The death of a Queen to an American anglophile.

The UK certainly know how to do tradition and ceremony better than anyone.

As I watched the beautifully outfitted Royal Navy sailors draw her coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster I was proud for them.

As I watched those handsome red jacketed young men carried that tiny woman’s coffin into Westminster I was moved.

As I watched the young people who had a part in the service I thought she would be glad.

As I watched the wonderful service and heard the scripture readings and hymns that were part of it, I was inspired.

This woman, very young when she took over the immense duty of sovereign, was worth every respect, accolade, kindness, and protocol due her position as THE Queen.

Cheers!

-N

 

A Haunting – A true story

Michael
By Nancy Vaughn

This story began when I found the grave of Michael, a little boy I used to babysit who died in a tragic car accident. I was a freshman in high school when it happened, and I was stunned at the loss. Michael was the sweetest and kindest little guy there ever was. He always seemed to need something, but I never understood what it was. There was always a sweet sadness about him. His parents were divorced and had moved on with their lives. Michael and his sisters lived with their mother. His mother was a beautiful woman who worked hard and tried to take really good care of them. She also enjoyed going out to meet men, and there were plenty of them in at the Air Force base in Tucson and the Army fort in Sierra Vista. On her way back from taking her boyfriend back to Ft. Huachuca she lost control and the car flipped and crashed. His sisters and his mother survived but he was thrown from the car and killed instantly. It was 1970.

In 1983 myself, my husband, my two children moved into a trailer space in a park next to a cemetery. I admit to a fascination with cemeteries inherited from my mother’s side of the family. We always visited old graveyards on road trips. So after we moved there I used to wander through the one near my house looking at the names and dates. It was an older cemetery with green grass and huge trees and dozens of beautiful statues. I remember when I discovered the part of the cemetery designated for the children. It had a peaceful, comforting feeling and a beautiful statue of a child angel was centered in the middle of the resting places of the lost children. Most of the graves had flowers and tokens laid on them. I used to take flowers from some of them and put them on the graves that had none. That was when I found Michael. His grave rarely had flowers. I began to go see him as often as I could. I also started taking my own flowers to him.

We had gotten this cat, a beautiful silver/grey cat with brilliant green eyes that we named Betsy. She and I never liked each other. I couldn’t figure it out. Betsy and I tormented each other regularly. I don’t know why but we just didn’t get along. One night after going to bed my husband and I heard a low growling sound like a cat squaring off with another cat. Betsy was in the living room at her usual post on the back of a chair. Her cries got louder and then I heard the footsteps. The steps were walking toward our bedroom door. It was a mobile home so footsteps were easily heard. The steps came to our door and stopped, then they walked back down the hall toward the other end of the house. Then I heard the cat again. This began a pattern that went on for weeks. Betsy was even weirder to everyone than before. She tended to sit, looking suspiciously at everything. She never wanted to be around people as it was, but now she was even more reserved.

I talked to my husband about it and he had no explanation for the sounds and the way the cat was behaving. He always did a better job of handling her than I ever did and he is a die-hard sceptic.

Then things got more interesting. Everyone was in bed when the footsteps started. We lay there listening to them and they came to a stop outside our door. Chuck got up and opened the bedroom door expecting to see one of our kids, maybe sleepwalking, but no one was there. I could tell he was bothered. We lay back down trying to fall asleep when there was a loud bang in the bathroom. It sounded like someone big had fallen in the tub. We sat bolt upright and he got up again and rushed to the bathroom. Nothing. It was dark and empty with no sign of anything that could have fallen into the tub. He came back, got into bed and we lay there thinking.
“What do you think a ghost is?” He asked quietly.
“Don’t know.”

The banging in the bathroom continued along with the cat growl and the footsteps. We quit reacting to it and I didn’t find out until much later that my daughter, who was ten at the time had heard the sounds as well. She would cover her head and talk and pray herself to sleep. She never said a word to us at the time. I had told some members of my family and a few friends about the sounds but they laughed it off. We had trouble laughing off the experiences we were having so we quit talking about it.

That is until my middle sister suggested it might be Michael. She also remembered him and his story and had been his babysitter occasionally and had gone with me to see his grave. We were sitting on my back porch talking, listening to music and drinking. We both heard a loud thump and a bang on the washer which was just inside the back door.
“There your go, now you’ve heard it for yourself.” I said.
Her eyes were wide, her mouth open and she just sat there. I got up and went inside to check, as usual there was no sign of anything out of place. It was at this point she told me that on one of her visits to Michael’s grave she thought she saw something around the top of the child angel statue in the cemetery. She said she saw an angel fly up the statue and away into the sky. As we talked about it my heart warmed to the idea that perhaps sweet little Michael was reaching out to me. Maybe he needed my comfort.

I told my husband about what she said and how I felt about it and he warned me to leave that stuff alone. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, thinking about Michael. I made my first mistake by calling out to Michael to tell him he was loved and remembered. One night after that I had fallen asleep and I’m not really sure how late it was but I felt my covers being pulled. I am not a heavy sleeper and it woke me. Sometimes when my husband rolls over it will pull the covers so I yanked them back and tried to go back to sleep. My eyes flew open as I heard the sound of laughter. It was a child’s giggling laugh, then the covers started to be tugged down. I wanted to explore this so I didn’t wake my husband. This began the fun play each night. The problem was I needed my sleep. I had two kids to get to school and myself to work. One night when I was awakened from a deep sleep by the play I said “Michael stop, I need to sleep. Please.” I heard one more giggle and then it stopped.

Chuck and I had a timeshare vacation planned for Puerto Vallarta for a week, and my kids would be staying with my parents who lived in the same trailer park. Because we had Betsy I asked my dad to stop by the house to check on her and the house. We had been broken into a few months before so I felt safer if someone was around regularly as a deterrent. Little did I know my dad’s world would be rocked by his experiences. When we returned home and everything looked fine a first glance. Then I noticed there was tape over the knob on the stereo and the cable box connector was disconnected and on the floor and every door was closed. I looked through the house to see if there was anything else out of order. We called dad to thank him for his help and he said he never wanted to do it again. I asked him to come over and tell us what happened. He insisted we come to their house, so we did.

Dad said that the first night he came by he walked around the outside of the house and it was fine. He came inside and walked through the house. When he opened the bathroom door he found that the toilet paper roll had been completely emptied on the floor. However Betsy wasn’t inside there. The door had been closed firmly. He cleaned it up, replaced the roll and then left. The next night he did the same thing. Betsy was sitting on the chair, so he went to the bathroom to find the door closed again. He opened it and flipped on the light to find the toilet paper roll was again emptied. Then the bathroom light went off. He turned it on, picked up the paper and didn’t put on another roll. He left feeling very strange. He didn’t go back the next night. The next night was one that gave him his first real scare. As he approached the house he could see that there were lights on in the house. He came close to the door and stopped. Before he opened the door he said a prayer. When he opened the door every light in the house was on. He hurried through the house turning off lights and opening closed doors and after putting food in Betsy’s bowl he left never looking back. The last night he came over the lights were on again and the doors were closed. To his horror the TV was on and so was the stereo. He once again went through the house quickly opening doors and turning out lights and turning the TV and stereo off. Just as he closed the door the stereo and TV came back on. He was scared and a bit pissed so he got electrical tape to cover the power knob on the stereo and disconnected the cable box to the TV. He never ever came over if we were gone.

One Christmas I invited a dear friend to spend the night of Christmas Eve and spend Christmas day with us. After we were all in bed the nightly activity started. My friend was staying on the foldout couch snuggled down for the evening. I heard Betsy start her growl and then I hear my friend hush her. Then the footsteps started. I asked Chuck if he thought I should check on her but he said to wait a little while. I was asleep by the time it all stopped. The next morning I got up to start coffee and get breakfast ready. I found her sitting up, her knees pulled to her chin and looking as if she hadn’t slept. I asked her if she was ok and she said she wasn’t going to stay again that night as planned. When I asked her what happened she said that when Betsy started to growl the room became ice cold. She snuggled down trying to get warm and when she heard the footsteps she covered her head, drew up into a ball and tried to sleep. She felt someone sit on the end of the bed but she was so frightened she couldn’t look. “What is wrong with your house?” It was then that my children started telling us their experiences with child’s giggling, cold air, footsteps and Betsy’s cries. Chuck told me if it was Michael (remember he was skeptical) I should tell Michael he needs to go be with God. That God wants all children with him. I did what Chuck suggested. I would tell him we would never forget him but that his place was with God and the angels.

We heard no more laughing and other activities seemed to slow down. I hoped Michael had found peace and comfort. We went without anything happening for several weeks until a very unsettling thing happen one night. I was sleeping when I woke to the feeling of my covers being lifted off my feet. They weren’t being pulled like before but lifted. I kicked out and it stopped. This began a nightly occurrence and then one night I felt a hand grab my ankle! I kicked and cried out. This woke Chuck and stopped the contact. I began to pray every night about it. I didn’t think it was Michael anymore but my openness to contact with Michael had made me a point of contact a spirit conduit. Whenever it would happen I would say no and kick out and it would stop. I thought I could get it under control.

My first aggressive attack happened when Chuck was working an evening shift for a guy. Everyone was in bed and I had fallen asleep. It was probably around 11pm. You know that feeling when someone gets in bed but you are asleep and yet you can still sense it? This is what happened. I was dreaming he was home and getting into bed. After a few minutes I rolled onto my back and it was then I felt pressure on me. It was as if someone was pressing me into the mattress. Pressure on my shoulders and neck. I started to fight it. My eyes were open but I saw nothing. I just felt the heaviness. It was as if a 300lb offensive lineman was astride me and trying to stuff me into the mattress. As I fought it I started to call out to God and Jesus-I needed help or I would die. A sound like a low breathy moan filled the room, then the pressure lifted. I caught the glimpse of a dark shape fly out of the room through the ceiling.

One of the last attacks happened when Chuck was there. It began as the others had and my cries and fighting against the pressure woke him. He could see me pushing against something invisible that was so strong I could only lift my head an inch off the bed. He saw tears in my eyes and he sat up and yelled “Stop it! Go away!” It was gone. He held me as I finally calmed and fell asleep.

I decided we needed to bless the house. I went to a Christian bookstore and found a pamphlet with a prayer used to do battle with evil and bless the home. I also found a bottle of holy oil to use over all the doors and windows. After coming home and telling Chuck and the kids what we were going to do we spent an hour going to every inner and outer doorway and all the windows praying the blessing for the house and all living in it and calling the warrior angels from heaven to cover the house with protection. After this was done I stood outside and said goodbye to Michael and anyone else cast out and asking them to leave this place of the living and go to the place waiting for them.

I did have a couple of experiences where I would wake on occasion to see a dark shape over me but I was never touched or heard anything. After continuing to pray to cast out whatever was lingering and to prevent anything from coming inside these spirits left and have never returned.

The End
01 Dec 2014

Lies of Depression

 

I have been reading this book, in part because he was the ninth Doctor and I am a huge Doctor Who fan, and second because of the story of his father.

The irony is that while reading, when I came to the part where he wrote of his depression and hospitalization and treatment for said depression, was at the same time  the news of Naomi Judd’s suicide from mental illness.

The sadness he expressed moved me so much, especially when he shared the lies this disease told him about himself, I found a certain clarity of understanding in the actions depression triggers. From what I learned about Naomi’s experiences it seemed to be consistent between the two people.

Your mind starts telling you: others don’t really care about you – that you are not worth love and respect – it’s not important to others if you are not there – that it would be better if you were dead – your disease is a curse on your family – and finally that you should just take care of your own dying! This spiraling cycle of thought, belief in the lies of a damaged conscious, and the struggle of your physical body, betrays the moments of lucidity.

It is heart breaking, especially when we hear of young people who see suicide as a way of escape. It reminds me when my son was in elementary and middle school dealing with extreme bullying. My guilt at not putting everything else aside to fight a battle he couldn’t, confronts me regularly. I was finally able to quit my full-time job and take him out of public school. Then we were able to start building up his non-existent self-esteem obliterated by the actions and words of kids he couldn’t escape. As I’ve said, and I don’t care what anyone else says, it was best for him to learn in a loving and accepting environment at home.

After four years at a private Christian high school, where he found friends, his skill in art and singing was discovered, developed and acknowledged that he became a full personality again.

Don’t ignore the signs, observe and be diligent in getting help for yourself or your loved one.

I plan to get a copy of Naomi’s book.

Cheers!

-N

Right Place, Right Time

Two round trips: between Phoenix and Orlando. Sometimes it is apparent you are in the right place at the right time.

We were scheduled to leave Phoenix, our departure time 5:55pm, however, to our dismay, the flight was delayed to an 8:15pm departure. This meant an arrival in Florida of 2:00am! We were not the only group of inconvenienced passengers. There were 22 who had a delayed flight from San Diego into Phoenix so they missed their connection. Consequently they were put on our flight.

One of the passengers from San Diego was Paul. He was a nice man, very interesting and as he told us of his travels around the world I found myself thinking of another very interesting man I met years ago while I worked at the Retail Center at the University of Arizona – John Peterman.

J. Peterman

Now some of you might remember this name if you watched Seinfeld years back. Not this man but an actor played the character. The real J. Peterman was fascinating, just like Paul. When we arrived in Orlando I gave him my card and hoped to hear from him since his farewell included a “come to SD and stay at my place at the beach” OK.

We had an outstanding visit with my son, his wife and our

Three generations

handsome, brilliant and fantastic youngest grandson.

Our flight back was Orlando to Chicago to Phoenix. The Orlando to Chicago-Midway flight was packed and there were at least a dozen kids – I didn’t know what to expect but to my surprise it was a calm flight. The Chicago to Phoenix trip included another fortuitous human connection – Max.

Max was 85 years old, with a gorgeous white goatee and a full head of white hair. He was right out of a movie – a very handsome man (wish I had gotten a photo.) He was traveling alone.

Max was having a bit of a cough, he seemed uncomfortable so I grabbed a cough drop I had in my bag and gave it to him, he was glad to take it and I assured him it was sugar free and he responded “That’s good for my diabetes,” and smiled at me. I went back to the movie I was watching on my phone. After a while I noticed he was clearing his through and coughing (differently than the first) so I asked him if he was okay. He said he just needed a drink. I had an empty plastic cup and we had a bottle of water so I filled it and handed it to him. Again a thankful smile and he took a drink. He told me the cough drop had cleared his head a bit.

He started to talk. About the lights in the darkness outside, his family, his house in Buckeye AZ, that he travels between Chicago and Phoenix by himself since his wife didn’t travel, and he always traveled Southwest Airlines. One more fill of water and by the time the flight was over he was relaxed and I felt like we were meant to sit with him.

Max, I hope you are doing well.

Cheers!

-N

My Boys

I’m sitting here at my desk looking at the screen of my phone which has a picture of my two grandsons. Sometimes I cannot believe how much I love theses two boys. They both were two  months old, the first time I met them and I can say my affection was instantaneous for both.

The circumstances of their appearance in our family is as follows.

Charlie is seven and was a foster to adopt situation for my daughter. In our family there is a culture of adoption. Truly when someone was adopted they were immediately merged into us. By the time Charlie was adopted he was so ingrained into the family there was no question he was one of us. My sister Mary said “He’s the Charlie that got the golden ticket!” I thought that was perfect. When we were in the California court for the adoption I was recording it for my son and daughter-in-law who were in Florida. You can hear me crying in the video. I was so overjoyed that Charlie now belonged to me 💖

Now Jackson was a different situation. My son and his wife had been trying for a while with no success, had even talked about adoption which was cool. During this process her OB found some issues which were corrected but still no success. The OB suggested trying IUI and it took! He came in late 2021. Now we have the gorgeous little man who has filled us with such love. It’s hard since he is in Florida but we plan to make trips every few months out there. Jackson has made my daughter an aunt and Charlie has his very own cousin.

So…here are my little men at 2 months old.

Jackson
Charlie

My boys.

Cheers,

-N

Spring Cleaning (I Live on a Dirt Road)

Yesterday I spent a sweaty day getting my house together after the short winter season in Southern Arizona. Cleaning behind, under, and in all the furniture. I wiped surfaces and straightened cluttered areas; sorting and putting things in their places.

I’m very lucky because my home is in Catalina AZ which is north of Tucson, and when we came out in 1991 it felt very rural. We bought an unimproved acre and I love to say that every tree, but two mesquites were planted by hubby. Also the roses, and honeysuckle were his work as well.

Thanks to my German ‘Shedder’ Millie contributing to the dustiness the dirt road deposits in my house, every surface gets a coating of fine dust. When the wind blows the doors are closed to help keep the dust down. Also her fur collects in corners and under the coffee table. One swipe through the house with the dust broom and it looks like I skinned a small animal.

Spring cleaning is all well and good, all that work is worth it, except in my case the dusting. One day later and I’ve noticed surfaces are already starting to get covered and I’ve picked up handfuls of fur.

Arrggh!

So the dust cloth is out, and even after spring cleaning I still have to dust every few days.

Cheers!

-N

Expanding My Skills

I thought I had a remote job writing copy for a health and wellness magazine. A very exciting direction, and a challenge I was looking forward to, especially the prospect of research and writing.

However, once the man doing the hiring understood my writing experience was with my blog and my fiction writing – well his enthusiasm for my skills waned considerably and he said they wanted someone with actual copywriting experience.

As someone who loves words, enjoys writing and research, I was confident I could gel with this project. Perhaps my age factored into it as does happen often.

Question: Any of you fine readers out there do copywriting? If so how to you get into it and any suggestions on understanding the process? I won’t stop my other writing outlets, but I would definitely like to try this avenue.

Cheers!

-N

At My Age

This past week I have struggled with shaking off flu like symptoms which in the past, with lots of sleep, plenty of water, and vitamin C, I would have kicked out the door by this time.  I even took the obligatory Covid test (negative) and have done everything I usually do but this thing is hanging on tenaciously.

Expressly a deep, nasty cough.

Yikes

Somethings are a bit different this time. Because of a heavy post nasal drip my throat is coated and the cough is not as productive as usual. I’ve never been one to have a cough hang on, nor have I had a tendency to bronchitis. I’ve spent many restless nights sleeping propped up – water, cough drops, and tissues on the table next to my bed – when this cough gets going and I can’t catch my breath.

Then my head begins to throb. That’s new.

I ran low grade fever off and on all week, although now that has finally stopped occurring.

 

 

My point, after this descriptive beginning: I feel this issue may be due to my age. I won’t tell you how old I am, but lets just say as an elementary age kid I watched the Beatles live on Ed Sullivan.

I am noticing things that are different for me as I am living through these years and one of them is my ability to overcome illness. I’m a person with a mega strong immune system. My sisters and I weren’t taken to the doctor for an antibiotic at the first sniffle so my body fought things off.

As I said, if ever I started to feel poorly: I sleep, drink plenty of water and before long I was right as rain.

Also, my energy after I am well takes time to build back up. So here I sit, still dealing with this cough, praying I can sing next weekend and hoping I am completely finished with this crap.

Cheers!

-N

That’s a bummer!

I have discovered, to my dismay, I have probably developed an allergy to incense. No! I love incense and I am pretty particular about what I burn.

I usually use incense in concert with candles creating a nice welcoming vibe. 🕯

Saturday after hubby left for work (he works night shift) I lit two candles and burned a stick my most favorite incense. I’d made a yummy fish dinner and you know how the fish smell  hangs out, so I figured some candle flames and the gentle incense would freshen the rooms. The ceiling fans were moving the air so I did the dishes and settled into the evening to watch the University of Arizona Wildcats beat yUCLA in basketball.

With in a couple of hours I noticed some congestion building, and I was starting to cough – things got worse.

By the time I got in bed I was having typical allergy symptoms: running nose, watery eyes, cough, sneezing, it was awful. I ruled out the candles since I had been using them nearly every day, but the incense was the difference.

So now what? My body got busy clearing it out by pumping my head with histamines, and my sinuses have been overflowing with the yucky mucous stuff. Oh man it’s a drag. No headache, fever or sore throat, thank goodness. Tonight is a Navage before bed and cough medicine with a decongestant.

Anyone need some incense?

Cheers!

-N

Two Weeks of Love and a conflict

I had a two week trip to Apopka FL (near Orlando) in January to meet my second grandson.

Nannie and Jackson

Let me say I am in love.

He was two months old and just yummy. He is a sweetheart and I spent every chance I got holding him, feeding him, and doing all the other baby things. It was my pleasure to help my son and daughter-in-law with the multiple tasks, giving them a well deserve break. I remember one afternoon saying, “Why don’t you guys have a date night?” which was met with enthusiasm. Anytime there was a comment about running to the store or going for coffee I piped up with a “go ahead I’ve got him,” with a big smile on my face. I loved my solo time with my wee fella.

Well, we are going back next month – lets just say I am ready to snuggle that boy again. This time he will get to meet his Poppa (grandfather) since hubby was sick and had to cancel last time. I am excited to see hubby with the baby grandson.

Now I come to the conflict referenced above. My kids have managed to live across the country from each other! One is in Phoenix, one is in Orlando. Could they have made it any harder on me? Although I will say my daughter moving from So Cal to Phoenix helped the dilemma a bit. Still it’s 2000+ miles to the others.

I told hubby when he retires I want to move halfway between them, which according to google maps is Rexville TX. Ready…its a ghost town! A crossroads location with about four houses.

Uh, no.

Charlie dressed to dance

So I’m here and keeping the credit cards paid off so I can travel, and taking every opportunity to see my Phoenix grandson. Yep, two grandsons.

Cheers!

-N