Their chairs at home remained empty that day. Their book left beside the bed, their coffee cup left on the sink.
Family members would watch the unthinkable unfold on national television, knowing their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, would never return home.
Horror overtook the nation, dealing the One Nation Under God a death blow in mere minutes.
Grief set in.
Then came the resolve.
Everyone bought American flags, lit candles, wrote declarations of overcoming tragedy.
We, the People, changed.
Fear set in. Anger took over. War began.
Everyone remembers where they were that day.
Not a soul was left unscathed.
The world watched.
What will America do?
Today, we remember those who lost their lives that day. We honor also the first responders who marched forward, doing what they selflessly do every day, giving their lives and energy to save others.
Let us today, as Americans, honor our nation in word and deed. We all have different opinions, upbringings, philosophies, political alignments. Let us show the world that America really is the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave. That we, though different people, are United. That this country is our home. That we stand for peace, kindness, goodness, self control, loyalty, honor, truth.
Let us be kind to one another this day. Let us unify around our commonalities, instead of our differences.
Sometimes you have to look at the content you are creating, and ask why you are creating it, and is it helpful or just filling empty space.
Glitzyadventure.com started off as a blog to highlight creative living, positivity and so forth.
And I have stepped my toe in the water as far as possibilities ahead with my blog.
I love to write.
My blog thus far has been full of good days and bad days, and that is ok.
I am in a season where I am taking inventory of what I want to do with my blog, and with future books I want to write.
Many would say well, we are not looking for anecdotes.
Then I think of all the people whose transparency totally helped me get where I am now.
Glitzyadventure.com is about being positive.
So I ask for your patience as I ponder this transition.
I want to share scripture and things that bless my life. I also am well aware of those who take the opinion that people have to be perfect and sinless before they speak a word of the Word.
Over the last few years, my life has changed drastically for the better. My thoughts and beliefs have also changed in many ways. I went from being Pentecostal to Catholic (Episcopal), after being raised Baptist, serving in located ministry with non-denominational churches for about 9 years.
I guess what I am trying to say is I have to be true to me. My faith is part of my life, and along with that, I am not a perfect person.
I am not a Joyce Meyers, or Beth Moore.
I am Kathy Leigh and that is all.
It is time to love myself and realize that I have just as much right as anyone to share what brings me joy.
It’s 5:30 a.m. on a Friday, and normally, my week would be winding down for the weekend.
But Florida reporters have eyes on Hurricane Dorian, and so does the rest of the state.
We all remember Hurricane Charley in 2004.
Everyone makes fun of spaghetti models, colorful predictions of where the storm may go.
Nobody sees the hours of calculations and science that goes into the ability to do that spaghetti plot.
When Charley hit, we had just a few hours to get prepared. As Floridians, we underestimated that storm.
By day, at Lake Wales Medical Center, I was a customer service rep.
But all of our business office titles changed.
Disaster duty for us, it was.
None of us complained. We wanted to help. It took the edge off our nerves.
I filled many hats. Talked to employees and their kids congregated on the floors in the hallways outside the cafeteria.
As the storm roared, the walls of the large building began “breathing.”
A group of food service workers began singing. People were praying the Lord’s prayer. Children were fussy.
“Hey, you’ve got to come see this,” said one of my friends. “We’ve got horizontal rain.”
That was a first for me.
Suddenly, a man and his wife literally blew through the front doors, soaked to the bone and frantic.
They had come to the center of the state to get away, and were in the middle of it.
There was a dead silence in the middle of the night after Charley passed.
Disturbing, the quiet was.
There were no cars. No lights. No air conditioners could be heard. No distant factories.
Daybreak was welcome. None of us slept. That was before my journalism days, though.
Walked out to Highway 60 in Lake Wales.
Usually a busy highway, populated with business, medical, housing developments.
“It looks like a third world country,” I told my coworkers at the hospital.
For a week, none of us went home. I helped manage the daycare for employees’ children. Did not sleep for three days, and when I started to fall in the hospital dining room, a coworker caught me and said, “you are going to lay down now.”
No sooner than my head hit the makeshift bed on the floor, than I was fast asleep.
Hurricane memories abound.
For those of you in Dorian’s path, stay safe. Stay calm. Be nice to one another.
And we will have many stories to tell of how we all made it through.
We all have a day where we feel grossly unprepared. Maybe a day when you should have taken a sick day, but you opt to show up for the work day anyway. A slow news day is nerve wracking for any reporter. Calls are out on projects before you, and you wait, research and so forth.
Note to self: You have, and most reporters have, seen this kind of day. Tomorrow will be better.
Dorian is on its way, barreling, it seems, toward the state of Florida. And already lines are weaving the tell tale story: people want to be prepared.
Note to self: Pick up crackers and Boost shakes. We are in for a ride.
Things are about to get rambunctious.
A woman on the ministry team stands at the altar to present “The Elements” for morning Eucharist. Wearing a well tailored dress, it is obvious she has some sort of exercise routine.
Note to self: must exercise.
Everyone has 24 hours in a day. The first 2 hours of my day, I dedicate to waking up, meditation, personal journaling. Reading.
Although it would be beneficial to exercise in the morning, I have to hit the road by 7:30 to make it to work. A 45 minute drive.
I reflect on my to do list. I think about coworkers who seem to have read 100 pages of news by 8 a.m. I think about the fact that I want to be more prepared, better rested, fit as a fiddle (actually, I would love to learn to play the fiddle as well), prayed up.
And suddenly, within my spirit, I hear two words.
“It all matters,” I answered.
Best advice for anyone who has a day, a week, a month, like this.
Make a list in your bullet journal (or notebook, dayplanner, phone etc.) of goals. Decide what is reasonable.
Most of all, understand there is always a way to better yourself. Although I have published a book, and spent 12 years in full time journalism, have numerous accolades, somehow I still look at others and think to myself, wow I wish I was as good as they are at what they do.
But that is the point, really.
Truth is, I have gifts too that I oft overlook.
Be present to the moment. Learn all you can. Make time to nurture you, especially if you are pouring out to the rest of the world. Quit making excuses. Even if you don’t have time to go back to school, the internet and libraries are great ways to increase your knowledge.
As for the important: My most important time of the day is prayer. I make no apologies for that. And on days that I do not take that time, either because of illness, extra errands, etc., it sure shows up in my life.
Move the clouds, and if it is daytime, there you see it.
Dark days become the norm in the mountains of West Virginia at certain times of the year.
Drive through Virginia, and it appears to be sunny.
Cross the state line, mountains get higher.
Your head is in the clouds, so they say.
A Florida girl living in West Virginia, I was like gee, is the sun ever going to shine?
So I lit a candle.
Its light warmed me.
Captivated by its glow, it made for a better day.
Candles were a memory from my childhood.
Grandma Ferguson had red candlesticks she lit during the winter. If the power went out, she lit the hurricane lamp.
I don’t like dark rooms.
Neither do I like flourescent light above my head.
Tiny bits of light. A salt lamp. A desk lamp. A lighted tree. Ambient glow from a well kept aquarium. Light.
Years ago, when wheeled into surgery, all I could see was the surgeon and the super bright light over me. Before they knocked me out, that is.
You want guys like that to have a really good light, lol.
Light versus darkness. Bright days versus dark days.
We cannot control the darkness at times.
Just our response to it.
Getting ready for work now. Someone is rolling a trash can the length of a country lane, a muffled rattle in the distance, as others make their way to work, or school, or wherever they are headed today.
The bruises on her delicate form told the story: he laid hands on her in anger, again. She found in the days after, that she could not speak, silent, she suffered inside as she tried to make sense of everything, retracing her steps.
Another woman was on her second marriage when the man she was with decided to regularly tell her she was ugly, that she was no good, to “go away,” that she was stupid, and he made fun of her teeth that were missing because she had no money to fix them. She went to work and supported herself, although married to a millionaire who had bags of gold and diamonds in his safe at home. When she first started dating him, his “flash” anger was something she chalked up to him having a bad day. Or that, she thought, she really was, as he said “no good.” One example of the terror in their home is the night he took out a large knife he had purchased, looked at her and caressed the knife, knowing she was terrified of knives. He did the same thing with guns, and forced her to hold each new gun he bought. He also forced her to buy ammunition when they went to the store, when bullets seemed to be getting harder to get. The community (to include the church) loved him and had no idea he had an arsenal in his house. 10,000 rounds, she said. He did not like to be questioned about anything, even simple stuff like hey, what would you like for dinner. He did not like her using the phone at home. He became agitated. He told her he was going to buy one way passports to leave the country and her kids would have to travel to see her, because she would not have the money to leave. They used to go to restaurants, and he would scream at her for every little thing. The nail in the coffin of their marriage was the night he loudly proclaimed at a restaurant “why do you always have to have an F-ing attitude every time I have to give you correction?” She left the table and went to the restroom, and almost heaved. The next day she was gone, and she never returned. And the church and the community were like, hey, what happened, he was such a nice guy.
Another story. A man came from poverty and rose to great wealth. Married a retired school teacher, their second marriage for each of them. He bought her a home in Hilton Head and it was pristine. She had everything a woman could want or need. But it was not enough. Day and night, she fussed about him and how “stupid” he was, how he could never do anything right. He just took it. He sometimes made excuses for her. But the line became more clear when she, not more than a year after moving into a brand new house, wanted the house across the street instead. So he did. It was not long before the complaining continued.
People who have lived through domestic abuse have seen it all.
And the question rises to the surface, where do I go from here?
Getting out of an abusive relationship is not easy, many would attest.
Those who moved on from it say that the best thing you can do (besides go to God with it) is to treat yourself as you would a child in your company. You would not talk down to a child, you would not allow the child to be hurt, you would nurture, love, and cherish the kid, making sure there are plenty of opportunities for growth and fun. You would plan for the success of that child.
Think about it.
What can you do for you to help yourself succeed?
Surround yourself with quality people, fun things to do, education, church, music, art, sports, nature walks, etc. The world is full of things to help us all heal.
And most of all, remember you are special. A unique creation. Wonderful. Smart. Your life has value. Reject anything that will harm you from this day forward. Read up on how to recognize toxic personalities, the warning signs. Invest, if you can, in you. If money is an issue, the library is free. Set some goals. Be safe.
A faint smell of gardenias was with me all day after I got a hug from a former member of Destiny’s Child, LeToya Luckett. Surrounded by crowds mesmerized with her grace, she spread wisdom and cheer wherever she went.
To her, these gifts of hers created a platform for her to bless others.
A few days later, during a meet and greet with a lady who may be our church’s next youth minister, I got a hug from one of our church leaders, John.
A faint smell of musk, with notes of pine and perhaps, lime, surrounded me, staying with me as I left church after the event.
And I thought of influence. The way John prays is as if Moses himself were raising a staff to – at God’s direction – part the sea.
When John prays for you, you walk away knowing you have truly been covered in prayer.
Perfume. And prayer.
It is true that our inner spirit is transferred to those around us, whatever that spirit may be.
Is it pleasant? Confident? Kind?
Books A Million.
For some reason, every time I shop at Books A Million, some sort of spiritual impartation occurs, whether someone blesses me, I witness someone bless another, or I bless someone I have just met.
“Your eyes just have the most beautiful gaze,” said the man before me, the cashier.
“Most people come through this line and never look us in the eye,” he said. “They look down at their phones. They look at the floor. Thank you for making me feel as if I matter .. simply by looking me in the eye.”
We spoke of “the past,” and how when we were growing up, that was standard.
I never thought I could bless someone just by looking them in the eye.
Perfume. Prayer. Potential.
Just as the perfume from the R & B superstar, and her grace toward me stayed with me, encouraging me that “all things are possible,” though we did not speak of me and my goals and dreams, and just as John and his fragrant offering of prayer blessed me, so it is that we all bless others by the beauty and fragrance of our souls.
Perhaps this is how also we show God we love Him.
Here is to a blessed Monday for you. I am off today, and thus .. I will clean the house. Maybe also this will be an act of worship.
The sun is not up yet, and there are dew drops of condensation on the windows of this old farmhouse.
Another brand new day awaits.
I write this from the couch, as my cat, Molly, has snuggled up for a morning nap.
I have been catted.
As you know, from time to time, I share blogs specifically aimed at encouraging survivors of sexual abuse and trauma heal from the past.
Truth is, there are more people than you would think who have been through such atrocities.
In 2013, I wrote my story, The Brighter Side of A Darker Thing, and it was published by WestBow Press.
Since then, I have slowly, quietly, had hundreds of conversations with fellow survivors.
“Get over it,” she said.
The woman sitting across from me at a fast food restaurant said that is what she was told by her family when they heard she had been abused.
Here is a blog of a few tips that may help you in your healing. Remember we are all different, and if you stumble across something that helps you heal, please share with the rest of us so we can explore that as well.
Number 1: Recognize the abuse was not your fault. It does not matter the circumstance. What you were wearing, or whether you were friendly, or whether you were a boy or girl, or young or old. Nobody else has the right to abuse you. It was not your fault.
2. The unfortunate thing is that while the abuse was not your fault, the journey of healing and steps you take rest upon you and your willingness to move forward. We will never forget what happened. It is always with us. But one thing that helps me is this: “I am not there now.”
3. Celebrate the Now. I have found that numerous survivors become highly gifted people in the arts and other occupations because they look for an outlet for all of the energy that is pent up from the fact that either justice was not served, the fact that we cannot change the past, etc. What are you doing with your gifts? Explore that.
4. Watch what you say. It is true that we as survivors oft morph into the negative. Self esteem and dignity is battered and it proves to be a challenge to speak positivity. For example: “I will never amount to anything. I am a freak. I do not fit in. I am ugly. I am dirty. I am permanently broken.” The positive of that is “I am able. I am gifted. I am special and created by God, therefore, I am good. I am beautiful (or handsome). I am pure because the abuse did not change my heart. I have gifts and I have survived, and the sky is the limit as to my future.”
I will share more in future blogs on this.
Meanwhile, must get ready for work.
Know today that God loves you and you are a blessing.
“She is so fake.” “He is way too positive.” “Why don’t they tell me what is really going on? Why do they keep me at arm’s distance?”
“What I want to see is the real deal.”
“You can photoshop anything you want.”
“I think people who use filters are phony.”
“Nobody is perfect.”
Social media and the search for the real, extraordinary, fantastic or ridiculously awful.
Recently, I heard a few people, on different occasions, say they were tired of fake people.
Listen to any comedy routine, and oft you will find truths to which you can relate.
We know what life is like.
“Tell it like it is.”
Seems like there are a few groups of people.
One group is running a massive public relations campaign so everyone thinks their life is fantastic. Another fights to be positive every day. The lifelong struggle with depression yields itself in positive mantras all over the place. Still another group, realists, are the ones who will let it all hang out so to speak. They will share more than they probably should and others judge them for it. “Back in my day, we did not talk about things like that.”
So true, it is.
Then there is the group that does not care. You can try to connect, find a common bond. The only thing they hear is the sound of their own voice. The only real in their lives is they are focused solely on themselves.
I am a realist and like many others, desire for people to be themselves. If they like yoga and green tea, great. They pile their hair on top their head in a blue man bun, and to me, I am like ok. If that floats your boat.
Whatever. The word whatever is a conversation in itself.
What exactly is real and what do you do with it?
For one person, real means that what I believe in is absolutely real.
Another person says “hogwash.”
And add to that so many people are afraid of being real about their life or their beliefs
for fear the head hunters will figuratively storm the island and make a mess of things.
Example. On Facebook. I can post a photo of a fresh tomato or pineapple from my garden. Everybody loves a pineapple! I can post dog or cat photos. So popular. People love pets! Post your vacay photos. That is safe.
Post anything spiritual and the line goes quiet. Post political and the cacti flood the timeline.
So we have learned what people like and do not like. It is acceptable to have a rant once in a while. But is every post a complaint? Enter the court of judgment and have a seat.
Post continuously positive posts, and people start believing you are living in a dream world. Wake up. Enter the court of judgment.
Try to balance the positive with a few peeves, stir in some funny or beautiful selfies, and yet the truth is .. nobody knows the real you unless you spend time together.
And even then, there are those who are guarded.
“If I don’t share, I won’t get hurt.”
“If I am quiet, I will not make waves.”
“What would they think if they knew how much effort it takes me just to get out of the house?”
Like a glittering snowflake as it floats to the earth. Like a diamond’s shine when it is seen for the first time. Like a pearl of precious value. A baby’s belly laugh. A dog’s kind eyes and concern when you stub your toe. Like the contrast of darkness and light, a thousand stars in the night sky. Real.
Everyone is real and has real. But not all choose to share it with others.
The dizziness and nausea was just too much. Left work early to head for my doctor appointment, which I had moved back a day.
Doc determined there was a strong possibility that I was reacting to some antibiotics and illness from a week prior, and maybe also to the contrast in the CT scan (as that always makes me ill as well.)
There are two meds I take regularly, and neither works well with the CT dye.
Rest and hydration, he said.
So I did what I loathe to do: I took an actual sick day.
My company allows for sick and personal time, in addition to vacation time. Personal time is scheduled. Sick time is where you realize it is better to be just ten steps, instead of a whole building, away from a bathroom.
My editor, knowing that I am a consistent, show up for work kind of person, told me if I was not feeling well, then take a sick day, it is ok.
So I did just that.
Went back to bed. Slept in a little. And all day did nothing of consequence except focus on eating, drinking lots of water, and resting.
The word has often conjured up images of laziness, to me. Others can rest, and I am ok with that.
But for me, well.
Have to admit the day to rest did wonders for me. Called my Mama, and she is like, yes, when she takes antibiotics or has scans with dye done, same thing happens to her.
Feeling better today, just tired. I am accustomed to working “tired,” though. I think most of us do 🙂
“Well, now that you are edging past 50,” a friend said.
Lol. “Hush yo mouth,” I said.
I do not subscribe to that train of thought.
Meanwhile, all night long, frogs and crickets have been striking a loud chorus outside my bedroom window. In celebration of all the rain? Or in anticipation of more? In the south, we are well acquainted with tropical systems that visit our state.
And yet a bug-eye frog knows when to rest.
So there you go.
The real deal here is this: why do I have a hard time relaxing? Rest and recuperate have never been friendly words of mine.
Both sides of my family are what I would consider productive people. They are scientists, business folks, artists, teachers, people who worked in the communication industry (3 generations, actually.) And more. Until the last 40 years, there were farmers. County clerks. Midwives. Seamstresses. Even a cosmetologist.
“I’m up on mah pegs,” Grandma Ferguson used to say.
But rest is not a bad thing. Rested people are productive people.
“Sharpen the saw,” say
the Franklin Covey folks.
Have a good day, all. It is Friday, and I have much to do.