My Friend, Phil Wyman: "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible." 1 Cor. 9:19
I have this friend named Phil Wyman.
He entered Heaven back in May, 2023 but I only found out today.
Phil told me that he had been pastor of a church in Salem, MA and when he began to reach out to the pagan population in Salem his overseers in the hierarchy of the denomination became concerned about his unconventional ways and eventually asked him to leave.
He left that denomination but he didn’t leave Salem. He had a small body of believers that he fellowshipped with and he continued his work with the pagan population.
I found out about Phil when I was doing research on the “Burning Man” festival held in NV every summer. I’ve long had a desire to go and be a witness of the Lord’s love in that particular place. As it turned out, he wasn’t going to Burning Man that year but he invited me to join him in Salem in October to do street ministry. Every weekend in October there’s a festival in Salam. People dress up. Street performers line the main avenue and perform for tips. Large crowds come out every year just to be in Salem during Halloween season. He asked me if I would like to come for the weekend and do some street ministry with him and I said, “Sure!”
I arrived after dark and stayed at his house. The next morning we donned brown costume monk’s robes and walked down to the main street. We joined the street performers and help up signs that said, “ Hug A Monk” and “Hug A Nun” For hours we stood and gave big hugs to anyone who wanted one. Everyone who lined up was really happy to have a big warm hug! It was awesome! And I got to love on people while not scaring them away with a lot of words about salvation and judgement. And that was the point. Actions speak louder than words and anytime I get to be Jesus to someone I call it a win. It was an awesome day!
You see, Phil believed in building relationships. He thought, how useful is it to tell someone about Jesus and then never see them again? The pagan people he knew in Salem had known him for years and had seen his consistency in words and actions. They knew he was a Christian and they knew that he loved them and appreciated their qualities of “otherness.”
During the summer time, he traveled to Great Britain and worked the festivals there. He would show up and help with set up and sound and anything else he could do for them, including music reciting poetry. In the evenings he sat with them around their fires and listened and commented. His faith would come up and he was open about his life with Jesus, but he did not preach. He simply contributed to the discussion. He wanted his actions to speak his truth, not his words. He knew that many people who turn to paganism do so because they have been seriously burned by practitioners of Christianity. He was a very unusual man, dedicated to Jesus and a lover of all people everywhere, regardless of their faith or creed.
Sikh and you shall find?
That weekend in Salem is the only time I spent with him. But right away I could tell that we were kindred spirits. I listened to his blog and followed his exploits on Facebook. I would often comment and he always responded.
Last year he felt that the Lord was calling him to live in Wales. He’d been there several times and really loved the landscape, the people and the language. He went pretty much broke. He knew he would be ok for the summer because he would travel from festival to festival and there he would find food and lodging. But as the season changed from summer to fall he found it difficult to find a place to live. He did eventually find a place but I knew he struggled financially.
He decided that the next year, he would travel all through Wales, speaking and writing only in Welsh. When his posts popped up in Welsh I would answer in Welsh. (Thank you Google Translate!)
Last summer he fell off my radar. I wasn’t seeing his posts. I prayed for him as he came to mind. Last month I sent him an email but I didn’t get one back.
Then, today I decided to check out his Facebook page and found out that he had passed.
But I’m not sad. A little nostalgic maybe. But he lived his life well and I know that when he came through those pearly gates Jesus greeted him with, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (In Welsh!)
Starting when my 41 year old son was still a baby we used to travel from NJ to VA every year to celebrate Thanksgiving at a very special place called “Skyland Resort.” It’s a rustic destination spot located on the highest point of the Skyline Drive. (Shenandoah National Park.)
We discovered this treasure when we’d been to Virginia during the summer and traveled down the Skyline Drive just to see what we could see. There are many wonderful overlooks along the Drive that give a marvelous view of valleys and ridges, covered with trees. We also loved seeing the wildlife along the Drive; deer, skunks, foxes, chipmunks and even an occasional bear!
When we stopped at Skyland the summer in 1983, we saw the notice for a Thanksgiving Special; 2 nights, breakfasts and dinners for a very reasonable price, so we made our reservations and wrote it on our calendar.
Skyland has a main building that houses the dining room, bar, sitting area and gift shop. We would hang out in the sitting area on rainy days reading, playing games, just being together.
On beautiful autumn days we would visit some of the nearby hiking trails and march off to see the overlook at the top of the Stony Man trail, or hike the White Oak Falls trail which offers several levels of water falls to visit. There is also a beautiful “all access” trail called the Limberlost Trail. The path has been laid with hard packed cinders so that wheel chairs and other mobility helps can use it.
Once, when our children were older, we took a trail ride. My son had the spirited horse that kept kicking up his heels and trying to bite the butt of the horse in front of him.
On Saturday afternoons we’d drive down to Big Meadow and sit in the rocking chairs in the visitor center. We’d watch the sun go down as the deer browsed in the low bush blueberries that are allowed to grow in the maintained meadow. Every year 1/4 of the meadow is mowed. That way it stays the same as when the Native Americans used it centuries ago. The meadow is so big, that when you view it, it’s a panoramic view.
In the evenings there was live music in the bar and sometimes I would play a song or two while the main act took a 15 minute break.
Weather was always an issue when traveling to Skyland. If the weather was bad, If there was snow on the Skyline Drive, the Drive might be closed and we would not be able to get to Skyland. That never happened, thank you Jesus, but there was a time or two when we were not allowed to leave on Sunday because of conditions on the Drive. After the sun rose high enough to melt the snow and ice we would be told it was safe to travel.
The very first time we stayed at Skyland, we woke up to a world coated in rime ice. Every branch on every tree, even the very littlest ones were coated in ice and, because the wind was blowing, even the little blades of grass had prism bright flags that all blew the same direction!
You know, the mountains have a smell all their own. In the autumn the mountains smell of leaves that have dropped and lay together in a carpet, and the fresh wind that blows off the higher peaks. It smells of wood smoke and woolen hats.
What an incredible blessing Skyland has been to our family! Now that our children are grown and on their own, we haven’t been back. But we pray that we may bring them and their children to spend a Thanksgiving weekend. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful answered prayer?
In 2013 I went on my first short term mission trip. It was to Nigeria.
Nigeria is a place not often visited by missionaries because it is not a safe place.
There is much corruption and lawlessness there.
Our dear friend, Ignatius Umunna invited our church group to come for two reasons; to set up a 12 step program in his church and to take a prayer journey to Lakoja and Owerri, the second being the place where he grew up.
After we landed in Lagos International Airport and were driven to our accommodations at a nearby hotel, we were gifted with beautiful clothes made by a woman in Ignatius’ church. We women received two dresses each and the men with a shirt and pants set.
Sorry the photo is so fuzzy.
The two piece dress that I received was quite form fitting, not what I am used to all, but I have to say it fit me well. The other dress what a beautiful pink muumuu with a wonderful bit of embroidery at the top.
This is Susan, Papa Rod and Darlene,
all decked out for our first morning in Nigeria
As an artist, I’m drawn to pattern and color combinations . The whole time we were there was a feast for my eyes! The fabrics were so vibrant!
Most of the fabric seemed to be 100% cotton, very good for wearing in an equatorial country. There were some that were polyester but they seemed to be more for show than for daily living.
The dresses seemed to be all either muumuus or “mermaid” dresses, tight fitting at the waistline and hip, then fanning out at the knee.
Everywhere we went we saw people in European attire but I just loved the native fabrics! Here are some of the patterns I took photos of the fantastic prints. I came home with a suitcase full! And, you know, I love it so much that I hardly cut into it at all! I was so concerned of waisting it by making some mistake.
But, just last year I was able to bless a charity that makes dresses for homeless and impoverished girls in Africa and other places. That did my heart good! I saved out the ones I loved best.
Lozie Umunna's Dad
I think I like the pattern on Ignatius' brother best. But then again, it might be the green one., or the purple one with the deep purple flowers. That was one of Ignatius' outfits. Oh dear! Which one do you love best?
Twenty years ago I was folk singer. I used to travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard to different folk festivals and sing and play my guitar.
The year that my daughter was 12, we took our mini motorhome up 95 to the Altamont Fairgrounds in New York State to attend the annual “Old Songs” festival.
When I first got the info in the mail for that year’s festival I carefully looked at the dates and sent in my check. (Check? What’s a check?)
We left on the Thursday before the folk festival and drove up to the fairgrounds, about a 5 hour drive. When we arrived there, late in the afternoon, it was obvious that I had done something really wrong. There was no folk festival! There were no cars! There were no arts and crafts booths and there was no music! There was a handy man there, just where we pulled in and he told us the festival was next weekend! Well, I just couldn’t believe that I would make that kind of mistake! And it seemed to me that way back when I got the flyer it had said it would be this weekend “They must have changed the date and not let us know.” I told my daughter.
So, we turned around and headed back home. With another 5 hours of driving before me I thought I’d better get a cup of coffee and seeing a Micky D’s up ahead on the right I pulled up to the drive through. I placed my order and the lovely young woman passed my coffee to me through the window. I had to reach down pretty far to reach it from my high perch in the motorhome. I put the coffee in the cup holder and gently hit the gas.
Nothing happened. I tried again. No budging. I thought maybe the motorhome had stalled, so I turned off the radio and listened carefully. No, I hadn’t stalled. By now there were several cars behind me. I got out and looked up and saw that the top of the motorhome juuuuust fit under the drive through canopy, but not the AC unit on top! I wasn’t going anywhere any time soon!
To make things even worse, the lane that led to the drive through window was a hairpin turn! Seriously? The cars behind me started to back out and around the hairpin, while I stood there looking up and trying to figure out what I was going to do! I got back in the drivers seat and put it in reverse.
Now, I don’t do backing up well, generally speaking, because of an accident I was in years before. But I put it reverse and slowly started backing up.
The absurdity of the situation was not lost me and I had begun to laugh, uncontrollably. I think my poor daughter thought I must have lost my mind! Here we sat in the entrance to the drive through in a situation that neither of us could find a solution to and I was laughing my head off! So I tried backing up again and got about ten feet back and couldn’t go any farther.
Enter my angels! As I sat there bubbling over like an idiot, two dusky young men ran up and told me to get out of the motorhome and they would back it up for me. By that time the other cars had already backed out. No one seemed angry, for which I was truly grateful!
So my daughter and I stood to the side and watched these fine young men back my motorhome out of that hairpin turn and into a parking space in the parking lot! We stood there and applauded! Then they jumped in their car and drove off!
Maybe they were angels. Could they have been angels? Whoever or whatever they were, they turned an awful experience into an event with a happy ending!
The Lord has given me such a gift! In most desperate circumstances I can find the humor. I have the understanding that Jesus is going to get me out of whatever ridiculous situation I find myself in. And there have been so many! So, I just trust Him to solve my problem. And you know what? He solves each one! Thank you Lord, for the day, for the 5 hour trip up and the 5 hour trip home, for the coffee I purchased at Micky Ds, for the people behind me who didn't lose their minds because I was in the way, for my two dusky angels, showing up at just the right time to help two damsels in distress!
In 2012 I had my early onset cataracts removed. I was 52 years old. Early onset cataracts runs in my family. All the women had the surgery before the age of 55. For me this was a miracle! 50 years ago, when I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with severe myopia and strabismus. That means I was legally blind. At the age of 2 I started wearing eyeglasses with lenses so thick they looked like Coke bottles bottoms. As long as I wore those glasses I could see well enough to go to school and learn to read and write. As a teenage I was able to get a driver’s license.
Two days before the surgery to replace the lens in my right eye, (the second procedure) I began having really strange floaters. I told the doctor on the day of the procedure about it and, “Uh oh!” was not what I wanted to hear from him! He got out his special little magnifying glass and pointed a really bright light into my eye. He had a good look and said, “OK! It’s not a detached retina. You can have the procedure today.
One week after the procedure, while I was sitting in a bible study, I noticed that 1/2 of my vision in right eye was gone. It was like someone had pulled a black curtain across half on my eye and I could’t see around it. I called the doctor and he gave me the name and number for a doctor who specialized in detached retinas. For, indeed, that’s what I had; a detached retina.
The procedure was scheduled for the next day. And when I woke up in the doctor’s office, he explained what he had done: He had put a needle into my eyeball and sucked all the jellylike “vitreous humor” out of it, leaving it like an empty sack. Then he put the retina back into it’s proper place and filled my eyeball up with nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.
And here’s where the fun began:
For about 2 weeks, looking through that eye was like looking through a fish bowl filled with clear jello. And at night, when I closed my eyes I saw darkness and a line of the most exquisite icy blue that glowed and diffused into a haze. It was so beautiful that I didn’t want to sleep!
As the laughing gas dissipated it was replaced by new vitreous humor
The second stage of recovery was a circle of clear vision surrounded with darkness. When I looked into a light with that eye shut, I saw a deep and rich orange that surrounded a purple circle in the center, ringed with black. It was breathtaking! As the days moved forward the purple circle got bigger and bigger.
Eventually, the circle became so large that the colors disappeared and were replaced by a cluster of clear bubbles, each inside a black ring. And as time went on, the bubbles became smaller and smaller and then there was a little cluster of them that danced on a line below which was clear vision and above which was the clear jellylike laughing gas. I had a lot of fun making the bubbles dance when I shook my head!
All told, the experience lasted eight weeks. And, I know I’m a little crazy, but I really enjoyed it!
And, you know, that’s what it’s like, living a life of gratitude. I was thankful for the doctor, thankful for the procedure, thankful for the ability to turn 8 weeks of not being able to see into an adventure.
Jesus gave me a point of view that made everything so much easier!
I suffer for people who attend a fellowship with believers who do not understand that mental health is a real medical issue. That means that those who are plagued by depression or anxiety don’t feel like they have spiritual family they can turn to.
I also suffer for people who feel that because of stereotypes, real or imagined, they can’t let anyone know how they suffer.
Mental illness is one of the enemy’s most popular tools to keep saints from living their fullest, most authentic lives. As long as he has free range in the minds of those who don’t understand mental illness and really don’t want to, men and women will continue to hide their pain.
How sad is it that those who so desperately need fellowship and someone to come along side of them, are so afraid of telling anyone because they think they’ll be judged for failing to lean on God to make this “go away” or are seen as unreliable, not to be trusted or just “not right.”
I live with generalized anxiety and depression; the result of a traumatic childhood. My mother suffered with bi-polar disorder, again the result of a traumatic childhood. (and was never diagnosed or treated.) My daughter has bi-polar disorder and my son, anxiety and depression.
How much of this was due to my lack of parenting skills? How much is a generational curse? Does it matter?
Chains can be broken. Healing can happen. I know that the God I serve can remove the pain in a split second. But why doesn’t He?
Why doesn’t He heal everyone with diabetes, or arthritis or any other illness?
My point is, mental illness is as prevalent as any other disease, and maybe even more so. The treatment of mental illness is also possible.
I take medication. I have since 1988, after the birth of my daughter. Without the serotonin supplement my brain needs I am incapable of the joy that I have and greatly desire to share with others.
Mental illness is not a spiritual deficiency.
Mental illness is not necessarily a demonic attack, although Satan will use our weaknesses against us.
Mental illness is not always something that can be overcome by prayer, although we who have it should continue to live with an expectation that we could be healed tomorrow.
Mental illness is not something that can be overcome by “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.”
Mental illness is often linked with people who have a yearning to create whether as musicians, writers or painters and sculptors.
Is it something we would trade away if it meant we couldn’t be artists? Not me. Using the creative tools that the Master of the Universe gave me so enriches my life! Artists see things differently than that rest of the world. We feel more deeply, we react more deeply. We rejoice and mourn more deeply. How can that be a bad thing?
Please, if you’re a person suffering with mental illness, along with your prayer life, include a trip to the doctor. Find out if there are ways you can live a fuller life where joy is present at every turn of every day!
Please, if you know someone who suffers with mental illness, ask them how you can pray for them. Encourage them to get help. Offer to take them to the doctor’s office and stand by in the waiting room until they’ve had their consultation.
Remember that artists are feelers. Help them discover their “super power” of empathy. Help them serve their Lord in the way He created them.
He did not create us to have mental illness but He did create us to feel and experience life differently than many others.
My husband brought me a surprise from his Boy Scout excursion to Gettysburg, PA.
He brought me. Bottle of Monkees Banana Nut Soda!!
Am I a believer? You bet I am!
I LOVED the Monkees when I was a little girl! While other girls were playing house, my friends I were playing Monkees. I always wanted to play Mike. I loved Mike! He seemed so deep. He was quiet and the calming influence of the quartet. Not always, but sometimes.
I always went for the quiet ones. With the Beatles, I loved George!
Of the bubblegum pop, when everyone else was screaming over David Cassidy and Donny Osmond, I was home mooning over Bobby Sherman.
On the TV show, “Here Come The Brides” Bobby Sherman was so quiet and shy he stuttered! I found out years later that he actually suffers from Agoraphobia.
But I digress. I now listen to a pod cast called “The Many Moods Of Ben Vaughn” that sometimes features Mike Nesmith singing songs that aren’t Monkees. Did you know he wrote, “Different Drum?” One of Linda Ronstadt’s first hits. And his song, “Some of Shelly’s Blues” is a great song I can really get into.
He had a very folkrock aesthetic and the first song that was released was a folk song. Too bad it tanked! He was great! The song, not so much.
Remember that green hat with the four white buttons? Did you think it had some deep seated meaning? Was it an homage to someone who wore a similar hat? Did he wear it for religious or political reason?
Nope! The day he had his audition to become a Monkee he rode his motorcycle
He rode his motorcycle to the audition and wore the hat to keep his hair out of his eyes. He wore it into the audition for some reason the producers liked it and told him to wear during recordings.
Mike also had his own record label, Countryside Records and Countryside Studios.
He passed away recently. I know many people thought he was snob. I just really liked him. But, then, I always go for the silent, deep kind.
Who was your favorite Monkee? Why?
Do you remember bubblegum pop? Who was your favorite singer or band?
Tom was driving his scouts home from Gettysburg this morning. My daughter and son in law were meeting me at church.
By the time I left for “Church in the Park” it was raining lightly so I brought along a sturdy poncho. All of the fifteen minute drive was the same slow steady rain.
When I got to the park it was raining slightly heavier and I was glad I had the poncho. There were several canopies set up in front of the covered stage and Bill was praying for communion. Pastor Jen was standing in the paved area in front of the stage with her rain jacket and her full worship on. As the second worship song began to play she stubbornly stood her ground and let the rain pelt her. She was not going to let a little rain stop her! But by the time the second worship song had begun we could all hear the thunder rolling in and I began to pray for protection.
I was sharing Jimmy and Taffy’s canopy and I leaned over and whispered in Taffy’s ear, “Remember the Iron Dome over Israel? We have an Iron Dome here.” “That’s good to hear!” She answered.
Taffy, Jimmy and I, with several others from Shore Life Church, had traveled to Israel in 2016. We learned that there’s an all weather air defense system designed to identify and destroy all incoming short range rockets. That’s the Iron Dome.
Soon the thunder was right over head and we could see the lightning flashing all around. Then, suddenly, GIANT hand came out of the clouds and pushed all our canopies over! (Well, not a giant hand per se, but it sure felt and looked like it!) People started jumping up and hanging onto the canopy poles but Mark was yelling, “Don’t hold onto the canopy poles!” as the thunder and lightning intensified.
And then… someone unzipped the sky and it rained SO HARD that nobody stayed dry! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it rain harder than that! I was so relieved to have that poncho as. I was other struggle with being soggy! I think Pastor Jen and I were the only women to escape with dry hair!
Mark’s announcement from the stage was, “Church is over! We can’t go on with this wind and rain. Please drive carefully.” And just like that, we all bolted for our cars!
By this time everyone, under a canopy or not, was drenched to the bone! And I could not get my chair to fold up so I grabbed a corner of it and dragged it to the Jeep that was parked waaaaaay too far away!
So much for wearing the pretty dress I’d embroidered! It was so heavy on me! And although I was wearing that poncho, my full length dress, to the knees was dripping wet and even up to the neckline was wet!
I spent meany years going to summer Christian festivals in PA and Va and knew all about sitting in the rain in an open field. My first festival, Jesus ’75 was a slippery, muddy quagmire almost from beginning to end! So I didn’t mind the rain. I kinda saw it as an adventure. You know, it’s so important to have a sense of humor!
I'm always looking for ways to serve God better. And every time I step up and submit to Him my whole body cries out, “NO!! Don’t go there! It’s new! It’s scary! You won’t be able to do it! It’s too hard! You’re gunna fail!
But I do it anyway.
Stepping out in faith. Climbing out on that limb. Jumping in with both feet. It’s becoming a pattern with me. And although it’s a scary pattern sometimes, it’s also intensively beautiful, deep in rich colors and gorgeous in design.
Since 2004, when Jesus was finally able to break through my walls of self protection and show me how He loves me, how He sees me, how He has His best set aside for me, I have been full and wanting to share with others. My capacity for joy seems endless!
During the pandemic of 2020 I started an online Art Mastery course. It changed my life in ways it would take me hours to tell! I stepped out on that limb. I was rewarded!
So, now that my life as a professional artist is established, what next?
I saw an ad on Facebook for an online course for becoming a “Destination Retreat Leader” Since my reawakening in 2004 I have wanted to find a way to share what the Lord has taught me about myself and Him and the relationship that we share that no one else shares.
So I jumped in with both feet and I’m learning how to find really, really nice locations to offer retreats on How to build “Intimacy with Jesus Through Prophetic Art”
I think this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done! I know that it’s a whole lot more work than I’ve ever done! I’ve been at it since March 2023 and I’m taking my time, to make sure I get every nugget and understand every point.
Little did I know that leading a retreat meant building a clientele. I have to have an email list of people who are willing learn to trust me even if they don’t know me personally. (Even if they do!) So now I have the beginnings of an email list, (14 at last count) and a newsletter and my website with this blog on it and the sales page that is already made and waiting for people to look at and salivate over!
https://www.judygoddardart.com/intimacy-with-jesus.html I also will beginning to add Youtube videos. All of this is intended to give prospective retreat attenders a chance to know me, to see for themselves that I mean what I say; that my objective is to help them see themselves in a different light and delve deeper into an intimate relationship with Jesus, deeper than they’ve ever known before, deeper than they knew they could!
My dream location is Skyland Lodge in Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia. It’s a place I know very well and long to share with others. I can’t wait to show them all the places I have loved there.
So, even if I sometimes hear myself screaming in my head that this is scary and I should stop RIGHT NOW, I’ll continue to build my retreat.
The farther into the process I go the less I feel like,
“NO!! Don’t go there! It’s new! It’s scary! You won’t be able to do it! It’s too hard! You’re gunna fail!
It’s gunna be a blast! And I’m going have such a good time! And I’ll get to help people with the knowledge and wisdom the Lord has given me!
Have you ever "Jumped in with both feet?" Have you done something daring and scary and were glad you did? Tell me about it! I'd love to hear!
I bought two dresses a couple of years ago. Two plain sleeveless dresses, one blue and one green.
Since I bought them, I’ve been meaning to embroider the tops around the neckline. I even picked out a couple of pretty patterns that I’ve stored on my computer.
This year I gave myself a break from knitting to pick up an embroidery needle.
I’m so glad I did! I have rediscovered how pleasant it is to paint with cotton floss! The colors are so pleasing and the motion of putting the needle through the cloth and then pulling it out again.
It’s rhythmic and soothing and it delights my eyes and my spirit.
As you can see, this dress will be wearing a yoke of blossoms. I fancy that they’re impatiens.
The green dress will be adorned with bluebirds.
There’s a new craft shop in town. In Toms River, where I live, there are two craft stores, across the highway from each other, waaaay… over on the other side of town. I’ve been praying for a craft shop on my side of the “universe” and in May my prayer was answered.
I’ll have to do some more cotton floss painting when these two are done.