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My Granny was one of my greatest spiritual mentors. It was not until she had a stroke and could no longer walk or talk that many of the words that she had spoken to me over and over throughout my life finally really sunk into me. It was like all of her teaching time was over, and the lessons were finally transferred to me, and I began saying the words back to her….reminding her of her own lessons as she suffered greatly at the end of her life. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

“I finally get it Granny, and now we cannot talk about it together. You can no longer speak, and I am speaking your words back into you.”

But the good news is that although she is no longer with us I did finally get it, and she has left a legacy of spiritual wisdom here on earth.

Granny had many flaws and issues. She was far from perfect, but she lived a long life of fearless faith. She showed me the power of the Holy Spirit in a surrendered and humble human being. She never made a spectacle of herself when the spirit moved her. It was not for show with her. It was reality.

She taught me far too many things to mention in one short post, but a few small examples come to mind.

She taught me about the power of spoken words to create in our lives through faith or in fear. It is our choice.

She taught me that prayer works.

Everyone used to call her and say, “Will you pray for me about such and such because your prayers work.” She would always firmly tell me, “Your prayers work too! But, yes, I will agree with you in prayer of course.”

I will never forget walking into her bedroom as a little child crying with unbearable pain in my feet…..an odd ailment that tormented me many a night in my childhood. She whisked me upon the bed with Papa and her, grabbed my feet and began praying out loud for healing. She even commanded the devil to leave my feet alone which I thought was very strange even as a child…..but to my astonishment it worked! My feet instantly stopped hurting, and that had never happened before. It was a lesson in faith that bewildered me but that I also never forgot.

I sometimes quietly told myself that she was really an angel in disguise on earth. She had learned over her long life the art of  keeping a gentle tone in her voice when dealing with us kids, and her hair was even snow-white which fit the angel persona in my childhood mind.

Although she was quite the Alpha woman, a leader, a mover and a shaker….she was also gentle and compassionate in her approach…..a delicate balance of power and humility.

Even her death seemed divinely orchestrated. She passed away quietly in her sleep early one Thanksgiving morning when the family was already gathered in from out of town for Thanksgiving Day. And it seems fitting that she would leave us with one last message just by passing on that day…..Be grateful for all of life, but do not fear death for it is also a part of life.

Last year when my family suffered two horrible losses…..the death of a baby and the sudden death of a beloved young uncle…..my mom found a copy of a prayer tucked away in my grandmother’s keepsakes. We read it at our private outdoor memorial. It seemed like Granny’s contribution to us during this difficult time. It must have been a prayer that she kept close to her heart, and it is a prayer that I hope to live by every day. I will close with the prayer:

Keep us O God from pettiness: let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.

     Let us be done with fault finding, and leave off self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face without self-pity and without prejudice.

     May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.

     Let us take time for all things: make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.

     Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straight forward, and unafraid. Grant that we realize it is the little things that create differences and that in the big things of life we are as one.

     And may we strive to touch and know the great common human heart of us all, and O God, let us forget not to be kind.                                                                                                                                                                 Amen

 

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I believe that every person’s life has purpose. Every person has a part to play in this drama that we call life. It is so easy to get absorbed into our own world, to put on the blinders of separateness and to lose sight of how we are connected to a much larger picture than just our small day to day routine. We are all a piece of a greater puzzle. We are a note in a much fuller, more harmonious song. Our lives are threads in a beautiful tapestry.  Life really is a dance with a pattern that touches and connects with others all along the way, and we usually have no idea of the impact both positively and negatively that we have on the whole picture.

This concept is expressed so simply and perfectly in the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you have seen the movie you know that when just an ordinary man, George Bailey, has his life erased from existence it causes a domino effect of disturbing changes in the lives around him and even lives of those he does not even know.

When one person touches other lives even in small ways then the lives that she touches then effect other people which then touch others and the ripple expands throughout the world. And this includes positive as well as negative impacts.

So with this in mind I have been wondering why so many people feel that they do not fit in? When you see the big picture it is obvious that everyone has to fit in, but so many people feel that they do not. So many people feel isolated and separate and unimportant. And many times we as humans perpetuate this belief by refusing to connect with others on any deep level. We do seem to push people out many times and add to this illusion of separateness and lack of life purpose.

Sometimes we don’t go as far as making someone an outcast, but we just deal with people on a surface level. We keep many acquaintances and call them our friends. Why are we as humans so intent on making some people feel like they are not a part of things, and why are we so fearful of connecting with others in a real way?

The more that I learn about people the more I see that we are all so similar. We are all so insecure sometimes. Even that person that you see and you think that they have it all together…they have it all figured out…they have it so great….well, they are insecure too.

We would all be so much more fulfilled if we embraced the connection that we have to everyone…if we embraced our similarities and our differences….if we broke through our fears and illusions….if we embraced one another.

There are certain relationships in life that just seem other worldly or divinely orchestrated. I have definitely experienced some of these with people, but I was seriously amazed when it happened to me with a cat especially since I had never really been a big animal person before.

I was about 20 years old, and I was going through one of the darkest periods of my life. Everything that I had been through as a child just started becoming clearer to me when I moved out on my own, and it seemed as if the world just crashed down on me. None of my old defense mechanisms were working anymore so I turned to more unhealthy and self-destructive ones because I honestly felt like I would not survive otherwise. I was dark, depressed, and self-destructive, and I honestly felt like there was some dark demonic force sitting on my back and trying to take me out. I know that sounds weird, but I really felt it. I would pray frantically, “Oh dear God please make it go away!”…..But it didn’t.

So anyway, out of the clear blue one day I got this weird obsessive thought that I wanted a pure white cat. When I say obsessive I mean I could not shake this desire that came on as suddenly as a heart attack. I just felt this strong pull and longing to get a white kitten IMMEDIATELY!

I looked in the newspaper that day to see if there were any cats for sale or for free, and low and behold there was an add that literally said, “All white kittens for sale.” It was the strangest synchronicity! It was actually bizarre to me that I suddenly got this odd urge then opened the paper to see the fulfillment to my urge right there in print.

I called the number, and the man said he had a litter of all white Persian kittens that I could come see. He lived an hour and a half away, and even though it was already about 8:00pm I asked him if I could come right away. He said, “sure,” so off  I went to spend my rent money on this little being that for some reason all of the forces of God and nature were pulling me towards.

When I arrived there with my boyfriend the man pulled out several cages of fluffy white kittens, and he let them all out for me to see. All of the kittens were showing off, jumping around, playing, and prancing like they were all competing for my attention. But there was one little guy that just ran like a fraidy cat back into his cage and hid all by himself in the corner staring at me with desperately frightened eyes that said, “Please get me out of here.”

He was also the only one that had a little silver patch on the crown of his head. When our eyes met and locked I knew that he was the one that I had come for, and the breeder acted surprised that I wanted the shy kitten, but I had no doubts at all that he was the one. There was some strange other worldly recognition that I had with his old deep looking eyes.

So I held him close to my heart all the way home comforting his fear with soft loving words, and we were instantly bonded. Over the years our love only grew and grew. He was affectionate with me. He hugged me, kissed me, slept on me, and there was nothing that he could ever do that would make me give him up.

He was almost like a dog with me. He came when I called. He stayed close by. He sensed when I was upset and was right there to comfort me. He loved me even when he witnessed me doing bad things, and I always felt guilty when he would stare at me as I was hurting myself in some way, and I would always hug him and apologize.

Other people marveled at the strange connection that I had with Casper, my kitty. I would let him out to play, and without even realizing it I would get up in the middle of a conversation with friends and open the front door, and he would run inside. When my friends’ jaws dropped I said, “What?”

They said, “How did you know he was at the door? He never even made a sound?”

I just shrugged. Casper and I always knew what each other needed. We had no problem communicating without words, and I had never experienced this kind of connection before with an animal.  Apparently it was unique even to see because others often commented on the strangeness yet the sweetness of it.

There was a period of time when I was in college far away from my home town that I was basically homeless….well I was homeless. I had everything that I owned in my tiny two seat car, and I had a pager so that people could get in touch with me. They would page, and I would call them from a pay phone. It was a crazy unstable time, but Casper was with me. I had him along with his litter box in my car with me. Where ever I was… he was home no matter how much we bounced around from place to place…we were together.

He was the love of my life honestly. We were soul mates. My boyfriends would even get jealous! I know it sounds insane, and I honestly never would have imagined having this kind of bond with a cat, but it just happened. He was my angel really. He came into my life when I became an adult and needed an angel more than ever, and he stayed with me during 14 of my wildest and most roller coaster-ish years.

I truly believe that he was heaven-sent. He even looked angelic with his pure white fur that was softer than a cloud, his tiny pink nose and mouth, and his big deep golden eyes that looked so loving and wise.

As Casper and I grew older I began longing for a child, and every now and then this horrible thought would pop into my head that said, “You are going to have to let go of Casper before you will be able to have a baby.” I would quickly push that thought away saying to myself that it was just a fear and not true, but deep down I felt it was honestly that deep inner knowing that comes to me sometimes that is true. I just did not want to believe it.

I tried to conceive unsuccessfully for 8 difficult years, and Casper remained faithfully by my side through it all.

Then one Saturday morning in January Casper came and jumped on me while I was sleeping late. He wanted me, but I pushed him away so that I could sleep longer. He calmly went off and allowed me to sleep. Then when I woke up and got my coffee I went and got back in my bed to relax and watch a movie. Casper then came back, and jumped into my lap.

He sat with me snuggling and purring loudly for a while as I pet him and gave him the love that he had been craving earlier. Then all of a sudden, as quickly as a heart attack, Casper gasped a few times and died in my lap.

It all happened so fast and so unexpectedly, but I knew instantly as it began happening that he was leaving me forever. I could almost see his spirit leaving his body in some strange way. I immediately burst into hard sobs, and started saying, “It’s okay….it’s okay” through my tears because I just knew as I always had with Casper that this was all in divine order even as difficult as it was.

My husband and I placed him in his new bed that we had just purchased for him. We took him to my grandparent’s house into a beautiful wooded area and covered his body with flowers before putting him in the ground. I decorated his grave site with tons of pink dewy flower petals that just happened to be all over the ground already, and I said a prayer thanking God for my angel and asking God to enjoy him in heaven as I had here.

This was one of the most difficult losses of life that I had ever experienced. I sobbed for weeks, and I still cry sometimes years later, but I also had peace about it because something in me knew that it was all just as it should be. Casper knew that he was leaving me that day, and he waited for me to wake up so that he could  say goodbye and so that he could be with me at his passing.

Little did I know, until later, that Casper died literally two days after I conceived my daughter. It was as if they passed each other in the ethers. He left as she came…. One great love for another. I don’t know why, but it still somehow makes sense.

I do not know if I will ever experience something like that with another pet. It is not something that can be forced. I tried. I tried to get another cat later, but it just did not work out even nearly the same.

Casper’s and my relationship was divine. He taught me more about unconditional love than I ever could have imagined. He was my angel in disguise, and I will look for him to greet me when my time in this world is up. Until then he remains with me in my heart and sometimes meets me in my dreams.

I have felt for a long time that the whole concept of male and female has been completely skewed and twisted by society, culture, and honestly maybe the devil himself.  And so the whole point of sex has been warped , and we have lost our ability to connect with God in one of the highest ways possible while in these fleshly bodies on earth. I have had an inner knowing of this since before I even got married, but because I have such severe issues with intimacy on many levels I still have not been able to get it all right yet. But now that I know in my heart and spirit what is supposed to be happening and what is possible I am unhappy and at times actually disgusted with anything less.

Man……I hate writing about this! But I am following my inner nudging……Why must I be nudged to write about this delicate subject? Lord help me! Why? Why?…….The only comfort that I can get is that writing this may just be one of the steps that brings me or maybe someone else closer to a wholeness in this area that I honestly do not think that many people enjoy fully.

So let me begin with a quote from scripture:

“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him: male and female He created them.”    Genesis 2:27

It then goes on to say that God blessed them, told them to be fruitful and multiply and gave them dominion over every living creature on earth.

This is the first and the oldest version of the creation of mankind story in the Bible. In this story when it says that God created “man” and created “him” in His image it seems obvious to me that “man” and “him” are referring to mankind or humanity because it goes on to say….”male and female He created them.”

So I see that both man and woman are created in the image of God. It is not as if a male is created in the image of God and then some new thing is made as an after thought that happens to be a female and that this female is somehow made of something less than or outside of God’s image.

In this story they are both created by God at the same time and both are created in the image of God. Both are blessed and both are given dominion.

So when I see this I think that everything that is male and everything that is female are an image of God. We are both created in God’s image so God must contain all of it within Himself. As I see it, having only male or only female human beings would not be the image of God in its entirety. It takes both to express an image of all that God is.

In the Bible which is a book from a very patriarchal Jewish tradition and culture God is seen as very masculine and is called the father  many times, but there are amazingly a few examples where God compares himself to a mother nursing or protecting or having compassion on her young! We don’t get to hear much about those for some reason, but they are there.

In the next (yes…there are two) story of creation which is a younger version of the creation story God creates a man out of dust and then breathes life and spirit into him. (This story does not mention the image of God by the way.) He then creates everything else and then sees that this man, Adam, needs to be in a relationship with another human being so God puts Adam to sleep and basically pulls another human being out of Adam’s side.

“Then Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  Genesis 2: 23, 24

Now I have heard some ridiculously degrading interpretations of this. I have heard that a man is created in God’s image, and a woman is created in man’s image! In my opinion that is just rubbish.

First of all this second creation story where “man” was created first does not even say that he was created in the image of God (which I do believe he was by the way.) But this horrible interpretation of the second story also totally negates the first and oldest creation story that clearly says that mankind, both male and female, were created in God’s image and that both were given blessing and dominion together.

Now this may be hard for some people to take, but after much study and prayer I see the second story a little differently. To me it seems that Adam was containing the image of God all within himself as one being just as God is one. This means that he (Adam) had it all inside of him…..everything that God is…..all that is male and all that is female…..everything……everything that makes up the entire image of God. God saw that Adam needed relationship just as God needs relationship so he basically pulled another being out of Adam to make two complimentary beings. And now it is not one being but two and together they are the image of God.

This is the reason that the two complimentary beings leave their parents and come back together to become one flesh…..again. The way that I see it is that when the male and female come together as one flesh they are reuniting two parts of God’s image that were separated so that in their union they become the entire image of God again in its fullness.

This is the reason that sex is or at least is intended to be a spiritual act….maybe the closet we get to experiencing being the full image of God. And it is through sex that we are able to create new life just like God creates life. Is this when we are closest to God????

I believe that it is very possible that this is how it should be, but most of us are not experiencing this. Sex has been so horribly cheapened, degraded, abused and cut off from everything that is spiritual and so we are sexually sick as a human race.

In many cases we have made sex the farthest thing from the image of God that we can! It almost seems in many cases to have been dulled down to a fleshly animalistic act like when one big chimp chases down and mounts another chimp (male or female) in order to show dominance!

So many times sex occurs (even in marriages) when there is no emotional or spiritual intimacy involved. There is no connection of souls….only bodies. Many times it is done just to relieve a physical urge or stress while people are fantasizing about gross things or replaying pornography in their minds. Icky!

That is the reason that I say it disgusts me at times. I know that sounds harsh, but when I think of sex as two souls becoming one and connecting on every level…emotionally, spiritually, and physically….two souls coming together to create one larger more complete soul….getting back to the wholeness that is the image of God…..creating an energy that actually sparks new life….a beautiful truly ecstatic experience that God intended us to have….

And then I think about the “Who’s your daddy, kinky, degrading at times, nothing but flesh kind of sex that seems to be the norm in society or pornography that treats women like objects of pleasure to be subjugated rather than the precious image of God that they really are or the horrible abuses that take place in this world where sex can become one of the most evil acts on the planet….I literally get disgusted.

Maybe I am setting my sights too high and expecting too much out of this experience. There is probably some kind of balance somewhere. I am trying to sort it all out, but honestly I would rather set out to reach the stars and maybe get to the clouds than reach for the gutter and end up settling for the sewer. But that is just me.

If men and women start to see each other as the true reflections of God that we both are then we all would approach sex very differently….very reverantly….very deeply, and the world could be a very different place.

What on earth would possess me to tell such intimate secrets and air such dirty laundry in a blog for the world to see? That is so against my nature and out of character for me. I am a secret keeper. I am a protector and a defender of my family and our secrets. Have I gone stark raving mad?

There are several answers to this question. One is that truthfully I have no clue why I would suddenly begin to tell the world about my personal and family secrets, but I am following an inner nudging, my intuition, the voice of God (call it what you will.) I am so familiar with this quiet inner voice because I have always been in tune with it, and it has always served me well. When I ignore it I always regret it, and when I follow it I am never lead astray. I believe that my ability to hear and follow my inner voice is part of the reason that I have survived. As I surrender to the flow of God’s breath and love I am compelled to blog about very intimate things in my life.

Another reason is that we are only as sick as our secrets. People recovering from various hurts and habits know this very well. The secrets that we keep out of fear, shame, and loyalty to family dysfunction will eat away at our souls and our bodies. And I am tired of being soul sick.

Truthfully though I do have some uncomfortable and guilty feelings about some of the things that I write. I do not desire to hurt any of my family or throw anyone under the proverbial bus. My intention is not to expose others, but I do have to tell some of my own story, and my story does involve other people.

Like I said earlier it is my nature to protect and cover my family not to expose them. So this blog is not always easy for me to write. I have to make it clear that I love both of my parents dearly. I have a relationship with them and a bond with them. Sadly they, for whatever reason, were troubled wounded souls, and that got passed onto me as their child even though that was never their intention. So now I have many stories about my own woundedness to tell.

I now have a two-year old daughter of my own and so I realize that I have to work twice as hard and twice as fast to release myself from the dysfunctional patterns that I have always known so that I do not pass them on to her. I am sure that there will be some things that I cannot protect her from because as humans we all experience brokeness, but I do feel a sense of urgency to allow healing to occur in certain parts of myself  so that I can stop some of the cycle before it comes around to her. That is part of my compulsion to write about some of my intimate secrets.

If we are only as sick as our secrets then I am ready to be done with the secret thing!

Believe it or not there are secrets that I have about things that I have been through, things that I have seen, and things that I have done that I will not include in this blog. Yes…….there is more……and it is too big and too juicy for me to blog about at this point in my life. Those secrets will be revealed only to certain people, and possibly later I will be able to write them but maybe not.

So in spite of the difficult things that we have been through and the things that we have done….. I have a love, and an attachment, and a deep connection with all of my family.  It is just that now it is time for me to reveal some of my secrets and get out from under the oppression of the family code of silence. I have to get free, and I pray that my family can be free as well.

I was not the typical bride. I was not the stereotypical girl rushing towards the goal of getting married. I avoided marriage for many years, and I ran away from several marriage opportunities. I was terrified of marriage really!

Yes, I did always enjoy watching weddings on television. I enjoyed watching the Royal Wedding today. I still love seeing beautiful flowing ball gowns on gorgeous radiant girls, flowers in bloom cascading throughout venues, and sparkling jewels catching the light. I am a feminine woman, and I am always drawn to beauty.  My own actual marriage did not come so easily though, and it was not because of my husband. It was me.

I was one of the last ones from my high school class to finally get hitched. When I attended my class mates’ weddings people would always give me those reassuring and pitying looks and say things like, “It will be you one day.” Little did they know that I was not at all worried about that! I was putting off marriage for as long as I could!

When my husband proposed to me we had lived together for about 5 years already. Yes….we were living in sin (insert sarcasm,) but instead of being all teary and girly at the proposal……my first honest reaction was a wave of fear and shock.

I in no way intend to dishonor him or his beautiful proposal in writing this. That is not the point. The point is that I have issues! I have never seen a healthy marriage up close and personally. I have seen my parent’s marriage and both of their remarriages, but…..none of it looked so inviting. My parent’s marriage only lasted until I was 3 years old. They both quickly remarried, and I lived with my mother and step father after that, but I had visits with my dad and step mother.

The examples of marriage that I saw were cold. They were not affectionate. They did not include much encouragement. There was infidelity. There was abuse. There was criticism and degradation. There was screaming and slapping. There was intimidation, lack of support, and honestly lack of love.

When I was around 17 I remember my step father sitting on the edge of my bed and telling me that my mother had caught him in yet another affair and that she had left. He apologized for not coming home the night before, and he said, ” I do not know why I cannot love your mother.”

This weird conversation came the night after I had come home the prior night from cheerleading practice or something to an empty house. I waited and waited for my mother, younger siblings, and step father to return,…….but they never did. I had no idea where they were or when they would return. I ended up calling my high school sweet heart to come and stay with me because no one ever came home that entire night. I guess they forgot about me or just assumed that I would be okay on my own with no idea where they were.

I remember seeing my friends’ parents holding hands and showing affection and being totally shocked! I could not believe that grown people were acting so affectionately! I thought that kind of behavior was just kid stuff for teenagers like myself at the time. I had never seen such a thing before.

So when I went wedding dress shopping for my own wedding it was not what I expected. I felt exhausted and fatigued the whole time like I weighed 1000 pounds. It felt like a chore. When I put on the first gorgeous gown and saw myself in the mirror I literally began dripping with sweat. I felt all of the blood rush out of my head, and I began to see spots. I also felt nauseous. My reaction embarrassed me so I tried to play it cool and hold it together so that no one would know. I wish that I could go back and do it again and actually enjoy myself.

Somehow I got through the whole ordeal of planning a wedding and getting married, and my actual wedding was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the day because on that day I finally surrendered it (the wedding itself that is,) and in spite of a few things that went wrong I managed to remain totally calm, peaceful and genuinely happy that entire wedding day. The wedding day itself is a good memory for me even though the year leading up to it was quite horrible.

Marriage is still a struggle for me though. I still don’t really know how to do it. I am doing it, but intimacy and affection are so foreign to me in the marriage arena. The whole thing makes me feel like I am from another planet.  I know that marriage is difficult in general, and believe me, I have never had romanticized expectations of it, not in adulthood anyway.

I have watched all of the marriage seminars. I know what I am supposed to do, but re-learning everything that was ingrained into me from 0-18 years old proves to be like swimming upstream in heavy rapids. There is so much more to it than head knowledge. There are emotional and physical reactions that are extremely difficult to combat.

I am trying to figure it out, but it is like reinventing the wheel. People can tell me all day how to do it, but nothing replaces actually living in a real working model as a child which I did not…..ever.

It has always been my desire to break the mold and to change the negative patterns that have been created in my lineage. That is so much harder to do than it is to say. I keep hope that this will click for me in time as other things do, and I am committed to the journey.

Spirit of God, purest love…….help me…..carry me…..I surrender it to you.

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.

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! 😉