Life Isn’t Always Beautiful or Fair

Me and My Girls

It feels like a lifetime ago instead of 8 years. My heart aches for the loss of the beautiful soul taken way too soon. It’s hard to believe that nearly two weeks ago we lost you.

The picture above was one of those rare, magical times where we all seemed to be of the same color coordinated mind and it was too perfect not to convert into a photo op. Now I’m just grateful to have this little memento.

These women and their smiling faces held many of my cherished moments in my memory bank of a prior career. They were all smart, kind, well meaning, and with good hearts filled with kindness. They cherished their families, especially their children.

Imagine my shock when two of the ladies here (and one of the men not pictured) reached out to tell me that the lady in the white blouse standing on the far right was dead. Not only dead, but violently murdered. Shot and killed by her ex in what was being called a domestic violence case.

The response from all of us who knew and worked with her was utter devastation. What about her two young daughters who she used to bring by to show off? The ones she couldn’t stop talking about? They were her whole universe! Her reason for being. What was their world going to be without her? Weren’t they teenagers now? To lose a mom at any time is hard, but in this way during this time? My heart still bleeds for them. I can’t begin to imagine their devastation.

The news reports say she’d finally permanently broken it off and had stopped by the house one last time to get the last thing she’d left behind. Her cat. Because that was a big part of who she was. A lover of animals. She shouldn’t have lost her life.

Truth is, we all remember her ex. I remember thinking he was a bit of an ass and way too possessive. Hot headed, too. But never in a million years did I expect this. I knew they fought sometimes, but I never had any inclination that he had been this violently volatile. So many memories tumble out and I wonder what we missed and if there was anything we could’ve done that might have altered this path and then I realize that those thoughts are pointless.

Live in the here and now. Ache for those left behind, and do what you can to live life. Don’t squander it. In my own way I’ll try to do right by her girls as they deserve to be taken care of and to know that their mom was loved.

And if you are reading this and you are a victim of domestic abuse, know someone going through it, or even suspect it… PLEASE, I’m begging you, reach out for help. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or check out their website HERE!

Yeah… as if COVID, quarantine, and murder hornets weren’t enough, right? Don’t worry, I’m hurting, but ok. My support system is strong and I’m working both my day job and writing my next novel. What’s been going on in your world?

Fuck You, Cancer!

Insidious,

You sneak in,

Like a thief,

Unseen.

Entering the body,

Forcing it

To wage war on itself,

Sapping strength,

Muscle and bone,

Like a pestilence,

Stealing health.

And much needed time.

Confusion, devastation,

Questions and doubt…

“Why me, God?”

Or maybe

“Why them?”

Like a vampire,

You suck life and vitality

Leaving behind

A hollow reflection

That reverberates,

Aftershocks of destruction

To crumble

friends and families;

Those left behind,

And think you’ve won.

But that’s the battle,

Not the war.

Some things you can’t

Take.

They belong to the fighters.

The fierce warriors

Who stare you down,

Refusing to let you take

The love they give,

The life they live,

They never back down.

They fight and believe.

They are heroes,

Fortitude and fury

They battle until the body grows

Weary.

They teach…

Love, compassion,

And take back

What you sought to destroy.

For friends, family,

And mankind.

Help and hope–

To restore faith, belief,

And healing.

The beauty of sharing strength

Of loving support,

Of community and humanity,

And remind the world…

It’s not how you die

But how you LIVED!

I lost a dear childhood friend to cancer today after a 6 year battle. Even more, two amazing kids lost a mom and a loving husband lost his wife. A brother lost his baby sister and two parents lost their baby girl.

A year and a half before that, there was my father-in-law. And before that there was another few friends and an uncle…and the list goes on. Cancer has reared its nasty head in nearly everyone’s lives, but the miracle is in their relentless pursuit of life. Of living. Of never giving up, even if their bodies give out.

https://youtu.be/AHZCAcSh7ls

Lost, Broken, or Hope? Which Are You?

My heart hurts today. I just can’t sit here and say nothing. Am I the only one who feels it lately? All this hate, rage, toxicity oozing out of social media?

Can you not feel its destructiveness to your bones? I can.

There’s already so much pain and desolation and fear in the world. Must we really rabidly spew more hate into it? For the first time in a long time I hid someone’s posts from my Facebook posts from my feed because I couldn’t stand the hate messages wrapped up as “activism” anymore. Every message was filled with vitriol, spewed hate, and fanned the flames of extremist behavior while denigrating anyone who might value something other than what she believed.

I felt sad. Sorry for her. That she was so unhappy and filled with poison and looking for someone to blame. But I couldn’t be in her universe anymore. For me. I couldn’t condone her messages of verbal violence against others. That’s not a solution. That’s not helping make this world better. That’s just more of the horrible cycle of fear and hate and violence.

Listen…

I live in Florida. My heart broke for all the lost young lives. I ache for their families. It hit very close to home. The violence is not ok. I think we all agree on that. Gun control? Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. I don’t pretend to know. Do I think mental health issues play a big part in the violence of today? Absolutely. Do I think teachers should have to carry guns? No.

Billy Graham, who has been a religious leader to many, also died this this week. He lived to a ripe old age. Good for him.

Death isn’t death. Everyone finds their strength to move on from different sources, faith in God being a big one. So when I see the same people shouting hate comments at political leaders due to gun control laws, then spewing filth, nastiness, and wishing violence on a religious leader, I get sick to my stomach. I begin to wonder just how broken you are to fan more fuels of hate after such a painful week, and I walk away.

I feel sorry for the person, but I forgive them and I leave. Because I can’t be around that. I refuse to believe that the world is so broken and disgusting that it now only filled with rage and hate and finger pointing.

I don’t like people who extol hate and vicious rage. Who fan flames of doubt and violence. I may love you as a person, but it doesn’t mean I like you. Or that I’m blind to a person’s effect.

I guess what I’m asking is this… Have you considered the message you’re sending out into the world? Is it truly representative of the person you are? Are you helping to make the world a better place? What things have been hurting your heart lately? What things have given you hope or joy?

Life’s Too Short

I’m baaccckkkk!

Ok, so many of my friends here noticed my short hiatus turned out not to be so short. And yes. There were a few adventures along the way, but really, deep down, I got stuck again. I somehow found myself living one of my favorite melancholy Manilow songs…

Ok, replace “my woman” with just plain ol’ me (or my inspiration would probably be more accurate) because the other isn’t quite an accurate fit, but you’ll basically get the gist. Once again I allowed myself to get sucked into a career that drained me of some of my most valuable commodities.

Time.

And energy.

And once again it was for people who didn’t even know, understand, or appreciate my personal sacrifices. But that’s in the past.

I took a new job that is not nearly as demanding of my time, nor is it as draining of all my mental capacities. So, despite some personal tragedies along the way that I’m not quite ready to talk about (too fresh), I’m finally getting back to me!

Yesterday was my first time in a long time to post something I’d been inspired to share in quite some time. 1. It was great to be inspired. 2. It was awesome to have time and energy to share. See the theme?

I even got the chance to meet up with a friend for lunch, then brainstorm and information gather from a friend I’ll be using as a resource for my next book! He helped me flesh out characters that would work with the plot line I had envisioned. It felt great!

As always, there’s a song that helped inspire and engage my creativity with this relationship. Apparently it’s from a movie. I’ve never seen it, but the undercurrents spoke to me…

So I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve missed you guys. Am I forgiven? What’s new in your worlds?

Gone; Never Forgotten…

Jonathan, circa 1988

I remember driving in to work, singing along to the radio, when the emergency interruption happened. The announcement? That a plane had just flown into the first twin tower. I got a sick feeling in my gut.

I pulled into the parking lot and rushed into work, only to be interrupted by our loss prevention guy asking if I’d heard, ifI thought it had been done on purpose. At that moment I responded with, “God, I hope so…” But that niggling feeling would go away. And then the second tower fell, the question was answered.

As it was, I’d been barely holding it together before the towers. I was reflective; missing my baby brother who died in August of 1988. His birthday? September 11.

So on this day I miss him, I grieve with our country, and I wonder who he’d have been…

Thankfully, in a couple of days I’ll have something to celebrate….


My anniversary is coming up!

What Makes Me #Embraceable?

Everyone is just a little bit different. It’s what makes us beautiful AND what bonds us.

But how often have you lost yourself?

Forgot to believe in you?

Been afraid to show your true colors?

Your sexuality?

I’ve been fortunate to work together with August McLaughlin and some of the most beautiful souls in the world to bring this labor of love to you guys…and it’s finally released on paperback!

Here’s a little bit of what I shared in the book on the subject of “Slut” Shaming:

Maybe part of me is still that young girl, fighting back against those bullies

who dared name me a “slut.” Maybe it’s simply my way of trying to help other

people understand that there’s nothing wrong or dirty about sex, but rather the

shaming and judgment that seem to follow it.

 

Yes, there’s more to the story than that….but you’ll have to read it to find out more. I truly believe that this book is powerful enough to change the world if we let it…

And the voice who brought us together? Well, August is generously doing a giveaway right HERE to celebrate the release of this amazing book that includes jewelry, gift cards, and more!

But if you’d like to purchase your own copy, please… feel free! Part of the proceeds are going to supply womens shelters with much needed feminine hygiene products! Buy your copy HERE!

And while you’re there… you can always pick up a copy of my book, Four One Night, which is on sale this weekend for $.99!

But, back to the above questions….

What makes you Embraceable?

Everything!

Life Lessons in Losing and Loss

Steps

Losing and Loss. Both can teach such strong lessons. But what we learn is entirely up to us. How we choose to view these potentially defining moments.

For example, Derek Redmond, a runner in the Barcelona Olympics was supposed to be a shoe in to win the gold, but the unexpected happened….

Imagine training your whole life for this one moment, and then something like that. I remember the first time I saw this… I knew it was a hammy. I’m pretty sure he did, too.

But he also knew he had a choice. What would you have done?

What he did blew my mind and had me in tears, applauding his courage.

His father ran out to him. (Yeah, that was his dad…who, in today’s world would’ve probably landed himself in jail at the very least for interrupting a sporting event.) He asked him what he wanted to do. At that point, there would’ve been no shame in giving up. But he didn’t come to the Olympics to give up! He may not have won, but he finished. And he had his father, who held off all the officials who tried to stop him, and the crowd supporting him.

In my book, that choice he made in what had to be one of the most devastating moments of his life, made him a winner. And someone to look up to.

And when it comes to loss, we have choices, too. Nothing has brought that home, lately, quite the way the attacks on Paris have. And yet, through the fear and terror…people reached out. Despite the danger, people reached out via Twitter to let others who were stranded and with nowhere to go where they could find a safe place, an open door.

The rest of us watched in both horror and heartache, offering what comfort we could by letting Paris know, much like they’ve supported us through some of our hardest times in history, that our hearts and thoughts were with them. We put up pictures and banners on Facebook, hoping to let them know we stood by them.

There was courage and friendship and unity. In that moment, it was all about love and support…as it should have been. (Unfortunately, that didn’t last, but that’s all about hate and politics, which I choose not to give a foot hold on my blog.)

I think we were all praying this sort of prayer for those stranded…. (I thought it appropriate to select a song from Les Miserables).

And in honor of all our French friends and allies… How awesome that this scene in Casablanca was already there for them when we needed a reminder that freedom requires folks to stand up and protect it?

So that’s what’s been on my mind lately… What about you?