Rapturous River

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

The River Speaks
2020
The River
Precious
Cleansing
Beatitude

Rocky ground
Shallow
Flowing
Fresh

Ankles wrapped

Hug from earth
Grounded
Untamed
Intoxicating

Feet first
Ice cold
Further in
Slowly

Waste deep
Breathtaking
Literal
Alive

Memories
Freedom
Stones
Friendship

Anger
Pain
Burdens
Dropping

River washing

Baptized
Spirit
Cleansed
Reborn

Look up
Sky
Sunshine
Blanketed

Warm

Frolicking
Giggling
Silly
Innocent

Reflections
Glistening
Sparkling
Shine

Heart
Mind
Body
Soul

Mine

Lost
Me
River
Forever

Find
Roaring River State Park August 2020
Mind over Matter
Or
Numb?

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Have You Seen Her

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Have you seen her
Too many cheers
Vodka filled tears
Haunted by fears


Chasing the years
Crying in broken ears
Praying someone hears
Shaking as sober nears


911 calls
Sirens glow
Head hanging low
Breathing slow


Unconscious blood
Walking in mud
Heavy foots step
Drunk at her best


There she is
Pulse so weak
Tears on cheek
Mama please speak


Cries from her sons
Don’t do this please
Mama don’t run
Begging hearts plead


This isn’t okay
Monsters don’t play
On my knees pray
Don’t take mama away


What did we do
Mom how could you
Drink us away
All night
All day


Where did you go
How could we know
Pain you don’t show
Drunk fits you’d throw


Ambulance takes her away
Bring her back better
I beg you now
I’ll write a letter


She is our mom
We need her to be
The mama we knew
Not the mama you see


Come back Mama
Don’t lose to this shit
Come back Mama
Get up from this hit


You taught me mama
We are stronger than this
You told me so mama
Hope clenched in my fist


I’m saying a prayer
The whole world will feel
My heart shatters
This disease is so real

Dear God,
Can you hear me
Will you help my mom now
She’s drunk and she’s sick
She’s screaming so loud
Why is she crying
Why is she mad
Why is she bleeding
I’m scared and I’m sad
Please God if you’re there
I shake in this prayer
I loved Mama first
Alcoholics a curse
If there’s a devil
Devil has her now
Give Mama back
I don’t care how
Give Mama back
Her heart is so good
Give mama back
Is that understood
If you are real
If you hear what I say
I’ll sleep tonight
Knowing Mama’s okay
God don’t you take her
We need her here
God whisper to me
Do I make myself clear
Give me a sign
Let me know she’s okay
Give me a sign
Hear what I say
Thank you God
For hearing me pray
Thank you God
She’s at SEVEN HUNDRED and Thirty days today.

730 days may seem small to someone that has never battled with alcoholism or addiction. Be it the sick or the support system. 730 days is big for a girl who loves to drink. 730 days is big to the ones who love her and never want to lose her.

Image by Caption meme.
Made because it was true and represents this post.

For those of us familiar with those terms, sober, addiction, alcoholic etc, then you know why 730 days is important. You know the meaning of the days we count, and that we wake up grateful we have another day to make amends immediately if needed and spend another day with our loved ones. You know I put thoughts onto paper instead of a bottle to my lips. You know I have faith and I pray. I have to. I want to. I can’t afford not to.

Remember as you read these words, we aren’t bad people. We fell. Some of us still falling. Some of us don’t make it. Some of us get back up. But NONE of us set out to hurt you. You may not believe me now but we love you even when we’re falling.

We just struggle with life on life’s terms somedays, and how we handle that is what makes us different. No it’s not a good excuse but it is a fact.

If someone you love is sick in it, there are millions of us out there who know and can give you a glimpse of hope. We know we can’t do the work for someone, but we do know the work can be done. I hate to say it is too late, until and if it is too late.

Once the mental and physical hold has it’s grip, it is one of the hardest things to let go of.

I remember witnessing many drunk nights from my father and a couple from my mother. I remember telling myself I would never become that person. My mom screaming and fighting officers as they are strapping her to a gurney. She’s just drunk, we didn’t know that yet. Grandma Betty said mom has gone crazy, only to discover later that mom goes crazy when she is drunk.

Ambulance lights filling the front yard. That fear I carried and it always sat so heavy on my chest. I just want my mommy. I just want my daddy. That same fear I swore I’d never cause; I caused, and if I can help one person not take that same path, then my work here, WELL, it will never be done because I, we, will continue to be there in an arms reach for someone who needs a support system. For the sick or the loved one. It’s what you do when, and if, you make it out after having been on all sides.

Here’s to HOPE. In the addictive world around us.

Here’s to all the prayers and wishing wells.

Here’s to all the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters that have had to let go and love a child silently from a distance. Who have had to say goodbye too soon. Who still cry themselves to sleep.

May the faith from this journal entry be read and touch someone’s heart today.

May someone find peace and understanding that addiction is very real. If we make it out, we have to fight for our life and remember how real addiction is because one wrong thought, decision or choice and we are gone again quickly with no guarantee we will make it out again.

I write this today in honor of my father, my mother and my son’s.

Inspired by memories of being a child of an alcoholic, inspired by being an alcoholic and inspired by my son and a battle he fought.

Some of us take hits harder than others, some of us have to get hit real hard. The scrapes and bruises go away and the stitches come out. This we know. May the scars on my skin and the burn etched in my mind from the 3rd taser always live on in my memory. I pray those never go away. Those memories are there to remind me how far I have came today. How capable I am to always do the next right thing. How important it is to just say NO and that NO is a complete sentence. How awareness and acceptance of all thing’s is key. How I can only love me and all of you as long as I don’t tempt fate.

Pickle juice image from 2017 after a drunk binge
The other images are from September 12th 2018
The day after my last drop of alcohol.

I tease a lot about how much pickle juice I use to drink to be able to keep drinking with everyone, and even more so by myself. I share it to remind me how sick I was. How it worked for a little while but for someone who drinks like me it’s only a matter of time that the only thing we eventually get to drink is water from the top of a steel toilet tank in a jail cell. If we are lucky.

An image of a jail cell. This one looks fairly clean because you can not see the bugs crawling around.

In honor of National Overdose Awareness day my writing prompt was easy to choose. Hard to write through tears, but definitely worth the work. I share this glimpse of hope from my story in honor of those we love and have lost. I didn’t believe I was an alcoholic or that alcoholism and addiction could be genetic. Even after my father died of alcohol poison and my mother went to jail drunk a time or two. It has killed and stolen the life of several of my relatives. Today I share this with you in honor of all of them. I didn’t see how true it was even after I chased the medical examiner’s report of my father and saw his blood alcohol content. I still didn’t believe mental health was important even after I received and read my father’s Veteran’s hospital medical records that I fought to obtain. See we tend not to believe something until we experience it. I get that more then ever.

I keep hope knowing those who have walked before us, who have left us too soon, and who are recovering today always leave a mark on a heart somewhere.

P.S. For those who enjoyed us more when we were drunk and fun. I’m sorry you feel that way and May God Bless Your Heart.

The link below I found relative to this post and clearly spelled out. We all have an opinion, mine just falls in line with what is written in the link below.

https://vertavahealth.com/blog/is-drug-addiction-hereditary/

It only takes one person to make a difference for one person. To influence, promote and possibly steer someone in another direction. You may not even see the effect someone has had on you for years to come and vice versa. May you hold on to those who made a difference for you and to those you can inspire today.

May you get to write your own story before someone else has to.

I say this as I am working on a memoir for my own father. May he rest in peace.

Douglas Lee Nill. Gone but NEVER forgotten.

Photos of Douglas Lee Nill
Bottom right with his children
Top right with his Grandfather Herman Johnson.

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Dear Gramma Great

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Life started somewhere. We all have different takes on where. Different experiences. Different outlooks. Hence, individuality.

None of what I thought was important even matters anymore.

It’s more about the bones and what kept them glued together. How we managed not to completely crumble or when we did crumble that we got put back together.

The bones that built me. The bones that built us.

The bones that will forever be a part of holding me up.

The bones that carried the weight of the world on them and walked around without breaking on a daily basis. The bones that started out fragile, and grew to be strong. The bones that kept you safe when the other’s broke. The bones that made sure you had food to eat. The bones that worried themselves sick at night fretting. The bones that made homemade bread and jelly. The bones that demanded that you mind. The bones that sewed clothes for your dolls and built furniture for them also. The bones that matter most.

The bones matter.

The bones matter.

The bones matter.

My elders can go back further than me and describe a past none of us would likely survive in today. We are so spoiled.

I hated history as a young child and young adult.

Where that changed in me I’m not certain.

I think losing loved ones has a way of making little things mean more.

I do know that today history is like an art form to me. It is beautiful and eclectic. I could write about my history all day long.

I only wish I would have paid better attention to the words spoken to me through the years.

Not only am I gathering the pieces now, I am fascinated by the hunt for it all.

I feel the puzzle is coming together minus a couple corner pieces. Unfortunately those pieces may never be found. Quite possible those pieces that are missing are the actual missing pieces. That sounds complicated but as they say, silence sometimes is the answer.

One of those pieces begins with her. She is a big section of building my puzzle.

Great Grandmother Rilean Garner Johnson.

Aka to us kids, Gramma Great.

As I read through my Great Grandmother’s journal pages from 1932, I can’t help but feel very spoiled.

Journal entry of Rilean Garner Johnson in August of 1932

I also feel her presence in the room often.

I most definitely believe in Angels.

She was very special to me.

It was brought to my attention recently that we were probably very bored at the house that built the foundation of our childhood and that we had to have developed quite the imagination.

We spent a lot of time with our Great Grandparents.

We all loved them very much.

Without them to care for us, I simply don’t know how the end of this story would turn out, or if I would even be here to still tell it.

Growing up with the Greats.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her as a teenager when her health was deteriorating.

Lynn Rilean and Great Grandmother Rilean Johnson December 1989

That changed my entire perspective on the meaning of life and death and aging. Yes, my dad died unexpectedly, and way to early but, watching a loved one slip away slowly is heartbreaking. I was only there for part of it. I did not know how much she touched my life and my heart until later as an adult when I found myself in a caregiver role.

A role that ultimately turned my life around and has allowed me to be here writing today.

An entire chapter in my book is written of that experience and the house that built us.

When I, my siblings, and cousins were young she would make us a pallet on her bedroom floor to sleep. Old wood floor. She wood cushion the best she could. Nothing like Grampa Greats old white t-shirts to make you feel like a princess at bedtime.

D.j. Nill (Dwayne Jr.), C.C. (Lynn Rilean) Jennie D’Lee Dwayne Nill’s oldest son and Doug Nill’s daughters.

Can’t forget the pink rollers or strip rags used in my sister and I’s hair so we could wake up with curls.

Lynn Rilean and Jennie D’Lee Nill 1976
910 S. Altamont Blvd. Spokane, Washington

Sure maybe some stuff sucked, but it didn’t ever seem bad there. Having our Grandparents and our cousins were the best part. We were loved, we were provided for, and we were safe. ( minus the back bedroom monster. ) read below.

In her room was a door to what everyone called the back room. Mainly a storage room, and basically nothing us kids needed to be in.

They kept a deep freezer in her room. It made a horrible noise scary in itself.

What evil monster are they hiding in that back bedroom?

Is it going to liquify and come through the cracks to kill us?

Too many episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe maybe, still scary nonetheless.

Truthfully it was a small house, hence the freezer covered a door. I’m guessing because there was no where else for it? Maybe?

It was the best sleepovers though. She would read her romance books which meant her light stayed on. I remember the covers of her books had women in beautiful dresses. On occasion a book cover with a cowboy.

Having the light on was a treasure.

Absolutely fantastic for kids afraid of the dark.

Us kids all remember a portrait on the wall.

It was of our Great Grandfather Herman. ( she writes about him in her journal from 1932 ) he slept in a room that also connected to hers. I’ve grown to understand that sleeping in separate rooms is a way of sticking it out through the good and the bad and the snoring. Well that’s my best guess anyhow.

“Herman Johnson” aka Grampa Great
The photo that followed every move you’d make.

This portrait stared at us. His eyes moved every time we did.

Pretty easy for a kid to stay still and close their eyes and go to sleep.

At least Grandma Great was there to save us from the photo of him, if need be right? Knowing us kids I guarantee we said those exact words a number of times.

The Cousins
Back row ~ D.J., C.C., Auntie, Jennie D’Lee
Front row~ Karly, Jeremiah, Riley

Today’s writing prompt was fairly easy. Write a post card to a Grandparent.

Dear Gramma Great,

I hope this post card finds you reading about a woman in a fancy dress being smitten by a fella with pretty eyes and shined up shoes.

I hope your imagination is dancing in the rain because the wheel came off the old coup, so you and Grampa Great improvised.

I hope that you both are spinning round and round to music he is humming in your ear.

I hope your clip on earrings are sparkling when the moon peeks out to light up the ground beneath your feet.

Rilean Garner Johnson
Approximately taken in 1948

I hope he is looking into your eyes and telling you that he will always do whatever it takes to keep you warm and that the snow and ice will always melt and bring sunny days.

Herman and Rilean Johnson

I hope this post card finds you both still madly in love and that he still hides his Copenhagen from you.

Love always,

Lynn Rilean Nill

By the way I got married. A couple times. Oops. Not everyone finds their Herman right out of the gate.

Love always,

Lynn Rilean Smith

P.S.

I miss and love you both dearly.

For the Birds

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

“They, my parents, did what?” I asked.

We do so solemnly swear this Last Will and Testament leaves everything we have to the birds.

Mind spinning.

This can’t be happening. It’s a joke right?

I thought for a moment that maybe they were filming a new episode of punk’d or impractical jokers. I was the star of the show.

Being an only child has its pros and cons. That’s where I come in.

Me. I’m the only child.

I spent years overlooking that my parent’s bought love and that my needs were typically met with the almighty dollar.

I found for myself personally that the end result of a love like that would only destroy me later in life. Literally. You will read of how easy it is to go from a million dollars, to a million pieces through this short story.

Separated from my parents over foolish pride, I needed to go back home.

Not sure exactly why the pull was so strong, but it was. I’m hesitant but know that it is necessary. I hope it will put us on the path to rekindle and add what was always missing.

That mother, father, daughter bond thing. Something money can’t buy.

Sure it was cool to spend and not worry about one single financial thing. In fact, really cool. Until it wasn’t. Cool actually smacked me in the face, and left me bruised and burned. I was good at wrecking cars and airbags always seemed to get in my way. Today I can thank God for that.

Speaking of airbags, as I crash my corvette into the garage door of my childhood home driven by anxiety.

Someone take the keys because I can’t even park a car. Nervous and terrified to see them face to face again.

I made it though. I stepped out of the car that barely showed a scratch, we won’t tell anyone about the garage door.

I’m really surprised no alarms went off. “Why aren’t the dog’s barking?” I wondered as I take the long sidewalk to the front door.

Anxious does not even begin to describe the way I’m feeling right now. I want to throw up.

Are they going to slide a check under the door or actually invite me in?

Will they be in a hurry for me to leave; afraid of more disappointment from their tarnished golden child?

If only they will let me in, I can explain.

All the chaos that once came with me is gone. Okay so maybe I still need to work on proper drive way etiquette but other then that, I took a turn somewhere and it showed me the true meaning of life.

Money can buy a lot of things, but it can not fix what’s broken from the inside out unless you’re referring to liposuction.

Long story short, I was a wild child who bought and paid for everything from money I didn’t have to earn.

I ended up alone, and clinging to life with the help of a ventilator. I had burnt all my bridges. A million dollars turned into a million pieces of a broken heart.

Recovering from an overdose has this strange way of connecting you with the right people. I found myself surrounded by individuals from all walks of life, and they guided me to a path that ultimately turned my life around.

My parent’s even did the research to try and understand why I, “turned out the way I did,“ having anything money could buy.

We raised her better then that. She had everything going for her, they said on many occasions.

Except I didn’t. The only thing I had going for me was a fat bank account bought for from mommy and daddy dearest and love meant money, until not even money was enough to live for.

This is interesting, I thought. A for sale sign placed at the end of the driveway. “Where are they going?” I wonder.

By now you get the picture I’ve painted, and that I have every intention of telling my parents I love them, have missed them, and that I would enjoy getting to know them personally.

I will always love and be grateful for the nannies but I’ve missed Mom and Dad, my whole life. The bank account was fun but now it isn’t what matters to me most. Money was lonely.

I push the door bell. Palms sweaty, knees weak. I am shocked as the doorbell starts singing to me.

“Don’t you want somebody to love” by Jefferson Airplane.

Hello. Who are you, and what have you done with my parent’s?

I smell patchouli mixed with body odor as the door cracks open. No face to go with the hand.

I’m given a piece of paper.

It’s a living will and last testament.

Clearly my parent’s have lost their minds.

I, Anna Doe, and I, Wayne Doe, both being of at least 18 years of age, do hereby make this our Last Will and Testament. Revoking all prior Wills and Codicils heretofore made by us.

We have spent our fortune on a nude beach where we plan to live off the land. We now have only one dollar left to our name. We would like to give that last dollar to The Bird Watchers foundation of America.

Photo credit to Bournemouth Echo

We would also like it to be known from this document that it is realized we can’t take life for granted, and to all of you we bought and paid for, we apologize.

If our daughter shows up and asks where we are, this document is to be given to her as an apology for all the years we missed out on her life and didn’t get to know her. We waited by the phone as long as we could.

Let said document guide her to the valley of peace, love and forgiveness. Where we will be waiting to welcome her with loving arms.

May she be humbled and proud to know we decided to live out the end of our life naked, free and loving Mother Earth.

Dated and Signed

Mr. and Mrs. Doe

To the birds?, seriously? I suppose now is the appropriate time to say, be careful what you wish for.

My parents.

Nudists?

Living out wanderlust?

What’s love got to do with it?

This story took a turn, not even I saw coming.

I feared more rejection and some cash and I got news they bought a nude beach and left the last dollar to the birds.

Did they at least leave a forwarding address for me to find them?

Nothing like the thought of your parents owning a nude beach to get through this thing called life.

Naked or not, I do love my parents.

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Hart Island

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

https://gothamist.com/news/mass-burials-hart-island-increase-fivefold-covid-19-death-toll-skyrockets

Hart Island
Bronx, New York

Hart Island Mass Graves 2020
Photo credits to John Minchillo AP Shutterstock

One photo. A million questions. Goosebumps flooding my skin. Tear buckets weighing heavy and they are hurting. My feelings as I learn more are that I need to always show and tell my loved ones how much they mean to me. By the grace of God I sit and write this today.


This entry is informative and truly touched my heart. I hope by sharing this it gives you some insight into a potter’s field. What it means and why it exists. I’ll share facts and personal feelings. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me as I try to take you inside some history of Hart Island and the effects of Covid-19 and Hart Island today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potter%27s_field


In the 1920’s Fredrick R. Barnard said “A photo is worth a thousand words.” I wonder if he saw photos from Hart Island?
What I saw today left me speechless. It also gave my inquisitive mind work to do.
It was just a quick glance as for the photo looked like what I remember a salvage yard or a waste site looking like.
I bypassed the article but I couldn’t stop seeing the image. It wasn’t long and I began my hunt to find the article again.
I did discover why that photo was haunting me.
What I read this morning turned what was already a strongly surreal morning into a rather strong awakening.
On my journey to learn more I found multiple articles. Many authors, facts, tweets and comments exist.
It didn’t take long to read the thousand words that photo was speaking to me. It displayed a large square shaped hole in the dirt being filled with what appears to be pine wood caskets.
Something newly discovered by myself in my researching is that of a “Potters field.”
I thought the photo I had seen had to be from a piece of history I had never learned in school attached to an article about an old war.
I was close in my thoughts but the reality hit me like a freight train.
This photo and the article I discovered are not old. In fact they are new and now. With or without the Corona Virus. It happens every day. If a transient leaves this world and the body goes unclaimed they typically will be found laid to rest amongst a Potters field.
I don’t think we see it because routinely we have family and funerals.
Whether we are homeless or not. We simply don’t pay attention to truth and surrounding realities unless we are in it personally or someone hands it to us to see.

We skip over those ugly realities on purpose because it doesn’t pertain to our daily lives.
We carry on and live each day as a new day the best we can, hoping we did enough.
This article I read displayed photos which could make the strongest go weak in the knees and weep. I hope they haunt me forever because I think, in a sense, it is very humbling.
Keep your loved ones close folks.

Why did this come to me and sit so heavy on my heart today? Of all days? Easter 2020.
Mass graves. Numbered caskets.
I’ve always had an enquirers mind and have already spent several hours researching this Island and it’s purpose. This island has been used for multiple reasons, a burial ground amongst them, with usage of the island dating as far back as 1864. Prisoners from Rikers Island would perform work duty there burying the indigents and unclaimed bodies. That Island has an abundance of history that I will continue to educate myself about. But it’s the origin for the indigents that has my attention.
That’s why it is heavy. It is new to me and it is sorrowful.
As I have read and been writing this I can see more than ever why it is so important to fact check. This photo was hard to research and learn the truth.
The photo brought about thoughts that all Covid19 death overflow was being sent to Hart Island to house until when and if they are claimed. ( without fact checking )
There is some truth and some false to that thought from the photograph, once you understand Hart Island, you can understand the photo.
The headline was misleading to grab one’s attention. As much of media headlines can be. I am glad I followed up to discover what was indeed fact over fiction and the vice versa.
The photo was heart wrenching to say the least. Leading me on a reading and writing scavenger hunt that I will likely not soon forget, if at all.
No one wakes up wondering where are the homeless buried? Honestly if you ask 10 people, maybe 1 person can answer you correctly. Did you know? I absolutely had no clue. My husband had no clue either. None of the family members I asked knew.
Depending on where you live, you may be closer than you think to a “Potter’s field.” (Biblical origin) Definition being, place for burial of unknown, unclaimed or indigent people. Google makes it simple to discover the locations closer to you than you might think.
Columbia, Mo., Grand Junction, Co., Florence, Ks.
Hart Island. 1 mile long in Northeastern Bronx, New York City. An island used specifically to date to lay the alone and unclaimed.
Melinda Hunt and The Hart Island project are working diligently to fight for the rights of those laid to rest amongst Hart Island and advocating for the long due respect they deserve.
The Covid19 has increased the burials and now it buries in a day what it use to only see in a week.
I’ll say it again, Hart Island. It is an Island used specifically to lay the alone and unclaimed to rest.” Let that sink in as you roam recklessly and carelessly in large groups among your cities, just because it hasn’t hit home to you. Burials in one day that is normally done in a week or more.
I can’t begin to describe the circling of emotions this article brought upon my household. I shared with my husband, and we discussed our thoughts among the two of us.
We both remain in a stage of dismantled realism. There is so much grief from the Covid19 battle the world is fighting; however a lot of us are fortunate and only grieving material experiences and changes vs loss of a loved one.
I believe as a country we are all likely in different stages of grief with the countless lives we continue to lose and I believe that to be human nature to be saddened, angry and or in denial by such an experience as this virus has brought upon all of us.
It has shown me even more of where my priorities are and need to be overhauled.
I am hopeful as this evolves it will keep us humbled in areas we took for granted and maybe under appreciated as we do leave our cages again.
Those on the front lines every second of every day and not one guarantee of anything as they start each life saving shift. To those feeling the risk is the same strolling around at Walmart when you shop, you may be right in the moment you are there but these nurses and doctors, clerks, fire and law men and women are on a non stop shift of potential exposure normally and even more now to this new bug. I hope you find time to appreciate them instead of comparing yourself to them and deeming yourself just as essential.

Many of us are without our families TODAY, (temporarily)as so many are. We were asked to not gather in groups in order to help slow the curve. Not hugging, not gathering for dinner or meeting for social events. Such a small cost. I can live with that now. I can clearly accept this as a much easier rule to follow after seeing that photo this morning and researching “ Hart Island.”
I feel somewhat selfish for feeling so blessed today, but are we not suppose to hold onto gratitude in dark places?
I’ve only been temporarily unemployed while others can’t hold the hand of a sick loved one?
We can facetime and video chat with our family, friends and loved ones.
Some people have no family.
If I feel bad for anything it is that I forgot to stop and look at everything I have to be grateful for. Instead I chose to focus on what I felt was being taken from me.

Our household is 2 adults and two cats.
As far as we know neither one of us have been in contact with the Covid19. We are breathing with no complications. We are not coughing or feeling ill. No out of the norm fever.
We have momentarily lost one income. That’s it. I repeat “That is it.” It was scary as our lifestyle was created around having both of them.
I have to admit that felt like such a BIG problem as this virus took it’s hold. There was as much or more talk of economics and job loss. It felt like the BIGGER problem because I hadn’t been personally affected in loss of life of a loved one due to the virus. I cried over finances while other people were crying and wanting to be with loved ones in ICU all over the country.
I panicked before feeling blessed.
I overthought everything financial and not one time did I look at what mattered most as my job was temporarily down. It hadn’t touched my friends or family. Everyone is still safe at home and not sick.
It’s been hard to awaken to the truth I have today.
We are still in our home, on our couch watching our television. We have food, heat and our essential needs are met. All my loved ones, friends and family alike are only a phone call away.
I can’t help think after seeing that picture today and doing my own research about Harts Island in the Bronx of New York, that photo was there to make me think.
To stab me in the chest with some gratitude.
To dig deeper into myself and the reality that surrounds us.
I see where I, myself, let selfishness and greed take up space in my bones. Where courage usually carries me.
That happens out of fear, fairly certain most of us are familiar with that term. Especially now as it runs rampant amongst the world in it’s entirety through the Covid19 pandemic. Fear spreading quicker than the virus itself seems to depending upon your sources.

As I sit here today in these thoughts and heavy feelings I am looking around at everything I do have. It is not hard to see it. To feel it. To appreciate it. Typical me though, I had to let it hit me and over think all of the unknown.
I know for a fact I have been lost in Covid19 fear this past month.
Today, right now in this moment though, I see and feel what matters most over everything else.
It’s the people. It is you, it is me and it is them. My income earning job is on hold but my job now is even more critical in order to go back and do what I love to do. In order to see my family together in the same rooms. My role now, my current job title is that of a protector. It is to keep you and myself safe and as healthy as possible during the stay at home order. It is unfortunate, yes. But after seeing that article that circulated social media, ( which by the way contained more fact than fiction ) it is not the money that matters most today. I’ve known that all along.
Fear will steal your truth quick. Just know that It is important to balance the healthy fear that keeps you from touching the stove and the unhealthy fear that says the more blisters the better.
My fear finally feels balanced again. I also know what it is I am afraid of losing the most.
It’s the people. My people. Your people.
I don’t want to have to live without mine and don’t want you to have to live without yours.
My family, my friends and my clients.
The stay at home order is purposeful.
They are protecting me as I am protecting them. I see it coming to an end and like birds we will fly again.
The most important part of my life is something no amount of money can buy.
How could I lose that truth so quickly?
I remember from personal experience, how scary it is to not know how or when you will eat your next meal, or where you will be to lay down at night or worrying if you will ever see your children again. I remember not knowing how I would pay my rent, car payment or utilities.
I get it. I understand how that fear of financial insecurity can show up as the most important thought. It’s frightening. You work so hard for so long and it disappears into the unknown. Naturally that is going to be frightening. It has consumed me too. I am ready to take a temporary job for who knows how long before I can go back to my absolute favorite job.

What truthfully scared me the most in the beginning ( when it was announced the first child’s life was lost to Covid19) before my work even stopped, hit me again today with that photograph. My worst fear is not my finances.
It is people dying. It’s losing a loved one.
It’s my honest to god truth and that anxiety is in my soul. I have had to battle that on a daily bases for the majority of my life with or without media coverage.

The loss of life.
The loss of mass lives.
Devastating doesn’t begin to describe the beginning of 2020 for all of us. Just like that, the world stopped turning as a nation. We are facing what will be one day discussed in our classrooms throughout the world.
I hope our future generations get to read that we as a Country are one to be proud of. That we worked together and did what was right and not because our freedom stolen but because it was the safest and the most right thing to do.
That we worked together to contain the Corona Virus and our casualty number didn’t grow near as bad as predicted because we were smart & unselfish. That’s what they have asked of us. Together we worked to slow the curve.
We are all story tellers now, and not one of us will be able to say this hasn’t touched our life in some way.
We ALL now share a common bond.
The story behind Hart Island woke me up today.
The story we are all writing by our lives, actions and behaviors during the Covid19 outbreak will whisper in our ear every day.
These stories will be left behind for generations and generations after that.
The story today presents some of us with unfamiliar opportunity.
For some idle hands are dangerous, we now dig deep to keep them busy.
For some we never rest, we are now resting.
For some we have never NOT earned an income, we now have no income and scurry to find some and figure it out.
For some we never lost a love one, we have now buried a family member, loved one or friend.
For some we never knew the vital role our nurses and doctors played in our communities, we now appreciate them more than ever.
For some we never took an ambulance ride or needed a paramedic, we now know without them we are left behind.
For some we under appreciated the role our police officer’s play in protecting the citizens of our cities, we now anxiously sit hoping and praying they are going to be there in time of an emergency.
For some we took our groceries for granted. Never truly seeing the hard work that goes into keeping the stores stocked or the on going long hauls made by truck drivers to deliver our essential needs.
For some, we saw a farmer as a man in a pair of coveralls holding a pitch fork with a cow and a couple of chickens. We now see without the farmer we have nothing essential.
Let’s face it, not many of us have what it takes to survive off of the land alone.
Teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry right? It says nothing about cleaning and cooking said fish. I would struggle and I would not like it. So I hope I never under-appreciate or take for granted those that serve us as we shop for groceries.

I always seem to find some deep meaning in just about everything.
Today it just happened to come from, “One photo“ and it reminded me that I need to work diligently to stay on top of my faith.
Without faith, I am fearful.
Without faith my spirit is indigent; wandering lost and alone.

I myself would like to lay down a bed of roses over Hart Island.

The Hart Island Project.

Excuse Us Officer but it’s Our Wedding Day

Inspired by a true event, and a few thoughts.

I can’t help but giggle as I title this.

Rebels with a cause.

Cause: Shelly’s wedding.

Instructions: Drive flowers for reception to the bride by noon.

Where: Arkansas

Nervous yet?

No worries. We made it.

We even got to take a nap. Well, sort of.

Sweet dreams

Okay, it was not actually OUR wedding day. That belongs to our beautiful friend; however, we did have a plan if they tried to ticket us for jaywalking in Eureka Springs.

We love this bride.
Photo credits to KG photography

I plan to update this entry with a photo of the beautiful bride and her groom once photos are released and approved. When I say she was stunning and it was the funnest wedding I’ve ever attended, I mean it. From her friends to her family, her special day was definitely one for the books. Inspiring to say the least.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I highly suggest you read up on this town’s history. Visit it so you can appreciate all it’s beauty. There is a lot to this small dot on the map. See link below.

https://www.eurekasprings.com/historical/eurekavictorian.html

I think Kandra and I must have worn our rebel britches. We met some adversity, a weird dog ( an inside funny ) and according to one of the locals, LAWS. We most definitely are not in Kansas anymore Toto. ( Missouri, not Kansas, but you get the gist )

Even the dogs are weird.
Photo credit to Gif shared by Kandra Gannaway

Okay. No biggie. Right. Wear a mask. We get it. We can read. We have restrictions in our town too. We are respectful of others, and walking in our own bubbles, side by side each other, and minding our own business.

We toted around our masks; either dangling from our ear, over our nose and mouth, or in our hand. Up and on as needed. Armed with our face coverings and ready if we have to stand too close to someone or when we enter an establishment for service, NOT for conviction. That’s where she comes in.

“ HER.” The one and only.

If HER ever meant her before , it will probably always mean HER to us now. I remember wanting to interrupt this woman. “ Excuse me ma’m, but do you mind if I video your behavior and the attacking of us right now so I can show my children how NOT to behave?” ( didn’t say it but sure wanted to, as we gave her our best smiles, uh huh’s and okays. Which might I add were through clenched jaws that were hidden under our masks.

She must have been the local guard dog is all I could think.

She tried to tear us apart limb by limb for not knowing the Mask LAW of this little land we were visiting, and how only a DUMB business will let you in without one.

Okay lady, we get it. Now go tend to your own knitting (thought not spoken), and thank you for sharing.

We made sure we kept our distance from her. Masks on and showed total respect.

There’s a time I would have gave her a nice, big fat BLESS YOUR HEART, but I couldn’t find it fast enough.

The conversation lasted for what felt like an eternity, as we waited outside to be taken to our table for lunch. Finally, as if someone dropped a house on her, she vanished. Hale to Dorothy the wicked witch is dead. ( Not really, we were just escorted inside, but a perfect time in this entry to give a shout out to The Wizard of Oz.)

According to our new HER, if you do not have your mask on 24/7, then you are an idiot and must not be from here, she informs us.

No ma’m we are not.” we inform her right back. ( Proud to be here from Joplin, Missouri, so don’t worry as for we’re ONLY visiting. ) Don’t think that thought didn’t almost come out of my mouth as well, because at that point I was feeling HANGRY enough to say it.

Photo credits to LRS

Sweet Eureka. Home to many beautiful sceneries and some very interesting history, art, artist’s, shops, and for this particular post, street signs. Or was it a crosswalk sign? A mix of both? Maybe it was just a piece of art? No clue honestly. It was oddly placed at the bottom of some stairs that allowed the walk to be shortened.

I have to admit it was a lot of fun, and for a brief moment I felt as if we were a part of a movement. Something cool like free the ta-ta’s or something. All we did was ignore a street sign, but it felt so good to be persevering.

I did have worse case scenario images flashing through my mind, and what could possibly happen as we ended our pre-wedding guest venture.

It was all down hill from the top of our shopping spree. (literally) One more store, we both agreed, and then it was off to the Dollar General. ( you can read more about that in “Confessions from a Hysterectomy. I’m not sure if anyone has written that yet, but they should. We got a good giggle out of it, which made it worth the $5.95.

We eyed the last shop and of-course the quickest route to get to it as well.

Folks let me tell you, at a certain point in life, your body just starts doing things different when the humidity is at 99.9%, and we were ready for some air conditioning. Let’s face it. There’s sweaty sexy and then there’s sweaty EW and we had reached sweaty EEEEEW.

Then came the sign. “ CROSSING PROHIBITED “

I’m saddened that I did not get that in a photo. You can bet I will go out of my way to do so the next time I am there, and update this entry.

We did it though.

We crossed.

We rebelled.

I could just see it unfold. Kandra’s magic eyes. Batting her beautiful lashes at an officer and softly saying, “Oh sweet Sir, did we do something wrong?”

“Can’t you read the sign?” he points.

~ CROSSING PROHIBITED~

Excuse me officer, “Are you some kind of one man Tesla band?”

Ladies, you are under arrest.

But Sir, it’s OUR wedding day. We were just in a hurry to “ SPREAD THE LOVE ” ~

Photo credit goes to Kandra’s granddaughter. “Spread the Love, Nana”

Okay. Not our wedding day, but it worked.

Charges dropped.

Case dismissed.

Wait. Hold on. Before we go officer, “ Do you mind if we redo those mugshots?” we ask, as we take the tops off our lipgloss.

Photo credit to Sephora.
Referred by Kandra Gannaway.

With all that is going on today, I hope you were able to read this with humor and that it tickles your funny bone as much as it did mine as I wrote it.

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Excuse me officer

A New Constellation

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Photo credit to Pinterest

Ever doubt destiny? I did. Many times.

Not suppose to be somewhere only to find out that indeed you were exactly where you were supposed to be. 

As if you were strategically placed there by God? Maybe? 

To learn something new. To feel something new. To further discover your best self. 

The prompt to write about an established group welcoming a new face was an instant decision for me. Me. I’m the new face. Them, they are the established welcoming group.

It’s a chapter in my book that I had started writing about in the summer of 2018. 

I was living a good life with a wonderful job and circle of friends who were already so life changing for me. To leave was a lot to swallow. I still can’t speak highly enough of the love I have for them and the love I was shown by them and the wings they helped me grow.

Needless to say, I met my happy ever after. We commuted for several months but eventually made a decision to have just one home. It made the most sense I uproot. I prayed the new soil that was going to surround me would be welcoming and provide the nutrients I needed to continue growing. Established 42 year old single female in big city Tulsa. Getting ready to have her roots dug up and replanted in a small town across the state line. Joplin, Missouri. New home, new everything. 

Moving wasn’t the scariest part. That’s in my dna. Finding an authentic fit. That’s the tricky part. Actually tricky is a wimpy word for that anxiety. Frightening is more accurate. 

Nervous and excited at the same time. 

Like the first day of a new school. 

This move was nothing like I had experienced. 

All I had to do was connect the dots.  

Salon life. 

What’s one thing you have always heard about women in a salon? Exactly, Drama. Oddly enough making my decision to join this group of women was easy. I was told how opposite of a soap opera salon this work family was. 

They were established in 2001 and the owner’s have been best friends forever. The turn over amongst them almost Nil. 

By way of fate ( literally) I found myself home and surrounded by angels. Each one wearing a different halo with wings made of many colors. ( no pun intended )

Photo credit to C&K salons facebook page.

Welcoming, inviting, beautiful, energetic, faithful, compassionate, supportive, kind, warm, silly and fun. Just a few colors that make them all beautiful. 

I will speak of them using their initials to give you a window to my new world.

C&K
Star quality.
Wonder Woman wouldn’t stand a chance.
Photo credits to C & K’s Facebook page.

CL ~ The boss, Mom, friend, plant whisperer, lover of the outdoors, thinker, planner, do-er. Listener, full of surprises, adventurer, observant, fun, energizer bunny, and beautiful.

KA ~ Also the boss, Mom, friend, saving grace, feels her soul surface and isn’t afraid to show it. Listener, loves Jesus and her family too. Her grandchildren make her heart full of solid gold. To know her is to love her.

KG ~ Where do I start here and keep my prompt of 3000 words or less? My salon sidekick. So many beautiful descriptions can be inserted here so will do my best to keep it simple. Mom, Nana, gentle, spiritual, angelic, brave, bold, kind, direct, compassionate and appreciative, teacher, wise, and a forever friend. I could go on and on. My own personal Jesus. ( not to be taken offensively, I just love the love she is. )

NP~ I can’t help but take my imagination wild with this little hot firecracker. Tiny and tough, mixed with the perfect amount of beauty and sensitivity that writes love all through the air when you speak to her. A total doll with a rock star spirit. So much fun to talk to and learn from as well. She paints nails but to me she paints the world into such a pretty place.

Love her and our twinkie dinking days.
Photo credits to Lynn Rilean Smith

Gosh almost halfway through this list and I am running out of word count. I have to try to limit the rest. Let me see what I can do here with a few words and still create an idea of the other women in the group.

SP ~ I’d love to share one of my first experiences with her in the lash room because it is a belly laugh. I can’t do that because what happens in the lash room stays in the lash room. I knew right then though that I would never doubt I belonged here. She’s on her way to the chapel this week and she’s going to get married. Beautiful, blessed and a blessing to others is probably the best way to describe this bride to be, mother, friend and co-worker.

Heading to the chapel and she’s going to get married. Photo credits to C&K fb page
Namaste’ ~ my spirit recognizes your spirit.
Now let me eat my damn salad.
Photo credits to Lynn Rilean Smith

LC ~ been waiting to get here to this cool cat and kitten. My Joe exotic, my tiger friend and lover of snakes. Kidding. She hates snakes. I can’t type this without laughing out loud. This girl said whoop there it is. That’s just her and how she rolls. We are cut from the same cloth. She couldn’t have been more right saying that to me. So many thing’s in common in the mom world. I have this mental image of her at woodstock. Round sun glasses, tight fitting bell bottoms, tube top, tattoos, and a whole lot of free to be me. I would sit right next to her and weave and wave my peace signs around like finger confetti, as we sat wrapped up in the festival evolution of a lifetime.

I have not got to spend much time with the rest of our group but I can tell you a few things that make them all special to me.

AS ~ kind, direct, forward, friend, authentic, helpful, wise, I feel very connected to her by an invisible thread.

BE ~ she won’t be surprised when I say this. She is bossy. Literally. She was in charge in her cosmetology career as The Boss lady. She came in after I was established and she made change look easy. We have since got to watch her become a mother for the first time and it has most definitely been a beautiful journey to watch unfold.

JR ~ The one I know the least about because she rarely has time to eat lunch. Lover of shoes, we all know this, as she tracks her packages. She pointed me to one of my all time favorite establishments that I now frequent for nutritional teas. Well disciplined in her ability to eat healthy and keep track of her nutrients. One thing that is very easy to read is the love she has for her grandson. There is something about him that make her eyes sparkle. I would not be able to keep up with her in a foot race. Busy, Busy.

JH ~ The muscle mover. Have an ache? She will tell you she is no doctor. But I will tell you she is more like magic. She is a good conversationalist and I have enjoyed many laughs with this lady. I find myself thinking of her often and stories she has shared with me about her and her family. Sometimes I think she missed her calling because she is such a hoot and never fails to make me smile.

The magic muscles.
Photo credits to C & K salons facebook page.

I did it. I met my word count with little difficulty. Speaking of these angels was easier than I predicted it would be. The words just flowed. I don’t have photos of everyone yet as we haven’t been able to gather as often with 2020’s madness. I look forward to being able to come back soon and update this and have a photo of everyone. Until then I will let you use your imagination and put a face to these initials.

I close with this and hope to leave you with a smile and a message of hope.

Look up. Keep your eyes on the sky.

I don’t know everything. No one does. What I do know is that these women mean everything to me. There is a set of stars in the sky and if you look up and connect them you will see a new constellation.

C & K ~ has been written in the stars.

2018 Holly Jolly Christmas party at Handmade Home. Photo credits to C & K salons Facebook.

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

A New Constellation

Mama

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Photo credits to Mama

That little voice inside your head

Taunting you for days on end

You’re tired, scared and it all aches

Pain echos as your heart breaks

You’re quiet and your minds a mess

Let me say I know that best

It hurts to ( to know ) the fear

To feel so scared

Inside your safe

We’re all mad here

You tried to say you have no fear

Drunk and drugs

All disappears

You, myself and everyone

Someone’s daughter

Someone’s son

Believe me when I say that you are loved

Who do you tell your story to

The one that keeps you sad and blue

~You trust no one

so tellings hard to do

You will drop some things ya see

first things first

drop to your knees

~ Drop down and cry

Pray

Set me free

Should have done it differently

Like you I did it

Had to be

Took the turn to worse you see

Please now just go

Just leave

Pride eating at the wounded soul

Ego swallows conscience whole

Tortured self takes its toll

Bones rest on a bench tonight

Tell my mom I’ll be alright

The stars light up the sky

I search for end in sight

Right now my path came to this stone

Mama,

One day I may come back home.

Until or when

I love you heart and soul,

Love, your oldest son

Photo credit to Mama inside Gypsy Coffee house downtown Tulsa, Ok.

Faith is where your fear can rest

Hope ~ knows you are loved and blessed

You’ve come this far so please don’t quit

Please don’t give up on you

You, myself, and everyone

Someone’s daughter

Someone’s son

Believe me when I say that you are loved

You may not see it now

Faith, hope, when, how

One day you can look back

One day you will look back

Look back

Look back and be like wow

You made it through that yesterday

Tomorrow’s still a day away

Live in the moment

Right here and now

Be right there

Be still and see

You can get up

Come back to me

Mom I’ll be there

Wait on me

I’ll be home

I’m going to ask her to marry me

Photo credits to Mama on eve of proposal
November 16th 2018

You, myself and everyone

Someone’s daughter

Someone’s son

Believe me when I say that you are loved

You, myself and everyone

Someone’s daughter

Someone’s son

Believe me when I say that you are loved

You, myself and everyone

Someone’s daughter

Someone’s son

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Little Us

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

A Father and his Daughters.

If I could only talk to little me and talk to my best friend, little her.

I would tell her that her dad knows Karate and he can kick an SOB.

I’d tell her she knows Karate and to kick an SOB too.

I’d tell her not to wait to tell her parents no matter how distracted everyone was because her being safe mattered, no matter how afraid she was.

I would tell her those men have no business being so nice to her. I would tell those men that too.

I would tell her she is beautiful in pig tails and overly processed orange permed hair.

I’d tell her it’s okay if she catches bugs and gets dirt on her dress because dirt washes and bugs are cool.

I would tell her that shy and quiet is beautiful.

I would tell her the thrift store really is cool.

I would tell her she isn’t ready to be grown up.

I would tell her to stay a kid and ask for another doll for Christmas.

I would tell her there is more to life than someone else’s dreams.

I would tell her if you don’t say something now you are going to be so angry that it will destroy everything good that comes along later.

I would tell her not to beat herself up.

I would tell her NO means NO and that NOBODY has permission to take that away.

I would tell her that one day she is going to be a parent and no matter what happens she will need to always be a parent first and pay attention.

I’ll tell her to have thick skin but it’s okay to wear her heart on her sleeve.

I would tell her nothing good is going to be easy but that nothing easy will be as appreciated.

I’ll tell her evil does exist and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

I’ll tell her she will fall down but that everyone does that.

I’ll tell her while she’s down to take a few deep breaths and get back up.

I’ll tell her she’s okay.

Not all assaults are preventable and I completely understand that.

I’ll tell her she is going to get MAD DOG mean but she will snap out of it.

I’ll tell her “ Stairway to Heaven and Every Rose has it’s Thorn, ” will always be her favorite songs

I’ll end this writing prompt today with this.

Dear Little Me,

One day you will question everything again. You will ask why and you will wonder a lot.

The day will come.

You will be sitting there and it will dawn on you. You made it here today. It really is okay. It all eventually worked out.

You will replace your shame with forgiveness.

Don’t get too comfortable on your laurels that you stop creating new experiences.

You’ll help other women and children that may feel scared, insecure, tattered, to blame and/or broken.

I will respect and encourage every step you take to get there.

I’ll be there waiting on you.

I love you.

Love always,

Little You

The Crying Barn

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Barn photo outside of Boulder City, MO.

Photo Credits to Lynn Rilean Smith

Do you see what I see?

The beauty and bones of this barn.

The black cow ornaments decorating the background.

The clouds whispering in the sky.

A storm is coming.

My imagination dances all over this photograph.

The loft door is exhausted.

Shelter was sought.

Love was made.

Stories were told.

Babies were born.

Food was kept.

Memoirs were written.

Whiskey was hidden.

Healing happened.

Children listened.

Hide and seek played.

Tobacco smoked.

Preacher’s spoke.

Beds were made of straw.

Families prayed.

Mama’s wept.

Secrets.

Silence.

Tear stained hay.

2020, Smith, Lynn Rilean

THE CRYING BARN