Maplewood Drive

Last night I dreamt I returned to the house on Maplewood Drive, where the old Oak tree spreads its branches over the front yard. In my memory the tree still keeps watch over the children playing in its dappling shade, even though it was uprooted in a terrible storm long ago, The vision of the sun on its golden leaves pierces my heart with gladness. It tells me my life was not lived in vain.

The concrete walkway which still divides the lawn, leads to the glassed-in porch rising above the bricked-in receptacle for flowers. After summer’s end the flowers will begin to die. The leaves will turn to gold and then brown as they fall, waiting for the rake to tease them into mounds for the children to laugh and leap into. Later, when the snow comes, when sunlight glitters on melting icicles hanging from gutters, the children will need new winter coats.

The house fit my vision of an older home, cheap, most likely in need of repair, but in a good location near a school; a used swing set would be found. The school lay just beyond three houses on our side of the street. An actual boon, as I often had to remind a child to watch for traffic before crossing the street.

When we bought the house its white paint was blistered by the sun, peeling randomly. Later, we painted it blue. Foreverafter, It would be called “the blue house” in a term of affection, even after it had been painted gray.

Maplewood was many things, to the children and to me. Also, in a different sense, to their father. You may later wonder why he’s left out of these passages—the reason being simple; his involvement with us was due to an act of generosity on his part, which, although bringing him gifts he hadn’t anticipated, derailed him from the life he’d sought.

When I told him of a time I’d felt downhearted but reminded myself of why I should be joyful, saying how it brought back my joy, driving the darkness away, he was shocked. “You manipulate yourself!” he exclaimed.

A brilliant man, he felt no need to monitor himself. Self-monitoring involves the ability to monitor and regulate emotions and behaviors in response to social environments and situations, being aware of your behavior and the impact it has on others.

Gratefully, I was able to cooperate with fate by modifying my lot so that today I rejoice in my memories of Maplewood Drive, knowing it was all worthwhile.  

The Bully Within

Do you often find yourself being attacked by a bully? I don’t mean the one at the office or the obnoxious one sent by the government to harass you. This bully waits inside you, usually until night when you’re in bed trying to sleep. He sneaks in with memories of your past trangressions (especially the embarrassing ones) using them to shame you. with. You try to chase him away but it doesn’t work. Your face grows warm, becomes buried beneath the covers.

Once this bully has your attention, it’s hard to get rid of him. “There’s nothing I can do about that now,” you say. “It was a stupid thing I did (or said). I suffered because of it.”  Or “It was an accident. I didn’t know a piece of toilet paper was stuck to my skirt. You should’ve told me instead of snickering to each other about it and pretending you didn’t see it,” Etc, etc. The things this bully has collected to shame you with knows no end. What do you do?

If a friend were to confide one of these incidents to you how would you respond? Would you feel compassion for your friend, assuring him or her that we all make mistakes and it was nothing to be ashamed of? How come it’s harder to express compassion for ourselves? Everybody needs support in healing and growth, so why shouldn’t it come from inside us?  You need to be a friend to yourself, getting rid of the bully who is set on shaming you.

The inner bully is a by-product of the lack of self-compassion. We struggle with shame and self-doubt until we are able to bridge the difference between how we treat our friends and how we treat ourselves. So kick your bully out in an act of compassion for the person you’ve become.

My Words

Do you hear it on the wind? Shhh? A whisper asking you to be quiet. So you can hear the voice of God? I believe He speaks to us always, through every thought, every feeling, every vision our eyes can see. When we learn to listen.

I have discovered that for most of my life I’ve been on a search for words; words to say just what I feel, just what I think or believe, what I mean. Yet words continue to elude me. Then recently I remembered a day when my son was four, before he entered kindergarten. He had repeated swear words he’d heard his father say. “Please,” I had pleaded with my husband “do not use those words in front of the children or they’ll repeat them.”

But I also told my son: “Those are Daddy’s words’ and you aren’t allowed to say them.” At first he listened to me but then he started kindergarten. One day when he came home from school he had learned new words, bathroom words! “Now those,” he said, “are MY words!” I was dumbfounded, hoping if I didn’t make a fuss he would outgrow the need to use them.

But it seems strange to me that all these years later I’m finally aware that the strongest need in my life, has always been to find the words with which to express my thoughts and feelings. Words to say just how I feel, to say how the sky appears to me just before a thunder-storm, as it fills with dark boiling clouds or calmly permits the Sun to shine through. For all my life I’ve been on a search for words.

I have a vision of Truth waiting for me on the peak of a mountain with many paths leading to it, aware my path is only one of many

HANGED MAN HOLLOW

Hanged Man Hollow By Amanda Nell Adams

My new book (with the correct title restored) is now on Kindle in the digital version. My daughter Teresa, who created the cover, is now creating one for the printed version, which will be available soon.💖

December 23, 2020: The print version of this novel is now available on Amazon.💝

This story is a labor of love begun long ago. For a while I called it “Calliput Mountain”. The story first came to me in an inspired writing about a young White girl who was kidnapped by a Cherokee Indian brave and bore his child on the ancestral mountain. The mountain was named for her after she died in childbirth at age fifteen. Her spirit waits for a seventh great granddaughter to come home, one named for her, whose soul also hears the song of the mountain. But the Callie who returns must recall what she once knew, but left behind, before she can remember the song.

Memory From Good Old Days

Once, when I was a young girl at the age of nine, I dreamed I wrote a book. When I saw the title on the cover with my name beneath it, I was amazed! For days afterwards I would try to remember the title, but couldn’t. Although the dream had planted the idea in my mind I told nobody about it. I believed it was foolish to even think I could do such a thing. Others would shame me if they knew of my conceit, that I even dared to dream I had written a book! Who was I to think I could write something others would want to read?

Forward thirteen years to age twenty-two. I had recently married and was also expecting my first child. I confided in my new husband, telling him I’d always wanted to write (the first time I’d ever dared to tell anyone!). “Then why aren’t you writing?” he said, as if what I’d said was not outrageously ridiculous! Duh! Don’t ask me why I didn’t know that if I wanted to write I should be writing! Perhaps it was the result of an inferiority complex. But after that I began taking pen to paper. When I later read what I’d written I blushed with embarrassment. The writing was full of cliches. As much as I had read, and I’d always been an avid reader, I knew too many cliches meant poor writing.

Forward to age thirty-three, the mother of four young children, all in school. I dared to enroll in a writer’s workshop. We had this wonderful teacher who had us put our writing on a large blackboard and the class would critique what we’d written. Thankfully, sharing our writing with the class was not required. Perhaps Mr. Young (bless his heart!) knew I was very insecure about my writing and did not draw attention to me or pressure me. I remember thinking one evening that my writing was just as good as some of the other writings on the board and I began posting mine.

That’s how my first written piece (besides all the ones I’d rejected and thrown away, of course) was written. Mr. Young told me it was publishable and to send the mss to Good Old Days magazine, a nostalgic publication. My piece was called “The Log Train,” a short story about my siblings and I watching for the log train to come out of the hollow where we lived in the Kentucky Mountains, how we played in the meadow beside the old tracks and called “Log Train’s Coming” when we heard the screeching of the iron wheels on the metal tracks. It was during a glorious yet short time in our young lives after our dad had died leaving a widow and eight children, the older children caring for and providing for the younger ones, my baby brother age six and me age eight.

March 1973 Issue

I cannot tell you how that short piece of writing, taking up only one page in the magazine, changed my life. No, I didn’t become a “writer”, so to speak, except for a few pieces here and there and finally a family book in 2006 called “Stories of a Kentucky Mountain Family As Told by Two Sisters and a Brother,” in which I also included many of my eldest brother and only sister’s writings.

Back to the day I received two copies of the March 1973 edition of the magazine: I hadn’t heard back about my submission until the day I received the copies. My little story was on page 11 (my birth path number in numerology). I looked at the printed page in wonder (I later received a check for $9.00). What it did for my self-esteem was unimaginable. As if it confirmed to me that I was still alive. And I still marvel at the change it made in my life, which is too much to go into here. But the latest thing that’s happened regarding the outcome of the story of The Log Train may be hard to believe. Although I saved the magazine for a while, during several moves and interruptions it disappeared. I had lost track and forgotten how important it had once been in my life.

Click image to read the story

This July (2019) 4th my daughter Teresa, her husband and two of my grandchildren went to Des Moines to celebrate the 4th with my son-in-law’s family. On the way home they stopped at a place called Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Altoona, Iowa, and were browsing. They came across some Good Old Days magazines and Teresa called me to find out what year my little story The Log Train was published in the magazine. I can’t believe it took me awhile to remember (I’m getting old so I had to dig deep!) but I finally timed it because I suddenly remembered that when I began studying Astrology I learned I’d had a progressed New Moon that began the very same month the story appeared in the magazine, which was March, 1973.

Teresa learned someone on eBay had the Good Old Days magazines for that year. She bought them for me. I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to hold the copy with my story in my hands. I hadn’t realized fully until now how such a “small” thing (in many ways) had changed my life for the better. It’s also amazing that Teresa, who was only nine years old that year remembered that pivotal time and that she sensed how important it was to me. I am blessed in so many ways.