Table of Contents
MEET THE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Bernetta Thorne-Williams is the author of several romance novels including From Dysfunction to Love, Forever Love, POOF, Etched Upon My Heart, and others. She credits her travels with her amazing husband, of over thirty years, as the inspiration behind her stories of enduring love. Bernetta has displayed her writing talents in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Beach Lover’s Soul, and Chicken Soup for the African American Women’s Soul. She is currently one of the moderators for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Facebook group which hosts inspirational content from writers and positive enthusiasts from around the world. Looking for a romantic read? Visit her author’s page: Amazon.com: Bernetta Thorne-Williams: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
Jane Rhoe is retired with most of her professional experience in health services management. She has worked as a consultant with various hospitals, state governments, and other health-related organizations. Jane enjoys traveling. Her happy places include the beach and the mountains. Her other interest includes volunteering with community organizations and boards. Jane is most passionate about her growth as a follower of Christ. She is the survivor of a painful divorce and is healing one day at a time. Jane is proud of the strength and independence that she has cultivated during this journey. Jane is a native North Carolinian. Drop Jane a note here
Jacqueline Allen is a believer of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She is a wife, a mother of a blended family of six children. She retired after thirty-eight years of civil service. She enjoys hanging out in the mountains, loves the beach, in fact, vacations with family, and often with friends has brought much joy throughout her life. Jacqueline is a person who serves and has modeled good examples of giving and sharing with those in need. Some thirty years ago, after personal hardships and triumphs in her own life, she began to organize clothing donations for women in shelters, joined a homeless ministry, and formed a group called “Women I Know.” To this day, Women I Know convey to homeless women that they too are beautiful. Women I Know, for which is her “Heart” work, sponsors beautiful gift bags filled with Victoria Secret and Bath & Body Works girlie items for homeless women who live on the streets and in shelters in the DC area. After 35 years of marriage, she is now balancing life, and care giving for her husband. Drop Jacqueline a note here
We are actively seeking articles of 800 words for our July newsletter. Please submit articles along with your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15.
Additionally, are you an author? We would be happy to promote your book in our next newsletter. Send a link to your book to the email listed above and we will review it for inclusion in our next newsletter.
PARENTING AN ADULT CHILD – A TIGHTROPE JOURNEY
Parenting an adult child(ren) is like walking a tightrope and knowing there are landmines beneath waiting to detonate should you inevitably slip and fall. As the parents of two adult children, my husband and I have witnessed the triumphs and failures associated with various activities, little league games, recitals, tournaments, and academic endeavors. We understand their strengths and have assisted them with mastering their areas of weakness since they took their first breaths. To say we can determine by their body posture, tone of voice or lack of eye contact when something is troubling them is an understatement.
Their response of “nothing” when asked the question, “what’s wrong?” is a ludicrous response to parents who know them almost as well as they know themselves. Parents, (as a former social worker, I must preface that statement with ‘good’ because I have witnessed firsthand the chaos which ensues when unprepared and apathetic people become parents), no matter their age or the age of their offspring want the best for their child(ren).
How do we provide guidance and support when our child(ren) has developmentally crossed over into adulthood? Some parents assume the role of a friend, while other parents assume the role of mentor and guidance counselor which strikingly resembles their previous roles. Psychologists agree that early adulthood begins at age 20 and spans the years to age 40. However, a study by Jeffrey Arnett of Clark University published in the Oxford University Press in 2015 identified a new demographic shift from the late teens through the mid-twenties as “emerging adulthood”. This trend allows for delays with completing college, obtaining stable employment, and living independently without relying upon parents for financial stability. Although, Arnett only attributes this to roughly 18 percent of the late teens to mid-twenties demographics residing in developed nations such as the Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, and Western Europe. The same group of demographics living in developing nations are more likely to complete secondary education, earn advanced degrees and marry in their early twenties.
The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020 furthered hindered the progress of those seeking to earn degrees and establish their independence by leaving the safety of their parent’s home. Dorm rooms, campus, restaurants, retail stores and offices became unsafe as the virus spread. The virus caused staggering unemployed rate, thus forcing adult children to return home to live with their parents, with many of them remaining home.
Returning to the parental nest, and for some never leaving the nest, brings us full circle to our original question, how do parents, parent their adult child(ren)? Carefully! Just because our child(ren) is chronologically an adult, it does not diminish our role in their lives. Let us face it, we are the same number of years older today as we were the day they were born. If we are honest, we will admit that some of our biggest mistakes and blunders occurred while in our twenties. Our adult child(ren) needs to see us as human with all the flaws of living an imperfect life. No need to pretend to be pious or perfect. We survived and thrived because of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Nonetheless, grounds rules must be established, maintained, and followed.
We can offer guidance, provide words of wisdom, and pray we have established a bond of trust through their formative years which will allow them to hear our voices no matter the craziness going on within their world and the other voices clamoring for their attention.
We can offer a shoulder to lean on, financial assistance (limited), even a place to stay (also limited); however, at the end of the day we must remind ourselves it is their journey. Complete with all the difficulties of professional angst, heartbreak, and betrayal. Just as with their childhood, we cannot spare them from pain, but we can be there to help pick up the pieces. Our adult child(ren) will always need the security of knowing their parent(s) are there, just as we needed the assurance that our parent(s) were nearby.
Our privilege is to walk with them for as long as God allows, assisting them in an ever-changing world. Sometimes help will take the form of quiet strength and reassurances and at other times, that help may require more directness and guidance. Hence, the tightrope of knowing when to push and when to step back. Our child(ren) will never fully understand the level of our commitment until they branch out and begin families of their own. One of my favorite quotes, credited to Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, sums up parenting, no matter the age of our child(ren) and states: “We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.”
Written by Bernetta Thorne-Williams
THE AUTHOR’S WORD
THE DEATH OF A MARRIAGE – Part I
27 May 1972
19 July 2019
The death of our 47-year marriage came years before it rotted away and what remained was a stench too awful to bear, never mind ignore.
My former husband (aka MFH), according to the woman who called, was the father of her newborn baby boy. We had not been married two months! I felt disbelief, shock, hurt, anger, and betrayal. Was she a scorned lover attempting to destroy our marriage or was she telling the awful truth? I angrily confronted him. He denied fathering the child but admitted to a relationship prior to our marriage. With lingering doubt, I chose to believe him. If I blew the lid off Pandora’s Box my marriage would disintegrate with it. Embarrassing!
I would like to say the beginning of our courtship was remarkable. Truthfully, it was like many others, dating and “falling in love” during senior high school. Afterwards, I attended college and MFH joined the military.
As an only child, he was discharged after two years via a special military exemption. I was a sophomore. MFH phoned to tell me about his upcoming discharge and during that conversation, he asked me to marry him. I accepted his telephone proposal thinking we would wait until I finished college. He was adamant we marry at the end of my sophomore year. According to the plan he laid out for us, he would secure a job so we could immediately move to Brooklyn. When I mentioned college, he said I could finish in New York. Little did I realize this was the beginning of his quest to dominate our marriage, and by extension, control me.
My family’s adamant opposition was my age. Mama and I were extraordinarily close. Her concerns should have automatically registered warning bells. I gave my darling sweet Mama an ultimatum, support my upcoming marriage, or I would never speak to her again! I was determined to marry MFH regardless. I never imagined I would inflict that kind of pain on her. Hurt and disbelief were evident in her soulful wise eyes. I still regret that brashness. Several days later, she wished us the best. I would learn years later, after her death, that her capitulating was not the result of her believing in our union. Always putting me first, Mama surrendered to keep the doors of communications open. My stubbornness prevented my leaning into her amazing strength and understanding where my marriage was concerned.
On 27 May 1972, my family shed plenteous joyless tears. My Mama wailed as if she were attending my funeral. My brothers cried.
MFH’s dad and several family members came. His mother did not.
“I do,” began our slow and painful walk towards the demise of our marriage. I have reflected on that day throughout my life’s journey. I asked myself a million times, how I missed warning signs that were clear to others? My answer, the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous lies of all.
We started off wrong. I was making all the sacrifices. I had not found a job or started school. I sat in that dingy little apartment all day, Monday through Friday while he worked, and Saturday errands with his mother. After complaining and arguing, I stewed. Fueling the fire, Sunday dinner with her was expected. I angrily told him without me, “partying” and getting home at 4 a.m. was not okay. During one of our many arguments, grinning, he put his hands around my throat! I was terrified and thought he was unhinged! I fought him with all my might. When he let me go, I screamed that he was crazy, and if he ever touched me again, I would not only leave him, but tell my brothers! He said he was not going to hurt me; he never put his hands on me again.
After three months, I left MFH under the guise of visiting Mama. After two weeks, she asked when I was going home. I told her I was not. Marriage was awful and we argued all the time. She asked if he had ever hit me and if he was providing for me. My answers were no and yes, respectively. She told me to pack my bags and go back. My Mama said that to me! Woe that hurt – both of us!
The heartbeat of a successful marriage depends upon the couple’s commitment. One person cannot save a marriage. I tried to singlehandedly save our marriage when many close to me saw warning signs. Was I too young and naïve to see those signs? The kindest thing that I could have done for myself was to pour dirt on the open grave of our marriage and pronounce it dead within the first year. But I persisted along a determinant path that was better left untraveled.
Written by Jane Rhoe
Stay tuned for Part II of Death of a Marriage in our July Newsletter.
NEW BOOK RELEASE
Gail Evans does not believe in a forever love because she witnessed firsthand the devastation that a relationship gone awry could cause for all those concerned. At the age of ten, she witnessed her dad engaging in a flirtatious encounter with someone who was not her mother. Once she divulged that information to her mother, it was the beginning of the end for their family of four. That experience taught her that love might exist for the lucky few, but for most people the thought of a lasting love was best left to fairytales.
When her best friend got engaged after a whirlwind romance of one week, she was cautiously optimistic for her friend. Katharine believed in lasting relationships because she had amazing parents as role models. Despite her excitement for her friend, she remained a pessimist when it came to her own love life. Therefore, when she met Thomas, Gail assumed the mild attraction was no more than an anomaly. Afterall, she was the maid-of-honor and best friend, and he was the best man and brother of the groom to be. Her assumption began to shift once they were thrusted together for the holidays.
Gail’s attraction to Thomas combined with his assertion that her past was preventing her from living in the present, forced her to revisit her painful childhood. A childhood she would soon discover shrouded by secrets and lies. Would learning the truth about her parent’s failed marriage free her from her self-imposed prison of isolation and mistrust? Could forgiving her dad and herself lead to the healing she needed to put her past assumptions in the rearview mirror so that she could enjoy the journey before her with an amazing man? Could the girl who grew up in a dysfunctional family find a forever love?
BECOMING A CAREGIVER EMBRACING MY NEW REALITY WITH LOVE & GRACE- PART 1
When I was asked to author an article on Caregiving, I thought, I am not an expert! Afterall, how do you convey to others what it is like to be a caregiver? There is a wealth of information already available which covers a broad base of useful tips. What I can offer to this ongoing dialogue is honestly, from my perceptive as a caregiver.
Each day, I tell myself that I do this for the love of God, my husband, and my family. Caregiving is a journey I am finding that should not be traveled alone. It is okay and necessary to ask for help! Shout it from the rooftop, if necessary. You will need all the help and support you can get. There is no shame in asking for assistance. In fact, seeking helping is one of the kindest things you can do for the person you are providing care for and yourself. You can search online for Caregiving Support Groups and Organizations in your area. And you should communicate with other family members regarding the loved one needing care. Talk to a friend. Listening ears and hearts are great to vent to but listening ears and hearts that have already walked a mile or two in your shoes can offer much more than an empathetic ear and a sympathetic heart. An experienced caregiver can share from a point of personal experience, strength, and wisdom. Mutual trust will form in this area that will allow transparency, and gradually unfiltered honest without the feeling of guilt that is often associated with caregiving. Now those suggestions are the easy ones, even practical.
Here is the difficult advice, Love on Yourself! Take care of Yourself! Visualize what taking care of “Yourself” looks like as you take care of your loved one and do it. Can you honestly take care of yourself if you are not honest with yourself? Try this, go sit in front of a mirror. See your eyes looking back at you. That is the person you want truth time with. You want it with you!
Each caregiver’s journey is unique. What works for you, may not work for me. And then there is this, the old cliché’ which states, “It’s not for everyone!” Well, caregiving is not for everyone. And that is Okay! There may be other ways that you can contribute support. Do a daily assessment of where you are and be painfully honest about yourself and your circumstances.
A recent article by the Mayo Clinic state “Caregiving can have many rewards. For most caregivers, being there when a loved one needs you is a core value and something you wish to provide. But a shift in roles and emotions is almost certain. It is natural to feel angry, frustrated, exhausted, alone, or sad. Caregiver stress — the emotional and physical stress of caregiving — is common.”
Remember, no matter how much we may wish to provide care for our loved ones, we cannot pour from an empty cup. Hence, providing self-care is critical to our daily and lifelong routine.
My Story …
Just a few years ago, my husband and I had dinner out. The last of six children was leaving the nest to step into his chosen profession and travel the world. We were so happy. “It’s our time now,” we often said. We are empty nesters. Freedom! Thinking back, I wonder how we found the time or had the financial resources to dine out (date night) while providing a home, chauffeur service to various activities, and meals for six children? Yet somehow, we did. As we looked across the table at one another, it was surreal, like a rite of passage. As we looked at the server eager to take our order, we smiled as we stated, “Steak Please!”
Our new reality included the kitchen stove rarely being turned on. We hung up the aprons and dish towels. We ate out all the time, and wherever our wallet said we could eat, there we dined. We loved dinner theaters, going out to local shows, enjoying a meal at little quaint places that we had never dined before. During our child rearing years, we indulged in weekend get aways, couple retreats, adult socials because we understood that life is all about the journey. But now we could expand, and we wasted no time doing so. Fortunately for us, although we did not know it at the time, we did not have any time to waste. Which is the point that I am making, we did not know what the future would hold. We had no idea that in just a few short years, our way of life would change forever.
Written by Jacqueline Allen
Stay tuned for Part II of Becoming A Caregiver – Embracing My New Reality With Love & Grace in our July Newsletter.
TEN INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES WHICH FOCUS ON MIND, BODY & SPIRIT
- “Don’t settle for a relationship that won’t let you be yourself,” by Oprah Winfrey.
- “There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on,” by Leo Christopher.
- “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within,” by Dr. Maya Angelou.
- “Sometimes we let life guide us, and other times we take life by the horns. But one thing is for sure: no matter how organized we are, or how well we plan, we can always expect the unexpected,” by Brandon Jenner.
- “Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you,” by Roy T. Bennett.
- “For every reason it’s not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and succeeded,” by Jack Canfield.
- “Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings,” by Ralph Blum.
- “There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself,” by Andrew Carnegie.
- “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door,” by Coco Chanel.
- “You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure,” by Chadwick Boseman.
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