This should be fun!

Hello dear reader

I’ve talked a lot about things that Chiari has taken away from me. Today I found something new that I can do whether Chiari likes it or not! I should probably slow down and make some sense here. I’m just really excited.

OK, let me back up here.  I love to write. My life’s goal is to be published before I die. The best thing anyone who wants to write can do is read…anything and everything. This is great for me because I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember.

More recently, I’ve been reading some different authors. I’ve come across some books that have been total disappointments.  But I’ve also stumbled on some incredible books!  And when that happens…it’s hard to explain. It’s like finding treasure.  It’s surprising and amazing and you don’t want it to end.

Some wonderful surprises include Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job), Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni), John Green & David Leviathan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), and most recently Carolyn Kepnes (You). I’m sure some of you are (have been) aware of some of them. But I wasn’t and my life has been improved as a result of my discovery of them. By the way, if you don’t know any of these, I’ve just given you your summer reading list.

That’s all good, but still not clearing up what the excitement is about, right? Well, today I made another discovery. I found a site (actually more than one) where they give you books for free. You choose a book to read and then you write an honest review on it. The only requirement is that you have to have a place to put the review. So this isn’t just awesome for me, it’s great for you too. The reviews go right here on this little blog for you to enjoy or debate or whatever you’d like to do.

I started this post by saying that I had found something that Chiari couldn’t take from me. What does any of this have to do with Chiari? Reading is one of my weapons. I can escape the pain, let the story take me to another place. I’ve used books for that all of my life.

I know this isn’t really that big of a deal, but it’s a positive that I can see. It makes me happy. And I’m going to do it!

I have one final thing on this topic. I’d absolutely love to hear about what you’re reading (besides this, of course ;-O). And as always, feel free to tell me how you feel or ask a question.

Until next time….

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It’s just plain wrong!

Hello dear reader,

Those of you who follow my blog know that I try to avoid discussions about religion and politics.  The intention of my blog is not to stir up controversy.  That being said, sometimes there are things that I simply cannot be silent about.  This is one of those times.  I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t known about the George Zimmerman case, or that doesn’t know about the verdict.  But do you know about the Marissa Alexander case?  Let me tell you a story courtesy of Huffington Post writer Mich Stacy.

Marissa Alexander is a 31 year old African American woman.  She is the mother of a toddler and 11 year old  twins.  She has never been in trouble with the law.  She  has a Master’s degree and an estranged husband who she’s very afraid of.  So Marissa did what the law said she should do.  She applied for, and was granted, a restraining order.  You know, that amazing document that means you have nothing more to fear.  As a survivor of domestic violence, I will never understand that line of thinking.  I was told by my abuser, “It’s a piece of paper.  It ain’t f*****g bulletproof.”  If you have a restraining order,  the police might…maybe…make your abuser leave when he’s broken into your house in the middle of the night.  Again.  But that’s my story.  Let’s get back to Marissa’s. 

Marissa went home to get some clothes {why is the victim always the one who has to run and hide?} expecting her estranged husband to be gone.  He wasn’t.  An argument ensued, and Marissa got very scared.  She was afraid he was going to kill her.  She went out to her car and got the gun.  It was legally registered to her.  She went back into the house (still trying to get some clothes).  When the situation continued to escalate, Marissa fired a warning shot into the wall.

Now let’s look briefly at George Zimmerman’s story, courtesy of Huffington Post writer Jermaine Spradely.  George is a 29 year old insurance fraud investigator who identifies himself as Hispanic.  He is married, has no children, and lives in a gated community.  After failing to become a police office, George settled for volunteering with his local neighborhood watch.  He had previously been accused of domestic violence against a former girlfriend and had been arrested for assault on a police officer.  A younger female cousin has accused him of nearly two decades of sexual molestation and assault.  This same cousin talks about George’s family being “proudly racist against African Americans.”

George was on patrol one evening when he saw a young African American male walking down the street.  The teenager looked suspicious to George because of his “unnaturally slow and meandering gait.”  Yep, he was walking too slow.  So George did what he was supposed to do.   He called the non-emergency hotline for police assistance as he had done on numerous other occasions.  He was told not to follow the young man or even get out of his vehicle.  George had a better idea.  He got out of his SUV, made sure the safety was off on his gun, and began to follow the young man.  Not very much later George shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

Now here’s where it gets really crazy.  George Zimmerman was found not-guilty by a jury of six women.  Marissa Alexander, after turning down plea deals because she had faith in the judicial system, was found guilty of using a gun in the commission of a felony by her jury.   Even though nobody was hurt at all, they said the bullet could have ricocheted and hurt someone.  Marissa was sentenced to 20 years of prison.

After George Zimmerman’s verdict, President Obama called the case a “tragedy.”  He said, “I know this case has elicited strong passions, and in the wake of the verdict I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”

After Marissa Alexander’s verdict, US Representative Corrine Brown D-Jacksonville had this to say.  “The Florida justice system has sent two clear messages today.  One is that if women who are victims of domestic violence try to protect themselves,  the “Stand Your Ground” law will not apply to them….the second is that if you are black, the system will treat you differently.”

So what happened?  Was it racism?  Was it that this country continues to condone domestic violence?  Regardless of the reason, two people lost their lives for no good reason.  And another person literally got away with murder.  I’m saddened.  I’m disappointed in our judicial system.  Most of all I am angry.  I cannot and will not keep silent about such injustice!

Until next time…

Quotes

Good morning dear reader.

I’m having a difficult time finding something that inspires me to write this morning. I looked at several writing prompts, but none of them felt right today. I looked at famous quotes, but no, there really wasn’t much there. Then I got to thinking about quotes. The ones that are in all of the apps I have are from famous people, but do you have to be famous to say inspiring or profound things? No, those are just the ones people write down. I’ve heard the most amazing quotes from the ordinary people around me. Now that is inspiring today! Let me see, what are some of the best ones?

God’s got you.”
That’s a good one. Tim used to tell me that all the time when I felt like I couldn’t stand one more day of the pain and feeling of uselessness the Chiari gave me. It sounds so simple. It reminded me that I didn’t have to carry it all by myself. I could see this huge hand that I was sitting in the palm of. That hand carried and protected me. I could let go of the weight and let the hand hold it. That quote often kept me from giving up.

Would you talk to your friend the way you talk to yourself? You wouldn’t even talk to a stranger like that.
That one came from Ali. When I would catch myself looking in the mirror telling myself how stupid I was, or how ugly I was, or how useless I was….I would think about what Ali had said. It took a long time and a lot of practice, but I’ve become much more gentle and loving toward myself as a result. Those words literally changed my life.

One last quote…”You can learn a lot from a tree. They are strong enough to stand tall, but flexible enough not to break in the wind.” That one actually came from me. I was at a very difficult and painful point in my life. Things were changing and I was having trouble changing with them. I was sitting outside watching the wind blow in the trees when those words came into my head. I say it came from me, but I don’t think that’s quite right. I think it was given to me by a much more intelligent and loving Being. I was just the one who needed it at the time. I think it proves the first one I listed, “God’s got you.

What about you? Have you ever been told something that truly made a difference in your life? Who’s quote have you grabbed on to and not let go? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time…

Fact or Fiction

Good morning dear reader.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find something to write that will (hopefully) entertain you and keep you coming back for more.  Fortunately, there are resources available to me  that can (sometimes) help with that.   On this site there is a handy little gadget called the “daily prompt” which gives ideas for something new to write about every day.  I also own a book called The Daily Writer which has, along with different writing “lessons”, a section for each day entitled “Try This.”  If that isn’t enough, I have an app called “Daily writing prompts” and another one called “Quotes.” I guess what I’m saying here is that there’s really no excuse for not writing every day. I am, however, a busy person. Does that count as an excuse?

So today I decided to go with the Daily Prompt….sort of. The idea for today is “Tell us something most people don’t know about you.” I decided that I want to put a twist on that. Any of you who have followed my blog have gotten to know me pretty well. If you haven’t followed it, now’s your chance to catch up. That being said, I’m going to write something and see if you, dear reader, are able to tell fact from fiction. Is it real or is it illusion? Ready? Here we go.

When I was a little girl I had a dog named Mickey. Mickey was a huge Belgium shepherd. He weighed at least twice as much as I did. He stayed tied to a big tree in the yard with a huge metal chain. I loved putting Mickey on a leash and “walking” him. If a car was coming on the road Mickey would pull me way off onto the shoulder. He was the smartest dog I’ve ever known, and that’s saying a lot! One day I was “walking” Mickey and we saw one of my brothers at the end of the road. He was standing there afraid to move because of three dogs growling at him. The next thing I knew, Mickey had yanked the leash out of my hand and was in a dead run down the road toward my brother and the other dogs. He was barking and growling like crazy. The other dogs ran off. My brother hugged Mickey, tears still running down his cheeks. Together they walked back to where I had been standing the entire time. When they got to me, Mickey picked up the handle of the leash in his mouth and put it back into my hand. Mickey was my friend (I didn’t have people friends….story for another time) and also my defender. One day my step-father was hitting me in the yard. The hitting happened a lot, but usually indoors where people wouldn’t see it. I don’t remember what I had done to make him angry enough to beat me in public, but it must have been pretty bad. So we’re in the yard where he’s hitting me and I’m crying. I must have yelled out in pain because the next thing I knew Mickey had broken that giant chain and was jumping on my step-father, knocking him to the ground. He didn’t bite him, but he wouldn’t let him get up. I only thought my step-father was pissed at me. He was furious with Mickey! He was going to kill Mickey for “attacking him” but instead he took the dog, my only friend, to my grandfather’s stable and left him there. The next time I saw Mickey he was missing one of his eyes. A horse had kicked him and destroyed it. Not long after that we moved across the country and I never saw Mickey again. It took me a long time to stop feeling guilty because Mickey got sent away for defending me.

There’s the story. It’s happy. It’s sad. But is it true? Let me know what you think and I’ll give you the answer tomorrow.

Until next time…