Posted in Musings

Don’t Say Things Like That!


I saw something posted on social media today that said “Liberalism is a mental disorder” and it actually hurt my feelings.

NO, I am NOT a liberal, not do I have liberal-leaning ideology.

However…

I have some dear friends who are liberals, and they aren’t anything close to what you see on the news or social media. They don’t riot or hurt people or destroy property or set things on fire or anything of the sort. As a matter of fact, they have a lot of heart and a lot of love for people.

A lot.

Those people doing the rioting and dressing as women’s reproductive parts, the ones who have destroyed property and actually have gone so far as to hurt other people…THEY are the ones with a mental disorder, at least in my opinion. It is sad and hurtful to see.

You can’t just generalize people, no matter what your own opinions are.

Jesus died for everyone.

Posted in Musings

I Don’t Like February


It’s not often that I bear my heart. It’s not exactly “who I am” as a person. I’m quiet, I will never be accused of oversharing, though I do tell stories from time to time  🙂  but when things hurt, I put them in my emotional basement and leave them there.

I’m an introvert. I always have been, though there have been times I’ve hidden it better than others. I’m not really comfortable around new people if there’s a chance I’ll have to do very much talking and I’ll avoid large groups every chance I get. It’s not that I don’t want anything to do with people in general, it’s just that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix” kind of mentality.

But then there are those handful of precious few people who have dragged me from my shell, accepting nothing less than my being a part of their life. And I’m so thankful for the precious few of them. And they are all sisters to me, always have been always will be. I don’t even have the room to talk about each and every one, but THEY know who they are. They always have.

One of them, I met almost 15 years ago, a wonderful Christian woman from my own home state of Kentucky, back in the hills. We met online on a Christian women’s group, laughed that we had the same accent and God bonded us as sisters from that point on. As we got to know one another better, we found more and more things that we had in common and we wound up starting a Christian ministry online for women who had been through abuse. She taught me pray out loud and has stood with me when no one else would. I love her.

Another, a lady a bit younger than myself, I also met about 15 years ago. She was younger than me, was a single mom, and we met at a church where my husband and I were worship leaders at the time. I can’t even remember what pulled us together so strongly, other than God, but she was like a ray of sunshine in my life and still is to this day. She taught me many things, not the least of which being that we are mothers, we are daughters of God, and we are stronger than we feel most of the time. We’ve been together through thick and thin and time nor distance has ever separated us very long, even though she’s a globe-trotter. I love her.

Another lady, and another a little younger than I, I met at a grocery store I worked at, as she did too. It was a hard time in my life and I had determined not to get to close to anyone else, because as I had come to find out, that never ended well. She wouldn’t have it though. Her smile and her elusive, addictive love of life simply made me feel that she was someone who could be trusted, someone I could be friends with.

She was a hugger. I was not. I had to be for her though  🙂  And that was okay. Days turned into weeks turned into months and I was a hugger too, pretty much just for her, but a hugger I had become  🙂  We spent a lot of time together. She would come to my house and we would go places together and when she wasn’t around, I missed her like crazy.

She loved to sing, but it scared her something awful. I would get up to sing with her and she would hold on to my hand and stare right into my eyes while she sang, ever so softly. She was a great singer. She should have belted ’em out, but she didn’t. That wasn’t who she was. Oh, she would belt them out if it were just us and we were sitting in the living room or in her truck, but even though she was as outgoing as she was, singing in front of people still scared her. I thought it was adorable. And I relished all those times. More than she knew, I think.

She taught me that smiles don’t hurt, tears don’t last forever, and it’s okay to call people “puddin”. And I loved her. I still love her. I will always love her.

But…

Early in the second month of 2015, when everything was already cold anyway, her life was brought to a tragic and senseless end by a mentally unstable boyfriend. How do I know he was mentally unstable? Because he pointed a gun at her chest while she stood on his porch, and he ruthlessly shot her through the heart and ended one of the most beautiful lives that God had ever graced this earth with. A short while later, he shot and killed himself. Doesn’t that sound mentally unstable?

She was to turn 31 that November. She had two precious babies that were left behind, along with more people that loved and cherished her than I could possibly ever count. I know there are a lot of people that were much closer to her than I was: a mother, her children, her sisters and other family and friends… but she was a huge part of my life, my world that I let so few people into in the first place. I guess that’s what makes it so hard.

Some days I can think about her and laugh, remembering all the good times, the deep conversations and all the smiles, hugs and laughs that we shared. I think about the way I use to come into the store on my off days, when she was working, and I would slip her snacks as I went through her line. I think about her kids calling me down if I “talked mean” 🙂

Other days, I think about too many things I shouldn’t, and all the questions I will never have an answer to, and the pain seems almost too heavy. Sometimes, it’s almost like the grieving process starts all over, as I wonder why. So many times, the slightest thing will happen, and for a split second, the thought will flit across my mind, “Hey, she would LOVE that!” or “Wow, she HAS to hear this song, she’ll love it!” … and then I remember…

I miss her every day and I know I always will. She will be a part of my heart forever and she will most certainly NEVER be forgotten.

I love and miss you SO MUCH, JuLee…so much!

julee2julee

Posted in Musings, Uncategorized

Choose, This Day, Whom You Will Serve


As much as I try to shield myself from all the mess from news and media outlets, I have found it simply impossible so long as I am a part of social media of any type.

At one point, I was so disgusted that I deleted several of my accounts, only to find that I missed the good stuff as much as I hated the bad. Social media is a great way to keep in touch with distant family and friends, especially since I am somewhat hearing impaired and can’t use the phone as much as I used to.

So I came back, trying to make a concerted effort not to subscribe to anything that broadcast all of that stuff. But still, it can find its way back on my screen, even by those who are actually meaning well.

You might be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, let me give you a few examples of the stuff I have seen recently that simply turns my stomach…

Most recently, it was the young boy who was kidnapped and tortured by, I believe, four young people who not only put it on Facebook live, but were content to shout racial slurs and other demeaning things. It comes in as a second rate factor TO ME that race was apparently an issue for this group. I have never been one to see color, only another human that Jesus died for, same as the rest of us.

The young boy who was kidnapped was white, and the attackers were black, yet this particular incident has yet to be construed as a “hate crime”. I’m sure if the tables were turned, it would CERTAINLY be a hate crime, as shouting “F*** black people” is generally frowned upon by this society.

Was it considered a “payback” for something? Even if that is an excuse, it’s a very poor one in my opinion, as I highly doubt this boy did anything to deserve the caliber of treatment he received. No human should be put through that kind of treatment, at all, period, regardless of color or anything else. It is a downright shame that we have this level of human capability at all.

We are suppose to love one another! What happened to that? As far gone as the rest of the Christian ideology that seems to escape people these days, apparently. We have traded humanity for something else, and I’m not even sure that I want to be able to figure it out.

Another story that made social media news, though not nearly to the caliber of the other incident, is the fact that in France, all children with Down Syndrome have been banned from smiling and from appearing on public television. Now, I may have the story slightly off, as I’ve heard that they were banned from smiling anywhere in public, and then I’ve heard that it was only banned on television.

Either way, how have we reached a place where it is humanly acceptable to ban another human being from smiling?! Their reasoning? That it would make those who had aborted disabled “fetuses” feel bad, as if to say that if the child had been allowed to be born, it would have actually been human after all, with the ability to feel and function and – God forbid – even SMILE!

It absolutely hurts my heart to even talk about it, but I’m appalled at the fact that it hasn’t been already. At least, not that has come in front of my own eyes. Lord knows the media wouldn’t report on the stupidity and complete lack of any kind of values at all that it takes to put these situations into actual being.

Another little known story is the fact that it has been found that the flu vaccine can cause those who have received donor organs to reject the donor organ. I guess it’s common knowledge that for either donor or recipient, both have to be up to date on all vaccinations before the transplant can be done. However, even though there are scientific studies backing the danger of vaccines in such situations, they still demand the vaccines, nonetheless.

Does that make any sense to you? Ah, well, that IS an age-old debate, though, isn’t it? I digress from going any further with that.

So anyway, that’s my little piece for today. My prayer closet seems to stay busy these days, not only for myself and my family and friends, but for all those who are being harmed, degraded and murdered daily in the name of not casting offense.

I wonder what would happen if we turned the tables? What if, instead of passing around stories of injustice, sadness and despair, we passed around stories of good news, even the good news of the Gospel? What if we made a real effort to not put a stumbling block in anyone’s way, but rather chose to pay it forward with everything we do on social media?

Wouldn’t it do your heart good to see more of that?

Don’t get me wrong, I know that injustices will still go on. As long as there is breath on this earth, there will be evil people, doing evil things, even the Bible tells us that. But do we have to give these stories wings? I don’t. I won’t. I refuse to be a part of that system of thinking. It isn’t as if anything is going to change because it gets shared on social media. If nothing else, the election should have taught us that much!

Instead, I will go on sharing what I share and attempting to be kind to everyone that it is in my power to be kind to. Maybe at least one person will smile or know that they are loved and valued because of something I’ve said. That’s my prayer anyway.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Posted in Musings

The Winter Chill


We are in what feels like the throes of winter. The nights here have been in the single digit numbers for a couple of nights now and tonight we have a wind advisory. Winds will exceed 50 miles per hour, so I’d say the wind chill is really going to hit us hard tonight. I don’t mind too much, as we run a kerosene heater to keep our bedrooms nice and warm and leave the furnace to just help out as needed, which isn’t much, thank goodness.

All in all though, this winter hasn’t been too bad. We have been having dinner parties every couple of weeks or so, so that we and our friends would have something to do through the cold season. Being in a band, our friends are usually with us at every show, but as most of our shows are outdoor venues, we often don’t have a lot of bookings through the cold weather months. So we’ve been doing this instead.

And it has been awesome.

We have had friends come from out of state to drop by and jam with us, family has come by and spent lots of time, the kids have had their friends over and there’s always something for them to do. Our son, who recently started playing drums in addition to guitar, has really made some impressive changes on the kit and he’s gotten some great advice from the drummers who have been here.

I just feel so blessed to have everyone around, it’s just beyond words. And just when I thought that I had made all the friends in life that I was going to, along comes my cousin with his girlfriend, and I’m happy to say that I’ve added to those ranks. It’s been wonderful.

I guess this post has no real point other than to say that these get togethers are like the flower seed waiting for spring. There is still life to be had, even when things so bleak and cold. Just a little effort to put together a bit of entertainment for everyone has, I think, helped fend off the cabin fever for this year, all while excitement builds for the warmer weather, camping and fishing trips, horseback riding, bike rallies and so much more that we know are coming. We might not all be together for all of that, but at least we’ve had a great time so far this winter, a time when most everything comes to a halt.

I hope that everyone else is making through the weather as well. God Bless!

Posted in Musings

Happy New Year!


Well, the New Year has arrived and with it, a plethora of resolutions, possibilities and so much more! While I am not much on resolutions myself, I do have some plans that I intend to implement with the hopes that they will be prosperous for myself and my family.

As the old saying goes, “There’s nothin’ to it but to do it!”

So here goes nothing!

I am just two months away from having been a serious freelance writer for an entire year. Of course, my life has pretty much hinged on writing my whole life, however, last year I took the dive and quit my day job to give all my time to writing. I had other reasons for working from home as well, but overall, it’s been the most rewarding choice I’ve ever made. It has been so beneficial, across the board, that I could never go back to the way things were.

I guess the thing that has made the jump so much easier is the fact that my husband supports me 100%. It was a big worry of mine, and he had some serious doubts that it was a legitimate source of income, so embarking on the journey took a huge leap of faith. But it has been paying off. No, it didn’t make me an overnight financial success, and we still struggle from time to time, but that is a phase that every self employed person goes through, I’m sure. There ARE tough and lean times, but knowing that my husband is there to support and encourage me makes it so much easier. I thank God for him EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I hope that the New Year is packed full of hope and meaningful changes for every one of you. Remember that the Bible tells us, His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). So should you happen to stumble and fall short of your own goals, do NOT let that tear you down. Set more daily, short term goals than long term ones and you will find yourself to be much happier and much more successful for it.

And most of all, remember to be thankful to the One that brings you through it all  ❤   🙂

Posted in Musings

How I Came To Be All Out War


When I started this blog, it was during a time of severe turmoil in my life when I really didn’t think I could hold on much longer. If there WAS anything else that could go wrong, I knew that it probably would, but what I DIDN’T know was whether or not I could come through it with my sanity…

Or my life.

I intended to be completely anonymous and pour out my heart and soul, troubles and woes, the whole nine yards. Someone had given me the idea that since I was a writer, and had been pretty much all my life, that it would be a type of therapy for me. And so All Out War was born.

I’ve said it before, that I am a very private person. I do not put things “out there” for anyone to see, think about, process, hold over my head or try to use against me. Well, that’s what I tell myself. In reality, it may just be that I have trust issues. If there’s one thing that Daddy taught us growing up, it was “Never trust anyone. No one. Do that, and you won’t be hurt nearly as much”.

There’s a whole story in and of itself there, as my Daddy went through a lot of things in his life, the half of which I’ll never really know, I’m sure, as he and Mom were older when my little sister and I are born. He lost his own father when he was only thirteen years old and had to help move the body. There was much death in his life, most of it he witnessed far too close and far too painfully.

But Daddy is the strongest man I’ve ever known.

It may also be that I’m such a private person because I’m that type that not only carries my own hurt, but the hurt of others as well. While I may not cry as much as most people do, my heart breaks all the same. Many times I’ve sat, stony faced, in situations where my guts had been reduced to ashes and rubble. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to deal with some things a little better, and some things a little worse.

And that’s where All Out War was born. That place that said, “GET OUT!” to everything I’ve ever harbored that has ever killed me inside a little. All the things that I’ve ever tucked away in that “hurts too much to talk about” folder waaaaaaaay back in the back of my mind.

On the upside, though, I’ve already gotten out a lot more than I thought I would, in my own way. Even in vagueness there is a kind of solace that can bring a great deal of relief. And I’ve experienced it a time or two.

So. The is how I came to be All Out War. Where it goes from here, I’m not sure, but hopefully to a place of “normality” for a change. A place where I can move on and maybe even help others who have been where I have been. Isn’t that one of the things that God would have us to do with our valley’s and trials? To learn, thank Him for His grace in having seen us through it, and use it to help others? Surely those things we’ve gone through aren’t just for us, are they?

And maybe, THAT, is what it’s all about…being able to use the hurt, the trials, the heartaches, the “been there, done that” stories to keep someone else from having to wallow as long as we have? Maybe.

We’ll see…

Posted in Musings

When Your Angel is a Ghost


So… I’ve been trying for months now to write a post about something I thought I had gotten over, but really, I haven’t.

The death of my nephew.

As I type this, that particular post is up in a separate tab, typed to a certain point before I had to stop writing.

I always stop writing when the tears come. I never let myself cry. Not even when I’m alone. And it’s not just about him, I just don’t let myself cry at all anymore. Maybe because too much of it has gone on in the past, so much that I’m SO SICK and TIRED of hurting!!!!

On a side note, the last time I cried, I realized that my tears weren’t even salty. In a kind of morbid humor, I thought to myself that perhaps my body had been denied tears for so long they had forgotten how to BE tears. I know…it’s just the way I think sometimes…

After some recent events, which basically threw it in my face that maybe I hadn’t dealt with this appropriately, I had decided that I was GOING to write that post. As I said, I’ve been trying for months, maybe longer, to get it out. It needs to come out. At least, for me.

I know everyone has their own way of dealing with things like this, and I thought I had mine, but that little voice in my head finally asked me, “So, if you’ve dealt with it, how come it hurts so much that you don’t even want to talk about him or see pictures of him or anything?”

So I got up this morning with the sole intent of finally writing that post.

Until I got to the part that hurt…

That’s when my heart broke all over again, my eyes filled with tears all over again, and I pushed it away…all over again.

I’m closer than I was. That post has been started, it’s in my queue, and maybe I can add to it and finally finish it at some point. Will it help? I don’t know. And maybe that’s my worry, that I will have revisited all of that and still be in the same mental mud hole I’ve been in for ten years.

I don’t know.

How do you write about a hard thing like that? How do you deal with it when you haven’t let yourself deal with it for so very long?