When the Lightning From Storms Frighten Me


Dearest Readers:

Although someone might say it isn’t early morning, for me it is since I slept fairly well last night. Crawling out of bed just before 9:00 am, I yawned, stretched and was thankful for a bit of sleep.

Today Phil and I will go shopping. Seems he wants to go to Tanger Outlet. So, I suppose I’ll drink another cup of coffee, just to get me going!

Last night, we had another band of those dreadful storms we’ve been having lately. Driving in my car, every time I saw the lightning flash, my body jumped.

Why am I so frightened of lightning, you might ask? Allow me to explain. When I was a child, I recall my mother telling me if I did not behave…IF I wasn’t a “good girl,” God would send the lightning after me. I remember her saying, and I quote: “If you don’t behave God is gonna strike you dead with that lightning.”

Every time there was a storm with lightning, I would jump. Mama would laugh at me and say: “You’re such a stupid girl. God don’t love ugly and that’s why He sends the lightning to you. He wants the lightning to hit you. God don’t love ugly and you are one ugly thing. I hope God strikes you dead!”

I was the middle child. One of my sisters was quiet. Timid. She never questioned authority. The other two – I’m still not certain. Let’s just say, our childhood was not the typical childhood of four daughters.

As for me, I was boisterous. When I entered a room, I made an impression. Good or bad…I’m still not certain. I loved to hop on stage and let the world know I was around!

Once, while walking home from the library in Atlanta, Georgia, a summer storm horrified me. I saw the lightning flashing. I remember rushing. Running. I had to get home to get inside my closet so the lightning could not find me. I was horrified!

Arriving home, I grabbed a towel to dry my hair and face and I rushed into my closet, shutting the door tightly.

Stopping at a red light last night, Phil saw me jumping when the lightning flashed. He asked me why I was so afraid.

“Haven’t I told you what my mother did to me as a child and as a teenager?”

“What?” He asked, turning the radio down so he could hear me.

“When I was a child, my mother told me I must always be a ‘good girl.’ She said IF I wasn’t a good girl, God would send the lightning down to strike me dead.”

“Did she do that to your sisters?”

“I don’t know. We never discussed it.”

Although I have three sisters, I do not recall if we ever discussed the cruelties of our mother’s poisoned, venomous tongue.

I suppose even though I am now grown and smart enough to know her words were cruel, I should also know God isn’t a mean power. He is my strength. My faith. He is the power who made me what I am today.

God would never want anyone to be struck by lightning. Storms are simply storms, filled with energy, rain and power — but of a different kind.

How I wish I could get over my fear of lightning, but I suppose I will never accomplish that. All of my childhood, I was frantic. When friends would say they love to see the flash of lightning, I cringed. My body shook. My hands and legs trembled. I gasped. Sometimes I screamed. Lightning is bad. It’s gonna strike you dead!

As a newlywed, and years later, each time the lightning flashed at night, it would awaken me and scare me half to death. I wear a sleep mask now, to help keep the lightning away. Sometimes, I wear two sleeping masks, just to keep me safe. Yes. I know. It’s silly. After all, the lightning is only lightning. It reminds me of a mad, vicious animal, growling, searching for its next prey — ME!

Once I asked my mother why she said such cruel things to me about the lightning. She laughed, a cruel, vindictive laughter. I left the room. I knew she would never explain.

Today, more storms are forecast. If they occur, I will close my eyes and try to tell myself: this is only a storm. It will not hurt me. I will be fine.

Looking out the window, while writing this, the skies are thick with a blanket of gray. Treetops are moving, dancing the breath of an approaching storm. I do not hear thunder, nor do I see lightning. I’m hopeful we will have a rain storm. Nothing more.

Although I will see more lightning when these torrential storms arrive, I will remind myself that the approaching storms are not to harm me. The rains water our gardens. The breezing winds give us a bit of coolness after we’ve had such a hot summer, filled with sauna like temperatures. As for the lightning, for me, all it creates is a VIOLENT  energy. Sometimes a wicked energy. I can still hear my mother’s sharp tongue. Her cruel words. “You’re such a bad girl, and God don’t love bad girls. He’ll send the lightning to get you. You better be a good girl.”

Maybe I should’ve asked my mother: Just what do you think a good girl is? I’m a good girl. I obey you. I do as I am told. I don’t do drugs. I go to church and in school, I get good grades and I behave. Why can’t you see I am a GOOD GIRL! I’ve never gotten into any trouble – EVER! I’m a GOOD GIRL!!!

The winds are blowing harder now. My mimosa trees are dancing a soft ballet of motion, swaying ever so elegantly to the left and right. The grass is so tall it needs cutting again, and we cut earlier this week. No doubt there will be another storm today. I suppose I shall pray once again: Dear God. Please don’t let the lightning strike me dead like my mother wished when I was a child. Please keep me safe.

Glancing out the window again, the breeze is still. The mimosa trees are hardly moving. The skies still thick with the blanket of storms anticipated. Another day of ‘the calm BEFORE the storms.’

Dear God. It’s me again. Barbie. Please. When the storms arrive, and the lightning flashes, please remind me that you will keep me safe. Please don’t let the lightning strike me dead.

 

 

Here’s To Beautiful Mornings and Sunshine…


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Dearest Readers:

At the moment, it is a beautiful morning in Charleston, SC. Believe me, the weather can change in this historical, holy city in only the blink of an eye. Take last night, for example. The roaring thunders and the flashing, horrific lightning frightened me all night long. Reportedly, forecasters predict more storms for today. How I pray the storms arrive during the day and not in the heat of the night.

Why? If you read my blog on a regular basis, you will recognize how the lightning and thunder horrifies me. I give my mother the credit for those fears.

Last nights storms were no different, except they arrive in the middle of the night. My husband tells me I should wake him up when I am so frightened, but I do not. I keep telling myself this is only a storm – in the middle of the night. The lightning is not coming for you, like my mother said. It is just a storm. The rain will water the yard, my flowers and the grass. This is only a storm. This too shall pass.

I toss and turn during the storms. Last night we had three storms. I heard one, and I saw the flashing lightning at about 1:30am. The next round of lightning I heard crashing, lighting up my dark bedroom after 3:00am. The final round was about 5:15am, or so. With each storm, I tried to cover my eyes with a sleeping mask. I placed another sleeping mask over the first one. When I close my eyes, I can still see light, so I must wear these masks; nevertheless, last night, with two masks covering my eyes, I could still see the lightning. My body jumped. I gasped with fear, and then I whispered to myself: This is only a storm. Just close your eyes, turn away from the windows and go back to sleep. Throwing the covers back, I got up, walked around the house, checked on my precious pups, and saw another flash of lightning. I jumped. Never did sleep happen. According to my Fitbit, my body got four hours of sleep last night. It’s no wonder why I feel so exhausted.

When I say my nightly prayers, I suppose I should pray for God to give me strength so I can release my fear of lightning.  Yes, I pray nightly, although I still have difficulty knowing how to pray. I do not pray like I’ve heard other people pray. I call my prayers my intimate conversations with God. I feel cleansed whenever I pray…like God hears my prayers and He eases my pain. How I wish He could ease the pain of my fears of lightning. Maybe I’ll add that comment to my prayer list!

Looking out my window while writing this, I see darkness ahead. Rain is supposed to return at about 11:10am today, according to the Weather Channel app alert. How I pray we have our storms today while I vacuum and clean the house. At least during the day it is easier to cope with these torrential thunder storms.

How about you, readers? Do you have a fear about lightning? Looks like the rain is here now, at 11:03am. I hear thunder. Think I’ll turn the vacuum cleaner on and get busy, after I shut this computer down.

Below, I am posting a photograph of beautiful Angel Oaks, Johns Island, SC. When my husband left for Vietnam, I visited this tree several times before I moved back to Columbus, GA. I remember sitting on the grass, having some deep thoughts and prayers that God would bring my husband home safely to me from Vietnam. Funny thing about it, my husband returned from Vietnam, but the soldier I married is still over there. I suppose I was a bit silly to think someone could go to war and come home as the same person. That did not happen. Vietnam changed things…but that is a subject I will wait to write later, in my freewriting challenge. Looks like a storm is brewing outside, so I must shut this computer down, while praying if we have lightning I can cope better today while working in the house.

 

Angel Oaks, a historical and breathtaking tree located on Johns Island, SC. A place for inspiration and the appreciation of nature with all of her beauty!DSC_0013

Lightning…Thunder…and The Roar Of Chattahoochee Child…


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Dearest Readers:
It is early on a beautiful Sunday morning in Charleston, SC. The weather forecast for today is H-O-T — AGAIN! Reportedly, it is supposed to get to 85. No doubt, it will be another steamy hot day. Stepping outside in the heat of the day is like stepping into a sauna. Yesterday, we had a late storm brewing after we went to bed. I suppose I slept through it, which is something I do not normally do.
Whenever I see lightning, I jump out of my skin, almost. My husband says even when sleeping, I will hear the thunder and lightning and jump or tremble. I do not remember doing it. Just a few days ago, we had a summer storm in the afternoon. I was in route to get my doggies from the groomer. Every time I saw the lightning flash, I jumped, while driving. It isn’t a pretty sight. Just how can a grown woman be so frightened by lightning?
I suppose I should share my story here. If you follow my blog and read a bit of the “Chattahoochee Child” stories I’ve posted, you will understand. During my childhood, I was always the child with an opinion. In my dad’s diary, he wrote, and I quote since he is deceased now: “Barbara is really a child with opinions. She likes to get noticed, and even though she is only five-years-old, she does vocalize her thoughts, rather well.”
Humph! I cannot imagine what he was referring to, but after high school graduation, I have learned to ‘vocalize my thoughts and opinions…’ AND — I DO question authority. I suppose it is the journalist deep inside me. I suppose you could say, during high school I was quiet. I confess I went to six high schools during eighth grade thru graduation. What? Might you say? Most people only go to one high school. It is simple. My family and I moved a lot — like gypsies. So, just when I got comfortable in one high school, off we go to another, so no one really got a chance to get to know me until we moved to Columbus, Georgia. Finally, I was able to attend only one high school for two-and-a-half years until graduation. Figure that out, if you can! Let’s just say, during high school I was considered shy and a wallflower. Heck. I was afraid to get to know anyone and forget the high school boys. All they wanted to get to know was —! Never did I date high school boys. They always had ‘rushing hands,’ and I did not want to have a battle with them. Their libido and testosterone were quite active, so I decided I would not date them.
Since I’m free writing, it is back to my fears of thunder and lightning.
When I was a child, my mother disciplined me constantly. “You ask too many questions,” she said. “Just do what I tell you to do and stop being so opinionated… “You stupid girl. One day I hope you’re struck by lightning…just so you’ll know you shouldn’t say so much or ask so much.”
My mother loved to call me her ‘stupid girl.’ How I hate that description!
I suppose it is easy to say, as a child, I probably had too many opinions, but when lightning occurred, I remember my mother saying, “I hope you get struck by lightning soon.”
Each time I saw lightning, I cringed, sometimes rushing to hide in the closet of my bedroom so I would not see the lightning. When thunder roared, I screamed. Still, to this day, when we have storms I do my best to hide under covers, close the blinds, or stay in a room where I will not notice the roaring sounds and sights of thunder and lightning.
I still hear my mother’s cruel words. If my memory is correct, and I do believe it is when she would say, “Girl, I hope that lightning strikes you down,” I felt as if she had no love within her body for me. The other girls in the family never heard those words, only me. All of my three sisters did whatever our mother ask them to do. As for me, you guessed it. I placed my hands on my hips and I would say, “Why must I do that? Why is it only me that cooks and cleans?”
My mother’s reply: “Stupid girl. Just shut your mouth and do it before I get a switch.”
One of my sisters could not even boil water when she married. The other two, expected the men to do everything. I suppose they got a real ‘wake-up call’ in marriage, and maybe that’s why their marriages did not work out. I haven’t a clue. I do not pry into their lives. Marriage is truly a work-in-progress, every day!
I do know one of my sisters had a brutal marriage. Her husband loved to hit on her, leaving bruises and scratches she attempted to cover up with makeup. In 2002 we drove to Michigan to rescue her and her son from a safe house.
It is easy to observe I was the Cinderella of our family, or maybe I was the ugly stepchild. Regardless, I was the one who did the cleaning, cooking, and housework. My mother continued her verbal and physical abuse after my parent’s divorce. As for me, I could not wait to leave the family. Growing up where abuse is shared like daily activities, I vowed to myself I would break the mold and never behave in such a manner. My children would not grow up afraid of lightning and thunder.
Last night, I woke myself up listening to a voice speaking. Recognizing this was my ‘sleeping voice,’ I heard myself saying:
“Your mama is a whore and a drunk. Just look at that dress she wore tonight to her reunion. A long black dress with a plunging neckline and a low back. Only a whore would wear that.”
My son was seven-years-old when he heard his grandmother describing me. Just like me, he was opinionated. Reportedly, he did not appreciate what his grandmother was saying about me, so he chose to speak up and defend me.
“My mommy is not a whore and she only drinks wine. She is not a drunk. I’ve never seen my mommy drunk. Don’t say those things about her.”
My mother was caring for my son on that night. She promised him they would have a good time. I should’ve known she would pull some of her stunts, but I was hoping I could give her a second chance.
Awakening from the Nightmare, I sat up in bed, remembering the scenario like it was yesterday. I remember when we arrived to pick him up, he was sound asleep. The next morning, a bit early after a night of partying at a high school reunion, my son rushed to me. “Mommy,” he said. “Granny said you were a whore and a drunk. You’re not a whore and a drunk, are you Mommy?”
“No,” I said, scooping him up in my arms. “Mommy is not a whore or a drunk. Please don’t say the word whore.”
“It’s a bad word?” He asked.
“Yes. Whore is a bad word. A very bad word.”
He looked into my eyes.
“Whore is a woman who sleeps with lots of men, and that is not your mommy. I sleep with your daddy only. And I am not a drunk.”
Later, we drove to my mother’s house to confront her and say goodbye. When we arrived, my mother was still in bed. I knocked on her door, then I opened it and let the words fly. I warned my husband to let me handle the situation.
“How could you call me a whore and a drunk?” I asked. “Especially in front of my son. Your grandchild. Just what kind of grandmother are you?”
My mother opened her eyes and struggled to sit up. “I did no such of a thing.”
My son burst into the room. “Yes, you did,” he said, tears falling down his face. “You called my mommy a whore and a drunk. Sorry for saying that word, Mommy, but she did say it!”
I rushed him out of the room. I knew this scenario was getting ugly.
After a verbal battle, I knew I was defeated. My mother would never admit she said those words, nor would she apologize. My husband knocked on the door.
“We’re leaving,” I said. “I cannot tolerate this abuse anymore. It’s bad enough I tolerated her abuse all of my childhood, but to say those things in front of my child is something I will never tolerate. How could you, Mom? How could you be so cruel to him?”
On that morning, as we drove home to Charleston, I decided I would not see my mother again. Arriving home, I had several messages on the answering machine from my mother. I erased them all, not wanting to listen to her cruelties anymore. There comes a time in life when we must cut the cords of abuse. My time was now. I had to protect my child.
Motherhood is never easy. We all have regrets of things we would change, if only we could. We would be more patient and kind. We would not shout, nor would we lose our temper. One rule I kept is the rule of if I am angry, I will walk away. I certainly had times when I saw my mother inside me, and when that occurred, I would go to a window and pray. Just like my maternal grandmother taught me.
As for my mother and I? Rarely did I go back to Columbus, Georgia. I attempted another reunion, stopping by to see my mother. A surprise visit. We stayed for a few minutes and left. We had hotel reservations and another reunion to attend. Neither of us felt welcomed. My mother did not rush to hug me, like other mothers do, nor did she show any affections. Her health was deteriorating and she limped when she walked. Four years later, I phoned her telling her I was coming to Columbus to attempt to ‘bury the hatchet.’
On that visit, we had another shouting match, so I left, in tears. My mother always had a way of getting to me, bringing me down. Making me feel worthless and unlovable. Was I really such a horrible person? After a bit of soul-searching while driving, I recognized I was a good person. My mother refusing to love me was her problem, but as a child and a grown woman, I still craved a mother’s love.
How I wanted and prayed my mother would change, but she did not. In 2000, she suffered a stroke. Her left side was virtually paralyzed. I drove to see her on Mother’s Day, bringing her a gift wrapped box of pearl earrings. She attempted to speak, but only slurred her words. When I opened the box of pearl earrings, she gasped and touched her right ear. I placed the earrings in her ears, and she attempted to smile, her face wrinkling with a scrunched lip and new wrinkles I did not remember.
I never saw her again. She lived in a nursing home for the remainder of her days. I sent letters to her, gifts and when her dentures got broken, I paid for a new set of dentures. On September 11, 2002, she died. A questionable death, to say the least. When my sister phoned in the late afternoon of September 12, her question to me was: “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
Dreadfully ill with bronchial asthma, I did not attend the funeral. The question of “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?” played in my mind. I made a few phone calls, including a phone call to the coroner’s office, and the nursing home. Never were those calls returned. I suspect the reason for my question was a simple my mother died under questionable circumstances.
Did I want to stir the pot and get these answers? Since I was so ill and weak, I chose to take care of myself since my husband was away on business in Italy. I needed to rest and get well.
Those years and those nightmares of my mother still play in my mind as the dreams did last night. Although my mother was a difficult woman and not exactly mother of the year, she was my mother. I did not hate her. I lost respect for her over the years, and I worked diligently to improve our relationship, but it wasn’t meant to be; nevertheless, the way she died is questionable and I suspect my sister knows the real story. She will not share it. I’ve done enough research to complete my story, “Chattahoochee Child.” I pray my mother is at peace.
I pray I will not have any more nightmares about my mother. They always leave me shaken and heartbroken but today is a new day. Maybe last night’s nightmare was a result of the lightning and thunder? The sun is shining today. Clouds are overcast, but it is another beautiful day and I am certain it will be another steamy day of perspiration (or is it glitter that women release in the heat) while I attempt another day of yard work.
My husband and I plan to work in the back yard of our home today, moving the debris of weeds, tree branches and dead limbs he worked on yesterday. I must say, I’m not looking forward to being in the heat, but once I am outside, I will work hard to get everything thrown away, and if a storm brews, or if I hear lightning, just watch me run to the back door to get to safety. I cannot get over my fear of lightning, regardless what I do or tell myself. After all, it is only lightning. It hasn’t struck me down — YET!

Super Bowl Sunday – Let’s Go, Atlanta Falcons!


Dearest Readers:

After all of the hatred and the refusal of so many people to accept our new President, Donald J. Trump, I have decided to leave social media sites for a while. Yes, I will probably ‘stalk’ Facebook, just to scroll down to read posts from friends; however, I do not plan to post things. This post will arrive on Facebook, after I publish it. Nothing says I have to check to see if people are reading it.

I have noticed my website is getting more traffic since the New Year. For that, I am pleased. This week has been another week of disappointment for me. While I do not watch the Today Show anymore, I do listen to GMA. I quit watching Today after the ‘reorganization’ of Today, when Ann Curry was terminated. Now, they have lost another great personality and talent – Tamron Hall. She resigned on Wednesday, I believe. I suppose Today needed more space for Megyn Kelly. Since I don’t watch Today, I do not know the politics of Today, nor do I care! Let’s face it, Corporate America does not care about its employees. Maybe Corporate America never cared. “Just work hard and don’t talk back,” is what Corporate America believes.

When I worked in Corporate America, ‘reorganizing’ was a yearly practice. Those who worked hard were released. In a ‘Right to Work’  state, I was told Corporate America can terminate employees without a reason. And, if someone stood up to voice their concerns on ‘reorganization’ issues, they were shunned. Every year those of us who worked in this environment would wonder just when will my number be up?

I am happy I no longer work in such environments. Working as a writer is so much nicer.

So much for Corporate America!

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl. I plan to make homemade chili for dinner, and I will grill pimento cheese sandwiches to compliment the chili. I made my first batch of pimento cheese a few days ago, so the Super Bowl will be a time for Phil and I to watch silly boys chasing a deflated, or maybe it’s actually an inflated football being chased, grabbed and scored while these football boys pat each other on the butts, and maybe other places. Can’t help wondering just how many of these players actually prefer being so close. I pray no one gets injured. I find football a violent sport, and men (and lots of women) actually get a bit too involved with this silly game. Domestic abuse increases during Super Bowl. And why wouldn’t it? Tickets for the game are an outrageous price, and I imagine alcohol and beer sales will escalate. The game will take probably half of the afternoon and late night activities on TV during Super Bowl Day. Personally, I’d rather watch a Hallmark movie!

Who cares? It’s a game. I can only imagine the amount of money spent on football lotteries. Think I’d put my money on the Atlanta Falcons this year, but I’m not someone who bets.

Reportedly, the Atlanta Falcons will wear the initials of fallen heroes on their helmets this year. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Falcons-Paying-Tribute-to-Fallen-Heroes/70b5dff6-3d5c-48f1-8465-101df268c1e5

Isn’t it about time? These fallen heroes gave their lives for their country, so these football players could play a silly game on Super Bowl Sunday.

To strengthen the connection between the players and these families, the Falcons will be delivering special tributes throughout the week.

According to the website, “The Falcons will be hosting the families of these fallen heroes at the team’s walk-through on Saturday. Furthering their commitment to the military, the organization has also provided flag football equipment to each of the military bases in Georgia.”

As you can see, I’m really not a fan of football. I might be sitting in my chair watching it, with a stack of magazines set aside so I can read while the steroids of football kick in for these football players. Personally, I’ll be glad when Super Bowl Sunday is over. Maybe we’ll not hear anything else about football until August, 2017. Something tells me football stories will continue while the players chase the silly ball – over and over again.

When I started this freewriting episode, I had no idea what I would write. Looks like Super Bowl Sunday won the prize. At least I’ll be in the kitchen while the stories begin. Yes, the TV will be blaring, but I’ll just turn my music up and sing!

I suppose you will watch the Super Bowl too. I hope the Atlanta Falcons win. Why? Simple. I am a native of Georgia, so I must root for the State, while those silly boys chase that silly ball. Let’s not even discuss how much money they make as Super Bowl jocks.

Have a great weekend. Stay tuned. I’ll have more — next week!

 

 

The Saga of Freewriting — Ten Minutes and Counting!


Freewriting again today. What is the subject? Truly the first thing coming into my mind.

For just a few years, I’ve worked on a manuscript, “Chattahoochee Child.” At first, there wasn’t a plot. Only characters. Now, I have the plot although I keep procrastinating about it. Here goes.

The story is placed along the coast of South Carolina, and the rivers of the Chattahoochee River, Columbus, GA.

Basing much of the story on characters I knew. For example, the protagonist is named Rebecca. All of her life she hungers for the love of her mother. The older she became, the worse the relationship with her mother developed. When Rebecca marries at 18, she moves away from her mother’s home, only to be told by her cruel mother that ‘she cannot take anything that belongs to her when she leaves, with exception of her clothes.’

Packing up her clothing, she asked her mother if she can take some of her childhood photos and her senior year picture.

“No. You ain’t taking nothing like that. I’m gonna burn all your pictures.”

Devastated at her mother’s cruelty, Rebecca leaves the mill village of Bibb City, refusing to look back. When her mother finds her, she realizes the relationship needs repairing.

Going back to her mother’s house, Rebecca is alone. Her framed senior picture is gone. When she asked her mother what happened to her pictures, her mother laughs a wicked laughter. “I told you I was gonna burn ’em and I did. Just a few weeks ago. There ain’t no pictures of you inside the house.”

Rebecca rushes outside. Tears pour down her face. She rushes to her car and leaves.

The soldier she married is fighting a war. Rebecca realizes it is time to bury the past and move on; however, when she sees her mother again, she is slapped, belittled and told she will never amount to nothing. Her mother claims she wrote a letter to her husband overseas, telling him Rebecca is sleeping around with every man in town.

“I hope he never speaks to you again. You ain’t never gonna keep a man happy.”

“Just like you, Mom. Right? You don’t want me to have any happiness. I suppose you want me to walk in your shoes, but I refuse to do that. I will have a life You will never destroy me!”

Leaving her mother’s home again, Rebecca decides that some people are not blessed to have a good mother. She vows to enter into a new journey while waiting for her husband to return home from war.

When he does, Rebecca discovers the man she married and waited for is a changed, tormented man. He loses his temper quickly, jumping almost out of his skin whenever a car backfires, or fireworks happen. At night, while sleeping, he straddles Rebecca, choking her while saying ‘Charlie is coming…’

Rebecca discovers her life is still not under her control.

This freewriting for 10 minutes is hard, but it is something I am forcing myself to do in hopes I will regain the confidence I once had in writing.

Life this summer was so demanding and unpredictable. My husband had surgery in late May. He is still struggling to regain his strength. The summer of 2016 was like a roaring, twirling tornado to me. All the plans for a summer of fun were changed, due to the demands of caring for my husband while struggling to keep the house and finances under control. Normally, during the summer I go to the beach on a weekly basis. My first visit to the beach this year was in September. Isn’t it strange how life is sometimes out of control.

Oops. Ten minutes is gone. That’s it for today.

 

FREEWRITING — T Minus 10 Minutes


And counting. My writing assignment for today is to freewrite. What is freewriting? Simple. You get either your computer or a paper and pen and write. Whatever comes to your mind. You are not supposed to edit or correct. JUST WRITE.

Easier said than done. When I type a mistake, I always go back and correct it – just like now. What to write today?

Heck if I know. I’m simply allowing my fingers to dance across the keyboard. I’ve written 80 words so far.

About? NOTHING!

Freewriting. I suppose I’ll write about goals since that is the topic that is dancing inside my head. My goal is to complete the story I started way too many years ago. Did I say it was a story? More like a title without plot. Yes, I had characters, but did not understand what the real story was until my mother died.

My mother died suddenly on 9-11… That is, a year after 9-11. She died on September 11, 2002. The day after she died, I received a phone call from my estranged sister. Her son told me “Granny is gone.”

His next statement horrified me. Apparently my mother died with some concerns from his lips, and my estranged sister’s lips. Both wanted to know IF I thought there would be an autopsy.

You must understand. I was home in bed with acute bronchial asthma. I was taking Prednisone. Prednisone doesn’t do to me what it does to others. Prednisone does not make me want to eat everything within my reach, nor does it have other side effects. There are two side effects I experience with Prednisone and they are cognitive abilities and the ability not to sleep. Every time I take Prednisone, I cannot communicate or think with an articulate brain, nor do I sleep.

My sisters comments “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy,” left me wondering. At the time, I failed to answer their question, but I must say — that cold, uncalculated question left me horrified.

Oops. Ten minutes are up. I suppose I will write again tomorrow, since I have a challenge this week to write freestyle 10 minutes daily.

Did I catch your attention? More later! My freewriting time is up – for today!

 

Social Media Regrets…


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, after quickly surfing on Facebook, I made a decision to leave social media for a while.

‘Why?’ Friends and readers ask.

Simple. I’m so tired of the racism, bigotry, and hatred discovered while reading some of the posts. I discovered the hatred and racism during the Presidential campaign of 2016. I hoped the hatred would disappear once the election was over. It hasn’t. If anything — it has intensified.

As all of you in America know, Donald J. Trump is our President Elect. Yes, he is a hot head. Yes, he has a toxic mouth, spitting cruelties out before he realizes what he has said or implied. Did I vote for him?

I will not reveal who I voted for; however, I will say, I considered WHO was the lesser of the two evils. Hillary Clinton vs. Donald J. Trump, or is it — Donald J. Trump vs. Hillary Clinton?

I have not missed any election since I was allowed to vote at the age of 18. I am proud to vote. I take the election seriously. All elections. I review. I research and I make a pro and con list for every election. When I walk into the polls to vote, I have my homework done, and I vote. No, I do not allow others to influence me. My vote is MY decision. No one else can change my mind.

Years ago, my husband and I talked about politics. During one election [sorry, I cannot recall which one] we had a heated dispute in a restaurant. My husband did his best to intimidate me, to make me change my mind, but on Election Day, I voted – for the person of my choice, not the party. After that election, we decided it was not a good idea for a husband and wife to discuss politics. This year, we did not discuss who the best candidate was. Why? Simple. Neither candidate was ‘the best.’

I will go on record to say I think the time is now for a woman to be President; however, after all of the lies, and most especially, how Hillary Clinton broke the law by not keeping government e-mails “confidential” I lost complete respect for her. Years ago, during her husband’s presidency, women wanted her to divorce Bill Clinton. I remember saying “Hillary Clinton will not divorce Bill. She has a mission planned.”

And what a mission she planned, only to lose the election. Reportedly, on Facebook and other Internet sites, there are many reasons she lost the election. Other sites had her winning the election. In fact, there is so much material flying across the Internet; I will not even attempt to list any of these sites. To quote Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

I listened to the Benghazi hearings. When I heard her infamous statement, I turned the television off, remembering how frightened I was during my husband’s Tour of Duty in Vietnam. If I were one of the family members, her cold, uncalculated statement meant a lot. Lives were lost. Had the USA reacted, those words, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” were some of the most profound words spoken. How would Hillary Clinton feel IF those words or a similar story affected her daughter? http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/09/11/what-benghazi-attack-taught-me-about-hillary-clinton.html

After this discovery, additional lies and deceptions continued, especially how Hillary did not follow through with keeping her confidential e-mails ‘confidential.’ I will assume those of us who do live and vote in America, know about these stories. There are just too many to discuss here in this post. Hillary Clinton would not take responsibility for her actions, and that is why I did not think she is strong enough to admit her mistakes, or to serve our country as the next President Elect.

“Well, what about Trump?” You are asking.

I am aware of those accusations happening over 20 or 30 years ago. My question to all of those women who came forward is this – “Why has it taken you so long to come forward?” Isn’t it strange how those accusations occurred during the election debates? Because I respect myself, if any man said those words to me, it would not take me 20 – 30 years to come forward.

I was so tempted to write in a candidate for President. Mickey Mouse was sounding better every day.

Undoubtedly, the Election of 2016 was one of the dirtiest smear campaigns ever. It is so sad that this election happened during the time when a woman candidate attempted to make history and break the ‘glass ceiling.’ Now, with the election over I read disgusting stories and that is why I’ve decided to be quiet on Facebook for a while.

The media still reports about the protests after the Election 2016. There are over 28,000,400 sites on the Internet discussing the election. If you would like to read them, simply type ‘protests after the election 2016’ on Google. Yes, the news media is having a field day reporting the information. Now, I must ask, just how true are these sites?

The anger is horrifying. Yesterday, while reading Facebook, I read comments from someone [I shall not reveal the name – after all, “What difference at this point does it make?”] The words were chilling. Yes, the person was a ‘friend’ on Facebook, not anymore. I’ve unfriended this person, and earlier, when I checked the site, the person’s name is not listed with Facebook now. I do not know why; however, it might be related to the post listing about children will get raped now with Donald Trump as president(???) and the hatred this person felt after the election. There were so many of these types of posts it made me ashamed to be on Facebook, and to be active on social media sites.

This is America. We are proud of our country, and we are grateful and protective of our children. It is my hope and prayer that Facebook and other social media sites will get their act together to screen some of the posts listed by members who join Facebook. Hatred does not need additional feeding sites on social media sites. We can step out in America to see hatred everywhere. America was not based on hatred, although now, it appears that hatred is the fuel these people have to promote more bigotry, racism and hatred.

Some might argue – if this is done it is censorship. I think not. Facebook is a social media site. Just because you might read destructive things on this site does not mean the posts are true. They are opinions. While I do not know for certain, I imagine some of the listings on Facebook and other social media sites could be to seduce someone to click on to read, only to have a hacker inside the computer. I want to protect myself and my computer, and that is why for a while, I might jump on to Facebook, but the only way you will see my actions are when I post on my blog. For me, I am taking a sabbatical from social media…to rest…regroup, and recognize I need to find inspiration and motivation to write again!

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Angels Are Around Us — Even WHEN We Are Lost and Stressed


Dearest Readers:
Just when I think people are not honest or trustworthy, God gives me an angel. As all of you, my closest friends, know – since October 3, 2015 I have been stressed. Beginning with the rain, flooding issues that occurred in Charleston during the “Hundred Year rains.” I believe fighting those battles, at times, losing — thanks to a certain insurance company that refused to cover the damage. Regardless, after fighting those battles and finding my own way to get the damages repaired, I found myself overly temperamental. I’ve expressed numerous prayers to God, asking me how to calm down. How to cope. Just when I thought these prayers were answered, Phil has reverse shoulder replacement on May 31. Recovering at home, he started fainting…and FAINTING AND FAINTING…Rushed to ER — seven times. He endured three surgeries on that blasted shoulder and now he appears to be getting better. During one of the fainting episodes, he broke his left ankle. I started questioning — can things get ANY WORSE?
 
I cannot remember the last time I’ve written. This might be a first for me, today. People keep asking me “How are you coping?” They haven’t seen the rages I have allowed myself to get into. It’s no wonder my blood pressure is getting higher. As for me, I still feel so stressed and temperamental that I lose myself.  Some days are meltdown days. During the last meltdown, I kneeled and prayed . I asked God if He was still there. The next morning, I had another talk with God, telling Him I would change my ways and stop losing my temper and I would stop cursing.
 
Today, was I EVER put to the test. My grandmother told me as a child that God would test me. Believe me, she was correct! Attempting to vacuum this morning, I noticed my vacuum wasn’t working properly. Placing it in the car, Phil and I went to Oreck. Of course, my vacuum is the type where they will have to order the part. It could be two weeks BEFORE it will be repaired. GREAT!
 
Suppose I’ll research cheap vacuums now – just to have a standby on hand.
 
After leaving Oreck in North Charleston, I drove to Sam’s Club to get gas and a few incidentals at the store. Preoccupied, I rushed to put everything inside the car, before my sweet husband attempted to. He is trying to help me more now, and each time he does, I reprimand him to STOP, like a mother would stop a child. He still must wear that sling. I don’t want him to hurt himself again!
 
So here I am, stuffing things inside the car, rushing to put the shopping cart up. Rushing back to my car…not looking at where my hand bag is.
 
Arriving home, you guessed it! No handbag within site. I panic.
 
Like all women, I have cards inside my bag. I tell Phil I have to rush to Sam’s — in this rush hour traffic — to find my handbag.
 
Phil doesn’t shout at me. He doesn’t call me ‘stupid’ like my mother would…and we do not argue.
 
Yes, God is testing me!
 
Surprisingly, for once the rush hour traffic is not congested. Within 30 minutes I arrive at Sam’s Club. We look at all the shopping carts still parked in the shopping cart area. No handbag.
 
I rush inside Sam’s. Of course I am stopped at the entrance. I explain to the greeter that I was there about 30 minutes ago and left my handbag. She smiles. “I remember you,” she said. Trust me, I’m usually remembered wherever I go. I rush over to the customer service area. Anticipation has me so nervous, I can hardly say what I need to say.
 
The customer service rep looks at me. “Hi,” I say. Trying desperately not to cry. I cry when I am overly stressed. I introduce myself and I ask if they have a lost and found, or has anyone turned in a handbag about 30 minutes ago.
 
She repeats my name, asking what color my handbag was. I answer her question. She looks underneath, and there is a handbag!
 
“We called your phone number. Someone found it outside in the shopping carts.”
 
I burst into tears, hugged her and called my husband’s name. He was looking at the shopping carts parked inside the building.
 
I offered her a gratuity. She refused.
 
Isn’t it wonderful that someone outside in the parking lot saw my handbag and returned it to the store! Untouched!
 
God had a guardian angel watching over me today while He tested me to see if I would explode, and I didn’t. While driving, I silently prayed that God would let someone who believed in morals, values and honesty find my handbag.
 
Today, I passed the test. I thanked God for keeping me calm and I said a loud thank you for letting my handbag find its way back to me.
 
Some would say it is the Southern way in the South. After all, Charleston, SC is the number one city in the world this year.
 
Why wouldn’t it be? We have good people living here. Trustworthy people visit here, and there are People who you trust. People who go the extra mile to protect a total stranger’s handbag. Everything was still in tact. Nothing was taken.
 
Thank you, to an angelic total stranger. I will say prayers for you. How I wish I could thank you personally. No name was given to the customer service rep. I will make certain I pay it forward now when I am out…Just like someone paid it forward for me today!
 
This just proves to me — God is guarding me — just like He did years ago, when I was hit by a car and should’ve been killed. God’s angels held me and placed me on the concrete curb. I haven’t a clue what happened on that day, with exception of the thrust of the hood of the car hitting me — knocking the wind out of me.
 
Thank you, God! You guided and protected me again today!

Welcome to My Pity Party


Dearest Readers:

Have you ever had a time where you could not shake your mood? No. Matter. What? I’ve had more than a few weeks like this. Tuesday, December 15, 2015, everything came to a standstill. Losing my temper, I recognized I needed to inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

On that date, I got up in a dreadful mood from so many nights without sleep. I counted the days until Christmas – only ten days away. No, this wasn’t the Christmas blues – just a time of physical exhaustion and stress triggered by the torrential storms we had in Charleston in October. Still, my home wasn’t well. The leaks from the skylights appeared to be growing with a science project of mold, mildew, and ugliness I wished to erase. I decided we should decorate our Christmas tree in the den this year, not the traditional place in the living room.

Negative thoughts ate away inside of me. My stomach was twisted in knots; at least, it felt like it. Christmas music helped a little, although I still had moments where I wanted to scream. Still,  the moodiness left a bad taste, an emotional feeling of absolute depression, clouding every thought and mood. Looking at the calendar again, I realized December 19th would soon be here, only now, I could not celebrate my dad’s birthday with him. This year he and his identical twin brother would celebrate 101 years of life. I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. He lost his identical twin brother long before I was born, or even thought about. How I wish I could reach out to him – just to wish him a Happy Birthday.

This year I could not shake my mood. I jotted down things I should be happy about, and then I added an additional listing of things I wish I could change. “No wonder I’m so depressed. The things I wish I could change are longer than the happiness list. Not a good sign. Meanwhile, the phone rang, almost constantly – a nauseating ringing of telemarketers and scam phone calls that refused to leave me alone. I’m certain you’ve probably received your share of these calls. One call said ‘unavailable,’ another was ‘unknown caller,’ and another said ‘government.’ I listened to all of them, never speaking as a robot call said ‘this is your third and final call. You owe the IRS…’ I laughed. Just what is this? We are on the Do Not Call list. Honestly, I think when you sign up again [for perhaps the 10th time] with the Do Not Call list, there must be a way these companies are getting our phone numbers, just so they can aggravate us! Another caller was a guy. He expressed the following, “Congratulations…You’ve won!”

Okay, I’ll play his little game. I listened as he shared that we were the winners of a contest we recently signed up for. “News to me,” I breathed. “We haven’t signed up for anything except the Do Not Call list!”

“F$%# you,” he said. I hung up, daring him to call back.

Without a doubt, this was one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time. “I suppose this day is my pity party day,” I shouted to the walls inside my house.

My poor husband was greeted at the door by a woman almost half out of my mind. Grief. Sadness. Tears. All of the ingredients for a pity party.

Although I tried to shake this strange mood, I could not. Defeated, I took a leisurely bath, having a soft, quiet discussion with myself, recognizing I was behaving in the same manner of my mother. ‘This has to stop.’

After the bubble bath, I approached my husband again, only, this time, I apologized for being such a monster. “It’s so unlike me to be this way,” I cried. “I’m so worried about the house. I wish I could make all of this go away.”

Phil hugged me. I kissed him and went to bed. I prayed for God to listen to me. Much to my surprise, I whispered, “God, are you there? Do you hear me? Are you testing me? I need you.”

The next morning, my mood was better, although I failed to sleep well. After two cups of coffee, the phone rang. I checked caller ID. The caller was listed. It was a phone call from a church. That’s unusual.  I answered it. The caller was a recording, mentioning scriptures from the Holy Bible. I suppose God is telling me something. I listened to the entire conversation, recognizing I’ve never had a phone call this — EVER! I  suppose God was listening to me and now He is encouraging me to get a grip. Be the person you know you can be, not the person you lived with as a child. 

A few minutes later, while praying, the phone rang again. My best friend was on the line. She was recovering from another kidney surgery. I asked how she was progressing. She was in route to work. Still weak and having a bit of pain, I listened to her while recognizing how selfish and insensitive I had been.

Why? Simple. All of the stress I’ve endured will ease when the house is finally repaired. I will be able to get myself out of this house and the stress. As for my friend, she was fighting to get well. To have healthy kidneys. She is my best friend. Every day I pray for her and for a miracle to happen in her life.

“How foolish I have been,” I said aloud after we hung up. “I can change my mood. I can do something pro-active to feed good thoughts, and I can move to get away from the stress, if only for a few hours.

My friend is fighting just to get stronger. She’s like the energizer bunny, always bouncing back.

As for me – I’ve been a fool. I have to remind myself of the old clichés I say to myself normally when depression kidnaps me.

“This too shall pass.”

“It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

“Life is like a box of chocolates…You never know what you’re gonna get.”

“Stupid is as stupid does.”

One of my favorite quotes is “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

Yes, I knew better. I am a strong woman. Normally, I can talk myself out of these situations. I suppose today is an eye-opener to me. A day to be thankful I am still alive. A day to breathe in and breathe out. A day to give thanks. I still have a home. I have a warm bed to sleep in, even when the four dogs take over the bed, and I have a good man to live with me and to love me, even when the devil of depression kicks in wanting me to have another pity party. Little things. These amazing little moments that help keep me focused. Little moments when my personality shines as I smile at someone. Little moments when I greet a complete stranger.

I cannot walk in the shoes of my mother, [nor do I want to] and I must promise myself that next time – when the monsters of depression torment me, I must move and force myself to get dressed, to smile and to appreciate life’s precious moments.

I must get dressed every day, and not stay in pajamas — ALL DAY LONG!

These actions are not who I am. I must remind myself that I should take care of myself. I must appreciate life, with all of its blessings and with all of the tests that can easily defeat us. I will not be defeated. Today is a new day.

Next time, I plan to take a nice long walk on the beach, to remind me I am blessed! No doubt, the beauty of the ocean, the sand between my toes, the warmth of sunshine, and the Pelicans flying along the waters will bless me with reassurance that life is to be lived, every day — even when the gloominess of a pity party attempts to ruffle my feathers.

 

 

 

 

Freewriting With the Demands of Life, Interruptions and PTSD


Dearest Readers:

Freewriting today, so here goes. Freewriting has been described as a time for writers to sit and write about anything that comes to the mind. It is now 3:52. I am supposed to write for five to ten minutes. Just write. No editing.

What is on my mind? It is Monday, my scheduled day to clean and catch up on things at the house. Moments ago, my husband walked in – asking me IF I read a card that was addressed to him. “No,” I reply. I do not read your mail.” He got just a bit touchy then. I suppose it is another PTSD day!

What is PTSD? If you have to ask that question, you’ve never been around anyone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When my husband walked in, I could see that he has dealt with a bit of stress today, although he denies it. Silly guy. Doesn’t he know I can see those eyes and I know I must walk on eggshells once again?
My husband is a Vietnam Veteran. How I wish I could pull those memories of war out of his head, but I cannot. Nor can I get him to calm down from his actions. Sometimes, I simply feel like running away – FOREVER! But, what good would that do? It would simply make him angrier. When he attacks me verbally with his PTSD, I walk away and give him space.

In my next life, I want a happy life. A life filled with someone who appreciates me and treats me kind. Yes, there are days when my husband is kind – it seems the PTSD outweighs the good days. He is a generous man. But kindness – well on his good days!

So be it. Enough about my husband’s attack when he walked in the door. He will not ruin my mood. Today has been a good day, and I am actually sitting here writing again – even IF it is freewriting.

In case you, my readers are interested, I am writing again, but it is so difficult. Years ago, a professor of an English class I was enrolled in asked our class if anyone loves to write. Silly me! I raised my hand. The professor was tall and thin, he had a slight beard and his facial expressions reminded me of George Carlin. He moved quickly to be by my desk. Pointing his finger at me, he shouted – “Then YOU are not a writer! Writers HATE to write.”

I’ve thought about that professor many times, and now I suppose I am a writer because there are times I actually detest writing. I don’t like to say the word ‘hate’ – especially since that dreadful word opens up a can of worms to many people. I try not to ‘hate’ anything.

My computer is telling me it is now 4:07 pm. Time to go start dinner and feed the dogs. Will I cook tonight? Not if my husband’s demeanor doesn’t change! For now, I think I will glue myself to my chair and write. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll repeat this exercise of the brain – writing! Later, Readers! Enjoy your day!