The Unwelcome Guest – Part 3 – Harvey

We added a new member to our family when my stepson decided to live with us when he turned fourteen. my angels and the front doorWe cleaned out the upstairs room for him and he was really happy to have an “alcove” for his bed. Pretty cool setup for a teen, until Harvey made his appearance.

The first night my stepson spent in the room, he came down the next morning and complained about hearing something bang on the wall in his room. He said it was Harvey, the ghost. We laughed, because we hadn’t heard anything, and of course, ghosts didn’t exist. We said it was most likely a squirrel or raccoon on the roof.

Then I began to notice my dresser drawers being opened when I came home from work. Strange. I’d shut them and a day or so later, they’d be hanging open again. Things began to disappear…wash cloths, mostly…stranger still.

One weekend, we came home after being out as a family and found the front door unlocked and standing partially open! I knew I’d locked the door when we left. If you look closely at the door in the picture with my two little angels, you’ll see it has a deadbolt kind of lock.

This happened several times. So one night we decided to test it. We locked the door, checked it, and drove around the block. Just around the block! The door was opened when we arrived back less than two minutes later.

My stepson insisted it was Harvey, his so-called resident ghost, which we still scoffed at.

Days passed and my stepson continued to talk about Harvey. We continued to tease him and make light of the situation. And those rats? They continued to grow in number outside the back door.

Things were just beginning. We should have believed in Harvey’s existence.

(Part 4 – of The Unwelcome Guest coming soon)

 

The Unwelcome Guest – Part Two

The mouse was gone but it wasn’t the unwelcome guest I’m going to tell you about.

Life kind of settled for a bit. The one bad thing about this house was the large floor register which heated the rooms. The register was in the kitchen. It was always warm, but not uncomfortably so. I kind of liked it because it reminded me of the house where I grew up. I would come home after walking in the cold from the bus stop and stoop over the register, letting the heat build up under my dress to make a nice warm tent.

Then one morning while dressing my son to go to the babysitter’s house, I noticed the bottom of his feet were filled with blisters! I was horrified. He was a tough little guy and had a high tolerance for pain so I didn’t notice him favoring his feet while he was walking around. The doctor said the burns weren’t serious and there wasn’t much to do but put some cream on them and keep them covered/padded to help alleviate the pain…the pain my son didn’t seem to notice. But we watched him closely and I tried to keep him off his feet as much as possible.

But where did the burns come from? Had they come from that floor register? And how? And, if not, from where?

The question was never answered, but I began to sense something was “not quite right” within the walls of this house. Was there an unwelcome guest living with us?

In the meantime, the kids loved playing outdoors on the swing set when we were at home. I liked being able to watch them from the window above the sink, where I could also see the lilac tree which gave such beautiful blooms in the spring. It was one such spring like morning when the kids were swinging and I was cleaning. I glanced out the window and my heart sank! They were not on the swing set!

I hurried outside and my heart started beating again when I heard their voices. But they were behind the house where that big ditch was and a highway on the other side. I rushed to find them and there they were, standing like little ones do, slightly bent over, their hands on their knees as they stared at something…in the ditch.

“Look Mommy!” Little fingers pointed and I went to see what had caught their attention.

Rats! Big rats, larger than squirrels. Black rats, gray rats, nasty, terrifying rats!

I snatched them up and hurried through the back door to the safety of the kitchen, my heart pounding, my mouth too dry to even scream.

(The Unwelcome Guest – Part 3 coming soon)

 

The Unwelcome Guest – Part 1

It was a cute little house, just perfect for our family of four, though we never could have imagined the unwelcome guest that would come to live with us.

We toured it before renting, delighted at the cute covered front porch, with a white wooden railing. Inside we found two bedrooms, a huge farmhouse type kitchen, an upstairs with two rooms, one for storage and a second that could be used as an additional bedroom. One bath, and a small but serviceable basement area for laundry. There was a nice front and side yard, but no back yard to speak of. Behind the house was a ditch which separated the cul-de-sac from the businesses on the main road through the small “town” of Creve Couer, Illinois. We moved into the house in the fall of 1966.

My daughter was three and my son was a year and a half. We added a swing set to the front yard and settled into our rented home.

For the first year, we only had two incidents, though none led us to believe they were anything but natural.

The first was when my daughter had a sudden bout of anger which wasn’t normal for her. She took a toy truck and struck her brother on the head with it. When I corrected her, she started to scream and ran with arms extended to the front glass “screen” door and her arms went straight through it! Glass shattered and her inside wrist began dripping blood. My husband was at work with the car, and thank the good Lord, my neighbor ran over and told us to get in her car and she’d drive us to the hospital.

They wouldn’t allow me to go back with my child while they stitched her arm. She was so little and so frightened and they had strapped her to a papoose type board! I could hear her cries and screams as I leaned against the wall and cried. I wanted to comfort my baby. This was one of the worst times of my life.

But she was all right and we were able to take her home after they stitched her wound. Though this was unusual for my child’s behavior, I still never thought it could have been anything but a strange fit of temper.

My children had been good sleepers, never waking up in the middle of the night unless they were sick. But a few months later, I began to hear strange noises. The house was dark, so I got out of bed and turned on the living room light. I was startled to see my children standing against the wall next to the front door holding hands, their eyes wide and round. When I asked why they were up, they didn’t have any answer.

I settled them back in bed, read them a story, and turned out the lights.

This continued to happen over and over again. My daughter said it was a bad dream. I wondered who had woken who with a bad dream instead of calling out for me to come and help them.

And then a little mouse appeared in the kitchen. Just a mouse, nothing more. But he was too fast to catch and we began to hear him inside the wall. Not too strange, and not too uncommon, I thought. We tried several solutions to catch the mouse, but had to be careful what we used because of the children, especially since they were prone to wander in the dark of night.

Yes, we did finally catch the mouse and the house settled into our “normalcy” again.

Then, things escalated…

(to be continued)

 

 

Why I Choose to Blog

me without a coldA writer is a writer, even if they blog.

A lot of people want to know why I stopped selling my books and writing them. There are many reasons, not just financial ones.

First, if I wanted to be under deadlines imposed by a publisher, under their calendar of when the books would be published, and giving most of the royalties to them, then I might consider publishing. However, I enjoyed much greater freedom from all these constraints when I chose to take control of my own business.

Now I have chosen to work in my church as a secretary, I find my free hours better spent than feeling obligated to produce at least one book a year. I burned myself out on writing fiction, if I’m totally honest. I prefer to write on my blog, where I can speak about real things happening in my life, sharing the heartaches, joys, and humorous tidbits with those who care to read. I love to write and look forward to sitting at my computer and letting the words flow.

There are ideas floating around in my head, which is nothing new, but now the ideas are on the type of blogging I want to do going forward. I love sitting here with a cup of tea, mostly on Wednesday mornings and sharing something inspirational. This is what I know God is calling me to do. I want to share my faith and how God has blessed me to bring hope to our troubled world.

But the deep-seated writer in me wants to do more. So I began thinking about writing human interest type stories to bring awareness to situations in our world that are right in our neighborhoods. I’m not a reporter or journalist and that isn’t what I strive to be. I simply want to share my experiences as I go through this world. This is what I’m working on now, doing research, brainstorming, and outlining. Much as I would do for any book I would write!

As a fiction author, I was a small fish in a huge ocean. As a blogger, I’m still a small fish in a huge ocean, but I’m swimming around and enjoying myself, splashing through the cerulean water and enjoying the warm sunshine. I put no pressure on myself to advertise or to stress about reviews. The only one I answer to is God!

I hope as I begin to share my experiences, you will want to follow me. You can have my blogs sent directly to your email if you like. You’ll find the tools in the sidebar on the right hand side of the screen. This won’t cost you a penny! It’s sharing from my heart to yours.

Blessings,


 

 

A Writer’s Prayerful Decision

Campfire solitude begets a decision

Through much prayer, this writer has come to a final decision. For the past few years, I’ve struggled with do I or don’t I continue writing.

It’s been a long battle with changes in direction and a stretch of nothing being published because of the internal struggle.

I miss the times I sat beside a campfire in the evening with my hubby while we enjoyed the silence and nature. I find God in nature and peace in the crackling of the fire’s warmth. But I also find Him in the quiet solitude  of prayer. Stay with me for I am about to bare my soul and reveal the reality of this writer’s life.

Writing is not a lucrative career unless one is able to spend big bucks and lots of time advertising. I’m a quiet, introverted person by nature. The idea of pushing  my writing on other people doesn’t appeal to me. I write because it is what I like to do.

Placing words on a blank screen or paper centers my soul. It’s a God-given passion. I began writing at an early age, but didn’t seriously consider publishing anything until 2001, at a time in my life when I had been battered by being downsized out of a day job.

At that time, I took some classes online and the joy of writing returned. My first two books were published as contemporary romantic suspense and through a publisher who wanted to see romance have bedroom scenes. I felt uncomfortable telling people what I wrote! That was the first sign that what I was doing isn’t what God wanted me to do with my gift.

I began writing Christian romance and self-publishing so I didn’t have to conform to a publisher’s guidelines. I could write from the heart and I prayed it was pleasing to God and that it would reach people and leave them with a happy heart and a desire to be a better person.

I loved telling people I wrote books. I loved talking about how God could make good out of bad, when we allow Him to ‘take the wheel.’ As my husband was ill for several years, self-publishing also gave me the freedom to take care of him without being under any pressure to meet a deadline.

Then my husband was called home to live with Jesus. New decisions needed to be made. Did I still want to write? How would I continue to support myself? We were not considered upper class. We didn’t have big insurance policies, nor a savings account with more than 5 figures.

So now I had a house with an outstanding equity loan in addition to my normal living expenses and half of the income. My writing brought in a very small amount of income, but it was enough to almost meet my expenses. Over the next 3-1/2 years, I scaled back on many things. However, my savings account dwindled. I knew I had to make a decision with God’s help.

God continues to provide. He led me to a position working as secretary for my church part-time. I enjoy the mental stimulation, being able to help people, communicate with others, and the change of scenery. The income provides to fill the gap. I am truly blessed.

Writing though has taken an even further backseat. I wasn’t finding the joy in putting my efforts toward publication. Sales dwindled. I knew I had to make a decision. Writing is a business according to the IRS. This year I wound up paying almost half of the income back in taxes. That net is less than most people make in a week.

Another worry has been what will happen when God calls me home? So I’ve been in communication with God about the direction I should take. I love to write. But what I love to write is more inspirational words, not stories. I love blogging. I love writing uplifting posts on Facebook.

This was my aha moment. God gave me a gift and He wants me to use it to bless Him and to shed some light into the darkness of our world. And so, with God’s help, the decision is made.

I am a blogger of words. Those who love what I have to say will continue to follow me here on my website and on Facebook. Perhaps they will find inspiration and a lift for their spirits. And it won’t cost them a cent. Those who only want books to read will continue to find authors who provide. I’d like to think that those who enjoyed my stories will still remain connected.

My heart is happy and I’m moving on in the direction God is showing me. I ask for your prayers and your love. God is good!

Blessings,