Happy Memorial Day

Today is the day the United States of America celebrates Memorial Day. It is a day where we appreciate our freedoms while remembering those who have fallen, paying the ‘ultimate price’ for our freedom. My hubby and I celebrated the day by spending quiet time with some of our best friends, doing the things that most Americans do on this date – grilling burgers, laughing, and just having some great times together.

While driving home on this date, I noticed cars parked in lots where families are celebrating Memorial Day. That got me to thinking about Memorial Day, and the ‘celebration of life’ happening today in Charleston, SC.

Approximately two weeks ago, a brave 21-year-old soldier, Army Pvt. Cheziray Pressley, a resident of Charleston, paid that price in Afghanistan.  According to sources, he had been in Afghanistan only three days, and he had made the statement to a few relatives that he might not come back from Afghanistan.

When I heard the news of his loss, I placed a brief statement in the Mail Call newsletter I write for the local VFW.  Although I never had the honor to meet this bright young man, I have had him on my mind many times. Today was his funeral, held at the Charleston Area Convention Center, appropriately on Memorial Day — to honor our loss. To all of his family and friends, I would like to say thank you for rearing a young man who wore his uniform proudly and went to a war zone recognizing that he might not return. My heart aches for all of you, especially his precious daughter who will not have the ability or freedom to know the father Pvt. Pressley would become.

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially to a war, but freedom is not free. Sometimes we must pay the ‘ultimate price’ to have our freedoms. Many Americans take their freedom for granted, and on a date like Memorial Day we must take a moment to say thank you and to remember all the soldiers who we have loved and lost.

If you are a Veteran, as my husband is, I say thank you. I appreciate all that you endured just so I can dance my fingers across a keyboard and write what my heart possesses. Living with a veteran who has fought in a war zone is not easy. We the wives, friends, and relatives cannot understand what happened. Over the years I have learned not to ask, and I’ve learned to have patience whenever a slight look or word sends my husband into a rage. I have learned to turn and walk away – to give him his space so he may recognize the rage he blew into was not directed at me…it’s simply how he copes. Sometimes it is easy to walk away — other times, I’d like to retaliate — but that would only create a ‘war of the roses.’

My wish for all on this day is to take a moment to appreciate our veterans, and those we have lost. Let us not forget freedom is not free, and sometimes we must lose great people, just to be able to — F-R-E-E! Today we honor Pvt. Pressley on this Memorial Day. Thank you for your service. You will be missed.

Happy Memorial Day. Thank you all for your service and for our freedom!

Shhhh…It’s a Secret — Weight Watchers Works!

I confess, I’ve been a ‘naughty girl,’ – AGAIN! I’ve kept a secret to myself — only allowing those who are ‘the closest to me’ to know. I made this decision on March 3, 2011. At first, I would join ‘online’ – I didn’t want others to know and I was absolutely mortified about walking into a meeting that required me to weigh. Walking into the shop where Weight Watchers is located, I held my head low. I was afraid to let others see me, afraid they would scan their eyes over to see what I weighed when I plopped on the scales. Much to my surprise, when I weighed, I could not read the numbers. I took a deep breath of relief.

Today was the day — going to the weekly meeting for about the eighth, or perhaps ninth meeting, stepping on the scales, just to see IF there was a loss this week. I am happy to report a 1.2 lb. loss. What? Only 1.2??? Now, I have lost 13.6 pounds! Rejoice!

I confess, I lose weight extremely slowly, but today was a goal I reached, actually, I achieved that last week – just didn’t think about inquiring about a small 5% loss. My first week was ridiculous — 0.6 of a pound. Were they kidding? What’s the point of doing this??? I turned to walk out of the meeting — only to hear a voice inside my head scolding me — telling me to get my butt into the meeting room — and stay! Stay! Stay! Listen to what is being said. Shared. Stay. All of these people were in your shoes at one time!

It’s a good thing I listen to those voices inside my head!!!

Today, I chatted with a group of women I am getting to know thru Weight Watchers. Not bad, considering when I walked in to join, I held my head low and didn’t speak to anyone. Now, I am a Chatty Cathy, ready, willing and able to share my little goals (and slight weight gains) with others. Did you notice I did not say “Failures.” I do not consider a slight weight gain a failure, only another challenge to get moving again!

And so I will continue my goals to achieve the weight loss, and to KEEP IT OFF! Joining Weight Watchers has given me a new outlook on myself, the foods, fruits, vegetables and Power points I consume along with a brand new attitude about life! I am proud that I am losing weight, and I am thrilled that it is beginning to show!!! As I’ve stated in the meetings, this is my commitment to myself. This I do for ME!

Thanks, Weight Watchers for giving me “A new attitude!” This I do for NO ONE, BUT ME!!!!!!!

Now that I am a determined member, I will keep you abreast of my accomplishments and setbacks. This week should’ve been a bad setback — starting on Monday with my husband’s ‘minor surgical procedure’ that turned into his admittance into the hospital and so much stress for me that I thought I wanted to scream. Fortunately, I did not pig out or eat anything that I shouldn’t eat. I remained strong, accomplishing a small weight loss, but one thing I’ve learned from Weight Watchers meetings — a small weight loss is a loss! An accomplishment to seek my dreams, and I definitely am described as a dream seeker, and perhaps other descriptions I will keep only to myself!

Stay tuned on Thursday’s for more details…and if you know me…stay tuned for a dynamic change in my image! After all, I am A W-O-M-A-N! Hear me roar! You just wait!!! I will continue the 5K walks, the exercise and the healthy eating! Hear me ROAR, and ROAR and ROAR. I’m a Woman…W-O-M-A-N!  I’ll say it again…and again… AND AGAIN!

And This is Why I Write

Yes, I know — if you’ve visited my blog for a posting within the past two weeks, you were a bit disappointed due to nothing new. For that I apologize. Two weeks ago I was in Cleveland, OH. Returning home late Friday night, I left again on Wednesday, driving to Columbia, SC where we (the writers and meeting planners in attendance) had a whirlwind tour of our great capital city. Stay tuned for those stories — after I recoup a bit and get my house cleaned again.

Sometimes life does make demands and I so enjoy meeting those demands. When I started this blog, I shared plans of how a writer begins this journey as a writer. I suppose you could say, I started my journey in third grade of elementary school, writing a story titled, “My Visit to Saturn.” My dad loved the story so much, he managed to get the original story from the teacher, type it, and sent to magazines. Eureka! At the age of eight-years-old, I was a published writer. Somehow the published copy got destroyed, but the original handwritten story, scribbled in an eight-years-of-age handwriting is still in my dad’s precious scrapbooks.

How I cherish that story. Later, in high school I wrote many things – some were assignments that teachers loved so much, they read them to the class. My class members cast me looks of hatred, while I beamed like a lightbulb. Imagine me — a mill kid – receiving such recognition.

Flash forward to many years of marriage, a bit of unhappiness and depression. One day in the early 1980’s I was filled with such gloom I contemplated doing something desperate; instead, I picked up pen and paper and began to write my thoughts. I am pleased to say, those thoughts have never been published; nevertheless, they served as a guideline for me to do something with my life. And so, I write.

In college, I had a great English teacher who told me writers hate to write. I disagreed with him, at the time. Now, that I am a writer, I have discovered how true his words were.  What? You say? Writers hate to write???!!!

That is so true. When the words flow, we enjoy our work. Occasionally, we will re-read the work and recognize it is a product of our research, our paths, our journeys, along with the characters we meet. When a writer is forced to sit at the work chair, staring at a screen, a hard copy, or scribbled notations, we actually do hate to write. When that happens to me, I attempt to do something different. I’ll read. Sing. Dance. And sometimes I actually want to scream. Instead, I grab three leashes and walk with my dogs. Nothing inspires me more than to take a leisurely walk with my dogs, to listen to the sounds of nature, the scents of fresh raindrops, dew drops, Southern Jasmine, Magnolias, and the iridescent smell of Mimosa trees, or Gardenias and roses. How I love when I see my neighbors working in the gardens or sitting on the porch. Occasionally we only wave. Other times, we stop to chat a bit. When I walk with my precious pups, my mind starts to work again, and if I am able to break thru the blockage of a writer’s mind, I’ll grab my Blackberry and send an e-mail to myself with the thoughts, storylines or plots, and perhaps a few characters I’ve met, or created on my journey.

Life is filled with stories and characters and I am blessed to know only  a few. This is why I write. To share life, experience, pain and heartache and happiness.

More later about writing, but for now, just know I am back!

What Defines a Mother

Today is a special day for family, friends and extended family members. Today, in America, we celebrate our mothers.  Motherhood is something precious to behold. We are not educated as children, or young mothers-to-be on the subject of what defines a mother. Many people think simply giving birth defines us as mothers. Hardly.

Becoming a mother, teaching our children and watching them grow up to be responsible, kind and loving people helps us to serve as mothers.  I recall the day I became a mother, holding that precious little bundle in my arms, checking all of his fingers and toes, and glancing over him, while admiring this precious child my husband and I had created – words cannot describe how I felt.  Before long, or as I describe, in the blink of an eye, off he went — grown and ready to conquer the world on his own. I prayed that I had taught my son well. Today, he appears happy and proud of who, and what, he is, along with his accomplishments. So, I suppose, as a mother, I did my job; nevertheless; I wanted to do more than my job because never did I consider motherhood a job.

Daily it seems we hear stories about mothers ‘leaving their children in hot cars,’ or shaking their babies, just to hush them. Do these actions define motherhood? I think not.

All of us have our own definition of what defines a mother, and I will add my own thoughts to my definition. A mother is not necessarily biological. A mother teaches her child to grow with love and affection and appreciation to others. We teach values, respect and so much more.

On this day, I’d like to wish all of you — Mothers — a happy and joyous day, filled with pride and love for those you have loved, reared and taught the values, morals, and ethics of what it takes to become a good citizen and a great person. Let us not teach hatred. Let us not teach bigotry. Let us not teach abuse. Let us all teach the golden rules of life. Happy Mothers Day, with L-O-V-E.