Fall Memories and a Spiritual Experience

Today, I am having one of my best days 

since my chemotherapy treatment.  I am not 100%,

still with fatigue and such, however,

well enough to sit at the table

and write to you my dear readers.

I had a truly amazing spiritual experience one night,

that involved my dad.

That overwhelming experience I will explain

at the end of this post.

Because this experience involved my dad, I remembered

a post that I did a few years ago honoring him.

Autumn is a very special time for me and my family.

It was my dad’s favorite time of the year,

a time of harvest (he was an Iowa farm boy) and

Thanksgiving, when all of the family

and extended family gathered together.

My Dad once said, that if he won the Lotto,

the very first thing he would do,

was to buy a house that had a very, very large dining room,

so that the entire family

could sit at one long table.

At a table where we would laugh till we cried,

telling our stories that sometimes our parents never heard!


Dining Room Centerpiece - Balsam Hill Garland - Housepitality Designs


Our family has many traditions and one of them was,

no matter where we were,

we always traveled to my mom and dad’s and

then years later to my sister’s house,

to celebrate and be grateful for the love of family

and our many blessings at Thanksgiving.


Balsam Hill Fall Garland - Vintage Tool Box - Housepitality Designs


Balsam Hill’s Fall Harvest Garland that I placed in the vintage tool box

along with two Balsam Hill Miracle Flame Pillar Candles,

brought back the flood of my Autumn memories,

As you can see, I did not use the garland in the traditional way,

as I folded the garland in half

and gently tucked it into the vintage tool box.


Balsam Hill Fall Harvest Garland - Vintage Tool Box - Housepitality Designs


The vintage tool box always reminds me of my dad . . .

he was Mr. Fix It.

He could fix almost everything.

When my dad passed away, my mom said,

she not only lost the love of her life,

but she also lost her “handyman”


Balsam Hill Fall Harvest Garland - Balsam Hill Miracle Flame Pillar Candle - Housepitality Designs


My dad was a patriot, a man of high integrity and values.

A World War II, and Korean War Vet.

A humble man who grew up on an Iowa farm.

A part of the Greatest Generation.

He instilled in us kids the love of country, family, and tradition.


Balsam Hill Fall Harvest Garland and Charleston Wreath - Dining Room - Housepitality Designs


Did you spy something in the bay window?

I love placing seasonal wreaths in this sitting area.

and the Charleston Wreath was a great fit for the room.


Balsam Hill Charleston Wreath - Housepitality Designs


I love to use items in different ways, such as using the Fall Harvest Garland

as a centerpiece rather than draping it on a surface

such as a door or mantel. Dual purpose!

I chose the Charleston Wreath

as I knew I could also use it for Christmas.

Double duty!

This is how the Charleston Wreath looks in it’s original form.


Balsam Hill Charleston Wreath - Housepitality Designs


As you can see, all that I did to enhance a Fall look to the wreath

was adding a ribbon of pretty Fall colors.


Balsam Hill Charleston Wreath - Housepitality Designs


I must say that this wreath is so elegant

and filled with so many beautiful seasonal items.

As you may notice, the wreath twinkles

with the battery powered LED lights.


Balsam Hill Charleston Wreath - Housepitality Designs


The wreath is such a generous size

that it is such a beautiful focal point in the room.


Balsam Hill Charleston Wreath - Dining Room - Housepitality Designs


Below the wreath is an antique pie crust table

in which the brass lantern

contains the 9″ Miracle Flame Pillar Candle.

The flickering light is mesmerizing!

You will also see a blue and white bowl

filled with pinecones with an amazing pine scent

of the Balsam Hill Holiday Scented Pinecones.


Balsam Hill Pine Scented Pine Cones - Housepitality Designs


A faux pumpkin in a vintage blue and white cup and saucer.

I removed the plastic stem on the pumpkin

and replaced it with a real stem

that I had dried from last year’s pumpkins.

Love the added texture and form it brings.


Fall Vignette - Housepitality Designs


My dining room hutch is filled with ironstone

and vintage blue and white china.

I filled an ironstone bowl with Autumn pretties.


Ironstone Bowl with Fall accents - Housepitality Designs


Dining Room for Fall - Housepitality Designs


Do the holidays and seasons evoke wonderful memories for you?

When I decorate my tree for Christmas,

many ornaments have a story to tell.

When I decided to decorate my dining room

from the beautiful Autumn Foliage Line

along with their Fall Decor line

so many memories of my dad’s love for this season

came to mind and I know he is

happy knowing that his traditions continue with our family.


I love this time of year; however, unfortunately,

I won’t be able to participate in it as much

as in the past. But it’s for a good cause! 🙂

I will miss going down to Florida for Thanksgiving,

as I have a chemo treatment 2 days before Thanksgiving.

Next year . . look out world, I’m back!!!

Now, to my most comforting, tearful, spiritual experience.

~ ~ ~ ~

Every once in a while, when sleeping on my back

I experience what they call Sleep Paralysis.

If you ever experienced that, you know, it is not pleasant.

Right after I went through the numerous doctor’s appointments,

tests, etc., prior to my chemotherapy,

I had that “experience”

I have not told this story to my family

as I know I would be crying with each and every word.

Now they can read it without having to hear me sobbing.

I was lying on my back, the paralysis overwhelmed me.

My right arm was at my side.

I felt as if someone was holding down my arm, my hand.

When this type of experience had happened in the past,

I find myself yelling for my hubby,

and this time was no different.

Lying there, not being able to move,

I felt my hand under pressure, being “held”

then I saw the vision. Of someone (no face) sitting

by me, just like my dad used to do when I was little.

I suffered from nose bleeds when I was a small child.

I would wake up in the middle of the night,

my pillow covered in blood. I always ran to my dad.

He would remedy my nose bleed and then sit beside me

until I fell asleep, singing and humming,

“you are my sunshine, my only sunshine”

When the “paralysis” was gone,

I had an overwhelming feeling of comfort.

It was  my dad letting me know

that everything is going to be all right.

And it will.




A few years ago, Balsam Hill sent me the beautiful

Fall items featured in this post.

All glorious reviews are happily and joyously my own.


Also!….I want to thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, comments, emails,

flowers,  gifts and cards.  I am overwhelmed. 

And big hugs to my beautiful friends who took me out

last night to see Downton Abbey.


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  1. Kirby Carespodi says

    Shirley, I know it must be difficult to not be in the thick of things this year, but you’ll be back better than ever in 2020! Everything is beautiful, as usual.

  2. Sandra white says

    Beautiful post sweet lady! Always a bright spot in my morning to wake up and see a post show up in my email from housepitality designs. You take care of yourself and we will look forward to all the beautiful things you will do with that new house when you are back better than ever! Have a great day!

  3. How beautiful to have your Dad come and comfort you when you need it most. It will be a blessing to carry with you on your journey. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You are an inspiring and uplifting person, and now may we all do the same for you. May your day be filled with love, joy and comfort.

  4. Oh, how sweet that you had that experience. I too use to have sleep paralysis and didn’t even know it was a real thing and it’s scary.
    You already saw Downton Abbey? I have got to see it some time.

    • I did with a little help from my friends!….and Tom got to go to his ballgame too! Win, win! A wonderful evening in more ways than one!
      Shirley’s recent post…Hickory Cottage Update Part 3 and Consignment FindMy Profile

      • Linda Ramsey says

        You’re right Shirley, tears… I have that paralysis as well when I sleep on my back, accompanied by bad dreams, scary. I believe your dad was there with you to reassure you, with the rough days you had, that you are going to get through this & everything IS going to be alright! He knew how much you needed to hear that.

  5. Paula Woolley says

    Hi Shirley, so glad you are feeling a little better. I am praying for you and I know with your positive attitude you will beat this! Sending hugs your way!

  6. Shirley this is a beautiful story. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man. I remember you speaking about this another time. You will get through this and I think of you often. Hold on tight to this memory.


  7. Dearest Shirley, it made me happy to see your name in my inbox because I have been thinking about you a lot and praying for your complete recovery. Your dad sounds like he was an amazing man! Our generation was fortunate to have been raised by the Greatest Generation. I am 100% positive that was indeed your father there with you letting you know he will be with you on this current journey. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. May thoughts of comfort be with you as you think of your father, especially during the most stressful times of your life. My prayers are with you.

  9. Thinking of you, dear friend, and wishing many more good days to soak in fall and all its glory.
    xo Heidi

  10. Bonnie Gutierrez says

    Shirley, prayers and best wishes to you and your family as you surmount a tough journey. No doubt your positive spirit will be there to support along with friends and your loving family!
    Love the autumn touches!

  11. What a beautiful post. I pray you will have more and more days of feeling strong. I miss your lovely blog. I’m looking forward to following as you decorate your new home.
    You and another of my favorite bloggers have cancer. I’m praying for healing. God bless you on this difficult journey.

  12. What a blessing to have had this experience! It will sustain you through the coming months when you most need your Dad’s strength. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. Keeping you in prayer. So glad your Dad visited you and comforted you. Angels are everywhere!

  14. What a wonderful visit from your Dad…and what a reassurance that must have been. You will be back better than ever in a bit…it just takes patience. Good friends and family always make things better. I hope you enjoy your day! 😉

  15. Shirley I have tears flowing down my face with your sweet and loving experience. Your dad is there and letting you know while this is a hard path you are on you will get to the end and it will be ok. I am glad he gave you this message and you have this to hold onto on the hardest days when it seems impossible to get through. You are a warrior now and your dad has your back. Good luck with the upcoming treatment. Prayers sweet friend. xoxo

  16. Shirley, thanks for sharing this beautiful post. I had a smile on my face and “happy” tears blurring my eyes as it also brought back special memories of my own. I love the Charleston wreath and your idea to use the garland in your box Thanks for sharing your inspirational post. Stay strong!

  17. Your fall touches are beautiful! How sweet that you felt your dad’s presence during that episode. Praying for you!

  18. Shirley, what a beautiful story. Please know that all of your followers are saying Warrior Prayers for you as you go through this challenging period in your life. AND I know you realize that God is with you every step of the way filling you with his love and strength and peace, God Bless You and continued prayers for you each and every day.

  19. Shirley, I was so happy to see your post in my email box this morning! I remember that autumn tribute you did to your dad…it was so beautiful! What a special and inspirational story that you shared with us this morning! I know that next autumn you will be stronger than ever, and decorating up a storm in that gorgeous new house! Sending lots of prayers, hugs, and love your way!!!!

  20. Shirley, what a blessing to have a father who loved you so much as a child and who still loves you now in spirit. I think we believe our loved ones are still with us, but to actually FEEL them is God’s gift to you. You will survive this disease. I am a cancer survivor. They say there is good and bad in every situation and I believe that to be true. I never felt so much love, both from family and friends, but also from God. I never felt alone. I knew I was in the hand of God. So are you, my dear friend. You are in my prayers. By the way, I love your blog!

  21. Darling friend, I am so happy to see that you feel good enough to post. I agree with Ellen, this I moment of feeling your Dad’s presence is God’s gift to you. I am blessed just hearing about it – I have had a similar experience after my Mom passed away that I know was God’s gift to me. {There are so many unexplainable things that we just accept because they aren’t explainable} A beautiful post – next year you will be able to do Thanksgiving like usual, but this year will be special in its own way. I love you friend, you are an inspiration!! Xoxo Lidy

  22. Shirley, what a lovely tribute. I had never heard the term sleep paralysis and I’m so relieved it’s a real thing. It happened to me years ago when Jesus stood at the foot of my bed and told me I would be OK not to worry. Now I know it was real. Thanks for sharing this and I pray for your full recovery. It will be OK.

  23. My Mom passed before my Grandmother did, the two of them were always very close. When my Grandmother was bedridden she would talk to my Mom all the time. There was a certain chair in the room and according to my Grandmother my Mother was always near by, talking to her. Such sweet comfort it brought to her!
    You Dad sounds like such a wonderful person, you are lucky to have had such a sweet Father, not all of us can say that.
    Here’s wishing you a very speedy recovery! You are in my prayers, dear one!

  24. Nancy Brantley says

    I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE YOUR EMAIL!!! Beautiful Fall decor. I remember the story of your Dad. You had a great Dad and still have the Holy Spirit of GOD. Tears are running down my cheeks because I know you are in GOD’S hands! I know from experience miracles are real!!! Looking forward to seeing that new home decorated. Prayers and hugs.

  25. Terri SantaColoma says

    Very moving post Shirley.

  26. Shirley, I think of you often and pray for your speedy recovery. Your new home will be lovely. I agree with many of the responses. Because none of us are getting any younger, it’s a great idea to keep this in mind when picking and choosing items (faucets etc) for your home. I did this when we remodeled our master bath one year ago. I’m happy with my choices!
    I’m excitedly looking forward to seeing your new home come together! Blessings to you and yours!

  27. Gayle Merchant says

    Shirley, we have not known each other very long but I have been following your amazing and beautiful displays for a while so glad God lead me to your site. You are such an inspiration to me. I know God and his Angels are watching over you. Your Dad sounds like an amazing father. I too was blessed to have a great Dad. Buddy and I wish you only the best on your journey. Please keep your positive attitude. God Bless you and your family!

  28. Thank you Shirley for sharing your very special experience. These are the gentle mercies that our loving Father in Heaven give to us to help us through life’s challenges. Draw on it for strength and know that our loved ones are very close by.
    xoxo Jo

  29. Shirley,I am so happy you were up to joining us for the premiere of Downton Abbey last night. It was a beautiful evening… Lovely seeing you!

  30. Shirley,
    I’m glad you are better, but didn’t know you were sick. I missed seeing your blog and figured I had dropped off as I’m awful at answering emails. I hope you continue to do well and look forward to hearing from you soon. How is your house building going? I was at Almost Home a few weeks ago and got 2 black chairs. So glad you told me about that place, I love it.
    Take care sweet friend and continue to recover.

  31. Shirley, I never knew of sleep paralysis, but certainly understand the fear it could instill. I do believe in spiritual awakenings and encounters, and am really happy of yours. It’s very comforting. I know you’re going through a lot, more than this post tells, and I hope you found a real sense of lasting peace and calm from that dream. Your home looks beautiful, and I don’t know how in the world you are even managing the desire to make that happen! It’s so good to hear from you. I hope the treatment is going well enough that you can deal with the side effects.
    Rita C at Panoply’s recent post…Feline Fondness for Fall TablescapeMy Profile

  32. It is so good to read an upllifting and beautiful post from you today, despite the very real difficulties you are going through. Yay for Fall and friends and Downton Abbey!!! Life is good when God is your Lord…stay positive and know that so many are praying for your peace, comfort, and total healing. And…I still miss my mom and dad and think of them often…

  33. Alice Genzlinger says

    I look for your post daily hoping to hear that you are getting through the treatments and doing well. Today I went to your post hoping it would be good news and sat here sobbing with gratefulness that God had sent your dad to you in your time of need. Praise the Lord for his goodness and mercy.

  34. Shirley…you are in my prayers and thoughts daily. Beautiful home as always. So happy your dad was able to bring you such comfort. I had a similar experience with my mom four years ago. God is amazing.

  35. Shirley, You have in my thoughts and prayers. I hadn’t heard about sleep paralysis and had to look it up. How scary but a wonderful experience to feel the presence and comfort of your dad. I knew there would be an outpouring of love and support when you shared this journey. You are an inspiration to so many. Next year this time you’ll already be decorating up umpteen Christmas trees in your new home. ♥
    Mary’s recent post…The Witching Hour: 6th Annual Halloween Giveaway!My Profile

  36. Sending loads of love, hugs and prayers. Keep surrounding yourself with beautiful things and happy moments and you’ll come through this experience with flying colours. xox

  37. I am so glad that you felt well enough to write a post to tell us about your dad comforting you when you needed comforting so badly. Shortly after I was diagnosed, I was relaxing in my recliner while my mind churned with worry over my cancer. I then felt the presence of my mother-in-law. She gently stroked my leg and soothed me. It took me a few days to tell my husband about this and after I did, he shared that she has visited him as well. I continue to think about you and send you good vibes and healing prayers.

  38. Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things says

    I am glad you felt well enough to write this post. I think of you daily and send prayers your way. I love that your Dad visited you when you needed it. Sending gentle hugs.

  39. Shirley, thank you for this beautiful blog today..You are in my thoughts and prayers..

  40. I feel what your going through I went through cancer had cemo and radation..knowing you have the support of friends and their prayers sure do make a difference,you have that through all of us…God be with you now and always…beautiful blog…

  41. Bobbi Duncan says

    Dear, sweet Shirley, I was so happy to see your post when I was going through my Emails today; to know you were having a good day and that you had such a moving experience involving your dad. I just know he is with you all the time. I love the way you used the garland for your centerpiece and how you incorporated a real stem into the little pumpkin…smart idea! I think of you many times and send prayers of healing. Big, big hugs!

  42. Robyn Henningsen says

    Shirley, thank you for sharing your very special experience with us. I’m sure your father is with you constantly just like your heavenly father. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers during this trying season. Take care!!!

  43. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says

    Shirley, I am new to your post. I have read your lovely, encouraging comments on other posts and have always enjoyed them.

    Sorry to hear that you are going through some difficult times right now. Please know that I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  44. My dear friend, I am in tears reading about your experience and I agree, it WAS your Dad reassuring you that all will be good!!!! Hang on to that message and vision of your Dad’s hand holding on to you! I loved this post when you did it, that garland and wreath are exquisite. 2020 will be YOUR YEAR!!!! Can’t wait to see how you decorate your fabulous new home……in time!
    XOXO, Pinky

  45. What a beautiful experience you had! I can’t imagine a more beautiful gift from God in the midst of your present health challenges. Thanks so much for sharing it. Prayers for your full recovery!

  46. Shirley, there are so many wonderful people in your corner and especially your family. What a wonderful and loving experience. Many blessings and every wish for a quick and full recovery.

  47. Hello Shirley! So great to read your post today and glad you were feeling well enough to write it. Your post brought back so many emotions both with the chemo part and about your Dad. I was going through chemo last Thanksgiving and had my 2nd chemo the Thursday before Thanksgiving. So I had a few days between but did not have all the family over as usual. I just cooked a ‘watered’ down version for my husband, my mom who is 95 and lives with us, and me. I can’t remember if I could taste it. Lol! The months of chemo seemed to go by more slowly than the months since then (I finished chemo April 4th). But here we are almost at Thanksgiving again. It is good to see your positive spirit and determination to enjoy the building of your new home as much as possible. Even though I cut back my work schedule a little (cause fatigue, nausea etc) the working was a good distraction and made the days go by. You and I are about the same age I think. My Dad was in the Navy and served in WWII and the Korean conflict. He was on a destroyer and was at Pearl Harbor. He was such a good man and your words resonated so much with me and brought back wonderful memories of the sweet man who adopted my sister and me! You are in my prayers and my wish for you is smooth sailing through the rest of chemo and your other treatment!

  48. Cassandra E says

    I’m so happy for you to have such a spiritually encouraging experience. It’s wonderful you are able to see these good things.
    My husband and I were in the hospital for his last chemo treatment before a bone marrow transplant two Thanksgivings ago. I was so fortunate to be able to share his room as we lived in the hospital until 2 days before Christmas!
    I’m sure you and I love holidays anyway from our family traditions, but it sure does make us even more grateful and cling to our good memories when we experience challenges.
    Looking forward to Thanksgiving in your new home with your clean bill of health next year, and praying this year’s has more beautiful moments for you.

  49. What a wonderful experience to have. I am so happy you shared that. And I’m very happy to hear you are on the mend. With all good wishes ~ jj

  50. Good to hear you had a good day and was able to enjoy doing the things you like. What a touching post about your Dad. I truly believe in signs and this to me is definitely one. He is close by watching over you.
    That song has a special meaning to me as well. When my Mom was in the late stage of Alzheimer this is a song she remembered very well and could sing every word. Other than this, she did not speak. I often sing it to my 2 young grand-daughters.
    You are a very strong person Shirley. Keeping you in my prayers and sending big hugs.

  51. Shirley,
    With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought of all the brave ladies like yourself who are currently going through treatment or have gone through treatment. I am so glad to hear that with the exception of fatigue you are doing well with your treatments. I know next year you will be back in full swing and enjoying your new home!

  52. What a beautiful experience! Praise the Lord he is there to comfort you!

    Prayers for you continue!

  53. I pray that even though your fall activities will be different this year around thanksgiving ,that you will be filled with overwhelming peace. You have an unbelievable spirit in you. Your home is precious and I hope you can rest and enjoy it

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