What Do You Do With Unexpected Time Off?

What do you do with unexpected time off? You know, a day when you don’t have any commitments and the hours are like a gift…a day like I was given yesterday.Morning Cup of Tea

It was a dark and stormy morning (forgive me, I am a writer, you know) when my cell phone rang and the Pastor told me not to come in to work. There I stood in the bathroom with my blow dryer in hand, in final preparations to walk out the door. I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I was being given a free day at home. A day when the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed and the rain was pouring down. After finishing our conversation, I changed out of my work clothes, all the time feeling a bit guilty for having this unexpected time off work.

What to do? I fixed a second cup of tea and carried it down to my office. In my emails I had notifications that all my books were available in the Amazon bookstore. (Yes, another change of mind!) So I zapped over to my website and added a page for my books.

With some anticipated changes coming, I decided to work on my budget next. Have you ever delved so deeply into your budget that you begin to feel like you are in a whirlpool being sucked into a void? Yes, that’s the feeling. But after some prayerful time, I was comfortable with the result. But what would I do now?

I had been a stay at home retired person for six and a half years before I took the part-time job at our church, so I should be used to this. Amazing how our perspective changes when our hours are rearranged!

I decided to place an order for a few summer clothes. Nothing major, just some lightweight slacks, capris, and tops. Just a few, but enough to keep me from looking like a bag lady when I go out. By now the rain had diminished to a light drizzle, so I grabbed my purse and headed to the grocery store. What a treat! I forgot how nice it was to go to the store when it wasn’t crowded! Bought a few weeks groceries for less than $65.00. Major coup!

When I got into the car, I looked at my phone and saw the noises I heard had been two phone calls coming in. Didn’t recognize the number, but the voicemail gave me the answer. Two of my male friends from church were in front of my house waiting to look at my lawnmower which wouldn’t start. Really? On a rainy day like this? But I was overjoyed at their generosity. Of course, they had already left my house and headed to the church to fix a problem toilet, but when they were finished, they’d head back over.

And so they did! After emptying the old gas out, cleaning the spark plug, and still not having any luck, I handed them some starter fluid. A quick squirt in the carburetor and it fired up. I guess I’ll have to make sure to get new gas and add cleaner to it if I want to keep it running good from year to year. It’s amazing the things a gal can learn when she loses the man who took care of everything like that.

I never cease to be in awe of what God can do. Having church family to help out in all kinds of situations, especially when you are a widow, is a huge blessing. God is good!

I finished the afternoon by making a dinner which was one of my hubby’s favorite…our brand of goulash. Yummy!

And that, dear readers, is what I did with my unexpected time off yesterday. Thanks for stopping by and having tea with me today.


The Unwelcome Guest – Saying Goodbye (Final Installment)

As we prepared to vacate the house, whatever spirit inhabited the house escalated in making us anxious to say goodbye!

The picture shows the two doors at the end of the hallway off the kitchen. The door on the right opened into the back yard. The door on the left was the bathroom.

Two days after the rat incident, we came home, walked into the kitchen and then the toilet flushed! Sure we would find someone in the bathroom, we investigated with caution. We opened the door and saw…Nothing!!!

That was pretty creepy. We began to box up things that very night. Our final goodbye couldn’t come quick enough.

The next evening, we came home and everything was quiet. What a relief! After the kids were settled in bed, I decided to take a nice, relaxing bubble bath. I added bubbles as the water slowly filled the tub. I stepped in and settled into the wonderful aroma and warmth. As I reached to shut off the water, a HUGE orange and cream striped spider with long legs and a bulbous body literally washed out of the faucet!

I began to scream…as I think back on this moment, I realize this might be where my terror of spiders came from.

I jumped out of the tub and my husband came running to see what happened. The spider was walking, yes, literally walking on the bubbles! He pulled the plug and the water drained out, leaving the evil eight-legged spider in the tub. I shudder as I remember how it tried to avoid the swatter, but eventually the spider was dead.

None of us took another bath in that tub!

The next night, we carried boxes with us to the new house. We were ready to move in.

We came home exhausted, later than usual, and when we reached the kitchen, the bathroom door was ripped off its hinges and lying across the hallway at an awkward angle. The hinges were bent with the force used to yank it free!

Terrified, we all slept in the living room and front bedroom. The next day we moved all our things out of the house and said our final goodbye.

Now many people don’t believe in ghosts or evil spirits. I’m a Christian. I know there are evil spirits in this world. Why one chose to manifest in that house is something I’ll never know. Perhaps something horrible happened there in the past. I still don’t understand if the spirit wanted us to stay or not, and if so, why? What would have happened if we did stay? Those are the things nightmares are made of.

Thank you for reading!

When God Rearranges Your To-Do List

Cup of TeaEver had God rearrange your to-do list?

As I sip my cup of tea, I’m thinking back to last Wednesday and remembering how blessed I was at the end of the day. Wednesday is prayer circle day at church and I participate knowing that phone calls are usually handled by our receptionist.

However, this day, our receptionist couldn’t make it in. Also, the only two people who were participating in the circle were the Pastor and me. We were just getting ready to pray when a member who had recently lost his wife came into the Narthex area where we were seated. He came to bring something to the Pastor, but I could see he needed to just have someone to talk with.

He was hurting and just needed to talk about his beloved, his loneliness, and some pictures he’d found. We chatted for a few minutes, and I held his hands and let him talk, occasionally giving a word of encouragement and hope.

After he left, we settled back to begin our prayer, when the phone rang. I hurried to answer it and was thrilled to hear the voice of a dear friend and member who is battling a rare form of leukemia. She had called to get some information which I needed to look up for her, but we chatted for a few minutes first and then I asked if she’d like to talk to the Pastor. While they talked, I gathered the information and went back to the Narthex to wait. But the second line of the phone rang.

Yes, God rearranges when we least expect it!

I hurried to get that call and it was another dear parishioner who was in a nursing home undergoing dialysis. She wanted to thank everyone at church for the cards, phone calls, visits, and gifts, and especially for the prayer shawl Pastor had delivered. It was wonderful to talk with her and offer words of hope and caring.

Pastor and I had a few minutes to pray about the concerns of the members that were turned in on Sunday, but it was time to get back to work.

However, two more church members came in seeking assistance. They had come in to discuss some issues they were having and while listening I realized how they trusted God despite their plight, which now included being homeless. When they were finished talking with Pastor, I left with them and filled their gas tank to help them out.

When I returned, Pastor had left for her lunch appointment.

Though I didn’t accomplish a lot of things on my to-do list that day, my heart was blessed because God’s plans were much better than mine. These are the days when I really love working as a church secretary. The days when God rearranges my to-do list!


The Unwelcome Guest – Footsteps

And then came the mysterious footsteps which made me realize Harvey was real.

My son and daughter shared a bedroom at the bottom of the stairs which led up to my stepson’s bedroom. Each had their own twin bed.

One day I came home from work early because of a terrible headache. I decided to lay down on my daughter’s bed because it was much quieter in the back of the house.

Just as I was dropping off to sleep, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. I jumped up, thinking my stepson might have come home early from school but when I looked at the stairway, it was empty. I walked up the stairs and his room was empty.

I knew the steps I heard were coming down, not going up. The hairs on the back of my neck prickled and I hurried back down the steps and checked the entire house. The front door was still locked and no one else was in the house with me.

I figured I must have fallen asleep and dreamed it. I cautiously laid down on the bed again, but my heart was pounding and my headache was still raging. Then I heard the stairs creaking again. This time someone was going up. I stood at the bottom of the stairs watching…seeing nothing…yet hearing the footsteps continue upward.

I hurried to the front room and laid on the sofa, fear of the unknown taking precedence over my headache. A few minutes later, my stepson came home from school. When I told him what had happened, he said, “It was Harvey. I told you he was real.”

And that’s when I stopped teasing him because I knew there was something supernatural going on in the house.

We decided to move.

We were moving into a house we bought and it needed to have some work done before we could actually move in. Once the paperwork was in place, we decided to go every night to work on it so we could leave quickly.

The next day, I went down to the basement to do laundry. When I stepped on the first concrete step I felt something sharp stab my foot and I heard a scream. I looked down and saw a huge rat which disappeared into the dark.

I went to the doctor and received a tetanus shot and had my foot bandaged. The bite was pretty nasty. My husband put rat poison around the basement and on those basement stairs. The rats had burrowed into the basement and there was a hole where they came in from the back of the house where we’d seen them gathering. If we looked out the back door, we could see many, many rats. Black ones, gray ones, all enormous and ugly. Moving could not come soon enough!

(Part 5 – Final Installment – coming soon)


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)