It has been a rather unusual little time down here on the ranch (in the Cackalacky swamp) for the last month or so. We try to keep a real chill pill even keel on things in life, but in this period (for the first time in many many years) quite a bit of drama returned. Not that we played into any of it, when you get in your 50s there are just a heck of a lot of emergent vignettes one will no longer put up with in evocation of undignified reaction. That is how you thwart purposes, by simply not playing. It may be the Lord was testing us as He is wont to do with His people from time to time. And to find rejoicing in times of burden means that one must engage more prayers in Christ, stay calm because you are not a dumb kid anymore, read your Bible, and make sure there is wine in the rack. Seriously.

I make mention of these things I am fixin’ to tell you for many reasons, but will cite the main reason is to show that even Christians go through crazy things in these surprising and sometimes ridiculous times on earth. Those that would sell you Christianity any other way are full of it, and there are plenty of those. However, most Christians deal far better with intermittent oppressive moments than others because of some fantastic after-market upgrades and equipment.

The first story I will mention is so beneath us that I nearly did not place in this post. However, I got thinking and realized you need to hear it because it is indicative of the kind of end time behavior I make much mention of in my ground pounding book, Wild Willful Heart.

Over a month ago, I had to make some wise moves to deal with some gossip in my neighborhood. I was getting calls and notes from pot stirring anonymous people in that gossip circle telling me that some folks were attempting to impugn my reputation. Let’s just say this was coming from rage and jealousy. It was fascinating (as much as disappointing) to me since some of these people we have never spoken with. One of the gossipers had run afoul of my directness over time, and since not getting their way they had moved to personal attack, as many like that are wont to do. Part of this current spiritual Jubilee 2017, which engulfs the world right now, guarantees that things hidden would come to light, so that also was astounding to me. You see, gossip is an evil thing that cannot shut the hell up. I told the callers that I did not care what anyone thought, to please never call me again “to watch my back” (as they ridiculously asserted they were doing), and that I already knew what people imagine because most “wear obviousness like a clip on tie”. That pretty much ended the faucet drip and things are quiet. They will continue to remain quiet, because I made sure everyone knew there is no trust in idle talk with retired Americans, the bored, the petty, and the unemployed that will not bootstrap it. You see, talebearers cannot help but to tell on one another. Madness. Remember people, cowardice reels on its heels around directness. Shine the light and watch them scurry. Never worry for retaliation either, since most people are all bluster. After that just pray for them and forgive their stupidity. Never forget anything though, for that is when you become the fool.

Second story — Several weeks ago on a Tuesday at 7:45 am, my wife and I were in place to begin the workday here at the house and we experienced a very odd event. The atmosphere was quasi-tornadic that morning with bad storms threatening. I was sitting at the dinner table (my office) engaged in my tourism copywriting (in a cloud of wifi) and there was sudden explosion in the room with me that was much like a 22 shot, though not quite as loud. We both jumped! What the hell! Was someone shooting at the house? No, of course not, it is not that kind of neighborhood. I looked to my right and saw a ball of lightning as big as a 50 cent piece dissipating about three feet from the right side of my head. After doing some research on weather, I found that we had experienced a ball lightning event. Whoa!

So third story — three weeks ago on a weekend, my wife asked me to open the backyard picnic table umbrella so that she and her mom to sit out there and jawbone. I open the parasol and something like a giant grasshopper or frog jumps and clings high onto my central chest area on top of my thin golf shirt. I feel the weight, the warmth and the claws. I originally thought it one of these annoying swamp frogs. I have excellent reflexes, so I reached down under and grab the bottom of the front of my golf shirt to quickly flap it off me. It was only on my chest maybe 2-3 seconds. It rolled off onto the picnic table in a ball, and all three of us were freaked realizing it was a bat. This was noon day in the bright sun. So we think it a baby bat and I take a broom and gently sweep it off the table. It flew away as a full grown adult. I was, the girls were, totally creeped out. Really scary. I ran in, dumped the golf shirt into the hamper and began splashing my chest with witch hazel, all the while checking for tiny bites — nothing. Did it bite? I did not think so, but really didn’t know, their teeth are so small.

I knew from scripture that bats are symbols of evil — and my intuition told me there was ‘uncleanness in the world encroaching into my space’. This is a peaceful ranch with many prayers abounding, so what was going on? Though as an empath, I must admit, this year has been off and on somewhat oppressive for me in what I am sensing in people and places, but I quickly tend to put things in proper perspective after all the remarkable supernatural events I have been through in life. That perspective is— though the end times are in full swing my family are fully aware and make every attempt to rise above it. Strange this bat thing though.

Fast forward to 8 days later on Sunday, I suddenly have many of the symptoms of the flu that matches the beginnings of rabies — anxiety, headache, dizzy, leg cramps, chest burning and tingling, and mild nausea. I had just gone through a complete physical with flying colors days before. As I have said, initially I never noticed anything like a bite on my chest, but to add to the mystery two or three days after the umbrella incident a red raspberry appeared on my chest, small but irritating. I did not attribute it to the bat because I had moved on from the event in my mind. Anyway, I had been putting antibiotic cream on this tiny red area on the chest for several days before the flu symptoms. So with these flu like factors emergent (and knowing the 99% death rate in humans once rabies becomes full blown) by midafternoon Sunday I went to the emergency room where they placed me under the rabies protocol. The county told me that because the bat had simply landed on me I should have been in a week ago! They also said that 2017 bat and raccoon attacks are through the roof nationwide!

So I had to prepare my mind for the horrible shots as the doctors ran around gathering the syringes. They gave me one shot in the arm and 17 more in the chest in less than 30 minutes! Thanks goodness only half of the 17 long fat needles felt like being painfully shanked in the heart. LOL. I also had to go back three more times in those next two weeks for three more shots. Just a dreadful experience.

These are truly bizarre times. How bizarre? Enough that this bat incident fulfills a certain select prophecy of my first vision quest 24 years ago, which you can read about in my remarkably adventurous book Wild Willful Heart.

When my copywriting boss heard these wild stories he said to me — “What are you getting more material for a second book? Does adventure find you everywhere?”

So anyway, I won’t go into the other extended family medical emergencies with our elders that have been going on. Many of you know how that is.

Yet good things are always happening with us! My wife’s business and mine has kept on clipping along for summer (our busy time) as we continued with the tasteful remodeling of our 28 year old ranch. The last of the furniture finally got delivered after two years of hard work. The house is beautiful! We are very grateful for this Jubilee year as many old cycles end, and new cycles of blessing begin, just as God intends during such historical periods. We always have a lot of interesting projects and plans happening, more classic cars on the horizon again, and we are truly blessed.

So with that ever in mind, we are always looking for new ways to give back to thank our Creator. Along those lines we like to put our money where the mouth is. Opportunities to help often appear for people like us with philanthropic mindsets.

Which leads to our fourth and final story — a minister we know contacted us to see if we could help a struggling couple with a place to live. The minister owns a charming RV park on the river and had given them a nice RV space at a reduced rate. So my father and I rented (very inexpensively) one of our classic RVs to this couple that had been living in a tent. Both of these individuals had stable jobs, in spite of being new to the area.

Their first night in the RV the woman freaks out (reasons unknown, drugs being suspect), sets fire to both the twin beds in the rear, and thus gets placed in jail for arson. The next day, we inspected the damage, gave the man an ultimatum to allow him stay, but told him she had to go. He agreed, bailed her out of jail and they simply disappeared.

The whole situation has just blown everyone’s mind involved. It has awakened us to the serious local heroin problem in this country, as the minister provided more details and background on the couple. Warning folks! Many people are going nuts right now. Some people you cannot help. Going forward we will continue to assist the homeless, but are going to be much harder with the rules up front. This is not our first rodeo with the strange and dubious here on the coast of Carolina.

Until next time, say your prayers and get on with it!