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PART THREE

CHAPTER ONE

Desperation

About this time of desperation in our lives, I had a very real dream that has stayed with me for all these years. I dreamed that I was laying on a hospital table in the middle of a plain, white room. I died and I could see my spirit coming from my body, raising above my body; it raised as high as the ceiling, left the room, raised above the hospital building, and far above.

I could see Joe and all our children far below me - I didn't want to leave them. I was certain I had died; my spirit continued to raise above the continent, the global earth. I looked up and there was the Lord Jesus Christ, He had His left hand out, He was holding me by my right hand and drawing me upward. There was such a joy, such a peace with Him that I looked back at Joe and the children and my desire to be with them got less and less. I didn't look back anymore; I continued to go upward with the Lord.

Rose was in Brownies - I had gone away with their troop for a weekend of camping out. I had a lot of time to wander around in the woods and to think. It hadn't been many months since Matthew had died, and I was crying...along came Dora Condon. She was a neighbor of ours, but we had never really met. She was very bubbly, excited, happy and we had been very lonely and sad since Matthew passed on. She invited us to a Bible Study they had one night a week, in their home.

We had always been interested in the Bible, but never knew that people actually got together to study it. We had thought we had all the answers just within the confines of the Catholic church, but we were now between a rock and a hard place, in need of some answers and desperate to go looking for answers.

We began studying the book of Romans...we saw that we weren't really "righteous" as we had thought, only "self-righteous". We admitted we were sinners and needed a Savior, we were sorry for our sins and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives, a few months after starting the Bible study.

I made that commitment while watching a Billy Graham Crusade on TV, all but one of our children also, at that time: the following morning, I was able to lead the final child to the LORD. Joe made his commitment while he was in Florida, on a business trip. He had been reading the book, "How to Be a Christian, Without Being Religious".

About this time we were both very zealous and excited about becoming "Born Again" Christians. It showed in everything around us. I papered our kitchen a bright yellow wallpaper, with small flowers all over it. I called it my "Born Again" kitchen - and it was very CHEERFUL.

I planted my vegetable garden - about a dozen tomato plants, and under each one I put a fish head for fertilizer. I prayed on each of the plants when I first planted them and many other times. They grew into the most beautiful plants there ever were. Our neighbor, Harry Olson prided himself in his tomatoes; he came over to see them. His mouth hung open and he asked what I had done to make them grow like that. I said I put a fish head under each one and prayed on them. He said he also put a fish head under his, but they didn't grow like ours had. He went home and pulled all of his tomato plants up.

Harry's wife, Mae Olson, came over nearly every Friday afternoon, for a cup of coffee and to talk. I shared with her all that was going on in our lives. She was Catholic, as we had been, and she was interested in how our lives had changed so much. Her younger sister was a Nun. One time when "Little Sister" was visiting Mae, they both came over. Joe was home at the time and we had a really good talk about the Lord. "Little Sister" was living in California at that time, and she was involved with an outreach of the Catholic Church; we all knew the song, "We Are One in the Spirit, We Are One in the Lord". We held hands around our kitchen table and sang the song together.

A few months later, I was visiting Mae's daughter Kathy Miner, Mae was with us - we talked about the Lord. Kathy was interested, too. I had the privilege of leading Mae to the Lord that evening. Kathy received the Lord as Savior many months later...I think she was at a Catholic retreat for women.

Matthew passed away in January, and by March I was up to it, and really needed a change, a vacation. Mom offered to babysit and we went to a motel in New Hampshire. It was cold and snowy, but it was so good to just get away for a weekend. We went to see the movie, Dr. Zhivago, while we were there.

Joe and I had never taken a two week holiday, as he took his two weeks while I was in the hospital having the "new baby", and then helping me at home. This summer we had no new baby to look forward to, so a girlfriend's Mom knew someone who was renting a camp at Cape Cod, but couldn't take it as she had planned - she said we could have it for $100, for that week. It was the very end of the month of June and had been especially wet and cold, but we had always wanted to go to Cape Cod, and to find someone willing to have a family with 8 small children stay in their place was a miracle...We had a really good time and it was just what both of us needed.

That Fall, my Mom babysat so Joe and I could get away together (for the weekend) - we went back to Cape Cod, found a really nice place to stay with two double beds, a fireplace, very "posh", there was a heated swimming pool. It was no easy matter babysitting that many children, certainly not for the "faint of heart", but Mom, bless her, took on the challenge. (Mom babysat all she could, but she was holding down a full-time job at Foster Grants Sunglasses and raising my half-brother Bob by herself; also, she wasn't very well and years later got an early retirement because she was totally disabled.)

Andrew was his usual self...doing little things to get a "response out of someone". We had a door that could be removed, upstairs in our barn (originally it was used to fill the barn with hay); Andrew removed the door, ran downstairs and laid, sprawled out on the blacktop driveway. My Mom came out of the house to check on the children and saw him - it looked like he had fallen. I think she was wise to Andrew by now, so it didn't bother her too much, she just ignored him and he got up.


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Pen Name: Aimee Love


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