To Morgan and Trey: Some of My Thoughts on Life

I love you with all of my heart. I would give up my life for you.

I’m a pretty stable person. Okay, I have my moments but mostly I am in a good mood.

I like crackers,  frozen diet mountain dew and cheese.  I am giving up all of these so that I can live a healthier life.  It is going to be a drastic change but I like challenges.

“The Exorcist” is the scariest movie that I have ever seen. It changed my life.

“When a Stranger Calls” is also scary.

Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is the best speech that I have ever heard. If you haven’t actually sat down and watched it, I would like for you to do this. It has many more words in it besides “I have a dream”.

I love to read especially Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Lisa Scottoline, and many other authors.  I love it when I find a good book.  I look forward to reading it every night.

I believe in doing the right thing.  I don’t cheat or steal.  Okay… every once in a while I have lied.

I think that Karma is a bitch for those who do the wrong things.  It will eventually catch up with you.

I love, love, love having friends and also having best friends.   You cannot underestimate the importance of them.  They will stand by you always.

You have to be a good friend to have good friends.  Dont’ forget to keep up with them.

I hope that both of you will eventually go back to church.  There is no way that you can look at your children, a sunset, the Eleven Point River in Arkansas with all the fireflies, stars, and hummingbirds and not believe in God.

I believe in constantly bettering myself through research, reading and talking.

Dogs are a lot of work but they do bring you comfort.

I like security.  I have always had to be in control of my own destiny.  Be sure to save money for your kids’ college and for vacations, emergencies, and retirement.

I love my jobs!  This is important.  It is a very big part of your life.  If you don’t like it, then find another one.  Find your passion.

Vacations are fun.   I never got to take them as a child.  Try to take vacations every summer even if it is just nearby.  Half of the fun is the planning.

That is all for now, but there will be more thoughts coming.

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One Woman’s Quest for Friends: Part 7

One of my high school friends told me about this group called “Meet up”  They have various interest groups:  people who like to play games, people over 50, people who love theater, etc.  You basically have to go to and say that you want to join a group.  Then, they will send you dates of different events.  It sounds like a good idea.  I just can’t get motivated to do it.

What is wrong with me?  I want to better myself, lose weight, fix up my house, etc., but I just keep putting everything off.  I’ve thought about joining a gym and taking baby steps.  They are not very expensive, and I know that I would benefit if I stuck with it.  It would also be a great place for Trey and maybe even Morgan to go.  I really think that I would do this except for the fact that I don’t want to walk in a gym and see any of my students.  Does a place like that even  exist within a 5-10 mile radius of my house?  I might even meet interesting people there who are going through the same things that I am.  You know….future friends.

I have taken the summer off for the first time in years in order to better myself, whatever that means.  I will spend time in Dallas, Galveston, Magnolia, Pocahontas, Arkansas, Houston, and maybe even Brownsville with friends.

Who knows?  Maybe I’ll even find a meetup group that I like.

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Facing My Fears

I have been pretty sick for over a week. I went to the doctor last Wednesday, and she diagnosed me with acute bronchitis. She wrote up several prescriptions and sent me on my sick way. Well, I managed to work the rest of the week but I had a feeling that I wasn’t getting better.  Over the weekend, I just got sicker and sicker.  I was so sick that I would literally cry.  On Sunday night, I got approximately 1 hour of sleep because I had to sit up in order not to choke to death.  Every time I coughed, I thought that someone had hit me with a truck.  Imagine doing this over and over again and every time it gets worse.

I had already missed two days of work last week:  one because I was stranded in Miami, and the second one because I was becoming increasingly ill.  I was determined to go to work on Monday.  I did go to work.  As soon as first period started, I made the long walk down to the nurse’s office.  On the way there, one of my teacher friends stopped me and asked me if I was okay.  I started bawling.  I couldn’t stop.  I keep walking, and two other friends stopped me.  Here came the tears again.  I finally made it to the nurse’s office, and she told me that I had no business being at work, and that I might have pneumonia.  I told her that I had to be there because my students were starting a new unit/skill, and they didn’t know what to do.  I felt incredibly guilty leaving them again.    I was adamant but so was she.  Thank you, Sally Syer, for being stronger than me.

It was only 8 a.m., and the doctor’s office didn’t open until 9.  I went to the doctor’s parking lot, and reclined my seat and tried to sleep while waiting.  I can tell you now that I have not been this sick in 9 years.  That was the time that I had the flu, and I have gotten a flu shot ever since because I never ever wanted to go through that again.

I was able to see the doctor at 9:15.  She gave me a breathing treatment, and much stronger medicine this time:  Medrol, Levaquin, Tussionex, and Advair (The Advair alone does not come in generic form and cost $100.  I would have spent $1000.).  She also sent me over to have my chest x-rayed.   She then gave me strict instructions not to work for the next two days.

I got everything done and filled, and then I went home to see if I could sleep.  About two hours later, my doctor called and said “Good news, there is nothing wrong with your lungs, however, it looks like your heart could be enlarged a bit.  I don’t want to take any chances so I want you to go the this cardiac surgeon and get an echocardiogram and set up an appointment with him.  Do you have a problem with this?”

Do I have a problem with this?  Did you just say heart, doctor, and appointment in the same sentence to me?  Here we go:  my biggest fear, and the reason that I haven’t been going to a doctor for 20 years.  I am absolutely terrified of having the doctor say to me that I must have open heart surgery.  There is a big history of heart disease in my family.  My mother had open heart surgery when she was 53.  My oldest sister had open heart surgery when she was 54.  Along with this, Vicki also had COPD, and she passed away from these illnesses when she was 58.  I am 55 almost 56.

Do I have a problem with this?  Yes!

I refuse to go to a doctor and have him tell me that I need open heart surgery.  I refuse to be cut open like my mother and sister and suffer the way that they did.  I refuse to continue this family legacy.  I mean, I look like my mother, so I probably have her disease.  I am afraid.  No… I am terrified!  I would rather not know.

I told my doctor this in no uncertain terms.  I said that we could schedule this appointment after I got well.  I mean, I am sick, and I don’t need to be running around to doctors and being stressed.  She told me in no uncertain terms that she understood my fears but that the best plan of action was to make sure that there was nothing wrong in this area because if there was, they may be treating me for the wrong thing.  In the end, she wore me down with her logic.

So… I got dressed again, and I went to another doctor that I had not met, and I had an echocardiogram.  I made an appointment for today, to meet with the actual doctor.  As I was leaving, I asked the receptionist if the doctor would read my results before he met with me.  She said that he should but sometimes he got behind.  I told her that if he didn’t read them, I wasn’t coming in.   I, mean, I had to assert myself at some point!  She actually called me this morning to let me know that he had read them.

So… today was the big day!  I am facing my fears.   I am still sick, yet I am going to the doctor to get my results and plan of action.  I am thinking about whether I need to make out a will, get new pjs for the hospital, and a million other things.

When I get to the doctor, the nurse does an EKG.  She is talking to me about how she is going to Lonestar College, and she will probably have me as a professor next semester.  All of this is said while I am in a state of undress.  Awkward…

The doctor finally comes in, and he is one of the nicest men that I have ever met.  He asks me lots of questions.  He gets me pretty comfortable just by talking.  He then looks at me and says, “I have good news for you.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with your heart.  Nothing! Nothing!  Nothing!”  I literally almost started crying.  I told him that this was one of the happiest days of my life.  The whole heart disease issue has been an albatross on my shoulders for a long time!

I told him that I was definitely starting a weight loss program.  He wants me to come back in four weeks for a stress test.  I ended the visit by letting him know that he is my favorite doctor.  Just saying those two words in one sentence is an oxymoron for me.

I faced my fears!  This time, I WON!

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“Parting is such sweet sorrow”.  (William Shakespeare)

All of my friends are going through it.   All of our kids can’t wait to leave.   All of us are sad but secretly ready to get our lives back to normal.

I guess that this is the way that it will be for the rest of my life. I am getting used to it. I actually enjoy it. That doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.

  • I love this boy.
  • I love the way that he will walk in my bedroom and give me a kiss.
  • I love the way that he is not embarrassed to hug me and tell me he loves me.
  • I love our long talks about anything and everything.
  • I love the way that he listens to me and he takes what I say to heart.
  • I love who he is and what I think that he will become.
  • I love his sense of humor.
  • I love his willingness to go see a movie with me even though he has already seen it.
  • I love the fact that he said that he would go to DPS with me if I wanted.  (Now… that is a good son!)
  • I love the way that he takes up for me.
  • I even love it when we are bickering.
  • I love this boy/man!

I will miss his voice. I will miss hearing “Mama?” as he comes through the door. I will even miss all of the sleepovers at my house with anywhere from one to five other boys.   I will look forward to his phone calls, skyping, and Facebook posts.

I am so happy that he is happy!

But still… I will miss him.

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Happy Halloween!

Every year I tell this really great Halloween story.  Once I told it at Morgan’s Girl Scout camp out, and she refused to sleep in the same tent with me.  I also told it at the camp fire at Trey’s Boy Scout camp out, and I scared some little boys to death!  I have also scared quite a few high school  students especially the big manly athletes.  One of them literally jumped into the arms of a boy sitting next to him.  This year one of my students started screaming “WHY WHY WHY?”  It was quite hilarious.

I usually start a few weeks before Halloween, and I will say to my students, “On Halloween, I am going to tell you a really scary story.  The scariest thing about it is that it is true!”  They will usually laugh and scoff, and say “Sure it is.”  I just say “You’ll see!”

A few days later I will tell my students, “Don’t forget.  On Halloween, I am going to tell you a really scary story.  The scariest thing about it is that it is true!”  Once again, they will laugh and jeer.  I keep doing this every few days.  Pretty soon, I don’t have to say anything.  They will start asking me, “When are you going to tell the Halloween story?”  I will just say, “On Halloween, and you had better be ready.”

The day finally comes.  I lock the door, and I look at them very seriously.  There are a few ground rules that we have to go over:

  1. We are going into the studio.
  2. You have to sit on the floor.
  3. You may not say a word during my story.
  4. You may not ask questions during my story.  If you do, I will stop, and I won’t tell it.

We go into the studio and they sit down.  They will try to find chairs but I won’t let them sit in them.  They will complain about the floor.  I make them get in a semicircle so that I can stand in front of them and see all of them.  Then I go over to the wall and turn off all of the light except a very small one in the other room.  They can see me, but we are all in shadow.

I remind them of the rules again, and then the story begins.

“I’m going to tell you right now that the scariest thing about this story is that it is absolutely true.  It is the craziest, weirdest, and scariest thing that has ever happened to me, and to this day, I cannot stop thinking about it.

I grew up in a small town called Pocahontas, Arkansas population 5,000 people.  Everybody knew everybody and those people all knew your business.  It was both a blessing and a curse.  In high school, I had 3 really good friends:  Valerie, Melinda, and Terrie.  All of the time in high school, I had heard rumors about this club called the Secret Society.  Supposedly it was full of all of the popular kids, and if you got an invitation in your senior year to join, you were one of the anointed ones.

I knew nothing about this club.  I didn’t know it’s purpose or what the members did.  For all I knew, they sacrificed new-born babies.   I just knew that I wanted to join!  I had to be in that club!  It was the most important thing in my life.  All four of us really wanted to be in the Secret Society.  In order to get in, you had to receive an invitation in the mail.  It would come in the middle of October, and initiation would happen on Halloween night.

And so, we waited, and we waited, and we waited some more.  On October 15th, I got a phone call from Valerie.  “I got in!”  she said excitedly.  “Did you?”  Honestly, I was afraid to go and look in the mailbox.  I slowly walked outside, and all I saw were some bills and catalogues.  I was devastated!  I pulled all of the mail out of the mailbox and a white envelope fell out of one of the catalogues.  It was addressed to Miss Cynthia Lee King, 600 Schoonover, Pocahontas, Arkansas 72455.  The return address simply had the letters SS.

I was in!  I was in!  I was going to be in the Secret Society!  I called Valerie to tell her the good news, and she said that Melinda and Terrie had gotten invitations also.  I was in heaven!  The invitation’s instructions were very clear:

Meet at the abandoned farmhouse at Five Mile Springs on Halloween at 4:00 p.m. sharp.  You must be settled in the house for the night before the sun goes down.  We will be watching you!  You must each sleep in a different room:  two on the first floor and two on the second floor.  We will be watching you!  Once you have settled down in your rooms, you may not leave them until sunrise.  We will be watching you!  If you can stay in this haunted house for one entire night, you will be welcomed into the Secret Society.  We will be watching you!

I couldn’t wait!  I guess now is the time to tell you that I am a big fraidy cat.  I don’t like dark places,  and I certainly don’t like rodents or insects.  I don’t really even like to go camping. Yet, here I was happily going to a dilapidated supposedly haunted house in the middle of nowhere with no street lights or any electricity of any kind.  I had never been happier!  I really really wanted to be in the secret society.  So… each of us told our parents that we were spending the night with another one of us.  I don’t recommend that you do this but we were dumb, and that is what we did.

When we got to the house, I decided to take the kitchen, Valerie took the dining room next to me, Melinda went upstairs to the bedroom above the kitchen, and Terrie went to another bedroom above the dining room.  We were nervous and excited.  All we had were our sleeping bags and flashlights.  We talked and yelled at each other for a while, and then we settled in for the night.

All of a sudden, I heard a large bang above me.  That was where Melinda was staying.  We all yelled for her but she didn’t answer.  We figured that she was playing a trick on us, and since we couldn’t leave our rooms, we foolishly didn’t check on her.

The next morning we were woken up by all of the members of the Secret Society.  They were congratulating us for passing the initiation.  The Secret Society consisted of all of the popular people at our school.  I felt very special.  Valerie came into the kitchen and gave me a hug, and then Terrie did the same thing.  We yell up at Melinda but she doesn’t answer.  Everyone goes upstairs searching for Melinda.  She is not there.  We go outside and search everywhere for her.  No Melinda…

Finally, we figure that she got scared, and she somehow got a ride home.  We pile into cars (There were no cell phones.), and we go to her house.  She hasn’t been home all night.  Our lies came out about how we weren’t spending the night with each other.  The police were called.  We all met back at the house at Five Mile Springs.  The police combed the area.  At the very end of the property in the backyard, there was a dried up well.  Melinda’s body was found at the bottom of the well.

It was horrible!  We had no idea what had happened.  You can imagine how it feels to lose a best friend and also feel responsible for her death.  To this day, we don’t know who killed her.    We were never the same.  So a couple of years later, Terrie was killed in a motorcycle accident.  Five years later, Valerie was paralyzed in a car accident.  And… some people think that I am crazy…


Then I jump at the students, and I scare them to death.  They totally buy into the whole story.

For those of you who grew up with me, you know that this story is not true.  I did have three close friends:  Valerie, Melinda, and Terrie.  I am happy to report that they are all alive and well.  There was no Secret Society at our high school.  There were quite a few haunted houses out at Five Miles Springs, and they were really creepy.  My mom and I used to take drives on Sunday afternoons out at Five Mile Springs and she would tell me the true story of this old woman who lived in one of the houses.  After she died, they found her husband’s bones in the well in the backyard.  That is where that part came from.

It is just a story.  I have been telling it for years.  I have to admit that it gets better with each year of telling it.  So… I know that it is close to Christmas, but Happy Halloween!

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What’s next?

I remember when my sister, Vicki, passed away. It was about 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I was in Clear Lake getting my hair done. Trey was with me. My phone rang, and I saw that it was my sister, Kelly, calling me. I answered the phone, “Hey Sister! How are you?”, and she was crying. I was scared, and she said, “Cindy, Vicki’s gone.” I said, “She’s gone?” She said, “She passed away last night in her sleep.” My sister was 58.

Vicki was not well. She had many health issues. She had to be hospitalized many times. We almost lost her on several of those occasions. I don’t know why it was such a shock to me that she passed away but it certainly was a huge shock.

Maybe it was because in the last 3-4 years before her death, we had actually become friends and true sisters. I had spent my whole life fighting and pushing away this big-mouthed, opinionated, judgmental sister who was eight years older than me, and who was always trying to tell me how to live my life.  I remember when we were going through hard times, Vicki would say, “Why can’t we just bond and share and be sisters?”  And, slowly that is what happened.  She had finally become my friend and my champion and a presence in my life.   She was my DNA, and in the blink of an eye, she was gone.

I remember when we went home to her funeral. I went to her house, and everyone was there:  her dog, her husband, and all the relatives.  I just looked at everyone, and I said, “Is this all there is? Is it going to be like she didn’t even exist? Where is she? Where is my loud sister?”

Yes, where is she? What’s next for her? To this day, I cannot hear the song “I Can Only Imagine” without crying. It was her favorite song. When I go home, I go to the cemetery and visit her grave, and I talk to her. It’s not the same, of course. I grieve for her. I grieve for her far more than I ever knew that I would.

What’s next? What’s next in my own life? I am starting to see so much of my mother in me, and I don’t really like it.  I don’t like the escapism that I sometimes practice by shutting myself off from others.   I don’t like this feeling that I get sometimes (okay a lot) of just giving up on myself.  I don’t like feeling that I don’t like myself.

I really just need to talk to my sister, Vicki.  She would listen to me, and help me through this difficult time.

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I Am A Mess

My life is a mess, my house is a mess, my desk and table at work are a mess… you get the picture. I have never been neat. I don’t possess the “neat” gene. Neat people intimidate me. I don’t understand them. I like them, and I would like to be like them but I just can’t.

I have finally come to the realization that no matter how many books I read, tapes I listen to, or workshops I attend, I will never be a neat person. Many of my friends are very neat. My friend, Merry Lyn is incredibly neat. The following story is a great example of our two very different personalities. When we went to Italy, we were in different cities every two to three days. That meant that we had to pack and unpack every time we moved. Our last stop was Rome. We were going to be there for two days. As soon as we got in our room, Merry started unpacking and putting everything in its place. She was hanging up things, placing stuff on the dresser, and just making everything cozy and like home.   If you have studied communication theory, you would know that she was placing her artifacts in the room.  I, on the other hand, put my suitcase down, unzipped it, rummaged through it to find something I needed, and declared that I was ready to go. Well, we didn’t leave the room to go sightseeing for about an hour until Merry had nested. When you go to her house, even her “junk” drawers are neat and organized.  I am a mess.

Some of you might think of this as being lazy but it is much more complicated than that.  I admit that I can be very lazy but that is not why I am not neat.  I don’t have “neatness” in me.  When I enter a room, you know that I have been there.  I am always leaving something behind.  I attempt to leave it as neatly as I found it but it just doesn’t happen.  I have a great work ethic, and I am very organized in other areas of my life but I will never be the “neat” person.

My friend, Cindi Havron, is very neat.  She has a great work ethic also, and she is always organizing and cleaning.  She makes me tired.  I could never live up to her expectations of a clean house.   I don’t even try.  I am intimidated by her neatness.

So… I am a mess!  I wish that I wasn’t.  Thankfully, most of my friends like me anyway.  I am not sure why but that is the subject for a whole other blog.

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