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

 

Be Kind

One of my favorite quotes is from Aesop’s Fables. It says, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

This is so very simple and so very true.

Be kind.

Share a smile.

Say a word of encouragement.

Don’t let this world destroy your humanity by stealing your joy.

Smile, laugh, pray, share, and be kind.

It’s really not that difficult.

Love is all that truly matters in this life.

Your kind words might lift someone up who has been discouraged.

Your kindness might change someone’s path away from that dark tunnel of depression.

Just be kind.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

Favorite Quote from Socrates

“To Find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

In this current age of mass media, we are constantly being inundated with information. It comes at us from all sides 24/7.

It is easy to be a lazy thinker and just accept what we are being told.

The cold, hard truth is that it can actually be extremely detrimental (and in some cases deadly) if we do not do our own research and document from a variety of valid, objective sources whether something is either true or false.

It is extremely crucial that we dig below the surface and ask ourselves who benefits from trying to sway us to their opinion. Is it money that motivates the person who is trying to convince us of that position? Is it an insatiable thirst for power that is the motivator? Or, is the person just simply misinformed and does the person truly believe their position is correct? Or, is the person motivated by fear?

Socrates said it well when he tells us to think for ourselves in order to find ourselves.

In other words, in order to have a decent life and productive life, it is important to think through all the information that is out there in the world.

The next time you read an article, hear a news report, or read a social media post, ask yourself what quantifiable evidence is there that the words spoken or written are the verifiable truth. Who is trying to influence you and what do they have to gain?

Think for yourself; your very life depends upon it.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

Love and Kindness is all We Need

After a long week teaching, I find myself thinking back to the students who sit in front of me on a weekly basis. They have their anxieties, their frustrations, their dreams, and their lives, just like I do.

In interacting with my students, I am reminded of the words of Mother Teresa, “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

In my classroom, I use light humor to encourage them not to take this world too seriously. I make a point of giving them the freedom to just be in the moment, listen to the silence, find joy in learning, and to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes. Life’s about learning. Life’s about community. Life’s about being joyful. We are not defined by our mistakes; we can always correct our errors and learn from them.

A few years ago, I found this THINK (I don’t know to whom to give credit, but it is not my original idea). It is:

Think.

“T” Is it true?

“H” Is it helpful?

“I” Is it inspiring?

“N” Is it necessary?

“K” Is it Kind?

Before releasing words to someone, it is important to wait and ask yourself these questions. Words wound deeply. They should be chosen with kindness and love.

Honesty does not have to be hurtful.

Words should build up; words should never tear down.

Choose your words wisely; others are listening.

What words do you want to be remembered for?

What words have stung you in the past so much so that you still remember them?

Love and kindness is truly all that we need.

Someone said be the change you want to see.

I didn’t make that up, but I am the change I want to see.

It starts with me, and it starts with you.

Think before you speak.

You never know the burdens and fears the person sitting in front of you is carrying.

Think.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

Remembering 20 Years Ago

So, it’s been 20 years ago since that horrific morning in September when the face of evil was revealed in living color, crashing with smoke and flames like hell fire into buildings filled with innocent, unsuspecting victims.

On that morning, I’d just dropped my middle-schooler off and was listening to my car radio. There had been a morning radio show that was always comical; I had always enjoyed listening to the light-hearted banter of the radio hosts. On that early morning in September 2001, those radio hosts were gasping for words, as if the grief was just too heavy for them to comprehend. Airplanes. Explosions. New York. These words rattled me. What? What were they crying about? Why were they using profanity? What? More words: Are we under attack? Airplanes. New York.

I pulled into the post office parking lot, and quickly headed towards the doors. A man looked at me, his face ashen. “We’re under attack.” He called to me.

My heart dropped. I looked towards the clear, painfully blue autumn sky, and watched the man dash to his car. In the post office people were talking. I hurriedly mailed my letter and headed home.

I turned on my television, sat on the edge of my sofa with my poodle puppy Buddy nestled in my lap. Like a repeat from hell, I watched the rapid replay of those planes slam into those towers. Speechless, I sat there. Dear God.

My attention turned to my son who had just began middle school. The local news said that all schools were on lockdown. Children were being told to wait until their parents could come and pick them up. The world stood still. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Were there more planes on the way? Was this just the beginning of more destruction? Was this the end of the world as I knew it?

There had been immediate speculation over who had done this. There had been immediate explanations, and of course the blame against the United States, as if we had somehow deserved this.

Those innocent people who had gone to work that day, dropped their children off at school, and sat in their offices probably thinking about what they were going to cook for dinner in that evening that they unknowingly would never see, DID NOT DESERVE TO HAVE THEIR LIVES SNUFFED OUT BECAUSE OF SOME GEORELIGIOUSPOLITICAL BULLCRAP! There I said it! Those people were not responsible if some fanatic got their underwear in a wad and got offended about something said about them or to them.

Fact is, twenty years later, the grief and the anger is still palpable. In my city, we still have signs that say “911, never forget.” How could we possibly ever forget the cowardly, evil attack against innocent people?

There is never, ever justifiable reasons to take an innocent person’s life.

If you’re a fanatic, take your complaint to the Hague. Take your complaint to the courtrooms and legal jurisdictions of your communities.

Take your evil, dark heart before God, get on your knees and bow your forehead into the hard earth, and beg the Almighty ruler of the universe to cleanse you of your evil soul, to restore you and to cleanse you. Evil is not of God. Evil is of the devil. If you do evil, you are the devil.

Repent and rebuke the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 says: Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The devil slammed the towers that September morning.

But, those towers have been rebuilt.

God is still on His throne.

On this clear September morning twenty years later, I look back and think about how absolutely shocked and saddened I felt.

Even now, whenever I see images of those flames and that smoke rising up, my heart aches.

I remember hearing about that plane going down in that Pennsylvania field. I remember hearing about how those aboard that flight fought back.

In the tapestry of our lives, it really is a fight against good and evil.

We can choose good rather than evil. We have freewill. People like to make excuses that such and such caused them to do something.

In the end, we all stand before God with our own choices.

We can’t blame anyone but ourselves.

That realization hurts.

Too bad on that morning, those hijackers hadn’t stepped back and searched the depths of their hearts. Surely, surely, a tiny voice had whispered, had warned each of them that what they were about to do was evil. . . . . .

How could they have not known that it was an evil act? How could they have not known?

Just, how?

God have mercy on all our souls.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

Mary in My Garden: Morning Calm

There is a statue in my rose garden. It is of Mother Mary. I put the statue in my garden last year during the height of the world wide lockdown. I was afraid of the unknown. I felt as if the world was coming to an end. Anxiety, depression, and a whole host of negative, fear-filled emotions drenched me, and nearly paralyzed me.

Then, I saw this statue of Mother Mary in the garden section of a store. I knelt in front of the statue and felt my heart calm to a slower pace. I ran my fingertips along the grainy texture. I know that the statue is not Mother Mary; but, rather a reminder of her instruction to trust her son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I struggled to place the statue in my cart, but I did.

Now, each morning, I walk in my garden and stop, kneel and pray that Mother Mary remembers me, remembers to pray for me and the whole world now and and at the hour of our deaths.

There has been a relentless reporting of death and destruction in the media. Anger, division, et cetera and et cetera.

Truth is, if we firmly believe in what God promises-that He will be our shelter in the storms, that He will be on the other side of the veil for those who love Him, that this life isn’t all there is, then we should not fear death, nor anything that can harm us in this life.

God alone is in control. There is nothing mortal man can do to us, God’s children. God is on His throne now and forever more.

In the evening after my day at work, I return to the garden and sit quietly and find peace in knowing that Mother Mary prays for me. I find peace in knowing that death will never, ever separate me from God and His love for me.

One day, I will go home to Heaven.

Of that I am certain.

I have lived my life to serve God. God is my eternal father and I lay my fears at His feet.

This is a drawing I did of Mother Mary. I thought of her as wearing blue.

God’s blessings to everyone who reads my blog.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

My New Poetry Book: Spaces between the Pause

Okay, everybody, instead of thinking about self-publishing and thinking about how to promote my books, I’ve decided to just go ahead and go for it!

Last night, I wrote my blog about my novel “Bully Another Day,” and tonight I am going to tell you about my poetry book, “Spaces between the Pause.” This is my second poetry book. “Life at the End of the Rainbow” is my first poetry book.

“Spaces between the Pause” includes 50 poems that I have written over the years. It is mostly free verse. The themes include, love, disappointment, self-realization, reconciliation with the past, and the passage of time and how it has impacted me.

Here is a poem about love from the past:

Heartbreak

Plastic honeysuckles in a haphazard bouquet,

you presented to me behind the bleachers, wrapped me up in your team jacket, held me.

Kissed me softly beneath the third floor stairwell until the principal discovered us there and like a love-hating tyrant told us to stop.

Stop what?

Stop?

Stop loving?

What?

You and I were so innocent back then; neither one of us on that chilly January morning in nineteen, seventy-eight knew just how easily a heart could break.

This poem is included in “Spaces between the Pause.”

This poetry book is only in hardback. It is on Amazon books. I am still unsure if I want to include putting books on Kindle. I’d put “Life at the End of the Rainbow” on Kindle, and it was okay. What say you? Do you think I should put my books on Kindle?

I am just so in love with actual books that I can hold in my hand. Kindle is on a computer. I just can’t relax with a Kindle book. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, if you are interested in reading my book, you can buy it on Amazon Books. “Spaces between the Pause” by Jenny W. Andrews.

If you do, please leave a review.

Be kind, if you do.

Kindness is what this world is missing.

Thank you in advance for your support.

God’s blessings to you, always.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

My Novel: Bully another Day

It is hard to believe that it has been almost twenty years ago since a dear family member had been bullied in middle school. The school principal’s solution was to tell this family member to just toughen up, to not be so sensitive. Apparently, the bully had some sort of behavioral problem and therefore was allowed to roam to the terror of the general school public. I guess the bully had more rights than my family member. Thankfully, this family member was able to be home-schooled and is now a successful professional and is almost 32 years old. Thankfully, this family member had the support of family. This family member most certainly did not have the support of the public school system. It had failed miserably then; over twenty years later I see that the public school system continues to fail.

Just last week, there was a school shooting at the high school I graduated from over forty years ago. Granted, back then there were fist fights and disagreements, but never was any firearms involved. I remember our principal was a former United States Marine and ran our high school like we were his troops. We feared him; we respected him; and, we loved him dearly because we knew we were safe under his watch. He was fair. He was compassionate. Above all, he demanded order. He informed us that actions have consequences. He drilled it into us that we alone were responsible for our screw-ups. Nobody else was to blame. That was empowering. We learned that we were in charge of our own actions and those actions had consequences. Period. No excuses. No and, if or buts.

I graduated and went on to college as did the majority of my classmates. Over the years, I have seen former classmates and I have heard them voice the same opinion of our principal. We felt safe. We felt listened to. My high school was in a neighborhood that would be classified today as “inner city.” It was comprised of hard-working, decent people who raised families to respect teachers, to respect police, and to respect oneself. I will be forever proud that I grew up in that neighborhood. It was what would be called today “multicultural.” We just called it home, sweet home.

Returning to my earlier reference to my bullied family member, I began to wonder exactly what the repercussions of bullying has on those who are mentally ill. What if the victim of the bullying is mentally ill? What further damage does that do? What would the consequences be on that bullied person?

This is when I began writing “Bully another Day.” It is a work of fiction. The main character Johanna is mentally disturbed, she gets bullied by three girls in high school, and years later she still holds on to the events. Needless to say, the book explores these ramifications. It includes vengeance, murder, and in the end redemption. It is more of a psychological thriller than a murder mystery, although it is a blending of the two.

Currently, it is only available in hardback. I am arguing with myself about whether to put it on Kindle. I like an actual book. I guess not everyone else does, though.

It is available on Amazon Books. Just search Jenny W. Andrews, Bully another Day.

And please be kind, if you choose to leave a book review.

I wrote this from my heart. It really isn’t about money or fame. I felt that I had this heaviness on my heart, especially when I read about school bullies, and I think back at how things could have turned out differently for my beloved family member had nobody intervened.

It is also heavy on my heart when I think about how things might have gone differently for those involved in school shootings if someone had only stepped forward and intervened.

Finally, if you know someone is being bullied, please say something. It never gets any better, in fact, silence only emboldens a bully. Retaliation, unfortunately, can be the consequence of bullying. These are some things to think about. God have mercy on our children in the public school system. It is indeed a failure. Only God can save it.

Thank you so much for reading.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2021

Schadenfreude: Clowns Running Circus

This past year and a half feels like a journey to the depths of human depravity.

What do I mean by that, exactly?

Well, first let’s look at the definition of schadenfreude. It is a lovely, concise German word that means malicious joy at someone else’s misfortune. In other words, elation at another person’s suffering.

Because of COVID-19, people are dying and suffering. People are scared, terrified.

Those in charge of leading us are supposed to guide us, protect us, and serve us. Instead, it appears that clowns have taken over the circus. With large feet (inflated egos) they prance before us with self-aggrandizing arrogance and hubris.

The media who is supposed to be the purveyors of facts gleefully distort information that the rest of us rely on for our very existence, when it comes to this pandemic. We need to know the truth; sadly, it all appears to be a distortion no matter which media outlet is spewing their version of the details we need in order to make informed decisions.

There are those who take malicious joy in wishing ill will to those who have decided to wait for FDA approval before taking the vaccine.

Truth is that we are all in this together. Unfortunately, we are being pitted against each other.

Perhaps, if early on, the clowns hadn’t juggled the truth, tossed it in the air, and stomped on it with there oversized clown shoes, more people would be less hesitant to take that step to get vaccinated.

If, perhaps, the other clowns would cease from their bi-polar pontificating from their high wire above their audience, and get down to business and approve the allegedly life-saving medicines, people would more readily step forward and pay attention to the clowns.

Unfortunately, the clowns continue to spin their bumper cars in circles, crash into each other, stumble out with new playbills that say “do this this week; no, you don’t have to do that anymore. Wait! You gotta do this. No, wait! Don’t. . . “

COVID-19 is real. People are dying and suffering. This should not be politicized. It is not about what political party a person is affiliated with. It is about human life that can be lost, and/or damaged.

While the clowns compete with each other for the spotlight, and spout out nonsensical gibberish, and feast on the fear that they cruelly create, real human beings are dying, sinking into depression, giving into fear and the despair that comes with that fear.

Malicious joy at another person’s suffering is evil. Plain and simple.

What is needed is compassion. What is needed are leaders who will lead. What is needed is a media that reports the truth rather than making their words a political agenda.

It appears that the clowns revel in pitting their audience against each other.

This is not a competition. Let’s extend compassion to those who are afraid. Fact is, we are all afraid.

Let’s do better as human beings. Let’s be kind. Let’s let the clowns know that we are not pleased with their performance by demanding the truth rather than words being juggled, tight wire hysteria antics, and bungling shoe tripping.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2021

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hopelessness

Here we go again!

Told if we get the vaccine life would go back to normal.

Well, now we have to don the face mask once again regardless of vaccination status.

So, what was the point of vaccinations if you still have to wear a mask?

And please don’t answer me with all sorts of excuses, such as science is blah! Blah! etc.

I personally don’t care about excuses and reasons.

All I know is that I want to live my life free of this constant bombardment of hysteria.

It’s as if nothing we do will satisfy this, this thing.

I am just tired of it. It is grinding. It has gotten to be just too much.

Where can I go to escape this?

Am I just lost here on this lonely planet?

I would like to just find a quiet, safe place where I don’t hear the constant drum roll of Covid-19, and now Delta variant. What’s next? Epsilon?

It begs the question when Eta, Theta and Iota will manifest themselves.

Perhaps, these will show up this fall.

I surely hope not, but they probably will.

Let’s not forget Kappa, Lambda and Mu. Yep, I can just imagine these are all just waiting in the wings. I truly believe that it just will not end, all of this. . . .

Geez! It’s like some sick Fraternity/Sorority prank that has been played on the world!

Is this just the new normal?

It makes me feel absolutely hopeless.

I just cannot envision covering my face again as if I am some sort of pawn in a game I don’t want to play.

Mask up, folks!

Better yet, don two or maybe even four to be as safe as possible.

Vaccinated??

Mask up, too.

Just put the dang thing on and don’t say a thing.

Do exactly as you are instructed.

Do.

It.

Now.

No.

questions.

asked.

HOPELESSNESS.

It’s not going to get any better.

Of that I am now convinced.

Welcome to the new normal.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2021