The Joy Brigade


“We cannot cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy.”  ~ Joseph Campbell

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.  She gives most who gives with joy.”  ~ Mother Teresa

When I arrived at my destination, I parked across the street from the farm and stayed in the car.  Fear and anxiety poked tiny holes through the sparkling love energy which normally surrounded me.  I sat quietly and took several deep breaths.  Yesterday’s workshop had yielded many moments where I was caught off guard by an individual in pain.  His powerful saber of words carried the hurt from his own heart into the hearts of those that attempted to support him.  He was blind to the damage that he created and many gave him a wide berth because of it.  His own pain had created a deep chasm in his heart and it clouded his perspective.  Today I hoped to touch his heart.  His wounded heart.  But also the hearts of many others.  As I opened the door to the car, I reminded myself to Breathe Love.

I had looked forward to this trip for nearly two years.  It would be an opportunity to meet, in person, many members of an online Facebook group.  We had gathered our works together in a forum that enabled us to share writing, photography, painting and other creative pursuits.  We had forged a comfortable camaraderie together.  I had created my blog because of this “ministry of encouragement”.  I had also shared, through my writing, things that had never been spoken out loud.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable and my blog was being read all over the world.  My Spirit guides had told me that they would carry my words to the hearts of those that would find comfort and healing from reading them.

My heart pounded in my ears as I stepped from my car.  In that same moment, I also felt my spiritual troops as they gathered around me.  I slipped seamlessly into their reality and it became my own.  The air felt full.  Love permeated every cell of my being.  I knew that my entourage was there to support me.  My Spiritual entourage.  Today I was to continue to fulfill a mission that had been created between my sister and me almost two years earlier.  My sister Carol had died in 2011 but she brought me a plethora of signs of her continued existence on her spiritual birthday in 2013.  Penelope the pig, a tiny glass figurine with angel wings, was one of her signs and had become a symbol for our mission.  The words Carol had said to me were these:

“Let’s do this together.  Spread joy.  Your part is to give people the Angel Piggies.  My job is to be with you and send love through you to their hearts.  It will be magical for everyone and you will feel me with you.  Every single time.”

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I could barely feel my feet beneath me as I walked up the driveway.  I felt buoyant and even a bit out of my body.  My steps were directed by unseen energies.  My bag held seventeen Penelope Pigs.  There were far more people there than the figurines that were in my bag.  I opened my heart and listened.  I was being guided by my sister but there were others in the background that surrounded both of us.  A chorus of whispers.  Mothers, fathers, spouses, grandparents, in-laws, siblings, children and grandchildren, friends.  These were the Loved Ones in Spirit of the kindred souls in my creative group and this was their message:

Please tell them that we are here.  Each one of them has their own spiritual entourage.  They simply need to be open to the signs we send, the songs we play for them, the whispers in the wind that make them shiver and talk about “that feeling”.   We feel their hearts weep and are right beside them.  Tell them we are here and no one ever dies.  Tell them love never dies.  We are alive, our love is alive.

I tried four times to speak to the Man in Pain from the workshop.  He brushed me off each time.  My Guides told me that his pain was too deep to allow himself to open his heart to receive joy.  He had become a prisoner, a slave to his own pain.  They showed me the love which surrounded him.  They encouraged me to send him love.  And so I did.  I still do.

Time operated in an odd fashion.  On occasion, the minutes seemed to fly by but there were other moments when time stopped.  I waited patiently for direction from my Guides.  I felt my sister by my side.  We passed out the figurines together.  With the encouragement of my entourage, love was plentiful and it was wrapped with a mystical magical joy.  My heart opened farther with every interaction with the members of my group.  Love poured out.  Words came from me but they also came through me from our Loved Ones in Spirit.  I will carry forever in my heart the snapshots of our moments of deep connection.  Each face is seared in my memory.  The tears that we shed.  Long hugs with open hearts pressed together.  I felt each one of their lights merge together with my own.  Soul to soul.  A bit of each of their Lights has stayed with me and I shine brighter because of it.

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Members of the Joy Brigade ~ Donna, Nancy and Kate

I began each sharing of hearts with these words:

From my heart space in this reality and my sister’s heart space in the reality in which she resides, we call on you to become part of our Joy Brigade.  We invite you to join your heart with ours in the sacred space we have created.  United together, we will continue our mission of love to spread joy and let our Lights shine.

After arriving back home, I was startled to discover a few days later that I would no longer be able to purchase any figurines to continue our mission.  They were not available anywhere.  During meditation, my sister came to me with another message.

It’s not about the PIG!

I immediately replied with “Yes it is!”  Carol said, “No it’s NOT!”  and back and forth we went.  I may be the only person alive who argues with their dead sibling.  Eventually I quieted down enough to listen to the rest of her message.

I used a tool to get your attention.  It was an object that was important to me when I was in body but it became important to you because of what it symbolized.  LOVE.  We are very connected now.  You hear me all the time.  Our love, all love, is what spreads the joy.  You don’t need any symbol at all though having one will help others in the same way that it helped you.  I feel joy when YOU feel joy.  Keep on sharing the message and sharing the love. 

We are helping you to heal hearts.  One at a time.

Oh, and I love the Spiritual Warrior idea.

Tears were running down my cheeks.  A thought had been circulating on the drive home from the farm.  I had been mulling over the fact that so much time is spent on things other than love.  What would happen if we lived for love?  Maybe it was my sister or maybe it was my spiritual entourage.  Or perhaps it was all of them, our Loved Ones in Spirit collectively joined together who gave me the idea.  And so it was born.

The Spiritual Warrior Joy Brigade.

Addendum  February 2016

Our gift to new warriors joining the brigade is now a small crystal, a pink quartz stone in the shape of a heart.

“The fair and lovely Rose Quartz, with its gentle pink essence, is a stone of the heart, a Crystal of Unconditional Love. It carries a soft feminine energy of compassion and peace, tenderness and healing, nourishment and comfort. It speaks directly to the heart chakra, dissolving emotional wounds, fears and resentments, and circulates a Divine loving energy throughout the entire aura. Reawakening the heart to its own innate love, it provides a deep sense of personal fulfillment and contentment, allowing one the capacity to truly give and receive love from others.”  (

We are always sending out Love and Light to call new warriors to the Joy Brigade.

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Jacqui Kate and Carol Jo

Carol Jo Strang    December 20, 1953 ~ October 21, 2011

credit to Kathy Dewez for the Joy Brigade picture

To read about the year Carol sent me the plethora of signs-

And my letter to Carol on what would have been her 60th birthday-

~ until our paths bring us together again ~



You are Free


October 16, 2015

Dear Guido,

Today is your last day with us.  We are going to help you take off that pain filled body.  It served you well for many years but now it fails you in so many ways.  Even though I am sad to see you go, I am so excited for you too.  Tomorrow you will be free.

I wanted to chat with you for a few moments today while you are still in your physical body.  You know that we will continue to share time together when you have left it behind but please understand, these words are more for me than for you.  I need to say them because I am learning how to let you go.

Thank you for choosing your dad all those years ago.  Last night he was telling me the story about you and your brother and how he tricked your first mom into falling in love with you.  You were such a good boy Guido.  He needed your company and your cuddles.  And he will still need them after you go.  Make sure that he feels you by his side, particularly at night.  Just now and then.  It will be good for his heart.

I remember when Becca and I met you.  It wasn’t long after that when you became my first “adopted” boy.  Your dad and I merged our hearts and our households together and I loved you immediately.  Do you remember when you received your middle name (Sarducci) and your birthday?  You knew these were rites of passage when you came into a home with two females and two new kitty sisters.  Dad thought his cats needed “tough guy” names and it was great to have Carmine join us a short while later.  And Sophie too.


Thank you for the special role that you played with all of your furry brothers and sisters.  We could always count on you to help our new additions feel welcome.  You were especially wonderful with Gianna and Lucio and all their puppy behaviors.  You taught them that cats were great to be around and this was all without a single hiss or a swipe of the paw.



Yesterday I picked out a special box for your body when you don’t need it anymore.  I wonder why it was so important to me.  I know that you will never die because your Spirit will still be alive. This box will just go into the ground but I had to make sure that the words were just right.


I have to tell you that you were kind of stingy with your kisses over the years.  Becca and I were so excited when you finally graced us with your sandpaper tongue.  It was a couple of years before your dad told us that you only licked people when they were in your way.  I didn’t believe him.  And even it was true, I know that you loved us anyway.

Today I was thinking about the connection that you had with Lauren.  I loved that she talked out loud to you all the time.  There is a memory snapshot seared into my heart on the day she picked you up and told you that you were “the PERFECT kitty”.  You are going to go be with her tomorrow.  Please carry my love to her but especially her Daddio’s love.  He is having a hard time.  You have been a special link to her that he won’t have anymore when you go.  Lauren knows that you are coming and she will be waiting for you when you get to the other side.  No matter what your dad, Becca and I are doing, I want you to run to Lauren and leap into her arms.  It makes me happy to picture your reunion.  And I will keep reminding your dad that you are together.

As a matter of fact, there are many, many beautiful souls awaiting your arrival.  Your furry siblings, Cassie, Carmine, Giovanni, Max and my one in a million boy, Tucker, are pulling close and the room feels full.  But there are also other souls anxious to meet you.  There will be greeters, you may not recognize them but your heart will.  They are filled with Love and Light.  I have asked one special little joy guide to be there too.

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I am going to go now and sit with you on the couch.  I know that you don’t want me to touch you but I am just going to sit with you and say all these words to your heart.  And I have a few treats if you can manage to eat them.

Love and heart kisses,


October 17, 2015

Dear Guido,

My heart is kissing your heart.

Goodbye.  I love you.  You are free.



Guido Sarducci DeLodovico   April 8, 1997 ~ October 17, 2015

~ until our paths bring us together again ~



When Pigs Fly

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The cashier was busy talking to another customer when I carefully placed the angel globe on the counter.  There were things strewn all over and my elbow inadvertently knocked into another item.  My heart lurched when I realized it was a glass figurine that tumbled to the ground as it landed with a loud clink.  Somehow it had remained intact but when I picked it up, I burst into tears.  I was holding an angel pig.  My husband rubbed my back and we both gazed at the tiny figure.

Michael said, “Wow.  How did she manage that??!”  The “she” that he referred to was my sister, Carol.  It was the day before the second anniversary of her death and she had always been known for her love of little pink pigs with angel wings.  In fact, Carol had often corrected people who called them, “flying pigs”.

It was only a brief moment later that I heard her words clearly in my head.  They are NOT flying pigs, they are angel piggies.  Their magic is that they spread joy to everyone.  They spread even more joy when they are pink because that is the color of love.  Carol was everywhere around me but in me too and she had more to say.  Let’s do this together.  Spread joy.  Your part is to give people the Angel Piggies.  My job is to be with you and send love through you to their hearts.  It will be magical for everyone and you will feel me with you.  Every single time.

Carol wanted to lend credence to her words.  I immediately became enveloped with a warm energy which permeated my entire body.   I felt tendrils of love snake their way through me.  They expanded and pulsated.  My chest felt full as my heart overflowed with love.  Silent tears traced a path down my face as I attempted to talk to the woman behind the counter.  She directed me to the stock of figurines and I emptied the barrel.  In total, I left the store with thirty-three “Penelope” pigs to begin our mission to spread joy.

My sister continued to send me signs that she was with me the next day too.  About a year earlier I had hung a print by Michael Sowa called Diving Pig in the downstairs bathroom.  On the morning of the second anniversary of Carol’s death, there were tiny rainbow images all over the picture and wall.  One rainbow was clearly crossing the pig’s tail.  I ran to get my camera.  Moments later when I looked at the pictures I had taken, I could also clearly see above the pig, the reflection of my baby picture at three months of age.  The message rang out to me, practically screamed to me, that our souls were still connected.  We would always remain connected.



I opened my email and another gift awaited me there.  It is important to know that Carol’s love of pigs was very specific.  They had to be pink.  No other color would do.  She loved the movie, Babe, and watched it over and over especially with my daughter Becca.  Angel pigs and pink pigs.  Period.  That morning I received an email from Hay House that they had just released a new book.  “Chris P. Bacon” was an adorable baby pig who had been born without the use of his back legs.  There were images of the pig included in the email.  The publication date for the book was October 21, 2013, Carol’s second spiritual birthday.

chris p bacon

I was flying on a piggie high!  Unbidden tears came bubbling to the surface.  I didn’t hear Carol’s voice but I KNEW she was there.  I had received a few signs from her over the two years prior but nothing that compared to the sheer magnitude of what happened during this twenty-four hour period.  Now I must admit, I became caught up in the moment and there was an air of expectation that followed me around all day.  When nighttime rolled around, I had relived all of these moments over and over in my mind.  Each time I thought about them, I again felt the warmth and surge of love and Carol’s presence.

I had been a single parent when my daughter, Becca, was young and Carol spent a lot of time with us.  We were always happy when we could talk her into watching a movie other than Babe!   When Becca was about five, the three of us became very emotionally connected while watching one of these movies, Fly Away Home.  It is about a young girl’s relationship with her father after the death of her mother.  Their relationship grows while raising a flock of mother less geese, teaching them to fly south for the winter.  Mary Chapin Carpenter’s beautiful voice plays in the background toward the end of the movie.  Her song, “10,000 Miles” was powerful for us when Carol was alive but became larger than life for us after her death.

When I turned the television on that evening, I received another gift.  I was shocked to discover the movie, Babe, was in its last ten minutes.  When it was over, the next movie began.  It was Fly Away Home.

I love you Carol.  Always and Forever.  And I love our mission.

Let’s do this together.  Spread joy.  Your part is to give people the Angel Piggies.  My job is to be with you and send love through you to their hearts.  It will be magical for everyone and you will feel me with you.  Every single time.


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Carol the Angel Piggie – at Becca’s preschool

jacqui kate and carol jo

Summer 1968

Jackie Kate – age 5 1/2    Carol Jo – age 14 1/2

10,000 Miles    Mary Chapin Carpenter

Carol Jo Strang   December 20, 1953 ~ October 21, 2011

You may also enjoy reading my letter to Carol on what would have been her 60th birthday:

~ until our paths bring us together again ~

On Magic and Miracles


“If spider is your power animal: You have a knack for writing, with the ability to weave words together in new and creative ways, often affecting others profoundly with their magic. It’s time to write creatively without limits of tradition or habit, allowing yourself to be inspired by Nature.” ~ Steven D. Farmer

When I walked the dogs out onto the side porch this morning, they pushed against my legs and refused to leave my side.  A heavy blanket of grey obscured the familiar trees and path which led into the yard.  As we moved forward together, a threesome with ten legs, they lost their fear and disappeared into the fog.  As they moved farther away from me, obscured by the haze, the envelope of grey wrapped itself around me.  I was alone but somehow felt comforted by unseen hands.  The air felt thick and mystical.  Perhaps it was my imagination that allowed me to hear fairies whispering words of encouragement to each other as they danced across the lawn and through the trees.  The dogs broke my reverie as they raced past me, back to the porch, eager to return inside.

Barely more than an hour had passed when I ventured outside for the second time.  I was unprepared for the visceral reaction of my body as every hair stood at attention.  An ordinary moment had become extraordinary.  It seemed that the blanket of fog had cloaked the magic that was being created beneath it.  The curtain had been pulled back to reveal thousands of glittering threads, a multitude of intricate webs composed of fascinating geometric patterns.  Everything was part of the design.  I walked within a showcase of masterpieces which stretched from trees to bushes and covered multiple small sections of grass.  My soul recognized it as a gift.  A message for me created by hundreds of baby spiders, young maestros who had worked in tandem to create the miraculous symphony which now lay before me.

It was a miracle and it is a part of me now.  I have been transformed.

“This is an opportunity to access your deepest wisdom and assimilate it so that it becomes a part of your daily living.  Rather than staying stuck in this apparent impasse, open your mind to the infinite number of possibilities that are before you, and make a choice.  Don’t limit yourself to the mundane world, but instead be willing to explore other dimensions and realities.” 

~ Steven D. Farmer (on the metaphysical significance of spiders)

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~ until our paths bring us together again ~

It’s All Love


“Everything that seemingly happens externally is occurring in order to trigger something within us, to expand us and take us back to who we truly are.”
Anita Moorjani,  Dying to Be Me

When I place the mask on your face, I would like for you to take a few deep breaths.  Count backward out loud beginning with one hundred.  Always the good student, I did as I was told.  The chill of the operating room faded away and my body felt warm and very heavy.  Resolution of the pain that I had experienced over the past eight months was now within my grasp.  I remember a fleeting sense of happiness which floated through me.  I expected to awaken in the recovery room surrounded by the noise of monitors and the activity of nurses.

I felt cozy and peaceful when I opened my eyes.  A golden meadow stretched before me.  What??  I shook my head and blinked my eyes.  Hard.  The meadow was still there but now I could see in all directions, at the same time.  The colors were magnificent.  I sat astride a horse whose coat was pure white and it glowed with crystal beams of light.  Love flowed through everything.   It was in me and all around me.  Love was light and it pulsated and intensified until I was no longer separate from the horse or the meadow.  Right away, I recognized the horse and the feeling of no separation.  I had visited this sacred space many times in the past.  The horse’s name was Faith and during my meditations, she often appeared in this same meadow but carried my deceased loved ones on her back.  Faith had always been my connection to the Other Side.

I must be dead.  Is Faith taking me to the Other Side?  Seriously??  I don’t even feel dead.  I feel FABULOUS and this doesn’t make any sense.  I thought my Guide would be with me when I died.  Why am I all alone?  Where is everyone else?

Even as the questions continued to form in my mind, I leaned back and surrendered.  All of me.  Enveloped by pure love I was cradled and lifted up as a small child in the arms of the Source of All That Is.  The meadow, the horse, everything that had been around me disappeared and became pure sparkles of shimmering light.  I sat in a field of potentiality which contained everything that had ever been and everything that would ever be.  My journey had carried me Home.


Three weeks and three days before my journey Home, my sister died following surgery to correct her spine which had caused chronic back pain.  The nurses had gotten her up to a chair the day after surgery and the movement caused a clot to be released.   My sister’s Spirit found its way Home even as her body remained slumped in the chair.  Following her death, my own surgical date loomed in front of me but instead of fear, I only felt anticipation of the relief it would bring from constant abdominal pain.

A huge ovarian cyst had been discovered on my left ovary eight months prior to the scheduled removal by laparoscopic surgery.  I had first sought to treat it with alternative therapies, primarily different forms of “energy” work.  The cyst had been the size of an orange and initially it shrank to the size of a golf ball before it ballooned back up.  It became the size of a grapefruit.  I found my only escape from the pain was through meditation.

My holistic healing practice led me to believe that the pain from the ovarian cyst was a physical manifestation of emotional and mental trauma that I had experienced as a child.  The sacral chakra is situated in the abdomen and one of the organs that it governs is the ovaries.  Part of my meditation practice focused on forgiveness of my father.  We shared the secret of sexual abuse that had occurred between us from when I was very small until I was almost thirteen.  I thought that if I forgave him, the cyst would go away and so would all the pain.  It seemed simple enough in theory but I could not find my way to forgiveness.  Pain was not just localized to my ovary.  My whole Spirit was in pain.

Two days before the surgery, I had a vision during meditation.  My abdominal organs were covered in a thick black tarry substance.  I also saw the surgeon shaking her head as she delivered the news to my husband in the waiting room.  I wrote it all down in my journal.  Later that day my husband and I were talking and I mentioned that I had a “bad feeling” about the surgery.  Surprisingly, there was no fear.  Instead I felt empowered and grateful for the gift of sight.  On the morning of the surgery I shared my vision with the doctor.  We changed the consent form from outpatient surgery for ovary removal to a total hysterectomy.  She also knew that my sister had died from an embolism three weeks earlier.  I found out a couple of years later that my daughter had a bad feeling about the surgery too but she didn’t want to scare me.

When the anesthesiologist placed the mask over my face, I knew that I might awaken to some difficult news.  As I look back now, I know I was also prepared for the possibility that I might not survive surgery.  Perhaps that is why my transition to Spirit was so easy.  I have no memory of being out of my body in the operating room.  There was no tunnel, no white light at the end of it and no dead relatives.  There weren’t even any Light Beings to greet me.  I just felt cozy and peaceful and so loved as Faith carried me Home.

But my story doesn’t end there.

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As I sat in the field of potentiality, I became aware that the sparkles of shimmering light were alive.  I was separate from them but I was also connected to them.  It was all love.  At this point I began to receive downloads of information.  I wasn’t conscious of it, I just suddenly knew about the intricacies of the Universe.  It wasn’t even really a download, it was more like a remembering, a reminder that I had always had this knowledge inside of me.

One of the lights moved closer to me and I knew it was my father.  He had died nine years earlier but I had cut off all ties with him seventeen years before his death.  The last time that I had even heard his voice was when I was twenty-four years old.  The most peculiar thing happened.  I felt his love reach out for my love and we blended together.  It was as though I became him and he became me.  I knew everything about him and that included his pain about our separation.  In that moment, I knew he loved me.  In that moment, I knew that I loved him and I was so grateful to him for the role he had played in my life.

We had planned our past lifetime together before we incarnated.

My father had volunteered to help me learn about love through a different kind of experience.  I had also agreed to a life where the possibility of an inappropriate sexual relationship existed.  It was only one possibility of many futures that we had before us to choose from.

I know that you struggled with forgiveness around our life together.  Though you understand everything now, you will have a decision to make about going back.  If you choose to leave, you will remember our love for each other but you will not remember everything else.  Love will be what helps you move toward forgiveness if you choose to go back.  With the illusion of separation, forgiveness in the physical body can be very difficult.  The lessons you will learn, and subsequent growth, will expand many souls exponentially should you choose to return.  The energy of your forgiveness will help others to move in the same direction while those on this side will continue to learn through your collective experiences.  There is no right decision and it is your choice.  There are other possibilities available to you too.

I immediately thought of my sister.  What about Carol?  Was she given a choice?  Where is she?  I asked the questions as I was already receiving the answers but they didn’t come from my father.  In fact, much of what my father said seemed to come through him.  He was bigger somehow.  It was as though my father was just a small piece of the Love Being that was talking to me.

Carol had a choice.  Everyone has a choice.  You have heard this before and know it to be true.  Carol is in the Healing Space.  Whether you choose to stay or to return, she will be with you following the healing process.  There are other things that we want to show you before you make your decision.

Things went through my mind at an unbelievable pace.  I was surrounded by love, it was ALL love and there was no pressure put on me to come back.  I was shown many potential futures, different timelines and how my decisions both now and then could and would affect many, many lives.  The single common denominator to every single thing that I was shown was love.  Everything is love.  The answer to every question ever asked has always been love.  I remember when I agreed to come back.  I was not allowed to come back with the memory of what I had been shown.

The last thing that I remember was a sensation of being pulled back at a very fast pace and then a bump.  I felt jammed into a suit of armor and my vision was blurry.  Someone was talking to me.  I also heard my voice but I didn’t feel that I was in control of it.  The sound was strange and separate from me.  I kept repeating myself.


There were a bunch of people around my bed and a woman peered into my face.  No, I don’t need you.  She is alright.  She is talking now.  I must have been mistaken.


Okay honey.  Pain?  You have pain?


Yes.  I understand.  You have pain.  You are in the recovery room now.  The surgery was more extensive than the doctor had anticipated.  She expects you to have a lot of pain but I will get you some medication now.

I didn’t understand why she kept saying pain when I knew that I was saying love.  At some point, the suit of armor disappeared, my vision cleared and I felt the pain.  My choice was to come back but I am different now.  I brought the love with me and it’s all love.

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1968 – with my sister Carol

 “I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are.”
  – Anita Moorjani

LONG TIME SUN – Snatam Kaur

Today is the third anniversary of my near death experience.  I found my way to forgiveness with my father but that is a story for another time.  I love him and he loves me.

Two of my sisters have died.  My sister Diane died when I was ten and she is the one who first introduced me to the white horse named Faith.  It is through her love that I survived the turbulent years of my childhood and adolescence.  You can read our story of her after death visit to me here- (Faith is in the second part.)

I wrote a letter to my sister Carol on what would have been her sixtieth birthday last year.  She is very present in my life now.  When she shows herself to me it is as a radiant green light which emanates love.  My love for her grows and grows and I am so happy that she found the healing that she sought for most of her life.

~ until our paths bring us together again ~

My Promise to Ryan

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“Greatness lies even in the smallest of moments, in the humblest of hearts, and we shall, each of us, be called to greatness. Whether we shall rise to meet it or let it slip away is the challenge put before us all.”

~ Libby Bray, “The Sweet Far Thing”  

I dropped the letter into the box at the post office and when the door clanged shut, relief flooded through my body.  For three months I had held his words in a sacred place in my heart.  They had begged for release from the moment that I first received them.  This was the final leg of our journey together.  The messages were on their way to his intended recipient.  I had kept my promise to Ryan.

Ten days.  That was the total amount of time that I knew Ryan, and his family, when he was a patient at Children’s Hospital.  Ryan died in October of 2003 from complications secondary to his diagnosis of stomach cancer.  I was his nurse on the day that he was admitted to the hospital.  I was also at his bedside when he died ten days later, surrounded by his family and a multitude of friends.  He was seventeen.  The letter that I wrote for Ryan happened more than seven years after his death.  The promise that I made to him was through messages that he passed onto me from the other side.  Ryan was very much alive and he wanted me to be his voice.

In December 2010,  I struggled with many emotions after having left my twenty-five year career as a pediatric oncology nurse two months earlier.  For most of my life, my identity had been wrapped up in being a nurse.  In fact, I wasn’t sure who I was when I wasn’t a nurse anymore.  I floundered, my head barely above water.  What difference had I made in the lives of the families that I had dedicated myself to for all those years?  So many of the children had died and their families were left with grief as their constant companion.  There was no escape from the grief when on a personal level, I also watched my husband fight his way through the aftermath of the death of his daughter.  The fingers of depression wrapped themselves tighter around me and threatened to pull me down into a deep abyss.

As I crawled my way through the darkness, I saw a glimmer of light in my growing connection to Spirit.  Hope and faith battled against depression but for now, there was no clear winner.  I had just completed my second series of classes with an energy therapy called Healing Touch.  I felt moments of pure joy when I meditated.  My vibration increased when I connected to Spirit.  It was during one of these moments that Ryan found me.  He was very patient as he tried to connect with me.  I had a difficult time understanding the pictures and thoughts that he placed in my head.  He was very determined and once the connection was made, he sent messages through in rapid fire succession.


Ryan spoke to me with great compassion.  We are all here for you.  Your troops met me when I first arrived.  The little boy who you love was one of the first.  I saw Jeffrey, another of my patients, holding his hand, leading him to a large group of other children and teenagers.  I had an especially close relationship with Jeffrey who had died two weeks before Ryan.

You have no idea how many hearts you have touched, how much healing has occurred because of you.  You turned pain and fear into love when you cared about us and our families.  By reaching out, you made a difference and its effects continue even today.  It is like the ripples that happen with a drop of water.  You are the the drop of love in the middle of the ocean of souls.  This is all because you love so deeply and continue to allow your love for us to be a daily part of your life.  Then a group of the children stepped forward.  My stepdaughter, Lauren, was with them too.  Collectively they sent their thoughts to me with one voice.  I understood that they would always be there for me, supporting me.  My troops on the other side.

Warriors of love.

At first, there were messages just for me but later Ryan focused on someone that he kept referring to as “Robbie”.  It was critically important to him that I pass these messages on to this person.  Over and over Ryan stressed that I had to promise that I would make sure that I found Robbie and pass on the communication that I had received.  The moment that I promised, the information began to flow even faster.  I had a much clearer understanding of everything that Ryan said and I understood how I was to find Robbie.  He showed me a note that his mother has sent to me after his death and then he magnified her name so I could see it clearly.  It was Diane G.

It is very, very important that you make sure that my whole family knows that life goes on after death, no one really dies.  I heard everything that you said to my family after I died because I was still in the room.  I stayed with every one of them when they left the hospital.  I hoped that one of them would see or hear me but even when I couldn’t get through, I just stayed beside them.  All of them.  I was able to be with many people at the same time.  Your presence greatly affected my family.  Your words carried energy that they received.  I saw it move in waves from you to them.

At this point, I sensed a change in Ryan.  I’ll bet that you didn’t know that they named kids after me.  He said this like it was a really cool thing.  Earlier he had spoken as a wise soul but now he was kind of silly and goofy.  I felt like this was the personality of Ryan the teenager, a scaled back version of the enlightened being that he had become.  All the little kids see me.  He showed me images of children giggling when he made faces while he played with them.  Animals see me too.  Some people feel me.  His eyes seemed to twinkle.  Sometimes I will make songs play that have special messages.  Almost everyone wants to believe it’s me but they won’t let themselves. 

Please make sure that you tell Robbie everything that I said.  It won’t be easy.  He won’t be happy that I have asked you to talk to him.  He’s a hard head and wants to talk to me himself.  I have come to him but he is too stubborn to allow himself to see, hear or even feel me.  He KNOWS that he has felt me but questions himself.  I will come to him when he is able to be in a place where I can speak to him directly.  Right now even when I shout in his face, he refuses to acknowledge that I am there.  He writes things off as coincidence and then starts to think that he is crazy or that he is making it up.  That is why I came to you.  Remember, you and I have a deal.  You promised.

And then Ryan was gone.

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The next day I sat down at the computer and began my search.  I didn’t know who Robbie was but I had a name for Ryan’s mom.  Based on the messages that I had received, Robbie was either Ryan’s brother or someone that he referred to as a brother.  I immediately found Diane using the Facebook search engine.  I sent her a message and while I waited for her reply,  I looked through her “friends” list.  There were a lot of people with the same last name.  One of them was named Robbie.  I didn’t know it back then but when Spirit wants to facilitate something important in your life, they will make it easy for you.  You feel like you are in a magical flow of energy.

By the end of the day I had talked to Ryan’s mother, sister and even his cousin.  His mom said that his brother, Robbie, was in Australia and would soon be married.  No one was sure whether or not Robbie would talk to me.  Even though Ryan had prepared me for this possibility, it was difficult to wait to hear from him.  That night, Ryan returned in a dream.  He didn’t stay for long.  In my message for my brother, I talked about forgiveness.  That is my job now.  I work with souls on both sides.  Forgiveness from the Earthly realm facilitates soul expansion.  The path to love is through forgiveness.

About a week later, I pulled a card from my “Power Card” deck by Louise Hay.  “I am willing to forgive.  Forgiveness of myself and others releases me from the past. Forgiveness is the answer to almost every problem. Forgiveness is a gift to myself.  I forgive, and I set myself free.”  I felt like Ryan was speaking to me through the card.

When days turned into weeks and then finally months, I contacted Ryan’s mom again.  She knew that I had promised her son that I would deliver the messages directly to his brother.  I wrote a letter to Robbie in March of 2011 and sent it to his mom.  She assured me that he would receive it.  There were no guarantees that he would read it.

I am including a few excerpts from my letter to Robbie.  It feels important that at this time now, Ryan’s words are heard by more than his brother.  He, and other spirit messengers, have walked beside me in a journey where I have found love through forgiveness for both my father and my mother.  Last night, Ryan came to me in a dream for the first time in almost four years.  The troops are with you.  The time is right to share our story.  Now you also have stories of your own about forgiveness.  Share those too.


March 28, 2011

Dear Robbie,

I am sure that your family has told you that I promised Ryan that I would deliver his messages to you.  It is very important to me that I fulfill that promise.

Ryan said, “You never die . . . just that, you NEVER dieWe continue on in a different place that exists at a different vibration.  We continue to learn and grow and help and LOVE.  I am here because this is what I signed up to do before I ever came in to our family.  I can make a bigger difference here than I ever could have made there.  You wouldn’t believe how many souls that I can help, that I have already helped.  There is just so much love with forgiveness.

You must work on your anger.  You are angry about everything.  Brother, let them see your heart.  You are not really mad, you are in pain.  It makes you a strong person, not a weak one, to be able to let others see your pain.  It requires tremendous courage to step forward and talk about pain.  The anger and walls do not chain off your heart from hurting, they simply don’t allow people to see the man that you are.  Be brave, I will support you.  I will always have your back.  Please, please, let your walls down and let your love come out to surround everyone you come in contact with.  You have so much to give and you are wasting precious time that you have to love those in the physical.  The only lesson anyone really needs to learn is to love and be loved.

It is different here.  The physical plane called Earth is a school of learning.  We all have different lessons to learn but they all direct us to love.  The Earth school is full of pain and suffering but there is also great love and joy.  Learn the lessons of love.  No one ever dies.  We will be together again.

Open your heart to move through the pain.  With your heart wide open, it won’t be an invitation for more pain, it will allow the constricted space to soften and expand.   The pain will be released and there will be more room for love.”

In Light and Love,


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Ryan Joseph G.      July 26, 1986 ~ October 8, 2003

           “Spirit Messenger for Forgiveness”

To maintain the privacy of their family, Ryan’s mom asked me to not publish their last name.  I have also changed Ryan’s brother’s name.  I wanted to be accurate in my portrayal of this young man’s messages to me.  He has played an integral part in my own journey with forgiveness.  His mom provided me with the original Facebook messages and I referred back to a copy of the letter to Robbie which fulfilled my promise to Ryan.

Open your heart to forgiveness.  There are spiritual messengers waiting to help you find your way.

~ until our paths bring us together again ~

You may read about Jeffrey, the little boy who took Ryan’s hand in the post below.

Soul Song


“Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.”
~ Golda Meir

Today is the birthday of the baby of our clowder of cats, Cantante Piccola.  Her name means “small singer”.  She got my attention when she was around five weeks old by bellowing out her meow.  We refer to her as the little screamer and it is one of her most endearing traits.  Every day she sings her song of joy.  She is a branch of happiness and love on our family tree.  We call her Tante and today is her fourth birthday.

In September of 2010, I was grieving the loss of my One in a Million boy Tuck, our Bernese Mountain Dog.  My heart was raw.  Despite my continued connection with Tuck in Spirit, I had a visceral need to spend time with a dog.  Without a canine in residence at our home, I sought placation in daily trips to the local shelter.  I wasn’t ready to welcome a new member into our family.  I just needed a little fix of unconditional love.

On that particular morning, I had hoped to ease the ache in my heart by journaling about my experience.  The words refused to flow and as my chest grew tighter, I made the short drive to the shelter.  My hand was still on the knob of the door to the kennel when I heard a racket from the room down the hall.  As the noise continued, it sounded as though someone was in extreme distress.  I allowed the kennel door to close behind me and I followed the sound.  It had now reached a feverish pitch and seemed to come from a room on the right side of the hall.  I knew that this is where they put the new arrivals.


I entered the cat room and there were four baby kittens, each smaller than my hand, in a double cage against the far wall.  Three of the kittens trembled as they huddled together in the back corner of their enclosure.  The fourth, and the originator of all the noise, was an itsy-bitsy calico who climbed the bars of the cage while she continued to scream.  When I talked to her, instead of quieting, she screamed louder.  I leaned in close to the cage and she put her leg through the bars and grabbed my face with her teeny paw.  She didn’t use her claws and her tiny pads felt like velvet.

We already had eight cats and I had no desire to add another to our brood.  As the minutes ticked by, my heart began to have different ideas from my brain.  The kitten was persistent.  She hung from the top rail and her skinny tail swung wildly around as it sought to help her balance.  She even tried to wrap it around the rail to steady her body much like a baby possum clinging to a branch.  Through all of this, she continued to scream.  I stepped out of the room to call my husband and her cries became frantic.

Michael’s voice was calm as I explained the situation.  He had earned his title as the Cat Whisperer well before this day.  His love for cats had calmed many a frightened feline.  It also worked magic for me as he quieted the struggles of my heart with just a few words.  “Bring her home.  You know that you won’t be able to leave her there.  What’s one more?  She obviously wants to be with you.”


Once we arrived home, Tante cried non-stop. She wouldn’t eat, didn’t want to be held but didn’t want to be put down either. I offered her many different kinds of food, toys and a change of scenery but still she cried.  In frustration, I put her next to me on my bed and began to cry.  What began as gentle tears quickly morphed into a torrent of grief filled sobs.  Tante edged closer to me. She wasn’t uncomfortable with my sadness and I stopped trying to fix her.  She screamed and I wept.  It became a beautiful symphony of love as we gave voice to our own song.  This became the first of many that we would sing together.  In that moment, new seeds of love were planted in my heart.  After a while, she fell asleep sitting up.  I fell asleep right next to her.  And the seeds began to grow.

I believe Tucker sent her to me to help me heal.  His death touched off a myriad of changes in my life.  The weekend after I brought Tante home, I took my first classes in Healing Touch.  A month later, I resigned from my job of twenty-five years at the hospital.  Three weeks after that, we welcomed another new little girl into our family, Gianna, our Bernese Mountain Dog.  Tucker was part of that gift too.  Love never dies.  When we live with our hearts open wide, we learn that it will only bring us more love.

Happy Birthday Tante. Today our shared song is one of joy. Together, we sing out loud and we sing out strong. Thank you for reminding me that every song in our soul needs to be heard and whether the melodies are joyful or seeped in sorrow, they are all uniquely beautiful.


~ until our paths bring us together again ~

If you want to read the story about Tuck, my One in a Million: