Friday, November 7, 2014

Needs Surpass the Past

In my job, there seems days that it is all hustle and bustle and little time for just me then there are "lulls" where you find things to do to keep you busy.  Yesterday, I had a "lull" time and since I was so close - I went to see my folks.  I had to go to their county to work a little on a case - and could make my phone calls from their kitchen.

When I got there, there was the usual greetings.  I sat down on the little love seat - next to my mom's chair.  I put my hand on the arm of her chair.  She put her hand over mine and asked, "Who are you?"  I could have said anything, instead, I said, "I'm LinMarie."  She responded with closed eyes. Her lips trembled. They were swollen.  The caregiver had put some vaseline on them.   She didn't look well.  She has full blown Alzheimer's.

The last few years, I have come to grips with my youth.  The things I know that vividly took place, the actions or lack there of at times that I know were real, the feelings of not being wanted, the fears of a child, the things that I know were cruelty.  When I saw her at my nephew's graduation, none of that mattered any more.

I felt bad that I haven't been there for her; that I've missed out on family events.  I no longer hate what happened to me.  In fact, if not for my past and the way I was treated - I wouldn't be as good at my job as I am, I don't think.

I saw a frail, helpless person - who used to be an active gardener, sewer, embroiderer, quilter, mother, caregiver.  If anyone needed her - she was there.  She needs now, and her siblings do not come.  "We want to remember her as she was."  We all do.  One sibling wanted to "discuss" her with my brother.  I told him, "that's none of her business."

My dad still has her at home.  She has caregivers.  And, she has everything she needs.  She is well taken care of.  It is a sad debilitating disease.

I forgive.  And, I will be there in the end.  If not so much for her, for my dad, my brother and my nephew.  We all will need each other - each for our own reasons.  And, until then, I am going to make sure to get home at least once a week - 2.5 hours isn't around the corner - and perhaps - in her own mind - she will know I am there - and all is well in the end.
The End of 2012

It seems forever since I wrote on this blog.  Shame on me - right?  So many things seemed to have happened this year - some good - some not so good.

I was blessed to be able to publish two children's books this year.  The Four Little Kittens and Annabelle's Vacation With Grandma Hayley.  The third book is at publisher's now, Timmy Goes To The Farm.  Next year I am really wanting to get out some of my true crime books.  These are based on my cases and those that actually went to trial.  With each book (children's or true crime), there is an original quilt pattern in the back.  Many times I "doodle" in court.  My "doodles" become quilts.

I was also blessed to license Larry Linscombe to my agents in the PI business.  His expertise and ability to make up brochures and do computer work - well - I'm blessed and thankful.

The year has been full of ups and downs.  About the time I would get started on working on the Langham House, something would happen to take me from the work.  I was fortunate to be on the Historical Landmark Commission of Beaumont, Texas.  I love seeing the projects come to life and I love being able to help preserve the history of Beaumont.

There were words from someone who was supposedly my friend - that tore me up for a while.  I was told things about myself - through her eyes - that made me examine who I really am/was.  I came to the conclusion that I like who I am and her words were nothing more than measuring me by her own yardstick.  She later used other classmates by po-mouthing to get money and a hot water heater for him trailer.  That's on her.

I lost a sweet cousin this year to emphysema.  Donny and his brother Wayne were two of my favorite cousins.  Ironies:  I was in Mexico when Donny's wife died, I was there when he died.  Both brothers died at the age of 66.

There have been financial woes as I lost a $3,000/mo income and I've been trying to find a substitute for it.  We are surviving - and will not complain.

It has been another year without seeing my grandson or being a part of his life.  I've asked his mother to go to mediation so that I will finally know WHY I cannot see my grandson.  She refuses to respond.  Mitchell turned 11 today.  Eleven years I have missed out on his laughter, illnesses, good and bad times.  I feel cheated.  I feel my son and his wife are cruel to keep me from him - and I know neither was raised to be cruel.  I continue to pray - because I know that God can take a stone-cold-heart and turn it into kindness.

I have 2 payments left on both of my vehicles!  Thank you Jesus - they are almost paid for!

Someone may ask, why are you sharing your woes with us?  I share, because I know that each of us has heartache and discontent and things just sometimes don't seem to go the way that we had planned.  I want you to know that even though my life isn't going the way I had it planned - I DO KNOW that it is going according to God's will.  I am learning to THANK HIM during the trials because I know he is building me and molding me to something very special and very great.  He is preparing my path for continued success.  He knew me when I was still in my mother's womb.  He knew the path he had for me.  Who am I to argue?

For prayer for us all for 2013, is Lord humble us to be Your servants, Thank you for your goodness and kindness, teach us to be calm in the storms of life, and may we all have a healthy happy and prosperous New Year.  God bless each and everyone of you!  With love, lmg

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Caution - for Young Girls

There are days in which I wish teens and parents would listen to me.  I have many clients who are sex offenders.  They tell me things that "excites" them - simple things that so many think nothing of doing.

The duck lips are one of the top things on the list of things that excites a pervert.  As one of my fellas said, "those lips puckered up just make me want to crawl inside of the screen and kiss her all over." I've tried to tell the young ladies I know - don't post those duck lips on face book.

Photos can be determined when you are home, where your home is or where you are located.  Your face book accounts can be used against you - in years to come - because even if you think it is deleted, it is not.

Wearing low cut, sexy clothes is advertising "I am AVAILABLE" - but available for what?  You are beautiful - God and you both know you are - so why is it so important to show off your body to the world?  Low cut tops that reveal young sturdy voluptuous firm breasts - or shorts so tight that they stick into your crack, or dresses/skirts that go into your crack because you aren't wearing nothing more than a thong for underwear and you are constantly pulling it out of your butt in public, or shorts where the cheeks of your butt hang out or bikinis that leave nothing to the imagination - are all forms of things that excite people - and sadly - many times - the wrong people.

Many start wearing make-up pre-teen.  Red lips - one client says, "the blood red lips excite me as if I had my first kill in hunting."

No, I'm not saying dress a prude, but I am saying a girl/woman can control her surroundings by her attitude, her dress, her demeanor.  A young lady can control what others see on her face book and what others perceive her as.

I also blame parents for being too busy not to watch what their young ladies are doing on face book and what is being posted.  It may be "cute" and may be "the thing" - but it is also opening a pandoras box to trouble - maybe not today - but somewhere down the line.  We live in a very scary world these days.

Parents - you are responsible for your children.  IF, and God forbid, something happens to your child who posts things that are inappropriate for their ages - or chats on line to men/boys about sex - allows them to dress as if she were a grown woman in sexual attire - do not raise holy hell when something happens.  I hold you equally as responsible for the child's well-being and protection against pedophiles as I, and the law, hold the pedophile responsible.  Be an example for them.  Talk to them of the dangers  of life - don't wait until it is too late to talk about "life skills".

"Train up a child in the way in which he shall go and when he is old, he shall not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tea Cakes

I made tea cakes this morning.  For those who don't know this terminology, let me try to explain.  Tea cakes is the "old fashion" name of a sugar cookie only without so much sugar.  They are made with real butter, dropped by a spoon onto a cookie sheet and baked.  Nowadays, bakeries fancy them up with icing and sprinkles.  But, for me, I just as soon have just a plain ol' tea cake.

In making this recipe this morning, I was reminded of some very sweet memories.

My grandmother, Maw, loved making tea cakes.  She always kept something sweet baked "in case someone comes by for coffee".  She would double the recipe so  the batch made a lot.  Her tea cakes were about the size of a saucer that a coffee cup would sit on.  Maw wanted to make sure that one would be sufficient, but yet, you got plenty.

I closed my eyes while sitting at my kitchen table.  I smelled the tea cakes baking.  I could see Maw in her kitchen, with her dress neatly covered with an apron.  She would grin when the first batch came out and offer them to me hot off the tray with a large glass of milk with ice in the glass.  I visually looked into her eyes.  They still twinkled.  Her flawless skin with a little lip stick and rouge, her short gray hair curled around from a recent permanent, the fragrance of dove soap that she used to wash her face - in my mind's eye - everything about her was present.

The buzzing of the alarm to let me know my first batch of tea cakes was ready to be removed from the oven brought me back to reality.

I shared on Facebook a photo of the tea cakes in the oven.  A sweet cousin, Teri, made a comment about the photo.  Her comment brought another memory of Aunt Ellie's tea cakes.

It was Aunt Ellie's tea cake recipe I was using.  I told Teri of a day long ago.  I was about twelve years old.  We, my dad, mom and me, lived in a little town south of Houston called Clute.  I had been driving for some time.  My dad wanted to take his truck to Houston where he would later go on to work after our visit, but yet he wanted to ride with Mom.  I convinced them that I could drive his old 1949 Dodge Pickup truck by myself to Highlands - to Aunt Ellie's.

Neither parent realized I knew the back way to Highlands through the Washburn tunnel.  Heck, we'd gone that way so many times the trip was like a built in road map.  They went the long way around via Loop 610 to IH-10.  I beat them to Aunt Ellie's.  In front of Mom, Dad scolded me for "driving too fast" and not staying with them.  Behind her back, he told me he was proud of me!  I was the daughter of a truck driver!  I learned from the best.

Before Dad & Mom arrived, Aunt Ellie was so surprised that I had driven that "long way up there all by yourself".  She was so thrilled that I was independent.  My arrival, driving by myself, called for a celebration from her!  We made tea cakes.

Aunt Ellie was a fantastic cook.  Everything she made was scrumptious.  There are two,  or maybe a few more, things she cooked which stood out the most to me - tea cakes and her cornbread.  I would take either one cold any day or hour of the week.

It's funny how simply making tea cakes brings back a flood of memories.  It was a nice trip down memory lane today.  It was even nicer to see both of them in my mind's eye - wearing their dresses, with aprons covering the dress, smiling, chatting, making a little girl feel special.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Transmission Woes in Alabama

We really never know when traveling if something may or may not happen to our vehicles.  Coming back from Pigeon Forge, TN - I was  a victim of a transmission going out on my van.

I ended up in the very small town of Fort Deposit, Alabama.  I had no idea where to turn, who to depend on, who would be honest and who would not.  I just knew when the TRANSMISSION HOT IDLE ENGINE light came on - that meant nothing good was about to happen.

I stopped at a Petro (not like the truck stop) convenience/gas store.  I told the owner my plight and asked if I could spend the night in his parking lot.  He was agreeable and accommodating.  A police officer, who evidently everyone that was at the store knew and was chatting with him - came into the lot.  I let him know that we would be spending the night there and he said he would patrol the area at night.  I was a little relieved.

I got a few laughs while sitting there - like the one man who had a fishing rod welded to the back of his tool box with a cow bell dangling from it!  And, the folks trying to catch and feed the ferrel cats.  We marveled at the long hours the store owner puts in without complaining - how kind he was in worrying that we were warm enough - for offering us free coffee.

I asked certain ones through private messages to please pray for our safety, that we would find someone to help us that wouldn't over charge us, who would be fair with us and would be honest with us regarding my van.  I think I already knew it was going to be a replacement of the transmission.

The police officer gave me one name - Randy's Collision.

That night I heard every noise - from the road noise to someone stopping in the parking lot to the cats playing in the trash cans looking for food.

710 am Monday morning, I was on the phone to Randy's.  I spoke to a man named Glen.  He said they opened for 8am.  I was sitting there at 8am.

By this time, I'd posted what my plight was.  I had peace that everything was going to be alright.  I'm so very grateful for my friends who are prayer warriors.  Randy checked the transmission out - said we could run it in 3rd and he felt we'd be okay.  We left.  We didn't get 3 miles down the road and the light came back on.  I called Randy back - he said, turn around and bring it back.

While the transmission was hot, he checked it again.  "Slippage in over drive."  Yes, ma'am you are going to need a transmission.  He was trying to help me out financially with a used transmission.  But I asked for a new one - with a warranty.  He started making phone calls - found one - and said it'd be delivered to him on Wednesday morning.

Jess and me walked around the city - one church's architecture  was phenomenal.  I took lots of photos. There was no grocery store in town.  One cafe - closed on Sundays and Mondays.  One bank.  One post office.  2 gas stations.  But the town brought a calm feeling to me.  I could live in this town.

I had to get Jess back to Texas.  I got him a Super Dog (aka Greyhound) bus ride home.  Randy made arrangements to get Jess 40 miles back to Montgomery, Alabama.   They took me to a hotel 10 miles away, in Greenville, Alabama.

This morning I've asked myself, "what did you learn?"  I've learned to trust God even more in opening doors with perfect strangers.  I've learned to continue to believe in the power of prayer.   I've had a peace about this entire situation.  I didn't rant, nor rave.  I'm grateful I have the funds to be able to handle things the way I have.  I'm glad for the down time to get some PI work done, some billing done, and hopefully do some sewing.

I told Randy right up front, "I don't know what your church affiliation is, but this morning I'm holding to the scripture of Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper and not to harm you"  He smiled real big - and said - "Ma'am if I can't help you I am surely not going to hurt you."  And, Randy has lived up to that promise.

Randy told me,  "Most women would be freaking out if that happened to them on the road."  I've been calm through it all.  And, I know that is strictly through my faith, strength from God and my favorite scripture "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

I think in life, that's all we can ask of each other - to help and not to hurt.  True, I would love to be home right now.  But, evidently God had another plan for me.  Jess made it safely into Texas early this morning.  He is safe at home.  Our CompoundQueen greeted him with her "eeks" and adorned him with lots of affection, he said.  I didn't sleep well, concerned for his safety - now, I can sleep, rest, sew, whatever I need to do.  I suppose that's the "caring" inside of me.

I'm going to make the most of today - and tomorrow - or whatever time is needed to get me back on the road - safely - and heading home.  And, I'm not going to fret over what I think should be happening! God brought me to it - and He is seeing me through it all.

Give God your issues - your cares - your woes - HE IS THE ONLY ONE - who can see you through the journey.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hurricane Rita - 8 years Ago

Hurricane Rita hit 8 years ago. Me, Reggie Johnson, and Jesse Gomez rode the storm out. We watched about 130am our neighbor's houses burning to the ground - the wind was so strong the rain was laying and falling horizontally. We could hear the crashing sounds of, what we later learned was trees falling all around. The metal roof from the old Carroll Wallace Funeral Home blew our way - damaging our store, causing rain to come in and damage everything in it.  My van windows had been blown out and water was about 5" thick inside - soaking the carpeting and seats.  We had siding damages, roof damages, fences down - in the break of the dawn - I could see total devastation. I was overwhelmed. I rounded the corner of Park and Craig - I saw the American Flag still waving at the VFW hall down the street - seeing the flag - brought hope. The wind was no more.  It felt as if there wasn't an ounce of air to breathe.  Hurricane Rita had sucked it all out, it felt.  

I didn't know which foot to put in front of the other. Friends called - friends and family came bringing supplies and food. I fed 14 people in this neighborhood 3 meals a day for 10 days before Red Cross came in. I was furious that the family of a 90 year old who lived next door.  They left her here to ride out the storm, alone.  She was so afraid the next morning when she came out - her lips were white.  We took her in. Her family came back 7 days later. 
We slept on the concrete under the patio covering at night with mosquitos swarming us  - just trying to stay cool.   

I will forever be grateful to Jerry & Kathy Wolford, as well as their friend who came with a dozer and worked with us for almost a week - cleaning up,  packing up,  and trying to save what they could. Depression set in. It has taken a long time to overcome the losses - and to make repairs - and, still, not all of the repairs are made. 

I'm not alone in the "not all repairs are made" - I still hear people trying to recoup and repair. Many houses and businesses were torn down by the City after this. The City of Beaumont, does not make proper notifications when they are going to tear down your properties. I had 3 that the city tore down - without my knowledge - 2 - not a thing wrong. The City was given FEMA Grant money - but yet, wants to charge folks for the demolitions. Some of the demolitions cost more than the value of the property. Many of these homes could have been repaired. The young lady who suggests these tear downs - has no degree in architecture - but yet - it's all approved. Hurricane Rita was costly - in many ways for many people. 

Yet, we have all survived. We are alive, material things can be replaced - maybe not all of them - but we are at least alive to tell the story.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Today we are celebrating the life of my friend, Nishie Holliday Thomas.  I am not good with good-byes.  I feel the loss deep in my heart. 

Nishie has been sick for some time now.  Her death is a healing – for her.  Her life and our friendship – has been a healing for me.

When I first met Nishie – I was coming off of a really bad divorce.  I had just bought my house.  I was alone.  I didn’t feel even good about myself.

Nishie’s radiant smile warmed my heart.  And, over the years, the friendship grew.

One time I was having a FIT trying to put a block together.  I had ripped it so many times.  I finally took all the pieces to Nishie and asked for help.

She looked at the pieces, then at me and back at the pieces.  She said, “Check it out.”  I looked.  I didn’t see what she was talking about. 

Nishie said, “When the pieces are right side up, they always fit.” 

That simple line has played over in my head since Nishie died.  And, this morning it hits me – When the pieces in our lives are always right side up – God’s plan for our lives fits perfectly. 

Even in death, my friend still teaches me.  I’m so grateful she got her wings – and I hope she sang at the top of her lungs all the way to Heaven.  I’m gonna miss you, girlfriend.  And, I will never stop loving you.