click, go shop
gotta come shopping!!!
“This is for all the Strong Ladies who have made it through so much in life. I am
strong because I know my weaknesses. I am compassionate because I have known
suffering. I am alive because I am a Fighter. I am wise because I have been
Foolish. I can laugh because I have known sadness.” Somebody’s status on
I confess to being highly lacking with writing and communicating with others.. I
get so involved in whatever I am doing; I sometimes close out the rest of the
world. Sorry ’bout that. Checked email in too big of a hurry this morning.
Trying to get my work done so I can go back to reading, “The Help”.
Keeping up with my writer’s group and the prayers we share suffers for it, too. Each lady in our group is a dear old friend to me. I talk to them more than anyone else beside Jesus and I have for
years. They have prayed me through so many mountians. Amazingly, we have never seen each other but we have been through so much together. Mission trips, family issues, missionaries, publishing, denials,
sickness, sorrow, tragedy…they have always been there for me. We laugh about
one day seeing one another I don’t know what I would do with them. I just have
been focusing so much of my attention to work here and my little world.
I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams what it feels like to be a
victim of a horrible destructive F5 tornado’ I could not have imagined because
it is an unspeakable nightmare of epic proportions in the life of the affected.
I did not know until it happened to me.
On April 27th, 2011 the weather forecasters correctly
predicted tornados unlike anything we have ever seen in Alabama. The day
progressively got worse and the skies turned “tornado watch pink” with an
orange glow. The eerie looking still sky
is ever a warning in this part of the world. Its presence is known always preceding
tornados. April 27th was no different.
Previously scheduled to be in Lawrence County for a divorce hearing I tried to
ignore the warnings thinking “surely the legal system in Lawrence County is
fully versed on bad weather, more so than I am”. In the back of my mind I was
thinking, “What is wrong with these idiots?”
With the forecasts like they were I could not
believe Lawrence County was actually going to pull people into harm’s way.
But, in harm’s way we were. My attorney and I and a court room full of folks watched
as the skies got darker and darker and the trees began to blow over sideways.
It was raining sideways too.
Right in the middle of the storm the presiding judge decided to evacuate the court
room in the old, old, old court house. Did I mention the court house in
Lawrence County is old and has been condemned but continues to be in use for
all the county’s business?
There we were me and my lawyer, Keith and his, a friend of mine from Haleyville
and a girl who went to school with us. She was there also getting a divorce.
Even without the storm and a possibility of tornados, the air was tight and the
pressure was immense. I hate court rooms. Hate ‘em.
Upon the order to seek shelter everyone filed out of the court room and walked
down the stairs, 2 flights, into the nasty damp basement. I do not like that
basement! There are damp musty offices and a court room down there, the bathrooms
and the vending machines also along one wall. Long benches line the hallway for
people to sit in misery while they wait on the law to determine the direction
of their lives. I hate that, too.
The judge called us back into the court room and dismissed us. We all drove
home during a tornado warning. Beth and I made it back to Haleyville, picked up
the kids and came over here to my house. By that time the TV and radio, text
messages indicated a tornado coming straight for Haleyville. We got the dogs,
the kids, and the radio. We quickly got to the basement into the stoker room
The rain stopped, the wind stopped and the continuous thunder stopped. But, we
knew it was not over and the tornado had touched down, radio reported a direct
hit on highway 197 where Beth’s house is.
Caitlyn and I stayed here and Beth and Cade went to their house. All was well
there but not south Haleyville, Cummings Subdivision, people we knew, huge
trees down, power off, the list went on and on. Frantic calls were coming in
over the scanner and we could hear it on the radio. The DJ was obviously
incredibly flustered and panicked. He reported as the calls came in, …..Fontaine
Industries, Winston Furniture, Macedonia Road…. The DJ on the radio was
frantically listening to the police scanner and telling us what they were
saying and all I could do was pray.
Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, neighboring small towns, old rural Alabama towns,
to the north were hit and hit bad. All power was off and we could not drink our
water without boiling it. We struggled along not knowing what steps to take
next. We got a generator to keep the frozen food from thawing. We had to cook
on a grill. We were surviving. Taking cold showers because we thought the hot
water was off too.
I had a feeling the Red Cross would call in all nurses so I prepared to go when
they did. Armed with my RN license I joined the call for nurses at the Neighborhood
Facilities Building. The next eighteen hours are a blur. I saw too much there.
A young man 26 years old presented as my first patient there. Every surface, his
head, hair, all over he was lacerated and bleeding. That smell was ever present
and changing the dressings was imperative. Multiple dressings and supplies were
needed. The Red Cross had no supplies. I promise you, on my education as an RN,
I tell you the person in charge was not a nurse, I don’t think.
She handed me the “supply bag” and in it I found outdated gauze
sponges, no normal saline and not much tape. Nothing to make pressure dressings
out of. Nothing to give the patient for pain or fever. I gathered my thoughts
and politely ask the nice Red Cross lady if this indeed was the only supplies
she had. I asked if she didn’t have a central supply. I always thought with all
the donations they get they surely have a little first responder trailer. I
thought wrong. She was so flustered about everything.
She said she did not have any other supplies. Then
she, the Red Cross Coordinator, asked me if I could make a list of everything
we need. I said, “yeah I can but you will have to hold pressure right
here.” She looked at me like I was crazy. I held pressure and changed dressings. Geeze!
So, while holding pressure and cleaning the worst wound the best I could with what
I had, she took down my list. It is a wonder my brain did not explode.
I suppose I looked awfully stunned. There were a lot of people around.
Volunteers, firefighters, patients, citizens, pain, sadness and shock some of
them I knew and some of them were obviously from ground zero of the tornado.
Everyone worked as hard as they possibly could.
My patient was really in pain and deep shock. I kept talking to him and he
would answer me. The stethoscope I was provided with only had one earplug and
one bell. As I tried to get an accurate BP He told me about all he had seen and
felt when the tornado hit. He told me about seeing people hanging in the trees.
He had been in a mobile home in Hackleburg. The last thing he remembers is
getting into the bathtub and his uncle lying on top of him. When it hit, he
felt his uncle’s weight release and he never saw him again.
The young man, found by Alabama State Troopers in a field, his clothes shredded
a bloody mess. They took him straight away to Lakeland Community Hospital in
The ER at Haleyville swarmed all hands on deck. All hospital employees still
standing, called in to work the ER. They young man recounted the time he spent
in the ER. “They were sewing us up in the hall. The doctor stitched me up
in the hall. I had X-rays and an MRI. He said I had fractured ribs and a
The young man brought from the hospital to the Red Cross. I was shocked to find
out how bad he really was. Praying because I knew how bad he could get in a
hurry. Our only option was to call back the EMTs if he got worse and needed
He had a prescription for antibiotics and lorcet in his pocket. How stupid is that?
Where were we supposed to get that RX
filled? No Electricity! duh!
Another RN came in to the Facilities building. Man! was I glad to see her.
She is a good nurse and I previously know her. I discussed the case with her
and she agreed the worst wounds had to be redressed and the blood cleaned up. I
cleaned with sterile eye drops. No normal saline.
The fire department did a great job about getting the supplies back to us
quickly. The young man was obviously in distress because of the smell he said.
If you have ever smelled a tornado and its aftermath you know what I am talking
about. A tornado has an awful; smell. And everything it touched has that same
smell, even people.
Several of us were helping and we washed, cleaned and prayed.
We tried to keep him talking and little by little he sipped
more on his Mountain Dew. The more he drank the better he felt but he was still
crying, shivering and feverous.
We were about to cry too when a local pastor came in and immediately saw us.
He walked straight to us, knelt and began to pray. He prayed, we all
did and he stayed and comforted the young man while we finished our task. When
we finished, the pastor disappeared as fast as he had appeared. I love that.
We obtained Tylenol for our patient from my purse, and some Advil, too. I gave
him both. We also gave him a Tagamet. Oh, and the Red Cross could not provide
me with any policies and procedures. It was a huge emergency disaster response.
Replacing the dressings seemed to increase his comfort, the patient was eating some
peanut butter crackers sitting in a hard metal seat with his cut up, wounded
legs and feet resting, propped up on another metal chair. I was about to move
him to another position and place when another young man came in. It was our
patient’s cousin and they were so glad to see each other. Hugging and crying
each other and us, no one could hold back the tears. We escorted them to the
car with his things and medical instructions. He was on his way home with his
family who had been looking everywhere for him. The hospital told them where he
What a day! I think I must have collapsed when I got home.
The next day, still without power and water, I got up to get ready to go back
to the Red Cross or wherever I needed to go. I was slow getting around and late
getting up. I was waiting on someone to call when the phone rang and it was
Keith. He said, “I know I am not supposed to call but I think you need to
know the cabin was destroyed by the tornado.” I think that may have been
the last thing I really heard.
I am thinking if I write this I will be able
to put it in the back recesses of my mind. I don’t know. I can’t stop thinking
of some of the things I lost. Wonderful heirloom things that really cannot ever
be replaced, my home I built, even though I was ready to give it to Keith, I
wasn’t ready to lose it, the land and all my belongings, but I did.
Diana and Beth snuck over to Lawrence County to make sure he wasn’t lying. They
don’t much trust him. They found he told the truth. Keith said I could not come
until the next day because they had to clear the road to even get to the house.
There were also gas leaks that had to be stopped.
Diana brought me back some pictures and torn
up journal. I almost puked. My body shook and I could not quit shaking. Crying
I could not even make a noise but my heart broke. Physically, I felt it
breaking even more than it already was. I will never be the same.
Among a million things the violent tornado took all of my life journals from
the 70s-until now. All my writing and notebooks of potential projects, writing
I had done for years. 200 copies of my book, those are just lost. I can’t
describe how I feel about that. I don’t even know if I can try to explain it.
My life, my prayers, my heart for all those years has been documented. I write
better than I talk, so I wrote. For years. All gone, scattered, and taken by
the violent wind. Gone with the Wind is my music library of 45 years gone just
gone. Oh how that breaks my heart. All of the Reader’s Digest Song Books Momma
gave me over the years. I had every music book Readers Digest has ever
Two of the Reader’s Digest Books survived, a little worse for the wear and
dirty, they survived. The Christmas Book which has all my favorites in it and
The Family Songbook of Faith and Joy. Those two remain after everything else is
gone. Just gone.
I am so alone. Tragedy tends to isolate and I have had one tragedy after
another. I don’t know how I am existing. I miss my parents so much it hurts too
much. I live here and I try but I have to say I fail in so many ways. I really
just have a hard time talking, laughing or even smiling most days. No one to
smile at or for, except Jesus, Pearl, Radar and Hoss. Now, through all of this
He has shown me so much. The Way, the Truth and the Life. So undeserving I
praise Him as I pray that this too will pass. And somehow I can learn to live
without thinking about what the next disaster or tragedy will be.
I don’t know how long it takes someone to get over losing their parents unexpectedly
and too fast, grieving and leaving, living in Haleyville, friends falling away,
money is tightening, things needed to be gone through, cleaned up and sold,
kept or donated. The basement is full of things that seemed to have survived
There were so many people with boots on the ground helping us go through the
debris. Oh, it was amazing. I could not have asked for more.
The workers knew I wanted to retrieve writings, music, and pictures. So they
found stuff and put it in Contractor Bags. We loaded those and other stuff in
the trucks, cars, vans, etc and brought it back to Haleyville. Very few of
pieces of my journals and writing survived.
On Sunday I was in some intense pain in my left side. Oh, my goodness it hurt
so badly. I hurt worse than after my wreck when I had a collapsed lung. I
thought I pulled a muscle going through all of the debris but it kept getting
worse and worse until by Wednesday I was in the hospital with acute pancreatitis
and I think a bad case of exacerbation of Post traumatic stress disorder.
Ever since my wreck when something tragic or awful happened I would have to go
to the ER. I have been in Moulton Hospital and now Haleyville for illnesses
caused by an exacerbation of PTSD brought on by immense stress. Nothing I can
do about it except try not to implode. PSTD manifest in physical symptoms
eventually breaking down the physical impairment that is the weakest.
have never been admitted to the hospital without Keith and Momma and Daddy. I
have never felt pain like spending the night in the hospital alone hurt. It is
something I don’t think I will ever get used to.
So, now I find myself praying a lot. Reading, watching
TV or movies, I play the piano, I work in the house and trying to dig out
things I want to sell. I find something interesting and have to stop, research
and find out what it is worth. I clean it up and set a price and pray someone
will purchase it..
I so need to sell a lot of things. I have given so much away and mostly people
still just want me to give. I have lost so much, giving gets to be more
difficult. I don’t like it but it is what it is.
I am trusting, waiting, praying, hoping,
posting on E-bay, posting on my created facebook page and about to embark upon
other markets. When I sale enough to get on my feet, I am going to get business
cards and flyers. I guess I can put on the business card, ^i^ Angels in the
Attic ^i^ 2316 10th Avenue Haleyville, Alabama 35565 205-486-3551 205-269-8660
by appointment. Find me on facebook!!
Well, I just thought about what all I need to be doing besides writing. Thanks
for sparking it and for reading this far.
The truth is not always pretty but it is the truth.
Literally, Angels in the Attic August 25, 2011
January 2011 I moved home to Haleyville to live in my childhood home. While I am here it seems to be my apportionment to embark on sort of an archeological dig. Such treasures I have found! Even if I could possibly keep everything left by my family over the years I still would have so much to give away. For a very long time, a year and a half, I gave family and friends anything they needed to help them in their grief of loosing my parents.
even with giving away some incredible items that will be heirlooms forever in my family and our friends. I still have a household full of not only my things but my parent’s, my grandparent’s, my great and great great and great great great grandparents. I have coins tendered in 1856 and a Friendship Quilt given to a lady I have never heard of in 1895–every stitch intact.
What does a daughter do with all the things left? From January until April I organized, gave to family and friends, packed and unpacked, and stocked the shop with items. In an effort to make room for all of my belongings and personal property accumulated over the last 30 plus years.
April 27th, 2011–F5 Tornado destroyed my house and all my personal propety that was still there. I lost more than I can even think about. If I think on it too long I just get sick. I tell myself it was only material things. All of which can or can’t be replaced. The good thing is I wasn’t there and no one was hurt. It helps to think of it that way and to remind myself of the Scriptures about earthly treasures.
Even though I lost so much I still have so much. All my life my Momma has given me an angel every Christmas. Displayed in a curio cabinet given to me by Barton Methodist Church in the early 90s. They are all gone. Every single one except a plastic Miss Piggy Angel given to me by my nephew when he was 4. Every one of the china, porcelain, crystal, silver, gold angels all gone.
Sifting through the debris was exhausting. I remember the first day I saw the home I built, my home since 2003, and all of my life’s “stuff” ripped apart and Gone With The Wind. I supposed the first few days of a tragedy like this people are in shock. I was. But I knew I still had my childhood home and everything in it. I also got a grand revelation about material wealth versus earthly treasures.
The natural course of things seems to be that I explore through everything, decide on what to do with each thing and go ahead and do that. Some of the things are too precious not to share and I really want to offer these items charging only for the time and expense I have gone to in order to open the shop and research the items. It has been alot of work but so much fun. I happily and with a simple loving heart offer these things to share.
I can just hear some of the gossips in my hometown chattering their little teeth right now. “Why she is selling her Momma’s things”. I would have to say, well, why do you think my Momma purchased all of these “collectibles”. She did it to leave it for us, her family and friends. She and Daddy both acquired the things they did to pass on to us.
There aren’t many of us right now. Only me and my brother and his family. We all have everything we want as far as heirlooms go. Even if I sold everything in the shop tomorrow I would have enough to restock it 5 -6 times. If I did that I would still have enough for me. It seems selfish to keep these things here when others might get pleasure from them as we did.
So, happily and at peace with it I open the doors to the shop. Offering to anyone the opportunity to purchase any of these items at a fraction of the price anywhere else. I am single and I really have to downsize to a managable level. I think it is a great trade off—love for love because of love. I hope you can see it this way too.
Knowing I am allowed to do now what my parents intended for me to do I am excited and have alot of work to do before tomorrow morning.
Circumstances of Happiness July 11, 2011
Circumstances of Happiness
Light is sown for the
righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Psalm 97:11 KJV
“How can anyone be happy these days? Just look at the
Simone is a mother of three small children and works two
jobs just to make ends meet. Her day starts early and ends late. Even though
she is exhausted physically by the end of the day, sleep just does not come
easily. As she lays her head to rest her mind won’t stop. Wars and rumors of
wars, gang violence, drugs, alcohol, sexual crimes against children, she
ponders these things in her mind and worries about the future. She prays for
strength to endure everything that the world is throwing at her.
The bills are due and the money is tight. Her husband works
all he can but when the month is ending the money has run out. Worry is all she
feels that she can do, worry. She worries about money, her children, the wars,
the weather and all the issues of today’s world. She longs for a simpler time
when life was slower. She is convinced that life is harder now than it has ever
As she gets up again in the middle of the night to check on
the children, she looks in the mirror and cries, “all I want is to be happy I
am so tired of bad news, why can’t I just be happy?”
Annie is a nurse; she cares daily for the poor and needy
children in her community. Healthcare is a mess and most of her patients have
no way to pay for their care. Wars rage and the death toll continues to climb
with no peace in sight.
She takes time out of her busy schedule to read the
headlines everyday. Her father and brother are in the military she must keep up
with what is going on where they are. The President has unveiled a new program,
Israel is having elections,
and there are continued problems in theMiddle East.
There has been an earthquake in Ecuador
that killed 8000 people, severe flooding in Guatemala. People are hurting and
desperate. As Annie looks in the mirror she asks herself the same question that
Simone asked. How can anyone be happy living in this day and time?
Simone and Annie have so much in common except that Simone
lives in the year 2011 and Annie in 1949.
Life has never been easy. Stress, worry and fear have always
plagued mankind. The headlines in Annie’s time of 1949 were almost identical to
the headlines of today in 2011. They were even talking about global warming and
the burning of fossil fuels in 1949. Worry didn’t help then and it doesn’t help
now. Happiness was the same then as it is now, elusive.
Most of the things that people worry about never happen.
Worry stems from the fear of the unknown. What we as Christians need to do is
to turn to God’s Word for the assurance that in the end, we win. In the end
there will be no more sorrow and no more pain. We know that through the challenges
of life we grow in our faith. God’s promises bring us comfort and joy in times
Paul tells us to “count it all joy” Think about Paul and
what he endured, yet he had joy. Happiness can be found and it can be embraced
even in the midst of trials and tribulations. It is like catching on to a star
and hanging on despite the fact that the star is falling.
In 1949 Annie wrote her Recipe for Happiness. It is as fresh
today as it was over 50 years ago and we can apply it to our lives.
Annie Early Wheeler’s Recipe for
Happiness March 1949
“That Pearl of great price can never be found in
the pursuit thereof. It is like a white
winged Angel just ahead of us on the road, we hasten our steps to catch when it
disappears around a curve, we increase our haste, only to see it disappearing
around the next curve, but when we forget the pursuit and turn about we find it
following us. Or it is like a beautiful white flower, to obtain which we drag
our weary feet and sagging spirits across the world vainly searching for it,
but when we forget it and turn about with all diligence, giving all our powers
to some worthwhile constructive work, lo we see it blooming on both sides of
our pathway. It requires a diesel engined freight train filled with
forbearance, self forgetfulness, tolerance of the faults of others, only
intolerance of our own, tons of the sublimity of self control, and the power to
see the good and the beautiful in all people, nature and consideration of
others, gentleness and tenderness. A generous sprinkling of merriment and
humor, carefully avoiding through carelessness or thoughtlessness even the
slightest pinch of self centeredness, selfishness, envy, hatred or malice,
which would sour the whole. Oceans of love, above all and through all and
shining like the rising sun on a spring morning. Loving service to mankind. Sir
vigorously and set in the warmest chamber of your heart, never allowing it to
cool off. Follow these rules faithfully, so that your spirit may be always
attuned to hearing the rustling of a wing and seeing a star.”
Dear Lord. Thank You for the joy of Your salvation. Help me
to spread it. Help me to be a reflection of You. In Jesus Name, Amen
There is no secret to being happy. It is not a great
mystery. We just have to be able to set ourselves apart from the cares and
worries of the world. We must have the ability to forgive and forget, putting
God first, our family and friends second and ourselves last. As we keep our
focus on God and others, happiness like that elusive butterfly will come and
sit softly on our shoulder.
Grace and the Angels Sing July 9, 2011
Grace and the Angels Sing
I can’t really remember much about Uncle Joe but my Mother
remembers him well. I have heard the story many times. I feel as though I was
there too. From her childhood she recalls Uncle Joe’s farm with fond memories.
The story begins with Mother and her cousins cuddling up in
homemade quilts in front of the fire on a cold night. Intently they would
listen as Uncle Joe told them his “special” story. It was always the same story
and never varied in the details. As he began to speak in a kind gentle voice it
was obvious that the experience he was about to share had changed his life.
Peace and serenity would come over him like a flood while he shared the story
with them. Joe gently remembered out loud his experience with angels, singing
Psalms 91 promises us that God will “send His angels to keep charge over us to keep us in all our ways, lest
we cast our foot against a stone”. Scripture does not tell us exactly how
the angels will do that, but we know they do. Uncle Joe had proof, he was
living proof. The proof and the story continue through me. Stories like this
Times were hard in the early 1900s. Purchasing a new horse
and buggy was like buying a new Cadillac. Joe’s father was a farmer who worked hard
to make a living and to keep the family farm going. In the spring of 1918 the
family purchased a new horse and buggy. It was Joe’s privilege to go to town,
pick it up and bring it home. The spring of 1918 brought no exception to hard
work so 23 year old Joe was excited to pick up the new rig in town.
The rainy season was fast approaching and some of the
farmers were low on supplies. A neighbor had planned a supply trip into town so
Uncle Joe hitched a ride into town with him. The plan was for Joe to ride to
town with the neighbor and pick up the new rig and bring it back.
Usually it was a 12 mile trip into Cullman, Alabama
from Jones Chapel where the farm was. On this day the trip would be longer. The
main bridge over the rapid Crooked Creek had been washed out in a recent storm.
Clarkston Bridge was notorious for being washed
out in the spring which made the main road too dangerous to travel. The bridge
was at the bottom of a steep curvy hill and it would be almost impossible to
stop on such a grade. The long way around made it a half days trip to town but
it was the only option with the bridge out over Crooked Creek.
Joe and the neighbor cheerfully left Jones Chapel early that
morning and the sun was shining when they departed on their way. They arrived
in town about one o’clock in the afternoon with the sun still shining. He
picked up the new rig and then stopped into the general store for some needed
supplies. This all took a little longer than he had expected. He hitched his
horse to the post and loaded all the supplies onto the new buggy. In the store
the other farmers were discussing the impending weather. All indications were
that there was a strong storm brewing in the west. Knowing that most bad
weather comes from the west he contemplated staying the night but thought he
could make it home before night fall.
As he traveled along the road toward home he began to notice
that the sky was quickly turning dark. He could smell rain coming as most
farmers can. As he topped the hill he could clearly see a serious dark and
ominous cloud approaching. The wind began to blow and the horse was frightened.
Joe was frightened.
Joe wasn’t used to the roads on the long way around. He had
only traveled that way with his father on one other occasion.
The storm grew stronger as it closed in on him. The winds
began to howl and blow the trees in a circular motion. The rain was so hard he
could not see. He realized that he was lost in the storm. The horse was new so
he knew he had no help coming from the horse. Joe was afraid he would drive off
into the now swelled and raging river. He feared that bridges were washed out
on every road. He prayed and asked God to show him the way.
Joe buckled down and trotted the horse a little faster
hoping that he was on the right road. The rain was coming in sheets. The
thunder and lightning cracked as the wind howled more ferocious around them. He
continued to pray. The new horse was resistant and Joe struggled to keep him
He looked for shelter where he could wait out the storm.
There were no houses anywhere. No shelter from the storm. The roads were
becoming muddy and dangerous. He knew he was probably getting close to the
river, known for its rocky edges and rapids after a rain. The further he went
fear consumed him. He could not see a foot in front of him. Stopping in mud and
lighting was not an option. Never before had he felt so afraid in a storm. This
storm was bad, real bad. Just as it started to hail he faintly thought he heard
singing. It sounded like a church congregation singing. Suddenly he heard it
clearer and louder. Almost as loud as the wind and hail flailing around him
The horse had been walking slowly without such a strain. As
Joe began to hear the singing it seemed as though the horse was following the sound
of singing. He continued to trudge through the storm. The singing got louder
and clearer. All of a sudden on the far hill he saw a glowing light. Bright the
light beamed into the storm unlike anything he had ever seen before. The light
seemed to appear suddenly in the dark. Pulling on the reigns he directed the
horse toward the light.
Joe saw that the light and the singing were coming from a
church. The entire hillside was illuminated from what appeared to be lanterns
in a church window. Still he saw nothing that he recognized. Remember this was
1918—no electricity. No flood lights only gas lanterns.
As he approached the singing was the sweetest he had ever
heard. Uncle Joe recognized the song, it was Amazing Grace. The echoes of sound
surrounded him as he heard gentle singing “Amazing
Grace how sweet the sound”. Oh how sweet the sound was to Uncle Joe. Peace
washed over him and replaced the fear even though the storm continued to rage
Exhausted, cold, soaked and somewhat confused he was drawn
to the church by the brilliant lights and singing of a congregation. The closer
he got the faster he reined the horse. The animal had almost given all it had
but as though led by a spirit it sprinted as Joe called out commands to
The light was directly ahead, bright lights shining in the
dark stormy night. As he got closer he could see clearer. He could now clearly
see the church with a lantern burning inside the window and a pot bellied stove
red from the warming fire inside. He recognized the church to be one close to
his home, Pilgrim’s Rest
He had been there many times but he had never seen it quite like it was that
stormy night. Never had he realized how awesomely beautiful the church was.
Pilgrim’s Rest took on all new meaning for Joe.
As he approached he saw many horses and buggies hitched to
the rail. He got close to the other buggies as the rain continued to pelt. A
loud clap of thunder rolled in the sky as he hitched his buggy beside the
others. Joe felt peace as he realized that he had found his way and had found
shelter in the storm. He recognized his surroundings. He recognized the church.
Uncle Joe had found his way.
He felt safe that he recognized the church to be Pilgrim’s
Rest on the banks on Crooked Creek at Clarkston Bridge.
If he had gone any further he would have driven off into the rapids of Crooked
Creek and would have surely died. Peace, calm and a sense of safety came over
him as he knew God had heard and answered his prayers.
As he shook off the rain from his hat he started to get down
from his buggy to go inside and get warm. When his foot hit the first step
down, in that instant, he was totally alone. Everything went dark and the
singing stopped. He turned to look at the buggies and they were all gone.
Everything had disappeared and all was quite except the storm. As mysteriously
as the lights and singing appeared, they disappeared. There was no one there.
No singing. No people. No light. No buggies there beside his. No lantern in the
window. No pot bellied stove blazing red with fire. Nothing but silence and
dark and the sound of the storm. He was totally alone.
Uncle Joe knew that instant he had been graced by the
presence and protection of angels sent by God to protect him. It was angels
singing. God had sent them to show Uncle Joe the way home. There never was one
doubt about that for Uncle Joe.
Many years later Uncle Joe worked with the crew that rebuilt
the Clarkston Bridge over Crooked Creek. As Uncle Joe
grew older he never forgot the angels singing. The story never changed but the
experience changed his life. He always said, “Angels singing is just not
something that a person could forget”. He told the story many times and each
time he would sing the verses to Amazing Grace, singing sweetly and softly with
almost a mystery to his voice. His face would light up as he seemed to take
himself back to that stormy day in 1918. Through each verse his voice would get
louder and more determined as he sang the last verse. “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun”.
Amazing Grace how
sweet the sound, especially when angels sing.
This is a true story.
ANGELS ON EARTH
Scripture: For He shall give His
angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways Psalms 91:11
My position as a Director of
Nursing in a long term care facility sometimes required long hours. On this
particular day in January of 2001, I was running later than usual on my commute
to work. The day before, I had worked 16 hours and I almost took the day off
because I was so late getting home the night before. But I really needed to
attend an important meeting at 10 am.
I had sold my 1997 Mustang in order
to get a bigger car with a smoother ride. I borrowed a car from my Daddy until
I could get another one. So, I was driving what I lovingly referred to as, “the
land barge”, a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis, built like a tank.
As I was driving to work, a day
just like any other day, I stopped at a red light at a busy intersection. I
remember thinking that I should pull up to the driver beside me and tell him
that his hubcap was about to fall off. The next thing I remember is hearing a
loud noise and looking to the left. I saw a huge truck on its side sliding
toward me at a phenomenal rate of speed. Sparks flying I knew that it was going
to hit me and it did. I only had time to say, “Lord, that is going to hit me!”.
I grabbed the steering wheel as tight as I could. It happened so fast.
I never lost consciousness. I do
not remember feeling the actual impact. Jesus and His mighty angels got to me
before the truck did. I do not recall being knocked 275 feet into a gas station
parking lot. I don’t remember being airborne. I do remember something else
though. I remember an incredible feeling of awesome peace and love like I have
never experienced before. I had a glimpse of heaven. The hedge of protection
came between me and that huge truck. My car was crumpled into a heap of metal
and I was trapped inside. But inside the car were angels. I saw them and I felt
them. They were there immediately, and I remember saying to them to go ahead
and take me if it was time. I had no fear of going with them. I wanted to go
with them. Nothing else mattered. I did not hear any audible voices but I knew
somehow that I was not going to die, not yet. Somehow they told me that. Jesus
was there. He did not speak but I felt His arms around me. Even after the
paramedics got me into the ambulance, the angels were still with me, I knew
they were there and that was all that mattered. Their presence was
At the hospital I could hear all
the nurses and doctors talking and scrambling while they worked with me. I knew
that I was critical and that I was loosing blood. I could feel myself slipping
away. I knew that the angels were there just in case. By the time I was
evaluated in the emergency room the pain was almost unbearable. Again, I saw
the light of the angels, small tiny brilliant lights circling around above me.
Even through the pain I smiled and felt comforted by their presence. I talked
to them, this time asking for them to take me because the pain was so intense.
The things of this earth were “strangely dim”. The next thing I remember is
seeing my husband and my parents. Then I started to cry. Doctors were rushing
me to surgery. A surgical nurse leaned down and called my name, “Angela, in a
minute you will be asleep and you are going to be fine.” Then she started
praying for me so quietly and sweetly in my ear as the anesthesia took effect.
I woke up in the ICU and recovery
began. The first thing I told my mother was about the angels. I continue to
improve everyday and I have come a long way in healing since that day. My life
will never be the same. I strive to never forget the feeling I had that day. I
almost left this world, and in the process I was given a great gift from God.
He offered to me the blessed assurance of His presence and His awesome power
and love. I never want to forget this small glimpse of heaven. I felt the
incredible love of God present with me in “the land barge”.
Lord Jesus. Thank You for Your
awesome love and protection. Thank You Jesus for the angels that watch over us.
Bring to our remembrance Your Words as You tell us “Fear not, for I am with
you.”. In Your Holy name I pray. Amen
Written in 2001 Published 2002