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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.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday's Southern-style Faith

I am always amazed at how the number of readers of this blog spikes on Fridays. Those who have known me for a long time, those who knew our relationship and love for our daughter J., come to know "just what happened." Then there are those who hear about it, who are naturally curious how such a nightmare could have occurred. Not just with the illness, but with the State of Florida's mismanagement of the illness, our case, and our child. I hear "In this country? But this is America!" time and again. 

Then there are those who are professionals, or who suffer from the same illnesses, who come to read. To know more. Because the more we know of the stories, the more we learn ... and hopefully, the more likely we are to not repeat the mistakes. 

Another question I get is this: Why are you doing this? 

I do this because our family is not the only one. We are just one, but we are one with a member who writes and speaks publicly and who doesn't want to see this ever happen to anyone else again. To warn people, before they adopt or foster, of what they need to know FIRST. To encourage the State of Florida ... and all states ... to learn more about mental health issues and to get their noses out of the air and, by golly, start doing their jobs. To educate people about the mismanagement of organizations such as DCF and the community-based care programs across the country. To stop the outpouring of financial support until these people vow to get it right, instead of being hell-bent on proving themselves right, they don't care who gets hurt in the process.

I read every single comment. Last week, a professional gave such an amazing report, I asked her if I could use it for this week's post. So here it is. I encourage you to read every word. To know the truth. And,if you are from the state-side, if you are a DCF worker, or with a community-based care, etc., read carefully. This is not an angry parent speaking.This is one of you ... but one of you who decided to do more than slap the alphabet after their names. This is one of you who decided to know.

I would like to offer my professional opinion about this situation. I have worked with high-risk children for many years as a foster care social worker (SWIII) and in-home family therapist working with DSS, mental health centers, and the Methodist Home for Children in North Carolina for over 20 years before becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. I've watched this landslide of bureaucratic mismanagement from afar and could so clearly see what was happening, and honestly, I am not surprised.

I have worked with many teens like J. through the years. Deeply emotionally wounded early in life, they are taken and placed in loving homes, only to viciously turn on the very same people who have attempted to love them and give them a home. Children like this have personality disorders, usually borderline personality disorder concurrent with physiological imbalances like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Their view of the world and their place in it is warped. One classic symptom of emerging Borderline PD is the sudden (and sometimes violent) turning on people that they claim to love. The truth is, these children don't know how to love. They only know how to pretend to love to get their very basic needs for safety met, a skill learned early in life to cope with their chaotic and painful childhoods. Some become so severe as to form Reactive Attachment Disorder, the inability to truly attach to anyone at all, even their own child. Paradoxically, it is when they get into a safe place that they begin to act out their very deep and frightening anger at the world. They misdirect that anger at the very people that made them safe in the first place! 

I know firsthand how easy it is to be manipulated by these children, who are often very bright and convincing. And, I'm not saying that they all are lying. Sadly, on rare occasions their stories are true.But when there is a clear diagnosis of mental illness, no evidence to substantiate wild accusations, threats of violence and sick behaviors and their cases are being managed by social workers who clearly are young and inexperienced and may have lost their objectivity, there is a recipe for disaster. Not only are good people devastated emotionally, financially, and socially, but the child is learning that manipulations, lies, and acting bizarre 1. gets a lot of attention 2. feeds their desperate need for power and control over others 3. and feeds the need for vengeance for wrongs done to them early in life. In other words, J. gets to do to the Everson's what was done to her, and if someone doesn't confront her with that, then she may one day do it to her own children as well.

I am deeply sad for this child and this family. They all have been deeply wronged. Although I believe it is safer for both J. and the Everson's to have J. removed from their home, to have them be denied parental rights and to treat them as the enemy here has been a miscarriage of justice and a prime example of social work at its worst.

I understand. Careers are at stake, jobs can be lost, and after all, social workers are all overworked, underpaid, and not trained to deal with sick children--at least not to the extent they should be. I deeply respect the unsung heroes of social work. The job is brutal at best. But it wasn't until I became a therapist that I really learned how much I didn't know when I was a social worker and how much the system has deteriorated in the last ten years. It’s scary to think how often this is happening and how many lives are being destroyed in the process. I hope someone has the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Deborah B. Dunn,LMFT

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday's Talk About a Book

Today I'm going to navigate you to a couple of other websites. But, before I do that, I want to tell you something amazing.

Sometimes, when God places these book ideas in my head--these story lines--I just see a story. My life has always been like this. I see something, hear something, taste something, touch something, and even smell something ... and a story forms. Sometimes I get only a shred of the story. Sometimes the story goes on and on, forming details I couldn't come up with on my own in a hundred years of Sundays.

So, I know this is God, blessing me again with this marvelous gift.

When the story for Chasing Sunsets came to me, I was in Cedar Key, sitting on the bed, talking to my friend Janice Elsheimer, who sat on the nearby sofa. Outside our rented condo, the Gulf's water lapped against the sand of the beach. People walked to and fro. Gulls cawed. Fishermen hollered. And the late summer breeze moved the palm fronds.

I thought it was just a story. And then, on another trip, I thought it was a story about a father's love ...

...and then ...


And now for a cool announcement: Chasing Sunsets took first place at the RWA Faith, Hope & Love chapters IRCAs last night.

For more information: http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/irc_winners_2012.html

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

Special Spinach


6 tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
6 cups chopped cooked spinach, drained
12 Tbs. bread crumbs
1/2 stick margarine or butter
Salt, pepper, and paprika


Preheat oven to 375.

Place tomatoes in shallow baking pan, cut side up. Mix onion, parsley, spinach, salt, pepper and apprika. Divide and spread evenly over tomatoes. Top with crumbs, toasted in margarine or butter. Bake 30 to 45 minutes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Southern-style Tunes

Watched The Andy Griffith Show today while I did my treadmill punishment.

The Darlings were featured, which got me to thinking about my favorite Darlings song. This is mine. What's yours?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday's Musing on All Things Southern

Another round of "Who Am I?"

Enter to win a free book from my bookshelf. And believe me, I've got tons.

Who Am I?

I was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, but when I was four years old our family moved to "Nawlins."
The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell
In 1960, when I was only six years old, my parents made a bold move that would forever ingrain me and my name in the history books as the first colored child to attend an integrated school.

Before "heading off to school one day," I had to take a test. Out of all those who did, only six were chosen, and out of those six, the honor fell upon my young shoulders. With the deed done, my parents became a little concerned--which would only be natural--but my mother felt it was the right thing to do. Not only for me and my education, but for the advancement of education to all African-American children.

Naturally a crowd of people were in front of the school that first day to protest, but, as Former US Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later stated, I "showed a lot of courage. She never cried. Didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we're all very proud of her."

Today I am a wife and mother. I have owned my own business, have been the subject of song and painting, and have received awards for this one great moment in our country's history.

Who am I?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday's Southern-Style Faith (Our Story Continues)

So what do you do when you've spent the entire night keeping vigil because your precious child, the one you'd give your life for, has become so psychotic, you fear that rather than die for her, you'll die by her? What do you do the following morning--so tired your muscles ache and your brain refuses to work--once the sun has risen again and you know life goes on?

As it turned out, J had an appointment late that morning with her therapist. I called ahead, told her what had happened. Neither of us were fully surprised. Four months previous, we'd hospitalized J for what we thought was a reaction to her ADHD meds. Just before that, she and I had gone away for a week, which would have been and should have been a lovely time together--but had turned into a disaster when she informed those around us that my husband and I had installed cameras in her bedroom and bathroom so we could watch her undress and shower. Of course none of that was true. After the week away--with the first four days being such fun and the last three being something akin to hell on earth--my husband and I took her to a therapy session where she explained, oh so casually, why she thought there were cameras and we, of course, explained otherwise. Everyone left happy. Then, two days later she stood in the middle of the street screaming she is going to kill herself. Totally broken down. My husband and I were helpless as officers handcuffed her and drove her away. Helpless watching her thrashing about in the back of the squad car. Just helpless.

The ADHD meds, they said. We'll ween her off. Make her better. And, after a week, she returned to us, pretty much her old self. So maybe they were right.

But there had been those previous problems in school. The year before, we'd gone from elementary to middle school--that cesspool of hormones and mean girl issues. J got in trouble one day for defending another girl from the attacks of a third. Then, she was thrown against the bathroom wall (warning: if you are in middle school, just learn to hold it) by a girl who was suspended for three days. There were other fights. She also struggled with her school work, but socially, she seemed to be doing well.

Then came the notices. Skipping class. Failing in class. Disrupting class. Fighting at lunch. I was getting emails from teachers nearly every day and phone calls from the school counselor just as often. I amped up my mothering role. I started having email sessions with the teachers on a weekly basis, letting J know that a good week would result in an award. A bad week ... well, there go your privileges.

By March, with a child failing and having been suspended too many times, I removed her from school (at her request) to homeschool her. In homeschooling, she did so well. She blossomed.

But, like I said ... then came August. And then...then came October when CPS (child protective services) showed up at my door. They had a report that we kept J. imprisoned in her room. That we had cameras in the bedroom and bath.

Here we go again.

I showed them our weekly calendar. She had a social event every Monday. Tuesday was ballet. Wednesday was Youth Group at church. Thursday was jazz. Nearly every Friday she was heading out to the farm where her best friends lived. She spent most weekends (I met her at church on Sunday) with them. After Sunday service, we'd go shopping. Or maybe to a matinee.

The officer talked to me at length. Talked to J. Smiled and said, "She's a normal kid."

But something smelled like a rat. And the rat had a name. S, I have called her. Her friend's mother. So I called S and confronted her. She swore she hadn't called ...but she was concerned because I wouldn't let J see her bio-dad. What? She had total freedom to see her bio-dad! She insisted she didn't want to.

Oh ... that's not what she told me. Maybe I misunderstood.

Maybe you should get your nose out of my business and rear your own kids.

Okay. I digress.

And so I went to the therapist and said, "I think we've got issues."

To which she said, "Yes, we do. J is beginning to create stories in her head that could easily land you in prison. I think it's time for a psychological. With the onset of hormones, we may be seeing the same illnesses her bio-parents suffer from."

All along I kept the GAL (Guardian ad Litem) supervisor undated. She's been so good to us in the 2.5 years of court hearings and I knew how much she loved J. How much J. loved her. She also knew how much we loved J and how much she loved us.

But love wasn't going to get us through this. Nor was prayer. You cannot pray hard enough or love deep enough and think that mental health issues and illnesses will just go away. Sometimes there is a purpose.

And right now ... it seemed that the purpose was to destroy our family.

Where mental illness left off ... DCF and CBC of Central Florida picked up. Departments designed to save families and children, but destroyers of them nonetheless. Departments without hearts, who only care for the power they hold, to use it for evil and not for good. Departments without ears ... and none are so deaf as those who refuse to listen.

Because then came January 11 ... and a final trip to the therapist after that long, long night. The last day I would see my little girl ... because of the idiocy of DCF and CBC of Central Florida. Because the state of Florida gives children--even those diagnosed with mental health issues--all the rights.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday's Talk About a Book

Unconditional Book Cover
As you may know, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, I was contracted to write the novelization of the movie Unconditional, which releases September 27, 2012. The contract was signed late last year and I got to work in early 2012, sending in a completed manuscript on March 1.

Never have I worked so hard in such a short period of time, nor have I ever felt so satisfied for my efforts. Not only because I learned what I am capable of doing, but because of the work itself.

Unconditional is based on the true story of Papa Joe Bradford, who I spoke with several times while writing, but only just met this past week. And what a thrill it was! Papa Joe has done amazing work with at-risk kids in the Nashville, TN area, which bonds him to my heart right away.

Patrick Bonner (B&H marketing
strategist) and Me with Firebird
Three things you should know:

Papa Joe & Me at ICRS
B&H book with Unconditional
trailer playing behind us
1.  The book (novelization) I wrote releases September 1.
2.  The movie releases September 21 (go see it!!!)
3.  The children's book, Firebird, which the story of the movie is built around, releases in October.

You do not want to miss any of this, so write it on your calendar.

I'm not saying this because of my work with the project. I'm saying this because it's true.

It's just so very very true.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

How about something simple!?

Sunday Night Quickie


4 eggs
1 can undiluted chicken noodle soup


Beat eggs slightly. Add soup and beat again. Pour into buttered skillet and scramble. Serve hot over toast. Serves 2 to 3.

Do it right: make a pot of grits and (if you are so inclined) fry up some bacon or thick slice of ham. Can be vegetarian! Why not?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday's Southern-style Faith (Our Story Continues)

A glimpse into our world. Into what happened that night.
It began with a simple phone call. Just before bedtime. A friend. A good friend, calling to tell me that Jo (who I will now refer to only as J), had a Facebook page I wasn't aware of.

"Under what name?" I asked.

She told me ... it was an oddity made out of her given name combined with her father's last name.

Her bio-dad, he was often called because she insisted that it be that way, that he be called by his given name. She insisted that my husband was her "Daddy" because he took the role seriously and always had. "It takes more than sperm to make a daddy," she told me once. I nearly wrecked the car. I wasn't aware she knew what sperm was (and then I remembered the paper I had to sign for the 5th grade class given just to the girls).

We didn't have to do it, you see. We didn't have to fight so hard for permanent guardianship. Didn't have to play the role of Mom and Dad. There was no blood relationship. But we loved this little girl. And she loved us, so openly. So fervently.

We had been given "permanent guardianship" so legally her last name had not changed (she insisted that, at eighteen, she would legally change her name). A few days after the ink had dried on the paperwork, I received a call from her fourth grade teacher telling me J was now writing our last name as her own on her paperwork. I asked the teacher how she planned to handle it. She said, "I don't plan to handle it at all. In her heart, she's an Everson. She's smart enough to know that legally she isn't, but believe me, Mrs. Everson, in her heart and soul, she is evermore your child."

So, now, I'm hearing that her Facebook holds her biological name. I'm fine with her calling herself whatever she wants, but I have always wanted her to be honest about her feelings.

I checked the name, but I couldn't find it. So, I went into another Facebook name I use occasionally and ... voila ... there it was. I checked her friends. One was a female friend of her bio-dad. Another was her friend ("T's") mother, who I will call "S."

S and I had had a recent discussion about the fact that she had listed "J" as her "daughter" on Facebook, changing J's last name to her last name. I found that completely odd. I couldn't imagine doing something like that. I mean, what if I had listed T as my daughter, writing her name as T Everson? She acted put off that I would ask her to remove the listing. At first, she refused, but eventually she complied.

I clicked out of Facebook and went into J's room to discuss the situation with her. Above everything ... I wanted to talk about the deceit. In our home, this was unacceptable ...

I had no idea the danger I was putting myself in with that one tap on her door ... and that one question, "Can we talk for a minute?" I had no idea the Devil's Workshop I was about to walk in to. Because I was naive, you see. I didn't yet know about what mental illness could do to the most adorable of little girls upon their arrival at puberty's gate. I didn't yet know how it could destroy a family ... and the lives of those therein.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday's Talk About A Book

This past January-April, while preparing for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, I (as the Contest Director) opened up the submission floodgates, inviting published writers to submit their work for the 2012 Selah Awards. Books were to be mailed to my address ... and they came by the droves! My job was then to find readers/judges for the books according to genre. 

A couple of the books got a quick look-see from me! I was either intrigued by the title or the cover ... or both! One such book was Mary Englund Murphy's book Joseph, Beyond the Coat of Many Colors. This book is a Bible study (and it won First Place by the way!). I recently asked Mary if I could feature the book here at my blog ... she complied! Read what she has to say about this amazing work! [And we're giving away a copy of this book! Comment, tell us why you've felt like a Joseph at times in your life or simply comment on the study, this blog entry, etc. Winner will be chosen at random.]

Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors
By Mary Englund Murphy

·     Joseph is such a well known Biblical figure; there must be numerous books and Bible studies on him. What prompted you to write this study?

There are a many books, but few Bible studies devoted entirely to his story. Several authors include a “Joseph” chapter, but few studies are entirely devoted to him.

·     Your title is intriguing “Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors”. What does your subtitle suggest?

I spent four years studying and writing about Joseph and I was amazed at the new insights I gained when I put my preconceived ideas aside. Many of us who were raised in church have what I call a Sunday school or flannel graph view of Joseph and therefore we miss many of the treasures that are found in a deeper study of his life. We often visualize him as a little boy dressed in a multi-colored striped bathrobe. This Bible study goes way beyond all the preconceived notions about Joseph.

·     Give us a brief overview of Joseph’s story for those who may not be familiar with the Bible?

Joseph’s story is found in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. He was the eleventh, and favorite, of the twelve sons of Jacob and was literally despised and hated by his brothers. When Joseph was seventeen years old, his father gave him the famous coat. The brothers plotted to murder Joseph but ended up selling him to slave traders. He spent thirteen years as a slave and a prisoner in Egypt until Pharaoh heard that he could interpret dreams. When Joseph gave Pharaoh God’s interpretation he was promoted to second in command of the nation. Joseph saved the country from famine and eventually was reunited with his family and brought them to Egypt.

Okay, so Joseph had a few very trying years, but look how it all turned out for him – wealth, prestige, honor, a wife and children, and he was restored to his family. Anyone could make it through a few difficulties with all that in their future, right?

That’s exactly what I was referring to previously. We tend to view Joseph from an overall perspective – the favored child, the multi-colored coat, some conflict with his brothers, a few rough years in Egypt, then promotion to wealth and prosperity. Sometimes we think he persevered with virtually no emotional issues, but the Scriptures indicate that he did he have challenges with the same things we struggle with like shattered hopes and depression. Joseph was a great man but he had feelings just like the rest of us.

·     The term “blended family” is used to describe families that have step-children and step-parents or half-siblings or step-siblings. How do you see Joseph fitting into those categories?

Joseph’s father Jacob simultaneously had two wives and two concubines, and all four women produced children. Though culturally acceptable, there were jealousies and conflict galore. Joseph’s family gave new meaning to the blended and dysfunctional family. This Bible study addresses many of those issues.

·     In this area, you can relate to Joseph. Tell us a little about your family background.

I was born into a broken/blended home. My parents were married a total of 10 times. I’ve had 3 stepfathers, two stepmothers, and 21 step, half and adopted brothers and sisters. In fact, my own family background is one of the primary reasons I decided to write about Joseph; I can relate to him in so many areas.

·    You recently received some good news in regard to your Joseph Bible study. Can you share that with us?

“Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors” won the 2012 SELAH award for best Bible study. This book is my heart of hearts so it was especially meaningful and a true honor.

·     Many of the books and studies about Joseph focus on grace and forgiveness. Can you talk about some of the other things we can learn from his life?

His story is a wealth of information on raising children, dealing with jealousy, disappointments, peer pressure, sexual purity, employee/employer relationships, and what to do when you feel like God doesn’t care.

·     Is this study just for women?

Definitely not! It can be used for individuals, group Bible studies, and Sunday school. I recently heard of a couple who co-taught it in their couple’s class. You can do the study in eight weeks but I recommend taking it slow and more in-depth.

·     What primary message do you want people to take away from this study?

To understand God knows the end of your story just as He knew the end of Joseph’s. Don’t give up; remember God is working in your life with purpose just as He did in Joseph’s. God isn’t finished with you yet.

·     Where is the study available?


Mary Englund Murphy is an award winning author who communicates with enthusiasm, humor, and passion, and speaks to the listener’s heart. Her newest release “Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors” won the 2012 SELAH award for best Bible study. 
Mary’s extraordinary life experiences have equipped her to grasp the unique needs of women of all ages. She speaks for retreats, conferences and other special events, and is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She and her husband Bill reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have three grown children and two grandchildren.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday's Southern-style Recipe of the Week

I cannot remember a social event my mother put on in our living room that didn't include cheese straws. They were the best part of the event.

Well ... that and getting dressed up in my Mary Janes and gloves.

Cheese Straws


1 lb. sharp cheese, grated
1/4 lb. butter
1 egg
1 Tbs. cold water
1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 Tbs. cayenne
1/2 Tbs. paprika


Cream butter and cheese until soft. Add egg and water; beat well. Sift flour, salt, cayenne, paprika together. Add in 3 additions, beat well after each addition. Chill dough 10 minutes. Pack in cookie gun and make long strips lengthwise on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cut into 3-inch strips. Yields 8 dozen 3-inch straws.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Southern-Style Tunes

I walked into the bedroom while the radio was playing and only caught one line of this song, that line being:

...don't you dare pledge allegiance, don't you dare speak of God.

Naturally, my first thought was ... "What?"

Then I caught another line: That's why I pray.

Since then I've heard this song dozens of times, loving it more each time. So, check it out and tell me what you think:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday's Musing on All Things Southern

Okay, y'all ... so here's what happened. I was looking for a video for TUESDAY'S SOUTHERN-STYLE TUNES when I saw this little clip "over to the side" of the screen.

I laughed until I hurt. Oh, heaven's above ... to all those who are NOT Southerners ... yeah, I mean ... I know folks who could tell this story, too. AND ... I have feet with fire ant bites on them right now ... but not for the same reason. I have them from putting the boat back in the water and standing in a bed.

Oh well. Y'all enjoy, then tell me if you have a fire ant story ...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday's Southern-style Faith (Our Story Continues)

"Narcissus" by Gyula Benczur (1844-1920

He was beautiful to behold, but not so lovely to know. Those who dared to love him were shunned by him. One day, having been drawn to a pool of water, he bent down, peered in, and saw his own reflection. So enamored by what he saw, he was cursed. He couldn't move from this striking beauty before him and, frozen in place by his own desire, he eventually died.

This is not a true story, of course. It is but one of the many versions of the story of Narcissus. You may remember him from Greek Mythology 101, a class I aced because it was all about telling stories. I've always loved the art of storytelling. Thus, I became a writer of fiction.

"Narcissus" by
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)
Today, Greek mythology gives us some of our most common sayings, whether we know it or not. Have you ever heard the line, "She's his Achilles' heel"? That's one.

She has the Midas touch. That's another.

Even the term "mentor" comes from Greek mythology.

Initially, I was Jo's mother's mentor. In time, I came to love her as though she were one of my own. And, in time, I felt the same about Jo. Enough that I committed to rearing her, with my husband, to adulthood. Not just a verbal commitment. It was on paper. Legally binding. More or less.

But I've just run down a rabbit trail. (I don't think that comes from Greek mythology. I think that comes from ... well ... rabbits.)

From the name "Narcissus" we have derived the medical term "Narcissism" or more properly put Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Now, I can hear what you are thinking: What? Thinking you are "all that" is a disease? No. Thinking you are "all that" is just being vain. There is a difference.

Those with NPD:

1.  Believe they are better than others
2. Fantasize about power, success, and attractiveness
3.  Exaggerate their achievements and talents
4.  Expect constant praise and admiration, constant attention
5. Fail to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
6. Expect others to go along with their plans and ideas
7. Take advantage of the generosity of others
8.  Express disdain for those they feel are inferior
9. Are jealous of others
10. Set unrealistic goals
11. Have trouble forming and keeping healthy relationships
12. While they see themselves as better than others, their self-esteem is fragile
13. Appear unemotional
14. Reacts to any form of criticism/guidance with anger, shame, or humiliation

Sometimes we can look at someone with NPD and say, "Well, they're just confident! They know what they want!" It can appear that way, yes. But the person with NPD feels all this to a pathological level. They don't "rise" because of it ... they suffer due to it.

When at least five of these symptoms are found in a patient, a qualified doctor can make a diagnosis of NPD. However, other diagnoses need to be ruled out first. Typically, poor early childhood parenting and genetics is at the root of the cause.

Is there treatment? Yes, of course. But it's often difficult and time-consuming. And, remember, anyone with any personality disorder typically cannot see themselves as ill, therefore they reject treatment. Most often, family members beg a loved one to "get help," which leads to treatment.

For any parent with a teenager, you may be thinking, "Sounds also a lot like being a teen to me." True. But, I'm here to tell you from my own experience, that numbers 5 and 13, coupled with any of the other symptoms, make a dangerous combination.

And when I say "dangerous," what I mean is ... dangerous.

When a teenager with NPD, one you brought into your life and loved as your own, looks at you--looks through you--with cold eyes and says, "There has never been anything between us ..." and when you find the pieces of picture frame that were shaped like shanks to be used for your own murder ... it's dangerous. The child may be the victim of the illness, but then you, as the parent, are the victim of the child.

What's worse is when you become the victim of the system you thought would help. When, in our case, DCF and CBC of Central Florida failed to recognize who the victims really were ... and then left them in the dust to figure it out on their own.

And that's just a part of our story.

[I implore you to learn more about Personality Disorders. I am doing what I am doing to educate others about them--as many as I can think of--not necessarily saying that J was diagnosed with these illnesses, but that these are very real. And very dangerous. If you or someone you know has adopted a foster child, taken in a foster child, adopted or become the permanent guardian of a child whose history is not completely clear to you ... you must learn more about these illnesses. One day, like in our story, everything is fine. And then, one day, it is not. It is really, really not.]

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday's Southern-Style tunes

Hey, y'all! Listen to this ... sounds like it ought to have been played on Hee Haw, doesn't it? But, it's new ... and it's from the Zac Brown Band!

Tell me what you think! (And a great big THANK YOU to Jo for reintroducing me to country music!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday's Musings on All Things Southern

I went to the Altamonte Mall on Saturday to meet with a friend. I hadn't seen her in four years; she's added a whole new person to her family since then and moved to a new home.

After catching up, we went our separate ways. I went first to The Happy Cow Company (to purchase something for my upcoming grandson) and then to Macy's. They were having a sale. I cannot resist at least looking at sales racks. (And, for anyone interested, I bought a shirt that was regularly $25 for $3. Amazing find!)

Anyway, I was meandering in the Ralph Lauren section where a small monitor played old country greats (with video) near the dressing room, I suppose for those waiting on customers inside the tiny cubicles with lying mirrors. I smiled as Johnny Cash sang, "My name is Sue! How do you DO?" followed by the familiar, "Hello, Darlin'..." I actually sang out loud, "It's been a long tiiiiime...."

My memory rushed back to Saturday evenings. 7:00 to 8:00 we watched The Lawrence Welk Show. "And a one and a two ..." As a dancer, I was inspired by Bobby and Barbara, hoping one day I could dance alongside them. (Okay, the truth is, in time, what I wanted was to be a backup dancer for Tom Jones ... but then he stopped his show and that dream went with the cancellation.)

Then came 8:00. And ... Hee Haw. Now, why I remained in the family room with Mother, Daddy, and Brother is anyone's guess. That first hour was bad enough. But the second ... Still, I have to be honest. I loved to watch Roy Clark play the git-fiddle (as we called it), and there was something pretty smooth about Buck Owen's voice (who, incidentally, followed Conway Twitty on the Macy's monitor). Not to mention, in those days, we just liked being with our family around the entertainment box! Or, as Mother called it, "The One-Eyed Monster!"

I moved away from the Macy's monitor to another section of the store with the words, "Hey, Grandpa! What's for supper?" bouncing around in my brain.

Which kinda left me wondering ... do you remember Hee Haw? If so, what was one of your favorite moments?