Sunday, December 5, 2010

Message From Beyond the Veil

This happened to my eldest daughter on November 6, 1990. This is my journal entry twenty years ago—

Last night something really special happened to Mandee. She was chosen to experience a spiritual manifestation. We were taking turns reading chapter 8 in, A Witness and Warning. We were on the last page, and Mandee was reading a quote from Moroni 9:25-26 (Mormon to his beloved son, Moroni.)

“My son, be faithful in Christ, and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever.”

Part way through these scriptures, she looked up at me and smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, you know this scripture.” I can’t remember what my response was. She read a few more lines and said, “You have this memorized.” I was a little bewildered as to why she said something like that twice to me, so I asked her what she meant. She said, “You’re reciting this, so you must have it memorized.”

I wasn’t saying a thing while she was reading, and I told her so. So, she asked if Jason had been (Bill was not home yet, and not expected home until after their bedtime.) Jason had not either, and then she said, “I thought you were whispering what I was reading—the same scripture.”

I wasn’t.

I believe that she was privileged to bridge the veil for a brief moment and have a wonderful, faith-promoting spiritual experience. She began reading again, and kept looking up in bewilderment because she could still hear someone reciting that scripture to her.

The veil between heaven and earth is very thin, and we have but to listen to discover some of its hidden messages.

Don’t forget this, my sweet daughter!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making a Difference

A while ago, I stood in a friend’s front yard and we chatted. My friend wanted to save the world. “It’s a good idea,” I said to her, but my simple affirmation was not enough—she really wanted to save the world—to make a difference in a big way.

“Is that wrong of me—I mean isn’t it rather pretentious?”

I paused as I reflected on her question, and answered, “No—if you seek to save the world for the world’s sake—and not your own.”

She heartily agreed, and I saw in her eyes that she meant it. But she was in despair that sunny morning because circumstances beyond her control prevented her from attaining her desire. Her health might be in serious jeopardy, and she wondered why the Lord would do that—the timing appeared to be off. Hadn’t she prepared herself sufficiently?—studied the right books?—took the right classes? And hadn’t she felt the whisperings of the Holy Spirit telling her that she was on the right track?—doing exactly what she was meant to do? Her eyes filled with tears and her face reflected intense anguish.

“Of course you are on the right track,” I said, “—but maybe the Lord wants you to take a longer route—learn more in order to be the best instrument in his hand when the time comes.”

She agreed, but her eyes said she was not completely convinced.

He wants all of us to take the longer route. We have the opportunity to grow in mortality in ways that no other place under the heavens can offer. With a veil placed over our memory of our former existence in heaven, where else but earth—‘the greatest reality game ever contrived, by the greatest mind that exists’—can we prove ourselves through experience?

God wants us to have the full effect of our trials, and he will stretch them out to their bitter end in order for us to receive the maximum benefit that only enduring and striving to overcome a trial can afford.

Fortunately, our sojourn on earth is short, so why not look at it that way. Eventually, we will all stand before our Maker, and account for our earthly choices, and either be the wiser from them, and blissfully overjoyed to be back in His presence; or miserably cower and grovel at His feet.

My friend sighed, “But I don’t want to be common—I want to be special!”

I looked up and down her street and asked, “Who on your street is common?”

She stared blankly at me, “No one—no one is common.”

“Oh,” I said back to her, “So, how many have saved the world?”

Her eyebrows furrowed, and then she broke into a smile.

I hugged her and whispered, “God doesn’t have any common children, does he?”

Whatever our purpose is, God will lead us to it—and nothing that we are supposed to do is ‘common’ or unimportant. We all make a difference in more than one way … find your purpose …

Sunday, November 21, 2010


A little less than 1 ½ years ago, around May 2009, Bill and I were heading west on Brown, when he jumped and pointed forward. He had just seen the tail end of a collision at Brown and Val Vista. We were among the first at the intersection, and were the first in line in the far right lane. The cars involved in the accident came to a stop on the other side of Val Vista—across from us, but in the east bound lanes. Bill hopped out of our car and ran over to help, along with two or three other people. I stayed in the car and watched.

It didn’t seem like a very bad wreck from where I was sitting, and though I was concerned for the young girl behind the wheel, and her friend in the back, I wasn’t too worried. I watched as Bill stuck his head in the driver’s side window to check on her and the other girl, and then I just played the waiting game for him to return to our car. He was over there quite awhile.

Finally, he came back, and I had lots of questions. I wish I had recorded this when it happened, because too much time has elapsed for me to accurately recall all the details, but I think Bill told me that she had lost consciousness, but I’m not sure now. However, the one thing that I do remember clearly, as if it just happened yesterday—was his response when I asked how the girl was in the back seat.

He looked at me strange and said, “There wasn’t anyone in the back seat—there wasn’t anyone else in the car.”

He was adamant about it, but I so was I. I disagreed with him for a short while, but he would not relent, and neither would I.

He was over there—he stuck his head in the car, and he was there for a long while trying to help out, and I was simply sitting across the intersection, observing.

But,I truly had seen both a girl behind the wheel and a girl looking straight ahead from the back seat.

So, who did I see?

I’ve often wondered about that—wondered if she had left her own body—and wondered why I could see her, and not Bill.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fear is a Choice

Locations: Maine, California, Ohio, Arizona
Age: High School (and older)

I truly wish not to record these, but I know I must, for they are as much a part of my life experiences as the pleasant, peaceful, and joyous ones are.

I don’t recall how or when they began, but I think I know where. My parents bought a large two-story house and moved us from the dairy farm into town. I do not have bad feelings about that house, even though very scary things happened within its walls. I will not elaborate, or embellish with lofty words, I would much rather simply record the events and get on with it. So, it suffices to say, I saw, felt, heard, and experienced the unimaginable. Steven King hasn’t written anything close to what I went through. Fourteen nights in a row, gripped by some unseen force, jaw locked in place, visual, even actual electricity pulsating from my head to frayed electrical cords hanging from my bedroom ceiling, quarter-sized indentations in my leg, horrifying sounds. Imagining the hand of God protecting me, and sleeping with a Bible by my side were my only reprieve.

Later as a freshman at USC, while waiting for friends to come back to the car, I heard the frightful wail of wild dogs growling and gnashing their teeth, first off in the distance, and then surrounding the car that I sat in. I could see nothing outside the vehicle, but could only hear the terrible sounds just outside the car window. I prayed, and the sound went away, but came back twice.

In Ohio, when I went downstairs into Bill’s parent’s family room, I saw a plant rocking rhythmically back and forth. And one evening, I saw just the head of a very frightening apparition—with wild, wicked eyes, in full horrific color, floating above me in my bed.

I’ve seen other spirits, as well. Two of the spirits were alarming, one was not, with her long gray hair, and quiet demeanor. And one was a young girl of about 10 or 12. I’ve seen her at least three times in different locations, once with a young boy, dark hair, slightly older and taller than she.

Why me? Why not everyone? Maybe I needed to experience the evil to appreciate and choose the good. Maybe I’m chosen to stand as a witness that these things do exist. Maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, maybe I can help someone understand that they need not fear the unknown, for that is what I have learned.

Fear is a choice.

In the premortal existence, those who chose to follow Lucifer were cast out of heaven with him, and became forever damned. Doomed to roam the earth as wicked spirits, never to receive their own body. They love nothing more than to torment us, if we give them that power, for the only way they have power is through our consent. So don't give it to them.

I am not afraid, now that I understand. They were my brothers and sisters in the premortal existence. It was their choice to follow Lucifer. I have more power than they do, because I chose to follow God.

All things have purpose.

Nothing is without a cause, and all things can be explained and understood. There is sweet and comforting peace in knowledge and faith.

For more information see article- Things As They Really Are - Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Message from Beyond

Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Batavia, Ohio
Chicago Temple
Date: 1990-91

My brother Donnie and I were “Irish Twins”, which means that we shared the same birth age for a few days every year. When I was born, he hadn’t had his first birthday yet, and when he turned one, I was only thirty-eight days old. When I turned one, he still had thirty-eight days left until he turned two. It was fun being the same age with him for a few days each year.

I sure do miss him. He died in 1988 as a result of driving under the influence.

About a year after he died, I had an incredible experience. We were living in Maine. I had fallen asleep and in my “dream”, I opened a door and entered a pristine waiting room. Donnie entered a door from the other side of the room. He was radiant. The colors of his face; his blue eyes, and white teeth were unlike any colors that I had ever seen before—far greater augmented, and more brilliant than any earthly hues. He called me by my name, and we embraced. I can’t remember anything else, and don’t believe that I was meant to, but when I awoke I had a smile on my face that was so intense that it hurt.

Was it a dream? I don’t think so. The colors were nothing like anything I had ever experienced here in mortality, and the exquisite joy I had upon awakening needs no confirmation, nor explanation.

About a year later, we moved to Ohio. Bill’s parent’s ward was sending several of their youth ahead of the adults to the Chicago Temple to do baptisms for the dead. Jason and Mandee went with them. After they left, and had already arrived at the temple, I realized that Jason could do Donnie’s baptism, so I called the temple and requested that he be allowed to do my brother’s work. Proper protocol was to send a family group sheet along, and I hadn’t. Someone in the Chicago Temple decided to call Salt Lake—which surprised and delighted me as Jason got special permission from Salt Lake to perform Donnie’s baptism.

One of the sisters in my ward that witnessed it told me that Jason had already performed his fifteen baptisms and had redressed, but they had him change back into baptismal clothing again to participate in Donnie’s baptism. She said it was very spiritual. Jason had known Donnie all of his young life.

The next day, we arrived to do the rest of the temple ordinances, and in a special part of the temple, my brother spoke to me, just like in my dream, calling me by name. I recognized his voice instantly, and turned to see him, but could not, as I’m sure I would not have maintained the quiet reverence one ought to in a holy temple.

We are meant to live by faith, and I do, but in some things in my life, I have knowledge. I know, without a doubt for I witnessed it, that my brother Donnie was there in the temple that day, and continues to work hard on the other side of the veil in behalf of his loved ones—every one of them.

How can I question the reality of things not seen? The Lord has blessed me above measure with many peculiar experiences that testify to me of life beyond this life.

For those of you unfamiliar with the purpose for baptisms for the dead see Ensign Article, A Temple-Motivated People

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Young Spirits

Locations: Maine; Arizona

The first time I saw her was in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. She was wearing a knee length dress, and had long hair. She looked directly at me, and then turned back and passed through the upstairs hallway in front of me—not up or down the hallway, but through the walls on either side.

The second time I saw this young spirit was in Phoenix, AZ, on 29th Ave and Union Hills. It was the same thing—only the hallway was downstairs, and I stepped into the hallway, and saw her pass through the walls again.

The third time was rather interesting. Four of our closest friends, the Loves, and the Gentrys, and Bill and I, performed forty temple sealings in the Mesa Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It happened to fall on Valentine’s Day—which was kind of sweet. We were in a small sealing room that had a narrow stairwell leading up to it. It was hot that day. I can’t recall if there had been a problem with the air conditioning or not, but the room was stuffy. They told us they were going to leave the door open a bit to let the air circulate, as they had had a patron faint earlier.

We took turns in the various sealings, and when it wasn’t my turn, I sat and occasional found my gaze wandering to the partially opened door. I saw a group of women walk past the door, and only saw the hems of their long white dresses, and then I saw a young girl, of about 10 or so, pass by. The curious thing is that she later passed by going back the way she came, and then passed by the door again. There was a young boy—a little taller than she was, with her one of those times. I also saw temple workers talking to each other at the foot of the stairs, and noted that I could only see the top half of them, because I was sitting down.

After the sealings, I lingered for a while, pondering the eternal nature of a temple sealing, and when I went to leave the room, I was absolutely surprised to find that there was no hallway on the top of the stairwell where I had seen the hems of the group of women pass by, and the young girl and boy. I totally expected to see a hallway cross the outside of the door where I had seen them pass, but there wasn't any, only the enclosed stairwell going down to the lower floor.

I immediately went to see the person in charge of sealings and inquired if there had been any children sealed to their parents that afternoon (live sealings.) He said no, but earlier that morning they had a Hispanic couple with children sealed. Because I could compare the women's hems, and the full length view of the two children passing by the room with the temple workers at the bottom of the stairs that I could only view from the waist or so up, I concluded that these indeed had been spirits who had witnessed their own sealings, and were most definitely, family members of mine.

Still, we sealed no children to their parents that day.

Who were those two children, and what message were they trying to send to me?

I haven't seen her since, perhaps someone else has heeded her call, but I suspect that one day, she's going to ask me why I didn't jump on it right away and search for her, so I guess, I'd better do it, just in case she's still waiting.

For those of you who are not familiar with temples and their divine purpose, visit

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Death Dreams

Death Dreams-Part II
Location Gilbert, Arizona
Date: June or July 2000

It was shortly after we moved back to Arizona, that I had my second death dream. The dream lasted the entire night. I dreamt that a small group of spirits were trying to reach me. They were American Indians. I purposely evaded them from dream to dream. They came to each dream I had that evening, all night long. I wasn’t afraid of them, even though I knew that they were spirits. It was as if I knew what they wanted—but didn’t want to comply. Towards the morning, I could evade them no longer, and finally allowed them to speak to me. They wanted me to return with them to the spirit world. They wanted me to sing with them in some kind of a concert. I chose not to go.

Interesting, huh? And yet, the very next night, I had an even more fascinating death dream. ...

Death Dreams-Part III
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Date: June or July 2000

In the middle of the night I awoke and found my deceased father standing across from me, at the foot of my bed. Bill was sleeping in between us. My dad called me by my nickname, Terri. It was wonderful to hear his voice! The voices of the deceased ones that I love are the hardest part for me to recall, but I recognize them immediately. Daddy didn’t say anything else, but I knew what he wanted. He wanted me to return with him.

I said, “I will be obedient,” but then began to cry as my eyes rested on Bill. I said, “I love you,” to Bill three times, and then lay back down. I heard a soft rumbling sound, and felt a gentle swirling sensation growing in intensity surrounding my body. I knew that if I did nothing, my spirit would leave my body, so, I stopped it.

Instantly, Daddy was gone, and I was not asleep. I had nothing to wake up from, no pulling out of any sort of dream state, or dreamy awakening … I was not sleeping, so did not need to awake. I was simply there, alone with Bill sleeping by my side.

What does one do, when in an instant a pretty incredible experience ends, and you are left to ponder its meaning? Does one simply go back to sleep? Oh, no, no, no, no.

I immediately got out of bed and got on my knees. I told God that I would be obedient, if indeed he wanted me to come home that evening, then I would go, but, if I could choose, then I wanted to stay with Bill.

Then I sat down and wrote the whole experience out, and a message to each one of my children (just in case … ) It is hand-written on a piece of yellow cardstock, and filed in a white cabinet under my desk in my bedroom.

I am not afraid of death. It holds little mystery, but all wonder to me. I imagine when I do leave this existence, it will be quite like the dreams I’ve had, but only better.

However, if Bill should ever leave mortality before me, and then come for me—there is nothing on this earth that would keep me from leaping into his arms. Until then, I’d like to stay just a little longer, and try a little harder to be a little better, and I’ll keep on asking, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the Lord’s will for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Death Dreams Part I

Location: Batavia Ohio
Date: 1999

Have you ever had a dream that you died? I had three of them within six months, two of them back-to-back, two nights in a row. My first death dream happened the last year that we lived in Ohio.

I dreamt that I had died. I could not remember how, but knew that it had just happened. In my dream, my deceased family came to see me. There was a large group of them. My brother Donnie was not there, but I was told that he was busily engaged and would come to see me as soon as he was finished with what he was doing.

In the next part of my dream, I was in a dormitory-like room with a woman named Linda, who was also recently dead. She was tall and had short blond hair, but was not anyone familiar to me. We gathered our stuff together and began to walk towards a large building along with other spirits.
I remember seeing the building off in the distance. I remember green grass to the right of the sidewalk that we walked on. We got about half way there when we remembered we had left something in the dormitory. It was an iron of sorts. I can’t explain it, because I don’t understand it. It was very unusual in a futuristic sort of way. How difficult it is for any time-trapped mortal to explain an object of eternity.

We paused for a moment as we discussed going back to get the iron. I did not want to go, but Linda did. I watched her walk back towards the dormitory, and even turned from her and took a few steps towards the building. I began to feel a little guilty for not going with her, so I turned around and started to follow her. After a few steps, I stopped, and this thought came to me, “Wait! I’m dead! Why am I walking?” So, I simply thought about where I wanted to go, and instantly was there.

It must have been a dream, because here I am today, but what a fascinating dream it was! To dream—so clearly of the moments following death, greeting my family, anticipating seeing my brother Donnie as soon as he was able, having a recently dead roommate, preparing to go to some important meeting, and transporting myself back to the dormitory rather than using any snail-pace mortal means, what great fun!

What a grand adventure this mortal life has been. For a short moment in time, I am limited in my eternal, god-like abilities in order to glean as much as possible from this human-like experience. We are all gods in embryo, not unlike our creator, but created in His literal image. Young gods yet in infancy…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Facing Mortality

A couple years ago, while I lay in a hospital bed, near death from a string of blood clots that passed through my heart and into my lungs, this is the song that came to me when I thought to write about what I was feeling. It's one of my favorites ...

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a dream that you dream of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Do, really do come true

Somewhere Over the Rainbow by E.Y. Harburg

After I typed those words on my laptop, my all-time favorite song came to me ...

I believe in Christ;
He stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain
His voice is heard: “ye shall obtain.”

I believe in Christ
So come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on the earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

I Believe in Christ by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

I believe in Christ! He is not some mystic being that exists to rule over me … but a loving brother, who personally knows me, and loves me.

My mortality
What a journey it is

A kaleidoscope of beauty and love
Mingled with a myriad of trials
All carefully orchestrated for my incredulous growth

My heart is filled with gratitude for my life experiences,
More particularly the ones that have caused me
To reflect on the purpose of life
And the tender mercies of the Lord

As I passed through that new trial, I reflected on some of those experiences …

Near Death, A Choice of Life
Age: 19
Location: BYU Provo, Utah
Date: 1977

I was in the winter semester at BYU, after transferring from USC following the fall semester there, and had for many reasons concluded that life was everlastingly too hard. I was deeply saddened by the events in the world around me, and by the choices of friends, and loved ones. As a freshman 3,000 miles from home, who hadn’t been home for 5 months, I was terribly homesick, too.

Along with that, I was also depressed due to feeling so alone at BYU. I had joined the church at USC, transferred to BYU, and knew very few people. Because I worked the night-shift full-time, I didn’t get to socialize at all. The two students Martha, and Mary, who transferred from USC to BYU with me, had become great friends with each other, and I felt more like a bother to them, not a friend. Martha had a car, and a bank account her father kept up for her, and Martha really liked Mary, and took her everywhere. They never asked me to go with them. I didn’t have a car, and from January to April walked two to three miles each winter night to work, and then walked home in the morning. I barely made enough money to pay for my rent at the Riviera Apartments, and for my own food. I had classes at 10:00 in the morning and sometimes concerts in the early evening (I played in the BYU Symphony Orchestra). I remember a couple of times not going to bed at all, but going from work to school to concert to work …

I guess I had had enough, and one evening deep in thought, I unwittingly willed myself to go home. It wasn’t anything I was attempting to do, it just happened. I lay on my bed at the apartment, and simply asked to come home, back to my Father in heaven, exercising the faith that I had. The faith and the will I had was in conjunction with the spirit. I felt very close to the Lord. I felt a swirling sensation that started from my feet and moved up through my body. I felt like my spirit was leaving my body, and it frightened me, so I stopped it.

I write about it, because it is such a fascinating experience. The faith, the answer, the reprieve … the story of my mortal life continues as such, always being saved from myself.

Unexpected Visitors
Batavia Ohio - Sneed’s Residence
Late 1978 or early 1979
Age: 21

I was about three months pregnant with our oldest son, Jason, when I pulled a string of muscles in my back lifting a small TV. The doctor told me to stay in bed for two weeks while it healed. We left our small apartment in Batavia, and stayed at Bill’s parent’s home on the other side of town. I tenderly remember the loving way Bill’s mother, Shirley, took care of me. One day she peeled a pink grapefruit, broke it into wedges, and sprinkled it with sugar. She brought it in to me. I had never had pink grapefruit prepared like that before, but more especially had not been pampered since I was a child, years ago, by my own mother.

We stayed in Bill’s brother’s room. It was a small bedroom, but we managed to put a TV in the corner, and our three year old daughter Mandee’s sleeping bag on the floor beside us. There was a window across from the bed, and a dresser against the same wall the headboard was against. The bed was alongside the wall opposite the window. I slept on the outside of the bed for easier access both in and out of bed.

I awoke one night to find two men dressed in white standing by my bed. They were not frightening in the least, in fact, it seemed quite natural and not out of the ordinary at all to see them. The one on the left reached his hand out to me, and said, “It’s time to go.” I began to sit up and reach my hand to his, but looked back at Bill, and said, “No. I want to stay with Bill.” I do not remember anything past that. I must have simply cuddled next to Bill, and gone back to sleep.

Was it a dream? If anything had been out of place in that room, I may have wondered so, but there wasn’t. The room was exactly the way it was when I went to sleep that night. I noted that the TV was in the corner, the dresser to my right, Bill on the other side of me, and Mandee sleeping soundly on the floor. There just happened to be two men, dressed in white, standing there, too.

Was it my time to go? Apparently not, but maybe so. Did I have a choice? Perhaps. Was it the same choice that I had at BYU? I think so. And yet, a greater message is woven into the fibers of this experience … I turned to Bill, and chose him.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dreams and Other Significant Things

3. The Bear Truth

I grew up on a dairy farm in the woodlands of Maine, where daisy-pocked meadows were my playground, and dense forests—my sanctuary. Every day was an adventure for me, from climbing oaks and maples high above the roof of our farmhouse—to searching for green, slithery snakes under rocks. I lived outdoors—and fondly remember my mother lining her freshly cleaned floors with paths of newspapers to keep our grubby feet from soiling her hard work. Cold weather didn’t keep us indoors—old socks replaced soaked, woolen mittens. The sweet, musty smell of wet wool drying on an open oven door is forever locked in the memory of my youth. Late summer nights and daunting porch lights shadowing tall stalks of goldenrod created an alluring world for twilight hide and seek, which was interrupted only by the incessant buzz of pesky mosquitoes, or the distraction of mystifying fireflies.

Our farm bordered several acres of meadows to the north and south, with a long stretch of corn to the east. A well-worn path made first by grazing cows, and then by the patter of our tiny feet, weaved through the tall meadows. Old forests—untouched for hundreds of years, surrounded the whole, like a green blanket wrapped tight about its child. It was not unusual for me to look to the meadows and see a fox scurrying along, or to the large patch of red and black raspberries that grew near a grove of trees close to our house and see other wild animals like skunks, porcupines, raccoons, and even moose. If I awoke early enough, I could see herds of deer from my bedroom window. Later in the day, we’d find deep impressions in the soft grass made from their night of peaceful sleep.

A single row of trees growing sporadically alongside a rock wall split the meadows south of the farm. As children, we named each tree and rock according to their particular size, shape or function. Slide Rock, Bed Rock, Picnic Rock, and Gum Tree all embraced childhood play and wonder. Picnic Rock is where this story took place.

“Aunt Anna’s here! Aunt Anna’s here!” We jumped up and down with excitement when her car pulled into our long driveway. Aunt Anna always brought candy. But this particular time, she brought a new doll, too. I saw the doll first, and grabbed for it, but so did my older sister and a fight ensued. Aunt Anna put a quick stop to it, informing me that it was indeed for JoAnn. For the first time in my young life, a rather colorful word popped out of my mouth.

Who knows why one flees during times like that?—Embarrassment? Fear of having my skinny legs stung with a thin, homemade switch?—or my mouth washed out with a nasty bar of soap? Alas, I ran down through the meadow all the way to Picnic Rock, climbed up on it, and pouted.

My mind was a jumble of emotions—embarrassment, shame, self-pity—I did feel a bit justified, too, after all, I had seen it first. When all of the sudden, I caught a glimpse of something brown lumbering over a small knoll, and then meandering its way down the path through the tall goldenrod towards me—separating me from my house.

A big, brown bear weaved through the tall grass towards me. Fear gripped my tiny heart. What could I do? How could I get safely back to my house? I wanted to pray for help, but how does one ask God for help directly after doing something wrong? I had learned about repentance in the Baptist church my family attended, but how does one sincerely ask for forgiveness while in the wake of danger? I didn’t know how to do it any other way, so I just asked, took a deep breath, and climbed down off the rock. I walked slowly up the path, the only way I knew to get to safety, having faith that I would be protected, even though I could see the bear coming straight towards me.

The bear got about ten feet away from me and then stopped. It rose up on its hind legs and let out a bellowing grunt of disgust, as Mom’s old, brown, fur coat fell off my brother, Donnie’s shoulders. I was temporarily in shock, but then broke out in giggles, trying to hide my enormous relief. Donnie was quite disappointed, and grumbled, “Why weren’t you scared?”

You would think that perhaps I would have told him of my deep faith in God, and that I had been indeed, terribly frightened. What a tale of truth that would have been, but instead my young, clever mouth blurted out, “Oh Donnie! I knew it was you all the time!” And I, alas, began a life of constant repentance…

Dreams and Other Significant Things

2. Angelic Choruses
Age: 10 or 11 (approximate)
Location: Dairy Farm, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine

I don’t remember much about this, but I do remember it happening. I share this experience with my older sister, JoAnn. I don’t remember the day or year, or whether it was spring or summer, morning or evening, but I do remember the music we heard in our upstairs bedroom. Music that came from nowhere—for we searched everywhere for its source—beautiful, peaceful, angelic choruses floating gently through our room…

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dreams and Other Significant Things

What are dreams? Are they the imaginations of the heart, or the soul at play without imposed limitations to restrict it? Do they have meaning—messages from beyond? And what of unexplained phenomenon—has it a purpose? I think, yes. These are some of my life experiences...

1. Being in White
Age: 10 (approximate)
Location: Dairy Farm, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine

Though it was many years ago, I vividly remember the bedroom I shared with my older sister, JoAnn. It was big enough for our twin beds, which straddled the only heat source in our room, a small register in the floor. The square-shaped register had an iron grid top and bottom. At some point we discovered that the top could be removed, and that we could easily fit one of our sneaky heads down into it, and though upside down, could watch whatever T.V. program our parents had sent us to bed early not to see. I often wonder what fear would have gripped my heart if Daddy had looked up and seen my conniving eyes looking down.

Our bedroom had one window that looked out over the meadows, and on to the woods. The room had three doors, one that led down an enclosed stairwell to the kitchen, a short door that opened to a small cubby, and a door to the attic. The attic held a secret of mine as it became the burial place of a small litter of unfortunate kittens, which my tiny hands lovingly laid to rest amongst the soft, pink fiberglass under its worn boards. JoAnn slept in the bed closest to the window, mine was by the attic door. The door that led downstairs to the kitchen was at the foot of both our beds.

JoAnn had stayed late at a friends house and upon returning, decided to sleep downstairs on one of the two couches in the living room. I awoke during the night and went downstairs for a drink of water. I left the door upstairs open. As I ascended the stairs, my eyes beheld a being, all arrayed in white, sitting on JoAnn’s bed, facing mine. I did not turn and run, but quickly surmised the situation. I looked to the register to see if any light from it could be causing the image I saw. I checked the window and the attic door for any signs of light. There wasn’t any, and yet the being remained, eyes fixed on me. He did not do, or say anything. I suppose he waited for my reaction to him. He presented no danger to me—no reason to fear him, but I did. I’m convinced that a staunch Baptist upbringing entrenched in unnatural fear gripped my young heart, of which I sorely regret. I inched my way over to my bed, snatched a pillow, and then hurried downstairs to the second couch with our family dog, Duchess, by my side. I remember no sleep, but prayed for protection for the rest of the night.

Who was that being, and what was his purpose? Why was he entirely white, from the top of his head, to the bottom of his feet? Did he have a message for me, or perhaps a request? Dare I imagine I hold some importance to him somehow? Or was he merely resting, before continuing his journey?

I do know, as anyone would, that he was not of this world—at that moment at least. Perhaps he was an ancestor returning to stir my heart towards spiritual matters, or an angel of God, whose purpose remains unknown for a while longer?

Whatever the purpose, this undeniable fact remains—there is more to life than meets the mortal eye. I bear firm witness of that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Walking on Water

Don’t you hate it when you have a dream that shocks you awake? The other night I dreamt that Bill and I were on a narrow, well-traveled road. There were other vehicles on the road with us traveling in the same direction, but I don’t remember any coming the opposite way. We all seemed to be moving forward. We were in a terrible storm—heavy rain and wind. I didn’t notice that the road we were on didn’t have any side rails until the wind and rain caused our vehicle to hydroplane off the road and onto the surface of an ocean—pocked with thousands of uniform waves—much like the surface of any water when rained upon. We skimmed the surface of the ocean for about four seconds before I assessed the situation and said, “We’re going to die.” I was shocked awake, and immediately planned our escape from our impending dome (the writer/survivor in me.)

So, I was thinking.

I remember being taught in my youth about the story of Peter. He looked out of his ship and saw Jesus walking on the surface of the water and desired to be with him. Christ told him to come out of the safety of the ship and walk upon the water with him, and with knowledge of the Savior right there in front of him, he took that first step, and then the second, and then the third. I remember as a child being excited to hear that story, I mean, who wouldn’t like to be able to walk on top of water with the Savior? Peter did it, and was doing just fine with his eyes and heart focused on the mark, even Jesus Christ himself, but as he felt the storm around him and looked down, he feared, and slipped into the icy water. I was not disappointed as a child with Peter’s failure, when the rest of the story told of how Christ stretched forth his hand and saved him. As an adult, I see a lot of similarities in my own life.


Faith is to hope for things that you can’t see.

I believe in Christ, but even though through faith, I clearly see the mark before me, how easy it is to “look down” and slip into doubt and fear.

How much this life is like walking on water while the storm rages around us, but if our focus is on the mark, even Christ, we can pass through any trial. We can overcome any obstacle, we can brave any storm, but if we do begin to sink, or even get completely submerged in the icy depths of the ocean, Christ is ever there, stretching forth his hand...

I’m walking on water, and I won’t look down.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We Are Not Alone

Would God create us, dump us in a dying, corruptible world, and then forget us? No! He created our spirits, lovingly placed us in magnificent bodies on a glorious, yet mortal earth, knowing that it, like us, would eventually need to be cleansed and purified before being allowed to return to abide in His presence. He gave us all the tools we need to survive, including a loving Savior, and the promptings of an ever watchful friend and companion, the Holy Ghost.

About six months ago, while sitting at my computer, a clear, intense prompting came to me. I heard a thought, not of mine own, that said, "Cleanse the inner vessel." It's hard to explain. It wasn't like thinking about something because a particular stimulus was placed before me causing me to reflect upon it. It was much deeper, like spirit speaking to spirit. That makes sense to me, because the inner part of us is pure, eternal spirit, and the Holy Spirit is, well, a spirit—spirit, speaking to spirit. For the most part, I have continued to follow that prompting, though I still struggle.

Several years ago in Ohio, I had a similar spirit-to-spirit prompting. I was driving home at about 55 mph on a twisting, tree-lined road, when I heard a "thought", not of mine own, say, "Slow down." I immediately listened. Now, if I had taken the time to question the thought, I wouldn't have followed it, because it made no sense. Slow down? I wasn't speeding, and there wasn't any traffic. But I didn't question, I obeyed, and slowed down to about 20-25 mph for no apparent reason. As I rounded the bend, I came upon two disabled vehicles blocking both sides of the road. I would have been seriously injured, or worse, if I hadn’t been protected by that prompting.

It wasn’t my thought.

So, whose was it? It is experiences like that that cause me to testify that there is a greater existence than that which we see before us. We have great purpose in life—and greater purpose in the eternities. We are not alone—we never have been.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Musings on C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters

Time vs. Eternity, or Then You Woke
by Theresa M. Sneed

"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." -Psalm 90:4

Screwtape says, "The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity." p. 75

"Humans live in time..."
I have often wondered about the concept of time. What if time is separate from eternity, and actually exists within it? Screwtape writes, "Present is the point in which time touches eternity." Perhaps the Past is also a point that touches eternity, so that eternity exists on either side.

It seems to me that earthly time of mortal lives is one of the grandest creations. In my fantastical imagination, I perceive this life to be the greatest reality game ever contrived, by the greatest, most advanced intellect that exists. We first lived in eternity with our Creator, and then we were born into time, and at death, we will return to that same eternity.

In 2 Peter 3:8-9, it states:
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

I did the math on that:

1 day..............1000 years
1 hr...............41.66 years
30 min.............20.83 years
15 min.............10.415 years
7.5 min............5.2075 years
3.75 min...........2.60375 years
1.875 min..........1.301875 years, or about 1 1/3 year
56.25 sec..........7.81135 months, or 234.337 days
28.125 sec.........3.905625 months, or 117.1688 days
14.0625 sec........1.952813 months or 58.584338 days
7 sec..............29.29210 days
3.5 sec............14.6461 days
1.75 sec...........7.32 days
.875 of a sec. .....3.66 days
.4375 of a sec.....1.83 days, or 43.92 hours

SO, about 1/2 second of God's time is equal to about 2 days, or 44 hours of man's; and about 1 second of God's time is equal to almost 4 days, or 88 hours of man's.

Imagine a plan so intricate to encompass thousands of years of mankind, and billions of lives, and yet be intimately involved at all times, and in all places, with all lives ... such is our God.

Screwtape writes; "The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift." p. 112

How long the days seemed to drag on when I was a young girl attending Dover Elementary school. Each day seemed as a week. I distinctly remember how much faster the days went by when I entered the 6th grade, separated in our own building from the elementary school. And why in my sleep doth time speed past, while it ebbs slowly by for those yet awake? Wasn't the same amount of time expended? Was not the minute 60 seconds, and the hour still 60 more?

Screwtape recognizes times' merits when he says, "How valuable time is to us may be gauged by the fact that our Enemy allows us so little of it." p. 157

Lewis alludes to the time limitations imposed on Screwtape and his nephew Wormtongue for seeking out and taking individual "patients". Gratefully, that is true, as the time is quickly approaching that the power of the adversary will cease, and his time upon this earth, and those who followed him, will come to an abrupt end.

Here is truly one of Screwtapes greatest deceptions:
"They of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so." p. 154

The greatest fear of man, often unspoken, is death, but why? Consider that if a man lives an average life span of 80 years, he will be away from God for less than two hours! That's not even the length of a good movie!

Why is death so welcomed to the sick in hospitals who many times see deceased loved ones as if they were alive? Maybe, it's because they do. It's like going back to them, the ones they love, and to the great place they just left a few moments earlier.

Screwtape: "...human birth is important chiefly as the qualification for human death, and death soley as the gate to that other kind of life." p. 157

So eloquently written ... man must be born, and must be deathed back into eternity from whence he came, but to another kind of life.

Screwtape: "Did you mark how naturally, as if he had born for it, the earth born vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous?" p. 172

Wonderfully and insightfully put! "How naturally..." as if it, his death, were santioned to be.

My very favorite Screwtapian philosophy:

"The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it? As he saw you, he also saw Them." p. 173

I have imagined this, and quite expect it will be so.