Sears Continues To Call — Renewal of Warranty???

Dearest Readers:

Those of you who read my posts on a regular basis will recall the saga of my Sears issues…remember the issues I had with getting my washing machine repaired. It took over three weeks — almost two weeks JUST to get a technician out to check it to determine I needed a computer board….and then, it took over one week to get the part sent to us for the repair. What a joyous three weeks that was!

Moving on…Sears phoned me moments ago. This is at least the third time someone has called to remind me I need to purchase a new warranty for my refrigerator.

DUH!?! I asked the kind telemarketer on the phone what type of IDIOT would I be to purchase a new warranty when it takes Sears over three weeks to repair something? My Julia Sugarbaker demeanor kicked in… I reminded her that IF my refrigerator died, I would probably be told it will be ‘three weeks before we can schedule a technician to check your appliance…– due to the holidays????” That seems to be the apparently scripted response when I call the toll-free number to schedule repairs. I’ve had this history with Sears from the beginning – I’m thinking it could be about two years ago when I first used the Sears appliance repair center.

I thanked the kind lady for calling but I told her I would be a complete and total idiot to agree to buy another warranty from Sears.

Can’t help being curious WHEN they will phone me again.

“Yes…this is Julia Sugarbaker styled “Barbie” and I am so not interested in any warranties from Sears. I’ll take my chances. Besides, I can’t help being a bit curious — IF it takes three weeks to get service on a washing machine, TWICE — just HOW long would it take to get service for a refrigerator. I imagine the entire fridge would smell oh so delightful by the time they arrived. Now I ask you, Sears — why would I be so stupid as to spend my hard-earned money to waste it on Sears Warranties!”

To quote Julia Sugarbaker — I DON’T THINK SO!

Domestic Violence in South Carolina…Will It EVER END???

Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, I posted a story related to the book I am working on: “Chattahoochee Child.” The post I published yesterday was written months ago, revised a bit yesterday and published. I suppose the articles I am reading lately, a series from the Post and Courier newspaper titled, “Till Death Do Us Part,” has really hit home with me. Why? Simple. My mother was a victim, along with my father. For years, I watched both of them brutalizing each other…sometimes with their fists, slaps, and most especially, with their toxic tongues. As the second born child, I stood up to them…unafraid of another slap. I said to myself, “So what if Mommy or Daddy slaps me…it isn’t the first time.”

Yes, it is true….I grew up in a household where slaps, angry words, and volatile tempers ruled the nest. Instead of praise, we learned at an early age that violence makes a statement. For me, the violence left me cold and alone. There were many times I hovered inside my closet. I covered myself with clothing so no one could find me. When thunder roared from the heavens, I screamed. When lightning flashed, I curled my body tightly into a fetal position, comforting myself because I was so afraid. Never did I share my fears with anyone. After all, the domestic violence brewing inside our home was a ‘family matter.’ No one else wanted to get involved, and so, I remained in the closet. Alone. Afraid. Horrified, especially when I listened to the shouting voices of my mother and father.

When I started dating, I apologized to my boyfriends…if I was late…if I was too quiet…If I didn’t please the boyfriend. I suppose I had stars in my eyes, wanting to please everyone. I am happy to say, I no longer behave in such a manner. Years later, married for fourteen years, I learned to stand up for myself during a fight with my husband. After he used abusive language, calling me disrespectful names I shall not repeat, I turned towards him…tears dancing inside my eyes, I said, “If you really loved me, you would not disrespect me in such a way. I’m tired of you belittling me. Stop it now!”

Dumbfounded, my husband glared at me, then he did something totally out of character. He apologized?!?

I suppose our marriage took a turn for the better on that date, after I finally found the strength to stand tall and not take his verbal abuse any longer. For years, I was blind-sighted to his verbal abuse. After all, when a child grows up with criticism and abuse, that is the only behaviors she expects as an adult.

Today, our marriage is better…stronger…and when the fits of PTSD escape from my husband’s body language and lips, I find myself speaking a little softer…and much wiser, telling him he needs to apologize to me because I am a worthy, decent and special person. I deserve better. I surprise myself at times — by the courage I have now to stand up and become an advocate for domestic violence…domestic abuse…and verbal abuse. I am so proud that I chose to turn my back on domestic violence and child abuse and not repeat that vicious cycle.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or verbal abuse, please — PLEASE find a way to escape. Read the articles on the website,, a series of seven articles worthy of your time. If you are dating someone who is cruel to you, contact – or call 1-866-331-9474, text – “loveis” to 22522.

For women, I found this site — — call 1-800-abuse95. Hopefully, if you are a victim, you will have family or friends to turn to. That isn’t always the case. As an advocate against domestic abuse of any type, there have been several times I came to the rescue of a victim. On one occasion, the abuser threatened to hit me, if I didn’t shut my mouth. I moved closer to him, daring him to hit me! Much to my surprise “Brutus” turned away, stopping the abuse. Later, this couple divorced.

I suppose these articles touched me in ways I never anticipated. Perhaps bringing back the memories of how I stood between my parents — serving as their referee from the age of five-years-old until I was fifteen. Yes, it is easier to lock those memories away, but I cannot. I have too much passion to do what I can to stop domestic violence…domestic abuse…or whatever titles the ‘good ole boys’ call it. I do not believe that a woman belongs in the home, or two steps behind a man, and I do not believe that a woman is a man’s property. I detest those types of comments and when I hear them — let’s just say — my Julia Sugarbaker charisma kicks in. Just the other evening someone said something demeaning about women and when I heard it — I stood my ground and let him have it! He called me a feminist. I replied, “Yes…thank you for the compliment. I am a feminist and I am proud to stand tall as a feminist. Any questions?”

Please, if you know someone who is dying inside from domestic violence…do not turn away. Encourage them to get help. If you live in South Carolina — well, let’s just say — our state is still behind the times…antiquated. Let us make some noise to get our legislators to awaken — to end domestic violence…Welcome to the State of South Carolina — Number One in Domestic Violence. My…ain’t we proud?!?

Please love yourself by remembering — to love — you must first love yourself!

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
(New King James Version)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.


Dearest Readers:

Today, while finally gluing my butt to the chair, I am writing again. Today, I would like to share the latest Excerpt from “Chattahoochee Child.”

I hope you will enjoy!


Domestic Violence…Domestic Abuse… Regardless what it is called, it is truly a vicious monster. A wild, destructive monster that roars with such anger and turbulence I vowed never to allow it to knock at my door as a grown up. There were times I felt domestic violence knocking at my door, especially whenever Garrett felt threatened by his green-eyed monster of jealousy. At times I was horrified of my husband, especially on one occasion when we were fighting most of the day. He was in one of his PTSD rages, shouting at me, raising his fist, threatening, and when his anger got the best of him, he thrust his fist through the doorway of the hall. I jumped back.

“Was that directed at me?” I asked him.

He smirked. “No. I’d never hit you.”

I raised a manicured finger at him. “If you ever hit me, our marriage will end. IMMEDIATELY. Domestic violence is something I will never forgive.”

Garrett rubbed his fist. “Whatever,” he said, walking away.

In my marriage I was blind sighted to domestic violence. I made excuses. Always forgiving Garrett’s jealous rages, I tolerated his verbal abuse. Excusing his quick, hot temper as another rage from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I apologized for making him angry. Whenever men looked my way, I quickly glanced away. I did not want Garrett to lose his temper, or to shout at me. I closed myself inside my home, afraid that if he called and I wasn’t home, he would retaliate with another shouting match.
Domestic violence I knew much about as a child, although at the time it did not have the title of domestic abuse or violence. It was labeled a “family matter…” Shunned…Never mentioned. Ignored! As a married woman, never did I consider that my husband might become violent, and on the day that he thrust his fist through the door, I felt the fear that a victim of domestic violence fears and I promised myself that I would not become the next victim.

At the age of five-years-old, I saw domestic violence for the first time. My mother was outside, gossiping with neighborhood women at Joel Chandler Harris Homes in Atlanta, Georgia. I was inside our apartment playing with my doll babies when I heard my daddy shouting, calling in a harsh voice for my mother. I screamed at him, “Daddy, she’s outside talking to the neighbors.”

“Go get her.” My daddy demanded.

I rushed outside. “Mommy. Daddy wants you inside.”

My mother laughed. “He can come get me,” she said. One of the five women she was gossiping with snickered. “Guess you better get inside. Gotta keep the ruler of the house happy!” All of the women roared in unison.

Living in a housing project, the women were not exactly the Donna Reed style of women, dressed in fine clothing and high heels. My mother wore bed room slippers and a dirty house coat. No makeup or lipstick. Two of the women were dressed in raggedy jeans and T-shirts. Their hair was messy and they smelled like a dirty ashtray. I decided on that date that I would always do my best to look my best – to groom myself like a woman and wear makeup and have my hair styled. Never did I want to be ‘frumpy’ or a plain Jane.

“Mommy,” I said, my voice rising a bit. “Daddy’s gonna get angry.”

The back door closed. My daddy rushed outside, waving his fist, shouting.

“Sa-rah!” He roared. “You get in here now.”

My mother did not move. Daddy rushed to her, grabbing her arm. She pushed away from him and he shoved her, knocking her to the ground where she hit her forehead on the concrete curb. The metal trash cans by her fell over. I saw blood on my mother’s forehead. Daddy grabbed her arm. “You get up…Now.” He barked.

My mother struggled to get up. I reached to help her. I touched her forehead. “Are you, Ok, Mommy?”
I stood between my parents, my arms crossed tightly in front of me, daring my daddy to reach for her again. “Daddy, don’t you ever do that again!”

My mother glared at me. “Hush, child.”

Daddy stomped back inside. Never did he show any concern for my mother. Mommy followed. The women standing nearby snickered amongst themselves and I realized I was the only one who came to my mother’s rescue. No one cared. Domestic violence was a family matter at that time. Everyone looked away, with exception of me.

One of the women turned to move away, whispering something about a family matter while blowing smoke from her mouth. I didn’t understand her words, but I did know I didn’t like any of these shabbily dressed women, and I hoped that woman would choke on her cigarette smoke. I wanted to shout at them, asking why they didn’t help my mama. After all, I was a small child. Too young to help, too young to have any rights or say-so. I decided these women were nothing but trouble! ‘Poor white trash,’ I thought to myself…’Nothing but white trash!’ I followed the blood trail from my mother’s forehead back to our apartment.

After Mommy got inside, I got her a cold washcloth, placing it on her forehead.

She rested on the tattered sofa of our apartment, blood still pouring from her forehead. I brought her another washcloth.

“Get me a butter knife,” my mama screamed. I rushed to the kitchen. She placed the blade of the butter knife on her forehead.

“Don’t cut yourself, Mama. Please. You’re still bleeding.”

“The butter knife will make the swelling go away.”

That night when I said my nightly prayers, I prayed that my mama would be all right, and I ask God to make my dad stop hitting and knocking my mother around. After my prayers, I made a promise to myself that I would never allow any man to ever hit me, or knock me down, like my daddy knocked my mother down. At the age of five-years-old, I became the referee to my parents.

Ten years later, I served as the referee for the final time… Arriving home from Russell High School in Atlanta, I rushed inside; anxious to tell my parents I had the lead in a play at school. I knocked on my parent’s door. No answer. I rushed to my room, but something inside my head encouraged me to go back to my parent’s door. I knocked again. I heard the shuffling of feet, and a slap. I opened the door. My mother was standing hunched over, blue in the face, gasping for breath. A hand print was on the side of her face.

“What’s going on in here?” I asked. My mother was getting weaker. I rushed to her side. My dad stood by the bed, cursing and throwing mail at me.

“She’s made all these damned bills. They’re garnishing my wages. I can’t afford this. To Hell with her.”

Moving my mother to a chair, I sat her down and moved closer to my dad. “Don’t you ever hit her again? Do you hear me, Dad? I’ve watched you over and over again hitting my mother, and I’ve watched her hitting you, but this has got to stop! One of you needs to leave this house and marriage. One of you needs to leave before someone gets killed.”

The next day, my dad moved out. My mother told me that from this day forward, I did not have a daddy and I was never to speak about him again. I ignored her. She said my dad was divorcing her and it was my fault. I caused the break-up of my parent’s marriage.

Years later, I became an advocate for domestic violence. I was thankful when laws against domestic violence became a crime and I was thankful that I did not have to be the referee between my parents anymore. In their later years, I became their caregiver, serving as a parent to my abusive, cruel parents.

After their divorce, my dad became a new man. Kinder. Happier. Religious and gentle. I received birthday gifts on birthdays and Dad and I bonded as a father and daughter. Never did we discuss domestic abuse. We focused on happy times. The birth of my child. The home Garrett and I bought in South Carolina. Our strong, happy relationship as father and daughter. Before his death in 1999, we were closer than ever. Dad was fun to be around. Never did he show any anger or hostility at my mother. Reborn inside the body and mind of my father was a man easy to love. So different. So kind. So caring.

My mother? Slowly, she became outraged. Violent. Bi-polar. She died a questionable death after suffering a stroke. The one concern from my youngest sister on the day after her death was, and I quote, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”

My youngest sister spent the night at the hospital with our mother on the night of her death. Suppose I’ll let this story decide if an autopsy was necessary, although I suspect an autopsy should’ve been completed – to discover the true reason our mother happened to die on the one and only night my youngest sister chose to spend the night at the hospital. Interesting?

And so – now I am developing the poignant story of “Chattahoochee Child.”

World War II Ship to Visit Decatur, Alabama

CONTACT: Melinda Dunn, President & CEO
Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau
PHONE: 256.350.2028, 800.524.6181

World War II Ship to Visit Decatur, Alabama
The USS LST 325 Ship Museum to be open for tours September 4-9 at Ingalls Harbor.

Decatur, Ala. (August 18, 2014) – A 328 feet long piece of American history will be docked at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Alabama and will be available for public tours. The USS LST 325 is a World War II vessel that was part of the D-Day Invasion at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. This ship is one of the last of her kind and is the only working LST in the United States. The ship is now operated as a floating museum that sails to inland river cities each year as part of its mission statement to educate the public. By giving tours, the crew will educate everyone, young and old, as to the role these ships have played in our wars and honor those who built, sailed and served on these ships.

The USS LST 325 will arrive in Decatur on Wednesday, September 3 and will open for tours on Thursday, September 4 through Tuesday, September 9, 2014. Tours will take place from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-17 and free for children ages 5 and under. A $20 family pass is also available for 2 adults and 2 minor children. Tours last approximately an hour. Group tour prices are also available and must be scheduled in advance through the Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ten or more adults in a group will qualify for a rate of $8 per person. A rate of $3 per student will be given to groups of ten or more minors. (For every 10 students, 1 adult is admitted free.) For more information about the ship or to schedule group tours contact the Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 256-350-2028 or 800-524-6181.

Carrying 20 Sherman tanks in their giant holds, the LST (Landing Ship Tank) was developed during World War II to land vehicles and personnel directly onto enemy shores. On the main deck they could also carry 30-40 trucks, tons of fuels, ammunition or supplies and soldiers.
The USS LST 325 participated in the invasion and occupation of Sicily on July 10, 1943 (Operation HUSKY); Salerno, September 3, 1943; and the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944 under the command of Captain Clifford E. Mosier. Between June 1944 and April 1945, the LST 325 made 44 trips between England and France to aid in the delivery of supplies to Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and the City of Rouen on the Seine River, earning 2 Battle Stars for her effort.
The use of LST’s continued through the Korean and Vietnam War due to the ship’s ability to navigate shallow waters. Through the years, the USS LST 325 has had a fascinating record of service and in 2000, she was acquired by the USS LST 325 Ship Memorial, Inc. through an act of Congress.

The National LST Association has over 5,000 members and the USS LST Ship Memorial Inc. has 2,000 members whose goal is to be able to sail the ship under its own power—up the inland rivers and along the coasts, allowing all to set foot on her decks and to provide a learning experience. The mission is to educate everyone about the role the LST played to keep America free and provide an opportunity for veterans to show their family and friends the ships on which they served. The ship also helps to preserve the memory of the men and women who built them and the men who served and died on them.

To learn more about the USS LST 325’s history, visit

For more information on the upcoming visit, call Melinda Dunn of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 256.350.2028.

About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)
The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County. For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028; or visit its website at


To Honor Robin Williams

Dearest Readers:

Early last night while checking my phone I received a news alert — Robin Williams is Dead. “Oh my God…No…the man was brilliant. What happened?”

As I read the news blurb, I could not believe that such a brilliant, gifted talent — the guy who made me laugh, cry and feel so many protected emotions reportedly had taken his own life. Why? I ask…over and over again.

Robin Williams and I have something in common — DEPRESSION. Robin Williams fought the demons of depression, alcoholism and drug abuse while starring in many movies that made us laugh, cry, and ask probing questions. He was a gifted man who could ad-lib hysterical quotes that left me wiping my face while watching and listening to him. One of my favorite movies starring Robin Williams was “Awakenings.” He was brilliant in every movie he starred in. This morning, as I write this post, I feel such a loss. Never will I laugh at him in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” — all I can do now is cry when I watch his movies because I understand what depression does to us.

But what is depression? An estimated 19 million people suffer with depression, according to the website, WebMd.

I could list many of the symptoms of depression here, according to the website; however, because I battle depression, I have experienced many of these symptoms, including the inability to sleep, lack of confidence, sudden, debilitating sadness, tears, unhappiness…anger. Depression is genetic for me. My mother suffered with depression, making her develop into an angry, miserable woman. She died alone, without any friends. I watched her as the demons of depression slowly took over her ability to laugh or enjoy life. All that was left of her before a stroke was an agitated, angry, bitter woman with a spiteful, poisonous tongue that could almost chew me up and spit me out. In 1988, I chose to break away from her after she emotionally abused me for the final time. I walked away without looking back as hot tears gushed from my eyes. I still loved my mother. Isn’t that what a child is supposed to do — to love our parents, regardless of how they treat us? That week, I went to my family doctor asking for help. I was horrified that I might become like my mother. I did not want depression to destroy me.

I have spoken about depression in my posts previously, and when I published my book “Condition of Limbo,” I discussed how difficult depression was for me during my father’s terminal illness. Depression isn’t something easy to write about. People do not understand it. They laugh or joke about depression, saying cruel things such as ‘she’s mentally ill,’ or ‘she’s just not right…’ Friendships are broken and you suddenly see yourself standing alone. Why? Simple. People do not care or maybe they are afraid that if they get too close to the person who is depressed, they might ‘catch it.’

I battle depression daily; however, I have found ways to get me going again. When I feel the depression wrapping me in its destructive, demon crushing arms, I thrust my hands out, as if I am brushing the depression away. I find myself forcing myself to either take a walk, to enjoy the freshness of warm, coastal air, or I step onto the treadmill and walk briskly for 60 minutes. I remind myself that if I work out and walk towards depression, I can survive.

Never have I been tempted to take my life due to depression. Yes, I have experienced many tears, and I have battled days of simply turning off the lights, pulling the shades, ignoring the phone or door bell, and closing myself away in my home. Fortunately, I have a wonderful doctor I can talk to. He understands and listens to me. For two years, I went to a therapist, sharing my most compelling thoughts and childhood experiences with her. She taught me how to confront my demons and I am a much stronger woman for sharing depression with her and my medical doctor.

Maybe it is true that only someone who suffers with depression can understand it. How I wish Robin Williams found a way to work through whatever pain he was enduring when he chose to end his life. Isn’t it strange that those of us who loved his talent, those of us who watched him on-screen and in person, really thought he had his life together. After all, he was a brilliant actor who could laugh or cry, right on cue. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed. I doubt another comedian or actor will ever equal Robin Williams. Rest in peace, Robin. The world will miss you so much, but your legend will continue — in all the characters you truly brought to life. Today, I plan to watch “The Birdcage” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Awakenings,” while the tears of depression wash away — for one more day.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams!

Give Me Wings to Fly…

Today appeared to be a good day. After paying the monthly bills, I settled down, thankful that life was going my way – finally. I looked up to the blue skies, whispering a silent prayer to God, thankful that I could pay the monthly bills and still have a bit left over, just in the event some emergency occurred. The sun was shining bright now. Glittering colors of sky blue, radiant shadows from the sunlight kissed the trees. I sighed, so thankful for the beauty of earth. No more thick black clouds of self-doubt…Pain…Hurt…Depression. This will be a good day, I whispered. That is, until I opened the laundry room door. Sorting the clothing, I stashed the first load of colorfast in the washer, placing other stacks in the hamper so I could accomplish the laundry. I punched the button of the Kenmore front loading machine. No power. Nothing. Checking the fuse box, I flipped switches. Nothing. I phoned Garrett, feeling totally helpless – again. Depending on others is something extremely hard for me. Garrett listened to me and when I started to cry, he reassured me he would get the washer to work.

“Don’t worry, babe. It’s nothing to cry about.”

How could I expect him to understand? Garrett was an uncompromising, capricious demeanor of a man. A Vietnam Veteran who saw the scars, pain, blood and agony of war. He knew the smell of death, decaying bodies lying along the roads. Vultures flying overhead, landing on the fading, deteriorating bodies, attacking, probing and eating away at the decomposing bodies while the sounds of mortars rang overhead. “It don’t mean nothing,” Garrett said repeatedly, reminding him that war is hell and nothing can change it. “It don’t MEAN NOTHING!’ Rarely did something affect him. When his father died, never did he shed a tear. When our son cried, Garrett scolded him. “Real men don’t cry,” he said. Perhaps his attitude was due to his military and combat training. Crying for Garrett was a weakness. Every time I cried around him he rolled his eyes upward, shaking his head, whispering, “It don’t mean nothing!”

Hot tears spilled down my face. I inhaled. Exhaled. Why am I so teary eyed today? What is wrong with me? Opening my appointment calendar I realized in less than ten days would be the anniversary of the loss of my dad.

Dad died July 6, 1999. “The grief should be gone,” I said, tapping my face to wipe the tears away. The memory of his passing was rooted forever inside my brain. I shouldn’t need him so much, but I do. I should be adjusted to his loss. I miss my dad. I miss his laughter and harmonizing gospel songs with him. I missed his hugs, and his reassuring voice. “Make it a good day,” his voice chimed rhythmically when I was nearby. His smile was contagious. I rubbed my neck. Inhaled. Exhaled. My dad made his life completely different after my parents’ divorce. Peaceful. No hostility. No temper tantrums. No one who knew him before his illness could imagine that once he was physically cruel to my mother, knocking her to the ground during a fight. I was amazed at his change, and so proud to call him, Dad.
There was much to do around the house. Depression left me so exhausted, when I made the attempt to clean the house; I forgot to wash the baseboards and the corners of the floors. That can wait until later, I thought. I’m too tired today.

Glancing at the corners of the bathroom floors I promised myself I would scrub them later. After all, no one sees the house, with exception of the dogs.

As hard as I tried to understand my depression, I couldn’t, until I glanced at the calendar. In exactly ten days I would reminisce about the death of my dad. Still, it seemed like yesterday. How long does one grieve, I asked myself, wiping fresh tears from my face.

Gathering my mop and cleaning materials, I scrubbed the corners of the bathroom floors and the base boards. I suddenly realized I wasn’t cleaning the dirt away. I was struggling to scrub away depression. Grief. Sadness. Heart-breaking wretchedness.

Just how long does one grieve over such a loss? I had no answers, but today was a day I could not fight it, so I gave in to it while cleaning and scrubbing the floors.

Grief was introduced to me as a young, innocent girl. During my junior year of high school, I received a nice letter from someone named Benjamin. I read his letter with interest. He seemed to be so charming. Intelligent. Funny. His letter made me laugh. He was stationed in California, in the Navy. My cousin, Donald, was his best buddy. One night while drinking, Donald showed Benjamin my photograph, giving him my address. Donald knew I loved to write letters, so he thought we could become pen pals. Benjamin’s letter was filled with compliments about me, leaving me to be ever so curious about his sincerity. I wrote him a letter, mailing it the next morning on my way to school, hopeful he would write again. What began as an innocent pen pal relationship developed quickly. That summer, Benjamin flew to Columbus to meet me. My heart danced inside my chest, in anticipation of meeting Benjamin. Doubts gnawed inside my stomach. What would happen if he didn’t like me, or think I was pretty? Was I deserving? A young, unsophisticated girl from a textile mill village, without any future plans? All I possessed were the dreams I cherished inside my heart. Dreams about singing and acting and becoming famous. I wrote about these dreams in my journals. When my mother found them underneath my mattress, she read them and laughed, telling me I’d never amount to anything.

My fears subsided when he arrived. I recognized him immediately and rushed into his arms. He lifted me tightly, spinning me around like I was a feather and I laughed with delight. Then, his lips met mine in our first kiss. The warmth of his mouth searching and probing inside of my mouth tasted delicious. This was Love. Finally, I had found someone to love me. Finally I could tell my mother she was mistaken. I was a lovable person. I was more than my mother’s piece of trash. I was someone warm, exciting and deserving of love.

During my senior year of high school, I was filled with happiness. Letters from Benjamin arrived almost daily. Every Sunday evening we talked on the phone. We were engaged, planning for our future together as husband and wife. My new life, filled with love and happiness, was about to begin.
I met Benjamin’s parents at Christmastime. His mother embraced me with love and acceptance. We discussed our wedding and marriage. That Christmas in New England was the most commemorative holiday I had ever experienced in my young lifetime. We were scheduled to ring in the New Year together in New England. Early one morning, my mother changed our plans and we left, without an explanation. My mother was in one of her moods. When I inquired as to why we were leaving now, she balled a fist at me. Her demeanor was malicious. She belittled Benjamin and his family, telling me I did not belong with them. I kissed Benjamin goodbye, praying that my mother’s behavior would not influence our future. Leaving New England, I cried on the plane, and when I arrived home, I cried into my pillows. Something was different. Something was missing, so I cried…and cried…and cried…just like I was crying now – over grief. One month later, I received a letter from Benjamin, ending our relationship. The distance between us was a deciding factor, he wrote. I read the letter over and over again, realizing my mother’s words of my not deserving of Benjamin’s love were so true. We were from different worlds – a naïve mill kid and a sophisticated, handsome military guy did not mix. Like oil and water, we could not make a life together.

Funny. I hadn’t really thought about Benjamin in years. Life had a way of keeping me so busy I didn’t have the time to allow emotions to crawl and brew inside of me, but today was different. Tears were pouring down my face, like an endless waterfall.

Once I had loved Benjamin so much I thought I could not breathe without him. Yet, after we broke up, I realized life still existed. Every morning, I awoke to a new day, only this was another day without my future – Benjamin. My mother laughed at me, telling me I was such a fool for loving a man. “No one should give her heart to a man like you did. It’s no wonder he stomped all over you and broke your heart. You’re such a foolish, insecure and stupid girl. Stupid girls don’t deserve love, and you are one STUPID GIRL,” she shouted, laughing from the depth of her obese stomach at me.

I struggled to stop the tears, but they rushed inside of me, deep from my heart and soul. “I hate crying. Please God, let me stop crying.” The tears continued to spill down my face as I realized my mother was correct. I was a stupid girl who never deserved love. I missed several days of school because my eyes were swollen and red. I was ashamed for anyone to see me.

Much to my surprise, during this time, Benjamin’s mother phoned me. Faith wanted to know how I was feeling. How was I coping? She wanted me to keep in touch with Benjamin, so he would awaken and realize he loved me.

I listened to her, wanting to scream. “Benjamin doesn’t love me. He broke my heart. No one loves me. I’m not worthy of love.”

Faith listened to me, encouraging me to continue the fight, if I really loved Benjamin.

Just how is it someone can grieve so painfully when grief was for the lost…those who have died and we will never see again? I asked myself that question over and over again, wishing to find the answer while the grief rushed over me.

Returning to school, I thrust myself into plans for graduation and my future. When friends asked me about the wedding plans with Benjamin, I pushed them away. I could not talk about the pain I felt. All I could do was burst into another sea of endless tears.

After graduation, I found love again in the arms of another military man, Garrett. He was stationed at Fort Benning, in preparation for his deployment to Vietnam. Charming and handsome, Garrett and I married a bit too quickly. Three months later, he went to Vietnam.

During Christmas of that year, I received a package in the mail. I opened it, discovering a card from Faith, along with a beautiful pair of slippers. She signed the card in her handwriting, wishing me a loving and happy journey in my new life as a married woman. She wrote about lost love and how new love would take me along the trials and tribulations of life. She was confident that I would take on this challenge with the new slippers. The colorful satin slippers would carry me along the paths of life, to areas I had never dreamed about. She wished me well, telling me that she would miss me along the way, but she was hopeful that I would keep in touch with her. Faith gave me new inspiration and hope.
Faith and I kept in touch over the years. During Christmas holidays, we spoke on the phone, catching up like two close friends would do, laughing and crying over life, the birth of children, aging, disappointments and dreams we shared. She consoled me when I cut the cords with my mother. And when I asked her why couldn’t I cry, after my mother passed, she soothed me with her words, reminding me I cut the cords earlier in my life to become a better person since my mother was a bitter woman who was unable and afraid to love. In 2010, I lost contact with Faith. Her phone was disconnected and I knew something was wrong with her. Researching on the computer I discovered Faith had passed away. And so, I cried.

Benjamin was my foundation, teaching me about love. Faith was my inspiration. She believed in me when no one else would. Garrett was my bridge, accepting and loving me for who I was. But — would he still love me as I grew older, stronger from the wisdom and character I planned to develop with self-growth and self-worth.

My brain continued to race with grief. Although I felt grief when my mother died, never did I cry. Those tears were disbursed in 1988, when we said our final goodbyes after an emotional war. She threatened to slap me if I didn’t give her some money. I stood my ground, refusing to allow her manipulative intimidations to weaken me. Garrett was playing golf when we fought. When he arrived at my mother’s house, he looked into my eyes, noticing my vacant stare along with my shaking hands. He saw the suitcases sitting by the doorway.

Garrett nodded for me to go outside on the porch. I opened the tattered doorway, closing it tightly. “What’s the matter? Are you two fighting again?”

“We’re leaving,” I said, glancing down at my chipped manicured nails.

“What happened?” Garrett insisted, his voice firm. He placed his arm on my shoulder and I flinched. “Why are your fingernails chipped?”

Garrett knew me a bit too well at times.

“Let’s go. Let’s get the suitcases and leave. Now!” I whispered, picking at my fingernails.

Garrett opened the door.

My mother stood by the suitcases. “You’re not leaving!” Her arms were crossed. She stood by the suitcases, ready for a battle.

Garrett stood his ground. “You need to move.”

My mother placed her hands on the suitcases.

“If you don’t allow us to take our belongings, I will call the cops,” I said. “We’re leaving and there isn’t anything you can do to keep us here!”

“I want money.”

“I don’t have any money,” I said.

My mother smirked. “You lying bitch! You got cash in your wallet. I seen it. I want it!”

I rolled my eyes at her, reached down and grabbed the suitcases.

“Goodbye Mother,” I said.

I cried all the way home. Garrett touched my hand while he drove. His actions told me I would be OK. Garrett never liked seeing me cry. His demeanor was one of strength. “It don’t mean nothing,” he would say, during and after a fight. “It don’t mean nothing,” and then, he would walk away.

I was the weakling in our family, at least, according to Garrett. In 1992, after another emotional war where Garrett’s jealousy raged into me, shouting accusations that were not true, thrusting his finger at me while he belittled me, I fell completely apart. Sitting on the corner of the couch, I cried. And cried. And cried. Garrett kept pushing me, wanting to know why I was crying. As hard as I tried to turn the water works off, I could not. Watching the cruel, snappish actions of Garrett, he reminded me of my mother and I cringed. Why wasn’t I worthy of love?

That night was a turning point for me as I opened my mouth to share a horrific childhood story with Garrett. “I’d like to tell you something I’ve never shared with anyone before. You must promise to listen to me and not say anything until I finish. Promise?”

Garrett nodded. Glancing at my fingernails, I pulled at the cuticles and my nail polish, a nervous habit I always performed when threatened. I inhaled. Exhaled and said a silent prayer for God to give me strength. I licked my lips and began, unable to stop as I described my mother’s probing hands. Wrinkled, leathered hands that touched me in forbidden places, searching, rushing hands that left me feeling cheap. Garrett listened, occasionally wiping the flood of tears rushing down my face. One hour later, in the darkness of midnight, Garrett held me tight.

“Now, I understand why you apologize so much. Why your beat yourself in the head at times and always say you are not worthy of love. Now I know why your body jumps when you are sleeping and it is lightning outside. Your mother was wrong to touch you.”

“But…she was my mother…She only wanted to protect me.”

Garrett kissed my forehead. “You deserve happiness and love, just the way I love you. Let me love you. Maybe now I can understand why you always hurt yourself, and why you fight me so much when I want to shelter you.”

“Don’t you see, Garrett? I don’t need sheltering. I’m independent. I’ve always liked doing things on my own. All I’ve ever wanted from you is for you to give me wings to fly.”

Our relationship began a new journey on that night.

The Top 10 Workout Songs for August 2014

Here’s this month’s list.
Feel free to share, re-post, etc.

The Top 10 Workout Songs for August 2014
Fort Wayne, IN – August 5, 2014 – This month’s top 10 list plays host to a variety of dance cuts, club remixes, and curious collaborations. On the cardio front, you’ll find a pair of songs from Cash Cash—an original song and a remix of Katy Perry’s latest single. If you’re looking for something uptempo to score your next run, either will fit the bill.
For lower rep workouts—crunches, push-ups, and the like—there’s an updated version of the summertime smash “Turn Down for What” that keeps the same 100 BPM as the original, while dialing up the intensity and adding new verses from Juicy J, 2 Chainz, and French Montana.
From out of left field, you’ll find a country-meets-pop hit featuring Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo. Equally surprising, the single, biggest vote-getter of the month is an ode to going hard from Swedish DJ duo Dada Life and heavy metal icon Sebastian Bach.
On the whole, this playlist compiles a healthy mix of new tunes, fresh takes on recent favorites, and a few curve balls. So, there should be plenty of songs here to keep you moving and a few to keep you guessing.
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
DJ Snake, Lil Jon, Juicy J, 2 Chainz & French Montana – Turn Down for What (Remix) – 100 BPM

The Black Keys – Fever – 128 BPM

Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan & Jason Derulo – This is How We Roll (Remix) – 132 BPM

Billy Currington – We Are Tonight – 128 BPM

Royksopp & Robyn – Do It Again – 125 BPM

Katy Perry – Birthday (Cash Cash Remix) – 128 BPM

Lady GaGa – G.U.Y. (KDrew Remix) – 125 BPM

Cash Cash & Bebe Rexha – Take Me Home – 127 BPM

Dada Life & Sebastian Bach – Born to Rage – 128 BPM

Tiesto & Matthew Koma – Wasted – 112 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred