Saturday, July 30, 2011

Be Set Free From Your Prison

She paced the floor of the small space of the prison cell. Back and forth, wringing her hands, her heart felt as though it would come right out of her chest. It seemed more like a dream than reality. Would they really set her free today?

Lina had been incarcerated for two years on drug charges. The time she had spent behind these bars were hard, so hard in fact there were some days she didn't want to live. Lina wasn't like some of the women who came in claiming their ground and making a name for themselves. She was the one who tried to avoid them all just to stay alive.

Many nights Lina lay on her bunk thinking about freedom. Remembering life with her kids in their small rental home. At the time it didn't seem like much but oh what she wouldn't give to be back in her own full size bed with Ben and Lacey on each side of her.  These bars that held her prisoner, that held her captive gave her the feeling of being stuck in a type of hell.

Lina's story can be related to our own story before we find freedom in Christ. We are held captive by sin and death actually sentenced to hell. But when FREEDOM comes He breaks open those prison cell doors and we are free to walk right out living a life of love, no longer chained to the sin that destroys our lives.

Unfortunately many of us don't walk out of the prison cell doors, we continue to sit on the bunk and live in our old hell. Although we are free to go and live an abundant life as Jesus tells us in John 10:10 some of us continue in defeat. We are more than conquerors, saints  not sinners, righteous no longer unrighteous but we don't have a clue.

Life as a Captive Christian is miserable. When Jesus set us free, He set us free from the chains of any sin that tries to hold us. He gives us the power to escape temptation, His Holy Spirit gives us everything we need to live a godly life. ( References below)

As Lina walked out of  prison a free woman that afternoon she realized a new life was about to begin as she ran into the arms of her two children.

As you walk out of the prison you have already been freed from realize you have a new life waiting so run into the arms of the Father and live abundantly in Him.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Romans 1:7, Galatians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Peter 1:3

Don't forget to check out Grace Full Women for more encouragement and inspiration from an imperfect woman who just wants to share God's love.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lina's Prison

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="190" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Prison cell, Fort Leavenworth.[/caption]

Go back in the archives and pick a fiction or nonfiction piece. Perhaps
something you posted on your blog, or an old Red Dress Club prompt? Find
something that you're proud of, but something you haven't read for awhile. Do a
complete overhaul. This is a rewrite of The Prison Cell From Hell.

The prison cell was cramped, dark and beige. Just plain beige. Lina lay in the bottom bunk alone with her thoughts. Sheila was gone for laundry duty and Lina took the opportunity to breathe. When her cell mate was there she constantly berated Lina. But right now she could think about more important things.

Lina had hoped the warden would transfer her to another cell after the last incident with Sheila but it never happened. While concentrating on
plans for the future her ears perked at the sound of a cart rolling and voices
murmuring.  She lay there holding her breath whispering, “Don’t let it be her, don’t let it be.” Lina needed more time to think, to remember.

That night was horrible. "Guards! Guards!" Sheila screamed and woke Lina from a dead sleep. She sat straight up in her bunk. The cell door opened. Guards rushed in. Guns drawn. Sheila against the wall and Lina pulled to her feet.

They searched Lina and found drugs hid in her bra.

She had played it over and over again, how did it get there? How did the guards know it was there?

Now she had two and a half years added to her sentence to be locked up with a monster who hated her mere existence. Lina’s thoughts were interrupted when the monster came back. Lina
pretended to be asleep.

“Wake up you sorry lil’ girl!”

Lina lay still.

“Get up! I gotta tell you something.”

Sheila prodded Lina with her foot. “They ain’t never lettin’ you
outta this place lil’ girl.”

Fear gripped Lina as she thought of what was about to happen.

“Did you hear me? I said you gonna be here a long time cause you
gonna mess up again.”

Lina still pretended to be asleep. Sheila bent over her. Feeling
her hot, humid breathe on her left ear Lina quickly rolled over and in one
swift movement knocked her backwards causing her to fall to the floor. While
Sheila was down Lina jumped on top of her and wrapped a rolled up sheet around
her neck then pulled with the strength of a bear.

Sheila’s face turned red as she gasped for air.

“Wha….wha… do ya… want…?” She said while her face changed to
a pale beige color. Just plain beige.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Child and His Grief

He ran up through the backyard as fast as his little legs would carry him. With a small shovel in hand he finally reached Pa’s screened back door. Knocking hard he yelled,” Pa! Pa! Let me in, I have a prize!” The shovel now hid behind his back.

Pa opened the door and JJ came in stumbling across the walkway, holding on to the shovel as if it were his bedtime bear. “What kinda prize?”

Quickly bringing the red shovel out from behind him he said, “I brought my shovel so we can dig to China.” The excitement exuded from his little voice.

JJ loved Pa as much as his own dad. Pa taught him how to catch a baseball.  Plant tomato plants in the garden. In fact JJ had his own plant that he watered and cared for every day. Pa put JJ on his first tricycle, and even helped potty train him. These two did almost everything together.

Pa got his big shovel and JJ had his little red one.  Searching the yard they found the perfect spot behind the pecan tree. The digging began. “How deep do we have to dig 'fore we see China?”

“Don’t know son. It may take us a few weeks, or months.” Pa stopped to take a draw off his cigarette, sweat dripping from his forehead. Breathing harder than usual and coughing now and then. But he kept digging with JJ until the hole was almost a foot deep and just as wide.

“Can we dig some more tomorrow?”

“Yeah, after school. You bring your shovel and we’ll dig a little more.”

The two hard workers went inside to get a drink. Kool-Aid for JJ and a beer for Pa. They sat down on the couch, with JJ as close to Pa as he could get.  They watched Road Runner and fell asleep, JJ’s head on Pa’s shoulder.

One day after school JJ’s mom told him Pa was in the hospital.

A few weeks later she told him Pa was  leaving to go to heaven.

JJ went to visit Pa. To say good-bye? A boy of 9 years old just couldn’t grasp the meaning of heaven. Didn’t understand he would never see Pa again.

Did it mean the dig to China was over? How about the 'mater plants, how would they ever live? What  about bicycle lessons, basketball, pop flies in the outfield? He promised.







JJ would not get close to anyone again. He’d keep his distance. It wasn’t worth the pain. Lesson learned.

This week's prompt, from Angela and Galit at The Red Dress Club for RemembeRed was to write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned."

A true story about my son and my father.

Monday, July 25, 2011

How To Make Memories With A Grown Up Daughter

[caption id="attachment_1586" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption=" "][/caption]

My daughter took me on a 4 day vacation to Charleston South Carolina last week. I believe it was the best time we have ever had together as mother and daughter. This trip was my birthday present from her and I got to choose the place I wanted to go. So since I've become intrigued with American history at the age of 47 Charleston was the logical choice and its close to home.

We talked the whole drive up there and back, visited historical sites, ate at some great restaurants, took a few tours, went to the beach for a few hours and visited the market place.

I have to tell you with all the great things we did my favorite was the time we had alone laughing and talking in the hotel room, the car, walking, and while laying on the beach. I prayed before we left for God to let this be a time of memory making for both of us. A time we would never forget. And He answered that prayer and then some. The Fox (her blog name) and I were blessed beyond measure many times with great parking, seating, discount tickets, and other things. Some might say it is because we are two beautiful women and I could agree but I really believe its cause we are highly favored as children of God.

I broke out my new Sony camera and the pics are unbelievable, so clear and real. When you see some of them you'll think you are actually there. Or you'll wish you were there.

[caption id="attachment_1593" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hyman's restaurant"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1600" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Peek a Boo"][/caption]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Man Next To Me

This week's prompt for RemembeRed asked us to write about a time that rhythm, or a lack thereof, played a role in your life. And don’t use the word “rhythm.” I'm not really a poet but I like to give it a shot once in a while. Concrit welcomed.

The man next to me is strong, virile and mine,

In his slumber he breathes in and out, slow and loud

I bind my ears with my own hands to silence the sound

But he is next to me, strong, virile and mine.

The man next to me is tall, dark and handsome

He sleeps so deeply he knows nothing of me

Head covered by plush pillows I cannot see

But he is next to me tall, dark and handsome.

The man next to me labors hard to provide

His eyes close at the door of day’s end

Mouth opens and out comes an ear shattering wind

But the man next to me labors hard to provide.

The man next to me is friend, lover and spouse

But tonight I’ve rolled him over, to the door and out of the house.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Grown Up Orphan

A friend of mine lost her mother to cancer last week. Her father died in April of the same horrible disease. I'm just wondering how a woman gets through such a thing! I mean really how devastating to wake up one morning and realize you are now parentless. But for it to happen in such a short span of time. While she was still mourning one parent the other one passes. Seems like too much grief for just one person.

I was a grown woman the day I realized I was an orphan. It's strange to have parents who love and care about you all your life then one day they're both gone. Left me empty. Feeling alone, though I wasn't. My friend must be feeling alone now even though she's surrounded by family and friends. No other person can fill that void, that space that your mom filled.

Over time I decided to go for some counseling. It helped me over the hump. I prayed a lot for God to help me get up out of the pit I was in. He did. The loneliness finally went away and now I like to be alone. To think, to write, to remember.

I am confident she will find her way back to herself but the journey is long, hard, deep and painful. Although no one can fill that void, that space, God can heal and help her to move on with life. He helped me. He will help you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Secret's At The Cemetery

This is the second part to a new storyline I began last week thanks to a prompt from The Red Dress Club You can enjoy the first part here. Today's prompt was to write about a pair of shoes of yours or your character's. Concrit is needed and welcome. Thanks.
Rachel reached for the bag in the seat beside her. She clutched it tight as she got closer. The contents inside gave her the strength she needed to face the monster that waited for her.

The front door swung open even before her foot hit the first step on the porch. Alec was dressed in the red pinstriped shirt he wore when he was feeling powerful. He looked at Rachel like he might hit her with the solid glass tumbler he held in his hand.

“Where have you been? You left your phone here. You know I don’t like it when I can’t get in touch with you.” He said through gritted teeth.

“I went to Halton’s and bought something for the baby then by the cemetery. It’s been a while. I forgot my phone. It was charging and I just walked out and left it.”

“The cemetery? Why do you insist on going there? They’re dead Rachel!

“You know I have to go there at least once a month. It’s all I have left of them. I’ll take my phone next time.”

Alec made certain that was all she had left of her parents. Rachel and Mason knew he was involved in their deaths. However there wasn’t a shred of evidence connecting him.  Almost everything including the house was burned to ashes. The mausoleum held her parents remains and he'd have to restrain her to keep her away.

“I want you to accompany me, Susan and Joan to dinner tonight. Wear your turquoise dress and the shoes to match.”

“What time should I be ready?”


Rachel ascended the winding staircase still clutching the bag from Halton’s store. Her steps getting a little quicker the closer she got to her room. Once there she sat on the bed and opened the bag. With hands trembling she took out a pair of pink and white baby shoes. She imagined the shoes on Baby Girl’s feet. Perfect fit.

Baby Girl would never wear a turquoise dress or shoes to match, not if she had anything to say about it.

 The turquoise dress fit tight around her pregnant belly. And the thin straps lay perfectly on her shoulders. But those shoes were hideous, the same color, dyed to match the dress. Alec had to have perfection. Her feet hurt in the 3 inch heels because of the swelling.  Could she slip into the black pair that were one size larger? No, Rachel didn't dare walk down the stairs without those matching heels.

 Rachel sat down  on the edge of the solid white chair next to the bed. Bending over she tried to reach her left shoe to fasten it. No luck. Propping it on the edge of the bed made it a little easier. Stretching forward she lost her balance, fell over and landed back in the chair.  As she tried again she thought about her last few visits to the cemetery. She usually felt close to her mom and dad while there but this was different. Rachel felt pulled to go there. And she was beginning to remember things. Things her dad told her.

“Rachel baby  you need to know some of the secrets about Astra.”

She and her dad sat in the garage on the old orange couch as he explained what he called “life lessons”.

Deep inside her mind was planted the details of a way to leave this place. The conversation she had earlier with Mason triggered something significant. She knew in her heart that God did exist and she knew He had created a safe place for her and baby Grace.

 “Where did that come from? Grace? I like that name for you Baby Girl.” Rachel patted her stomach reassuringly, “We’ll have to keep that to ourselves though, only Alec can name the babies.”

Rachel rolled herself over and climbed out of the chair after having fastened both turquoise shoes. She laid the pink and white baby shoes on her big belly.

Caressing her roundness with both hands she whispered, “Baby Grace we’re gonna be alright. The secret’s at the cemetery and we’re going there as soon as we get the chance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Does A Woman Want?

[caption id="attachment_1490" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The women in my family"][/caption]

In thinking about what women really want out of life I guess I can only speak for myself then see if anybody else can relate. This is the second part to an article I wrote entitled What Do Women Want published at Christian Women's Online Network a few weeks ago. That article came from the perspective of many women I have talked to over the years. See if you agree with me on  these 15 points.

1-    I want to grow mentally, spiritually, and creatively every day.

2-    I don’t want to grow old on the outside but I know it’s inevitable. I try to slow it down with hair color, face moisturizer and drinking lots of vitamin water ahh but alas I turned 47 yesterday.

3-    I want to make decisions about my life based on what I want but when there are others involved, decisions have to be made based on how it affects everyone.

4-    I want to continue to live out my God given dreams without the feeling that I can’t finish it. Confidence!

5-    I want a man who will die for me. I have one.

6-    I want my children to be filled with pure joy. I don’t think they are… yet. Praying about that one.

7-    I do not want to be a people pleaser but a God pleaser. Pleasing God is so much easier than pleasing people. He just wants me to be me they want me to be someone I’m not.

8-    I want support from friends and family in the ventures toward my dreams. I do and will continue to support them.

9-    I want respect. You’ll always get it in return from me and usually even if you don’t give it to me.

10-  I need love to survive. Unconditional love. Not a love based on what I do right or wrong, just love no matter what. A love similar to God’s love. His love can’t be earned. He loves me no matter how bad I screw up or how awesome I do something, it never changes.

11-  I want my kids to fulfill their God given dreams. Well first they need to find those dreams, and then follow them. I will help them succeed any way I can.

12-  I want my husband to know real love. My love is real but insufficient for him. I want him to know God’s love fully and completely.

13-  I never want to feel like I just exist. I’ve been there done that and life without purpose is no life at all.

14-  I want to be an encouragement to others. That may present itself in different ways to different people but everyone needs to know they are valued.

15-  I want chocolate. It’s that simple. Give me chocolate and you have a friend.

What do you want? No really. In the comments section tell us one or more things you want even if it’s the same as on my list.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tackle and Tampons

In sixth grade my class spent a lot of time playing football on the playground. Our teacher supervised and almost insisted we take part. So at the age of twelve I learned to play a mean game of football.

One day at school I wasn’t feeling my best, a little puny because I had gotten “my monthly friend” as some of the mothers of the 1960’s and 70’s liked to call “it”.  In no way did I associate it with friendship. At  twelve  I had to learn to deal with a whole new lifestyle for one week out of every month. Dresses, skirts or pants with long tops were my wardrobe because I wasn’t allowed to wear tampons.  My only alternative was the bulky pads.  The pads were so big I was certain they could be spotted from a mile away if anybody walked behind me in the hall.  I never really knew if my attempt to camouflage was successful but after that day it didn't really matter anyway.

Although I didn't feel well, I gave into peer pressure and joined the game. Little did I know there would be an unexpected twist put on the game that day. The teacher whom I loved, up until that day, decided we’d play tackle because the boys had begged for so long. The game was on but with the stipulation that we would not be rough and if anyone got hurt the game would be over.

Our class was split and the two teams went head to head.  When my team was on the offense someone threw a pass and I caught it. I was wearing pants that day so I ran pretty fast and free. However out of nowhere a guy from the other team tackled me! Down we went, I fumbled the ball, the other team got it and scored a touchdown. As bad as that was, nothing compared to the feeling of humiliation I felt when the guy who tackled me said out loud, “Hey Julie, what was that big, fat thing between your legs?” Apparently his hand ended up between my legs when he tackled me.

I don’t recall my answer.  But the incident is engraved on my mind to this day and that's a good sign it traumatized me in some way.

I went home that afternoon and begged my mom for tampons. She finally obliged.

This written for a prompt from The Red Dress Club. Take us back to an embarrassing moment in your life. Did someone embarrass you, your parents perhaps? Or did you bring it upon  yourself?Are you still embarrassed or can you laugh at it now?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Old Barns Have Great Charm

Living in Georgia I run across some charming old buildings. My favorite are old barns. Today I'm posting some of my favorites at the request of a friend. However you gotta know I wanted to share anyway.

[caption id="attachment_1465" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Simpson Mill Rd."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1466" align="aligncenter" width="296" caption="This has been around since before I came to my county about 40 years ago."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1467" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Played around with the graphics and I came up with this. Looks like a painting."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1468" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This actually part of an old feed mill"][/caption]

Thanks for letting me share my picture finds with you. I'd love to see yours. By the way I have a new camera coming for my birthday. Can't wait, there's no telling what you will be seeing on this blog when I get started.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Is There Life Out There?

This is a prompt from The Red Dress Club. For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you've only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or
vice versa. Switch it up. See where it takes you.        Concrit is welcome.

This is my first attempt at this genre of writing, so please bear with me.

“I thought you believed in God?” Mason stood staring at her.

Looking back intently Rachel said, " You know I do. I just
think if He created our planet with all this intelligent life then why couldn’t
He do it somewhere else in the universe?”

“I just didn’t realize you believed such things.”

“You don't?"

“ I mean I’ve always kind of thought that maybe it was possible. There’s a lot of weird things that happen  to make me think there may be someone or something out there."

Rachel’s big round stomach bulged as she jumped off the hood of the car. The baby inside kicked hard reinforcing her belief in a Creator.

Mason walked over from his vehicle and stood right in front of her. He placed his hand on her belly. Mason wanted this child to call him daddy, but he knew that wouldn’t happen. “Will he take care of you and the baby?”

Rachel could barely look him in the eyes. It was hard to face the truth of it all. “He said he would let me keep her and that he’d always be there when I needed him. I believe that’s true, I have to believe it.”

Mason wanted to hold her. She needed a man like him. Her child needed a father to be there all the time. He would do that for them, but it just wasn’t going to work out that way.

Rachel moved closer though she didn’t dare touch Mason. There was too much at stake. “Mason, if there were intelligent life on another planet do you think we could survive there?”

Mason wanting so much to be in another place and time with Rachel as much as she did replied, " We can dream can’t we?” With that they each got back in their separate vehicles and drove away.

Rachel pulled up in the drive of her home and sat in the car dreading going in the door. He would be waiting.

Mason sat in his vehicle daydreaming about a life with Rachel and their baby girl. It was a dream
that would remain just that…a dream. She belonged to Alec as did many other women on Astra.

Could it possibly be true? If only there was a planet other than Astra that could support human life he'd find a way to get Rachel and the baby there... safe away from Alec.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Life and Times With A Soap Opera

Soap Opera seems to be a dirty word these days. I don’t know too many people who watch them and if they do most don’t talk about it. I will not let this stop me from admitting I love Days of Our Lives.

My mother, brother and I spent most days watching a lineup of soap operas in between chores, naps and fun. Dark Shadows, Ryan’s Hope, The Edge of Night, and Another World lasted years but eventually they were taken off the air, or replaced by something new. But Day of Our Lives remained on the daily schedule as long as my mother lived and still marches on today.

I grew up eating lunch about the same time Tom and Alice Horton were helping solve the problems of family and friends. Many tears were shed, cookies ate and secrets revealed
at the Horton’s kitchen table and I witnessed most all of them.

My favorite romances took place right before my eyes daily, Marlena Evans and Roman Brady, Bo and Hope, Maggie and Mickey, Jennifer and Jack,  Patch and Kayla then Marlena and John Black. There were as many break-ups and affairs as there were drinks sold at the Brady Pub.

The despised Stefano DiMera has been around for years. He has risen from the dead more times than I’ve changed hair color, so a lot, and today still reigns terror along with his son EJ over the people of Salem. The DiMera’s are notorious for burying people alive, shipwrecking them on unknown islands, putting people away in  hidden prisons and replacing them with clones,
selling drugs and more often than not it’s all done to terrorize the Brady and Horton families.

My memories are full of days spent with my mom and this TV show. I also shared this bond with my mother-in-law Marie. She videotaped Days for years and years. We always caught up on the news every time I saw her. They are both gone now and I feel I carry on tradition by turning on my television and tuning in to our favorite soap every day.

As crazy as it sounds the people of Salem are like a part my family. But after having shared their lives  with them for over 40 years whatdo you want from me?

Emotional people like me can thrive on the drama a soap can  bring about.  So many different feelings are released, laughing, crying, anger, envy and even happiness on the one day of the year something goes right for one of my friends on the show. This really works well because when it's over, it's over and I get on with my life. No dwelling on what happened when I get out of my chair. I leave everything right there until I come back for a refill.

My husband cannot understand why I continue to watch after all these years. I may be addicted! Is there a soap opera rehab? I’m so attached and I’m just not willing to give it up. I will watch until the day it goes off the air. This year All My Children will leave us in September and fans are heartbroken.

May it never be that Days of Our Lives leaves me with only my memories. That’s a lonely place
to be.

This was written for a prompt from The Red Dress Club.  Recall a television show from your past and write about the feelings it evokes and memories it triggers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

From Such A Hell To Such A Time As This

This is a repost from February. Since it's July 4th I thought it would be fitting to post again.

I spoke with an 89 year old man this week. His life has been inspiring to others and quite an experience for him. He and his wife have been married 67 years and have lived through decades of difficult times as well as times of joy.

The story that has stuck in my mind is the one about his time in WWII. I’ve never met a POW until now and I have to say I have a new respect, a new pain for the men and women of our military.

A was drafted in the U.S. Army in 1944. He was in Belgium with his infantry unit during the most famous battle in WWII the Battle of the Bulge. The German soldiers began directing fire to his unit so his infantry unit tried to return to their camp. This is when A was wounded by enemy fire and captured by Nazi soldiers. He was taken to a prison camp where he and many other prisoners of war were held until they were liberated by General Montgomery and his British soldiers. During the time he was a prisoner from Dec. 1944 to April 1945, he lost 98 lbs. due to malnutrition and lack of proper medical treatment to his wound.

I am trying to reconcile my feeling of such despise for soldiers who treated A in such a horrible way and knowing I shouldn’t despise others. Maybe I should just feel sorry for them. I know forgiveness is in order and perhaps that is how A has managed to get through such horrible circumstances.

Imagining how hungry I get going 6 or 7 hours without food it is hard to think of A being so hungry for so long that he lost 98 lbs. How hungry would you be, how horrible, how painful, how could one human do that to another?
I have seen the pictures of the POW camps, watched the horrific documentaries but to know someone who was tortured by these barbaric men brings it on home. To know there really are human beings in existence that have so little value for life is beyond belief yet it is true.

What would it take to cause a human being to be willing to go to the extremes these men went to in order to destroy other people? In my own heart I wonder is there anything that could cause me to turn on my fellow man in such a way. I have heard the Nazi soldiers were afraid that Hitler would kill them and their families had they not done his bidding. Would that be enough to push me to the far side of hell? I pray to God that I could stand in His strength should ever a persecution come to the U.S.

I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to meet this man, this man who has lived a full life despite what could have been a life shattering experience. There are no coincidences and A was kept alive and rescued for reasons known only to God Himself. Somehow I suspect A’s two sons, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren could tell me why they think he’s here.

I do not know where he stands in faith but I do know God brought him home from such a hell for such a time as this. Esther 4:14. I’m so glad I was here at this time to meet him.