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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Wizard of Oz and Snake Boy....Or

Everything you ever need to know about life and then some..

Snake Boy and Squirrely Girl Discuss Deep Stuff


Dear Squirrely Girl,

What is the story behind your obsession with the Wizard of Oz? Why do you love that movie so much? I know I grew up with my eyes glued to scenes of computerized dinosaurs attacking porta potties and tween vampire lovers stutter through lines, but what is it about the subtlety of Oz that you cherish? What are your thoughts and feelings about the remake staring the dude who smoked a pipe in Pineapple Express? Pop a bag of popcorn and snuggle on the couch next to your dog Willy and think long and hard about this light hearted topic. Take us back to 19~cough~cough~70 something and paint us a picture of your childhood.

Signed ~
Snake boy


Dear Snake Boy,

Let me see if I can wipe the cobwebs from my brain and let the memories light the corners of my mind to remember why “The Wizard of Oz” is the biggest, bestest, super, duper, fantastical movie EVER made. You really didn’t have to kiss up by saying my childhood took place sometime in the ~cough~cough~70’s. You know I was a teen sporting the Farrah Fawcett, Charlie’s Angel’s wings’ hairdo in the 70’s. No, my obsession with the great and powerful Oz came in the wild and crazy 60’s..not sure of the year, but I was probably just learning to walk because it is my first memory. Why do I love it so? Well, I will tell you why…because….it answers almost all of life’s most important questions and teaches us lessons in both black and white AND Technicolor. Does it get any better? Plus…any movie plot centered on a pair of shoes is a winner in my book. But here are the life lessons:

Lesson 1. Family is important. And family is family, even if it is not the ‘traditional family’.  Dorothy lived with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. We don’t know why. We don’t care. Maybe her parents died, maybe they were just on vacation, maybe they were in jail. We don’t even think about it. We know Auntie Em and Uncle Henry love her very much and she loves them.

Lesson 2. Friends and co-workers are important. Sure-- Auntie Em scolded Hickory, Hunk and Zeke when they were trying to save Dorothy from those hogs in the pig pen and pretty much called them lazy bums but she turned right around and gave them some cornbread because she knew they were looking out for her precious niece who was just about to drive her crazy with that little yelping dog. She had no idea that they would magically turn into a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion before the day was done. But she saw great potential.

Lesson 3.  Good neighbors are important. There is nothing that can make your life more miserable than a bad, ornery, neighbor who hates your pet and rides a bike or flies on a broom. Although, Auntie Em taught us that even the most evil person who might hurt our loved ones…should not be confronted with the “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” philosophy…she said ‘For twenty years I have been wanting to tell you what I think of you..but being a Christian woman…”.. then she ran away. We all know she did that because she was about to pop a knot on old Miss Gulch’s head.

Lesson 4.  The Weather Channel is important. The entire drama could have been avoided. Really--- who runs away from home right in the middle of a major low pressure system??

Lesson 5. Being spontaneous is important. Curiosity may kill the cat but it will also get a small town girl out of the middle of nowhere and into a brand new world where good witches have incredible fashion sense and live in bubbles with munchkins who are born in bird’s nest and bad witches live in castles with a long-nosed army and flying monkeys and …wait …did you say they were re-making this movie with somebody who smoked something??? Sounds legit.

Lesson 6. Hearts, brains, courage, and home are REALLY important. Let’s face it, the whole movie sums up the most important things we should know as humans in this world. We need to have a brain to function but the ones who think they have one just keep getting in the way of the ones who actually do. We all need a heart to love and be loved but occasionally it overrides the brain and we just end up rusting in the rain, waiting for someone to come along and rescue us with an oil can. We absolutely must have courage to use either one, but no matter how brave we are..we still run in fear from the pain we cause by pulling our own tail. But maybe with a small combination of all three, we just might find our way home, where things were not perfect but people love us just the way we are.

Lesson 7: The bottom line is important. And the bottom line is this:

You can do okay on your own but the journey is much better with friends.

Family comes in all shapes and sizes but the love is the same…when you hurt they hurt so stop pulling your own tail.

Treat your employees and co-workers with respect cause you never know when you might really need them.

Our biggest enemy is not a wicked witch or lions or tigers or bears or even spooks.. it is ourselves.

People in charge are often not what they appear to be. So remember-- your favorite teacher, preacher, boss, or politician may have just floated in on a hot air balloon because they got booted from a traveling carnival where they once wore a turban on their head and talk to themselves while staring at a glass ball.

Maintain self-control-- even when you find out after the most terrifying day and night of your life that you could have just clicked your pretty little shoes together and been back in the safety of your own bed....Thanks a lot for nothing Miss bubble ridin’ sparkly dress with a crown as tall as the Eiffel Tower good yankee witch. I should knock you upside the head with this basket I have had to carry for the last twenty four hours with only that 2 minute nap in a poppy field....I digress…

And last but not least, there is nothing more fun than linking arms with some good friends and skipping while singing down a brick road. That actually takes some coordination, did you know that?

Everyone thinks the moral to this award winning epic story is there’s no place like home but it is really about making your neighbors jealous that you were the first one to get a color tv so you could really appreciate that one scene where she opens the door to the Technicolor world otherwise known as Munchkin Land. And if I had been Dorothy I would have stayed right there and took the mayor’s job and run that itsy bitsy kingdom where all the Munchkins waited on me hand and foot and fed me something chocolate with a side of Hershey’s syrup every single day.

And that, Snake Boy, is why I am obsessed with The Wizard of Oz…the limitless possibilities.

 Signed~
Squirrely Girl

Friday, September 28, 2012

Keepin' It Real


WAKE UP..YOU ARE DELUSIONAL!...or

There is something very wrong with you….

Dear Squirrely Girl,

I sent you a message so I guess you only print letters that you like or maybe you didn’t get it but I just wanted you to know that I don’t agree with you on some things but I think that what you say about relationships is always good. I finally left a bad relationship after I read what you said about not staying with the wrong person because you are lonely for the right person. You were right I am FINE. I am actually better than ever. I can’t believe I thought I couldn’t make it.  But because I do like you a little I want to tell you something and I don’t want to hurt your feelings but do you know that all the friends you have on facebook are not actually your friends? It seems like you are talking to us personally, but I don’t really know you so I can’t be your friend. I really don’t want to hurt your feelings cause you seem nice but we are not really friends like my friends I hang out with. But thank you for saying don’t stay with someone just cause you are lonely. You were right.

Signed~
A Friend

Dear A Friend (who is not actually a friend but sure acts like one)

I don’t think anyone has said “You were right” to me since….well..EVER!  With enemies like you …who needs friends?  I can’t tell you how very proud I am of you. You were able to put in simple words the most powerful message:  “I am FINE, I am better than ever!”   There really is a difference in being alone and being lonely. It sounds like a song title but if you ever master not feeling lonely when you are alone..you have transformed yourself into your own best friend. Once you are a good friend to yourself, when you enjoy your own company, you will never be alone again and you will become the bestest  friend EVER to others. You are proof. Only a good friend would tell someone else they are delusional and living in their own fantasy world.

I must admit that I do treat my blog and Facebook friends exactly the same way I treat my ‘real life friends’.  I gripe and complain and whine and tell them how to run their lives. I make them laugh a little, cry a little, rethink their decisions a little and continue to be their friend even when they ignore me or occasionally delete me when they can’t take me anymore. In return, they take care of me, humor me, overlook all my shortcomings and imperfections, tell me when I screw up and disagree with me but love me anyway.  So whether you like it or not “A Friend” …you are now “A Friend”.

And you are right.. I am a little weird and delusional. I have always considered everyone a friend until they prove me wrong. 

Many, many, many, moons ago in a land far far away there was once a world without Facebook or cell phones or any other social media. You had to actually walk up to people and introduce yourself in person and take the chance they would look you up and down and decide you did not have on the right clothes or your hair wasn’t the right length or your skin was not the right color, or you were too fat or too skinny and you would be rejected (or as your generation would say, ‘not friended’). We didn’t have the advantage of not knowing who was ignoring our friend request it was pretty obvious when you were not part of the ‘click’.   But even then, I just pretended they had not snubbed me at all. How could they not like me when they didn’t even know me? So I just kept talking to them and stalking them or whatever it would be called today, until they finally said..”There is something really wrong with you…but we kind of like it.”  And I would say, “Told you so.”

I have been known to walk up to a total stranger and just start a conversation that goes something like this:

 “Hey, do you know Rob?”

They will usually say, ‘Uh…I ..well …yeah..maybe..not sure..Rob  who?”

 “Oh, I thought you might know Rob, he said you might not remember him, I am his cousin twice removed on his Daddy’s side. Ring any bells?”

 “I’m sorry I don’t think so ..but…wait..do you mean Bob? “

“Well, some folks call him Bob, I call him Rob or sometimes Robert and occasionally Bobby, you know how he hates that. “

And then they laugh a little and pretend they know what I am talking about because they don’t want to hurt the ‘imaginary Rob”s feelings and they are pretty sure I will tell him.

So they say,  “Yeah.. it is nice to meet you. Your face does look familiar but I am really not good with names.”

Next thing you know we are talking to each other like we have known each other forever. Eventually they will say, I really have no clue who you are and I say …me either but isn’t this fun?

So it is true, I don’t really have a clue who you are …but I am glad we met. That is sort of how Facebook works. We get to meet people by some really vague and distant relationship with someone else, the only difference is I don’t have to get out of my pj’s, put on make-up, or do my hair. How cool is that??

But just in case we should meet face to face one day, please bring something chocolate and maybe a pomegranate…I love me some pomegranates.

Your newest Friend~
Squirrely Girl

Monday, September 24, 2012

UPSIDE DOWN AND ROUND AND ROUND...Or...


 Forgive Us ...We Often Know Not What We Do...


  
Note:  I wrote this in a note on Facebook January 19th of this year but a good friend I met from the Philippines asked me to post to my blog for her to share. If you have already read this…just ignore it and go eat some chocolate instead.


I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “Christian” lately because it has been taking quite a beating.  Between the Westboro “Church” and the Republican Presidential debates where so called “conservative Christians” applaud death on a regular basis; I think the word is getting a pretty bad rap.  The term was once synonymous with love, compassion, and kindness. Lately it makes some people cringe and is more connected with judgment, hate, prejudice and hypocrisy.  Apparently, the t-shirts and arm bands asking, “What Would Jesus Do?” hasn’t made much of an impact over the years. Well, what would Jesus do?

 “At Jesus' first public appearance he said, ‘I have come to set the captives free and to preach good news to the poor.’  Then, through his teaching and life of servanthood, he slowly and methodically turned the values of the powerful Roman Empire upside down. He threw the moneychangers out of the temple because they were exploiting the poor. He said that when we feed the hungry or clothe the naked it's like we're doing it to him. He said to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us. Jesus changed the rules and ushered in an upside-down Kingdom.” (Lynne Hybels )

That is what He said, I didn’t make it up. It is right there in the bible, the Word, our map of how Christ lived, the true meaning of the word “Christian”.  So it is little wonder that the name is taking some blows.  If you ask most church members what they believe they will say something like, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in me shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  And that would be correct, for sure. But Jesus went on to say something else, something like this:

 “I love you. I love you so much..so let me make this real simple.  There are a lot of laws and a lot of commandments that would sure make your life a whole lot easier if you obeyed them all, but if you will just remember these two things, you will be okay! First, love God with all your heart, soul and mind. That is really, really important. Second, love everyone around you as much as you love yourself. That’s it. If you do those two things, you don’t have anything to worry about. I am here to show you how to do it.  I am showing you that it is possible to do this because I am here, as a man facing everything you are facing so you can see and then follow my example and know that it is possible. I did not just come to set an example, I died so when you messed up, I got you covered. I paid all your bills off for you in advance because I love you and I know you will make mistakes, I understand that completely, but my Father has mercy and grace overflowing, it is brand new every morning. So what you need to do is stop worrying about all that stuff and get busy loving God and loving your neighbor, ALL your neighbors. Not just the ones you like or the ones that live on your street or in your country but everyone in the world, and yes, I mean your enemies too. As a matter of fact you might want to throw a little extra love their way, because they need it. And when you do, people will see me through you and want to know more about me. That will open many doors and many hearts. If you want to emulate me, if you want people to say ‘Hey, are you related to Jesus, ‘cause you look and act just like Him?’ Then love God and love others. Everything else will work itself out just fine. I promise.” 

Of course, I am paraphrasing there. But that is what I believe the scripture is saying in essence.  I don’t think you have to be Billy Graham or the Pope or graduate from seminary for the bible to speak to your heart personally.  I believe the Holy Spirit does that for everyone. If we truly want people to take Jesus seriously, we can’t say we are like Him if we are not. If we treat our enemies like enemies, if we ignore the poor, the widows, the hungry and treat people with disrespect and judge them, it will not matter how many times we go to church, it won’t matter if we never commit a major sin, it won’t matter how “perfect” our lives look on the outside, nobody is going to buy it. People will forgive mistakes and failures, what they will not do is believe that God loves them and Jesus loved  them enough to die for them if we say we are like Jesus and we don’t love them.  If we have no compassion, patience, charity, mercy or grace, how can we say we have the love of Christ in us? How can we call ourselves “Christian”?   I think Jesus knew exactly how overwhelmed we would all be with just trying to manage life in general, so He taught us a simple lesson to help keep us on the right track. Love God and love everyone else.  Maybe that will turn things upside down again!

Post Note:  We need to be turned upside down, inside out and round and round until we are so dizzy we have to sit down and be still and think about what we are saying and what we are doing in the name Jesus Christ. People are seeking and they are also listening. Please do not take for granted that they have ever been exposed to your church or your Sunday school class…or your parents or grandparents or aunt or uncle or even your country.

Very Humbly Yours

~Squirrely Girl



Friday, September 21, 2012

A SKINK IN MY SINK....or


Do You Like Me?..Check Yes or No


Dear Squirrely Girl,

I almost like you but then I don’t. Because you say bad things about Mitt Romney and he is the only Christian President we have. How can you support a man that you know is a Muslim? And even if you don’t support him, when you say things on Facebook that make Mitt Romney look bad you are hurting his chances of winning which means we will be stuck with a president who believes in abortion, homeosexuals, and socialism for another 4 years. Is that what you really want? I can’t believe that because I think you are a Christian and you would not stand for any of those things, so please don’t say anything else like that.

Signed~ Thank you

Dear Thank you (very much):

I almost didn’t like you and then I did.  I really appreciate you sharing your concerns with me and I am flattered that you think I might have that sort of influence on the choice for President of the United States. I wish that were true. You know….sometimes I wish everybody just agreed with me--- wouldn’t that just make things so much easier on us all?  ~Sigh~  If we all just agreed and if we all had the same opinions, the same religion, the same background, the same amount of money, and so on and so forth we would have more time to do really important things like eat chocolate and kill skinks in our sinks (that is a whole other story and you are NOT going to want to miss it).   But I don’t think that is going to happen and it is probably not a very good idea anyway. It is all the different thoughts and opinions that make life so interesting.   I learn so much more from people who do not agree with me on much of anything.  Actually, I just learned a great deal from you.

For example, I did not know that Obama was a Muslim. Oh, I have heard all the talking heads and political pundits and a few preachers say that he is Muslim, but when I actually looked for any evidence of that….there was none.  He says he is a Christian, he tells the story of how he came to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior, how the holy spirit moved upon him and he walked down an aisle and made a public profession of faith and I cannot disprove that so he is just as Christian as I am as far as I am concerned. The only one who can know a man’s heart is God. Then they say, “Yeah, but he sat under that Wright guy who hates whites.”  And I say Mitt Romney’s Prophet Joseph Smith once taught that blacks were a punishment to Cain. So unless I hear Obama say he is Muslim or I catch him in the act of praying however many times it is they pray a day facing Mecca. I will leave that up to God.

I have also heard many say that Mitt Romney is not Christian either, because he is Mormon and that Mormonism is a cult. (I have still not figured out which is worse, Muslims or cults, it seems to change on a daily basis.)  I cannot judge his heart either. He also says he believes in Jesus and follows His teachings.  So I will take him at his word on that too.  I am going to assume from your letter that you are a Mitt supporter and believe it or not, I have many friends who are also Mitt supporters or rather they or NON-Obama supporters and have pretty much told me they would vote for “Mr. Ed, the talking horse of course” before they would vote for Obama.  And I respect their opinion even if I don’t always understand the reason for it.

 When I ask them to explain further they say, “ BECAUSE  (they are usually yelling by now) BECAUSE, he is a liberal and all liberals want to kill unborn babies and they believe being gay is okay and not an abomination before God AND they think we should take care of poor people, even the ones who don’t deserve it and that is SOCIALISM…. AND he wants to force us to buy health insurance just like I already have to buy car insurance, just like those awful countries like Canada or France….and …well..some other country we don’t like because they give all people the same health care. And here in American you should “earn’ the right to be treated when you are sick and people should get off their  lazy bum and get out there and work just like I do, I am sick of taking care of people who are too lazy to take care of themselves!”

Those are all excellent points. Heck, I can barely take care of myself much less take care of half of America. So I sort of feel a certain amount of pride when I realize my little bit put with your little bit and maybe a whole bunch of people’s little bit can then be used to help a whole bunch of folks. Then they tell me it is the church’s responsibility to take care of people, not the government’s. But when I ask them if they would like to take in a homeless family and support them until they can get back on their feet after an illness or long lay-off from work, they are not exactly “thrilled’ about that prospect and say, “Aren’t there programs to help with that sort of stuff?”  So you see where I find myself in a dilemma? 

Now your question about gays and abortion is a bit more complicated. So the simplest answer I can give you on that is I believe it is impossible to legislate any morals or religious beliefs, even though it has been tried many times. Drinking alcohol is dangerous, drinking and driving is even more dangerous but all the prohibition and laws have never stopped either one. Driving without your seatbelt is not smart and there are laws saying you should not do that, but it doesn’t stop people from doing it.  And what is the difference in voting for a candidate who is pro-choice but cares about children after they are born and one that is pro-life but could care less about a baby once it is born?  Life is life. It is all precious. I realize many consider abortion murder, but isn’t the murder of unborn children the same as the murder of the neglected and abused children? And if we are going to tell homosexual people how to live their lives based on the scripture, don’t we have to tell heterosexuals to stop going out and getting a divorce when they get bored or punish them for committing adultery? We would be awfully busy. See how complicated things can be? I don’t have all the answers but I have certainly heard all the questions and the only thing I can assure you of is that it is not black or white-- it is a shade of gray that hopefully you will never have to face.

If I were picking either of the presidential candidates as my pastor or spiritual leader, I would just pass. But I am not hiring them to minister to my spiritual needs… I am hiring them to run a country.  I am not extremely happy about either one of them, but I will cast my vote based on policy not where they go to church, just as I try not to judge anyone’s professional life by their faith. I trust you and others will do the same.  Basically what I am saying is until me and the Ninja Squirrels go take over, we really are stuck with these two choices so we should all look very closely at the actual facts and not listen to anything said on MSNBC or FOX NEWS…or at least listen to both of them equally.

I wish life was much simpler, I wish that we could all find some common ground where we respect each other and more importantly, love each other enough to agree to disagree without harsh judgment. When people tell me I am going to hell because I do not support the right political party in America, I worry about all those millions of people who do not live in America…how can they possibly get into heaven when some have never even heard of America? The world is so much bigger than our political views in the United States, but the world’s problems are pretty much the same…too much hate and not enough love.

I will promise to be good and not say anything bad about anybody, if you promise to research things for yourself and not listen to others to form an opinion. Deal?  Okay…let’s go get some chocolate and I will tell you about the Skink in my Sink. 

~Squirrely Girl

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'M SORRY...So Sorry....

Or....Sorry is not a 4 letter word...

.Love me some John Denver...."I'm Sorry"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOuOMxnUpXI

And some Elton John..."Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word"
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2e4NlnLr28

And I really love me some Brenda Lee.."I'm Sorry...So Sorry"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2e4NlnLr28

Yeah, I am kissing up...hoping if I soothe you with some great music you will not egg my house this afternoon...but here goes...


I apologize as a citizen of the United States of America. OH YES I DID …I just said that and I am not in the least bit sorry for saying that. You know why? Because I am secure in my country, I am secure that as crazy as we all act lately, we are still a nation of incredible people. The majority of people in America are not racist, homophobic, singular thought, myopic idiots. We are a people who work hard and love harder. We are a spiritual and faithful people for the most part, who do not use their religion as an excuse to spew hate and fear but love and concern for the well being of others. I will not apologize for American values. And I will speak up loud and clear for them every chance I get.  I will always speak up for decency and respect. Some might be surprised at how many times I have spoke up for Mormons and those who think they know me might be even more surprised how many times I have spoke up for Muslims. You know why? Because I personally know some wonderful Mormons and Muslims, I do not agree with their religious beliefs but I am proud to call them my friends and we have had some very meaningful discussions about our faith. I do not judge them by some of the crazy people of their faith and I know they do not judge me by some of the weirdos in mine.

I am a Christian who holds steadfastly to the scripture that says to turn the other cheek, so yes, I apologize for those who would use free speech and religion to further any political agenda. I join many others who say, ”We are sorry, we are so very sorry that in every country there will be those who take an extremist view, those who will do anything to make a mockery of their country. We are sorry that some would try to damage the morals and the remarkable stand the United States has made in most of its history of freedom for all humans, regardless of age, race, religion, faith and any other adjective that may describe individuals and we are even more sorry that those acts have caused the deaths of innocent people who offered their lives only in the protection of a country they love.”  People come from all over the world to become a citizen of our great nation and I am so very thankful to have been born here and not have to go through the tremendous struggles I have watched others go through to share that privilege. It is with that gratitude and pride I say: “I am sorry, that through the media and those who would use any means to further a political point, some have misrepresented my wonderful country and I pray that you will not judge all of us by those ‘whackos’ just as I will not judge your country by your ‘whackos’! “ I have no problem with apologizing...NONE... whatsoever…it does not mean we are weak, it does not mean I am not proud of my country…it means I am so very proud of America and that it is strong enough…big enough and yes BLESSED enough to be able at any time and any place to say, “I am sorry.”

We are not perfect and because we proclaim every single day that we are a Christian nation, we should follow Christ teachings’: ‘love your neighbor and  love your enemy.”  So we will love you-yes even you-- those who persecute us. It does not make us weak--it makes us authentic. It makes us what we proclaim even more often, that we are ‘exceptional’.  It means that the majority of us do not agree with anything you hear on so called news programs or any movie you see on the internet. It means most of us would welcome you into our homes and have you sit down and break bread with us. That is what Jesus would do, I have no doubt about that and trust me…I have a lot of doubts about a lot of things, but I have no doubt that most people in this country love more than they hate.

They get caught up in the hate and the need to go to war over anything they fear. They are afraid that the very constitution our founding fathers created will not hold up. That we will not be protected to live our lives they way we choose. That somehow because we have a President that does not look like all our other President’s he will somehow have some special power to do as he pleases and take away all our rights. And we forgot that no one President has EVER had any such power. It has been proven even more the past four years when almost every single thing he presented has been overturned. So I have never felt more confident that this country will not be taken over by some ruthless dictator. What I do worry about is that a ‘movement’ or a group of people will spread their own take on reality and prey on those who may not have the time or the ability to check out actual facts and cause them to be caught up in a frenzy of hate and misinformation to the point of making bad decisions based on illusion. I am afraid people may use their distinguished role as leaders in public office, media, churches and synagogues to do the same thing we accuse others of and spread fear among people of anything that looks, acts or believes different from them. I worry that we are becoming a country more divided than united. 

Always and I really mean this…ALWAYS…look at those who would go to war at a drop of a hat over anything!  Before you jump on the ‘bomb them all and show them who is boss” bandwagon…ask yourself a few questions. ”Will I be the one fighting the war? Will my children be fighting the war?” “Will my grandchildren be fighting the war?” Am I really …really…ready to make that sacrifice? Because someone is going to be making it. It is easy to say …let’s  show them who is the supreme power, let’s take down those who would oppress us, but if killing people would have made everything alright,would we not be safer today than we were 11 years ago? Aren’t we still mad with the same people and aren’t they still mad with us after thousands of innocent men, women and children losing their lives in the name of ‘payback’ for 9/11?
A good offense may be the best defense, but what I hear is a lot of "put the defense in because another country says we should, or because it will be good for my political career." Someone should say they are sorry for even thinking those thoughts.

My only prayer is that calm and reasonable minds will prevail in our country and throughout the world today and that my grandchildren will not soon hide under their desk in fear for their lives. That somehow we will all take a step back, take a deep breath and say…”What the heck are we doing?” When people are more upset that someone would say, “I am sorry” than the number of innocent lives that have been wasted in the last two wars, we should be outraged--- not use it as a campaign slogan.  I think we should all apologize to God for being so quick to want to use war to settle any problem. I had much rather be known as the country that was practicing the lessons from Jesus’ sermon on the mount, than the one that killed more people in the name of patriotism.

Nobody loves this country more than I do, most of my family served in the military, my father’s life was cut short due to serving his country. That is why I take it very seriously and know we should pause to ask the important questions before we ask for another war that will more than likely not accomplish anymore than the last two. I am sorry. I am sorry that we live in a time when saying, "I'm sorry" is considered a weakness and embarrassment. I truly am....

 “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."--James 4:6

~Love, hope and peace to each and every one~
~Squirrely Girl

Saturday, September 15, 2012

AL PACINO, WILLY and CAROL BURNETT...OR


Just Another Day In Paradise...


It all started simple enough. I normally give Willy  (our Miniature Schnauzer) a bath before I get a bath to wash all the Willy oopy doopy crappy stuff away…he is a dog after all, a dog who does not necessarily like a bath and often leaves a ‘miniature’ disaster after it is all over.  The Hub usually gives him his bath and then I dry him and brush him and then we give him a treat.  Since the Hub is not here…none of that is going to happen and Willy is lucky he even gets a bath. Willy has been having some separation anxiety lately between the Hub being gone and him running off himself for a week. I suppose I should have some complex about all of that by now, but who has time?  Willy will not get 3 inches away from me when I am home and that is what led to the following episode in the life and times of Squirrely Girl:

I finished giving Willy his bath talking all sweet and soothing to him and promising treats when the ordeal is over. Since there was no Hub to take care of him I let him stay in the bathroom with me while I took my shower and wash my hair AND….(this is where the fun begins) try my first ‘neti pot’.

I have had a headache for about two months and no matter where I go or who I listen to they all say the same thing.  It is a sinus headache.  As a matter of fact when I die, no matter if I get killed by some meteor that was thrown from some ticked off Martian because we felt the need to go ‘check out’ their planet; no matter if I do a Thelma and Louise off some canyon; or finally get to fulfill my life bucket list dream of jumping out of an airplane and splatter my body on Hwy. 90..no matter how I die..I want this on my tombstone: “It was a sinus headache.” 

But I trust my friends and I know they only want the best for me and I know they hate it when I have a headache because I am not nice when I have a headache. They said for the sake of all that is good and right in this world, I should try a 'neti pot', they said Carol Burnett was a firm believer in the miraculous healing powers of the 'neti pot' and I love Carol Burnett and I love my friends …so I listened to them and decided I needed to suck some salt water up my nose like Al Pacino snorting up a truckload of cocaine in whatever movie that was…I can’t remember because I just sucked salt water up my nose like Al Pacino snorted cocaine in some movie and my brain is now numb or drowned or dead.  I coughed and spit and spattered and choked and cursed and coughed some more. My low down good for nothing friends said, “oh…it will just go up one side of your nose, go around and come back out the other side of your nose” WRONG..it will run down  the back of your throat and come out your eyeballs. NOTHING came out of my nose…not right then….

That was just the beginning. Poor Willy is wallowing around on the towels trying to dry his poor self off while waiting for me to get out of the shower, wishing he was on Mars while I am snorting salt water. But that can’t happen because after I half drowned myself with the ‘neti pot’ I had to wash my crazy hair. Hair that …well..there are no words to describe my hair. It is sort of like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors…it has its own personality and demands.  One of those demands is that I flip my head over in order to finally rinse out all the shampoo and conditioner, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, unless of course…you have just poured, sniffed, sucked, snorted and otherwise put salt water down and  up your nose.  If you did that particular little procedure five minutes before, what happens is everything tends to come pouring out in massive amounts of goo, snot, tears, and slime.

While I screamed in pain, Willy started barking and howling and I grabbed a towel, tripped myself trying to get out of the tub and fell right on top of him. He yelped, I yelped, he cried, I cried, he howled, I howled louder.  After regaining consciousness, I grabbed a towel to wrap up my soaking wet hair, a roll of toilet paper to blow the ‘salt water’ out of my brains and at last started to feel almost human again. Willy is huddled up in the corner looking at me like this, “Who …dear God… please....who….. tell me who…would leave me alone with you???”  Bless his little pea pickin’ heart.

~Squirrely Girl

Saturday, September 8, 2012

MAMA BESS....YOU LIVE ON


Mama Bess…You live on…


 For years I have been quoting Mama Bess. Most people feel like they know her and that they have sat down at her table for a hot buttermilk biscuit pulled through a mixture of sugar cane syrup and real butter mixed to the perfect consistency –you know where the biscuit picks up just the right amount of succulent mixture and then tears off just enough that you have to go back with your finger to swipe up the rest? THAT is where “finger lickin’ good’ came from originally! Food made from love with every touch, stir, roll and pat. That was Mama Bess. 

It would probably surprise many that Mama Bess didn’t like to cook much at all. She loved making cakes and candy but she became a famous biscuit maker by default. It is true! She said she learned to make biscuits just like everybody else by Grandma Carroll’s skirt tail. For some reason her biscuits’ were just extra good so they all ask her to start making the biscuits. (She said that was probably ‘cause it was one less chore for them hehe). I know these details because we sat and talked for many hours, me and Mama Bess. She told me things that she might not have shared with just ‘everybody' because, as she explained, “People see you one way, and even if you tell ‘em different, they will always see you that way, ‘cause it makes ‘em feel better”.  Those words would ring so true to me later in life. Good or bad, people’s first impressions stick.  It was easy to see Mama Bess as a simple biscuit maker and loving wife and mother. She was all those things, but she was so much more.

She was born the middle child of a big family. Her older sister seemed almost like a mother and she felt like the mother to the younger siblings. It was common in her day when families had 10 to 15 children. Often the older children took the role of parent or caretaker, Mama Bess experienced both. She carried the heavy responsibility that older siblings were able to leave behind when they got married or moved away and the younger siblings never had to experience. The middle child, sometimes overlooked, always struggling to find her place. After she had her own family I remember both Grandmas’ calling her to the kitchen to fix the biscuits. Our cousins would show up about suppertime just to get one of Aunt Bessie Lou’s biscuits.  It was her claim to fame. What a wonderful compliment-- but still--Mama Bess was so much more. She was a mother, wife, aunt, grandma, writer, singer, seamstress, poet, dancer, speaker, teacher, preacher, Christian, sister, daughter, niece, cousin, activist, warrior, and a friend…the very best friend to so many.

Very few people can leave this world without at least a few bad things being said about them and I can’t prove that no one ever said a negative thing about Mama Bess…but I would bet you could count them on one thumb. So you would assume that she must have been meek, mild and submissive all of her life, and you would be wrong. I can’t remember her ever raising her voice like I do, you know, that high pitched squeal that can cut through glass and shatter a blackboard? But if you EVER and let me repeat that-- EVER EVER messed with someone in her family or anyone in need, she would cloud up and rain a fury on you that makes a hurricane look like a small drip in your kitchen sink. The woman could be vicious when it came to taking care of others. I watched her dress down a prestigious doctor, put a Southern Baptist preacher in his place and drive the speed of a NASCAR champion to get someone to a hospital.

I heard the stories of her hands dried out from the cold, or breaking and bleeding from picking cotton in the hot sun as a youth and helping deliver babies with midwives without a doctor in sight.  I heard how she walked for miles just to go to church or school and it was not a joke, she really did walk uphill both ways depending on the weather and over the river and through woods. I heard some powerful stuff about Mama Bess, but let me tell you what I saw with my own eyes:

I watched her taking care of my severely crippled brother until his health demanded she put him in a hospital miles away.  I watched her heart break and the tears fall every time we had to leave. Years later I watched  her sink to the floor when they brought his casket through the front door of our little house. I watched her say goodbye to her first born son, twice, when he went off to a war in Vietnam that she strongly opposed. I watched her wait for his letters and pray she did not get any other news about him. I watched her see her other son and grandsons go off to serve their country, not knowing what the consequences would be, but she kept the faith. I watched her take in those that others would have never allowed on their property, much less in their house. I watched her witness to others of her faith, not by words but by her actions. I watched her get tough on some people and tell them the truth they did not want to hear. I watched her say goodbye to her beloved parents, her husband and two of her children and over half of her brothers and sisters.  I watched her remain a rock for us while she was crumbling inside.

She had a way with words and was not afraid to use them. Sometimes, when I catch myself saying things that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt will tick someone off somewhere I feel like she is softly whispering in my ear, “What the heck do you think you are doing? You know that is just gonna tick people off and they are going to get all mad and bent out of shape and think you are a little crazy.  GOOD GIRL!  Don’t stop. I raised you right. You know that if everyone is agreeing with you or praising you, you doing a whole bunch of nothing.”

So I may get it wrong many times, no…I DO get it wrong many times but I always speak from my heart and from a place that was passed down to me from a spectacular woman who never saw her name in lights, on a billboard, and never even heard of a “blog” (she would have thought that was something you would need a chain and truck to get you out of) but her name was written in the only place she really cared about, the Lamb’s Book of Life. And she lives on through every life she touched in her kind and lioness way.

On that early morning when Mama Bess left this world in her home with her children cuddled up around her bed and her precious niece singing her into heaven, I took time to look at all the faces of the loved ones who surrounded us. They were sad she was leaving us but there was not a doubt in the room that she had lived the life God intended her to live. That her legacy was not ending but just beginning because of the lessons she had taught us all. We felt we were somehow closer to God from just knowing her and now she was going where she always belonged. There was no estate or money left behind just a simple old house where we had been raised. It may crumble any day, but the foundation she laid for her friends and family will remain forever through the generations. The last lesson she taught us was that the only thing that will be left of this vapor we call life is how we have affected others. So we should never forget we do make a difference every single day and only we can determine if it is for the good.

I saw my mother’s pretty blue eyes again just the other day, when my little granddaughter looked up at me and said, “We should give all these toys I don’t play with to some kids who don’t have any, huh Meme?”

Yes Mama Bess…you live on.

Blessings~ Squirrely Girl

Monday, September 3, 2012

Be The Match


IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH

For all those fighting the battle...

I was in the hospital over Labor Day weekend when I should have been lying out in the sun catching some of the summer’s last rays. But instead I was a guinea pig for the newest vampires in the ER. I will be honest, I have had my fill of hospitals, but I have also assisted many students in becoming LPN’s RN’s and Lab Techs over the years, so I have a certain ‘patience factor’ that some folks do not have. Still, after 5 sticks just to find a vein to put in an IV and then 2 more sticks to draw blood they could not get out of the IV…and then the guy ‘accidentally’ pulling out the only IV they managed to get in…I was a little on overload. NO …I was on COMPLETE overload and ready to slap somebody upside the head.  Then I stopped for just a moment and thought about what I had watched my child suffer….and I felt like a big old cry baby and remembered this story I was asked to write to encourage others to become a bone marrow donor. Funny how quickly one can be brought back to the ground and rooted in the reality of what is really important.


On April 51989 Adam was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia), he was 6 years old.  He was in remission for over 5 years, but relapsed just before his 13th birthday.  This time the cancer returned stronger than ever and cells were found in his brain and spine. His only hope was a bone marrow transplant.  We waited anxiously for the test results of all the family members to come back and were thrilled to find out his 16 year old brother Jeremy was a perfect,  “ 6 out of 6 “ match.  We were referred to Duke University in North Carolina for the transplant and left on the 4th of July.

The children’s bone marrow unit at Duke University in 1995 had the capacity for only 7 children. There were 7 boys there that summer, Adam, then 13, a 17 year old, a 16 year old, an 11 year old, a 2 year old, a 9 year old, and a 3 year old.  Out of those 7 children, only 2 had sibling matches, and 1 had a suitable stem cell transplant match and only those three survived.  There is no way to describe the pain of watching those families lose their children. But Brian, the 9 year old, whose room was next to Adam’s room, made a particular impact on us.  Adam and Brian would play video games through the glass windows when they had a good day. Brain did not have a donor match and they had given him a 3 out of 6 match as a last attempt to save his life. In the weeks that followed, graft vs. host disease and a fungal infection took over little Brian’s body. In his last days, he ask his mom and dad to renew their wedding vows in his room, sensing as most children do, that this type of illness takes a toll on marriages. He asked the nurses to sing his favorite song, “You Are My Sunshine”. As we sat up each night with his grandparents and parents, they would ask, “Why is Brian holding on? The doctors say there is no reason he should still be alive. There must be something he still needs to do or say.”
One early morning, Brian told everyone, “I just want to go outside.  I want to feel the sun and the wind on my face.”  So they took Brian outside to the playground and let him sit in the sun and enjoy the wind. An hour later, Brian was gone.  He was the 4th child we had seen die on the unit that summer.  Our lives have never been the same.

Adam had a perfect bone marrow match. He recently graduated from Full Sail University, valedictorian of his class and now works in film writing and production. He lives close to his brother, Jeremy, who gave him life the second time.  But there are 4 special families we met the summer of ’95 who will never see their children’s dreams come true. No graduations, no weddings, no celebrations.  You could be one to save a life. You can BE THE MATCH.  If you have any questions concerning being a bone marrow donor. Please feel free to contact me or my sons. Or contact the BE THE MATCH http://marrow.org/Home.aspx

If ever you have ever thought you could make a difference but just don’t know how…I promise you-this is one way.

Thank you and may God Bless…
~Squirrley Girl



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blame It All On Your Parents


It's All Daddy Frank and Mama Bess' Fault...or

Blame it all on your parents....

I grew up in a home where my strong, outspoken father, Daddy Frank, a World War II and Korean War veteran was a Democrat and my loving, gentle, kind and saintly mother, Mama Bess, was a Republican. I loved listening to them talk about politics, especially during the presidential election years. Wow, that was a debate worth a rerun or two!

Daddy Frank contracted TB (tuberculosis) during the Korean War and should have received 100% disability before I was even born in 1958. He lost a lung in that war, but he never missed one single day of work in all my growing up years. I remember people kidding Mama Bess about putting his shoes and socks out every morning and getting down on her knees to help him put them on. They thought she was spoiling him and she was an oppressed housewife but she knew he had coughed non stop for hours every morning and was struggling just to breathe while trying to get dressed for his job in the pulpwood business or wherever he needed to work to provide for his family.
They were some team, Frank and Bess.

Daddy Frank knew he had worked hard and risked his life to protect his country and now he might need help from the very government he had served so faithfully. He recognized that his own sons and grandchildren were doing the same thing and they should also be protected. He understood that no matter how strong and proud you were, if you were not physically able to take care of your family, you might need help. No matter how brave you had fought in a war on the battle field, when you came home injured and maimed you still needed that circle of camaraderie around you to carry you through. He knew one day we may all need each other.

Mama Bess had worked hard all her life in the cotton fields, her fingers bleeding from a day’s work like her entire family. Everything they ate or drank came from their hard labor, yet her heart was kind and gentle. She never expected anyone to do anything she wouldn’t do, but if they didn’t know how--she would spend hours teaching them. She watched her first born die and her 3rd child, a son, born with birth defects so severe he would never walk or talk his whole life. She knew the look and sound of pain that she prayed her own children would never know. She took care of her parents until they died because you just didn’t put your parents in a nursing home back then.

They were both good and loving people, Daddy Frank and Mama Bess, with totally different personalities and totally different political beliefs.

You see my mama was a Republican because she believed the party was conservative about issues that were important to her. Don’t spend more money than you make, money comes from hard work, be a good shepherd of what God gives you, make good decisions, and be personally responsible. She believed in the freedom of religion, that nobody should tell her who, where, when, or what to believe. That she should be able to go to church and worship as she pleased and pray for and to anyone she wanted to and she had enough faith in her God that He could take it from there. She was never once called a hypocrite for being a Christian, because she followed Jesus Christ teachings. She loved everyone and would help everyone with no conditions. She knew what it was like to be poor and go to bed hungry so she fed those in need. She knew what it was like to go to school with no shoes on your feet and no coat in winter, so she clothed those who were cold. She knew what it was like to have a crippled child and no insurance, while her husband was dying in the military from TB in another state and how she had to borrow the money for a train ticket to go back and forth between the two, sometimes wondering which one would die first. She understood that no one knows what tomorrow may bring. Oh.. she was a staunch conservative republican, she was, she gave to the poor, helped the sick and believed taking care of our children and the elderly should be our first priority.

Daddy Frank was the tough one. Like Mama Bess, he would give the shirt off his back, but he expected something in return. He would lend people money and then tell them how they could work it off if they could not afford to pay it back. He understood how much it hurt to ask for a handout when he couldn’t take care of his own family, so in his own way he was using tough love to give those in need respect and dignity that comes from a day’s wage for a day’s work. Over the years he gave many people the confidence to go out and start their own businesses or give them a good reference so they could get that job they so desperately needed. He would tell them to get the education he never had a chance to get because he couldn’t get out of the fields long enough to go to school pass 8th grade. Oh… he was a flaming liberal Democrat, he was. He held people accountable for their actions and helped them be fiscally responsible.

When it came time to vote, they would sit on the couch side by side holding hands like they did all the time and discuss if they should just stay home since they were going to cancel each other’s vote out anyway, or if they should come to an agreement after looking at both sides and weighing all the pros and cons? It was a sight to behold! Listening to them debate back and forth, seeing the fire and determination in my mama’s eyes and the no holds barred look in my daddy’s. It would get a little heated and I couldn’t help but smile because they were still holding hands after it was all over. And they would always go vote. I can’t tell you how they voted. Maybe they cancelled each other out, maybe they reached a consensus. All I know is that they talked about it, they discussed it and because I know for a fact they both had wonderful, unselfish hearts, whatever they did, they did it for the right reasons.

Lately, people are so divided. If you are a right wing conservative; you are a Christian Tea Party Racist and believe anyone who does not believe like you is going to hell. Or, if you are left wing liberal, you are an Atheist Communist Hippie, void of a moral compass who thinks everyone else is stupid.

I don’t think anyone I know on either side fits those descriptions. I think most of us are like Daddy Frank and Mama Bess. Just people trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got and sometimes strongly disagree on certain issues but still have the best interest of the country at heart. I think that is who the 99% is. I am not sure we will ever get together and protest anywhere, but I think we have enough sense to know that those who do (whether right or left) should be supported and not belittled. Be it the Tea Party or the Occupy Wall Street. We still believe in America, where you have the right to be stupid, smart, loud, or quiet. You even have the right to be in a mixed marriage, Republican/Democrat and Auburn/Alabama! War Eagle!

So you can see why I get a little confused about all the back and forth and name calling in politics. If we all have one goal in mind, shouldn’t we still be holding hands when it’s all over?