About Me~, inspirational, Uncategorized, world affairs, Writing

Hillbillies, Happenings, and How are y’all?

 

 

14424721_1216518198420851_2592819625145033806_oSo , How are y’all ? or as some would say , How y’all are?  There have been quite a few interesting happenings  in my lovely home state  of Arkansas in just the last few days. Some private citizens paid to have a monument to those good list of rules that are just a pretty good idea for all people to follow, or you would think pretty much everybody would think they are good rules for everybody to follow. You know things like, “Don’t go knockin’ your neighbor over the head. ” and “How ’bout we don’t make off with things that don’t belong to us?” and here’s a pretty swell idea for the general population , “How’s about we don’t lie to each other , so as we can trust what we all say?”  and maybe , ” Let’s not go gettin’ naked with somebody else’s spouse?” that wouldn’t be an alright thing, now would it?. So anywho, they put these and few more like them on a big ole rock, and put them on the lawn of a building. Now the government didn’t pay for them, some regular people did. And they were no more out there a day , then what some feller decided he’d run them down with his car while shouting , “FREEEEEEDOOOOMMM!!!!!” Yes. This really happened.  And what’s more , apparently this individual had done this once before.

So this happens two days ago. Now TODAY,  in some club in the capitol city of my home state some people decided that they were offended by something someone said, or did, or just looked at them sideways, and 25 people were shot, and 3 other people were wounded. No one died. Which brings me to the point of my blog today. Which is……… WHEN people find out I am from Arkansas. Which is pretty much right  after I open my mouth. ‘Cause I guess, I have an accent. Who knew.

That’s right . Y’all go on ahead and laugh. Everybody else does. Other people have two reactions. They either think it is the sweetest thing ever, or the most ignorant . But it’s always the same. “Oh my goodness, that is just the sweetest thing! Where are you from?!?” or “Well, don’t you just sound stupid. You MUST be from the South.  ” Because apparently, being from the South, especially from Arkansas , and having my particular accent , makes you immediately some sort of inbred with the I. Q. of a turnip.  And these types of news stories are NOT helpful. So I am going to set the record straight, we have had loads of educated, brilliant , magnificent people hail from here, and  as a tiny tasting here is a small list……………..

Alan Ladd ~ Actor

E. Fay Jones  ~ Architect

Maya Angelou~ Poet

John Grisham ~ Author

Sam Walton ~ Founder of Wal-Mart

General Douglas MacArthur

Brigadier General Archibald Yell

Glen Campbell ~ Singer

Johnny Cash ~ Singer

Ne-Yo ~ Rapper

Hattie Caraway ~ 1st Woman U.S. Senator

Dick Covey~ Astronaut

Hangin’ Judge Isaac Parker

President Bill Clinton

Luther Capps

Okay, so you probably don’t know the last name on that list. But to me he was the most important. He’s the man in the picture above. He was my Grandpa. Now he didn’t go to some fancy dan college. And he had an accent too. But he was in my estimation one of the smartest men ever. He could grow anything. Fix anything. Build anything. He was born in 1913, and lived through the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression. He picked cotton, lived in California and worked the orchards, rode the rails as a hobo, and did anything he had to do to survive. He had muscles like whipcord even in his 70s and could out work men half his age. He taught me to drive , barefooted in an old 1963 Ford Falcon pickup on a backroad with the windows down and the air so hot you felt you couldn’t even feel your lungs move anymore. He followed those rules that the crazy FREEDOM shouting man so callously ran over.

 

So I refuse to apologize. That man running down the 10 Commandments and the crazy nightclub shooters are not what the “average person ” is like here. The “average” person here is like my Grandpa , God rest him.  So, NO, I am not going to “flatten” my accent to make other people feel better about themselves, or to hide where I am from. I will straight up tell you, “Yes, I am from Arkansas. No, we are not ignorant hillbillies. I do not care that you think my accent is stupid. Yes, we talk slow. Maybe it’s so all of the REST of you people can understand , ’cause y’all are the ones a little bit ‘off’, did you ever think of that?”

I will leave you with the words of Ms. Maya Angelou herself ……..

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

About Me~, art, inspirational, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

Crossings ~

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I’ve always been fascinated with eyes. From the time I was small , and realized I could draw , I was determined to get the shapes and forms of eyes realistically captured on paper. Human eyes, animal eyes.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love looking at people’s eyes when they spoke. It seemed to me they spoke volumes about what it was they were really saying.  I never really realized until I was grown that although a person could be telling you one thing with their words,  that their eyes could be telegraphing something  quite different.

I guess there’s quite a whole psychology behind that kind of thing now, and educated folks who know about that kind of stuff would say I probably have some kind of a complex or something. That whole Nietzsche quote , “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. ” , and all that jazz.  I’m not so sure that’s what old Friedrich meant.   I’m more inclined to believe in the Biblical standpoint of Matthew 6 :22  “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

So I guess, really it’s my unconscious way of gauging whether I like you or not. My mother has always joked that I have an instant people -radar . Either I like you or I don’t. First impressions, ALWAYS. And I think it’s the eyes. I can just kind of tell , ” Yep. Me and these peeps , we’re gonna’ be friends.  Or these people are shady, I don’t like ya’ now, and I ain’t gonna’ like ya’ later.  Maybe that’s wrong of me. I’ve always tried to trust my intuition in those kinds of things, and in most cases it’s served me well.

Besides , eyes are quite beautiful , don’t you think? The colors, the shine, the slight twinkle that says they know something that you don’t. And that maybe, just maybe if you look long enough, they might let you in on the joke.

Very young eyes,  eyes full of life, and of course my very favorite , the eyes of the very old. The things they’ve seen and the secrets they hold. If I could have a camera to capture it all.  But of course , the films are theirs. Memories only they choose, to keep wound on the reels of the 8mm cameras of their minds. And rightfully so.

  Because there is a word for this soul gazing  ~ Opia ~ The intensity of looking someone in the eye which can feel simultaneously invasive yet vulnerable .

 Perhaps Nietzsche WAS right in a sense,  but it’s not an abyss at all; it’s a crossing,  a sharing  of sorrows , of joys , of things unsaid,  and songs unsung, and a time passed between two like souls.

 

About Me~, Uncategorized, Writing

Self-Soothing, Sweaters and Socks ~

Day Three ~ Comfort ~

Hello! So far in our series 26 Days, 26 Ways (to feel better with lupus) , we’ve learned to

A: Acknowledge and Accept, and

B: Breathe.

So in that same vein, today’s word is Comfort.

 

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Firstly, I feel like something HAS to be said, before we discuss today’s topic. We as chronic warriors seem to , as a whole, put ourselves last. We’re forever rushing around, trying to help every-one and every-thing.  In spite of our pain, or maybe BECAUSE of it we hate to see other people hurting, and will do everything in our power to make sure they’re okay. And of course it’s a wonderful idea to look after other people who are in our situation as well.  But the thing that HAS to be said is this, “When you have a chronic illness , sometimes you must put yourself first. ” I think we as lupie warriors are some of the kindest, most compassionate people there are, and sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot that way. I’ve been diagnosed with lupus and its lovely cohorts for about 19 years now, and I still struggle with the fact that it’s okay to put my own name on top of the “Needs Help” list. That being said, here are a few things that I’ve found really make a difference in the Comfort department.

  1. Easy -on – the skin , clothing~ Such as leggings, and soft tunics.  Sweaters and socks. Now you might be saying to yourself that’s a splurge item, and you might be right. But to me, it’s definitely worth spending a bit more money to have clothes that don’t pinch, or squeeze you in the wrong places. They have tons of leggings to choose from at our local Wal-Mart, and you can’t beat them for the price. For tunics, or midi dresses to wear with your leggings, Amazon has so many to choose from you could have a different look every day!
  2. Sunglasses ~ prescription or over the counter ~ One of the jollies that lupus brings with it is, sensitivity to light. Light bulbs; incandescent and flouros both, along with of course , the sunlight , it can make you feel as though you even need shades indoors.  I like buying sunglasses at DollarGeneral, because very seldom do they ever cost more than $8.00 a pair. I have to wear prescription eyeglasses, so when I buy tinted lenses at DG, it’s good that they have pairs large enough to wear OVER my prescription glasses. I usually have anywhere between 3 and 4 pairs , at any given time. A pair in my purse, one for the car, and anywhere else I think I might need them. Doing this has sure cut down on the number of migraines, and eyestrain.
  3. Sunscreen~ Just as with our eyes, lupies have a “MEhhhh……..” relationship with the sun, concerning our skin.   The sun can cause our rashes to worsen, cause us to break out in hives, or even cause our disease to flare. Even “normies” need to find a brand that works for them, and apply it every day, no excuses! Skin cancer does NOT sound like fun , as one person dies of melanoma every hour.
  4. Medications ~ both prescription and over the counter~ There is nothing worse than having a flare , and NOT having your go-to medications on hand. When I am struggling with increased symptoms ;  nausea, vomiting, severe joint pain, body ache, and blood pressure difficulties seem to be the run-of-the-mill. I once had a rhuematologist tell me, “Never let your pain get so far past the level you can cope with. Because by the time it has gotten to that point, it will take extreme intervention to get it back to a manageable level. ” . And he was right. Everyday maintenance is SO much easier than damage control . Keep a tight record of your meds , so that a middle of the night pain cycle does not catch you unaware.

5. Mr. Sandman ~ And last but certainly not least ~  A quality mattress and pillows ~ Sleep is a HUGELY important piece of the wellness puzzle. The average HEALTHY person needs 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night, and we as chronic warriors will need more than that , as our bodies try to repair themselves. We will often sleep 11 to 12 hours a night, with a  couple -hour nap during the day.  Everyone’s wants and needs  in this area will be different. Maybe you need prefer firm, or super soft. They even have the SleepNumber mattresses now, so both parties can adjust the firmness to suit them.  This will of course be up to the individual person.  I myself,  always enjoy having lots of pillows for my side, as well. Fairly firm, I use two for my head, and I  can’t do without my body pillow to keep my old knobby knees from touching one another. (OUCH!)

These are just a few of the things that I practice , in order to make myself more comfortable , every day . If I listed everything I’d need a blog just for that! 🙂 And I’m sure there are things that you would add, that I don’t have mentioned here. The idea is, to make the list your own, with the things that YOU need to make your journey easier.

I hope today finds you doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are. With ❤ and 🙂 and as always ((HUGS)) ~ Ruby J.

About Me~, Uncategorized, world affairs, Writing

Thirty Eight and Counting

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Thirty-eight. That’s the age I’ve turned this year, and 13 years longer than the doctors gave me to make it without a heart transplant. They told me , “MS. Woods , if you don’t get one , by 30 you’ll surely be dead. And that’s WITH pumping your body full of ungodly amounts of medications that I can’t even pronounce, and that you might be glad that I don’t list the side effects of here. Needless to say, sometimes you might just wish to keel over from the heart related condition, rather than the medications.

Thirty -eight. Ever since I was little I’ve had a somewhat interesting relationship with numbers. Some might even say a compulsion. How many steps is it to the mailbox? 34. How many tiles are in a certain bathroom? 12 over and 10 across. It’s kind of a calming thing to me, I suppose. Numbers were just another thing that were brought into play with the births of my sons. They were born exactly 2 years, 2 days , 2 hours and 2 minutes  apart. And they ‘ve been inseparable ever since.

Thirty -eight though, even though I’m not really superstitious . I just thought it’d be fun to know some things about the number that is supposedly  affecting my life this  year.

  • 38 is an even number.
  • 38 is the sum of each row in a magic hexagon.
  • In Norse mythology, the number 38 was said to represent unnatural bravery.
  • There are 38 surviving plays written by William Shakespeare, how sad is that , really, this great genius of a man , and all we have left of his plays is thirty -eight.

Thirty -eight. That’s probably closer to the amount of medicine bottles I have, or even the amount of doctor’s visits I make. But you can’t look at it like that.

Thirty -eight. The amount of smiles I’ve  received from World War II vets who spent the hour in the waiting room telling me their stories. Or maybe I even got thirty -eight hugs from people I didn’t even know.

Okay, Okay, Sometimes I have to be honest. Some days, I get thirty -eight vials of blood drawn, and do good to make it to the parking lot again. Some days I have to line up one of those hospital visits that might end up lasting thirty eight days.

But truth be told, it really is like I said. It’s only numbers, and I don’t put my faith in them. As much fun as it is, to say, “What a neat coincidence that is! ” or “How fun it is to notice the comparisons between things!” , I KNOW the ONE who came before there was even such a thing AS time. And who will be here long AFTER time will be something no one will ever remember.

And really, what is 38 in comparison to that?

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About Me~

Lord Willin’, and the Creek Don’t Rise~

Well, hubs has been on vacay since Saturday, and we’ve been having a really great time spending the days with our boys, and doing stuff together. We’ve been fishing, took the boys to the Science Museum to see the pirates/underwater excavation exhibit, gone flea-marketing, laughed a lot, and just generally enjoyed being with one another. We also attended youth rally, dog-sat for the preacher, spent time in the library, and the kiddos have been swimming. Next week , we have VBS, and the week after that , we have church camp, ( their first time to go.) Whew. I sure hope I “live” to tell about all these upcoming adventures! 🙂 We did decide that in the middle of July we would probably start school back up again, as it will be too hot to do anything outside anyway. It is already reaching the triple digits here in the sweltering land of the South, so I can only imagine what July and August are going to look like! Ugh. I love the South but sometimes I swear it’s like living in a cross between the Sahara and the tropics. The heat AND humidity together are killer. So that’s our plan for the following months, well, the plan if, as they say here, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” (Probably not much danger in that , no more rain than we are getting!) How about you ? Have you got a lot of plans for the summer, or are your only plans to do as little as possible? Absolutely nothing wrong with that! I may have to try that sometime! Hope this finds you all having a great day, no matter where you are!