Review for After Death by Jacqueline E. Smith!

A review on my good friend, Jacqueline Smith’s “AFTER DEATH”. If you haven’t gotten it yet, please run, don’t walk to get the whole series! I love these books and you will too!

The Bookish Crypt

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*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

I just love Jacqueline! This is the fourth book I read of hers and she never disappoints! She manages to tear hysterical laughter out of me at every page. I can’t politely laugh, no. I have to laugh out loud and my family thought I was going crazy. They kept staring at me.
Anyway, this was a highly anticipated read for me and I loved it more than I thought I would. The humor began from the first page and then it turned into all out suspicion. This book kept me on my toes and double guessing everybody’s motive as if I were a detective. If you don’t already know, this series follows a guy, Michael, who has been seeing ghosts his entire life and if you know anything about me, is that I L.O.V.E. anything and everything ghost related. I sincerely…

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This Time a While Ago

This time of year, a while ago, my sister and I would be cleaning house like crazy, getting ready for the company to come for Thanksgiving. My mother was world famous for catching bits of dust we might have missed. How? I have no earthly idea! She could catch a speck of dust that God couldn’t even see. No kidding!  My sister and I actually worked pretty good together, as I remember. Now, that may be a wishful memory, I don’t know. But , the crux of the matter was, we just wanted to get the housework done so we could do our own thing. For me, that was playing any  sort of thing. I loved games. Yahtzee (which I still love), cards, Risk, Monopoly , oh and Scrabble. Anyway, I digress.

While my sister (Martha) and I didn’t like cleaning the house, the only thing we really hated to do was clean up the backyard after the dog. EWWW. Neither of us were big into cleaning up the dog poop. But, we wanted the dog, so it was our job.

Martha and I shared a room-especially if there were people who would be spending the night.I have to admit, her side of the room was always neater than mine. Well, we all have our flaws.

My favorite thing to do was vacuum. I don’t know- it was some kind of thrill to hear the bits go into the vacuum cleaner bag. Like, it was proof things were actually getting cleaned.

My mother, about this time of the week would have written everyone’s name down on the back of an envelope who would be attending the Thanksgiving dinner. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren, babies. You name it, they were on it. She also would have a different envelope in which she had the menu. All the delicacies we would be eating was on that envelope. We had a big people table and a little people table. If one was unfortunate as to have to eat at the little people table even after reaching the age of the big people table, it was just too bad. Our family was huge and if you had a place, you were lucky to get it.

Although Mother had to work everyday, she stayed up late working out the details of the dinner down to the minute. I don’t know how she did it, but every item of the dinner was ready at the same time the other things were.I am not that coordinated in my culinary abilities to be able to achieve that feat. I am just not that person, I guess. She could have given me that talent in the gene pool, but maybe I was standing behind the door when it was passed out.

Not only did Mother work out the details, but she had time for a bit of television and Bible study. She studied her Bible every night and knew more than I will ever know about the Bible. She would wake my dad, who would be sleeping in the chair and say, “Paul, Paul, let’s go to bed.” She had this tone to her voice that she only ever had when she was tired and ready for bed. Or, when she was telling him in the night to turn over because he was snoring.

So, off to bed she would go just to get up and start it all over again. And our job?  Mine and Martha’s? To keep the house clean until after Thanksgiving.

Come Thanksgiving day, of course, Martha, Barbie (my oldest sister, now deceased) and I would wait anxiously for the guests to arrive. We always knew who would be first to arrive and who would be woefully late -holding up the dinner. Mother always said we would eat at noon, sometimes, one o’clock. Invariably, we ate at one at the latest. If anyone would have the audacity to show up after one, they would find themselves having to eat after we got started.

Every year, we’d sit at that very same dark wood dining room table and tell the same stories and laugh as if they were brand new. It was the funniest thing ever how last year’s and the year before that and the year before that memories got such huge laughs every single year.

The memory I hated the most was told so many times that if it had been cute when I said it, it wasn’t any longer. And never would be again. To this day, I hate that memory still. What was it? Well, my mother had a habit of calling each girls name when she wanted one of us. If she wanted me, it would be “BarMarPaula” One day, I got aggravated that she did that and said, “Oh! Just call me Suzy!” Whoop. I just can’t conjure up even a grin when I think of it. Brother.

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This photo is of one of the smaller reunions. My niece was just lucky she got to sit at the big people table!

Do you have an unfavorite memory of Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear it.

 

Holidays and My Mom

If I’ve said it once, I ‘ve said it a thousand times- “I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving!”

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I remember as a child, the holidays could never get here fast enough. When I would complain to my mother, she’d say, “Don’t wish them here yet. I know it seems like a long time, but just when you turn around, they’ll be here.” Another was , “Don’t wish your life away, they’ll be here all too soon.” Seemed like a bunch of  (excuse the pun) gobble dee goop to me, but she knew what she was talking about. Suddenly, they are here. Every year. Every July, I say, “Six more months and it will be Christmas. Well, that’s a while yet.” And then, like magic, it’s here.

My mom passed away 4 days before Christmas. She loved the holidays and I know she couldn’t believe she was blessed enough to be in heaven for it that year. I know she doesn’t miss being here on this earth with all it’s problems and disease. But, I sure miss her. The holidays just aren’t the same without her. She was the driving force behind our family -and hers. She was the one who made sure all the aunts and uncles, cousins and grands got together, had a wonderful meal and laughed…alot. She was the one who gave all she had for her family. Since she’s been gone, our family doesn’t really have those get-togethers anymore. She would so hate that. She taught us family was everything. The thing was SHE was everything.  She was the most loving, infuriating, wonderful, exasperating woman ever. She could make you cry with laughter, laugh in the middle of a crying spell and giggle when you knew you weren’t supposed to.  We had a complicated relationship,  but I loved her like crazy.

Her life was hard, but she made the best of it and she knew one day she would go to her place in Heaven to sing praise to Jesus each and every day. She would always tell me she couldn’t wait for that. I just couldn’t understand. I thought she meant she couldn’t wait to die. Too broad a subject for a child’s mind. I know what she meant now. It is so bittersweet to have a family member pass away during the holidays. On the one hand, I was so happy she went during her favorite time of the year. On the other hand, I just miss her so much. Yet, she is still with me . When I laugh, others tell me it’s her laugh. I might say a word here or there that was her word. I might move like she did. I might love like she did. I might be as thankful as she was.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas , Hannukah or whatever holiday you observe this year. I know I will!

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A Forced Break

Bipolar. It can be heartless and debilitating. I have talked about it before and it has been a long time since it has reared it’s ugly head.

I chose to take on another job to help with things around the house and help alleviate expenses. I knew it was a risk to take, but I wanted to see if I was up for the challenge. Turns out, not so much. Things went well for a couple of weeks and then it was all downhill from there.

A person with Bipolar Disorder has to have a stable environment, a stability in their lives that doesn’t have to remain static, but should be close… a sameness- no surprises, no ups and downs. Or at least not often. When one is working two jobs , that stability is just not there.

Because I put too much on myself, I crashed. It was a hard one this time. My body and mind just put a stop to the whole thing. I didn’t want to talk, write, work or anything else. Just sleep-a sweet release. I put a call into the doctor and got the meds I needed to regain my stability. It took a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, but I’m finally back and going strong.

A crash is like being in a black hole, spiraling  further and further down until, at last, you’ve hit bottom and don’t even feel like trying to get up. It’s like having no energy to engage or be engaged in anything and sleep comes swiftly and heavily. It is a living hell.  One’s brain literally shuts down and there are no words to utter, there are no songs to sing, there is no joy to be had. That must be what the definition of hell is .

To say that I am blessed with this disease sounds ludicrous, I know. But, I am able to sympathize and know what someone else may be going through. I consider that a great blessing. To “get” what someone else may be going through is empathy. To be able to feel that for a person with a mental illness is a huge blessing for you and for the other person. I hope this helps someone to understand the ups and downs of mental illness.

I was finally able to work on Book 2 of The Conservative Congregant today  and it felt so good to write again.  And to be able to blog as well was just icing on the cake!

I’ll be back soon with thoughts on something totally different! Have a good night friends.