The ‘P’ Word

 I had another answered prayer last week! Wheee! I suppose you could say it was more of an affirmation, but whatever.

So last week was super rough. Why? Because I’m currently waiting on news that will profoundly impact my future. (read: I’ve waited for years). I have very little (no) control over this situation and the more I stress the longer it seems to take. So let me just say between you, me and the world-wide web that it’s making me NUTS! Deep fried crazy! And I have no choice! All I can do is wait. People like to throw that ‘patient’ word at me but man oh man it’s so hard ‘cos I’m a mover! A shaker! A Capricorn! I get things done dammit! Something I’ve learned though is that if nothing in my bag o’ tricks is working, then there’s a lesson tucked in there. ( Don’t say the P word).

 But whatever else I am, I’m resilient. Some days are just super hard to take. And this was one of them. So I sat in my car, dangerously close to tears, and I decided to pray. Even if I don’t get immediate answers I know heaven listens so I prayed. And I prayed out loud (remember, that carries a little extra punch for some reason). Anyway, I got as far as “Dear God, please hear my prayer” before bursting into tears… The rest of my words were a bit bubbly but this is what I said:

Please let me know if I can do something to hurry this along. I am so frustrated. You know how I am ‘cos you made me so please don’t get mad but I don’t know if things feel stagnant because I’m doing something wrong or because you don’t think it’s time yet. If I’m being called to action please show me what to do and I’ll do it and if I’m supposed to just sit still and trust you Lord, well please let me know that too. Please give me a clear answer so I don’t overanalyze. It’s not in my nature to just sit and wait but you knew that already. Amen.”

 So I pulled into a parking space, wiped my nose, and walked into the bank. The teller waved me over and I stepped up to her cubicle. I smiled hello when my eyes fell on her HUGE necklace. A gigantic silver heart with a bold print inscription: Trust the Lord.

 I literally gasped and startled this poor lady.

 Then my ego started up: Oh that’s just a coincidence. There are a ton of Christians with a ton of Christian jewelry. You’re just-

The lady swiveled to grab my deposit slip and her big ole silver heart earrings jiggled, waving their inscription at me. TRUST.

 So basically heaven was telling my ego to shut the hell up.

 P.S. Never listen to ego (your brain voice). Ego says mean things like you aren’t good enough, they secretly make fun of you, and you’ll never get rid of your cellulite.

Ego is a nasty bitch and needs to be slapped down every once in a while.

 **If you’re reading this and know the news I wait for, please keep it out of the comments. Thanks for your understanding.**

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My Daily Ghost

I’ll make this short and sweet. I don’t see ghosts every single day, but yesterday I saw one. Here’s what happened.

I’m at my Mom’s right now. She lives in East Texas on a sprawling piece of forested land with cows, rolling hills and all the rest of it. I was walking from one room to another when I glanced through the front window.

A tall man stood on the front porch right next to the window. He appeared to be looking inside. It happened so fast I walked about three more steps before I stopped and literally walked backwards to crane my neck and look again.

Of course he was gone. Ghosts always disappear quickly. But in that split second I’d seen him pretty clearly.

He was tall and I saw a bunch of BLACK. Not like he was African-American, but in all black. I didn’t see his face so much as what he was wearing. Prickly chills spread across my scalp, face, and down the left side of my body. I always get these chills when spirits show up. Where they are in relation to me determines which side of my body gets the chills…but anyway.

“Uh, Mom?” I called down the hallway, eyeing the front porch. I had the creeps. Big time.

“Ya?” she came out of the grandkid’s playroom and walked toward me, “Hey let’s go have a beer on the porch-” she paused, “What’s the matter?” She examined my face, “What did you see?”

My mother knows me well. Mind you, I had chills popping out everywhere now. And these were not warm fuzzies.

“Did you see something?”

I nodded.

“Which one?” she asked, “The little girl or the man in black?”

I just stared at her. 

And let’s just say we drank our beer on the BACK porch. She confirmed how “Mr. Black” shows up often and how several people have seen him. She asked if picked up anything on who he is/was. My intuition tells me he’s from the late 1800s and I get the same vibe from him as I do that creepy old preacher from Poltergeist 2. Blech!

But anyway I finally asked Mom about something weird that happened in our old house. Twenty five years ago, we had a house guest that pretty much left in the middle of the night and never came back. (Please read The First Icky Spirit if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)  I never knew why. Here’s what she told me this morning over coffee:

The house guest was my then-Uncle Henry. My mom got up for work super early that morning (it was still dark outside) and was surprised to see smoke coming from the sunroom. Henry was in there smoking a cigarette. In the dark. She turned on the light and asked if he was okay. He gave an excuse about always getting up that early but she knew something was up.

That night my aunt called and told my mom what happened…that Henry was asleep on the floor when something forced him awake. He described an unseen force on all fours, pinning him to the floor. He was unnerved that the only thing on top of him was a sheet and he could not get up. When the thing let go he got up, smoked a cigarette, and never came back. Ever.

That’s all I got for now. I promise to share things as they happen. Happy Father’s Day everyone.

Alan

I was in Scotland the first time I saw a proper ghost.

This was about ten years ago, I guess. Christopher and I took a train from London to Edinburgh to celebrate our engagement. We stayed with his brother’s family in a very cool house I think used to be servant’s quarters to the mansion next door but I digress.

The ghost.

My future sister-in-law, Lynette, had recently lost her dad. I never got to meet Alan but by all accounts he was a wonderful man absolutely adored by his wife, children, and grandchildren….particularly one, William. From what I understand, William took his grandfather’s death the hardest. He was only little when Alan passed and how can anyone ‘make it feel better’ when they’re that young? Say, Granddad’s in a better place now? That he’s watching you all the time and doesn’t want you to cry anymore?

Well…listen up.

This particular night, Christopher and I shared a room with young cousins William and James, who shared a twin bed across from us.

I’m not sure when my eyes opened, or why, but it was definitely the wee hours. The room was still and grey, a silent mix of dark and moonlight. I saw a man in the room with us.

Man?

I lifted my head and squinted. Yes. An older man. Sitting next to William.

He was very tall, with kind eyes and big hands that rested on his knees a few inches from William’s sleeping face. There was something so calm about him, so serene. It was very clear to me that whoever it was, he was there for William and not some random ghost taking a short rest between rooms.

I instinctively reached for Christopher. I wasn’t scared even though I knew this person wasn’t alive. He wasn’t flesh,  not like you and me. But I wouldn’t have called him “see through” either. I jiggled Christopher’s arm, eyes firmly across the room. He was almost watercolor, like barely there tones of another place and time.

Christopher!” I whispered urgently, turning my head this time. I shook his chest til he mumbled, “Whass wrong?”

“Someone’s in here!” I said, turning back around. “Look!”

The chair was empty.

Christopher sat up on his elbow.

But the man was gone.

Chris plopped back into his pillow, asleep again in seconds. I stared at the empty chair, twisting my new ring to everyone’s gentle exhales. It was a long while before I fell asleep again.

I decided to tell Lynette about it the next morning because I thought she’d like to know her house was haunted. But as I described the man, a framed photo stood out  behind her. I walked to the shelf and picked up her family picture. A man stood among them. Tall. Gentle eyes. The man next to William.

“Oh my God! That’s him!”

“Who Dad?” she kinda smiled, kinda shrugged, “I see him all the time.”

A few things I need to point out here:  the only thing I knew about Alan prior to this incident is that he’d died.  I’d never seen Alan, met Alan, and had no clue what he looked like. I only found out about his close relationship with William after sharing this story. What strikes me about it now is how he allowed  me to observe him. I must have watched him a good 20 seconds before attempting to wake Christopher.  And the moment I involved someone else he was gone. I was also amazed that Lynette not only listened to my story with complete objectivity but admitted she had these experiences all the time. Any skeptic would point out that the bereaved will “see ghosts” of their loved ones because they want to. But what did I stand to gain from any of this? To-date, that is the clearest (and longest) I’ve ever seen a ghost (in that form).

Lynette and I later shared another ghost story in Texas. This time in my house but definitely not her Dad. I’ll tell that story later.

As to our loved ones watching from The Other Side, well….they do.

I have little choice but to swear my life to it. Cheers, Alan!

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

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*the above image was captured in my home, on our dog flap. It hasn’t been altered or enhanced in any way.

The First Icky Spirit

The first spirit I ever saw was not a good one. I won’t use the word ‘ghost’ here because ghosts, to me, imply our dearly departed (or at least something taking human form) and this was not one of those. This was something icky. And of course it was in the middle of the night.

The house was silent and my room was dark. Raggedy Ann lay in her baby bed beside me.I was maybe 8 at the time, and woke abruptly to a very uncomfortable feeling. Not like my-sheets-are-scratchy-and-I-need-to-pee. Rather, something-ain’t-right-and-I-don’t-know-what-it-is kinda feeling.  I slid under my covers.

I need to say quickly, that I was not a timid child. Nor was I scared of the dark. I dreaded what lurked behind the shower curtain like anybody else but wasn’t what you’d call a fearful child. As a matter of fact, I was quite gutsy. But this night, I was scared.

It was humid under that blanket. My exhales left a sheen of moisture on my face but there was something in the room and I was too chicken to look. I could feel it seeping against the sanctity of my blanket.. but I had to breathe. I lifted the covers for one second. And that was enough.

A black mass hovered next my bed, there by my window. About 5 feet in diameter, it was opaque, like a giant blob of black paint. I won’t say it had a conscience, but it was definitely aware… and it’s watching me, I thought. (That’s a common thing with the icky ones: you feel like you’re being watched and there’s tangible uneasiness in the air around you.) In this case it was profound. I yanked the covers over my head and stayed there the rest of the night, panting for fresh air. Let it be said I wasn’t a praying child either. But that night I prayed.

I found the following image online. I’m including it here to illustrate the darkness. This is not my photo, but you get the idea.

That house was always suspect. My mother told anyone who’d listen there was a ‘ghost’ there and looking back I realize, around me, she was careful with her words. But I also remember less censored conversations: whispers of house guests being scared shitless in the middle of night, women feeling watched in our shower… I never linked the big black blob with any of their stories but I didn’t know any better.

That experience was relatively tame as far as icky spirits go and I’ve had worse since then, but that was my first. I don’t know how it works on The Other Side, and I’m not supposing Judeo-Christian concepts here, but I do know something beyond this plane houses evil. I also know those spirits torment and disturb. What the heck they were doing in a little girl’s room in the middle of the night I don’t know. But I’m not here to profess knowledge, only experience.

Luckily those experiences are rare. Most of my encounters with The Other Side have been positive, enlightening…beautiful even… like the first time I saw our deceased loved ones watch over us. Literally.

Lynette, are you ready for me to share your Dad’s story?

Heaven Listens

I was going to write about my haunted house today. Locals dubbed my house “The  Bone Yard” a long time ago, a tidbit we found out after signing the deed thank you very much…but something kinda cool happened this morning and I think it’s worth sharing.

You must know I’m a firm believer in prayer. I always tell people that “heaven listens” and most folks agree. But I also know God’s timing mocks my impatience so its way cool to get an answer right away. And today I got an answer right away. Let me tell you what happened and why I was praying.

My husband and I are debating whether or not to take our kids out of private school and it’s a grueling decision. I’ve made a list of pros; I’ve made a list of cons. But really it comes down to cost. Eight hundred bucks a month back in our pocket would feel special at minimum.

…but my kids are thriving. Like, big time. So whereas whisking off on spontaneous holidays and going to dinner more often  would be superfragicalilistic….well, you know. Don’t get me wrong. We aren’t starving. But if I’m gonna make sacrifices, my children’s education would be last on a pretty short list. Yet eight hundred bucks is a lot of money and the school we’re zoned to is exemplary…still. It’s tough. But we have to make a decision soon. So I called the elementary school for info. When the lady answered the phone my heart started pounding. And not in a pleasant way.

Let it be said that I’m prone to anxiety; I’ll admit that. But this was full on chest constriction. I got the necessary enrollment info, thanked her, and promptly bent my head in prayer.

Please God tell me if my  kids should go to Crockett Elementary or stay at Wonderland School. Please give me a clear answer, I whispered. (I find that praying aloud carries an extra punch. ) Then I left my desk to make a cup of tea. On the way I passed our Vice President’s door. I happen to like the guy so I stuck my head in his office. We exchanged pleasantries and I reacted to his very odd music. It sounded like background music for a ride at Disney World.

“What are you listening to?” I asked.

He said it was a Broadway show.

“Which one?”

Wonderland,” he answered.

Now.

Naysayers will start barking about coincidence.  And that’s fine. They can do that. But when they hear how very often I experience these lovely “coincidences” they’ll understand why I include such events in this blog about The Other Side.

I’m sorry if you wanted to hear about The Bone Yard. No worries. There’s plenty more to come.