Don't Judge, Fear, Fort Scott, Kansas, Friday the 13th, Ghosts, Halloween, Hotel del Coronado, Just Breathe, October, Pensacola Lighthouse Museum, Spirits, Spooky Places, Supernatural, The French Quarter, The Unexpected, travel, Travel Channel, Travel Woes, Uncategorized, Whaley House

Friday, the 13th……

I am taking a much needed day off work today.  After another trip to the doctor earlier this week, 3 more needles, a change of meds, and orders to rest, I decided to obey doctor’s orders (finally), after pushing myself at work to get things finished for the end of the first 9 weeks of school.  With all of the medical tests, I’ve sort of been feeling like a science experiment lately, and a bit like the Bride of Frankenstein……not that Al is Frankenstein!  I just feel like the female version of the experimental monster. With this being October, and today happens to be Friday the 13th, I wondered about the timing of all of these health struggles!  I also started thinking about all of the spooky, supernatural things that are so prevalent this time of year.

Some people choose not to celebrate Halloween, and that’s okay.  This is America, after all.  We are free to do what we want, right?  I happen to enjoy Halloween.  As a child, I never considered it to be demonic, or filled with anything satanic.  My family celebrated it as a time for children to use their imaginations in pretending, playing dress up, and getting candy!  I did the same thing for my own children.  There have always been the scary movies, which have become more terrifying in recent years, and I haven’t really enjoyed those.  I prefer the suspense of Hitchcock over the slasher or demonic movies. But there are also stories of supernatural, which are year round, but more front and center this time of year.

Do you believe in spirits, hauntings, or souls that might be caught in limbo?  Some people don’t….a lot of times that is because of religious reasons, but these same people believe in angels, which non-religious people don’t believe in.  Others do believe in this type of activity.  I believe that sometimes a spirit may linger, especially if there was something unpleasant about their lives or deaths, such as violence or murder. I also believe a loved one may be able to make themselves known to his or her family, in a way to comfort them.  If I hadn’t had my own personal experiences with this, I probably wouldn’t believe it either.  I have a memory of my grandfather talking to me when I was about 3 years old.  For years, I thought it was a memory from when he was alive. After discussing it with my mother, I realized the time line didn’t work out, and it would have had to be after he died, because he died when I was 2 years old……on Friday, October 13th……..fifty years ago today.  I wasn’t afraid at all, and I think he was probably just checking on his family, since my mother, aunt, and grandmother were all in the room at the same time of this occurrence, and weren’t acknowledging him in any way.  I know I didn’t understand why they weren’t talking to him!

Over the years, I’ve had uncomfortable feelings in places, where I feel like I’m being watched, or that maybe something really bad had happened there.  One of these places was at the old fort in the small town where I grew up in Kansas.  I had strange feelings there on two separate occasions.  One of those times was with my youngest daughter, Grace.  She was about 10 at the time.  We used to love going to the fort and touring the old buildings.  We were alone (so we thought) in one of the buildings, and I noticed that Grace kept looking behind her, and seemed uncomfortable and jumpy.  I also felt cold, and uncomfortable.  I thought someone was in the room with us.  I turned around to see no one, but I still felt the need to leave the building.  I asked Grace if she wanted to leave, and she responded with an enthusiastic, “YES!”  We both felt it.  We haven’t been back in that building!

I have watched the Travel Channel’s, “Most Terrifying Places in America,” many times. One of the places they have talked about is the Whaley House in San Diego.  I made a point to tour it (by myself) a few years ago.  Other than it being cold and a little creepy, I didn’t see anything, or really feel anything unusual or uncomfortable.  Maybe I would feel differently if I worked there, or spent more time there.  I also stayed at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, which is supposedly haunted by a young woman named Kate Morgan who died there in 1892.  While I didn’t get a bad feeling about her, I did feel uncomfortable one night, like someone was playing with my feet while I tried to sleep.  I asked my ex-husband, and he swore it wasn’t him.  It didn’t really scare me, but it was annoying.  For some reason, I didn’t feel like it was her though, but maybe some other type of mischievous spirit.

While in New Orleans, I got a few funny feelings at places in the French Quarter. Nothing terrifying…….but uncomfortable, and like maybe I wasn’t alone.  The Lighthouse Museum in Pensacola really gave me the creeps.  Sometimes I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s just a weird feeling.  I’ve had odd feelings in a lot of places….even in one particular building in Stockholm last summer.

I think some people are more in tune to some of these things, whether they want to be or not.  Sometimes you hear of people who don’t believe in the supernatural, but yet, they may encounter someone who isn’t really there, and are then confused by the encounter. I do think some people see what they want to see, and get a little carried away with the whole phenomenon, either for attention, or for monetary gain.

One thing is for sure…..there are a LOT of stories out there of similar experiences in places all over the world.  I don’t believe that millions of people just have over active imaginations.  Not everyone has to believe, but sometimes there just aren’t logical, scientific explanations for everything.  So, on this Friday the 13th, during this spooky/fun month of October, watch out for the ghosts and goblins!

 

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Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Fear, Happiness, Kindness, Negativity, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Accomplishing the “Impossible”

I accomplished something yesterday that I never thought I could.  I have wanted to attempt a career in real estate for many years.  I have bought and sold my own homes, after fixing them up, several times.  Now, don’t get me wrong….teaching is where my heart is, and always will be, but teaching is just not making ends meet these days.  I have to have at least a side hustle, or a plan to supplement our income.  If it turns into something full time, that will be great!  I will keep teaching until I feel the need to walk away.

I used to toss around the idea of real estate occasionally, and was met by the same comments from negative people, or people who felt the need to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough……..”Yeah, but it’s commission only,” “The test is really hard….are you sure you’re smart enough?” “There’s a lot of realtors out there!”  “It’s not possible.  You don’t have time!”  I know it’s commission only, but with any business where you work for yourself, it’s basically based on how much you sell…..commission only!  Yet, plenty of business owners and contractors do quite well. Yes, the test is hard, and I didn’t know if I was smart enough or not, but if I didn’t try, how would I ever know?  And yes, there are a lot of realtors out there, so the competition is tough, and some people aren’t cut out for it. But again, if I didn’t try, how would I ever know?  And, it would be possible if I made the time, and that’s what I did.

I finally decided last summer to start taking a class.  It was tough!  It was online, so I had to pace myself, and be disciplined to read and study every day.  My husband was very supportive, and cheered me on, keeping my spirits up, even when I felt defeated. I spent my whole summer focused on it, and finally took the test yesterday…….

When I went into the test center, I was very nervous.  I didn’t sleep well the night before.  I had heard that the there was about a 50/50 chance of passing it.  I went through all of the security procedures to make sure I am who I said I am, they checked my jacket pockets for cheating devices, looked at my calculator to make sure it didn’t have any way of typing letters or words, gave me the directions, took my photo, and then led me into the testing room.  As I read through the questions, I was telling myself that I should probably try to memorize a few, because I was counting on failing it.  I thought I would be back in 30 days to retake it.  That’s what happens to you when you are worn down by those who doubt you, question your character, intelligence, or motives, or are constantly pessimistic or negative.  Even though I try to always be positive and encouraging toward others, I have let those feelings of doubt and negativity wear down my own self esteem. Going through life not feeling good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough is tough.  I’ve never wanted to be the cause of making someone else feel that way……..

When I finished the test, and walked out of the testing room, the proctor smiled and said, “Congratulations!”  I was shocked!  I said, “I PASSED????”  She said I did, showed me the verification she had printed out, and asked how many times I had taken it.  I said this was the first time.  She said, “Oh baby, didn’t your instructor tell you that nobody passes it the first time?  We have people come in 4, 5, and 6 times to take it!  You did great!”  I was shaking!  All of that hard work had paid off! Here I am, at 52 years old, taking on something completely new……oh, and with a brain tumor too!  I did it!

On the drive home, I was fighting back tears, telling myself I didn’t fail, and I’m NOT a failure!  I had planned on keeping it together when I told Al, but as soon as I walked in the door, I burst into tears, saying, “I did it!  I passed!” And you know what?  He was just as happy as I was!  He was proud of me, hugging me, laughing, kissing me, telling me over and over how proud he was of me.  I haven’t had a lot of people tell me that in my life.  It means a LOT to hear it.

It may not seem like such a big endeavor for some of you, but I know of people who have completely given up on this test.  It was a huge deal for me!  I know that with determination, hard work, and a support system, I can accomplish what I want.  We all have our dreams in life.  Let’s support each other in our endeavors.  Let’s not make each other feel like we aren’t good enough…..for ANY reason.  Encouragement goes a long way.  Let’s do that for each other….in a world where negativity, jealousy, divisiveness, spite, anger, resentfulness, and hatred seem to prevail, let’s help build each other up to accomplish our dreams and goals.  It doesn’t take much to give an encouraging word………and wouldn’t you rather be spreading good cheer, and positive vibes, instead of hurting someone because of your own doubts and insecurities?

Tonight, I can finally say, “I did it!”  I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do. What is it that you want to do, and what (or who) is holding you back?  You can do this!

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Coping, Fear, Happiness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Passion for Living, Support, Uncategorized

Coping Through Fear and Uncertainty

The last couple of months I have been dealing with an issue that I have been afraid to write about.  Actually, up until a couple of weeks ago, every time I talked about it, I would cry, but I am learning to deal with this more comfortably, or as comfortably as possible, so maybe writing about it will be therapeutic…..I have a brain tumor.  THAT is a very difficult thing to say (or write).

After a couple of years of dealing with vertigo off and on (mostly when I was tired, or the lighting was low), headaches, tinnitus, balance issues, and noticing some hearing loss last school year, I finally have answers, following some medical tests.  Our trip to Europe seemed to intensify the symptoms…..I guess from the pressure during the flight?  I tried to pass it off as fatigue or jet lag, but deep down, I knew something wasn’t right.  I felt horrible most of the time we were there.  After we got back, the symptoms didn’t go away.  On July 25th, I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, which is a tumor on the main nerve going to my ear.  My husband was in New York visiting his family at the time of my diagnosis, so I was alone, and very afraid when I found out.  I told him over the phone……  I called my three children, and cried while I told them.  They’ve all been very sweet and understanding, very supportive, and patient with my emotions.  I emailed my four sisters, and they were very supportive. They told me not to worry because they would worry enough for me.  I texted my friends because I didn’t want to cry while telling them.  I texted my pastor.

Basically, this thing has probably been with me for awhile.  It’s not malignant, and it’s very slow growing. For now, it’s small (1.7 cm), and we are lucky to have caught it at this stage.  It’s obviously big enough to be causing some serious problems……….headaches, vertigo, balance, tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, noise sensitivity, fatigue…….but we have chosen to watch it to see if it is still growing, and if so, at what pace.  If I were younger,  and if the location were different, the approach may be different.  Two of the main concerns are total hearing loss and facial paralysis (it pushes against the facial nerve), and of course, if it is left completely untreated, it can cause death.  It does not grow into the brain, as a malignant tumor would.  As it grows, it pushes against the brain and brain stem.

It’s a rare condition, but I actually have two friends who have had this same thing.  Their tumors were larger, and they were younger, and they each had different treatments. Each one was left with problems resulting from the surgery…..facial paralysis, total hearing loss, epilepsy…..and have a lot of the same symptoms that I have which surgery and/or radiation didn’t eliminate.  My doctors want to wait to see if it is growing before making the decision to go in after it.  If I can learn to manage the symptoms I have, and it isn’t growing, my symptoms may never get worse…..but they won’t get any better.  If I have surgery and/or radiation, there is a risk that these symptoms may get worse.

I have had to do some soul searching throughout this.  I was very depressed at first.  I have had to count my blessings though. There was so much uncertainty before the diagnosis.  Was it MS?  Parkinsons?  Cancer? No, no, and no, and now I have an answer, even if it is scary.  I’ve done a lot of research, talked to my doctor, and also consulted with my friends who have been through this. I’ve decided I have to accept what I have in front of me, make adjustments to my lifestyle, position myself in places where I can hear, try to avoid loud noises (my principal will give me a heads up before those screeching fire alarms go off during drills…..that feels like being stabbed in the ear drum with an ice pick!), get up more slowly, don’t turn too fast, take aspirin for my headaches, be careful while walking or standing, especially in low lighting (the vertigo and balance problems are extreme for me in low lighting), fall asleep with the television or fan on to drown out the tinnitus, get plenty of rest, do more yoga, avoid stress, etc. etc. etc. I definitely don’t have time for anything petty, negative, or dramatic.  I’ve never liked those situations anyway, but now I have a legitimate reason to avoid it and brush it aside!  My health depends on it.

I have decided that if I am to completely come to terms with this, I need to make peace with it.  This is the best way for me to stay positive and be able to face it….as I always do…..with humor. The tumor needed a name.  I thought about Tammy, but since that is one of my sisters, I knew it wouldn’t go over very well (she agreed)! So I have named her Tina, and damn it, Tina and I will be friends, whether she likes it or not!  My children and Al make fun of me for my hearing loss, but that’s okay.  What I think I hear is usually way more entertaining than what they’re saying!  For instance, today at work, they announced that the latchkey program would be meeting in the “portable.”  Well, I heard “toilet bowl.”  What I heard was a lot funnier!!!!

I am so thankful to my children, Lily,  Evan, and Grace, who check on me regularly (even when Evan is in the middle of the ocean on his ship in the Navy, he checks on his mama), keeping my spirits up.  I am thankful to my doctors and modern medicine! I am thankful to my wide circle of friends from California, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, Florida Europe, and South America…….it makes me emotional thinking about how much support they’ve given me! I am thankful for my sisters, who keep me laughing with their quirky emails (I’m not the only quirky one), my cousin Danny (who happened to be the first person I told because he just happened to reach out to me after I got my diagnosis).  I’m thankful for my church family who has prayed for me, and has checked on me when we have been able to get there.  I’m thankful for my friends at work who have kept my “little” secret until I have been strong enough to talk about it, and have helped me. I’m thankful for my little dog, Andy, who snuggles with me, giving me comfort and kisses! And most of all, I am thankful for my dear sweet husband, Al.  I know that he is probably more worried and scared than he lets on.  But he is so strong for me.  I’ve lost count how many times I have fallen, and he patiently helps me back up, making sure I’m okay and steady on my feet before letting me go.  Falling like a two year old is very humbling!  Through my headaches, emotions, and all of the financial strain I’ve put on us with this…..he is my ROCK. We may have found each other late in life, but I know that I couldn’t go through this without him.  I don’t have my parents anymore, but I have some very good people in my life!  I am the luckiest girl in the world…….

Life is a party……face it head on, embrace it, and enjoy every minute of it!

Anger, Civil Rights, Fear, Peaceful Protests, Protests, Racism, Respect, Uncategorized

Fear and Sadness…….

Well, after the weekend’s events in Virginia, I really wanted to write about something positive, happy, and less upsetting……but my heart and mind keep going back to the news.

Angry alt-right protesters marched…..chanted…..and violence/terrorism ensued.  It breaks my heart, and makes me so incredibly angry and sad.  Those protesters, carrying Nazi swastikas, and chanting their hateful messages spit on the graves of every U.S. soldier that fought and died in WWI and WWII…..and every American who ever served this country, or currently serves this country, defending our freedoms.  My grandfathers, my father, my father in-law, my uncles, my cousins, my son…..

At this point, it isn’t about Democrat and Republican, or who you voted for.  I have friends who voted unlike me.  They had their reasons, and we didn’t agree, but that’s the beauty of America……even if we don’t like the outcome.  Even when we were in Europe earlier this summer, an American friend was shaking his head, wondering why his family in New York voted the way they did.  Right now……it doesn’t matter.  Right now…..it’s time to put a stop to the hate.  SPEAK UP!  Take a stand against bigotry.  We absolutely can NOT let this continue!

The truth is, the atmosphere in America right now is ugly, sad, and scary.  It seems that unrest, racism, and hatred comes in phases in our country.  I have a tendency to put on my Pollyanna personality, and try to see the good in everything, but right now, I’m angry! My parents (especially my father) were a little too close for comfort to it during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.  Actually, our country was built on violence and racism, but I believe that the Declaration of Independence and Amendments still support that “all men are created equal,” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and we need to respect that, and stand on that.  Our current administration seems to condone the hate.  I’m not a fan of his, and I don’t hide it, yet some people were more upset that President Obama wanted everyone to have healthcare……”It’s un-American,” as one of my friends stated.  Un-American?!?!  No, it wasn’t.  What is un-American is supporting white supremacy, and threatening the lives of those who are standing up for their rights or those of others.

I still believe that the majority of Americans are good people, and do not condone hate or violence.  Some will say that if you voted for the current president, then you condone the behavior of these individuals.  I disagree.  I may not agree with their decision to vote for him, and I can’t stand him, but that is/was their right, and they had their reasons, which was also their right. What upsets me the most about this is that the behavior of those idiots (yes, idiots…assholes…..jerks…..traitors…..terrorists) yesterday is condoned, while peaceful protests, such as someone “taking a knee” during the National Anthem, or peacefully marching in a Martin Luther King Jr. parade, or a women’s rights march, or a gay pride parade, are condemned, ridiculed, abused, or called “un-American.”

It all comes down to what I’ve written about before…..respect.  Those who marched yesterday disrespected the American public.  They disrespected our Constitution.  They disrespected every single individual who fought and/or died for the freedoms we enjoy today.  This is not Nazi-Germany (remember….they were the ENEMY….America fought and won that war!).  This is not the 1800’s or early 1900’s America where men hid behind their white hoods terrorizing African Americans.  I was raised in Kansas, once known as “Bleeding Kansas” because of the racial unrest in the 1800’s.  My father was raised in South Alabama.  My parents served a church in Southern Arkansas in the 1960’s, and I’m married to a bi-racial man, living in the South……I know a bit about racial issues.  As time goes on, you would think we could see the sins/mistakes of our past, and not repeat them.  Unfortunately, what I saw yesterday made me sick and ashamed.

I love my country.  I am as patriotic as they come.  I cry when I hear the National Anthem.  I love our diversity.  I love the freedoms we share in America….but I do NOT love hatred, bigotry, or anyone attempting to deny the rights of anyone else because of their race, religion, gender, political affiliation, etc.  As much as I miss my parents and grandparents, I am glad they are not here to see what is happening in our country today. It’s just too sad….and too scary.