An Award from Uzoma


I received this award some time back. I feel remiss in just now getting around to posting it. Blame it on life, taxes and housework. None-the-less, I am honored to receive this award from such an accomplished writer. Visit this blog if you wish to be entertained and blown away, 85 Degrees.

Seven things about myself:

I love the smell of rich earth as I turn the soil when planting.

I have two children who are the best people to be with for a day of laughter and fun.

My home is inside a national forest.

I love to make chocolate milk by pouring half chocolate and half white milk together.

I love rainy nights.

My thoughts never cease until I am dead asleep.

I love all animals.

I am a cat person.

My nominees:

Mustard Seed Budget
Dear Kitty                                                                                                                                        Short Little Rebel 

Anita Miller

A Devoted Life

Vicky Nanjappa


Children: Are you raising mass murderers and serial killers?

Mass murderers and serial killers don’t wake up one morning and think to themselves, “You know, I have often wondered what it would feel like to kill someone,” out of the blue. These people are made – crafted  – over a period of many years, beginning from infancy and early childhood.

I wanted to title this piece, ‘Ruth: The faith of a tiny giant,’ but I knew no one would stop and read it. That title might merit a Like from the Reader, but not many would actually read it. It doesn’t matter, Ruth is the reason there have never been mass murderers or serial killers in my family. At least, none that have ever been caught, anyway.

The type of person your child, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond turns out to be, begins with your ancestors and you. Let’s look at a brief outline of one unfortunate mother born in 1900. She begins her life in a home with a heavy-drinking father who has an ill temper when drinking. Her mother is a very timid woman, afraid of her own shadow. The little girl watches as her father gets drunk and beats her mother over every perceived insult.

When the little girl reaches her pre-teen years, her father begins to beat her also. The mother does nothing to stop the violence. The girl resents, even begins to hate her mother, maybe even more than she hates her father. She slips out at night to escape the cycle of drinking, nasty talking and beatings. This is when she begins to run with others in basically the same type of home environment.

The teens drink, commit petty crimes and engage in sexual activity. The girl finds herself pregnant with no idea who the father is. Not that it would matter, none would be responsible anyway. She has the baby, sometimes living at home, often living on the streets, leaving the baby girl to grow up mostly within the same environment she found necessary to escape from.

When the daughter is seven years old, the mother and child are told they can’t live at home anymore. The woman is on the streets with her daughter, selling herself and her child. The mother eventually dies from unhealthy living, while the child continues to live the best she can. She has had very little education, does drugs and has little hope of a future. She gets pregnant at the age of 17. Her child, a son, is taken from her by the state and entered into foster care.

The boy grows up shuttled from home to home. Sometimes abused, often neglected, the boy grows up insecure, barely able to read and  resenting his parents for causing his grief. With no one to make him feel loved or to teach him there is a better future for him, the boy becomes a loner. He imagines what his real mother looks like. He hates her. He wants to torture and kill every woman he thinks resembles his real mother. A serial killer is born. Along the way, he marries and has two sons and a daughter. He gets caught, his wife becomes a single mother of three, his children are ashamed. The family goes forward, poor and unwanted in any neighborhood. What becomes of his children?

My great-grandmother Ruth Pendragon Rhodes Knowles was raped at the age of 13. She was a four-foot, nine-inch girl who would become a giant to her family, friends and community. Her loving parents took her newborn daughter and raised her as Ruth’s sister. Ruth married a good man, Jesse Knowles. They had one child, a son who died of leukemia at the age of 18 while serving his country in the military. Ruth’s daughter was told about how she came to be. Ruth and Marie became closer than sisters, having a bond like no other.

Marie married a good man and they had 13 children who lived past infancy. They took in children who roamed the streets during the Great Depression. Ruth had as many as 16 grandchildren at one time. She loved every single one of these children. Knowing her daughter would need help teaching these children about God, Ruth took on that role.

There was a time when I was four years old that my father found himself without work. Ruth invited my family to live with her in her small two-bedroom home. My sister and I slept with Little Granny in her queen-sized bed. Every night, Little Granny would have us kneel at the foot of the bed and say our prayers. She would kneel beside us, telling us to get into bed when we had finished, saying she would join us when she had finished. Many mornings would find her still on her knees.

“Little Granny, why are you still prayin’?” She wouldn’t answer until she had finished her prayers.

“I have many brothers and sisters who have families, I have many grandchildren who have families and there are many friends with families who need prayer and our government leaders need prayer. It takes a long time to pray for everyone.”

This tiny, delicate woman was burdened to pray for the salvation of her family, every last member. She also prayed for my children and my grandchildren and their children. Ruth’s grandfathers were Kings Henry II and George IV. Her family was The Plantagenets, the Belair Family Of Rhodes who had lived in Devonshire for centuries. Her parents came to America to escape the fishbowl of royalty. They did not, however, leave their faith or their British manners behind.

Ruth taught my sister and me how to properly hold a teacup, how to behave when entertaining company, how to properly bow before the Queen, Elizabeth II. More importantly, she lived a life of obedience to Christ and taught us to worship the only King who mattered. Ruth taught us about Christ and salvation. She gave us a reason to hope, to build families dedicated to God.

My great-grandmother lived a life before us such that we could see and understand who Christ was. She fasted whenever her heart was troubled. She never missed a Sunday going to church. My fondest memories as a child was attending Vacation Bible School at Little Granny’s country church.

Ruth understood that raising children to be productive citizens in the community was hard work, worth every effort. Her name and the name of her daughter and husband were respected in their communities. She taught us how to protect our name and why it mattered.

Ruth never thought herself to be too good to change hundreds of dirty diapers. She washed clothes outdoors in a wringer washing machine, taking all day to wash, hang and fold the dry laundry. She planted a vegetable garden every year. She watered, weeded and harvested the food. She taught us how to preserve the food and how to cook it.

My Little Granny had a wisteria vine growing in a tree at the edge of her driveway. I remember the early mornings and late evenings of spring when the breeze carried the scent of the wisteria flowers. I would sit on the front porch to pray so I could enjoy that heaven scent breeze.  There were two large hydrangea bushes on each end of the porch. I was always fascinated by the huge balls of blossoms, sometimes blue and sometimes pink.

My great-grandmother taught her daughter how to raise her children to be pleasing to the Lord, which was first, by loving them. She taught her how to discipline her children in love. When these children grew up, they passed on what they had been taught by their parents. I passed on what I had been taught by my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Ruth is as much a part of me today as she was when I lived in her house a total of four years. I cried as if my heart would break when my family moved out and bought a house three miles away. I knew life would never be the same, no matter how often we visited Little Granny. As soon as one family down on their luck moved out of Ruth’s house, another one would move in. When I grew up, I wondered if she ever longed for a time when she had her house to herself.

My point is this, if you desire children who grow up to live a law-abiding life, one filled with the love and blessings of God, you have to make the effort. Even if life deals you a crappy hand, play it as if you were holding four kings and an ace. No matter how bad life gets, you are responsible for the choices and decisions you make. You don’t get to blame it on bad parents, being poor, being different or whatever you find handy.

You are not responsible for your life only. If you have a child – wanted or not – you are responsible for the adult he becomes. This makes you responsible for their children and the children of those children. Do not think God won’t ask you about your grandson, the serial killer. Remember, they don’t just happen, they are handcrafted. Someone is responsible.

My prayer is for every child on earth to have a Ruth in their life. She might be a neighbor, a Sunday School teacher or the cashier at the local grocery store. Children are our most precious assets and so many parents are doing a ‘piss-poor’ job of raising them. If this offends you, ask yourself why. No, it isn’t easy. You have to sacrifice time and pleasure. If you aren’t willing, give your child up for adoption. It may hurt you to do so, but it may just be the best sacrifice you could ever make.

There are always exceptions to every natural law. There may be times when a parent does all she can and her child still rebels. We may never know why, but

Ruth in downtown Mobile on shopping day.

Ruth in downtown Mobile on shopping day.

Why is my child depressed?

I Got Major Depressive Disorder

I Got Major Depressive Disorder (Photo credit: 囧-Jean-囧)

Sometimes, a depressed child goes unrecognized because he/she is normally quiet, shy and introverted. Other people may comment that “Joe/Mary seems depressed.” Parents dismiss this as just a natural part of the personality of the child. This is not to say that all shy, quiet children are depressed. How can parents know whether their child is actually depressed?

Everybody has periods of depression. It may last a day or two, a couple of weeks or even a few months, but there is always an understandable reason for normal depression.

Major life changes, such as parents divorcing, a parent getting married again, moving too far away from friends to continue a close relationship, death of someone loved, sexual abuse and the battering of one parent by the other are some common reasons that children become depressed.

Each child is different. What causes depression in some children, will not affect others to that degree. Depression tends to run in families. If a parent is prone to depression, a major life event will likely trigger depression in the child. The personality of the child, family support, number of close friends and general health of the child all play a role in how he handles major life changes.

If a child is a perfectionist, a few less-than-perfect grades may throw her into depression. A child who is too active in extra-curricula activities may begin to suffer health-wise due to lack of sleep and rest or an unhealthy diet. When he is no longer able to handle all these activities and his grades begin to suffer, he may become depressed.

Something as seemingly innocent as the death of a pet, a fight with a best friend or the break-up with a school crush can trigger depression in those who have a propensity. Anyone dealing with chronic pain has a tendency to become depressed. There is no way to protect or shield a child from every known and unknown trigger of depression.

How do you know when your child is depressed? A child who loses interest in things he normally enjoys, who withdraws from family activities and doesn’t see the humor in life the way he once did, is probably depressed about something. Eating habits will change and your child may stop caring about her appearance. He may refuse to take phone calls and begin to sleep quite a bit more than usual.

Any pronounced change in a child that lasts longer than a couple of weeks should be investigated. The longer depression goes unchecked, the more difficult and time-consuming it will be to treat. Depression can spiral out of control and reach the stage of becoming suicidal.

Depression is an illness that must be treated the same way that a diabetic must receive treatment to prevent the illness from worsening or leading to death. There is no shame in being depressed. Clinical depression can often be treated with medication and counseling.

Natural treatments include taking serotonin supplements, getting more sunshine, eating fresh foods instead of processed foods, and adding folate to the diet. “Researchers at Harvard University have found that depressed people with low folate levels don’t respond as well to antidepressants, and taking folic acid in supplement form can improve the effectiveness of antidepressants. For more information, read Low Folate and Vitamin B12 Linked to Depression.” This quote is taken from alternative medicine.

Adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements and magnesium may help, as some people with depression are deficient. Vitamin B6 is needed to help produce the necessary serotonin. Make sure there is a deficiency before adding supplements.

Telling someone who is depressed ‘to just get over it’ will not work any better than telling someone who has cancer to ‘just cure yourself’. Someone with an understandable reason for depression will generally get past it as time moves on. If, after 12 months, the person has made no progress, make an appointment with his pediatrician. Make an appointment sooner if his condition worsens at any time.

When there is no clear reason for a child to become depressed, begin by gently asking questions about her sudden change in attitude. If a child refuses to speak with a parent, find someone she trusts to intercede. Depression can rob a child of precious childhood memories by keeping him from making any. It can lead to a lifetime disability, failed marriages and poor job performance.

Why is your child depressed? Has something recently happened that has caused your child grief, sorrow, sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, anger or disappointment? Some life events may not affect adults in the same way they do children. Ask your child why he is suddenly sad, angry or withdrawn. Who knows, you may actually get an answer.

Love your child, don’t smother him. Make sure she knows she has your support, but don’t enable her depression by making excuses to others on her behalf. Don’t freak out every time your child is moody. This is just a normal child being normal.

Now That She is Older

Dream girl

Dream girl (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Now that she is older,

she’s a little bolder;

turning a cold shoulder

when he played her for a fool.

She’s a little bolder,

now that she is older,

doing what she wants

instead of only what he’s told her.

She’s begun to dream again,

now that she is bolder.

She wants a man to love her

the way he said he did.

Asteroid predicted to strike New Jersey

Timelapse of Asteroid 2004 FH's flyby (NASA/JP...

Timelapse of Asteroid 2004 FH’s flyby (NASA/JPL Public Domain) 2004 FH is the centre dot being followed by the sequence; the object that flashes by near the end is an artificial satellite. Images obtained by Stefano Sposetti, Switzerland on March 18, 2004. Animation made Raoul Behrend, Geneva Observatory, Switzerland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asteroid predicted to pass by Earth: Nasa says there is no danger that the asteroid will hit earth on February 15. In an article found in The Guardian, “Although they wouldn’t cause a global catastrophe if they impact the Earth, they still do a lot of regional destruction,” said Lindley Johnson, who oversees the Near-Earth Object Observations Programme at Nasa headquarters in Washington DC.

A dear friend of mine told me about 18 months ago that an asteroid would strike the earth near the end of 2012 or the early months of 2013. Jerry said it would hit New Jersey. Jerry happens to live in New Jersey.

Jerry has never predicted anything that hasn’t come true. He spends about eight hours a day in meditation and prayer with Jehovah God. Jerry saw the destruction in a dream he had several days in the same week. He has been preaching and teaching people in New Jersey about the coming destruction. God gave Jerry a mission to fulfill.

Scientists say the asteroid will not come close enough to earth to strike it. Given a choice between scientists and God, I listen to God every time. Scientists have told too many whoppers for me to start believing them now. Have you ever watched some of the documentaries where scientists claim to pinpoint the day something happened 300 million years ago through carbon dating?

Scientists are people who make up stories to receive grants so they can continue to pretend they actually work. Who is going to dispute what they report? Its a great job if you can get it. In fact, they only predict how far from earth they think the asteroid will pass by.

Let’s say that the scientists are spot on about how far away the asteroid really is. What would happen if it struck something else in its path? Could something like that cause the asteroid to turn, ultimately striking New Jersey? I think it could. God created the earth, I think he could do whatever He wanted to do. In fact, God doesn’t even need a plausible reason for the asteroid to strike earth.

For the sake of New Jersey, I hope Jerry is wrong. Still, it gives me chills when I think of the conversation Jerry and I had before the asteroid had been discovered. What are the odds that Jerry would have a vision of an asteroid striking earth about this time and there being an asteroid predicted to come closer to the earth than any other asteroid of this size?

Poor Andy: Part Two

Andy, napping on my bed.

Andy, napping on my bed.

It's Me X-Mas Cookie, called Cookie, Maine Coo...

It’s Me X-Mas Cookie, called Cookie, Maine Coon, male, red tabby / white, at the age of 75 days (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The two kittens played together and fought a lot, mostly for my attention. They were very jealous of one another. From the beginning, each kitten had his own spot.  Amos would curl up in my lap and Andy would climb above his brother and expect me to hold him against my chest with one hand and pet him with the other. Of course, I had to alternate between the two constantly to keep them from fighting each other while in my arms.

This worked well for a while, but as all living things do, they grew and grew until it became hilarious to watch one 25-pound cat get comfortable in my lap while the other expected to be held in one hand above his brother. Twenty-five pounds is well above my hand’s weight limit. There were times when my hand grew tired and Andy landed with a thump on top of Amos’s head and the fight was on.

The kittens were wild things, coming into my life unexpectedly. In fact, until recently, Andy wouldn’t have considered sleeping inside all night. I believe old age and the cold mountain winters are factors that drove him inside for the night. Andy is the cat in front in the photo.



What makes this photo funny is the fact that these two cats had fought all night for the pleasure of the company of one female cat ready for breeding. They could get vicious when a female was involved, chewing off the corners of ears, leaving cuts under the eyes and biting the muscles of the leg. When the moment had passed, they were brothers who loved each other.

It was not unusual for either one or both of the cats to be gone for three or four days. Both Amos and Andy had been gone for a couple of days when Andy came dragging home. He was tired, hungry and thirsty, as always. Two more days passed and I wasn’t worried, much, when Amos still had not come home.  After a full week, Mike told me he had seen Amos down by the creek behind the house.  My heart hurt so badly that I could not cry at first. It was Andy who wrenched the tears from my eyes.

Every morning, when I opened the door to call Andy in for breakfast, he would wait at the door, looking back for Amos to appear.  Amos was the dominate male and Andy had always acquiesced. I would have to pick Andy up and bring him inside. If I hadn’t, Andy would sit outside the door, looking back for his brother, waiting forever.

Andy was confused. I believe he was hurt at the idea that his brother had left him. He refused to let Amos go. Every morning, and any time that Andy wanted in, he refused to cross the threshold before the Alpha male. This went on for nearly a year. The brothers had comforted one another when abandoned by their furry mother (they were about four weeks old at the time). They had played, fought, ate their meals, napped in my lap and slept together for seven years. That is nearly a lifetime for a wild cat.

These days, Andy doesn’t wait at the door anymore, at least, not as often. Some bonds just can’t be broken. Not even death can break the bond of love. Every time Andy hesitates, looking back beyond the knoll toward the creek where Amos last left his scent, my heart hurts all over again. I miss Amos and I wish I knew how to explain his absence to Andy.

If two cats, born of the same mother, can love each other unconditionally, why can’t children raised together love one another the same? How can anyone say that he loves God the Father and not love his fellow man? No two people can or will agree on all things at all times, but disagreeing shouldn’t mean that love can’t exist.

As hard as Amos and Andy fought each other, they never gave the first thought about curling up together and taking a nap. Is it possible that cats have this thing called life figured out? I think they had all confidence that each was safe, from each other and all others, when the day’s business had been completed and it was time to come on home and rest.

The Liebster Award

A Liebster Award

I must confess, I had no idea what a liebster might be. Was this an award for telling fibs? Was it anything like a lobster? I gave up and went to the dictionary. The word sounded a bit German in origin, and so it is. It means beloved person, love, close friend. I like this. I also like that the award was presented to me by My Daily Mindfield. This is a blog you really should visit daily. You will be enlightened and entertained.

I have been given eleven questions to answer, so I will do my best.


  1. Which do you prefer – Football (NFL) or Football (rest of the world)?
  2. Which tastes better – Vanilla or Chocolate?
  3. Soda of choice – Coke or Pepsi?
  4. What is your favorite book and who is your favorite author?
  5. You need a break, do you head to the ocean or the mountains?
  6. How many countries have you visited?
  7. Do you have pets?  If so, what?
  8. Which do you read – paper books or electronic books?
  9. What is your favorite season, of the year?
  10. Do you play a musical instrument?  If so, which one or ones?
  11. How’s it all going to end – Nuclear Explosion or Meteor Crashing from Space?

1. It doesn’t matter to me how you pronounce the game of football. It confuses me, though I am trying to learn more about the game.

2. Which taste better, vanilla or chocolate? I can’t say that one tastes better than the other, but I will say that I prefer a chocolate cake over a vanilla cake.

3. Pepsi is not for me. I drink coke products, mainly sprite.

4. This is the hardest question to answer. I have many ‘favorite’ books. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck made a huge impression on me when I was about 12 years old. I also loved The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. One of my favorite authors is Stephen King. I have read all of his books. I also love to read books by Dean Koonz.

5. I live in the mountains, but I still love to take a ride and enjoy the views when I need a break.

6. I have only been in the US. I would love to visit Scotland some day.

7. I have a cat named Andy.

8. When I read, I want a real, old-fashioned paper book.

9. Autumn is my favorite season. I love the colors, the crisp mountain air, the idea of candied-apples and pumpkin pie and Halloween.

10. I don’t play an instrument. I do help lead the music for Sunday morning worship at church.

11. How will the present age end? God tells us that the earth will be destroyed by fire. How He intends to accomplish this, I do not know. There are many ways to start a fire.

The people I believe deserve this award are many. I have made some wonderful friends here.

My eleven questions for the nominees are:

1. What is your idea of the coolest pen name?

2. If you were King/Queen…

3. What was the coolest decade for being a teen?

4. If you made the laws, how would you stop child abuse?

5. How would you end poverty if you had the power?

6. When did you realize you wanted to write?

7. What is your favorite dessert?

8. Who was the greatest influence in your life?

9. What was your favorite subject in school?

10. If you could live anywhere on earth, where would that be and why?

11. Do you like winning these awards?