THE LORD AND I
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WORLD RIGHTS RESERVED
This book or any portion thereof may not be copied or reproduced in any form or manner whatsoever,
except as provided by law, without the written permission of the publisher.
© Copyright 1996
By Clelia Reis Scopelite
You may make copies of it by asking me permission.
Write to: Clelia Reis Sacopelite Brito at:
About the Book
This is a love story between the Lord and the author. How the Lord cared for her, and guided her in all her life as an artist, homemaker, and traveler. How she met the Holy Spirit in a one to one experience.
She started sculpting at the age of seven by digging clay out of her own back yard and sculpting toys and animals with the clay. She went as far as to be the first prize winner of a National Art Show held in Brazil, her native country.
The book is filled with short stories and personal testimonies of her relationship with the Lord. She has even given a name to her guardian angel. She calls him "Daniel". She is an optimistic extrovert who takes all her guidance from the Bible.
Her motto is: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:10
About the Author
Clelia Reis Scopelite graduated in 1982 from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She was winner of the Traveling Fellowship of the Edward Foundation from the Art Institute of Chicago.
She received a Degree of Associate of Applied Science in Dental Laboratory Technology at Triton College in Chicago;a certificate of completion of internship in Dental Laboratory Technology at the Northwestern University Dental School; and a certificate of appreciation by the
Chicago Dental Society.
" The Chicago Dental Society expresses its appreciation to Clelia R. Scopelite for a significant contribution to the scientific program of the 123rd Midwinter Meeting in Chicago." 1988.
I wish to express my appreciation to the teachers of Bessemer State College for all their support and help, and to the people on the library staff who helped me.
Special thanks to the following teachers:
Judy Jones, Joy Davis, Faye Teat, C.W. Finley, Jewel Adiele, Deloris Smith, Annette Ray. And special thanks to the following librarians: Diane D. Gregg, Ralph Bearse, Susan Johnson, Tammy Williams, Mark Warner,
and Jerry D. Roberts.
Special appreciation to Santina Hartung
for all her poems.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Chapter 1---- The Lord and I..........................................................................
Chapter 2---- Affairs of the Heart..................................................................
Chapter 3----When to Follow Advice.............................................................
Chapter 4----Who is to Blame?.....................................................................
Chapter 5----Blame it on the Dog ................................................................
Chapter 6---God’s Loving care.....................................................................
Chapter 7----God’s Blessings.......................................................................
Chapter 8----God’s Voice..............................................................................
Chapter 9----A Cloud Burst............................................................................
Chapter 10----Angel Around me......................................................................
Chapter 11---Working with Angels................................................................
Chapter 12—Art Gallery................................................................................
Chapter 13---Living a Pain Free Life..............................................................
Chapter 16---We Are the Temple of God.......................................................
Chapter 17---The Borzoi Is Our Favorite Dog...............................................
Chapter 18---My Dreams................................................................................
Chapter 19---Visitors of the Night...................................................................
Chapter 20---Answered prayers.....................................................................
Chapter 21---Pleasing my Best Friend, The Holy Spirit...............................
Life’s Changing Pattern
By Santina Hartung
You are so outstanding now
In all you do and say.
From years gone by, when first we met,
You've come a long, long way.
The girl I met, those years ago,
Was timid and so shy.
You're now a woman, self-assured,
More poised as years go by.
Sometimes it takes life's pitfalls,
Its heart-aches and its fears,
Before we take hold of our lives
And wipe away the tears.
The things you loved and fought for
Are some you lost through pain,
You must admit that they are gone
To never have again.
But God, who through His wisdom
With plans He has devised,
Opens new horizons that take
Us by surprise.
Your mind is suddenly set free
From dusty cornered webs,
Your new thoughts take you deeper
As you forge on ahead.
You've found in life new purpose,
Where once you saw despair.
Success has now confronted you.
Embrace it if you dare.
(Written expressly for Clelia Scopelite)
THE LORD AND I
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10.
The sky is dark and gloomy, and I know that any time now it is going to rain. The lightning is decorating the skies with its yellow electric rays. Every so often I hear the thunder in the distance. I think there is going to be an electric storm, but it really doesn't matter. I am inside of a well built brick house, a house that makes me think of my old, big house.
I was born in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, in Brazil. At the time of my birth, my father owned a food store. I was about a year old when my parents moved to an orchard outside of the city. The orchard was like a very small farm. We had a big 12 room house on about five acres of land. Beside the house, we had a line of ten little rooms outside of the big house. Once these had been the rooms of the slaves when slavery was a part of Brazil. My mother rented the rooms to poor people those who were less fortunate than we.
Behind the big house, was a barn, a swimming pool, and a creek. The pool and creek were my favorite parts of the whole place. The swimming pool, all made of concrete, was about six feet wide by seven feet long, and four feet deep. My sisters, brothers, and I used to swim in it every day. I remember having to jump up and down in order to breathe. The water was very deep, and if I did not jump, it would cover my head. When I learned how to float above the water, things were much easier for me. Whenever I was not swimming, I would be playing at the creek.
We had a big tree that had a seed similar to a huge navy bean. The seed was bright red and white. I would put the seed in the creek and follow it as the water carried it away in the little waves. Sometimes my brother would play with me. We would mark our seeds to see whose seed would get to the end of the creek first.
That back yard was my own paradise. We had all kinds of tropical fruits right in our own yard. My father and his helper had their own vegetable garden. My industrious brother started his own business when he was nine years old. He would ask my father for vegetables and sell them for his own profit. My father was simply delighted with that.
The years passed so fast, and soon I was five years old. My ten-year-old sister Cleodice decided to be my teacher and started to teach me the alphabet. That ruined everything. I just wanted to play and be left alone, but my sister was a persistent teacher and forced me to learn the alphabet, whether I wanted to or not. I refused to study and enjoyed my young life two more years. I did not go to a real school until I was seven years old.
From the orchard with the big house, we moved to another orchard closer to the city limits. This orchard also had a big house, but this one had six bedrooms and a small apartment on the side. My aunt lived there with her husband.
Just one block away from the house was a public school. My mother took me to school, and enrolled me in the class of children my own age. As soon as class started, I was horrified to see that all the other children knew how to read and I did not. My sister had taught me the alphabet, but reading was a different story. That was when I turned to God for help. That was my first contact with God, with a great result. I made a bargain with God. Remember, I was only seven years old. I said to God:
“Dear Jesus, if you teach me how to read, I will read the Bible, I promise. Amen.” God heard my request and taught me how to read. Immediately, I started to read the Bible. Every year I read the Bible from cover to cover. I am sixty-five years old now and I still reading the Bible every day.
Every week I could not wait for the Sabbath to come. Mother would take us to church and I just loved it. I remember sitting at a sand table where the teacher used little figures to illustrate the Bible stories. I loved getting all dressed up for church. My aunt made a beautiful hat for me with artificial flowers on it. I loved to hear grownups say: “What a pretty hat, where did you get such a pretty hat?”
Then I would answer: “My aunt made it just for me. Thank you for the compliment.”
After church we would bring home some company, or we would go to the house of someone else. We never ate alone on Saturdays. After dinner we would go to the Zoo or some other entertaining place. Saturday was the favorite day of my whole family. Sunday was another day of joy for us. Father and I did many things together on Sunday. Once he was painting the house and I asked if I could help.“Of course you can,” he replied, and he gave me a little brush and a little can with paint in it. Then he taught me how to paint.
Monday always came sooner than I wished and I had to go back to school. I was very unhappy at school. I told everybody that they went to church on the wrong day. The other children would get so aggravated with me, they would run to the teacher and ask her who was right, them or me. The teacher told them they were right and I was wrong. That just about broke my heart, and I resented the teacher. I would run home and tell my parents.
In three years I changed my schools six times. The first one was a public school, but the others were all private schools. I just couldn't stop telling the people they were going to church on the wrong day and this kept getting me in trouble. When I was ten years old, my mother decided to send me, and my little brother to a Seventh Day Adventist school. After that, I had no more trouble.
My church school teacher's name was Angelina Ramos; she was the answer to all my problems. I was never so happy at a school as I was at the church school. There were no more fights about who was wrong or who was right. Only God knew how happy I was. The school was in the center of the city, so we had to take a street car to get there. We began seeing the same people every day. They were all grownups going to work. My brother and I were the only children in the street car traveling unaccompanied by an adult. Everybody started to talk to us and to ask us where we were going by ourselves. I would do all the answering; I would tell them that we were Seventh Day Adventists and that we were going to a church school. When they asked me about our religion, I would tell them the best way I could. I would tell them how we observed our doctrines.
We stayed in that school for three years (1939-1942) until we finished grammar school. I loved Mrs. Ramos almost as much as I loved my own mother. She was so wonderful. She let me skip a grade and that made me love her even more. She taught me a long poem which I recited at my graduation. I developed a taste for poems and recited them often in my church. Once I entered a poem contest on the radio and won the second prize. I was ten years old at the time. My mother and my teacher were both really proud of me.
This happened 53 years ago, but I still remember Mrs. Angelina Ramos as if it were yesterday. I hope I will go to Heaven when Christ comes back, so I can tell her how much I loved her. She died very young, but she surely left an impression on me.
From the orchard house we moved back to our city house. The tenants had moved out. Instead of renting it again, my parents decided to move into the house. Now the streetcars passed right in front of the house. One of our neighbors, a medical doctor, became our doctor as well. Every time we needed to see our doctor, we just went across the street and would be at his office. He owned the biggest house in the block and he had his own drugstore. Behind the drugstore was his office.
In the back yard of our house, my father planted a variety of fruit trees. He planted three each of papayas, mangos, figs, avocado, pomegranates, etc. He gave me my own special place in the yard, a plot about five feet by five feet, and helped me plant flowers. That was my first try at gardening, and I loved it.
After I finished grammar school, I had to make a choice. Should I go to a high school and take one year of grammar review, or should I take a compact three-month course offered at the same school? I begged my mother to let me take the three-month course. We went to the school and I enrolled in the three-month course. God was good to me and I passed the course. The school was a Baptist high school. I finished my freshman year there, but the next year my parents sent me to Sao Paulo, in southern Brazil, to a Seventh Day Adventist school.
My mother’s brothers and sisters lived in Rio de Janeiro, near Sao Paulo, about 1900 miles from Recife. My oldest brother Raudenez lived
there too. I would have many relatives near me in case I needed help. My brother would be in charge of looking after me. This was during World War II. At night the whole city was blacked out. Five of our country's ships; had been torpedoed by the German submarines. It seemed that everybody was afraid. My parents had to decide how I was to go to the a school which was so far away, and in a time of war. Three other girls also were planning to go to the same school. The church treasurer had to make a trip to the south at the same time, and he offered to be our guide during the trip. They decided we would go by ship.
My whole family came to the port to see our departure. Two of the girls were much older than I, but one girl was my age. At night no lights were allowed in the ship, and nobody could stay inside of the cabins. Everybody had to sleep out on the ship’s deck in the cots provided for us. It was quite warm at night, so we did not mind that at all. Everybody had a life jacket to use in case of trouble. Almost every night I would leave my life jacket in the cabin instead of taking it with me. I told the girls that God was traveling with us and nothing was going to happen to our ship. I was right, and we made a wonderful trip.
In Rio de Janeiro, we left the ship and went the rest of the way by train. My brother Raudenez was at the port waiting for me. How wonderful it was to have an older brother to look after us. He told the church treasurer to take care of me during the rest of the trip to Sao Paulo. The treasurer sat beside me the whole trip. He must have been about 30 years old, and I was only 14, but I felt very attracted to him. He was single, blond, tall, and very handsome, with beautiful big blue eyes. I enjoyed that trip even more than the one to Rio just because he was sitting by me.
I guess I have been a romantic person ever since I was about nine years old. At that time, a boy named Eletronio started looking at me when I was in class. When I noticed him looking at me, I liked it. We started to trade lunches and I really thought that I was in love. I forgot him as soon as I was transferred to the SDA school. Well, I did not totally forget him, for even now after 56 years, I still remember him and his name.
When I turned ten at the SDA school I did not have any special friend, but I thought I would like to be the wife of a minister when I grew up. I started to study the boys that might be my future husband. There, were boys in my class, but I did not think any of them would be a minister. So I did not consider any of them as a candidate to be my future husband. I found an older boy in my church whose father was a minister. I thought, maybe he would be a minister too when he grew up. Maybe he would marry me when I grew up. Little did I know that in just a few years his parents would move away and I would not see him again for 37 years. By then, he was married and had a family, and so did I. I told him about my youthful plans and both of us had a good laugh about it.
When I was 12 and had gotten over the first boy, I started to look around to see who the next suitable candidate would be. Another minister from our church lived just a block from my house. He had six daughters and one son. Believe it or not, the son was just a few years older than I. Oh, I though, maybe he will be a minister like his father when he grows up. My poor little heart was in for a real disappointment. When I went to the Baptist high school, he was a student there too, but our paths never crossed. Later, when I went to Sao Paulo, I knew he would be there too. I wondered if the minister’s son would look at me when I got to the school. Even when I was still on the train, I started to think about him and forgot about the treasurer beside me who was so much older.
When we finally arrived at the school, I was amazed. I had never seen a place so beautiful in my life. Even today I believe that it is the most beautiful SDA school I have ever visited. The big entry gate is so impressive, and the gardens of the school are like a little paradise. When I first went to the cafeteria, I saw the minister’s son. I was sure he would be my friend because he was from my church back home, but he never even came to say “Hi” to me.
One day I learned that every Saturday night the school held a grand march at the gymnasium. Pairs of boys and girls would march in time with music and execute intricate formations. When Saturday night came, I put on my best dress and went to the march. I could not believe it when he came up to me and asked me to be his partner at the march. I practically melted and, of course, I said yes. That was the only time in my life that I got that close to him. The next year I went to yet another school and I have not seen him since that year. I know he is married and probably has a family. How surprised he would be if I ever met him again and told him, like I told the first one, how I felt about him when I was young!
For six years, I had no romance in my little heart. Every time I found a boy that might become a minister, he did not know that I even existed. I decided I was going to remain single the rest of my life. I did not want to let my heart go through any more disappointments, and how wrong can one be?
Right after I finished high school, I was to have one more disappointment bigger than any of the others. After spending one year in Sao Paulo, I spent one year in another SDA high school in Rio de Janeiro. When the school years was over, I spent the summer with my relatives. My aunt thought I needed some entertainment and started to take me to theaters to see some family type movies. I was impressed that the Lord was not very happy with this situation but I did not know what to do.
When Mardi Gras came, my aunt took me to a club to dance and celebrate. I went with her, but I sat at the back of the club and did not participate in any of the club's events. In my heart I was telling the Lord this was not my choice. I believe the Lord really understood me and forgave me for being in a place unfit for a Christian. I wrote to my mother and told her that I wanted to return home and finish high school in the Baptist school near my house. She was thrilled with my decision and told me to come as soon as possible. So I went home and finished high school there.
After high school, I took the entry exams for college at the University of Recife and entered the Fine Arts program. One of my early projects was to sculpt a bust for my Sculpture class. I asked one of my high school friends, Edusa Menesis, if she would come to the university and pose for me. With much encouragement from my sculpture teacher, I entered her bust in an international art show contest. Because God does all my work, the Lord and I won a second prize in the contest. We won a lot of money. My teacher was absolutely delighted. He came to me and said:
“See! I told you that you were going to win. Don’t you ever doubt me again? The next time I tell you that your work is a masterpiece, just believe me. I know what I am talking about. But don’t get a big head; you are not doing this work. Some great sculptor has reincarnated himself in you.”
“Well, you are almost right,” I replied. See I know that I don’t do my work.. But no one has reincarnated himself in me. It is something much better than hat. You see, God Himself is in three forms: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. He is the one that does all my work, because, He lives in me.”
“No, no, you got that all wrong,” he objected. “God is not going to come all the way down from Heaven just to help you. But He loves you all right. He wouldn’t have given you a talented artist to reincarnate in you, if He did not love you.” With that he just walked away. I couldn’t say another word.
Summer vacation came very soon. My teacher arranged for one of the school's employees to open the gate and the Sculpture classroom just for me. I had never had so many privileges in a school as I did at that university.
One day, about a week before registration at the end of the summer, I had a very strange dream. I saw a tall, handsome man with blue eyes and light brown hair. He was walking with me to school. The next day I had another dream with the same man coming to school. I remember how he opened the big front double door and came directly toward me. For about a week, I dreamed about the same man. I had never seen that man before in my entire life. I had no idea why I was dreaming about someone I had never known.
Registration day I went to school with one of my friends and went through all the procedures for registration. When we finished registration, we sat in the hallway to talk for a while. As we were talking, a tall handsome man with blue eyes and light brown hair walked in. He walked past all the people, but when he looked at me he said, “Hi,” just to me. All the girls wanted to know who he was. They asked me, “Where did you meet him?”
Temporarily, I forgot he was the man I had been dreaming about. I said: “I don’t know where I met him, but I surely know him.”
“What is his name?” They asked.
I could not locate him or his name, but suddenly I realized he was the man I saw in my dreams before I had ever seen him physically. Later, he told me his name. He met me in the class and introduced himself.
“Hi, I am Arthur Lima Cavalcante. I am glad to meet you. And you, what is your name?”
I told him my name, but I could not understand why God let me dream about a man I did not know before I met him. He was Catholic and from a very important family. His uncle was the governor of Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil. He was not for me, so why did I dream about him?
Almost every night I dreamed about Arthur. I was startled and afraid that I would be hurt. I prayed:
“Please, God, don’t let me be hurt; please help me not to think about Arthur.”
I don’t know why, but the more I prayed, the deeper I felt I was falling in love with him. A year later, I found out why God allowed me to fall in love with an unbeliever.
The National Museum was offering another art show for the New Year. My teacher told me to prepare something for the show because everybody expected me to enter again. When an artist wins, he or she is expected to re-enter, even if it is only to satisfy the public. So I had to do so. I wondered whom I should ask to pose for me this time. Then I realized why God had allowed me to fall in love.
“All right, Lord, I thought. I will ask Arthur to pose for me.”
I sculpted Arthur and, again, God did all the work. This time the Lord and I won first prize. It was not easy to be with a man I loved who I knew he would never be mine. The Lord is so merciful; He caused a man from my church to become interested in me. For a while, I completely forgot about Arthur. But separating myself from him romantically was the greatest disappointment of my life.
Arthur and I are still friends. He knows how I used to feel about him; all the girls at school told him about that. I had no idea that he knew this until just a few years ago when I went back to Brazil and he told me. I am not romantically in love with Arthur any more, but he will always have a special place in my heart. After all, he was chosen by God to be the model for our statue.
Arthur became the mayor of Recife, and he died in 1981. The city then took the bust I had made of him, and placed it in a park in that city.
In 1952 I left Brazil and came to the U.S.A. right after I won those prizes. Then I fell in love with the man that I married. But later he left me, so now it only remains, “The Lord and I.”
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