Reuben: Guardian Angel, Spirit Warrior and Artist

Sharing Spiritual experiences with people I know and am acquainted with is a great risk.  Sharing Spiritual experiences with strangers is down right frightening.  As I sit here organizing my thoughts and quelling my fears, it suddenly occurred to me that I have never shared my experiences and writings with my husband.  One of the reasons for this is most of these happenings were pre-Jim.  Another is, I have taken these experiences as so normal for me that it doesn’t occur to me to share them in the course of the day.  I have mentioned to Jim that I tend to talk to my guardian angel out loud and often.  This includes waking up, stumbling toward the kitchen for my cup of coffee, while I run through a litany of “Good Mornings” to the Lord, Holy Mother, Reuben and St. Francis of Assisi.  I wanted Jim to be forewarned and not overly disturbed with me “talking to myself.” Of course, I got the standard reply for him concerning most things I do, “OK,” with or without the mental shrug.

This is the man who was asked by our counseling priest in marriage prep thirty-five years ago, what he thought of some of my hobbies.  I was into belly dancing at the time.  His reply was, “I don’t care if she sits in a tree and yells at the squirrels.  She’ll come down some time.”  So, my talking to my guardian angel is hardly a blip on the radar screen considering the things I can and have gotten into over the years.  But, I digress.  Now, back to Reuben.

In the 1990’s(?), there was a woman in Falmouth, KY., with whom Holy Mother was speaking.  One of the things Holy Mother told her was the date after which she would no longer speak publicly with this women.  So, on the last day of Mary’s elocutions, a car load of us went to hear and observe this phenomenon.  As the elocution was coming to an end, my eyes were drawn to sky behind me and to my left.  Without a breeze stirring,  a scene made of clouds appeared in the sky.  It was the depiction of a cross with a kneeling form on each side at the base.  Without a strong breeze, the clouds moved across the sky remaining intact and stopping near the area where the woman was kneeling in prayer.  While I had watch this cloud scene move, others had not.  With an exclamation of “look” from another attendee, the scene was observed by over 100 other people in attendance that fall day.

Sometime ago, while waiting for the “pups” to finish eating, I was sitting with them watching the clouds move by.  Perhaps a tangent explanation of “sitting with the pups” is needed.  The dog feeding station is in the tractor shed of our front barn and consists of two pallets side by side covered with a sheet of plywood upon which sets the dog and cat food barrels and the dog’s food bowls.  In order to keep food stealing and snarling down to a minimum I sit between them the dogs, twice a day, every day.  So, sitting there  gives me down time to meditate and muse, generally at the evening feeding.

While cloud gazing one day, the memory of the cloud painting that appeared at Falmouth came to mind.  After meditating on it, it suddenly occurred to me to challenge Reuben, my guardian angel, to draw some pictures to see if he had any artistic abilities.  Over a short period of time, the summer clouds took on rather distinct animal shapes with me laughing and saying, “well that is pretty good, but “no cigar.”   In order to make this a real challenge instead of random cloud forms, I decided I would tell Reuben what I wanted him to try to make.  The stipulation was the cloud picture had to be a true picture of an animal, caricature, or scene that I would pick and request done.  For some reason this seemed perfectly natural.  Rueben and I have been very close since the time he saved my life on the Long Island expressway.  I was certain that he would respond to this challenge.

So, the first cloud picture I asked for was an owl.  After all an owl would eliminate all clouds that could look like a poodle.  I began waiting and looking for an owl.  Now we come to the part that my daughter has asked me never to tell anyone.  I have a 16 oz. travel coffee mug that has a picture of a barn owl coming in for a landing.  If you want to see the travel mug go to and go to Molly Royal owl section.  The barn owl’s feet are extended.  The legs are straight, the talons are open. The left wing is extended out, right wing folded toward the body at elbow joint and the is body leaning back.  The owl is in landing position.  I love this mug.

I have forgotten the exact time between the challenge and the late afternoon that I went out to feed the dogs and noticed two long streaks of clouds over the barn.  There were three short streaks at the end of each long one.  Once I saw those, I looked down at the gravel and thought, “No, I am not going to look any further. This cannot be happening.”  I went into the tractor shed put down the dog’s feed and sat down between them.  I looked out at the sky and thought about the two parallel streaks with the three streaks on the end of them.  It looked like legs and claws!  The thought came, “you better get up and look.”  So, I did…  There was a reproduction of my travel mug picture in clouds!  Where the face of the barn owl is triangular, this was round with thin wispy clouds in the center.  The cloud wings were in the manner of picture and in proportion to the long legs.  And, this drawing was not in the middle of any cloud formation that required imagination “to see” the owl form.  It was out in the middle of clear blue sky and over our front barn.

Thoroughly impressed, thrilled and smiling, I had to admit that Reuben was a great artist!!  After this, the challenge was on.  I saw a beautifully formed horse’s head, with an arched neck and mane flowing off of it.  There was, of course, the standard poodle and a bear.  While those were exceptional they were too easy, so to speak.    I was sure I could stump Reuben with the next one.  I wanted a dragon.  Of course, I didn’t stipulate what kind of dragon.  I had the movie dragon types that we are used to seeing on the screen and in books.  One with ridges of spiked scales down the neck, wings, tail and wedge-shaped head.  A Dragon!  Well, that is not exactly what I got.  One evening after walking up the lane to lock the gate, I was chiding Rueben that I had not yet seen a dragon.   And, I was wondering what was taking so long…  Of course, I knew what was taking so long, he couldn’t do it.  It was too hard.  I was smirking at the thought that I had finally stumped him, when I look up at a large cumulus cloud just off the corner of our house.  There was a salt water Sea Dragon, with trumpet nose and all.  It looked just like that ones shown in the diving films of creatures of the ocean reefs.  My reaction was, “O.k., smart ass, you win!”  Another great one that brought a laugh and a smile.  Later there was a dragon with wings up, not spread out, and a triangular head with trailing tail.  The rest of the body was still part of a cloud to the base.  The hind legs were not distinct.  But, it was a mythical dragon.

There were three more cloud pictures before our time of cloud painting ended.  Two that I ordered and one that was another great surprise and demonstrated Reuben’s sense of humor.  The last two I challenged Reuben with were an alligator and a dog that was not a poodle!  The alligator was going to be in the category of the dragons.  Really difficult if not impossible.  I could see that a generic dog that was not a poodle would be possible.

I was wrong again.  Just after noon one day, I was looking for some thing or maybe someone and was walking down the side of our front barn.  I caught the glimpse of a lone white cloud surrounded by blue sky at the end of the barn.  Stopping and looking up, I saw an alligator head with it’s mouth open and lower jaw tilted up, resting on a rounded cloud base.  There were no teeth, just the open mouth.  Long snout and jaw, and no eye-ridge, but an open area that resembled an eye.  He did it again.

Another remarkable cloud painting was the dog painting.  This time it was evening just about sunset when a large white cloud off of the horizon to the east caught my attention.  There in all of its glory was a “Westie!”  A West Highland Terrier with clear open eyes and a small gray cloud to make a shadow on it’s nose for depth.  Truly amazing.

By the way, Reuben is great with drawing animals and half a clam shell, but he cannot do flowers! Hah!  The one cloud drawing that was the most humorous involves telling a tangent story.

Years ago, when my granddaughter Katie was three or four, Mary, Mark and Katie went to Disney World.  On the drive back, Katie was in her car seat with a huge Mickey Mouse sucker on a long stick.  Mary turned around and asked her how she liked her Mickey sucker, to which Katie replied, “Minnie.”  Mary answered, “No, Mickey.”  Katie said, “No, Minnie!”  Mary leaned between the seats and emphatically stated, “Mickey!”  At this point, Katie hit her mother between the eyes with “Mickey!”  Pain shot between Mary’s eyes as they watered and teared.  That was the end of the discussion.  For the sake of propriety, I will  not reveal Mary’s thoughts at the time.  But, over the years, the Minnie, Mickey back and forth has become a family joke.  Keeping this story in mind, I return  to Reuben’s cloud drawings.

The last big one drawing was again in the early evening, after feeding the dogs, I looked up toward the North.  There was a large cloud which looked like the pictures of Disney’s first Mickey Mouse, “Steamboat Willie.”  In fact, this looked like a side view of him and I said, “Oh, Mickey!”  The reply came, “No, Minnie!”  As I looked down to the feet of the image, they had short streaks on them that looked like “Minnie’s heels.”  It was “Minnie!”

I am sure there will be some negative reactions to this writing.  Even as I reread it, it is hard to believe and I am the one who lived it.  While I do have a “fertile” imagination, it is also a sanctified one.  My meditations over the years have taken on much of the same forms of the unusual experiences above.  I hesitate to write these down, but they are all part of who I am that I have kept secret.  The reason for writing about these is to share with those who may have had similar experiences and wonder how or with whom to share them.

My experiences with God, the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Holy Mother Mary and Reuben, among others, are just that, My Experiences.   I am not preaching about them or demanding others must experience the same or similar things in order to be “spiritual.”  My point is God is bigger than anything any of us can conceive.  God is creative.  And, God knows no boundaries.  God loves us each and everyone of us, individually.  Do not be afraid of who you are because some one, some where may truly need to hear what you have to say.

Love, Candace

Reuben, Guardian Warrior

I met Reuben one sunny morning in New York.  I was driving home from JFK airport after a 3 day round trip New York to San Francisco.  This should have been a routine drive home to Flushing.  As a flight attendant for TWA, this had been a routine flight also.  Except… instead of going to the hotel, having dinner with the crew, I joined another attendant who had just transferred from SFO to JFK.  She wanted me to meet her friends and go out on the town.  We spent time with her two best buddies and went to a pub to eat and drink, then back to their apartment to laugh and talk and share stories.  It was great fun.  Since we all had to be to work the next day, we, girls, shared a bedroom while one of them slept on the couch.  Four a.m. came quickly.  Our flight was full to JFK and we made it through by routine and sheer will power.
By the time we landed, checked out, and reached the employee parking lot, I was exhausted.  The trip, late night, lack of sleep and time change was catching up with me.  But, I had to get home before I could sleep.  And, home was a twenty to thirty minute trip up the Van Wyck to Flushing.  Heading out on to the expressway, I started having a mental discussion with myself.  I could do this.  I could make it home.  It was not that far to go.  My eyes were itching and burning.  My head started to nod.  I was fighting to keep my eyes open.  An inner voice was saying, “it’s alright just close your eyes for a minute.”  That is when the light went out, literally.  Just as though someone turned off the light switch, I was a sleep behind the wheel.
Seconds later, a voice from my passenger seat yelled, “Candie, Watch Out!”  I slammed on my breaks and woke up at the same time!  I was coming up on the back of a taxi doing fifty miles an hour.  With jolt of fear and adrenaline, I was wide awake.  Once I caught my breath, I turned to the passenger seat to see who had yelled at me.  And, I knew no one was there. The jolt of adrenaline was enough to get me back to my duplex safely.
This may sound astounding but what really was more astounding was the fact that some months before, I stood in my bathroom, looked into the mirror and said, “Listen, God, I am tired of this I have sinned and I am going to sin again bit.  You go your way and I will go mine.” I walked away from God.  And, lost myself in the pursuit “love”.  By the end of a year, I was empty, dry, aching and lost in darkness and depression.  No one had filled that gaping need in my heart and soul to be loved.  In utter desperation, I cried out, “God! Where are you!”  The answer came fast and furiously!  Within a year I was living is a non-denominational Christian youth center in Lexington Kentucky.
It was during this time at the Center that I learned that we could ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the name of our guardian angels.  So,  taking that on faith, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal my angel’s name.  Reuben’s name popped into my mind immediately.  Now I had a name to go with the voice that yelled at me to “wake up” when I had fallen asleep in behind the wheel the year before.
Meanwhile, back at the Center, I had gone from visitor to staff member and as such was sharing in the work schedules and befriending the residents.  While teaching a bible study, I had an ex-con who was living at the center as part of his probation, threaten me.  The young man was coming up the basement steps from smoking outside.  He saw me as I was going to my room.  Earlier, in my Bible study, he and I had clashed over class behavior.  He didn’t like taking “orders” from women.  So, with the opportunity of having me alone, he snarled, “The first chance I get I am going to smash your face in!”  At which point I took in a deep breath, leaned over the stair railing, stared into his eyes and stated emphatically, with all the authority in my soul, “You lay one hand of me and the Holy Spirit will tear you apart!”  The man looked up at me in shock, his mouth fell open, his eyes got big, he turned pale and ran back down into the basement.  I turned around walked into my bedroom, with my knees shaking, sat down on my bed and said, “O.K.  Just what were “We” going to do!”  I have always wondered if the guy got a glimpse of Reuben standing behind me with his mighty sword!
This is only the beginning of my life with Rueben.  Continuing our journey together is going to take some time.  So, I am going to do our journey in segments.  Let’s count this one as Part One: The Introduction.

Abbey’s Christmas Song Card

She’s dreaming of a Wild Christmas,
Just like the one she’s never known,
Where mom is funny,
And dad counts money,
While she chews upon a bone…. Oh,
She’s dreaming of a Wild Christmas,
Just like the one she wants to know,
Where cats will scatter,
and cold won’t matter,
As long as there’s a ball to roll…. Oh,
She’s dreaming of a Wild Christmas,
Just like the one she wants for you,
Where friends are happy,
And, pups are yappy,
And cats can catch a mouse or two…
She’s dreaming of a Wild Christmas
With every bone she gets to chew…
May your days be Merry and Mild….
And, May all Your Christmases be Wild…..

Ode to a Squirrel

Oh, fuzzy squirrel in the tree,
flicking your tail and mocking me.
You run the wire with ease and flair,
And run around without a care.

Up and down the tree you run,
round and round is such fun.
I watch you flit from there to here,
A life so free without a care!

“No More,” I think, “you brazen squirrel!”
As envy builds, my lip doth curl…
Taking no more of this or that!
I imagine myself an orange cat!

Hidden Treasure

You give me the desires of my heart.
You give me Life without measure.
You give me Joy mixed with
laughter and tears,
for You are my hidden treasure!
What Glory in earthen vessels dwells!
What precious Gift I carry.
It’s fragrance is only known as I
Come to You and tarry.
You give me the Love that sets me free.
You give me faith without measure.
You give me access to Your Heart;
Oh, Jesus, my Hidden Treasure.

Caressing Love

How gently You come to me,
And wrap me in Your peace.
How gently You brush away my tears
And bid my sorrows cease.

How quietly You wait upon me
To hear about my pain.
How quietly You lift it from me
And, bring me joy again.

How tenderly You listen to me.
No hope, no dream to small.
How eagerly my heart awaits
to hear Your slightest call.

How sweetly comes Your call to me.
My name is on Your lips.
How sweetly You reach and touch
My soul, with caressing fingertips.

My Shepherd’s Love

You come to me as a shepherd,
No Royal Purple gown.
You come to me as a shepherd
And, set aside your crown.
Your arms encircle me in Love.
You take away my cares.
You give me Your attention,
And, ruffle up my hair.
My tears you dry;
My fears subside.
You hold me close to Thee.
The loving words you whisper,
Are only meant for me.
You come to me as a Shepherd.
We sit by fire light.
You come to me as a Shepherd
And hold me through the night.

Holy Mother of Providence

Woman of Sorrow, Sweetness and Love
Joy of Earth and Heaven above.
Walk with me in ev’ns light.
Stay with me all through the night.

Be My Mentor and My Guide,
Help release me from my pride.
Extend your arms and gather me,
Let me rest my heart in Thee.
Be my Mother and kiss my brow,
Tell me all is well, somehow.

You have walked this way of life,
Being Woman, Mother and a Wife.
Breathe Your sweetness into my soul,
Lift up my heart and make me whole.

Our Emmanuel

The God of old has come to earth,
To be born through a virgin birth.
He came to save both you and me;
His Love flows out across the seas.
The angels sang so joyfully,
To praise their Lord on bended knee.
To shepherds called, “Oh, come and see
From David’s line our King to be.”
The Babe sleeps now in Mary’s arms.
So sweet and still, kept from all harm.
His life to be will yet unfold,
As Prophets told in days of old.
So comes the Babe with us to dwell.
He brings God’s Love, Our Emmanuel.
From death to life, we are saved from sin,
Jesu, Our God, now dwells within.
These are lyrics set to the folk song, “The Water is Wide.” When I asked
Holy Mother to help me write a song of praise for Advent, I finished this
song in fifteen minutes.”The Water is Wide” is also known as “O’Waly, Waly”  and in the missal for the mass one song title is “As the deer longs.”