This past weekend Baby Girl celebrated her first birthday. It’s hard believe a year has already passed.
In that year, so much has happened. Not surprising, my husband and I have changed in many ways. Some good, for example we cook and eat at home more often. Some bad, we aren’t as punctual as we once were. And some surprising, our ability to roll with the punches. The phrase “Let Go and Let God” has truly become a motto in our household. So much so, that a couple months after my daughter’s birth my husband had the phrase tattooed on his forearm as a constant reminder.
Thank goodness for the constant reminder because sometimes, Letting Go and Letting God is hard.
And yet, going with the flow is important not only with a child but in life.
This message was something we had to live and experience when it came to my daughter’s first birthday party. The story starts back around Easter when I was already looking forward to and beginning to plan the special day. I know it was early, but I was excited. I filled my time scouring pinterest for the perfect theme… which my husband and I (let’s be honest, I) found… The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It was perfect! It was educational. It was cute. And a menu (which was even somewhat healthy!) was practically laid out in the book! PERFECT!!
Excited about the decision, while visiting on Easter I shared the theme with my cousin, my aunt and my mom. When I did, my mom dropped a bomb on us. She and her husband had received a Save the Date for his cousin’s son's wedding. The wedding was on Baby Girl’s Birthday – we had to move the party.
A little taken aback (and to be honest a little annoyed as it was less of a request than a demand) I let her know I would have to talk to Don about it.
And I did. A LOT.
He was annoyed (to put it mildly). He didn’t like that we were “told” what to do. He didn’t understand why my mother’s husband’s family would come first… this was her first and most likely only grandchild. Round and round we went, for a MONTHS!
Finally a little more than a month before her birthday, the stalemate was broken and he conceded it really didn’t matter. My mom and her husband were going to be the only grandparents who would be able to make it, after all. His parents and my dad and his wife both live out of town and both had made it clear they weren’t going to be able to travel up. It would have been spiteful to schedule something when we knew they weren’t going to be able to make it when especially when there was no reason not to move it. In the end, it wouldn’t be fair to Tierney and it wouldn’t be fair to them. AND, they have been very generous to us and her.
It wasn’t worth fighting over. We let go. We went with the flow.
Once the date was set, we got into the thick of planning. We decided on a location; picked out, ordered and mailed invitations; decided on favors; planned activities; shopped for supplies… we had a good ole time.
Everything was set to go. As of Friday approximately fifty people were planning on attending. Excited and unable to sleep, I was up at 3am on Saturday baking the dozens of cupcakes. And, Saturday night I was up until after midnight finishing some decorations and getting a plan for the next day.
With everyone thing almost in order, Sunday morning I got up early to finish the preparations. I stuck to my list, slicing up the fruits and getting trays ready. Made sure the dogs were taken care of. As it got to be about 8am, I woke up Don as he had some finishing touches to the Hungry Caterpillar Toss. All the while I was grateful Baby Girl was sleeping in. Gave us a little bit of time without her under foot. Everything seemed to be going smoothly.
As it approached 9am, I decided it was time to wake up the guest of honor afraid if I let her sleep too much longer she wouldn’t have time to sneak in a late morning nap before the 1pm party. Didn’t want a cranky birthday girl!
So upstairs I trekked and there I found her still asleep, and groaning slightly. Struck me as odd, but maybe she was just having a bad dream… she does that now and again. As I crept to the side of her crib, she rolled over and let out a howl. It was the type of a howl all parents know, something wasn’t right.
Cooing to her gently, I lifted her from the crib. She was BURNING UP. Looking at her closely, I quickly noticed that her face was flush, her cheeks were swollen, and, her eyes were puffy. It was apparent she was sick.
Kicking myself thinking I had jinxed myself the day before by saying to Don, “We are soo lucky. We’ve really had a healthy baby. No major illnesses.” And him then saying, “You know she feels really warm to the touch today, I think something might be wrong.” Now she was waking up the day of her birthday party, sick.
There was not time however to worry about that. The situation had to be assessed further. Into my bedroom we went to our nursing chair where I gave her a bottle. She ignored it. Instead she snuggled into the crook of arm and went back to sleep. Not a good sign. It was then, I heard Don’s footsteps on the stairs. When he got to the top, I murmured to him to get a thermometer. He retreated and came back with four (nervous nelly!). Taking her temp, we found she had a low grade fever of just under 100.
All I could think was, now what? Do we cancel the party? But what about all the food? And all the time (and money!) we put into this shindig? But, she’s not that sick. Maybe we still have the party? It’s not like she would remember anyways? And, it’s only two hours after all?
Don and I talked. We couldn’t make a decision. Spoke to my mom. And still, we didn’t know what to do.
At the very least we decided to call a friend who was driving from a couple hours away to the party. They told us they were coming anyways, even if it was just to drop off the present.
With that, we decided the party was still on. It’s only a couple of hours after all. Don brought Baby Girl downstairs to snuggle and monitor the situation. And I got back to prepping. On to the devilled eggs!
As I was shelling the eggs… an arduous task as the egg’s shell was sticking… All I could think about was my baby girl. She was miserable. She was nestled into her poppa’s arms, not moving. Groans every now and again. She really wasn’t going to have fun at this party.
And then I thought about our guests. They were coming to see and celebrate how much she has grown in the past year. With her sick, they wouldn’t be able to observe how much she has blossomed into a feisty and compassionate little girl with a wicked sense of humor and amazing dance skills. Rather, best case scenario they would see a sick child snuggled in her momma’s arms and worst case, a screaming child complaining because she hurts.
It was with that recognition it became clear to me that if we had the party, Don and I were being selfish. It would have been all about us. We’d be “trying” to show off how much we love our daughter and what great of parents we are. Look how much time and effort we put into the party after all…That disgusted me.
So around 11am, we started the phone calls. The party was cancelled. We did, however, invite people to stop by the house and take food. We had enough to feed an army.
And people did stop by. Some folks dropped by and stayed. Others dropped in and after grabbing some food and favors, were on their way. It ended up being a small, intimate affair of a little more than a dozen people. Close friends and family.
It was nice. And, while not feeling great, Baby Girl seemed to enjoy herself. She got to stay in her jammies (she’ll wear the beautiful dress my aunt made another day). She got to be snuggled by me, her Aunt Sarah and Auntie V, and Nana rather than passed around. And shortly after opening her presents (after only being up a little more than an hour), go back to bed.
She didn’t get her smash cake, she’ll get that another day. She didn’t get to play with her friends, we’ll set up playdates. The left over food, we’ll eat up or I’ll freeze. The activities, they were planned so she could grow into them so she still has a number of years to enjoy them. So while it wasn’t what we planned, it worked out.
We could sit back and be disappointed. Could have fought through the roadblocks and forced the day. But that wouldn’t have been enjoyable for us or anyone. And who knows, maybe this was more enjoyable than it would have been had it turned out as planned. We did after all get a little more intimate time with folks. Who knows…
The experience has made me reflect on the bigger items in life. Like this party, there are many things in life that don’t go as planned. How often do we the fight to and try to force the plan? How long do we stick to an ideal before we give up? Or conversely, how often do we hold on to the smashed dream and the sadness that it didn’t happen before moving on? Are either worth it? How much easier would life be if we went with the flow and adapted? I know it’s not easy… It took me ALL morning to come to the realization that the party might not be meant to be. But perhaps if we consciously work towards letting go and going with the flow, life could be easier. Happier. I know Sunday was for me!
When we left off, it was July 2007 (missed my last blog, click here!) and my friend Amie and I were certain that our “ghost hunting boyfriends” were stalking us. But, after seeing them loitering outside the home of the philosophy class teacher, we didn’t run into them again. Rather, Spirit threw a couple other men and an engagement ring in my path (both of those tales for another time)… but not him.
After the weekend, Spirit cooled it with the insistence of me finding love. I was able to enjoy the time in Lily Dale and enjoy the opportunity of teaching the class there.
And then we returned to life outside the Dale. But, at least we had good stories. We would joke about Amie and my ghost hunting boyfriend especially after Amie’s ghost hunting boyfriend (not mine in the cowboy hat) friended me on MySpace (dates us, doesn’t it?). He would send a ‘hello’ now and again…. always certain to add, “Don says hi!” This correspondence often led to giggles and perpetuated the “ghost-hunting boyfriend” joke.
A year went by. Shortly after my joining Facebook, my friend’s “ghost-hunting boyfriend” friended me. It was at that time, rather than just receiving the HELLO that he mentioned, “Hey! Don and I are going to Lily Dale with our buddies to see Jay and Grant (the Ghost Hunters) July 25 – 27th. You gonna be there? We should get together!”
Ironically enough, or perhaps not, we WERE going to be there! Amie and I had rented an apartment in Lily Dale from a friend of ours. We were going to be there all week.
I hemmed and hawed. What did Spirit have in mind? But, after a back a forth, we decided we would get together Friday night at Cup of Joe – the place to be at the Dale.
About a day later, I got a friend request from my ghost hunting boyfriend. I hesitated accepting it, especially since my friend Amie started teasing me, “I think he likes you. I bet you two are going to get married.”
I scoffed at her. Romance was still not my thing. But at this point I had been receiving the message from Spirit for over a year… so I decided I would follow at tip from the movie Practical Magic and make a list. Knowing that specifics are important, I spent quite a bit of time on this list. It included things like: he needed to be a heterosexual male; would understand and support my business; would serenade me; could be handy and fix things; be financially responsible and stable; as well as a few others.
Nervous she might be right, I also accepted his request and Facebook stalked him. I was relieved when from his limited Facebook profile it appeared that he was in a relationship. Phew… dodged that bullet!
Amie insisted, however, “Dawn I don’t think he’s with anyone. I think you two are meant to be.”
I had my list… we would see what happens…
It was Friday, July 25th; the day. Amie and I packed up our things to head down to the Dale for the week. Before we left Buffalo, we hit the grocery store for food (and adult beverages). We were then on our way.
When we got to there, we unpacked. Settled in. And started drinking…
We drank until the designated time we were scheduled to meet the boys. A little tipsy, we showed up laughing (and probably a little obnoxious). We knew it was them from their signature black shirts and my ghost hunting boyfriend was wearing his signature cowboy hat.
Despite a little awkwardness at the get go. Do we hug? Do we not? What do we talk about? Our meeting went well. I was surprised to see the boys and their friends did not fit the stereotype I had created for ghost hunters. They were more spiritual and respectful of Spirit than I had imagined.
After a lengthy conversation, and as Cup of Joe was closing up. We (my friend, me, and the two ghost hunters) decided to continue our conversation and explore the Dale. We headed over to the museum (where we got this awesome photo), talked to the beach, and ran into some of their friends including the amazing Stacey Jones. We ended up on a bench at the corner of Cleveland and Third, were we talked LONG into the night.
Finally, at some time after 1am we decided it was time to part. But, with the agreement we would meet up the next day.
And we did.
Actually, we, the three and sometimes four of us, ended up spending the entire weekend together.
We talked. A LOT. And over the course of time, found out that YES, Don was seeing someone… they'd been together ten years! But he admitted he wasn’t happy anymore.
I fought Spirit. There was a connection between us. And, he met all the criteria on my list. But he was not free. I wasn’t going to be the other woman. There was also a strange connection between him and my friend… maybe we were just supposed to be friends?
So we enjoyed our weekend, but before we knew it, the weekend came to a close. On Sunday, we traded numbers. Hugged. Parted ways. Uncertain when (or even if!) we’d see each other again.
Lengthy conversations continued over the next few days. He'd give a ring in the morning, during his lunch break and in the evening. When he called on Thursday he informed me he had BIG news. He left his girlfriend.
He spoke of the wake up he received during the weekend with Amie and I. He spoke about how he for the first time in years felt alive. He wanted more. And with after a challenge from Amie, he decided he was going to take charge of his life.
That night, and the nights to follow, he spoke (more like rambled) a lot. It was clear he felt a freedom and he was dreaming about the future. And in those ramblings he said a couple of things that scared me... he told me, "Dawn, I see us owning a shop or a business or something together in the future. It's named db... (after a long pause).... and it represents both of us. We have the same initials."
When he made comments like that, I ignored them. Remained quiet. Or changed the subject.
Our conversations continued and it was a couple of months before we officially began dating…. Shortly after that, the marriage topic (much to my chagrin) began coming up. It became apparent (despite his denials at first) that he wanted it. Less than a year later he was proposing. Amie was right, we did get married.
That’s our story, and Spirit definitely had a hand in it.
This week my husband and I celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Wild! Especially because for a long time I did not imagine myself ever getting married. I actually liked the idea of being the “crazy dog lady.” But Spirit, had another thing in store for me AND definitely had a hand in our getting together.
How did Spirit play a role? As you can imagine, it’s quite the story. He and I (and one of my besties) joke that to tell it right, you need the three of us and about two hours… we don’t have that, but here is my version of events!
It was the summer of 2007. My friends (the Chakra Sisters) and I were slated to do a presentation in Lily Dale. Excited about the opportunity, several of us decided to spend a few days prior to our class enjoying the Dale. We got tickets to hear John Zaffis, “the Godfather of Demonology;” attend the first annual Victorian Séance; and, participate in a ghost hunt in the historic Leolyn Hotel.
We got to Lily Dale early Saturday morning to hear John Zaffis. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to this. I’ve always been a little turned off by ghost hunting… But, because my friends were going I thought why not.
Upon walking into the auditorium that morning, however, I began questioning my decision. Seated front and center were about a dozen individuals… each in a black shirt with the phrase “Got Ghosts?” This group was rowdy! They were hootin and hollerin… Yes… the ghost hunters were in the house… All I could think was GREAT this is why I don’t do ghost hunting. In my opinion, they were obnoxious.
Once John Zaffis started speaking, however, they quieted down and were very respectful. And despite my preconceived notions, I was impressed with Zaffis. As well as a ‘ghost hunter’ in the audience, a good-looking bald man of about fifty who asked insightful questions.
After the presentation, my friend picked up Zaffis’ book… but with the ghost hunters getting a little rowdy again, I hurried her along so we could take in the energy of the Dale.
It was a beautiful sunny day and we buzzed with excitement looking forward to the Victorian Séance.
When we arrived at the Séance that evening we found Lily Dale Registered mediums were doing flower readings, spoon bending and the group I was with were fortunate enough to get the medium who decided to do table tipping!!
If you haven’t seen table tipping, it is an amazing experience! And, the table that night did not disappoint. In fact, it went a little bonkers. Loved ones and guides were coming through left and right. In fact, they came through to give each of the sitters a message. Each one that is, except me.
That’s not exactly true, however. After each message, I heard in my third ear… “Dawn, if you don’t let us come in about romance, we aren’t coming in.” Well, I was not going to ask about romance... no siree. I wanted nothing to do with that.
Realizing Spirit wasn’t getting through my thick head, my guides start started prodding (did I mention my guides are bossy and pushy) my dear friend Amie to push me to ask about romance. Even with her nudging, I was not going to ask. Then the table went cold.
No message for me. And yes, I was a little disappointed… but, I stubbornly didn’t want to hear about romance so I decided perhaps it was for the best.
From there, Amie and I scooted over to the ghost hunt at the Leolyn Hotel. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Leolyn is a hotel right outside the gates of Lily Dale. It is in limited use, however, because it has not yet been fully renovated after a fire ravaged it. So we were excited to get to see more of the hotel than normal.
However, soon as we walked in a pang of annoyance hit me… there again was a sea of black shirts. And yes, I know I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the ghost hunters again, but it still didn’t stop me from thinking… ‘do I REALLY want to be here?’ The hundred plus dollars I had already paid for the hunt ran through my head, and I grudgingly stuck around.
Then the ghost hunt commenced. We were given a quick tour and then taken into the old séance room. Two séances in one night? The annoyance fluttered away... maybe this was worth the cost!!
Once in the séance room, we were instructed to sit in a circle. As people made their way to their seats, the lights were turned off. It wasn’t dark in that space for long. Soon, the room was filled with people shouting “Flash” which was immediately followed by you guessed it, camera flashes.
This messed with my eyes, but fortunately it did not mess with Spirit communication. There were SEVERAL Spirits present and they wanted to make themselves known. I bit my tongue. Listening to Spirit yack away, but not saying much as I didn’t know if it was my place. It was then that a male voice boomed throughout the room. He spoke to the Spirits… and then I found myself speaking to them. Back and forth the two of us bounced. It was amazing.
This continued for about forty-five minutes. As the Spirits quieted down, it was decided we would try table tipping. It was like Christmas!! After one round, however, my friend and I decided to explore the hotel to see what feelings we got.
As we walked out into the hallway, we saw the sea of black shirts clumped in one direction. Not wanting to get caught up in that, I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her the other way. She didn’t mind, less people. We’d be more able to sense the energies.
Down the hall we went, stopping in one room after another. We’d snap a couple of photos. Talk about what we sensed. But, more than anything else, we soaked in the energy.
We soon realized, we were NOT alone. And, I don’t mean in the Spirit sense. One of the ghost hunters had peeled off from his group and was following us! It was a little creepy, but we soon found he was a nice man. But, I had my guard up and we really wanted to just take everything in… ALONE.
Well, Spirit obviously didn’t want me to be alone that night. We were interrupted again. While standing outside one the rooms, a man about my age in a cowboy hat came darting down the hall, PAST a few other people mind you, only to stop abruptly in front of me. He then shoved his coat and watch into my arms saying, “Here… hold this.” No, please. No, do you mind. Just, HOLD THIS.
And then he was off.
I was aghast… annoyed… PISSED OFF! All I could think was, “What the heck? Do I look like a freakin’ coat rack?”
But, I stood. Waiting…
When he came back, he did thank me. I believe he also introduced himself and attempted to make small talk. Still annoyed, however, I only half listened. Thank is until his friend came up and gave him a hard time. What did she say, “Soooo… this is how you are picking up the ladies these days? A medium this time?”
Annoyed. Angry at Spirit. Angry at the situation… I flipped and I adamantly expressed, “NO! I’m not interested!” And stomped off.
Despite my scene, my friend’s and my followers had grown. There were now TWO!
We went along our way… and successfully ignored them. That is UNTIL….
The gentleman in the cowboy hat stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of the hallway. Thinking maybe he got the point. Or, maybe someone else caught his eye. I rolled my eyes and thought, “maybe now he’ll leave us alone.”
Unfortunately, something more serious had occurred. One of the cranky Spirits decided to mess with him. The Spirit had ‘attacked’ him and made it difficult (if not impossible) for him to move. In an effort to help, one by one the people in the ghost hunt lined up to send healing energy, say prayers, and work to cross the Spirit.
At first I didn’t want to get involved. All I could think was, “Smart move tough guy. You should know better. YOU’RE THE GHOST HUNTER. See what happens when you don’t give Spirit a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Serves you right…” But, with a heavy sigh, I found myself in the pack sending healing energy.
And fortunately, all the prayers and healing worked. He was released from the Spirit.
As he shook it off. The group began to break up, and people continued on with the hunt. I tried to walk away, but, Spirit said, “NO! He needs more help… go back. Heal him.”
Again, I was annoyed. (Man in hind sight, I was really not happy that evening!!) But, when Spirit talks, I listen. So I turned around, walked up to him just as a woman was caressing his face and encouraging him to “Accept the love of Jesus Christ the Lord into your life…”
I pushed her aside and demanded he give me his hand.
Soon as his hand met mine, my mind went blank. This is not uncommon for me when I am sending healing energy...
Apparently, not only did my mind go blank, but I had a little diarrhea of the mouth. Out came lots of messages. When I realized I said some personal things I shouldn’t have (I read him without permission… A BIG NO NO), I finished up the healing, dropped his hand, and then scurried off to find my friend to leave. I was done. I’d had enough of the ghost hunt.
As Amie and I walked back to the Dale. We had a good laugh over the whole situation. In fact, we dubbed the two men, “Our ghost hunting boyfriends.” Little was I to know that one of them would become my husband someday. I thought… I’ll never see them again.
Well, we saw them both the next morning during the Church of the Living Spirit Sunday morning service. Now Lily Dale is a REALLY small place, so not many places for people to go. So I shouldn’t have been surprised they were there, but I was a little taken aback.
What really had me taken aback was the way the guy in the cowboy hat kept looking in my direction. It was throughout the service. And then afterwards he again scanned the crowd for me. After locking my eyes he headed in my direction.
Not sure what he wanted to say, I did everything to avoid him. I talked to friends. I talked to strangers I had just met. All while he waited patiently… watching me… waiting…
Finally, however, he gave up… And disappeared into the crowd.
My friend and I only saw him once more that weekend, we were certain he was stalking us. While taking the philosophy class for church, we saw him standing in the street loitering outside the teacher’s home.
Who was the man in the cowboy hat? You probably guessed it. It was my husband, Don.
That’s how we met… but how did we get together? Check out to my next blog to find out.
And to prove Spirit had something to do with lining everything up. Check out this picture. It was inadvertently taken that night and is the first picture of the two of us. He took it feeling a “presence” over his shoulder.
Each year hundreds of thousands of people make cemeteries a tourist destination. They visit the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris to see the grave of Jim Morrison; they stroll through the spooky Highgate Cemetery in London reliving their favorite horror films; in New Orleans people go to the St Louis Number 1 Cemetery to see Marie Laveau’s tomb and trinkets hoping to win her favor; and here in Western New York, people go to Forest Lawn cemetery to take in Frank Llyod Wright architecture and stroll the quiet grounds. Cemeteries bring an incredible peace. But, they carry a stigma and, as such, bring a thrill. That stigma - “Are cemeteries haunted?” The answer (in my opinion, mind you) is a loud and resounding NO. Well…. MOST of the time they’re not.
However, I understand people’s fear of cemeteries. They are where we put our loved ones remains as their “final resting place.” We go there with flowers and to “talk” to our deceased loved ones. Additionally, in horror films the dead are depicted crawling out of the grave and lonely spirits are shown wandering between the gravestones. So there must be Spirit, in cemeteries right? WRONG!
Cemeteries are really quite quiet and peaceful. I realized this when I was about four. My grandfather had taken me and my two older cousins (five and seven) to the cemetery to visit my grandmother. Much to my grandfather’s displeasure, we were goofing around in the back seat of the car. When we wouldn’t quiet down, my grandfather got a brilliant idea. He stopped the car and kicked me out telling me; “If you have so much to say talk to all the spooks in the cemetery, look around, there are plenty that could listen. They don’t have anything better to do anyways.” My cousins’ jaws dropped when he shut the car door on me and DROVE AWAY. Now, I’m sure he didn’t go far. I was probably within eye shot the whole time and although it felt like forever it was probably only for a couple minutes. But can you imagine doing that today? CPS would be called! I get off track… back to my point. As I was standing there alone in the cemetery, a little frightened, I realized something… I was ALL alone. And I wondered, where were all the spirits?
After my grandfather came back for me, I was a little sheepish (and proud) so it was a few weeks before I asked my grandfather my question. His response, “Why would they want to hang out there? Cemeteries are depressing. Will you want to hang out in a cemetery when you’re dead? I know I wouldn’t… I’m going to come and haunt you!”
He made a good point. And, it has been my experience he was right. About all aspects… He sure doesn’t hang out there, he is definitely my Casper.
So at there you have it, that’s why cemeteries aren’t haunted. But as I mentioned earlier, that’s most of the time. Which means there are some occasions when there IS spirit activity. One of those times occurred this week - Memorial Day! Over Memorial Day, whenever passing a cemetery (especially military ones) I hear bugle horns and see seas of soldiers in military attire paying their respects to their comrades.
Why are cemeteries busy over Memorial Day? The same reason cemeteries see an influx of living visitors over the holiday. Spirits go to pay their respects just like we do here. Something that is important to remember, when we die we continue to live and continue to grow. Hence our actions over there are very much like they are here. So it should come as no surprise that cemeteries are busy on Memorial Day. And, since Spirit’s activities mimic those of people here… just as fast as the cemetery got busy, they have quieted down. Until next time…
It’s hard to believe, but it has been more than a year and a half since Spirit first brought me to Awakenings in East Aurora (if you haven’t had a chance to read that Blog, you should!). I consider myself fortunate to be part of this marvelous center. The wonderful people who teach and attend sessions there have truly become family. AND, it’s situated right in the heart of East Aurora. Can’t get any better than that!
Never been to East Aurora? You are missing out! The Village of East Aurora has always held a special place in my heart. Perhaps it is due to the draw of Vidler’s and the other quaint shops on Main Street; or maybe the fond memories of the Toy Fest parade; or, it could be that my favorite doctor, an optometrist by the name of Dr. O’Connor, has his office there. Whatever the reason, I have always loved East Aurora and had envisioned myself with a home there.
Unfortunately, due to my visual impairment which prohibits me from driving, while my husband and I were house hunting a few years ago, it quickly became apparent that despite our mutual love for East Aurora, it was not a practical choice. Which is okay because we found a cozy place in an idyllic neighborhood in Snyder. With the fire house across the street, a community center and park at the end of the block, and several yummy restaurants within walking distance, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Despite that, sometimes while driving through East Aurora I daydream and think, “It would be so nice to have a home here.”
That daydream is coming true! Those of you who have been keeping up with me via Facebook and Twitter know that as of May 1st, I will have that “home” in East Aurora! Awakenings has outgrown its space at the Roycroft and is MOVING. Their new location is at 500 Buffalo Road, right across the street from Knox Farm. It is a lovely space, with five offices and two classrooms that will be known as WillowLight. Judy has envisioned the space as a community for spiritually minded professionals. Guess who she envisioned as one of those practitioners? That’s right, this girl!
And guess what this girl had in her strategic plan this year? That’s right – having an office! Or to put it more appropriately, a space outside of the home where my husband and I can to do work and see clients. We have found since Baby Girl was born, we have become incredibly inefficient because our work hours are constantly being interrupted by parenting and household duties. In order to keep up with our own businesses, we decided that we needed someplace to “go.”
Don and I had just started the conversation about where the office would be located, what our budget would be, etc. when Judy from Awakenings approached us about the community she was hoping to create. If we had any doubts that this may be the path we were destined for, when she presented the concept you would have sworn she was a fly on the wall during our personal conversations. The language she used was identical to the verbiage Don and I had been using. She mentioned that she thought this could be our “southtowns” location (Don and I planned on having a north and south location to meet our clients needs!) AND the price she quoted was the exact number we thought we could manage without having to stretch ourselves. As an added bonus, this new office is only ten minutes from all our babysitters!
It never ceases to amaze me how when something is meant to be, the details fall into place. Thank you Spirit for giving us the signs and making it easy!
Now all I have to do is figure out décor !
Before the birth of Baby Girl, my mom friends gushed over the indescribable bond that exists between a mother and her child. I was told, “Just wait! It’s such an aah-mazing feeling.”
The concept of the bond made complete and logical sense to me. The momma and baby are physically connected through the umbilical cord for over nine months! This would obviously result in a psychic connection and psychic connections (unless severed) continue throughout a lifetime. The psychic connection would be what most describe as a “mother’s instinct.”
While pregnant, as talked about in the blog post Ordinary, I began to feel that bond. I was completely unprepared, however, for the feeling my fellow moms described. It’s a tug in the gut when Baby Girl is hungry, tired, unhappy, or wet AND an immense joy when she’s happy, tickled or excited. It boggles my mind that I actually FEEL what she feels. I didn’t expect that.
Of course, it is probably advantageous to the child that a mom feels these things. For example, I know when I feel that she’s wet, I jump. Hungry? She doesn’t have to cry, before I stop everything and pull out the boob. Or then there are the times I hear her bopping to the beat of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” (over and over and over) in her head, I pop the song on the radio for her which ALWAYS results in a huge smile.
This bond is awesome right now, but I do fret the day she is five and she decides she hates me because I won’t give her mango (her favorite food, which she asks for btw). Or, when she’s sixteen and her heart is broken for the first time. Or, when she (if she chooses) to have a baby of her own. Oh goodness, I love her but I hope I don’t feel that one! Maybe I’ll put a block on that one.
Until then, I will continue to enjoy our extra special connection. And use that bond to MY advantage as well. For this tired momma, it’s helpful to know when she wants her purple chew toy rather than her teddy bear… cuts down on the fussing. And with a baby, that’s ALWAYS a good thing!
I’m twenty-six weeks pregnant this week. Woo hoo!! I’m officially two-thirds the way through the pregnancy. It is amazing how fast it is going!
And thank heavens, I’ve been blessed with a relatively uneventful pregnancy. As any woman who has been pregnant can attest, pregnancy is not easy but at least I have been spared the pains of intense morning sickness, constipation, weird cravings and having to run to the bathroom every hour. In fact, there were times early on when if it hadn’t been for the extreme exhaustion I would have doubted I was even pregnant.
I’ve been lucky… but there is part of me that has also been disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movements I feel in my belly and knowing that there is a life growing inside of me. But I thought, being sensitive, I would have an extra special connection with my baby and be able to hear and talk to her. I’ve been able to do it with other people’s babies, why not my own?
That could be my own selfish desire. And, I can’t deny there have been many times when she has spoken to me. She’s told me, “Don’t eat that,” “Roll over! You’re squishing me,” and my personal favorite, “Stop poking me… You won’t? Well take this” followed immediately by a sharp jab to the bladder. Each time I hear that small, opinionated and demanding voice – it is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL… but, at the same time I'm somewhat disappointed. I hoped my baby and I would have amazing, philosophical conversations and would be able to connect on so many deep levels creating an extra special bond.
When it comes down to it, I guess I have to face the fact that I’m ordinary, just like any other mom to be. My ability to connect spiritually does not give me any edge to getting to know my baby to be… I’m Mom, and baby and I will have a lifetime to get to know each other.
A few years ago, it seemed like everyone I knew was getting married. We’ve now moved into the “Age of Babies.”
Despite being told by medium after medium that a little girl was in my future, I never really understood the desire to have babies.... Babies are NOISY, smelly, and expensive, not to mention a parent can forget about ever sleeping soundly through the night again or spending frivolously on themselves. That being said, having a baby was never something I saw as my purpose.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like babies. I have been very happy for my friends who welcomed their little bundles of joy into the world. And thoroughly enjoy buying gifts for the little rugrats. I even empathize for those women who desire a child but struggle to conceive.
That has been the case with two of my closest friends. 2013 was a roller coaster for them as they tried time and time again but conception continuously eluded them. About half way through the year, both were about ready to give up. It was at that time Spirit spoke. The message? “They are coming, THREE at the same time.”
The only word I could utter in that moment was “Shit….” followed very quickly by, “Hell’s NO!”
How could Spirit honestly believe the three of us would be pregnant at the same time? Don and I had decided we weren’t having children – and it was completely unfair to tie the children together. But the message kept coming (check out future blogs to see how!) and the guilt set in. Although they told me, “Dawn it’s not your fault,” their looks said otherwise. So after being barraged with the message and seeing my friends’ continued disappointment. Don and I decided to give Spirit three months during which we wouldn’t prevent anything, but we also would facilitate it figuring if it happened, it’s meant to be... if not, Spirit tough luck you had their chance.
In early January, my friend was surprised to find out she was pregnant! It happened without her evening trying. From that point on, every time I shuffled my deck of tarot cards, the three of cups jumped out at me with the message – three at the same time.
It was on January 17th, the message took its next step at becoming reality. I… am… PREGNANT.
Needless to say, my other friend is doing a dance for joy right now knowing that it will happen soon – three at the same time was what was prophesized afterall! And, the three of cups still keeps popping out… with a new message: “Leo, Virgo, Libra – perhaps Sagittarius?” We’ll see!
And for those of you who are wondering, my biggest fear right now is… will my baby start talking to me from the womb? And what do I do then??
Nine years ago, I received the best birthday gift I could ever ask for. Daphne Lyn, a four legged baby girl with a fur coat, entered my life.
I had just turned 24 and had completed the three most challenging years of my life. I’d been in a traumatic car accident which resulted in me being unable to return to school and graduate with my classmates; lost contact with many of my friends; been through intensive physical, occupational, speech and vision therapy; had my driver’s license revoked due to visual restrictions (I’m legally blind); was dragged through the mud during a stressful court case; and, on top of that my cat, Sterling – a silver long-haired cat I’d had since middle school passed suddenly (in my arms no less!).
I was lost. But, I was also hopeful. It was a new year, a new beginning. The court case had settled and had been favorable. My therapy had been scaled back and was much less intensive. And, my mother (whom I was living with) had agreed to allow me to get a dog.
Lonely, I’d decided I needed a companion and decided to get a pug. I searched the penny savers and bees for available puppies. After reaching out to several breeders, a breeder in Farmersville indicated she had a litter that was born on November 26th (the week Sterling died!) with one female puppy that was unspoken for. The puppy would be available on January 22nd, my birthday! I knew then, this was the one for me!
I was right. The signs had pointed me to this little angel and from the moment my mom and I saw that little face, Daphne stole our hearts.
As she grew, from a playful puppy to a feisty dog, so did our relationship. And, then she did something unexpected. She started talking…. At first I thought it was just me giving her expressive looks a voice, but then I realized that it wasn’t me… but her. She’s a special girl and I don’t know where I would be without her. Happy Adoption Day Daphne!
For more about Daphne, stay tuned for upcoming blogs…
I love my house… unfortunately, so does Ernie.
Who’s Ernie? Ernie is the gentleman who built and died in the house…
This might have creeped some people out, but it didn’t bother my husband and I. When we walked around, the house felt like a home Don and I could grow old in. It was almost perfect – and the things like only having one bathroom that weren’t ideal didn’t bother us as we saw potential. Best of all, it had a room I could do readings in and I didn’t see or feel any Spirits.
Don and I were sold and not long after seeing the house, we made an offer. There were a few bumps in the road, but after seven weeks, the house was ours… or so we thought.
Anxious to be in our home, the night we closed on the house we bought wine, take-out and an air mattress and trekked over to our new place with the plan to celebrate and spend the night. Other than that air mattress and some pop up chairs, we had no furniture. That night, uncertain were to sleep, we camped out in the middle of the living room thinking it was going to be the most peaceful sleep we had in a long time… we were wrong.
That night, we met Ernie. We’d been asleep for about an hour when we started hearing the creaks. Our house was built in the forties and it was slightly windy and dismissed them as noises old houses make. We could get used to that.
At about one, Daphne (my fur baby), woke us up with her barking. She’s not usually a barker, so her behavior alarmed Don and I, but we dismissed it. This was the first night in our home and she may just be out of sorts and like us, need to get used to the noises.
At two, we realized there would be more for us to get used to than just the noises. It was at that point we were all woken by a thump. The whole air mattress shook, as if someone had kicked it! In my grogginess, there he was… Ernie.
Over the next few months, Ernie continued to make himself known. The knocker on the bathroom would knock in the middle of night – even after we taped it down, lights would go on and off, and doors would open and shut. As we made more and more changes to the house, more and more activity occurred. In his mind, it was still his home and he wasn’t happy we were making it ours.
At first, I gently encouraged Ernie to go into the light. He didn’t want to. So then, I offered to allow him to stay as a guest in our house, but if he did he would have to coexist peacefully with us… Don and I needed our sleep and he had to stop harassing Daphne! He didn’t like that either.
I had to get pushier… It’s not my way to force anything on Spirits. They still have free will and it’s not for me to determine what is for their highest and best, but he was intruding on my sanctuary. So, I forcibly pushed him out of the house… but what shocked me was I was unable to get him to leave the property. This had NEVER happened before!!!
Fortunately, once out of the house, we’ve found a coexistence with Ernie. He putters around the yard and protects the house. Every once in awhile he tries to sneak in, but like a vampire… he has to be invited in.
We’ve been in our house three years now. Last summer, Don and I found out why it’s been a struggle to get Ernie to leave – he and his wife, Ester, had their ashes buried on the property. It’s what Ernie wanted. He loved his home. It was his… and by placing his ashes on the property, he has become part of it.
Now back to the story of how I ended up where I am today....
After the Lily Dale trip, I began to read. I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on from Sylvia Browne to John Edwards and an obscure book by Howard Storm. EVERYTHING!! I felt I needed to understand what I was experiencing and my family could only help me to a point. I also began scouring the web for metaphysical shops and classes.
It was during my searching when I found an incredible opportunity. James Van Praagh was going to be in Lily Dale! My aunt, mother and I (beginning to see a theme) purchased our tickets, packed ourselves up in the car and made our way back down to Lily Dale.
It was a rainy day, but over six hundred people filled the auditorium that day. It was packed and we waited in line for over an hour, in mud up past our ankles, for the session. It was worth it. During the session, James Van Praagh passed several messages, but the majority of the lecture was him working with the audience and teaching US how to pass messages. I paired up with a stranger sitting next to me, and for the first time passed a message!
Being able to pass the message was exciting, surprising easy and fun. To my chagrin, it was also ACCURATE! The other thing that surprised me was while passing the message the headache, which had been constant since my accident, went away.
From there, I threw myself into classes. Prior to my experience with James Van Praagh, I’d taken a few meditation classes, but now I was drawn to take more. And I did.
With the support of my mother and aunt, not only did they cart me to and from each class but also attended many with me. As a result, just a little more than a year after I passed my first message in the auditorium of Lily Dale, my headaches were almost completely gone and I participated as a reader at my first psychic fair!
It’s been an interesting and bumpy road, but I wouldn’t trade a day of it in. There are many people along the way who have helped me in my journey and there will be many many more. As, I’m still on the road to spiritual healing, perhaps better described as personal enlightenment.
Today my husband and I celebrate our fourth anniversary. We truly believe that spirit has played a significant role in our relationship – from our meeting and engagement (stories for another time… for as my best friend says, “You know it’s a good story when it takes at least three people to tell it right!”) through to our wedding and the last four years. Then again, we invited spirit in.
On to today’s tale!
Upon our engagement, to assist Don and I in determining the best day to get married, we consulted two talented astrologers for their advice. Fortunately, a date selected by them coincided with a time my father and step-mother were already planning on being in Buffalo!! So without hesitation we moved quickly to plan the affair as the selected date, August 23rd, was only two months away!
Don and I really wanted a small wedding. Prior to being engaged I never understood the need for a big, elaborate wedding and had even gone as far to joke that IF I were to get married (I never saw myself as the marrying type) I’d elope. But, when it came down to it, we didn’t want to disappoint anyone. So in two months time, we planned three days of wedding events: a blessing ceremony which mimicked a traditional wedding reception with our closest friends and family, the only caveat - WE WERE NOT MARRIED YET; a backyard barbeque where we invited all our friends and family, NO ONE was left out with over 300 invitations being sent; and, the actual commitment ceremony where Don and I were able to do it OUR way.
As with any wedding weekend there were some hiccups and disappointments, but overall it was truly beautiful. Family members still say it was one of the best (and most unique) weddings they’ve been to in awhile. People loved the music (Friday night we hired Nick Battistella who croons to songs by the Rat Pack and Saturday we were serenaded by Total Eclipse, a local cover band who even allowed Don’s Best Woman, Chris, to get in on the action and knock out a song on the drums); others loved the caricaturist who did pictures for wedding favors; others continue to comment on the beautiful invitations designed and created by my good friend Teresa, the proprietor of Willow Branch creations; others it was some the cheesecake from Say Cheesecake; and, others just appreciated the flowing spirits and hired bartender (it’s not an Irish wedding without an open bar!)… The one aspect that EVERYONE remembers and reflects upon however is the GEESE.
After the Friday and Saturday celebrations, on Sunday morning we had an intimate ceremony in Yates Park (aka Green Lake) conducted by one of my best friends, Reverend Amie Michaels. We hadn’t arranged a place, but were glad to see that the small gazebo next to the water that sat about twelve (perfect for our guests) was empty. It was there that we exchanged vows.
As we professed our love and commitment, the wind picked up slightly and just as we were saying our final “I dos” not one, but TWO flocks of geese flew overhead. Everyone present scrambled to get a picture… for we all knew it was something special.
We have taken the geese as a sign that spirit was blessing our union as a goose is a symbol of marital fidelity for a goose never leaves one of its own kind behind. Should a goose become injured during its migratory trek, another goose will leave the migrating flock to stay with its partner. This goose will stay with the injured until s/he has recovered or until its final breath. As such, Don and I knew this marriage was for the long haul.
Now four years in, we’ve had ups and downs in the road. But we always keep the geese in mind and one of us is struggling, the other stands by and helps the other. As I say to Don when he annoys me, “Oh goodness… at least it’s only for the rest of YOUR life…” which hopefully will be longer than shorter.
After my accident, I was blessed with a group of talented and caring physical, occupational, speech, vision and emotional therapists. With time and their help, besides visual deficits and headaches, I was able to heal physically and emotionally. Which considering where I began, was truly a miracle.
The recognition of the miracle of my survival and recovery lent to some spiritual healing, however the need for spiritual healing tended to be overlooked by my team of medical practitioners. As my gift became more and more prominent, it became clear to my mother, my strongest advocate, that to heal further I’d need to heal my spirit. This journey began with a trip to Lily Dale.
It was a cold day as the end of March, when my mother, aunt and I made the hour trek down to Lily Dale to sit with a medium who had come highly recommended. It had been years since any of us had been to Lily Dale! As we pulled through the gates and made our way down the narrow streets, which were even skinnier that day due to the waist high piles of snow on either side of the street, our hearts sang.
Excited, anxious and a little nervous, when we got to our readers home it was decided that I should go first. Besides a palm reading I had done during Spring Fest in college, which was a HORRIBLE experience and the reason why I refuse to learn palmistry, this was my first reading. Family members had talked about their previous readings, so I thought maybe my grandfather or grandmother or Uncle Dennis would come through and I hoped I’d get some insights on my future, but I truly did not know what to expect.
My grandfather and grandmother did visit that day, and since then they almost always do. But there was another person who stepped in as well, one that I never expected. And he wanted to talk first.
Who came through you ask? A college friend, Chip. And what he had to say shook me to the core. It changed my life.
February 4th was a tough day for the Greek Community at my college. Not one, but two tragedies occurred: my accident, which in comparison was minor, and Chip’s suicide.
Over the years I had thought of him often. It never crossed my mind that he would have something to say to me, but he sure did. Everything he said did not make sense in the moment I received the reading. I was shocked. I was scared. I was confused. I was emotional. But as it sank in and I had time to reflect, the reading the medium gave me was profound and facilitated the release some of the long-standing pain and guilt. Chip spoke to my soul that day and with that my spirit began to heal.
-Come back later this week for part 2
Most seekers of spirituality, be it experienced mediums and healers or “newbies,” will tell you their journey began as a result of a traumatic event. The traumatic event may have been a death, an injury, an illness or other some tragedy, whatever it is it left them with the feeling that there is “something more” and a desire to understand what that more is.
My traumatic experience occurred on Monday, February 4, 2002 at approximately 11:30am. I was a first semester senior at Allegheny College. That morning I had to make the 30 minute trek to Erie to pick up my oboe from the instrument repair shop for band that afternoon. It was a little snowy when I started my trek at about 10am, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I grew up in Buffalo after all!
At about 10:40, it took me a little longer to get to Erie because of the snow, I picked my oboe up from the music store. Upon my departure I commented to the manager behind the counter, “Be careful today. It’s a little slick out there today!” Those words have haunted me for they were a harbinger for what was to come.
Leaving Erie that morning I breathed a sigh of relief for the snow seemed to be letting up. It had been a worse drive up than I expected and my nerves were shot, but I was from Buffalo, the snow was letting up so I assumed I would make it back to Allegheny in time for my next class.
On my way down 79S, just past Edinboro, the snow got worse causing me (and many others on the road) to slow down to about 45 and put on the blinkers. Less than ten miles from Meadville and just after the Saegertown/Conneautville exit, it happened.
All I remember is seeing something gold. For the longest time I believed it to be a gold car, however there was no gold care in the accident report. After that, it’s fleeting memories of the hospital. Most of which I believe to come from those who were there.
From what the accident architect could deduce, I was hit by two 18-wheelers and ricocheted off a third. It began with two trucks behind me losing control and somehow pinning me between them. My car, Petunia a Nissan Altima, was then pushed into a truck that had pulled over on the side of the road due to the inclement weather. After bouncing off of that truck, my car spun around and slid under one truck which sheared the top of the car off (I finally had the convertible I’d always wanted). At which point the car stopped at which point the second 18 wheeler, a flat bed carrying industrial metal piping, tipped and dumped its load on my car.
A total of eight cars were involved in the accident. And fortunately, only one was injured. Me.
But, considering the rescue teams thought I was a goner, I was fortunate. I didn’t break any bones, but I did have a significant head injury. It took me years of intensive occupational, speech, physical and vison therapy to get me where I am today.
I also, at that time, lost the ability to shut out spirit. Suddenly, they were everywhere. The sorority sisters that visited me in the hospital have spoken of my somewhat incoherent blubbering about ghosts and spirits in the ER. That was only the beginning. That was also when the headaches began.
Being a medium may sound glamorous, and at times it is. As withes anything else in life, there comes times when I love it, but that doesn’t always mean I always like it.
As a child, being a medium was especially challenging. Kids can be cruel (at more than one slumber party I was locked in the basement) and my grandfather used my fear to punish me (I was dropped off in a cemetery once!). This came to a head in middle school, for it was during those awkward years that I, for the first time, lost people close to me: my grandfather and a childhood friend, Alice.
I was eleven. No child at that age has the emotional intelligence necessary to fully process the significance of death. The loss of grandpa and friend was complicated in that both were still hanging around!
I was confused, scared, grieving, all the things a child dealing with death goes through. And, I didn’t understand why grandpa and Alice were still there. They were dead. Adults in my life told me death is permanent and until I go to heaven, I wouldn’t see them again. I believed them. For one, they were smart, they were adults. Two, the people I lost previously, albeit they weren’t close, didn’t come around and visit. So I had assumed grandpa and Alice should be reunited with family and friends on the other-side.
I wondered why grandpa and Alice were still here. Were they evil and not going to heaven? They did after all feel different from the other spirits I had encountered. If they were evil, did that mean they could hurt me? The spirits I had always encountered emanated love and would go away if I asked. Grandpa and Alice did not.
Older and wiser now, I understand that initially after a person passes they typically “hang around” for at least his/her funeral or memorial service, sometimes longer. Some may call them “earth bound,” but as an eleven year-old child I thought they were “ghosts” who were “haunting” me for something terrible I had done.
What was so horrible that I could have done you may ask? I knew before grandpa and Alice went that were going to die that day. I remember hugging grandpa when he left on Thanksgiving and him telling me for the first time, “I love you,” that he was going home to die and then sitting on the top of the stairs when the phone rang that it was Grandma Pat with the news. I also remember the day Alice, she yelled at me in the lunch room that “I hate you” that I should apologize because I wouldn’t have another chance. Through my grief I felt guilt and responsibility.
This guilt was compounded for whenever I said anything about my grandfather or Alice’s passing, teachers and students gave me concerned, funny looks. To assist in dealing with the loss, my English teacher had us write and present a paper on how we dealt with sadness and who supported us most in dark times. I spoke of meditation and my spirit guide to which I received stifled laughs and snickers. My Science teacher also delivered a potent message to the class, telling us we were not to “make up tall tales or speak ill of the dead” and “no one could know this would happen.” All the while she looked in my direction. After those two incidents, I shut up and tried to ignore my gift.
Despite the negative feedback I received in school, I continued to benefit from the support of my family. After my grandfather’s passing, Eugene (my grandfather’s cousin) took me aside and comforted me. He informed me that like me, he knew grandpa was going to die and that Lois, my grandmother was waiting for him. He also told me it would be ok. It made me feel better, but I also knew at that time I needed to keep things quiet. It’s at that point I decided to fly under the radar, which I did for many years.
Dawn Lynn is an EveryDay medium. She lives and breathes via her intuition, which as a fourth generation intuitive from a family of Spiritualists came easily. Her abilities became apparent in early childhood and were cultured by a supportive family. Through her Blogs and Vlogs, she wants to help you become the EveryDay medium too.