When I’m tempted to turn away from a metaphysical or miraculous event, no matter how small, I pause to remember my friend and mentor, Minnie’s words: “Claim your own experiences. Don’t let coincidences, spirit communications, premonitions, lucid dreams, or any miracles go unnoticed. Claim them all.”
These personal faith building words have lived in my heart for many years since I first heard them. Let me tell you about my Kentucky friend Minnie. Years ago she decided that a view of the Appalachian mountains was spectacular enough to live right in the field where she had parked her car to enjoy it. She asked the farmer who owned the cow pasture, if she could adopt and fix up a dilapidated structure sitting on it.
The farmer had been storing straw in the old farm home as if it were a barn. She didn’t care if it was a barn, because the view of the mountains was enough to inspire her to move in. She scrubbed the hardwood floors and updated the outhouse. She added surreal cement block steps to the large covered porch and transformed it into a shady haven with comfy chairs and breezy swings. She added hummingbird feeders, flowers and wind chimes.
She also built two large bed frames, like giant boxes with walls, one in her bedroom and the other in the living room. She stuffed the large mattresses with real chicken feathers so they would be extra soft, and each bed was raised from the floor with steps leading up to them. She added a homemade canopy of curtains to create total privacy so they were magical little bedroom spaces.
The guest bed in the living room was amid the busy hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. But when someone crawled inside and dropped the curtains it became a cozy haven, away from everyone. There was even a little reading lamp attached to the wall.
Minnie used sheets with pictures of cows as material for fancy wall paper. It seemed a beautiful and creative texture to use, and worked fantastic as decor. Cow statues adorned the shelves among an assortment of adorable family photos, and she always made great fun of the fact she’d chosen her home in a cow pasture!
Minnie is a craft person, and as a weaver of rugs she also built a gigantic loom which she keeps upstairs and lovingly refers to as “the monster”. It stretches across the entire length of a long room in attic space. She has woven rugs of many colorful designs, very beautiful, which adorn the floors of many people and businesses across the United States. She is my grand example of living a genuine and self directed life.
Minnie set up her life to also provide solace and mentoring for anyone interested in learning what she has to teach. People would travel from short distances and many miles away, just to talk with her. She’s touched the lives (and hearts) of many people, and you will even find her written about in the pages of famous country singer Naomi Judd’s Autobiography, and interviewed in a Disney film about the heart of America.
In Naomi Judd’s book, Love Can Build a Bridge, Naomi wrote this about her friendship with Minnie years earlier than I met her, in the 70’s (Pages 126-127):
“ . . . Minnie cut an imposing figure in her frontier-woman’s dress, cape and heavy combat boots. She wore her midnight black hair pulled back in an old fashioned bun and could set folks scurrying from her path when she squinted her eyes and set her jaw. There was an unpredictable air about her. You never knew if she was going to curse, or go for a rifle, or slap her palms on her knees and cut loose with melodic laughter. Minnie and I hit it off at once . . . Years ago her husband had left her and her four small children in a cabin in a holler in Hazard, Kentucky, with empty cupboards. She learned how to survive by using her wits and developing a multitude of talents. Minnie remains one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. If I had to describe her in one word it would be natural. Minnie described herself as feral, meaning untamed and living in an uncivilized manner. This self pioneered woman who knew so much about so many things, taught me that artists must feel free. Being around her reminded Chris, Ashley and me that we were connected to all things in the universe . . . All by herself, Minnie built and upholstered her living room couch. She also painted the portrait of Don Quixote hanging over their fire place. She said to me “Your mind is like your home, you finish it carefully yourself”. Being self sufficient she sewed her own clothes and was a deft wood carver. She taught me how to make lye soap and about herbs and home remedies. Minnie has what mountain folks call “the sight”. Strangers would show up at her house by word of mouth for healings. I once saw her ‘talk the fire’ out of a burn. Minnie supported her family of four by her foremost talent, weaving . . . a natural-born teacher and a firm believer that everyone should learn survivor skills. School is wherever you can learn and I learned as many valuable lessons being around Minnie as I did in college classes. At one of our get togethers I gave everyone American Indian names, I dubbed Minnie Yancey, “Keeper of Legends”
More times than I can remember I visited with Minnie. I’d enter her drive through a metal fence with a wooden sign labeled ‘Star Gate’, and drive up a grassy hillside and park by her tall front porch. Sometimes I’d stay for just a couple hours, but more times than not, I’d sit on the front porch with her until the blue Kentucky sky turned into sunset and fireflies. We’d watch them all twinkle and dance like Christmas lights on her ‘Magic Tree’, it’s limbs silhouetted by the backdrop of a lovely mountain range, until lightning bug action was replaced by shining stars.
Finally I’d crawl into her guest bed and find a solace in a sound sleep, and when I awoke she’d make us coffee, serving it up in huge round mugs to enjoy on the high stone front porch. We’d drink our coffee while watching the morning mist roll in off creeks from the valley base.
In that world of majestic contentment, we were connected to Source and felt as one with God, in her many awesome forms. Sometimes in our discussions, God was a plant, or a dog, or an omnipresent creator of all existence. Sometimes we found God in a Bible verse, a visitation from a loved one, from stories of alien encounters, or while gazing at the mountain range. We’d sit and talk, recounting our memories and spiritual experiences, often ones involving ghosts, miraculous coincidences, premonitions, visitations, divine interventions and healing energy. Time dissolved into delicious and joyful magical moments at Minnie’s house.
Sometimes many of us visited at once, and we’d build fires and howl with the coyote’s at the moon. Often we made music together and sang all night. I love her daughter Sonya like a sister, and she wrote and sang so many beautiful songs over the years. If we were lucky, she was visiting, too, and shared them with us.
Other times only a few folks sat around strumming guitars and feeling thoughtful. Always, there was an amazing aura of Spirit surrounding Minnie’s home. We’d feel a connection not just to each other, but to all of nature and beyond the veil to our ancestors and the spirit world.
Minnie was born the daughter of a preacher in Hazard, Kentucky. She has a degree in social work, is a master story teller, and loves to read. Spiritual topics top off her interest list, and she has studied Course in Miracles, the Bible, Nag Hamadi scrolls, spiritualism, and many varied world religions. She’s woven them together with a common thread of truth, and shared them with others through story telling, personal writings and by living her life.
Her knowledge goes way deeper than simple memorization of texts and scrolls, because she’s claimed each and every miraculous event in her life, and blessed them all as sacred. In her view, a Styrofoam cup is just as Holy and significant as a glazed and perfectly formed mug from a master potter. She goes way beyond the discussion of biodegradable and artistically historical judgments to, “It’s all God, it’s all connected” In this respect get it, and I love it.
In the late 80’s and early 90s, on Sunday mornings, I would drive out alone or with others to visit Minnie. She was my church and I’d listen to her for hours on end. Time seemed different at her house, suddenly it was three in the afternoon when only a moment ago it was ten in the morning. I’d tell her secrets from deep within my heart and soul, and she’d know exactly what to say to bring out the very gem of wisdom and meaning I needed to hear.
“The earth is a woman, and her soul is right here in these Appalachian Mountains.”
She told us, “The earth is a woman, and her soul is right here in these Appalachian Mountains” and we’d all look out at those awesome peaks before us and connect right up to the energy of Source, feeling Goddess in all her glory.
I often wondered aloud to Minnie, “Why do folks who go through spiritual events, powerful ones and even minor ones, then choose to forget and disbelieve them? Significant experiences do clarify there’s actually something more than our physical five senses, at the very least they verify life after life- so why all the doubt? Why do some folks choose to rationalize miracles, visions, premonitions, ghosts, spirit contact, visitations, Angels, and spontaneous healing, right out of their lives? Is it fear . . . or life’s conditioning?”
Her answer: “Many people are still sleep.”
“You are awake Fawn, remember who you are! Nothing exists which is not sacred, so claim each experience you have and build on these events to create your own personal Faith.. Nobody else can do this for you.”
Because of knowing Minnie, I’ve learned to allow myself the gift of honoring, receiving and claiming all of my spiritual experiences.
You can, too.
(¯` ´¯). *
`*.¸.* ´* peace * ´¯`•.¸¸. Love
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