Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Tale


It was Hallow's Eve and I, my sister Clytie and our friend Annette had been invited to an overnight Harvest party.

We drove through the darkness, following the directions we'd been given.  There would be signs along the way, we were told.  As we drove into the country, then up into the surrounding hills, the road became increasingly narrow.

The roadway turned into gravel, then finally into grassy ruts, slowly becoming so narrow only one car could possibly fit along its length.  As we neared a hairpin corner, the air seemed abnormally still.  Except one yellow leaf caught by my headlights just overhead.

Chills had been running up and down my spine for some time.  That leaf began to shake and twirl.  It waggled at us from a branch filled with leaves as motionless as stone.  That was the last straw for me.

"Are you guys spooked?" I asked.  They were.  I wasn't the only one who had been experiencing a terrible sense of foreboding.  With great difficulty we turned around and headed down the hill.

As we neared the bottom of the hill, Sissy screamed.  An insubstantial fuzzy white figure (too big to be a dog, too small to be a person) leaped from the forest.  It was running upright toward the passenger side of the Volkswagen.  I stuck it into second and gunned the motor as best I could.

Shaking, we pulled into the driveway of the nearest house.  We knocked on the door, hoping to ask for directions.  The door slowly opened and a man peered out at us.

His words were slow and low--full of menace.  "Don't go up there," he hissed, pointing a gnarled finger back toward where we'd been.  We tried to ask for directions.  "Do NOT go up there."  His eyes burned.  He opened the door walking out onto the front steps.  "Do NOT go up there," he said--even louder.  We gingerly backed away.  "Uh, thank you, sir," we said, quickly turning to walk toward the car.  As I put the car in gear, we watched him look both ways, then slam his door shut.

We burned rubber all the way up the freeway until we saw the lights of the city.  We stopped at Dunkin Donuts, where we sipped hot chocolate and devoured a fleet of donuts.  In the bright lights it hardly seemed possible our experience was real--it was like a story from a scary book.

The next morning, we returned to find out what had happened.  We discovered the sign to the party had been knocked down.  Others who'd spent the night told us the signs were up when they'd arrived--just a little while before we drove that same road.

I am convinced the terror we all felt, unbeknownst to one another and that oddly rocking leaf, was evidence of God's angels protecting us.  Something evil waited at the end of that road.  We were warned.  Thank God we listened.

To this day I wonder what was at the end of the road.

But maybe I don't.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sissy is SAFE!


I am posting today to celebrate my darling Sister Clytie's release from the hospital!  Saturday, September 24, my sweet little sis Clytie was rushed to emergency.  She was in tremendous pain.  This was the second time she'd gone into emergency over the past few weeks.  Turns out what the doctors from local urgent care thought might be acid reflux disease--was in reality a blockage in her heart.   

God protected her! The tests they did  for heart related problems had came back as normal, or just a tiny bit high.

So many of you were Praying for Clytie. I am so glad--because I'm sure as a result of your prayers, the emergency room doctor got a bee in his bonnet--he was convinced there was a blockage -- he would not give up looking for one.

This wonderful doctor even asked for two-year old data from another hospital, in order to compare the tests.  Thank  GOD!  Because of this doctor's dogged persistence Sissy is going to be just fine.

Clytie had an angiogram, during which the actual blockage was discovered.  They cleared the vein and installed a stent.

I know there was an angel hanging over that doctor's shoulder, urging him to look further, even though the tests came back as normal.

You can visit Clytie at Random Hearts She tells me she can hardly wait to go walking!!!

Sissy has had two brushes with the great beyond.  First the stroke from which she was healed and then a near heart attack.  I know she has something important to do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monday's Small Miracle



I am to be the featured speaker at a Ladies Retreat next week.  What an honor to encourage these inspiring women!  The sponsors of the retreat and I have been preparing for this time of refreshment for these dear ones, for months. 

It was getting close and I was thinking about what to wear (isn't that silly).  Everything I had on hand had been worn to a frazzle.  I so yearned to have a new jean dress for the occasion.

So I put a bunch of artwork up on Etsy to see if I could sell enough to buy some material to make a dress.  I did not tell a soul--not even my husband--what I was up to.

I did sell a few things, but not enough to buy the material.  I resigned myself to use what I had on hand.  Monday (Labor Day), I was contemplating how to make my meager wardrobe a little more presentable.

Just then there was a knock on the door.  My Friend Laura stood there with a grin.  I wasn't expecting visitors, so her shining face was a welcome respite from my thoughts. 

Said she, as she thrust a big brown paper bag into my arms,  "I had a feeling you might need this today."

Inside I found a brand new pair of "Mary Jane" style tennis shoes which fit perfectly.  My own shoes had a hole in the side of 'em--so I was elated.  There was a box of Vanilla Chai Tea and a bag of reduced sugar muffins for my husband.

AND then . . . 

To my amazement I pulled out six yards of jean material--and not just any jean material--it was the exact weight and thickness, color I had imagined in my mind.

Laura laughed at the astonishment on my face.  

But then her own expression changed to wonder, as I told her of the miraculous timing of her gift.  Even as I write this, tears gather in my eyes.  Only God knew I needed a new dress and shoes.  No one else knew.   Laura's unexpected miracle gift, was like a hug from God.

God is  Good.  How wonderful that He cares about even the smallest of things--like a new dress for a speaking engagement!

Have a lovely week everyone! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Angel in the Night


Years ago, I lived with my grandmother in her basement.  In the summertime, Uncle Dale would gather excess junk wood from around the place to burn.  A hard worker, Dale was born with acute learning disabilities.  He is an unusual man, who learns by asking questions and watching others work.  He lived with Grandma, helping to care for her until she died.  Uncle Dale is amazing and I love him.

One long-ago evening, we built a fire out on the lip of the canyon.  We pulled big old logs next to the fire and sat, watching the flame grow brighter in the gathering darkness. 

That night the conversation turned to angels.  Dale told a fascinating story from his own childhood.  He was very young when he and his two younger siblings were left at home alone.  In those days they didn't have electricity and as the sun set and the air grew dark, Mom and their brother Lawrence became frightened.  The children huddled together beside the front window, waiting and watching for their parents' return.

But Uncle Dale wasn't afraid.  He told me he wasn't fearful, because there was an angel watching over them from a nearby tree.

I asked him what the angel looked like.  Uncle Dale's description was amazingly detailed.  The robes the angel wore were made of light.  You couldn't see the angel's feet, because beams of that rainbowy light scudded down the tree to ripple across the ground. The angel held a shining sword and he smiled down at Dale as though to say everything would be alright.  Curiously he says when he told his younger siblings not to be afraid, the fear which had surrounded them vanished.

I believe sometimes God allows children to see past the fabric of our everyday world, into  supernatural events, which adults often disbelieve, or ignore.

I am so grateful for Dale's story.  I often wonder how many times we have been protected by God's angels and did not know it.  Perhaps that sense of peace and safety as we travel down the freeway comes because His angels are watching over us.

This isn't the first angel Uncle Dale saw as a child--but that is another Angel Story for another day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Safeway Angel


A year and a half or so ago, I badly injured my leg to the point the entire limb swelled and turned a lovely black and blue.  To walk was extremely painful and it wasn't getting better.  I finally decided to go to the doctor.  

On my way home, I stopped at Safeway pharmacy to pick up a prescription for pain.   As I limped painfully toward my car, I carried several full bags of groceries, along with my purse and camera bag.  I juggled the bags to get to my purse, looking for keys to open the trunk of my car.

As I approached my car, keys finally in hand, I noticed a dark haired, middle-aged man half running toward me at a fast clip.   My first fleeting thought was to open the trunk to put my purchases inside before asking the man what he wanted.

But suddenly, without my knowing how it happened--the car was between me and the man.  It was though I had been boomeranged to the other side by a giant rubber band.  I was moved by something outside myself.  It felt like a strong, incredibly large invisible force had taken me by the elbow and whisked me beyond the man's reach.

Eerily, the man paced back and forth -- his movements, mirroring my own, gave the feeling of a predator trying to discern which way I might move, or run, in order to counter it.  He had a frightening look of desperation in his eyes.   

Shaken, I stood still and warily asked what he wanted.  The man stopped pacing, pushed his hands against the passenger window and said his car had broke down and he needed some money.  I told him I didn’t have any money.

Just then a security guard noticed what was happening.  By then the man, who'd also seen the guard, had bounced away from my car to accost another customer.  As the guard walked closer, the man quickly took off running across the  parking lot.

After speaking with the security guard, I headed home.  Interestingly enough, I actually drove past the man who’d frightened me.  He was riding along the highway--on a bike.  

I feel sure the man had followed me from inside the store where he’d seen me buy the prescription for Oxycodone.  It is highly likely his motive was to rob me.

The sensation of that invisible force, effortlessly moving me out of that man’s reach, still haunts my thoughts.  I am sure an angel scooted me to safety, then brought what was happening to the security guard’s attention.

I am so grateful for God's protection!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Angel Kitty


It is a tradition in our family. When our Dad was young, he had a black cat named Snow, as did I. It has been nearly 17 years since the day our own Snow bunny arrived on the scene.

One bright spring day, the children came running in from outside. They could hear the tiny mewlings of kittens in the old "Carriage House." I rushed outside with them. Apparently kittens had been born in the attic of the old building and had fallen down between the walls of the structure.

The first, a tiny male calico we named Lucky, we rescued by cutting through the sheet rock near the ceiling. We could still hear a second kitten, but could not locate her. So we crawled into the cramped, dusty attic, flashlight in hand. We found a crack in the attic floor and when we flashed the light down between the walls, we found her. The tiny black kitten had fallen over almost ten feet to the floor below.

I did not know what to do. The walls were of tough old wood--not sheet rock. It would take a power saw to cut through to her. If we did that, the tiny kitten could be terribly injured, or dreadfully frightened. The kids and I took a moment to pray about it and came up with an idea.

We lowered a sheet with gathered corners to see if we could slip her up the wall that way. But it did not work--though the little thing seemed to like the softness of the cloth. After further thought, we safety-pinned the gathered corners of the sheet and put a bit of cardboard in the bottom to make a kind of basket.
.
Covered with dust, we knelt on the attic floor, one holding the flashlight, another helping to lower the makeshift basket gingerly down to the trapped kitten. I remember praying out loud, "God, please, you have angels out there, couldn't you ask one to give us a little help?"

The kitten was interested, we could see that--she biffed and nosed the fabric. But she did not get inside. Long moments passed--I was heartsick. I could not imagine listening to the kitten's weakening cries as she starved to death.

BUT suddenly to our great surprise, she abruptly toppled head first into our basket. It was as though someone had given her an invisible push from under her backside. We all gasped. Hardly believing what we'd seen, we carefully hoisted the tiny kitten to safety.
.
Later I watched my daughter cuddling the small cat in her lap. The kitten's bright yellow eyes, huge in her tiny black bewhiskered face winked with mischief. Snow was instantly a member of the family.  Indeed, she thought my children were hers--and the two of us were their mothers.

Our dear Snowbunny left for heaven this Spring.  I'm sure she's keeping the angels on their toes up there.   In the meantime, we miss her very much.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ting-Bumper Angel


25 years ago, Mums and I, along with my tiny baby daughter, were traveling up I-5 through Washington State, on our way to speak at a Ladies' Retreat. 

Suddenly, a small blue car sped out of nowhere to play near ting bumper with the back of my Volkswagen Bug.  Having no ax to grind, I obligingly moved over.  As we watched the teenage boy aggressively spin through the traffic ahead I observed, "That kid is going to get someone killed."  I could see other drivers around us felt the same.  Vehicles in the lanes around the teen would not let him through. I shook my head.

Just then my little daughter began to scream.  Mom tried to comfort her, but to no avail.  Nothing helped!  So we took the next exit.  I thought maybe she was hungry and needed to nurse.  However, as soon as we parked the VW, she stopped crying and gave us a BIG toothless smile.  She didn't want to nurse and was as happy as a clam, waving her plump little arms and giggling into the air.  Mumsie and I were both mystified.

But when we drove back to the freeway, traffic was at a standstill.  "There must have been an accident," I said.  As we drew closer, I felt a little ill--there, mashed against the median was that small blue car.  Rescue vehicles were just arriving on the scene.  Drapes covered the driver's side door.  

Cars we'd traveled next to for miles were crunched and broken, scattered along both sides of the freeway.  If we hadn't pulled over when we did, we would have been right in the middle of that terrible accident. 

Mum and I were shaken to the core.  Looking at the people, some of them standing beside their crushed vehicles, I realized the three of us had escaped a horrible fate.  It was a very close call.

Later we smiled over the thought of a big ole' angel swooping down into our tiny Volkswagen Bug.  Catching my wee baby's attention, the angel must have told her to cry like the dickens and to not let up until we'd pulled off the freeway.  As soon as we were out of danger, I'm sure my baby received a big warm angel hug.  Perhaps she was smiling and waving goodbye as the angel flew away.

Miraculously our lives were spared.   All three of us had a lot more left to do here on this earth!   I believe God often sends His angel messengers to protect those He loves.  I am so grateful for His protection on the highway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Angel in the Parking Lot


We often traveled to California when we were first starting out.  In those days we didn't have a big trailer to haul all our drama equipment, props and sets--everything was stuffed  into the back of our old brown van.

Our Van broke down as we were returning from a two week tour performing in California.  We pulled into a big empty parking lot to assess what we should do.  It was late and obviously we couldn't drive any further.  My sweet husband rented a motel room a few blocks away, for our three small children and I, then left to see what could be done for our old Van.  He was able to get the part we needed just down the road. 

He was lying underneath our vehicle on a piece of discarded cardboard, working to cinch the new part down onto the engine.  He soon discovered he needed someone to hold the piece he was working on, from above.   He was about to give up in frustration, when he sent up a prayer.

A few minutes later, as my husband grimly wrestled with the impossible task, he heard a voice.  "Looks like you need some help there, young fella."

Alan said he thought at first it was an old farmer.  My husband could see the man's friendly smile--tooth-white in his crinkled, seamed face--from where he lay on the parking lot.  Then a weathered, sun-warmed hand reached down, to hold the part in place.

A moment later the job was done.  My husband quickly climbed out from under the van, to thank the elderly man who had helped him.

But strangely enough--in the middle of that huge parking lot--the helpful old man was nowhere to be found. 

An angel?  I have no doubt in my mind.  Angels seem to show up exactly the moment one needs help.  They seem quite ordinary, until they vanish without a trace.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Biker Angel - Guest Heart Thursday


This Angel Story comes from our wonderful neighbor Jerry.  He is a tough Vietnam Vet with a very big heart.

As Jerry tells it, he was riding his bike on the freeway, when he came up on a huge gang of scary looking bikers on Harleys.  They were going under the speed limit, holding traffic back behind them.  No one wanted to pass this group of mean looking bikers for fear of what they might do.

But Jerry decided he wasn't going to put up with that, kicked his bike into high gear and drove up through the middle.  The bikers parted as Jerry made his way through.  Then he was off and away.

Awhile later, when he stopped for a break, who should come riding up, but that same group of tough guys.  The bulky leader stalked up to Jerry and growled, "Who was that big guy you were riding with?"

Jerry told the man he had been riding alone.  But the biker insisted Jerry hadn't been alone and made it clear, if the large, well-muscled fellow Jerry had been riding with hadn't been there--things would have not gone very well for Jerry. 

Another incredible story of God's protecting angels at work!

This is the first time I've posted this blog on Guest Heart Thursday.  Can you see the big heart just over that big angel's shoulder?  For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Angel Escorts


Sandi sat by the hospital bed, listening to the faint breathing of her dear Friend, as she lay dying.  She closed her eyes and the tears streamed down her cheeks.  Her heart was breaking.  Suddenly through her grief she felt the presence of angels all around her and an amazing comfort enfolded her heart.

One breath--then another--then none.

Then the angels were gone--and so was her Friend.  These gentle bright beings had come to escort the girl into heaven--leaving a great comfort to fill the hole her friend had left behind.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Her Darkest Hours



This morning I was praying for one of my Best Friends. She is dearer to me than life. My Friend is facing hardships I can only guess at. She feels the darkness closing around her. I have been so burdened and grieved for her sake. 

As I brought my most precious Friend to my Lord, the sun broke through the clouds. Gasping in awe, I snapped this photo. Though I enhanced it a little so you could see what I saw, I didn't need to change much.

The Shepherd Who loves my Friend sends a gift--a message--He brings the light. Light will ALWAYS triumph over darkness. "And the darkest hour of the night, is just before the Dawning light, and now before this moment is gone--get ready! Here comes the Sunrise!"

Light is always stronger than darkness...Our loving Shepherd Who weeps, He Who understands sorrow like no other, comforts and leads His flock. He gently holds the wounded ones close to His heart and tends to their hurts with His own hands.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dreams


This is not exactly an angel story, but it rates right up there with miraculous happenings.

My brave Father fought in WW2.  He was drafted into the army paratroopers just after his 18th birthday. When he was 19, he faced the enemy in the Battle of the Bulge.   He parachuted down behind enemy lines and was captured by the Germans. Daddy spent nine terrifying months in a Nazi Prison camp also known as Stalag B and Bad Orb.

Not long afterward, Dad's parents received a devastating letter from the army.   Their beloved eldest son was Missing in Action. I cannot imagine how awful that must have been for them.

Then one night Dad's Mom dreamed he stood at the end of her bed.   He told her he was a prisoner of war and that he was alive. The dream was so real, she was convinced she had actually spoken with him. Grandma never stopped praying for her boy. She was not surprised when they informed her that he had been rescued.

When Dad returned home from the war, he described a dream where he'd stood at the foot of his Mother's bed.  He remembered telling his Mother he was alive and was a prisoner of war in Germany. Amazed, they pieced together the timing of their dreams. The truth is, God allowed Daddy to visit Grandma in a dream to let her know he was alright.

What a wonderful blessing of God's miraculous grace to both Mom and Son. How grateful I am for Grandma's prayers for Dad when most people were convinced he was dead.

Today is Dad's 85th Birthday!  Happy Birthday Daddy!