Thursday, August 18, 2016

In The Aftermath

Most have seen the news of the horrible flooding in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas even though media coverage out of the immediate area has been spotty at best. As a former recent resident of Baton Rouge, I was devastated to see what was happening to an area that had become my home. I just want to let my readers and friends from that area know my thoughts and tell them I am thinking of them. Praying for them. Crying for them.

I lived in Baton Rouge for less than five years and in that time I was hooked. The friendliness. The acceptance. OMG, the FOOD! I made lifelong friends. I had memorable experiences. I lived. I recently read a blog about the lack of news coverage of the flooding and the author explained the addiction of Louisiana as “getting in your blood.” And she is right.

I’ve seen so many pictures of the devastation. The ones below are of the street that I lived on…

My former home is behind the trees in the bottom right corner of the second one.

Elijah's school is near where this one was taken. The schools in the parish will be closed, at my last reading, until next week or longer...

Elijah cried when he saw this. Broke his heart.

The attached link is a drone video of the area where I lived. I broke down while watching it. Each time I watched it. I finally had to quit watching it.

Please watch so you know what these people are experiencing. I truly hope you do and after doing so, please pray that they can get their lives back together after going through all of this.

This next (and last I will add) is of a road I traveled so many times. My daughter worked near here. We shopped in Denham Springs all the time. Lived one exit up. I have friends who lived here who lost everything. God bless them.

But this is not about me. It's about friends. Former neighbors. The first responders. The "Cajun Navy". The families who have lost everything. The loved ones of those who died. The displaced pets, livestock and wildlife.

And for those who feel guilty that they didn't lose anything, don't. God spared you so that you can help others. Feel thankful. As a friend put it, "I'm thankful to have a dry roof over my head while I have phone problems, a dry chair to sit on while I wear my own clean clothes and the same pot I've had for 15 years to boil that water in."

Now I ask that you please continue to pray for these people who live in the areas affected. Send donations if you can. There are quite a few ways to do it and you can easily Google to find them. Here's a link to help you too...  Amazon offers ways of sending supplies. Salvation Army. Red Cross. There are a lot of ways. Please help!

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


You have seven days of the week, the Seven Wonders of the World and the Seven Seas. The Seven Hills of Rome and Seven Samurai. And then there is a seven-year-old boy.

Elijah turned seven in February. Yes, he's seven now. Since I began this blog, I've posted an annual updates to Elijah's growth as a little person. Because who better to blog about. I'm a little late this year. I think my last addition explains a lot about it. And I've had a little lapse in concentration where it concerns with my writing. With moving and settling in, I've been lazy and out of sorts.

This being said, everyone knows that big changes occur in the seventh year. For instance...

Changes in what happens in school. He's in first grade. I've mentioned a lot of problems he's had but he's had a lot of accomplishments as well. He can read like a champ. Third and fourth grade level. His imagination is soaring. He's learning to tell time. That's a LOT.

Changes in his interests. Building. A different, more grown up version of entertainment. He still loves the Ninja Turtles but has developed a love for the Avengers, Hulk and the rest of the crew. All things Star Wars. And he loves MineCraft. Definitely growing up.

His Star Wars Mellenium Falcon
and host of characters
Changes in his body. The boy is tall and lean. Almost five foot. OK, so it's only 4'6" but that's close. He's going to be taller than his momma soon. Not that that's saying much since she's vertically challenged but he's getting up there.

Changes in his mouth. He's lost four teeth and has three of them growing back in already. I'd forgotten how gruesome it is when kids lose their teeth. He came home this week with the last of the four pointing straight out of his mouth. Ugh! After yanking and twisting (grossing out his teacher enough to have her email me), he finally asked me to pull it out for him so he could eat his dinner. Yech! I did the only thing I knew how to do, closing my eyes to keep from vomiting...I grabbed a line of floss, wrapped it around the little thing and gave it a pull. It was out in a flash. C'mon, Gladys! Gladys is the tooth fairy for those of you who don't know the Imagination Movers (which is one thing that hasn't changed...his love for the Boys in Blue).
The one on the top before I
yanked it out
Changes in his friends. Since we moved, his friends list has changed anyway but now he has more boys than girl friends. Different interests involved. More boy stuff to be played. Rougher. Tougher.

Changes in how he shows affection. I'm no longer allowed to kiss and hug him when I drop him off at school. Because someone might see. No more loving on him in front of friends. That's not manly. At home, it's still pretty much the same. We snuggle a lot. But in public, leave off, Yaya.

Then there are the gross changes. Peeing on the toilet seat (he's too tired...). Shoving dirty clothes under his bed (because the hamper is soooo far away). Picking his nose (I think I've gotten him out of this habit).

Yup, he's growing up. In some ways I'm very happy about this. But mostly, I remember the little boy he was not so long ago.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Sometimes, when I think about celebrating Mother's Day, I get two sides going. One is a happy side. The other is not so much. I find it to be a time of reflection. For instance...

A lot of times, I know that I could have been a better mom. I wish I would have done things differently. Ah, hindsight and all that 20/20 stuff.

On the positive side? I have two beautiful daughters. They are intelligent and caring. And gorgeous. I'm very blessed.

My mother is no longer with me. I wish I could hug her today. I wish I could tell her how much she meant to me.

But on the positive side? I have so many good memories of my mom and the times we spent together. I know she loved me. And she was a wonderful, ditzy, loving person. I was blessed.

My mother figure (hello, Theresa!) lives far away from me. It would be so awesome to be able to take her out to lunch or just go to her place with a gift. Give her a hug.

But on the positive side? I have Facebook. I can look at her any time I want. See what's going on in her life on a daily basis. I have email. I can send her a message whenever. I have a cell phone. I can just call her up. I am blessed.

I prefer to look at the positive side and not dwell on the negative. Negativity is a waste of time, especially with all of the blessings that I have in my life.

So Happy Mother's day to all of y'all out there. Enjoy your day. Love your kids. Count your blessings. And share all the love you have in your heart.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Diagnosis

We have known for quite some time that things with Elijah weren't quite right. As my readers know from my blogs, he is a precocious, energetic child. Very intelligent and interested in a lot of things that children his age usually aren't interested in. Most kids like fire trucks. Elijah is interested in how fire trucks are built. A lot of boys are interested in garbage trucks. He takes his interest down to the bare bones...where they are made, the various components of constructing a truck. And has done so since he was about four.

While most kids have temper tantrums, Elijah had serious meltdowns. It was during a regular checkup at the pediatrician's office that a meltdown requiring both Deanna and I to literally hold him, kicking and screaming on our laps, that showed his doctor that he had a problem. She advised us to get him checked by a psychologist, concerned that he had a deeper issue than just fearsome fours. The appointment with the psychologist, in turn, gave us entrance into the scary realm of ADHD. Because he was so young, nothing could be done for him other than behavioral therapy that we had to do at home.

When he started kindergarten, trouble started on day one. He refused to sit. He didn't want to do the work required. He raced around the room. Still, because he was only five, nothing could be done for him medically. We decided to go the holistic route. A friend recommended a product called Focus Attention Powder by Nature's Sunshine. It is full of vitamins and supplements that had an instant positive affect on our boy. So much so that with it, the help of a wonderful kindergarten teacher and kindly advice from our friend (also a teacher) Imagination Mover Scott, he graduated to first grade. Something we feared would not happen.

As Elijah entered first grade last fall, he was doing well for the first few months. Frustration soon set in, though, and he began to fall behind. For such an intelligent boy, this was difficult to watch. Homework time became a serious battle. He voiced his difficulties with violence and hatred toward us, his teacher and fellow classmates. We began our meetings with the teacher, guidance counselor and principal of the school. And we made an appointment with a psychiatrist. All who were very helpful in our quest to help Elijah reach the potential we knew he had.

His school set up remedial classes in math (which he had the most difficulty with) and occupational therapy to assist with his handwriting, which is abysmal. A side note on that: the boy is left handed but, because none of the kids in his kindergarten class wrote with their left hands, he refused to do so. Still does. He eats left handed, throws a ball with his left and catches things the same way. But he will not put a pencil in it to write. So I guess he will have to work a little harder than most if he insists on being a right-hander.

His appointment with the new psychiatrist we found confirmed the ADHD diagnosis. He is now on medication to help him control his impulsiveness and learning issues. It's been quite a ride trying to get the correct dosage for his particular needs. We've finally gotten there. For the moment anyway. This will change as he continues to grow, as most with ADHD children can attest. And we will continue to ride that horse as long as we need to.

Testing also unfortunately revealed that he has a condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. ODD for short. Children with this disorder have difficulty regulating their emotions and are highly emotionally reactive to situations. In Elijah's case, he doesn't react well to being disciplined or in any type of negative situation. ODD children also have a lot of trouble handling frustration, which comes out in the form of tantrums or, in his case, extremely ugly behavior. Name calling, authoritative defiance. He also tends to turn it inward in the form of lacking confidence, believing he is stupid and worthless. The only cure for that part is positive reinforcement. And the therapy he begins next week. His new therapist will teach him how to deal with his frustration and anger issues.

And so, we carry on. With the help of the school folks, therapists, friends and neighbors, we will get through all of this. The saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. In Elijah's case, it's going to take a whole city. But we'll do it. With love, patience and a whole lot of faith.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Precious Child

There’s nothing more precious to me than watching a child, especially Elijah, doing something they enjoy. Learning a new skill. Watching nature. Seeing something up close for the first time. Elijah is doing a lot of that lately as we stay with friends in the country.

 Living in the city doesn’t show you much of what nature has to offer. Unless you’re at a park or a zoo. Where we are staying, it is true country. We spent a while yesterday watching a squirrel eating nuts…

And then we watched a hummingbird eating out of his feeder. The pictures took a while to get since those little suckers fly a million miles an hour.

We have friends who own a horse farm and, being from the city, Elijah has never been close to a real live horse. He’s fascinated. Not only by the animals themselves but also from watching our friend jumping them over standards in shows. Here’s a few shots of him feeding a several of them apples…


Apparently there is always farm stuff to do. He helped rake up the wood chips that go in the horse’s stalls. Just picked up the rake and went to work.

Even at the house we are staying at there is a lot of work to do. And he jumps right in (being the hardworking boy that he is)…

And follows along to learn the ropes…

He rode a tractor a long time ago. I think he was about 18-months-old or thereabouts. I’m sure he has no memory of it so this was pretty dang exciting…

I am so thankful to my friends for allowing him to have this experience that has been so exciting to him. And to me, especially when he asks if he can go outside and I can say “Yes, you can.”

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Attention Target Team Members

Since things have gone seriously down hill at Walmart (and we all know it has), I’ve taken a lot of my shopping to Target. The store is so clean and they have some really neat merchandise. They take competitor coupons without the arguing you get at Walmart, I have my 5% off card and there’s just something about that bullseye logo.

But lately I’m thinking that Target “team members” are getting a little cocky in their confidence that they are better than Sam Walton’s group and they are letting some things are slide by. I thought I’d give them a friendly word or two of advice because, well, that’s what I do.

Make yourself visible to the guests (Gotta love it…we are not “customers”, we are “guests”.) so if we need you, we don’t have to go all over the store to find you. If you invited a person to your home (a guest), you wouldn’t disappear once this person was seated on your couch, would you? Don’t hide from us. We really aren’t scary. We just occasionally want to ask questions that only you can answer.

If you are stocking a shelf and a guest wants to peruse said shelf, move out of the way. I promise your boss isn’t going to get angry. Trust me, getting my shampoo and taking a cranky 6-year-old out of the store before he has a meltdown is way more important than having all that mousse out of the box.

Cashiers, SMILE! Be friendly. We all know it’s not an exciting job (been there, done that) but make the most of it. I know you’re tired and your feet hurt. There is not a shoe in the world or a gel insert made that feels good after standing in them eight hours every day, it’s a dead end job and the pay really sucks. But you’d be surprised how much faster your time will go or how rewarding it is if you cheer someone up.

And Associates? If someone leaves a crapload of stuff in their buggy, along with a nearly full cup of Starbucks, they definitely will be coming back for it. Especially the coffee. It’s a potty break or they need something in a different aisle. Do not under any circumstances take that cart and put their things back on the shelves. Or throw away the Starbucks. The merchandise can be replaced. But you never touch a person’s coffee.

Author’s note on this last bit: It was only left alone for ten minutes and I was in the next aisle with my boy looking at TMNT figures. You threw away my stinkin’ latté and are damn lucky I only made you dig my notebook out of the trash. I could have done worse.

And just a side note to those who take care of the courtesy phones and price checkers…they need fixed. It doesn’t matter what store I’m talking about because none of them work. Anywhere. Not that I use them much but I thought I’d let you know.

I still love Target; have done so since my first visit so long ago when I lived in Carrollton Texas. It is one of my favorite places to shop but I’m hoping that my kind ideas will take root and be accepted in the manner to which they are intended (lots of love, Target, lots of love).

Well, that’s it. I’ve given y’all a bit of my (other)worldly advice. You may return to your previously scheduled activities.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When Being a Grownup Sucks - Deb's Version

My daughter is a very positive person...who lets things drag her down from time to time. This blog is her version of our conversation recently about how sometimes it sucks being all grown up. I give you Deb Kellye, my first guest blogger...

Close your eyes.  Do it.  Take two deep breaths.  Picture yourself at 12 years old.  It’s summer.  You’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  You look around and you see all of your friends with you.  They’re laughing.  You’re all laughing.  Why?  Because you’re 12 years old and it’s summer.  That’s why.  The only thing you had to worry about was whether or not there was more iced tea in the house and if your sunburn would peel.  What’s that buzzing noise in the background?  It’s getting louder.  Now it’s drowning out all of the laughter around you.  That enigmatic noise is making the world in front of your eyes disappear.

That noise is an alarm clock.  You’re not really 12.  It’s 4:30 a.m. and you have to get up and get ready for work.  You’re an adult.  It was just a dream. Gone are the days when all I had to think about was whether or not to paint my toenails to match my fingernails (Lime green).  Gone are the days when I giggled about my high school crush and whether or not he’d like my new hair cut (He said he did, but I think he was lying.).

Credit scores. Taxes. 401Ks. Company Stock Purchase. Loans.  Insurance.  Resumes and cover letters.  Paying bills.  Savings accounts. Retirement. Children.  Car payments.  These are the things that you have to think about now.  Unless you’re a millionaire and can afford it, most of us don’t have the time to sit and think about iced tea and sun burn.

Now I have responsibilities.  Who has time to be carefree when the world is turning and you’re getting older?  The world is so fast paced when you’re older.  Plus you have to know so much stuff.  It’s exhausting.   Why did I have to sit through Algebra 2 and AP Bio in high school when all of these other things were what I should’ve been taught?  Nowhere in my day-to-day life have I ever used numeric proofs or had to know the exact steps that plants take to go through photosynthesis.  I’m 27 years old now and I have to contemplate paying for “Permanent Dismemberment” on my health insurance.

Now, I buy my own groceries.  Pay for the gas in my car.  Pay for a credit card.  Pay for my rent and utilities.  Pay for car insurance and health insurance and renters insurance and all the insurance for all the stuff all the time.  Grownups don’t even get money in their birthday cards! 

I used to believe that once I was ‘out on my own’ life would be great.  I could do what I want, whenever I wanted.  I could go anywhere.  Be anyone.  While that may still be true, at the same time, it’s not.  I can only do what I want when I have the time.  When I’m not obligated to go to work or an appointment.  I can only go anywhere I want if I have my bills paid for the month and I have enough money to get to put gas in my car.  While I can still be anyone I want to be, right now I have to be someone who is employed with a constant paycheck.  It’s all a constant obligation.

I still have hope though.  I try to look for the little things that keep the child in me alive.  Disney movies. Music from the 90s. I even paint my toenails the same lime green from all those years ago.  
Oh, and about the prunes my Mum mentioned.  Grownups have to think about crap like that…

(See what I did there?)