until the "Hardware Moose" clock moo-ed the 9am hour. Why the Moose clock moo's they had never figured out. 

As you may or may not know, Moose actually make a weird noise. its like kinda like a mooo, but then, sometimes then they will growl or something like that. Whatever it is, is sounds absolutely dreadful, a pitiful noise that makes the other animals in the world wish that it would just shut up! Anyway, back to Mom & Pop.... the Clock moo's, or whatever at 9am. Mom and Pop look at each other. 

"Well?” Mom demands. 

"I'm on my way Woman", Pop snaps over his shoulder, he shakes his head as he heads towards the door and murmers, "she could get up and open the door one time".... Looking towards the door, he slows to a stop. Outside the door where there should be sunlight steaming through, there is nothing but black.


"Get a move on, old man!" - Mom yells as she lights another cig. 

Pop finally moves to the door and peers through the window. He is startled by utter complete darkness, black, as in nothing out there, nothing to see, and nothing to hear. Unlocking the door he steps out and is overcome by the dark as again, he cannot see anything and the dark slowly envelopes him. With his hand still on the door, he is able to move quickly back in and out of whatever it is out there. 
Shaking, he closes and locks the door. "Are you sure it's 9am Mom?" He yells.


"You heard the Moose, what the hells wrong with you" Mom snaps.


He looks up at the Moose, it's stupid Moose face that smiles at him, It always smiles, but this time he shivers at it's weird smile. It kinda looks real today. "We have a problem Mom" he says quietly. 

"What now?" she replies. 

"There is nothing but black out beyond the door". Mom puffs away on her cig, 

"Nothing but black what?" she asks. 

"Just blackness, darkness, I don't know, but it's scary" he says. Pop says this while turning his attention to the window on the east side of the store, it's also black beyond its pane. 

Mom steps to the living section of the building and checks the back door and windows...all black. "Yea, I’m getting scared too", she says walking back into the store. For the next couple hours they try the phone a couple times, nothing. They call outside the doors and windows, nothing. Nothing can be heard, nothing can be smelled outside. It's as nothing exists. They are afraid to go out. Meanwhile, the Moose-clock moos at each hour, however, the moo gets louder each time, and longer. This is not normal Moose Clock procedure. At 3 o'clock, the moose moos again, but this time, one single Moo. 

"Oh my Lord" Pop yells. 

"What dear?"....she had not called him dear in over 20 years. 

"The black, it's in here!!" Pop says. The blackness had taken over the front shelving by the door, the ‘Peterson screwdriver’ display was no more and different items were disappearing as the blackness crept slowly towards them. 

"What do we do?" Mom cried. 

Pop grabbed a shovel as darkness had settled over half of it, it was only half a shovel that he held in his hand. He dropped it and stepped back terrified. Then, he heard it. "Its not only what you can do, the Moose said, it's what I want." 

"Who the hell is that?? Pop yelled, looking around the store.


"Um, I think the Moose-clock said it", Mom replied. 

"What????"

The Moose Moo-d three times, and said, "You know what I want". 

Pop could not believe his ears or eyes. Yes, the Moose-clock talked to them. “Wha, Wha...What, Mr. Moose,” Pop asked, “What do you want???" 

"One thing" as the Moose looked at Mom.” You, my lady, know what I want, and Pop wants it too".....as the Moose then moo'd and sputtered. Mom looked down at the cig that had never left her hand today, or any day except to replace it with another. 

"This", she asked, you want a smoke??" 

"No,” the Moose replied, "and neither do you, but that's not it."


"I have no idea what your talk...” Mom stopped, the blackness had started to cover the store faster now and was heading towards her. "NO! I won't tell!” Mom screamed at the Moose.


"You will,” the Moose continued. "Because if you don't, there will not be a Pop, no MOM & POP Hardware store, no Moose, or anything. There will be darkness forever, and it will be your fault.” 

The darkness had enveloped everything completely now, except for the corner where Mom and Pop stood, and of course, where the Moose-clock hung. "It's your choice." The Moose said, and Moo-d the 5pm hour. 

"This has to be a nightmare dream". Pop finally said. 

"Yea..um, No,” the Moose answered. "And we haven’t' much time. Your store and customers are waiting for your answer.


"Tell me Mom,” Pop demanded. “Are you really going to do what a frickin' Moose-clock says?"
 Mom snarled at him.” It’s a clock for heaven's sake!”


"Look around Mom!...there is nothing here!!....please!"...Pop pleaded. 

"If you don't tell him, we are done here", the Moose whispered. 

"I can't", Mom cried. 

"As you wish, the Moose calmly said.


"No wait!!"Pop screamed.


"Oh Pop...I...."...Mom didn't have time to sceam.


The darkness enveloped them all. The red eyes of the Moose blinked for a couple seconds then faded, he then moo'd the last hour of the day. Only darkness remained and the one remaining sound...a pitiful, dreadful sound of a sort of mooo, and, the sound of hooves trotting away.... Pop woke up then....alone.



***


EMPOWER the kids
Thursday, February 7, 2013 11:54 AM
From:
This sender is DomainKeys verified
"Cindy Hanson" <mchanson714@yahoo.com>
Add sender to Contacts
To:
"mchanson714@hotmail.com" <mchanson714@hotmail.com>

A book without a reader is like a day without sunshine. In the beginning, I sold or gifted copies of my books to friends or local mourners. Soon, I began trying to find a larger audience. Nonfiction branding is much harder than people think; biographies of the non-famous can be hard to sell. I'm sure that is why many mainstream publishers avoid those book genres- until they go viral. While doing that facet of publishing, I always keep in mind that I need to differentiate myself and books- especially due to the explosion of eBooks and indie authors.  

What makes my witness in books unique starts with my sense of humor; I can make light of hideous situations and yet stay real and truthful about the harshness of those realities. My ability to see and convey the light keeps me going- which is remarkable since I was born blind; landmark, eye surgery and tenacity got me to today. I chronicled part of that inspirational tale in my nonfiction entitled The Vision.

Meanwhile, I rarely submit pieces for anthologies announced online or through writer’s societies because their editors are usually looking for fictional short stories or poetry. Recently, a random invite happened; someone offered to add one of my stories or essays to their anthology helping Newton, Connecticut. I heard about the massacre in their elementary school and submitted a story that I coauthored. That tale was steered and illustrated by my grandchild when she was five; she is, now, six. I thought her empowerment storybook might help the struggling people of Newton and elsewhere. However, the editors rejected my entry because they wanted poetry and prose; they compiled adult reading level stories about how it might feel to be a Newton resident.

 I appreciated the editors’ candor. However, I was amazed the compilers of that anthology didn’t realize what the children (and adults) of Sandy Hook Elementary might really need to go forward. I thought that town might enjoy rhetoric from kindred spirits. Due to fears and anxieties, I felt that those kids and folks might feel less alienated and alone if they were shown the light at the end of their tunnels. I wanted to find a way to be empower those children while revealing to them a HOPE that things can and do get better. I felt bystanders including health care professionals might enjoy those types of stories, too. After pondering the anthology rejection, I woke up one day as God illuminated my next step. Thinking of three books that I had partial copyrights to, I immediately had the title of an anthology in my mind; it was the S.H.E. Anthology. 

After that, I began compiling that book; the compilation is NOT a romance anthology but it was written by all females. In this book, the girls recollected traumas, mostly related to death, that they faced while in elementary school. Their stories reveal their path out of mourning along with many minor miracles that they encountered. Their tales of hope and inspiration are true accounts from those children turned authors. One writer and illustrator is only six; Thai wanted to be a part of empowering children to survive harsh things in life; so, her piece is story number three in this compilation.

The abbreviation ‘S.H.E’ also refers to Sandy Hook Elementary. Isn’t God the best at setting up coincidences? This book is meant to empower Newton as well as others that read it. We hope that this anthology, also, sheds some new light on grief recovery in the minds of teachers, mental health professionals, and adults handling major life changes. The compilation’s royalties will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues- especially for children therapies for the types of traumas witnessing massacres produce. For example, one local group ‘New Hope for Kids’ (Orlando) will get some of the profits from this compilation because the group that started this organization helped Stacey over 20 years ago.

Speaking of the child, in one part of this anthology, there’s great insight into being the victim of death and childhood loss. Stacey’s Song is an intimate look at a ten year old girl’s personal story about the results of her mother’s cancer death. She, also, deals with the aftermath that includes her dad going crazy and committing suicide. Obviously, tragedies, such as the Sandy Hook Massacre, touch home with her. In her book contained in this anthology, the young girl talks candidly and inspirationally about surmounting her PTSD. Her honesty through writing is only surpassed by the miracles and guidance from those around her including God. Some excerpts in other blogs here reveal how God taps into this young girl’s anger and grief to show her hope and HIS love as HE answers her naïve, childhood prayer. You can read her full story in Stacey’s Song or in the S.H.E. Anthology. An excerpt from a chapter follows.

Hail, What’s Next?


  Later in another conversation, Cindy told me, “There are a ton of reasons why you need to live. First, you haven’t even seen all the world has to share with you. There are some really beautiful places left to visit.”

  “I get two weeks’ vacation in December. We can drive into the mountains and find snow for the holidays.”
…  
  (Her child) Jenny was hospitalized after repeated infections. Her tonsils needed to be removed, and the promised trip was postponed. 

“I wish it would snow here!” My response arrived.

  “Get real! It rarely snows in Central Florida. If it does, it falls in January and never hits the ground. It melts on the way. It sometimes falls just north of us and stays a few hours but nothing close to snowman weather. We can drive to see snow next winter, but we are not flying anywhere this vacation.”

  “I’m going to pray for snow within driving distance of our house. I am going to ask for it now,” My style less angry these days converted to belligerent.

  “Pray away! But, it isn’t possible,” She added as the other car passengers giggled. At age seven and nine, they realized I could be unreasonable at times.



  The next day, the front page of the local newspaper pictured the hail storm that happened just south of our home. Hail stones piled into drifts so high that it appeared to have snowed in Florida….

Also, in that anthology, The Evans Terrace Girls give their account of what happened when 7 or more parents died within a year or 2 of each other in a small subdivision of about 110 homes. People started saying their land was CURSED. The children heard those rumors about their subdivision and were scared to death. Then, when a neighbor lost her dad to a blood clot after surgery, the kids felt the need to help. When one of the girls heard the rumor that the mourning family ran out of milk, she setup a traditional solution or lemonade stand. That day, other angels or young children arrived; many of those neighbor kids ran door to door selling half glasses of hot lemonade. They raised enough quarters to buy milk and other perishables. More importantly, they formed a group that became a club and led their neighborhood out of grief. Find out how by reading their story; an except follows.

'Tis The Season

  One of the boys was just two weeks old and the other was eighteen-month-old when their single mother died in her apartment of an epileptic seizure. These two miracles survived two days with their deceased mother before authorities found them. Their aunt’s family was not well to do but had inherited two cribs for the boys. However, just near Christmas, they needed real beds for these toddlers. 


  There were donations of new jewelry and Christmas items to raffle. We charged a dollar a ticket. On our little table sat our flyer of community services completed and goals to finish this year.

  As one guest read the document, she handed us a five-dollar bill whispering to my mother, “What is their goal?”

  “At least one bed,” She responded.

  “Well, good luck. They probably won’t even raise enough for a mattress,” this woman added.

  “I’ve seen them sell one hundred and seventy one dollars’ worth of lemonade and still have over half the original gallon. I bet they can get this bed,” My mother defended.

  “Good luck,” The guest reiterated.

  “I believe in miracles,” Mom observed smugly. “ ‘Tis the season!”


The stranger stopped our movement back to our vehicles, “I’ll let you have both beds for two hundred dollars but only if you can pick them up by tomorrow.”

  “Sold!” We all screamed as Laura and Mom flinched. The club was sixty dollars from reality.


Did the girls find the cash? What other minor miracles happened when these angels joined forces with others to make wishes come true? Read The Evans Terrace Girls or their section in the S.H.E. Anthology.

By the way, I’m offering an eBook copy of the S.H.E Anthology to anyone reading this blog. Use the link provided: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278511 . The promotional price will come up as $ 0.00 once you place the coupon code SZ68X in the box on that site’s ordering page. This coupon expires on February 14, 2013 – the day of love. Please, leave favorable reviews if you freely download this book. Plus, feel free to share the eBook data. We hope you’ll love the S.H.E Anthology enough to buy copies of this book in paperback format for others to enjoy or- at least- leave a review. The paperback version comes in BLACK & WHITE on and color on AMAZON.