Saturday, November 09, 2019

REMEMBERING TO PRAY SO I CAN REMEMBER HOW TO SHIMMY


It was a random post that landed in my Facebook feed. It read ‘What I've learned this year: He who angers you...controls you.’ I read it once, twice, and then again and it struck a nerve, the depth of it unexpected.

Recently, I’ve had to interact with my former husband on a too regular basis and those interactions have reawakened feelings of hostility and bitterness that I’ve not felt in a very long time. For days now I’ve been ruminating over the past. I found myself caught in a vicious cycle of being angry about things that I swore I’d gotten over and moved away from. Then being angry about new behavior too much like the old bad behavior. The wealth of it has been upsetting and I've wrestled with how to let it all go and move forward from it.

As I read that Facebook post it was as if the author knew what I was struggling with most. Feeling like the ex-hubby suddenly had control over my life again with all the burden and heartache that control represented for me. And then I had to question why I was feeling this way. Why was I giving a man I despised so much control? A man who routinely abused and mistreated me and didn’t deserve an ounce of my emotion, good or bad. A man who made most of my adult life a living hell.

It’s amazing how easy it was to fall back into bad behavior. How a simple statement or gesture sent me back into defense mode. How swiftly rage rose, full and abundant and all-consuming. Just like that I lost my shimmy. My spirit became heavy and I could no longer hear those things that made my heart sing. As I struggled, trying to figure out how I was in this place again and more importantly, how to get myself out of this place, I remembered something my dear friend, author Cassandra B. Durham had written. The world does not have the ability to give us peace. I suddenly realized that in my struggle to figure it all out and make it better, looking for worldly answers, what I had failed to do was pray my way through it.

I am a firm believer that prayer works miracles. I also know that to get through the storm I know is coming, that I will need plenty of prayer. Because this thing between me and my ex-husband will inevitably have to come to a head. It will have to if we are ever going to be able to move forward in a positive manner. Because of our situation with our youngest grandchild, I can't just dismiss him from my life, vowing never to have anything to do with him again. Unresolved issues will need to be addressed. Lies and misunderstandings will need to be remedied. I know words will be exchanged and feelings may even be hurt. But I also know that it doesn’t have to break either of us, and, it definitely will not break me.
 
I have some work to do. I realize I need to learn how to let go successfully, and permanently. I am grateful to friends like Cassandra, whose book The Art of Letting Go, will be my go-to tome until I can get it right. And I will pray my way through it until I can once again hear my heart songs. I will pray until I remember how to shimmy.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

I SAID NO...



My weekends have been all about bowing to the whims of other people. Plans are made, schedules agreed upon and then out of the blue my son wants to throw a wrench into the process and I am asked to bend and twist and conform to what he needs and wants, and my schedule be damned.

In the past I would acquiesce because it was easier to do so than not. But today, I said no. No. When one considers that I’ve never before said no, his reaction was both expected and shocking. He didn’t take no lightly. Mommy didn’t give in to his request and he threw a tantrum, complete with kicking and screaming. I would have been impressed if he’d been five years old, but he’s thirty.

His initial reaction was surprise. He was not expecting that I would deny his request. Then he became belligerent because him screaming profanity at me was supposed to move me to change my mind. It didn’t. In fact, all it did was get him hung up on.

So, he changed tactics. Because in his mental illness he has become a master manipulator. He was certain that guilting me would surely work. I’m the cause of all his problems. My horrible parenting left him traumatized. When he was a child, I never listened to what he wanted. He ranted in text messages. Forty-nine of them. I refused to accept that bullshit, too. 

I refused to argue the point. I refused to feel bad for my alleged misgivings because I know that I was a damn good mother. Were there things I would do differently? Yes. Was there anything I got wrong? Probably a lot. But since I can’t rewrite our past I try to focus on our future.

When I didn’t respond as he had hoped, the air was dashed out of his sails.  He claimed I didn’t show enough emotion. I was too flippant. I said okay and he felt the word okay was patronizing. Then he really became angry. Now he says he is done with me, severing ties completely. He hates everything I stand for and he says he hates me.

I told him I understood. And I do. I would not want to engage with anyone who was detrimental to my mental health either. Nor would I ever want to push myself upon someone who felt that I was not good for them. So, yes, I understand. He needs to do whatever will enable him to heal, and not hurt.

I wished him well. I told him I would support whatever he needed to do to help himself. I told him I loved him and that I would keep him lifted in prayer. He told me to stop talking to him; that I had nothing to say that he wanted to hear. He said he didn’t need my God, my prayers, my love, or me.

I said okay. I told him he was entitled to his feelings. I said I was sorry that he was hurting. And I really am.

But the answer to his original request, was still, NO.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

PURE GOLD


I currently have temporary custody of my youngest granddaughter. The pretty princess started kindergarten a few weeks ago and suddenly I find myself back in elementary school hell. Navigating school schedules, doctor appointments, dance classes and all the stuff raising a six-year-old entails is the stuff of retirement nightmares. I’ve been reminded why people should have children while they’re young and able-bodied. Midlife parenting is for the birds. But as history has proven we grandparents do what we need to do. We step up, fill in the gaps and we shine.

This week I attended the elementary school’s Open House and sat in a PTA meeting. It’s been some twenty-plus years since I felt obligated to do that. There I was, in a room full of young parents giddy with excitement about their offspring’s academic journey. They have no clue what’s coming. Having six kids, all now adults, I’ve been down this road a time or two. I wanted to warn them this isn’t the picnic they think it will be. They’re firmly on a roller coaster and the ride comes with some serious highs and some very low lows. 

There were mothers there who are having a difficult time with letting go, their kids more than ready to spread their wings and fly. The Pretty Princess insisted on the second day that she didn’t need me to walk her to her classroom. I watched her and her oversized backpack march off, her independence and strength on full display. It would have broken me when I was a new mother with my first child. Now, I give her a thumbs up, pride gleaming from my eyes. We’ve got this and this was yet another step toward her being the bad ass Queen I know she’ll eventually be.

As my baby girl and I navigate our new relationship I’ve discovered that midlife parenting also has its benefits. I no longer sweat the small stuff. My parenting style has evolved. I can sit in a room filled with millennial parents and be amused by those things that have them all in their feelings. I know what she throws tantrums about today will be the fodder for jokes when she becomes a teen. That the road ahead will be filled with accomplishments and disappointments and that the joys we experience will be whatever we want them to be.

I’m told math has changed and two plus two doesn’t always equal four with the new math. But I can handle the curriculum changes and I know that allowing baby girl to fly means also allowing her to also fall. I won’t always be there to catch her, but I know how to pick her back up, put her on her feet and push her forward. I’ve learned that protective shouldn’t be stifling and for her to blossom all I need to do is to keep planting the necessary seeds. This time around I have grandmotherly wisdom on my side and that is pure gold.




Tuesday, August 13, 2019

CLUTCH - A ONE LOVE SHORT STORY


GET YOUR COPY NOW!

The ONE LOVE Short Story series has become one of my favorites to write. Each story is different, pushing me outside the box of what others expect me to write. The focus for each story has been character development. Fleshing out the unique personalities on the pages of each book has challenged me and I love that it has allowed me to stretch my creative juices. To dig deep inside myself as the stories come to life. So it is with great pleasure that I announce the release of the third book in the series. CLUTCH!

Calvin "Clutch" Williams, worked me! I hated the first draft/story. So much so that I trashed that version, delayed the release date and sat in the unknown of it for months. It was not the story I was supposed to tell and then just like that Clutch took hold of me and shook me hard. The words flowed like melted butter after that. The book is a short, quick, sweet, and dirty read. Some readers will want more, but it's the simplicity of the story that makes it all it needs to be. I hope that every reader will take what they need from the story. I also imagine that Clutch and Ruth will linger with you long after the last words are read.

Please enjoy, and if you haven't read ARCH and BRAWN, the first two books in the series, please do. I promise you they'll be well worth your effort. 



Thursday, July 25, 2019

RISSI PALMER AND DATE NIGHT!


I went on a date! With the hubby! It’s been ages since we had a real date night. Health issues, timing issues, deadline issues, and princess issues have been all up in our way. But I was reminded that adults need to take adult time to appreciate each other, and adults in a relationship need to take time with each other to remember why. 

Big Daddy and I went to UNC-TV for an exclusive, intimate In Studio concert by country music sensation, Rissi Palmer. Think MTV’s Unplugged. The performance was being filmed as a local complement to the next Ken Burns documentary, Country Music

I can’t begin to tell you what a spectacular time we had. I’m a huge Rissi Palmer fan so for me this was a dream come true. It was hard to contain my excitement and not come across as a crazed stalker! But she was a sheer delight with an incredibly welcoming spirit. Y’all know though, that in my crazed fan mindset, she and I are now the best of friends!

Some of you may remember my POST about Rissi’s 2007 hit Country Girl. Country Girl was my theme song and I wrote the first two Stallion Series books to her self-titled debut album. Everything about her music spoke to my esthetic and brought me immense joy. She embodied the heroines that came to life in John and Mark Stallion’s stories. Her music was everything I needed to help me breathe life into that award-winning series.

https://www.rissipalmermusic.com/Rissi Palmer has a keen sense of humor and is a true storyteller. It was magical to hear the tales behind the songs she performed, and a time or two I had to wipe away a tear. What struck a particular cord for me tonight was the story behind her song Summerville, which was featured on her album The Back Porch Sessions. She spoke about her grandmother and singing on the back porch of the family home as a child. She shared memories of cooking cornbread with her great-grandmother, the freshly washed laundry that hung outside on a line, and many others that centered around the town where her family matriarchs were born and raised. It was those memories that helped her regain her balance when she needed it the most.

For many artists and writers, we often hit a crossroad where we’re not quite sure what will come next. When we have doubts and question our creative journey. I have recently been lost in that space, doubt and frustration holding me hostage. The writing has been stagnant, no ghostly characters haunting my spirit. After 50-plus books I wasn’t sure writing was what I wanted to do anymore. I had decided to quit, changed my mind, and changed my mind again. But tonight, Rissi’s creative energy rekindled my own. I was reminded of those things that ignited my original desire to be a writer. It brought me front and center with why I love to write.

As Rissi shared her own experiences I thought about my grandmother and her admonishments for me to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. In Rissi’s music I heard the hopes of our ancestors. The dreams of mothers who nurtured and raised us. The trials and tribulations of fathers who struggled to be seen so that we might have a place that was ours. I heard her voice and rediscovered my own.

Tonight, I’ll play every one of Rissi Palmer’s albums, each song in constant rotation. I’ll start with Country Girl, and I’ll write.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

THIRTEEN YEARS!


I started this blog thirteen years ago today. It feels like a lifetime has passed since my very first post. Since July 16, 2006 I've written about my divorce, a new relationship, graduations, grandchildren being born, illnesses survived, and milestones accomplished. Back then I had the body of a twenty-year-old and now I have a head full of gray hair. 

I don’t blog nearly as much as I did when I first started. And not because I don’t want to because I do. I sometimes still feel like my hands are tied, the things I used to write about, not things I can still share. Or things that anyone would be interested in reading. That’s just me being in my own head when I don’t need to be. But this space is still my go-to spot to rant about absolutely nothing, where everyone knows I won’t bite my tongue if I decide to spew about something important.

Writing has become a chore of sorts. In all honesty, there are days that I’m not sure I still want to do this. There are also days where I still can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I still have stories that haunt me, characters that show up when least expected demanding I tell their tales. I still chalk it up to my brand of crazy. I have yet to find any other explanation for it.

When I started this blog I didn’t have a clear vision of where it would go. I still don’t. I just knew it would be one hell of a ride for those that chose to hang in here with me. I’ve never stressed about the numbers. Worrying about who visited the space and how often would have made it hard work. I was determined that this wasn’t going to be challenging, just fun, and since I had no interest in doing anything different if the numbers said I should, why bother? 

I greatly appreciate everyone who has ever stopped by to read a post. Those who took a moment to comment have made my heart sing. Thank you for supporting me.

I’m committed to hanging in here for just a little longer. My life journey is taking me in a new direction, and I’ll need to find my way writing about it. My age will have much to do with what comes next. I’ve become my grandmother. I rarely give a flying fig about what others think. That should make for some interesting commentary.

As I go forward, I pray that I will be an inspiration to many, and on occasion, a voice for those who are struggling with their own. I also promise to write more, write better, and maybe say something profound every now and again.

So, tighten those seat belts. This ride isn't finished just yet. 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

REUNITED BY THE BADGE - COMING OCTOBER 1, 2019

REUNITED BY THE BADGE
Book 3 in the TO SERVE AND SEDUCE SERIES

Coming October 1, 2019

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!
REUNITED BY THE BADGE
AMAZON:

BARNES&NOBLE:

KOBO:




A megacorporation starts killing patients...

And two exes must reunite to save lives!

When he discovers his patients' lives are threatened, Dr. Paul Reilly can turn to only one person: Simone Black. She will have his back, even if they don't agree on much else. But as the former lovers work together to track down the evildoers who are tampering with medications, they rediscover unexpected feelings for one another...even as an enemy wants to silence them permanently.