Friday, November 10, 2006

Respect and Honor to Our Troops

A few days ago, Senator John Kerry spoke a scathing remark, which angered service men and women around the world. Senator Kerry said, “If you … do your homework, you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” These words resounded around the globe to the men and women who are currently in harms way. Kerry may have thought he was being a brilliant speaker but he again proved himself a babbling baboon in a suit.
I personally take offense at his remarks because some of the most intelligent men I have ever known have served and many are still serving in the Armed Forces. My Brother-in-Law is a retired Physician who served during Vietnam. My Husbands cousin served as the Admiral of the Kitty Hawk. My Cousin Lynda is a retired Cornel in the Army and my other cousin’s husband Piloted Marine One. Two of my grand parents fought in WWII and witnessed the atrocities of the German occupation and death camps. These are all extremely intelligent people who have fought in wars that were looked on in ridicule at one time or another.
Today my brother and our young cousin are awaiting deployment to Iraq. Both of these men are very intelligent and have men in their units, which they command many of whom have Masters Degrees and several who are working on their Doctorate thesis. To imply that these men and women who are serving unselfishly in foreign lands are not smart is preposterous. People who spout that kind of venom should be muzzled. Kerry is not smart enough to keep his mouth shut on his own he has proved this over and over again.
Let us remember our Veterans and Military with respect and Honor, they deserve far more.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Saying I Love You!

This is a picture of Charlene along with Keshia and Tiffany in the background at the going away ceremony in Muskogee yesterday. The Muskogee Phoenix published this picture of her in September 8th paper.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A HEROs Send Off

My brother Richard Hines and my cousin Michael Hines both graduates from Collinsville High are on their way to IRAQ for a year and a half stay. They and over 140 other men and women from the Oklahoma Army Guard will be leaving in the morning headed first to Ft. Dix. There they will receive training and briefing on their objective and by Christmas will be headed into harms way. We had the family get together to send them off with prayers and good wishes for their safe return.

Richard married a year ago and two months ago he and his wife Keshia welcomed a bouncing baby boy into the world. Michael has a girlfriend who has added a sparkle to his eyes that has been missing for a long time. Both of these women will have a hard road over this next year. Please pray for them.

The boys (men as my brother continues to remind me) have been trained to be the best they can be. They believe in the reason for their deployment into the middle east. I ask that you pray for a hedge of protection to surround them. Please pray for their courage and inner strength. Pray for their walk with GOD to strengthen and for their safe return.

I will continue to post updates along with pictures as I get them. I will keep you posted to specific prayers that are needed.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Taking a Walk in the Woods

What a beautiful place. Nature is so close. This spot is near Campbell Creek right in the populated area. Alaska is the great frontier.

Chocolate Lovers ~ You Must Head North to ALasKA

I just got these pictures loaded and wanted to show you what the kids fell in love with. They are true chocolate lovers!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


This is my mom and her children and grandchildren. My bother Rick will be leaving soon for Iraq. Please keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Fifteen Years of Wedded Bliss

My Brother and His wife celebrated 15 years of Marriage. They are such a blessing to so many people. I post their picture because I thought the love they share shines in both of their eyes.
Congrats Wes and Jeri I hope you have 50 more!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reality Is Not Where We Want To Be

Life can be trying at times when you are faced with the reality of where you are currently and look at it in relation to where you wanted to be at this point in your life. The saying goes about the best-laid plans of mice and men….
Through it all, we have to realize that God is in control and there is a reason for our struggles that will benefit his purpose for our current situation in which we find ourselves living.
We have to look and see the larger picture and many times that picture is so blurry or abstract that it is difficult for us to discover its purpose or meaning. However just because we cannot make out the picture does not mean that God cannot see beyond the muted lines and abstract figures. It is He who is the master artist and he knows what he wants the final picture to be.
God’s plan is perfect and he has a master plan for each of our lives. The job that has been set before us is to give praise to him no matter how we perceive the current picture. Many times, it is difficult because we find ourselves in unwanted situations some that break our hearts and causes us to ask the age-old question… Why?
Of course, when we ask that question we have to take a serious look at the life we are living and examine to see if it is pleasing to the Father. If we are not living a God, centered life chances are the rocky paths are the paths back towards the father.
Sometimes we live the life that is pleasing to God yet we are still faced with tremendous upheavals in our life. Tragedy strikes even those who belong to the Father. In Romans 8 it is explained that everything that happens to those who love the lord happen for his glory.
So when tragedy strikes we need to continue to give praise to our loving father. For it is for his ultimate glory that all things happen. We must hold tight to our faith ~ knowing that what ever happens happens for the greater good.

Freedoms ~ The Blood was Shed

It is a sad state of affairs when the freedoms our forefathers fought the Revolutionary War for are being taken away year after year by judges who think they have the rights to write law. Every time one of the judges sitting on a high court write another law to make the original law void they are taking away the freedoms for which blood was shed.
In the speech Thomas Jefferson who was one of our founding fathers gave during the opening of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in July 1776 he expressed deep concern while praying asking for God to “bless our land with honorable endeavor, sound learning, and pure manners.”
Where have we as a nation come? Jefferson in the same speech asked for God to “Endow with the spirit of wisdom those to whom, in your name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice…through obedience to your law we may show forth your praise among the nations on earth” All we have to do is turn on the television and watch our society crumble in front of our eyes.
It is imperative for the success of our representative government to prosper we must have a society with a moral character. There is a responsibility that goes along with service to our country. Immoral and overtly evil individuals should be confronted by moral men who will remove them from power.
Our troops fight the battles today so that our tomarrow's can continue to be free. Stop a soldier and tell them thank you. Visit a Veterans center and listen to the stories the men and women have to tell. They fought the fight so we could live the life the way we want. Tell them thank you and next time our flag passes take your hat off and salute. The blood that was shed to keep our flag raised reflects in every soldiers' eyes that has seen battle.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Adjusting to "Tulsa Time"

After staying in the great white north for over 40 days it was time for the Dermody's to go home. To acclimate ourselves back to "Tulsa Time" we stayed awake for 48 hours. I figured this way we would be able to get better adjusted ~ does anything ever work the way we want them?

We left Anchorage on the 4th of July at 12:45 am. The sun sent us off into the brilliant blue sky as our plane climbed heading towards the lower 48. Before long the darkness encased us but it did not last long as the sun ~ wanting continue to shine on our vacation, chased us and once again and lit the sky. When we landed in Salt Lake City where the snow covered mountain tops glistened in the sunlight.

After a couple of hours it was time to embark on the final leg of our journey. Oklahoma here we come. Excitement began to make our tummy's tingle. Just four more hours and we would be home. As excited as we were it was impossible to keep the sandman away and slumber over took the weary travelers. For at least an hour we all slept cuddled under our blanket using each other as pillows.

The flight attendants began gathering the trash in preparation for landing. We looked out the window and saw the familiar landscape of OKLAHOMA! We are home! Oologah lake with its azure blue waters captured our eyes. It was so small if we had only been a little closer we might have been able to see our house. With seat belts fastened, and tray tables up, our plane began descending towards our final approach.

THe heat of the Oklahoma sun hit us when they opened the doors of the plane. For just a moment I longed for the cooler tempertures of Alaska. We deplaned and headed towards the baggage claim. Joyce took off in a dead run when she spotted Charlene and Grandma. They along with Richard, Keshia, and my new nephew Gabriel were waiting for us at the end of the hall.

It's good to be home! The opportunity to see Alaska will always be forever in our memories. Will we return to the land of adventure? yes but weather we are able to someday make our home in Alaska will be a question God will have to answer. Do I want to return? Yes! WE all really fell in love with the beauty God created in Alaska. My only wish is that we could pack up everything we love in Oklahoma and take it with us. Time will tell.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sites of Alaska

This lake is along side the road on the way to Matanuska just past Palmer. It is a beautiful place. I hope the picture does it some justice.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Joyce after a Day of Fishing

As you can see she is enjoying the Alaska adventure. This is after a day of fishing at Ship Creek during the Salmon fishing derby. She did not catch anything but a man who was to old for her and to young for me or Vonice.

Glacier Views

Matanuska Glacier.... huge and beautiful... the cracking noises of the ice are so great you can hear them over a mile away. It is the rumbling of water over the rocks that captures attention as it melts at such a rapid pace. This glacier is huge!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Living in the Land of the Midnight Sun

I have been in ALaska since May 22 and have still not been able to get my body to get used to the constant sunshine. THe kids are having the same trouble. I always remember my Daddy saying for us to get up in the morning that we were "burning Daylight". Here in ALaska if you try to rise and set with the sun you will have trouble surviving with out falling down dead tired.

I am missing home. but I am enjoying the opportunity to experience the life here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Alaska Adventure Begins

Snow capped mountains glisten in the brilliant sunshine. Bald eagles glide with outstretched wings soaring through the sky toward the hidden nests with their bounty grasped in their claws. The quietness is broken by cracking ice and the rushing water as it splashes over rocks and fallen trees. This is Alaska the last frontier a place where the hidden beauty is still waiting to be discovered. The adventure is in the discovery as we explore hidden falls and streams and get to know the real Alaska.

We are truly experiencing the real Alaska. The landscape here is awe-some. It is so amazingly beautiful in every direction. The colors are brilliant and vibrant.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thoughts of Life~Adventures to the Great White North

I was thinking last night about my life and where I have been and where I am going. I have been living this life for forty-three years now and the experiences, which I have had, are numerous. Many times, I have wondered if this was ‘it’ as I had myself into one or more perilous predicaments. However, I came out on the other side amazingly unscathed for the most part. Looking back at those times when I really should have not survived, makes me more aware than ever that God has specific plans for our lives. Each time I found myself in a spot where the hurdle was an overwhelming obstacle; I would have doubt that I would be able to keep my stride. Many times, I would trip and the obstacle I thought would get the better of me. Hindsight gives me encouragement because along the route I found strength. I may have stumbled along the way but I found that God was always there to help me up and brush off my battered ego. The hills and valleys were tall and deep, yet the one constant through them all was that I did not travel alone. God has guided me through the path and sustained me during the lowest parts bringing me out on the other side stronger than ever.

In my blessings, I count each of you as one. For if our paths had never crossed I would not be the person, I am today. God placed every one where he wanted so that we could learn and experience through happy times and sad ones as well as exciting times and the dull ones. If we look at the annoying obstacles in our lives, we will find a blessing that we may have been very unaware. So next time you are sitting in a traffic jam or waiting in a never ending line at the store, look at it as a blessing. Every time this happens to me I will pass a wreck on the way home or just barley miss having an accident.

We leave for Alaska on Monday evening and I am somewhat apprehensive. We will be gone for seven weeks; that is a long time to be away from home. I covet your prayers while we are off on this adventure of a lifetime. Please pray that we do not wear out our welcome, that we do not get homesick and that our family at home will be safe. Josh wants prayer that he is not eaten by a polar bear. Joyce does not want to be attacked by a Moose and they both want safe flights. I will keep you updated on our adventures so stay tuned to the dandelion gazzette for more…

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Boys Will Be Boys

Mothers all around the world who have indoor plumbing continue to have issues with their son’s bad habits. Some Mothers are ready to revert to the old days, and send their boys outside to water the lawn, so to speak.

When boys are young, mothers have been known to toss cheerios into the toilet, allowing target practice to take place. Under a mother’s advisement, companies have developed britght multi-colored target shapes to tempt boys to take control and not miss.
Still, as their boys grow up, mothers continue to clean up all the time knowing their sons aimed better at three than they do at six or even nineteen. Sinking the targets as a youngster may have something to do with the problems mothers encounter today.

Could it be these young men are crying out to garner more attention? Do they yearn to see the targets again? Did they become bored?

Considering documented history, maybe someone should create toilet targets that make bombing noises, as the old saying goes; “boys will be boys”, and they love to make noise.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Haunting Thoughts During Taps

A tear falls as the haunting tune is played
Day is done, gone the sun,

Standing at attention with pride
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Weathered faces and bodies have seen better days
from the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

White gloved hands grip polished brass
Fading light, dims the sight,

The lonesome sound of the bugle plays
and a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

Eyes reflect the distant past as the lyrics ring
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Honors and badges of courage
Thanks and praise, for our days,

Some have lived and some have died
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;

Blood was shed
as we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Life was given for our freedom
Sun has set, shadows come,

Families weep for their loss
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

Peace is perceived as the door is closed
always true to the promise that they made.

The flag is folded with pride and honor
While the light fades from sight,

A wife a mother an son a daughter receive the laurels
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

This man this woman has completed their task
to thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

And the tune of taps has ended once again.

The bolded lines are the words to TAPs

Friday, April 07, 2006

To Be or Not To Be

Out of the blue, the plans, which have been made over a lifetime, come crashing down around the ears of an unsuspecting mom. Plans for the weekend and for life have come to an abrupt halt. The future is no longer with the love of her life, only her children provide a source of hope. Decisions, decisions which road to take which path to tread.

These questions pop up at every turn. Her children have to be cared for and the pillow on the bed can only hold so many tears. Life has changed from what she knew, days of laughter, hugs and kisses have disappeared. Life continues as the sun rises each morning and sets each night. She decides “Grief” and “Despair” have hung on long enough, as she pries their cold dark fingers from her arms. Happiness is within reach - there is light at the top of the rise. She feels hope as she slowly pulls herself out of the chasm of gloom. Widows face a daily struggle with grief and depression; they must find motivation to overcome the gloom, and despair, and must reach up where happiness resides.

Depression and grief are like vicious animals latching on to the soul pulling it towards the darkness where Satan makes his home. Life changing decisions for a widow start every morning as she awakes, will she place her feet on the floor or close her eyes tightly shutting out the light of the day. Is she ready to see the new day or will “Grief” and “Depression” retain their hold. It would be so wonderful to backup time and live the life they planned. Her friends live the life she once took for granted. The depression she experiences is caused by her inactivity. Her source of encouragement is gone, the life she had has changed.

She must make a conscious effort to overcome the urge to pull the covers over her head so she can forget about the world outside. There is a world out there beyond the dark room she has sequestered herself into during the last few days, weeks or months. She must start with rolling back the covers and throwing up the blinds, it is a start of a new day. The tune ‘One day at a Time’ resonates in her memory as she stands and takes the first steps towards freedom from the darkness of gloom and misery. The sunlight dances across her cheeks as she steps closer to the window. A glance back gives “Grief” and “Despair” hope of her return, “NO!” They will not have her she says. With determination, she looks back at the sun and smiles. “Grief” and “Despair” will have to wait another day for today she is making the decision to change her life for the better.

To find motivation a widow must pull herself out of the pit of despair. She must look beyond the dark recesses of the tomb she has encased herself in and put on an armor of determination so she can traipse through the valley of doom and gloom. The sun brings light back to her life; allowing it to penetrate the darkness, and providing strength for her armor.

Listening to her children’s laughter lightens her soul -- there is more to life -- a reason for living. She dresses in bright colors to help chase away the darkness. She throws the door open wide and takes the first steps towards the joy and laughter -- her heart lifts. Having someone to hold her hand has gone she stands alone. She chokes back her tears when she sees the neighbor kiss her husband good-bye; she wants to shout, “Value your time together, for it can change”. A battle cry rings in her mind “carpe diem!” “Seize the day!” she holds herself high and lets the sun cover her with light, “Grief” and “Despair” are loosing the fight. Her motivation has been found but for many widows the motivation is unreachable and the power of “Grief” and “Despair” pull them back into the darkness of the valley of doom and gloom.

Once a widow finds herself, she faces a new future. Many new opportunities and decisions, which were once made as a team, are now made alone. Countless times a widow encounters survival obstacles because her ability to survive financially is in jeopardy, unlike the married couple who pull their resources, she must retain employment and at the same time provide for the needs of her children. She has responsibilities towards her children to supply the same comfort and care they rely on their parents to provide. Life was so much easier before death; it is always easier when you share life’s burdens. The widow may find her future on her own or she may find another love that will fill the void left behind by the love she held so dear. She must plan to take the initiative to be successful if only to set an example for her children.

I am a mom who has endured the loss of her husband; I have been facing the daily decision making which can be, life changing. I am a mom who has climbed out of the darkness and is making decisions for the future on her own. The climb was a struggle, as every rung on the ladder would have another obstacle to overcome. Grief and despair is a part of human nature when the death of a loved one is experienced. Keeping ones self from falling into the pit of despair is a difficult task, one that cannot be taken alone. When anyone falls into a deep ravine, he or she needs someone to throw him or her a lifeline ~ a virtual rope of hope.

The hope for me was relying on God and knowing his love for me could surpass the deepest sorrows in my heart. I have the promise from God he will supply for my every need. For the last six years, God has blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined. My wildest dreams never took me to the reality of what I am living today. I found my motivation in the blessings of my children and we are planning our future. Depression and Grief no longer have a hold on my life; I overcame the obstacles set before me when I had to decide to be or not to be.

Weary Soul

Sleepless nights follow the death of a spouse. Anything but going back to bed and laying alone at night. Activities, which occupy evenings darkness, are embraced. Nights are most difficult as the surviving spouse surveys his or her bed where hearts met and exchanges of secrets passed from one lover to the other. Dreams are kept silent.

The children finally have started sleeping in their own beds and thoughts of being alone on the large mattress keep the lonely heart weary. Waking and turning reaching with outstretched arm only meets emptiness. The body whose indentions still crease the mattress are but a faint reminder of passion once experienced. There is no one with whom to convey thoughts with during the night. Life becomes lonely, as the clock tics night after night. To be embraced with love seems so far away. Darkness encapsulates the sorrow. Will it ever go away?

`O Sorrow, why do you continue to hang on to this weary soul? Is it not possible to for you to let go? You have captured the soul in the darkness and celebrate its loneliness. Sleep brings back memories as if the present does not exist and dreams bring joy if only for a moment until Sorrow jars its slumbering prisoner, and loss is fresh again.

Peace is sought in every corner yet it remains unattainable for days, into years. Moonlight squeezes into pathways lightening the trails towards the dawning day. The sunshine peaks over the horizon slicing through the darkness where sorrow dwells. Morning nears and the light of day is welcomed with relief. Another long night has passed.

Sorrow that weights the soul can only hold on as long as the surviving spouse refuses to let light into their life. The light is more than just mere sunlight, for it is the light of the son who can chase away the darkness. The son of God is more than able to handle the deep sorrow experienced by the surviving spouse.

The Psalmist David writes, “He healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their wounds” (Ps 147:3). In addition, David tells the reader “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). For some spouses there is a fear of going the road alone. David tackles those thoughts in Psalms 91:5 saying, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day”.

The walk through the valley of the shadow of death has been made and the fear of evil vanishes when the walk is taken with God’s son. The light of life will bring joy, love and laughter back to the heart of the surviving spouse.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Where is Our Society Headed?

Thursday night I went out to Redneck Country to see my friend in concert. I knew that since it had been near twenty years since I have been “honky-tonkin’” that things have changed. The changes that I was in for could not have entered my imagination. Two of my friends whom I invited to attend the concert tried to warn me of the progressive antics that were about to take place.

“Oh MY!” Were the words out of my mouth over and over again. As soon as the first set of the concert was over the dance floor flooded with ladies strutting their stuff. But it did not end there, oh no. All they needed were a few poles on the dance floor. Their gyrations and vulgar movements were not enough they had to start having virtual sex each other. (I am trying to paint a picture here for you but it was much more than I think you can imagine.)

All I can say is that it reminded me of the stories in the Bible about Sodom and Gomorra. The rest of the evening when ever the band was not playing I kept my eyes averted from the dance floor. All I could think of was “Garbage in Garbage out”.

This episode got me to thinking about the demoralization of our society. Things have changed so very much. Our society is headed down a slippery slope of destruction if the antics of which I witnessed have become the norm. There is a reason when I hear preachers and others say “it can’t be long before the Lord comes” that in my heart of hearts I believe the same. Our society is rapidly cruising down the road to destruction right into the hands of the Devil himself.

As a parent of two small children I try to protect them from the worldly things hoping to arm them with a good foundation so they can navigate the world when they reach the point I cannot protect them anymore. When I look at the young people of this world like the ones who were dancing Thursday night I have to wonder, do their parents know what is going on? Would they approve?

I know I certainly do not approve of what I witnessed and I know without any doubt that my Father in Heaven would not have approved either. His face would have been turned away in shame, and that is what scares me most. At what point is the United States going to stop being a blessed nation and start being a disgraced nation with the Father turning his face from us? It can't be long if our nation continues down this path which we are currently destined to travel if things do not change and we do not turn from our wicked ways.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Paul Bogart Groupies

Accountability for Decisions

Statistics show children who have had an abusive upbringing will often turn to alcohol and drugs to escape the real world in which they live. Children who are beaten or grow up in an abusive home are prone to become abusers themselves, or get involved with an abusive spouse, or significant other. As adults these children will use either their life experiences as an excuse to continue to live in an atmosphere of despair, or they will reject their past, and live a life opposite to what they experienced as a child. Our life experiences are what give us our identity. It makes us who we are. The troubles children like these faced in their life are possible to overcome. Having someone who would encourage rather than discourage as they climb out of their pit of despair is all that is needed to make life changing decisions. Others will continue to make excuses for their law breaking actions; attributing them to someone or something else. The parents who have made excuses for their children time and again have instilled ‘its not my fault’ forever in the attitude of their offspring. We live life as we are taught, by our parents, or a significant person who has influenced us in some way or another. However, accountability must be taken with the decisions we make as adults.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rising Star ~ Paul Bogart

This weekend Paul Bogart will be returning home for two concerts, Thursday Night at Redneck Country in Catoosa and Friday Night at the Cherokee Racino in Claremore.

There is good news for those of us who enjoy Paul’s music as Porter Wagner has recorded one of Paul’s songs for his a album that should be hitting shelves soon.

Paul has been living in Nashville writing songs ~ singing for his supper so to speak. Looks like things are paying off! Congratulations Paul!

Famous Faces

I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to attend a function and take pictures of my friend's daughter. The event was Homecoming and one of the student's Dad just happened to be Garth Brooks.
He and Trisha were both in attendance and graciously took pictures with the girls and posed for pictures with many fans.

It was a great evening and the two of them were very sweet to everyone who wanted to talk to them.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Step Over Billie Letts

Aspirations of becoming a writer have been in my heart for a very long time. I have always been somewhat of a daydreamer; making up elaborate stories in my mind where I could escape the world around me. Learning how to write and placing my innermost thoughts on paper is the best thing I ever learned. Finally, I was able to express and remember in vivid detail the adventures of my daydreams. I penned long elaborate stories full of the excitement, and the wonder I dreamed about having in my life. Little did I know the excitement I was getting ready to live would give me a lifetime, of adventure, love and tragedy. Now my stories take on a different meaning.

Adventures lived out on movie screens are a little frenzied for my tastes. However, there are many who tell me that my exploits should be written in a book. I have traveled by air, boat, car and train, and I have witnessed great acts of heroism. At times I have even been up to my knees and elbows in mud while rescuing small children and animals. My daydreams are dull in comparison to my real-life experiences, so my writing took on a more interesting character. The adventures I write about are but a reflection of my life’s journey. Daydreaming has ended and escapades of real life written. The dreams of adventure have become reality, but the quest for adventure continues!

During one of my many escapades, I found love. I was serving on my first disaster operation in Louisiana, working long hours in horrible conditions, but the passion I had for the victims of disasters kept me going. Exercising the gift I have for helping people fulfilled a spot in my heart like never before. During this time, I met the man I was destined to marry. We lived, loved, laughed together, and experienced more adventures than we ever had on our own. Now my writing was able to express passion - a passion only those who experience true love can write about with understanding. Then came the children and I noticed a new passion. Like a mother lioness, I was able to express a passion for which I never knew existed. Protection and nurturing goes right along with passion, and when it comes to my children, I am that lioness. The passion of a mother’s love is hard to understand until the experience becomes reality.

Many times reality contains tragedy and my life has contained more than its fair share. There is no way to comprehend the magnitude of real tragedy until it has been experienced first hand. One late night in March reality came crashing in as the lion roared on the beginning of the last day. My husband who was having a full-blown grand maul seizure awakened me.

Time stood still as the emergency room doctor‘s voice penetrated my dream … wait this was no dream - it was reality and the cloud started lifting as time ceased to stand still. My husband was diagnosed with cancer just six months after our second child was born…suddenly I knew tragedy. We had only four months and during that time my writing became a catharsis, as I would document each night’s struggles while watching my husband fade away.

This was the starting point for a series of tragic events, which I experienced and overcame during the next five years. The vicissitudes, the laughter, and the tears all brought more meaning and each day was experienced to the fullest.

Today, the meaning of life for me has changed, and my writing style continues to evolve often reflecting the adventure, passion and deep sorrow, as well as the God given grace and eternal hope I have in my heart. My writing continues to mature and is now more insightful. I have grown and matured and as a writer, and the life experiences I bring into the equation only add to my ability in expressing thoughts and feelings.

Adventure, love, and tragedy - I have it all. Now I need the education to fine-tune my ability as a writer. This brings me at the age of forty plus to the decision to attend college. The opportunity to learn will only add to my writing style and creativity. I continue to dream and now my dreams bring visions of one day being Oprah’s guest when she chooses my best-selling novel as her favorite.

This of course is only a daydream but I know from experience reality is often better. It will be my turn one day and I can say, “Step over Billie Letts, Here I come!”

Finding Love in A Window

Love is found in some of the most unusual of places. Humans will often resort to some of the most confounded things in order to be noticed by the opposite sex. In today’s cyberspace world - love can be found on a window. A majority of bizarre individuals, as well a few in their ‘right frame of mind’ can be found knocking on desk top windows of unsuspecting males and females hoping that someone will open the blinds and take a look at what they have to offer.

A little like the mirror in Snow White questions are asked of the window sitting on the desktop, “Window, window on my desk is there a match for me? “ Occasionally when the blinds are opened, the match that makes ‘dreams come true’ is on the other side. Other times it is as if the “troll king” has overtaken the window and the only way to exterminate the relationship is to pull the plug.

For one couple the blinds were peaked through and a quiet subtle friendship began. After chatting for some time through the blinds, they decided to meet in person. The two became close friends as they continued to chat back and forth through the blinds and a few times in person. A couple of years passed and the friendship blossomed so whenever anything exciting or tragic happened they would always call each other. The two were found playing card games with family, attending church functions together and just hanging out occasionally. Then one-day things took on a different feel. The friendship, which had started out so quietly, became one where the heart was involved.

On St. Patty’s Day, a family celebration was taking place and little did she know but he had concocted a plan that she would remember the rest of her life. When dessert was brought out in the form of cupcakes with strings, each family member took turns pulling out their prize from the scrumptious dessert. When it became her turn she pulled out a sparkling diamond ring and with family all around he bent to one knee and asked her the words so many wait a life time to hear. “Will you Marry ME?” Her answer was of course ‘yes’ and in a few days the couple will tie the knot.

The love of a lifetime was found on a window sitting on their desk. Have you been wondering if there could there be someone sitting on the other side of your desktop window? Will you peak through your blinds and see what is on the other side? There could be someone waiting for you to say hello. The amazing thing about this cyberspace way of matchmaking is that it works. It may not work for everyone but if you are a Fiona, looking for your Shrek surprising things can happen. Caution should still be taken, as Cinderella might actually be Esmerelda trying to trick the handsome prince. At the time Prince Charming could be the evil Troll King from the ‘Billy Goat’s Gruff’ story. Therefore, as with anything else you start, caution is encouraged. Remember to peak cautiously and learn a little about the person on the other side before actually agreeing to meet them.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Champion a Cause

Make your life more enjoyable by finding a cause to champion. There are organizations that pull at our heart strings giving us a desire to step up to the plate and donate our time and money. One of those organizations is the American Red Cross; they will take your time, money, blood, your vehicle, even your body after you die.

The ARC needs volunteers in order to meet with the 1927 congressional mandate to organize relief efforts in the event of a disaster. Volunteering means there is no monetary payment for your service; however, the life changing experiences volunteers encounter are worth more than money.

Training is provided on evenings and weekends; this allows their volunteers to do their jobs with confidence. ARCDSAT volunteers are trained in Family Service, Damage Assessment, and Mass Care; the primary jobs needed when a disaster strikes.

Imagine having the opportunity to fly to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Nassau, Washington, Houston, Miami or New Orleans all expenses paid. The perks of volunteering for this and other organizations are great but the real life changing experiences happen when the volunteer helps make life easier for individuals and families devastated by disaster. Long hours will pass by and the weeks will expire quickly but the experience will forever be written in the hearts and minds of the volunteer.

The chance to make new friends is around every corner; in fact meeting one's mate is even possible while serving. Take it from someone who knows first hand; volunteer today and take a step toward experiencing a life changing event. Volunteering can change your life for the better.

Monday, February 20, 2006


As always I try to sit down reflect on the blessings both big and small that God has allowed me to experience the past year. This last year he has blessed me with more friends and more family.

Going back to school at my age can be somewhat intimadating but back to school I went as God opened the doors for yet another life changing experience. God's plan in my life often makes my plans dull in comparison. I was happy were I was, not to say I'm not happy now. Grow where you are planted is my motto.

The challengs of life were going to be easier as last year's challenge was the election (I thank God I did not win). Then I enter the halls of higher learning, what was I thinking the campaign trail looks easier all the time.

Now I have the opportunity to set an example to my children and buckle down to get good grades; at the same time keeping my integrity when it comes to dealing with liberal professors. (Another Challenge of Life).

I am making new friends and becoming "Mom" to many of the younger students who seem to face the challenges this world continues to bombard their lives with every day. My heart often goes out to them as my prayers go up once I learn of their horrific life. Today's kids have so many more challenges than I would have ever imagined. Life in my sheltered up bringing kept me from many of the evils of the world, but most of these kids have witnessed or experienced at least one thing that I have only recently learned about, (Things I wish I never would have had the opportunity to know about).

The greatest challenge of returning to school was the math classes. (I hate! Math!) With the help of several young members at church (mostly Michelle) I was able to squeeze out a B in the first clas and a C in the second class. I have one more to conquer and I am not looking forward to it at all. There are just a few things God makes us do so he can laugh I think. Why Math would ever be in his plan for me just baffels the mind.

I am learning everyday more things that make me thankful for the path God has led me through as I have matured. (Yes I have) Looking back at my life I think whoa, Lord I never expected to be in this spot. Yet this is were he has me and it is so comforting to know his plans for me cannot be thwarted and that I am where he wants me to be when he wants me to be there.

One of the grandest blessings God has given me is the Church Family at Bethel. To be specific the Singles II Bible Study Class. You are such a blessing every day to my heart. The storm we have weathered left us battered and tired in many ways yet the Holy Spirit sustains us. The love our class has for oneanother is why I think those who have graduated have a hard time leaving our midst. I never wanted to be "Single" but I am so glad that God has placed me where I am because the blessings overflow in abundance.

I thank God for all of you being there to provide a listening ear an encouraging smile and a comforting hug when I need to have them. My prayer is that God blesses your life a richly as he has seen fit to bless mine.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Playing the game of Health Care Russian Roulette

We are living in a generation of extreme games ~ for instance fear factor and survivor. I have been playing the most extreme game of them all and had been playing for years before I realized it was an extreme game ~ one where you put your life on the line. On the last day of March in 1999, I was jolted from a peaceful slumber and awakened to a real life nightmare. The game took a turn for the worse and my husband who rarely sneezed was having a full-blown grand mall seizure.

Time moved in slow motion ~ like in a dream ~ emergency workers came, I stood in the hospital, I looked at the CAT scan, listened to the doctor, heard the dreadful word ~ CANCER ~ all the while wondering what we were going to do? For the last three months we had been living on unemployment, there was not any insurance, Insurance was a luxury we could not afford. With a baby on my hip and my five-year-old daughter, grasping my hand my heart screamed “What Now?”

For us playing the game was not a choice, we had to play the health care form of ~ Russian Roulette.

As in any game, we each take our turn ~ with Health Care Russian Roulette we spin the virtual cylinder on the revolver of health loaded with a bullet of sickness. Sometimes we are lucky and when the chamber locks into position, it is empty. However, under some circumstances, the barrel is loaded and if you have insurance, are unemployed or underprivileged, you can get the care needed.

Nevertheless, what happens to the multitude of uninsured who do not qualify for assistance? Three main groups are playing the Health Care Russian Roulette game: low wageworkers who do not receive insurance from their employer, healthy people who want “Pay as you go” health care because of the continued rising costs and people who are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. The solution to end the game will be found in more than one idea.

National Statistics provided by the Kaiser Family State Health Facts website gives insight to the National Crisis we are facing when it comes to health care. In 2003 over 38 million people were hospitalized with an average cost around seven thousand dollars. Of those hospitalized twenty – eight percent were uninsured and unable to receive state assistance in the form of Medicaid. This twenty-eight percent reflects those who are above the poverty level. How much above? The heartland institute examined the current population survey and their findings reflect that close to one third of the uninsured have annual incomes of fifty thousand dollars or above.

These players want to beat the odds, and are willing to take the chance that when the spinning stops ~ the sickness bullet will not land in the barrel.

According to the Census Survey, low wageworkers generally work for smaller companies who are unable to provide health insurance because of the escalating costs. Insurance companies are becoming more stringent in the requirements, discriminating against less profitable patients. As an example, I was speaking to a friend recently who was trying to get individual care insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They denied her coverage because of a history she had of a frequent runny nose. She was a cost risk the insurance company was not willing to insure. She currently has filed an appeal and is waiting on a decision. In the mean time, she like so many others will take their turn at spinning cylinder on the Health Care Revolver.

In the 1992 JAMA an article entitled “Socioeconomic status and risk for substandard medical care” looks at the iatrogenic events uninsured are likely to suffer. “The uninsured poor are twice as likely as those with private insurance to delay hospital care; among those delaying care hospital stays are longer and death rates are higher” Those with major health risk factors as well as ailments that are treatable have a twenty five percent higher Mortality rate than those with insurance.

Is there one solution that will solve the health Care crisis? No. but if we take a look at the plan President Bush is promoting we will find that in the whole it provides great strides in making major adjustments on how health care benefits are distributed throughout the nation, so that everyone will be able to receive preventive health care, as well as treatment for their ailments. His plan, which embraces several ideas, will enhance what is currently available and make it user friendly. This plan will empower consumers, allowing them to choose doctors hospitals and treatments.

In his proposal, President Bush wants to expand the Health Care Savings Accounts allowing larger deposits and making them available to the self-employed. His plan will provide both income tax deductions and credit on income taxes for any payroll taxes associated with the premium. Employers will be encouraged to offer portable Health Care Savings Accounts thereby allowing employees to move or relocate and keep their accounts with out loosing any previous contributions. In the President’s plan, Health Care Savings Accounts will be treated as IRAs and there by rewarding those who take advantage of the Health Care Savings Accounts opportunity.

Look at it this way if you or your employer contributes to the Health Care Savings Account you will only have to tap into the account for your own ailment not for the ailments of everyone else including those who tend to abuse their bodies.

To answer the problem of patients not receiving preventive health care President Bush wants to Expand Community Health Centers adding an additional 1,200 new sites, which would serve and additional six million patients. Federally funded grants will be made available for non-profit and faith based organizations who will provide health care services. Medical pools where groups of individuals pay for each other’s medical expenses over and above their contributions into their Health Care Savings Accounts can receive start up assistance from federal funds made available with the Presidents plan. Insurance will still be available, catastrophic policies will become the norm.

Playing the game of Health Care Russian Roulette is a game millions of Americans play every day. The national Health Care Crisis affects us all with higher costs and restrictive screening by insurance companies. Uninsured patients are having a difficult time surviving when the trigger sends a bullet of sickness out the barrel. The President’s plan will take a huge step towards solving our national crisis in establishing preventive care and alternate sources besides insurance.

You want to hear the rest of my story. Alternate treatments were not available and after four months my husband died, he lost the game.

The health care revolver is loaded and ready; will you be the next player?