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Safely Home
Safely Home
Safely Home
Ebook207 pages3 hours

Safely Home

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The Carrington family tragedy leaves a seventeen-year-old boy born with Down syndrome without parents and a fifty-year-old home in the heart of the California central valley, needing to be sold. Staging expert Catherine Vaughn and real estate agent Kimberly Scott, both young widows, team up to sell the home on behalf of the family estate, but items keep disappearing from the home. In good conscience, how can they sell the home to an unsuspecting buyer? Cat and Kimberly draw upon help and guidance from their supportive friends, including a local police officer and a grandfatherly gentleman to give life to old homes and new families. Safely Home is a story of friendship, courage, and responding to Gods purpose in life.

PublisherWestBow Press
Release dateNov 8, 2013
Safely Home
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Pamela Sholty

Pamela Sholty draws from her years of experience in real-estate staging, room redesign, event planning, and seasonal decorating, to provide a unique twist to this message of purpose. She and husband Gregg reside in Clovis, California, where they can make trips into Yosemite National Park for inspiration and relaxation.

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    Safely Home - Pamela Sholty


    The large sword, hanging from his belt of fine gold, was polished so it flashed like lightning. It swayed slightly from side to side as the heavenly warrior approached Abiel. He bowed his head slightly out of respect for the authority of the archangel Michael.

    Greetings, Abiel, whose Father is God. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, Michael greeted Abiel.

    And to you, Michael, who is like God. Is it my time to be given a special assignment?

    Yes, Abiel. As His servants, we do His bidding and obey His word. The angels in heaven will soon rejoice as a new daughter of God receives forgiveness of her sins. She will be redeemed by the Messiah, crossing from the darkness into the light. Her name will be written in the Book of Life.

    And is it she that I will serve?

    Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Michael asked. Abiel nodded his head in agreement.

    Michael continued. Abiel, do you recall when Jesus walked the earth in human form that he shared with his disciples a tale that has come to be known as the parable of the sower?

    Yes, indeed, I do remember the parable. As I recall, the disciples Matthew, Mark, and Luke all wrote of the parable in their narratives. At first, the disciples did not understand its meaning, Abiel replied.

    Yes, Abiel. The Enemy of God intends to use one of his ancient schemes to discourage the new daughter of God. As described in the parable, the Enemy will use life’s worries, riches, and pleasures to keep our new saint from maturing. Therefore, it is important that you are prepared to use your weapons to prevent this from happening. You will keep her safe while she grows in the understanding of the Word of God.

    What is she called in the earthly realm? Abiel asked.

    Her name is Catherine Renee Vaughn. She has lived for more than fifty years not knowing the Creator who breathed life into her. She now lives as a widow, as her husband, Steven, has passed from that life into the heavenly realm. While her husband lived with her in marriage, they faithfully managed the resources given to them, but she also provides for herself using the creative talents with which God blessed her, Michael explained.

    How will I make her introduction?

    The archangel smiled as he responded. She walks each day with her canine companion by the name of Copper. The created beings have always had a special connection to the animals, since the days when Adam gave them names. You, Abiel, will also have a canine companion, a beagle that you will call Barney. Your physical appearance, as a human being, will be that of an elderly man. She will ultimately look upon you as a grandfather figure.

    How will she know me? Abiel asked.

    She will dream of you the night before you meet her—a dream she will forget until her chance encounter with you while walking her canine. The human beings often forget their dreams from the night before. The archangel chuckled before continuing. Remember, Abiel, she is God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared in advance for her to complete. However, like all believers, she will struggle against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil. Encourage her to stand firm and to put on the full armor of God, always praying in the Spirit on all occasions.

    The ground shook as Michael finished. Abiel, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.

    Chapter 1

    Curb appeal is such an important aspect of selling a home, Catherine thought to herself as she turned from locking the freshly painted front door to see the young contractor posting the for sale sign in the yard. The sparkling clean windows and the colorful landscaping would be key to attracting prospective homebuyers in the ever-changing real estate market. The professional staging would entice prospective buyers, once they were inside the home, to make offers on this property. Catherine was pleased with the final appearance of this house.

    Good morning, Dave, Catherine called out to the contractor.

    Right back at ya, Miss Cat, Dave responded with a wave. Looks like you have another home staged and ready to go.

    Cat smiled at the show of southern courtesy Dave had learned from his Georgia-born parents. Using the salutations of Mr. or Miss came naturally to him even though he was a central California kid.

    Yes, it’s a cute little cottage, and Kimberly should be able to sell the property quickly, since it’s located in such an attractive neighborhood. Cat teased him by asking, So when are you going to buy a house?

    C’mon, Miss Cat, you know I’m only seventeen and working for my dad. I think I’ll concentrate on my education and a wife first. Dave chuckled as he packed up his tools and headed for his truck, its bed loaded down with for sale signs.

    Cat enjoyed working with the good people from Ryan Realty, especially Kimberly Scott. Kimberly truly understood the value of staging a home in preparation for a profitable and timely sale. However, it was disappointing that this particular sale was because of a divorce.

    Grabbing her cell phone, Cat selected Kimberly’s name from her contact list and waited as the phone rang. Expecting to leave a message, she smiled when she heard the cheery voice of the property Realtor, who was also her best friend.

    Catherine Renee Vaughn, sometimes I think you are a mind reader, because I was getting ready to call you. Dave Ryan will be posting the sign today, so I hope the house is ready for showing, Kimberly said.

    Then I have great news for you. Even though we had a few last-minute repair issues to deal with, the staging is complete, and the sign has just been posted. You are all ready to begin showing the property on Horseshoe Bend, Cat told Kimberly.

    That’s sensational. I have two young couples who I think will be good matches for that cute little cottage. I’ll give them a call and schedule my showings. By the way, this evening I’ll be listing a home that I think will need a bit of your creative touch. It is a disaster, to put it mildly. When would you be available for a walk-through?

    Cat checked her iPad calendar, knowing she was heading to a paint color consultation for the next two or three hours, then her grief support group meeting that evening. I’m tied up for the rest of today, but I’m available tomorrow afternoon or the following morning. What’s good for you?

    Let’s do late tomorrow afternoon, then grab a bite of dinner together, Kimberly suggested. I have an idea for a future weekend trip that I’d like to share with you. I’ll see you tonight at our grief group meeting.

    Kimberly gave the property address to Cat before she hung up. Cat was grateful for and amazed by her friendship with Kimberly. Three years ago, when her husband of twenty-seven years passed away unexpectedly, she had been encouraged by friends to attend a grief support group held at a local church.

    The leader of the grief group introduced her to Kimberly, who had also recently lost her husband. Even though Cat was ten years older than Kimberly, they helped each other walk through what is often called the valley of the shadow of death. As much as your friends and family desire to help after a tragic loss, they don’t understand the mourning and recovery process like someone who has also walked the path.

    Cat and Kimberly had quickly bonded over their enjoyment of coffee and movies. They had even enjoyed some weekend mini-vacations to local resort areas. They began forging their business relationship through staging Kimberly’s real estate properties or housewarming events that Cat planned for the new homeowner. Most importantly, it was Kimberly who shared her love of the Lord with Cat. Although Cat had always believed there must be a higher power, now she had a personal relationship with the living God.

    Before heading to her next appointment, Cat needed to take the after photos for this staging job. Posting before and after photos on her company website always led to more business for Your Life by Design.


    Cat was pulling her car away from the curb of the Horseshoe Bend property when she saw him out of the corner of her eye and smiled. Even after three years, she was still surprised to see him, but a feeling of peace settled over her when he appeared, seemingly out of thin air.

    Standing with his back to her, he looked at the house. As she got out of her car and approached him, he said, You have done an exceptional job preparing this property for sale, Catherine. However, there is such great sadness when a couple is going through a divorce.

    How did you know about the divorce? Do you know this family? she asked.

    He hooked his cane over his forearm and said simply, Oh, word gets around. Pray for them, Catherine, because there is perhaps still time to avoid a family tragedy.

    She laid her hand on his shoulder and said, Abiel, I have not seen you walking Barney for quite some time, and I have missed our visits. How are you doing?

    As he turned to face her, his familiar grin was reassuring. As close to perfect as I can be in this world. Barney and I have been very busy of late. What is new with you, dear Catherine?

    Barney the beagle looked up at Cat with what appeared to be a smile on his face. It’s funny how dogs and their humans can begin to look alike, Cat mused.

    I’ve successfully avoided the flu bug that’s been going around. I’ve been blessed with several good clients recently, and all of my family is doing well, so I’m counting my blessings. She paused for a moment. Do you know that you are the only person that calls me Catherine since my mom passed away?

    I may be the only one who calls you Catherine, but there are many who know you by name, Abiel said.

    About that time, the impatient Barney began to bark and tug at the leash. Apparently, my visiting time is brief today, and Barney is ready to move on, Abiel said. With that, he set his cane on the ground and began moving slowly down the sidewalk, revealing a slight limp. God loves you, Catherine, and happy anniversary, he called out to her as he slowly walked away.

    Cat got back in her car and began pulling away from the curb as she remembered her first meeting with the elderly man. It actually came in a dream one night - a dream she had forgotten by the time morning came until he walked into her life the next day.

    She had been walking her dog, Copper, early one morning, a job that her husband had always done, when she saw an elderly gentleman coming toward her, walking his dog. As he drew near to her, she gasped in recognition, suddenly remembering her dream from the night before.

    Good morning, Catherine. I am so glad to see you walking Copper. He is a delightful dog and faithful companion, he said as he reached down to pet the expectant Copper. He and Barney are great friends, the old man said.

    You’re him… the man in my dream last night, Cat said in astonishment.

    Now, Catherine, why would you dream of an old man like me? he chuckled.

    Oh, I didn’t mean… I mean, I…, she ended abruptly, flustered. I’m sorry but I don’t believe we’ve met, and yet you seem to know my name.

    I am called Abiel. Do you know what that means? he asked.

    She shook her head slowly from side to side, puzzlement showing on her face.

    It is a biblical name and means ‘God is my father’ in Hebrew. I share the name with the grandfather of King Saul in what you know as the Old Testament.

    Then you must be a Christian, she exclaimed.

    The old man smiled broadly and said, I am a servant of our King.

    Her face glowed as she said, I accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized last evening.

    "Praise the Lord… I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. That is what Luke tells us in Chapter 15 and verse 10. Welcome to the family of God, Catherine. Oomph, he grunted as Barney almost tugged him off his feet. It appears that my canine friend is impatient to move on. I would encourage you to pray without ceasing and study the Word of God. He smiled warmly and began moving past her while saying, God bless you, Catherine."

    She watched him as he and Barney walked away, and she realized how good she felt. Moments before she had been stressed and anxious, but now she felt so… so peaceful. How sweet that he knew her name and was such an encouragement to her. Perhaps he had met her husband while walking the dog. There was a solid strength in the elderly man that she found reassuring. Hmmm, I wonder how he knows my name, she mused. She hoped they would meet again.

    Chapter 2

    She parked in front of the 1929 Craftsman-style home near Old Town Clovis and beamed with delight. American Craftsman was her favorite style of architecture. She occasionally toyed with the idea of buying and renovating an old Craftsman, but she loved her current neighborhood, and just the thought of moving was exhausting. Working on these historical beauties was such a joy. The couple who purchased this property wanted to bring this home back to its’ origins, and the color aspect is as important to a Craftsman as it is to the more colorful Queen Anne or Victorian home.

    When dressing for an exterior paint color consultation, Cat always prepared for all kinds of circumstances in the front and back yards. Jeans, T-shirt, light jacket, and hiking boots were her choice of attire for today. It was a good selection, because water and mud were everywhere from the excessively irrigated yard. Quite often she was introduced to the family pets and pet hairs came home with her on her clothes. She even kept a supply of pet treats in her car to win over the furry members of the family. The pet owners seemed to appreciate the fact that she remembered their dogs and cats by name.

    This home was a classic Craftsman, built toward the end of the 1900 to 1930 era. The hallmark of the Craftsman and Craftsman-style home was a substantial covered porch with massive tapering columns. Typically the home was single story, although some Craftsman-style homes had one and a half or two stories. The low-pitched roof, earth-hugging profile and use of indigenous natural materials gave it organic harmony, making it appear as if it grew up from the ground. The interior was usually an open floor plan with extensive use of wood throughout that caused the rooms to be somewhat dark. Therefore, large double-hung windows allowed in plenty of natural

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