On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 17, 2018:

HOPE

I first wrote about For the Silent’s Nightwalk for Hope in May of 2015. Here is an excerpt from my original post:

Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, but did you know that, according to a story released by KLTV on August 24, 2013, a form of slavery called human trafficking is a growing problem – not in Africa or Asia or New York, but in East Texas. Human trafficking is defined as “the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.” Traffickers often target at-risk young people, sometimes twelve years old and younger, in order to sell their bodies for cash. A Tyler expert was quoted by KLTV as saying that, in Smith County, 33% of girls and 17% of boys will be sexually abused, some of them at the hand of traffickers, before the age of eighteen.

For the Silent is a non-profit organization based in Tyler and dedicated to bringing “hope to teens silenced by sex trafficking and exploitation in the United States through prevention, intervention and community mobilization programs.” Their second annual Nightwalk for Hope was scheduled for April 24 [2015], but due to stormy weather, it was rescheduled for May 8. The event featured a two-mile walk through Rose Rudman Park with music and other activities planned at the finish line. During the walk, each participant would carry a lantern to symbolize hope and freedom for those silenced by human trafficking.

As it turned out, we didn’t walk that year. The skies had looked threatening all evening, and as we were checking in and picking up our event t-shirts, the heavens opened up. Everyone ran for cover to see if the rain would pass quickly, but instead, it worsened and added huge bolts of lightning followed by deafening claps of thunder. Metal framed canopies, strings of electric lights, and electrical music equipment seemed likely targets for the weather, so the event was cancelled. We had ridden to Tyler with Kent and Stella – Spike’s people – so Kent ran for the truck and David ran to drop our money in the donation box while Stella and I sought shelter under a covered picnic area.

Somehow, David and I missed the Walk the next two years, but a few weeks ago when Kent mentioned that it was coming up on April 14, I pre-registered on-line, and the four of us made plans to “double date” again. By Friday, the weather was predicted to be acceptable if not comfortable. Fifty degrees and windy with temperatures dropping after sundown is enough to make old bones want to stay inside – but we believe in the cause, so we pulled out long underwear, hoodies, gloves, and jackets, and piled into the truck.

The event had changed some since the last time David and I were there. This year people bounce housesbegan to gather at 5:30 pm, and by the time we arrived at 7:00, we had to park much further away than we did in 2013. We had quite a warm-up stroll before the Nightwalk began. There were also several bounce houses that I didn’t remember from before, and music that had a great beat but is definitely not played on “60s on 6.” Instead of a small concession stand selling tacos, nachos, and soda, there were four food trucks selling gourmet coffee and ice cream sandwiches, all things cheese, and a large selection of Tex-Mex. There was still a donation box, but there was also a raffle for a bicycle that had been donated. We still received an event shirt, but there were other t-shirt, tote bags, and souvenirs for sale. I hope that everyone sold out since the proceeds went to For the Silent.

David and I had eaten dinner at home, so while Kent and Stella stood in line at the food trucks, we watched people. All generations were represented, from babies in strollers to couples who looked older than we think we look. Some people were conservatively dressed, and others sported wild hair colors and haircuts. Some shared their dinner with their four-legged family members and others danced, but everyone smiled and laughed. And when the sun went down, we all gathered on the walking path for the same purpose.

Nightwalk2Before we set off, we were each given a battery-powered lantern but told not turn them on yet. Then, Kenny Rigsby, Founder and Executive Director of For the Silent took the microphone for a few minutes. He thanked us all for coming and told of the progress that is being made – the victims who are seeking help and the few brave ones who are testifying against their traffickers, the prevention programs that are growing, the education that is taking place in the community. Finally, it was time, and as hundreds of lanterns were turned one, he shouted, “There is hope in the darkness.”

Maybe you missed this year’s Nightwalk, but there will be another one next year. As longFor the silent as there are organizations like For the Silent, there will always be hope. If you would like to learn more about For the Silent and how you can donate or get involved, go to www.ForTheSilent.org or call 903-747-8128.

Blessings,

Linda

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Published by the Rains County Leader on April 10, 2018:

FriendshipFriendship is not easily defined. The dictionary says a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, but friendship is more than that. During the ten years when I was single again, I met Mary one night at choir practice. Before the night was over, we had discovered that we were both raised in small towns in west Texas, we were both single after twenty-three years of marriage, and we both had one child. We had so much in common that we sometimes wondered if I had been switched at birth with her twin sister. We were and still are fast friends. Friendships are often based on common grounds, but sometimes it takes some investigation to discover those grounds.

Ten years ago I read a book titled Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Same kind of different as meDenver Moore. It’s not unusual for two friends to write a book together, but Ron was a millionaire art dealer, and Denver was a former victim of modern-day slavery who escaped only to end up living on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth. Their common ground was Deborah, Ron’s wife whose passion was helping the homeless, and their heart-warming story is well worth reading. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 3, 2018:

Wedding

My brother, Dr. Jim Robinson, performed the ceremony. His wife JoLynn was our photographer.

This weekend was a very special one for David and me. Not only did we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary. We didn’t go out on Saturday because David felt like he was finally coming down with the various upper respiratory ailments I’ve been dealing with for the last two months. Instead, we had a nice dinner at home and bored our Facebook friends with wedding pictures and a Facebook-created video.

People were very kind, though, responding to our photographic memories with lots of “likes” and comments. Most of the comments were simple anniversary wishes, but a few went further. Several mentioned what a cute couple we are, and one said we looked like we were out to have a lot of fun. The most interesting comments, though, were the two that mentioned how evident my happiness was. One said that I “glowed,” and Connie, my photographer friend, made some very interesting observations about the differing attitudes of the bride and groom. Read the rest of this entry »

Visit AlzAuthors.com where I have been invited to share my thoughts on writing, caregiving, and Alzheimer’s.

AlzAuthors

The Accidental Author

by Linda Brendle

My goal in life was not to become a writer. I enjoyed writing when I was younger, and I toyed with the idea of making a career of it until I received my first negative review from an English teacher. I don’t take criticism very well, and I took her comments personally. Years later, though, after the sting of her rejection had faded, and especially when I became a caregiver, the need to express myself resurfaced.

Becoming a caregiver was not one of my ambitions either. When I was in the seventh grade and was asked to write an essay on “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up,” my choice of careers was not caring for my aging parents. However, when a loved one has a need, you step in to help. Then, whether by small increments as the need progresses, or…

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Published in the Rains County Leader on March 27, 2018:

cadbury bunnyLike any other holiday, there are tell-tale signs that Easter is almost here. The earliest ones are commercial – the Cadbury Bunny begins his annual television campaign, and the stores have special shelves dedicated to all things egg related. The shop windows change their displays from boots and sweaters to sandals and flowered dresses with graceful lines, and spiral cut hams and asparagus are on sale in the weekly grocery ads.

There are literal signs, too, as churches post notices and run newspaper ads announcing Easter egg hunts, Good Friday Services, and Sunrise Services. The flowers inside the churches are changed from Winter’s subtle colors to the brilliant hues of Spring, and the sanctuary banners depict the crucifixion and the empty tomb. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 20, 2018:

Cat DoorAnyone who has pets, especially curious cats, knows that these animals have a thing about closed doors. They have a strong desire to be on the side of the door where they’re not. It’s the pet version of “The Grass Is Always Greener” – that thing that causes cows and horses to stretch their necks between strands of barbed wire to try and reach one scrawny dandelion while standing in a patch of lush green clover. It was also probably the inspiration behind the invention of the pet door that so many of us have installed in our homes. Read the rest of this entry »

Wild Revelations Cover

About the book:

After ten years of being away from her hometown, Cary returns to find a paralyzed father, dead cattle, legal problems, mustangs and guns.

My review:

Wild Revelations is the story of Cary, a young urban professional, who returns to her roots on a Colorado ranch to check on her father who has suffered a paralyzing stroke under somewhat mysterious circumstances. The author weaves an entertaining web of stolen breeding records, property disputes, unexplained cattle deaths, unbroken horses, and one too many suitors.

The book is well written for the most part, although the editing is a little careless toward the end. The characters are fully drawn so that the reader roots for the good guys and boos the bad ones. The romance is a small but enjoyable part of the story, but the few intimate scenes are a little awkward. Regardless of a few shortcomings, I would recommend Wild Revelations, and I look forward to reading more of Sara Caudell’s work.

About the author:

Sara Caudell Head ShotI grew up in a small ranching community in Colorado where I learned to judge beef on the hoof and under wrap. After moving around the country for my husband’s career and catching college courses as I could, I finally found myself in one place long enough to finish my degree. I was an artist (acrylic), raised three children, managed offices, and started my own genealogy resource business before weaving my stories and experiences into novels. I now live in central Texas with my patient husband and four cats. In my spare time I do genealogy and historical research and nurse orphan kittens back to health for the local animal shelter.

Find Sara on her website and on Twitter 

Buy the book on Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

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