Words from a Reader

The “Writing Life Stories” e-mails I receive are such treasures. As soon as I see there is one in my inbox, I read it immediately. I look forward to them and never know how they will touch me. They can be interesting, informative, humorous, and/or touching.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

A Fabulous Piece of Art Displayed at Christmas

This Triptych is a painting in three parts. Each end piece is hinged to the center and folds. Gay Council Moring painted this, and it is perfect. Each detail is exact with individual scenes and the Nativity Scene in the center. It is prominently displayed at Christmas in the Moring home, and I enjoy it. The beloved piece of art is around forty years old. 


The artist is my sister, Gay Council Moring.


Gay Moring is a graduate of the University of Georgia where she studied art and Valdosta State University where she earned her Master's in counseling.





Monday, November 28, 2022

Life Goes On No Matter Where I Am

As much as I complain about technology today, I am glad I can continue with my job as program coordinator for NCWN-West even when I am away because I have a computer. This afternoon I spent a couple of hours communicating with members by e-mail. 

I am fortunate to have wonderful volunteers who support our writers' organization. Part of my job is to teach the history and the guidelines we must follow as a non-profit. I want these leaders to be able to take over if I am out of the loop for a while and I feel sure they will and can.

I am scheduled for knee replacement in February and will be with my sister as I recover. As much as I dread the recovery, I will be so happy to walk again without pain, to stand in my kitchen for more than fifteen minutes with no pain. It seems my knee issue is stage 4 which is the worst and I need the surgery. I feel good that one of the best orthopedic surgeons will be my doctor. I have friends who recommend him and my physical therapists have told me his patients do really well in recovery.

Meantime, I am beginning an exercise program to best prepare my leg muscles for the surgery. I was told I would go home the same day I have the operation. "You will walk out the same day of the surgery," a nurse told me. But I will probably be under the influence of pain meds at the time.

Bad news caught me by surprise last week.
A couple of sensors in my 2007 car lit up on my trip down to Roswell. I took my car in to be diagnosed and was given a litany of problems that needed to be fixed. The total price for all that was around $3,000!!  I had to laugh. I could not get that much for my car if I sold it.

I settled for having my brakes repaired and that cost hundreds of dollars. I plan to have my car repair center back in Hayesville give me a second opinion. I feel sure they would not charge me this outrageous amount and if the sensors are the problem, maybe I don't need them.

My little Lexie is sleeping, snuggled up against me in bed and I need to go to sleep, too. 
Tomorrow we will get started with Christmas plans here. I will order a few gifts and Gay will begin decorating her house. She does a beautiful job of making her house ready for the holidays. They still put up a big tree which makes the room glow with lights. I have always loved Christmas but not the commercialism that it has become today.

Have a great week, my friends, and I will be back next week. Tell me your plans for Christmas.

Remember: Paws, Claws, Hooves, Feathers and Fins, is a great little Christmas gift. Order from City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC or pick up at Tigers on the square in Hayesville, NC. Or email me and I will send you the book at a reduced price.




Thursday, November 24, 2022

Watch Tipper's YouTube channel - her story about me

Watch this video to see my friend, Tipper, and her stories about beloved items in her kitchen. One of them was mine. It comes near the end.

https://youtu.be/1S3ckkCX6Yk

Thanksgiving with Lee and Dave

Cornbread Dressing, a traditional side dish

Happy Thanksgiving to my USA readers. I had a wonderful day with my sister, Gay, and my niece Lee and her husband Dave, their son, Will and his girlfriend, Abbie.

Dave is an outstanding cook. He prepared a turkey that was moist and delicious as well as mashed potatoes and a tasty corn casserole. Lee made my favorite side dish, broccoli casserole. Soooo good!

Gay and I made our traditional cornbread dressing. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without this dish.  Abbie brought pecan pie and chocolate pie – both delicious!

Dave, the cook, Lee, his tall beautiful wife, Mary, Lyn's partner,
Front row; Gay and my niece, Lyn 
Photo Thanksgiving two years ago.

It is seven o’clock pm and Gay and I brought home enough leftovers for supper later. Although I always miss Barry, my sister June, her husband Stan and all of my brothers who are gone now, we all remember them, talk about them and Mother and Daddy. We feel they are with us in spirit.

I don’t see Will very often now as he lives in Atlanta and works for a company in Atlanta. We have come to know Abbie, a sweet and smart young woman and we enjoy her company. She had a death in her family last weekend and goes to a funeral tomorrow. It is sadder when our loved ones die during holiday time.

My thoughts are with my brother Max’s family, as this is the first Thanksgiving without him. He died in February of this year. Now his sons are orphans. But they have good memories as I do, and I hope they had lots of laughter and love today.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving Day wherever you live, filled with love and gratefulness for the blessings in your life.  

 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

I am back on my blog

Fall at home in the mountains

I have not posted on this blog for a while. I was so busy while at home with household chores and with catching up on Netwest responsibilities that the weeks flew by.

Also, I had no computer access for a while as my old Dell finally had to be retired because it was too obsolete to handle some of the new programs. Seems that computer companies find a way to make you purchase a new one no matter how much you love your old one.

I am very fortunate to have a friend who spent forty years working with computers and in the digital world. With less than would cost me to buy a new one, he created two computers for me with all my documents intact and the programs I use. He synced my laptop with the two desktop units and now I have computers in both places where I spend my time and my laptop is updated as well. 

He would not like me to mention his name, but I am very grateful for his generosity of time as well as knowledge. I still had two monitors from computers I used to use in my studio. He adapted them and they work fine. 

I hope to be back online and teaching again next year. 
So many of my friends are former students from over the years, going back to 2008. Rebecca Gallo was a young student of mine at that time. She lives in Europe now and writes a delightful blog about her exciting life. She and her husband work from home on their computers. She teaches math and he works with a computer company. They can live anywhere they can get the Internet. Recently they decided to move out of the city of Valencia Spain to a small town in Spain. They have the opportunity to experience various lifestyles in a variety of places.

When I compare my choices of a career when I was a young woman to the choices Rebecca has, I feel just a teeny bit envious. If I had it to do over again, and I was a fresh college graduate today, I would pursue a career in writing and using the computer to make a living. My family was practical and insisted I do something that would support me and be dependable for as long as I wanted to do it. I was a good teacher of children for fifteen years. I loved my students and enjoyed seeing them every day, but it was a stressful job and I, being an empath, carried their heartaches home with me each night. I had no authority to fix anything. All I could do was show them I cared.

My husband, Barry, died in 2009. We had hoped to grow old together and fully believed we would. But life is not guaranteed. I did not believe I would be left alone because he was always healthy and athletic. He took no prescription medicine until he had a heart attack in his fifties. But even after surgery, he was far healthier than I. I have had three complex surgeries. I have chronic pain in my back, my knee, and from fibromyalgia. I deal with respiratory problems, also. So I just knew he would be here long after I was gone. Tonight I learned that 80 percent of men die married. Eighty percent of women die as widows. Many of my friends have lost their husbands and faced the tough experience of living alone feeling like half of themselves is missing. 

I think as long as we have a life partner we are relevant in this world. We take care of each other. We are needed. But when we are left alone, it is often hard to feel relevant. People with children don't want to be a burden on them. The children don't need them and unless they can find something in which they can serve others and enjoy what they do, they might feel life is over for them.

Helping others, especially writers, is what makes me relevant today. So, I am champing at the bit to get these health issues taken care of and be back in a classroom, online or in person, with adults who want to learn to improve their writing, or who want to write about their unique lives. 

Things I am grateful for tonight:
The midterm elections are over! I feel so much better knowing that most of American citizens want what I want - people working together to do what is best for our democracy. 

I felt like I could breathe after the elections and look forward to lower prescription prices, seeing bridges and roads improved and made safer, better health care for more people, and other things that have been passed but will become reality in the coming years. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you live in the USA, and if not, I hope you take the time to be thankful for your life.





Sunday, November 6, 2022

Podcast with Scott Owens, Poet

You have seen my posts regarding Scott Owens, an excellent poet, from Hickory, NC. I was delighted to receive a link to a podcast in which he was interviewed recently.



https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Fshow%2F20DabPshnW2jfiigtgRLQE&data=05%7C01%7C%7C0a0da2f11dde4192c96708dabc44c0b4%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638029300714916511%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=EZNjmslHYC6h3zhfh7Rh4BkwtuoUzkfmXrqYLpM2Pgw%3D&reserved=0
https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dxqu5_HEu_9g%26t%3D9s&data=05%7C01%7C%7C0a0da2f11dde4192c96708dabc44c0b4%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638029300714916511%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=SPizeYd5y02Iuq%2F0KuCGrPLWtQaPmbloVSfiAipLQo0%3D&reserved=0

Take a few minutes to listen to Scott talk about poetry and answer questions about his writing and his work habits.

He has published 18 poetry books, I believe, and all of them are great.

Do you read or write poetry? Want to share one in our comments section?

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Home sweet Home again

Here in the mountains again, I have been very busy.

I came home to find raccoons had trashed my deck garden on my upper deck. Pots of flowers were overturned and dirt was all over the floor. Add to that fall leaves had covered everything including my driveway which was completely hidden.


I began by cleaning up my deck but got little done because sweeping hurt my back so much I could not walk the next day. So the first couple of days home I spent on a cold pack just watching TV and reading.

Luckily I have recently found a dependable man to blow the leaves off my yard. He came within a few days. But today my driveway is covered again. Oh, the joys of having a home to take care of all by yourself.

I caught the raccoon up to his mischief the first night I was home. I sat in my chair where I can look out my double windows and there he came after dark walking along the railing heading for my deck. When he looked in and saw me, he stopped and just stared at me as if to say, "What are you doing here?"

I stood up and clapped my hands. He turned and rushed back the way he had come. But I think he was back last night. A fairly large pot was overturned this morning.

We have had a couple of freezing nights so my flowers are about gone. The coon is not after my flowers. He wants the grubs or bugs that are down in the soil.
Raccoons like to stay up all night. They sleep during daylight and most often they leave their dens soon after sunset and head straight for the nearest food source.

I learned about natural repellants I plan to try and hope that will end the night time raids.











Friday, October 14, 2022

This weekend will find me back in my home in Hayesville, NC.

Home is where the heart is, they say, and my heart is in two places most of the time. 

When I am in Roswell, GA I am happy to be there with my family. Today I had lunch with my sister and my niece. I heard about Lee's trip to Boone to see her sister and we looked at photos of the places where Lee and Lyn grew up. Boone is so different now from the little town I remember from forty years ago. The college seems to take up the whole town. But I love Boone because of all the wonderful memories I have.



Back in the seventies Barry and I vacationed in Boone where my sister, June, and her family lived. We stayed at Seven Devils on the top of a mountain in a rustic little cabin. Sometimes Gay and Stu joined us. We always spent time with June and Stan and the girls. 

Now Lyn has gone back to live there. She is a successful real estate agent. Her dad would be so proud of her. He died when she was a young teen. 

I visited Boone a few years ago, after Barry died, and felt like I had never been there. Life goes on, and things change, some for better and some for worse.

Another day in Roswell, Gay and I had lunch with a former student of mine who became a dear friend. She lives in Cumming, GA just up the highway from where I am with my sister. I am sure you have had the kind of day we had. Beautiful weather so we sat outside. My friend, a writer and one of Atlanta's best Interior Designers, just enjoyed her 80th birthday party. Until she had COVID a couple of months ago, she walked several miles every day. She is the perfect example of most of the older women I know. 

Living in Roswell means I can see her more. She and Gay like each other and that is also good.

BUT IN HAYESVILLE...

I love my friends and my home in the mountains. As part of a thriving writers' group, I can attend readings and book signings, poetry and prose groups and I can mentor other writers. I can teach beginning writers and share my knowledge with them.  But living alone is problematic for me. And therein lies my dilemma. 

Taking care of a large house and yard is challenging and expensive, not to mention stressful. I will be in Hayesville for several weeks and see how I get along without my sister. I will miss her and so will Lexie who adores Gay.

Have you lived in two places at the same time? Do you have a summer home and a winter home? Many Florida folk do. After the leaves fall in autumn, they go back to Florida for a warm winter. 




Sunday, October 9, 2022

How do I love thee

"Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.”  Fred Rogers


Love. So many kinds of love, but love is the greatest and most important feeling we can have for each other. 
What about compassion? What about sympathy? I think they are part of love.

I grew up in a family of loving people, especially my mother. To know her was to love her and she spread her love around to all of her seven children. Experts say that our last thoughts before we die are about those we love and who loved us. I remember my husband, Barry, telling me shortly before he died that while he was asleep he saw his father standing with open arms. His father had been gone for decades but in his son's last days on this earth, he saw his father welcoming him home. I only knew his father for a short time but was touched each time I saw his father hug Barry and kiss him goodbye when we left to go home.

Hospice workers say dying people call out Mama, Mother, and Daddy. It was said that George Floyd, as he lay dying with the policeman's knee on his neck, called out Mama. 

What does this say to us about what is important in life? I believe that parents must love and give love to their children so they can grow up caring about others in their lives. To love is to teach others to love.

I know a man who was terribly abused as a child by his mother. Because of this, he became a bully at school and was a mean kid. He had no friends. Looking back now as an old man, he is sorry for the things he did to others, but he had learned that behavior from his own mother. She was physically abusive chasing him with a knife! We learn first from our parents, the people who raise us. They are our role models even if they don't know it or seek to be.

Many times I heard someone in my family say "He has daddy's temper." 

As children, we saw our father use his belt on his sons when he was angry at them. My worst fear as a child was Daddy's anger. At night I heard him raise his voice when talking to Mother and I cringed in my bed. He had never hit her and I don't think he ever would. He adored her. But his voice spoke volumes to a little girl in a bedroom who was trying to go to sleep. Years later when I talked to my mother about this, she said he was not mad at her, just upset about something concerning the farm and he raised his voice because of that.   
 
He learned from his mother and older brothers to discipline with hitting. And his sons used that same method on their sons. My brother said he saw one of our uncles jerk his little boy up off the floor and use a belt on him for nothing important at all. My brother wanted the toy from his little cousin and he began whining and saying, It's mine. When it was not handed over immediately, the small child was beaten by his father. 

No one in our family was ever left with bloodshed, but some were left with bruises, and feelings of shame, hurt, and resentment that will never go away. My father was the kind who used the belt without giving the child a chance to be heard. I am the only one of the seven kids who never got a spanking from him. I don't know why I was spared. 

I do know that I did my best to stay out of his way and not draw any attention from him. However, that ended when I was older. On more than one occasion he lost his temper with me and we ended up in a confrontation that surprised me. But when I stood up to him and was not wilted down by his rage, he calmed down enough to hear me speak. On one of those times, he actually came to me and tried to bribe me into forgiving him. I was leaving for college and he came to me and tried to press some folded bills into my hand. I was stubborn and very hurt by what he had said to me. I refused his money and left in a huff.

I grew up thinking he didn't love me even though my mother told me many times that he did. He could be so funny and clever with his stories about his childhood, his friends, and his family members. I loved that side of him. 

Many years after he died, my brother told me things my daddy said about me that showed he did love me. He didn't know how to express his love or show how he felt about us. I am sure his parents never taught him that. His generation of men was supposed to be stoic and strong, not emotional.

I am deeply grateful for my loving mother and my older sister who made me know that no matter what, they were there for me. I never doubted their love. When my baby sister was born, I loved her more than anything. We were inseparable almost all of our lives and now, today, we are still together most of the time.

Lillian in this photo is our aunt, sister to our father. The old house was where our family moved to on the farm. It was in a terrible state. Baby Gay caught pneumonia and almost died there. A new house was built as soon as possible. 

Family is an essential part of happiness for me. As we all grew older my brothers showed their love for me in various ways. All four of them had an impact on who I am today. They were not perfect but they did have the best traits of their father and mother. They were caring and good people. They were hard-working men who put their families first. They all had a soft spot for their little sisters. 

They admired their father for overcoming the harshness of life that caused him much pain and sadness. The loss of his father when he was only ten years old. Having to go to work in a mill when he was still a child. Having to endure the restrictions and humiliations of overseers at the mill. My brothers tried to be people he would be proud of and I think they succeeded. 

In a family where the word love was seldom spoken, it permeated every cell of our bodies and we knew we were loved by each other and by Mother. I smile as I remember that three of my four brothers said to me at least one time, "I love you" when they were older, married with children, and during a serious moment in our lives. My sister, Gay, said they said those words to her more than once. She said Daddy even told her he loved her and teared up when she was leaving home to live in California. I just learned that this week

I wish that all families could show love without feeling they have to shower their children with material things. It seems to me that young people today are taught that to be successful, they have to become rich and famous. They must have expensive cars, expensive homes, jewelry, and massive amounts of attention from others.  On social media, the goal seems to be how many people you can get to LIKE you. That is not how we show and accept love. 

I don't know what parents hope to gain with all this but I think in the end, when all is over in this life they will only remember those who truly loved them, the love they gave to others, and the exquisite feeling of being loved. 

I am grateful that I was always loved and still, even today, I feel the love of others. I love my friends and family. I tell them and I try to show it. 

What are your feelings about love?
Was love a word often spoken in your home?