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I have noticed that in life it seems that people who walk through very low valleys also get to experience very high mountain peaks. That has been my experience anyway. I have seen quite a bit of crisis and trauma…so much that crisis feels like the norm sometimes, but I have also seen more than one big miracle in my life. And I mean life and death miracles.

Just at the time when my group of best friends (my tribe that I spoke of earlier) began to change and go our separate ways something big happened. We were all feeling the change in our relationships. We were feeling the loss, and we were all fighting it a little but to no avail. My telephone rang one day, and my husband picked it up. I could tell by the way that his voice changed that something was very wrong. I was saying, “Who is it? Who is it? What happened?” It was one of “the friends” who was the husband of another one of  the friends, and her nickname was “Butterfly.” “Butterfly” was one of my closest friends in the group. Strangely I had recently followed an inner nudging to write her a letter telling her how much I loved and appreciated her. I had mailed the letter, and she had received it.

My husband told me that Butterfly was in trouble. An aneurysm had burst in her brain. I grabbed the phone from him. Her husband sounded differently than I had ever heard him. He was always strong, and he would never admit to weakness much less ask for help, but he called us. He told me that the headaches that they had thought were migraines were actually an aneurysm and that it had burst in her brain and had been bleeding  into her brain stem for 24 hours before they called an ambulance. She was in a coma in ICU, and she was going to die.

I hung up the phone and called another friend to tell her, but since I was the one who handled the heavy stuff I was the one to handle this too. She told me that she was glad that I was going to the hospital because she did not think she could handle it. She did pick up her guitar and wrote a beautiful song about Butterfly though as was her way. In a panic I grabbed my purse and ran out the door to the car with my husband to race to the hospital. I left the door of the house wide open because I was in flight mode.

When I got there I saw Butterfly, who was normally vibrant and full of life, looking like a dead person and hooked up to life support. The doctors said that after looking at her brain scans there was really no hope for her to live, and if by some small chance she did live that she would be a vegetable unable to walk, talk, or do anything. (Thank God I had written her that letter just in time.)

I went into warrior mode. I went to her bedside almost everyday and held her limp hand and prayed. I spoke blessings over her out loud in the form of scripture verses about love and life, and I talked and talked to her unresponsive body about love, God, Christ, and us. I held hands with her mother and siblings in the ICU waiting room and prayed. Many other people were praying for her too.

I put a picture of Butterfly looking alive, healthy and smiling beautifully up on my wall beside my bed so that I would see this healthy image of her everyday when I woke up. I dug through my junk and found a note that she had left at my house one day that said, “You are loved….B.”  I hung this on my wall as well. I had a dream one night that Butterfly was in my house looking as beautiful as ever and walking around completely healed. In the dream I told her that it was the power of prayer that healed her.

Two weeks went by, and Butterfly remained in a coma. During this time I decided to get baptized at my church. I had been baptized as a baby, but I had never experienced being dunked. I had entered a new stage in life and with God so I really wanted to experience this traditional kind of baptism to symbolize my new life. That day in church I was shaking with nerves and with the power of God that was overwhelming me. I stood in front of the church and told a very tiny condensed version of my story on the microphone, and then I was dunked under the water and raised up in baptism. It was an invigorating experience for me that I cannot explain.

Immediately after church I drove to the hospital to see Butterfly who had been completely dead looking for several weeks. She had been through brain surgery and had her head shaved with big staples coming across her skull. I was coming to once again pray over her, talk to her, and care for her body. I had been sick for a few days so I had not seen her in a few days. When I walked into her room on the day of my baptism my jaw dropped to the floor when I heard her voice say my name, and she said “I love you, and I have missed you so much!” I literally almost passed out!

This was the girl in a coma who was brain dead! She was going to die! There was no hope for her, and she would definitely never walk or talk again!

She just recognized me! She just spoke to me in a complete sentence, and she just told me she loved me! After she said this she went right back to being vegetable like. It was just as if she had one moment of clarity when I walked in the room that day! I got goose bumps, and my hair stood up on my arms.

That day was a turning point though because each time I saw her after that she was more and more conscious. Slowly, slowly over months she began to return to us. She was moved to a rehab facility where she learned to walk very quickly because she has a very strong will. She would not let people help her much. She meant she was going to walk! Over time she began to talk more and more clearly. Her personality was in tact, and she was her crazy old self.

She has had a tough time and a long road. She still forgets words at times or blurts out the wrong word at the wrong time. She still has issues to deal with due to some brain damage, but she is still the same old Butterfly. She still has that spark in her. She is the girl that I always knew. She looks the same. She can walk and talk and even regained her ability to drive. She is my miracle girl. She is Butterfly, and we will always keep in touch.

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Years ago I had the honor of being a part of a true tribe. We were brought together by the pull of gravity, by forces of nature, and by God himself I think because somehow we just came together at exactly the right time for exactly the right season. We were all troubled souls, and we were living in an underground party culture, but we were not afraid to seek truth and to talk openly about God in spite of our shadowy existences. There was a core group of about 6 to 8 of us that clung to each other and lived life together no matter what happened.

We literally lived together slumber party style every weekend, and we saw each other as much as possible during the week as well. We were totally vulnerable with one another. We hid nothing, and we let all of our skeletons out of the closet. We did not have to be good or bad when we were together. We were free at last to be ourselves no matter how dark or light we happened to be at any given moment. We were not trying to live up to any standards or uphold any reputations. We just were.

We took care of each other. We watched each other’s backs wherever we went, and we trusted each other with everything (our money, our belongings, our hearts, our lives.) Other people in the sub-culture noticed that there was something unusual about our tribe and about the way that we loved and cared for one another, and they would tell us that they wanted to be a part of it.  We would take them in, but they never hung around too long. They would be transient members that hung out for a time and then moved on or showed that they could not be trusted, but our core tribe never parted. We would argue amongst ourselves at times but not for long. We always came back together and worked it out.

We all had our roles in the group, and I was given the nick name “Lil’ Lightnin'” because I was the tiniest one in the crew, but I had a giant spark. I was the one that everyone knew they could run to at any hour, and I would take them in and care for them. I was always promoting love at all costs, but there was also a wild streak in me that would come out if you crossed me or one of my friends, and then “lightnin’ would strike!” I was always a pacifist, but apparently I could get you with my words in a way that let you know that you had messed with my peeps, and you would know without a doubt that you had been “struck by lightnin’!”

Those days were magical in many ways. We spent so much time together wild and free. Much of that time we were on the beach dancing all night in the light of the moon and the phosphorescence to the music of our own resident DJ. We could also be found huddled together under the stars deeply contemplating the universe or shallowly acting like goofballs  or just being silent as the waves crashed in and out. We let go of every care that we had in the world and lived in the moment. All of the pain and heaviness that we had carried throughout our lives just melted away when were in the comfort of each other’s presence. We were safe  together. We were free to be ourselves. Our hearts were wide open, and we were young wild flowers (both male and female) being carried by the ocean breeze.

We remained together in this strange lifestyle for about 8 years, and then as all things do, things began to change. I realized that I could not live like this forever and that it was time to grow up and straighten up my life. Others in the tribe went through changes of their own, and slowly we began to move apart. It still saddens me to this day that things had to change, but now there is no way to go back. Life is just different now.

But my tribe will always be a large part of my heart. If they need me they know that I am still “Lil’ Lightnin'” at heart, and I will always be here for them. We rarely see each other or talk anymore, and years have gone by. I have not experienced a closeness like that with a group since then. It was a unique thing in life and a unique season. There were consequences for some of our wildness, but I do not regret it. That was a necessary part of my life that carried me through a unique time to the present life that I now live. It was a necessary part of making me the person that I am today and in making me who I am becoming still.

The break up of a family like that is not an easy thing to get over. It has taken me years to transition from that experience. It is hard not to compare everything to it. After years and years I am finally beginning to open my heart to the idea of a new tribe that is in its youthful stages. Love like we had does not die, and it does not easily change, but it does change. And we have moved on.  I thank God for them, and I am thankful for the part that we played in each other’s lives during a crucial time when we all needed each other so much.

~Love to my lost tribe forever~

By the time I was 14 years old I was already in a serious relationship with a boy, and we were together until I was 16. At 16 I got into a new even more serious relationship that lasted until I was about 19. At 20 years old I was in a new serious relationship, and so on. I was always very attached to a boy who was also very attached to me. I had verbal agreements with all of them that we would one day get married, but in the end I was the one that left them all.

This is a story about my first love that began in 8th grade when I was 14 years old, and he was 16. We were both troubled in our own way, and we were codependently attached. All we wanted was to be together all the time. We could not get enough of each other. He would come to my house, and I would go to his house, but that was never enough. So I came up with a plan, and since I have always been a thrill seeker my plan pushed the limits and boundaries pretty well.

My boyfriend’s best friend was quite the architect and builder, and his father was an architect so they created the most incredible tree house of all time.  This tree house was not a little play house in a tree. This tree house was a two story bachelor pad in a tree with a stereo, TV, bedrooms, and small balconies. It was incredible to us! So I instructed my boyfriend to spend the night in the tree house with his friend because I was coming over.

I then asked my older sister if she would sneak me out or basically drive me somewhere that night. She was already moved out of our house, and she felt uneasy about it because she didn’t want the parents to blame her for corrupting me or something.  Looking back I do not blame her at all! So she jokingly said, “Take a cab.”

Aha! Yes! That was my answer! What a marvelous idea! So that night I had my partner in crime (my friend) over to spend the night. Since I was the queen of covering tracks I had every move planned out perfectly. That night we went around the house and secretly unplugged every phone in the house except the one in my room so that no one would hear it ring but us. We hid some clothes in the bushes so that we would have our PJ’s on when leaving the house. That way if someone caught us leaving we could just tell them we were walking outside to hang out on the deck. After all, where would we be going in pajamas?

I called the cab and told them to meet me a little ways from my house at about 1:00am. I even left a note on my bed telling the parents that I had gone to town so that they could not tell me how worried they were if they found that I was missing. So around 12:30, after we got the call from the guys, we sneaked down the stairs and right out the kitchen door in our pajamas.

Once we were a little ways from the house with hearts racing we changed into our clothes and left the PJ’s in the bushes to change back into before re-entering the house. I looked back to make a note of every light that was on or off in the windows of our house so that I would know if there were any changes when we came back home. That way I could prepare myself to face the music when I went inside. Then we started walking faster and faster until we were trotting down the driveway giggling in whispers.

We had to walk a little ways and crawl over a fence to get to our cab, but when we made it there and saw our cab waiting…….Oh what a thrilling sensation we felt as we jumped over that fence giggling!

We were on our way! With our hearts pounding and our jaws clenched in grins from ear to ear we had the cab take us to the hospital which was down the street from my friend’s tree house. Our cab driver’s name was Cecil. We got to know him because once we pulled this off the first time we were addicted, and it became an every weekend joy ride. The boys were waiting for us at the hospital, and they walked with us back to the tree house where we hung out and reveled in the excitement of our badness and our time alone together until the crack of dawn. We then took the cab back to the fence and did the whole process in reverse. Our fear was heightened as we made that return walk back up the driveway to the house, but we made it back home and into bed without a hitch. We then slept until about 3:00pm.

I know…….It was bad, but what a thrill! Those were the days! 😉