I woke up this morning thinking about homeless people, and how sad it is that we haven’t found a solution for them. I didn’t know that Reagan was the one who shut down Mental Health Institutions and cut funding for mental health. I live a mile as the crow flies( I am dating myself with that expression!) from the Old Elkhart County Home. It was shut down in the 1970’s. It was an amazing structure. It needed a lot of work and of course it was not deemed necessary to refurbish. You know it all costs money. You probably know me well enough by now to know I can be very sarcastic.

The Old Elkhart County Home was a home to many residents, who otherwise would have been homeless. Some were mentally ill, handicapped or just plain poor. It wasn’t until approximately six years ago that I found out that my great-great-grandfather was a superintendent of the Old Elkhart County Home. When I first read this information, I thought he must have been a doctor. He wasn’t. In fact he had a crippled arm and was limited to what jobs he could perform. I don’t know much about him but he sounds like he was a pretty interesting character. His first wife and daughter died leaving him a widower living alone. He was delivering grain to Bonneyville Mill in Bristol, Indiana, where he met the amazing beauty queen, Urilla Shoup, who was there attending a family reunion. They later, fell in love, and married.( I wonder if they actually fell in love?) I heard from an older cousin who has since passed that she was a bit headstrong, stubborn and that my great-grandmother and her sisters refused to care for her when she was incapacitated. They paid to have her taken care of, I am assuming. Maybe the caretakers were volunteers. There is also the possibility that she was a wonderful woman and it was the daughters who were mean. I digress.

The Old Elkhart County Home was pretty much self-efficient. The residents tended gardens, and had animals for food. Back in those days they didn’t have the medications that they do now, and the violent ones or those with severe mental illness were confined in cells in the lower level. It sounds horrifying to me. Before the Home was shut down and later demolished, I knew someone who worked there. She said that she regularly brought games in treats in for the residents because they had very little other than the bare necessities.

In spite of the primitive care that they received, at least they had a home, food and a roof over there heads. There are unmarked graves in a very primitive graveyard, which now has a fence around it in Oxbow Park where the dead were buried.

When I was a little girl I remember seeing a bum, tramp, hobo, whatever name we used to call them, sitting on the step outside the door at my grandma’s house. He was eating a plate of food, provided by my grandma. I wondered why he was eating outside, and felt shy around him. I don’t remember saying a word to him, nor he to me. Later I heard that those men would ride the railroad cars and knew which houses to go to, to get a meal. There was a signal of some kind, to alert them of who would provide them with a meal. My grandmother would definitely be someone who provide these men with a meal.

In a country such as ours, which used to be considered the wealthiest in the world, I think it is an abomination that we don’t take better care of those who are drug addicted, mentally ill and homeless. I don’t know the answer, but I do know that we can and should do better. If we can spend money on trips to outer space, and many other projects that the government deems necessary, we can surely afford to help people in need. We are living in a nightmare as I write this. We are some of the fortunate ones. We have food, shelter and we are relatively safe, for now. There are many families who don’t know when they are going to be evicted, or who don’t have enough to feed their families. Forget about healthcare. What is the government doing for them? All we can do is hope and pray for a better America and a better world. God bless America, and the whole world too, no exceptions.

Holy Sweet Jesus what Next?

I haven’t written here for a while. I need to get going on the most exciting part of my novel, or novella, not sure what it is going to be. So much work goes into writing and so little profit, but then why do I write? I write because that is what I do. If I am not painting, sculpting, creating something and trying to fit in the necessary things in life, I am not living. Writing is an escape for me. Life is really hard right now. Not that it isn’t usually hard anyway. But this has gone beyond ridiculously unacceptable. ‘

How many more people have to die of covid? How many more people have to get it? We are living in panic mode. I can’t even remember how many people we know personally, letting alone, people that we know who have people that they love who have or had covid and have either recovered or have long term effects from it. Then there are those who have died from it. Today was the first time that I had the guts to listen to a message on my phone from Uncle Dean. Yes, he died of covid. Yes, he was 102, but he was doing well, until he got covid. He and his roommate both died of covid. One of the awful things about covid, is you don’t know who will survive from it and who will die. I have two elderly friends in their 90’s who had it and survived. The one is not doing well and may not make it because of the lingering effects, but then there are young people who are getting it and dying from it. Remember to pray for those who are in the helping fields, doctors, nurses, first responders, police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and teachers, don’t forget volunteers and essential workers in thankless jobs like grocery store workers and drivers.

The most depressing day in the year for me is New Year’s day, night. I always have this sense of foreboding, and morbid depression. I can’t explain it. I guess I finally figured out why on one level. I know it sounds dark, and very negative, but what comes to my mind, is “Who are we going to lose this year? What is going to happen that we don’t know now, that is going to be bad?” I rarely think of “What good is going to happen this year that we don’t know now?”

This year has went way beyond my expectations of bad things. Just when I had myself convinced that I was just negative, well, you know what this year has brought. It started out with the death of a good friend, totally unexpected, and then another good friend, totally unexpected. Just as soon as I slightly got my bearings over those two, we have been reeling from one thing after another. So I am going to try to focus on the positive things for a moment, because it is obvious that I am not feeling very positive.

We have a precious five-month-old grandson that we never thought we would have. He is the only grandchild that Mike and I have together. He is the light of our lives. We also get to take care of him and spend time with him, and watch him grow. We also have another little great-grandson born just a about a month after our little Parker.

Right now we are quarantined, hopefully not for long. He and our son and daughter-in-law and some other family members are in our “bubble” but for now his Mama is waiting on covid test results, and she wants to protect her Mama and me, which is good but hard because we miss our little Peanut.

I try not to worry about all those who are suffering, hungry, homeless, or afraid of losing their homes. I pray. We pray, and help in ways that we can. We have zoom. So we can still participate in church when we can’t attend, physically. We can zoom meetings, friends, family and if we have to we can have groceries delivered to us. So far we are in relatively good health. Most people are taking precautions so we can still get the necessary things done, like doctors appointments. We so far have been able to continue doing water aerobics, which we need for health reasons. We have close relationships with many family members and friends. I will miss our writer’s group, which is one of my favorite things in my life. I love those friends. I love all my friends. They inspire me and give me hope.

I notice people are already preparing for Christmas, I am suspicious that they are trying to get this year over with. Maybe next year will be better. I do know that I have to stay in a “one day at a time” frame of mind, or I would go crazier. Yeah, I said crazier, not just crazy. Well that is all for now folks. Please reach out to each other. Share your fears, pain, sadness, grief and love, joy, and hope. Look forward to at least one thing that you enjoy doing each day, and do it. Whether it is reading a book, writing, art, playing cards, do it. Love to you all.

I have to remind myself that we need to just stay in one day at a time. When this quarantine seems like we may be locked up forever, it is important to remember that, and also to be grateful. It is hard for me when I have so much to be grateful for, not to worry about those who are really struggling. I think about the children who are hungry, parents who are trying to get by without working, and all that goes with it. This is the time when we need to focus on doing what we need to help those who need help more than we do. If it only means staying home and not putting others at risk, that is enough. How about pregnant women and children? We have a grandbaby and great-grandbaby due within months. We want them all to be safe too.

I did not live at a time when people were quarantined in our country. Many of us haven’t. This is not a new thing. It is scary, but our ancestors have dealt with it before.  We were told that the elderly with health conditions were the ones at risk. Now we hear that even young people are dying. That is scary. The stress is hard on everybody. I think of domestic violence and child abuse too. If you are feeling out of control, afraid that you may lose it and hurt a child or a spouse, reach out for help. No one will judge you. Please do that instead of taking your fears or frustrations out on someone else. Pray for everyone, and be kind. God bless us all. Hopefully, there will be a silver lining in all of this.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but I am really struggling with waves and mountains of grief. My feelings are a mix of sadness, grief, loss, confusion, pain and yet gratitude. It is hard to hang on to the gratitude right now. Memories too. I will always be grateful to Becky Butler Powers. To me, she is still just “Becky.”

Mike and Becky both helped me years ago. It has been over 35 years since I met them. I met Mike first. We were friends and Mike asked me to come and clean their house. My first memory of Libby was of her in her baby bed. I would be very quiet and see her little blonde head bobbing up and down when she was napping. I would creep backward out of her room so I didn’t wake her.

Then there was little Katie. The first time I met her was not long after her birth. She had dark hair like her Mama and was beautiful too. She seemed to be the most like her Mama, where Roxy and Libby were a little more like their dad, but they are all beautiful.

Later they moved and I cleaned their house where they lived on a lake. Mike took care of the kids while Becky worked. I saw little Roxy probably more than I saw the other two, except during summers or other school vacations. They were all very different in their personalities, and all very talented and gifted. We spent a lot of time together as friends too. Mike and Becky and my Mike and me. Mike helped Mikey, learn how to fish. He would go with me to their house and loved fishing in the lake. I just ran across a photo of Mikey with Mike at their house.

Later Becky asked me if I could help her beloved Grandma Wilda, and her dog Hilda. Wilda laughed and giggled, just like Becky over her dog’s name rhyming with her’s, although Hilda was already named when she got her. Mike and Becky bought several paintings from me and were always very supportive of me and my art. We painted together sometimes and spent many good times together. When Wilda passed it broke my heart. But I was happy for her to be out of misery. She took a little piece of me with her. She was a little bit of a surrogate grandma to me, and definitely a mother to Becky.

When Mike and Becky divorced, it was like having a family divorce. Things were never the same for me, anyway. I loved and love Mike and Becky both and of course the kids too. We would see each other from time to time but it was never the same. Becky married Barry, and Mike remarried sometime later to Lynn. Becky and Barry and moved away from the house on the lake. Later they bought a house in Colorada and spent time in Indiana and Colorado. I know they were happy and we were happy for them but things were not the same.  I loved that place almost as if it were my own. I took great care of it and helped with the annual parties there. Becky loved setting up the dining room table for Christmas dinners and holidays.

When her mother died in her 50’s of cancer and then not too long after, her dad died suddenly of a heart attack, it really threw them all for a loop. Becky was a little unsettled by their early deaths. I reminded her that her grandma Wilda lived into her 90’s. I don’t know why I am going on about this other than to help me with my own grief. We should never take our family and friends for granted. We never know when they may slip away. At least Becky died doing something she loved. I admired her courage and joy for life. She had a razor-sharp, intelligence and was as funny as she was smart.

We were having a bonfire in our yard one weekend, and my old nearly blind dog, Rufus was walking around the fire. He looked like he was teetering near the fire. I stood transfixed not believing my eyes.  Before I had a chance to react, Becky swooped in and rescued Rufus from a possible fall into the fire. She laughed and said she had just rescued another dog earlier and that she should quit her job ( as a lawyer) to start rescuing dogs. We all laughed hysterically.

I miss planting her flowers with her every summer for her birthday and spending time with her. She was a woman of many talents, strengths, and weaknesses just like everyone else. But Becky lived her life. We never got the chance to paint again together like we planned but maybe on the other side, we will. She loved life, people, her family and exploring the world. God bless you and your sweet precious soul, dear Becky. Until we meet again, you are with the angels and will be a guardian for all your kids, grandkids and family. We will keep them all in our prayers. Love Shana and Mike too. 20191225_173952

I have a great idea for a story but I am feeling stumped about where to begin. I need to take my own advice and just write. Actually, I have started writing but it is work. Sometimes it just flows and writes itself. Then I wonder if I have just run out of ideas. I should take my own advice, and the advice of others much wiser and more experienced than me and check out some writer’s prompts. But I already have an idea of what I want to write about. Maybe I need to write about something else. I have several short stories, begging me to compile them into a book, but I just haven’t had the motivation. Writing is not just about creating and writing. Unfortunately, there is all the stuff that goes along with it. Formatting, editing, covers, agents, or not, if you want to self-publish. Reading advice from a successful writer who has a traditional publisher, who has decided to self-publish, because he already has a following, sometimes traditional editors want to edit your writing to death. Not only that, but you don’t get the royalties you get with publishing yourself. The upside of that, of course, is the advertising and marketing that traditional publishers do. They want to make money off of you too. I just need to remember why I write. Most of the time, I write because I love to write. It is the same with art, painting, sculpting, or whatever you do to create, do it because you love it and because it is who you are. 20191108_1909230

I had a great holiday lunch today. I should say we, had a great party and lunch today. Last year was the first year that I had the Stormy Night Writer’s group over for a New Year’s lunch. Since Bill and his wife couldn’t come because of a traditional thing they do every New Year’s Day and Friday worked better for everyone, although some still couldn’t attend, today worked out better for me. You never know when the last time it will be that you will see someone. I get maudlin on New Year’s Day. I know I have a bent toward that anyway. It sounds negative and maybe it is, but it is a reality to me. I know we are supposed to be positive and always look at the bright side, but the first thing that comes to my mind near the end of the year and the beginning of the new one, is who will we lose this coming year that we don’t know about now?

My mother always wanted to know the future. Had to know the future! Not me! She did everything she could possibly do to predict the future. Astrology, numerology, crystal balls, tea leaves, you name it she did it and that also includes Tarot Cards. I don’t want to know the future. If I knew 50 years ago what I would have to go through in my future I would have done myself in, not believing there was any way that I could survive it. I have, and I am a better person because of it, although I would never wish what I or my husband, Mike would have had to go through to get to where we are today. Ironically, we are in our “Twilight Years.” Ha, and I don’t mean like in the movie where we will be living eternal vampire lives, thank God. Hopefully eternal lives, but after this earthly body is done, which I am in no hurry to go anywhere, otherworldly yet. You can tell it is easy for me to get off track.

Back to today. We had a great time. I love our writer’s group. We all write totally different stuff, which makes it all the more interesting. We have a bond with each other that is different than I have with any other group. I can’t exactly explain it, but it is unique, special and priceless. Maybe the fact that we are all older makes it that much more precious. We don’t know how long we will have on this side of the turf. But then none of us do. It is just easy to forget as we go on, day by day, through our daily lives.

We supported Annette and Peg at their book signing in Goshen at Fables too during First Fridays, tonight. It was fun, and I got to play with their pony puppet and entertained some adorable children and adults too. They sold a lot of books, which you must purchase and read, “Don’t it just set you to Dreamin” or Dreaming. Ha. Not a good quoter, I am. It was a very special day and a special evening and I am looking forward to a New Year. I have another story, or book, depends on how it goes, either way, I will be writing another one this year, or possibly more. I am torn between, writing, painting, and sculpting.  Then there is teaching, which I will be doing too. I will also be telling my story tomorrow night, which I have no idea what I am going to say, but it will be what it will be.

Happy New Year to everyone, one and all, and God bless us all. God bless the whole world. I pray for peace, healing, and hope. Things look pretty bleak right now. So much horror, war, sadness, sickness, and pain. I hope we can all get our “caca” together, and yet, Grammarly I know that “caca” is not spelled correctly in English. It is off to bed I go, if I don’t go off on another writing tangent!

I am embarrassed to say I haven’t posted on WordPress for a while. I have been bogged down in finishing up my latest novel. The Making of a Multiple Personality has been out for probably nearly a year and I just got the sequel published. It was harder to write because of trying to relate to the recovery of Cammie, dealing with her alters, or other personalities. Shortly, within a few months, the first one will be available on kindle. Sins of Our Mothers is available on kindle now and as of today, Daddy’s Girl is available on Kindle, all through Amazon. If you contact me at Shanakd9@aol.com I can give you a promo code to listen to it free. If you do I would appreciate a review, positive or negative. Now off to bed soon. I will try to post more often.

Daddy’s Girl I can’t believe that Sins of Our Mothers is now available as an audiobook. Sales are going better than I anticipated. Thanks to Dani George who is a phenomenal narrator. Because she is so busy she can’t do another one for me until October and has recommended another great narrator, Michelle Rachelle. She is surprisingly enough an Indiana girl too. That was a very cool coincidence. I have already read her sample of Daddy’s Girl and am excited to know it will be available in a couple of months. Once she has it done it has to go through all the other processes but it shouldn’t be long.

I am waiting on a friend from childhood who is reading my book now to see what he thinks of it and how he remembers the family. It is always scary having someone who knows you read your story. It is one thing to have a stranger read it, someone who doesn’t know you, and another to have someone who does know you read your secrets. So far everyone has been very compassionate and caring. Not long after it was published a guy I went all through school with saw me at our high school reunion and he said the first thing he wanted to do was give me a hug. It really made me feel cared about. He said we never know what someone else is going through when we are young. Thanks Mike Shaefer. Anyway, “Daddy’s Girl” is a novel. It is about sexual abuse, addiction, and incest, and recovery.

I started this short story , “Daddy’s Girl,” because of a writer’s prompt. I have no idea what the prompt was anymore, but in the beginning I couldn’t stand the sanctimonious little snot, Chris. She thought she was so much better than Jake, who I really liked. He is a hot, landscaper, who is impressed by Chris and her education. As I continued writing the story, I began to see why, Chris was the way she was, and the whole story took on another twist. The story makes most people uncomfortable, but it is a lot more common than people want to believe. That is it for tonight. I have to work on my sequel to The Making of a Multiple Personality before bed. Good night all.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Sins-of-Our-Mothers-Skeletons-in-Our-Closets-Audiobook/B07X75GSN5?asin=B07X75GSN5

I don’t know why trying to write on WordPress, and attach links and all that is so difficult for me. It shouldn’t be. Anyway, I never expected I would write a book, letting alone, multiple books, ( Ha, I didn’t expect that pun, since the last book and the next one are called, The Making of a Multiple Personality. The sequel to come soon.)

Anyway, I wrote my first story when I was a wee little girl only about 7 or 8 on my mother’s manual typewriter. It was about a ghost looking in the window of a house next to a cemetery. It was very scary stuff, especially for a little 7 or 8 year old.

I took personal typing in Highschool, and I had no illusions about being a secretary, but always dreamed, consciously or unconsciously about writing. I even bought myself an electric typewriter for graduation. So here I am here today, writing, and thank God for the internet, spellcheck, Microsoft Word, Grammarly, etc. That’s it for now. I hope to be better about writing on WordPress too. Thanks everyone.

What can I say? My God, another death. That is two that I know of just within two days. This is after hearing that a friend’s son-in-law’s brother lost 3 children in a house fire and only one survived. He is in the hospital and his wife is inconsolable. She was helping rescue the children from the window. I can’t even imagine that kind of grief. Another friend lost her husband and I found out today that a another good friend has cancer. It just doesn’t seem to end. I know as we get older there is more people who we love who will get sick, die and go through other horrible things.
It is important to know we are all in this together. We need to help others. Try not to be afraid of saying the wrong thing. Don’t try to fix it or cheer someone up who is grieving or going through hell. Just tell them you love them, are praying for them, and even sometimes, just say, “I don’t know what to say.”
The only remedy for the bad things is to try to do something good for someone, that person or someone else. Sometimes it doesn’t help to tell someone that it will get better, maybe just say, you only have to get through this, minute, hour, day, and I will hold your hand if you want me to.
Then there is my Uncle who is going to be 101 on Monday. He is blind,in an nursing home, still waiting for the rapture because he is afraid to die. It might sound cynical to say that if the rapture hasn’t came yet, chances are he isn’t going to be in a physical body when that happens.
That is too long to live, as far as I am concerned, unless you are healthy, and have quality of life, like a delightful 91-year old friend, Ann, who still loves life, people, and is still helping others. She is fun and loves to joke and is an exemplary example of Christianity. She is a ray of sunshine in the clouds of despair, heartache, sickness and grief.
Life is hard. Sometimes I think the older we get, the more we realize that. I don’t know how anyone can do it without God, a Higher Power, or something greater than themselves to reach out too. That and friends. Chocolate helps too, only joking, kinda.
On that light note, I am going to bed. God bless us all, no exceptions.