Childhood

brown wooden armchair on brown wooden floor
Photo by Marcelo Jaboo on Pexels.com

 

CHILDHOOD

Chair in the corner of the dining room,

and Daddy sitting in it, and only the orange glow from the ashes,

and gray puffs of smoke,

gave any signal of human presence.

Otherwise it was just the darkness and a chair in the corner,

otherwise it was just daddy in the dark and all alone.

I watched the firelight from the cigarette, as a child,

and wondered why the night was so black,

and why Daddy was so alone, and why voices rang out in the night.

I thought of Mama in the next room sleeping,

and I wondered why I was so small, and why Mama and Daddy never laughed.

And I felt like the night, cold,

and like Daddy,

and like Mama.

so all alone.

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews

 

My poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow” is currently available at Amazon/Kindle. I would love to hear any feedback about my poetry. Thanks.

-Jenny

 

Happy Friday (or Saturday)!

Happiness. Joy. Beauty. Peace.

These are qualities which are largely ignored in a world which dwells obsessively on sadness, ugliness, and chaos.

Truth is that there is more beauty than ugliness. There is more joy than sadness. There is more peace than chaos.

It all depends on choices. What do you choose to spend your time listening to, talking about, reading?

Do you wake up in the morning and complain about the long commute ahead of you or do you wake up and look out the window at the beauty of the sun’s golden rays gloriously shining between the trees?

Do you look at your children and snap at them for not having their book bags ready or do you take a moment to hug each of them and thank God that they are in your life (remember they grow up and move on to their own lives sooner than you can even imagine)?

Do you complain that your spouse forgot to take the trash out or do you stop and remember back to your wedding day and that precious love you entered into so many years ago?

Choices.

We all have them. We can decide which actions we want to take.

We can either choose to be unhappy or we can choose to look out the window at the early morning sun and be happy that God has blessed us with another chance to try to better ourselves.

We can choose to hug our children and tell them that they are special, that they are precious to us.

We can choose to extend grace, love, and understanding to our spouse when he or she seemingly falls short of our own arbitrary expectations.

We can choose to look inward and evaluate our choices.

Joy, beauty, and peace can only be found when we choose to actively look for each of them.

The question asked often is whether the glass is half empty or half full.

I say it is half full.

It is a choice.

Happy Friday (or Saturday).

I choose to be happy. I choose to push through the negativity and smile as I watch the glorious sun rising above the tops of the pine trees each morning.

These days are blessings.

And I am thankful for these blessings.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

Regaining My Equilibrium

Today, I did something I haven’t done in quite a few months. I took my notebook and went to a coffee shop, ordered a cup of coffee and wrote ideas for a new writing project. In the previous months I have been quite unsettled by hysterical fear-mongering, pre-apocalyptical doom and gloom and end-of -the-world as we know it predictions. Even as I write this, the media is still shoveling their sewage of exaggerations of death, disease, destruction, and pestilence. I hear tell that Europe is going back into lockdown. Lockdown is also an option being considered in certain areas of the United States. Bizarrely, houses of worship (of all faiths) are being targeted as “super spreaders.” What? What about big box stores? Don’t people in big box stores stand close to each other? What about the ever-open liquor stores? What’s the difference? Oh right, in houses of worship people share their lives, encourage each other, pray, sing, and praise God together. It is community. Community. In a community, people share ideas. It’s as if this is being deliberately discouraged.

Well, I want to share my ideas as long as I can. My passion is writing. I have ideas that I believe strongly in. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe strongly in every human souls’ right to worship God as he or she feels compelled to do. I believe in freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Each soul is sacred with a right to freely speak its truth.

At this time in history, I feel as if our rights are being corroded and stolen out from under us. Fear is more powerful than death; it can immobilize and paralyze and trap the living in a breathing shell, a shell that eventually crushes the very life force out of its prisoner. How frightening!

As I said, I did something I haven’t done in months. I went to a coffee shop with my notebook and (although I had to wear a mask to enter) I sat down and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and wrote. I felt free-freer than I have in months. I yearn for that freedom. I cannot bear the threat of an impending lockdown. It is mentally damning to even conceive of being prohibited from enjoying a cup of coffee in a coffee shop surrounded by other living, breathing human beings. Mentally damning.

It’s similar to de facto house arrest (for those who haven’t actually been found guilty of anything). How’s that even legal, let alone not a violation of our basic human rights as free people?

Meanwhile, as always, I turn my heart and my soul towards the only answer to any questions that I have ever had.

My Lord Jesus Christ who has instructed us: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27, KJV).

Paul, the Apostle to the Romans, clearly states in Chapter 8:24-28: For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for (24)? But if we hope for what we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (25). Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (26). And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (27). And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose (28). (Romans 8:24-28, KJV).

I love God with all my heart, soul, and mind. I believe that he has a purpose for my life. I feel that purpose is to write and to share my faith. I feel my purpose is to love and to encourage.

And I cannot give into fear. God loves me and I truly believe that good will come from all of this. My faith has actually been strengthened over the past few months. I have completed several of my writing projects and put them on Amazon.

While a time may come in which my freedom of speech will be limited, my freedom in Christ will never be limited.

At the end of days, Christ is the answer to any and all question, after all.

I pray that Our Lord will bless you and keep you and shine his face upon you, lift you up and give you peace.

Amen.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020

Can We Please Just Be Thankful?

This has been a very, very difficult year. The truth is, unfortunately, I am not altogether sure if it has had to be this difficult. Follow me on this for a second. I am baffled by all the conflicting news reports that have joyfully dwelt on darkness, death and destruction. There I said it, joyfully dwelt on darkness, death and destruction. Media outlets, news pundits, politicians, activists, actors, et cetera, et cetera have worked overtime to scare the living daylights out of us. Anxiety, depression, suicide, domestic violence, increased substance abuse have been the results of all this terror we have been subjected to on a 24/7 basis. To listen to news feeds and the talking heads one would think that we are on the brink of destruction. Are we really? Who profits from all this mass hysteria? I call it hysteria. And after almost a year of it, I call it what it is and I declare that I will not listen to any of it anymore.

Life is way too short; we are all living on borrowed time. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, nor is the next breath promised to anyone.

That sobering thought inspires me to cherish each moment, to cherish each sunrise and sunset that God blesses me with. That sobering thought inspires me to call family and friends I haven’t spoken with in years so that I can reconnect. That sobering thought inspires me to stop and enjoy the cool ocean breezes and the warmth of the sun on my skin. That sobering thought inspires me to live each moment with thankfulness. Any moment could be my last, no matter how socially isolated I am, no matter how safe I am by staying home. And no we are not alone together as the slogan goes that is being touted in my community. Truth is, I hunger for community, in person, not on a virtual screen. Truth is, nothing can stop the inevitableness of life’s ending. Nothing at all.

I am exhausted by the restrictions of 2020. I feel as if something precious from my life has been stolen. I am now trying to regain the ground that I felt I lost. I refuse to enter 2021 with fear and trembling.

I rely completely on the words of my Lord Jesus Christ:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

I refuse to be troubled; I refuse to be afraid.

I place my soul in the comforting and protecting hands of God. He keeps his promises. He never fails.

Romans 15:13 says: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Isaiah 26:3-4 says: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (4) Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

Perfect peace. Hope. Joy.

Joy. Hope. Perfect peace.

These are guarantees from God.

As I look towards 2021, I encourage you to join me in turning your heart, mind and soul completely over to the loving, unfailing protection of God.

Switch off the media’s hysterical histrionics and enjoy time with family and friends. Enjoy time outdoors in this beautiful world that God has given to us. Enjoy this brief life, make every precious moment count.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, shine his face upon you, and be gracious to you, lift up your countenance, and give you peace (Numbers 6: 24-26).

God’s peace,

Amen.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

My Novel: Bully another Day

Hopefully, I have uploaded the cover of my novel correctly. I am uncertain how to create to link it to Amazon Books on my blog. It is not yet on Kindle. Maybe eventually I will put it there. For right now, it is available in just paperback.

Just to give you an idea of the purpose of my novel, it is a work of fiction in which I wanted to explore the impact of bullying on those who already have mental health issues, and/or a genetic predisposition to mental health issues.

I also wanted to explore society’s prejudices against those who do not fit into society’s expectations of how he/she is suppose to be.

The plot is more of a psychological thriller in which the main character is accused of being a serial killer because of her connection to the victims’ daughters who all bullied her at one time or the other.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot details here. I would very much like to get feedback from others, so if you can buy it and leave a review on Amazon I would be very thankful.

As a writer, my hope is that readers will consider the far-reaching ramifications of bullying.

This novel is very special to me. It took me two decades to put into words my ideas. That sounds like a very, very long time, I know.

At the end of the day, it is my hope that readers consider the absolute necessity of speaking up, doing the right thing, and most importantly being kind to those who live on the outer fringes of what is considered “normal.”

Thank you for reading (and buying my book). I know I will probably need to put it on Kindle. I know that but I like an actual book I can put in my hand. I hope you do too.

Blessings to all.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

Self-Published Works

As I writer, it was always my dream to be published by an actual publisher. After decades of sending my writing out to agents, publishers, and contests, and being rejected prolifically, I decided to self-publish.

I have always felt confident in my writing ability, but alas due to repeated rejections, I cannot help but wonder whether I had/have deluded myself.

In any case, I have spent the past few months digging through my notebooks and journals and putting my short stories, poems and an old novel manuscript into book form. As a consequence, I have self published some of my work.

I have self-published my second poetry book called Spaces between the Pause. As you might remember, I self-published my first poetry book Life at the End of the Rainbow in 2018. I am very thankful for those of you who took the time to buy it. I am especially thankful to Charles Heath who took the time to write a review.

I have also self-published a collection of short stories called Short Stories and Vignettes. It is, as it implies, short stories and vignettes.

My novel, Bully Another Day, is near and dear to my heart. I began writing it back in 1999. It is about the impact of bullying on someone who already suffers from mental illness. It is a work of fiction that I would categorize as a psychological portrait of revenge and redemption.

With the exception of Life at the End of the Rainbow, I have not put any of these books on Kindle, but I have them available on Amazon in paperback.

I am old.

I cannot let go of the belief that a book is something you should be able to curl up with and sip a cup of tea while wrapped snuggly in a blanket.

This cannot be done with a Kindle book. I have read books that were on Kindle. Several of them are fine books, but I just can’t shake the feeling that a book is supposed to have a beautiful cover that I can touch. When I read a book on Kindle I feel disconnected from it; sometimes I even forget I have the book in my possession and as I consequence I forget to finish reading it.

I am old.

This is probably just me. The world has raced ahead of me with its technology. The computer screen is so cold, distant and disconnected.

I feel like I just want to disconnect from this modern life.

It is just too complicated.

In any case, I have included a few links to my books. I truly have no aspirations that anyone will ever read them. Like most writers, I will just fade into obscurity.

We are all truly just sand in an endless desert.

I am a grain of sand, that is how I feel.

Thank you for reading.

As I am having difficulty with this new Word press format, this might be my final post. In fact, I haven’t been able to create the links to my books. Like I said I’m old.

Bye.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

Amazon Books/Bully Another Day/Jenny W. Andrews

Amazon Books/Short Stories and Vignettes/ Jenny W. Andrews

Amazon Books/Spaces Between the Pause/Jenny W. Andrews

Amazon Books/Kindle/Life at the End of the Rainbow/Jenny W. Andrews

Verschlimmbesserung

This long, lovely German word means an attempted improvement that only makes things worse.

Well, that is exactly the perfect word for how I feel about this newfangled WordPress update. I am not a computer whizz-far from it.

I am quite irritated by it, in fact. So much so that I have not posted in months.

Is it just me? I want to go back to the old way. I seriously am confused by it. I don’t need the block editor. Truly I don’t. I simply want to write some of my ideas and I want to share with you all my recent self-publishing on Amazon.

I am not even sure if this will post right.

Please let me know.

WordPress, please give up the option to use the traditional format.

I am seriously considering not continuing on Word press.

Thank you.

Jenny W. Andrews

Pretty Pictures

100_0387_0374100_0190_0541_0001100_0082_0218_0001100_0156_0291

It’s been a very long four and half months since I’ve actually taught in the classroom. This morning I returned, but this time with a mask and social distancing. Trust me, that’s difficult when you’re trying to explain a concept and a student asks if you can check their grammar in the paragraph you’ve just assigned. My student and I giggled as we sprayed our hands with antibacterial spray and carefully handled the sheet of paper as if it were a grenade. Our masks obscured our noses and mouths. It felt as if we were either having an early Halloween, an educational masquerade ball, or were extras from the old television show Batman and Robin or the soap opera General Hospital.

While we both were a bit stressed about returning to face to face instruction, we both followed the protocol and actually enjoyed our class. I made sure to disinfect everything as much as possible. It was our first day back and it was successful.

Photography makes me happy. Looking at photos of nature and animals calm me. I wanted to share these with you all. The first picture is a beautiful white duck that used to live in a marsh next to the lake near my house. I love the calming effect of blue and white along with the orange bill of this duck.

The second photo is in Cobh, Republic of Ireland. I took this photo from the window of a tour bus. I thought it was so calming with the soft silvery shadows falling against the late afternoon sky and calm waters.

The third photo is a colorful window box attached to a a happy pink cottage in Bunratty Folk Park, Republic of Ireland.

The fourth photo is a sweet little donkey at Ring of Kerry, the Republic of Ireland.

100_0199_0537

This fifth and final photo is of a beautiful white pony at Newtown Farm Guesthouse in Youghal, Republic of Ireland.

Looking at beauty lifts my spirits. As I said, these past few months have been challenging. I feel better getting back into my routine although it is modified.  Looking back at these happy memories from my trip to the Republic of Ireland lifts my spirits. They remind me that there is still a beautiful world out there. I can go and see this beautiful world if I choose to. Protocol might be modified, but I have to believe that it will all be better sooner than later. I have to continue to hope and to believe in the future.

I thank all of you for your encouragement during these challenging months.

There is hope for tomorrow. I have to believe that. As soon as I can, I am going to return to the Republic of Ireland and retrace my steps and walk new paths to places I didn’t explore the last time I visited.

Here’s to tomorrow! Never give up hope. Never.

 

Copyright  Jenny W. Andrews 2020

Trust Us: It’s For Your Own Good

WIN_20200722_21_38_06_Pro (2)

Yep! I’m obviously not Van Gogh. (Maybe a bit Dali or Picasso, perhaps?)

It’s been a few months now since the mask mandate and the majority of folks are donning their masks.

After I got home from grocery shopping today, I sat down on my comfy sofa and drank my homemade cafe latte and thought about all the faces I half-way saw at the store.

They all appeared (from what I could see) in various stages of emotional alarm anytime anyone neared them.  All I have to go on is the memory of eyebrows arched upward, eyebrows knitted together, eyes round like saucers. Everybody six or more feet apart, and cringing anytime another person even appeared to be 5.75 feet near their space.

Occasionally eyes would meet mine and they would quickly step away as if I myself were a contagion ready to unleash my toxins upon them.

I don a mask when I am in public. I obey the law whether I want to or not. I’m not a donkey’s bottom so I do as the law mandates (within legal and moral reason, of course).

I have learned a lot in the past few months. The coronavirus lockdown has taught me that I can make my cafe lattes at home for a fraction of the price I used to spend in coffee shops. I have also learned that I don’t really need to go to clothing stores or libraries or bookstores because I can order on Amazon. I have also learned that I can bake my own bread and pastries and I don’t have to even go to the bakeries anymore. I have learned that I can work from home and don’t even have to go out to work. I have learned that I no longer have to waste my money buying flavorless vegetables from the supermarket because now I have my own beautiful vegetable garden. I have learned that I don’t even have to go to church. I can attend church online.I have learned that I can go days without even speaking to another human being other than family members or close friends on the phone. Yes, the coronavirus lockdown has taught me a lot. Mainly that I don’t need to interact with merchants as much as I did in the past. It has taught me that I don’t need to interact with others outside my immediate circle of family and friends.

I think back to the fear I see in the eyes positioned directly above  masks and I can’t help but wonder what the long-term impact this social distancing (aka social isolation) will have on our abilities to interact with others face-to-face when all this is over.

We are seeing that people are confronting each other over masks use. Usually this confrontation is fueled by fear. Some people have a fear of suffocating behind the mask. This could be psychological, physiological, or emotional. Who knows? But, isn’t that that person’s own business? I think so. Agree with me or disagree. It’s just my opinion and I have my right to it. Or the person could just be a donkey’s bottom. Who knows? Social courtesy dictates that we should mind our own business. It is the role of the authorities to intervene, not us. I fear that social courtesy has been damaged by this lockdown, this social distancing mandate. People are forgetting how to respectfully interact with each other in person. Fear of getting sick is a legitimate fear, that I do not doubt.  Nobody wants to get sick. This is where our own personal choices and behaviors come into play. I hate wearing the mask, as I do believe most people hate it, too.. I wear it because there is some evidence that it can protect me and others from this virus.  It is a reasonable mandate, however, the mandates do have exceptions for people with certain psychological or physiological issues.

In the grocery store, I have seen some people not wearing the mask. It is not my business whether the person wears it or not. I do keep my distance, as I have actually always done in a public setting.

So, I sit here on my comfy sofa, finish my cafe latte, type out my opinion on what I think could potentially be the long-term consequences of this coronavirus lockdown. It has felt like de facto house arrest, actually. I wonder what the psychological damage this entire experience will have upon those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Isolation is damning to the mind and spirit and has devastating repercussions for physical health.

Stay home, stay safe might not be really safe at all. In fact, it might be downright out dangerous. Only time will tell.

For me, I plan to go shopping this weekend (on line) because I just don’t feel like standing in line while ten other shoppers are counted out before entry into the stores.

Yep, the coronavirus lockdown has taught me a lot.

It’s yet to be seen whether what I have learned from it has  actually been  beneficial to my spirit in the long run.

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright, 2020

 

Beauty of Flowers

100_0811_0004100_0810_0003

There is an arboretum a few blocks from my house. It is a peaceful refuge.  I enjoy taking my camera with me there and photographing flowers. I find that the single kindest act I can do for myself is to switch off the negative news, go out into the sunshine and walk among flowers.

All too often, we get caught up in the rush to the next minute rather than stopping to enjoy the beauty right in front of us.

100_1275_0057

So, stop and smell the roses!

So, stop and enjoy the timeless beauty of a garden.

Enjoy this life rather than complain about its imperfections.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever be as perfect as the petals of a flower!

Have a beautifully blessed day!

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020