September 1st is Almost Here!

I am not fond of getting my picture or video taken and even less fond of having to do one, myself, but apparently this is the way to go for marketing. After much nailbiting and cajoling myself, I finally did it. My husband shot it after about, um, I have no idea how many times, and this is best I have to offer! I do hope you will take at look at my book, The Prettiest House on the Block, on September 1st. You never know who you might help.

And the Dream is Realized!

I. Am. Pumped! The pre-sales of “The Prettiest House on the Block” have started! It is on Kindle at the link below. Paperback comes out Sept 1st. If you purchase this, please leave a review on Amazon and/or barnesandnoble.com. Let the games begin!!https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic-ebook/dp/B08DQZ4N9K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block&qid=1595961087&sr=8-1

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Benefits of Patience

Isaiah 40:31 (New King James) – “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles; They shall run and not be weary; They shall walk and not faint.”

Yesterday, as I was walking down my sidewalk, my eye caught a smidgen of white color. There, on my previously-bare gardenia bush, were two flowers. I had all but given up on this plant, but I kept after it with plant food, water, and a few coffee grounds, and there they were, the stunning white flowers of the gardenia. I didn’t catch their intoxicating fragrance because the bush is still fairly low to the ground, and it’s a bit of a chore for me to bend down and stay there long enough to drink in the blossoms’ heavenly scent, but I thought to myself, “This was worth the wait!” Patience has not always been one of my strong points, but my delicate gardenia flowers reminded me of the value of patience, and of a song I used to sing with the contemporary music band in church, “Everlasting God.” I love that song, and its words came to mind as I gazed at the fruits of my patience: “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, as we wait upon the Lord, as we wait upon the Lord.”

Many times in my life I have prayed to God for strength, for patience, and for the wisdom to accept whatever His will is for my life, even if it is different than my will. The funny thing about prayer is that it isn’t always answered in our own time frames or within the limits of our meager human understanding. We live in a microwave world, expecting instant results when we put our requests into God’s hands, but it doesn’t work that way. I was like that at one time, impatient for my prayers to be answered and sometimes indignant when they weren’t, but looking back on all my prayers, I can see that they have been answered. Those answers didn’t come from a burning bush, they weren’t always what I asked for, and they certainly were not always in my time frame, but they were answered. Some of God’s decisions I have yet to understand, but I have enough years on me by now to believe that those He made for me or for the recipients of my intercessory prayer were for the best, regardless of what I thought would have been better.

Prayers are answered if you wait on the Lord; you just might have to dig a little deeper into the puzzle of His will to figure it all out, or to accept His answers if they weren’t satisfactory to you. Keep your eyes, ears hearts, and minds open to God’s voice. Your strength will rise as you wait upon Him, and you will be raised up on the wings of eagles. Great will be your reward if you place your trust in Him.

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Love One Another

John 12: 34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

When I was planning my new rose garden, I chose 5 roses, each with a different color. I’m not a vanilla kind of gal; I need a variety of flavors in my life. I think that’s why I worked in Emergency Rooms for the majority of my nursing career. We never knew what was coming in, so we had to be on high alert through the whole shift. I enjoyed the challenges each new day presented, and the knowledge I acquired from them. There was always something new to learn.

I’m feeling a bit frustrated right now, though, because the challenges that are smacking me in the head are those that we are all facing, not just nurses and doctors. We are all trying to discern ways to deal with COVID 19. This is something that none of us have ever experienced, and one that seemingly has no end.

There is a larger problem, however, that also seems unlikely to end any time soon. The racial tensions in America are at the highest levels I think anyone has ever seen, and I can’t help but think we are making matters worse instead of better. Hate is spilling over the top from both sides, racial and political, and the chasm between them seems to be growing deeper.  As a child, I never felt any fear or animosity against anyone unless they hurt me, and even then, by the next day the transgression was forgotten. I still give people who hurt me multiple chances at reconciliation.

Now, though, I struggle to understand, or make sense out of, the violence that is poisoning our lives. I’m angry seeing innocent people being harmed or killed or businesses destroyed. So many people have tried to explain that this is in response to many years of persecution that African Americans have endured. As much as I do understand that, no one can convince me that violence is the answer, especially since I believe that the residual riots have little to nothing to do with the initial trigger. Changes need to be made for sure, but it will take time, and we have to be patient. I must believe that peace will come. I don’t know when or how, and the resolution may be painful, but I can’t imagine we can sustain ourselves as a nation with all this hate and anger.

As I was enjoying my rose garden today, I was struck by the fact that, of the seven rose bushes I planted, all are either already beautiful, or showing healthy growth, but one: my Peace Rose. Granted, I planted it later than the rest, but it’s not even showing even tiny signs of growth yet.  I placed it right in the middle of the multicolored roses. As I contemplated the question of whether my Peace Rose will grow or not it, I became sad. Isn’t it a bit like the turmoil of today? Different colors on both sides of the virtual battlefields, and peace hasn’t yet begun to grow.

Just as African Americans are trying to achieve recognition and reparations in the world, God is also at work trying to do the same thing. I believe He is pleading with us to turn our attention to Him and to His sovereign words, the most important of which is love. If we would all do that, “red and yellow, black and white”, and remember that we are all “precious in His sight”, this world might stand a chance at survival. “Jesus loves the little children of the world”, and adults, too, and He charges us to do the same.

Bloomin Thought for the Day: Share your Beauty

Matthew 5:14-16 – (14) “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

Wow. I was on a roll there for a while with my “Bloomin’ Thought for the Day” posts, but then the wheel got stuck along the wayside, and I stopped writing them. Today I was inspired by my gardens to start again.

I have two Midnight Marvel Hibiscus plants that I bought about 2 years ago. At the time, we had recently moved into a new home with dry, red-clay soil that is tough to dig in. Because it was a new house, there were no gardens other than the few bushes the builders stick in the ground for new homes, and I wanted flower gardens. I saw some old whiskey half-barrels in a store and decided to use those to start my gardens. Not only did they serve to make an above ground home for flowers, they look fantastic and were a creative way to have plants in a unique garden setting.

I had my two hibiscus in a part sun/part shade area in the barrels in front of a crepe myrtle, and they were beautiful but were kind of hidden away and not getting enough sun. I liked the way they looked in the barrels, though, and was afraid to try to get them out to transplant them into the ground. Instead, I chose two spots in full sun and loosened up the ground. My husband lugged the heavy plants over to their new homes, gently laid them on their sides, removed the bottoms, and set them on top of the loosened soil so the roots could spread out.

When a plant gets potbound and is not allowed to stretch out its roots as it needs to, it will either die or require constant watering because there is no more soil; it’s all root. It becomes cramped in there and gets no more of the nutrients it received from the soil. After they were moved, I watched them carefully because the bottom leaves started getting yellow and dropping, and the upper leaves were so weepy and sad-looking. But once they got over the shock of moving them to a sunnier spot, they started to thrive and are magificent specimens to showcase in my garden. Huge, deep red flowers atop beautiful deep green leaves make these plants showstoppers that should never be hidden away in the shade.

People are like that, too. All through life, young to old, we should not hide our beauty or talents away. We all have something to offer the world, so don’t keep yourself potbound in the shade. Break out of your confining space and let the world see the good in you. Spread your branches to the sun and grow. Share your knowledge, your talents, and your faith anywhere and everywhere you can. Don’t hide your light, let it shine! You may never know how many lives you will touch and change just by sharing you.

Are You Proud To Be An American?

I’m news-saturated, sadness-saturated, and hopelessness-saturated for our beautiful country. I had adopted a new mantra for my Facebook posts: family, flowers, and furry dogs. That’s mostly all I have been posting about, and I’ve been happier not thinking about what’s going on in our country and the world, but is that what we should do, really, just sit back and let the chips fall where they may? I don’t think so. So here I go, sticking my neck out…..again…..saying what I think, and inviting a firestorm of angry responses, but I’m tired of not being able to exert MY first Amendment rights because it might collide with others. We ALL have a right to our opinions and to express how we feel about politics, religion, or whatever we wish. Our beautiful flag guarantees that, at least for now.

When did all this hatred for America start? I don’t know, but one incident sticks out in my mind as the springboard, or at the very least, validation, for negative feelings. Before the 2008 Wisconsin primary elections, Michelle Obama stated that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” What? A Princeton-educated, successful, prominent black woman who has overcome the obstacle of her race saying she has never been proud of her country? Why, because she was not given the opportunity for advancement? Certainly not that. Because Barack was ahead in the primaries and was about to be our first black president? Probably. That one declaration of hers bothered me then and bothers me to this day. We should be proud of America, warts and all, because it is still the finest country in the world in which to live. Warts can be removed, and ARE being removed, but change takes time.

I have been learning a lot about why the African American population so despises the Confederacy and everything it stands for, and why they want monuments removed that celebrate those who acted against them. Everyone should learn about that. The more I read, the more enlightened, and horrified, I become, but look how far our country has come in terms of righting those wrongs? Seriously, consider that. It’s still not perfect, by far, but look how far we have come.

Has anyone had a rebellious child? What makes you angrier at them: more rebellion? Do you want to give in to them the more they act out, or do you want to pull back even more on the reins? Does it make you like them more or make you want to stop them more? Has anyone stopped to think that maybe that’s what is happening today? If militant protestors with their overwhelming demands for immediate change think they are improving race relations, they aren’t. They are making race relations worse. We absolutely should not be cow-towing to unreasonable demands for immediacy of change.

Educate us: yes. Request that monuments be removed: OK. Police reform: definitely, but not defunding. We still need the police. How about teaching our children not to put themselves in a position where police officers must make split second decisions while handling volatile situations, too? Oh, I know, and understand, that profiling is, unfortunately, still occurring, and that must stop. I also understand that African Americans are sometimes treated poorly without cause, and that is wrong, and must stop. But maybe we can work together on this. We need to teach the police to stop profiling and treating people of color roughly, and parents (of ALL races), need to teach their children respect for authority and right from wrong. Keep them off the streets and away from gangs. Teach them it’s wrong to steal and to kill. Have them get involved in church, or in volunteering to help others. This sounds very simplistic, and I know it isn’t. There are innumerable factors that affect accomplishing these goals, but isn’t it worth a try?

We must stop this violence in America. Some of these demonstrators are not even African Americans and/or have forgotten what they are representing; they just want an excuse to riot, destroy and loot. George who? Some are paid protestors like paid mourners at a funeral, waiting for a death to get a paycheck. GET THEM OFF THE STREETS and let’s go about the business of REAL reconciliation with each other. These people have hijacked the BLM movement and diluted its importance. They are no longer relevant, just thorns in everyone’s sides.

Look at the good things our politicians are doing for our country and not just the bad. Stop the hate and work together for the common good. (Huh, that sounds exactly like the theme of one of my children’s books, “The Town of Alpaca”. This was not a planned promo for my book, it just fit the conversation.)  Our economy was going strong until the pandemic. Contrary to what people think, President Trump is not the reason for the condition of our country regarding COVID 19.  Sure, you hear about how he could have done better, from the other side, and some dislike his lack of attention to face masks, me included, but I’m not convinced anyone could do any better. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike his arrogance and narcissistic personality, but, unfortunately, this is what you will get with Joe Biden, too. They both have personality issues and skeletons in their closets.  If you don’t believe this, open your eyes.

I would not want to be a lawmaker in these times, either the president or governor of states, trying to keep the tenuous balance between keeping our people safe and saving our economy. As a medical person, I lean toward the cautionary approach and will always endorse masks and social distancing, but as a citizen, I understand the concern about keeping the economy open. It’s a catch 22 situation, and no matter what decision any lawmaker makes, it will be wrong in some eyes, most probably along party lines, since that’s all our people know how to do, anymore, it seems.  I’m not sure that any president, regardless of his or her party, would ever know for sure what is right to do unless they had a crystal ball. Hindsight is 20/20.

I do know one thing: I don’t want socialism in our free and strong country, and I will vote against anyone who represents that, regardless of party or how much I may or may not like them as a person. Whether you want to believe this or not, it is the truth: socialism is the next step toward communism, and it’s coming to America. Think about it for a while.

Give our lawmakers and our country a break and stop your darn protesting about everything in the world. I don’t think it is helping; it’s just further dividing our states and our country. To sum it up, suck it up, everyone who hates America. She is strong. Don’t weaken her with constant irritations and militant behavior. Give her a chance to grow again, but with baby steps. The White House does not have a societal microwave oven that can provide instant food for your every want and need. Sit tight and let our elected officials do their jobs. GOD BLESS AMERICA. Let’s keep her the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy Gardening

I’m so sick and tired of the hatred, the violence, and the unstoppable virus, all of which have become frighteningly pervasive in the news. My husband and I are retired, so the pandemic hasn’t affected us financially, but we can’t hug our children and grandchildren, which, for us, is huge. With all the sadness and anger surrounding all of us, I have not escaped the depression so many others have been feeling these days, and I finally had to admit to myself that this is what is going on, so I turned my attention away from the sad and angry to the beautiful: my gardens. With the quarantine, we now have more time to spend at home on the gardens instead of going other places. The plan according to Denny is”: “She points, I dig”, which is exactly right.  The soil in North Carolina is red clay. Add to that the rocks and stones turned over into the soil during the construction of new homes, and you have a dig job that I can’t do for large areas.

We have accumulated quite a few gorgeous plants and bushes in the 2 ½ years we have been in the house, preserving what was here already from the builders. The first year in our home we decided to plant above the ground and opted to buy a dozen half whiskey barrels for planting and it was quite a success. We defined the border of the barrel garden with landscaping bricks and it became a unique mixed sun/shade/part-shade garden. We have gotten so many complements on it. Several of the barrels are home to a beautiful selection of five different species of lilies.

One of my favorite plants is the Midnight Marvel Hibiscus. It produces the most magnificent show-stopping crimson blooms on leaves of deep hues of red and green. I bought one and put it in a barrel in a part-sun, part-shade location. It did well but the next spring there was nothing but dead branches. It wasn’t showing any signs of new growth in very early spring as were some others, and I assumed it didn’t make it through the winter. As guaranteed, Spring Hill Nurseries replaced it, and low and behold, now I have two! It was just a little slower starting than others.

When the bottom leaves started getting yellow and drooping frequently, I was afraid they had become pot-bound and the roots had eaten up all the soil, but they looked so nice in the barrels. Of course, it is quite warm in North Carolina to begin with and these plants require more watering than I was probably providing them last year, especially if they were becoming pot-bound. Today I decided to conduct a little experiment. I mean, they are lifetime guaranteed, so what did I have to lose? My husband hauled the heavy barrels over to two spots that get more sun, carefully laid them on their sides and removed the bottoms of the barrels, which was not hard, as they were all soft and mushy already. He loosened up some soil underneath and put the barrels on top of the loose ground, and I watered them thoroughly. All we could see was root after we removed the bottom, so now I’m hoping that they will have some room to breathe and spread. I’m going to try to work in some coffee grounds and compost to the soil, if I can, and use a little mulch on top this time to hold the water better. If this works, in a few weeks I should have a stunning display of Midnight Marvel Hibiscus. If it doesn’t work, they go in the groundIt’s the little things that make me happy.

Life Review

I think I’ll beat Facebook to the punch. It always reminds me that “your followers haven’t heard from you for awhile”, so I need to write something. That’s about all it will be: something. I don’t know why, but I’m blanking on content right now. My book is essentially done, COVID 19 masks have been made and delivered, existing gardens are weeded and looking good, and the house is “kind of “clean. Well, that might be pushing it a tad, but I’m working on it! I feel like my brain has nothing left to compose. Maybe it’s the old depression popping up because of all this nonsense going on in the world or maybe it’s COVID 19-inspired cabin fever that’s blocking out my creative thought processes. There was also a fire in my neighborhood last night that left me with a deep sadness for the owners. I can’t imagine having to start all over again like that. They lost everything. At least everyone was safe.

My husband and I just watched something on TV that my son, David, had told us about called “The Afterlife” by John Burke, who is an agnostic-turned-Christian minister after having a near death experience. He interviews four other people who have had these, one of them being an avowed atheist professor who turned to Jesus after he died, went to Heaven, and came back. It’s a fascinating watch, and I am a staunch believer, as many of you know, but one part disturbed me. They all reported that they were faced with their life story at Heaven’s gate, the whole thing. Can’t we just go in without having to relive the pain of our mistakes? I mean, He knows our hearts, and it’s all recorded on that Heavenly scroll of His, so why do we have to be reminded? I’d prefer not to do that. But, I guess it’s a small price to pay for what Jesus had to endure for us.

These current events of ours have stimulated speculation about the end times once again. Throughout history, apocolyptic believers have surfaced when things like this have happened. I won’t reiterate, but if anyone is interested, listen to David’s sermon on it. I’ve embedded it below on the Facebook link. I know he is my son, but he really pulled everything into a collective perspective about it and I was so proud of him. He’s not an ordained minister but was subbing one Sunday when his pastor was gone.

The whole thing in a nutshell is that, whether these are the beginning of the end times or not, Matthew 24:36 says it all. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven nor the Son, but the Father only”. We have to be ready every day of our lives for Jesus’s return and live according to His word, but not just for the end times. No one knows what we will confront minute by minute in life that might cause us to come face to face with an action video of our lives.

Will the good things I’ve done in my life outweigh the pain I’ve caused others? I guess my life review will tell me, whether I want to hear it or not. I only hope I am deemed worthy to enter the holy gates when it’s my time. We must always be ready.

Below is a link to the show we watched, The Afterlife.

New Life

Little did I know, when our Realtor gave us a bluebird house in 2001 as a house-warming gift, that it would bring us such joy. We get 2-3 families every year who grow up and fly away to spread their beauty and happiness in the world. I did some research on bluebirds and was totally enamored with them. When we moved to our new home two years ago, we brought the little house along, and the locals wasted no time in finding it.

During breeding season, I lift the door of the house to check on the eggs and babies, sometimes pulling out the insert that holds the nest to check on them. Contrary to what you might think, you can touch a nest and the parents will come back. They may not be happy about it, and they are never far away, but they will come back. I can see Mom and Dad watching me from a rooftop, from the basketball pole, or from my arbor with its graceful honeysuckle vine. I’ve read that you can even remove the babies and check them for insects. Nope, nope. That’s Momma’s job. The scariest time I ever experienced with my bluebirds was when I removed the nest to look at them and the babies flew out. Wow, was Momma mad! She flitted all over the place trying to round up her babies, dive-bombing me and yelling at me all the while. They were all fine, so I retreated into the sanctity of my home. I never took that nest out again when they started getting big!

These babies are different for me than the others. They were born on Easter Sunday, Jesus’s day of resurrection. I had looked at them on Saturday and Momma was sitting on the eggs, totally oblivious to the dangers lurking in the hands of this human being peering in at her. Animal instincts never cease to amaze me. On Sunday when I checked, there were the five babies, looking less like baby birds than tiny alien creatures. I slid my phone in above the brood and snapped the picture, never expecting to capture the wonder of life that I did. I had taken many photographs before, both inside and outside of the house, but I don’t think I ever caught them on the day of their birth.

These new lives came in the midst of chaos. COVID 19 has wreaked havoc on our nation and our world, without providing us with any information about when its destruction will stop or where to go from there. Just as a mother experiencing the birth of her child, we are living with fear, uncertainty, and pain, but just as a woman’s labor ends and bluebird eggs hatch, so will this pass. We will heal and we will prevail. My bluebirds convinced me of that. We, also, will experience new life, a rebirth. It likely won’t be as it was before, but we will get our lives back and we will survive. I don’t know the story of how bluebirds became associated with happiness, but I know that every time I see them, I smile. Find your “bluebirds” and smile. We have this.

The Prettiest Home on the Block

For today’s blog, I will offer the introduction to my upcoming book, The Prettiest Home on the Block, being published by Blue Heron Book Works in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We are planning on a September release date, which couldn’t be more perfect, since Domestic Violence Awareness Month is October. If you wish to be placed on my notification list for when it comes out, send me a PM. I will take pre-orders, but you won’t be obligated to buy if you change your mind until then. I hope you will find this enticing.

Despite our age of enlightenment and the empowerment of women it showcases, domestic violence (DV), or intimate partner violence (IPV), as it is known today, remains a tenacious problem in our country and in the world at large. In the United States, one in 4 women and one in ten men will experience IPV in a lifetime, and these are just the cases that have been reported. We never hear from the silent sufferers. Whether overtly expressed or not, prevailing attitudes still seem to dictate that men are stronger and should be in control of women. The idea that women are supposed to be the weaker sex and subservient to men dates to biblical times and somehow has persisted through the ages. Although I believe that men of this generation are more sensitive to the place of women in society and in the home than past generations, some of these patterns of behavior refuse to die, and until they do, we must be vigilant in our communication and education to both men and women.

For the purposes of this book only, women will be referred to as victims and men as abusers because this is true in more cases than not and because my subject is a woman. I do not mean to minimize men as victims because they can be, and are. In fact, there are likely more cases than we know about because men do not always report their abuse. It is also written in this way for simplicity and ease of expression. Make no mistake, though, men are at risk for abuse, also.

We can know the statistics and shake our heads in pity, and we can give someone all the resources at our fingertips to help them, but unless a victim understands why she enters into these relationships, it may be difficult for her to change and she may find herself repeatedly being drawn to abusive men. In reading over my work, Donna mentioned to me that she wishes she would have had the insights I talk about a long time ago. It was hard for her to see her life typed out on a Dell. The questions are, then, how does a woman become a victim of abuse, and how does an abuser become who he is? More importantly, how could Donna have shed the mindset of abuse that plagued her? Men are not born abusers and women are not born victims. We are all born with our own unique palette of DNA, but nature alone does not create a person. Nurture picks up where nature leaves off. From the day we are born, we are exposed to a multitude of influences collectively called nurture. Nature and nurture work together to form the kind of people we become as adults; they are not exclusive. This book will wade into the nature vs nurture debate, and, hopefully, give you some tools to work with to overcome negative influences that may be subconsciously sabatoging your life.

For full disclosure, I am not a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or mental health worker; I am a Registered Nurse. None of the information in this book should be construed as professional advice. It is provided only as information relative to one person’s story and to suggest ways for you to find help should you need it.

I have had a keen interest in mental health since my nursing school days, although I never worked in the field itself. I retired from full time nursing in 2015 after having spent 46 years practicing in several different disciplines in several cities. While working at Nash General Hospital in Rocky Mount, NC, my head nurse approached me one day and said “How would you like to learn how to put away bad guys?” This intrigued me, and I certainly did want to put away bad guys, so I readily agreed, without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into, but the intense course I was about to take spawned my interest in Forensic Nursing. Our class was the first of its kind in NC and we initially called ourselves FNE’s or Forensic Nurse Examiners, but we were also known as SANEs, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. We learned how to collect evidence from victims for the police in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, the latter of which made my heart ache and my stomach turn. In the unlikely event a case would go to trial, we would serve as expert witnesses in the courtroom.

While still practicing nursing, I began writing again. I published two children’s books and I started doing freelance writing. Writing has been a dream for me for many years. I wrote for an online newspaper in Canada, the Agora Cosmopolitan, for awhile. It’s an edgy newspaper and they liked contraversial and salacious topics. Since I was writing health articles for them, I decided to write on subjects for which I was passionate, sexual assaults and domestic violence being among those topics. One article turned into four and I had a series, which I then published on WordPress and Facebook. After I wrote the series and saw the responses it garnered, I decided to write a book, an anthology of personal stories about abused women and men. I wasn’t getting any takers – secrecy and shame are hallmarks of abuse -but one day I got a message from “Donna” asking “Will you tell my story?” I recognized her name right away from a nursing case I had more than a decade earlier, but not an abuse case. She didn’t immediately recognize my name until I told her who I was. You will learn what the relationship was later on in the book. We knew immediately that this partnership was meant to be. Obviously, I agreed, and after meeting with her the first time, I decided to use her story as the basis for a book to help her and others who may feel trapped in an unhealthy or dangerous relationship.

The information on “Donna” and her experiences has been gleaned from personal interviews with her, sometimes at a trendy little coffee shop, where we enjoyed our cold mocha lattes, and sometimes at her home; from entries from her journal; and from entries in “Max’s” journal. She has given me access to these resources and permission to use any or all the intimate information it contains, providing the names would be changed, which they were.

I used my wealth of experience in the medical field and much research to write this book. A physician and friend, Robert Hill, MD, reviewed my book for medical accuracy, and my daughter-in-law, Kelly Schoch, a genetic counselor at Duke University in Durham, NC, reviewed my material on the genetic aspects for accuracy. Thank you so much, Rob and Kelly. I also feel honored and grateful to “Donna” for opening up her life to me, thus giving me the opportunity to combine my love of nursing, my love of writing, and my desire to help people to provide awareness and education for this ongoing blight on society.

Not every victim will live to tell their tale, but fortunately, “Donna Miflin” did, and she wants to tell hers. No matter how many stories there are about abused women, they are like snowflakes, none are exactly alike. There are commonalities, though, and these are the things I want to emphasize in this book. I aim to offer solice to those who are in dangerous situations and encouragement to those who are trying to escape but find it difficult, which it is. I want to offer hope to my readers that there are ways out for some women. I’m hoping that the information in this book gives you the knowledge and the courage to make the changes that you need to gain the happiness you deserve.

Donna’s story is different in a way that can’t be divulged here, or the resolution will be ruined for you, but this book highlights the events of her life and a look into the whys and wherefores of the behaviors that led to her situations, because she is not alone in them. If you see yourself, then this book is about you, too. It’s a woman’s personal story; it’s about creating awareness of a troubling problem in society; it teaches about the factors that contribute to unhealthy patterns of behavior; and it contains information about medical issues that some of the characters in the book have suffered, which are part of the total portrait.

As you might expect, Donna Miflin is not her real name, nor are any of the other names in the book the same as the real people in her life. The story takes place in cities in New Jersey and North Carolina between the years 1953 and 2007. All the situations in the book are real, but dialogue has been added and details embellished for literary purposes. Embellishment aside, each of these things did happen to “Donna” and scenarios have been created around events as they were told to me.

Hopefully, you will be reading this book cover to cover, but if you don’t get past the introduction, please know that there is help for you, whether you are a victim or an abuser. You can change your life to find happiness, but you cannot do it alone; no one can. To be truthful, not all women are able to break free of these chains, but my hope is that you will find a way, and that this book will help you in your quest for freedom.

Usually, situations such as Donna’s start out well and deteriorate over time, but if you or someone you love has had a sudden change in behavior, becoming aggressive when he or she was not before, please schedule a medical evaluation to rule out a physical reason for the change. It may just be due to a change in a person’s feelings or to other life stressors, but please rule out illness first, for everyone’s sake.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html