Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

How Was Your Weekend?

 

I have decided that I’m done with idle chit-chat in the workplace. Particularly the whole “How was your weekend?” thing. Most folks, probably all of them around here, do not care how my weekend was. I really don’t care how theirs was. These people are not concerned whatsoever if I was well or sick, how the holiday barbecue tasted, or anything about me. We have nothing in common. Certainly no one has anything to add to the “I went to church” answer.

I remember when this phony woman once asked me “How was your Cinco de Mayo?” Like, do I look like I observe Cinco de Mayo? Nothing in my black heritage cares about or is even aware of it. I would have responded as such had she not been the VP of Creative.

Now I’m not mad at anyone, I’m just no longer interested. Just because you’re in the break room at the same time as a coworker, you should not feel obligated to talk. Talking about nothing is a waste of time and I’m done with it. Right now my time is very important to me. It’s nice to be friendly and it makes the day pleasant, but I just want to do the work and go home. Home is where conversation of substance really matters.

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On Friendship and Falling Away

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As far as I know, I haven’t done anything to Roslyn (not her real name). One day we’re making plans to get together; next day I call and she sounds all distant and then stops answering texts. Hmmm, what’s up with that? So I text in about a week. No response. Okaaay… Then I send a card in a month with a short message about how I value her friendship and if I’ve done something to offend her, let’s talk about it. No response.

Well, having reached the age of old-enough-to have-wisdom-and-still-young-and-cute-enough-to-enjoy-it, I know when to leave folks alone. This is not the first time a friendship has disintegrated. There are certain relationships you just know will stand the test of time, like with Linda. She was on my Christmas list when I was seven and I figured she’d be on it when I reached 70. Not so. Over the course of time when we became young adults, Linda’s childhood angst started surfacing, and she would start cycles of bizarre behavior that would involve getting angry out the clear blue sky and not speaking for days, then weeks, then months. I remember when she got mad at her brother and me and walked out of a restaurant during her mother’s birthday dinner. (Now if you storm out on your mama…) What we did is still a mystery. I know now that Linda had some serious emotional issues, but at the time, it didn’t feel good for a lifelong friendship to disintegrate.

I think of Belinda, and I realize that it’s been over 20 years since I spoke to her. That, I guess, was a natural drifting apart. She got married and had children, and I was still single with no kids. I would go to social events at her house and realize that most of the people there were married. Next thing you know, weeks would go by between phone calls, and now I haven’t spoken to a person I was once very close to since the 20th century.

I was responsible for ending my friendship with Jackie. We went out of town together with another friend, who was more Jackie’s friend than mine. Some goofy things happened on that trip, and there was a slight falling out. Jackie did call and we talked about it, but things were never the same after that. To her credit, she tried to stay in touch, but I just wasn’t interested in resuming the relationship.

President Obama is partly to blame for Debbie and I not having seen each other since he was sworn in the first time. I remember Debbie sending me a clip from one of his speeches, and telling me in no uncertain terms should I vote for this guy. When I told her I agreed with him, it set off a firestorm of email back-and-forths. I told her we don’t have to email; we can talk about this. Next thing I know, our once-a-month Starbucks meetings lessened. Then I started working more regularly and we couldn’t meet up. Now it’s been well over 4 years since I’ve seen her. Although Debbie and I were very close,  there have been periods of time in our friendship where we weren’t in each other’s lives. Both times when Debbie was pregnant, I had no idea. But she always got back in touch. Hmmm, maybe in 2016…

With some people, you don’t miss the friendship and you don’t really think about them too much. With others, you grieve the loss. Some losses are abrupt; some gradually drift due to circumstances in life. With some people, you realize where they are and you ride it out. Right now, my good friend Michael, whom I’ve known since high school, has been kooky for over 2 years due to a deteriorating marital situation. So if he says he’s going to do something and then I don’t hear from him, whatever. If 2 or 3 months go by with no contact, whatever. I pray for him, don’t take anything personally and move on.

I don’t have blood brothers and sisters, but I have been amply blessed with lifelong friends who truly are my brothers and sisters and they’ll kill anybody who says it ain’t so. Relationships with Clotele, Ebon and Donna—they ain’t going nowhere. I had ups and downs with each of them, that’s natural during the course of decades between family. But they’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with them. Clotele’s daughters are stuck with me. Donna’s mother is stuck with me and my father is stuck with Donna and Clotele. That’s how it is!

They say people are in your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. I don’t know where Roslyn will fall in ultimately, but I think we should praise God for our lifetimers. They are truly rare indeed.

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Crossing the Finish Line

Never underestimate the power of a short-term goal.

Short-term goals give us something to shoot for in a nice attainable timeframe. I recently just achieved a short-term goal of participating in a 5k race. I’ve been working out for years and became extremely bored with my workout. So the Lord put it on me to do a 5K. Me? A 5K? I don’t even like running to catch my train. But I was intrigued, so I registered for an upcoming race.

That brought all new perspective to my workout. I was no longer bored. Now I was Officially In Training. I bought new running shoes. I never was a big treadmill person; elliptical was my usual cardio machine of choice. But now I was on the treadmill, working my way up to 3.2 miles. I started with 8 weeks to go. Working my way up to the 3.2 miles was uncomfortable. My legs felt heavy and my feet would get numb right about the 2- mile mark. Plus I was really sweating my hair out. It would be totally drenched! I decided I couldn’t worry about hair. Hair in place would not get me through my race.

My original plan was to power walk and finish the race in 45 minutes. But as I trained, I realized that if I want to finish in a “respectable” time frame and not bring up the rear in this thing, I’m gonna have to do some running. And what I discovered is that I actually CAN run! Wow! How cool is that? I started running/jogging and walking, and on the treadmill I clocked 40 minutes at 3.2 miles. I was quite proud of myself. I’ve never done 2 and 3 consecutive miles at any point in my cardio life. It was so gratifying to realize that I am in excellent shape and my years of working out are paying off. Now I know to some folks 3.2 miles is nothing, but for someone who’s never done it before, it’s a big deal.

Then I went to a very large trail not too far from where I live. It’s a 3.6-mile trail. At the 3.2 mark I looked at my stopwatch and got my heart broke. 46 minutes!? What? How could that be? I figured I’d finish faster outside because I wasn’t balancing on the treadmill. That’s when I learned that outside is slower than on the treadmill. Seriously? That’s bogus, as the kids say.

I did the trail once more before the race and did even worse.  I was nervous during the week of the race. The race info read that people are expected to be able to do a 15-minute mile pace, and those who fall way behind would be picked up and driven to where the faster participants were. I did not want to be one of those climbing out of the clown car.

Race Day dawned bright, sunny, and a cool 55 degrees. Perfect! I didn’t want to be hot out on the course. I was told that races are exciting because of the camaraderie with the people, and I would be faster on Race Day because of the adrenaline that comes with it. There was lots of activity going on, including banter from a couple of local TV personalities. There were other races happening that day too—a half marathon, a 15-mile bike race, and a 10k. The 5k was the last to line up. That was cool in and of itself; lining up at the start line with the others, everybody in their race shirts and official bibs that actually kept time.

The race course was through scenic South Holland, where the suburban residents were along the route cheering and offering cups of water and Gatorade. I started off running, then I’d drop down to power walking, then running again. Run, power walk/recover. Run, power walk/recover. By mile 2, I had started hating my life. Why did I get in this? I trudged on, my iPod blasting in my ears to take my mind off it. I can’t stop; I have to keep going. Now in the gym, I could have stopped. But not here, not now. Must complete, will complete.

I noticed that my feet felt fine; they didn’t feel numb! My legs didn’t feel like lead! I guess all my training and conditioning had paid off because now when it counts, I had pushed past all that. The finish line was in sight! I crossed it at 39:56!

How cool! What a triumphant feeling! To do something I’ve never done before! I ran a 5k race! I finished!

I hope this will be an encouragement to you. Maybe you too have become bored with the same ol’ same ol’. Do something different. You never know what you have inside you until you step out. Find a short-term, reachable goal and stick with it. Maybe it’s getting through one afternoon without eating sweets. Maybe it’s adding an extra 10 minutes to your cardio routine. Whatever your goal may be, stick with it and you’ll be crossing that finish line too!

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Disco Ducks

I just watched a two-hour episode of UnSung featuring the Disco Era, the music and the artists. It was very interesting. Being underaged, I lived on the outer fringes of this iconic time period. I bought certain music. I spent all the little money I had on the Saturday Night Fever album. $7.99 for a two-album set. I don’t know which of my friends I saw the movie with, but aside from the dancing, it was actually a very deep movie.

We had just graduated from high school and we were “grown.” We were ready to hit the discos! No more of those Saturday night parties at the local boys’ private school! The nightlife awaited! Clotele and I hung out with Karen in high school. The three of us were always seen together. Karen got a car the summer we graduated. That opened up a whole new world of possibilities. We had fake IDs, so that end was taken care of. The only thing was navigating through Dad’s unreasonable curfew laws. That was the only thing my father and I argued about during my teen years. Curfew. I didn’t want to come in on time. So the best thing for me was to go with Karen and Clotele to a disco when Dad and the stepmother went out of town. The stepbrother was placed in authority, but I didn’t care what he had to say.

One thing about disco attire—you had to be dressed. No jeans. I didn’t have anything that was really disco-ish. I bought a blue leotard to wear with my blue skirt.

The three of us were cruisin’ down Lake Shore Drive on our way to Dingbats, one of the premier Chicago discos of the day. We cleared admission. My first disco! Once inside, we headed to the bar. An actual bar! I remember ordering a Sloe Gin Fizz—my first mixed drink! The music was thumping, the lights were low and the whole place was an alternate reality to my 17-year old mind. The bar, how the people were dressed, how they danced. The dance floor was a thousand steps up from the gym.

Now the interesting thing was that nobody was asking me nor Clotele to dance. Karen seemed to be getting her share of attention, but Clotele and I were just sitting there. If we were at one of the high schools, we’d just go grab one of our friends, or just start dancing and soon a boy would come up and join in. But we couldn’t do that here. Not at Dingbats.  We didn’t dare approach these men. Yet, they weren’t approaching us either. We danced a little, but for the most part, we were on the sidelines watching.

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As Clotele’s and my adventures under the disco lights continued throughout the months following graduation, we noticed that this was a disturbing trend.  We would go to different places and were still third string. We clearly were not experiencing Saturday Night Fever. The stepsister, in her condescending manner, intimated that it was my hair, my clothes, I looked too young, etc.

Now it turns out that there was an organization on campus that started throwing Friday afternoon dances in the student center. Clotele and I were very interested in going. This party would be one of our first because we both had jobs after school and couldn’t hang around campus much. We stepped into this party and found yet another world. The world of the college party! A world where people knew our names and were glad to see us! There was no shortage of guys wanting to dance with us! Jeans and t-shirts were totally acceptable!  The guys were down to earth. Clotele even got a boyfriend whom she met at one of the parties, a quite handsome young man who could dance his butt off. There was no bar and people strutting around like peacocks. There was no need for a fake ID—all we needed was to show we were students of the university. We were in our element. Here was where we belonged.

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On Laflin Street: Searching for a New BFF

One day Linda went inside her house and never came back out.

I would go over there to see if she wanted to come out, but she would say, “I’m watching TV.” Okay, the sun is shining bright, it’s 82 degrees and you want to stay in and watch “Let’s Make a Deal?” What???

This had developed into a pattern. Craig and I were perplexed over this behavior. And speaking of Craig—his family was about to move away to a far suburb. I’ll never forget what his mother told me: “Well, Donna, it looks like you’re gonna have to get you some new friends.”

It was a hard realization, but I accepted that. Now Linda and I remained close as ever; I would just go sit inside with her.  We’d talk and laugh for hours. Craig and I wrote letters weekly and talked on the phone a lot. You’d think he moved to Morocco. Really he was less than an hour away, but when you’re 12, it might as well have been on another continent. So as far as hanging out, going places and doing things, new friends had to be incorporated into my life.

I could always easily adapt to new situations. When my mother died, I adapted. When Linda “made a double” and was then a grade ahead of me in school, I adapted. I made friends easily and was able to get along quite well in my new post-Linda classroom situations. I buddied up with Cheryl in 6th grade, Stephanie in 7th, and Rhonda, Marilyn and Jeanette in 8th.  They were cool for talking on the playground during recess and walking back and forth to school. But what’s interesting is none of those friendships stuck. Now I do need to add a word about Carla. Carla and I had been friends since 3rd grade; she hung with Linda and me. Carla, too, made a double, so we weren’t in the same classroom. She lived right behind me on Justine. We became close, but Carla’s family moved away right after 8th grade. (BTW: I was slated to make that same double a year before Carla and Linda. My parents vetoed it. Yay, Mom and Dad!) There also was a forlorn-looking girl who always stood by herself on the playground named Clotele. I don’t really know how Clotele and I became friends, but in high school we were in the same homeroom and were locker partners all four years. We ate lunch together, were in the same classes and she could be trusted. And no two girls partied harder than us in college, fake IDs in tow.

I first saw Donna as she was walking down the alley that divides Laflin and Justine. She was coming home from a Girl Scout meeting. I was playing in my backyard with Carla. Carla and Donna knew each other from Justine. When I started hanging with Carla on Justine, I got to know Donna and the kids on that block. I didn’t really care for the Laflin kids, and I found I really clicked with the Justine kids.

They say that when you are growing up, you have friends by proximity. I had to be with the Laflin kids because they were there. As you get older, you have friends by choice. Those are the important relationships. I chose to go over on Justine. I chose to go over to Donna’s house and hang out with her. The cool thing is she, also, chose me. She would come to my house. She would call me. We went places together. And what’s even cooler—we are close to this hour.

Donna was the one who came outside. We shared experiences. She joined my neighborhood drama class.  And when I started taking acting classes downtown, I could take her around those kids and she would fit right in. We went through the Stupid Boy Thing together. Later, we would go through the Stupid Man Thing together. We pledged the same sorority. We are sisters. Boys, thinking we were lying when they tried to hit on us, would challenge, “How can yall be sisters and have the same name?” We would say, “My mother is not her mother and her father is not my father,” or “When we were born our parents couldn’t afford separate names.” (The goofball we said that to actually believed it.) I was adopted into her family, and my father will kill anyone who says Donna isn’t his daughter. And yes, Donna’s mother features prominently in my wedding pictures standing next to my husband, my father and me. There are also very cool pictures of me, Donna and Clotele—my only bridesmaids—laughing at the reception. My brother Craig made sure things moved along smoothly that day.

I haven’t seen Linda in many moons. Not my choice. I assume she’s fine. If she wasn’t, I’d hear about it. I have indirect links to her family. However, some people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Let’s hear it for the Lifetimers.

Recent pics of Donna, Ebon Craig* and me                                        Clotele and Donna

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*Craig recently legally changed his first name to Ebon Craig.

 

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On Laflin Street: It Was So Divine

One day, Linda says to Craig and me with an air of superiority, “ I just got baptized. I’m a Christian.” Okay… what did that mean? Now I knew Linda and her family went to church every Sunday. But what was this Christian thing Linda spoke of?

Whatever it was, it had to be a good thing. I decided that every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Linda was true because she was a Christian. Craig and I discussed this at great length, and we decided that we, too, had to become Christians. We needed to get baptized like Linda. But how? When?

Now at some point Linda’s church was having a summer Vacation Bible School. That was when all the neighborhood kids would go to church for 2 weeks in the morning and do arts and crafts, sing songs, eat snacks and learn Bible stories. It was a lot of fun. Linda, Craig and I attended. Every day, at the end of each session, the kids would be invited to join the church and get baptized. Baptized! This is our in! We could be Christians like Linda! Craig and I decided that when the invitation was given, we were going to join the Christian jubilee!

So the appointed time came. The kids our age were seated in the choir stand. The invitation was given to join the church as well as the family of God. I proudly stood up to make my way down to the floor. I noticed that Craig wasn’t standing. I got down to the floor and I looked up in the choir stand and Craig was still there. “C’mon, Craig!” He had his arms folded defiantly across his chest and shook his head. Again, I urged him to come with me. Craig refused. Fine.  I couldn’t believe he would back out of our agreement. I shook my fist at him and went on anyway. I got baptized about a week later. I was very excited. I joined New Hope Baptist Church and became a Christian. I decided that since I was now a Christian, I shouldn’t tell any more fibs to my mother. And one day I got a chance to put my newfound beliefs to the test.

We were all pretty cool with each other in my 4th grade classroom, having been together since 1st and 2nd grade. As I look back on it, we had to have been the high-achieving group, because the things we did and the privileges we had are just not done for kids who act up and can’t handle it.  One day, a new girl came to our class. This girl, Sandra, invited us all to her birthday party.

Sandra lived on Elizabeth, which was a ways east of my street. My father drove me to her house and was going to pick me up in a couple of hours. Most of my classmates were there. Linda didn’t go to this particular party. Now Sandra had an older sister. This sister was in charge of the games, Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, Musical Chairs, and other standard birthday fare. At some point, this sister decided to make us play kissing games.

What was she trying to do to us? Kissing games? Oh, no, no, no.  Remember, we were the smart group. We now knew something was unsavory about Sandra and her big sister and we weren’t having it. We decided en masse to walk out of Sandra’s birthday party, which had taken a turn for the weird.

So my classmates and I were standing in front of Sandra’s house, and by then it had gotten dark. We were deciding who was going to go home with whom. It turns out that most of this group all lived over that way. AND it turned out that the boys decided that they were ALL going to walk Iris home! Iris was one of the darlings of the class. Now Tyrone could have walked home with me because he lived on Ashland, but it was known that he liked Iris. (But he still wasn’t at the kissing stage.) So, I had to walk all the way back to Laflin by myself. In the dark.

I put my fear aside, and I walked down 116th street like my mother always instructed me to do. She figured if anything ever happened, I could always run to the homes of people that she knew. I also remembered that I’m a Christian! Jesus is not going to let anything happen to me!

My parents were absolutely shocked when I walked in the door. You walked home in the dark by yourself? Why didn’t you call??? I told them about that stupid party. When I got to school the next day, my classmates surrounded me. I was a hero of sorts for having walked home that far by myself. I let them know (and I was not superior-sounding) that I wasn’t scared because I was a Christian!

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On Laflin Street: The Throne of Games

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We were three peas in a pod, Linda, Craig and me, back on Laflin in our idyllic world of the late 60s. We lived next door to each other; 3 houses all in a row. We played together every day, and not your average run-of-the-mill games. Oh, we would condescend to playing Hide and Seek, Captain May I? and Red Light with the other kids on the block. But when we were in our backyards, we made up games—cool games that came out of the soul of raw creativity. These games could last the whole afternoon. Once, someone threw away a large box. That box became a houseboat for us.  We sailed on our houseboat for a day or two until the garbage men hauled it away. Needless to say, we were heartbroken and land-lubbed, but that didn’t stop us. We were onto the next thing.

The three of us loved comic books. Linda and I were partial to the Archie series. Comic books were cheap—only 12 cents! And you could get them out of a machine! We also liked Spiderman. Craig introduced Linda and me to Justice League America and the Superman series.  We would assume our favorite JLA character and play Super Heroes on my patio. I was always Black Widow. I remember my mother buying me a Casper the Friendly Ghost comic book. (Casper? Seriously?) Clearly she didn’t understand my need to rid the world of vermin. Once I brought home a Batman comic book because the machine was out of JLA. Linda and Craig looked at me like I was crazy. Guess Batman was unacceptable. You know I wasn’t about to mention the Casper faux pas.

The Cloud Game was an exceptionally magical game. It took up all three of our unfenced-in backyards. I don’t know exactly what we did in that game, I just remember there were different kinds of clouds that represented different worlds. In my imagination’s eye, I saw each of the worlds we created. We saw ourselves floating and sitting on and flying around the clouds. That game lasted an entire afternoon, and it was the one game we were never able to replicate.

When I saw on the news that someone had killed themself by jumping out of a window, I was absolutely horrified. I reported this to Linda and Craig. How could this be? Why would someone want to do that? We concluded that for that unfortunate person, life had to be pretty dull. Thus, the game “Life Is Dull” was born. That game would always revolve around scenarios where a person would die of sheer boredom. But we always came back to life!

“The Lucky Food Hour” was a game show where the contestant made really atrociously creative cuisine, like barbecued yak with zebra brains, or an elephant cake. One would pretend to cook the food, the other would be the game show host and the last of us would be the screaming, cheering audience member who got to taste the culinary delight. We would have been shoo-ins for The Next Food Network Star!

Now we played board games, and I taught Linda and Craig how to play Solitaire after my father taught me. We played Dodge Ball, Kick Baseball and Piggy with the other kids. Linda and I loved Double Dutch and Hopscotch. Craig had a gift for gymnastics and we would turn cartwheels and build human pyramids. But nothing took the place of our own creations. Life was never dull for us.


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Waiting on the Minute

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Sometimes the Lord speaks through the TV.

Seriously.

Some of the most dynamic answers to prayer have come to me while watching or just listening to the TV. I was once in an up-and-down, on-and-off relationship that kept me on an emotional roller coaster. We’ve all had those. I was in the usual tizzy about some latest development that often accompanied that particular man. I was fretting and carrying on in my mind about what I should do about the situation.

For one minute my mind quieted down long enough to hear a guy say through the TV, “Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, just don’t do nothin’.”

ABSOLUTE REVELATION. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my entire world. It went straight to my spirit. That little tidbit didn’t even come from a TV preacher—it was a western. I have applied that piece of wisdom to many a situation for many years now. I have never tried to back it up with scripture, but if I looked hard enough I’m sure I’d find something to support it from the Bible.

When I first got married, one of the things that was a culture-shock to me was how my husband eats. No fruits and vegetables. Massive amounts of bread. Bottom of the barrel crap like Twinkies and cheap frozen meals. Eating large meals and then going to bed. Never going to the doctor. He high-tailed it to the dentist only because an issue popped up and he was in serious pain. Never going to the gym, yet paying for a membership. I really hate throwing money away. All this was so opposite to how I conduct my life. I nagged, prayed, tried to shame him into different behavior, prayed again. Tried to just let it go, figuring he’s grown; I can’t tell him what to do. So I say nothing as he devours half a pound of uber-caloric cashews in one sitting.

So I’m watching Biggest Loser one recent night, and a person said of the contestants that at one minute of one day in their lives, they made a conscious decision to make a change, a change that they were willing to commit to and be serious about.

One minute of one day.

ABSOLUTE REVELATION. That went straight to my spirit. I don’t need to worry about my husband’s health habits! One minute of one day, my husband is going to get revelation!  He’ll make a change to change his life! God can change anything in one minute! God can turn it all around in one minute! We just have to wait on the minute

That’s the hardest thing—waiting for change. But we know that God works in secret and he does it little by little. And you have to remember how He changed you. You weren’t always so perfect yourself. The Bible says “Behold I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?” (Isaiah 43:19)  If you should get discouraged, just say to yourself, “I believe that God is working in this situation.”

So now when my husband eats his signature bowl of chili with a side peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I don’t cringe. I think, one minute of one day…

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How Much Do You Want It?

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It’s a real slow day for me at work. I often shudder to think that this is the calm before the storm, and that storm oftentimes comes late on a  Friday afternoon, which is when I want it to be slow. Anyway, I’m sitting here being very unproductive.

I’m thinking I could have written something. But I always go on inspiration, and I haven’t had any lately. It’s Tuesday and I haven’t did a Take-Me-Back in a while. No inspiration. I’m always talking about how I want to do more with my writing and yet I sit here with all this time and no words are being put on computer. So what’s my problem? I realize that I’m always waiting on inspiration. What is that even about? When I was in grade school, my equally creative childhood best friend and I would walk to school and talk about how we wanted to write a story. “Give me some inspiration,” one of us would say to the other. So during our four-block walk to school, we’d toss out ideas until one of them resonated. Then, brimming with wonderful new trains of thought, we’d zip through our class work so we could jump right into that story. We didn’t know at the time that we were brainstorming. No ideas were off the table. We said whatever came into our minds. The next day, we’d have a new masterpiece written on 3 or 4 sheets of notebook paper—both sides.

So what else is my problem? I have been dealing with insomnia for about 3 or 4 years now. It’s not every single night, and I do have sleep meds that I take sparingly. I’ve adapted by embracing the very early morning. I get up at 4 three days a week so I can have my time with the Lord and then be at the gym at 5. I really like that routine. I sometimes hit Walmart in the 6 a.m. hour. I always ask for the earliest doctor’s or dentist appointment. Sometimes I cook, or throw in a load of laundry. Then I go to work. So by the time I get home, I’m pretty much zonked. Because of all this, I don’t want to give attention to anything but the TV. So I don’t.

It’s still a heart’s desire to do voiceover, and the desire hasn’t gone away. But because I’ve been blessed by God to have this particular job that’s been steady for the last 2 years, my head is into making the money. I haven’t always had well-paying steady employment at something that I’m good at, and where I have favor. That’s totally God. It also costs money to do the level of promotion one needs to do to try to get the voiceover jobs, and I really don’t want to put my money towards that right now. I want to save for a house. I have an agent, and I need to get back in contact with the one agent that I have totally fallen off the radar. I haven’t been checking in because I’ve been working. Also, I have a fear that if I check in, I’ll get auditions and won’t want to work on the audition when I get home from work because of the time it takes and my after-work energy level.

Which brings me to my question—how much do you want it? How much do I want it?

I really want to gain an audience for my writing, so I have to, uh, write. Like when I was 11 years old. Meaning, find that inner brainstorm and do it. On a regular basis. That would be an accomplishment for me, to do two pieces a month. I was doing it, but got discouraged because I’m not picking up any followers. And I don’t know why I can’t even get my family to read my stuff. It only takes 10 minutes, c’mon…

I really want to do voiceover. So I need to get past the fear of contacting the agent and do it. I have another agent and I get a few auditions from her. Ideally, they say a talent should get between 3 and 5 auditions a week. I get that many a month, maybe, so I’m way behind the 8-ball. That’s because I’m not focused on it or really pursuing it at this time. I need to do vocal warm-ups at least 3 times a week so when I do get an audition I can actually say the line without tripping over syllables.

How come I’m not focusing on my heart’s desires and God-given gifts? Because they take work. Extra effort. Time. Rejection is a part of it, because creativity is subjective. It’s what the powers-that-be decide that they like or don’t like. They may or may not like my words or my point-of-view. Yet, I want to see my column in the newspaper. To me, voiceover is steeped in rejection. I never get anything I audition for. You have half a million people going for the same stuff. Yet, I want to turn on the TV and radio and hear my voice.

So, how much do I want it? Maybe not enough? But I do really want it! Enough to stop whining about it? Enough to not let insomnia and exhaustion rule my life? That’s no fun, I tell ya. But I guess I need to put mind over matter and do what I can do and let God do what I can’t. The Lord told me to stay ready for voiceover, but I haven’t been doing that. I need to pray about it, confess the Word over it and work. Faith without works is dead. Write something. So what if no one reads it. When I was a kid, I wrote all the time and never let anyone but Linda read my stuff. Yet I was happy writing.

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What about you? Is there something you really want, but perhaps you’ve been wallowing in complacency, or content with something that really isn’t going to give you long-term satisfaction? Do you want to pursue that goal? Are you willing to pay the price for that goal, no matter what the price is? The price of time, finance and sacrifice? Think about it. Only you can answer.

That said, there’s nothing else left to do but write something. And at least do a few tongue twisters.

This is dedicated to my sister Crystal.

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(Football) Seasons Change–Deal With It

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January comes in with a countdown and much fanfare in various forms. Some pray in the new year, some kiss in the new year. There’s sometimes a sparkling beverage involved. We say goodbye to the previous year, presents, Charlie Brown and the Grinch. The pretty bright Christmas lights are gone. Now we’re stuck with The Dead of Winter.  And the end of football season. Siiiiiiiiiigh…

Now there’s the playoffs and that’s fun in and of itself. But it’s only 10 games spread out over the whole month! Just 10! And if your team didn’t make the playoffs and you’re not an NFL fan overall, it’s totally over for you, maybe since week 8.

Sundays are normally filled with football from sunup to sundown. This will not be the case after this weekend. We got 2 games each on Saturday and Sunday, then only 2 games the following Sunday. Therefore, I propose a calm-down. Let’s breathe and regroup. This is not just about football withdrawal. This is about embracing where you are in the scheme of life right now.  You may be in-between jobs currently. I’m not saying embrace unemployment by any means, but if images-4you’re at home mostly, then keep the house clean. Get organized. Spend time at the gym. There are things you can do to be productive as you search and wait for a job.  That’s what I did. Right now, it’s winter. Winter can be viewed as a time of rest.  Although the days are getting longer minute by minute, with the evenings being darker longer you can use winter as a time of winding down and relaxing both mentally and physically. During the energizing sunny days of summer, there’s more of a tendency to be out and about, and if you’re not, you feel you should be. So, chill in the cold!

For those of us who bemoan change, we’ve got to start dealing with this now. We must come up with a plan! We have to decide on ways to make this winter different.

Sunday Afternoon Reading Program If you like to read, there’s a world of books out there. Find 2 or 3 and spend a couple of hours engrossed in another life.

Sunday Afternoon Reconnect People who know me have learned to not call while the Bears are playing. If you’re also one of those “focused” individuals, this is a good time to call folks you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Go somewhere totally out of your norm. I am going to the International Kennel Club Dog Show. I don’t think my cat will mind. I’ve always wanted to go, and after watching the National Dog Show on TV a couple of months ago, I am definitely going to do this.  You can hold me accountable! It’s at the end of February.  Here’s a pic of the breed that won Best In Show–the wire fox terrier. Cute!

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Cook The winter is great for practicing labor-intensive dishes like breads, soups and stews.

Shred some junk I have years worth of paper in my file cabinet that needs to go. This could take me all the way to the kick-off of the opening Bears game in September.

Give another sport a chance I wish I liked other sports with the intensity I feel about football. I do love the Olympics, especially track. If there’s an AFL franchise in your area, go to one of their games. I hear it’s very family and fan friendly. You can actually afford a ticket! I also like NCAA March Madness, so maybe I’ll pay more attention to the games leading up to it. I think the brackets are cool. I really like that it’s “win-or-go-home,” not like the NBA’s best 89 out of 103.

Just a few suggestions, folks, as we slink through football withdrawal. My father always maintains that it takes until April to get over it. I don’t want to wait that long. We have to embrace each season and find things to love about each one. Spring and summer are easy transitions, but God made winter and the off-season, too. Hmmm, maybe if we didn’t let football fill up our lives so much, we wouldn’t feel so empty when it’s over.

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