My brain is a miraculous thing. There are times I marvel at my thoughts. That’s why I write!
Today, I didn’t get to write like I wanted to do, but I did do some busy prep to help my websites stay approved and accessible.
Because of the time
involved, I didn’t get to put down those thoughts that woke me at 5 a.m. this
morning. But then, whoever has the chance to write their words without
interruptions, they are very lucky souls.
Next week, I had a
goal. It was to send out book two – DarkShadow – a work in progress – to my
editor. Sadly, I haven’t gotten the last act written. Though, I know what I
want to do, say, have happen, and explore.
The first fifteen pages are crafted, edited, and sent off to my writing leader for the writing retreat I am going on next week. My editor, well, she will get Acts One and Two when I go on the road. Act Three will not be finished as planned. So goes the writing life!
Where am I going? — Nimrod Hall. It is like the emblem of ancientness of Virginia. I am so excited and freaking scared.
How will I do? Will I fit in with the other writing gurus I will be connected with in real time? What can I offer that is important? I mean, after all, most of them are probably good writers. Me, not so much. Not even close. I’m a wanna-be writer that took it on the cuff to try to learn an elusive craft.
Oh, I’ve been traditionally published — academic publication as well as a book that was billed as a supplemental reader. The challenges I faced during the writing and publication of the supplemental reader were unbelievable. It was put on me, and my co-author friend, to market our book. We did a tremendous amount of editing and design work. That wasn’t really all bad until you realized how much of the royalties would go to the publishing company.
Having felt that
pain, I realized that self-publishing was the way to go for the time on task.
Why should I give 90% of my royalties to a publishing company when they didn’t
even do the marketing, let alone, the editing, the design, the whatever.
So, I bit the bullet and wrote my stories my way. And, I feel good about what I’ve written. Oh, I used editors, beta readers, and I modified my stories according to feedback. Are they literary award winners? Absolutely not. I didn’t write for that goal. I wrote to tell a story. Did I succeed? I hope so, but only my readers will tell me. Some have, some haven’t.
Now, I’m writing my
second series, and I find that I am just as weak-kneed as when I started my
first book. I’m scared. I’m alone. And, I hope that my writing reaches someone.
That is the goal. That I touch someone’s soul in that special way. That he or she
will want to read more of my writings.
Will I succeed? I pray so. I’ll only know when the reader lets me know. Those moments are rare, but I cherish each one!
Motto – Write!
Write on! That is the motto! Live strong and prosper is the reward!
Thanks for reading.
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Until next time, I am Pam
The blog post “Write for Love” was first posted on Pam’s Blog on July 12, 2019.
Such a simple phrase — Going Home, Again — but with profound implications when you grew up in an orphanage, a children’s home, or as a resident of family services. Going home again, can be a challenge, but it can also be a revelation.
A couple of weekends ago, June 22-23, 2019, a group of “old” kids got together to remember, reflect, and on Saturday, to dedicate The Hough House. We came home.
During the dedication ceremony of the brick structure that was the home of the Franklin Hough family, the current Executive Director, Dr. Richerson mentioned that the number of children that passed through the campus was counted to be over 30,000. I was one of them.
These were children who relied on the support of strangers. Not because they desired it, but in many cases, it meant life or death. Children who knew nothing about what their potential future may hold, but were clinging to the hope that the people who were entrusted with their care, would do them right.
The dedication of The Hough House helped bring that home to me. It also brought back many memories. Two of the three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Hough, Jr along with their daughter were there to celebrate their father and grandfather’s work. Together, we remembered living on campus as one and we celebrated the Hough legacy.
Listening to different ones share their memories through story, one thing became very obvious. We were family then. Not all by blood. But, by a unique set of events that thrust us together. The important thing I realized, we still are family.
What’s In A Name?
The Baptist Orphanage of Virginia first opened its doors in 1890. Then, around 1953 the name was changed to the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home (VBCH) to reflect the change in need of the children. Most were no longer true orphans, but were there due to financial hardships or other family tragedies. VBCH was the name I came to know, hate, and then loved.
Through the years, the needs of Virginia’s youth, and adults required more help, more intervention, more hope. Thus, in 1985, the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home changed its name again to include the families it served. The change made the name long – The Virginia Baptist Children’s Home & Family Services. Now, it is doing business as HopeTree Family Services. There is still a residency campus in Salem, VA at the same location. This name covers more aptly the vast services offered.
Many of the old buildings are gone. I remembered walking their halls. But somehow, the ghosts of those old buildings reflected the work that is still going there now. And the new structures show the determination to continue that work.
When I was growing up there, at any one time, there were at least 200 or more young souls running around, being kids, learning how to live, and to do it together. There were adults who served as our houseparents. They were surrogates. Their job was not easy. I know that now. At the time, I thought they were there to be cruel, rub in the fact I was an “orphan,” or it was a job.
The administrative staff worked miracles as I look back on how they managed to wrangle so many of us with so many different issues. To think as many of us turned out as good as we did is in and of itself magic.
You see, the need has not changed, what has changed is the services offered to Virginia’s families now. It is much broader and reaches a diverse group of souls.
The lives touched by those who made campus life in Salem possible was seen in the dedication of the members of the VBCH Reunion Committee. This committee is made up of “old” kids who were residents. Often their spouses pinched in to help.
It took me over 40 years to walk on campus again. And when I did in 2009, I was numb, excited, and marveled at how the campus looked different from my memory.
This past weekend, walking around the campus, I saw many more changes. Hours before the dedication was to take place, finishing touches were being made on a new handicap access ramp to the old print shop building, which now serves as a museum.
Then, I saw my brother, moving around the reunion table setup in front of the museum. He was helping Debbie, Stan, Fred, Larry, and many others, too numerous to name, getting things ready for the days ceremony.
Visiting – Greeting – Remembering
Different “old” kids began arriving. It was a joy to hug and greet them. It was going to be a good afternoon.
My husband, Albert, and I went into the museum. Pictures of the campus as it was in the early years were on display. They contrasted with images I had in my mind. We looked at old annuals of Andrew Lewis High School where “The HIll” kids mingled with “The City” kids. The annual I picked up and looked at with care was the “final” album. My little brother, Ralph, was a member of that last class–the class of 1977.
Searching through the pages, I found images of him playing football. Happy. Five years later, he would be gone from us. Bitter sweet memories of Ralph, Archie, and I came to mind when we’d play, fight, and then run around the grounds with other “brothers and sisters.”
Next, we walked through rooms replicated to depict scenes of life on campus–the infirmary room, the dinning hall, a cottage room. Each I could relate to, and I shared with Albert memories or events.
On one wall were the portraits of two Executive Directors – Franklin Hough, Sr. and his son, Franklin Hough, Jr. They were the reason for the dedication of the Hough residence.
During my ten-year residency, I lived in three cottages. The first being Hobday and the second was Robertson — an innovative cottage for brothers/sisters to live in together that was consider “close to a real home life.” The summer of my Junior year in high school, I moved to Shiloh cottage to live during my Senior year.
While on campus that Saturday, my last roommate with me in Shiloh, Laura, greeted me. We hadn’t seen each other for two years. It was fun to catch up, talk, and commiserate.
We walked the campus together talking about the different cottages as we meandered the sidewalk to where we lived. Shiloh no longer stood where it once protected us. The shadows of that building structure formed into a ghostly image. There it stood in my mind all the same.
Hobday cottage with the print shop to the left
Then, when we walked back to the center of campus, across the parking area from where the old main building once stood. I looked to my right and saw myself as a young eight year-old girl, carrying my suitcase up the steps to Hobday cottage. Hoping my life would not end, praying I’d be okay.
And, as it turns out, I was okay then. On this day, I had come home again and I was doing well.
My husband waved to me. We needed to walk down to The Hough House. It was time to make more memories with my family.
Thanks for reading. If you like this post and want to support it, forward it to someone who’d like it or, even better, buy them a book!
If you’re seeing this post for the first time, you can read prior posts on Pam’s Blog. To receive email notices of the next post, then sign up using the form in the right column.
If you’d like to receive Pam’s Newsletter (sent out quarterly or less), join and get a FREE eBook – The Gist of It!
This past Wednesday, June 26, was our daughter, Julie’s birthday! Happy Birthday lovely, young woman! May you have a most wonderful year! HUGS to YOU!
Write on! Pam
This post Going Home, Again was first posted on Pam’s Blog on June 28, 2019.
Ten things I’d like to tell my 14-year-old self now that I’m 64…
My favorite musician and song writer, Paul McCartney’s song (credited to Lennon-McCartney), “When I’m Sixty-Four,” (Listen to song on Ultimate Classic Rock) has been a song I’ve loved since it’s release in 1967. Tomorrow, I turn sixty-four. So, while listening to this classic Beatles’ song, I thought I’d write my list of things I’ve learned through the years.
Here it is, if given the chance, this is the short list of things I’d go back and tell myself I’ve learned along the way:
Life is too short to be anything but happy — Sure there are times this is hard, real hard, but don’t look at others and see their happiness without taking it in; Give a smile, receive thousands back. Embrace life!
Be yourself — Trying to be like those you think have it great is not a good thing; it causes you great pain. As Mr Scruffy says, “Be HOO You Owlways Are!” You’ll be happier for it.
Be Pleased with What God Gave You to Work With — it may not look like the most beautiful beings you’ve encountered, but have you ever thought that just maybe you MIGHT look beautiful to others. Embrace what God gave you to work with and work it, girl!
Don’t be afraid — of anything! Take that idea with you on every step you take. Be yourself. Be pleased with what God gave you, and don’t be afraid to try on that dress, that special hat, that smile! Live your life and enjoy it along the way, it helps on so many levels to not be afraid.
Give and it will come back to you multiplied — luck isn’t something you receive, but something you earn through the act of giving. The more you pay it forward, the more it returns. I know that now.
Use the time you are given — Live…embrace your goals, go after them, and enjoy it along the way, but also take time for yourself. Meditate more. Breath more. Love more. Pray more. Use your time more.
Choose wisely — but don’t hesitate to say or do what you need when you are living up to points 1 through 6 above — My favorite line from “Little Big Man” is when the character Grandfather has gone to the top of the mountain to die, he says, “It is a good day to die.” Yes, it is a good day to die, but it is also a good day to live. Choose wisely.
Focus on your goals — your dreams — your purpose — We’ve all been given a gift. Find what yours is and use it. Focus your goals to see them come to life. Dream, Dream, Dream, and Believe, Believe, Believe. The Secret is in the seeing of you being whom you should be and reaching your goals as you envisioned, always remembering to do good, be happy, and reach for the stars. It truly is possible.
As you age, remember your past — It got me where I am now. Don’t think on the bad, the good, or the ugly, but embrace what you learned along the way. Learning from your past helps you have a most wonderful future. You’ve proven that in the past 64 years. Keep it up!
Love whom your with – Love Nature, too! — Share your positive outlook with others, love all those who love you, share your smile to help those who haven’t had the opportunity to learn life isn’t always hurtful. Even during your darkest moments remember that the truth of the world is in balance. For every dark moment there is a light moment. Help the world stay in balance by lighting a candle of hope, love, and charity. Love all and you will receive love back. And, in loving all, remember to love nature, too! Mother Earth embraces all life, as should we!
That’s it, for now. It is hoped my future sees more years where I can reflect back and ponder my life’s journey. These ideas I’ve placed here are not profound, but they are mine. I share them with you in hopes they help you along your journey!
Today, across the United States, citizens are exercising their right to vote. It is a beautiful day here in the mountains of Virginia. A brisk, cold 35 degrees greeted me as I walked up to our polling place when the doors opened at 6:00 a.m. In my hands, I held a container of sausage pinwheels to give to our hard-working poll workers. Something I’ve done for them every year for the last twenty years. Hard to imagine it’s been that long. It is hoped each of you have either already voted early, or you plan to vote sometime today!
It is appropriate we have a voting day this week with Veteran’s Day on Friday, November 11. My parents — both my father and my mother — served our country. My mother during WWII as a WAC, and my father in both WWII and Korea. And, my husband served as well during Vietnam.
Many times when I took Dad to the Veteran’s Hospital in Salem for his monthly visits during the last two years of his life, he would maneuver his wheel chair over to a fellow veteran, offer his hand, and say, “Thank you for your service.”
He never waited for Veteran’s Day to thank a veteran. He gave thanks for our veterans’ service each day through his morning prayer and when he read his bible. To me, watching him make an effort to shake each veteran’s hand he saw added to his heartfelt desire to let him or her know that he was glad he saw them, even on the street. To this day, I try very hard to emulate his actions. It is my challenge to me to be mindful of fellow veterans every where. May this election day, after voting, you take up that challenge as well.
Let our Veterans know that you appreciate them, their sacrifice, and that because of that dedication to love of our country, we have this privilege above all else – the Right to Vote!
Happiness to each of you, Always…
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