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Retha's Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul

Retha's Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul

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Retha's Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul

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690 página
11 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Oct 17, 2012
ISBN:
9781452551937
Formato:
Libro

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In Rethas Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul, Retha hears her God, the sun, speak to her for the first time at the age of seven. He speaks of a baby boy being born who lived far away from her and is her beloved. As long as she listens to Gods voice and stays on her path and the young boy stays on his path, with Gods guidance, they will meet.

She strays many times from the voice of God and her path. During the journey, she is struck with a devastating Bipolar Disorder, and her young son is diagnosed with Crohns disease, which nearly took his life. Her faith began taking new direction, and she began experiencing phenomenal supernatural events in her life. Her intuition became increasingly powerful; however, internal, mind-altering suffering kept plaguing her.

Music, directed by the angels, was the compelling force that was the interwoven thread that could bring these two souls together, as they are both singers and songwriters. Could a miracle happen?

Editorial:
Publicado:
Oct 17, 2012
ISBN:
9781452551937
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Retha Bogard has studied extensively in the areas of the healing arts and major religions and now consults many people with various diseases and disorders, helping them overcome their challenges. Her intense love of music was used by writing and composing music during her own healing process from Bipolar Disorder. She currently resides in Highland Park, Illinois, and her son lives ten miles away in Skokie. She has released a CD of relaxation and healing music entitled Come to Me Spirit.

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Retha's Song - Retha Bogard

Retha’s Song

A Rhapsody of the Soul

Retha Bogard

Copyright © 2012 by Retha Bogard.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

ISBN: 978-1-4525-5192-0 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4525-5193-7 (e)

ISBN: 978-1-4525-5194-4 (hc)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012908042

Balboa Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

Balboa Press

A Division of Hay House

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

www.balboapress.com

1-(877) 407-4847

This book is a work of non-fiction. Unless otherwise noted, the author and the publisher make no explicit guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this book and in some cases, names of people and places have been altered to protect their privacy.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

The author of this book does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical, emotional, or medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. The intent of the author is only to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual well-being. In the event you use any of the information in this book for yourself, which is your constitutional right, the author and the publisher assume no responsibility for your actions.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Balboa Press rev. date: 10/08/2012

Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

PART I

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

PART II

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

PART III

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

PART IV

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

About the Author

With love to my son, Dezmond, my highest Angel,

and in loving memory of Lisa Spoor

Preface

As I sit here surrounded by purple Felecia Daisies and purple Asters at the English Garden Wall in the Chicago Botanic Garden, I listen to the wind and the water splashing in the central fountain. And yes, yellow butterflies are flitting too. This life seems so carefree, as it should, because I have journeyed with an illness that is so wretched it drags you face down right into the gates of hell only then to turn right around and blind you with such supernatural brilliance. These occurrences are beyond mental comprehension, and the common person is left simply dumbfounded or running scared, maybe both.

I have been labeled many things in the metaphysical arena, but my comment would be, I’m just Retha. Period. Maybe I do tune into a God frequency that most people do not get to experience, but that is not my main focus or even my intent. My main objective in life is to heal any broken heart, soul or body that wants to be renewed. It may be through my music, my hands or simply my rock, my faith.

At any rate, as you will read, I am a survivor. Yes, I am a survivor. And my undeniable, unshakeable faith and singing were my saving grace.

Retha’s Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul is my song that I waited to write about since I was thirty years old. I have had the opportunity to live one incredible life and now would like to share with you through musical lyrics and the written word the entire song.

The book became a reality 22 years ago as I began to journal daily about my normal life and subsequent normal life’s experiences. I was already a songwriter and musical composer, and I also loved writing about life. Writing had been a great outlet for me after spending the majority of the day and evening keeping up with my two year old son. Deep in my heart, somewhere, somehow, I knew I was on a mission, about what exactly I was unsure; however, I was in search of my life’s purpose or perhaps a soul quest. Simply stated, that is how the journal writing began. The events that unfolded over the next 22 years, however bizarre or unbelievable they may seem, really are based on truth. The character’s names have been changed to protect their privacy and their families.

As I began writing in my journals, I would experience euphoric episodes or some would have argued, experiences from the divine. I just knew they were way out of my league, I mean; after all I was 30 years old, a stay-at-home mom, housewife and performed music on the weekends at the Diocesan Catholic Church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Initially, I thought the experiences were of the divine not realizing from an outside point of view I was having delusional thinking and behaving in an unusual manner. However, I would pray and miracles would abound. I mean, big miracles, healing miracles that were hard for doctors to even explain. With these euphoric episodes came grave concern from family and friends. They thought my thinking and behavior were quite unusual, but I felt quite normal. In retrospect, I had a predisposition to the ethereal and the supernatural so these euphoric episodes didn’t really upset me or furthermore even alarm me. The strange thing was, even when I wasn’t euphoric, I still had these prophetic dreams or visionary dreams. They all have come true and continue to happen to this day. Not only do the dreams come to fruition, I have noticed that my intuition and healing abilities have increased. Medicine has a hard time understanding these phenomena so I usually keep them to myself as to not cause great alarm and then continue on my way. I have realized in writing this book, healing is where it is at. Healing one self and healing the voids from within that mask us from our true potential. Yes, that is what we all were sent to do and to help each other in our processes.

One evening in the first year I began to journal, before choir rehearsal, a woman in the choir, came up to me at the piano and pulled me aside and said,

Retha, I just found out today that I have breast cancer, and no one knows, not even my husband. I’ve come to you because you have a faith and prayer system that is very unorthodox. Bottom line, your prayers are always answered and most of the time in a positive fashion. I’ve seen you in action, and it is simply amazing. You walk with a Light surrounding you. Could you pray for me? I replied,

Georgi, you need not ask. It is done.

I put my arms around her to comfort her and felt her body go limp in my arms finally relaxing from her day’s trauma and tension. I encircled her in the Light every day and saw a beam of light piercing the breast that was impaired. Six months later Georgi came to me and said,

What you do is amazing. I am healed of all the cancer. It is all gone!!

I was amazed at the power of prayer and thought. It truly can save lives. If I had only known this power exists in each of us six years earlier.

My very dear friend, Jolie O’Killian’s kid sister, Lisa, had issues that none of the girls in our high school circle could quite figure out. She had mood swings that swung real high and real low and behavior that was life threatening. We were all very concerned for Lisa, but we were young at the time and definitely were clueless as to how to help her. She had attempted suicide many times but fortunately was always rescued by someone. Then, in 1984, I received the call. Lisa had passed away. I was numb and sick at the same time. Why couldn’t someone have helped her for God’s sake? Why??? I was mad and wanted some answers. With time, the answers were unveiled.

The next day and night, Conrad, my husband, and I drove eight hours in the thickest, densest fog I had ever seen to go home to be with friends and support Lisa’s only surviving sibling, Jolie, and her mom. This just seemed surreal. I was definitely not registering the magnitude of the death of one of my closest friends. It was truly beyond me. At the wake, Jolie and her mom asked if I could sing at Lisa’s funeral. I replied instantly,

Most definitely.

They asked me to sing How Great Thou Art and a song that Conrad and I had written. For some reason, by singing, I knew I would connect to Lisa, and I knew she would hear the songs.

After the wake, while at my mom’s having a beer and a smoke, I said to Conrad and my mom,

I can’t sing at her funeral. I just can’t. My nerves are shot and I feel weak. Mom said,

Go and sing for Jolie and her mom. They need the reassurance of your singing, and Lisa will hear you in her own way. You will be fine. Take the focus off your feelings and share the gift you have with those who are in such, such despair. This loss is very big to all of us.

I did sing from my soul that Saturday morning, and I felt Lisa’s Spirit soar through that room. It was if my singing and her Spirit were chasing each other in the room. I was reassured that Lisa was in a safe place after the singing was over. We drove four hours to the burial site and buried that day a young woman who had such endless potential, beauty and wit. I was determined to educate my children on whom Lisa was and how not to get messed up using drugs and over consuming alcohol, not realizing it was a mental disorder that fueled the drugs and alcohol.

That afternoon, Conrad and I, headed back to northern Illinois as we were meeting college friends at a roadside diner. Once again, the fog was so thick I had to open my window so I could stick my head out the window to see the road lines. Probably not the brightest thing I had ever done! Finally, Conrad pulled off the road to take a break. The fog was really draining us.

After six hours, we made it to the restaurant and walked in through the front door of the restaurant and who was standing five feet in front of us but LISA. She was calm, poised, radiant and smiling the most peaceful, gentle smile. Conrad grabbed my arm and said,

Reth, how can Lisa be here??? We just buried her for God’s sake.

I looked up into Conrad’s eyes and felt like I was going to explode with such joy and said,

This is the resurrection Conny! She may have died in an unacceptable fashion, but she is one of God’s children. He knew her pain and suffering unlike any of us, took her in and took her home.

As we looked back at Lisa, she was gone just as she appeared. Seeing her that day was a major example as to how we are all God’s children. No matter what deficiencies, what religious background or race we come from, or what kind of malfunction of judgment we may elicit from time to time, we all remain God’s chosen children.

A few years later, Jolie explained to me that Lisa had been diagnosed by one of her doctors as manic/depressive. I carried that with me quietly in my heart until I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder (manic/depressive) sometime later. I then walked the dark road my dear friend Lisa walked and it was a tough one, very tough. But, as I journeyed with Bi-Polar, I promised Lisa and myself that I would beat this disorder, overcome it and live a healthy, vibrant, energized life and give back to so many that maybe didn’t have the resources to overcome their challenges.

My dream, (get that, my dream) since I was four years old, was to be a successful musician. I incessantly nurtured that dream until I was 44 then the inner voice spoke up very loudly and said,

It’s time to move into a new direction. Write the book that will help millions of people. You are a healer of broken souls, the music will follow.

So I began to write. The majority of the book took six months to write. It was if it had all been prerecorded in my brain, and all I needed to do was sit at the computer and type. But then for some strange reason, I stopped writing in 2005 and picked up writing the conclusion just a few months ago. Yes, I am a perfectionist. Maybe I need to let up a bit on that trait!

After much reading of Jesus’ travels and learning about His healing techniques, healing in general, Spirit, Christianity, the Bible, Kabbalah, Asian healing, chakras, theology, New Age, life-after-life, self-help, soul mates, angels, angels and more angels, I came to realize that healer of the soul was a Greek word for intuitive, one trait I was not really ready to acquire in my repertoire. However, when one is an intuitive, they know it and there is no avoiding the subject.

Jesus is the Son of God and was so connected to His Father’s healing power, always thanked God before He performed a miracle and knew His request would be answered. I really feel Jesus connected to that God consciousness and calls us to do the same using all of our brain not just five or ten percent. He calls us to go beyond the five senses and go to the same place He went performing miracle after miracle. When we let God guide our lives, He will take us to people and places beyond what we can fathom for ourselves. Sounds easy, but the hard part is letting go of our will to let God drive the car.

I knew since I was four I had this uncanny ability to read people, but just couldn’t bring myself to develop the gift even if it would assist people. Bottom line, I did not want to be an intuitive. That wasn’t on my agenda. Now that I know I am a healer, and have been all along, the intuitive energy is one I embrace as it helps me and so many others deal with their lives.

For example, I would be driving my car and have a thought and boom, a car would drive by simultaneously with the answer to my thought on its license plate; or a bus would drive by with an advertisement explaining the answer to a question I had; or billboards would give me direction as to where to make my next move. Some would say coincidence, but I knew God was talking to me. Instinctually, without a doubt, I had answers that needed to be dealt with. Many times, this is my divine communication line to God. If I do not hear His voice internally, He will speak through physical sources people included.

I was clueless in 1989 as to what was to unveil before my eyes over the next 22 years. My marriage dissolved after 12 years, my only child moved with his father 242 miles away which by far was the utmost devastating event in my life; however, I moved from a city of 100,000 people to Chicago to be near my son and be the best mom I could be. Not knowing anyone in Chicago didn’t even faze me because with my faith in high gear I met the most phenomenal people you could ever imagine in just a few months. These are only a few events that helped me put all the puzzle pieces together as to what I was called to be. However, one peculiar thing that continued to follow me was suffering illness beyond illness or was the supernatural at work on me masking itself as a mental disorder? The two go hand in hand, and doctors seem to accept how the disorder can be bizarre or even unexplainable. In my case, God continues to work His wonders through me for the betterment of humanity.

I am a mother, musician and through love a healer of souls. Through my unorthodox system of faith, I have healed myself of a devastating disorder and now am ready to share my methods with others. I’m sure Lisa and my other angels have helped me along the way. However difficult the road was to arrive at this point is trivial and has been definitely quite well worth the journey. The key words in all of this would be love, faith, compassion, and patience. Where would a healer be without love, faith, compassion, and patience? My love is my greatest gift to all of you.

All the best to all of you,

Retha Bogard

December 7, 2011

Acknowledgments

Thank you to my mom and John for allowing me to use my vivid imagination to reach the highest spiritual heights one could imagine and for supporting me to achieve my educational goals as well as my highest creative endeavors; to my sisters and brothers as it takes a village to raise a child, and you definitely were that small, inner village to me; Tim, Maria, Stephanie, Julie, Sandy, Don, Veev, Harriet, Shaun, and the most, most, most precious one, Dezmond, thank all of you for being in my lives: past, present and future and for always being the Light that lit my most darkest of hours; Laura, Jill, Luann and Glenda, I’ll love you four forever; Aunt Freda and Uncle Phil, for your unending love, support and prayers and example of Christ while growing up; Hristo Karnev for always being so kind and offering a smile while helping with Mom at our hundreds of cancer treatment visits. Hristo, I couldn’t have made it without you.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, Sonia Choquette, Louise L. Hay and Neale Donald Walsch for their outstanding knowledge of Spirit and sharing their gifts with us; Father Ossola, Father Oldershaw, Father Jim Halsted, Sister Concepta, Dr. Joe Bohlen, Dr. Eric Erickson, and Bob Pantoga for your spiritual guidance and examples of Christ’s lifestyle; Rabbi Yedudah Grundman, an excellent Kabbalist.

Pauline Watkins, Heidi Hardy, Dan Yahne and Bob Sullivan all of you were excellent writing instructors; to Kevin Lookis for instilling in me the joy of reading and to Kevin and Regina, you both hold a dear, dear place in my heart, thank you for all your support.

The deceased: where would I have been without your angelic guidance? Elmo Bogard; Verna and Elmer Faidley; Dorothy and Berlin Bogard; Marti Weil; Joshua Alexander; Marge Lookis; Bea Hood; Mr. Kaufmann; Og Mandino; Lesley and Lisa, Rosemary Schuerg and Jack Ross. You encouraged me to never give up even though some days seemed so futile.

To Nitin Saxena (Saxehnah) for the use of his wonderful name, his lively, energetic Spirit, charming demeanor, and our many endless chats over the fortune cookies we would get over lunch hour. Thank you Nitin for your friendship. You’ve kept me sane in the corporate world. Where would I have been without your presence? You are a true gentleman from India.

To my Walgreens family, who have kept me going these past nine years, and their grateful support while physically writing Retha’s Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul. You all are the salt of the earth.

To the Highland Park Library for researching complimentary books, a very special thanks.

Thank you to my edit team: Tina Oshana, Ismeet Kaur, Julie Schreiber, Sharon Hann, Alex Franco, Gloria Manata and Ed Worden. And with special gratitude to Freda Badger, who scrutinized the final draft with her school teacher’s pencil making final corrections. Freda, you rescued me when I was at my wits end. Love You!! I so appreciate all of you and your friendship, and the endless hours you spent proof reading the proposal and Retha’s Song. Thank you!

And lastly, for Peter Frampton, George Michael, Prince, Sarah Brightman, The Newsboys, Toby Mac, dc Talk, Michael Tait and Peter Furler, who inspire me with their song writing, musicianship and singing like no other musicians; for the endless hours I had their music pumping through the headphones while I wrote into the wee hours of the morning, and who have brought me out of the ashes to rise to the sun once again. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with all of us, and thank you again to everyone who has molded me into the person I am today. I truly, truly have been blessed and am very grateful.

So, come, take my hand and together let’s gently walk as we turn the pages of Retha’s Song: A Rhapsody of the Soul.

Love to all of you *** Retha

Angel of My Life

Welcome to our World, you’re such a wonderful gift from Heaven,

I thank God for you.

Your tiny hands bring such joy, your bright, blue eyes speak of days long ago,

We spent in Heaven.

Angel of my life wipe all the fear away,

Angel give me wings help me fly away,

Free me of these chains, my Angel,

Angel of My Life.

Welcome to our World, you’re such a wonderful gift from Heaven,

Thank you Spirit.

Your daddy hands bring such joy, your big brown eyes speak of days long ago,

We spent in Heaven.

Angels of my life wipe all the fear away,

Angels give me wings help me fly away,

Free me of these chains, my Angels,

Angels of my Life.

Your smile radiates a glow, and warms my heart ’til it burns right thru my soul,

Oh my Angels.

You are the Angels of my life, you have turned darkness into Light and I love you,

I love you.

Angels of my life wipe all the fear away,

Angels give me wings help me fly away,

Free me of these chains, my Angels,

Angels of my Life.

Lyrics by Retha Bogard

-1995

"Children are our links to the universe, for they

are the closest things to angels… and God."

unknown

Chapter One

I was seven years old when I woke up that morning in May 1966 with my eyes opened as big as saucers. I could instantly feel a wonderful presence in my room. Full sunshine was radiating through my bedroom window so I jumped down from the bed and ran to the window and said, Good Morning Sun! So good to see you today! The birds were singing and almost talking amongst themselves. There was such an excitement in the air, which perhaps only a seven-year old child’s essence could feel, such as going to a special friend’s birthday party. I knew there was a surprise coming forth, and I wanted to be ready.

Quickly, I ran to my closet and pulled out my prettiest, white, cotton dress, my best party dress mind you, with embroidered delicate, red smocking sewn over the bodice of the dress. This dress had a three inch red sash around the waist, which made it difficult for me to maneuver, but I finally managed to put the dress on my tiny frame and tied the sash in a semi-knot. I then skipped, bare feet and all, down the hall and out to the kitchen of our small trailer, kissed my mom good morning and then proceeded to go to the front door to go outside. My mom said,

Retha Ann, where are you going in that dress, and you haven’t eaten your breakfast yet? Come back to the kitchen.

I’m only going to go sit in the sun, and I’ll be back for breakfast later. I have to go see the Sun right now.

She thought I was a pretty typical child, usually in imagination land, so she went ahead and agreed with me that I could go outside this summer morning without breakfast.

Go ahead, but keep the dress clean. No dirt or mud spots, do you hear me?

I acknowledged hearing her, in my own way, but continued on my way. Opening the front door, I took the steps in one jump, with my stringy, shoulder-length, white, blonde hair and red sash swishing in the wind and then ran outside and sat in the grass. It was very hot this late, May morning, and the school kids had been out of school for a few weeks. At this hour, no one was up, the streets were empty, and the neighborhood was quite quiet. I knew at this point, there was an ominous feeling coming over me, a feeling that I didn’t quite understand. At any rate, the Sun felt good to my skin. I began to fluff my full-skirted dress and then looked up into the Sun with my eyes closed. I could feel the rays penetrate every fiber of my being, and I just beamed from ear to ear. It was difficult to contain myself because I knew without a doubt the Sun was about to deliver.

You see, we were not a church going family, but I on the other hand really connected to nature. Somehow in my young mind being in nature was My God. I was always talking to the birds, and my most favorite thing to do was to talk to the wild flowers and yes spend hours picking them. Most days I spent the entire day at Haw Creek just mesmerized by the water. I just couldn’t get enough of the water. With that being said, the Sun seemed like God to me. He was a great friend and between the Sun’s energy and light, every day was awesome when the Sun was out.

As I sat and basked in the Sun, with the cool, dew drops on the grass tickling my bare feet, I felt this presence with me, and it was magical. I mean MAGICAL! My eyes were still closed, my head tilted toward the Sun and then softly, oh so tenderly, the Sun spoke to me in the gentlest tone I had ever been spoken to. His words were not audible, but I could hear them inside my head. He said,

He is here now Retha. Your beloved is with you on Earth once again. He lives with a family far away from you. God has special plans for you that include him this time. You will find him one day as long as you stay on your path, and he stays on his path. You will know it is him when he sings and speaks with pure light and love to you. You will recognize his voice. Remember to stay on your path. Stay on your path and always listen for my voice to show you the way.

Immediately, I jumped from the ground, leaped through the air with such force I even surprised myself! When I landed with two feet on the ground from this awesome news, I began dancing and singing, He is here, he is here, he is finally here. I then remembered him. The memories came flooding in. The singing and dancing; the long, long chats and the best was he was so funny. We were always laughing. He was the most incredible person I had ever met in my life, but not in this world. I couldn’t remember where or when it was I was with him. Anyway, I was so thrilled that we would actually be in the same world, together, again! As I continued to sing and dance, so early in the morning, I noticed one on my friends riding by on his bicycle and he yelled at me,

Reefa, he was missing his front teeth, why all the dancing and singing? I was laughing, while bent over and clapping my hands from all the excitement and yelled back,

He is HERE! He is HERE Jase!

Who? Where?

I just kept singing and dancing and Jase threw his bike down in my yard and ran over to me, not to miss a good time, took my hands and we began to twirl in circles chanting, He is here, he is here, he is here. After twirling so fast and for so long, we both were collapsing and laughing and fell to the ground. I just lay on the ground watching the bright, blue sky spinning above me, and I felt like I was being sucked into another dimension outside my care free, simple life in Linton, Indiana.

Indeed, I definitely was. I truly was…. My beloved is here now….

Twenty-three Years Later

The warm spring winds were gusting this Friday night in April 1989 outside the Lady of our Lord Church and you definitely could feel the Spirit in the bustling air. The church resided on one city block, which included the school, rectory and mammoth church. The church was of Greek architecture, with enormous Greek Ionic pillars outside the church and Ionic pillars lining either side of the church’s interior. There was a spectacular mosaic of the Blessed Virgin mounted in the marble sanctuary being assumed into heaven when in all actuality it should have been a mosaic of the Immaculate Conception. Oh well, Italy messed up on that order, back in the early 1900’s. The Assumption mosaic had already been boat-shipped when the error had been realized. At that point, the workers in Bloomington were finishing up the last details of the newly created Lady of our Lord. So be it, the Assumption and Immaculate Conception were equally important to the church’s history so the screw up was not a big deal to the parishioners.

This particular evening, Good Friday, Conrad D’Orre (Conny), my husband, who was exceptionally handsome with his short, almost black hair, dark brown eyes, olive skin and his 6’2" trim frame and my closest ally and friend was there to help me in getting the church ready for the Holy Vigil and Easter Sunday. Conny stayed upstairs working on the upstairs, while I went downstairs to wash the altar cloths and iron them in the extensive basement of the church in preparation for the Easter Vigil to be held the next evening. We had undergone the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) for the past eight months and would be confirmed at this Holy Easter Vigil. I was not alone in doing these laundry functions. There was another woman, who had previously been through RCIA in Charleston, Illinois, assisting me and made a comment to me that would literally transform my life. She spoke in her soft, southern Illinois accent,

You know, I was told when I was going through RCIA that I should be careful what I pray for because once you’re Catholic, your prayers are answered immediately. So, I pass this onto you as you are embarking on your new spiritual relationship with God that your prayers will be heard and answered immediately.

At that moment, my prayers were answered usually in six months. Why six months? I don’t know, but after I prayed I recalled six months later my prayers were answered. No big deal, whatever. I do not recall the woman’s name, but she was right, and did I get more than just answered prayers. A whole new realm of heavenly beings descended upon me as I began this new soul quest at the age of 30 or had they been with me all my life, and I chose not to acknowledge them?

The church was beautiful in the full array of flowers and colors and the majestic Lady of our Lord radiated God’s full essence that evening of the Holy Easter Vigil 1989. The church was packed, sitting room only probably 800 people in attendance. There was a hum in the air, and an energy I couldn’t explain. The energy was calm, peaceful and very reassuring though.

My mom and Jack, my step dad, were there. They were not married to each other any longer, but he still seemed like family to me. He drove eight hours to see Conrad and me to be confirmed. Conny’s parents, Maggie and Rudy, were also there as well as my youngest brother Seth and his wife Angelique. Also with us were two other very special people, Jolie and Andre’ O’Killian, our sponsors. Jolie and I had grown up together and our Andre’ was named after Jolie’s husband. My family had no religious practice, but our upbringing was very Catholic. Interesting that Conny and I got involved with Catholicism. Having my family’s support meant the world to me. I sincerely couldn’t believe they would come to such an event since they nearly despised any organized religion, but they loved Conny and Re Re so they were there, and we felt so blessed to have them.

The time came when Conrad and I were called to the Bishop’s chair, in the marble sanctuary, to be anointed with the Holy Oil of Confirmation. We did not need to be baptized, as I was baptized in 1976 at a small country church, and he was sprinkled at birth. I can’t say that I felt different at that moment; I just remember that the choir sounded like something from heaven, and I looked up at the choir loft and smiled. We, Conrad and I went to the reception afterwards, life was still normal.

We drove home to our small suburban community of 2,000 people, and I decided after putting our son, Andre’, to bed to go to the garage and smoke a cigarette. I did not like smoking in the house as I felt it wasn’t good for Andre’. However, I smoked and didn’t think much of hurting my own self. Now that is pure stupid logic at its best! As I was smoking and thinking about being Catholic and what that was going to mean, everything began changing in my world forever. I inhaled the cigarette and reflected on the first time we went to mass at the church; holding my then 7 month old baby, Andre’, in my arms and when the trumpets blew and the tympani’s sounded he looked at me with this most precious, gorgeous smile and fell off into a deep sleep as if he knew he was in the right place at last; the eight months of preparation of becoming Catholic; the exceptional people we had met at RCIA and what a wonderful, spiritual evening I had just been through.

Then WHAM, a great shock came out of nowhere? I don’t know where. There was a voice in my head, not audible, but it was not my inner voice like when you’re talking to yourself without speaking. It was someone else’s voice. It didn’t seem demonic, but it scared me out of my wits. I was shaking and totally felt I was out of my mind. He said,

I am going to take you away from your son. My inner voice screamed,

"No, No!"

Put down the cigarette, now.

At this point it was as if I was in a trance, and everything went into slow motion. I slowly put the cigarette down in the ashtray and put it out. I slowly turned around and began looking around the garage to see who had spoken to me and he continued,

"You can’t see me. I am a Spirit to help you get back on track. Remember? Stay on your path?? Your beloved??" Twenty-three years have passed, and we are moving ahead. I asked this intruder,

"Does Father have this going on in his head?" He chuckled,

"No, not like the gift that has been bestowed upon you. He wouldn’t quite understand what you just went through if you were to ask him."

I thought, ‘Yea, likely story from some strange and bizarre entity, as I could trust Father James with my life.’ This mysterious being disappeared as quickly as he came. No advice on the future, no trumpets blowing for the Second Coming of Christ, no trading secrets for the markets, just that one comment. And, no spiritual blessings either, it really seemed like something from the dark side to me, very foreboding. I calmed my breathing down, and kept doing deep breathing and finally became centered enough to think rationally again.

Then I realized that I had heard voices, not his, but the Sun’s voice when I was seven years old telling me of a very special boy that I would meet someday who lived very far away from me; the misty Spirit who visited me for seven years, beginning when I was 12, who loved to come and listen to me sing and play the piano; and when I was 17 years old the voice of God telling me I was on the path to self destruction to change my ways. I did and fast! I was baptized one week later and gave up all my not so desirable habits, except smoking. So why all the fuss with this voice??? My answer would be, I wanted to live and raise my most precious gift, Andre’. I couldn’t even imagine him being taken away from me. That one thought simply horrified me.

I was ok then and went in the house, but was still totally in shock over just what had happened. I sat down on the couch and sat Indian style and just stared ahead with my hands cupping my face with my elbows resting on my knees while Conny was watching TV. He then offered me a cigarette. (He still was smoking in the house.) I replied,

Uh, no thanks.

What is wrong with you, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!

Well, I think I was just visited by a ghost but of a unique kind, the kind that enters the mind, and one you can’t see.

What? You’re nuts!

I began to tell him what had just happened, and he sat there and stared at me with his mouth wide open. I asked him if this had ever had happened to him, and his answer was no. I felt so totally alone in that moment. Father wouldn’t understand, my husband didn’t get it, and I’m sure all my friends would think I’m nuts. Furthermore I was overwhelmed by what had just happened with no one to talk to about the exchange of the Heavenly visitor and myself.

"What know we of the Blest above

But that they sing, and that they love?"

Wordsworth

Chapter Two

A few weeks later, my early pregnancy test came back positive. Conrad and I found out that we were expecting our second child. We couldn’t believe it at all. The child was not planned in the slightest, and the whole family was totally against this pregnancy. That concept alone seemed rather strange in itself. Our mothers were quite disgusted with the news. My mom said, You already have a baby, why another? I was crushed! Really a very strange omen to me. I didn’t even know how I could have conceived at that time in my cycle. Very bizarre. What a mess I thought. I was still smoking and would cry when I smoked because I knew it wasn’t fair to that unborn child, but I was so addicted. At nine weeks, I heard the baby’s heartbeat. What a precious sound that was, this rapid drum-beat foretelling new life is on its way. I felt I was out of the dark after hearing the baby’s heartbeat as most of the development had taken place, and the heartbeat is a sign that all is a go.

Days progressed and the memory of what happened on the Vigil Night of 1989 slowly became faint until unexpectedly I began spotting while I was 10 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t too concerned as this happens in pregnancies and after all, I heard the baby’s heartbeat the previous week, but the blood flow would not stop and became heavier. On June 25, I called the doctor, and he had me come right in and they did a sonogram. Dr. Ertson came in and gave me some very grim news. I called Conny as he was in Los Angeles, California for a conference and told him the news, we lost the baby. He came home immediately and helped me through such a sad and empty time. Then it hit me the words the Spirit delivered the Vigil Night, I am going to take you away from your son. Put down the cigarettes. The Spirit knew I was pregnant and was trying to tell me to stop smoking. I had no idea I was pregnant that night. None. Really, he was a caring Spirit trying to intervene in a serious situation.

Smoking many times does cause miscarriages, not always, but many times. Now I knew the Spiritual Realm meant business. I quit smoking during my first pregnancy for that specific reason. Can you believe a Spirit came to tell me to quit smoking? I thought that was pretty wild!

At this point, I continued to grow in my relationship with God. Once I got through mourning the loss of my child, I began pursuing my music ministry at the church. Music has been a part of my life since my earliest memories. At the age of four, the piano was moved into our small trailer, and I heard an inner voice that day say,

Retha, this is your life.

Needless to say, I had no idea what that meant, but I remember agreeing with the voice that had just spoken to me. The piano quickly became my best friend as I taught myself Sunshine in my Soul, my favorite song to sing in church when I would go to church with my grandparents, and also I would teach myself pop songs usually the Beatles. At seven, I began my classical piano studies in the studio of Charlene Sheldone. I so admired Charlene, nearly idolizing her and her talent. I wanted to be just like her. She sure knew how to groom her prodigies! Charlene laid the foundation for everything I used in music composition in college, and she stressed letting your Spirit go to express yourself in improvisation. After my first Christmas Recital, I improvised the end of my song because I felt a need to. My audience loved it and Charlene came up to me, after I had taken my bow, put her arm around me and said to them,

Well, that’s Retha for you. She’ll always give you a good surprise.

Yes, I was beginning to see what that voice was telling me when I was four. I totally excelled in my studies and continued to advance in piano as well as the vocal area. However, I met up with some very undesirable professors at college studying opera and that was it. After much humiliation and demoralization from this one professor, I said, I’m done with this, and changed my major my senior year to fashion design. So, returning to music was an excellent thing for Conrad and me.

I was one of two pianists and Conny played the bass guitar in this contemporary group who played and sang at the 5 o’clock mass every Sunday evening, which was the younger crowds mass and those that had forgotten to get mass in for the weekend, this was their last ditch chance to catch a mass. What a great group of people to sing with. The crowd was a cross section of Bloomington and age ranges, and they packed the church to standing room only, around 800 at each mass. I so enjoyed performing the music as it was using my talents in celebrating God. It also was talking to God directly for two hours each Sunday through song, the highest form of prayer. And trust me I needed a direct link to God for what I would be going through the next 20 years of my life. Friends and family are there to help us in a physical way through good and hard times, but God alone is the only one who can work miracles through those people and who pulls us from the total depths of despair and confusion when there is no other way out.

We received much support from our friends and family after the miscarriage and Lord knows I needed it. What a strange loss. The loss of the potential that our child could have been, and I just plain did not understand what God was trying to tell me. Quit smoking was probably first on the list and as always, God’s ways are higher than our ways, God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, from East to West they stretch. (Isaiah 55: 8-9) At this point in my Spiritual quest, I was naïve, and I just let it be and knew I would get my answer later, to focus on the present and make the most of my life; homemaker, mom, wife and musician. I did notice in myself that I had changed since the miscarriage. I felt depression and fear. Fear, I don’t know what of, but perhaps from that exchange on the Vigil Night was setting me up for something else. That would cause one to listen and fear. I did not associate this fear with God though; God is pure love and light. Up to this point I had not experienced fear with God.

I worked through the fear and depression until January 14, 1990. It had been seven months since the miscarriage, and whoosh this same feeling of depression came over me again. I could not figure it out until I physically looked at the calendar. Then it hit me; the baby’s due date was January 14. My heart was burning from the loss and there was so much confusion and emptiness but as only God can do here came one of the biggest miracles of my life.

Andre’, our 2½ year old son, and I had been doing music all morning, me planning for Sunday’s liturgy and he from his plastic toy record player, to his falling-apart boom box to the 6-string guitar and of course, up on my lap on the piano bench to do the Gloria and Alleluia, or as Andre’ called it Allayloolah. What a sight that was, he would put his hands on mine as I played the triumphant Gloria and as always, he would turn the pages to the piano music. What a riot!! Music mornings were the BEST for both of us. I then made us lunch, and we sat at the kitchen table and talked about friends, movies, music and whatever cartoon that came to his mind. He told me his favorite song to dance to was David Bowie’s, Modern Love, and I totally agreed with him on that. I would put him on my hip and did we dance. Andre’ would laugh when I would dip him in my arms and his white, blonde hair would swish back and forth on the dips. We decided at lunch we would listen to that song later on in the day. I asked him,

Angel, what is your favorite movie? He smiled real big and got excited and said,

Cindruella. The mom kisses the man, and they are so happy.

I agreed with him and said that had been a favorite of mine since I was real little like him. He just smiled while eating his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He asked if he could see his best friend, Mikey. I explained that we would need to call Auntie Jolie and set up a play date. He asked if he could have his music TV time and I said,

Sure, you’ve been such an angel this morning, why not. This one particular January afternoon will be emblazoned in both of our minds forever.

Now realize that my son, Andre’, was 2½ years old at the time. Ok. We finished lunch, and I wiped his face and hands and off he went for his second round of music. He was yelling, Moogis (music) TV, Moogis TV. I know this sounds weird for a 2½ year old to watch MTV, but he loved the dancing, singing, all the instruments and probably all the creative ideas that went into the videos. I told him to go ahead and watch I would join in as soon as I put the dishes in the dishwasher.

I turned on the TV and found MTV and then went back to the kitchen to finish up the dishes. I was almost done cleaning up the kitchen and this audible sound, I’ll never forget, was a man’s voice singing this most beautiful song, a passionate love long, coming from our living room!! My subconscious instantly recognized his voice from my past, but not in this life. At this point in my journey, I hadn’t even considered past lives to any great extent. But, somehow, I remembered this voice. It was a very familiar, comforting, soothing voice. Not the voice of the Spirit from the Vigil Night, but a true Heavenly Voice and not in my head either! It was coming from my TV! What?? Who?? What is going on here??? This man’s voice, singing a love song about a love he so wanted but kept getting confusing answers from so he just wanted to be let go of if this relationship was not going to work.

Well, the vibration of his voice kept growing in intensity within me and within a split second I was transported to another place and time. What??? What is going on? I was transported to a time and place of pure love and lots of sun. The sun was extremely intense and bright beyond any sunny day on earth. Everything was pulsating with vibrant energy and color abounded. The one thing that stays with me today is the amount of peace I felt in that split second. The peace of this realm was numbing and relaxed every fiber of my body. I realized that this was the exact same feeling I had when the Sun spoke to me when I was seven years old. Was this the man the Sun was speaking of when I was seven?? Was this my beloved??

I blinked my eyes, and I was back in my kitchen. I could feel an inward struggle with his voice drawing me near to him, but hey, I’m in reality here, I’m married, have a small child and live in a small town probably thousands of miles away from whomever and whatever is going on. In these few seconds, I slowly took my towel to dry my hands Andre’ yelling, Come Mama fast! and walked out to the living room to see who this man was who was taking me home to a land even my subconscious could not forget. There he was on TV, a face that I did not recognize from this life and really his look did not match his voice; however, he was extremely handsome, extremely meticulous in his overall appearance, and he was very inviting. As I reached the living room, there stood my Andre’, baby toddler, with his mouth dropped open staring at this man also. We both were totally mesmerized by this man. It was as if Andre’ and I knew this man somehow, but of course, in this life neither one of us had seen him and up until this moment had heard his music. Andre’ saw me and said,

Mama come, and pointed at the TV.

Moogis (music) Man. Good Moogis Man, and was shaking his head up and down,

Good moogis, uh-huh Mama.

I went over to Andre’ and took him by the hand, sat down in front of the TV, Andre’ in my lap with my arms wrapped around him, and we rocked to the gentle serenade as the credits rolled on the TV. His name was Jaede Ashton and his song was Never Leave Me. He was like a shooting star that came from where, I don’t know, but I can tell you this: his Spirit is intense and his eyes penetrate your soul. Anyway, I’m married why would I be thinking of some pop star? I shrugged it all off and tried to focus on my reality.

Andre’ and I sat in amazement, no talking, just amazement. Needless to say, I didn’t mention this next peculiar incident to my husband. The Holy Vigil Night was enough for one year, but I do want to say,

Jaede Ashton opened my eyes that day to a whole new world, and I will always be grateful to him for that. I easily could go back to that realm at the drop of a hat, anytime. Jaede Ashton, the person, is real, but what I experienced that day was on a spiritual level. Ah angelic music, what a sweet release to my soul.

The very next week, Conny, Andre’ and I were at my mom’s celebrating my birthday and Mom said,

I have a very special gift for Andre’. André’s ears perked up, and he came running to Grandma. Mom stated,

Let me tell you this story. I was at the mall shopping for your birthday gift Retha. I stopped in the music store just to look around and there was this beautiful voice playing over the store’s stereo system. This song had a great, driving beat, and this guy could sing, I’m telling you, he could sing! So I asked the clerk, Who is this guy and what is that record? He replied,

Jaede Ashton and the record is Truth.

It’s sold, my youngest grandson will love this.

How my mom knew Andre’ would like Jaede Ashton was beyond me, other than can we say a mother’s intuition? At this point, my mom had heard nothing of what happened a week earlier at our house with the video. Mom gave Andre’ his treat bag and Andre’ delicately opened up the tape and screamed,

Moogis Man Mama, I have Moogis Man! I said,

Yes, Angel you sure do. Conrad said,

Who is Jaede Ashton? I replied,

I really don’t know. You know prior to doing music at the church, I was on a musical hiatus for the past eight years brought about by such a mentally abusive musical experience studying opera at the university. Who knows what has really been going on in the pop scene from my perspective? Andre’ and I just saw him last week when Andre’ had his MTV time. He’s really good and very good looking to boot.

Huh, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him, and you know music is my second life. Andre’ wanted Grandma to play the tape so she did and there Andre’ went dancing all around the living room. It was quite a sight. He loved Jaede Ashton. Conrad agreed,

Man that guy is good. What a future he has.

It was getting late, so we thanked Mom for a wonderful evening and for the gifts, pizza and cake, and the three of us loaded up to head

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