MY NOVEL–
READING THE SIGNS: A PARANORMAL LOVE STORY

Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

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While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts.

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Please help me launch this project by preordering copies on my website, using PayPal or another method (personal check, MO).  Paypal buttons will soon be up on the Writing Page.

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The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

I think this will be the cover.

The American Dream does not work. We are taught to succeed, then we will be happy. Science has proven that it works in exactly the opposite way. Happy people are more productive, resilient and have greater success. They are not only better at getting jobs, but keeping them, as well. Happier people are healthier and have stronger friendships.

Positive Psychology is redefining the American Dream

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Happiness is good for you.

Psychology research shows that happy people make more money, perform better at work, live longer, and have better marriages than everyone else.

But the causes of happiness are elusive — philosophers have been trying to figure it out for thousands of years.

Over the past few decades psychological science has found a few consistent trends in what makes people happy. As the Gym Lion blog reports, happiness is less a matter of what you have than the things you do.

Here are a few of the top happiness-inducing behaviors:

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Certain ailments give off signature scents, whether it’s the baked-bread odor of typhoid or the meaty smell of yellow fever. When it’s progressed far enough, melanoma is said to give off the smell of gasoline, whereas trimethylaminuria (a disorder in which the body can’t break down the compound trimethylamine) causes the unfortunate symptom of body odor that’s reminiscent of rotten fish. Even mental disorders can release a specific smell: schizophrenia’s effect on the body’s metabolism results in a sweet, fruity odor in the sweat.

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Have you ever been really, really tired? For most of my life, I was. All the time. For years, I struggled with the terrible problem of never having enough energy. My reserves were next to zero. I was always the first person to get sick during flu season, to quit on a hike, to leave the party and go home to bed. Once, I fell asleep in a lake. I was just standing there, up to my chest in cold water, and I dozed off from sheer exhaustion. Not easy to do, but I managed it.

I worried that I had a metabolism problem, or a thyroid issue, or a brain tumor. Or perhaps I needed a better mattress? Or more flaxseeds?

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Couples often come into therapy complaining of communication problems, meddling in-laws, sex and money issues ― but those are just the most obvious problems counselors hear about.

Below, marriage therapists share seven of the most overlooked reasons couples come to therapy and how to avoid each in your own relationship.

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Yesterday I had another of my unusual encounters with an animal. More important than anything in life is my experience with the soul realm. When such things happen, I always feel wiser, stronger, better centered in ultimate Reality.

I attended a monthly Reiki Shares session at the Samadhi Yoga Center on East Colfax in Denver. As I walked past the friendly young woman sitting at the counter, I noticed that she had a very happy black and white dog under her bare feet. It was lying on his side as she massaged it with her feet.

I laughed and said, “Hi Dog–you look happy,” then walked on.

Inside the Reiki room, I heard the dog talking to me. “I want to see you,” he said. I listened further. I’m not good at picking up gender. Actually I’m still not sure about hearing the voice of an animal I don’t know. After Hattie died I became more confident about hearing the voice of one of my companion animals.

I listened.

“I was abused,” he said, “but I’m very happy and grateful now. I’m loved.” I was pretty sure the dog was male.
The words returned while Reiki was performed on me. “I still have trauma about it,” he added.

When I walked out of the gathering room, I moved to the woman at the counter. She had a very sweet, open face, with the creamy complexion of a redhead. Her dog got up and came over to see me. He seemed both friendly and anxious. He kept wanting me to pet him, then backed off, and returned, sniffing at my shoes and legs. I sat down on a chair so I’d be more at his height.

“You smell my dog and cats and all the other animals I hang out with, don’t you?” I said petting him.

“He’s kind of afraid of men,” the woman said.

I asked his name.

“Josko,” she answered.

I told the woman what Josko had said. “He told me how much he loves you and is happy to be yours. He also said he’s been abused.”

The woman shook her head. “No, I’m sure he wasn’t. I got him as a puppy of 6 weeks old. He’s been with me ever since.”

I thought, “I must have been wrong.”

“He was rescued from a hoarder.”

“Early pethood experiences are just as important as early childhood experiences for us,” I assured her.

We went on to talk of the importance of bonding.

“To do that we have to open ourselves, make ourselves vulnerable to the greatest joy–and the deepest pain–imaginable,” I said. A collage of faces of people I knew who just couldn’t do that flashed before me. “I think that’s one of the gifts that our animals give us. They’re easier to bond with than many humans.”

The woman agreed. “We don’t do it very well.”

“It’s the most rewarding, as well as painful thing, we’re called to do,” I added. “It means being open to losing everything, especially the beloved. And the threat of losing ourselves in the process.”

“I think that’s what we’re meant to do” the woman said.

“From that we gain a much deeper, truer sense of self,” I added. That’s the main difference between Western Religious Traditions and Eastern Religious Traditions. “We’re still part of the whole, the web of life, of all that is–God, if you like.”

Do you get the sense that your partner doesn’t want to settle down? Read on.
He’s perfect for you… on paper. But there are cracks in the foundation of your relationship that make you question if he’ll ever settle down.

Read on for nine signs he’s just not the marrying type, according to marriage counselors. (Note that this applies to women too!)

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More often than not, we wake up never recalling what we dreamt of the night before. But sometimes, something sticks with us. That person, that place, what we wore, how we felt.

It can make total sense to us, or be totally random. Many times, our dreams are bizarre. They can make total sense when we’re dreaming. But then we wake up and are like WTF just happened.

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Research study after study shows that we do have short-lived regrets for the dumb things we did, but those regrets fade quickly, usually within two weeks. But the regrets for things we didn’t do, the missed opportunities? Those last for years.

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From Jim Wallis, who typically is very insightful:

For those of us who are people of faith and moral conscience, how do we lift up love over hate in this angry election season? How do we point to justice instead of revenge? How do we love our neighbors as ourselves — which all our religious traditions tell us to do — and vote that way? And if our faith traditions also tell us that a society is ultimately judged by how it treats its most vulnerable people, how do we best vote for the concerns of the most vulnerable in this coming election?

These will be matters for prayerful discernment and courageous action in this critical election year.

Jim Wallis

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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