Salmon Run

He was a preacher.
They’d checked him into the nursing home.
He was wheelchair-bound.
He had dementia and required a lot of medical attention.
So his wife checked him into the home.
She came to visit him every day
but noticed his smile and his light was fading.
One day, he said he wished he could go home.
So, it was decided. They planned together to make the trip.
One last trip together
to the place he was born.
He wanted to see the ocean tide.
to hold her hand and sit on the sand.
One last time.
She sold the house, sold all the possessions.
She bought an old van.
She took out the couches and made him a bed.
She made it wheelchair accessible.
She stocked up the van with everything they would need.
Her eye sight was bad.
Her hearing even worse.
She worried they wouldn’t make it.
There would be dangers up and down the road.
They had to cross 10 states to get there.
Plus his health was failing fast.
Nevertheless, they sat together and mapped out the route carefully.
He waited for the day.
On the day he left, I saw him sitting outside in the wheelchair.
He had got up early and waited two hours in advance to be picked up. He was smiling.
It was their final salmon run upstream – against the current, against the odds,
and they were doing it together.
No matter what.

Rejection is Just Redirection

Have you ever experienced an online troll?  What about a “hater” or even a “group of haters”? 

(By the way, this is a great song about the whole “haters gon’ hate” vibe.  To go off on a short tangent, I really love this song.)

What about someone in your environment who, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get them to treat you right?  Or maybe just someone or something that leaves you drained?    

Here’s some simple tips:

  1.  Take time out for you and practice self-care/self-love. 
  2. Be wise to the negative behaviors of others but hold yourself to a higher standard and do not stoop to that level. 

“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves, so be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16.

  • “Do not cast your pearls before swine.”  Matthew 7:6.  This is not to say that other people are necessarily bad.  Perhaps they are not at a point in their lives that they are willing and able to receive you with love and respect.  If this is so, do not waste your energy and time trying to prove your worth to them.  Life is short and precious, it should not be wasted continually trying to be perfect for someone else’s expectations of you.  Make your own expectations.  Meet your own goals.  Dress the way you want.  Think the way you want.   You are not unworthy.  You are enough.  They just fail to see the treasure that you are, even if you may appear to be a diamond in the rough.  Remember, in this life, we do not know who God treasures either.  Some people would be the least you would expect.  Treat people fairly and stand up for yourself when you feel in your heart that you are not being treated fairly by others. 
  • Let go of bitterness and get your spirit back.  Bounce back from hardship like you’re Walter Payton.  This is extremely hard.  First, learn to take the L.  Second, learn to forgive.  Third, vow to not let the pattern repeat itself.  Respect yourself enough not to allow it to happen again.  Fourth, understand that what others meant for your harm, God may have intended for your good.  This is called providence.  It was providence that made Joseph a powerful influence in Egypt to prevent the famines despite all he went through.  Providence worked in his life and it works in your life too.  It’s just hard to see when you’re in the trenches.   You just got to believe.  Sometimes, though, we pray and pray and pray on something and it still doesn’t happen.  That’s another life lesson right there.  The failure, the rejection, the divorce, the bad grades, the whatever is going on in your life…..it is teaching you to first lean not on your own understanding of things but on a spirituality, and second, it is teaching you to love yourself.  The full and total rejection moment will teach you to find value in you, to regain your self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth.  Remember as Rocky says in this short motivational speech, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.  It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.  You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.  But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit.   It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

 Keep moving forward towards your goals.  If you have to, start very small.  Work on your hygiene first.  Work on the way you dress.  Work on your hair, make-up, style, etc.  Go back to the gym or church or wherever you find positive vibes and happiness from meeting goals.  Don’t let others tell you not to do these things.  Do them because you need to do them to improve your self-esteem.   Raise that bar first and then move out from there to your surroundings and your interactions with others.  Begin, at the same time, to strip away that which does not serve you.  Are there behaviors or traits you have taken on that are not good?  Substance abuse problems?  Addictions?  Unhealthy habits?  What about people you interact with that wear you down?  Begin to set boundaries not just with certain people but with things you do throughout the day.  Ask yourself, do I really want to do this thing or is this something I am doing because so-and-so wants me to do it?  Once again, this comes back to self-love and self-respect.  It is not selfish to say no.  It is awareness that you need to raise the bar on your self-esteem/self-worth.  Likewise, choosing to not date certain people or hang out with certain folks that bring you down…..that is not arrogance but self-awareness that you need to protect your energy.  Your energy is vital to your overall health and success.  So start small.  Take the baby steps which can turn in to bigger steps down the road. 

These are the things I am telling myself now.  I too have faced a personal setback and I am re-learning this now.  It is a thing I have to continually re-learn painfully.  You would think I would get it the first time but no, I keep having to re-hash it over and over as I believe a lot of people do.  One thing that really helps me is YouTube.  Here’s some video advice from folks way, way, way smarter than me about how to do it.  The first three videos are about self-love.  The fourth is Maya Angelou reciting, And Still I Rise.  The two other videos are inspirational pastor sermons.  These are my two favorite sermons of all time that I must admit, I have to go back to again and again when “my chips are low” and I feel myself entering that defeated mindset mode.  I highly, highly recommend watching these sermons!  However, they are each long but packed with valuable info.  I hope that you like these videos too (please share with me as well, any videos you think would help me) and remember that whatever I am going through and whatever you are going through, we are in this together and you are enough, you are valuable, you are worthy.  Think like Walter Payton and bounce yourself back up.  Let’s get to it!    

If You Love Poetry…

If you love poetry…

I’ve found a great place to submit your work! It is a little newspaper called The Webb City Sentinel located in southwest Missouri in the Joplin area. The submission process is simple and free. If your work is approved by the poetry editor, it will be shown on the online portion of The Webb City Sentinel. Here is the announcement on their site. I love this. I love what they wrote:

“I’m a great believer in poetry out of the classroom, in public places, on subways, trains, on cocktail napkins. I’d rather have my poems on the subway than around the seminar table at an MFA program.”

Billy Collins, 2001-2003 United States Poet Laureate   

We want your poetry. We want poetry from your children and your grandparents.We want poetry from seasoned poetry veterans and those just putting ink to paper (or, finger to keyboard).

We want to feature them here in Webb City’s “newspaper.”  Then, we want you to print them out and slap them on your refrigerator, carry them in your pocket, give them to someone special.  We want your poetry on the school bus to Mark Twain and Eugene Field, while you’re waiting in line at Crazy Llama and the Sub Shop, and while you’re walking around King Jack and the Frisco Greenway Trail. 

We can’t wait to see what you’ve got.

Here is the link to the submission board:

I was super fortunate to be listed on their site recently. Here is the poem I submitted:

Little Pawn

by Janea Speer

My whole life, I admired the King and Queen.
Serene, graceful, and applauded.
Powerful and strong….aggressive.

Yet hiding behind the defenses of the lesser pieces.
As I became older, I pondered the knight or the bishop,
how they could think outside the box and level the playing field.

But, in my older years, I admire the pawn.
The one to first enter the fray with honest courage.
Who risks much although so little…..
One by one, swiped from the board unceremoniously and yet…
Relentless, undeterred, defiant against odds so stacked heavily against.

Yes, some days even the little pawn sees glory
when faced with such intimidating adversaries.

With this blog, I also wanted to do a shout-out to the poetry editor there. I met him in Fall 2019 at the Joplin Writers’ Fair at the Joplin Public Library. There were many great local authors there showing their books. He was at a table across from mine and was nice and friendly. We talked about publishing books and Ray Bradbury and joining writing clubs. It was fantastic to meet someone with an avid interest in reading and writing and helping other authors. He recently published a new work to help authors too.

His name is F.C. Schultz and here are a few links to some of his books. Type in his name on Amazon and you will find, on his author page, a large group of books he has written or co-written.

My daughter read the book titled The Rose Weapon and she did think it was quite good. It is a Viking story about fire-breathing dragons. There is a sequel to this book as well called When Embers End.

The Pig Farmer Who Became Rich

I was born in 1978. In the early 80s, I remember being a little girl and going out to western Kansas to visit my uncle and his family on the farm. It was a small farm. I’m not sure what kind of farm it was. I think he might have been a pig farmer. A year or so later, we learned that my uncle had sold the farm. He had cashed in everything to start a business. He said it was a “water filtration business.” He called it the wave of the future.

I remember folks being a little doubtful about this new business idea. After all, it was the 1980s and everyone drank water out of the tap. We reasoned why would someone pay extra money for more expensive water when they could get it practically free out of the tap?

He started the business operation anyway. As the years went by, we would go to visit their family from time to time and I remember seeing his business offices and setup. He had these bizarre looking things he called “water coolers.” He would fill them with blue jugs of water he filtered. He sold them to area businesses for their employees to drink out of. I was a kid. I didn’t pay much more attention to the business other than that.

There were quite a few naysayers as the years progressed and people that thought his business would fail. He kept at it though, year after year, and the small business slowly grew. He added another side to the business of setting up water softeners in people’s homes too. I remember my mom and dad got one he installed. I remember the first shower I had with the softened water and realizing it made my hair so soft.

It was about 1990 when the first bottles of filtered water started showing up at the local convenient stores. I remember looking at them with my friends when I was a kid. We all said, “Nobody is going to buy that!” Why would you buy that when you can just drink out of the tap!”

Fast forward now to 2020 and practically everyone around the world drinks filtered water and the convenient stores are stocked high with filtered water bottles. And my uncle, the one that a lot of people doubted and said wouldn’t make it…….

Well, he’s the wealthiest man I know.

Morale of the story: If you got a vision or idea…don’t listen to the naysayers or doubters. Keep trying. Maybe you got an invention, or a business idea, or a piece of art, or music, or writing……maybe you got a film idea, etc. Keep trying.

Who knows…..your idea might change the world.

You might succeed or you might fall flat on your face and fail miserably. But, at least you were brave enough to dare. Brave enough to try. And there are a whole lot of people out there that cannot say they even tried. People who live with regrets.

Try. Just try.

The Liebster Award

THE LIEBSTER AWARD

The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The award is a way to be discovered but also to connect and support the blogging community. A great idea in promoting your own blog and others. Originally it was given out to blogs with less than 2000 readers but this has slowly lowed as the reward has gained popularity. It is now only 200 readers or less. It’s really an arbitrary number. If you like helping other blogs out go ahead and do it regardless of its size.

I would like to thank Kathy at KNJ Tales & Snippets for the nomination @ https://knj.home.blog/2019/10/03/the-liebster-award/. It was really kind and sweet of her to nominate me for this award. I woke up yesterday morning and checked my phone. I saw the nomination from Kathy and it made me smile instantly.

KNJ Tales & Snippets is full of great short stories and journal entries, witty remarks, and good humor. She talks about parenting, a topic I love. I knew her blog would appeal to me because we both have two children and when I read the following from her About page, I knew we had a lot in common. She wrote, “Public servant by day. Wannabe writer by night. Lover of all things trashy; romance novels, TV shows, magazines, celebrities. Must have mochas daily.” Sounds like a good person to friend! Go check out KNJ Tales & Snippets @ https://knj.home.blog/ and have a laugh!

Kathy’s impossibly hard questions for me:

1. It’s your first day at a new job, you’re in the lunchroom about to get your delicious leftover casserole, labelled with your name. Only problem is your new supervisor is sitting there eating it. What do you do?

That’s my favorite lasagna! I’m afraid I’ll have no other choice but to pull the fire alarm. I’ll hide in the bathroom until the coast is clear and the others have evacuated. Then I sprint to the lunchroom, gobble down the leftover lasagna, then casually saunter out to the evacuation line with a smile hoping I don’t have a smidge of lasagna stuck to my teeth.

2. Your phone is ringing. It’s a very important phone call that you must answer as callback is not an option. You’re stuck on a public toilet, surrounded by people in other cubicles. What would you do?

If I was truly desperate, if I really had to take this one but I couldn’t finish just yet, I’d answer with hello and my name and then proceed to ask the caller to please hold while I sang them the Jeopardy theme song until I could very quietly finish up and take the call.

3. You’ve got two bags of rubbish and your bin is full. Your neighbour is prickly and doesn’t like other people putting their rubbish into her bin. You sneak out in the middle of the night to dump your rubbish anyway. As you lift the lid, your neighbour shines her torch on you. What’s your excuse?

I’d tell her there was a family of rabbid ravenous raccoons in my rubbish bin and I had no other choice but to use hers for fear of being attacked.

4. You’re on a deserted island. A crate washes ashore. Inside you find the one thing that would make your life more bearable. What’s inside?

Mike and Ikes. I would find a small box of Mike and Ikes in a giant crate. It would be heaven.

5. You’re on a reality TV show and to win you have to eat three of the following: bull’s testicle, monkey’s brain, fish eyes, bull’s penis, maggot cheese or soft-boiled fetal duck. What’s the lucky three?

Hmmm, this is a tough one. I’m really steering clear of the fish eye part. Things that pop and gush liquids in your mouth give me frowny face. I’ll go with the bull’s testicle first because my husband likes to eat rocky mountain oysters and we got a nut hut nearby so I’ve tried that before. It tastes like a greasy chicken nugget. Ok, so next I’ll go with the soft-boiled fetal duck because duck is delicious, although I’m not so sure about the soft-boiled fetal part. Lastly, I pick the monkey brains because they remind me of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom dinner scene and I always wanted to be an archaeologist.

Now for the nominees:

1. Dante @ Putting God First MInistry. Dante blogs about how trusting Jesus has changed his life, and has helped him to overcome substance abuse addiction. It’s an inspiration to read. https://2manyfaces.home.blog/

2. Adam @ Astra Poetica. Adam writes poetry as part of a challenge. He teaches you about haikus and tankas and other forms of poetry….which I love. Also, Adam comes from my old alma mater town of Lawrence, Kansas. Great site for poetry readers. https://adamoftheuniverse.poetry.blog/

3. Linda G @ Bicycling the Beauty Around Us. Linda provides some great photos and descriptions of bike rides along the Allegheny River Trail, the Kinzua Valley Trail, and many more trails. Well worth the read! https://bicyclingtrails.wordpress.com/

4. Anna @ Anna’s Book Nook. Anna has a beautiful design to her page and some great posts about books that she has read. I really liked the post about things she enjoys in Autumn. https://annasbooknook.home.blog/

5. Chris @ Personal Development Journey. Chris provides some insightful personal development articles about life, career, fears, and personality tests. Thank you for your thoughtful articles. https://personaldevelopmentjourney.home.blog/

I recommend you check out the above bloggers and show them your support!

Post these rules:

1. Acknowledge the blog which nominated you.
2. Answer the questions your nominator asked.
3. Nominate two to six other bloggers who might appreciate the boost.
4. Ask them several unique questions.
5. Let them know you have nominated them.

And answer these questions:

  1. You went to sleep and woke up transported to another time and place. Apparently you are in a medieval castle in the 13th century and you are the peasant that cleans out the horses’ stables. On an average day, what do you do for fun?
  2. You go fishing by your self one morning at the local lake. Your line snags on something and you reel it in. It appears to be an old genie lamp. You rub the lamp and a gorgeous genie pops out to grant you three wishes. What do you wish for?
  3. You go to the family reunion and are told to bring a dish. You happen to be a horrendous cook. You want to impress the other family members though, particularly your cousin who gets loads of compliments on her cooking. What do you do and what dish should you bring?
  4. You open up a bed and breakfast. Where is your bed and breakfast located and what will you provide the guests for breakfast?
  5. You move out to the country to start a new simpler life with your family. The house needs a whole lotta work to repair. The house bathroom toilet is not working properly. There’s an outhouse out back but last time you ventured near there you encountered a black snake. You’ve got to use the restroom right away. What do you do?

While I would love to hear your responses, there is absolutely no pressure to participate. I am just happy to have you as part of my online community and this nomination is my way to recognise and help support your blog.

Thank you to everyone who likes, shares, comments and follows my blog.

xx Janea