Page 155

The other day I decided to make brownies for Jimmie.  Okay, maybe I was making them for me, but whatever.  I go to the pantry, grab the box of brownie mix and take it into the kitchen.  I read the back of the box as I do every time, pulled out the mixing bowl and the necessary utensils, and I got to work.

I put the eggs, the oil, the water and the mix into the mixing bowl.  I was astounded at how quickly everything melded together.  It was no struggle at all.  Everything mixed well and easily.  I did think the mix was a little runny, but I went with it.  Then it occurred to me, the mix seemed just a bit too runny.  I rechecked the instructions and was sure I had done it right.  Then I thought, my eyes are getting a little older and maybe I should put on my reading glasses.  I was supposed to use a fourth cup of oil.  I had used a full cup.  I was supposed to use half a cup of water.  Again I had used a full cup.  What to do? What to do?

I got out my pencil and paper and I figured up how many boxes of mix I would need to buy to have all my ingredients match what they should.  I would have had enough brownies for a small army.  Since I haven’t started any fires lately and really wasn’t planning on having to take the firemen any brownies or cookies I decided that maybe adding extra boxes of mix was not the answer.  Besides I didn’t really want to make a trip to the store at 8 o’clock at night.  So I dumped the mixture down the drain and decided to start from scratch, and I do mean scratch – with flour, sugar, vanilla, cocoa, oil, eggs and salt.

I pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks and knew exactly what page to turn to.  Page 155.  I have used page 155 of this cookbook over and over and over throughout the years.  This cook book is special to me.  It has a story behind it.

I wasn’t meaning to buy this cookbook.  In fact, buying a cookbook was probably the last thing on my mind that day, but the lady behind the counter at the diner was a good salesperson.  I remember walking into the diner, it had been a long night’s drive and we had stayed at the luxurious Sahara Motel in DeWitt, AR.  DeWitt is kind of a sister city to Stuttgart, AR.  All the hunters out there have probably heard of Stuttgart, AR.  Stuttgart’s claim to fame is being the duck hunting capital of the world.  The Sahara Motel does a pretty good business with the duck hunters during the season.

We had arrived late in the evening or maybe even in the wee hours of the morning.  I was awoken just after falling asleep to the sound of boisterous laughter and general tomfoolery.  I opened the door to my room.  I don’t know who was more surprised me or the six or so gentlemen standing there in the parking lot in their underwear.  They were obviously a little on the intoxicated side and showing off the ducks of the day.  They quickly apologized for waking me up and moved a couple of doors down to the next 50 gallon barrel used as a trashcan.  I went back to sleep, got up early the next morning, and headed over to the diner for a much-needed cup of coffee.

As I walked in the diner I could see the cook in the back and a lady behind the counter who reminded me of a cross between Flo and Alice.  She looked at me and smiled and as I walked toward the counter.  The five or six gentlemen of various ages sitting in two booths along the wall looked at me and whispered amongst themselves.  I was mildly irritated.  I knew I was an outsider.  I knew I wasn’t a duck hunter, and I knew I was oddly dressed for rural Arkansas.  We were there for a funeral and I was dressed to attend the funeral.

I went to the counter and ordered a couple of cups of coffee.  I ordered one for me and one for my grandmother.  The lady behind the counter caught me off guard when she asked, “You are a Falls, aren’t you?”

“Yes ma’am, I am.”

“I thought so.   You look just like them.”

I didn’t know if that was good or bad, and I didn’t know if I should take offense.

I turned to look at the gentleman a time or two.  Every time I tried to sneak a look they were all looking back at me.  I was a little uneasy.  I guess the lady could tell I was feeling a bit insecure and out of place because she laughed and introduced herself.  Seems she was somehow related to me by marriage, marriage, marriage, cousin, cousin, cousin or something like that.  She was asking me if I knew so-and-so and so-and-so and I was answering yes and no.  She then pulled this cookbook from the edge of the counter, turned to the back cover and showed me a picture of somebody I actually knew.  It was my cousin Flora – cousin by marriage, but still my cousin.

Flora and her two sisters had just published a cookbook entitled The Farmer’s Daughters.  They created the cookbook to help raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society as Flora had been diagnosed with MS just a year before.  My family is large and I wish I could name everybody by name on sight all the time.  Flora is actually somebody I knew pretty well.  She was closer in age to my parents and I had heard them mention her over the years.

Just as my uncle walked through the front door of the diner, the lady behind the counter had started telling me that some of the gentlemen in the booths against the wall were also related to me.  I knew soon enough because when my uncle walked through the door the greetings began.  They all hugged or shook hands.  It was obvious that they knew him and he knew them.  When I walked over to say hello we all got a big laugh out of it.  They just weren’t sure exactly who I was, but they knew I was a relative of some sort.

I ended up buying two cookbooks that day.  I can’t remember who I gave the other one to, but I kept mine and I use it all the time.  I’m not sure where the recipes came from, but some of them have really cool names like L’s Buttermilk Cake, Pat’s Brownies, Aunt Louie’s Chocolate Pie, Mom’s Raw Apple Cake, etc.  I imagine these recipes came from people all over the area, but I like to think they are all family recipes.

Back to the brownies… Jimmie has loved these brownies since he was a small child.  He likes them almost as much, or maybe even more than when I make my grandma’s homemade gravy.  So I made the homemade brownies and today I made another batch because they never last long in my house.  I think they need to be renamed from Good Chocolate Brownies to Duck Hunters in Underwear Brownies.   Maybe if I ever put together a cookbook that is what I will call them.

Page 155

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The Sahara Motel and Restaurant

Sahara

 

The Solution

TangledMess

I have discovered THE SOLUTION to all of life’s questions!!

Being basically under house arrest due to this ice storm has given me an opportunity to go through some things and do a little cleaning and organizing around the house.  A friend is making some scarves so I figured I’d go through Sharrie’s stash of yarn and pass it on to someone who could get some use out of it.  A lot of it was a tangled mess so I started working through the twists and knots one by one to straighten it all out.  It didn’t occur to me that it would take as much time as it did.  For four hours I sat silently carefully tracing the lines of yarn one by one until I had everything neatly wound into yarn balls reminiscent of the ones my grandmothers always had in their yarn boxes.

During this four hours of peace and quiet my thoughts ran the gamut of possible topics.  I thought about the weather, things I needed to get done around the house, new strategies for looking for a job, Jimmie’s college classes, how to maintain the monthly bills, when I needed to do what so I could ensure other things got done, what to cook over the next several days, what Christmas presents I needed to still pick up, what additional precautions I needed to take to make sure the house is safe and secure during this weather, whether or not I should get Dawg a new coat, what I wanted out of my future, possibly moving to other cities or states, things I wanted to write about, my friends, my family, etc., etc., etc.  My head was spinning with different thoughts somehow moving from one topic to another although on the surface not appearing to be related at all.  Sorting through my thoughts was much like navigating the tangled mess of yarn my fingers were unconsciously unraveling and making whole again.  It was peaceful.

What was interesting to me was the realization that during this calm, quiet period I spent untangling the yarn I actually untangled so much more.  I was able to have internal conversations with my head, my heart and my conscience which allowed me to understand or find solutions to several issues that have been burdening me lately.  Soul searching.  That’s what I had been doing… soul searching.

My thoughts turned to the idea of what I thought soul searching really meant.  Then it occurred to me.  Soul searching is THE SOLUTION.  Actually, truth be told, it is more of a rediscovery than an actual discovery.  I used to spend hours upon hours soul searching, but my life was simpler then and I had the time.  Our grandparents and their parents and grandparents before them understood this one basic truth.

We as individuals and as a society have somehow strayed off track, and the current state of our society proves just how far off track we have strayed.  Our ability to participate in valuable soul searching is getting buried deep beneath the time we spend focusing on the constant clutter of less important issues in our lives.  There has always been clutter of some sort in our lives, but the introduction of interactive real time technologies have allowed our entire existence to be overtaken by the beeps and buzzes of numerous electronic devices either attached to us or always within arms reach.  We have become slaves to the electronic impulses that were supposed to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

Years ago when I would be reading my grandfather’s Popular Mechanics or my dad’s Popular Electronics or Popular Science magazines I would be amazed by article after article describing new technologies that we would one day get to experience and use to our benefit.  These articles touted the freedom to enjoy life we would all have because technology was going to make our lives so much easier.  That didn’t actually come to fruition – quite the opposite actually.  The promised freedoms we were to gain didn’t come close to happening.  New technology has taken our precious down time away from us.  We are never out of earshot, or ‘unplugged’ from our Smartphones or our computers.

Employers have begun to expect us to review and respond immediately to every email or text message regardless of the time of day and regardless if we are on what we used to know as vacation time.  It doesn’t matter if we are at a doctor’s visit, visiting family out of town, at a wedding, at a funeral or even at the hospital for the birth of our child or grandchild, we are expected to be plugged in and able to communicate with the rest of “The Borg” immediately following any beep or buzz.  We are being unknowingly conditioned to remove ourselves from our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Even more concerning is the fact that we are passing this same problem down to our children.  They emulate our every move so they spend their time also being consumed by consumer electronics.  (Part of my epiphany during my soul searching was the irony of the descriptive term consumer electronics.  What an epic piece of foreshadowing.)  The horrifying difference is that since consumer electronics and games have always been part of our children’s lives, they may never have been given the chance to experience the peaceful, productive art of soul searching.  We must teach them.  We must start unplugging ourselves from our electronics and plugging into our children.

As smart as they supposedly are, our Smartphones are leading us down the path to becoming a dumber society.  THE SOLUTION can be called a number of things: silence, meditation, conscience, peace, reflection, introspection, prayer, spirit, soul searching, talking to God, etc.   Whatever you chose to call it we need to add that internal conversation back into our lives.  We need to unplug so we can really begin to tune in once again.

In Passing

The Internet has added a whole new dimension to my emotions.  We all have those ‘friends’ we have met through other friends, many of whom the only knowledge we have or will ever have of them comes electronically through Facebook or some other Internet passageway.  Many of them we never actually get the chance to meet, or only meet in passing, but somehow they touch us in some way – sometimes just in a small way and sometimes in a huge way. 

I watch daily for posts from one such ‘friend’.  I noticed I hadn’t seen any posts from him recently and knew he had just been through a lengthy stay in the hospital battling pneumonia.  He had been hunkered down recouping so I thought he was getting some much needed rest.   Today I found out he has passed away. 

I never met him, never even had an exchange of words with him, but I admired his photography and his posts.  He seemed like the kind of person who would be one of my close friends had our paths ever actually crossed. 

So I leave you with this… Take a look around you, whether it’s at work, at home, at your kid’s soccer practice, at the local grocery store, on Facebook, or any where you go, there is someone out there who you may never have the chance to actually meet or engage in conversation, but somehow some way you may touch their soul or they may touch yours… if only for a moment.  

Peace.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/obituaries/article/Brilliant-photographer-Rick-Hunter-53-dies-4971258.php

Origins

12-5-13

    Some of my fondest childhood memories originate from the time I spent with my grandparents.  Grandpa was a Brakeman for the Cotton Belt Railroad which meant he could be gone days at a time, but Grandma was home every day.  It seems like most of my time in the summers and on weekends was spent at their house. 

     When Grandpa was home we’d piddle around in the garage most of the day.  Grandpa had once owned a toy/magic store in town and had some of his leftover stock in the backroom of his garage.  The mysteries of that room totally fascinated me.  He would pull different items out and I’d play for hours, but without fail at 3:00 every afternoon we’d stop whatever we were doing so we could go inside to watch “Dialing for Dollars” on the stand up black and white television, then listen to “Swap Shop” over a little transistor radio.  Grandpa would listen very carefully to the voices engulfed by static and write down every detail given by every caller about what they wanted to buy, sell, trade, or give away. 

     As soon as the last caller was finished Grandpa would make a couple of phone calls and we’d rush off to meet someone about whatever it was they had advertised.  I never knew what we would find next, but I did know that whatever it was, when he “drug it up in the yard” as Grandma always said, it was probably going to “have wheels on it” – again according to Grandma.  All I knew was that amongst the lawnmowers, edgers, and whatever else he found to throw in the back of the truck, there was probably going to be something that I thought was cool and fun, or something that I could ride… at least until he decided to list on Swap Shop himself. I never knew what was going to be out in the garage, what we were going to work on, or where we would be headed next.  It was always a surprise and an adventure.

     The adventures I had with Grandma were much different.  It seemed Grandma was almost always in the kitchen.  As she entered the kitchen her apron would go on and when she was done she’d hang it by the door ready to be tied around her again in just a few hours.  Grandma “let” me help in the kitchen which meant I had to get the pots and pans out, set the table, take out the trash and help with the dishes.  I say ‘help with the dishes’ because without fail after every meal Grandpa would stand beside Grandma in front of the big white porcelain sink with me wedged in between them standing on one of the dining table chairs and cloaked with a towel that was my version of grandma’s apron.  Grandma would wash, I would rinse in the dish pan full of hot water, and then Grandpa would dry and put everything away.   

     Grandma taught me how to make scrambled eggs, scratch gravy, pan-fried steak and sweet tea.  These are probably still my four favorite things.  She also taught me how to drink coffee.  Every morning the three of us would sit around the table and drink coffee.  If Grandpa was out on a run it would just be me and Grandma.  We always used cups and saucers for our coffee.  When I was much smaller Grandma would pour a little coffee in a saucer so it would cool for me.  I would then turn the saucer up to drink the coffee.  I used so much sugar in my coffee Grandpa would always say I was drinking syrup.  Thinking back I don’t know how in the world I drank that concoction I called coffee.  I would load it down with sugar and Pet brand Condensed Milk.   It was truly probably more like a liquid coffee flavored candy than coffee. 

     Sometimes we’d use the Hull brown drip coffee mugs.  Those were special and were usually used for hot chocolate.  When my uncle was a kid in the late fifties, there was a gas station several blocks from the house that was giving away Hull brown-drip mugs with purchases of full tanks of gasoline.  My uncle decided he wanted to get these mugs for my grandmother for Christmas, but was not yet old enough to drive so couldn’t buy gasoline to get the mugs.  He worked a special deal that would allow him to do get the mugs in exchange for some work around the gas station.  He walked back and forth to the gas station for weeks so he could collect a set of four mugs for his mom. 

I still have the coffee pot my grandmother set atop the gas stove every morning to make our coffee.  Thankfully I no longer load down my coffee with sugar and Pet Milk – these days it’s Splenda and either powdered Hazelnut or French Vanilla flavoring.  The pine table we sat around and provided me with a chair stool to use to help with dishes was my first real dining room table and now sits in my breakfast room.  The dish pan we used to rinse the dishes hangs on the wall in my office.  I have the original four Hull brown drip mugs my uncle gave my grandmother for Christmas that one year.  They sparked a collection frenzy in me.  I now have hundreds of pieces of Hull brown-drip items many of which we use daily.  I even have a few of the fascinating mysterious magic tricks from my grandfather’s store sitting on a shelf, and I usually have a Hershey bar in the freezer… but that’s another story for another time.Image

The Prologue

(Copying and reposting on WordPress.  Trying to get my WordPress to post to the Facebook NewsFeed.  It is posting to my Facebook timeline, but not the NewsFeed.)

______________________________

There haven’t been too many things in my life that I just had to have or felt somewhat incomplete or empty without.  Sure some things nag at me from time to time.  I think we all have those things that we want to do, see or experience some time in our lives or possibly do again.  At some point I’d like to visit Europe, especially Italy.  Rome is of special interest to me for some reason.  I’d also like to revisit the Grand Canyon and take my camera.  The most nagging thing in my life has been to write.  I love to write; I just have a fear that I don’t have anything of interest to write.  I haven’t known where to start.

Today I take a leap of faith.  I hope I can stick with it and be diligent in my quest to add meaningful words to paper.  Part of my motivation is to leave something behind for my son to remember me by.  I have often wished I could talk to my grandparents again.  Many people have kept journals or diaries throughout their lives.  Unfortunately my grandparents were not one of them.  I have my memories and remnants of the stories they told.  Genealogy has long been one of my interests and having a record of their lives as seen through their eyes would have been an extraordinary gift.

With the introduction of the Internet I have had the opportunity to hide behind my keyboard and share various thoughts throughout the years.  It started with our move to the small town of Wylie, TX many years ago.  While searching the Internet for information on the town I came across a community message board.  It was full of information about what was going on around town and around the world.  I read for a year or so without signing up.  Then one day there was a topic to which I just couldn’t keep myself from responding.  That was the beginning of me sharing my thoughts with others in writing.

Surprising to me was the response I received.  It seemed there were just as many people who shared my thoughts on various subjects as there were those whose opinions differed.  There were topics where I got hammered for my stance and topics where people rallied around what I was saying.   I began to come out of my shell a bit.  You see, I think I can best be described as an extroverted introvert.  I am very shy, but have adapted to society by pretending to be secure and in control.  I have put on the persona of being all held together for so long that a part of me is now actually truly very secure and in charge of my own destiny.  That’s where this blog comes in.

I have received some awesome comments on some of the things I have shared on various social media. A few friends have encouraged me for several years to write.  My justification for not writing has always been that I do not know what to write about.  That ends today.  Today I will write.  Today I will share life through my eyes.  Today I not worry if people do not agree with what I write.  Today I will be brave and put my thoughts to paper.

I plan to write and share whatever interests me and whatever experiences I have had, want to have or am currently living though.  There may be things shared here that you may or may not know about me.  I can’t apologize for being me.  I can only apologize for not always being confident enough to be me all the time – but we all go though that in some way don’t we?   If you know me be prepared to possibly see something here that we are experiencing together.  I will try to be conscientious enough not share full names of those who may be included in my writings unless they are fully aware beforehand.  Since we all have different viewpoints and ways of experiencing things differently I must call out the fact that my writings are based on the way I see things.   We all know there are three sides of a story… yours, mine and the truth.  It all depends on our own internal filters and we all see and remember things differently.  I can only write from my viewpoint so I apologize in advance if I am sharing a story which includes you and leave out or include elements that may or may not agree with your memories of the situation.

I also need to give a very special shout out to two of my friends who are very important to me even though I have not had the opportunity to spend much one on one time with either one of them.  Both of them have been very influential in my life and don’t realize the important roles they have played.  They are both truly phenomenal women.  (For now I will just provide their first names and initials of last names.  Once I receive their approval to add their full names I will share their names.)

My most heartfelt thanks, appreciation and admiration goes out to Pam D. and Gracie S.  Both of these extraordinary women have provided me with motivation to write.  They both also share many qualities I find inspirational.  Among other things, both are honest, empathetic, strong, funny, family-oriented, encouraging, intelligent, and just down-home girls.  These are the type of women I hope Jimmie one day finds to share his life. They are salt-of-the-earth people with strong convictions.  They lead their lives in such a way that they have been inspirational and influential not only to their beautiful daughters but to me and I’m sure many others as well.  My hat is off to you two wonderful ladies.  Thank you for being you.  I’m sure your parents and your children are proud beyond belief of the women you became.

Okay everyone… here goes.  Feel free to follow this blog.  In fact, I encourage you to follow this blog.  If I know people are watching and waiting I may be more motivated to write.  Hold me accountable.

Just being me,

— Gwen

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Reflecting

I actually wrote the bulk of this June 15th, 2011 as a Facebook post.  Oddly enough I am currently without a job again.

___________

I may not have a job, live in a mansion, drive an expensive car or be extraordinarily wealthy, but I may truly be the richest person in the world.

I’ve been through good times and bad, been homeless, been a pawn between fighting parents, struggled through college and mediocre jobs, thought that I’d never get out of debt, worried about making ends meet, even worried about putting food on the table, worried that I’d never find true love, lived through the unexpected death of the love of my life, been laid off from a great job, worried about being an unemployed single parent with a kid in college, but somehow I have made it through. It’s hard to imagine life being much better.

I’m really no different from anyone else – I’ve just been around long enough to understand the meaning of the saying, “this too shall pass” and to appreciate the good and the bad in life because without the balance of the yin and yang we can not be complete. The understanding and acceptance of that balance is what brings us inner peace.

It’s the people in my life, past and present, that fulfill me – not the things in my life – well, except my camera, my dog and my motorcycle of course.  😉

I suspect there will be more worries and struggles in the future, but something tells me I will get though them as well.

Chins up everyone. The sun will rise and set again tomorrow and it’s up to each of us to see the beauty of the new day – rain or shine.

This was the Trigger

Today my friend Harv posted something on Facebook that really touched me.  It was the trigger that pushed me to get my WordPress blog moving along.

I may have missed the actual day by two days, but I honor her today.

RELATED ARTICLES

A True American Hero

Ruby Bridges, A True American Hero

What a brave and beautiful little girl. Breaks my heart she was subjected to that kind of small minded hatefulness, but thankful she had the fortitude to carry on and help pave the road to the future. Truly an American hero.

Her mother should also be commemorated as a hero. It had to be incredibly difficult to watch her child go through this but at the same time stand for what was right. They both must have felt a fear many of us will never be able to comprehend. The repercussions the entire family had to endure are unfathomable, but the end result is inspiring.

Hats off to the teacher who stood by her as well. Barbara Henry’s actions also exhibited incredible bravery to stand up for what was right in the face of prejudice.

Lots of strong women in this story. In 1960 women had far less opportunity and power than we have today. Not to say that the status of women in our society today is even close to where it should be, but it was much harder then. I remember there being two major choices of careers for women – teaching and nursing. Henry’s actions could have easily adversely affected her teaching career. Not only did she stand by Bridges, but did so as a young teacher in a city where she was a newcomer without the support of friends and family. Very inspirational.

Getting Started – Housekeeping

Please hang in there while I learn to use WordPress.  I’ve already found out a simple copy and paste from Word to WordPress is not always a smooth transition.  I’m still going to use Word as my initial starting point, but I’ll have to remember how to transfer my writing to WordPress so that it shows up properly.  Learning curve.  😉

I will also be moving some of my posts from Facebook over to WordPress. If you are reading both please excuse the redundancy.  There are just some things I feel are important and want to be available in both places.  Hopefully I will figure out how to combine the two without much effort.

If there’s something that isn’t working quite right or something you think would make this blog better please let me know.  I want this to be a pleasant experience for my readers as well as keeping it simple enough for me to use regularly.

If I have shared something with you before and you would like me to share the story again please let me know.  My request line is always open, but it may take me some time to revisit the topic.

My writing comes and goes with my moods.  Feel free to give me a gentle nudge if I seem to be slacking off from posting.

I may edit some pages from time to time.  As I evolve so do my thoughts and writings.  I am always a work in progress.

The Prologue

There haven’t been too many things in my life that I just had to have or felt somewhat incomplete or empty without.  Sure some things nag at me from time to time.  I think we all have those things that we want to do, see or experience some time in our lives or possibly do again.  At some point I’d like to visit Europe, especially Italy.  Rome is of special interest to me for some reason.  I’d also like to revisit the Grand Canyon and take my camera.  The most nagging thing in my life has been to write.  I love to write; I just have a fear that I don’t have anything of interest to write.  I haven’t known where to start.

Today I take a leap of faith.  I hope I can stick with it and be diligent in my quest to add meaningful words to paper.  Part of my motivation is to leave something behind for my son to remember me by.  I have often wished I could talk to my grandparents again.  Many people have kept journals or diaries throughout their lives.  Unfortunately my grandparents were not one of them.  I have my memories and remnants of the stories they told.  Genealogy has long been one of my interests and having a record of their lives as seen through their eyes would have been an extraordinary gift.

With the introduction of the Internet I have had the opportunity to hide behind my keyboard and share various thoughts throughout the years.  It started with our move to the small town of Wylie, TX many years ago.  While searching the Internet for information on the town I came across a community message board.  It was full of information about what was going on around town and around the world.  I read for a year or so without signing up.  Then one day there was a topic to which I just couldn’t keep myself from responding.  That was the beginning of me sharing my thoughts with others in writing.

Surprising to me was the response I received.  It seemed there were just as many people who shared my thoughts on various subjects as there were those whose opinions differed.  There were topics where I got hammered for my stance and topics where people rallied around what I was saying.   I began to come out of my shell a bit.  You see, I think I can best be described as an extroverted introvert.  I am very shy, but have adapted to society by pretending to be secure and in control.  I have put on the persona of being all held together for so long that a part of me is now actually truly very secure and in charge of my own destiny.  That’s where this blog comes in.

I have received some awesome comments on some of the things I have shared on various social media. A few friends have encouraged me for several years to write.  My justification for not writing has always been that I do not know what to write about.  That ends today.  Today I will write.  Today I will share life through my eyes.  Today I not worry if people do not agree with what I write.  Today I will be brave and put my thoughts to paper.

I plan to write and share whatever interests me and whatever experiences I have had, want to have or am currently living though.  There may be things shared here that you may or may not know about me.  I can’t apologize for being me.  I can only apologize for not always being confident enough to be me all the time – but we all go though that in some way don’t we?   If you know me be prepared to possibly see something here that we are experiencing together.  I will try to be conscientious enough not share full names of those who may be included in my writings unless they are fully aware beforehand.  Since we all have different viewpoints and ways of experiencing things differently I must call out the fact that my writings are based on the way I see things.   We all know there are three sides of a story… yours, mine and the truth.  It all depends on our own internal filters and we all see and remember things differently.  I can only write from my viewpoint so I apologize in advance if I am sharing a story which includes you and leave out or include elements that may or may not agree with your memories of the situation.

I also need to give a very special shout out to two of my friends who are very important to me even though I have not had the opportunity to spend much one on one time with either one of them.  Both of them have been very influential in my life and don’t realize the important roles they have played.  They are both truly phenomenal women.  (For now I will just provide their first names and initials of last names.  Once I receive their approval to add their full names I will share their names.)

My most heartfelt thanks, appreciation and admiration goes out to Pam D. and Gracie S.  Both of these extraordinary women have provided me with motivation to write.  They both also share many qualities I find inspirational.  Among other things, both are honest, empathetic, strong, funny, family-oriented, encouraging, intelligent, and just down-home girls.  These are the type of women I hope Jimmie one day finds to share his life. They are salt-of-the-earth people with strong convictions.  They lead their lives in such a way that they have been inspirational and influential not only to their beautiful daughters but to me and I’m sure many others as well.  My hat is off to you two wonderful ladies.  Thank you for being you.  I’m sure your parents and your children are proud beyond belief of the women you became.

Okay everyone… here goes.  Feel free to follow this blog.  In fact, I encourage you to follow this blog.  If I know people are watching and waiting I may be more motivated to write.  Hold me accountable.  🙂

Just being me,

— Gwen

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