Remembering Grandma’s Love

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I often think of my precious Grandma and the summers I spent with her while I was a kid when Daddy was in the Army. I think of the weekends spent with her when I was a teenager. I recall the big breakfasts of eggs, sausage, bacon and toast or pancakes (she always made the best pancakes) she would cook for me every Saturday and Sunday mornings I was at her house. I also think of the many deep conversations we would have while sitting at her table. I remember the Uno, Skip-bo and other card games we would play together…either just the two of us or with Aunt Becky or Aunt Geneva.

I think about the many Sundays she took me to church and of sitting in her kitchen for hours, helping her shuck corn and shell peas. I reminisce about the many times she would take me to the mall, back when malls were in their heyday, and of accompanying her at rummage sales, on trips to Memphis, and sometimes to Alabama and Mississippi.

Grandma and I would go almost everywhere when we would go places together on the weekends. And she was the only one who allowed me to eat as much ice cream as I wanted. I will never forget all the times she took me to the Sonic or the old ice cream parlor on the square before it closed.

She spoiled me rotten but at the same time, she helped teach me the manners and values which help me to navigate this world today. Being with her was never dull. It was an adventure!

However, what sticks in my mind the most is the day a bad tornado hit while I was at her house and how she fiercely protected me from possible flying debris. The loud, deafening roar! It didn’t sound like a freight train. It sounded like a thousand low-flying jets buzzing the house!

I remember feeling the house rock from the force of the wind. I recall the windows rattling and the walls bowing inward as if the house were breathing. Grandma threw me on the floor and shielded me with her body, getting on top of me and covering my head with both hands! I could feel my ears popping and for a moment, the pressure in my ears was so that I could hardly hear and I thought my head would explode.

“Hold on, baby!” She screamed. “Whatever you do, DON’T LET GO OF ME!”

Grandma and I came close to being picked up! We were both blessed that day. But I know that if the man upstairs had seen fit to take me out of this world that day, I would have died in Grandma’s arms or we would’ve died in each other’s arms. Either way, I would’ve been one blessed little girl I believe.

The day she passed away, which happened to be the eighth anniversary of Dad’s death, I remember climbing into bed with her and placing my arm around her as she lay there during her last moments and drawing her last breaths. At 42 years old, I was like a kid again. I wanted her to know that I was there and that I loved her. I still do.

I love you, Grandma! Wait for me at the pearly gates. Give Daddy, Uma and Aunt Bea a kiss for me! Until I see you again, I will sorely miss you!

Frances Bain White Tims
(1931-2013)

“Kids Under the Latch Key” By Cherie White

Kids Under the Latch Key

Kids Under the Latch Key

During the summer of 1987, then sixteen-year-old Grace Bradshaw, her younger brother Max, and neighborhood friends befriend Randy Spence, a twenty-one-year-old mentally disabled man with the IQ of a child. Mocked by many in the corrupt small town, Randy is taken under wing and protected by his younger friends while learning hard lessons about the way most people treat those who are different. Along the way, Grace and her younger kids also learn shocking lessons about good and evil.

A first-person narrative told by a now middle-aged and widowed Grace Bradshaw McGuire to her adult children, “Kids Under the Latch Key” is a heart-touching story of the summer which prompted her to question God and challenged her initial belief that all humans are inherently good.

Confidence Is Key

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You can have all the determination in the world and work like a dog but without confidence, you are just spinning your wheels. Because determination without it equals desperation and desperation comes from a spirit of lack.

When one is unsure and insecure, it is a proven fact that this person will not perform as well at school or work. Confidence equals great performance, equals success, equals even MORE CONFIDENCE than before!

A winning attitude is a key to having success in any area of life. Having faith in yourself can also get you through tough times. One of my favorite speakers is Zig Ziglar and he talks about “Stinkin Thinkin” and the damage it can do to self-esteem. So, turn this “stinkin’ thinkin’” into thoughts of success, gratitude, and happiness and watch every area in your life take a turn for the better…like magic!

However, once confidence is achieved, it must be maintained. There will be failures but remember. Failure is the predecessor of success. You will always make mistakes. No one is perfect nor all-knowing. Instead of beating yourself up over some error you made, look for the lesson that this error was meant to teach you. Also, search for the positive in the mistake.

When someone tells you that you can’t, pay them no mind. Others can steal your morale if you let them. It is not easy to be yourself and stay sure when surrounded by others, who either constantly hurl jabs and insults your way, or who just do not believe you can be successful. However, you must hold on to your confidence even if you have to give yourself pep talks several times daily. Adverse things will happen, people will hurt you, it is just a part of life.

To feel hurt, anger or sadness is normal and expected when something negative happens. As I said in my last post, there will be times in life when you will not feel confident. Adversity will happen and throw you off-kilter. The difference is that when you have confidence, you will bounce back more quickly and are less likely to dwell in an awful place.

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Having been bullied during my tweens and teens, I once was very insecure and had a horribly negative outlook. It took a lot of reprogramming in order to take back my confidence. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. It is easy to change certain things about yourself but changing your thought patterns, especially after you have been conditioned to think a certain way, is one of the hardest feats to accomplish and most certainly does not happen overnight. Negative thought patterns can take years to change completely.

However, once you start, little by little, you will see a positive difference in not only your outlook but also the circumstances that come into your life. You will begin to feel confident and the more confidence you have, the more momentum you will have behind it.

Always keep that momentum going and you will be on the right path for the rest of your life. With confidence and a winning smile and attitude, you can achieve beyond your wildest dreams!

God commands the Universe to always give you what you ask for. Through our thought patterns, we unconsciously ask for what we get, good or bad. By sending a certain vibe out you always get the same in return. If you are negative, you are unwittingly asking for more negativity to come into your life. But if you are positive, confident, happy and at peace then you are asking for more of the same and it shall be given.

Keep showing your pearly whites and smile from the heart! I once heard Zig Ziglar talk about a spirit of gratitude. Counting your blessings and being thankful are the fastest ways to turn any negative into a positive and with it comes confidence. He was right!

Humiliation: The Bully’s Strongest Weapon

Humiliation and exile

Humiliation, unlike embarrassment or shame, leave’s a mark on the person who suffers it, and the stigma which surrounds the person can follow them for the rest of their lives. Why? Because people who’ve been publicly humiliated are always thought of and remembered by their humiliation. Think, Harry Weinstein and the sex scandals which broke a year or so ago.

Although ol’ Harry’s humiliation is well-deserved, not so for victims of bullying. Innocent victims are often humiliated by their bullies and stuck in an uncomfortable and degrading position while others gather around excitedly to taunt and abuse them.

Humiliation has been used down through the ages. Tarring and feathering was a technique used back in olden times, which involved covering people with hot tar and feathers and parading them through the crowded streets on a horse-drawn cart. Think of Chuck Connors’ character, Jason McCord, in the old western series, “Branded”.

To humiliate someone is to assert power over them by denying and destroying their personal dignity. Through history, humiliation has been the most common and effective means of punishment, abuse, and oppression. It’s not the threat of imprisonment or even death that is a deterrent of crime; it is the dread of humiliation.

It’s a fact! People fear losing face worse than they do a violent death!
Humiliation is also used to maintain a social hierarchy and to emphasize that the group, alumni, organization, or community as a whole supersedes the individual. It is designed to defuse any threat to a particular order or someone’s esteemed position.

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

In student hierarchies in schools, bullies at the top of the pecking order go to great lengths to protect their often ill-gotten status and uphold their positions while the other kids are forced to submit to different kinds of debasement. And it’s the same in the workplace too.

Anytime a target of bullying defends himself against harassment and abuse; the bullies will often use humiliation to retaliate and subdue the victim by way of jokes, pranks or setting the target up to get in trouble with the staff or a horrific beating by other kids. Bullies at the top will also spread vicious rumors and lies against their object.

Most forms of humiliation involve invading the victim’s privacy and sneakily taking videos of him/her in compromising positions.

Example 1:
A targeted girl is taking a shower in the locker room or undressing in the privacy of her bedroom, and the bullies hide behind a corner or just outside her bedroom window at night and take videos of her with their smartphones. They then spread the videos to other classmates. Or worse, a girl naively sends her boyfriend a nude selfie. They break up. He then shares it on social media and the photo goes viral!

Example 2:
A targeted boy is standing in front of a urinal using the bathroom and a bully hides in the stall next to him, peering through the crack and the lense of the camera on his smartphone, taking videos of his manly areas. He then sends the video to all his buddies, and they laugh and joke about how small, crooked, his package is (or it could be the mole, anything different about it). Remember the suicides of Tyler Clementi and Amanda Todd and the circumstances surrounding each case.

Example 3: A bright worker is set up to fail in the workplace. And when he does, it follows him the rest of his working life.

Humiliation is horrible for anyone. The reason it is so devastating is that it involves negative things with which the victim will always be associated, and there will be no getting away from it! Embarrassment and shame are only temporary. Humiliation, however, can follow a person for the rest of their lives!

So, if you are a victim of bullying, protect yourself. Also, I cannot stress this advice enough! No matter how much your boyfriend/girlfriend may claim he/she loves you! No matter how much the person begs and pleads for you to do it, nor what they threaten you with if you don’t! Never, ever, ever let anyone talk you into sending a nude pic! Ever!

And if anyone ever films you in an indecent position without your knowing it, know that what they did is against the law! Speak out about it and file not only criminal charges but a civil suit for damages!

The more you know, the better you protect yourself!

A Message to Every Person Who Presently is or Who Has Ever Been a Target of Relentless Bullying

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Beautiful cloudscape over the sea, sunrise shot

You have more to live for than you know. Please believe me when I tell you…you have so much to live for! But you are blind to it because your bullies have brainwashed you. They have been lying to you for so long, telling you that you’re worthless and that you should die. And they are still lying to you. I realize that it’s tough. It’s hard to stay strong when it seems that everyone is hurling negativity in your direction, but whatever you do, don’t buy into their lies! You are awesome, you are smart and you are beautiful in your own right. You have a divine, animal right to be safe and be treated with love and respect. God does not make junk. Everything He makes is perfect.

Yes, I know that bullies are very repetitive when they attack you. And the reason for this repetitiveness is to make you believe their crap. Yes! Bullies want to convince you that you are garbage and after so long, they wear you down. But stay strong! Don’t believe a word of it!

I too was a target of bullying when I moved to a small Tennessee town after having been an Army brat for most of my childhood and having lived in several different areas. From the sixth grade (arrival in this Tennessee town) until I changed schools during my senior year in high school, I was a victim of merciless and relentless bullying and even attempted suicide at age 14 because it had gotten so out of control.

I am so blessed to have survived the attempt and lived on to tell my story. I also went through a second round of bullying…bullying of the more sinister type when my husband passed away four years ago. I was cyber-bullied by not only a few of my former classmates but several others joined in and this was during a time when I was already in mourning. Bullies love to kick you when you are already down.

BUT….I want you to know that the torment will not last forever. There will come a day when you will no longer have to deal with your classmates and you can feel free to be yourself without fear of ridicule. I want you to know that your situation WILL NOT LAST FOREVER! I am living proof of this! I not only survived, but I won. I am now a very confident, happy and successful person! I am the mother of two wonderful sons and the grandmother of one precious grandson! I have a great career and so many friends that I couldn’t possibly keep up with all of them. I have written and am currently working on getting published, a book about my experiences with school bullying. My mission is to reach as many bully targets as possible around the globe and to assure them that they are awesome people in spite of what others say to or about them.

I know your situation seems hopeless and I know all too well the feeling of exhaustion that overwhelms you after having been bullied for so long. The desperately hanging on to your own dignity…the refusing to bow down to your bullies only to be bullied even more for that refusal…the being in a situation that you did not ask to be in and seeing no end to it…the wanting everything to stop! I was there once! But never give up! I know it can be unbearable at times, but don’t give up on yourself!

Hold on to hope, hold on to your future! You are worth it! You ARE worthy to be loved by others! You DO matter! You ARE an awesome person! Never forget that.

August 11, 2014, The Day the Laughter Died

Robin Williams Graffiti Tribute

Robin Williams was one of the best comedians of all time. My first memories of him were on the sitcom, Mork & Mindy before he went on to star in some of the best movies in the business. During interviews and appearances, he seemed to be happy and chipper, always having a good one-liner on hand to brighten any mood.
I remember exactly where I was, and I was doing when news of his death first broke. It shocked me to my core as it did millions of fans around the globe. Because of his happy and upbeat demeanor, he was the last celebrity I thought would ever commit suicide, and it only goes to show that this manner of death often comes with no prior warning signs.

Unfortunately, outward appearances can be deceiving, and just because someone may look happy, confident, and outgoing doesn’t mean that they aren’t privately battling the evil demon of depression.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, which equals to one person every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-29. However, the elderly have the highest suicide rates, more than 50% higher than young people (www.factretriever.com/suicide-facts)

(www.who.int/mental-health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/)

One reason for the high suicide rate is that people frown upon mental illness. Because those unlucky enough to battle it fear others might judge them negatively and unfairly, they don’t admit that there’s a problem and refuse to get help.
Robin Williams was no different. I can tell you that despite his fame and fortune, he was afraid of being judged. Being a man, came with the fear that society would revoke his proverbial man-card, as men are conditioned from infancy to be the pillars of strength, which is why suicide rates are much higher with males. Being a comedian, he was afraid of being discredited and possibly losing his career.

Because there is so much stigma which surrounds depression and mental illness, these were very legitimate fears. I have found that people judge those with mental illness worse than they do thieves and murderers, and it’s a shame. What’s even more mind-boggling is that many of these finger-pointers also have some mental illness themselves or in their families. They only live in denial and point fingers to distract others from their own issues.

This past Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of Robin Williams’ death. If someone as talented, vibrant, wealthy, and famous as Robin Williams can be stricken with depression or any form of mental illness, then anyone can at any time.
People suffering do not need your criticism or your pity. They need your support!

It’s time to stop hiding, stop passing judgment and remove the stigma!

Reverse Psychology: When Bullies Talk Bad About You, Here Are a Few Positive Ways of Looking at it.

students gossiping behind classmate back at school

Bullies will always have something negative to say. So, instead of thinking, there is something wrong with you, why not look at it from these points of view?

1. When people talk about you, good or bad, at least you know you aren’t boring. And most people would rather be “bad” than boring. Also, you must be doing something right if you’re being mentioned all the time. When they talk about you, they make you relevant.

2. When people talk smack about you, it only means you still consume their minds. So, who’s really in control here?

3. You have a lot of power if you can stir resentment or hate in someone without trying or meaning to. It only goes to show that the dummy doing the talking can easily be controlled with little effort.

4. They must really admire you and want to be like you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even be an afterthought to them.

5. It says more about them than it does about you. What it says if that they don’t have lives of their own, so they take interest in yours, which means that your life must be more interesting than theirs!

6. People who consistently talk bad about you really have an obsession with you.

Like the old saying goes, “He who angers you controls you.”

So, why not feel good about it and even better, take advantage of it by letting them talk. Because some things don’t need a defense, especially if the bullies are known for being gossips and troublemakers. Just sit back, smile and be quietly amused by the pettiness. Be your sweet self and others will see through the gossip too. When I finally wised up and took this approach, I was so surprised at the results! My only regret is not realizing this earlier.

Attitude is what it’s all about. With the right attitude, you can beat your bullies without ever lifting a finger!

The more you know, the better you will protect yourself!

My Message for Students in the Coming 2019-2020 Schoolyear

7 or 8 years old sad depressed and worried schoolgirl sitting on staircase desperate and scared suffering bullying and harassment at school

For students who are bullied at school, summer is a well-welcomed respite from the daily torment they face at the hands of their classmates at school. For two and a half months, bullied children and teens get to physically and emotionally relax and recharge after enduring nine and a half long months of continuous harassment. However, as we all know, nothing good ever lasts.

With the beginning of a new school year just around the corner, most kids are filled with hope and excitement. Young targets of bullying, however, are filled with only fear, apprehension, and dread. Why? Because they know that they will more than likely face another long year of being physically assaulted and ridiculed, humiliated, and excluded!

Colorful text Back To School with paper plane and education supplies element such as book, magnifying glass, colored pencil on green background.

With that said, if you are a student about to start a new school year, I urge you to:

1. Offer your friendship to the overweight girl, the underweight boy, the kid with the large nose/big ears and the kid with the braces or glasses.

2. Give and show support for the lonely and heartbroken kid nobody likes.

3. Include the kid who is always picked last for the team, the kid in foster care, or the kid who always wears the hand-me-downs.

4. Sit with the kid who always eats alone in the lunchroom.

5. Show empathy for the kid with the alcoholic father, or with the drug-addicted mother.

6. Speak up for and protect the kid who gets his face slammed into lockers or flushed in the bathroom toilet.

7. Extend your hand and help to his feet the kid being tripped in class and in the hallways.

8. Offer a sympathetic ear to the kid who’s depressed or suicidal.

Be a hero to a classmate who is made by others to feel like a zero. Extend kindness and friendship to a child or teen who is a target of bullying because you just never know. Your positive and encouraging words can re-empower the powerless, restore hope and save a life. Your time, support and kindness could be all the difference between suicide and the will to go on living.

This schoolyear, I challenge you to make a positive difference in the life of a bullied classmate!