With Regrets…Washington, DC Here We Do Not Come

Life sometimes gets in the way…

I am not one to plan things and this is why-life always gets in the way. My daughter and I are not going to be able to attend the Million Woman March in Washington, D.C. All the hype and all the flurry of activity and planning right down to the hotel room, too. I have debated as to whether I would post as to why we aren’t going and because of safety reasons, I am declining to say anything at the moment.  

What I can tell you is that it is a matter we have taken to the police (which has NOTHING to do with the March whatsoever) and after much discussion, we decided it was best for us to stick close to home. I am hoping within the next month I will be able to tell you all why, but I can’t. Some know the details if they have followed me on Facebook for some time, or have at least a partial idea. Anyone who donated money on the Fund Me site is getting a refund, although some have already said to donate it in my daughter’s name or use it for her to do some things locally. 

All I can say is, you will be seeing many posts about a couple of subjects I am very passionate about in the coming year as I figure out where I fit in to make a difference on these subjects. Domestic abuse and stalking continue to be something far too close to home and something so many women deal with that does not have enough light shed on it. 

Thank you to all who shared my daughter’s story. This isn’t the end of it for her, unfortunately. Even with having had surgery just in September, the pain is back and she is contemplating the next step. A hysterectomy was on her list and soon, but the doctor (due to her age) is putting it off and now she is thinking, if it is possible, another baby may be in the forecast for her. You never know what life will bring.

~Jody

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Lawmakers call for suspension of Russia from G8, swift action against Putin

We have been a joke to the world-while many think b-balling it and going on “The View” and doing celebrity things is a Presidential thing to do, they obviously have been ignoring the White House for Years. Obama is not considered a threat and at the same time those speaking out too much undermine his authority as well. It is a no-win situation. We already have high-cost wars going on that are killing us financially. If you want to make a change like hsi campaign had said, start here at home and feed the people, support the people, and make OUR lives better FIRST! Charity begins at HOME!

CNN Political Ticker

(CNN) — As the crisis in Ukraine escalates, with Russian troops moving into the Crimean peninsula on Saturday, U.S. lawmakers are pushing for decisive action against Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the violence in the region and respect Ukraine’s independence.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Sens. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, made the case for congressional sanctions and a suspension of Russian membership in the G8 and G20.

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My Endometriosis story.. needs editing but I have to share!

The same age as my daughter and such a similar story. This is a disease that needs as much attention as others out there.

christinaoliverco

My name is Christina. I am a full time student at Chico State, I’m 19 and I’ve fought endo since I was 12! I’m writing this in hopes to comfort, share, support and encourage women to be their own “doctors” and cope with Endometriosis.

I didn’t know any women but one with endometriosis until Instagram. I remember all the times my friends were starting to be more social, like going to school sporting events and doing a lot of fun stuff; and I missed out on a lot because of the pain and weakness I was experiencing from my periods. It seemed like I had more bad days then good days.

I started noticing something wasn’t right when I had my first period. I bled for 14 days straight with a heavy flow. It made me sck, I remember laying on the living room floor of my grandma’s house hating…

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Million Woman March for Endometriosis-March 13, 2014 Washington D.C.

Time to End the Silence

One in Eight Million Girls and Woman are affected by this disease and often go undiagnosed for 6-10 years before it is discovered.

Time to End the Silence

http://www.millionwomenmarch2014.org/

Most women have suffered pain during their menstrual cycle at one time or another. It can be mild to moderate. Some, however, experience such blinding pain that it can render them unable to move, unable to speak, and in tot he degree it can end in an emergency room visit. Most ER doctors may understand, some even will be good about giving pain medication to ease the pain. But what if you’re someone who suffers every month, worse and worse as time goes on?

My daughter, Michaela, has suffered pain like this since age 13. She went to multiple doctors, female and male alike, to find out what was wrong. She was a great student in a Magnet School, but due to her absenteeism, she had to drop out or risk being failed. None of the counselors understood. None of them would listen to me when I told them, “Something is wrong. I don’t know what, but I am trying to find out.”

We went to over 7 doctors before the 8th doctor finally caved when she was 16 years old and said, “Let’s do surgery.” It was the greatest relief, even though many view surgery as “scary”. What is scary when your daughter is in so much pain she is curled in a ball, screaming, asking her Daddy to help her and saying to me, “Mom, help me, what’s going on?” and I have no answers for her.

My daughter suffered 3 solid years of excruciating pain each month. One female doctor, which I have found is much worse (in my experience than male doctors, sat in the examining room with her back to me, speaking to my 15 year old daughter at the time, explaining what a period was. Mind you, she had hers since age 11 and I educated both of my children early on so they wouldn’t fear becoming a woman. She was rude, ignored any question I asked as if I wasn’t sitting there, and finally, I asked her if she was going to examine her. She was going to send my daughter out the door with birth control pills without even an examination!

My daughter gets up on the table and the look on the doctor’s face said it all as she murmured “Oh, you poor thing, no wonder you hurt” as she was bleeding so heavily the doctor gave her a shot of Toradol on the spot. What I would have liked to say to that doctor I didn’t out of wanting help for my child, but she never went back to that doctor again. No way was I going to allow someone in the medical field treat my child as if she were uneducated and rude to me when I am there as her mother to make sure she gets the care she needs. That was MY responsibility.

A couple of months later, my daughter had been to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for pain in her back and feeling like fainting after taking Aleve. On the drive there, she was motionless and pure white. Her blood pressure was extremely low and tests were run. They checked her kidneys and this time did an ultrasound of her uterus and ovaries. The young woman intern looked at me and said, “You should consider the pain might not be her kidneys and could be from ovulation. She might have endometriosis.”

That was the first time I had heard it for someone so young. My sister had it and was diagnosed at age 18 and I also had been scheduled for laparoscopic surgery in August of 1995 to see if I had it and why I couldn’t conceive. Instead of having the surgery, my pre-op blood tests showed I was already 3 months pregnant-with Michaela! I didn’t think, however, my own child would be in the position I once was in and at so young of an age. I remember as a young girl, though, having the pain and suffering.

We tried doctor after doctor with no answers. How we came about the 8th doctor was ironic. One day she called me from school only fifteen short minutes after dropping her off.

“Mom, something is wrong. I don’t feel right. Can you come right away?”

My husband and I rushed to get her. She was staggering and couldn’t stand up. We rushed her to her pediatrician and they tested her blood sugar, which was in the low 70’s. They boosted her up with some sugar and her blood pressure was very low. The PA saw I was upset and I blew up about how she had been sick and nothing had been done. I explained what the person at Children’s Healthcare had said, and she referred me to her gynecologist who specialized in women’s diseases.

Our first visit, we went through the whole birth control blah blah blah and said she could not be on them because of the side effects. He said, “Well, try Beyaz, just one more.” I was desperate to help her even with the surrounding controversy of the sister to YAZ. She was on it just a short time and the pain became even more intense. She came home from school about 2 days after that visit and went into the bathroom screaming on the toilet for someone to help her straight off the bus…I called her doctor and he said he would schedule laparoscopic surgery right away.

My heart sunk and I was furious. It turned out, her teacher wouldn’t let her use the bathroom so I called the school and ripped them a new one. I made sure they heard my child screaming on the toilet asking for help. I warned them they were ion hot water and I would be filing a complaint about the teacher. They said it was “routine” and would need a doctor’s note…to go to the bathroom! I knew right then and there school was not going to be an option for her any longer with the way they treated her. This guidance counselor had not taken me seriously when I had told her she was having medical issues and how bad they were related to her period. It was embarrassing for my daughter to discuss it, but I felt that since she was a woman, she would understand. What a joke. She said, “Well, everyone has pain with their periods.” A standard response from age-old rhetoric that needs to be shattered. Some of the older women I have met sometimes are just as bad as ignorant doctors.School, however, was not my priority at the time.

After my daughter’s first surgery,(video link-graphic) we found she indeed had endometriosis. She ended up finishing out that school year for 10th grade and I signed the papers for her to drop out. I was done with the public school system and the way they handled things. I was done fighting for my child to get an education and to be able to get the help she needed. Michaela got her first job and started just 2 mere weeks after her first surgery, then took on a 2nd job to help pay for online school. Since it was a Christian based program, the science was a joke and I knew she would never pass any standardized tests. That is when we discussed getting her GED. I wasn’t happy and I had always dreamed my daughter who was so smart she beat out others to be in a Magnet School was now getting a “Good Enough Diploma” as she now jokingly calls it.

She worked hard and met the qualifications, graduating with high honors for the GED including getting a plaque for the highest score for the GED for the entire year on that campus. She has worked hard since, having fought through a marriage young and domestic abuse (which is a whole other story altogether) which resulted in separation from her husband at 5 months pregnant, and even was blessed with a pregnancy resulting in my grandson even though she was originally told she would probably never have children.

Before her second surgery last September, she went through the Hell of dealing with the doctor who handled the delivery of her son “trying” Depoprovera for her endometriosis. He was not well versed in the disease and said surgery was out of the question. It resulted in her passing a mass the size of the palm of her hand a month after receiving her first shot. When tested, the lab results came back simply “endometrial tissue” and “other”. The usage of Depoprovera can result in the endometrial lining coming out as a mass. Not much is known and not much has been reported of incidences such as Michaela’s. She had to finally say goodbye to that doctor and search for another one. The pain had gotten bad again like before her first surgery. She could barely work and care for her baby boy, Gary.

After a couple of ER visits, the last a rush in late August 2013 to the ER where she couldn’t even drive herself home, resulted in being flagged by the local hospital for narcotic usage because I had mentioned she went to another county ER since that is where her gynecologist was located and we knew at that point it was her endo again. She has been given a cockatil of morphine and lilaudid at the time to deal with the horrible pain. The ER doctor from the local visit was rude and verbally abusive toward her. She was left, literally, lying in pain in the emergency room with just a shot of Toradol, with her blood pressure dropping several times over to 57/43 and her heart rate skipping from 63 down to 47 beats a minute. They did NOTHING but SENT HER HOME!

We went the very same day to my general practitioner, Dr. Abassi in Covington, Georgia. He saved her sanity. He was told the background and what had been going on. He even said to go to the ER and that is when I explained to him we had COME from the ER that morning. He called in his partner and a student that was there. He didn’t dismiss her. He didn’t think she was dramatic. He took a look at her and the sympathy from that wonderful man almost had me in tears. He patted my shoulder and said he understood how upsetting it was or me. I told him I felt helpless and he said to me, “We will figure out what to do..what to do..” half talking to himself. Not IF he could do something, but WHAT he could do to help.

He referred her to a wonderful gynecologist that did her 2nd surgery. He sat there the first visit, took all the information, and gave her the options. He started out talking about birth control and I saw the back of my daughter go rigid, like “Not again” and then said surgery was what he think was necessary.

And the tears poured down from her face in utter relief. I started crying, too. THIS was the kind of care my daughter deserved. Not the rude and abusive treatment she had received from other doctors or acting as if she were an experiment for this drug or that birth control pill. When it gets to that point, surgery is necessary.

Her divorce was finalized this past November and still she struggles with her job. She had to go on medical leave from a warehouse job she loved, and since it was through a temp agency, even though they said they would save her position for her, just 3 short days after surgery, she was told her place had been taken. She was out of a job. She has been having to fight for child support and the county is no help in getting her ex-husband to pay. She has had to fight for everything she has been through and everything she has.

But she refuses to give up. She tells others-speak out. Get a second opinion. Be treated with respect. Tell the world you’ve had enough of being told it is all in your head, it isn’t that bad, or you “can’t handle pain”. Unless you have walked a mile in your shoes or anyone else’s, you know NOTHING of the pain and suffering they have gone through. But you CAN make a difference.

Now it is her choice to fight for others as well. The Million Woman March for Endometriosis is March 13, 2014. After illness and a 2nd surgery this past September, resulting in a double diagnosis of not only endometriosis, but also adenomyosis and after hearing about it, Michaela signed up to be precinct manager for Georgia. She hasn’t been able to do the duties to the best of her ability going through her divorce and battling financial issues and the disease itself, but she wants to make good things happen., Michaela wants to go to Washington to represent the state of Georgia and all the young women out there who have to fight for healthcare, respect for their symptoms and concerns with this disease, school who will not listen, education for the parents and the girls themselves, so their lives can be more meaningful.

“Maybe if I go to Washington D. C. and tell my story,” says Michaela Savoy, “I can save another girl from having to go through what I went through. Maybe she won’t have to drop out of school or miss out on opportunities like I did because she hurts too bad to go. I want to help.”

We have set up a Go Fund Me Account for Michaela to try and raise funds for Michaela to attend to her duties as precinct manager and for us to go as moral support. We didn’t think it would be possible since her last job she was let go from replaced a position they said they would hold for her after taking medical leave for her 2nd surgery. She still works but in a minimum wage job when she knows she is capable of so much more and misses the job she once had. Due to financial reasons and medical issues myself (I currently am saving up to have a hysterectomy that I was supposed to have in January), my husband and I want to support her in her quest for making the world a better place but need your help in getting her to DC. We HAVE to make this happen for our daughter, one way or the other. She has been through too much to stop now…

Fighting for Women's Healthcare

(l) Michaela’s older sister Jole, a PCOS sufferer with daughter Lillian
(r)Michaela with her son Gary and boyfriend Aaron

If you can donate, wonderful! If not, sharing her link and sharing her story is something that can make all the difference to this girl and potentially many others. You can find out more about the March at the link at the beginning and if you like, support the women in your state or my daughter in making a difference. If you are anywhere in the world, this cause has been something women have suffered from worldwide, and is now a worldwide event!

Time to End the Silence

Stephanie March and Sheryl Crow Support the Million Woman March

I want to thank actress Stephanie March of Law and Order SVU for being spokesperson for this cause, as well as entertainer Sheryl Crow for supporting us. They will both be in attendance for the March. The March also has several organizations that support this endeavor that you can see here.

And last, but definitely not least, Dr. Camren Nezhat for making this happen for all of us.

If you would like to join the event, please go to the website above and contact your state precinct manager!

I am an American Woman

I am an American Woman

I am only one voice of many, unafraid to speak my mind.

I love being an American. I grew up in a small town, Vernon Center, NY, and was raised on a horse farm in a two-story house my parents rented from a rich race horse owner. I knew very little about politics until I got much older and really thought the world wasn’t a whole lot of bad. Even though we had our own dysfunction in many different ways in our family, life was as good as it could be given our poor circumstances.

Then, I found the internet, got restless and fed up with the life I was living, and moved to another state.

I was only 34 years old.

Shocked? For many, that age is when they have had enough self-discovery and are settling down into family life. I did mine in reverse. I was very sheltered growing up, politics and religion were things that really were not discussed in my household. Music, art and literature were all important as my father played the guitar and had his own small-town band until he got too sick to do it and my mother was the typical 1950’s housewife, even in the 1980’s when I was a teenager, who loved to read and loved celebrities. I had other thoughts about what a woman should be able to do and met my husband at the tender age of 16, but he embraced my dreams, no matter how silly everyone else seemed to think they were. I fell in love and put other things in my life on hold.

I had my oldest daughter when I was almost 18 and my youngest when I just turned 25 years old. Now at the age of (only) 44, I have 2 beautiful grandkids that are 4 years old (my oldest’s) and 14 months old (my youngest’s). When my body could no longer cooperate with me in focusing on making a mediocre living being a doll clothing designer and seamstress, I turned to writing. In the midst of things, however, I discovered politics and the fact life was definitely not what it seemed on the surface.

I always looked up to a family member who was married to someone who worked for TSA. I have a great lot of respect for his intelligence and she was always so open-minded and we would talk a lot. Then things changed and it was harder and harder to get a hold of her, she became steeped in religion, and she changed so drastically that I started to wonder…just who is this person? I became concerned as she seemed to be unable to talk when I would call or she would never get my emails or phone calls. It made me wonder just what was going on and suspicious about how her life really was.

Everything seemed okay on the surface but this drastic change made me start looking up more about politics and the world around me. Someone I felt I could look up to who had traveled the world rarely spoke to me as I also voiced my anger over some family issues and challenged the truth in them. I knew she didn’t want to talk to me because of it and I also finally got fed up with the way I was ignored as part of the family since I moved.

Suddenly, the things she had claimed to hate or the things she had the same opinion on that I did suddenly became the opposite. We had harsh words the last time we spoke and I knew I had pushed the envelope too far, but I had to speak my mind. In the end, it made me cut my ties, in essence, and removed them from my Facebook profiles along with other family members who had, to my understanding, said they were sick of how I acted. I had grown up in a family of women who had been raised to be meek and mild and say nothing, even if things were out of sorts or if we had an issue with something or someone. I had changed, too, and knew it was time that I put an effort into something that would be appreciated.

Brainwashing through the media?

Are we told only what we want to hear or only what the government wants us to think?

It was my concern over the drastic change of opinion between us that I think I became even more open-minded to the possibility people might be silenced for their thoughts and their views, especially if one of their loved ones were working for the government. Someone does not have that drastic of a change of opinion suddenly and act so different. I was worried, but knew even if there was something going on, there was nothing I could do. I would just be touted as being “silly” or “dramatic”. My family failed to realize I was no longer the little girl or young woman who was meek and mild any longer. I wasn’t sure if it was that something was going on, or she just hated me for voicing my opinion and disagreeing with the way things have gone with our family in recent years.

Regardless of that, I am the complete opposite of my family members. I am outspoken on world views, I challenge tired values, I will meet someone head-on if I think I am right and they are wrong, and do not care any longer if a person will love me or hate me for who I am.

That, down to the core, is the bottom of it all.

I learned to be who I was and was no longer afraid of displeasing family members or embarrassing them. I no longer gave a damn if I had friends or if I was “liked”. I spent many years in high school being hated for being overly talkative, geeky, just a real pain in the ass because I wanted to hang with those who thought they were “cool”. I didn’t fit in because I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, or party, and when I discovered the joy of sex, I did it with only one person and married them. We have raised a family and been together 27 years. I wonder just how many popular “kids” can claim the same? I laugh now at my younger self because I wish I could just tell her to keep being who she is because 20 plus years from now, it will no longer matter.

Now I use my ability to write and dig deep on issues to discuss things going on in this country on the internet. Granted, I am not worldly by any means, I am not a college graduate although I spent 2 years going to a vocational school, and I don’t consider myself a very motivated person like I probably could be. What I am is an American Woman who is fed up with the way this country has become a melting pot for fools who are blind to the politics around them and the bullshit the media feeds them. I am a mother who wants to see her daughters successful, but they fall into the crevice created for the schooled but not “comfortable” financially. I am the grandmother of 2 beautiful children who, at best, is looking at a mediocre education that is fed to them via computers and those who focus more on what the kids are wearing rather than what they are learning, wearing uniforms in a public educational system, that will most likely get bored if they are as smart as my kids were and walk away at 16 and get their GED.

What is next for our children?

Our freedom is quickly becoming no longer free.

Then they will face a jobless America that has the majority on Foodstamps, or those who should get them but the government system screws them over and up and stand in a line at the Food Banks. Right now, even if my children went back to college, or if the grands were brilliant and got an education at Harvard, not just the economic, but the SOCIAL crumbling our society is experiencing will mean they will probably have to arm themselves to walk the streets or drive a vehicle. They will be subject to the restrictions of a government who has stripped them and their parents of rights that their ancestors fought so hard to gain. Yet, here I sit, doing nothing but opening my mouth or putting to words my thoughts…

I sat yesterday and thought, you know, we suck as Americans in general. Mad at that statement? GOOD! You should be! Take a good hard look around you. People get mad at Indians who purchase gas stations, then avoid taxes and hand it down to family member after family member, go back to India and take their money with them. People get mad at the Mexicans who stand in line at Wal-mart and Western Union funds to poor family members in Mexico. Why? They should be putting that money back here in America where it should be, right?

Exactly. Then I thought, wait a minute…they are helping their families become more successful. They are enabling their relatives to succeed, become more educated, even to bring them here to America to live a better life. Then I thought, you know, what do WE as Americans do for ourselves and each other? We lock ourselves away in our houses, afraid to step into the light of day for we may possibly run into someone who is racist, or a criminal, or possibly *gasp* homosexual!

When was the last time you went to your neighbor and spoke to them? Me? Um, nope, not happening. Why? This ‘hood is full of drug dealers and criminals. We know this for a fact. Police are “working on it”, but in the meantime, my cars get keyed in my driveway at night and my granddaughter gets looks when she called her stepfather, who is black and she is white, “Dad” in public. He is the only father figure she has ever known! Should it matter if he was black and she was white? No.Not to me it does’t. Yet when I speak out about the Obama administration, I am accused of being racist and a conspiracy theorist.

And then I thought, you know, even if someone wanted to stay at home and raise their kids themselves rather than a daycare, they would be unable to do so since the restrictions of Foodstamps requires a parent to work by the time the child is 6 weeks old. SIX WEEKS OLD!!! Then that child is shoved off to a grandparent as most likely both parents have to work or the parent may be single or divorced. That child will rarely see the one who gave birth because they are so overwhelmed with just being able to keep diapers on their behinds and food in their mouths.

Some people say that is that person’s fault. They should have gotten an education.They should have waited to have children. What if that person did? What if they lost their job the day they found out they were pregnant? What if, what if, what if? Nobody knows another person’s story…

Now I live in a somewhat larger town now in Georgia. I no longer see the world through rose-colored glasses. I see, with eyes wide-open, the vagrants on the streets. The shoeless man begging for money for a meal on the median near Wal-mart. I also see the police put one similar person who was at the edge of the off-ramp on I-75 in a police car, too. I see white vehicles labeled “Homeland Security” on the side with “Police” on the back cruising through town every so often. I see “Witness protection” and federal agents” on other vehicles in a town nearby every so often at the QT. I see quick exchanges on the street as we drive home and they quickly go away and I know most likely I just saw a drug deal go down, but then what? I have no proof. Then there are the police who came to my daughter’s domestic disturbance and gave her now ex-husband her location instead of protecting her. Who didn’t even file an actual report, but instead, just gave a “narrative”.

Coming to your town soon?

Just who will Homeland Security be transporting in these vehicles on US soil?

Cameras are at every point and turn so they can “keep an eye on traffic” and later this year, devices to be able to read your license plate numbers as you drive by. They explain on television it is to help those who have been kidnapped or missing, or to catch criminals. All I can think of is we no longer will have any privacy even in our own homes, especially once technology enables someone as minor as a landlord to be able to get a drone to look at their properties when they feel like it. We are losing the basis of freedom that the Constitution has given us.

No longer can we say “We, the People” as our voices and opinions are quickly overcast and no longer heard. Those who speak out are denounced. People who speak about or post anything negative about the government are suddenly under scrutiny by the IRS and by other agencies, as well as something as simple as online accounts are “looked into” and posts deleted entirely. People think it is a load of crap. Maybe I am just full of it and blowing smoke up people’s asses, as the saying goes. Then again, give it a try. Speak out and speak your mind and see how far it gets you. Show the world what is really going on on a daily basis in this country.

All I know is that at my age, I should be able to speak my mind and give my family a better place to be in than what we have right now. Something’s gotta give and gotta give now before it is too late. If writing and posting is all I can do at this time, then so be it. I am not going to stay silent when I see my country going to Hell and her people starving, children being uneducated, and the elderly and veterans left unable to care for themselves. Someone out there has got to say “I’ve had enough!”

My name is Jody Provost. I am an American Woman and I am here to say, “I have had enough!”

Material Possessions

Today’s economy is one of the worst since the gas rations of the ’70’s. Mind you, I was just a child then, but I remember my mother and father in their Oldsmobile lining up at the pump on your designated day and waiting for your gas rations. My mother would always tell me about the food rations of the ’40’s and how she would get in trouble for eating sugar sandwiches. For those who don’t know what those are, it is a delicacy that the poor enjoys when there isn’t any cookies or cake, pouring sugar into a fold of bread and eating it.

I always found it ironic that my husband and my mother both enjoyed such things as children. It made me feel spoiled to have known my mother’s baking. However, I do recall going grocery shopping once a month when the Food Stamps came in and my father’s SSI. I remember days of lettuce sandwiches when meat was few and far between.

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And I survived just fine. If anything, I was probably healthier in some way than kids today. I played outside, I loved the country air and the horses I grew up around. I had a lot of Barbie dolls that my mother scrimped and saved for to buy me, but TV and such was a privilege. It wasn’t until I got a bit older I really started wanting more, but I fell in love and that was that. My focus was on the high school sweetheart turned husband and the little girl I wanted to give the world.

That ended up being a problem-I wanted her to have all the things I never had as a child and was determined that she was going to get them.

My husband made a good living back then in our 20’s, working in a dairy plant and we had a nice, new car, helped out my Mom and Dad, bought new things, had credit cards. You name it, I could buy it when I wanted to and still had the bills paid. Then I got sick, he lost his job, and we knew hard times all over again.

After many decisions, some good, some bad, moving a lot, and changing jobs (even though it was an excellent one)we weren’t in the position to give our kids all they want and haven’t been able to for many years. We have struggled and now, we own our own property and “house” (it’s a double-wide), but our money goes into making the utility bills each month, food, car payments, insurance (health and car) and other than that, taking care of all of our dogs.

After becoming sick at age 22 and not being able to work, it was a lesson learned in material possessions. I learned, without your health, you have absolutely nothing. I wanted that more than anything else in the world and it wasn’t something I could buy.

Fast forward to now. I sat today in my car waiting for my husband and my daughter’s boyfriend to come out of the pawn shop. a week ago, my oldest doesn’t know it, but my husband pawned his wedding ring when she got married so he could buy her a pair of earrings for her big day and other things. So, when my daughter’s boyfriend decided to part with some odds and ends to get a little extra cash, we took him to the same place. After all, they were taking up precious room they didn’t have and he wasn’t attached to the items anyhow. He wanted to surprise my daughter with new nightgowns for my grandson.

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While sitting there I heard my grandson babbling. He had come along for the ride as my daughter needed a shower and some down time as we were taking her to Urgent Care with a horrible cough and cold once we got back home. I knew she had bronchitis. She works so hard and she is always worrying about money, especially considering child support is not always reliable. She has 3 jobs now-yes-3-and I just shake my head at that. No wonder she was sick…

Just as I am thinking of her, a car pulls up beside me and out of it comes a young black woman with 2 children. I just barely see the tops of their heads but she is clutching to her chest something black with cords dangling down. She looks determined and seems to have her mind set only on one thing-getting inside the pawn shop and pawning the item she had.

I watch her as she strides toward the steps. She is heavy set and has trouble, it seems, walking. She clutched that damn thing to her chest as I watched, listening to my grandson babble in his car seat. I couldn’t believe my eyes as she climbs the concrete steps to the landing and stands there, looking around and not really seeing, it seems, as I watch her 2 children start to climb those damn steps.

One barely could lift her leg to climb them. She couldn’t have been more than 4 years old. The other? Well, it was the other child that captured my attention. Tiny little legs and tiny little arms climbed those steps, one at a time, hand over hand as she pulled herself up on each step.

She couldn’t have been more than a little over a year old.

So here the mother stands there clutching that damn black thing with cords and awaits her children, barely allowing them entrance into that pawn shop as she struggles to open the door. Her darling 4 year old helps her, taking the hand of the younger sister and ushering her quickly inside before the door closes. That mother barely gave a backward glance.

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I await my husband and daughter’s boyfriend to come out, and instead, not many minutes after, that same mother comes storming out of the pawn shop and rushes to her car. She is still clutching that damn black thing with cords as I watch, holding my breath, as those 2 beautiful children slowly climb down the steps. The “oldest” little girl has hold of her sister’s hand as she makes each step (barely) down to the parking lot where cars would come without a second thought to whether there would be children in the way.

And the mother doesn’t move. She stands at the car, shoving that black thing in and awaiting her children to come to her, not thinking ONCE of their safety. My mouth by now is hanging open in astonishment, but also in reproach as I could not believe this woman was not making a move to watch out for her children’s safety.

She turned briefly, most likely realizing she was being stared at by me behind my glasses that couldn’t hide the frown that burrowed deeply into my brow. I tried to keep my face passive, but it was impossible to do so, listening to my grandson babble and knowing he was safe inside the car.

Not long after, my husband and daughter’s boyfriend come out, his stuff still piled up in his arms. Turned out the pawn shop didn’t want what he had and they told me the story of the young mother who went in with an X-Box 360. She offered a whole $20 for it, while they had many others in the case being sold at a whopping $200.

And all I could think?

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Material possessions. That woman cared more about getting that damn game system to safety than her children. She did not want that precious cargo of entertainment ruined, but cared naught for the children so beautiful left behind unattended.

I thought back to me at that age. No matter how much I wanted things, no matter how many times life was hard, my most important thing in my life was always my kids and my family. Once my health deteriorated and we hit hard times, I really wasn’t given any choice but to not want things. I couldn’t afford them.

Then my daughter tells me about her lunch with her boss yesterday. There was a group of children, many who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old, carrying i-phones and other ridiculously expensive items. She told her boss she wasn’t going to allow my grandson such things and he had to earn them.

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Just what I had taught her and my oldest. You have to earn the things you get in life. It teaches you to be self-sufficient.

I realized then that while at one point in my life, money and “things” seem to preoccupy my thoughts, I have raised my children right to know that their children, not the things they can buy for them, mean so much more than anything else in this world. Maybe this is contradictory to the story of the mother who says her kids aren’t the center of her universe, which, I agree, they shouldn’t be. However, they damn well should be more important than any material possession.

Anything you buy can be replaced. Children cannot.

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My motto for the month of November.

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Some say fear is learned. If you do not believe in fear then therefore you cannot experience it. I always wondered, if that was the case, can it be undone? I suppose it might be possible, but what if you feared failure your entire life?

Someone once told me I was afraid of success. At the time, I balked and guffawed (do women guffaw?) and said, “Hell, no!” And yet, it still took me several years to put my money where my mouth is (or should I say, my fingers) and wrote my first novel and published it. I still cringe when I get a review to see if someone thought it sucked. It wasn’t until recently I had to accept the fact some may think it sucks, even if others love it, but that doesn’t mean I should stop writing. Some never finished the book (either from boredom or just because it is a long book!) and never gave any insight to whether they liked it or not. Maybe some day they think it will be worth something?

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I am finding I still fear failure, but now is the time of mid-life crisis coming to call and I am answering with a big “HELLO!?” because I just don’t know what I want anymore. I was a seamstress for over 20 years and now my hands and back are paying the price for it. After making my daughter’s wedding dress for Halloween, I realized all the aches and pains were back. I then realized, I am going to have to accept sewing is going to be a hobby rather than a business for me now. It’s hard to accept after so many years, but I want to stop before my hands get worse and I cannot do anything at all.

My mother said I should keep sewing no matter what it does to me. After all, what would I be doing otherwise? I said housework and taking care of my dogs and family. She said, “So? Everyone does housework. You won’t be remembered for doing housework.” True, but then again, she never recognized the fact I help many dogs get out of shelters from my postings and begging people for donations just to save one little family of dogs from a gassing shelter. I also wrote my novel, so, it wasn’t as if I have done absolutely nothing with my life.

So if I don’t sew, what is my only other option? I have never worked a real job more than a few days in my life (not including my stint as a home health aide ages back straight out of high school) What else am I good at? What may I possibly succeed at that might make a difference and still bring me happiness? And what about money? My husband struggles with his job and ends up with pain in his knees and legs. Maybe I am already lazy and just didn’t realize it?

But, no. That isn’t it. I had to stop listening to that niggling voice in my head saying “You suck because you don’t make money with anything you do” and “You’ll never amount to anything” and “You won’t be remembered”. I think my favorite thing from my past that still gets dredged up is the fact I was a teen mother. I had my daughter as a senior in high school. My guidance counselor told me I might as well quit after missing 4 months thanks to pre-term labor. I proved her wrong-I graduated and I made up every test and every homework assignment. I was going to be something, if nothing more than a high school graduate.

Thinking back to that and all I have done since, I decided to write, not as a hobby any longer, but with the blessing of my husband, to go for the gold and open my mouth and write with it (well, my hands, but you get what I mean). I may write run-on sentences or sometimes use the wrong verb tense, but in general among my ramblings there is usually a lesson to be learned or something to be told.

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I might not be a millionaire when I die. Hell, I will be lucky if I make my mortgage payment, have enough money for food and gas and still buy Christmas presents for my little family next month. But I have come further than last year as I had just bought a house and had so much go wrong, I didn’t even have anything but a dining room table and chairs for furniture other than my beds and dressers in my house. I had spent every dime I had to fix what I could and get a new car and feed my family while our finances decided to sneak up and bite us in the ass finally.

I might be discovered for my thoughts and my movement of “We, the People” instead of “We, the Sheeple” in this country of ours. I might be discovered for campaigning for women’s rights to have much needed surgery for endometriosis without countless months of pain and suffering. I might end up being known for saving dogs and cats, focusing on pregnant Mamas left behind or them with their litters begging for freedom and to live.

All I know is I will find out what I am meant to do and have an epiphany at some point. Until then I am just going to go with the flow and see where it takes me. It is going to be an adventure since I really don’t know where I am headed.

“Be Not Afraid …

Atheists, Religion, and Unicorns

Religion is always a touchy subject for many. 

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If you don’t spout things from the Bible or say anything about praising Jesus, you most likely are just a hateful person or believe in the devil. Many have asked me what I believe in and my answer? I don’t really know…

I grew up a good Roman Catholic girl in a household where my mother was in charge but still did anything and everything my father said. Her needs and wants didn’t matter and divorce was out of the question (Yay Catholicism! NOT). Back then, a woman was always subservient in most households, especially those that are very religious, as we had just been out of the 50’s like 20 years or so. Not enough time to realize some of the shit that happened back then really was plain moronic on the female front (hence feminism coming into existence). Sad. Just sad.

I grew up being told about God and not to talk badly about other religions (which, kudos to my mother, she respected ALL religions). My mother was never one, really, to tell me I would be struck down by God for any one reason but made it clear to be a good person and to do the right thing (but also to NEVER get divorced no matter how shitty your husband was to you and your kids). I don’t think she expected me at just a mere 7 years old telling her I was going to refuse to walk to the Catholic school across from my elementary for “religion” every Tuesday. I just didn’t believe in it.

You see, at age 3, I was really sick and told my mother and father I saw God. My father, needless to say, never slept in that bed again. We didn’t have a good relationship and while that is a shame, it just meant I was able to be who I was without much friction on his part. I believed in God very strongly, even while not believing in having to go to church to do so, even when my daughter was born when I was 17 years old. Now that I am 43, my views have changed drastically, but I cannot pinpoint any one reason as to why or when it started.

When I was only 21 years old, my father died in my arms. He had just been released from the hospital just a few hours earlier after a 2 week stay for pneumonia. Idiot doctors said that he had that when, really, he had fluid around the heart and died of a massive stroke. Needless to say, even though for many years I reflected back on the day he passed, jumping up from the chair, arms outstretched as if going “toward” someone or something, and the  falling over couch  as a somewhat religious experience, my questions about the whys and whatfors made me step outside my religion into the agnostic realm.

I wasn’t quite sure God even existed then or what happened when people died.

I wanted to know, so I started experimenting with the paranormal. Needless to say I still feel a connection to those who have passed and while some would think I am full of shit in the psychic realm, I have proven time and again to know things I should not. Now, doesn’t mean others who have had consultations with me will listen. Hell, half the time what comes to me during sessions I could not repeat for the life of me. I’ve even had people say I must be possessed when I do it.

There’s a problem with that theory-the only “demons” in most sessions are those from the client that need to have resolution to their feelings about those who have passed on and the decisions made in the time they were alive. I don’t believe in demons and I don’t believe in the devil. Many say that makes me a devil worshiper…huh!?

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Back track…

I don’t believe in the devil at all. I believe in evil-pure evil is a contradiction in terms. Evil is and never was “pure”. It either is or isn’t at all. I believe all children-yes ALL-are born innocent and have the ability to choose good or bad. Being human gives us the freedom of choice.

Here is the thing…evil is learned and practiced by those around us. Evil can come in many forms (many tend to point to the political rings) but honestly, a child born to a person who never wanted them in the first place and is told such is given a reason to start questioning why they exist at all. Anyone who tells a child they never wanted them, to me, is an evil person. If you never did, why keep them just to tell them? Give them to a person who would love and cherish any child-like those battling infertility for years upon end. That would eliminate the basis of that evil. Then that child would know the love of a person who really wanted them and self-hate wouldn’t even come into play.

Another example-many children learn from what they see. If a couple is in a relationship in which they hate each other but stay together “for the sake of the child” really, in the end, affect that child in many ways. They might hate men or women (depending on which gender seems to have the most impact on them at the time) and decide never to be in a steady relationship of any kind. Some spout some BS about that can “make” a person gay. You cannot “make” a person gay. But I will leave that for another blog….

But I digress, children learn the hate and evil from others. When we moved from NY to GA my youngest daughter was only 9 years old. A tender age and one that can be so very impressionable. She came home maybe less than a week of living here and asks me, “Mama, what is a ‘damn Yankee’?”

Ummm….

Now maybe…MAYBE that child had heard it from TV. I doubt it. Most likely that kid went home to talk about the new kid in class and how they were from NY and not Georgia. That would make that child and that child’s family “Damn Yankees”. I can joke about it now, but try explaining to a little kid who never experienced a load of hate in just a few words what it all means. Not easy.

Just like when a child asks, “What is God?” many have responses for that, especially those who read the Bible and who have been to religion or gone to church. My reasoning for years since I was a child is, if God DOES exist, why is it only acceptable to worship “Him”  in a church? Isn’t God supposed to be everywhere? Shouldn’t you be able to get down on your knees in the middle of the supermarket and pray to God for enough money to feed your family and praise the Lord when finding your favorite cookie on sale?

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I want to thank my husband at this time, by the way, to have shown me that faith is personal and should not be shoved onto ANYONE, especially and including your children. When my oldest daughter was born, I was insistent that she be Baptized. I had it ingrained in me by my mother it MUST be done. My husband asked me why and I just said, “Because, you’re supposed to!” and he again asked me “Why? And I want our children to be able to CHOOSE their religion, if they even decide to have one.”

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*GASP*

NOT have a religion? What would they put down when they go to the hospital or if they go to have surgery? What about when you’re asked such a question on other forms? What should they say? Is there even a blank space for “None” for religious preference? Does that mean you don’t have a preference or does it mean you have no religion at all? I think there should be a blank for “agnostic” or “atheist”. Don’t you? If there are all those other choices, aren’t those choices as well?

I struggled for years with what my religious preference was. The closest I got was Pagan but then again-that doesn’t even explain me. I went for Wiccan, as I had believed in the mystic and the powers of self. Here is the problem-I don’t believe in multiple Gods. I have trouble believing even ONE exists. So where, oh where, do I fit in? Anywhere?

My husband is a proclaimed Atheist. He doesn’t believe in God’s existence and many times has said in the past, “If God does exist, why do children go hungry? Why do people murder and rape?” He opened my mind on so many levels, this friend of mine, to wonder and ask questions when I was brought up to accept and believe without question. DO NOT question. Just DO as you are told like a good little girl and get a pat on the head for doing the right thing and be on your way.

No. That is my answer to a lot of questions asked. No-I will NOT accept blindly without question. My physical state of being and my mind is unable to do so. I can do good things and be a good person, but to sit here and think Jesus was anything other than a human being with the ability to persuade others to believe in something they could not see is just something I cannot do. I have read portions of the book of Deuteronomy and to my horror some of the things in that book associated with the Bible make me cringe. Many are so similar to Islamic beliefs it makes me wonder-are there REALLY any differences between the Bible and the Qur’an?

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Many would say an emphatic YES! There ARE differences! But many have not even seen portions of the Islamic book and some other books associated with Christianity like the Book of Deuteronomy. That is what changed my life forever-reading those things and that text and some of that book no, not even all). It made me think of why we ended up where we did with Catholicism and where we have been. Most recently, reading up on and watching movies about The Crusades, killing the “infidels” that did not believe in Christ. How was that any different than some of what is happening today with other countries who are Christian? It made my stomach sink to think I ever believed in a religion that had such a graphically violent history.

History is never politically correct. Some are trying to make it that way but in doing so, doing a disservice to those who have lost their lives in the process of it all. I recommend anyone watching “The Tomb of Jesus” by National Geographic. If you are Christian and have a scientific mind and are starting to question your faith, this may start you on your journey to find out more. Don’t accept what is given to you blindly. Find out WHY things are the way they are. Ask the whys of a person’s belief and if they say “Because that is how it is supposed to be” ask them again why. If they cannot answer, then maybe you need to be the one to find out why you should believe so, if believing anything at all.

Just like unicorns. Many say they are mythical creatures and do not exist. Does anyone really know? Think about it-you might be one to believe a dinosaur once existed, but maybe, just maybe, those fossil pieces weren’t meant to be put together and dinosaurs never existed. Maybe they were creatures from an alien planet that got destroyed. What about the pyramids? Do people REALLY believe they were erected the way it is depicted in history books?

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I don’t believe everything I am told. Nobody should (which is why I stopped WATCHING the news and now READ the news) I am always questioning much and believing very little nowadays. It’s a bit of a nuisance for me and to those around me, especially those who once were Atheist that now are gravitating the other way because of things happening to them. I don’t fit into any nice, neat little category. I never could. I don’t know what I believe at this point in my life.

Don’t pray for me or say “I’m sorry” because I’m not and praying can do very little other than make YOU feel good. I always believe in action making a difference. If you want to pray for anything, do a good deed. Could be anything at all. Network a shelter animal in need, donate some money if you can. Or better yet, how about walking down the alley or the corner where the bum you see every summer is not holed up in his or her cardboard box with a winter coat and socks and maybe a little food?

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I wish I could say I had been going somewhere with this blog but these are my random thoughts and if you read this far, maybe you have some random thoughts and questions of your own. You never know what your day will bring, so regardless of what you believe, believe in YOURSELF and make your existence on this earth mean something and make a difference when you get a chance. Then maybe we can talk about faith and religion some day.

Maybe not.

Halloween

Without fail, each year when Halloween would roll around and I would miss out on trick-or-treat with my sisters. I always was sick. ALWAYS. I cannot remember anytime being able to go get candy until I hit 12 years old and dressed up as a cheerleader. I remember going to the local dentist’s house and the first thing out of their mouth was, “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?”

Now, here in the south where I live, you only see a house here and a house there decorated for this wonderful holiday. Gone are the days of groups of kids like Charlie Brown with Snoopy in tow, or Linus waiting for the “Great Pumpkin”. Gone are the days that kids would drag their Halloween costumes to school and dress up for a Halloween parade. Heck, when I moved here to Georgia in 2004 and my daughter was only 9 years old, she didn’t get to do anything of the sort.

We no longer have trick-or-treat-we have churches with “Trunk or Treat” events in which children stand in super long lines to get on a ride or jump in a bouncer and get a whole single piece of candy. No handfuls of treats and no bags to dump on the floor and sift through and trade with siblings or friends or cousins. Many times kids don’t even dress up in costume to go door-to-door.

People have lost the spirit of Halloween. What if people lost the spirit of Christmas?

So many are under the impression that Halloween is a bad thing. Celebrating the Day of the Dead should be a time to reminisce about those who have passed on before us.  It is called All Hallow’s Eve because those who are hallowed (blessed) who have passed, are celebrated and the very next day is All Saint’s Day. Many Christians have adopted many of the Pagan holidays, or changed them to be “acceptable” to the majority of Christians. I cannot help but feel this is what is happening when you’re told to go to the trunk-or-treat events, or go on a more acceptable date (which normally is not Halloween) if it is not at the church.

I don’t know what to think anymore, but my daughter has chosen this day to be married on. I am making her dress and my friend made her daughter’s dress. She wants to have a day that, for many, is the start of a new year and new things. A time when life is quiet and yet so many possibilities are out there.

So what is next for this generation and the one up and coming? So sad to see imagination and fun being stomped out by religion and common sense. Whatever happened to being silly and being a KID? Whatever happened to pretending?

Halloween is October 31st. No other day. We will be celebrating. What about you? Will you be standing in those long lines, or do you want to bring back the fun of trick-or-treating? We as a people have to take this world back from those who have ruined it for others.