Tuesday, May 8, 2012


She wasn’t petite and poised. She wasn’t polished and politically correct. Her hair wasn’t dyed and perfectly coiffed. Her teeth were not her own and her facial hair spoke volumes in regards to her age.

My heart broke when she died. It was a Sunday morning and we were getting ready for church when I got the phone call. I clutched my stomach, bent forward and wailed. It wasn’t fair. I needed her. My daughter needed her. She was too young to die. But she died anyway.

Heart failure. She had been to the doctor but she wasn’t worthy of fixing. She was on a very limited income with less than a hundred dollars in the bank. She didn’t own anything. She lived in an income based senior living center and either she walked wherever she went or we picked her up and took her. The medical powers that be decided operating on her wasn’t worth their time. What did she have to offer? Nothing.

Of course, I begged to differ. But, my pleading did absolutely nothing to change the plan. Nor did my begging give her the desire to keep on living. She was tired. She had had a hard life, a life that zapped her of her energy. Married once with eight children would have been enough to tire anyone. Add an alcoholic and abusive husband to the equation and one has to wonder how she made it as long as she did.

Her whole life was spent in abject poverty. We spent time at food pantries and goodwill. She never knew the “good” life, at least according to the world’s standard. Her meals were simple; cornbread and beans, fried potatoes and fried bologna. She had a tin of bacon grease that sat on the stovetop. Everything tasted like bacon at her house. No wonder I love bacon so much.

She had made me executor of her estate. None of her children knew. Shortly before her death she came to me and told me she was changing her will because “they” would skin me alive. You see, the apples fell far from the tree. Even though she had nothing, let the fighting begin. I kept my distance. One child took the rings off her dead body and the meat out of her freezer. The meat came from the food pantry. Hope they enjoyed it. The bad apples decided I was not to be allowed in her apartment after she died. I wasn’t concerned; I knew they would be calling.

You see, I wasn’t worried about it because she knew what would happen. So, before she died she gave me certain items that meant something to her. Things like her silver plated table service and her lion footed round table. Again, worthless in the eyes of the world, but to me they are priceless. One of my cousins spoke up and insisted that I be allowed in my grandmother’s dwelling place. You see, I was the one who picked her up for church, bought her groceries, took her out to eat and visited her several times a week. I was the one who made sure she had what she needed and made sure she was comfortable.

It wasn’t long before the phone calls began. The most important missing item was an Autoharp. She had given it to me because she felt I was the only one who would truly appreciate it. The pure sugar dripping from the phone line was deplorable. Not twelve hours earlier they were insisting I had no part in anything to do with the funeral. Some serious back tracking was happening.

I listened to their pleas. The Autoharp was a gift from my uncle. He was killed in a tragic accident my senior year. My aunt appealed to my emotional side and petitioned on behalf of her’s and my deceased uncle’s son, the one to whom she wished to give the Autoharp. I’m sure threats were uttered under heated breath in the event I would not come to my senses and acknowledge the proper owner of the Autoharp.

After being reassured that said cousin would indeed treasure the instrument and learn to play it, I caved. I knew she’d understand. She was never a material person. What mattered most was the time we spent together while she was alive. No one could take that away from me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Every once in a while, you need a re-vamp. A new look. A new do. A new you!

It’s that time for Team Shortridge. We have moved from steadily coasting along to lightening speed high gear. We’re talking excessive speeds and sharp curves, only see the tail lights kind of change. Fast sports cars and never mind, we won’t go there. But, you get the idea. Things are changing here…and it’s all for the better.
First, if you’ve previously visited my blog, you’ll notice it has changed. Majorly. If you like what you read, we’ve made it easy for you to share with your friends. On the right, you’ll see every share button you can imagine, and then some. Please, share at will. As time goes by, you will also see some content changing within the blog. I am going to be doing more author interviews and promotions as well as bits and pieces that make up this thing called life.

My goal is that you will get to know me, the author. That you will enjoy visiting me here and that you will be reluctant to leave. When you leave, your heart should be full and a song should be on your lips.
The second change you will see is right below this portion of script. Until Forever has a brand new look. Exciting right? What’s even more exciting is, Until Forever is now available as an E-book on Amazon for only $2.99. It is also available for the new low price of $14.97 as a Paperback. Wait, it gets better. I’m giving you the heads up now because if I bought something, then learned it majorly went on sale right afterward, I’d be ticked. So, as my Mother’s Day gift to you, the e-book version of Until Forever will be absolutely free to you through Amazon on Friday May 11th, Saturday May 12th and Sunday May 13th. . What a deal, right? I do ask that you share this with anyone and everyone because everyone loves FREE!
Third, is my daughter’s new hair color. Well, let’s skip that cause she doesn’t like it anyway.
Fourth, and this isn’t so much a change as it is a reminder, I’m constantly looking to grow as a person as well as a writer. Please leave a comment whenever the mood strikes you. Your ideas and thoughts may be just what I need. One mind is good. Two minds are great. Three or more…let us think together and just imagine what we can accomplish! I look forward to hearing from you!

Until we meet again, use every Bit and every Piece to make your life a great one!

Love ya bunches!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Little White Lies

Lies. Everyone tells them. Okay, maybe almost everyone tells them.

What happened to folks like George Washington and his “I can’t tell a lie, Pa?”
What happened to truth and honesty and virtue? What happened to a person’s word being their bond? Why have we traveled down such a broken, rutted road and treat it as if it is the autobahn? Why have we gone so far off the path of righteousness?

Many lies are deemed unacceptable. As mothers and fathers, we abhor any lies told to us by our children. We want the truth, and only the truth. In days gone by, a child could expect a touch of soap to the tongue if caught in a lie.
When we sit on the witness stand in a court of law, we must vow to tell the truth and only the truth. Not speaking the truth on the stand will result in perjury and can be punishable for up to five years in prison. For a country of people who consistently lie about a plethora of topics, this is fairly extreme, right? Of course, this is only when the authority of the courts is usurped and a miscarriage of justice results.
All kinds of people lie. We expect criminals, politicians, lawyers and car dealers to lie. We don’t expect mothers and fathers, teachers, doctors, and clergyman to lie.

Recently someone I thought I respected caused my jaw to drop to the floor. This person was boasting about their eating habits and how they haven’t eaten pork since their college days. Imagine my surprise at this bold faced lie because the week before this statement was made, this same person was eating bacon straight from my frying pan. What? Really? So, what else have you been lying about?

Believe it or not there are some things we are expected to lie about.

When I tell people we do not participate in the socially expected norms of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, I am looked upon as something of an anomaly. I am taking things too far if I won’t tell my children there is a Santa Claus!
When did a white lie become as acceptable as the truth?

I like this quote by Austin O’Malley, “ Those who think it’s permissible to tell white lies soon grow color blind.”

Why do people lie?

Well, some people lie to fit in. Sometimes women lie to hide their age or their weight. We want to be sociably acceptable so we lie about our incomes, our jobs, our experience, our talents and our associates. We all know it’s who you know in this world that counts.

What happens when we’re found out?

I have known people who have become physically sick to their stomachs when they know a lie they have told is about to come to light. Some people are so used to lying and believing their own lies, they no longer know the difference between a lie and the truth.
When it comes down to it, lies are all about self. We want to be something we’re not. We want more people to like us. We want to fit in. We want to be revered and envied.

The part that breaks my heart the most is when Christians lie. We are supposed to die to self and live for Christ. How is it that, like in the case of the bacon story above, we as Christians can advocate lying?

Here is what the Word of God says in I Peter Chapter 2 verses 1-3 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

If you call yourself a Christian, choose today to stand for truth. Let’s follow the standard set for us in the word of God instead of slowly allowing the world’s obscured measuring stick of right and wrong to lead us. Will you stand for truth?