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Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday's Southern-style Faith

Uh ...  yeah. Okay. I've been gone a while. I've been in one of my favorite places on the globe, North Carolina. Specifically, I've been in Salisbury, NC for a couple of days, followed by my annual trip to Ridgecrest, NC for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

While there I saw folks I've known for years now. They've "grown up" with me in this business of writing. We've loved on each other, prayed for each other, and kept up with each other's lives. So, hearing "I'm praying for you and your family" was not an uncommon line for me to hear over this past week.

I love knowing that ... Especially from these people, because I know they mean it.

I also got to see two of my favorite people: Laura and LeeAnn. Both diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Both successful. Both agree that it is time for the covering up and pretending to stop. LeeAnn is so open she practically adds her diagnosis to her introduction. Like going to a support group and saying, "Hello, my name is ... and I have ..." Her daughter had me laughing out loud as she talked about her mother's openness.

I love the openness.

from: KidsHealth.org
So why do so many want to go on pretending? Why do we think BD is any worse than any other disease? Do we think our loved ones--over 57 million Americans have BD--got up one morning and thought, "Wow! I think I'd like to have Bipolar Disorder. Only I don't want anyone to know it. I want to be ashamed of it. I want the world to think I'm okay, when clearly the world will think I'm not."

Bipolar Disorder is not something you buy on the sly at some tacky online store. It's not something you plan. Not an achievement to work toward. It's an illness. Think: a cold. The flu. Pneumonia. Diabetes. Cancer. Cystic Fibrosis. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome!

I've had CTS. It hurts. I had to wear a brace on my arm/hand. People would ask, "Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?" and I would smile and say, "Yep." I didn't try to hide it and I didn't shy away from the treatment, as uncomfortable as it was.

My friend Kathleen was diagnosed with breast cancer about five years ago. First part of October. By October 31, she'd gone through not one, not two, but three opinions. Seen several specialists. Had a number of tests. Prayed like crazy. And, by Halloween night, while many walked around in costumes and masks, she'd had a double mastectomy. She wasn't quiet about it either. There was nothing to be ashamed of, so why be ashamed? It wasn't like she'd gone out and bought breast cancer in a bottle, silly girl ... After October 31 and to date, she has aggressively done everything necessary to make sure the cancer doesn't return and that she lives as normal a life as everyone else. She's also a voice among many to those on the brink of the same to say, "It's okay. You'll be okay."

Because that's what you do when illness strikes. You take a pill. Wear a brace. Cut away the bad parts, if necessary. But you don't pretend it doesn't exist. Or that "love and love alone" will cure it. And then you do whatever you need to do to let others know ... it's gonna be all right.

Treatment may not be painless. It may not be fun. No one who has undergone chemo has said, "Man, I wish I could do that again!" No one who has worn a brace for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome has thought, "If only I'd have that kind of pain again ... so I could wear that horribly uncomfortable brace ..." No one who has taken several types of medication before finding just the right prescription, undergoing the side affects but wanting to get better more than wanting to stay sick, ever said, "Goodness! If only I could go through the vomiting ... the diarrhea ... the headaches ... the hallucinations ... just one more time for old times sake."

But to get well ... to get better ... to live life ... we'll do whatever it takes. Because human nature is to live life. To survive, even.


So let me ask you a question ... if your child were diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, or any disorder, would you want your child to live life ... or go through it sick? And, would you allow your child to make the decision as to whether to live life as normally as possible or to live life sick? Would you insist on trying anything ... everything ... to assure they can reach adulthood, happy and whole?

Or would you hide behind the lies? The lies that say this disorder is to be ashamed of. This disorder is the worst of all disorders. This disorder you could help ... if you really wanted to. The lies that say this disorder will keep you from any dream, any goal, any life whatsoever.

What would you do?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week (a day late)

Nana's Broccoli Casserole

Southerner's are known for their casseroles ... and their veges. This came from my mother-in-law. It was a favorite on Sundays and holidays ... and any other day we decided to serve it on my table.

Ingredients:
2 10 oz packages frozen chopped broccoli
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 cup mayo
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers

To Prepare:


Cook chopped broccoli until tender (about ten minutes), drain.
Add cream of mushroom soup, cheese, eggs, and mayo. Stir together and place in a buttered casserole dish. Top with crackers.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Optional:


Shredded boiled chicken or turkey added to the casserole makes for a full meal!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday's Southern-Style Faith

Our story continues ...

Jordynn and Me, c 2005


In My Dreams 

(c) Eva Marie Everson

In my dreams ...
...you are happy.

In my dreams ...
... you reach for me, and

In my dreams ...
... I hold you in my arms, close. 
Heartbeat to heartbeat.

In my dreams ...
... I hear your laughter.
The light dances in your eyes.

In my dreams ...
... you know how much I love you.
And I know how much you love me.

In my dreams ...
... I can feel your touch.
Smell the scent of your hair.

In my dreams...
... life is beginning again, and

In my dreams ...
... the nightmare is over.

[To all our praying friends: after a long month, and hours of keeping our hands to the plow, Jordynn was located this past Tuesday. She is safe. God is good. We keep moving. I keep dreaming.]



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday's Southern-Style ... um ... Video

Actually, this has nothing to do with the South. Except that ... well, maybe ... there are birds in the South. And there is music in the video. Not Southern but, you could listen to it if you are in the South, so ...


Bottom line is that you simply have to see this.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday's Musings on All Things Southern

First, let me announce last week's winner: Andy Lee! (Email me and let me know if you'd prefer fiction or nonfiction.)


So, this past weekend I was up in Atlanta. 'lanta, as we often hear her referred to. The "City of Trees," one of her citizens proudly told me.


It was good to be "home." Not that Altanta is my home, but Georgia is and there's just nothing like the sound of a good Atlanta accent. Sweet tea. Wrap-around porches. Sweet salads served with Sunday dinner.


Family.


I've gotten into genealogy. After Mother died, I received an obituary from Jonesiana, a newsletter for the descendants of Bridger Jones. Well, I had never heard of Bridger Jones. My uncle (the one I stayed with this past weekend, the family historian) said, "This is all you'll need to join the DAR."


I'm sure there's more, but it launched a search for my family roots. You know what I found out? I come from good stock! I have also learned that I can spend entirely took much time on this project. But I've unearthed treasures.


I've also learned something ... if you want to leave a legacy, you don't start on that project after you die. That's about what you do now. Who you are. How you touch the lives God brings into your path along the journey.


Here's what I know. I'm passionate about those I love. And those I love are passionate about me. Sure, there are some folks I've ticked off along the way. I can name a handful. Folks who'd say rotten things about me, maybe even stand up in a court of law and say them. 


Know what I mean?


But that doesn't make them true. And that doesn't stop me from being who I am. First and foremost, I'm a child of God. The Most High God, as David put it. I love Jesus more than I can say and wish I had more time to just be with Him. You know, crawl into His lap, close my eyes, and hear His heartbeat. Like John the Apostle did. You know that story, right?


And I love my family. My extended family. My brother. My huggy hubby and my children (those I gave birth to and those I didn't). I adore my grandchildren, mainly because they are the BEST grandchildren in the world. And they love me, too. I also love my friends. 


Friends are the flowers in the garden of life.


Cliche but true.


More than anything, I want my legacy to be one of laughter. I've heard my grandmother had a great laugh. Life wasn't always kind, but still ... this is how she is remembered. She loved to laugh. Loved her children.


Like "Miss Eva," I've had a good life, sometimes rocky, but for the most part, I've always found something to laugh about. Or at. 


On my to-do list is to order my headstone (I'm being buried next to my daddy). I've been trying to think what to put on the slab of granite other than name, date of birth, and date of death. Something profound. Or maybe I should just confuse everyone with something that'll make people go "hmmm..."


Maybe I'll watch from heaven and get a real kick out of it.


The laughter continues. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday's Talk About a Book


Book Description from Amazon.com: Maura Sullivan never intended to set foot in Granger, Ohio, again. But when circumstances force her to return, she must face all the disappointments she tried so hard to leave behind: a husband who ignored her, a congregation she couldn’t please, and a God who took away everything she ever loved.

Nick Shepherd thought he had put the past behind him, until the day his estranged wife walked back into town. Intending only to help Maura through her crisis of faith, Nick finds his feelings for her never died. Now, he must admit the mistakes he made, how he hurt his wife, and find a way to give and receive forgiveness.

As God works in both of their lives, Nick and Maura start to believe they can repair their broken relationship and reunite as man and wife. But Maura has one more secret to tell Nick before they can move forward. It’s what ultimately drove her to leave him six years earlier, and the one thing that can destroy the fragile trust they’ve built.


My Thoughts: First, let me say this is the FIRST book I've read on my new Kindle. Yes, that's right; I bought a Kindle. I swore I never would, that I love BOOKS too much, that no one tells you to CLOSE YOUR BOOK FOR TAKEOFF or even "in preparation for landing." But here's the thing about a Kindle: FREE DOWNLOADS. So, I bit.

First book to read ... The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer AlLee.

First thought: the cover. The cover is what draws us and this cover really drew me. Love the colors. Love the title. Love the flower petal ... the color of the flower petal ... love the church building as the "i" in "Wife." Blue clouds. Rolling green hills. Love, love, love. Whoever came up with this ... good job!

Inside: If I had to guess, this was a first stab at writing a novel. Maybe not the first STAB ... but the first one published. That is not a bad thing! I can just tell. The story is not that complex, but it's entertaining. The characters are not three-dimensional, but more like two and a half, which is better than one! Or even two!

Dialogue is completely--and I do mean completely--believable. I can hear these people. Um, characters. 

What I like about first time novels that get published is this: typically, you don't have to think a lot while reading. Yes, they are a tad predictable (although this one had a little surprise for even me and I can usually figure these things out). But they are FUN reads. They are, "Let's go sit on the beach, soak up some sun, and just not think so hard" books. 

With summer knocking at our windows and doors, this is a perfect book (pubbed about two years ago) to download into your Kindle (or Nook, etc.), look for at your favorite book website, etc. Kick back. Try not to sweat too much. Slather on the sunscreen. And enjoy Jennifer AlLee's first novel (I think).

[So what about you? What are YOU reading right now? Let me know and enter to win a book from my bookshelf! I still have hundreds of them!]

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday's Southern Recipe of the Week






Cherry Salad


13 oz. whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can condensed milk (such as Eagle Brand)
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup crushed and drained pineapple
2 cups chopped nuts (not ground)

Mix. Chill. Eat.
Divine.

(If you leave out the nuts, replace with one can coconut.)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monday Musing About All Things Southern

I'm back.
Jordynn is not ... but I am.

Okay ... so I'm a day late as well. But that's okay. We'll catch up ... um ... somehow.

So, let's look at a Great Southern Character. That's right, I said ... I say, I said ... a character. 


WHO AM I?
I am large. White. And I have a strong, I say, a strong good ole boy style of speaking. I seem to get into troubles without even trying.

I was "born" if you will in 1946. My creator was Robert McKimson. People first heard my voice (provided by Mel Blanc) in a film titled Walky Talky Hawky.

If you grew up in the 50s and 60s you remember me from the Saturday morning cartoon line up "Looney Tunes." My best friend in the whole wide world is Barnyard Dog.

That's a joke, I say, that's a joke, son.

Who am I?


[Okay...so here we go! Let's play catch up. Here's Tuesday's Southern style Looney, I say Looney Tune!]





http://vimeo.com/34727339
CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE
ENTER YOUR ANSWER TO WIN A BOOK FROM MY BOOKSHELF! I WILL DRAW AT THE END OF THE WEEK. AND TELL, I SAY, TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THIS SITE AS WELL. TELL THEM I'M BACK. 


AH, JE...