Posted in Writer Musings

Easter Musings

Happy Easter, Ya’ll! 🙂  Today was a rare day and a glorious one.

I will start on the rare day first:

Today was a rare day because work was actually closed all day!  Last time we closed was on Christmas Day, so I decided we were off on Easter Sunday.  It was really nice to not have to get up and load the computer and start processing orders.  I was able to turn off my regular alarm, lazily wake up, and then have cuddle time with my dog, Ragonk.  I went to Bible Study class, then spent the afternoon with family.  It was wonderful!  I truly believe the mind and body need rest and with the industry that my business is in, it prevents that ability due to being a seven-day a week industry.  I feel the pressure of working seven days.  I am trying to create boundaries to allow my mind and body to get the needed rest and today was a first step on that journey. 🙂

What do you do to get the rest for your mind and body, Dear Bloggite?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Now, onto the glorious one:

Being a Christian, today I celebrated the Risen Christ after His crucifixion and three-days in the tomb.  Today reminds believers that Christ is alive and well and He has overcome death.  I have many friends who are Christians and many who are not, and one of the biggest differences I see in these two types of friends is the fear of death.  When you are not a believer in Christ, you view death as an ending with nothingness after.  When you are a believer in Christ, death is just the beginning of a life everlasting with Christ.  As a believer, I do not fear death, I welcome it when it is my time to go because I know I will go to a better place than this Earth.  That knowledge is so refreshing and having that knowledge, I rejoice in the life people lived after they pass and rejoice in their life everlasting if they are a believer.  It is amazing to be free of the fear of death and I wish everyone could feel that. 😀

What do you believe in, Dear Bloggites?  Do you celebrate life and death, or do you live with the fear of death each day of your life?  Share your belief in the comments below.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Take Me To Task…I Need To Blog

Goodness Gracious, Dear Bloggites!  I have been slacking off!  It has been three days (THREE) since I last blogged, and you guys are not taking me to task.  I need to be hollered at to keep on top of blogging, so I can share what is going on in my Journey I call Life. 🙂IMG_0432.  All that said, here is what has kept me from blogging to you Awesome People:

First, I started working my list from 2017 now 2018 and have started walking with my dog, Ragonk, and 4 of 7 in the Familial Unit (Debbie) and her dog, Pepper.  I have found that just walking an hour a day, I have so much more energy, and OMG – Ragonk LOVES to go for walks!  Just look at this grin on his face!

The Two-Faced Truth by Roy & Dee KaySecond, I have been offered a guest post on The Floating Thoughts Blog for providing an honest review on their book, The Two-Faced Truth, and have been working on that.  I am so touched and excited for this opportunity to reach new people with my written work.  I don’t want to disappoint anyone, so I am being extra picky about the story line.Paisley Showing 03-24-2018

Third, today I went and showed support for 1 of 7 in the Familial Unit (Kathy) as she and her beautiful dog, Paisley, competed in the Fort Worth Kennel Club All Breeds Show.  I am proud to say Miss Paisley won first place in her category (dachshund puppies), not too shabby for her second show.  My sister has done an amazing job with her.  In the two shows she has done so far, Paisley has won first place in one or multiple categories. 🙂

WORD EmblemFourth, I attended my first WORDfest 2.0 today.  WORD means Writer Organizations ‘Round Dallas.  This was their second annual WORDfest where they invite published authors and specialists in the craft of writing to do breakout sessions for the writers in the area.  My BFF, Tracy, went with me to show her support on my writing dream. 🙂

Fifth, I went to my monthly Off The Cuff Toastmasters meeting tonight.  I was assigned the “Funmaster” role, so I created this fun exercise for the members to do at the meeting.  I created some nifty flower pops that had an action written at the back for the member to do while passing the homemade Bling Milk Can to the next member who had to pick.  Everyone laughed and got some exercise.  I thought I did a pretty good job for a moments creativity.

All in all, as you can see, I have been busy thus the delayed posting on this blog.  I promise I will get back to posting at least every other day.  Until then, Dear Bloggites, let me know what you would like me to talk about, share, discuss, or review.  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ~May Crandall (in Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ya’ll!  I am writing this book review on February’s book chosen by The Books & Broads Book Club: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  I was hesitant about this book based on the story line.  It sounded very depressing and I do not like depressing…LOL

Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateThe story line is about five siblings who were kidnapped from their river home while their Mom and Dad were at the hospital for their Mom to give birth to their twin siblings.  The story follows Rill Foss and her determination to protect her sisters and brother when they are taken to Georgia Tann’s Memphis, Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  The story toggles from 1939 to Present day while the different stories are played out throughout the book.  Present day finds an up-and-coming politico, Avery Stafford, who moves back to Aiken, South Carolina to help care for her father who is fighting Cancer and to get her name out there to take his place in the Senate if he passes from the Cancer.  During her time in Aikin, Avery, meets an older lady named May Crandall who sets her in motion to find the long-hidden secret of her family’s history to find out how May Crandall is associate with her grandmother, Judy Safford.

Onto the review, Dear Bloggites.  This story is an emotionally draining story in my opinion.  It is written in first person (which I hate) and toggles between 1939 Tennessee and present-day South Carolina.  Even though I do not like first person, it worked well in this book because of the different players you are following throughout.  Lisa Wingate created well developed characters in this book and even though the topic was deep and depressing, you did find moments of humor and lightness to help comfort the reader and give them a break from the heaviness of the subject.

The story became very predictable as I read the book and by the middle, I had already figured out who each person was and how it was going to end.  This was sad for me because, while I am reading a depressing topic, I was hoping the author would put a twist in there so the reader was surprised by the ending instead of underwhelmed and left with a feeling of, “Meh, okay.”  The book is a work of fiction but is based on real life events that happened in Memphis, Tennessee with Georgia Tann and her kidnapping of children from poor homes to place them (at an expensive cost) in the homes of financially well, established members of society.

I give Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you don’t mind depressing topics, go out and give this book a whirl.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Remember When…

Let’s turn back time to 2017.  Remember when I posted New Year, New Start 2017 on January 1, 2017?  Don’t remember, Dear Bloggites, click the link, take a moment to read the post, I can wait right here for you.  Let me know when you are back.

Okay, now that you are back, I had grand plans with those three key words: Change, Passion, and Luck.  Today, I was flipping through my notebook of the different scribbles I make, some on new written works, some on classes, some on random thoughts to do something with, on this flipping excursion, I came across this:

Goals 2017

Now, if you look real close, you will see the graph I made on adding one new thing each month.  January just had ‘Skin Regiment’ which I started (thus the check over it); February added ‘Get Dressed’, odd goal but those of you who work from home will understand the ease it is to just stay in the PJs all day; March added ‘Workout’ to the other two items.  Now, as you already have noticed, I did not check off ‘Get Dressed’ or ‘Workout’ and the ensuing months, I added nothing, nada, the big fat 0!

All those goals and plans withered away and died as life began demanding all my time.  Also, the items and sub-items for Change, Passion, and Luck, did not happen.  A synopsis of the goals and if it happened or not:

Change 1: I will find myself on my own again with my son, the dog, and the guinea pig with no roommate for the first time in, geez, years – Did not happen and we lost my son’s guinea pig earlier this year.  Still hoping the roommate moves out but until he can find sustainable money coming in, I don’t see it happening too soon. 😦

Change 2: I have been paying for a gym membership for the past year and have not utilized it…going to utilize this gym membership to change my health for the better and reach the weight I am happiest at once again – Did not happen, however, I did let that gym membership close and now I paid for an entire year at another gym closer to my house, maybe this year…

Change 3: My current business is surviving this lull in the industry and seems to finally have bounced back…continue to find ways to build income from this business – My current business is still struggling and my co-worker is looking for another job because there is not enough work for two people to do (if you have not figured it out, my roommate is my co-worker).

Change 4: I am going to take advantage of the social invites I get and start actually going – Didn’t happen, I am getting better, but not where I wanted to be.

Passion 1: I have a wordsmith business…I plan on growing this business up, one client at a time and look forward to the new relationships I shall make along the way – While I have had some clients, it is nowhere near where I wanted to be at this time now.

Passion 2: I am now looking at taking myself seriously as a writer and growing this part of me on a personal level…My goal is to sign up for some form of writing class each month to build my talent as a writer and start opening doors to the publishing world to promote myself as a writer – I did good with the classes for the first three months, as well as, writing, but then life scattered the classes and writing to the wind.

Luck 1: I know with every situation I face, I will need a little luck in finding my way – Luck is still my friend but decided to work in the background and not allowing all the doors and opportunities to be opened.

Luck 2: Waking up every morning…just start finding things to fill my time outside work – Did not happen.  Waking up did, but nothing outside work.

As, you can all see, my goals and plans were dust in the wind rather quickly.  Now that a new year is here and pretty much at the same point when last year’s goals petered out, I am ramping up my determination and going to push through everything to obtain these goals this year.

I hope you travel on this journey with me, Dear Bloggites, because it is lonely sometimes and encouragement and especially accountability go a long way.  If you do not see me posting for a while, shoot me a comment here and give me the proverbial “Kick in the Ass” to get me going again.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis

This is it!  I have finally finished the last book the Books & Broads Book Club agreed to read for this year.  The November Book chosen by the book club was The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis.  Let me tell you, Dear Bloggites, I made a huge sigh of relief finishing this one because I finally feel “caught up” to the other ladies in the club…LOL  On to the review:

The Moment She Left by Susan LewisI was unsure if I would like this book only because I was told the majority of the ladies in the book club did not like this book.  So, I figured it was going to be one of two things for me: 1. I hate it or 2. I love it.  The answer is 2!  I loved this book!  I was already intrigued simply because it was a mystery AND a fiction book AND not about Hitler or WWII or any other war there is! 🙂  The story line for The Moment She Left was about a young girl who disappears one day without a trace.  This young lady had everything going for her and her life was perfect, then she disappeared.  Two years after the disappearance without a single clue what happened, the father, Blake, asked an ex-detective, Andee Lawrence, to revisit the case.

Andee, as a favor for a friend of hers, agrees to revisit the case even though she was sure the police did everything they could to find her and yet could not find any leads.  Andee is a woman newly separated from her husband and is trying to find her way for herself outside her husband and children even though she is getting a lot of grief from everyone in the family.  Taking on this case is a good distraction for Andee and as she starts digging in, finds that there is an area that was missed by the police.  Once this area was discovered, a whole world of secrets are exposed for almost the entire town and one way or another, the key players are all tied to this disappearance.

No more story giveaway, on to the review.  Susan Lewis did an amazing job and building out each character in this story while adding to the overall plot.  The characters were well rounded and while this story was a mystery, there were funny characters that lightened and endeared the readers that much more to the town and people.  This story is the first in a series on Andee Lawrence and I do plan on buying the others in the series because I really liked this character.  Andee’s struggles with balancing life and work are struggles any one can relate to and the author wrote so well that you felt the emotions each character was feeling at the moment they had those feelings.

The only thing I did not like was that two-thirds of the way through the book, the end result of who did what to whom was apparent and so there was no surprise ending.  That was a bit of a disappointment for me because I like those stories that keep me guessing until the very end.  Even though the end became predictable, I still enjoyed the book and liked how each character was tied into the disappearance and how they were tied into the incident.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend you go get it if you enjoy a good mystery that does not confuse you.

I give The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you like a mystery, go out and give it a read.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in A Dog's Life

Ragonk – A Dog’s Tale of Survival

Ragonk Sitting Pretty
Ragonk – December 12, 2014

Ragonk (Rah-Gone-Kuh) teaches me many lessons in life. He has taught them to me from the moment he walked into my life one December night. I have been blessed by having this Boy-O come into my life and he gives me joy. The first lesson I learned from Ragonk is how to survive a bad situation until a better one arrives.

Back in December, 2014, Ragonk wandered into my garage with no tags and looking very scared and skittish. My roommate and I were having a Ragonk Party (radio blooper by one of the station employees when he was trying to say, “Rolando McClain” on the radio station we like to listen to called The Ticket).

The animal shelter was closed until Tuesday and I looked at the dog and said, “I need to come up with a name to call you over the weekend until the shelter opens.” One of my friends popped up and said, “Well, isn’t it obvious, his name should be Ragonk!” I called him that and he answered and has been Ragonk ever since.

I noticed as soon as Ragonk walked in the door that he showed signs of an abused dog. He was your typical abused dog that dropped his head and body bracing for a hit when someone walked up to him. He was scared to death of the sound of bacon cooking on the stove. He ran away anytime he saw a towel in someone’s hand and hid, shaking like a leaf once he was coaxed to come out of his hiding place. He walked tentatively around for fear of being yelled at or hit. His fear was more noticeable with men than women, but he was scared all the same of any person he saw.

Ragonk & Baden
Ragonk with Baden’s Ashes & Picture in the Background

It broke my heart. My dog, Baden, was old and grumpy but never knew what fear was and he welcomed Ragonk like he did all other animals, with a sniff and tail wag. Ragonk had a blast playing with Bodie, my roommate’s dog, and had a funny reverence for Baden. Whenever Baden would try and play with Ragonk, Ragonk would wag his tail until Baden did his first move then Ragonk ran away. If Baden was laying down, Ragonk would wag his tail and go sniff him but run as soon as Baden twitched.

As the weekend wore on, I noticed that Ragonk’s fear was starting to ebb and he was beginning to trust me and my roommate. He stayed by my side or would follow my roommate around wagging his tail. Yes, Ragonk was settling in.

Tuesday rolled around and I took him to the animal shelter where he immediately freaked out scratching my neck up and trying to get out of my arms. This alarmed me because I was not used to this behavior from him.

When I walked into the animal shelter they said they knew who he was because he was a “known escape artist” to them. They chipped him and so were able to tell me his name is “Steve” (STEVE!) and placed a call to the owner and inform him that the dog was found. The shelter offered to keep Ragonk, but based on his response, I declined and said I would keep him with me.

Happy Boy
Ragonk – March 20, 2017

A couple of days go by and I have not heard anything so I called to follow up. The animal shelter said the guy did not call them back, so I gave them permission to give him my phone number thinking when he got home the shelter was already closed and that was why they did not receive a call back.

The weekend rolls around and still no contact from the owner or the animal shelter. On the following Tuesday, I called back to the animal shelter and they were shocked that the guy had not called me back. I gave them permission to give him my address because I worked from home so he could stop by any time.

On Friday, I called the shelter back and they said they still had not received a call and offered to give me the guy’s address so I can show up with the dog on his doorstep. This guy lived two blocks from my house!  I told the shelter no because if I showed up the guy would take Ragonk and he obviously did not want him back based on his lack of contact.

After I hung up from the shelter, I called my long-time vet and asked what the statute of limitations were for an abandoned dog. My vet informed me it was ten days to two weeks, so I scheduled an appointment for Ragonk on the following Monday since the two weeks would be past.

The best thing the owner of Ragonk did was not contact me back. As time passed, Ragonk put aside his fears and took a chance on trusting us strangers who took him in and gave him a home. He survived an abusive existence to find happiness in a new home with lots of love by running away into my arms.

P.S. The “known escape artist formally known as Steve” has never once tried to run away from his new forever home.

Life is Good.jpg
Life Is Good!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Familial Unit

A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Final Good-Bye

“I will be right by my Dad’s side, covering his six.  I Love You, Dad, you will survive for many years to come if I have anything to say or do about it.” ~Me, November 21, 2015

Event-01-CD1We only made 9 months, Dad.  My heart is empty without you here with me.

Our Journey together was short-lived but full of many fun and scary memories.

On November 21, 2015, I wrote my first blog entry about my Dad, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Battle, and almost nine months to that day, I felt my Dad take his last breath.

On February 17, 2016, I wrote my second blog entry about my Dad, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Twist, in which I shared with you, Dear Bloggites, that my Dad’s Doctor told me he was on his downhill slope and we had to take it one day at a time now.  The doctor also told me he did not want any of my family members to even inquire about “three months from now” because he could not guarantee that my Dad would be here in three months.

We made it 6 months, Dad.  I still cannot believe you are not here with me.

Our Battle together was strong, I kept your six until the very end.

It was a Monday morning, July 11, 2016.  See, Dad was struck down by a massive stroke followed by many mini-strokes out of left field.  We were not expecting that at all.  I rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital that specialized in strokes.  We were in the hospital fighting this new battle my Dad faced for almost a week.

The following Saturday, July 16, 2016, my Dad’s doctor pulled me aside late at night and informed me that if Dad stayed like he currently was (not eating, barely drinking) he had three to seven days to live, three to fucking seven days!  The doctor went on to say if Dad started to eat and drink, we maybe had a few weeks left!  He recommended Hospice because we were at the end of the journey with Dad.

Hospice?  Put Dad on Hospice?  He was just laughing and teasing me two weeks ago and now the damn doctor is telling me we are at the end!

My brain could not compute what was being said.  He just wanted two more years!

We had a family meeting (at this point every one of my brothers and sisters were in town and at the hospital with Mom), and on Sunday, July 17, 2016, we all, sans one, agreed to put Dad on Hospice.  He came home July 18, 2016, Monday, a week after the first massive stroke that put him in the hospital for the last time.

We made it 1 month, Dad.  I feel lost without you here with me.

Our twists were many during this journey and we faced them together side-by-side.

On August 19, 2016, my journey with my Dad ended.  The battles we fought have left scars on my heart and soul, scars that will never fully heal.  My Dad, My Hero, My Constant Companion passed from this life into the Ever After.

He took his final breath at 6:47am; officially pronounced dead at 8:32am.

My hand was on his chest feeling his heart beat until it beat no more.

Now, I must continue this Journey alone, with only fond memories and a huge empty space in my heart.  I Love You, Daddy!  Keep up the party with the J-Dude until I can join in!

~4-Ever, P