Monday, July 29, 2013

whisper whisper

I have a sinus infection that has also managed to turn into laryngitis.
I've been told by some of the students I'm working with that my voice sounds creeky over the radio.

Sunday night when I was trying to talk to my Mom,
I was forced to whisper to finish our conversation.

Annie, who had been sleeping on the bed, immediately woke up.
She thought I was telling Mom something that she needed to hear.
She came over and stood with her paws on my lap, 
head on my shoulder by the opposite ear I had the phone on.
When I whispered to Mom that she probably thought we were talking about squirrels...
Annie immediately went out onto the deck to see if we were.
This girl is so smart!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

a Sunday drive #4

  I love old houses.  They have so many stories that they would love to be able to tell.  You can just hear them whispering in the wind sometimes.  I saw a house is across the street from where [this house] was ~ it was torn down a few weeks after I took the picture of it, and I'm really hoping that they don't tear this one down, but I suspect they will.  There was a notice on the post at the top of the steps that probably said that it was condemned.

  I'm sure that back in its day, there were many stories told on that front porch.  Mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfather sitting in rocking chairs watching the young'uns play on the front lawn, or listening to the rain hit the metal roof.  Lots of sweet tea on hot summer days, and boiled peanuts, watermelon, and fresh fried catfish eaten there ... probably caught that day just down the road at the creek that runs through town.

  This is the kind of house I want to have one day ... this is the kind of life.  Out in the woods where I can sit in the morning drinking coffee and watching the wild rabbits try to get to my strawberry patch ... or the deer into my garden.  Listening to the frogs sing at night, maybe counting fireflies in the dark.

  A house filled with history and stories to tell ... a house where I can put those stories that run through my mind on paper and sit back and listen to children playing in the front lawn.  Where fresh caught catfish is first on the menu for dinner that night, with fried okra and potato salad made from fresh grown in my garden.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday sillies #2

My intent was to take a picture of the crab in the water,
wrestling a fish as big as it was.

So I was surprised to see Trooper doing a Scooby Doo shadow puppet 
when I looked at the pictures on the computer tonight.

broken ... 2

  A little over a week ago, I called 2-1-1 to see if I could get some help with a donated window air conditioner because it just isn't in my small budget (my net pay this month was less than $500, and they've cancelled my food stamps because I "make too much money").  I haven't had a working air conditioner in over a year, and summers here in Florida are hot hot hot.  When I got an estimate in March to see if this one could be fixed, they said that because it is an older model (although is only about seven years old) and uses a freon that isn't manufactured anymore, it would cost as much to repair it temporarily as it would to replace it.  Either way it would be about $3,000.

  Yeah, not happening.

  Anywhos... after a wild goose chase of calls here and there, I finally got an answer.


  It seems that the funds that used to support that program have dried up, and the people that used to donate to that program have stopped, and I could get on a waiting list but it might be two years, and then I would have to qualify, and my house inspected, and they would install a new heat pump air conditioner rather than just a window unit, and ... blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, no.

  Okay.  I can deal with that.  I can go to my summer day care job and freeze my butt off during the day, and then come home at night and sweat it off (and trust me, it really isn't making a noticeable difference ... yet ... but I have lost about 15 pounds!).

  Today, I got a call from the 2-1-1 program to find out if I got any happy happy joy joy from my request for information and help when I called initially.


  Actually, I told him (just before stepping onto my soapbox) that their organization was great, the gentleman I spoke to was very helpful, but the truth was that the system is broken.

  See, about six years ago, I was making a very healthy salary that allowed me to generously contribute to their programs, financially and materially.  And I did.  Often.  But then things came to a screeching halt, and that salary went away.  If I clear $10k this year, I will be very lucky, and that will be about $55k less that what I was making six years ago.  Not only did my own personal "economy" change, but the economy of the world changed.  Because of that, people changed.  Those who could give before, probably can't anymore.  Like me, they are now seeking assistance from the very programs that they once supported.   The people who still can support those programs ... aren't.  Maybe because they are afraid of the bottom dropping out of their economy also, but it seems to be a global pandemic.  Everyone who has money is hanging on to it, and honestly ... I can't say that I blame them.  Things are scary out here.

  Last fall when I was forced to go to food pantries and food banks and churches before I was able to get on food stamps ... there was very little on their shelves.  What was there was stuff like canned cranberries, split pea soup, canned asparagus ... which are all really great ... if you like them and can eat them without gagging or thinking of The Exorcist.  I got bags and bags and bags of rice ... that within a week all turned buggy and had to be thrown away.  The community churches that once upon a time would put on massive meals for those in need for the holidays?  Not a one last year.  Not.A.Single.One.  I was shocked.

  Then I apologized for being on a soapbox and said again how much I believed in their organization and what they were doing, but really, they weren't able to help me at all.  His "indirect" suggestion then was that I contact those organizations that would pay my electric bill and see if I can get them to pay my bill so that I can afford to buy a window a/c unit.

  Here's the thing about that ... churches and organizations that will pay your electric bill for you, want to see your late notice with a disconnect warning on it before they will pay it, and they you can only go to the same church or organization once a quarter, or some even once a year.  Since I'm not paying for an a/c that is running 24/7, my bill is affordable.  For me to try to use his "suggestion" to save for a window a/c unit, I would need to save for 3-4 months ... and be dishonest.  By that time, summer would be over and it would be a non-issue ... and really I don't like being dishonest.

  Then I stepped back up on my soapbox and told him that I appreciated his suggestion and I knew that I would be alright.  But what was really frustrating were the seniors, or those with small children, who really did need air conditioning in this heat and humidity, and didn't have the summer day care 65 degree cafeteria to sit in during the day.  The people who were really at risk for health issues, or heat stroke, or death ... who were one of the four or five people a day who called the Council on Aging and asked for help ... the people who needed help more than me who were going to get the same blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda no speech that I got.

  Because the system is broken.

  I know that one day my life is going to turn around again, and I will once again be able to give and help and donate and support the programs that I've had to rely on now.

  But what about all the other people who won't be able to do that in the future?  What about all the people that need help now?  What about them?  Who will help them right now?

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 minutes: broken


I had dinner with a friend last night and we talked about the broken place that I was in last August when the darkness almost overtook me.  She said that she found it hard to imagine me in that place, and there are times when I find it hard to imagine myself in that place as well.

I suppose that is a sign of how much I have healed.  That there is barely a scar left.  Occasionally something will happen, or I will see or read something that reminds me of that time and it will flood back, as if through a broken dam.

I find myself reeling in the healing...

It is as if we turned a corner, opened a door, and were suddenly in a parallel universe.  Everything was the same ... but completely different.

We were broken and lost once ... but we have been healing, and so much has been gained ...


An honest witness tells the truth;
a false witness tells lies.
Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.
Truthful words stand the test of time,
but lies are soon exposed.
~ Proverbs 12:17:19 ~
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

dusk ...

darting back and forth
under the palm and oak trees
silently hunting bugs in the fading light, the small, silent bat
keeps me entertained until it disappears into the darkness.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a break in the rain ...

It seems like we have had rain every single day this month.
It really hasn't been quite that much, but as of yesterday, 
we are almost double (12.31 inches) the July average (7.39 inches) for accumulated rainfall.
It rained again today, and more is forecast for every day the rest of the month.

So you will understand why this morning's sunrise seemed exceptionally beautiful.

What is it like ...

A very heartwarming video ...

I loved working with the autistic students that I did earlier this year.
Yes, there were times when I wanted to pull my hair out.
But there were more times when I sat back in amazement.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

a Sunday drive #3

 Ever get into a quiet groove when you drive?

Some days I listen to the radio,
but then others I just think about what is,
pray for what will be,
and listen for some kind of awareness that I'm on the right road.

[other than what the cranky GPS spinster has to say about it]

This morning was one of those drives.
Thinking, praying, listening.

And then I rounded a corner and caught a glimpse of something between the trees.
A mile farther down the road and this is what I saw ...
Right over the school I recently applied to teach at.
I didn't even realize that it was a double rainbow until looking at the pictures on the computer.

I'd say I was on the right road.
Wouldn't you?


blue green waters softly rush up to the
edge of the sand.  the only sound is the surf
as it pushes and pulls,
chasing the rising or setting moon.  tall and silent, a blue
heron stands, as if a sentinel, at waters edge.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

just on the other side ...

"If you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes, it'll change"
has been said about almost every state I've lived in or traveled to.
Today as I was driving in beautiful, sunshiny skies, I saw what seemed like a fog ahead.
It was, in fact, a sheet of rain.  
The blinding kind, of big, fat drops that hit the car like someone had turned the ocean upside down.
Just as quickly, I was through it, and back into the sunshine where the roads were completely dry.
I had to look in the rear view mirror to be sure I hadn't just driven through a mirage.

It occurred to me that sometimes life is like that.
We might see the clouds in the distance, 
or might even be right in the middle of our own personal downpour.
We think we aren't ever going to get through it, the sun will never shine on us again ...
... and then there it is.
Ever so faintly, the promise that yes, you will get through this.
Somewhere, the sun is shining.
Somewhere, there is a rainbow ... just for you.

Hold onto that when the rain is falling, and when the clouds seem the darkest.
Hold onto that rainbow.

Friday, July 19, 2013

5 minutes: belong

GO: {Disclaimer:  I tried hard to bring my anger to a point where I could write something positive, something powerful ... but I could not.  So if you want something warm and fuzzy, please go hug your dog.}

This puppy ~ emaciated to the point where I could see every rib, every backbone, every hip, and leg bone as it passed me ~ was pulling a six foot heavy metal chain ...
It belonged to this man on the bicycle, who was riding ahead and encouraging the puppy to follow it ~ in 85 degree temperatures.
The puppy kept stopping ~ panting, overheated, and tired ~ and the man would turn around, go back to it and for a short time carry the chain before dropping it and pedaling on ahead.

I watched him do it at least three times, and took several pictures of the two ~ he put on his hat and tried to hide his face when he saw me taking pictures.  I was so angry that I was shaking and these pictures were all that were in focus.  But I called the police as soon as I went in to work and told them which direction they were heading.

The puppy was eager to please the man, and as you can see by the bottom picture with his happy tail up, it wanted to belong with him.

I have not been able to stop thinking about the puppy, hoping that the police were able to take it away from the man and save it from the pit bull fighting future that it was being trained for ... that it would instead belong in a home with people who would feed and love it.

And that man ... that man belongs in jail.

STOP ... and celebrate this update ... the police were able to seize the dog and are pressing charges against the man.  The dog is now being treated by a veterinarian through animal control.  Woot Woot!  or rather Woof Woof!
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 18, 2013

embracing non traditional ...

  I've been a little stressed out the last six weeks. Okay.  Truth.  I've been freakin' stressed out of my mind.

  Why?  Because I've worked for most of my life since the age of sixteen, and I've worked "traditional" jobs for almost thirty years.  Meaning, I woke up at the same time, drove to the same place, did the same job, got off at the same time.  Every.  Single.  Day.

  My mind has been conditioned to think of a job in traditional terms, and when my paraprofessional position ended for the school year in June ... I panicked.

  I had a summer job lined up.  But it was non traditional from what I was used to, with hours that changed every day, and days that changed every week.  Still, I've learned, grown, and enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, my brain was still stuck in the panic mode thinking that I needed a traditional job.

  Until last night, when at 11:30 I had an "aHa" moment.

  What if I embraced the non traditional, instead of fighting against it?  What if I accepted the variety, the challenges, the flexibility of being a substitute teacher/paraprofessional in the school year that is about to begin, rather than throwing myself under the bus every day in my desperate search for a traditional job?

  Wow.  I slept the sleep of the blissfully unstressed last night.

  This morning, it occurred to me that sometimes the world's problems are also tied up in expecting and demanding what is "traditional."  

  Can you imagine what would happen if we embraced the non traditional?  Sometimes change can be good ...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

monuments of love ...

  Man builds monuments to remember people who were remarkable.  Washington, DC is filled with them, and somewhere in every city and town in the world, one can find a monument to an important person or event.

  Cemeteries are filled with them also, although most often much smaller in scale, the headstones act as a small monument to a person once loved and now missed.  We build to remember, to never forget, and so that those who come after us will know.

  Karen, at This Old House 2, posted a link to another kind of love monument.  One that broke my heart when I read it because I've felt that loss many times ... too many times ... and have only the holes in my heart to remember the loss by.  Read about these beautiful monuments of love by clicking [here].
Image credit:  The Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts Blog

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

what would you ...

... do if you knew you would not fail?

This summer day job I have working with children from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade has been an enlightening experience for me.

I've always believed in encouraging people.  I have always felt that when you believe in someone ... uplift ... mentor ... strengthen ...

you can change the world.

I have seen children in the past three months who have

given up

and doubted their own abilities, even in things they have never attempted before, because they have already been conditioned to think they were failures

children ... who have the whole universe in their hands and can do be have anything they want in life.

it makes me sad

What if we stopped conditioning people to believe that they were failures, and started conditioning people to believe they were successes?

What if we encouraged ... uplifted ... mentored ... strengthened?

There is a board that I pass during the week that says "When they succeed, we succeed."

What if that were true?

Monday, July 15, 2013

faith is...

sometimes faith is like a sculptor looking at a block of wood ... or concrete ... or clay.
... like a writer looking at a sheet of paper ... or a blank screen.
... like a painter looking at a blank canvas ... and colors in a palette.
... like a chef looking at what has been harvested from the garden.
... like a musician looking at an instrument.

faith is NOT seeing what isn't there.

faith is seeing what could be.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

not without meaning...

I don't follow the news closely.
Mostly because I don't have cable TV,
and it is often too biased and a hassle to try to follow an online news feed.

Plus I'm really trying to limit the negativity in my life...
and not watching television or following the news has really made a huge difference for me.

Last night I happened to check one of the online news sites for the first time in a few weeks
and saw that a man had been found not guilty.
I've not followed the trial, so am not sure of all the ins and outs of the defense or the prosecution.

All I really know is that a young man died at the hands of another man.

In a "perfect" world, that would be all anyone needed to know for justice to be served.
But in this imperfect world, the color of skin becomes an issue,
as if it is justification for the taking of a life.

While driving this morning, I had one of those left field random thoughts that I attribute to God,
and it was strong enough, and random enough that I had to stop and write it down.

"Often people say that someone's death was "meaningless."
But there are no meaningless deaths.
Or lives."

Every life has a meaning.
Every death has a meaning.

We may not know what it is, 
but there is nothing that occurs in this world that does not have meaning.

Every life ~ every death ~ has the power to
save someone
inspire someone
heal someone
be someone
teach someone
love someone

change someone

This death has meaning because that life had meaning.
It will change someone
who will inspire someone
who will teach someone
who will love someone.

Nothing is without meaning.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

1 John 4:13

4:12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

Many believe that 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 is the "love" chapter of the Bible.
But I think that it is the book of 1 John.

1 Corinthians 13 is most often referenced when talking about love in marriage.

1 John talks about life.

2:7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.

Love one another.
How simple is that.
The meaning of life is to love one another.

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 minutes: present


I am here in this moment ... present ... and this day is a gift to me.

I drove to tutor this morning, only to find out that my small shadow had a cold and would not be in, so I took the time as a gift ... a present ... to run some errands that I had planned on squeezing in between tutoring and summer day care.

I could relax in the present moment and take my time to go from there to there to here.

I drove to a vet's office and received a small amount of free dog and cat food to help my present income stretch a little farther.  It will be a tight month, but each door that has closed has opened yet another.

The interview I had scheduled between tutoring and my "day job" was cancelled yesterday.  Combined with the extra time I had this morning, it gave me an opportunity to apply for a position that required me to take three "Prove It" tests.  If I had tried to squeeze them into the short time I had earlier allotted, I would have been stressed and distracted when testing.  Because I was able to breath and relax in the present moment, I did even better than I expected on one of the computer tests.

I was able to make a few calls and get numbers to someone who might be able to help me with my lack of air conditioning ~ it would be a blessing that would make my present situation just a tad more bearable ~ I've been fortunate that the present weather of overcast and rainy days have made it a little cooler and breezier ... easier to sleep at night.

Doors to the past have long since closed, but doors in the present keep opening, and occasionally I can see through windows that show me a brighter future.  Each day, each moment, each experience ... a present I can be present for ... my life is blessed because of how I choose to wrap each "present."

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 11, 2013

plugging along ...

Eagle Visions for Kindle
Eagle Visions in paperback
Eagle Visions for other e-readers
I'm plugging my books tonight for your summer reading lists.
I've dropped the prices for all of them 
~ as much as each site will allow since they all want their piece of pie ~
Trooper's Run for Kindle and in paperback on
Trooper's Run in paperback on CreateSpace
Trooper's Run for other e-readers
If you are looking for paperback versions,
compare the price between Amazon and CreateSpace.
Even tho they are divisions of the same company,
I noticed that their prices are different.

For e-readers... 
try Smashwords first as they allowed me to drop the price the lowest.

MBFHHL for Kindle and in paperback on
MBFHHL in paperback on CreateSpace
MBFHHL for other e-readers

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

letting and keeping

I was nearly killed this morning.  At the very least, I would have been severely injured.

I had gone to my morning tutoring job and was returning home for a few hours before my afternoon day care job.  I had stopped at a traffic light (mine is the little blue car) and when the light turned green, I was waiting for the green car to cross the intersection before I turned.  The gold car opposite me had already started their turn when a red truck ran the stop light and very nearly smashed into it.

If I had not been waiting for the green car, I would have been right in the path of the red truck, which never even slowed down as it went through the red light.  It would have hit me directly.

As I drove away, I said a prayer, thankful for "not letting me get hit," and then it dawned on me that instead of "not letting" I should be grateful that I was kept.  I repeated my prayer, thankful for keeping me safe, thankful for the green car that kept me where I was for a few seconds longer, thankful that the gold car was kept from being hit.

I am thankful that I am kept in the palm of His hand, that He keeps providing for all my needs, that He is keeping me close.

We were given free will when we did not keep out of the garden.  Because of that, we make the choices that sometimes "let" us get hurt, "let" us get into trouble, or "let" us make wrong decisions.

When I let Him into my heart, He put me in the palm of His hands where He keeps me safe.  Forever.

Monday, July 8, 2013

memory perfume ...

driving home
  days of rain
    fresh cut grass

memories of another time
  sagebrush in the California desert after a rain
    onions drying in burlap sacks in the dirt
      alfalfa fields

night sounds and smells
  taps echoing across a Florida bay
     crickets, tree frogs
       salt water smell in the humidity
         distant rifle practice sounding like snare drums

memories of another time
  taps echoing across the Texas desert
    traffic, sirens
      steak on the grill
        artillery practice sounding like distant thunder

Sunday, July 7, 2013

a Sunday drive #2

Yes.  I know.  I promised no more water lilies.
But these have water hyacinths with them.

No, the bay is not warped, but my sense of "level" was as I attempted a panoramic photo with my digi cam.
This was our 4th of July reward after all the rain.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

a Saturday beach walk

A Great Blue Heron at the beach where the dogs and I walk.
We've been spotted!
He made quite the disgusted noise as he flew off.  We interrupted his fishing for dinner.
He circled around us and settled into the top of a nearby oak tree to wait for us to leave.

rain ...

rain falls like
abundant blessings of grace washing me clean
i stand in humble shame, knowing that i have
nothing without it

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

These were actually taken two years ago in Texas.
It is raining elephants and hippos here in Florida today,
with more in the forecast for tomorrow.
Central Texas Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, TX
... and honoring those who still serve so that others can be free.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013