10/20/2017

Tapestry of Your Life

I once heard someone describe our lives as a beautiful tapestry. He went on to say each thread is interwoven and may circle back with a purpose and each is put in by design
creating a colorful legacy. I rather like this imagery description of our existence here on earth.  Are we not each a master of all the images we are creating of our lives?

So what kind of tapestry are you creating?  I think the colors should be vast and variegated. Life should not be mundane or there is no growth.  A picture is captivating in black and white but a tapestry draws no attention without color. Your live should be colorful and eye-appealing if reviewed in full.

Draw outside of the lines. Conformity is entirely too overrated. Why make the picture of you look like everyone else?  I always told my children dare to be different. Be the one that stands out in a crowd. We all have a destiny. Discover yours and fill it. You can’t if you do nothing but always walk rank and file.

Dare yourself to take risks.  This is when new threads begin in the tapestry of your life.  These are the ah-ha moments that give your existence a new dimension.  It doesn’t matter if it is a new career,  a new sport, or a challenge but sometimes do the things no one things you are capable of.  Believe in you. Life is only one shot so give yourself that chance if you think it is worth taking. Passion is a hunger that should be quenched!

Don’t close the door to the past simply because it is over.  That fabric is part of your make up; it is in your tapestry and is part of your beauty with its joys and sorrows.  It is to be celebrated because it has made you part of who you are and the life you are now living.   The threads are critical to the image!

God sees our lives as a beautiful tapestry from above that we weave of our own freewill. Our choices are the ebb and flow of the wave of colors and the overall look and feel of the final image.  Additions in your life may very well be thread changes so don’t settle for staying idle, never moving forward or outward at all.

 As you move through your life, ask yourself, is there color in your life? Do you allow change and growth opportunities or do you run from a challenge that forces you to grow or become more passionate?  Do you allow any new threads to intertwine?  Do you smother the flames of any sort of passion outside your comfort zone?  

Live your life to the fullest but, define it with your own definition of greatness, not someone else’s.  Most importantly, make your tapestry a masterpiece.  It should reflect the legacy of a life fully embraced with  your passion that shows the world you alone could only create this wonderful tapestry! Get to work!  

10/15/2017

And They Danced Their Final Dance

They were young and in love, or so it seemed because their smiles were like sunshine beams. It was if their whole life they had waited to simply get to this point, this one spot in the universe to find each other. As they gazed in each other’s eyes, they were like two crossed eye teen age lovers, so be smitten they lost track of everyone else in the room.  Young love at the final pass.

So many tender years and many of shed tears. Mountains both of these had crossed without each other. But God had brought them together, to find a love that was pure, simple and unconditional at a time in life when many simply wait to die.   These two were making new rules, making the rest of us look like fools.  They were taking love and life to new heights, embracing each other with all their might.

As everyone in the room watched, they circled around the dance floor locking eyes with
abandonment. Their bodies were swaying to the music, oblivious to the crowd who was mesmerized by the display of unbridled love on the floor of these two young old souls.  They clasped hands, smiled as their faces lit up with passion, friendship and love. Laughter rang out, peals of it though out the dance hall, making everyone else unable to contain themselves, laughing in direct proportion to their laughter.   They looked around as if surprised anyone else was in the room, smiling at others in the crowd of people but not bothered in the least that anyone see their obvious affection for the other. Public displays of affection were their reward for a life well lived, for finding their perfect mate, for knowing life is too short to stand on formality.  Many began thinking with wonder how to unleash that kind of passion, abandon stringent principles that hold us back. They whispered, “There is magic between those two!” 

The music transitioned to a soft ballad and as it did the embrace between them changed. 
The old man looked at his lady with sheer love in his eyes and put his arms around her waist to pull her inwards.  She smiled and teared up laying her arms upon his shoulders as she gently kissed his cheek. You would have thought he won the lotto with the peck he received.   They began to rock to and fro as if time stood still and it was only those two in the world.  Perhaps it was as we were all barely breathing taking it all in. How could you not be captivated watching what almost looked like such selfishly love?


Tonight, as I learned that Don is with hospice. I shall forever treasure the days I was blessed to see him dancing with his beloved Margaret. If ever a love so pure is on display, such as theirs, for you, be sure to simply be still. Watch it, closely and praise God for letting you be there, caught up in that special moment!  

10/12/2017

It's Been A Year Charley

What do I miss most about Charley since it has been one year today since he has been gone?  
This is a toss-up since there are so many things I use to write about. He is the dog that everyone seemed to fall in love with, even those that never met him! At the end of the day, I would have to say the crazy way he had of making every day begin and end with laughter and love!

From the moment we picked up Charley he was commotion in motion!  I followed the breeder down to where he was at with the puppies in the litter all scurrying around a baby pool. Naturally the one I was taking home was literally climbing up everyone’s back as she is telling me “He is such a sweetie!”  I am thinking “He looks like a royal mess, a little bear who needs obedience training for toddlers.”


As she tried to give us all the information, he kept running away, another trait we became all too

familiar with over time. Charley was the escape artist as the neighborhood was well aware of.
Luckily all of them loved him, the big galoot. That is, except for the foul-mouthed man in the back-end of the subdivision who had lots of guns who threatened to shoot him if he ever laid another paw in his yard,  He even pounded on our door one night at 10:30 to tell us he thought Charley had been up there earlier that night while he was gone. We have no idea how when we were home all night and avoided his place like the plague!  I think, by then, Charley didn't even want to pee in his yard! I think he just hated labs or me because nobody hated Charley!  Maybe I should have let Charley get close enough to lick his face when he was outside our front door screaming. But maybe not, maybe that would have been the one time in Charley's life he'd have acted like a guard dog! God knows, at no other time did he!

Charley started the day like a little kid, bugging us to get up. If it was just me home, he literally bumped my head. If I ignored him, he jumped on the bed, and began pulling the covers off of me. Next he pulled the pillow out from under my head. Then became the face washing. Anyone that knew the size of Charley’s head, more precisely his tongue, knows you can’t stand this for any length of time!  Morning has broken, Charley style!

Taking a walk was more fun with Charley on a leash. You couldn’t help but notice every critter that moved by, even fly by leaves or plastic bags that appeared, to him, to be potential prey.  He had enough of the hunting field dog in him to want to impress us. But we had to keep it real and tell him he wasn’t all that smart and was lucky we adopted him because living on leaves and roadkill wasn’t nearly as luxurious as what we were feeding him.


One of the highlights of every summer day was watching him swim in our pool. I have seen dogs jump off a landings into pools. Charley flew!  It was incredible but not a picture of grace.  And if you didn’t want to get wet, you couldn’t be standing anywhere on the deck! We threw Frisbees and he would catch it in his mouth, he could carry it back, he could retrieve it under water. Charley was halftime entertainment for neighbors. 


Charley would swim with us and play with my granddaughter in the pool. What a joy to have a big 125 lb. moving toy in the pool who just loved being there and was interactive!  If we tried to keep him out, he sat at the window or at the patio doors barking his head off like there were burglars outside.

Speaking off security, Jim always said he was a poor excuse for protection for our home!  Jim could walk in at lunchtime or at the end of the day and find Charley sprawled out on our bed.  He walks in to where he found Charley and asks him accusingly “What if I was a burglar Charley, would you just lay there and do nothing?”  Thank God we never had to find out! I think the answer is that as long as they weren’t going for his treats, they were okay to come in to his house!

Having a dog everyone talks about because he is like a big Marmaduke is really hard to replace and get over losing. But the stories I have are endless and so many friends that knew him and of him keep our special Charley as much alive in many ways as he was for 13 years.  He was so loyal to me that during my chemotherapy, I am not sure anyone was with me as much as him next to Jim. He never left my side no matter where I was at, even hanging by the bathroom door if I was sick, whining if he heard me till I was well and back in bed or in another room and okay.

I miss him horribly but knowing, at the end, he was suffering I am so relieved he was out of pain. He deserved to be free again, at peace, in heaven running and jumping and harassing all the other dogs up there before him.  I know that I won’t have to look for him when I get up there. All I will have to do is say his name and he will come running and I need to remember to not lock my knees…..  Some things about Charley won’t change, not even in heaven!   My loveable angel Charley, love and miss you! Momma





10/09/2017

Is the Friendship Real?

I use to write about friendships quite abit. Over the years I quit writing about them but have noticed, as I have aged, maybe I should more.  They change over time, as one ages. The
attitude about them changes, they become more valued, the close ones and the casual ones, less worrisome when they are, shall we say, fly by nights. As we become more confident in whom we are, our basis for a friendship becomes more grounded.

In younger years, the focus seems to be more on having a quantity of friends. When the time is right to go out, most of us literally flip thru the phone list of friends on speed dial finding someone free for the night. Anything is preferable to staying in or staying home alone.  The people with the most friends are equated with the person with the most personality, the one everyone seems to want to be around or emulate.

What is often the case, beneath the surface is this person is the one most craving the attention. This type of person has the most difficulty being alone and needs the constant affirmation from others. Do you know that there have been studies that reveal more intelligent people are introverts and prefer time alone rather than being with friends?  The theory also goes that more intelligent people are less likely to be brought down by friends and can be more focused on their career options and quality of their relationships which is why they prefer not to have a large quantity of friends.

Also when we are younger we use the term friend frivolously. There is a major difference between friend and an associate, someone we know casually, either through work, close proximity through another or social media or just hanging out with. A true friend is a reciprocal relationship.  Several studies have been done by psychology departments, cross-sectional and found people would be surprised to find the ones they think regard them as friends do not.

Thus, as we age, we become more attuned that to get a great deal out of relationship we must put energy into one. That takes time, passion and commitment. Who has the time and energy to do that with so many people?  Having fewer means having better. Work smarter rather than harder and have quality friendships. Many folks I know have better friendship relationships than family connections.

Connecting with people is wonderful and not to be discouraged. However, to retain and develop a relationship must take a commitment on both sides. Each relationship or rather friendship that is worthwhile is a slight cost to another friendship, in a sense or an addition to it if its meaningful and adding something to your life. I personally prefer those that build each other up, support each other’s diversity of ideas and create a supportive fun attitude of life. Without an undercurrent of accepting real unconditional regard and love, know that that friendship does matter but don’t short change the ones that will always carry a piece of you in their heart.  

10/03/2017

Patience Sometimes Take Humility

“Patience is the companion of wisdom,” Saint Augustine said.  I was reminded that lesson today.  God is amazing that He reminds us of the truly important lessons in life in the simplest of gestures. Watch, wait and listen with a happy heart and good things come to pass to those who wait!

As I was out today, trying to quickly do some returns in the store and pick up a few needed items, I was getting rather annoyed as no one seemed to be present at any single register. Everywhere I went I was greeted with This Register is Closed displayed in black and white like a HaHa sign aimed right at me; you are wasting your time lady. I would have left but I had a return bag in my hand from an online purchase I wanted to get off my charge card.

Finally I saw a register open with a lady at it and as I  approached I noticed only one customer at the counter. As I congratulated myself on my good luck, my hopes were quickly dashed. Walking closer, this woman had the dreaded massive overload cart of too many items to count!  And she looked to me to be Miss High Maintenance.  I was in no mood for this and was hoping she would turn around, make eye contact with me and say, go ahead of me.

Well, she did turn around and look at me but the words she uttered were “I am sorry for the wait this may be.”  Oh, I felt like she had smacked me, just like those darn signs that said Register Closed. What was this, conspiracy day against Veronica Gliatti at the retail store or what?  Should I wait or should I go? 

Out comes my cell, my BFF when stuck in a slow moving line. I knew I was not going anywhere quickly. And then, to my surprise, one pair of shoes after 
another were placed on the counter. With each pair the customer insisted the cashier check each shoe to ensure the size matched the size marked on the outside box label and each shoe pair were the same, in size and style!  All I could think off, while watching this transpire out of the corner of my eye was why she could not have done this prior to coming to the checkout line! 

As this progressed, there was some discussion going on about the shoes I did not even want to hear as my frustration grew!  There were big shoes, little shoes, male shoes, female shoes, kids shoes, all clearance but I kept thinking what the hell lady, did you buy every damn pair in the store! 

At one point, the cashier actually asked her, in hushed tones, but it caught my ear, if she wanted her to call someone to get matching sizes of pairs that were incorrectly matched. I just about lost it by then, keying into my phone to my best friend my anger. What the hell is wrong with today, I asked?  Is it storming outside bad luck?  I am behind a moron shoe fetish lady!  Help me; I will need heeling after this!  If the cashier left the register to retrieve matchy sizes and shoes going to the shoe department I was determined I would consider leaving. That was where my battle line would have to be drawn.

Luck was on my side and apparently the lady said what she had that matched would suffice. There was a Shoe God! Eventually this sale was over, along with about 20 pairs of shoes  and the lady turned around, politely,  probably sensing my frustration and again apologized for taking up so much time. I naturally told her it was fine. I even said, it is a pain to get home with shoes that don’t match in sizes.  I thought, especially a whole wardrobe of them!

As the lady left, the cashier leaned across the counter towards me. She said “I was really sorry for the long wait. I wonder if you knew what she was doing and why the matching mattered.” I was about ready to respond with a curtly, “Why didn’t she check them herself” but before I could the cashier continued speaking. “That woman is mailing all of those shoes out of the country to Puerto Rico to hurricane victims. She got sizes for victims in need. Isn’t that wonderful!"


Right then and there, my sense of humility kicked in big time.  I had been so busy worrying about my sense of time, my sense of purpose, returning some dumb item that I had not even bothered to think perhaps what someone else was doing in front of me had a far greater purpose.

Too often we have people come into our lives that are meant to touch us in very special ways. We are given the chance to embrace these opportunities and must be patient about what the lesson is. We have to give it time, it may not be able to be rushed and be on God's timeline, not ours. The message may be so worth it, so valuable, so life-changing. Is it worth not learning, not taking the chance?  Dare to find out with a bit of patience. And, just like the shoes, our souls always need some healing.  
God bless the people in Puerto Rico as they continue to heal! 

10/01/2017

Nature Brings Hope

She sat upon the porch,
With her head hanging down,
Not a soul was outside
Surrounded by nature’s sounds.
  
Her hands were clasped,
Her thoughts were far away,
A tear slipped from her eye,
On this sunny day.

A couple walked past,
At a bright cheery pace,
She heard their footsteps passing
But still hid her face.

As music began playing,
From somewhere down the street
She rose her head so gently,
And started tapping her feet.

Her demeanor seemed to change,
She looked like someone who could cope
With all that life threw at her
The twinkle in her eye was hope.

I saw a butterfly land on her finger
As she gazed at the garden
You could see her hardships
Had not made her heart harden
  
Whatever she was thinking of
Or saying a pray for
Must have felt answered
Had God opened a door?

There wasn’t a trace on her face of fears of creating new tears.









9/27/2017

High School Moments

High school is such an awkward time for so many of us. It is only the few that are full of
self-confidence and win the Popularity Award. More high schoolers are struggling to make their mark and figure out where they fit in to the social structure.  Relationships come into play, at this stage of life and are a reflection of where you are with your own development. Yet the emphasis is on relationships.

I recall, in my high school, the most common topic was who was dating whom. The pressure was always on to be dating. More often than not, it didn’t even matter if you liked the person or not, it was more about if the person was in the ‘in crowd.’

The sad part about this mentality is plenty of good people were left by the wayside. Some of the best people to be dating were ignored for some real losers. And this paradox occurs even today, a fact of high school years. So many parents I meet tell me of their teens disappointment of not having dates when their children are so wonderful. Many teens just don’t stand out enough, for no apparent reason. At a time when they could be formulating ideas of how relationships work, the nuances, many teens are left out cold.  The advantage of this experience is perhaps it may help less missteps made in marriage causing repaired relationships instead of divorce. Or, the other good outcome would be, experience in relationships can lead to better distinction between what is healthy attraction verses pure lust and won’t last.

I know in my case, I did relatively little dating in high school. I didn’t have much of a grasp of how relationships worked, even less of my own value. When I met an older guy, at a particularly low time, I assumed he knew a heck of a lot more about relationships than I did. I was also very flattered that he was interested in me.  Quickly in the marriage, I learned he had no dated in high school at all! So we found ourselves married, two people with virtually no experience at relationships at all and I was eighteen.

There are many ways of getting confidence as a young person, a good education, developing faith in God, a solid family.  Getting attention from the opposite sex also builds up teens value and if any of the later is not present, the young person will suffer.

I have spoken with counselors working with teens from broken homes or homes where abuse is present. These kids have major self-esteem homes.  Young adults living in poverty have an uphill battle even without relationships struggle.   These added issues have a profound effect on their feelings towards themselves making them more vulnerable to bad relationships or none at all.  It is natural when a relationship goes south or no one wants to date them for them, internally to attribute it to themselves and not to the other person.   For me,  it was hard to accept attention even from someone willing to give it. I felt unworthy of it and as if a guy willing to give it must have something wrong with him. Inside I was struggling with me but didn’t want anyone else to see or know that.  Teens want to keep everything secret many times.  Perhaps today teen suicide is an all-time high.

Self-esteem building is the best way for a young person to have a healthy life and good relationships that foster future success. Without it, they are more apt to have disappointments along the way.

Schools allow bullying much more than they should.  This issue has always been there, it is not so much new. Yes social media possibly has made it worse but is your child adding to it by their public media posts?  Don’t allow them to be part of the problem, fueling their own issues. If they complain, ask them if they are adding to their own issues.

I firmly believe if you don’t like something, be an advocate for change. Try to create solutions for your children so they don’t live your mistakes. They won’t listen to you, if they are ‘normal’ but school systems might, your church may very well. It is a good place to start.


I recently heard from an old friend. It reminded me of something I always wanted to say. Sorry does seem to be the hardest word.  Brushing aside someone who cares was not helpful. And having regrets would have been nice for them to know. For years I wanted to undo the wrong and wish I could go back and replay it. I wondered many times ‘what if’ but won’t get the chance. Life teaches you that you can’t go back but you can share your lessons and your triumphs with others. Care enough to teach your kids even if no one is asking you out, your value is immeasurable.  Do not settle for less and don’t overlook the good people God places in your life.  Your time is coming! 

9/19/2017

Blessed are Those Strong in Spirit, Like Melanie Bannister

Chris and Melanie Bannister 
There are some stories you hear that you just know you will never forget and will forever be touched.  Some lives are meant to be that way, a life  that has far reaching impact beyond just the circle of family and friends. Such is the life of someone I just recently learned of, a woman in Allendale, Michigan. 

It starts out pretty normal like anyone else living in anywhere, USA.  Growing up, getting married and having children. But it goes horribly array in so many ways neither she, nor anyone else could have predicted.

I learned of Melanie Bannister from my cousin Connie Brown. Melanie is my cousin’s daughter-in-law’s best friend. She has been in the fight of her life, for the second time. She has been trying to put out fires now for years, her kids, her husband’s and now one out of control waging against her body.  Her loving husband is beside himself wanting her to enjoy a quality of life and yet understanding her need to always choose life, one more day, always wanting that extra moment with her children and her husband and her loved ones and friends. 

Those around her say that she has maintained strength through the adversity and a positive spirit through the storms.  Yes, you could say she inspires. But you could also say she suffers as her treatments make her quite sick. Her story is the reality of breast cancer gone badly, when it comes back with a vengeance and permeates other areas of your body. Metastatic cancer is a harrowing experience and no one deserves this journey, not Melanie, not her husband nor these four children. She is a soldier and for that, she deserves a few moments of our time to hear her story straight from her lips:

  
My name is Melanie Bannister. I would love for our story to be shared. I am wife to Chris Bannister for 17 years and a mother of 4 children. 7 years ago this October I was diagnosed with Stage
2/3 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. I went through aggressive chemo and radiation, as well as a double mastectomy. I was regular about going to every checkup appointment.  I had a total of 6 PET scans after and I was all clear of the nasty breast cancer.  We thought that would be the last I would ever hear of it for me. 

Almost 6 years later to the day I was diagnosed with Stage IV Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.  I was told the cancer has metastasized to my liver, lungs, uterus, ovaries and bones. This was one year ago. The first step was supposed to be putting my body into menopause and then starting a targeted chemo pill that is specifically for my type of cancer. 

Unfortunately, my body did not respond well to going into menopause and the insurance would not cover the pill unless it did. With the cancer multiplying fast in my liver and bones, my oncologist decided on IV Chemotherapy Ixempra. Due to the neuropathy of side effect of this treatment, we discontinued it in July 2017 and have moved on to Gemzar. For the rest of my life I will be on some form of Chemo to keep me alive. Although the side effects are bad, if this is what I have to do to keep me here for my family it's better than the alternative. 

Due to everything involving our family, my husband Chris has had to take unpaid leave to help care for our children as this process at times has made me very sick and weak. 
Chris also had to go on short term disability due to having a fracture in his neck fusing 2 vertebrae together and be off work for 6 weeks July of 2017.



My children are so important to me and there are challenges with them also. Our oldest daughter Alexis is 22 years old and was born with Cytomegalovirus. She, in turn, has Cerebral Palsy and is severely multiply impaired.  Alexis requires full time care 100% of the time. Her conditions have led to many hospitalizations and surgeries over the years.  When she was only 7 years old, she was left in a coma for a full month and again 2 years ago. At that time, the doctors were not sure if she would pull through it or not. By God’s grace, she did!  Alexis cannot eat by mouth but we will take that because she is here with us.

Our daughter Kyleigh is 17 and was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, Acute Intermittent Porphyria when she was only 7 years old. My husband Chris also has this rare blood disorder.  Stress is a huge trigger for this disorder and can have either of them down for days at a time requiring hospitalization at times T

Our son Noah was born with Ocular Albinism, a rare genetic disorder of the eyes and is legally blind.

Our youngest is Caleb, 9 years old, healthy but way too young to understand or remember what mommy went through before or perhaps to grasp all of this in our family. This is very new for him this time around. Caleb still has his good and bad days of worrying about me.

This will be a long uphill climb for our beautiful family. But, we can do this together because I know God has our best intentions at hand. This is our normal. God has blessed us because He knows we are strong and together we can get through anything.

We are truly blessed. Yes there are times where I ask why?  Why me?  Why us? What did we do wrong?  But I know that it's nothing we did wrong. It's because we are blessed and we are strong!!!


There is much to be learned from this young woman's story. Could you endure this kind of hardship and be strong in spirit, love and faith?  With all this adversity, she still stands as a beacon of hope for all those around her as she fights for every single day she can be alive, just for one more moment to spend with her husband and children.  This woman and this family has many many needs. I pray more people hear her story and decide to help. If you are touched by Melanie, please share her story. Her GoFundMe page is for a family that can use the support and is worthy of all of our contributions. Bless all of you for reading this and most of all, Melanie and her wonderful family!  Click here to show your support for this brave woman!

9/15/2017

Jeanette Lynn Hopkins Dundas : Living the Dream


Over the last several months I met a neighbor in my community at a relatively small book
club I started.  I quickly learned, from a friend, that she was a writer with several books in
print and many more in the works. I befriended her, not just as a book club member, but 
as an author and with an appreciation for the fact that she was a published writer. I found myself a month later attending a Book Signing she presenting at in the Tampa area. Though the event wasn’t impressive, she was as well as her books. Thus, began my fascination with Jeanette Lynn Hopkins Dundas as a writer.

Jeanette was born and raised in West Tampa Florida at a time where mostly immigrants lived, close to a well-known Cigar Factory in that era.  She fit right in as her single mother and grandmother raising her were both Italian.  Jeanette grew up speaking fluently Italian to communicate with both of them as well as speaking English. 

Her mother Dorothy Gullo Hopkins ran her own business out of her own home for years,
Dorothy Gullo Hopkins
Dorothy’s Reweaving.  As it grew eventually it was moved to Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa with a storefront. This allowed Jeanette to attend a larger more prominent high school, Plant High School. Following this, she went to St. Pete’s College and earned an Associate Degree in Marketing.    

Interesting notes about Jeanette’s family:
 Dorothy, her mother, could not read or write music but had an astounding ear for it and could sing beautifully pitch perfect.
Filomena Gullo Jeanette’s Nanna, as grandmas are called in Italy, had a love of books and began reading to Jeanette from a very early age. Being bright, Jeanette learned the entire alphabet by age 3! Shortly after this began her love affair with reading. This was followed by a continual passion and lifetime love of writing. Jeanette began winning awards for this talent, including an award in College for a poem written about Elvis Presley and later an award for Elvis Presley’s
Nanna, Filomena Fraterigo Gullo,
 (on Lfthand)
 
Fan Club, which was quite large by this time,  for her short story which had to include all of his hit songs. 

Speaking of Elvis, you could say meeting "The King"was a pivotal moment in Jeanette’s early life.  Her mom arranged the meeting knowing it would be a highlight in her 11 year old daughter’s life. They left a message on Colonel Parker’s personal phone, Elvis’s agent. They wanted  to confirm he would be filming Follow that Dream the coming weekend  before they made the long drive to Yankeetown, Florida. They also had the name of the hotel he would be staying at, which would be crucial later.  Colonel Parker personally called them back, a good sign! However they were told he could not promise anything because filming would run late and it was hard to get near him but they would try.

When they arrived, the crowds were immense, girls were screaming, grown women were blocking their view, everyone was in awe of The King. It was apparent, she would get nowhere near Elvis through the throngs, though she managed to catch a glimpse. Plan B came to mind, circle back to the hotel, knowing eventually he would return there after filming.  And so, as she stood near and his car pulled up, Elvis got out. Luck was on her side because Elvis made eye contact and saw her.  He literally pulled her close showing a kindness to a young girl in awe of his celebrity status.  As frightened as she was of the crowd pulling and pushing to get near him, he not only sheltered her from everyone but kept her at his side for all the pictures everyone was taking standing next to him that day! 

To this day, the grace and compassion he showed towards her left an indelible mark. See not only  was Elvis kind to her but when she went back to his room to request one last picture with her friend who was too shy to stand  in line that day, he overrode  management and stepped out to take a shot with Jeanette’s best friend.  Thus, nana who had not liked Elvis prior to the trip, became sold on The King too! 

Jeanette is most known for her Bongo Bay Mystery Series sold on Amazon. Even this title is tied into her love of Elvis.  His ex-wife Priscilla Presley wanted to get Elvis one year something quite different for the man who had everything. Her surprise was bongo drums.  Being from Tampa having a passion for the beaches, Jeanette put the two together and formed her series name for her lifelong goal, to be a published writer with an exciting mystery romance series - Bongo Bay Series.  (Sold on Amazon, link below)

Jeanette does a good bit of her writing in either her home in a special area that is light, airy.
 organized but not meticulous.  She is anything but anal, definitely more of a go with the breeze.
Her home has more a of feel like you have just entered a warm summer cottage.  Perhaps she is mirroring her cottage she still owns on the beach in Port Richey, Florida, where she raised her two children.   Being with Jeanette, she gives undivided attention and leans in as if she feels every speaker, everyone has something she can grasp and learn from. Perhaps her author/writer mind is always working!

Her approach, as an author, is to create a character first and then build a story around them. She has to believe the character truly exists so that the story can be realistic.  Only then, does she feel the reader can grab a hold of it and go along for the journey with the twists and the turns.

Many authors feel their craft is limited for the very few unlike Jeanette’s attitude.  She encourages anyone with a desire to write to do so, no matter the age or their background in writing. Furthermore, any hidden desire that has never been tried for fear of failing should be ventured, in her opinion because living is meant to be lived in the fullest and experienced.  Writing to Jeanette “is not about who will read it, it is about expressing your ideas on paper,  if that is something that moves you. Be true to you!"

As the reader,  she wishes for you to leave her stories feeling happy.  She also likes there to be something of value learned and faith to be renewed that change can always occur no matter our circumstances. In her book Stolen Destiny, domestic violence is interwoven in to one of the main characters but not the only storyline. It is illustrated clearly that it does leave scars. The storyline proves that issues kept in the dark, like domestic violence, victims need to deal with in the light of day. Once explored though, a person can capture their true identity and move forward and live fully!

Jeanette strongly believes we should not ever close doors, personally or professionally. Reach for the knob of the doors you want to open, nomatter how impossible the
feat may seem and give yourself the chance, life comes at you
Mr. & Mrs. Dave Dundas
fast and you are worth it! She never dreamed, at this later stage in her life she would be publishing books.  Having a wonderful relationship with her husband Dave gives her added encouragement to continue to fly with her passion. And reading any of her books or writings, you will see she does it quite well! Perhaps you will read them and find you can too!

“Always find a way to come out of your shell in this lifetime.“  Jeanette Lynn Hopkins Dundas

To order any of Bongo Bay Series, see below. 1st installment is Stolen Destiny but each is a stand alone novel. Stayed tuned for 3rd book to come out shortly! 
          Link to Order



8/29/2017

The Long Good-Bye to Mom

I wasn’t prepared. I had volunteered at senior facilities in my youth. During my adult years, I have sung Christmas carols, delivered care packages and even visited my ex-husband’s father when he resided there prior to his death. But never had I dealt with someone I loved being incapacitated. Then it changes. 

Some of you may recall about 7 years ago I reconnected with my biological mother after many years of separation.  With that much passage of time, there is really no way to form a
bond like many children or adult children have with a parent but it was still healing in many ways. It gave me a sense of closure to at least hear an ‘I love you’ from the person who brought me into the world. For so many years I felt unloved and forced upon my stepmother. I was part of a package deal knowing it was my father she was in love with and not me or my sister. Our dad had custody of both of us when they divorced as she had left us..

Seeing my mother and getting to know her better, it didn’t take long at all to see why we weren’t raised by her. The flaws don’t take long to come out. But there is a connection there, a love and at times, a real joy.  Moments when she is truly the mother I dreamed of having, though fleeting. Much of the time, I dealt with the reality of who she was and was forced to accept, it is what it is. 

Now her condition has worsened significantly as her health has not only deteriorated but
dementia has kicked in. As the last year or two has gone by, it seems as if everything has accelerated.  Maybe it didn’t progress that quickly, when I look back at all the things that have been going on the past four years but, in not knowing her, I had no idea what was normal and what was not in her behavior. There were falls, unexplained lapses in memory, outbursts of anger, odd behaviors out of left field, that left my sister and I calling Adult Services frantic with worry for her well-being. She was placed over a year and a half ago in an independent living center for her own good. She is watched over and provided her meals. Best of all, all of her medications are administered which helps not compromise as much her heart condition and ensure her meds are taken properly. We had hoped this would help stop the downward progression we have seen.  It hasn't though but she has been much safer. 

I sit here now, full of a heavy heart as we are at the stage I never wanted to see happen. When I pick up the phone, I am never quite sure who will be on the end of the phone anymore. I have only my mother and my sister that I am closely connected too and communicate with regularly on somewhat of a biweekly basis and now my mom is losing it, losing touch with reality. It is as if she is partially dead to me but still alive. 

As my husband tries to comfort me, he can’t quit comprehend as his mother died with her mind intact. My mom will call sometimes sobbing in sadness,  full of a heavy heart
inconsolable like a child. The next call may be her happy full of joy laughing at hearing my voice and in midstream angry at me over something simple like I didn’t call her back over some message she never left or bad-mouthing my sister only forgetting who she is talking to and saying my name.  And the reverse happens when she talks to my sister. She has forgotten how to be happy. 

The ability to discern truth from fiction is hard for her.  Her brain doesn’t comprehend it clearly anymore at times. I am so grateful I had the time to reconnect before this dissension.  As my sister and I share stories of a trip or two we have taken her on, we laugh with glee over the funny moments and then stop in silence with where we are now.  We remind each other we are indeed blessed with those memories but yet are faced with the fact there will not be anymore of those for us with our mother. She is a skeleton of who she was.  

It is refreshing to have each other to share this experience with. There were periods in our lives when we weren't as close. Thank God we are now so that this isn't something either of us has to experience alone. Mom use to tell us she knew her mind was starting to go and was scared. She use to say she was a sorry excuse for a mother and didn't deserve us, both of us being there for her now, as she was losing it and closer to the end. She would apologize over and over again for everything that she wasn't. We let her know as God forgives we forgave her a long time ago. Hate has no place in this world but our relationship would always be different because we are different. I think she got it, she stopped saying it.  Now she doesn’t say it at all anymore. She actually doesn't say nearly as much. She is more like a self-centered child with a mind that is not nearly as reflective as her age.  I am glad. I don’t want her suffering or realizing her physical condition. 

Wow, is it different when it is someone you know, someone you care for, your own parent.  The best advice I get is from my friends, to try to not react to anything she says. So when I get yelled at, cried at, begged for something impossible to deliver or whatever, I am learning to simply 'be', listen and respond simply. I must keep my emotions on a shelf, at least while on the phone or with her. No, I wasn’t prepared for this. And yet, I am glad I wasn’t. It would have hurt too much to know in advance. 



Thank you God for a few moments with my mom to hear I love you.  As her mind goes and one day she leaves this place and goes home to you, I will have some memories shared. I will have had hugs with arms that held me as mothers do to their daughters when they are growing to give them strength and courage.  My time has given her peace to know I have forgiven her for her transgressions. And most of all, I have been able to heal from the pain. God bless my mother inside with what she needs to finish her time here.


8/28/2017

Growing Traffic on Your Site the Smart Way

“Every website must have online traffic if it expects profits and benefits. Driving substantial traffic to a website or blog is a critical factor in any successful business plan."  Krohn Media is one of the best in the business at driving massive online traffic to websites and blogs.”

It gives me great pleasure to give my followers information on Steven Krohn for your individual or business use.  Any that you know who would benefit from his expertise, please share his information as an invaluable resource. In this
business, it is hard to segment the shysters from the experts.   I have known Steven for a few years and have found him to be one of the premier sources of this type of work. His work is top-notch, his pricing competitive and can attest to the fact he is results-driven.  Steven is always on the cutting edge of the newest technology in this field.


Wondering how big of an impact it makes to have a heavy steady traffic flow to your website?  Read the article below from Krohn Media that explains in  depth reasons why this traffic is critical to your success and growth. 

There are millions of business owners that know they have to be on the Internet in order to both survive as well as to out-market their competition. Chances are that your competitors have invested heavily online. Why? Your prospects will always look online for a solution to their problems.
The running joke in the search engine optimization (SEO) community is that Page 2 on the search engine for a particular keyword is considered a graveyard, since only a small percentage search for solutions outside of the first page. People are too busy nowadays to spend a lot of time searching, right?
All business owners hear that their website must get a lot of traffic in order to get traction in the marketplace. However, they don’t really understand how it benefits them and can significantly impact their bottom line one way or another.

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs Traffic

1.    Charge More Money For Advertising
When serious advertisers choose websites to extend their brand message, one of the sites they look at is Alexa.com. 
The more traffic your website receives the more you can charge for advertising.
2.   Improved SEO
As long as you properly keyword optimize certain pages, search engines will consider that particular page popular and will immediately list it higher.  
In general, the public believes if something is listed higher in the search engines, it is deemed more credible and will enhance your reputation. Even better that once a visitor hits your page that is listed higher in the search engine, they will check out your other content and you may pick up lots of subscribers over time, if you have a compelling offer.
3.   You Become The Cool Kid
Let’s face it, everyone wanted to hang with the cool kids in high school. The same holds true in real life. 
Nothing creates more for free traffic than other people that shares your cool content. This will lead back to additional traffic being driven to your website. The more people sharing your content, the cooler you will become.
4.   Enhance Marketplace Domination
This may be an unintended benefit of increased website traffic. You are taking valuable virtual real estate from your competitors.  
Prospects are always looking for solutions to their problems. Either they will seek a solution from you or to your competitors and will spend money to do it. Be their logical choice.
5.   Ninja-Like Keyword Magic
Part of any legitimate digital marketing campaign is a daily viewing of your Google
Analytics. 
You will be able to see not only where you traffic came from and also the
keywords in which they found you in the search engines. 
Once you find extremely popular keywords, it would be wise to create additional content with those keywords.  Feed the beast! 
Obviously, these reasons can quickly catapult your website from an unknown to quickly becoming the resource prospects will turn to in order to solve their problems.
The sooner you can drive a massive amount of traffic to your website, the sooner your bottom line will love you!

Contact Information for Krohn Media: 
 steven.krohn@att.net or (682) 593-3430

***I welcome your feedback once working with Steven of Krohn Media though I know you won't be disappointed!