Childhood

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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

 

Original Art:Woman with Blue Hat

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This is a drawing I did a few years ago. I like to use a lot of color.

In our current climate of worry, stress, and anxiety, I would like to encourage everyone to switch off your devices, tune out the constant media bombardment of horrible news.

We can’t stick our heads in the sand, of course. But, for your mental health, please, please take a break from the news. Switch it off for a day or two days. Or maybe don’t turn it on for a week. Or longer.

Pick up some color pencils and a sketch pad and go to it. Be creative and colorful. Have fun.

Pick up a notebook and a dictionary. Choose as many rhyming words as possible and write ridiculously funny sentences. Write limericks, ballads, rap songs. Write the worst possible country song you can come up with.

Laugh.

The  Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time, a season for everything. There will always be sorrow; but, there will also be a time of joy and peace.

These dark days we are experiencing now will not last forever.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God’s promises.

For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord.”Plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hope.

With God, hope is eternal.

As we approach the Easter season, trust in God’s promises. Light is at the end of this dark tunnel that we are experiencing right now.

Romans 8:38-39 reminds us of God’s love through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Revelation 21:4 reminds us that God shall wipe away all our tears.

“And God shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any pain, for the former things are passed away.”

Life will always have sorrow, death and pain. That is just a fact.

Life will always have beauty, joy, and wonder. That is just a fact.

It is my prayer that we all stay safe in these challenging times.

Take a break from the constant media coverage for your mental health. Spend quiet time with God, unburden your soul before Him. Trust that He will always be there to wipe your tears away. Trust that He has plans for you to prosper.

Trust completely in God and in His promises.

And draw a picture, write a song.

And share it!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020

 

 

Comfort in the Storm: Psalms

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The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Truly my soul waiteth  upon God; from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalm 62: 1-2

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18: 1-2

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23

 

Source: Holy Bible, King James Version, Book of Psalms

 

Today, I got notice at the community college where I teach English that today is my final day of work until sometime in mid-April. That is a long stretch of time not to work. My community is completely shutting down. What hurts most is seeing church services canceled. I understand the reason for social distancing, of course, but this is the time that we really need to be a faith community and support each other. We need to offer our prayers up to our God who hears us, comforts us, and holds us in His arms.

Even if you cannot physically attend church, please remember to pray without ceasing. Please do not lose your faith in our God who promises peace and healing. Please lift your hands toward our God and plead for His mercy. It is without limits. His love and His compassion knows no boundaries. This world is hurting; God is the answer to this suffering. He offers healing. Please reach for Him. Trust Him. He is our strength and our rock and our light in this darkness.

May God keep you, bless you, and surround you with His love and His compassion.

Amen

 

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright 2020

Handwashing: Coronavirus Defense

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This afternoon, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items. Needless to say, everyone is concerned about the Coronavirus. I understand that completely.  For some reason beyond my comprehension toilet paper has completely disappeared from the shelves. Did I miss something in the last few days regarding the importance of having an excessive abundance of toilet tissue? Hand sanitizer is missing, as well.

While I can certainly relate to the gravity of this pandemic and the utmost necessity of preparing oneself, I fear that there are some among us who in a panicked state grab whatever they can out of fear of not having enough.

Fear and panic will only exacerbate the situation. By overbuying toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other necessary items shoppers will create shortages. These shortages will have a negative impact on others who need the products as much as you do. Before you buy something, please consider other people and their needs. Of course your primary responsibility is to yourself and your loved ones, but please do not forget that we are a community. As a community, all our actions whether negative or positive, have consequences beyond our individual selves. Other people matter.

From what I have read, keeping your hands clean by washing them frequently is an effective strategy for reducing the spread of this virus.

It is my opinion that maintaining a healthy diet that boosts your immune system is another effective strategy when faced with this virus.

Although it is easier said than done, get enough sleep and take a break from worrying. Worrying does not help. Worrying only makes things worse.  Find some activity that can redirect your thoughts. Watch a comedy; take a walk in nature. Do something you enjoy that will redirect your thoughts from worrying about this virus. Worrying about it will not help you. What strategies can you implement that will help you deal with its challenges? Be proactive. Do what you can and then let go of the worry.

Life will always have hardships and challenges. In order to conquer those hardships and challenges it is absolutely imperative that we all work together rather than against each other. Our strength comes from our unity as human beings on God’s earth. Each of us matters; each of us deserves to be loved, cared for and respected.

Let’s support each other during these dark days. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. We will conquer this virus.

May God bless us, comfort us and keep us in His care, for always.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

 

 

Do We Really Have Choices?

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“I am not what has happened to me. I am who I choose to become.”- Carl Jung

Choice is an interesting word. In this simple sounding one syllable word there is an implication that it is possible to decide ones’ fate. Possibilities abound within this word. In reading about Carl Jung’s early life it appears that his mother had mental issues which, to say the least, impacted him and his development well into adulthood. We all have our crosses to bear, of course. I do not like to get into a debate regarding who has had it the hardest in this life. Anyone who has ever drawn a breath on God’s earth has suffered in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes, it is the monsters we carry within our own heads and our own souls due to genetic/biological make up and sometimes it is personal interpretation of our environment which impact our ability to make choices. We see our lives through our own unique lens. It has been said that each person is their own planet unto themselves. Social/biological/cultural factors greatly impact a person’s interpretation of the world around them. These factors can impact a person’s ability to make choices.

Am I not what has happened to me?  Do I really have the power to choose what I want to become when the world puts roadblocks up in front of me?

Tragedies and suffering leave deep scars on our souls. To not admit that truth is to be disingenuous with ourselves and others. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder are directly attributed to a person’s past experiences, therefore, I argue that we are, in fact, what has happened to us. I argue that we are limited by the particular world into which we are born.

This brings me back to the word, choice. Choice. Do we really have a choice? How do some people rise above their life’s circumstances, while others do not? I ponder this question when I analyze my own life, and that of the world as a whole.

To an extent we do have choices. Be aware, however, that not everyone has the same power to make choices. That is where compassion comes in. I choose to show compassion to myself and to others when I consider that we do not have the power to always decide how our lives will be. We are, at times, at the the mercy of circumstances beyond our control.

Show compassion; suspend judgement when looking at other peoples’ lives. Show God’s love, compassion, and mercy. Life hurts. Do something today to make life less hurtful for others. Choose compassion.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

Memoir:What My Heart Remembers

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Excerpt from the rough draft of my memoir. Please read and drop me a note to let me know what you think. Thanks:

Words matter. Teachers matter. The words that teachers say matter. Her nine words managed to quietly sustain me during the later, darker years after I left the comfort of her third grade classroom. 

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do,” Mrs. Nancy Bazemore clutched my trembling eight-year old shoulders, leaned down beside me and into my ears she whispered those amazing words. I had told her that I had asthma and my parents had said that I couldn’t run.

My class was playing a game of baseball and it was my turn to bat and I was afraid to run around the field.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Now run!” She had told me.

I can still feel the sticky sting of tears course down my cheeks; I can still feel the exhilaration of running around that ball field in spite of parents’ warnings. I can still see Mrs. Nancy Bazemore, her brown 1960’s era flip curls, her pretty hands shoving me forward. Into that Georgia afternoon, on that playground, I had defied those words of caution that had debilitated me.

I am sure my parents only had my best interest in mind, but the truth was that it was my sister who had had the asthma and I was therefore assumed to have it, too.

That day, I somehow managed to survive my run around the bases. I didn’t die of an asthma attack as I had feared. In fact, all through my childhood I had been warned by my parents that I couldn’t participate in physical education class because I might have an asthma attack.

Might.

Well, Mrs. Nancy Bazemore took a chance and I did, too.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do.” She spoke those few words, seemingly insignificant to her probably, but to a little eight year old girl for whom encouragement was something rarely received, her words made an enormous impact.

Decades later, my heart remembers.

Thank you, Mrs. Bazemore. I am eternally grateful.

 

Copyright 2020, Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

 

Let Go of Self-Doubt: Trust Yourself

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“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”-Suzy Kassem (Brainyquote.org)

Today, I was teaching English to a classroom of English as Second Language students. These students are often riddled with self-doubt about communicating in English. They share with me their reasons for wanting to learn English.  Their dreams are as diverse as they are.  The desire to reach dreams/personal goals is a universal desire that springs from  the depths of the human spirit.

One particular student this morning really got me to thinking about the negative, soul-crushing impact of self-doubt. She was so afraid that she couldn’t complete the activity sheet that she just sat at her desk and stared at it, lost. I sat next to her and asked her quietly to just simply do as best she could, that it was okay if she didn’t know everything, that she should at least give it a try. Well, she mustered up the courage and ended up shocking herself when she completed the activity sheet and scored high on it. The expression on her face was one of joy and surprise. I could see her confidence build as she realized that by trying she had succeeded. If she had not challenged herself and moved through her self-doubt she would never have known that she was capable of success.

Yes, doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will because if you are riddled with self-doubt you simply are too afraid to try.

Whatever my student’s personal dreams are, hopefully her experience today in my classroom will serve as a reminder that by moving past self-doubt and taking a chance she can succeed if she perseveres.

Whatever your dreams are, do not give into self-doubt. Of course, we all fail from time to time, but never stop trying to move forward. Life is a journey. Be hopeful, be confident, persevere. God is with you; you cannot fail. You can learn and move forward. Always move forward.

Blessings to all.

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

Do Something! Don’t Just Sit There!

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”- Benjamin Franklin (Brainyquote.org)

It has been said that life is an adventure. I truly believe that. We limit ourselves by our own negative self-talk. We procrastinate and put off what we should be doing to move ourselves forward toward the fulfillment of our hopes, goals and dreams.  If we don’t take the first step then nothing will ever change in our lives.

Tonight, I submitted a poem to a magazine. Last night, I did the same. I am doing something to move myself toward my goal as a writer. I want to be published and I am taking actionable steps to fulfill my goal. There is a certain risk that I might fail; there is also the possibility that I will succeed.  Doing nothing is a definite way not to succeed so I have chosen to do something tangible in order to succeed. I am working toward my goal each and every day now.

If there is something that you want to accomplish, set aside at minimum an hour a day to accomplish your goals. Make time for your goals. Write them down in a journal and check them off. Do not be discouraged; do not worry about whether you will fail. Consider that you will succeed only if you persevere and do not give into the negative self-talk that holds you back.

Do something! Time is precious. Cherish it.

May God bless you and keep you and give you courage to reach your full potential.

I look to Him for my strength always.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020