Thursday, December 28, 2017

Grandma's Funeral, Christmas, Cousins and Cow's Milk

I'm already looking forward to my next two days off from work. With all the stress and drama of Christmas and Grandma's Funeral, visiting with my son (who I haven't seen in a couple of years) and family I haven't seen in forever, I don't feel like I have rested.

I took the day off yesterday to binge watch "Fear the Walking Dead" episodes, though.

I went to grandma's viewing and walked toward the casket, making my way through family I had to stop and hug along the way. I came across this good-looking guy in a maroon shirt and dark complexion and grabbed his hand (as I was in a hurry to get to the casket) and said, "Thank you for coming, it's nice to meet you" and kept going.

I met two distant cousins from the Bivens family at the casket. I remarked that grandma looked beautiful and that she looked even more healthy in that casket than she did the last time I saw her alive.

As I was making my way back out, the guy in the maroon shirt exclaimed with a smile, "You don't know who I am, do you?"

I stopped and looked at his face for a moment, and then realized who he was. I hadn't seen him in 25 or 30 years.

"OMG! TRAVIS MCRAE!" I hugged him. "I'm sorry! I DIDN'T recognize you!" He laughed at me.

He said, "Well, it's good to see you, too, even if you didn't know who I was."


I may not have recognized him, but I certainly remember him! We played many a game of frisbee together during the summers when I grew up in Redwater. We went swimming in a pond in the middle of February once, and he used to hunt and fish on our land during deer and squirrel season. Yes, I remember him well.


Sad that it has to be events like this that bring families closer together.

We left early. I'm sure I'll see them all today at the Funeral.

Then, I have to rest for work tonight.

After I got home, a neighbor knocked on my door and gave me a BIG gallon jar of FRESH cow's milk (just milked, with the cream on the top and all...) It was wonderful! Of course, she gave instructions that I should give her jar back when I am finished with the Milk. Wow...

I'm just not feeling it.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The War on Men: Count Me Out

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and 17 of their colleagues sent a letter to Acting Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Victoria Lipnic requesting information on the commission's efforts to address sexual harassment in the food and hospitality industries, which have high numbers of tipped workers, according to a recent press release by Senator Warren.

Seriously? As a food server in my paying job, I have worked the industry for nearly 30 years. I'd like to know her definition of rampant, and when does sexual harassment become sexual harassment that requires law enforcement?

If it is just a case of women who are offended because someone decided to flirt with them maybe those women shouldn't be working in public. It has been my experience, especially as a "tipped employee" of a nightclub (i.e. local tavern) that being able to handle sexual harassment is a requirement of the job. My tips depended on how classy I handled myself.

I mean seriously, if a man flirtatiously slaps my bottom, I'm not going to have him arrested or sue him. I'm going to ask him to please stop -- unless I like him, then I might ask him to do it again. If I find offense with his behavior and it doesn't stop, I will have the management remove him from the premises or I will refuse to wait on him. And if that's not enough... well, I'm from Texas we still don't call the cops--or need legislation-- to solve all our petty problems.

If women cannot handle men when they are just being men, then perhaps they are the ones who should get counseling.

Let's just call this what it is, war against men. I don't know about you but I want out of it. I have enough trouble trying to find a man who's willing to be man enough to do what he's supposed to do in a relationship. I don't need women like Elizabeth Warren ruining what little chance I have of ever finding one.

The problem with men today is that they have been de-emasculated to the point of being afraid of their own shadows. Maybe she should look into that as she is hunting down a solution to the rampant rise of opioid, and other, addictions. When men see a problem they can't fix, they turn to a means of escape -- be it other women, alcohol, their work, or other addictions. I can't think of a greater "problem" than living with a contentious woman who wants to exert her unfeminine desire to be "man of the house" non-stop.

Oh, I'm sure I'm going to get blasted by this by other women who tell me how "weak" I sound, when in truth, they have no idea how strong a woman has to be to let a man be a man. But, if they were any kind of real woman at all, they would be able to influence men to respect them and show them the honor they deserve without trying to force them through legislation and threats that ruin their life, like calling the police because a man slaps them on the behind.

A man who rapes a woman and abuses her physically is not a man, and those are the things that need to be regulated. But, c'mon, what man hasn't gone into a bar or a night club expecting to go home with the barmaid at some point in his life? Or, at least wanting to?

Democrats in Congress are walking a very thin line in addressing the "rampant" sexual misconduct permeating their offices. To expect sexual favors for promotion is way different than putting up with a slap on the behind and being told "You sure are a purty thang!"

Elizabeth Warren, if you feel uncomfortable with that, perhaps you should check your own femininity.

Earl's Gotta Die

My ex-roommate/employee/adopted sister/live-in maid got involved in a guy who was out on the streets. Being the co-dependent that she is, she thinks she "needs someone to love her" and that she can't live without a man, and she doesn't want to live to be old alone. Hitting her mid-forties, her situation has worsened because of this train of thought -- among other things.

Me, I'm happy being single and independent. My last five-year abusive relationship was enough. I don't hate men, by any means. I celebrate a man who is truly masculine enough to fit the bill. But, I just haven't been able to find one for myself -- and, honestly, I stopped looking. To tell the truth, the thought of even being in another relationship makes me want to run and hide.

I like the fact that there is peace in my home. I come home to a quiet apartment, where I can eat what I want, watch what I want, spend as much time on the computer as I want, and, when I get paid, I spend my money the way I want. I actually HAVE money to spend now.

Best of all, there is no drama.

I hate drama.

The last time my friend, Liz, stayed with me, she had all of her stuff in my living room. I had to climb over stuff to get to my freezer. She doesn't work, so she eats what I buy without replacing it. She smokes too much. And, I can buy a pack of razors or some other feminine requirement and only get to use one or two before they are all gone. I was aggravated, and gave her a time limit to get help for herself and be gone.

She moved in with her boyfriend from the streets, into a motel room.

Apparently they ran out of money to pay the motel room with not even a week later. And, his drug problem got the better of them.

I came home from work one morning, at around 6 a.m.. I had just settled in on my computer when she called me crying because he was schitzed out and telling her not to look out the windows and putting blankets over the a/c because he was afraid the cops were coming in the motel room...she was afraid of him. I told her I wasn't going to come get her, she'd have to come here on her own I didn't need that drama. I had just got rid of her drama. (SIGH!).

She came over and said her boyfriend had her dog, and wouldn't let her get her stuff or her dog, so I told her to call the cops. He messaged her and said if the cops came, they'd find drugs in her clothes and she was going to jail, and that HE had already called the cops on her. I told her we were going to go get her stuff, to call the cops and tell them what he said because he was full of crap if he was that paranoid, he certainly didn't call no cops. I told her to tell them "All you want is to get your dog and your stuff and get out."

He then rang my telephone. I answered. He said, "Tell Liz she can come back."

I went off on him, already aggravated at the drama that wouldn't leave me alone. "How about I come with Liz and she get her dog and her stuff and come back here to stay?"

He said, "FINE!"

I hung up on him and grabbed my purse and we headed out the door. We got there and he was walking off the property. He said the door was open.

When we tried the door to the motel room, it was locked. Now I'm REALLY angry.

I told Liz to call the cops. I took off after him while Liz was talking on the phone.

They were refusing to send a cop to help her (they've had dealing with her drama before) and when Liz gave me the phone, I told that lady they better get a d*** (yes, at this point I'm REALLY angry and cussing) cop out there because I was going to chase his a** down and run him over. He was going to die.

Liz got off the phone.

Liz went from being scared of him to being scared of me. She was BEGGING me to stop the car. I couldn't find him. He'd disappeared.

It's a good thing. I don't need a cop to do my dirty work for me. Looking back, it scares me because I was actually going to run him over and then search him for the motel key.

I had tunnel vision at that point. I kept thinking about my ex and how this was no different, and how all exes like that need to die.

I couldn't find him. So, I turned the car around and went back to the motel.

We got the maintenance man to let us in. She grabbed her dog and some clothes, forgetting to get her prescriptions. Then the cops drove up. One of them who apparently new her asked her, "Liz, are you coming back after this?"

I didn't let her answer. I blurted out loudly, "If she does, she won't have me to run to for help next time." I had almost just went to jail for murder. I am not looking for a second opportunity.

Both cops laughed.

If they only knew.

All I know is that "Earl" was very smart to disappear, because I was REALLY going to kill him.

God forgive me. Now I have to forgive myself.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New Project on The Internet

I recently opened a new web site at It's been hard getting it up and running good.

I've been working on my website non-stop since it opened on October 31. I've made sure I paid mind to the SEOs, the back links, made sure all the links were working. I have a google + account, Twitter account, Facebook accounts, Pinterest account, I'm on several messageboards...

I have two email lists.

I am listed on Google. I use Adsense, LinkXChange, Clickbank, Commission Junction for advertising,

I send out Shout-outs when relevant.

But, I need more visibility on the internet because the site just isn't growing as fast as the blog is for some reason. So, I went looking for some free "get listed" search engines this morning.

I received a call from a marketing specialist. She went down the list for me of things she could help me with. I told her I already had all that covered. Don't know what else I could do except get listed in more search engines. She was offering all her help with the check list and getting listed in more search engines for $59/month.

Whoah there horsey! My site(s) have only brought in $37.00 in 3 years of working all of them. $59/month is a bit steep for something that isn't guaranteed -- especially when I have done all the work in the checklist already except the getting listed part -- which will happen anyway over time.

I told her I will wait another year and see if it grows any more first. She said she'd check back with me in a month.



I've been trying to figure out how my Stuff Gazette site and God Inspires site are getting so many hits. I finally figured it out.

Remember a year or so ago when I was doing a lot of "get paid to click" sites? I earned a lot of advertising points with them that I'd forgotten about. LOL...some of the ads are still running.

Might need to look back into GPTRs again. They were time consuming, but worth it!

When will I ever find the time, though?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why I love Donald Trump

I was not a Donald Trump fan. I didn't want to see him win the White House. As a Christian, I found him obnoxious and brazen. I didn't like his gambling business ventures, or the fact he was a rich man married to an ex-porno star The operative word here is "ex". Come on, we all have a past we are not proud of. If that were not so, WE would be running for President. Trump just had the courage to.

No, I didn't want to see Donald Trump elected at all.

But, he was.

And, because he was, I decided that I would do as I always do when a new president comes to office to represent my interests as an American. I was going to give him my full support, and watch him like a hawk -- and when he messed up, I was gonna grind him into the ground with everything I had -- web sites, op-eds, social media. I was gonna rip him to shreds when he messed up.

The people elected him because he wasn't a politician. I could get behind that. It was preferable to what we've had. But, with all his money, could he really pull off not being just another politician?

Then he did the unexpected: He started keeping his promises. He started hammering away at everything that we've lost over the last generation and replacing it with policies and practices that really do "Make America Great Again".

He pulled us out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He socked it to the United Nations. He stood up and proclaimed that the NFL should fire anyone who disrespects America by kneeling during the National Anthem. He stood alone...and he kept standing until millions decided to stand with him. Again. He's making deals right and left that benefit the American people, and he's making the American People proud to be American again.

When he went on that long trip to Asia, not once did he apologize for being American, or for anything we have stood for. Not once did he concede any ground in order to move an agenda along. Instead, he focused on how he could gain the support of the world around us in order to be able to be what God made us to be: Americans.

​He doesn't give up. He doesn't give in. He keeps going like the Energizer Bunny. And, when he makes a mistake, he owns it -- like the time when he endorsed Luther Strange over Roy Moore. When Roy Moore won, he realized that the American people want more of who he really is, and he went full force into giving it to them, in spite of what kind of waves were forming.

Now he fully endorses Roy Moore, and the people love him even more for it.

Jobs are up. Stock Market is up. Unemployment is down. Business is good. Our allies feel better and respect us as a country more.

And, it's all because Donald Trump is not a politician.

No, he's one of us.

For the first time in American History...or, at least, in my lifetime, we have a President who is president because the People wanted someone they felt comfortable with; someone they wanted to feel was their "friend" in the White House. A man who was prone to make mistakes, but could lead us in spite of them by example, learning and growing as he did so.

That is why I love Donald Trump.

He's not just some untouchable politician. He's a man. A real red-blooded American man who loves America because America has made his American Dream come true, and he foresaw that it was increasingly becoming difficult for others to do the same, and the reasons why, and he was in the unique position to be able to do something about it. America is about opportunity -- and Donald Trump decided the time was right for him to take the opportunity to make America Great Again.

I did not support Donald Trump.

But, when he became president, he spoke the name of God in gratitude and heart-felt joy. He stood up for God by declaring that Christmas was going to be Merry because Christ was in the name. No more of this "Happy Holidays crap." We were going to wish people an un-apologetic Merry Christmas and mean it.

He has Bible studies in the White House.

No, he's not a perfect Christian, but it's obvious he is a member of Christ's Church. After all, if there were only perfect people who loved God, God would be lonely. God gave me grace in spite of my imperfections, so I now feel obligated to be graceful and accept that this obnoxious, brazen man who married a Porn star (who, by the way, has shown more grace in the White House than any First Lady I've seen in a long, long time) could lead us back to the blessings God promised to those who follow Him.

As if that wasn't enough, he befriended Israel, drew them close, and gave them the respect of recognition of Jerusalem as their capitol. And, being the man of action that he is, he didn't just say it -- he did it. Our embassy is now moving to Jerusalem.

If Donald Trump isn't genuine, then he's playing a spectacular role.

I can't think of anyone who, day after day, continues to meet the "Fake News" talking heads head on like a wild bull who sees red at every turn, without tiring.

I pray that he retains his strength and that his successes energize him more.

I did not support Donald Trump -- and now I regret that. But, like "The Donald", "The Ponder" knows when to admit she's wrong. She knows how to fix her mistakes and make it right -- and, she's thankful that she doesn't have to live with her mistake today.

Next election, I hope he runs again. I'll be the first in line to vote for him.

If I am alone in voting for him, I'll still vote for him. He is making America Great Again.

And, he's doing it in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He's making such mountains look like pebbles beneath his feet.

He's only a man -- one we can all relate to.

But...he's a BIG, BIG man.

He's MY President.

And, I fully support Donald Trump.

Read all of Shonda Ponder's Opinions and Articles at The Ponder News by clicking HERE

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ten things I learned during my 48th year on earth

Every year, during my birth month, I try to reflect and remember the things I have learned during the past year.

This is my list this year:

1. Being intelligent doesn't make you strong.

2. It takes a lot of strength to hold on to faith.

3. All relationships begin and end with one person: YOURSELF.

4. The true definition of patience is endurance beyond your self-perceived ability to endure.

5. Bullies are people who really ARE insecure.

6. When being defensive doesn't work, go on the offensive -- it confuses the opposition.

7. The only TRUE way to earn respect is to respect others even when they are unworthy of it.

8. You can't control life when it hits you in the head. You can only embrace the intertube, ride the river and learn to enjoy the ride.

9. Good memories tomorrow only happen because of great attitudes about bad things that happen to you today.

10. Negativity is repulsive.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Speaking on Division:

I have long ago stopped caring whether people like me for who I am, for what I believe and what I stand for anymore. I have made it a point not to try to win others to MY way of thinking, but rather, to educate them so that they can know what it is THEY stand for. I present what I know and why I feel the way I do, and if they don't -- oh well. They can stay ignorant. I'm not. That's all that matters.

To thine own self be true...and if others come to know you, they will understand that if that is true about you, then to them you have no choice but to be true, also.

If they attack me, I shake the dust from my sandals and walk on. I don't have to listen to or put up with anyone ridiculing me, bullying me or chastising me for what I stand for and what I believe to be true. I just have to keep believing it, because I know WHY I believe it. If others don't believe it, and wish to stand on the other side of the issue, that is well and good. I will allow them to, so long as they are not attacking me, and so long as they STAY on their side of the line.

If we must communicate, I expect to be respected in spite of their beliefs, not because of mine, because I do my best to respect others who believe differently in spite of what I believe, not because they believe the way they do.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

30 Year High School Reunion, Hooks Class of '87

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a lot of my classmates tonight. Not all of them were at the game, but a lot more will show their face tomorrow night at the Silver Star. I am looking forward to that.

I tell ya, though. Nothing makes you feel as old as seeing faces that you don't even recognize any more, and then hearing their names and remembering. Even when everyone was telling everyone else, "watch your step, don't break your hip!" LOL

To be honest, none of them look like it has been 30 years. Even my High School English Teacher that I was so sure would be retiring soon didn't look more than a year or two older, and she is still teaching! It was amazing to see her!

Am I really that old? or was I really ever that young? You be the judge.

Later after meeting at the Silver Star Saloon and Banquet Hall:

I had an AWESOME time at the class reunion. I talked to a LOT of people and hugged a LOT of people and played 1987 Trivia (I only got 8 out of 18's been too long) and ate chips, dip, cupcakes and pulled pork with au graten potatoes and armadillo eggs.

When I went to pay my ticket (which was about $30), the server gave me my money back and said, "Your ticket has already been paid." I said, "By WHO?" She said, "I'm not allowed to tell you that..." Soooo, whoever paid for my ticket, THANK YOU!

I guess I'll be seeing you all in ten years!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Discouraging the NFL

How many of you are mad about the disrespect the NFL players are showing to our country?

Like I told my co-worker who was bashing Trump tonight for what he said about the protesters, "It ain't about free speech. These guys are kneeling in protest of our national anthem and our flag. They are protesting the very country that afforded them the right to do what they are doing. If they don't appreciate their freedom enough to respect the country that has fought and died for it, they need to be fired. I certainly don't want my nieces and nephews being influenced so negatively by what they see ungrateful football "heroes" doing. I will not encourage the NFL by spending money on them or anyone who supports them. They have the right to speak out against injustice. They need to respect the country that paid for that right, or they lose my respect, and they should lose yours as well."

That is my opinion, and I stand on it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Venturing out again...

I went outside for awhile today and walked the streets. I haven't done that in a long time...

I talked to one homeless guy with a puppy, who says he is just in-between jobs. He sleeps under the awning at the Friendship Center at night, sometimes.

After about an hour of tramping through grass, woods, railroad tracks and streets, a friend called and wanted to come over. I told her I wasn't at home, but was on my way back. It took me about 30 minutes to get home.

I forgot how spoiled I was until I walked into the door of my apartment. Thank you, Jesus, that I have a home to come to!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Senator Bernard Sanders (I - VT), who blames President Trump for the violence in Charlottesville, made the following statement concerning the violence in Charlottesville:

"The white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society. I am disgusted by the news, and my thoughts are with those in the Charlottesville community and around the country who have been targeted. While this incident is alarming, it is not surprising. Hate crimes and shows of hostility toward minorities have recently been surging. Now more than ever we must stand together against those who threaten our brothers and sisters."

Never mind that the Rally, which was not intended to be a "White Supremacist" Rally, did not invite the KKK, BLM or ANTIFA. They just decided to show up and get their name in the paper -- as usual.

If you want the vetted facts, click HERE

BTW. We're all aware of who paid for the civil unrest during the Obama Administration with the Black Lives Matter riots, aren't we? Guess who decided to show his handiwork again? Click HERE My bet is that he had a lot to do with what happened in Charlottesville. As a matter of fact, I'd bet he had more to do with it than Bernie's nemesis, Trump, did.

This is an eyewitness account from a post on Facebook:

Michael Wyrick

"I was at the Unite the Right Free Speech Rally. It was simply a FREE SPEECH rally. Yes, some folks waved the Confederate Flag, and yep, a lot of folks were waving the American Flag as well. I did not see or meet any "White Supremacists". I did not see or meet any "White Nationalists". Most of the attendees were white, true. However black folks, Hispanic folks, and Asian folks were also represented. NO ONE ... again NO ONE advocated violence. Absolutely NO ONE was "protesting". We were there to hear the speakers. Close to noon (when the rally was scheduled to start) may have been about 11 or so, the park already packed, we were suddenly attacked by Antifa and BLM. They were spraying pepper spray, mace, spray paint, throwing paint, lighting spray cans and yes spraying fire at the rally attendees. Obviously several fights did then break out along the outside edges of the park. The clash really was over in just minutes. The lying media, even Fox News are spewing lies and it is sickening."

All of this is so familiar to me, because when I was the president of America's Media Alliance, I remember attending the rallies of our members that were not KKK rallies, in which the KKK showed up. I've seen this before when I was president of America's Media Alliance. We would have a rally and the opposition would try to paint us as racist white trash. Never mind there were a lot of different races involved who want the same thing.

Loving the Confederate Flag does not make you racist, by the way, and getting rid of historical monuments is not going to change history.

After working with the AMA, I no longer trust our "leaders" when it comes to how they perceive these kinds of events. Before the election, I was a "Cruz-er". Cruz made these comments in his statement:

"The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate. Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism."

While I don't dispute what he has to say about Nazis, KKK and white supremacists, he failed to include Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA in his tongue-lashing of what was evil about the protesters. After all, they started all of the commotion. This is disappointing to me. It is also disappointing to me that the President did the same thing, and the main stream media is having a hay-day with the misconception.

Remember, the media thrives on mob rule...and trying to create it. Only in protecting free speech can we fight the propaganda that is obviously driving the lies about what is happening in Charlottesville.

Finally, I find it all a nightmare; not just because it happened, but because some of my best friends are now focused on how evil White Supremacists are, and are making the mistake of lumping them together with the original rally attendees. They have allowed the whole "Freedom of Speech" argument to burn red. Some are even going so far as to cry for the removal of the monuments that represent our history, because they are "a reminder of the evil in our past," while at the same time, failing to acknowledge the black supremacists who also attended the rally.

We don't need to get rid of White Supremacists and what they stand for. We need to hold accountable those Supremacists, WHITE AND BLACK, who do harm to other people and their property in the name of Free Speech. There are better ways to make your point known...more peaceful ways.

I cry inside because the evil in our past is what we NEED to remember. A popular quote from George Santayana, who said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" is applicable here. None of us have owned slaves, and none of us have been slaves -- at least in the sense that they were during the Civil War -- but we are still fighting with each other over the ideals that led to it's riddance.

Only by remembering and vowing "Never again" can we rid our nation of the hate that permeates this present war.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Small Gifts

Yesterday, I went to Flower Acres to get produce. I was near the end of the line, so a lot of the stuff had been given away by the time I got there. But, I got a watermelon, a big bag of white potatoes and a bag of sweet potatoes.

Guess what I did for supper tonight? Yep. Meat and tators. LOL

Tuesday night at work, a truck driver came in with a box. There were two trays of dippable veggie trays in it, with ranch dressing in the middle. He said his truck had been loaded with too much and he was trying to get rid of the excess. I grabbed both of them and he was happy to be rid of them.

I gave one to a co-worker, and put the other in the fridge to take home with me. Then, I forgot it. I messaged my manager later and told her she could have it, as I wouldn't be returning to work until Friday night and I didn't want them to go to waste. She gladly accepted them.

God is always giving me small gifts. Then, He gives me opportunities to give small gifts to others. My cup runneth over.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

God of Angel Armies

My son just posted a quote on his timeline that hit the point dead on:

"To realize that liars do not fear the truth if there are enough liars.. The devil is just one man with a plan. But evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men."
Quoted from Mulder of The X Files (Season 9, episode 19, "The Truth")

When God created the Angels, He did not want mindless robots. The Angels, according to Biblical Lore, became complacent in their existence, until ONE Angel, Lucifer (AKA Satan) challenged the status quo and caused chaos to erupt in Heaven, thus forcing God to remind His children that He was not only God, but their Creator, and that He loved them enough not to let them destroy all He had created for them.

Thus, the earth was born, and man was created. It was to prove to the Angels how much, and with what determination that God loved. It was with the premise that the Angels were to "get right" or "get left". He didn't just snap His fingers and say, "enough, go to hell, devil!" and leave it at that. He wanted the Angels to understand WHY He was making that decision, so He would not have to take their free will from them.

And, He wanted Lucifer to understand as well -- but Lucifer was too rebellious and too proud to admit any wrong-doing. He had power (given to him by God), and he knew how to use it. Why did he need God? Why did any of them need God?

God laid out a plan, in which mankind was the creation, He was the Creator, and free will was in effect. In his quest for knowledge, man set about making the same mistakes Lucifer had made.

And Satan is heard daily, laughing in the background, while God patiently waits for his children to realize the error of their ways and call on Him to deliver them -- because they choose to.

God knew that one day this lesson would have to have a point. He knew that this lesson would have to be learned in order for free will to survive. So, He sent Jesus to show all of creation how much He was willing to give them. His only son. His greatest Creation.

Love in the flesh.

Lucifer/Satan had succeeded in turning the hearts of many angels and many men by his logical and seemingly rational questions against God's judgment and will for their existence. He is still working toward that today.

Soon, He will be stopped, because God has already announced that this is only temporary. Soon, He will clean up the mess Lucifer made, and expect those who are left to trust Him alone as God, rather than themselves.

After all, they were created for HIS glory, not their own.

He wants to show us love, but we have to want it. We have to reach for it, we have to practice it with as much patience and charity and joy as He gives us to do it with, in the face of those who would fight us tooth and nail to be more than God has made or allowed them to be.

And, when many rebellious men work together, there is chaos, eventually, on a scale that only God can fix.

Sure, He could have just created Lucifer and not given him free will. He could have sat him on a shelf until He needed the beautiful angel to do something for Him. It would have been empty and boring -- and God didn't want empty and boring. Have you ever played with a robot? Have you ever tried to tell a computer how you feel and felt the love that a computer can give you back? Has a computer ever stood up for you, or been willing to die for you? A computer only has what information is given it by it's creator, or programmer. It doesn't learn on it's own. It doesn't exist where it is not wanted or needed. It is a tool.

God wanted friends, not tools.

John 15
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

How would you feel if you had no choice? Strike that, you wouldn't. One would do good to realize that without free will is non-existence as an original individual. One might as well be part of Star Trek's "Borg" without free will.

Chain Breaker

Everyone has that one friend. You know, the one who is negative about everything, every day. Nothing good ever happens to them. All they do is complain, and then wonder why no one wants to be around them. They wonder why they are so lonely, or why no one seems to care, or why bad things always seem to happen to them, and no one is there to help pick them up.

The truth is that no one CAN help them. Any attempt to help them will probably get them into the same quicksand. No one likes drama. And, any word of encouragement is met with more negativity and expectation that exceeds anyone's ability.

Many times, the one who claims to hate drama on a regular basis is the one who is most dramatic, in that they refuse to change who they are in order to be who God wants them to be. There will always be drama when you are outside of God's Will for your life.

There is really only one way out of the dilemma that "friend" is facing: Jesus. If they could but put their focus on Him, start doing what He has commanded us to do, then things would get better. They complain that God doesn't care about them, or has never done anything for them. When they do, I am reminded of what Jesus said:

Matthew 13:15:
" For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

A person who claims that God has never done anything for them is one who refuses to let God work in their life. God can't do anything with an unwilling soul. But, if God didn't care, Jesus would have never existed.

In plain English: Some people don't want to hear. They don't want help. They are comfortable in their lifestyle, even though it makes them miserable. After all, if they would only listen to those who have found the joy and peace and love and friendship that they want so badly, they might actually see change in their lives. They might actually look forward to tomorrow with gladness. They might actually acknowledge the Power of God in their lives and be successful, happy, at peace, and realize that nothing makes you feel more loved than learning to love right.

We can talk until our lips turn blue, but most of us stop at a certain point and just sit back and watch...because we feel helpless to help anyone who won't help themselves. The best help comes from the One who gave His life for you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Computers vs. Humanity: Star Trek, Our Country, and Social Security

Oh, yes. We have come so far.

Watching Star Trek has inspired me to ask my computer questions and expect an answer.

Last night, a man who represented the Convention of the States came into the restaurant. He first talked to some customers who were already eating who had noticed his T-shirt (If my flag offends you I will help you pack).

Then, two other gentlemen came in. He wandered over to their table and spoke with them. I heard him telling one of them about how we need to act in order to preserve our heritage and what we stand for as a nation. The man in front of him said, "But, isn't that why we elected Donald Trump?"

I couldn't help myself. I exclaimed, "Donald Trump is not the end all be all. I mean what is going to happen in 8 years when he is no longer president? We need to stay vigilant."

The man in the flag T-shirt then said, "I TOTALLY Agree with you. That is why..." and he went on to explain things to the man and his friend...

Anyway, I was sitting here thinking about all this as I was watching Star Trek. Somehow I began to think about Social Security and how we are in danger of losing that. What is going to happen to us when there are is no more money in Social Security for our retirement.

Then, I found myself saying, "Computer: who was the first person ever to receive a social security check?"

I checked myself, then went to google and typed the same question:

According to SSA historians, Ernest Ackerman was the first recipient of Social Security benefits -- 17 cents, paid to him in January 1937. The first person to receive monthly benefits was Ida May Fuller from Vermont, who retired in November 1939 and started collecting benefits in January 1940 at age 65.

This was the answer I got.

Star Trek...

I was talking to a customer the other night. He asked the question: "Do you realize all the stuff that was in those shows that are reality now?"

I said yeah.

He said, "It makes you wonder..."

I said, "You mean, is all that stuff here because of the inspiration of the shows, or because it was already here and they used the shows to help us get used to the idea?"

He said, "Yeah, exactly."

Computer: How much further, technologically, can we advance and still remain "human"?

"The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers" -- Sydney J. Harris

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Teaching my son to love books...

Memories of homeschooling:

My oldest was was in the 3rd grade. He refused to open a book to read it. The only books he was really interested in were picture books...and Dr. Seuss...

I had to change this. So, I chose a book by Anne Rice. I know...bad choice for so young a mind. I was new to this home-schooling stuff. I was new to politics and conservative viewpoints. I was a very young mother.

So, at night, before he went to sleep, he and my younger son would pile on my bed and I would read them a chapter.

I wondered if it made a difference. They started out fussing about it. "No mom! Do we HAVE to?" Then after several chapters they accepted that they weren't going to get out of it.

I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I wondered if I was doing it right...

Then, one night as I read and we neared the end of a chapter, in which the hero of the story was about to do something really exciting, and I slowed my reading, readying myself to close the book for the night...

My son said, "NOOOO! You better NOT stop there!"

And then mean ol' mom said, "Oh, yes. It's time for bed. We'll have to see what happens tomorrow."

After I tucked them in and went into the living room to spend time with my husband, I had a hunch. I went back to check on my oldest son.

Sure enough, he had secretly obtained the book from my room and was reading it. Of course, I had to take it from him, but I went to bed satisfied.

Mission accomplished.

Thirza Peevey, Karrott Topp

Friday, July 14, 2017

Storing for the Future...


I am beat. I've worked hard today and it is supposed to be my day off. LOL

But, I have accomplished a great deal. I boiled all but 5 of my tomatoes. I put them all in cottage cheese containers and placed the lids on them, and used labeling tape to label the containers "boiled tomatoes" with a black sharpie.

Then, I cleaned out my defrosted freezer and re-stocked my freezer with the zuchini I still have, red bell peppers I still have, and the salisbury steaks that I was blessed with today.

I now have 8 cottage cheese containers of boiled tomatoes stored for later consumption. It isn't like canned tomatoes, but it will keep for the same purpose as long as my freezer works, God-willing. If anything happens to my freezer, I am not worried. I have neighbors who know how to eat.

Yes, I save plastic containers with lids. I was raised around a bunch of backwoods rednecks. What do you expect? LOL

Then I had to clean my kitchen. OMG. There was tomato sauce EVERYWHERE: on my cabinets, on the wall, on (and in) the stove, and on the floor. It was a nightmare. LOL But, I got it done.

I think I am going to wait until tomorrow to start chopping and storing the onions. At least, they will keep longer without preparation than the tomatoes would have.

I probably should boil and store the cabbage, too. But, for now, I am going to sit in front of my computer and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, while I peel and bag my oranges for the freezer. They make great orange sauce for chicken dishes, not to mention smoothies and other desserts...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

If you serve Jesus, Make Him look good.

I realize beggers can't be choosers, but if you are going to serve Jesus, please make Him look good.

I took Sean and Rose to Flower Acres today to show them how to get produce that Flower Acres gives away every other Thursday. Sean and Rose do not have jobs. They live on a fixed income. Both are seeing doctors for medical conditions. They waited two months for someone to help them get something they could sleep on because they couldn't afford a bed. So, no, they can't afford groceries. They need help and I helped them.

BTW: Sean is fixing to have surgery on his hips, back and neck. He certainly didn't need to sleep on the floor any more.

And, I got blessed too, because even though I have a job, I am barely making my bills each month. I certainly can't afford a bill of groceries every two weeks like I used to. I spend about $5/day on dinner. It's all I can afford. I save my change for days off, so I can get something to eat. MY FREEZER IS EMPTY -- except for the zuchini Sean and Rose gave me the other day, and some ice.

So yes, I went for myself, too. If you think that just because I have a job I can eat, it doesn't work like that when you have bills, and are making sure routine stuff is taken care of, and paying a god awful amount to the IRS for taxes and student loans.

Oh, and I don't have insurance.

So yes, I took Sean and Rose and we went through the line. We BOTH filled out the paper. I told them I had a 2 families in my car.

They were generous with everything. We got 5 cabbages, 2 boxes of tomatoes, 4 bags of onions....

and ONE watermelon.

I told the lady at the end who was giving out the watermelon we needed one more because there was two families in the car, and she got REAL rude and snippy with me.

"You got enough. I can't do that. Sorry."

It wasn't a matter of them not having enough. The line was almost through. There weren't that many cars behind me. There were TWO GIGANTIC BOX CRATES of watermelon left. They could have spared one more.

It's okay, Sean and I halfed it.

I'm sure there was enough watermelon left that that lady got to take one home with her -- as well she should. She stood out there in the hot sun all day loading cars without pay; and, she was probably in the same situation at home I am. I totally understand that there are a lot of needy people who are ungrateful and downright angry about it, and very rude when they come through the line. Maybe she had had a bad day and was taking it out on us -- however, it didn't excuse her rudeness.

It's just that this was Sean and Rose's first trip there, and they are not ungrateful at all, but they have had a very hard time finding help when they need it, and when they do, they've had several bad experiences from people who claim to be doing it in Jesus' name. I hated for them to see that.

And, that lady sure didn't make Jesus look good today. Thank God I already know Him.

I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. And that I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I shall do. ~ Edward Everett Hale ~

Colossians 3:
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


My phone and Google has made it easy for me to write and edit more pages in my book. All I have to do is speak the word and it gets typed onto a document without me having to type anything with my fingers. Then, I just have to go back and edit it (because sometimes "smart" phones aren't so smart). It takes some getting used to, though. I have always been better at writing than speaking, and this is a whole new level for me. It's hard to speak my writing when I am so used to writing speeches.


Every day I go to sleep at noon, and get up at 8 PM. That is 8 hours of sleep I try to get. So, I set my alarm for 8 PM so I can get up and get ready for work. Granted, some days I hit the snooze and don't get up until 8:30...but still, the alarm is set at 8.

Yesterday, I woke up at 5:30 and went to the restroom. Then, I laid back down. I went back to sleep and started dreaming. I dreamed that I had moved into a gigantic house with lots of rooms with several of my friends (you were there and you were there and you were there....oh, that's not what the dream was about...). Anyway, I was playing games on my phone when suddenly it started beeping real loud. I kept pushing the button and it wouldn't stop. I tried to take the back off of the phone, to take out the battery, but it wouldn't open. So, I started passing it around to all of my friends asking them to see if they could help me make it stop. Finally, I woke up.

It was 8:21 PM.

Yeah, the beeping noise my phone was making was really my alarm clock going off, and I slept/dreamed right through it. LOL

Sure am glad it wasn't a dream when I went to the bathroom. LOL

I figured I'd best not hit the snooze button. LOL

Monday, May 22, 2017


One of my neighbors upstairs is a young lady just starting out on her own in the world. It's obvious she doesn't make much money, just enough to get her by. But, she seems so alive, so naive about the life ahead of her, and so ready to face the world as a young woman.

Her mother visits her often, and often she makes sure her daughter has enough food to sustain her. In so doing, she brings an abundance of groceries that her daughter tells me, "I'll never eat all of it, and I'd hate for it to go to waste..." as she makes her way to Miss May May's door to see if she wants some of her abundance...

Today, she carried two bags of apples in her small and uncalloused hands. Her smile was as bright as the sunshine as she knocked on Miss May May's door.

There was no answer.

Returning to climb the stairs again I asked her, "What do you have?"

She said, "Apples...would you like them?"

I said, "Sure, I'll take them!"

She handed them to me and continued her climb back to her apartment.

I pared and sliced all of them and sealed them up and put them in the freezer for safekeeping. Maybe someday soon I'll make a cobbler. Maybe someday soon I'll share it with her.

And, I pray that young lady never loses her smile.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Onions in my socks

Hello, World!

Last night I was conversing in the comments about how onions have healing properties against colds and flus. My friend reminded me that things could be much worse. While I agree with her assessment that I could be experiencing something worse than my sickness, onions in my socks for 8 hours seems a lot less painful than feeling sick for 3 I decided to try it.

I went to the refrigerator and grabbed an onion, cut it, peeled it and quartered it. Then, I placed a quarter in 3 different rooms in a bowl. I halfed the last quarter and dropped them in my socks, pushing them until they got to the bottom of my feet. Then, I went to bed.

Four hours later, I woke up singing this song:

"I believe in God the Father! I believe in Christ the son! I believe in the Holy Spirit and giving us new life!

Furthermore....I could breathe. My nose wasn't stopped up. I wasn't coughing. I felt good. I went back to sleep.

I woke up still singing that song four hours later. No fever. I could still fill my sinuses overworking, but I could BREATHE! Once I got up and around, I coughed a little, but there was an AMAZING difference!

Onions in your socks. Not bad.

Yes, I showered before I went to the bank.

Have a blessed day!

Ezekiel 47:12
And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

Revelation 22:2
Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Truckstop Angel

by Shonda Ponder
Originally written August of 2003

Pat and I had been on the road all day. So, tired and hungry, at approximately 2:00 AM, we pulled into a Petro Truck Stop to rest for the night just outside of Wytheville, Virginia. Pat gave me a $20.00 bill, and I went into the restaurant to order our meals.

At a table, which seemed to be the only one occupied, a dark-haired, clean-cut man with olive-colored skin and a neatly trimmed beard and mustache sat. He was sketching a picture of a reggae artist photo, which was lying on the table before him, as he spoke to the waitress. I ordered my food, then commented on his talent.

The man smiled and asked me where I was headed to.

"California," I replied, "but we don't have much time to get there, so we may have to give up our load to a team." I explained that I was just along for the ride, thinking of trying to get hired by the company in the future, therefore Pat was a solo driver. Then he asked me where we were from.

"I'm originally from Texarkana, Texas. But, I've lived in Houston, Texas for the past four years," I answered, "That's where I met Pat. We've been together for three years now, and his company seems to think it would look better on my application if we were married -- but, I've already been married twice, and his mom had a really bad marriage before, so we're waiting."

The stranger smiled and congratulated me for the three years we had under our belts, then he asked, "Do you have children?"

"Yes," I smiled, "I have two."

"How old?"

"My oldest is seventeen, and my baby is twelve. They are with their dads."

The conversation then changed for a moment at he pointed at his sketch and said, "I travel and draw for people while they tell me their stories. I spent some time in San Antonio, Texas. Are you familiar?"

I told him I lived in Austin for four and a half years before I moved to Houston, and that I liked to write articles, poems and short stories. "I paint pictures with words, rather than brushes," I explained again commenting on his talent, and telling him I missed my computer.

"An artist uses his talents for therapeutic purposes, whether he paints with pictures or with words," he said. "Tell me about your sons."

I smiled as I thought for a moment how to begin. Then I began:

"My oldest son was born when I was seventeen. When he was about a year old, he started having seizures. The doctor didn't know why, but to be on the safe side, he ordered him to be put on Phenobarbitol. Epilepsy runs in my family, but my son had a low-grade fever for awhile, so it could have very well been caused by that.

"The doctor explained to me that if, within a year, he had no more seizures, we would take him off of it. Then he cautioned me that it had side effects. He explained that at the age of four or five, my child would be hyper, and that he may be a little slower than his classmates -- but, as he grew older, and on into adolescence, he would catch up. Bryant was normal." I stressed the word normal as I looked at the stranger.

The stranger nodded, raising his eyebrow to convey that he caught the meaning. I continued:

"As I said, I was young. Being a mother at that age was not easy. Neither was finding help. I gave him up to the only person who, I felt at the time, would help me, when he was two years old.

"When he turned four, just as the doctor warned, he bacame hyper. Without consulting me, my step-grandmother had him put on ritalin. He never should have been put on ritlin.

"When he turned eight, my step-grandmother gave him back to me. I had already had my younger son. I was married, and we were doing well. But, my older son was not right."

The stranger motioned for me to continue, noting my emphasis on the word "right".

"He had no conscience. He had no sense of right and wrong. In short, he was a monster. For two years, I tried. Finally, when it became evident that his actions were endangering the mental and physical health of my youngest son, I desperately sought anyone who would help me. I called CPS (Child Protection Services} for advice. I called my mother. I called his father's parents. Finally, after learning his dad was training in the field of child psychology, I called him. I begged him to take our son.

"Giving him up this time was like cutting off my arm to save my body. I felt I was doing the right thing. Now, after eight years of hard work and prayer, I can look at my son and see a normal teenage boy."

The stranger smiled, nodding in agreement.

"Oh, he got in trouble last year for having a pack of cigarettes, but if that is the worst he does, I'm happy."

"You did the right thing," the stranger said. "How about your younger son? Is his story as colorful?"

I smiled as I struggled to swallow the sudden lump that came into my throat. With tears in my eyes, I answered, "More so. My baby boy the brightest beacon of light I have in my dark world."

"Tell me about him," he encouraged.

So, I began again:

"As I said, I had my oldest son when I was young. I missed out on a lot of his growing up. So, when my baby boy was born, I vowed that I wouldn't makethe same mistakes. I would see his first steps, teach him his first words, celebrate his potty training, all the privileges and rights a mother is supposed to enjoy. And, I wanted to do it right.

"I gave him the middle name of Seth, because -- just as Eve in the Bible named her son Seth 'because God gave me another son in the place of...' I felt I was being given a second chance.

"I thought, as I looked on those tiny hand and feet for the first time, about how I was raised. I wanted to protect my baby from a lot of what I didn't like about it. I told him, as he lay there in my arms, that he could be anything, and one day he was going to be great, that he was going to be special, and one day he would change the world. I told him that where ever he wanted to go, I'd help him get there.

"The reasons were many more than those, but I'd have to get off the story of my son if I told you. Suffice it to say that my mother never believed in me the way I would believe in my son.

"The first time he said, 'momma', I got down on my knees and thanked God. Then I told my son how amazing he was, how special he was, and how great he would one day be. I did this again when he took his first steps, and I cried with him the first time he fell down, as I helped him up. I repeated all this when he cut his first tooth, drew his first picture, and every single other new feat he would accomplish.

"By the time he was three, I had taught him the alphabet. When he was four, he knew how to count to a hundred, and how to add and subtract. We spent hours talking about the moral lessons of old movies, books I read to him, and current news of the day. His babysitter said that he was her little helper, and that he was well behaved.

"When he started kindergarten, I begged my husband to go with me because I knew I was not strong enough to let him go alone. After, once again, telling my son how proud I was of him, I left him in the care of his new teacher, then went home and cried like a baby.

"We talked about his day at school, what he learned, how he liked his teacher, what his favorite activities were. His teacher favored him, as he became her little helper

"I still read stories to him from the Bible, and from books I was reading, and we talked at length still, when I had the time.

"My baby boy never asked for anything. He knew when I got paid. He knew we didn't have much money to throw around. When I would tell him to pick out a cereal at the store, he chose by price. He ate carrots and celery sticks, rather than candy. So, when I told him he could name whatever he wanted for his birthday, he said he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I spent a whole paycheck to give him what he wanted, and I didn't complain to him about how much it cost me. When he, as was his habit by then, found out how much it would cost, he tried to change his mind.

"I wouldn't let him.

"I told him again how special he was, and that this time, he was worth it. He reluctantly agreed.

"When a substitute teacher at his school refused, one day, to let me take him home without a pink slip because she didn't know me, I decided to home-school him. How dare her to undermine my authority over my child! His regular teacher wanted to know if she had done anything to influence my decision to home-school him. I told her, truthfully, that she was a wonderful teacher, but that I wanted more influence in my child's life.

"As I began home-schooling him, I became aware of how good of a teacher my son was. I learned that it was not only what I said, but how I said it that could kill his self-confidence. I then taught him that there was no such thing as a stupid question, and if I didn't know the answer, we would find the answer together.

"I taught him to open doors for ladies, to pull back chairs, to respect his elders, and how -- sometimes -- God's laws and man's laws differ. I taught him of George Washington, Ben Franklin, Harriett Tubman, and Rosa Parks. He learned of Joseph, Walt Disney, and Alexander Graham Bell. He sat on the edge of his seat, wide-eyed and eager as I told him these tales. He was my life, my beacon of light in a dark world.

"I realized I had to set an example for him to follow after I was arrested in 1997. I then joined a local media association, of which I later became president. I visited Citizen's Communication at Travis County Commissioner's Court regularly, which my son watched on the local cable access channel at home as part of his history and civics lessons. One day, I stood up to defend home-schoolers and demand an apology from a commissioner who had publicly remarked that 'People who home-school are nothing more than trailer trash that don't even own their own property.' I demanded that she owed my home-schooled son, who was watching her, an apology, and I informed her that we owned property.

"When I returned home that day, my baby boy met me at the door. As I opened the car door, I noted the proud look on his face that said, 'That's MY Momma!' I wouldn't have traded that moment for the whole world. I hugged him and told him, through tears, again, how special he was.

"I bought some books from a Christian Book Distributor with which to school him. Then I opened up a Bob Can Run book and asked him to read it to me.

"'I can't,' he argued.

"'You can do anything you set your mind to do,' I told him, 'Just remember, with God, all things are possible.' Then I reminded him that he already knew the letter sounds. I challenged him to sound out the letters in the first sentence, not knowing if he would.

"He did as he was asked. When he realized he had read, 'Bob can run,' his eyes lit up as he voluntarily read the rest of the book to me, speeding up progress as he read. My husband was amazed. I then told my son, again, how special he was.

"After that, I needed only to place a book in front of him and tell him to read the directions. In three months, he had exhausted all of this first grade materials.

"When I told my mother what I was doing, once again she ridiculed me. She claimed she was 'concerned about his social skills'. I assurred her that I didn't have a problem keeping him away from drugs, teenage pregnancies, bullies, school shootings, or negative people. My son was proud of me; and, when I looked at him, I was proud of myself.

"As I taught American History to him, I became more involved in the political activities of the American Media Association. My husband and I began to fight over differing political viewpoints. I found myself more and more miserable as I worried about the kind of example this was setting for my son. So, when a political acquaintence asked me to move to Houston to help build up the organization there, I filed for a divorce.

"After explaining the situation to my son, my son agreed that moving to Houston might be a good idea. Life in Houston was a bad idea, however. The man I was living with had two daughters who were not brought up as well as I would have liked. His house was unkempt, and he refused to let me clean it. Soon, he let me know I needed to leave. So, I found myself homeless, looking for a job, and with a child to care for.

"I did the only thing I could do. I apologized to my son. I told him I had made a mistake, and that I was sorry he would have to suffer the consequences with me. I took him to stay with his real father, who had not seen him since he was a year old. Justin forgave me, assuring me that there was no way I could have known what would happen when we moved. He then told me that he was thankful to finally be able to meet his real dad. When my son was safe, 300 miles away, I searched for a job and an apartment of my own.

"I called him when I finally got settled a few weeks later. His dad wanted to know how I had accomplished so much with this child genious. 'He gripes about Clinton. He nearly brakes his legs to get to the door before a lady can open it. He says yes ma'am and no sir as if it were natural. He doesn't meddle with other people's stuff. He asks questions and reads the newspaper. Can I keep him?'

"'No,' I said, 'He is my reason for living. I want him back.'

"My new boss approved of my work habits, and encouraged me to bring my son to work with me. One day, as it stormed outside, Justin found favor in my Islamic boss' eyes by declaring, 'MOM! We should pray to God so he will protect us through this storm!"

"My boss said never had he seen so great of faith as my son had. His friends, who were visiting that day, concurred. My son showed his beacon of light, and I -- once again -- told him how special he was.

"I let him stay home while I worked, after I made sure he knew how to use the phone, lock the doors, and fix his own meals. Sometimes I would come home, and he would have built great, immaculate cities out of his Lego Blocks that even Job probably wouldn't have had the patience to build. Once, he was playing a game of Hearts on the computer that I didn't even know how to play, and he was winning. When I asked how he learned that game, concerned he'd let a stranger in the house, he showed me how to find the directions on the computer. I praised him, again.

"Once, I brought home a pizza and caught him watching Jerry Springer. He commented on the weird guests of the show, who were homosexual, prompting me to explain political correctness to him, and reminding him that God's laws were not man's laws. We talked about this at length, while he ate, then he thanked me, turned off the television, and went to bed.

"He never tired of asking me questions. 'When I learn to drive, how will I find my way everywhere. I get confused when we go to the store!' I gave him exercises to do to enhance his sense of direction. I taught him to read a map. 'What about cooking?' I showed him a recipe book, and explained what diced meant. Questions never stopped, and I never tired of answering them, or telling him how special he was.

"He learned, soon, that he didn't have to ask me questions anymore. All he needed was a dictionary, encyclopedia, or the internet to find the answers he was looking for. Oh, I still qot lots of questions, but mostly just to verify what he already knew.

"One night, I took him to work with me. As he sat on the sidewalk, in front of the store, talking to a co-worker, a robber came in and forced one of my managers and me to empty our pockets and lie on the floor. At gunpoint, we did as we were told. His accompliss had a gun to my boss' head, demanding he open the safe. I noted, while lying there that they hadn't locked the doors, and I prayed to God to protect my baby boy. 'Please, O Lord, don't let him come in this store right now!'

"My son later explained that he had started to open the door to come in, saw the robber with the gun to my boss' head, thought better of it and informed the co-worker to look, who then ran to call the police. 'It was like watching a movie. I could see everything through the glass windows!'

"Luckily, no one got hurt. Later that night, I took my son home and we had a long discussion about what he was to do if anything bad ever happened to me, his mother. At seven-years-old, he took this talk very seriously, at that point. I explained long distance phone calls, explaining where I kept the numbers if he couldn't memorize them. He hung on every word, and then we prayed to God to thank Him for His protection. Then, my son hugged me and went to bed.

"Soon, my boss sold his business. I was forced to look for another job, which I found at a local chicken franchise. The management there was indifferent to the fact that I was a mother, so I began working as a co-editor of a conservative internet newspaper, while I built my own web site to help make ends meet. I resigned as president of the AMA, which fell apart after that. I barely made enough money to cover rent, phone and food. Then, at Christmas, 1999, my car was reposessed just as I was starting my own business running errands for the elderly. I had to give that up, and began learning about commission-based advertising on the internet. After all, that was how my older son's father was making a living.

"My oldest son lived about a block away from me at that time, so I was able to keep in touch with him easily, and spend time with both my sons.

"One day in April of 2000, while I was at work, the police came and kidnapped my baby boy as he was sleeping. As I entered the gates of the apartment complex, I knew my son wasn't at home. I fearfully ran up the stares to my apartment and began searching the closets looking for him; then, I went knocking on doors. Finally, I forced myself to calm down and take a deep breath. I found a small, handwritten note on a memo pad sheet on the floor, telling me who had my son, and giving me a number to call.

"I called the Houston Juvenile Delinquent Center and demanded that they tell me where my son was and what right they had to take him! I told them under no uncertain terms, 'I want him back NOW!'

"When I was finally able to catch a cab, using my last ten dollars on my card, it was 10:00 PM when I arrived at the location they held my son. The first thing the woman asked me was "How well do you get along with your mother."

"I told her my mother was a control freak, and as long as she stays in Texarkana, and lets me live my own life in Houston, we got along great. A few moments later, a juvenile counselor came to take me to a private room for questioning.

"He informed me that on the ride over, the cops kept trying to tell my baby boy that he wasn't in trouble. My son just rolled his eyes and said, 'Oh yeah? Wait until my mom finds out I didn't lock the door to keep you out!' I smiled.

"Then he told me how they put him in a room with other kids as soon as he got there. Every corner of the room had different treats for kids. One had fruits and veggies; one had crackers and bread; one had candy; and one had drinks. He said my son went straight for the veggies, noting that that was odd for a child his age. I assured him it was not odd, and that my son had not been raised on candy. Then began the questions:

"'Where does he go to school?'

"'I home-school'

"'Has he been tested?'

"'The state of Texas doesn't require me to, but he knows history, he reads at a high school level. He does simple algebra. He can recite the scientific elements. He's only seven. If you want me to, I can.

"'What do you do in your spare time?'

"'I co-edit an on-line newspaper'

"'Do you attend parties, go to bars, etc.'

"'No, I don't drink. I don't smoke pot. I do smoke cigarettes. I drink tea.'

"'There wasn't much food in the house.'

"'I bring food home from work every night. We eat chicken, corn on the cobb, beans and rice, french fries, and fried okra.'

"'We noticed chicken bones on a plate on the floor.'

"I need to clean my apartment. I do that once a week on my days off.'

"'I was just verifying what you said. Frankly, we saw no mold or bugs, so it's obvious you don't let it get to bad. You said you co-edit a newspaper. Are you media?'

"I guess you could say that. I research news for writers. I just resigned my post with the American Media Association.'

"'Excuse me.'

"He left the room, then came back and said,

"'My supervisor is pressuring me to give your son back to you.' He took me out of the room and I met my baby boy in the lobby. All I could do was stare at him. I told him I was so worried, scared he was gone for good. He apologized for not locking the door, and I let him know that was the least of my concerns at that moment.

"The counselor informed me that it was against the law, in Texas, for children to be left unattended during the day if they were under nine-years-old. If they were over seven-years-old, they could be left alone after 6:00 PM. I asked him how he could expect me to work, then, seeing I was already struggling to just pay the bills. I told him I had a neighbor who would help me.

"When we got home, I called my mother. I asked her to let me borrow money for next month's rent, while I searched for a graveyard job. My mother said no, but I could come live with her and she would send me to college. I asked her if I could have my computer, so I could continue what I was doing on the internet. She said, 'No.' I asked her about home-schooling my son. She said, 'No.' So I said,

"'In other words, I have to live under your control, like a 32-year-old child, and not be able to do anything I want to do.'

"She said, 'Yes'. I said, 'No'.

"I sat my son down and told him what had transpired between my mother and me. I told him I was stuck between a rock and a hard place and I didn't know what to do. He asked me, 'What are our options?'

"'I can do what she wants and you will be physically cared for, but I won't be able to help you become all you want to be because she won't let me; or, I can call your dad; or, the state will take you. I don't know what to do. I don't have a job, now. We're rationing food, already. I have to do something. He offered to go to his dad's. So, I called his father, and his father agreed to come get him.

"The next day, a CPS agent came to inform me that I must be lying to her. It seemed that my neighbor said she had not seen my son. I took her into his room, as he napped in his shorts, uncovered him and said, 'There he is.'

"Then she started asking me questions about work, etc. I then told her, 'It doesn't matter what I tell you at this point, because tomorrow, he will be with his father in Nocona, Texas.'

"'Can you give me some way to verify this?' she asked.

"I gave her his paternal grandmother's telephone number, and informed her that his father was already on his way.

"That night, as his dad carried all his bags out, I knelt down to look my son in the eye. I told him, again, how special he was to me. I hugged him hard, and held back the tears as I begged his forgiveness. I told him again that one day he would be great, and that he would change the world.

"'I want you to dream dreams. I want you to have opportunities that I, or your dad, never had. See things we can only imagine. Do things we can only dream of. You'll be going to public school, now, so remember what all I taught you. Don't be afraid to ask questions. And, son, never, never let anyone tell you it can never be done. You can do anything you set your mind to do. With God, all things are possible.'

"Letting him go, that day, was like cutting off my body to save my arm. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, and I felt as if I had failed him, somehow. I then charged his father to not let my mother have access to him. I was afraid she'd find a way to put out his light. He understood, knowing my mother, and agreed."

The artist stranger was frowning when I looked at him again. He then asked, "How is your son, now?"

I smiled through teary eyes and said, "He's doing well. He was enrolled during test weeks, the last two weeks of second grade in Nocona Elementary School. After school let out, he received a letter from the NEA (National Education Association) with a plaque for scoring in the top 5% of the nation on his test scores. Since then, he's won 3rd place in Spelling UIL State Competitions in 3rd grade, and 2nd in 4th grade. As his 5th grade school year ended, he received a President's award for scoring in Texas' top 5% in his multi-level achievement testing. His father says he scored at high school and college levels in everything.

"I called him from Michigan last month to wish him a happy birthday. He asked me, 'Mom, you said where ever I wanted to go, you'll help me get there, right?'

"'Yes!' I answered.

"'Mom, I want to be a rocket scientist. I want to go to NASA. I want to go to the moon!'

"I got on the internet and sent him as many books on NASA and space that I could afford."

The waitress brought my food. I looked up, and noticed ten other customers sitting at the bar with coffee in front of them, staring at me. I paid my ticket, then picked up my food.

The Bible says that we should always be kind to strangers, because they could be Angels in disguise. I couldn't help but think of this when the stranger handed me a pewter-cross necklace, laden with turquoise. He said, "Your children have been given a great blessing. Your children are great, regardless of what may become of them, because they have a great mother. You did well."

I fought back the tears as I clenched the cross in my hands, thanking him and excusing myself by saying I needed to get the food back to the truck while it was hot.

As I walked back to the truck, noting the moon's reflection in every truck windshield on my way, I wondered:

If I had not done what I did, and how I did it, would my older son be entertaining the idea of helping problem children and reaching for lost souls? Would my baby boy, my shining beacon of light in a dark world, be reaching for the moon?

I thanked God for giving me the greatest gift of all:


(This was originally written in 2003. My kids did not fulfill their dreams of that year. Neither of them have changed the world. However, seeing who they have become today, I am not disappointed. Most mothers would be...but my children have grown to be good men, in their own ways. I hope they know how much I still love them. They changed MY world.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

In my dreams...

I remember when I was a child. I used to watch The Waltons on Thursday nights and Little House on Monday nights...and on Saturdays it was Hee Haw and Fantasy Island.

Yeah, I did my share of fantasizing.

But, for as long as I can remember, (along with dreaming of being the first woman president and a country music singer...) I wanted to be a writer.

That's probably the one dream that stuck.

The fact that I never made any money off it don't matter, because all artists starve...right? Doesn't mean I don't have the talent or the potential...Just means the bird forgot how to fly.

Anyway, as I am sitting here watching old episodes of The Waltons and Little House, I realize that these two television series taught me so much growing up.

I wanted a family like theirs. Both of them. One that was supportive and encouraging. A family that believed in me as much as I believed in it. One I knew that no matter how far I wandered, I could always come home.

I guess that is why I loved my grandma and granddaddy Freeman's place so much. It's a place we all gravitated to. The land, the house my granddaddy built with his own two was as much family as they were. I mourn them as I think how they are all gone, in spite of my every attempt to not let it go.

I wanted to be a writer, though, because I realized at a young age, watching the stories that Laura Ingalls Wilder told and listening to the tales that John Boy wrote about, that writing was just an honest way of recording lives, whether they were real, lived, or just dreamed up. I could be anything I chose to be as long as I could write it down.

Maybe this is why these two television series' dug such a deep impression in my life.

Tonight, I watched Mary Ellen wish upon stars that she knew was long burned out, longing to chase dreams and have adventures, not realizing that everything she wanted was right there, where she could have it all. John Boy, I think, had already figured that out. And, once she stopped struggling, fate found her an opportunity to go get a taste of what she wanted.

My life is like that even now. Like John Boy, however, I am content to do what I can do in the now, where I am. I know that if the Good Lord wills it, one day, I'll go where He needs me to be. In the meantime, I am there.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Communication with the younger generation...

I was watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie last night. In it, the old widow was about to have her 80th birthday party, but she hadn't seen her children for nany many years and they are always either too busy or don't respond at all. So she faked her death to get them to come to her funeral so she could see them.

As I see posts about young people who don't respond to the older generation in this technological age (when you KNOW they are getting your messages and voice mails) I wonder if this isn't a trick I will one day have to try in order to see my own children.

I wonder if they'd even come then.

Has having parents really become so unimportant to the younger generation? Or, is it just the mindset that they are (as the widow said) perceived by them to be a permanent fixture in life.

My youngest son once jokingly said to me, "Nothing is going to happen to you because you are immortal."

I now wonder if he really believes that.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Not Perfect

I saw a post on Facebook from a FaceBook friend that I just had to borrow:

"I have heard it said...if you find a perfect church don't join will no longer be perfect. Likewise if you are perfect you should probably unfriendly me...I will never live up to your expectations!"

I do not want perfect friends among men. There is only one who is perfect who deserves my friendship, and He was the only perfect friend who was willing to be imperfect in the eyes of another so I could appear perfect in the eyes of God.

It is HE that I beg not to "unfriend" me. And He has already answered my request...

Hebrews 13:5
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Closer to Jesus than ever before...

Last night I dreamed of someone who has been dead for a long long time. I dreamed that I still loved him and I had the opportunity to befriend him and invite him to my church, and that leading him to Jesus was more important than finally becoming his friend.

It was a strange dream that I found myself wanting to go back to sleep to keep dreaming because it didn't end right....I hate waking up in the middle of a dream...

I wonder if, when we finally die and go be with the Lord, we look back on this life and wish we hadn't died if it were in the middle of a dream...

What do you say at the end of your life, or when you realize that you are older than you are young and that glorious day when you go to meet your maker is only a wink away....

What do you say?
"If only I had more time..."
"Did I do all I should've?"

"If only I had taken the chance when I could..."

I look in the mirror and see that I am now a ripe 48 years old. Then, I get tears when I realize that my granny was only 14 years older than I am now when she passed on. I don't mind telling you that at 48, 14 years doesn't seem long at all.

Lord, help me use what time I have left to bring YOU glory!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Closing a door behind me to find another one to open.

I just quit my job as Wadley Hospital's EVS Supervisor.

In a meeting today, the manager over me says, "While we are here, Shonda, I noticed you have a hole in your shoe. That is unacceptable." My director says, "Yes, that is unacceptable and you will not show up to work with a hole in your shoe tomorrow." I said, I just havent had time to go get new shoes and I just recently noticed I need to. She said she didn't believe me and that it doesn't look good for a supervisor to be walking around with a hole in her shoe (the picture is on a previous post, it's hardly noticeable, it was just the manager picking) and that next time I have a hole in my shoe there would be corrective action.

So, I went off about having to stock every cart in the house every night after everyone leaves because I don't have time to do it before the end of the shift, which was why I was there til nearly 3 this morning. I inquired as to why I wasn't getting support in that area.

She said that since I didn't want the overtime, from now on I am to come in late like everyone else does if I work late. I told her that I had no problem with the overtime, I had a problem with doing work by myself that I shouldn't have to do by myself. She let her decision stand.

Then, after the meeting, I was to check a few rooms, then I had to do a round in an area that has to be done three times a day. As I prepared my cart to go to work, my manager said, "hurry up and come back and get started on these carts." I wanted to say, "You've gotta be kidding?" instead I said, "Okay, if I have time."

Sure enough, as I am checking rooms, I get a call for pillows. I have to take linen to another department, and I get a call to check more rooms.

I come down, grab a work log, tell him I have to take pillows to Day surgery, I need to check this and that. He says, "don't take pillows from the closet without checking upstairs for extra pillows in other closets." So, I said, "Well, I might as well go ahead and do this linen round as I check those closets," and I grabbed the linen cart. He said, "See, that is your problem, you are trying to find excuses not to do the carts." I said, "No, I am trying to not waste time making two trips when I could just make one. If I am going to the linen closet I might as well stock it while I am at it to save time." He wouldn't let me finish so I yanked off my badge and put it down and said, "Here is my badge and my paperwork and I am done. Bye."

I had enough.

Psycho is what they are...always pitting you against everyone else by saying, "so and so has said this about you" when it was a lie, and the most famous one lately was "Your team members say you don't support them" when I have done nothing BUT support them by stripping their rooms for them when I have time so they can clean them faster, making sure they have help in their areas when they get behind so they can get off on time, use extra time to train them in new areas so they can become more valuable team members (and take some of the load off me) and a host of other things. Nothing I did was good enough for the director so she had to find stuff to point out how I wasn't being supportive.

When my dad had a heart attack and I found out Sunday, she had come in to take care of some issues and I tried to tell her in case I had to leave in an emergency (like, if dad didn't make it through the operation) "My dad had a heart attack" and she slammed the door in my face saying, "I don't mean to be insensitive right now, but I'm dealing with more important issues." Excuse me? More important? If my dad dies I'm out of was a daily basis of how I was treated there.

My manager said that I should stop stripping rooms and start cleaning them that my coworkers would respect me better if I work beside them. Kind of hard to clean a room when people are calling for linen, room mop ups, overflowing bathrooms, pillows, batteries, no. I ignored that. Besides, I'm not doing their job FOR them.

I am now officially looking for a job again. as I said when I was walking out the door God will always take care of me but I do not have to sit here and take abuse and that is exactly what this was.

I am glad that I was wise enough to make sure that I could live on minimum wage if I need to. The only thing I regret about quitting is insurance. But it's not worth what I had to deal with. I stuck with it a whole lot longer than most and probably left for the same reason.

However I know my worth. And I know that I will be ok. I always am.

I think the first thing I am going to do is rest. I have needed a good rest for awhile. I need my body to heal from the daily aches and pains I've endured, the cramping of my feet at night, the constant headache from character attacks from coworkers who don't want to work. The overall lack of sleep.

I'm gonna work on my prayer life. Not that I haven't prayed a lot, I just haven't prayed as right as I should I don't think. Pastor Rick Warren says that "Prayerlessness is practical atheism". Made sense to me. Another thing he said was that "If God doesn't give you what you ask for, He will ALWAYS give you something better. Remaining in Christ produces answered prayers. And Answered prayers bring glory to God, so why wouldn't He answer your prayers? You cannot fall when you are on your knees."

I am going to also work on getting my sleep hours right again. No more day sleeping.

Then I'll think more clearly to put my best foot forward.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Learning to Trust Him...

Years ago, I spent every hour I had every day working. I spent so much time working, in fact, that I lost track of what I was doing it for.

When I finally started longing for the things I was missing -- time with my family, smelling the roses, appreciating the stars in the sky, just simply taking time out to commune with God and His creation -- I gave it all up. I even gave up television and radio. I didn't want to hear the news. I didn't want to see it. I wanted relationships with real people, real things, real life. I wanted to get to know what I was fighting for.

I spent ten years doing nothing but living. During that ten years, I lived. For the first time in my life, I found myself alive. I got to know people. I learned to love the differences in people. I learned to love as God does. I owned several businesses. I worked in several different places. I travelled the 48 states. I joined a church.

At one point, I found myself homeless and learned that God was watching me, wondering how much faith I still had in Him. I never waivered. I remained positive. And, over and over again, I saw Him bless me.

I met some really great people with nothing. I met some really great people who had everything. I learned that material possessions have nothing to do with a person's character. I learned that only those who knew how to give were the ones who were really living. I learned that the ones who took without ever giving back were the ones who were most ungrateful and bitter with their lives. They were not living at all.

The whole ten years was a lesson on stewardship. In the end, I came to understand that God had given me chance after chance in this life. If I took the opportunities and used them wisely, I was blessed. If I failed to use those opportunities to work with-in His will, what little I had was taken away. My patience, my sanity, and my faith were tested over and over during this time, until I had learned well what it was He wanted me to learn.

Each time I failed, I went to the Father and inquired as to why? I sought to understand where I had gone wrong. I dug into His word, and stood tall on my knees declaring that I would not stop believing, and that I would trust Him, no matter what. I had a lot to learn.

Finally, I came to the realization of what it means when it says to completely trust in the Lord. I now understand that I can do nothing. He is really the one who does all things through me. When I take over, I fail. When I let Him take over and lead me, I succeed.

For the first time in my life, I am fearless. I know that no matter what I am going through, God will provide for all my needs according to His riches in Glory. If I have no food, somehow, He gives me food. If I am bored, somehow He stimulates my senses. If I have no clothes, somehow, He clothes me. If I am without shelter, He protects me. I have never done without, and I know now that He will never let me. All I have to do is keep trying, keep working toward whatever goals He sets for me, and keep seeking to be more like Jesus every day.

He does not do all this because I deserve it. He does this because I am His child. He does this because I believe in Him. He does this because He loves me. The most precious thing He has ever given me was His son, Jesus. If He would give me His only son, who died so that I could live, and then turn around and adopt me as His own child, how can I not fully trust Him?

My journey is far from over. There is still a lot my Father wants me to learn. This is evidenced by the fact that I am still here, on this earth, with you. Each experience I have brings me closer to Him, and teaches me to be a better person to you. I look forward to where He will take me next and what experiences I am destined to have. I hunger to see His every day miracles, and how they will affect me, which will in turn affect you. This is what the "abundant life" is all about.

Finally, I invite you to take this journey with me. It's simple: all you have to do is trust in Him. Let Him lead the way. Listen to what He says in His word. Live according to the example of Christ. Learn from your failures. Thank Him for your blessings. Give Him credit for where you are and who you become without blaming Him for your mistakes. Accept the offering that He made for you in His son, Jesus. Then, let Christ live through you.

If this has inspired you, please share it!