Life’s a bitch and then you die.

We’ve all heard this concise take on nihilism. Harsh isn’t it? The meaning is that life is hard, there’s no meaning to the struggle, and in the end, what do we get for it? Annihilation. Blackness. Death is the ultimate defeat that awaits us after all of this struggle. And, frankly, sometimes that sounds pretty good compared to the pain here.

There’s no denying that life is hard. Each of us feels it at some point in our lives, some more than others. And, I think most of us think its particularly hard for us, individually. Other people’s lives seem to be going so well. They don’t have the insecurities we have. They don’t have the financial troubles. They aren’t dealing with an illness or an injury. Or so, we think. We all put on our shiny happy faces for each other wanting to appear healthy, wanting to look like we have it all together, then we go into our rooms and cry ourselves to sleep. Sometimes, we want it all to be over. We grow incredibly weary of the struggle. Nothing we do seems to be working out. And then we hear, life’s a bitch and then we die. Why not die now and get it over? Let’s bypass the hard part and take that dirt nap.

I was thinking about this phrase and playing with the words when it struck me; the conjunction is all wrong. Life is hard and then we die is incorrect. Life is hard but then we die is more accurate. This came to me as I was listening to the near-death experience of Tricia Barker. I met Tricia on Facebook a while ago. I saw that she was teaching a writing workshop that I signed up for. I’ve asked her to speak to Helping Parents Heal and she will in the next couple of months. All of this has happened in the last few weeks. Today, when I was choosing a podcast for my walk, I started to play the latest episode of Exploring Death, and the guest was…. Tricia. Interesting timing since I will meet Tricia this evening. I listened to Tricia’s story for the first time. When she was a 22-year-old senior in college and struggling to find the meaning in life, she had an NDE after a nearly fatal car accident.  When she described the beauty, love, and peace of being back Home, I thought about this. She was shocked at how good she felt to be dead.

Life’s a bitch, but then you die

Life is a bitch, but then we get to die. This turns the phrase right on its head. Death is not the end. Death is the culmination, the graduation, the payoff. Even at 22 years old, Tricia felt great to be Home.

However, the death experience was not the end of Tricia’s story. As good as it felt, Tricia didn’t stay dead. She was shown people here on Earth that she was meant to come back and teach. Tricia’s mission, at 22 years old, was not over. It was just beginning. I firmly believe that we each signed up on a mission to be here. And, not only that, we come in teams. We have responsibilities to our teammates and to those we are here to serve.  Our teammates cannot accomplish their missions without us here to fulfill our roles. At times, these decades we spend here feel like eons, especially when some of our team members complete their assignments early and head back to base before us. But, one day, it’ll seem like the blink of an eye, the way our childhoods look to us now that we are adults.

This life is very similar to being in college. We sign up. We know it’s going to be hard, but we want that accomplishment, that degree. My four years in Chemical Engineering were hell. 8 AM chemistry classes winter quarter, 8 hour days spent in the lab in the operations course one summer. There were many times when the point was lost on me; I lost sight of the goal. I barely made it through. And, once I got that degree, I thought I knew what my life would hold. But, I had no clue. I haven’t worked a single day of my life as a chemical engineer. I’ve had more jobs than I care to count. I’ve switched careers twice. When I graduated from college, I hadn’t even been on a date. I could never have predicted I’d have a marriage of 28 years, an amazing wife, and two beautiful and accomplished daughters one day. There were many times when I thought my young life wasn’t going where I thought it should go and wanted it to just be over because I didn’t have the vision to know where it might even possibly go.

I study NDEs and the afterlife nearly every day, not solely as a form of escape from this world. I study it to give meaning to this world, to keep in mind that there is meaning to the mission and the pain. I need to remind myself that something greater awaits me at graduation. Graduation, not dropping out. There are people here who depend on me. I depend on me to do what I set out to do, no matter how tough it might seem at times.

As I was listening to Tricia’s story, I couldn’t help thinking of my 22-year-old, Kayla.  Kayla and I talked last night about her closing out her senior year. What a journey she has taken in her short years here. I marvel when I look at Kayla. She’s finishing up her last year in college and has decisions to make about her future. I know they must seem overwhelming. I know she feels like she’s been in school forever. The dark days of winter are nearly upon us, and she’s at Toledo, of all places. My sun worshipping daughter is about to endure her last winter of her last year in the tundra of Toledo, OH. As close as the finish line is, these last few weeks will be hard. I remember those days. No one who has lived for any amounof time can refute the fact that life’s a bitch.  There’s a lot of beauty along the way, for sure. But, it’s a hard trek. Almost every Shining Light Parent I know believes in reincarnation and says we have no plans do to this again. But, I know that our family, Shayna, Kayla, Tywana, and I, have things, great things, yet to accomplish before the “but”. Then we will have conquered. And, then we party like it’s 1999.

I don’t say it often enough, but I am very fortunate to have found a life partner like Tywana. We’ve been together over 30 years now, married 28 in a few weeks. We have had two beautiful children together. We created a home, homeschooled the girls, started a business, and are now transitioning into the next phase of our life. The company we started dedicated to the girls’ haircare needs is in uncomfortable flux over the last couple of years. We are both adjusting to being empty nesters. The business is not generating the income we need which causes significant stress on me. Over a year ago, after over two decades of not working outside of the home, Tywana took on a part-time job without any prompting from me other than always complaining about money. It was 12 hours a week at a meager wage, but enough to pay for little things for us here and there. About two weeks ago I was talking with my friend and advisor Jake, and he suggested that one of us pick up an outside job to get health insurance benefits. I can’t take on any more outside jobs as I have three or four posts, depending on how you count, now. I gingerly approached Tywana with the idea that maybe she could consider picking up a job with more hours.

She loved her current job. She was working with a group of only women. The job was “sensory panelist.” It consisted of tasting products for P&G. Because you can only taste so much at a time, 90% of the job was downtime. They were scheduled from 10 AM to 2 PM Tuesday through Thursday. A typical work day consisted of tasting a sample at 10, having break for an hour or two, taking another taste. Then, maybe a third taste at the end of the day. They rarely worked until 2. Oftentimes they just had to go in and fill out a survey or drop off a sample, and they’d be paid for the full four hours. Tywana made best friends with one of the women there and they’d get 6,000 or 8,000 steps in while they were at “work”. It’s a dream job. Asking her to leave that to take on more work was a stretch.

The next thing I knew she had put her resume on In fact, she did it without telling me. I didn’t realize until the next day when I heard her on the telephone speaking with a recruiter. She had three interviews lined up within two days. She went on the first interview and got the offer. 20 hours a week. But, the time is 7 AM to 11 AM. Tywana is not a morning person. To ask her to adjust to rising early again after so many years of being able to sleep in is a big ask. I entirely left it up to her. It would be three times the amount of money she was making in the other job. But, she’d have to work four hours a day and would no longer have a four day weekend every single weekend.  Tywana took the job and started three days ago. She’s gotten up without complaint every day. It’s full time for the first two weeks while she’s in training. So, she’s out from 8 AM to 5 PM for the first time since before Kayla was born 22 years ago.

Times have been tough since Shayna passed. Finances have been a struggle. We’re both adjusting to the quiet house. Tywana has been unbelievable. She’s taken up meditation. She’s jumped in to volunteer with Helping Parents Heal. She’s listening to the podcasts I listen to, reading the books I read. We’re talking about how our lives will look going forward, which is very different than they’ve been in recent years. We were happy with our girls at home and our thriving business. That’s over now. We have to plan for the next chapters. And, I’m delighted she’s sticking in there with me as we make these adjustments.

There is a terribly cheesy country song from 1977 called Torn Between Two Lovers. It’s awful. Whatever you do, do not listen to it. It will stick in your head for days, and you don’t want that.

I can’t help thinking about the chorus of the song when people who have NDEs and those of us who have studied the afterlife so much express our desire to go Home. We are so often misunderstood. We can’t say it out loud because it’s considered morose. If you say you want to be with your child, people think you’re depressed; you want it all to end. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules
Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ you both is breakin’ all the rules

What prompted this particular post is a conversation I had with an HPH affiliate leader a couple of days ago. She asked me which of the presentations we have had is my favorite. That’s impossible to say. We have had some fantastic speakers and genuinely enlightening and life-changing conversations. I rattled off a couple of the high profile people we have had on, and she brought up Peter Panagore. Wow, how could I fail to mention Peter.? Peter is a guy I had heard on a podcast, and I reached out to him. The love he has for God and his fellow man is palpable in Peter’s presentations. No one we have had has expressed that love and devotion better than Peter. Peter has had two NDEs. He voluntarily came back both times, for others. The first time Peter came back for his parents because he knew the devastation they would face since his sister had disappeared a few years before. The second time was pretty recently when he came back for his grown daughter and her daughter because he knew they needed him. Peter has dedicated his life to God, literally leaving the family business to become a pastor and now a professional speaker and author about the afterlife. But, she mentioned not because his presentation was so positive. She mentioned Peter because one of her attendees who watched the video found Peter’s presentation “depressing”.

The reason she found it depressing? Peter told us he prayed every day to go back Home. Peter prayed to die. Peter remembers the beauty, the peace, the unconditional love that he experienced during his visits Home, and he wanted more. This  is was what some people find depressing about what Peter said. There is an unwritten rule that says that mentally healthy and happy people want to live long lives here. To express anything different is anathema. We must cling to this world and this world only, at all costs. No other loves are allowed.

I was speaking with someone else a couple of days ago, and she was critical of parents whose children have crossed who say they want to be with their child. How could it be any other way? Being a parent never stops. Wanting to take care of your child never stops. To ask us to cut that off because our child has crossed into another realm is unrealistic. Yes, I want to be with Shayna. I also want to be with Tywana. I want to be with Kayla. I also want to see Pop again.

I was listening to a podcast a few days ago. It was “Sam Reads Near Death Experiences.” If you don’t have time to go to the NDERF site and read through the over 4,000 experiences posted there, this is a decent way to get a dose of what NDEs entail. The vast majority of NDEs are positive experiences. A small percentage of them are what we call less than positive experiences or “hellish” experiences. In this particular one, the guy had a hellish experience. The reason I bring up his experience is it came about as the result of a suicide attempt. I have to interject this, as in virtually every “hellish” experience, he was saved during the experience and came back to live a better life. Hellish experiences are not indicative of any permanent state and seem to be to teach lessons to certain people. Anyway, this dude was pissed, because when he “woke up” on the other side, he was still alive. His suicide attempt was an attempt to end his existence. He wanted to be done. As he said, he didn’t die, he was just alive somewhere else. This is not what people who long for Home want. We don’t want to end our existence, we want to move on to the next phase. We want to be reunited with those bright shining lights that were in our lives here and have gone before us.

Back when I was a Christian, I was confused about something every single person in the church had in common. They all said they believed in Heaven. They all said they thought it was a place of peace and bliss, but not a single person was ready to go. They all wanted long lives. This has always confounded me. They would express wishes of long lives for each other. If you believe heaven is a big party, isn’t wishing someone a long life a curse, not a blessing? Please, do not wish me to live to 95 or 100. I don’t want it!

Look, I know it bothers people to hear anyone say they want to “die.” I get that. But, when you realize that no one ever dies, it takes on a whole new meaning. This world is hard. So, yes, sometimes we’re ready to be done, especially if we have someone special waiting for us. But, as the young man I mentioned in the NDE earlier learned; we signed up for these assignments. Many say we basically begged to come here. I, for one, plan to complete my assignment, as I know my friend Peter Panagore does. No matter what you hear me say, I’m here for the duration. But, forgive us if our hearts are sometimes torn between the love for our friends and family here and back Home.

p.s.- I haven’t listened to the song whose title I used in many years. In fact, I really don’t like the song and I don’t know why it’s still in my iTunes library. I kept trying to come up with another title for this post, but I kept coming back to this one- Torn Between Two Lovers. I completed the post in the morning and scheduled it to post the next day. As I sat down to watch a TV show before going to bed, this caught my eye on my DVR. Look at the title of the Modern Family episode that aired on the date I wrote this post.

Cue the Twilight Zone music


Barbara Reed is a member of Helping Parents Heal and someone whose name has come up for me several times. I heard Barbara was doing something with reading the Akashic records for people and thought it probably had something to do with past lives. The Akashic records have been described to me as a kind of cosmic hard drive in which everything that has happened in the universe is stored. We can go there to look up past lives, past events in our lives, etc.  I’m not particularly interested in past lives. First of all, I believe that the “past lives” we talk about happen concurrently because outside of this existence, there is no time. And, second, I’m just trying to get through this life. I’m worried about today and maybe tomorrow. If I was a prince in Egypt in biblical times, how does that impact me now?

After several people raved about their readings with Barbara I decided to look into it a bit more. Her readings are much more than a glance at your past life or lives. The readings are about your soul’s blueprint, what makes you uniquely you. Armed with this information, you can make more sense of your decisions in the past (in this life). More importantly, you should be prepared to make better decisions in the future.

Barbara started off by asking me about my date of birth, full name, and place of birth. So, I wondered if this was going to be similar to numerology or astrology. She spent several hours preparing for our one-hour Zoom meeting during which she would give me the results.

After explaining what the process would be like, Barbar started talking about my energy centers. Energy centers are the one or two divine gifts that we operate out of predominantly. In my case, there are two that, combined, make up about 50% of what makes me me.

My first energy center is Divine Order which Barbara described as a desire for balance, a love for beauty, and a desire to create. This energy center makes me good at being a trainer, but I like to be well organized and prepared. I do not like spontaneity.  The negative aspect of this energy center is I avoid drama, I accommodate people, I am a perfectionist, and I will do anything to prevent failure. If things are going to be less than perfect, I’d prefer not to go forward. All of this makes perfect sense to me.

My second energy center is Divine Manifestation. I like to build things and create. Barbara said I enjoy the physical plane. Athletics, yoga, adventure, and traveling are usually associated with this type. I hate to travel and I avoid adventure (see above- I don’t like drama). But, I do enjoy physical sensations, exercising, stuff like that. She mentioned my relationship with money and manifesting money which is a complicated one. I don’t like the fact that we need money, but money does represent freedom to me. I need money to do the things I want to do, to create and to be of service.

This type’s downside is we often incarnate into uncomfortable situations. We can be ungrounded. We can be constantly chasing the next high. Again, pretty much spot on.

Next, she got into soul groups. We pretty much stick with the same soul groups through all of our incarnations. My primary location of origin is Alpha Centauri who are self-proclaimed defenders of the Earth. So, I’m a protector.

My secondary place of origin is Sirius. Sirians like to improve things. Sirians don’t like to take risks. We work within the system to improve the structures. We can get stuck in planning mode. And, we cannot function in situations where we cannot make changes. This explains why I struggled so much in school where they told me not only what to do but how to do it. It explains why I could not stand the utility company I worked for or IBM. I was on a training call the day of my reading with Barbara, a call in which I was supposed to be getting trained. Before the call was over, I was making suggestions to the trainer on how to improve their business. I can’t help it. It’s just me.

Barbara explained that I have a God spark, an additional power source, a booster of sorts I’ve gotten due to my mission. This is already in place in this lifetime and will help me with communication and self-expression.

Next, she moved to soul vibration. There is the 3D or the physical body. Everyone operates here. There is the 4D, the mind/ego, and 5D which is spiritual. 6D is where things manifest rapidly. At the 5D level you’re a gatherer, a student, going to workshops, reading, studying, etc. 6D is where you begin to teach. I’m hovering just below the 6D level according to Barbara.

She touched on spirit guides. I feel like I am aware of three. Barbara said I have six. We did not go into detail in this reading. She has other readings to connect you to spirit guides.

Barbara said I am carrying negative unjustified karma due to a tragic event that happened in a past life. I still take responsibility for not being able to save someone I had a soul protection contract with. Because I feel like I failed that person, this carries over into this life where I seek people to protect. This guilt should be overcome and the contract declared null and void. I am supposed to receive affirmations to help with this process. I astral travel still looking for this person to protect them. That should cease.

All in all, this was a fascinating reading. Considering Barbara doesn’t really know me, it was amazingly accurate. My understanding is she receives this information intuitively from the Akashic records.

I feel like I’ve made good progress through this life and have a fairly decent understanding of my current mission. I don’t particularly feel stuck right now except in the financial area. However, the reading was a great affirmation of that. And, I can see how it would be highly beneficial to people who don’t have a good grasp on who they are or why they’re here.

Barbara’s website is

Last night’s dreamscape featured three dreams, two variations on old themes. In the first dream, I find myself back at my office at IBM, my first sales job out of school. I’m on the Ashland account, the first account I was put on in training. Then, I was part of a team. In my dream, the account is mine alone. I’ve just found out some servers have been installed in the account and I’m happy because I’m finally going to get a commission check. The territory has not been going well. Not only have I feared for my job, I’ve been making no money and I know that sooner IBM or I will have to decide whether I stay in this job. My boss has decided though that I not involved enough in the sale and is trying to justify holding my commissions back. His office is a multi-room office and as I sit in one room, he’s yelling at me from the other room as he moves about doing whatever it is he’s doing. I’m making the case that if I’m responsible when the customer doesn’t buy, I’m also entitled to the commission when the customer does buy. I think I’m winning the argument, but it’s hard to say. I might get paid on this deal, but it doesn’t make me safe long term.

Back to the real world; I have been in sales for over 30 years at this point, most of the time, including now- 100% commission sales. If no one buys, I don’t get paid. I’ve heard that job-related stress is proportional to the ratio between the amount of responsibility you have versus the amount of control. That would make commission sales one of the highest stress jobs possible. There’s no safety net. You have 100% responsibility for bringing in the money. However, whether you get paid is not based at all on what you do. You can work 100 hours a week. You can crank out proposals. You can wine and dine. You get paid when other people take an action though; an action you cannot force them to take.

In the next dream, I find myself in the car dream again. This time there is some sort of remote controlled car I use to get back and forth to work. The concept is I’m in the car and it drives itself most of the way. As a passenger, I cannot even see outside of the car. There’s an opaque shade that covers the windshield. All I have to do is ride. But, at some point on the ride, the system announces that I’m in control and I’m supposed to navigate the rest of the way home. I’ve been doing this for days or weeks. However, I’ve never understood exactly how it works. When it announces I’m in control, I’m still in the car with my eyes closed and I somehow end up at home. On this particular day when it makes the announcement “The navigation system is shutting down, you are in control.” I realize I can’t rely on luck to get me home. I have no idea how I’ve been doing it, but I have to do something different. I struggle to open my eyes for the first time and I find the steering wheel. As I look towards the windshield, the visor that covers it lowers and I can see the landscape in front of me. I take the wheel and start driving for the first time, avoiding the obstacles that I’ve been miraculously missing the other nights when the navigation system had shut down and no one was driving.

The last dream of the evening, I’m at a gathering of people and someone asks me if I’m a professional speaker. I am not. I tell them I have given a few talks before, in a past life (in sales). They ask me if I’d be interested in speaking at the next Helping Parents Heal conference. There is a meeting coming up to plan the conference and they’d like me to attend the meeting. I go to the meeting which is a rehearsal of sorts.They’re handing out the program that will be used. There are celebrities gathered, superstar rock groups will be performing. It’s going to be a really big deal.

A couple of days ago I posted this screenshot. Helping Parents Heal online group which started in May of 2017 is growing like wildfire. We crossed 3,000 members just after the conference in April. It’s October and we just crossed 4,000 members.

Several people commented that this was a sad milestone. I have to disagree. There are millions of parents out there whose children have crossed before them. What I see when I look at this number is there are 4,000 of them who have our help via this amazing group on Facebook. There are 4,000 people who have access to life-affirming and healing information and support. While the need can be overwhelming, we need to help who we can help. We can’t reach everyone but each and every one we reach makes a huge difference, to that one.

I was reminded of this story which is one of my all time favorites. After I posted it in Helping Parents Heal, someone in my Spirituality and Bereavement class referred to it, just a day later.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Monday night, Jamie Clark (the medium) told me that Shayna said to expect a visit from her. Today, Kayla comes for a visit for the first time in several months. So, there is a visit from Kayla. It is also the day that I am wrapping up one part-time gig and starting another. I have meetings scheduled back-to-back most of the day, one with my advertising team for Treasured Locks, one with the SoulPhone/Greater Reality Living team, one training for my new job, and finally, one with the author and the focus group that I’m co-leading. In between, I’m trying to get some work done.  Weird things happen all day. The video I’m trying to render keeps failing. Not once, twice, or three times, it fails at least four. This has never happened.  Finally, I have to give up and put up the raw footage. I cannot log into the account for my new gig. The password is correct, but Google, in its infinite wisdom has chosen to block me. I try every trick I know. I try Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. I clear cookies. I try from my phone. I turn wifi off and try from my phone again. I try from my iPad. I spend all afternoon Googling it. I have never seen this message from Google before, and I have at least seven different Google accounts for myself and various organizations I support. Finally, I have to give that up, too.

Kayla arrives, and we have a nice dinner with her. She wanted salmon and roasted vegetables. So, that’s what we have. I take my last meeting of the day, from nine to ten PM.  We stay up with her for a while and head to bed around midnight.

Since Shayna crossed over, she loves to mess with stuff. She has temporarily disabled my computer (that cost me two days of work, and I thought I was going to have to buy a new machine). She has temporarily disabled an outlet. I was on the way to buy a new one and had called someone to replace it when  I decided to try it one more time, and it started working. Tuesday, the refrigerator started making weird noises and seemed not to be cooling. I found the number to call for repair. Wednesday, the noise stopped, and it’s working fine. Today is Thursday, three days after Jamie says she’s going to visit. For the first time in months, the ceiling fan decides to do its thing. As we are about to turn off the light, Tywana has picked up the remote but has not hit the button, when the light starts to get brighter and dim, up and down it goes as if someone is pressing the dimmer switch on the remote. This goes on for a good minute, on its own. I take the remote from Tywana, press and hold the dimmer button. The light stops going up and down, but now it’s just on dim. No other buttons will work. The fan will not slow down or speed up. It won’t go off. The light doesn’t do anything when I press the button. We decide it’s dim enough that we can fall asleep. I figure maybe the battery has died and surged right before it died. But, this doesn’t make sense because the light on the remote that indicates a button is being pressed is still working. After we give up, close our eyes and try to get to sleep, Tywana tries it one more time, and it works. The light goes off.

I fall into a fitful sleep worried about how things are going to go with the new job if I can’t get logged in. They won’t be able to hire me. I’m still trying to solve the problem as I enter dreamland where I find myself in a weird store that is an amalgamation of a bank, a department store, and a grocery store. Tywana is loading groceries into the cart and I’m just thinking about how much everything costs. How many bananas does she need? There are at least five pounds. I don’t say anything. But, I’m worried about how much all this costs. I try to take money out of the ATM, $30. I get a receipt for $30.30, but no money comes out. I hope I’m not charged. I move on to where I’m going to buy something. To use my credit card, there is this giant retinal scan machine that I have to press my eyes into these goggle-like cups while standing with my feet spread apart like you have to with the full body scans at the airport. There’s a security guard instructing me how to use this contraption. Stand here. Press your eyes there. My card works, but it’s then I realize I was charged the $30.30 from the ATM. So, I walk back over there to see if my money has come out. Someone asks me if I’m looking for the $100 that was left at the ATM.  No, I tell them I am looking for $30. They say it’s in a basket. There is this table loaded with stuff that has been left.  It’s in basket 17. As I’m looking for basket 17, just as I find it, I feel a hand on my shoulder.  It’s someone grasping my shoulder like they’re standing behind me. I turn, and no one is there. I sense Shayna’s presence, and I think this is my first manifestation of her physically. I don’t see her, but I felt her. Then I realize this is just a dream. When I wake I wonder is this the visit Shayna promised through Jamie?

I’ve been asking for signs, looking for synchronicities, trying to believe that the universe is conspiring in my favor (not against me as I was taught most of my life). And, it’s been working. The synchronicities become more evident. The validations come more frequently. The messages are more clear. I am a glass half empty, “realist”. My theme song is Paul Simon’s “Something So Right”.

When something goes wrongI’m the first to admit it
I’m the first to admit it
But the last one to know
When something goes right
Well it’s likely to lose me
It’s apt to confuse me
It’s such an unusual sight
I can’t get used to something so right
Something so right

It takes a lot to convince me.  So, I continue to diligently press for more. I keep asking for the signs to be more and more obvious. And, it’s working. So, I’m acknowleding that and offering gratitude.

Several months ago this message started coming to me, that there was something more in store for me, “just around the corner”, that I would know which path to take and, more importantly, the path would be opened to me. For a couple of years, I’ve felt like I was running in place on a treadmill that was spinning faster and faster, to the point where I wasn’t quite able to keep up with it, I was losing ground. To mix metaphors, a door had closed behind me, I was standing in a hallway and none of the other doors were opening. I’ve been praying and waiting, waiting and praying, and trying to be patient.

Then, around June, I started getting messages from different people, messages like this:

“I see you on a much larger platform. You’re a star and a whizz at technology, so that sounds like spirit reconfirming for you that you are on the right path and there is lots more to come. I am telling you Brian, something very exciting ahead for you. Your Grandfather the preacher, he’s very much with you, pushing you forward.”

A few weeks ago, I got the gig with the San Francisco Theological Society, a part-time job, a few hours a week, but the first time getting paid for doing something like what I really want to do.  Also, in September, I had a one night gig with Thomas John where I was his assistant while he was in town, introduced him at his demonstration, and gave him a ride back to his hotel. This was my second paid deal in the month of September. When I told Kat, who predicted in June that this would all start around September (this was in June), she replied with:

Yeah, it’s a start. That’s how it started for me, but once they see what you do with it and your potential, Spirit will put more power and energy behind it. You’re going to go a long way, so just keep the love in your heart centre. It’s going to be magical. More money coming for you soon I think. Not just this gig, something more soon. Kat x

A medium that I haven’t met sent me a couple of messages. I’ll condense them to give you the gist of what she said (she speaks British, BTW).

Your energy really is amazing. You’re a very old soul with so much to share with the world from your past lifetimes You are a very wise soul with much to share with the world. Much love to you and all on hph. Everything is a bigger picture and you are here for big things to awaken this world with your voice/ your life. Honoured to meet you . I truly see your light ? I see you working very high with spirit. Your energy is very pure, very genuine. You need to have your voice out to the world with you public speaking/ a book/ your voice/ your story. I felt this the min I seen you. I know good pure energy and this is you my friend. I know spirit have great high work to do with you…reaching so many across the world and being paid. ??it’s what you came back to do. To teach others. You are a true inspiration ? xxx  what I want to say to you is that I see you as a Morgan Freeman and you can work towards that your voice is that big and needs to be heard but more importantly like Morgan Freeman it’s about being respected! So I’m here to pass on a message ????❤️❤️❤️ U are more than special. Spirit have being screaming at me to tell you for ages I tried to touch on it before without trying to come off as a weirdo. I know star quality and that’s u!!! U need to go forward ASAP with all u do ur voice and awesome energy is so pure and precious and RESPECTED like Morgan Freeman you need to do everything in ur power to get YOU out there to the masses!! Only Brian u need to be the voice for the world not just a group but the whole collective whole and the world will listen. I’m due again on a major radio show, I would like to be able to talk of you to others whom I know too ?❤️ word of mouth is so good and ur work you do for spirit is known. Ur a true treasure so much love and hugs ?❤️ But u are special like star quality special ❤️ I know energy and u ooooze it ❤️❤️ so I’m onto this for u. Energy doesn’t lie and ur energy is off the chart it’s on fire wooohooo.

Unbeknownst to the people who sent the last two messages to me, I have been working on creating an employment opportunity for about six months now. There is someone I wanted to work with. I began planting seeds hoping that there would be some capacity I could find to work with him. I kept finding reasons to make contact and show what I can do. I got an interview two weeks ago.  After the interview and before I heard back about the job, I got this email from a guy I’ve been volunteering with, helping him run a focus group for a course he is developing.

Thanks again for your help! Just wanted to touch base because it seems like a part of your purpose is to support and shepherd parents through the grief process. It just seems to me that as HPH continues to grow and expand that you and Ty will continue to play a pivotal role in its outreach efforts.
The organization is obviously growing and impacting so many people. As it continues to expand, I am curious if there has been any discussion with Elizabeth and Board Members about expanding and supporting its infrastructure. My understanding is that it is all volunteer now but as things continue to grow I would assume there would be a need for some paid staff to assist in supporting the organization.
It just seems that your skills, knowledge, passion, and experience would be perfect for some kind of role with HPH. And it also seems as the numbers expand and the tremendous value it provides people, that HPH could find some sustainable ways to financially support the people who do so much to help others.
Just thought I would pass this along for whatever it is worth to you. Happy to brainstorm some ways that HPH could responsibly and ethically generate some income to support its important mission. While obviously, you are not doing this to make money, there is a tremendous amount of VALUE provided to people through HPH. I think some of your members would not only gladly invest in this assistance but also want to sponsor and contribute to others who may not be financially in a good spot to do so.
Thanks again for everything and keep making the world a more loving place!

Currently, HPH doesn’t have any paid positions. I don’t know if they ever will. The online group just crossed 4,000 people. The international organization is at 11,000. Maybe one day… But, this got me thinking about opportunities I could create and I’ve been brainstorming about those with the help of the guy I’ve been volunteering with. I have some ideas that could work.

Just yesterday, I got the offer I had been waiting for. I had told no one but Tywana about accepting the offer. Last night, I had a meeting with Jamie Clark. This was our second Helping Parents Heal meeting with Jamie.  Jamie is a highly tested medium who has worked with Gary Schwartz in his lab in Arizona.  Normally, when there are gallery readings, Tywana and I don’t get a reading. Shayna isn’t pushy. She probably figures we hear from her enough and wants to let others have a turn. Tywana and I have been to several gallery readings. In Thomas John’s gallery reading a couple of weeks ago, Shayna made a short appearance, at the end. If she does come through, she normally hangs back. Last night, she came through saying she wanted to be first (yay Shayna!). Jamie mentioned that I had taken a new job. I don’t think Jamie has any idea what I do. He said I would be offered more in the organization. And, he echoed much of what the others have been saying. The thing is I’m currently working for three organizations. This could be any one of them or one of the things I’m working on without any organization.

Here is the video clip of the reading by Jamie:

So, what does all of this mean? I’ve been talking and thinking about the law of attraction. I struggle with it, openly. It seems if things are going great, it’s easy to believe you’re attracting it to yourself. But, if things are not going great, how do you break the cycle? Do you lie and say “All is well?” When you’re honest are you pushing success away? I have to say I haven’t fully embraced it. What I will say is that the intentions I’ve been setting combined with the actions of putting myself in the right situations, creating situations, and being open to even the slightest opportunity is paying off and the Universe keeps finding a way to send the message to me.

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.” Luke 6:43-44 New King James Version (NKJV)

Last week I had the opportunity to witness Thomas John give a gallery reading.  My friend was in the audience that night. I have spoken with her about mediumship many times. I told her about Seatbelt Psychic, Thomas’ show.  Tywana and I have shared our stories about how mediums have helped us with messages of hope. Yet, just a few days before the show, she had sent a list of articles (all from the same website) condemning mediumship, calling it evil, saying Christians shouldn’t consort with mediums. There are claims it’s from Satan even. If mediums are evil, if mediumship is evil, could it produce good fruit?

A few days before I saw Thomas, Sherry, a mother in Helping Parents Heal, won a ticket to see him in another city. Her son’s angelversary (the anniversary of his passing) would be in a mere 13 days. The timing couldn’t have been better. In a gallery reading of 100 people, in a two hour period, maybe ten people will get a reading. You don’t go to a gallery reading expecting to get a reading. You go to see the medium work and to see first-hand people in spirit delivering messages to a loved one through the medium. As it turns out, this mother did get a reading from Thomas who brought forth amazing, detailed evidence.

Here is her post from the following day (she has permitted me to share her story):

“I wasn’t going to go.  I never get called on and I have had a long week. Tonight was beyond amazing.  I met some amazing women from the Atlanta group.  I was the only one with a son named Ethan in the room.  The first time anyone has ever called him by name and also knew that he was 17!  I want to tell you the details that Thomas brought forward for my story.  I am stunned and I’ll never go to sleep tonight.  For any non-believers or doubters here are some of the facts (evidence) tonight.

– I have lamented over the last time I saw Ethan for not hugging him the – only time I ever did that.  Thomas told me not to worry about that (amazing he knew that).

– Told me his name, how old he was and that he would help me through the tough times these next few weeks thru early October (our 1 year anniversary).

– told me about the bullying at school, the large (celebration of life) service

– asked me if I’d recently found some journals while looking for something and it upset me – of course I said no at first – and I just posted this a few days ago!! (she had forgotten until a friend reminded her)

– he didn’t want to talk about his passing – mentioned that he was surprised (not the first time I’ve heard about this)

– brought up the pool table in my house

– said the birds that were in my house were from him and they were male and female cardinal birds (OMG)

– just last week I was looking through his hair products in his bathroom and used one of them – he brought that up!!

– the other big thing – I posted here recently that I didn’t know what to do with Ethan’s story – interesting that Thomas told me he felt I’d be writing a book about it – to just hold on to that.

– funny one – he brought up a dinosaur and I couldn’t figure that one out  – Sheila Bell reminded me that my dog has a green dinosaur!

I am sure that there were more – but he didn’t get anything wrong.

I hope and know that this will give some of you hope – our children are with us.  I doubt it so often but I can’t deny what I saw and heard tonight.

Sending lots of love to everyone! — feeling blessed.”

This alone is pretty great. Thomas brought through details no one could guess or Google. He did say a couple of pretty general things including that Ethan would be there to help Sherry through the difficult days ahead. Sherry left on Cloud 9. What Thomas didn’t know is that one of those most challenging days would be just thirteen days later, the first anniversary of Ethan’s passing. What Sherry didn’t know is how this message would help her on that day.

As a bereaved parent, those firsts are probably the toughest. That’s when shit gets real. The first birthday, the first Christmas. And, a new first, a new day on your calendar, the one year mark, 365 days since you’ve seen your child.

Here is what Sherry posted yesterday, on the day that she was dreading:

“I am having the strangest and most unexpected day. I haven’t felt this peaceful since “before”. I have no doubt that Ethan is with me today. He is doing what he promised and getting me through the tough times. Feeling very thankful at this moment.”

I believe a big part of Sherry’s peace on that day was given to her by that fantastic reading from Thomas.  That reading allowed her to feel Ethan’s presence with her yesterday. Thomas brought through not just a comforting message, which is nice. He brought evidence.  Anyone can say “Your son loves you and he’s right here.” What mediumship does is prove the message is from your son. The evidence, things that no one could humanly know, shows the word is from Ethan.  It proves Ethan is still right here, helping Sherry.

But, Ethan wasn’t done.

“We had a hummingbird fly into the house today and back out. Starting to think Ethan’s big sign is birds in my house! Last time it was a male and female cardinal.

My big story was first time I asked for a sign I told him to hit me over the head with it. Within an hour two birds were sitting on my kitchen table. Thomas asked me if they were male and female. They were and they let me pick them up one by one and carry them outside. I was shaken up rest of the day.”

The assurance that Thomas gave Sherry by telling her that the cardinals were from Ethan bolstered what she already knew. By coupling that with Ethan’s message that he would be with her on these difficult days and then delivering a hummingbird, in her house, on the day… well to me that’s pretty amazing.

I’ve seen mediumship bear unbelievable fruit. I’ve seen people’s lives transformed by the words of a medium assuring their loved ones have forgiven them, are still with them, always love them, and will be there for them when they cross over.  A bramble bush does not produce grapes.

Today is the day, my nephew, Nicholas, and his fiance, Nicole, are finally getting married. Tywana went ahead to rural Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia to help prepare for the wedding. I followed a day later, hitching a ride with my brother-in-law so we wouldn’t have to drive two cars back home. Nicholas and Nicole live on the border of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The wedding will be held in Garard’s Fort, PA where they met and became high school sweethearts. They live and work a few minutes away in West Virginia.

I get up early to get my meditation in. I immediately think that Shayna should be here and as I do, I feel her presence with me even more strongly than usual. The tears flow, a mixture of emotions I can’t even put into words. I miss her so much, even though I know she’s right here. She’s not missing this. This is Nicholas’ and Nicole’s day. Her sister and her brother/cousins are here. Shayna is here.  I have to keep my composure and get through this.

Shayna behind the veil

I love being around my family by marriage. Tywana’s sister is just like my sister. Her sons are more sons to me than nephews. Her husband, Rod, is one of the most genuine and compassionate people I’ve ever met (even if he is a Trump supporter). Being around family after Shayna’s passing is often difficult. My birth family doesn’t talk about her much. Nicholas and his brothers act like brother and sister with Shayna and Kayla. Tywana’s sister, Shell, is almost as devastated by Shayna’s passing as we are. The boys were so close with Shayna that their high school football team, 300 miles away), wore bracelets in Shayna’s honor after she passed. The kids from their high school still talk about Shayna. As I drive to the farm where the nuptials will be held outdoors beside the creek in the spot where Nicholas proposed, I make the final turn and I see purple balloons. They are there in honor of Shayna. No one has forgotten her. The boys in the wedding are all wearing purple ties, in honor of Shayna. They each have a picture of Shayna pinned to their ties. Kayla has a picture of Shayna pinned on the inside of her dress.

For whatever reason (Tywan), we arrive at the wedding over an hour before it’s scheduled to begin. Kayla has to be here because she’s in the wedding party. They were late getting back from their hair appointments (of course). Since it’ll take me 10 minutes to get ready, I make the half-hour drive to drop her off and the half-hour drive back. When I get back everyone except Tywana is gone. I quickly throw on my clothes and then make the half-hour drive once again. Kayla is a groomswoman. Nick wanted her in the wedding. She is wearing a gray dress, the same color as the groomsmen’s suits, and stands on Nicholas’ side.

Rod, my brother-in-law, the talker, approaches me as I’m watching the picture taking. Rod, is the kind of person who will meet someone, spend five minutes with them and know their life story. Rod asks probing questions about deep stuff, always.  Rod looks me in the eye and asks “What thoughts are going through your head?” I try to deflect “I have a lot of thoughts, right now Rod.” He won’t let it go “What are the predominant thoughts?” I say “You know what I’m thinking, Rod.” We’ve known each other for 15 years and we know each other well. Rod knows exactly what (who) is on my mind. He says “They’re all right here.” I say “Yes. They certainly are all right here.” What I leave unsaid is I wish I could see them and hug them. I wish Shayna could be standing up there with her sister and her brothers/cousins. I know she’s here, but she can’t speak to us and can’t be in the pictures.

The wedding is short and sweet. Rod gives a mini-sermon. The setting is idyllic as butterflies are fluttering around, the creek is flowing the background. Rod even includes an anecdote about one day when the creek was stocked and relates it to Nick and Nicole’s wedding. And, the train that runs about 300 yards from where they are getting married even has the courtesy to not roll through during the ceremony.  The ceremony ends and I get a ride with Kelly and Lisa to the reception. Tywana will stay with Kayla who has to take more pictures now that Nicole has made her reveal and can be included. We drive three miles down the road before we can get a signal and Waze can direct us to the reception. As we pull into Jefferson, PA, we realize there is no cell service there either. I had tried to call Tywana at Nicole’s from the car on the way down. Voice communication was impossible, but I could get texts to and from her.  In Jefferson though there is no texting, no voice nothing. My theory is maybe there’s one carrier that covers the town, but I have AT&T, Lisa has Sprint, and Derrick has Verizon.  No one can communicate with anyone.

When we get to the reception, I see a table with pictures on it of past family weddings. I see a picture of my father-in-law, Felton, who passed 7 years ago. And, then I see a picture of my baby at the far end of the table. Shayna is hear. Later, I will find out that she also made a supernatural appearance, appearing to one of the members of the wedding party in the mirror as they were getting ready. Everyone is missing Shayna today, but I think we also know she is truly right here, not just in our hearts.

Finally, the bride and groom arrive and the festivities begin. Kelly (Tywana’s brother), Lisa (his girlfriend), and Tim (Tywana’s brother), all want to watch the UK football game tonight at 7.  The wedding is at 2:30. When you go to a wedding, you do the wedding, go to the reception for an hour (maybe two) and you head out. Surely, we can get to a sports bar and catch the game. OSU is playing Penn State (biggest test of the season) at 7:30. I can do the reception and still make the game. Or so I thought. As someone pointed out, this is Nicole’s world and we’re all just living in, especially true on a bride’s wedding day. The mother-son dance and all of that stuff haven’t happened and it’s after 6. Kelly and Lisa are leaving. I have to make a decision. Do I stay with Tywana and Kayla and be here for only God knows how long? Or, do I escape with Kelly and Lisa? I ask Tywana what time she plans to leave here. The answer is “I don’t know.” I know what that means, leave with Kelly and Lisa. We drive the couple of miles it takes to get a cell signal then have Waze direct us to their hotel, next to the BW3s where we will catch the game. I want to text Tywana and tell her “When you leave the reception, turn right and just keep driving until you see civilization again.”. But, I can’t. She’s still in cell phone blackout town.

Long story short, we get to their hotel, they change clothes, and we head to the sports bar. UK’s not on TV here. They can’t watch the game anyway. We begin trying to communicate with the people at the reception. We try Tim, Tywana, Derrick, on a rotating basis. We don’t know if they’re still there or on the way somewhere else. We had said we were going to BW3s, we ended up at The Green Turtle. This “sports bar” closes at 10 PM (basically half time of the games). I ask Kelly and Lisa if they can drop me at Shell’s where I can catch the rest of the game on TV. They agree. It’s only 15 minutes away. But, oh what a 15 minutes. Waze takes us the “back way”. I’ve made the drive from this area back to Shell’s before. it’s very reasonable.  That is, it’s reasonable if you don’t turn right on “Dead Man’s Way”. That’s not the actual name of the “street”, but that’s what I’m going to call it from now on. Pro tip: If you’re driving in Western Pennsylvania and you see a sign that says “Winding Road” either be prepared for the ride of your life or turn around.  As Gabe said it’s “next level dark” out here. The road is about as wide as you’d expect a one-lane driveway to be. There are trees growing right up to the edge of the road (on both sides in spots). There are potholes that could eat your car and you’d never be seen again. I’m watching Waze and giving instructions to Kelly. He’s trying to go as fast as possible to get us out of here, but too fast and you’ll blow a tire. Two black men with a white woman in the back seat, in Klan country. This is not a good place to have a flat. I’m watching Waze count down the miles to the next turn which I know will put us back onto a road that at least has two full lanes when Waze gets stuck. It’s been saying 0.3 miles way too long. What is happening? Did we lose the signal again? Then, Lisa reminds me it’s not counting down because we are going so slowly. Finally, I see 0.2.  Then 0.1 appears and we spot the road that leads to Shell’s house. Hallelujah!

It’s then I realize that Shell has given me the code to her door but with no one home, I have to go into the house and face Dog alone. Dog is Shell’s dog. And his name is Dog. Dog is about a 100-pound German shepherd who likes no one but Shell. I’ve never been alone with Dog and I’m not sure how this is going to go. I ask Lisa and Kelly to wait outside the door in case they need to call 911 after Dog mauls me.

I’ve got the code and I know it’s right, but the door won’t open. I try, two, three, four times. Dog is barking and growling saying “Please just come through that door. Make my day.” Finally, the door opens, I open it just wide enough to see Dog, but not wide enough for him to get his massive head through the opening.  He’s not barking, not snarling, but he’s standing in my way. He needs to back up so I can get in. I timidly open the door and greet him with confidence. “Hey Dog, let’s go upstairs.”  He starts up the stairs, I follow. Whew!  I survived cell phone hell, Dead Man’s Way, and my first solo encounter with Dog.

I turn on the TV, pour myself a Buffalo Trace, and watch the Buckeyes make an amazing comeback to beat Penn State in the final minutes. Hours after we left the reception, I get my first message from Tywana “We’re on the way.” She, Shell, and Rod come home. Nick and Nicole are married, everyone’s survived this most bizarre episode of Survivor, and all is right with the world. Shayna, I know you were here.