Thursday, November 22, 2018

My Blog as Ouija Board

Editor's note: This post ran in my blog on Thanksgiving Day of 2010.
After all these years, I'm still not sure what happened. I am still completely puzzled as to how my blog went bananas and started behaving like a Ouija board.
When it was all over, I told my husband -- who witnessed everything -- that it was, without a doubt, definitely THE STRANGEST THING that I have ever ever experienced in all the years I've been blogging.

And yes, part of me is convinced that my character Antonie -- or maybe it was Renata -- was somehow trying to communicate with me from...maybe from the great beyond? I know how crazy this sounds, I do. But you have to experience what happened the way I did, and then maybe you will see.

OK, so here are the facts: I posted Chapter Six of Sister Mysteries at about 8 or 9 in the morning, here on MyStoryLives.  At the time, I had just begun writing another version of the novel.

After I posted, I clicked as I always do onto "View Blog" to look at MyStoryLives. I noticed something very odd. The title of the blog, My Story Lives, had disappeared. Instead of the title, there was this weird-looking string of gobbledygook letters; some of the symbols weren't even from the English alphabet. They looked like something you'd see in, say, Serbia or Albania or God knows where. And at the end of the string was the at symbol, @ -- suggesting it was perhaps some kind of address?

Øç,ÇÞJJO òùÁÉÓÚÝádfkljeéó^^Â@

"Wow, that's odd," I said to myself, and clicked into my blogger "Settings" to restore the title.

That's when the second weird thing happened.

The blog title, My Story Lives, was EXACTLY the way it was supposed to be in my Settings. But how could this be, I wondered? How could the title be correct inside the blog settings but end up LOOKING LIKE SUCH A WEIRD STRING OF LETTERS on the blog itself?

I called my husband Richard in to see. He was working in his study, writing his own book on health care reform legislation. I showed him the discrepancy in the blog and he agreed that it was very strange.

"I've been blogging every single day since 2006 and nothing like this has ever ever happened," I said.

"Yeah, well, it's probably some hacker, honey," he mumbled, returning to his own writing project in his study.

Sure enough, when I tried to sign into my gmail account (the one that controls this blog), my password wouldn't work.

So I changed the password, and went back into the MyStoryLives site, and fixed the title.

Everything was alright. My blog title, My Story Lives, was back.

Or so I thought. I got busy doing some other writing. After I finished, I went back to MyStoryLives just to have a peek, to make sure everything was in order.

My title was GONE AGAIN. And there again was some string of foreign-looking symbols, the same gobbledygook as before:

æ,EOIUdoejewr;kJØ ç,ÇÞJJO òùÁÉÓÚÝádfkljeéó^^Â@

"What the ....what the ????" And why the @ at the end?

I was thoroughly mystified. Had a hacker broken into my account a second time? How could he/she have gotten ahold of my new password so quickly?

That's when things started to go haywire. I tried repeatedly to restore the blog's title, but I couldn't. I typed MY STORY LIVES over and over again, and all I got on the outside of the blog was this same gobbledygook, over and over again, always with the @ sign at the end:

æ,EOIUdoejewr;kJØ ç,ÇÞJJO òùÁÉÓÚÝádfkljeéó^^Â@

I called to my husband. "Rich, you gotta come here and see this, it's so, so weird," I said. He did; he peered over my shoulder.

"I can't fix my blog title, it's just gone," I said. "No matter what I type on the blog, it comes up this silly gobbledygook."

"Wow," he said. "Somebody must be screwing around big-time with your blog."

"I'll say. This has never ever happened before."

"So why don't you try this: try typing in a different title, just to see if it works," he said.

So I did. With him standing there, and without thinking too much about what I was writing, I typed these words into the title box, "Are You Sister Renata Writing From Beyond the Grave?"

I hit the save button and went to view the blogsite, and where the gobbledygook had been, in the same place that the blog title usually sat, was just this:


two ii's? what the hell? Was somebody RESPONDING to me? I was starting to get angry. Or maybe it was nervous.

Then I typed, "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?" Maybe I could appeal to the hacker to cut it out and leave my blog alone!

What came up on the screen was:


I blinked. I blinked. y? What was this? WHO was this? What the hell was going on here?

I sat there staring at the screen. Suddenly I felt like I was sitting in front of a Ouija board communicating with some spirit. I had a Ouija board as a kid but I never did figure out how to use it. And I have never ever thought of myself having any psychic powers. Nor do I really want to have any.

But now, sitting there, I was faced with this question: was someone out there ANSWERING ME?

I went back into blogger and typed another question. "Who are you, please show me a sign."

I hit save and went to the blog and this is what came up:


I sat there trembling. C? What the hell was C supposed to be? I mean, it's the first letter of my name so maybe somebody was trying to be funny.

I called my husband in, and showed him. He shook his head. "I don't have any idea what is going on, honey," he said. "I would if I were you just change my password again. Start over."

I sat there. My heart was racing. My hands and arms felt that funny trembly feeling.

I decided to try writing one more time.

Slowly, I typed in one more question: "Are you Antonie, Writing From Beyond the Grave?"

I hit SAVE. I went to "View Blog," and lo and behold, THERE IN GIANT LETTERS, I read the words that I had just typed.

The title of the blog had become "Are you Antonie, Writing From Beyond the Grave?"

"Rich," I screamed, "You have to see what just happened."

He came in. He studied the blog title. "Well that's awfully weird," he said.

"What the hell is going on here?" I whispered. "This is so so strange. Is somebody screwing with my head or what?"

I decided to shut the blog down entirely, and reboot the computer.

And when I turned the computer on again, I was unable to sign into my gmail account at all. I had to file a report on-line and wait an hour or so until Google sent me a link to another email account, thereby enabling me to change the password.

OK. So now you've heard my strange blog story. Maybe you are thinking, this woman is just nuts. This woman needs a life that isn't connected to writing or blogs or the internet. Or stories about dead nuns. Or stories about people who consult psychics who are ex-nuns.

Maybe you are right. Maybe it's all just crazy.

But one thing is certain: after blogging thousands and thousands and thousands of times, in a very calm and rational and straightforward way, I have never once had a day like this. EVER. EVER.

I have no idea if it's a hacker, or if, something ELSE is going on.

And so, now, I am shutting down my computer for the rest of the day. I am going to go brine my turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner. I have a dozen people coming here in less than 24 hours and I need to focus.

I have a whole lot of cooking to do.

And I have a whole lot of thinking to do too.

Sister Mysteries took me 23 years to finish. And throughout the process there were countless synchronicities, coincidences and mysteries that occurred. The book took me deeply into spirituality and it was a joy to write. To purchase the novel, go to my website,

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Hot Pink Flowers from Heaven

The Christmas cactus has exploded into bloom this past week.

Each blossom is so lush and pink and vibrant.

This morning I am standing in front of the cactus and letting all the energy of the plant flood my body.

I am soaking in hot pink flower flesh.

And then I close my eyes and let it radiate. I send it out into the universe to every loved one I know.

This is a good day to be grateful.

This is a good day to say THANK YOU SO MUCH DEAR GOD for letting my sister get better and better.

Thank you God for this and for all the other blessings in my life.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

My Sister's Miracle Mantra

Now the purple flowers are tucked into the ground.
Now the first miracles appear.
Last Sunday, not even a week ago, my sister was making this and that sound, and saying lots of words too, like “Hi Dad” when my 92-year old father appeared by her bedside, when all of a sudden she said with great urgency the word
Her daughter, my niece Lauren, repeated it and again my sister said “BOUND” and her eyebrows flew up and screwed in the way that they do. So desperate was she to say something, but what?  
Again and again and again she kept saying the word.
Lauren sat by the bed, puzzled. Why would her mother get stuck on one word this way, what was she trying to say? So the two of them started to play a kind of charades with my niece saying this and that and my sister going no no no no and around and around they would go her saying bound and bound and bound and no and no and no
And suddenly out of nowhere (it only took half an hour or so) Lauren throws out the words, “BOUND AND DETERMINED?”
That’s when my sister screams “YES!” and that’s when her spirit fires up and her eyes glow and she seems to come alive, no longer is she lying so limp and pallid against the pillow.
The next day the speech therapist says Karen’s swallow reflex is suddenly strong enough that they can give her a taste of
vanilla pudding and applesauce, ten tastes from a spoon.
My sister’s eyebrows kept flying up, one mouthful at a time -- try going a month without a single thing to eat or drink, not even water -- anything (even mouthwash) tastes good.
That was Monday. Bound and determined as she now is,
by Wednesday, only two days later, she excelled on the so-called swallow test (I should have known, this brainy sister of mine routinely got 100s on her chemistry exams as a student.)
The nurses and aides were thrilled, the speech therapist was speechless -- never had he seen such rapid progress in a patient before. Immediately the staff gave her half an egg salad sandwich to eat and then, a very blessed chocolate chip cookie.
On Thursday, I sat with my sister while she ate a plate of Swedish meatballs and noodles for lunch. The thrill of it is hard to express.
Yes, miracles do happen and here I want to say that it’s hard but extremely important to stay in gratitude as long as possible, to keep holding onto the attitude that “I respectfully thank you over and over again dear God for helping my sister get off the feeding tube so very quickly.”
Alas, it doesn’t take long before I see myself starting to get greedy, I start imagining other miracles, one perhaps where she stands up and takes her first step. I will stop myself right here. I will spend today in thank you thank you thank you.
And rest with the magical mantra,
“Bound and determined.”

I am very grateful to my mother-in-law, Abigail Kirsch, who painted this wonderful watercolor of an iris. Knowing my sister's love for this flower, Abby spent countless hours in the last few weeks getting the painting just right! I know my sister will love it!!