Saturday, January 30, 2016


"Dear Objoyful" the note from Caroljoy's Mother that was in Caroljoy's plain paper bag lunch said.  Caroljoy had become used to her Mom's entertaining little notes that she put in Caroljoy's lunch.  Her Mother wrote them each and every time that she packed her daughter's lunch.

Caroljoy had become good at ignoring the notes.  After all, she was in high school now, practically an adult!  On the other hand, she never threw them away.  She would take them home and glue them into a special memory book.  She would read them later when high school life was not pulsing around her.

Caroljoy felt terrible.  Her eyes were swollen, her head was pounding, and she was convinced that she would simply NEVER step foot in this horrid school one more day.  Caroljoy had been bullied from first grade to the grade she was in now, a junior in high school.

Over the years she had done her best to build armor around her heart.   Sometimes it helped, but often it did not. 

Lately she had to begin going in the two school entrances towards the back of the school.  It took extra time.  The alternative was much worse.  Almost daily the "jocks," congregated on a bench right next to the front door.

The popular girls loved this.  When they would pass, the boys would whistle at them.  Or the group of jocks would call out numbers, ten being the most attractive, down to one being the least attractive.

Caroljoy DID NOT love this.  These boys did NOT whistle at her, or call out a number referring to her beauty.  They barked as she came by.  A dog...they called her a dog...too homely to even rate a ONE on their scale.

She walked a mile to school.  Many days she drug her feet not wanting to face another day of being bullied.  On this morning she had arrived late.  She took the chance that the annoying boys would NOT be seated on the bench.  They were.  On this day, she wasn't strong, she began to cry as she rushed past their taunts.

The tears continued into her day.  She either hid behind a text book or did her best to swallow the tears before they could exit her eyes.  It worked fairly well.  Caroljoy had very few classes with friends, mainly because she had very few friends, and nobody in the other classes seemed to be aware of her existence or care that she was crying.

English was usually Caroljoy's favorite class.  Spelling was very, very easy to her.  It was probably because reading was one of her preferred escapes from the bullying.  She also loved to write, short stories, and poems, trying always to stretch her skills.

It was NOT her favorite class this year.  Three boys sat around her that concentrated on making her life a daily hell.  Sporadically they would put a tack or three on her chair.  Since it was sporadic she would forget to look and THEN!  How they would laugh.  She knew that a tack was a tiny thing.  It did NOT FEEL tiny when it was piercing any portion of her anatomy.

They passed her notes with nasty details about their male parts, or worse, detailed drawings.  They called her names, and then there was the day that one of them had a thrown a pen at her.  It pierced her forehead, only two inches above her eye.  The pen was stuck...she had to pull it out of her own flesh.

With all of that passing through her mind Caroljoy decided that today she needed to hear what her Mother had said.  Caroljoy did not share the details of her bullying with her family.  Her home and family were her safety zone her sanctuary.  She felt that if she shared the negatives she faced it would follow her home.

On this day her Mother's note reminded her of the miraculous story of her birth and life.  It reminded her how many times she should have died, but lived.  It reminded her that she had a purpose, a value in the world.

When the first bell rang to alert students to go back to class, Caroljoy's eyes were dry.  She felt renewed.  She was also reminded that no matter what anyone did or said to her, she was still a person of worth.  She was a miracle!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Short Term Memory Deficit

When I was three years old I was SOOOOOOOOO excited!  It was Christmas morning.  I remember that it was still dark outside.  My brother, sister, and I, pajama clad, were all moving rapidly into the front room with our parents close behind.

I do NOT remember one present that I got.  OK...well I may just remember ONE present.  It was the one that I had begged and pleaded with my parents to tell Santa.  I wanted a dump truck.  Not just ANY old dump truck.  No, the one I wanted had to be pretty big...with a bucket that really went up and down.  It was to be used for earth moving in my sand pile...AND to move my dolls back and forth to different parts of the sand pile.

That is one of my earliest memories.  It has not changed in the last fifty-six years.  It's almost like the anchor to keep the rest of my young memories in place and stable.

Speaking of being fifty-nine, I now live with short term memory deficit.  I thought it was because of my medical conditions, and the medicines that I take.  Turns out, it just might have to do a teeny tiny bit with the fact that I'm not really twenty-nine anymore.

I like to look at things in life from a positive frame of reference.  Even forgetting where you put your cell phone in your 2,000 square foot house from hour to hour isn't that bad, right?  Below are some items that just might indicate your short term memory is flaming out like a small meteor hitting earth's atmosphere.

1.  You have two children.  Just two.  You can no longer remember which child went with you to the store a day ago...or maybe which child was with you at a friend's funeral. (The funeral probably is more important to remember than the grocery store, right)?

2.  You only have those two children, and you remember that one of them LIKES to eat at Olive Garden, and one does not, but you can't remember which is which.

3.  Your husband does NOT like to eat at Olive Garden, LOVES to eat at Carabbas, and you get confused and take him to the Olive Garden for his birthday.

4.  Your Mother's 93rd birthday is on February 15, but you give her a card and present on the 13th?

5.  You are telling a friend a great build up to the point..and suddenly...the point is now square, or round, because you can't remember what the whole point was??

6.  You tell your children that you're really hungry and think you'll get a bowl of cereal, and they remind you that they just fixed you a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, an hour ago?

7.  You take a nap in the evening, and wake up panicking because you think it's past time to get up to go to an important appointment, and you overslept?

8.  You are asked to greet the ladies at a church women's group and take roll.  You start on the right side of the room, moving right to left.  You finish in about ten minutes after chatting briefly with the ladies as you go.  You finish on the left look to the right and think, "Oh, I didn't meet that lady yet."  So you go up to her, introduce yourself, then you ask what her name is so that you can record her on the roll.  She points at the beginning of the roll and says, "Oh, yes.  Right here, see?  I'm the first one that you met.  See, that's my name there by the number one."

My husband sometimes thought that I was trying to get away with things by claiming that my short term memory deficit was causing the problem.  I don't know why he would say that.  I mean, after all, it is possible to forget to put gas in the car, even though the empty gas light is blinking, and the audible alarm is signaling every 2 minutes, right?  Of course it is.  Just my short-term memory deficit again.

It also does not work well to claim that you forgot NOT to sing and dance to the radio when you pick up your middle school child and they remind you for the TENTH time not to dance and sing where the other students might just see you!  It's also hard to sell that you forgot that you shouldn't be dancing and singing in Old Navy where ANYBODY might see your teenage child.

Just so you know, I DO remember the important things, like my social security number, my birthdate, and my name...well most of the time,  ok some of the time?  Ok, ok...once in awhile?  I mean come on, who is keeping track anyway?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Do You Come When You're Called? (Any and all of those people who do not understand pet rescuers may wish to skip this)!

Dot is our lovely grey/silver kitty.  She has golden ambered eyes.  She appeared on our patio one stormy, cold, wintry night.  Without hesitation Nyle and Ardis built her a shelter, put out water, and food.  So would anyone be surprised that Dot would leave...but then return when she was hungry or thirsty?

I tried to dissuade my rescuing familial members that we already HAD THREE rescued critters, and one more would put us twice over the condo limit of only two pets.  I urged them not to bring her into the house.  Of course, she came into the house.  I pleaded to have them leave her outside most of the time.  She was in the house for longer and longer periods of time.

She hated both of our other cats.  Katty was old at thirteen years.  She weighed all of 3 pounds.  Spike was a great deal like his name.  He was the prickly and unchallenged head of the animal pack in our family.  Nyle was the unchallenged head of the human pack in our family!  Then there was Rolly our dear 10 ish year old Poochan, which is a poodle blended with a bichon.  She fell madly, head over heels in love with Rolly.  We think that she views him as a strange type of cat.  They are around the same size.  Unfortunately for her, the affection is NOT reciprocal.

My family allowed me the privilege of naming Dot.  (I'm certain that they thought that if I named her I would connect to her).  Not so much.  I named her Dot because she has a tiny dot of white fur under her chin.  It took a couple of years before she relaxed enough to roll on her back.  I discovered then that she actually has a bikini top and bottom on her stomach consisting of white fur.  It's a good thing that I didn't discover those patches until after I named her.  I totally would have named her Bikini, and what kind of name is that for a kitty?  lol

I moved into my first all alone apartment after Nyle died.  Dot came with me.  Spike had also passed.  So I now only had three critters, Katty, Rolly, and Dot.  All ferocious twenty pounds of Dot still stalked Katty.  I still kept Dot at an emotional distance.

Eventually we had to mercifully release our eighteen year old Katty Kaliko when she developed cancer of the bladder.  I think for awhile afterwards she would appear randomly around Dot.  Dot would look up, shoot straight in the air fur standing tall, and then dash to a different room.  This continued for several months.  I felt like Katty was at last getting revenge on Dot.

Today I let Dot outside while I did some snow shoveling.  That turned out to be a big mistake!  There is a place in our front yard that is VERY steep.  It's dangerous for me to walk in that part of the yard with my balance issues, and my difficulty in always making my legs do what I need them to do.  To complicate everything there is a rose bush bare with vicious thorns waiting on the attack.

She seems to revel in the fact that it's almost impossible for me to reach her in this hideaway.  I called her, and called her, and called her (hey, it works sometimes).  Next I went into the house and closed the door.  (I hoped that she would come running to be let inside).  NOPE!

Finally, with all hope gone of obtaining her in any other way, I literally risked life and limb to carry her back into the house.  It made me think about the times in my life that opportunity called, but I ignored the call.  I believe that this is true of all of we humans on this planet together.  Sometimes it literally is easier to stay in the same old unfulfilling rut than it is to answer a call for change, or improvement, or both.  What is calling for you today?

Remember that in our lives we have the ability to choose priorities and then act accordingly.  We CAN listen for and HEED the call, and find satisfaction and growth. 

By the way, Dot has become very dear to my heart.  After I turn the light out at night she comes and stands on my tummy and uses her front paws (which are clawless...who removes a cat's claws and then abandons them)? to massage my neck and face.  It is an extremely soothing segue into sleep.  I'm grateful now for her adoption into our family (At the same time PLEASE do NOT bring us any kitties or doggies...we really DO have our limit)!


I have only fished one or two times.  The first time I had to have my Father attach the worm to my hook.  I was NOT going to touch that creepy crawly thing, and I could NEVER gruesomely connect the hook into the worm...YUCK!

One time I fished with my honeybunch Nyle.  He tried to teach me how to cast a fishing line, and how to fly fish.  After almost following the fishing pole into the water, then casting poorly and winding up with my line in a very large snag at the edge of the water, I realized that I would just about rather be having a root canal than fishing.

I've always found it fascinating that some people (Including my honeybunch) found it fascinating to watch television programs with people fishing.  To me it closely approximates the excitement of watching paint dry on walls.  I asked my hubby one day, "What do you find interesting about this?"  He retorted, "The angles these professionals use to cast, the types of bait that they use for different types of fish, and seeing the catch that they reel in."  Oddly, I still didn't really see the attraction...not even a little bit!

Snags tangle fishing lines, waste bait, and sometimes make it necessary to cut your line and then restring your fishing pole.  In this context there is not one single thing positive to say about snags.

In life there are also snags.  It was a terrible snag for me when my honeybunch died at the age of 54.  I had not planned on being a widow at this age.  I thought I had at least another 10, 20 years with my darling.  This snag threatened to stop me from progressing.  I simply wished to climb into bed and wait to die and be reunited with my sweetheart of 27 years of marriage.

I'm grateful for the daughters that we have, and the furry family that we have as well.  I had to get up and help all of them with food to eat, water to drink, walks to have, ears to listen and affirm (that last one would be to our daughters, not our furry family, the furs do NOT articulate the English language effectively), and two shoulders for our daughters to cry on.  They kept me putting one foot in front of the other until I could again motivate myself to live!  I also watched over their sorrow with a listening ear.

What snags are you facing today?  Are you working at a job that you don't care for?  Is education turning out to be more difficult than you expected?  Is someone you love dearly ill?  One of my friends lost her husband, found one of her kitties dead, and then had her entire basement flooded with 4 feet of water.  Oh wait, did I mention that she had a specialty type of surgery to help her cope with her extreme back pain, and then found out that she now needs shoulder surgery?

Snags can stop our forward momentum.  They can "dam" us.  You know how a dam stops water?  Snags can create that exact type of daming.  Beavers build enormous piles of snags that are used to block the water for them.

Can a snag be a stepping stone for us to greater things?  That would be a YES!  As we clear away our snag in one way or another it can open our perspective to understand more about ourselves and others.  It can motivate us to the need for greater achievement.

What makes the difference between a snag that dams us, or a snag that improves us?  The fix is simple in three letters...Y  O  U!  That's right, YOU are in charge of how you approach the snags of life.  If that seems too simple to be true I dare you to test what I'm saying.  Don't just take my word for this principle...sit down and analyze the snag or snags that you are facing.  There is a world wide web of possible sources to help you move through and then away from your snag.

Attitude is a choice.  Each new morning, week, month, year, decade, or in the case of those of us living since the 20th century, a new millenium, gives us the opportunity to start over.  It's not something that will just HAPPEN.  We must each use the NEW that comes our way, then make the choice to strengthen ourselves to rise beyond our snags.  That's right.  I said that attitude does not come magically to each and everyone of us.  When confronted with snags large and small we must make the choice whether to let the snag overcome us, or whether to let the snags of life improve us!  WE MAKE THAT CHOICE!  

WE CAN MAKE OUR CHOICE BY SIMPLY DOING NOTHING!  I'm paraphrasing one of my favorite quotes, All that it takes for evil to triumph in this world is for good men to do nothing.  I also love the paraphrased quote, A life without mindfulness is a life wasted.  If we never examine ourselves, if we just let each day fade in and out without a desire to change or improve...we will soon find ourselves in our 20's 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and so on with the knowledge of many, many missed opportunities.

It should be absolutely absolute that it's better to regret a choice that you made than it is to not make a choice at all!  Think about that idea for a moment.  Even the teeny tiny choices that we make in life impact us, and sometimes all those in the realm of our sphere.  When I eat nothing but junk food for a day or too it makes me feel grumpy, and it's very hard for me to keep my grumpy to myself.  As I share my grumpiness, it impacts those that I live with, and any that really know me!  What to eat seems an innocuous choice but the older I get the more important that choice becomes, and the more quickly I feel the consequences of that choice.

Choose to do SOMETHING, and use your your snags to motivate improvement in your life.  YOU are creating your own reality, authoring your own book of life.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Part of me wishes to race into  this New Year. I want to throw open my windows and scream for joy and renewal!  I mean, come on, this NEW only comes once a year.  In this widest of worlds there are many chances for new as in REnewal, REfresh, and the best one of all REverberate!  (Ok, re means to repeat, wait, does that mean peating again?  lol Who would like to repeat verberating?)

I would love to hear from anyone with their New Year's resolutions, or goals.  Goals are very important.  As one of my favorite quotes says, "A goal is a stone to step on, not a stick to beat yourself."  Since the death of my darling hubby I have been extremely deficit in setting, let alone attaining goals.  Actually for a several of those years my goal was just making it through another day without him! 

It has been four years this month since his passing.  This is the year when I will also start a brand new fresh decade...sixty years.  It seems appropriate on every level that I hail this year and its potential for growth and achievement.

Here go the resolutions.  (No judging.  My strengths and weakness are not yours.)  In return, I will not judge any goals that you wish to share!

1.  Work on my physical fitness.  I wish to participate in an overnight hike to mark this new decade coming.  NOT BY MYSELF. (I did not see the movie about the man who hiked alone, and had to cut off his own arm to free himself, but I've heard way more gruesome details than I would have liked to)!  When I turned 40 I climbed to the top of a mountain to see the top of a waterfall.  At 50 I climbed a sand step forward and two steps back, slipping and sliding in sand makes climbing HARD!

2.  Enrich my spirit.  I've been reading my scriptures more often, and I'm making positive attitude cards to carry with me that have brief quotes to remind me of my potential.

3.  Market my novels.  I have no fear of sitting down next to someone and starting a conversation.  On the other hand, walking into a room full of people as just little old me, TERRIFIES ME!  I can perform on stage, I can sing or speak with confidence, I just play a character...CJ the Confident, and I'm fine.  Then I come off stage and shake for a couple of hours.  On the other hand, going to business people to convince them that they MUST sell my books, TERROR!  You know the type of's the nightmare kind...can't move danger coming towards me...must move, can't...I'M DEAD kind!  Anyone out there that would be willing to teach me about marketing would be eternally appreciated!

4.  Find venues where I can raise awareness of BULLYING, SEXUAL SLAVERY/HUMAN BONDAGE (educating on ways to protect, but not live in fear), but mostly POSITIVE THINKING!  Norman Vincent Peale is one of my favorite gurus on approaching life from a positive, creative, standpoint.  I would like to speak to people seeking to improve their lives.

OK...there they are, MY resolutions!  Your turn.  I would adore hearing from others about their goals, and excitement over making new goals and reaching them!