Friday, 22 September 2023

Reunions and Resolve

By the time most of you read this I will be confronting a very unsettling and confusing part of my more recent past. I'm referring to the almost assured probability of seeing the man who dumped me last April because I'm heading back to see my sister on Saturday and we will be making our semi-annual pilgrimage to Branson, Missouri the following day. We love seeing the shows our friends are in and applauding their ability to still make some very complicated dance moves for entertainers who are aging right along with us. Some of these long-time friends have died the past few years or have become too ill to perform. That makes our hearts heavy and our reunions bittersweet, but after twenty years, it's still like visiting family.

Despite many advances by male entertainers over the years who like women a little too much and are not afraid to admit it, I have managed to keep from falling into a compromising situation that would test just how strong my convictions really are. You see, I was raised to believe that sex--the only truly special gift I had to give--was reserved for marriage and the man I had committed to spend my life with. That's why I was a virgin bride who was completely devastated when my new husband took one look at me standing so innocently in the lamplight and said, "You married me under false pretenses. Your breasts aren't as big as I thought they were." 

My spirit was far stronger than I thought because it took twenty-two years of verbal and emotional abuse before my body finally gave out and I had to make a very difficult decision. But neither unwarranted abuse nor a nasty divorce where my soon-to-be ex  turned nearly every vocal person in the community against me could force a change in my beliefs about the sanctity of marriage or the beautiful gift that had been used so unkindly and unjustly against me. I still believe that somewhere in this vast universe, and when the time is finally right because I have done the necessary healing, I will meet the man God intended for me all along. I just got sidetracked along the way and had to pay a head price for my stupidity. 

But back to the upcoming encounter where the man involved is in total control since he was the one who no longer wanted my friendship when I wouldn't sleep with him. I'm basically trusting and definitely inexperienced when it comes to men, mostly because I don't want to be hurt again. I suppose that's why I didn't see his very enticing invitation coming, even though I knew our relationship was heading in that direction. How could it not when we had known each other for over five years and the sparks began igniting the moment our eyes met? Over the previous year we had spent hours texting, talking on the phone, and flirting in all those little ways that mean so much to a woman. But I knew he wasn't monogamous by nature and had women throwing themselves at him on more or less a daily basis. 

It was a risk to tell him no, but I honestly believed we were good enough friends that he would understand where I was coming and still want me around. He had often told me how much he valued what we shared and how he knew he could talk to me about anything. But that obviously wasn't the case. While I've tried to initiate a conversation where we could clear the air, I've only heard from him twice in nearly six months. Once in May when he said in a text that he understood and we were still friends and then in August when I sent him a happy birthday message. I've tried to rid him from my heart and thoughts, but not not knowing if he will even look at me when we see each other is making this upcoming trip seem more like a nightmare than a pleasant vacation. I'm sure I'm not alone when it comes to experiences like this because women get dumped all the time, even when they give in. Will just have to wait and see if I feel inclined to talk about what happened when I get back.

But before I stop typing, I want to tell you about the speakers at church yesterday. They had both been asked to speak about the Constitution of the United States of America--something not often covered in meetings like that--but certainly applicable in the political and social climate we find ourselves in today. The first one admitted that she had asked for a different topic because she didn't know enough about the constitution to fill a fifteen minute assignment, so she spoke about something else. The second speaker began by saying that he hadn't given the constitution much thought since he was in college over thirty years earlier, but he had found three talks that had given him a few ideas. 

I felt the heat rush to my cheeks as I sat in the pew by a friend and watched the people around me lose interest and start fiddling around with their cell phones. Why shouldn't we as Christians be interested in the God-inspired document that was meant to protect our inalienable rights? Have we become so desensitized to anything of real value that we are more interested in what our friends are saying or the disinformation the news media is propagating than in learning about how close we are to forever losing what the founding fathers worked so hard to give us?  

It was humbling to recall that until very recently the most I had contemplated the founding of our great country was when listening to the group, The Fifth Dimension, sing the words to the Declaration of Independence. I can still repeat them by heart. "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. And whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government. Laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers to such form, as citizens have seen most likely to affect their safety and happiness." They go on to explain how they feel about what they have just sung in the next verse. It's a powerful reminder for free people everywhere who want to keep the rights they've always had, but have allowed those in power to meticulously strip them away.

I can think of no better way to spend a few hours than in reading the Constitution of our great country and really learning what it stands for and how it works. It provided for a republican form of government with elected representatives rather than a pure democracy governed by emotional mass participation. There were three equal branches of authority - the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The separation of power was a safeguard against one political party gaining complete control. This system of checks and balances has all but been obliterated today by the power-hungry and dishonest who want everything for themselves. It is interesting to note that the founding fathers were opposed to political parties in general and feared they would only try to divide rather than unite. They wanted true representatives of the people at the top where it really mattered. 

Since all inherent rights couldn't be covered in the constitution itself, a Bill of Rights was added. This too has been cast aside in favor of woke ideologies and communist propaganda from within our own political ranks and elsewhere. We as patriots must stand strong, immovable and united against the tyrants who wish to strip these inalienable rights from us. Here is a quick review of the freedoms guaranteed to every sovereign citizen:

1. Freedom of religion (First Amendment)

2. Freedom of speech (First Amendment)

3. Freedom of Press (First Amendment)

4. Freedom of assembly (First Amendment)

5. Freedom to petition the government for grievances (First Amendment)

6. Freedom to bear arms (Second Amendment)

7. Freedom from illegal search of persons, houses, papers or effects (Fourth Amendment)

8. Freedom from prosecution without due process of law (Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments)

9. Freedom from multiple prosecutions for the same offense (Fifth Amendment)

10. Freedom from the necessity of testifying against one's self (Fifth Amendment)

11. Freedom from imprisonment without a speedy and public trial (Sixth Amendment)

12. Freedom from excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments (Eighth Amendment)

13. Freedom from slavery or involuntary servitude (Thirteenth Amendment added in 1865)

14. Freedom to vote regardless of race or sex (Fifteenth Amendment added in 1870 and the Nineteenth Amendment added in 1920)

We don't have to look very far today to see where all of these rights are being violated because the far left are slapping us in the face with them. Case in point, the two women in their seventies that were arrested and jailed this week in Washington D.C. for peacefully protesting outside an abortion clinic. They would have been released with accolades if they had burned down a pro-life establishment or risen in protest against citizens who refuse to give up their guns and ammunition.

George Washington stated, "Truth will ultimately prevail, where there are pains taken to bring it to light." What a humbling thought for all of us who are fearful about speaking up because we know we will most likely be punished if we do. Right now the far left is focused on stopping the patriot news forums by trying to ruin the reputation of any conservative that had taken a stance. They're even trying to ruin Tim Ballard's reputation because the movie Sound Of Freedom was such a huge success in opening people's eyes to the widespread horrors of child and human trafficking. 

In the news magazine, U.S. News and World Report, April 20, 1964, David Lawrence said, "The America of our forefathers . . . will some day see through the guilt of phony liberalism and cynical disdain for patriotism and love of fatherland.

"This America that General MacArthur aroused is not the America of petty politics and tricky manipulation of public power. It is not an America of 'double-talk' which denounces yet embraces appeasement. It is not an America of cowardice. It is an America of resoluteness and courage and sacrifice. It is an America that applauds the man of honest conviction."

Perhaps the awakening spoken about nearly sixty years ago has finally begun. I certainly hope that's true because we need a return to past values if we are going to survive what is being planned for our complete overthrow. May God grant us the strength of conviction to speak up for Him and the country He saved for us. It's a legacy too valuable to be lost through complacency, fear and lack of resolve.


Sunday, 17 September 2023

An Historic Sight

Over Labor Day weekend this year, I had the opportunity to see Mt. Rushmore for the first time with my son and his family. It was on his bucket list and I willingly joined them while paying all the major expenses like hotel, gas and food. Our country's economic collapse is making it nearly impossible for younger Americans to provide for their families. Interest rates are soaring, inflation is hitting an all-time high and costly insurance is practically useless because the deductibles alone mean basically paying for every doctor and hospital visit twice--unless the individuals in question crossed the border illegally or are making their living by abusing one of our country's massive welfare programs. Which by the way, cost each working man and woman over a third of their take-home pay, and that doesn't include the hundreds of other taxes we are forced too pay. 

But this post isn't about all the biased, unjust and illegal rulings and laws that have been introduced into our society without the approval of the individual citizen and that run counter to everything our God-given Constitution and Bill of Rights were meant to protect. Freedom from tyrannical rule was the gift our founding fathers wanted to secure for all the generations that would live and flourish in America and it is hanging by such a flimsy thread that every true patriot should now be awake to the absolute danger we are living in and be willing to take a stand before everything we hold dear is lost. 

We have been deceived for decades by the very men and women who are supposed to be serving the constituents who elected them by preserving the constitution and the freedoms it stands for, not becoming multi-millionaires at our expense. Visiting Mt. Rushmore is truly an experience every freedom-loving American should have. And it's not just the chance to view such amazing images of great American Patriots carved into rocks or to learn about the intricate, expensive and time-consuming undertaking it was to create such a majestic work of art. It's experiencing a kind of pride that brings tears to the eyes, a lump to the throat and a heaviness of heart that makes it almost impossible to breath. There is a majesty and a spirit about that place that makes even the most reluctant visitor feel a burst of humility and awe.

My son was in incredible pain during that trip because of a herniated disk in his lower back that was bulging on both sides and pinching off the nerve going down his left leg. He is an amazing man, always willing to help anyone in need and had become injured himself while getting someone who had been in a motorcycle accident to the hospital. Watching him try to minimize the pain so his family could enjoy the experience made me realize just how important fighting for truth, liberty and the American way of life really is. My time on earth will be over in a few years, but my posterity deserves better than what they are getting right now--33 trillion dollars in wasteful and unnecessary national debt, and rising. That legacy of horror will strip them of all the rights I enjoyed--in my limited, nearly impoverished way--and make it next to impossible for them to find success, fulfillment and personal joy.

In 1966, the national debt was $324 billion. Adding accrued liabilities payable in the future made it exceed $1 trillion or an average indebtedness of over $5,200 for every man, woman and child in the United States. Said a different way, the federal debt at that time was equal to a first mortgage of $10,000 on all owned homes and was reported to exceed the combined debt of all the other countries in the world. What that number is today blows the lid off my simple mind. Math is not my strong suit but if one divides 350 million people, many of whom are living on welfare and haven't paid a cent of income tax in their entire lives, by $33 trillion we are already indentured servants to a bankrupt corporation and will be living like the poorest serfs in any third-world country if something isn't done to stop the insane spending and get the federal budget under control. 

That spending wouldn't be quite so hard to digest if anything more than a tiny pittance of that incredible fortune had actually gone to the American people in rebuilding our infrastructure, making home buying and insurance coverage more affordable, and assuring that every American had a job and could afford to put food on the table. Our homelessness, drug and human trafficking crisis and civil lawlessness has far surpassed anything imaginable even three years ago. Thousands of people are just walking across our borders without being vetted so we know who they are, where they came from and why they are here. And those we allow in are being given $2200 a month in tax dollars and are living better than the average American in some of the most luxurious hotels in our country and having all their needs met while completely destroying their surroundings and threatening the safety of the citizens in the community where they end up. Many of us who are here rightfully and legally, on the other hand, are struggling to make ends meet and are fearful of government overreach that has just armed over 80 thousand IRS agents, weaponized the justice department and made speaking out against liberal policies an offense worthy of serving time in jail.

James Madison said,"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations." (Elliot's Debates 3:87; P.P.N.S., p. 104)

We are sitting at the most vulnerable time in the history of our nation when the simple brush stroke of a pen from the president's desk can take away any and all that we hold dear in favor of liberal ideologies that favor the few over the vast majority. Sadly, there is no one to stop the encroachments to our liberty since so few men and women in positions of power and authority have resisted selling out to the Deep State. That is why it is so important to decide how much more we are willing to accept in the name of social justice, environmental change and forward movement. Truth is still truth, and it will prevail, but there will be some dark days until the world finally accepts that Jesus is the Christ and there is a God in Heaven who oversees all that is happening in the worlds He has created.

I love the words of Dean Alfange because I never want to be just an ordinary woman who watches life happen without ever getting involved. His statement goes like this. "I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me - not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and pulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build; to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say--'This, with God's help, I have done.' All this is what it means to be an American."

Thomas Paine, whose writing helped stir people to action during the days of the American Revolution said this, and its sentiments are just as true today because we are on a clear path to losing what was so valiantly provided by our founding fathers. "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of men and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obatain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated." (The Political Works of Thomas Paine, p.55)

I value freedom over peace and know that the fight ahead will not be easily won. In fact, it may not be won at all without divine intervention in our hour of greatest need. But as American Citizens and Christians who understand the value of what we have been given and who, unwittingly and mostly unknowingly, have played a part in the disintegration of our country by maintaining silence must stand strong now and outwardly support the side we wish to be on. Fear is our greatest enemy and we can rest assured that our adversaries know this and will use it against us. But with God and His angels surrounding the cause of truth we can speak out with courage and hope for we are not alone. Loyal PATRIOTS have never stopped this fight for continued freedom. But they need us to stand with them.

Unfortunately, the hour is late and the time is short. But as we invite God's blessings on our efforts to protect the freedoms He so graciously and lovingly gave, we cannot fail when arousing our neighbors to join in the battle. It is still the conflict between good and evil that has raged unmercifully since Satan rebelled and was cast out of God's presence with a third of the host of heaven. Not surprisingly, the greatest evil of our day is the Godless, socialist-communist conspiracy that has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and will continue to do so unless stopped. Their goal is to take over the world by corrupting each country from within, and they don't really care how long it takes.

We can help combat that insidious movement by returning to a respect for national morality, law and order, strong families, a desire to do something meaningful with our lives and a return to church activity where common goals can be fortified. Not everyone is equipped to be a martyr, a statesman or a speech giver. But everyone can find something that isn't too far outside his or her comfort zone to promote liberty, justice and freedom for all. Just start where you are today and don't be afraid. The more you share with others, the more you will find like minded people who just want to do what is right but need a little push. God be with each of you as you make your way through this difficult but exciting time to be alive.  

If you would like a little fiction to help offset some of the serious issues of the day that touch on real-life problems being solved in God's way, check out the books published by this company. They are all available on Amazon in print and eBook formats at 

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The Hearts of Strangers - Book 2

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Crossfire at Bentley

Reagan Sinclair - FBI: series of 5 books

Final Allegiance


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Welcome Redemption

Brylee Hawkins Saga: series of 7 books

Indecision's Flame







Also, So Long Bishop by Viola Ririe


Sunday, 10 September 2023

Absent, but with good reason

 The 4th of July was a real turning point for me this year when it came to reevaluating my stance of apathy and true lack of interest when it comes to what is happening in the America that I love so very much. Like many of you, I have been in a state of confusion and disbelief the past three years at how rapidly and completely our great country has fallen into a state of mass confusion, civil disobedience and moral bankruptcy.  Criminal behavior is overlooked and even applauded while honest, good people are being jailed for Christian beliefs and standing up for their God-given rights --inalienable rights that were meant to be protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is not the country I grew up in, nor is it the country of even a few years ago where we still enjoyed relative prosperity and could afford to care for our families because we were still free to pursue the American Dream of obtaining what we worked to achieve.

I am a Baby Boomer, and quite proud of it even if it means I'm getting old.  For those of you who do not know what that term means, I was a post-World War II baby born to father who had served in the Army during the conflict and a mother who had worked as a secretary in several branches of the government. They were thoroughly patriotic, despite the fact that some of the men who had not served their country had achieved great financial success while they were busy helping their fellowmen. My father was content with what little he got through the GI bill that allowed him to purchase eighty acres of farm ground where he hoped to provide for his family and teach them correct principles.

Like I've stated in several past posts, we had very little growing up. I spent the first months of my life in a basement without running water. And when my father was finally able to build a cinderblock addition above it there was only room for a kitchen, living room, bathroom and small playroom where we kept our toys and clothes. Mostly we kids used the two-seater outhouse that was partially shielded from view by several huge trees, especially when it was warm enough to be outside during the often unpredictable South Eastern Idaho weather. There were winter months when six feet of snow stood in front of the door making it impossible to get inside.

We would get a thorough scrubbing each Saturday night so we would be ready for church the next morning, each taking quick turns in the same bath water before it got cold. Mother would use rags to help curl we girl's hair and we each had one good outfit that had to be removed the moment we got home so it wouldn't be ruined. When one child outgrew it, it would passed to the next brother to sister in line. We always had plenty to eat because we raised most all of our own food from beef, pork and chickens to apples and plums and everything imaginable that could be grown in a mammoth-size garden. Canning and preserving was a way of life and taught me skills that I still use today. I just finished making several batches of peach freezer jam.

I suppose I digress from the point I'm trying to make, but I've spent the past two months trying to study and learn how I could have missed the destruction of our beloved republic from the inside out over the course of my life. When I was little, Independence Day was one of complete joy with local parades filled with floats, bands and people walking along the route handing out candy. The skies at night were filled with the glorious colors from fireworks and everyone dressed in red, white and blue to acknowledge their patriotism and love for our great country. Sparklers and family dinners were a must, and family of all generations told stories of heroism and loyalty. I was filled with pride because so many of my ancestors fought so valiantly for the freedom I really didn't know anything about at the time.

At school, we said a prayer each morning asking for help with our studies, our behavior and any problem we might be facing. And we would put our hands joyfully over our hearts as we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and listened to patriotic music. We learned about our founding fathers and the sacrifices they made so we could live in a country free of tyranny and unrighteous dominion. We studied the government and how it was supposed to operate and what we would lose if it usurped power from the people and started passing laws that took away our rights. 

I was so proud to be an American and wanted everyone throughout the world to have the same freedom I did, but like so many of my generation I was too young to understand what the 1960s would bring and how everything that was promoted was intended to break down home, family and moral values and supplant them with disingenuous ideologies and cynicism when it came to God. By the time I made it to college, I liked wearing short shirts and going to unchaperoned dances and gave little thought to our country because I was so busy pursuing my own academic studies.

Then came marriage and all the struggles of trying to adjust to a very difficult relationship, finding the means to finance a home, paying unending bills and raising a much-wanted family. I voted in every election and supported the movement to keep gambling out of Idaho, but since I rarely left our small country community I had no idea how rapidly society was disintegrating when it came to the kind of life I envisioned for future generations of my posterity. I was so busy trying to survive that I seldom listened to the news and the only major catastrophe I lived through was the collapse of the Teton Dam. 

When my marriage finally fell apart and I became a full-time teacher, I was immediately drawn to one of my high school passions --Journalism. I taught my students what a grave responsibility it was to accurately report the truth so the public would not be deceived. I made them do in-depth reporting and would not allowed anything to be printed that had not been checked for accuracy. Even opinion articles needed to be based on a provable truth. Integrity means everything because once trust is lost it is nearly impossible to regain.

I have said numerous times over the past couple of years that I would be fired the first day if I returned to the classroom because I will never be amenable to all the falsehoods being promoted by special interest groups who want a complete collapse of our republic. It horrifies me how fully the far left has embraced the doctrines of communism and have made sure their people are appointed to positions of trust within our society and government where they can spread totalitarian doctrine without any resistance because they no longer feel the need to hide who they are and what their intentions include. 

Cases in point. Emily Drabinski was elected president of the American Library Association earlier this summer. She stated in an interview with Fox News that she was thrilled as a lesbian and a communist to be given such an honor. Those two descriptors have now been deleted from any information about her on the Internet. And just two days ago the Revolutionary Communist Party demanded an end to "Christian Fascism" at a school board meeting in Orange County, California, and told the attendees to "get ready for a revolution to overthrow this whole system that gave birth to this White supremacy and this male supremacy."

Pretty scary stuff when added to everything else that has been allowed to happen in our country recently. My disillusionments and concerns about where our nation is at has led me on a journey of trying to understand how we became so completely lost as a republic that once believed in freedom and equality for all those who were willing to uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Those unique and praiseworthy individuals were actually wiling to pursue the American Dream under their own steam and by the sweat of their brows instead of demanding a livelihood at the expense of the working class while doing nothing but contribute to the national debt and an increase in many reprehensible forms of crime. Perhaps that is an oversimplification, but nothing in life is ever free, and I fear the people who are paying for everyone else's existence when their own needs are not being meet due to increased taxes, unreasonable deductibles on insurance and ever increasing interest rates are beginning to despair and lose hope in a future that once brought such great joy. 

I began my research with a lot of prayer and self-reflection. It's not easy to find truth when the media is being controlled by one party and the justice system has been weaponized against anyone who speaks out against any liberal ideology. But I soon found that there are many brave men and women who are risking their lives, livelihoods and any semblance of peace to expose the people who are trying to destroy everything that America once stood for. They are strong and knowledgeable patriots, found in some of the most unusual places, who have promised to fight for liberty until their dying breath. So much of what they say resonates with truths I have always known inside and I include them in every prayer. We may have differences of opinion when it comes to some religious beliefs, but they love God as much as I do and are not afraid to let others know where they stand. 

The Constitution of this magnificent country was divinely inspired and instituted by men and women raised up to give mankind a chance to experience God-given liberty. With our Constitution hanging by a thin thread it will take every patriot in the country standing firmly together against the tyranny that surrounds us. It won't be easy, and I fear many of us will prefer to remain silent, but our silence only means that we have no real objection to our continued slide into full-blown communism where all freedom and hope is lost. Perhaps that's why it's taken me two months to form another post. I knew what side I was on but had to decide if I had enough courage to let my feelings and beliefs be known. We are in a war--not a war like the two previous world wars--but a war of ideas and beliefs that is fueled by the world wide information system. There have been many casualties already and there will be many more. 

This is a good place for me to stop, but I'm going to give you the titles to a few of the books I've been reading and some of the other sources I've consulted. Should you choose to examine them, you will gain much knowledge but will have to decide what rings true for you. The Naked Communist by W. Cleon Skousen. It was used by the FBI for decades as a training tool in discovering how our government has been infiltrated and what the communist overall object still is. The Red Carpet and An Enemy Hath Done This by Ezra Taft Benson. Both of these men spent years working for the government and knew as early as the 1950s where our country was heading if we didn't start paying attention.

Fox News used to be far more unbiased before Murdoch took over earlier this year, but it's become much like the rest of the fake news outlets recently. That's why I prefer Newsmax and The Blaze. They both talk about important things that main stream media ignores. And for those of you who enjoy podcasts and a military approach as to what is happening worldwide, you should check out Restored Republic via GCR. You'll know you're in the right place when you see a picture of President Trump rescuing two babies. 

Stay safe and keep the faith. Things are unfolding the way God intends. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Disrupted 4th of July

My thoughts were all gathered to write a post on Monday morning but my body had other plans. I'll tell you about that later. While I'm a day late expressing some of my most recent thoughts about the 4th of July, I still believe that some of us need an attitude adjustment when it comes to the birth of our country and what it really means to be an American who honors the flag and the Constitution and Bill of Rights that were meant to maintain the freedoms so many of our ancestors died to give us. How much we owe them for their sacrifices and their willingness to give all so their posterities could have what many of us take for granted and seem intent on losing all in the name of social and political progress.

How I honor and love my faithful, strong and committed ancestors. They were not wealthy or powerful individuals who drew great masses to their ideas. They were simple, hardworking farmers and small business owners who struggled to put food on their tables and pay their bills. Many of them lost every material possession more than once because people took objection to what they believed. They were driven from their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs and what they could carry in their arms, and they lost family members and loved ones along the way as they struggled to find a new place to call home. Like many groups of people we read about in the scriptures, their faith in God was strong. They knew he would guide and protect them as long as they did not deny the truths they had been given. And even if their lives were lost, they had the inner knowledge that their obedience would eventually be rewarded in the life to come.

Perhaps that's why I am drawn to genealogical research so much. I love learning about my ancestors and while life histories do not go back very far, I love to trace different family lines and see where people came from and where they ended up. Some of my lines go back to before the birth of Jesus Christ. I have family in South Africa, dozens of European countries, Canada and Australia. I'm sure I will eventually be able to trace branches around the world. How excited I am to meet each one of them some day and learn their stories. My only real claim to any fame is being related to President Woodrow Wilson on my material family line. But as simple as my own life is, I hope I can make each of them proud of me in some way. 

From many of the news reports touting the events of yesterday, Americans in general are feeling less patriotic each year and are becoming very vocal about it. Celebrations were down in nearly every community and the violence didn't take a day off. All that is happening in a country where everyone once stood for the flag, sang the national anthem with enthusiasm, attended Independence Day parades, studied the Constitution at school and was given a more correct accounting of history troubles my heart and brings tears to my eyes because despite all the turmoil, disregard for civil liberty and downright evilness that is so rampant in our society, we still live in the greatest country on earth that provides us the most freedoms. This country was preserved for the final days before the Savior's return to earth. It was a new land of complete freedom from tyranny and oppression. But most important for me, it was a place of religious freedom where people could worship God, live by his commandments and enjoy every blessing available as long as they were willing to work for what they needed and wanted and fight to maintain everyone's freedom. 

While our founding fathers were not perfect--as none of us are--I believe they were great and brilliant men God ordained to come to earth to design a government that was meant to preserve every liberty that is being stolen from us today by men and women who love power, money and personal indulgence more than living by any of the laws that made this country a true world power that was honored and respected by other nations. I love to see people in positions of influence who are taking a stand against the evils that are meant to destroy our society and often wish I was half so brave. But like so many people of my generation, the fear-peddling that is meant to stop us from expressing how we feel is a little daunting.

Still, my heart is filled with gratitude and love for the country I will always call home, even though I can't express my inner feelings to all of the people I love because they have bought in to so many of the misguided ideologies that cause me to tremble and shake because they are nothing less than a fulfillment of prophesy. Like many other Christians, I pray for the Savior's return, but God is in charge of that. My only recourse is to stay as close to him as possible and stand with others who share similar beliefs. Regardless of what we may be required to face before our lives are over, I want to be on his side when I pass through the veil.

So how has that changed my view of July 4th? I didn't do any outward celebrating, but I did spend some time reading about our founding fathers and the importance of not having our constitution rewritten or completely done away with like so many people in power seemed determined to do. I know it is hanging by a very thin thread right now, but it was inspired of God and our nation is only failing because so many of our people have turned their backs on him. I also spent some time in my back yard marveling at the beautiful variety of flowers God has created and looking up at the majestic mountains to the east of my home. I thought about all the blessings I have that are a direct result of living in America and knowing that God will prevail. 

My wakeup call for another reevaluation came on Sunday night. The muscle in my right arm was hurting so much I couldn't sleep. It's been doing that for almost nine months now, but I'd been avoiding seeing a doctor because I would only be told to quit digging in my yard and doing other things I have a real passion for. About one in the morning I got this crushing pain in the center of my chest. It wasn't like the normal indigestion that always gave me a start. It came on without warning, radiated to my shoulder, and lasted for several minutes before stopping as suddenly as it began. Whatever was going on had gotten my attention, but the pain in my shoulder left at the same time the intense pain in my chest did so I just let the sleep come.

Since I have a long history of heart problems and am under the care of a cardiologist, I figured it might be wise to see what was going on. So I headed straight to urgent care the next morning and asked to see the doctor. When I told the receptionist what was going on she told me I needed to go to an emergency room because they weren't equipped to deal with things that could be so potentially life threatening. I was no longer I pain, just a heaviness in my chest and some nausea and dizziness that was making me very uncomfortable. 

There was a hospital less than a block away, but I wasn't sure my insurance would cover a visit there and my doctors were at the hospital twenty to thirty minutes away, depending on the timing of the lights. Being my very independent self, I drove myself down the freeway and along busy city streets praying all the way that I wouldn't cause an accident. There were only four people ahead of me in the emergency waiting room. I felt like a fool for not just letting nature take its course but it was a little late to leave once I had told the young man behind the desk why I had come.

I was amazed at the speed with which the specialists began working on me but was only told that I was lucky it hadn't gotten really busy yet. An ECG was taken and a few minutes later I was put in a room and told to strip to the waist. It had been 40 years since I had been in an emergency room, but I tried to concentrate on the book I'd brought with me to read. Not unexpectedly my blood pressure was much higher than anyone wanted it to be, and I didn't like having all my vital functions monitored, but the first real pain came when my blood was being drawn for the test that would show if I'd had a heart attack. An IV had to be inserted and the student who was learning how to do it nicked something when she tried to push the needle further into the vein. I didn't let my displeasure show in any way but was very glad when her supervisor took over. 

While the blood test was being run, I had two chest e-rays and was given a nice warm blanket. When the doctor finally came back she said the enzyme detecting a heart attack wasn't there but the marker indicating a blood clot in my lungs was so she was ordering a CT scan of my chest. That was a little unnerving but it came back clear, other than the discovery of gall stones--something very common in women over 40 but rare in men. I felt blessed but very foolish for wasting so much time in the ER room, even though I knew my double insurance would cover the costs. It was at that point that I asked her about my arm. I think she was a little worried about the length of time it had been bothering me because she ordered another e-ray to make sure the bone was okay. 

Four hours later I was ready to go home and very grateful for having such a kind and caring doctor--one I wished I could see on a regular basis since I often feel my doctor of record isn't all that great and his bedside manner leaves something to be desired. She took the time to really listen and answer any questions. To help assuage my feeling foolish for responding to a false alarm she told me that most of the people who come to the ER with a possible heart attack are fine, but it's always best to listen to our bodies when something unexpected and unexplainable is going on, especially when we have a history of heart disease in our family and have are seeing a cardiologist on a regular basis.

She hadn't found any indication of bone cancer which she had suspected and she was confident the ongoing pain was nothing more serious than bursitis that could be easily treated with cold compresses and Aleve--less disruptive to the kidneys than Ibuprofin. Before leaving she told me not to worry about the gall stones unless I had another possible flair-up when I should consult a surgeon about taking them out. And if I started to pass one I would know it because the pain would be excruciating with nausea and throwing up. 

So a day I had planned to spend writing, reading and working more in my yard was spent in the emergency room where I was lucky enough not to have had a mild heart attack and where no blood clot was found in my lungs. I'm not excited about having gall stones, but at least I now know what's wrong with my arm and how to treat it without letting all the yard work go. And if I do have any more pain like what I had on Sunday night I have a better idea of what the culprit might be.

So despite all that is going on around me, along with my own human frailties and body that is aging more rapidly that I would like, there is much to be thankful for. I didn't hear from either of my children yesterday even after texting them and wishing them a fun 4th, but they're young and doing things with their families and friends as they should be this time in their lives. And their decisions in how they spend their time do not take away from the gratitude I feel for being born in a free country where I can live life on my own terms, as long as my actions do not infringe on those of anyone else. I have full confidence and trust in my Heavenly Father and know that things are unfolding as they should. My role is to stay strong to my beliefs while loving and serving others the way Christ did while he was here. For someday he will return and what a joyous time that will be for all who still remain here and for those of us who have gone before and are still his faith disciples.

Monday, 19 June 2023

Introspective Holidays

Holidays, even the most uncomplicated ones, are hard. Perhaps I'm only speaking for myself because most everyone I meet seems to love the hustle, bustle and often consternation associated with huge family dinners, trying to make everyone comfortable and happy and purchasing gifts or tokens of affection that won't immediately be returned for something else. I know most of you are thinking about Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, Valentine's Day and Easter, but we've had three very important ones the past month that have made me realize how pathetically sad my own life has become--Mother's Day, Memorial Day and Father's Day.

These special days bring little besides a huge lump to my heart and tears that can't be stopped from sliding down my cheeks at the most inopportune moments. Remembrances from the past bring to the foreground once again all I've missed by not being part of a family that was encouraged to spend time together and keep in touch once we had gone our separate ways. I suppose my latest bout of melancholia started on Friday when one of the men I work with told me that he and his wife were heading to Idaho again. They'd been there over Memorial Day to decorate graves and talk about good times from their childhood with siblings and friends. This time they were simply going to play board games and enjoy being together.

I haven't seen two of my siblings for nearly twenty years. Perhaps they would have come for my brother's memorial service if it hadn't been during Covid when flights were almost impossible to get and large gatherings were prohibited. I remember that time vividly because my brother's daughter from South Carolina drove all the way with her family so she could give her father's life history in a thirty minutes service on a cold and blustery November day at the cemetery a quarter of a mile away from the home daddy had built for us.  Sandon died the day after Thanksgiving alone in his room at the nursing home from a sudden heart attack. 

He had been badly burned a few years earlier when he fell into a fire pit while at a party and couldn't get out. The people he was with waited until they thought he wouldn't survive before throwing him in the back of his van and leaving it outside the emergency rooms doors at the local hospital. He was so badly burned and swollen that it took three days for him to be identified and transferred to the burn unit at the University of Utah. When I first saw him his head was swollen to twice its normal size and he was hardly recognizable. But he grasp my hand and despite my reluctance to be where I was watching him suffer I couldn't bring myself to leave the room as more dead skin was pulled from his body and he was given further burn treatments. I loved him dearly and had watched over him as best I could throughout his life because I have never gotten over being blamed for the accident that left him with lifelong mental and physical disabilities.

My one sister who lived there and had been responsible for overseeing his affairs let everyone know that quarantine rules meant only seven people would be allowed at his graveside service. She was not happy because his daughter was driving across country and bringing her entire family with her. I hadn't had much contact with my niece in decades, but she was the only one of six children who would even talk to her father after their parent's divorce and she had called the the day before Thanksgiving to tell me that someone wasn't right with him. When I relayed the message, I was told he was doing just fine.

I wanted desperately to go to the service, even knowing that it was a long drive over what could be some very bad roads and I wouldn't get to see his face, but how could I take the place of someone who was sacrificing so much to get there? I cried a lot after making that decision and telling my sister that one of my niece's children could take my place. My son was outraged when he heard what was being planned. No regulations had been set as to how many people could be out in the cold, fully masked to attend a memorial service. He believed my sister just wanted to be in control as she always did. He said I was going and he and his wife were taking me. We would stand on the outside the fence if necessary.

Knowing I was going to be there regardless of what had been said, my sister asked me to say a few words. I might have done so had it not been one of the saddest experiences of my life. There must have been thirty-five people present--separated into three distinct groups that wouldn't walk six feet to talk to each other. My brother's ex-wife and her children who had not spoken to their father in nearly twenty years clustered together  away from the tent that had been set up for family. My two sisters who lived in town and even got to see him before the casket lid was closed sat underneath the tent with members of their families. I was terrified to go near them because I knew I wasn't welcome so I stood with my son and daughter-in-law and a couple of other people I didn't know. 

I was having a very emotional time, especially after learning that my niece had been in town the night before when my sisters went to the mortuary, but they hadn't told her that she was allowed to see him too. This sweet young woman was as broken-hearted as I was. She had been estranged from her family since the day she chose to be part of her father's life, while everyone else chose to keep on hating him. After some not so gentle persuasion I sat underneath the tent out of respect for my brother and listened to my niece give a beautiful life sketch, but I wasn't encouraged to say anything so I kept quiet. I couldn't have expressed what was in my heart anyway when there were so many uncharitable feelings floating around, but God gave me the courage to speak to most everyone before leaving the cemetery.

That experience brought back with undiluted clarity what happened the day my mother died nearly twenty years earlier. I had gone over to her house after work knowing that all of my siblings were coming since she was in the final stage before succumbing to cancer. A different niece met me at the door. She was in tears because she had been there the entire day and no one had invited her to go into grandma's bedroom to say goodbye, not even her mother. I took her arm and moved her in front of me down the hallway. The room was full so we both stood at the foot of the bed for a few minutes. There wasn't time for either of us to say much because three of my sisters--the two who had been at my brother's service and my youngest one--told the rest of us to leave because mother needed some rest. 

Another sister and I followed our two brothers into the back yard. There we talked and paced for over three hours before we were told to come back. Mother was dead. She'd been cleaned up and was wearing one of her prettiest nightgowns, but we had been excluded from her final moments. I couldn't wrap my head around the cruel insensitivity, but it was far from being the first time. Sandon and I had only been allowed to see her for a few specified minutes each week since her diagnosis while our two sisters got to spent every day and night with her.

When I told mother that twenty minutes every Monday night while my one sister was gone wasn't time enough, she just told me that she was doing what her caregivers wanted. But she had a job for me. She wanted me to type all my grandmother's short stories and readings and put them in book form so all my siblings could have them. That was a monumental task since many of them were handwritten and some not even finished, but I did it in record time and had binders ready for everyone specified before her death. I wish I could say that my time with her increased after my pleading, but I can only recall one short conversation where we talked about  Sandon's accident. She said she didn't remember telling me it was my fault but she was in a state of shock and could very well have.

As I'm sure you can tell by now, the dynamics in our family were not healthy. As adults we children were not encouraged to talk to each other. Mother wanted to be the disseminator of information and decide who needed to know what. And since many of us were scared of her, and busy with our own lives, we didn't rock the proverbial boat. It was different then anyway because calling long distance was cost-prohibitive and most of us were too poor to take a trip to see anyone. But the sorrow I feel over not being part of a loving and connected family is very real.

I guess that's why these past few weeks are always so hard each year. It's starts with Mother's Day and knowing that my own mother may have loved me, but she didn't appear to like me and was not capable of showing strong positive emotion. My father was somewhat different from what I can remember. He was tall and thin--a real cowboy who loved riding his horse and announcing or clowning at rodeos. His hands were strong and his heart willing to support and care for his large family. But his grief over the accident where his own little son was so severely injured must have been almost impossible to bear.

How I envy families where the love is strong and siblings actually like spending time together. But I've had to accept that some things will have to wait until the next life to be resolved. I want to be with my family forever. I know it's possible but have no idea how it will happen since we can go years without contact in this life and no one seems to care. 

There's one plot left in that cemetery in Idaho where my parents, my brother and two brother-in-laws have been laid to rest. My two sisters will be placed beside their husbands when their missions in this life are over. Daddy purchased eight plots before my youngest sister was born, and I know he felt good about having a resting place for his wife and all his children. And while I've always been grateful to have a designated spot for my physical body when my spirit leaves it behind, I'm not sure that's where I want to be anymore. Regardless of the fact that it's already been paid for, two siblings spots have already been filled with someone else and my son says he wants me closer to where he is.

Not that it's really going to matter, except for knowing where my body is, but I do need to be making a few permanent decisions. That includes finishing my life history that is so painful to write only bits and pieces now exist. However, if I want my posterity to understand why I am more than a little messed up, but a true peacemaker at heart, I need to take that journey through my past one more time. Perhaps I will see things somewhat differently than I once did and my compassion and understanding will show through. 

I really want to rid myself of the anger, jealousy and judgment that has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I want to see others as God and my Savior do. There is a bit of divinity in even the vilest of sinners because they were created by Heavenly Parents who love without condition. I think I felt that way more yesterday than I have for some time as fathers were honored at church and I thought about how much I missed mine and how different my life may have been had he been allowed to live past my thirteenth birthday. But everything happens for a reason and we were not sent to earth to indulge every desire. We are here to learn, grow and develop into people who are prepared to return to their heavenly home.

And just so you know, I sent a Happy Father's Day text to the man I've been writing about. He didn't respond, but I decided that I would only be hurting myself if I didn't since I've sent one for the past four years. I don't know what's in his heart because he won't tell me. But maybe it's better that way. I'm trying to stay focused on the light, and he's a long away from doing that right now. More about that later, but it's time to get on with my day. Folding clothes and running errands await me.  

Monday, 12 June 2023

Still Trying To Get Out Of That Hole

Wish I could say that I am back to my highly-motivated, driven and productive self again--writing up a storm each morning after making sure my beautifully-blooming flowers and promising vegetable garden have enough water, and not even minding that I got so little sleep because the ideas for characters, plots and settings were coming so fast. But I'm not there yet. While my heart is starting to heal from being so unapologetically crushed as I reported in my last entry, my head still has a way to go. 

However, the last seven years of being a published author have shown me that childhood dreams can come true and I have the inner determination, along with God-given, cultivatable talents, to accomplish whatever goals I set. I think most of us feel that rush of adrenaline and excitement when the creative juices are flowing and we're doing something that lifts our spirit, makes us smile from our heart and brings a feeling of calm and peace. We need that to offset all the commotion that often makes the world feel like a lonely, overwhelming and scary place we're not sure we want to be part of.

I've wanted to be a writer since penning my first novel at the age of fifteen. And I do mean writing it with a pen on sheets of notebook paper when I should have been studying, especially math since I have never understood more than the basics. It was far from being an upbeat, lighthearted story like most of the ones being produced for juvenile readers in those days, but it was my first real attempt at trying to put into words  the thought and feelings of a confused, introverted and hurting teenager who had already seen far more of the underside of life than she was capable of understanding. 

Those of you who have read past posts know about my being blamed for the accident that nearly cost my little brother his life and forever changed the dynamics of our home life when I was five. Some might even recall my sharing the poem I wrote about being molested by my violin teacher and not having my mother believe me. And there was nothing fun about spending six months in bed with Rheumatic fever when I was in the third grade or losing my father so unexpectedly when I was thirteen.

Silently suffering through so many traumatic ordeals when I was a born introvert caused me to withdraw further than I might have into a world of my own making. I was far more comfortable confining myself to the windowless basement bedroom I shared with three sisters where I could read books underneath the covers at night and play with my dolls and paper dolls instead instead of having to interact with even members of my own family, unless I was doing my assigned chores in a prompt and efficient manner. I was terrified of causing someone else pain or becoming more damaged than I already was.

That's why not being able to write these past two months has been so difficult. I like being lost in my head. It keeps me from having to deal with unpleasantness like being dumped by the only guy where there's been a mutual attraction the past ten years--and all because I wouldn't fall into bed with him like every other woman he meets. The sensuality he exudes on stage is hard to miss. But like so many other love-starved females, I wanted to believe he possessed more important qualities than the obvious. Unfortunately, the mystique created to bring the women in an audience back for a repeat performance disappears almost as quickly as the bright lights overhead.

Despite the number of days that have flitted into oblivion since my last contact with him, I still feel stripped of every inner hope that made writing fiction so much fun. Not that I've lost my belief in love and the sheer joy it can bring, but I do feel like I'm stuck in some giant hole of my own making whose edges are so high and crumbly that there is little chance for escape. Taking something that was, in realty, little more than a beginning friendship and allowing it to take away my sanity is childish at best. But I can't deny that our texts and conversations brought a brighter ray of sunshine even on a cloudless day. And I can't seem to stop the mental image of a scene from the movie "The Thorn Birds" where Barbara Stanwick's character, a seventy-year old woman who has just been rebuffed by the young priest she has a crush on, ends up telling him that her outer appearance does not match how she feels inside. She's still that young, vibrant girl who wants to be in love.

Maybe that's simply a fact of life that must be accepted by those of us who have never found the kind of love we desire while in this sphere called mortality. But I won't deny that it felt heavenly to have an attractive man hold my hand, kiss my lips, smile at me with a certain light in his eyes and sneak his arm around my waist while we were talking to other people. I'd never had that before, even when I was married. My husband was a cold and offish man. He never took me on a date, remembered a special holiday or even acted like he cared. If I had surgery or lost a baby, I was expected to be up the next day taking care of household duties. And sex was nothing more than an act to get me pregnant because he wanted a child of his own, not the two we had adopted. And he had the very unmanly habit of letting me know that everything not up to par in our lives was my fault alone.

I have been starved for physical contact my entire life, and feeling some of it during what can only be called my twilight years was a heady experience I didn't want to lose. But perhaps those unexpected feelings need to be mourned like so many other losses I have endured over the years. God made me with a tender heart for a reason, and I love helping people whenever I can. However, there is a flip side to that gift and one that Satan is certainly capitalizing on right now. It's being jealous and judgmental of women who have what I most desire and beating myself up for every possible flaw I see in myself. 

Since the evil one couldn't get me to go against a promise I had made to God, he chose a more effective tactic--using lifetime weaknesses against me. The last two months I've basically lost interest in doing things that once brought great joy, have stopped putting my health before my food indulgences and spend every night watching TV reruns instead of reading and doing handwork for people who might one day appreciate the effort. If it wasn't for yard work, gardening and two days of committed service to others, I would be a basket case of disproportional size.

I know I'm not the only one who has ever felt that way, and maybe it's okay to indulge in sorrow and pain until that stage of the grieving process is over. But I'm to the point that I either start swimming against the current or sink. I've always told myself that it's better the be alone than with the wrong person, and I still believe that. And my being able to write what I have in this post, and the last one, has been an enormous undertaking and help. You see, I am writing again. It might not be a novel, but it is exploring human feelings and tendencies that translate into better understanding my next character. 

We are no longer living in an "Ozzie and Harriet" or even a "Brady Bunch"world where the worst thing we have to contemplate is burning the Sunday roast or one of our children getting a bad grade at school. Most every headline is designed to cause an intense emotional reaction regardless of which side of the political fence we're on. Instead of trying to live together in harmony, the powers that be seem determined to pull us apart by focusing on our differences instead of our commonalities. 

I find myself wishing we could go back to simpler times when neighbors talked to each other about things that really matter and schools were a place where children learned to read and write without undo social pressures. But I fear those days are gone, and I need to make peace with where I stand right now. Not that I know how to get over another broken heart--even if it was mostly based in a non-reality--but I know I have to try. So I hope you'll be hearing from me more often and that the next time I write I may have even opened a file where I have a story-starter ready to be developed. 

Now, I'm going to get my allergy shots and pick up a few things at the store. I'm finally able to sleep laying down after weeks sitting up in a chair so I could breathe. That's a blessing in itself, and I need to pay more attention to God's tender mercies because they're happening every day, even if I'm unable to see them.

Books by JS Ririe:

The Truth About Strangers - Book 3
The Trouble with Strangers - Book 2
The Hearts of Strangers - Book 1

Rivers of Rage

Beyond the Glass Doors

Kismet Finds a Way

Crossfire at Bentley

Final Allegiance - Reagan Sinclair, FBI - Book 1

Resilience - Reagan Sinclair, FBI - Book 2

Safe Haven - Reagan Sinclair, FBI - Book 3

Unsheltered - Reagan Sinclair, FBI - Book 4

Welcome Redemption - Reagan Sinclair, FBI - Book 5

Indecision’s Flame - Book 1

Lost - Indecision’s Flame - Book 2

Exposed - Indecision’s Flame - Book 3

Betrayal - Indecision’s Flame - Book 4

Reawakening - Indecision’s Flame - Book 5

Unraveling - Indecision’s Flame - Book 6
Destiny - Indecision’s Flame - Book 7

So Long, Bishop - by Viola Ririe

All books available in print or eBook format a:

Monday, 29 May 2023

Broken Heart, Moodiness and Self-reflection

I'm finally sitting at my kitchen table with my computer open in front of me again. It's been a strange four months of abstinence when it comes to writing and not at all what I intended after sending my twentieth book, in seven and one-half years, to be published in January of 2023. That series (The Trouble With Strangers, The Hearts of Strangers and The Truth About Strangers) had forced me to open thirty year-old wounds and reexamine a very painful and debilitating part of my past. While the storyline was fiction, the trauma, self-doubt and hope that life could become better was very real because it was based on my own marriage of emotional and mental abuse that caused my body to start shutting down and the doctor to tell me that I would be dead in six months if I didn't do something to relieve some of the stress. That wasn't easy when the source of that undermining anxiety was coming from the very person who has vowed to be there to love, protect and support me.

Walking away, and losing nearly everything in the process--home, friends, family, financial security, my standing in the community and even my own children until they were able to see beyond the lies and coverups he immediately began spreading--wasn't easy. But the man I had married twenty-two years earlier knew how to manipulate and coerce and make me look like I was a crazy person only fit for being committed because I had the audacity to leave him. But taking my life back and fighting for what I knew was right, despite all it cost, soon brought some of the peace I so desperately needed as I continued to pray for help, understanding and guidance while continuing with my education. I went back to my teaching position at our small local high school that fall with only a couple of teachers and the principal in my corner. He called me into his office the first day and told me to watch my back because the good people of the community were out to crucify me and would stop at nothing to make sure it happened. That was a bitter pill to swallow after serving them in so many ways for nearly two decades, but people believe what they want and can become very vocal and almost obsessively cruel about it. 

I suppose one of the worst days was when a so-called good woman I had known for many years came to my small, dark and drafty basement apartment where I was trying to put my life together again to tell me that I could never return to Heavenly Father unless I went back to my husband, made things right with him and then stood in front of the congregation at church and apologized for disappointing everyone. They had looked up to me and I had failed them. That came just days after my one any only confrontation in the parking lot with my husband where he told me that if I would just come home I could have my own bedroom and come and go as I liked as long as we could be seen together in public so everyone would think my leaving had been a huge misunderstanding and we were doing great. My answer was a resounding "NO" even when he told me that he had grown to love me but just hadn't bothered to tell me. 

The heart-felt series I had just completed was a way of bringing closure to a very traumatic experience--where I truly had come frighteningly close to losing myself completely--by letting people I would never meet know what had really happened during some awful years of betrayal and psychological torture. You see, I had promised God before leaving the house I had helped to build with my own hands, the flowers I had so loving planted and the beautiful memories I had created with my children when we were alone that I would never say anything negative about my husband to them or anyone else who knew us as a couple because Heavenly Father had witnessed what went on inside our home and was the only one who could fairly judge since no life was sin or error free. I just wanted to keep on living so I could be there for my children should they ever want me as part of their lives again. 

But I digress. What I really want to talk about was what happened during February, March, April and May. It put me in a tailspin of emotional upheaval that I'm just beginning to work through since I still believe in happy endings, even though I have yet to find one for myself. You see, I based one of the characters in that series on a man I met several years ago. He was handsome, charismatic, talented and involved with someone else. But there was a definite spark between us that only grew stronger during the brief moments we saw each other when I went to visit my sister twice each year. Believing in the sanctity of relationships, I didn't think much about him until a year and a half ago when he became unexpectedly available and during one of my visits really kissed me. For a girl who has not opened her heart to anyone for over twenty years that was a very heady experience. 

We began texting and talking on the phone occasionally but I was leery of any real involvement because we were so different and lived far enough away from each other that it was unlikely we would ever spend much time together. But having a writer's imagination when I started this series he unintentionally became part of it. Our friendship seemed to be growing in the right direction and I even send him a homemade quilt for Christmas because he was always saying that he needed me to keep him warm. I loved how he made me feel desirable, playful and so unlike the very reserved and cautious person the world saw. During one of our lengthy --3 to 4 hour-- telephone conversations I let it slip that I had based a character in my latest book on him. He said the honor was all his and would love a copy. I sent The Trouble With Strangers knowing he would never read it because he'd never read an entire book in his life. He'd floated through school on cliff notes and the movie version of most everything. But even if he did, he would learn more about me and perhaps even see in himself the possibilities I did.

I was excited and yet filled with a certain amount of apprehension to see him in April because I knew at least one of my peculiarities would have to be dealt with eventually. But ten days before my flight his mother died unexpectedly. He'd lost a brother in November which made this death doubly hard. Even though I tried to be there for him he pulled away somewhat--a very natural thing to do in times of grief--and I wasn't sure what would happen when I got there. One of the safety provisions my sister and I had set in place for when we traveled was to stick together like glue so we wouldn't end up in a situation we couldn't handle. She was married and I was single, and we both had strong religious beliefs that kept us from being party girls like most every other woman we met. 

He took us out on his pontoon boat for a lovely afternoon soon after we arrived, but when we got back to his house he caught me alone and asked me to sneak him into my condo room late that night so we could be alone. Here I was a senior citizen who had been alone for twenty years facing a moral decision I thought had been left behind for decades. My heart screamed out to know what it was like to make love to a man where the sexual tension was causing my whole body to shake. I had only had sex during my marriage. Any hope for love was destroyed on my wedding night when my husband told me I had married him under false pretenses because my breasts were not as big as he thought they were. But as I looked into this amazing man's hopeful eyes and watched his full, inviting lips move sensually back and forth I knew I could never betray God by giving in to physical desires. I believed God meant it when he said that physical intimacies were sacred and not to be shared with anyone other than a spouse. The man standing in front of me had had many lovers and I couldn't become just another conquest to him.

To say that I handled the situation poorly is an understatement. I tried to get my beliefs across through the tears. He said he understood as he kissed my forehead and would never be the man to persuade me to stray from anything that was truly important. But as my sister and I pulled away from the curb I knew that while he might understand my desire to do what I felt was right he wanted more than a plutonic relationship. It was all or nothing with him just as it had been with every other man I had dated after my divorce. I cried most of the night and the rest of the week was nearly intolerable. He avoided eye contact whenever he saw me and made sure he wasn't available to talk. He disregarded every text but one and that was only to say that he didn't know he was acting cold and that he always wanted me to be his friend and know that he loved me. We barbecued before I left but there was no hand holding or snuggling, just a few quick pecks on the lips that let me know we were at an impasse that would never be crossed until he was willing to talk. 

That hasn't happened yet and I've been home for almost two months. I've received two brief texts. One with smiley faces only and the other saying that he's just moody and knows he pushed a wrong button that made me have to put him in his place in front of my sister. He figured we laughed about it all the way home. 

I will spare you the rest of the sad details, but I've been nursing a bruised spirit along with a broken heart while trying to understand how I could have been so wrong about someone's intentions and desires. He opened his heart to me about so many things and shared parts of his life that I knew were painful for him to discuss. I also know that I never should have expected a relationship to continue when I wasn't willing to bend to the desires of the flesh like most everyone in today's world of promiscuity and satisfying every desire does. I even know I would have been dumped eventually anyway because I'm not exactly experienced in that area and have set eternal goals that will only be realized if I stay true to my beliefs. But even that knowledge doesn't stop the pain, the tears, and the wondering what I could have done differently that might have saved what I thought was a worthwhile friendship.

But I am glad that I'm finally able to articulate my feelings in what I know is a safe environment. No one out there in cyberspace knows who I am or who I am talking about, but every one of my readers knows what it's like to be hurt by someone he or she loves. And yes, I did love that guy and still do, but I'm ready to let him go and try to get on with my life. That means focusing on what's truly important to me--family, work, church, community, service, starting to write again and becoming closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. Through all the heartache of the past few months there has been no one for me to talk to other than God and I know He will always listen to and answer any prayer in the way that will be most beneficial. 

I haven't been able to talk to my sister about what happened even though she was there. She believes his only motivation in pursuing me was to have sex and when that didn't happen he was no longer interested. Maybe she's right since I'm way past my prime and there are plenty of willing women, but I'm not quite ready to believe someone over sixty is still that shallow, even if he is moody. I think he saw something different in me that he liked but didn't know how to pursue a relationship that wasn't based on instantaneous physical gratification.

Anyway, that's something that may never be known and full recoveries from anything out of the ordinary take time. But unless something drastic changes, come the end of September I will be seeing him again and have no idea of the reception I'll get. It could be a very cold and tearful one. That's why hope that God will make everything right in the end is so important. It helps me find fulfillment and happiness in what I have now, and I have a lot. Not just the one thing I've wanted my entire life. Meeting the right man while still in mortality is looking more doubtful each day, but perhaps by the time I pass through the veil I will have learned what I need to about loving and being loved. After all this life is a test, not just a place for self-indulgence and taking risks. And when we need answers to our most pressing problems we need to quit filling all our moments with unnecessary distractions so we can hear what God has to tell us. 

That's what I'm trying to do now. It's quiet and peaceful where I'm at, and there's  plenty of time for reflection.