Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A revisit to Erma Bombeck

As I was doing my dusting today, which is not a daily occurrence mind you, I came across a poem that I hold near and dear to my heart. It was published on May 11, 1980 and its called The Special Mother by Erma Bombeck.

As I watched my "Chatty Cathy" do her chores today, I really had to smile at God's sense of humor, or at the very most, His wisdom in bringing the Mouse into my life. Because of her presence, my life turned upside-down and, Praise God, it has not been the same since. When I found this poem initially, I was living in Denver and it had been reprinted in the local newspaper. Immediately I connected with the poem and sent her a letter, in care of the paper she syndicated out of, telling her how much the poem meant to me and thanking her. I received a letter back thanking me for my letter, signed by Erma Bombeck. It is still one of my treasured items.

So, in honor of Erma, my Mouse and all of the Special Needs Moms and Kids, here is The Special Mother by Erma Bombeck. Enjoy.

The Special Mother
Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.
This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, Patron saint Cecilia."

"Rutledge, Carrie, twins, Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in You." God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'. She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Mama" for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see My creations."

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice...and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing My work as surely as she is here by My side."

"And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sticks and stones and other things

A dear friend of mine said this morning, "Words hurt." At this very moment, I whole-heartedly agree. As much as I want to say that words don't mean as much as actions, today I have to take that all back.

Words can be uplifting or devastating. The Bible itself has many things to say about that little member we call the tongue. James 3:8 says, "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison," and I will agree. So many times we just don't think about the things that come out of our mouths. Then again, there are times we do think, but it is in a moment of passion, saying things that we regret but cannot take back.

When a person is hit by a barrage of words spoken in anger, frustration or fear, even though the recipient's face may reflect hurt, anger, fear or neutrality, the hurt runs deep. It runs to the very quick of the soul, planting a poison that cannot easily be contained.

When misunderstanding or assumption is mixed in, hurt spreads faster, deeper than we can imagine. The person who is assaulted by the barrage is left wounded, wondering what they had done or why they are the victim. To me, this kind of assault is as bad as a physical assault. The wounds are evident, if only for a small amount of time in the countenance of the person, but that person will carry that assault with them for a lifetime, wounding the self-esteem, the confidence, the joy that they had held prior.

I have to wonder sometimes, if a person who wounds another person in such a way has been wounded themselves sometime in the past. And as I sit and ponder that question, I have come to the conclusion that, yes, they have. It may not have been intentional. It may have been an invisible sibling rivalry that sprung up when they were yet in grade school. It may have been a word that was spoken by a parent or a person that was held in high esteem. A person on the receiving end of a barrage may never know the hurt the other person experienced, in fact, the person spewing the poison may not fully know themselves.

So, what then? Are we to take the anger, the bitterness, the fear, the hate? No, but to retaliate with the same only puts you on a level you shouldn't be on. As much as your heart may hurt, it is imperative that you trust the situation to God. Okay, I hear the noise y'all are making out there, the questions of why. It's simple; God knows your heart, and He knows the heart of the one who is the speaker of the words. He will hear your cries and give you peace, even if you are not privy to the why of the matter. He will work in your heart and the heart of the offender. Even if the end result is separation, it is for the better. Yes, there will be heartbreak and sadness, but the poison will be out of your system, so to speak. If you are part and parcel of the outburst because of a misstep, then apology and an attempt at restoration are mandatory for you. If the other party is unwilling to accept either, then it is on them, you must wash your hands of the situation, give it to God and don't look back. Will you be tempted to go back to try to do more? Yes, and God will allow you to do that as many times as you want to, but until you trust and have faith that He is able and willing to handle the situation, it is an exercise in futility.

Give it to God. Lay it at His feet, then walk away from it. Its not worth the heartache. Its not worth the decline in health because you continue to pick it up to try to deal with it on your own. You don't know the root cause, therefore you cannot fix it. Its not worth the rift it will cause by constantly picking it up and revisiting it. Healing comes from Jehovah Rapha and no other. We have to trust in that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady

For those of you who have been following me for a bit, you probably are aware that I now have two books out; The Father's Footsteps, which is a political suspense (fiction), and Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady (also fiction), which is pretty much self explanatory...it's a humor book. Well.

 Sometime last month I had filled out a survey from one of the book sites that I'm connected with, don't remember which one it is now...I have CRS... "Can't Remember Stuff". Anyway, I get this phone call this morning from a marketing rep and we talked for about an hour about all kinds of things. Now, understand, I have nothing out that qualifies as non-fiction, which is what the survey was for, and if you were picked, then you would get this consult. Imagine my surprise when I call back (I was not fast enough to catch the call initially) and find that I was picked for the consult! So, we're talking about the books, he's asking about my aspirations for my writing, and he tells me that I'm one of the best kept secrets out there. Huh?

If you've been following my book, as I know some of you are, you no doubt have seen that even with the small amount of reviews, they have all been five-star. Even folks who have read the book and have not reviewed it on Amazon have given me good feedback. There is even one lady who will be bringing the book before the school board to see if she can use it in the reading program for her fourth grade class! Fantastic reviews! Still, nothing has really caught the attention of anyone until now.

As it happens, this fellow has three fabulous felines himself and can personally say that he can connect with my book. He said that even though the survey was for mostly non-fiction, that he believes that we can do some amazing stuff with Diary. He even went to so far as to ask if it went to Hollywood, who would I envision playing Eloise! My response? Gwenyth Paltrow was the first to come to mind...then Cameron Diaz, then Jennifer Aniston. I could really see this in my mind's eye as happening! He wasn't selling me on anything, he was asking if I could envision it, and yes, I could honestly say I could!

At the end of the consultation, he gave me some websites to check out and will be contacting me again tomorrow to see if I have any questions, comments or concerns. Bottom line, no talk of "if you get this then we can help you, or if you sign up for that then we can make you a star." He came to where I was and is willing to answer questions and point me in the right marketing direction. My thinking is this...if I want to continue with their 'paid' help, then I have the ability to do so. If I want to do this all myself, then they have given me the ability to find the resources to do so.

Okay, I know what you're thinking..."What are you thinking?" and I know this could be a "What are you thinking??" or "So, what are you thinking?" question. To be honest, I don't know. I like the idea that I could have lifetime access to resources with one relatively small transaction, but I really am liking the idea that I have been pointed in a fairly decent direction for marketing that I didn't know existed.
He suggested product placement....blog affiliation, all kinds of things that I can do on my own to succeed in getting DoaCCL out there and in people's conversations...I don't know! I'm kind of confused and excited all at the same time. Does that make sense?

Anyway, tomorrow will probably bring more questions, but then again it could be the break that I've been looking for. I would love it if I could get in touch with my niece who is a screenplay writer to ask her some questions about screenwriting and such, but from what I understand, that's a pretty difficult thing to do. **sigh** I guess I will do some praying and thinking, and some more praying about what I think is best and go from there. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions, comments or whatever, trust me, I would love hearing from you. This is one time that I'm going to literally beg for your feedback.  I mean, really...who wouldn't want to be on Ellen or Oprah as a guest author! ;)

Y'all have a blessed week! Thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

To those who think I've consumed too much "Kool-aide"

Think again.

Can't stand the stuff, way too much sugar or fake sugar for me.

Now, for the heart of the matter. I posted a photo about who I am, Christian-wise. It accurately depicts what a Christian is. This is the gist of it:

I am not perfect. I never claimed to be perfect and salvation through Christ is a comfort to me. What do I mean? I mean that even when I screw up, when my mouth has engaged light years before my brain is even awake (read: not enough coffee or too much coffee)...when my thoughts are not as clean as they could be or my actions speak louder than my Bible verses, then Christ has me covered. Am I supposed to go "oh, well!" and skip along my merry way? Psh! No. I am to do the proper thing and make whatever I goofed up right.
Am I a mess? A dear friend of mine once called me a "hot mess," so, yeah, maybe I am.

Do I go to church every time the doors are open? No, I don't. Sometimes its because I can't get out of bed, thank you fibromyalgia (although, Praise God, lately those times have been few and far between), or I'm sick and I don't want to get everyone else sick. Besides, sitting there coughing through a whole sermon makes it hard to hear the message. Should I be there more often? Sure...I know I need more teaching...more relating and commiserating with those who have "been there, done that" or have more "junk in their trunk" than I do.

Do I sin? Yup, more times than I care to recount here. BUT. The thing is, I try like the dickens to not sin...I try not to gossip, I try not to lie...I try not to do the things I know are wrong. Sometimes I fail miserably, sometimes I'm victorious.

Bottom line here? I'm no different than anyone else. Well, yeah, I guess in a sense I am. I'm like Avis...they used to have a slogan, "We try harder"...well, I try harder to be better than I was. I try to see things through another person's eyes before I judge them. I try to give of my abundance when I can or pay it forward in whatever manner I can. I try because I want to be more like Jesus and the example He lived out for us while He was here on this earth. I want to make things better for others, even if its only one person. If providing shelter for a day, week, month or months makes a difference for a friend, then that is what is done. If someone has had their card turned down in the grocery line and I have the means to help, then by golly, I'm going to do it. If someone is on a street corner and I have the niggle to help in whatever way I can, then I'm going to try to help. Does that make me better than you? No, just uniquely placed so that I am able to assist.

The thing about me is, once upon a time, I never saw the needs of others. I went along my merry way and didn't worry about anyone but myself. When I became a Christian, no, it didn't change over night, but my eyes began to see things that I never saw before, and my heart melted. I couldn't believe that I would pass up a human being because he stank, or because she was old, or because they had food stamps to help care for their child. I don't do that anymore.

 This is not to toot my own horn, but to explain why I refuse to back down on my faith. I saw where I was and I didn't like who I was becoming. Jesus gave me a fresh look and the opportunities to make things better in my bubble-realm and when it was/is time, then that bubble would pop and I would be able to help more. I don't think I'm better than anyone else, I'm just well placed sometimes, and in the end I won't have to come up with excuses why I didn't love my neighbor like I was told to.

Friday, May 2, 2014

You know...

There are few things on Earth more satisfying than being a parent, or a grandparent, except being a wife. I am beyond blessed with my two children, my "adopted" girl, my son-in-law and my grandchildren and my wonderful husband. My parents, brother and sister-in-law and Mother-in-Law top that list as well...family and friends...well, you get my point. But that isn't the reason I'm blogging today.

I find myself facing my inner Eeyore today. I look at the headlines, the ones about the guillotines and believe with all my heart that should be the standard for the death penalty. Quick and precise, no surprise when the person opens their eyes and talks to you. I would faint if someone did that after being beheaded.

I look at our economy here in the US. What once was the Country to go to have prosperity is now bounced down on the food chain. We could sit here all day and blame the Presidents through the years, but bottom line is the American People let it happen. We've been complacent. We've been lazy. We've had our lives enhanced by all of the modern miracles and have succumbed to the desensitization out there that we've forgotten what its like to do an honest days work for an honest wage. I won't even go into what I think of politicians. You want my opinion on that one, read The Father's Footsteps...it's available on amazon.com. The ending should tell you a little something about my mindset on politics.

We've raised a generation of couch potatoes who would probably cringe at being told to go outside and play until dinner. With the video games, MP3's, non-stop movie channels and computers, who wants to go outside with all of the dirt, bugs and what-not? Long gone are the days when we would ride our bikes from after breakfast until dinner time. Long gone are the times when we would play tag, hide and seek, Red Rover, Mother May I or even a game of softball in the vacant lot (and hope you didn't hit anyone's house with the ball).

I look at our military personnel, who are being treated like third class citizens. These are the men and women who fight for our freedom, who have fought for our freedom since this Country was established. It used to be an honor for our military to fight and come home, wounded or not and folks would welcome them home with ticker-tape parades. Not so much anymore. Now they come home and the government slashes their severance pay, they slash any benefits that they thought they might have, because it was written in the contract they signed when they enlisted. Even if they were drafted, they still had benefits that at least showed them that they were appreciated. Since Korea at the earliest, it is my belief that the military has been shoved under the bus more than once and the benefits for these men and women putting their lives on hold at best, giving their lives at worst has dwindled until it is an embarrassment. Shame on us for allowing their benefits to be cut. They should have more benefits than the people in Washington, in my opinion. At least they're fighting for our freedom unlike the pencil pushers out in D.C. who would turn tail and run at the hint of an altercation.

Am I cranky about my beloved Country? You bet I am. Am I ashamed of my Country...mostly no, but I am ashamed of our behavior...no, make that angry. I am angry that we have allowed a man who has no regard for the position he holds to hold that seat for another term. I am angry that we didn't remove from office a man who was impeached. I am angry that we didn't hold previous Administrations to their words when they were elected to office.
I am angry that children in our own backyard are going hungry, haven't got decent shelters or even a parent who is responsible enough to take care of them. I am angry at the people who live for their welfare checks and have no intention of going out and working for a living. I am angry at a Government who believes the people are their minions and are clueless as to the fact that we hired them in the first place. I'm angry that I haven't been angry enough to do something before now.

I know, I'm one person...what can I do? Make some noise. Write some letters. Get proactive in my community. Get off my butt and do something. Go outside and enjoy the weather. Fish, swim, whatever. Love on my grandchildren, my children, my parents (and Mom-in-law), my brother and his wife. Be an exceptional wife. Be an exceptional Mom and Mom-in-Law. Be an exceptional author. Be an exceptional Christian.

That's what one person can do, and I intend to start today.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Good morning, Everyone!

Okay, well to be honest, it's afternoon here. But hey! It's morning somewhere! LOL
All kidding aside, here's the scoop.

The Father's Footsteps and Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady are out and doing not bad, but not awesome, off-the-charts-I'm-going-to-be-on-the-bestseller-list good. In fact, if you got to ratings, Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady is ranked at roughly 1.5 million and The Father's Footsteps is the caboose coming in at 3.9 million. That's the bottom of the sorghum barrel right there. No, that' not how many books have been sold, that's where we rank on the food chain of book sales.

So, this begs the question: What do I do to generate sales? Well, I gave away 174 copies of Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady in its first freebie promotion, only a handful, less than a dozen of The Father's Footsteps on it's latest freebie. Most will say its because I'm new, my name isn't out there and that is probably a true statement, but I want to be able to get out there and have people read my works. All y'all are great, because you read my blog every it pops up, for that I'm blessed! Hmm, gotten away from my train of thought, sorry.

This is the plan to generate some sales. I'm going to post a trivia contest on Facebook and Twitter. It will be a series of questions regarding cats and there will be five winners. The winners of this contest will have the opportunity to receive a free download of Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady from Audible.com. I plan on making the questions difficult, but not unanswerable.

Eep! This is going to be fun!

Keep an eye on my author page https://www.facebook.com/L.A.Brown.doaccl for the winners! Oh, and before I forget...if you've read either book, could I ask that you give me an honest review either on the facebook page or on amazon.com? That would be super! Thanks, everyone and if you're going to enter the contest...Good Luck!!

Have a blessed week!

**UPDATE** Want to win a free download of Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady? go here! https://t.co/QNjs04ExSo and click the contest tab.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Well, Ladies and Gents....

Good morning, everyone!

Well, for the last month I have been engaged in working with a delightful young woman. She has been working diligently to make a deadline and has endured my quirks and nit-pickity-ness and between the two of us (mostly her)....

Well....the audio version of Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady is finished!!

Let me just give you a bit of background...if you've ever seen the T-Mobile commercials and heard a woman's voice narrating, that's our girl! Her name is Erin Fossa and I am humbled that she wanted to do my book!

It took a lot of editing and listening...sound adjustments, word adjustments and voices and through it all she made each and every adjustment without complaint. If it sounds like I'm gushing, well...I am!

Now, if you're wondering how to get the audio version of the book, it will be on audible.com; itunes.com; and amazon.com. We don't have a release date yet, but I will let you all know as soon as I know!

Have a fantastic week!