Monday, August 27, 2012

Wayman Publishing Blogfest Giveaway

Hello All, 
I had planned to write another story tomorrow like "Meeting Blue," which I posted last Wednesday. This time, however, it was to be a story from my adult life in which I found great peace in the midst of panic. But you know how life happens! A friend and fellow blogger is sponsoring a blog fest/feast on September 2-4 and has invited me to be a part of this. So I've decided to do what I learned as a teacher: "First you tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em. Then you tell 'em. Then you tell 'em what you told 'em!"
        That explains why today I'm sharing with you the good news that a blog fest is starting this coming Sunday. I hope you have the time and the reading inclination to take advantage of its offer of a number of free e-books. 
        On Sunday, September 2, I'll post the announcement. Then on Wednesday, September 5, I'll share my adult transcendent moment with you. 
         Peace ever and always to all of you. 


Wayman Publishing has sponsored a Blogfest and Book Fair Giveaway for this Labor Day weekend. 
    From September 2nd-4th Wayman Publishing is offering ten free eBooks--Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats & Their Humans included. Also, Mommy Blog Designs is contributing a pre-made design package ($269 Value) for FREE to one winner. We're also giving away $200 Paypal cash! 
    A big thanks to Wayman Publishing and the other hosts (voiceBoks, Linkie's Contest Linkies, Mommy Blog Designs, and Terri's Little Haven) thank you! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meeting Blue

Yesterday, I provided a link to a posting from last year on asthma and how I learned to “tough it out” and “distract myself.” Some of you may have had the time and/or the inclination to read that posting. If so, thank you.
             Perhaps, however, your blogging schedule makes following links impossible, even though you might want to. So for you, here’s a brief synopsis: I was born with asthma. During my first five years, mom and dad rushed me to the hospital six times. I almost died four times. From kindergarten through third grade, I missed three months out of each school year because of asthma attacks. All that changed in the fourth grade.             
            So much for the synopsis. Now I’d like to share with you one of my most cherished childhood memories.
            Toward the end of second grade, Grandpa Ready died, I learned to tell time, my mother shared her philosophy with me at a funeral parlor, and my father tried to murder my mother in the kitchen. All of this I’ve chronicled in the past few weeks.
            The upshot was that my spirits sagged. I was afraid to whine because my parents might leave me again. Asthma always lurked, ready to keep me in bed for as long as a week. I’d miss school and struggle to breathe with my chest feeling as if a sitting giraffe weighed it down. And sure enough, I had an asthma attack in mid-May.            
            During one of those May days, I was lying in my parent’s double bed. I’d made a tent of my knees and pulled the blanket over the tent, my chest, and my head. Beneath the blanket, I gazed at my tented legs and saw them as a futuristic city with spaceships flying under my knees and over my thighs. I imagined Flash Gordon navigating with me. We swooped the city’s towering buildings. Like them, we scraped the sky.

A Flash Gordon comic strip.

            All this imagining helped me distract myself from the coughing. The breathing. The wheezing. But then suddenly all the symptoms grabbed hold of me. I panicked, unable to distract myself or even to tough it out. I felt as if I were drowning in the sea of my own lungs.
            It was then that I experienced mystery.
            Blue engulfed me. Enfolded me. I breathed in Blue. I became Blue.
            “What does that mean?” you might be asking. I don’t know. I know only that I breathed the essence of Blue. It surrounded me. Like a river of peace it flowed through my pores.
            I began to breathe easily. The wheezing ceased. My chest unburdened itself. The height and depth and breadth of Blue seeped into me. I knew Blue. I was known by Blue.

            And ever after, even unto this day, whenever I have difficulty breathing I let myself sink into Blue. I rest there and my breathing finds its natural rhythm again. And I know that I’m not going to drown because I can’t draw or expel air. I’m going to live.
            That mysterious gift didn’t change the frequency of the asthma attacks. For the rest of 1943 and the first seven months of 1944, I experienced them again and again. The difference was that I could enter Blue and rest there.
            And so it was that when fourth grade began, I could set myself the goal of being at school each day. Blue was with me. It reminds me now of that line from one of the Starwars movies: “The force is with you.”
            For me, Blue was the force that enabled me to breathe.

Comics and blue gradations from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Hello to all of you who have dropped by this blog today thinking that I’d posted a new story. Maybe some of you were not only thinking, but also hoping, to find another episode from my childhood. If so, that would tickle my innards to know that you look forward to this ongoing saga of my life. 
            However, there’s no new story today because in the “ongoing saga” of my trying to find a routine that works for me I’ve changed my mind—AGAIN—with regard to a schedule.
            I’ve discovered that Tuesday morning is often overloaded and yet I’m such a deadline person that writing on Monday evening and scheduling for the next day doesn’t give me the sense of urgency I need to complete a posting. (As some would say, “Go figure!”)
            So, I’ve decided to continue to post just once a week and to do so in the middle of the week. My new posting day will be Wednesday. I need about three hours to write a posting, edit it, polish it, and then find photographs to illustrate it. So I’ll be posting in the early afternoon from now on.

The Zen I’m hoping for!

            Last Tuesday no posting appeared here because I had trouble for a number of days with asthma. Pneumonia is always a possibility with asthma, so because my chest ached something fierce and because breathing became difficult, I visited the doctor. She assured me that my lungs are clear—O! Great day and hallelujah!!! Today, as my mom used to say, “I’m fine and dandy like sugar candy!”
            I hope to find you here tomorrow for my first Wednesday posting. It will be a story about asthma and the transcendental experience it brought me when I was in first grade and living in that farm house I’ve described to you.
            Tomorrow’s story represents one of my most cherished memories and I look forward to writing about it. If you have time, please click here for an earlier posting, which lays out the background for tomorrow’s posting.

Zen photograph from


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Personal Earth Tremor

(Continued from last Tuesday . . . )
Grandpa Ready’s death in March 1943 brought about my learning to tell time, Mom explaining to me at the funeral parlor that out of death comes life, and a terrifying incident for my mother, brother, and me that shook all our lives in May. It happened nearly seventy years ago and I forgave my father long before he died in 1975. Yet the memory of the fear and panic I felt lingers.
            Mom was cooking supper in the kitchen. My brother and I sat on the floor in the narrow living room, reading a comic book. We heard the car bumping along the rutted driveway and sputter to a halt. The car door slammed.
            We waited expectantly for Dad to come inside. His feet seemed to plod across the porch floorboards before he pulled open the screen door so roughly it slammed into the shingled front of the house.
            He stumbled inside, muttering. “Where’s she? Where's your mother?” His words slurred; he smelled strange. 
            "In the kitchen," I stammered. "Making supper."
            My brother and I quickly stood up to hug Daddy around his legs, but he shoved us aside. His body lurched sideways, hitting first the buffet on the left and then the easy chair on the right. He leaned heavily against the doorframe into the kitchen, and I could hear his ragged breath.            
            “Where’s my dad?” he shouted, stumbling into the kitchen. “What've ya done with him?”
            I rushed to the kitchen door and held onto the frame, wanting to keep my brother back.
            “John!” Mom said, “You’re drunk. You know your dad’s dead.”
            He shoved her aside and grabbed the sharp knife lying on the counter. When he raised it high, his arm trembling, it seemed to me that the blade gleamed in the light from the electric bulb hanging from the ceiling. Then he plunged the knife downward. My mother reeled backward, banging into the end of the table. It skittered sideways.
             “John!” she shouted, as he lunged again, barely missing her left arm, which she'd raised over her head. She turned and darted to the end of the kitchen table. He followed her, the knife flashing, rising and falling, missing her chest, her shoulders, her back. 
             He kept bumping into the long table, knocking the chairs over. She edged her way around the table. He followed, staggering, stabbing the air over and over again with the knife, muttering, "I'll teach ya to lie to me!" 
            They circled the table again and again while the knife plunged downward. Then . . . 
            “Dolores,” Mom yelled, “take your brother outside!”
            Dad tried to grab her.
            “Get in the car! Lock it behind you.”
            I stood dumbfounded.
            “Go!” Mom screamed. “Go now!”
            My brother was peeping beneath my arm. I ran with him back to the front door. On the wall next to it was a drawing of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We stopped, our chests heaving with fright. The two of us stood, our backs to the kitchen, and prayed in breathless whispers. "Blessed Virgin Mary, make Daddy stop. Please! Please! Stop the yelling. Don't let him hurt Mommy. Don't let that knife get her. Please listen. Please."

Leonardo da Vinci drawing from Wikipedia.

            We could hear Dad bumping into the table. We could hear Mom’s voice, calm, steady. “John. Stop this. Let me help you get into bed.”
            We heard a thud as if someone fell to the floor. Then sobbing—harsh, loud—and Mom’s voice. “That’s it. Just cry it all out.”  
            My brother and I gripped one another's hands, our mouths still whispering frantic prayers. We watched Mom lead our father from the kitchen, past us, and into the bedroom. He no longer held the knife.
            The two of us stood beneath the drawing of Mary. I had my arm around my four-year-old brother, ready now to run for the car if Dad suddenly rose up from the bed and tried to kill our mother another way.
            Time passed. I don’t know how long. Mom came out of the bedroom and closed the door after her. She sat down in the easy chair, leaned her head back, and closed her eyes. My brother climbed up on her lap, “Mama,” he said. “Is Daddy okay?”
            "For now," she murmured as tears rolled down her face. He patted them away.
            I went out into the kitchen, collected all the knives, got the hammer and the axe out of the toolbox, and hid them all under a wooden box in the backyard. For the next ten years, until I went away to college, I did that every time Dad came home in the wee hours of the morning. The only thing that changed was that I learned to hide the weapons underneath the mattress on my bed. 
               Often, as the years passed, Mom would ask me to bring her one of the knives I'd hidden. "You don't need to do this, Dolores," she'd say each time. "Your father isn't going to hurt any of us."
            The reality is that Dad never again tried to kill my mother. But his drinking did end up hurting all of us.
                                                                           (Continued next Tuesday . . . )