I have always been a magical thinker with a rich fantasy life. I'll believe in anything. To this day, I'm an extremely lucid dreamer and thanks to my anxiety disorder I can tell you in graphic detail if asked, "What's the worst that can happen?" exactly what can happen. My first magical belief was in that of my invisible (to everyone but me) horse. He was pure white with a flowing mane and tail. His name was Lawnmower. It was a practical name because when I wasn't riding him he grazed on our lawn. Occasionally if my family went somewhere, like the grocery store for example, I would tie him up to the trailer hitch and he would trot along behind the car to the store. He didn't like being left behind. I'm still amazed that no one that I recall ever tried to convince me he wasn't real. Sometimes I would reprimand my mother when I felt that she was speeding that she must slow down because, "Lawnmower can't keep up with us!" It must have troubled my parents and grandparents enough though that by the time I was three, my paternal grandparents had bought me a pony that they kept at their farm. I don't remember saying goodbye to Lawnmower when my flesh and bone pony, Blaze, came along. I still feel kind of guilty about that. Sorry, Lawnmower. Wherever you are.
In the 3rd grade, I began my search for bigfoot. By now my grandparents had moved to a house that would become the setting for a great many adventures. The house sits on a hill above the Finley River. All told there were hundreds of acres to explore. My friend, Amy, and I would set out on our ponies in the morning and spend the day building forts and looking for supernatural creatures. At night, we would lie on our backs on the still warm, sun baked cement of the driveway and look for UFOs. One very early morning my granny woke me and led me out to see the purple sky. If you want to scare the bejesus out of an 8 year old, wake them up in the middle of the night and show them a very rare midwest occurrence of the northern lights. It terrified and amazed me but only served to prove my point - very strange and mysterious things DO happen! I was basically living my own version of the X-Files before that show was ever conceived.
I grew up in two different churches. On most weekends I went to church with my grandparents because I usually slept over at their house to have access to my dream world and my ponies. They attended an Assembly of God church where occasionally, as best I can explain it, people were overcome by the by the holy spirit, or some spirit and would spontaneously begin speaking in tongues. (If that's not supernatural, I don't know what is.) The other Sundays I spent learning how to be a Catholic. Naturally I didn't appreciate the education I got then as much as I do now. Catholics believe in the supernatural and while I doubt that any priest would agree with me that bigfoot is out there, my own parish priest did not disagree with my husband when he (tongue in cheek, maybe?) made the comment that Catholics were responsible for creating vampires. Father Reidy probably doesn't believe in bigfoot, but I know he believes in miracles. He has to, it's kind of a Catholic "thing".
This could be part of the reason why I love Milagros so much. Milagro translates to "miracle" in English. Milagros are usually made of tin but can be made of wood, bone or even wax. They can be purchased anywhere now but were traditionally bought from street vendors outside of cathedrals in latin America and Spain. If you have a special intention for God, you find the milagro that corresponds to your prayer. There are milagros for breast cancer, smoking cessation, depression and pregnancy. You can find arms and legs, ovaries, teeth, cows, pigs and virtually anything else you can think of that might become a problem in your life has a corresponding milagro. I haven't yet seen a milagro in the shape of a computer hard drive that has crashed. (I'm just handing somebody a great idea here!) Some milagros are plain hammered tin, some might be considered gaudy, but others are incredibly detailed works of art.
I love using heart milagros in my jewelry. I can't afford the vintage ones that I love, but I purchase the plainer ones and then my husband, Doug, paints them for me. Below are the "before and after" pictures of one of my favorite heart milagros.
This milagro of an eye with a tear is for relief of depression.
I'm still looking for the "anxiety" milagro. It would look like a person with their head exploding, like this image from the Huffington Post.
The not so distant cousin of milagros are nichos. Nichos are usually made of tin and are commonly decorated with Catholic icons. I'm also a huge nicho fan, because they are places that you could squirrel away little mementos. Doug made a heart nicho that I secretly hope nobody will ever purchase. I haven't put anything inside the nicho yet, but I'm looking for apparently newly minted anxiety milagros to fill it with. (Shameless plug for Doug's art: http://etsy.me/1KSG8JP
A nicho would also be the perfect place to put your bigfoot fur or alien bits and pieces or ghostly ectoplasm. A word of caution here: Ectoplasm should always be kept in a glass vial. Do not attempt to put it directly inside a nicho and expect it to still be there tomorrow. As soon as I find definitive proof of any or all of the above I will definitely post my pictures of them here, on this blog right after I contact Fox News. In the meantime, if you have any such specimens you should definitely drop me a note. I may either try to purchase your evidence or sell you a nicho to keep it in. After that we'll go to mass and pray for the general population of the world to catch up with all of the "believers" and lucid dreamers. Or maybe not. Maybe it can just be our little secret. Our secret that we share only with the saints and the forgers of all of the new fangled milagros.