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

 

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

Mother Mary, Pray for Us

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This statue of Mother Mary stands in my garden among pink, yellow, and lavender roses. Early morning, I sit in my garden and drink a cup of hot coffee, listen to the birds sing, and rest before I start my day. I ask Mother Mary to pray for me, to pray for us. In my heart, I know that she carries my prayers directly to God. Of course, I can pray directly to God, and I do, but it is comforting to know that Mother Mary, all the saints and the angels are praying for me, surrounding me with their love and prayers, too. It is comforting to know that there is this limitless love surrounding me, and us.

Just today, I read that some poor souls set fire to statues of Mother Mary in both New York and Boston. This makes my heart so very sad. They had written “idol” on the statues. I pray that whomever did this will one day come to understand that Mother Mary’s words asked us to do what Jesus told us to do which is to love. Love. Love. Love.

In John 2:5 Mary tells the servants at Cana to do what Jesus said to do. He turned the water into wine. He performed a miracle, one of many that he performed.

We can take Mother Mary’s words to heart and we can take it steps further. What else did Jesus say? What was the most important thing that he said?

Matthew 22:37-39 is where Jesus tells us to love God with our whole hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. At verse 40, he tells us that all the Law and prophets hang on these two commandments. Love God and love our neighbor, plain and simple.

Torching a statue of Mother Mary is an act of extreme hate. Hate eats at the soul like a cancer. It eventually destroys and consumes the person who hates.

It is my prayer that this world will open its heart and listen to Mother Mary’s instruction to do as Jesus says. For those servants at Cana it was following Jesus’ directions regarding the water jars. For us, I believe, it is to do as Jesus says which is  to love God with our whole hearts and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Please let’s stop the hate.

Please let’s stop the hate.

Please let’s stop the hate.

Mother Mary, please pray for us. . .

Amen

 

Copyright 2020  Jenny W. Andrews

 

Forever Sisters

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This is my sister Darlene and I way back in 1985. She was eight months pregnant with her first daughter, Denise. Could it possibly be true that 1985 was really thirty-five years ago? Could it possibly be true that my beautiful, artistic sister just turned sixty years old? Could it possibly true be that she is now the grandmother of three incredible little girls?

Time is brutal in its passage; it does not stop for anyone. Time is precious like the final drop of water in a vast and scorching desert. Time is elusive; its march cannot be stopped. There is no turning back with time; once spent it is forever, irretrievably lost, gone.

My niece Denise called me to tell me that she cannot believe that she is five short years away from forty. Her daughter Maya is about to turn seventeen. Yes, time marches forward and never waits for any of us.

Time is shockingly short, as well, when we look at the thousands of years that stretch out behind the human march forward to this very second in which we live. We are here for just a little while when viewed through the lens of millennia. 

On the day that my sister and I smiled into the camera that our mother was holding, the whole of our futures lay before us. She was eagerly awaiting the birth of her precious daughter; I was a young bride, just recently married. Yes, the whole world lay before us. We were giddy with the promises of love, of children, of careers, of travel, of all that our hearts could ever possibly desire.

Neither of us could at that moment have possibly comprehended just how shockingly cruel that time’s march forward could be. Neither of us could have imagined the losses, the hurts, the disappointments, the ravishes that time could exact upon dreams, aspirations, and the human heart.

Our beloved sister Sara died of lymphoma a few years later and our beloved mother died within a few years of that picture being taken, as well.

Now, Darlene and I have both surpassed the age at which our beloved sister Sara died. Sara died at forty-nine years old. It feels as if it were just yesterday that Sara, Darlene, Mama and I sat at the kitchen table gossiping, drinking sweet tea and eating pound cake. It feels like just yesterday. Just yesterday.  But, it isn’t.  It is as if we blinked and the decades dissolved and have become irretrievably lost.

Time marches on and we cannot call back any of it. We cannot change a single second by looking backwards. Once done, it is over. It is a waste of this  precious, shockingly short life when we hold grudges, envy, and hate. It is a waste of this precious, shockingly short life when we fail to forgive, when we fail to love.

One day, we will all have to say good-bye to this world and all that  is in it. We are all here for just a short time.  Shouldn’t we spend this brief time building up rather than tearing down? Shouldn’t we leave this world a better world than when we arrived in it? 

I am shocked by the passage of time. I remember at thirty years old thinking that my forty-nine year old sister was old. Now that I am almost fifty-nine, I think that she was way, way too young to have died so young.

Oh, what I would give to just spend ten more minutes at the kitchen table talking to Sara, Mama and Darlene! If only I could go back to those moments and give each of them a hug! I would wrap each of them in an embrace and I would never, ever let either of them go.

But, I cannot go back and hug Mama or Sara, but I can hug Darlene. She is my beloved sixty year old sister. I know that one day one of us will no longer be here in this space in time, that one of us will have to say good-bye first and leave the other one behind.  Time is brutal in its passing.

Time waits for no one. Time marches on. The past is the past and it cannot be altered in any way. All we truly have is this moment. I plan to call my sister just to say “I love you, Nina.”   And I do.

Life is short; time passes quickly. Please remember that and reach out to those whom you love. Time waits for no one.

May God have eternal mercy on us,  give us wisdom, grant us peace, and forgive us our transgressions. Amen.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

 

A Few Quotes Just for Laughs

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Photo by Guillaume Meurice on Pexels.com

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I have taken a complete break from the news media. I have no idea what is going on in the world right now and as a result  my anxiety has dialed down to negative zero. An added bonus is that I sleep much, much better!  I have spent my time gardening, editing my first novel, doing revisions on my previously published poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow,” learning to speak French via You Tube videos,  running mini-marathon laps in my backyard, and teaching English online. The reason I am sharing this slice of my life is to let you know that it isn’t necessary to be glued to the news 24/7 or social media. Just taking a break is refreshing mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

This afternoon I was thinking about how laughter can be emotionally uplifting. I googled a few quotes that made me laugh. I would like to share them with you. I hope that you enjoy these as as much as I do.

“My mind is like my internet browser. At least 19 open tabs, 3 of them frozen. And I have no clue where the music is coming from.”- Anonymous  (coolfunnyquotes. com)

“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.”- Oscar Wilde (Brainquotes. org)

“The biggest lie I tell myself is ‘I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it’.” (Snippy Chuckles Journal)

Thank you for reading.

Please leave a comment and let me know what your favorite funniest quote is.

Thanks!

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

Love: Share it

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Spread love everywhere you go.

Let no one ever come to you

without leaving happier.   – Mother Teresa  (Brainyquotes)

In Matthew 22: 37, Jesus replied to a Pharisee who had asked him which is the greatest commandment in the Law, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Jesus continued his explanation in verse 38, “This is the greatest commandment.”  And at verse 39, “And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus summed up at verse 40, “All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Love. This is the foundation upon which we are to establish our lives. Jesus has taught us that love is the greatest commandment of all. We are to extend love to our neighbors just as we do to ourselves. We are to love God with everything that we are: our minds, our hearts, our souls.

I John 4:8 tells us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Love. God is love. 

I Corinthians 13: 4-8 defines for us what love is: (4) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (8) Love never fails. . .”

I Corinthians 13: !3 reaffirms what Jesus taught us about the greatest commandment:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Mother Teresa’s words reflect the greatest commandment to love.

Of course, in reality, it isn’t always easy to love others especially when others are less than kind to us. In my own life, I try to consider the other person’s life, those hidden hurts that I cannot see that lie hidden in that person’s soul. Of course, I cannot save anyone. Only Our Lord Jesus can do that. But, I can be kind. I can be patient. I can be polite. I can be compassionate. I can attempt to understand the other person’s point of view although I might not agree with it. I can choose to build bridges rather than destroy bridges. I can extend a hand rather than refuse to hold a hand. I can show God’s love by reflecting His love and sharing it with all whom I meet.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020