For me, it's really about you.

For me, it's really about you.
There's only one of me, but there are several of you I've loved and keep nearby.

About Me

Three real stories. Three women. Each with a burning desire to discover something strange and unknown. Controversial in theme and content, the reader becomes involved in their journeys- from seek to find! Coming -- fall of 2013!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Not Just Any Place & Time


“The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24


Some autumn mornings, I still hear those voices floating through the fields. Familiar songs launching from the prayerful throats of newly surrendered saints. I see them. Copper- fleshed spirits in the sun. I smell old summer’s breath from dying corn rows and dry soil resins.  I peek and there they are! Coming and going through the old rustic barn that castled a select brethren. Each face is still young as if time never escaped us. Before trouble could snake its way into our joy and rob us of what had been given us for a future time. Before we knew that this was an appointment with the Most High God whose nurturing would complete our youth and prepare us for the joys and terror that find us. Prophecy for a later fulfillment.  We were considered crazy, but equally interesting.  Heretical, but forthcoming!

       It was the early days of Jesus folk and this collection of people was a unique mix.
Hippies with a new mission. Barefoot rebels against the religious system, willing to be changed at the risk of looking strange, far out. Fools for Christ. What looked like blind faith was indeed, an unorthodox means of walking on the water and stepping up the first rung toward our eternity. Newly called by the ancient Holy Spirit, the hovering Sword cut through the rough husk of careless sinners, preparing a tablescape for us,  the Lord’s  newborns. From this haunting memory, I saw a fuller picture of how precious it all was.  An unthinkable kind of Amish-like genre was born. We worshipped, befriending all creeds, cultures and  colors. Men took a stand to preach on God’s behalf. Rocking chairs creaked on rotting wood floors while women collectively breast-fed their babies.  It was pleasureable and disconcerting- a blend of favor and rebuke.

           This was “ Light of the World Fellowship”.  A place to begin, grow in and apart from and back again.  A spiritual sobriety of hand-picked spouses who would be grateful for one more name on the church’s cornerstone.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"












Friday, July 27, 2012

Media- Smoking Gun In Disguise

Seems there is double indemnity for Casey Anthony (once again) as there is yet another issue brought against her. Probation that supposedly was erroneously served during her 3 year sentence that stemmed from, not the 1st degree murder charge, but a check fraud offense before it started in 2008.
In spite of the confirmation letter indicating successfully completing the probation, she received a notification from Judge Strickland indicating otherwise. Clerical error or not, the state of Florida has jurisdictionof the issue and must be debated.
So what? Hasn't this astonishing case taken up enough of America's concern and attention? Isn't this a gross parody of lawful procedures? Casey has been handled by artful attorneys that won her an acquital of all murder and abuse charges of her 2/12 year old daughter, Caylee. The child's death never had to be proved, really. The court room theatrics was excercised wtihout bending many rules or causes against her. The shock of not guilty results won her a special treatment due to the inflamed media exposure that placed her in a dangerous position. She had to be hidden and can't freely roam the streets and that has its glitchy benefits as well.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Secrets





From jasmine to jonquil
sleep-blessed in night's oil,
all prompt floral fireworks
sprung forth from the soil.

Let memories collect them
like summer-spent hearts
remembering kisses
that August imparts.

Each woody wind whispers
whose feet trod past love
then trampled its essence
below and above.

But once Solar offspring's
exposed by day bell,

 beguiled, autumn's left
with things mums dare not tell!



"Memories are ornaments, 
flowers on the evergreen,
fragrant cones emitting secrets
only God knows."


© M.Dianne Berry 2012


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cookies In Her Pocket ( A Unique Custody Case)

**By posting your generous comments directly to this page, you are populating the attention this subject is getting world-wide-- from child advocates to strong media. Won't you please help!**





        Ready for a true story that reads like soap fiction, processes the mind like idiocy, and puts human trust on an animal level?  Let’s just say, that’s an emotionally understated set of questions. I don’t know. You be the judge. ( Names are changed temporarily)

         Twenty five years ago, a young woman turned her life around so that she could have a good husband and build a family. She’s not unlike many of us. Not perfect. Chose partners and husbands for the wrong, but traditional reasons.  The first time, she married young to someone with whom she trusted and it turned out that he was not all she thought he was. Not the knight in shining armor, much less a paternal candidate.  He was a teenager breaking away just like many newly weds of the sixty's and seventy's generation.  After all, Angela came from a happy Catholic family- two great parents while being the ninth of ten children. Though she knew the benefits of a large family, she was one of the babies who grew up wanting to extend the blessings of having one younger... a baby of her own. They tried, but motherhood was not selective for her as she had several miscarriages. The marriage failed.

         Radically, she chose the military for a few years, hopeful of getting a good education and job. As a career, it wasn’t for her. Time went on.  She tried again at marriage with one she truly loved . . . with whom she wanted children.  But after 9 years, and numerous miscarriages, she was heartsick that she was also in the center of her husband’s bizarre maze of bi-polar. With, still, no children, she didn’t want another aimless path. Before she could make a decision, the love of her life left and never returned.

          Angela tried nursing school, and worked with Home Healthcare. It was hard, and she didn't sense a full direction with it.  It was at that time she also decided to drop the idea of searching for Mr. Right and having children for awhile by pursuing a degree in social work, a decision she’s never regretted.   As an ironic plus, she counsels children in the school corporation, which has proven to contribute to her consistently moral and steadfast profile. But time was marching across her biological clock and she became involved with Palmer,  a graduate school educator,  and  she thought this was really it. He seemed to want the same things-- most of all, children. They moved in together and things were all right for about 3 years.  She, on the other hand,  didn’t think about what was about to happen. She couldn’t imagine that, what seemed like a miracle for her, becoming a potential wife as well as a mother, (by adoption) would turn out to be a nightmare locked in Pandora’s box.

             Stung by the grief of unsuccessful marriage, she took a chance with this man as they both signed a contract with a surrogate mother. In spite of Angela’s infertility, Palmer seemed willing to contribute with his own sperm along with the selected  woman's egg to act as surrogate carrier to have the baby he and Angela always desired. Simultaneously, Angela had to formally adopt with the father so that the child could lawfully be theirs- whatever it would take!  The contract indicated that all privileges would be theirs, as long as the child was raised equally by both of them.
             But, almost right after Angela and Palmer took Scarlett home after the birthing,  Angela got the shock of her life. Palmer verbally abused her, saying, in so many words,  that she was nothing to him and, in obscenities, told her to get out. Numb and disillusioned, a host of questions came to her mind. Oh, no! this can’t be another one with mental illness…surely not! What am I doing wrong? Where have I fallen so desperately that I 'd choose such a person--TWICE? 

            Yet sympathetically, she knew Palmer's plight as a child, whose mother directed every important aspect of his and his father's lives-- from the clothes he wore, right down to his choice of friends and lovers. She knew the struggle he must have had in the tender teenage year his parents divorced as he said he didn't remember a single thing of it. She felt sorrow for what was never his own... completely. Even in the signs of violence toward her, she tried to use the health of her own upbringing and great parents to justify her supporting this grown up juvenile whose own childhood must have been denied. Weren't for his high intellect and the understandably ferocious desire to enter the psychology world, he could not have survived what he'd  subsequently pass on. With all these indications of skewed reasoning, she knew she had to side with the health of the issue instead of the reasons for the abuse that produces a domino effect.

            The signs paraded on before her while Angela took the brow beating for as long as she could. Considering that she wanted to raise a child in a happy, healthy environment, she decided to act on all the red flags of abuse by taking their daughter, Scarlett and move. (Goes to show that a Mother's instinct by design, adoptive or not, can still rule!)

           Of course, the law stepped in. And so did chaos. Briefly, let’s just say that the father got his way, pulled the child away from her mother and has custody by using his power in the system to discredit and shamelessly slander Angela in tedious, invalid ways. In the meantime, she senses Palmer‘s reason for secluding the child, hardly ever taking her anywhere with other children or allowing more visits with Angela. When Scarlett stays with her, she observes signs of probable neglect.  She isn‘t always properly dressed for the seasons, (doesn’t have a coat at her father’s home) has seen odd physical reenactments that suggest possible sexual violation. Things she is trained to recognize.  (Her attorneys advised that the alleged implications would be short lived, but to legally hang in there.)


He plays mental games with her all the time while not allowing her more than eight visits a month.  Eight visits! I know there are always two sides to a story, with sometimes esoteric reasons for these oddities. But now that I know both sides and had the information confirmed from other sources, I’ve discerned this to be so pathetic and immoral, that I needed to share it with you readers!

Here’s a newer scoop: Angela’s had two attorneys who decisively dropped her case just because in this particular area of the country, lawmen stick together and, due to Palmer’s social influence and power,  don’t want to rock the boat. She is seeking favorable advocacy, but it is dragging along. She is virtuously waiting it out just so that she is not separated from her daughter completely, praying for someone to take the case before it is too late for the one who had nothing to do with the parents mistakes or father‘s neglect and manipulation!

          How can this happen? Where is there a judge who can rectify that leaving cookies or candy in the bottom of her coat pockets suggest the mother is unfit? Or a blue tongue from breakfast yogurt implying non-nutritive foods, such as cotton candy? (Are you saying "huh" yet?)  That just because she is not in communion with the father and questions his peculiar allotments to see their daughter, it indicates deteriorating mental health on her point? There are more things, but I’m too embarrassed to list them and not vindictive enough to carry on.  The CPS doesn't seem to care. They're still waiting for something to go too far, I suppose.  Long term damage from being held back from her Mother?  Fear of never knowing why she can't be with her? Maybe something life-threatening?

         Who, out there,  is willing to expose the scenario that epidemically places children in a sick environment while their innocence is being pilfered? Are you there, friend? Can you sleep knowing this?

Say no,... and comment. Please and thank you.

2014 UPDATE

          Enough is enough. Angela is  seeing her daughter change and feels more than ever that she needs to spend extra time with her.  She requested, and received, ad litem in order to confidently have the child's interests reviewed. Her home was investigated to see if there was a proper environment for a child, but Angela was put on hold till the father was interviewed.  (As a neighbor, I witnessed this little girl in a lovely, clean,  and eye-appealing home!  I also witnessed  Scarlett's little anger fits, which tells a story that is quite normal in my view. That she, only 7 years old,  is being torn and can't give the struggle a name! Struggling between a happier, more fulfilling activity with her mother, and the only other one she knows by a controlling father.)
         A hearing was scheduled where many witnesses were called to help her in this pursuit to acquire more time with her daughter. I was surprised that, though I knew I was to help her (without discrediting the father's custody) the father's appointed attorney  was asking me questions about Angela's mental health. This  didn't make sense nor did it seem fair to me. But, I suppose in a custody argument, the father's  legal counsel must use some kind of accusatory charge in order to support the father's opposition when there IS NOT A REAL ARGUMENT AS TO WHY SHE SHOULDN'T BE WITH HER MOTHER. If this was the view or questionable position preventing Scarlett from being with her adopted mother, what validates the amount awarded to her at all? Didn't make sense to me!
Results: No more time was given to Angela with her daughter. In fact, the judge ruled to discontinue, after 4 years,  the traditional phone calls that Angela made to start her daughter's day on a happy positive note.
From insult to injury, Angela, a social worker and community's counselor for middle school children, was given suggestion to get therapy to prove her mental capability! What capability? The one she already has or the one that is being contested for fear of not being in the controlling pursuit of her father? Was his home checked out?  
Looks like, she must only rely on her Christian faith and the prayers of others to override the unfair decision brought upon her arrangement as a mother of a child she thought was truly God-sent!
         A hearing was scheduled where many witnesses were called to help her in this pursuit to acquire more time with her daughter. I was surprised that, though I knew I was to help her (without discrediting the father's custody) the father's appointed attorney  was asking me questions about Angela's mental health. This  didn't make sense nor did it seem fair to me. But, I suppose in a custody argument, the father's  legal counsel must use some kind of accusatory charge in order to support the father's opposition when there IS NOT A REAL ARGUMENT AS TO WHY SHE SHOULDN'T BE WITH HER MOTHER. If this was the view or questionable position preventing Scarlett from being with her adopted mother, what validates the amount awarded to her at all? Didn't make sense to me!
Results: No more time was given to Angela with her daughter. In fact, the judge ruled to discontinue, after 4 years,  the traditional phone calls that Angela made to start her daughter's day on a happy positive note.
From insult to injury, Angela, a social worker and community's counselor for middle school children, was given suggestion to get therapy to prove her mental capability! What capability? The one she already has or the one that is being contested for fear of not being in the controlling pursuit of her father? Was his home checked out?  
Looks like, she must only rely on her Christian faith and the prayers of others to override the unfair decision brought upon her arrangement as a mother of a child she thought was truly God-sent!  

         A hearing was scheduled where many witnesses were called to help her in this pursuit to acquire more time with her daughter. I was surprised that, though I knew I was to help her (without discrediting the father's custody) the father's appointed attorney  was asking me questions about Angela's mental health. This  didn't make sense nor did it seem fair to me. But, I suppose in a custody argument, the father's  legal counsel must use some kind of accusatory charge in order to support the father's opposition when there IS NOT A REAL ARGUMENT AS TO WHY SHE SHOULDN'T BE WITH HER MOTHER. If this was the view or questionable position preventing Scarlett from being with her adopted mother, what validates the amount awarded to her at all? Didn't make sense to me!
Results: No more time was given to Angela with her daughter. In fact, the judge ruled to discontinue, after 4 years,  the traditional phone calls that Angela made to start her daughter's day on a happy positive note.
From insult to injury, Angela, a social worker and community's counselor for middle school children, was given suggestion to get therapy to prove her mental capability! What capability? The one she already has or the one that is being contested for fear of not being in the controlling pursuit of her father? Was his home checked out?  
Looks like, she must only rely on her Christian faith and the prayers of others to override the unfair decision brought upon her arrangement as a mother of a child she thought was truly God-sent!  


Monday, February 13, 2012

Us...Just Inside Out

         There is a precipice between you and me. Some of it has little to do with us, but our parents, and theirs before. Who knows how far back and how many combinations of elders rolled the tide that you and I are ebbing? Time is the most warbling and disabling of all factors which inhibit the clarity. But it is equally as adjoining. Like glue affected by the temperature, life's seasons change, melt, distort, yet connect during its changing forms.

        It can disfigure the way we think of one another, yet send us a familiar message--that we are still the embodiment of friendship or whatever we were placed together for! So we float the waves, wait, sink a little, and still... there is a craving to crash into further unfamiliar waters just to love one another. It must have to do with a more than human unseen force which produces these abstract descriptives-these indescribable attributes of being in someone's life with or without purposeful resolve. What do we call this in and out of the human condition and a sometimes misdirected set of principles by which we find destiny? What are we really looking for?

      It's called religion. That obscure intangible belief system that means we are tied into a "higher" plan. A definition from Dictionary.com reads:
"a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."  The practice of this religion is not a solo interlude in fellowship. Churches are places to gather, support one another, and confront or rebuke when or if necessary. 

     Hence, we find God through one another. We see that something or someone is knocking at our subconscious door or we would not be having this conversation. Through others, we KNOW we're not alone. We might differ in the route to the Supreme, but it's obvious we are destined to know ,or, besides politics, why we make such a huff and puff as to which is right or wrong? I call that passion. It's the stuff that fills the already designed space of absence in us.

      Let's face it. We're a mess without some kind of direction. And there is such a beautiful world that only a higher being can put together. Such perfect order- such intent! I say, religion is too overstated in the "can-do" premise. Nobody can be holy. Nobody. The Lion in "The Wizard of Oz" said so! " Not nobody... not NO HOW!" Can't argue with the Lion.

       I don't bombard, but I suggest you and I can at least consider this to be the general truth that we need one another. Then, let's go another step and seek the truth. Pray about it whether you believe something or NOT!  Expect an answer. You wanted a Big Mac at the last Super Bowl and got one, didn't you? You knew where to go to get it, and were satisfied. Why wouldn't there be a Lover of our souls to which He designed all of these things, and give us the tools to learn about it?

      As for me, I am a Christian. I was called by this unseen compelling Creator, or I would never have come to the knowledge and love of Jesus. Yep. Even the calling's got to be from God. (You'll know it when it happens!) We can seek the mountain top experiences, travel to ancient countries, study, compare, discuss, argue, and go to the ends of the earth, but we could NEVER come up with what God did and how He does it. Not NOBODY...NOT NO HOW! 
      For me, religion wasn't enough. I read tarot cards, palms, used astrology, and did everything to help God ( Uh...that was arrogant, eh?) It was very exciting. Sensational, even!  I wasn't puppeted. In a single moment during a read, I just suddenly realized it was either ME running my life with the gamble of eternity, or surrendering to the alleged unseen God. ( Emmanuel- which means "God with us". Jesus Christ.)
It's sequence, not a religion. Born, lived, executed,  resurrected and every drop of blood had a name on it. Our names. Yours, mine, hers, his. Just ask.

    I don't mean to sound smarmy, but Bishop T.D. Jakes said it in the best way I can without gagging someone. I paraphrase. He said he'd rather live like there's a God, die, and find out there isn't one, than  live like there isn't and find out there is! What a horror that would be! Every breath is a second toward the end of this life as we know it. Let's turn inside-out and rid the valley between. Why not rid the religious aspect and pursue a RELATIONSHIP with the Living God? Ask someone now!

Oh, by the way. I'm more like Dorothy than the Lion. She just needed the other to get to where she was going! Sound familiar?

This article was Inspired by fellow writer/comedian, Leslie Silverman, whose following post
created more followers than folks have reunions! Ya' gotta give it a read. (Thanks, Leslie!)
http://relijournal.com/christianity/i-confess-organized-religion-scares-the-hell-out-of-me/





Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When Should Family Members Separate?


Abused family members can step out of obscurity… and be healed! Sometimes it means stepping away from one’s own family to do so. A Christian family is not excluded.

Remember that Jesus spoke about divisions within a family:
“They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke 12:53 The context of this meaning is not like that of the precursors of cults where the gospel is keeping others away from the new believer, but quite the opposite! It simply means that the news of Christ will separate many due to its impressive truth, including the closest of relationships… that a family will not be preferred over Christ Himself. In other words, how could God in the flesh  (Immanuel, Jesus) possibly suggest what many establishments would consider cults, (anti-social/establishment groups) should be brainwashed to believe acute separateness is necessary for religious preservation and holiness status?  That pulling the family apart comes to true Holy Spirit infusions? Not so.
Should there be divisions,  they never come without reason, love, and eventual peace marked by the confirmation of others.

Abuse never fully dies until an abused one comes forward.  This is what happened to two particular adult children. At the risk of someone being offended, the one seeking redemption from family flaws matured and made some positive choices in their endeavors with educational pursuits and career overtures. The healthy support of an understanding spouse helped to enable that direction and choice. The other adult  was held up by wasteful bouts of past substance abuse, and though recovered for the most part, is still being hung over by its consequences… boxed in by fewer visible signs. Seems the hidden triumphs are not seen by others the way the other sibling's has.  Not to worry, it is seen by the Almighty!

Should guilt, therefore, be felt by the one who accomplished more in the educational world? Of course not! Should the one who has not yet achieved similar personal achievement bring the sufferage of the family to the face of the other just to remind him/her that the origin is the important factor, and anything else is snobbery? Again, absolutely not! That is coveting ( desiring what someone else has with an envious attitude).  Guilt and envy never brought a family to the same mind pursuits. Nor did snobbery, narcissisms, or negative superiority complexes.

I conclude with something that may surprise and challenge many readers. If someone is in a mentally stable place and seems to feel robbed by weighty family issues that nearly tore him or her apart, it’s best that person let go, at least for awhile, or the essence of abuse could repeat itself.  With the redeeming virtues of  persisting care and forgiveness, I personally feel confident that there will be a resuming of partnership down the road that oddly will be sweeter than ever before!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Media Flags Hostility

Seems there is a gross parody within lawful procedures surrounding Casey Anthony- a double indemnity for her safety after being acquitted of all felony charges linked to the death of her 2 1/2 year old daughter. And now the latest is the discussion of whether she satisfied the probation which was appended to a 2008 check fraud charge. Probation that supposedly was served during her 3 year sentence stemming from that separate charge. Huh?
In spite of the confirmation letter confirming the successfully completed probation, she received a notification from Judge Strickland indicating otherwise ordering her to return to court. Clerical error or not, the state of Florida has juristriction on the issue and must be debated. Judge Perry took over as Strickland's administering the letter had a kink in it. So what? Hasn't this astonishing case taken up enough of America's concern,attention, and tax money?
Casey has been protected by artful attorneys that won her an acquittal with all murder charges of Caylee because the child's manner of death never had to be proved, sad to say. The courtroom drama was exercised without bending too many rules and carefully handed the doubtful murder evidence for the jury's deliberation. The shock of not guilty of anything but a slap on the wrist for obstructing justice and misleading law enforcement slid down our throats without swallowing and choked television viewers.
All of these cleverly maneuvered tactics even afforded her special treatment due to the inflamed media exposure, however dangerous should she have to go back to court. The woes of celebrity bury her under the debris of a hidden joint somewhere with a few glitchy benefits to pacify her until she can make up her mind on million dollar interviews. Does this seem like an example of a kind of freedom, like the song says-..." just another word for nothin' left to lose?"
We can't really blame her for all of this outcome, really. Whom do we have to thank or point to for this overage of cushy provision? Yep. The very TV artists (quasi journalists) who bring it into our living rooms. Although this particular trial has increased awareness enough to propose a new "Caylee Law" (felonizing the act of not immediately reporting a small child) this manifesto reeked with horror to get it there.
Wouldn't it be easier to turn off these networks who are working day and night, flagging the hostile audiences? This way, we can think more clearly, put down our bats and let the mallet of Providence rule in the right favor.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How To Commit A Crime, Get Away With It, And Later Get Paid To Confess

Four score and seven years ago, the American judicial system was created to treat crime and its perpetrator with utmost scrutiny for the fairest result. At least that was the ideal. Our fathers brought forth on this country the balance of clemency and punishment but with the positive idea that someone is innocent until proven guilty. Even in the most heinous of crimes, our system has a brilliant plan to provide habeas corpus for anyone being tried for a crime. This way, one's motives and intent are carefully represented by studied lawmen for both sides while employing a grand jury to participate in the fate of the judgement. This selected group of everyday people is given a specific criteria by which to make a determination based on hard evidence and without hindrance of bias. After studying all the elements, they singularly and collectively discern the defendant's actions for a public conviction.

Well, now we see riveting examples of how someone can be indicted for murder, be acquitted due to the lack of hard evidence, become medianized (colloquialism which means to be aggressively processed by the media) to a level of mass panic, and be offered an insane amount of money to tell the real story. Ah, but to lie again or tell the truth-that is the question! Even Shakespeare would fancy addressing Gettysburg with the same idea as Lincoln. Only, neither would understand that if the person confesses, they don't have to worry about being tried for the crime again. This is due to the variances of double jeopardy from state to state.
But recently, we've come to a crack in the system. Doesn't seem fair, now does it? So what should be done? Obviously, there needs to be a new law or bill that punishes a criminal for not telling the whole truth to begin with so that everyone's lives aren't put on hold for years and costing tax payers 5-6 digit fees, I guess this is for the lesser fairness (for lack of a better descriptive).
Unless there is a precedent to this kind of acquittal that provides a lucrative future for someone like Casey Anthony, we can see a worn moral fabric of a you lose-you win bonus at the end of the rainbow. That is... if there really is a rainbow. I don't know. Makes me glad that there is a higher Judge to which none of us can be acquitted unless He says so. And in some of the words of Abe Lincoln, "... It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced..." Not a dubious statement with the intention that everyone gets what is coming to them, even if it was addressing a civil war and the deaths of so many at the time. Law is law.
Is this big idea echoing how much more we can sleep with these unlawful, immoral and non-
consequential secrets under the pillow? Your take?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How I Broke My Wrist (3 Versions)

First Version: Nobility Restrained

I was helping an old man cross the street in the middle of a tornadic thunderstorm with winds impacting at sixty-nine mph. His vision was impaired and he misjudged the step from off the curb. As he tilted over, I held on to both of his arms to break a fall. It was too late. The flooding wind-forced waters pulled him toward the street drain and his boney hands began to slip out of my grip. I was horrified because I lost control. The wind was pulling me down with him and all I could see was a tiny man being swallowed into the street hole with only head exposed ... his pruney face in wide-eyed terror!
Suddenly, in less than a second, I began to slide toward the opening, nearly going down with him. But I braced my straddling legs, propping one on each side of the drain while holding onto only one hand. The man's right arm changed from mine to grab my ankle. With double force, he strained and I reached for his elbow, both of us pulling with all our might until he was sucked outward. He squeezed through the opening and fell full force to my left side. The airstream thrusted our bodies parallel blocking the drain. I nearly fainted as the wind picked us up into the air and dropped us in the concrete whipping my hand sideways full force.

We were rescued by fire fighters and both taken by ambulances to the hospital. The old man suffered a mild heart attack and I had a double fracture in my wrist.

Later, the local and national news reported the incident and proclaimed me a heroine whose life was compromised to save his!

Second Version: Self-crediting With hints of mild narcissism

It was after a winter ice storm that I finally decided that with all my talents, I could once again hit the ice. It had been years because I was giving so much time to domestic matters. My sleep yielded a dream that prompted to make it the first thing I do the next morning.

I said a quick prayer of thanks when I saw the sun peak around the last of the snow clouds causing me to spring out of my bed and fiendishly jump into a few layers of winter wear. I even color coordinated with a lipstick red scarf, hat, and white mittens. Looking into the mirror, I liked what I saw and hurriedly headed out the door, my 1972 white skates hung over my left shoulder.

Driving down the quiet path to the lake, I saw others running toward the ominous circle of skaters, gliding in and out with a backdrop of skating music. It took me a little longer to put the skates on, squeezing my size larger feet into the leather uppers.
"This is so worth it," I thought, in spite of the pulsing throb in my toes. Then, forgetting how long it had been for me, my visions of grandeur overruled precaution. I ran to successfully jump onto the ice, throwing my arms up into the icy air embracing the joy.

I was so proud of myself that I decided to do a figure 8, first rushing forward, voraciously changing in reverse completing what would be the best foot cutting I ever did as others watched. It was so glorious, I decided to give them the show of a lifetime with a waltz jump, but once I cut over the other foot, I slid too close to the side rail and bumped into the light pole behind it. It was full impact when I not only bumped between the rail and the light like a pin ball, I swirled to the left and tripped over my own foot pushing me full force back on the ice. I stopped breathing for a second, scared to death I was dying.

Last thing I remember was someone calling 911. I found myself in the ER surrounded by some of the skaters whose shirts read "Rockefellar Center Ice Dancers".
I did not pass out from the agonizing pain. I was mortified and filled with the dread of a broken ego.

Third Version: Last of the Luggage Ladder

There was a tornado warning blasting from our weather radio while the weather channel was prompting us to prepare for the worst. Otherwise, all was cozy and quiet as our grandchild was going to sleep. But I have always worked miracles under pressure and decided to hang a new curtain over her closet. The stool was too short, so I found a suitcase and placed the stool on TOP. I was confident that I could hang the new curtain when suddenly, I heard a popping sound, then a knocking noise.
" Uh oh," I thought. "Hubby would flip if he saw me do this now!"
I even recited my favorite scripture so that I could accomplish what seemed impossible.
" I can do all things through Chirst who strengthens me". Yeh. That'll do it. My grandchild was scared. "Careful, Nanah." But long as I was exampling the faith of Christ, how could I go wrong? After all, I've used it many times before. It's been well exampled and witnessed. It was a keeper. I don't want to call it 'magic', but it seemed to describe its quick results

Too bad. Forgot about human will and obstinance as the warning for me to get down was probably His prompt. I slid full force off the stool that was tumbling off the suitcase and fell like an iron grate sideways. I knew something was wrong and my husband ran in terror toward the bedroom
"I'm all right!" I assured him, confirming that I wasn't dead. But I was not okay.  I lost my breath, my head was swimming and thought I was going to pass out. My wrist was in horrific pain and it was knotted up. I was seeing black around me and nearly fainted. My husband couldn't help ask 'why' I would do such a thing, putting myself in danger. We had to go to ER in the middle of a horrible thunderstorm, street lights and utility wires falling behind us like vines from the sky.
Once at the ER, we were cautioned to go to the hallway where a tornado was confirmed to have touched down. It wasn't long, however, before they took an x-ray to diagnose two fractures and a dislocation, making me a temporary tape cast.

I cried when I got home, wishing I could have spent the last two hours in bed instead of having this injury. Next time, I recite a scripture like that, I will make sure I'm not standing on luggage. I'd travel better!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sixty's Teen Gets the Gigs!


       Terese Grotius McKannan, long-time veteran musician and singer has it better than some these days when it comes to landing music jobs. At a time when there is so much hype on competition, television contests, getting a record deal, or even regularly working in one's hometown, she is in high demand within the senior communities.
     As a teenager who grew up in the 60's, she was highly influenced by her mother, Najla Macksoud Grotius, who was a singer and pianist for one of USO's first '40's entertaining groups during WW2 while professor-father and drama director Robert Grotius  encouraged them to put a little theatre into the act.  Terese and the other five Grotius siblings rehearsed with their mother's instrumental backup, tight harmonies, and snappy delivery which also launched their professional music careers.
       Terese began her own career in high school and gradually expanded  her repertoire till she was booked in popular piano bars. With her lively presentation and remarkable ability to engage audiences with familiar TV show themes and commercials, she kept the night clubbers awake as they asked for more. Before long, she was working the plush hotels, piano bars, clubs, and restaurants, both locally and across the states while moonlighting. Though between the traveling gigs she took a few brief jobs in the mainstream work force, she always came back to playing music.
        Now getting older has its perks as there will always be the elders whose needs include more than good health care. They need to be entertained, wooed by the sounds of their time, emotionally taking them away from the mundane and melancholy. Terese decided to give back to our parents' generation by dedicating a 45 minute program to a few nursing facilities. They loved her! With letters of introduction to many more senior venues, some photographs and a resume of her musical career, calls began to roll in. It wasn't long before she nearly had more than she could handle. But she was happy. Happy because she was doing something she always knew and loved and could do it full time while care-giving her own mother.
       She delivers a punchy medley of national and state anthems. Among them are:
God Bless America, Back Home Again In Indiana, California Here I Come,Georgia, and many others.  She also performs show tunes like Cabaret, Hello Dolly, and Moulin Rouge. The best of the Beatles also roused the memories of those who raised their own children of the 60's making it easy to smile, cry, and sing along. The icing on the cake is the love and endearment she has with the residents who attend her programs.
     "I become very close to many of these wonderful people," Terese reports . "I've spoken with some notables as well. Like Bettie Engelbrecht, whose dance team performed with Debbie Reynolds in the movie, Singing In The Rain. And Marilyn Durham, author of  The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing."  
Terese was honored.  She tears up when telling about her chat with haulicost survivor Veronika Federowska Samila who jumped off a train while in transit toward Auschwitz to escape her eventual brief encampment. (Compassionate as well,  Terese makes a point to see their extended families whenever a resident passes away.)
      She  lives in Evansville and and serves nearly all local facilties, and more  frequently  at Newburgh Healthcare,The Heritage,  The Protestant Home, and others.
       If you want to hear a few sound clips, I'm afraid she's old fashioned, doesn't mess with the computer and needs me to speak on her behalf since she's my sister! Terese would like to invite anyone to come to one of her events. To request a list of upcoming gigs,  you can email me directly: czeal@hotmail.com
  Subject: (RantingsFromRiverBayBlog)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yes, so I cook too...what of it?

I'm a right-brained person who has to constantly perform at something, even if I'm sleeping. (talk about dreams!) When I was in the music business, my craft and output were being refined, but once I had a few weekends off, I didn't know what to do with myself. To the kitchen stage we went.

I have a cookbook full of gourmet recipes that, when as a younger naive bride, did not know what 'gourmet' meant, so I just followed directions on every item. On a short note, I've been cooking ever since. Yes. I'm good at it. I give first credits to my Mother whose Middle Eastern heritage afforded me a unique step forward. If you've never had Syrian, Arabic, or Lebanese food, then, you've got to try it. Kibbe is everyone's favorite, but all of the meat and vegetable dishes are screaming with flavor that will bookmark a memory.

In the next several months, I will give you some recipes that will replace normal comfort food with EXOTIC comfort food.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do New Mores Plagiarize Design? (A view on Same-gender marriage)

         A copyright is a legally approved document, patent, or seal protecting the creator with his or her invention or literary work. Anything that proves ownership and is wrongfully used by another constitutes copyright infringement, and can be punishable by law. If a speech were recited by someone and never gave credit to the true writer, that would also be considered plagiarism. There is no reasonable doubt otherwise. This excludes many subject matters that can be duplicated, embellished, or composed by another writer.

         For instance, if someone were to write a story about a famous person who lived a hundred years ago, fictitiously recreate dialogue, or a narrative not proved to be true, it would not be a violation because it has long since been placed to public domain. Now for hard evidence to the topic of this particular blog.

           Science and technology tell us things about what is correct and effective in the world of electronics. One can not get a charge, light, or any electrical emission without two opposing forces. If it is a battery, there must be a negative and positive so that the unison produces the effect. When plugging in a lamp or any electronic device, there must be a ‘male’ plug and a 'female' receptor so that there is light or other function. In other words, two of the same forces cannot produce the effect.

           Among many current issues that have been unplugged from what has been considered absolute or truth without opinion challenging society is the question of same-gender marriage. How does this have anything to do with copyright and infringement, or the science of electronic law? According to spiritual law, and documented in the bible, God is the author of life.

            Firstly, man did not invent co-sexual unions. God did. From the beginning, He wrought a purposeful world and destiny for the first humans. His intention of the union was called ‘marriage”. It is proven by the biblical documentation, as well as physical design. It is God’s creation in the order of His first design with the purpose of bringing more beings into the world. Most believers in God know that no human being is self-evolved. A new person can not be made without two opposite genders putting God as the original creator along with any laws or concepts that surround this creation.

           So what about the idea of same gender marriage if this is true? How can we ordain something which was never ordained by man to begin with? Just because we think it to be fair, can we just pick and choose anything that has been first invented by Him and recreate our own law?
          As it is with anything where God is concerned, we should surrender our complaints, issues, and debates to Him who has a higher purpose and definite direction for His people. After all, since He is the author of life, shouldn’t He be the one to designate how it should be used? Should same-sex unions be called something other than what God called and designed it? (If one does not believe in God or what is documented as truth, then it would be considered fair that he/she do whatever they want as long as they are willing to accept the possibility of consequence. Another blog!)
The defensive response that "love" is universal, not bound by gender, race, nations, or any human group, is however, a valid subject that deserves mention. God is love. He alone creates the precepts of spiritual law. He, alone, judges, but we can partake in how he would respond to this universal love. In all twelve mentions of homosexuality in the bible, the jury rests with the deliberation of it being against His design that in ancient times was punishable by law.

We are free to do as we want, but believers are subject to a higher calling. And given the very difficult life the gays have in coming out or choosing sanctity instead of what seems 'natural' to them includes them in this higher calling.

I value that not everyone wants to be with the opposite sex for the rest of their lives, and they don't have to be. And, in my compassion, I don't pretend to understand why they are so drawn to one of their own. But it still does not give license to all the privileges that true biblical marriage provides. It will plagiarize the design. Perhaps many don't think it is, or don't care that it is, or do not have the conviction anymore due to the media's apparent support. But if it isn't any of those reasons, what is it?

This is not opinion, but fact, and I can't say I am glad that it is. But as God's child,  I would never want to tell Him how He should make exception just because I 'think' so.

For study on this design and verification of God's clarity on the matter:
Post Script:
I love you all. Truly I do. I owe the truth as sanctioned by the author of life. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"WINS Verlies-Gained LOSS"

Gained LOSS

This is more than gorgeous poetry. It is a collection of voices who have met head on with intense pain, isolation, tragedy, and experiences that have moved their souls toward the edge.  A  lovely writer/therapist/editor from South Africa (Myra Lochner) invites these special spirits to share their awakenings in beautiful verse that transcends them to a new path toward healing. Their words are like wings flying over the precipice that once kept them in physical and emotional paralysis. You'll be changed by it. I promise!

Order requests by email:
 myrataal@mweb.co.za

Mailing Address:
Kreativ
PO Box 4404
6539
South Africa         

Within South Africa:

Kreativ
4404 GEORGE-OOS
(SA-POSBUS4404)
( SUID-AFRIKA)



Request your copy today!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jury Duty in a Criminal Case

Recently, I was drafted to report for jury selection for a criminal trial that involved a father who was charged with child neglect, the most severe charge being a Class A felony making him responsible for physical abuse of his 4 month old daughter, whose many bruises and battery resulted in death. I was reluctant, but looked at the entire situation as not only an opportunity to proactively show my citizenship, but assume this as a divine appointment to which I could be changed in a most significant way. I am grateful to have been chosen. Now that it is behind me, this blog is more detailed on the actual input of the jury of a case rather than the narrative and case per se, so here goes.

Stepping Out Is Walking In
We were given instructions and criteria on which to base the jury's process toward the final day of deliberation, which made our job a little easier. And the fact that we had the fellowship of one another,( the required 12 jurors, as well as a 13th juror as extra witness), kept each of us from being overly burdened and always supported, even during disagreements. We were going to step out of a comfort zone and into a place where conflicts were everywhere. An entire week of interviews, listening to witnesses whose clinical studies and researches were tirelessly pointing to both the defense and prosecution polls, caused me a sickening that can't be explained. I literally felt nauseous most of the time. Starting at 8am, sometimes earlier each day, challenged my attention span, self-confidence and level of intellect.

How could I possibly contain something so 'big', and deliberate toward a fair verdict? I asked myself. But we were surrounded by so many services in every required field for establishing viable witnesses to help us along. Law enforcement, forensic scientists, medical professionals, pathologists, radiologists, clinical psychologists, and experts in child protective services, educated us on what is most necessary in delivering a verdict without emotional bias or opinion.

The Case In General ( Intense Descriptives)
The prosecution was stronger in its findings than those of the defense, but I was very impressed by the defense attorney's statements whose job must have been over the top in effort to stay honest without surrendering innocence on behalf of her client. She used sharp examples of how a person can assume what they see to be the truth to uphold doubt of the father being the perpetrater. At one point she used a FedEx label to illustrate that we can see the sign, but not a hidden 'arrow' within the text of the design, which was apparently used to advertise its focused and fast service. It took me awhile to 'see' the arrow, but the abstract illustration was used to contrast a more concrete suggestion. Clever. Without going into too much graphic detail, we had to see photographs that stung us. A baby whose several cranial lacerations and dotted bruises and broken bones was more than anyone could imagine a responsible parent could induce making its severity central focus. As a jury, we knew we had to speak on her behalf as well as other children in the future to minimize such things happening again as prompted by the law. The timelines had to be examined, which made a difference to the decision of death. For instance, what happened between the doctor's appointment where the child was considered healthy, (other than a virus with low grade fever) and the fatal 911 call from her father at around 6:30pm. that night reporting that this little girl had stopped breathing and her temperature was only 94°? The bruises and lacerations were not seen by her pediatrician earlier, so the child's blunt trauma had to have taken place within three to four hours to give time for her temperature to drop.

Questions on why the report was made at the time she stopped breathing and not sooner defused and clouded the defense. It was becoming more and more obvious that the father and mother, though they were together after the doctor's appointment, and even took time to visit with friends before finally going back to their apartment without the filled prescriptions, were both responsible for at least the neglect. The blunt force trauma, however, pointed to the father who indicated he spent the first part of the late afternoon hours alone with the baby. Although he did not testify (nor is required to), his initial statement was incriminating. He told law enforcement that he and the child's mother, alternated taking naps, leaving the baby on the couch for an undetermined amount of time. Once the 911 call was made, the father was instructed to give CPR to the baby, while the initial ambulatory and fire department came with life support to ascerbate the major efforts of reviving the child. Once arriving at the hospital around 7:30 pm, the CPR efforts allowed for the heart beat to return while also being placed on a respirator. This caused her temperature to raise to a normal range for at least the next 3 1/2 days, though her breathing never did. It was clear the child suffered brain death that began on February 5th until she was formally pronounced dead on February 9th.

How Must We Look At This?
In summation, although the attorneys, judge, and bayliff treated us with uncanny honor and respect, the long hours of sitting still and being attentive to every possible element of the trial, put our bodies and minds in a kind of mild paralysis. I was sore all over and my stomach still has not returned to normal. My family said that my demeanor has been quite serious since the trial's final verdict was delivered to the judge, and I am a little afraid I could not stand up to this much pressure again, although I can't swear to it. Should you be called for jury duty, you'll remember that not everyone is nominated, and even fewer elected. It is by law that you must at least show for the draft process, but be honest if you do not think you can give it your best. I would think you should at least try; nothing negative will happen if you do not.
Also, remember that certain cases require a specific chemistry of individuals on one type of trial, while others require a different breed so that you do not take it seriously should you not be selected. There is always a next time. I hope this has helped you in understanding the process as well as some general ideas on what faces a jury in the instance of a criminal law trial.
Photo: Example of Similar jury seating, courtesy of Seattle Weekly: http://www.google.com/imgresimgurl/

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dots that Connect To the Future- My Culinary Prophecy

When I was only 9 years old, I created something that would follow me many years later though at the time it did not click. I made a space in our clothes closet and stacked two small empty drawers on top of a small table. It looked like a small china cabinet. Then on the small table, there was an aluminum pan that resembed a sink.

I loved taking my tea set, plates, and other miniature things which I arranged on the tiny china cabinet, and pretend I was washing them. I remember that the wooden floor under me was warm due to the length of time I spent in that tiny home manufactured kitchen.

Jumping forward to literature class when I was 15, we were asked to create a pseudonym that we could use to author our short stories and poems. I chose "CookieZeal". The first name was reflecting a playful and childlike name. The last had to reflect how I would like to be known. I chose "Zeal", as the virtue attracted me as enthusiastic, energized, and even flambouyant.

It took me an extra 40 years to realize this. Yes. When I was 55, and enjoying the artistic approach to cooking, I realized why I was inspired to choose that name. I have practiced on cooking, smoking meats and barbequing, wonderful foods that required time and study by trial and error, which fulfilled the cooking portion. I also have spent more time in the kitchen than anywhere, including my study while writing, because of all the dishes I've washed.

How do I pull this together as a big picture?

The closet symbolized the cacoon of my future travel. Burreling in this infantile sac, I was unknowingly rehearsing my adulthood with all the premature versions of cooking.

The pen name venture was what I thought could be used for authorship, being a young writer of the 60's with little or no mentoring on how to become published by my real name.

Being introduced to the internet, I thought it be just as well to cloak under that name as well. I did not want to be an imposter, but I was being precocious of my identity.

The dots connect again, when in these later years, I not only am collecting social security, but my spiritual awareness is showing me that God had a pick in this whole marauding of identity.