Category Archives: Family

Your life can change in an instant – excerpt from DADDY THROWS ME IN THE AIR…

My Father’s Cane – Adult – Present Time 

I couldn’t have imagined that almost one year exactly after my father’s death, I would be using one of his canes.  My dad died in April, the day in that year was Good Friday.

Daddy used canes for years because of an injury when he was in the Navy.  A bomb had hit on the submarine he was on.  When Dad was running away from the explosion, he turned to look back and was hit in his neck and spine. This created a degenerative spinal disease to develop as his life progressed.  He had been an athlete in high school and was recruited to be a pitcher, but he hurt his arm and couldn’t pitch any longer.  After a few years of college, he went into the Navy where he acquired this injury to his upper vertebra. He was a large, vibrant man and it wasn’t until later in his life that he needed to use a cane to steady his walk. He eventually ended up in a wheelchair. One day I asked, “Dad is it horribly difficult being in a wheelchair when you were once so active?” He replied in a gruff tone, “No it’s okay. I manage.” I rarely saw him frustrated concerning his disability. Although in private, I am sure that he had his moments.  Dad rarely if ever let me see him down, depressed or hopeless. I guess that is why he wouldn’t tolerate it in me. He wanted me to have a strong core because he knew in life that internal strength is what makes or breaks you.

While in the Navy, Dad flew planes but he was also on a submarine.  Going from the different altitudes also wreaked havoc on him. He told me stories about being in the Navy infirmary and how lonely he felt. He said that he had never felt so alone in his life and that it was the worst feeling in the world. Healing can be an alone process… When he got out of the Navy, he asked for Mom’s hand in marriage repeatedly – on the third attempt, her father said yes.

Through the years, I would buy him antique or usual canes for gifts. He had quite a collection. After he died, I got some of his canes. I placed the black one with the silver handle to lean in a corner of my powder room. There, I could see it easily as I walked through the hallway past the powder room door. It gave me comfort to see it in there. It gave me the feeling that Dad was watching over me.

On April twenty-fifth, one year after Dad died, I had an accident. I slipped and fell on an unmarked wet concrete floor in a local wine bar. I broke my left elbow and sustained three hairline fractures in my tailbone. ‘Unmarked, wet floor, wine bar wounded warrior’ – not really funny, but…’ And no, I was not tipsy. I had one sip of champagne with a friend who I had picked up from the airport and we were celebrating. It was near closing time and the employees in the wine bar had prematurely begun to clean up and mop. Yes. I sued and yes, they settled with me for their negligence.

I was dealing with so much at time. I was still healing from the death of my Dad. My sisters were continually suing me concerning Dad’s Will. Then I fell and had another lawsuit to contend with. I still don’t know how I dealt with it all. But I knew my Dad was with me. I pulled Dad, Mother and God close to me every night before sleeping and often throughout the day.

During the healing, I was on crutches for a bit. How horrible are those things? I needed to ‘baby’ my left hip completely for a while and I also had my arm in a sling, I had to use one crutch under my right arm to take pressure off my left side. Using the crutches threw my walking gait off. After starting rehab to strengthen my left leg, I realized I was really having difficulty walking normally. This was frustrating beyond belief. Being a former ballet dancer and used to being fit as a fiddle, I was scared because I seemed to have little control over movement in my left leg to walk naturally.

The first day after I came home from rehab, I ‘crutched’ by the powder room and noticed Dad’s cane. It was as if it was calling to me. I decided in that instant to toss the crutches and to use my Father’s cane.  Even though he was 6’2″ and I am 5’3″, the cane worked perfectly for me. I began practicing immediately – by walking up and down the entry hallway using my dad’s cane. It was exactly what I needed. It offered support while I strengthen my left leg to regain my natural walking gait. I felt tremendously close to my dad during this time using his cane.  Each step I took to regain my natural walk and balance, it was as if Dad was with me. Just like when I was taking my first steps and he encouraged, balanced and guided me. He was with me now. My parents told me that I learned to walk at nine months and after I did – I ran everywhere. Mother could barely keep up with me.

Now I was resting my hand on the same silver handle that my dad used for years. After two days, I was walking more naturally and in a week, I could walk without the cane. I used it a week longer just to feel my daddy close to me for comfort and moral support. Dad used to tell me he loved to watch me walk and to move. I have a fast gait and he told me that he loved the energy of my fast-paced movements.

 I was blessed to be born with my Dad’s will of iron – to keep on keeping on. By breaking against his internal strength all my life, I triggered my own. It’s one of my greatest gifts from him.

Mom used to say, “You and your father are just alike – both have heads as thick as a brick wall, stubborn as can be.” When Mom would say this, it was usually when she was irritated at one or the both of us. Dad and I would look at each other shrug and smile.  Dad and I are/were a lot alike and our hard heads could butt in real style. But actually that stubborn-will served/serves us well at times.

During this time of recovery, I decided to venture further into town to run an errand. I had spent two weeks almost completely in bed and without driving. Only recently, I started driving myself to rehab and doing errands but only in my area and was now ready to get back into the world. I knew that I needed to push myself so as to not become fearful and isolated. So I forced myself to step further out. With my dad’s cane in tow, off I go. As I near my destination, I hear a big pop and the tire light comes on in my car. I slowly enter the parking lot and park in front of where I was heading. Get out and realize that both tires on the driver’s side of my car are blown out. The tires were fairly new. Clearly, I must have run over something. Here I am using a cane, it’s hot outside and I am a far distance away from my house for the first time in almost a month. I momentarily fill up with fear and stress.  Then settle my mind and call a tow truck which arrives in record time after I explain my circumstances. The man driving the tow truck was as kind a man as there could be. Here I am with sling on an arm and using a cane, barely able to lift my left leg climbing into the cab of a tow truck. The man stood behind me guarding me as I did. While, we ride to the car dealership with my car in tow, we chat and I share with him my ordeal of the past month. He listens with understanding and says, “Just have trust in God.” I replied, “That’s what I am doing.”  Then we both burst out into laughter concerning the ridiculousness of it all. He tells me to keep my smile and to keep laughing.

My new tires were put on and I was home in record time. But why did this happen at just this time, one thing after another putting more stress and challenge on me? Was it to further expand me?  All you can do after dealing with the issues at hand – is to trust in a positive outcome, laugh in amusement and let it go. What’s that saying? ‘If you find yourself walking in Hell just keep on walking’. That is what I did. With each issue I dealt with, God had my back. As fast as it fell apart, it came back together with adventure, magic and more awareness along the way. Kind people were put on my path to assist me – complete strangers with like heart and belief.

As I continued dealing with rehab and this whole ordeal, I could hear Dad’s words in my mind’s eye as I pushed, faltered, got frustrated, scared then kept on… “Keep at it Tiger! You can do it. I am here with you. I am proud of you.” 

Dad had been a wounded warrior and my accident and what it took to recover gave me a new appreciation for what it is to deal with and recover from physical trauma.  Dealing with this just one year after his death, was a lot to process on the physical, emotional and mental levels. But the strength that I had honed from my lessons in life got me through it.  In the exact moment, I replaced my crutches with his cane. I promised Dad that with the help of his cane, his eyes watching over me and the energy and grace of God that I would regain the walk that I was born with and he loved to watch. I fully recovered in record time and in my doctor’s amazement with no lingering effects from my injuries. None! I am physically fully restored.

To add to this time of trauma – dark night of the soul – testing of my spirit – just six months after I had fully healed from the fall and was beginning to feel relief – I went to my dermatologist for my yearly examination. To discover I had a place on my forehead that was cancerous. This place was above my right eyebrow. My dermatologist sent me to a MOHS surgeon to have it examined. Because of where it was, they scheduled me with a plastic surgeon to close the opening after the surgery. I was in full panic mode before the surgery. I had no idea how deep the cancer was or how intensive the damage would be to my forehead.

In two years, my dad had died, I was still dealing with the emotional effects of this, my sisters were repeatedly suing me, I had fallen, recovered and was in the middle of suing the restaurant where I fell. And now, I was looking at having my forehead possibly disfigured.   My father was gone -the only one on earth I had to turn to for strength. My physical abilities had been threatened and I was now facing losing my looks. Talk about overwhelming stress upon stress.

I was wired, anxious and I became depressed. I wondered how much I was going to be put through and if it would ever be over. Would I ever feel like me again? Then who was I, anyway?

I prayed and prayed and finally turned it over to God. At times, this was easier to do than at others.

A friend took me to have the MOHS surgery early on a winter morning. They only needed to go in one and half times, so the cancer had not destroyed much. But I still was left with a large hole in my forehead. That afternoon, I went to the surgery center for a plastic surgeon to close it, to leave the least effect on the appearance of my forehead and face. God lead me to a gifted surgeon.

After the surgery, I felt like I looked like Frankenstein because my forehead was swollen with a red suture line over my right eyebrow. The caring surgeon called me every morning for a week to see how I was doing. He promised that the swelling and the scar line would disappear. I was going to look great again even better. The upside was that the surgery raised my right eyebrow that was lower than the left one and served to tighten my forehead – a light in the darkness.

After a few weeks, it did look much better. In months, it was barely noticeable. Today the scar line is barely, if at all visible. I don’t even need to put makeup on it, to cover it up.

Everything I had broken against as a child, young adult and throughout my life had prepared me for this sequence of events of my dark night of the soul without my father here on earth to sustain me. I had almost lost everything several times in my life, but never like this. Nothing had ever felt this alone and low. In this timeframe, I remembered back to when angels had walked though me. I asked and prayed that they please do it again. But they didn’t. I heard in my mind’s eye, ‘You know we are with you and you will be fine’.  Therefore, I focused on recalling that feeling of love that had once filled me up in comfort and grace as I pulled God, my mother and my father close to me every night. As I lay alone in my bed, I could smell the fresh fragrance of my mother and heard my father’s words, “You can do it, Tiger! I am with you all the way.”

Things can appear horrible and like everything including your life is falling apart, right before more awareness is recognized. I learned how strong and resilient I am. I felt, knew and renewed my faith and strength in God. I realized the hate that my sisters have for me, so I cut them completely out of my life which I should have done a long time before.  Doing so, has freed my spirit in ways that is incredible. I feel younger now, than I even did when I was a child living in my parent’s home with the burdens of my mother, my sisters and my father weighting me down with their imprints. I have awareness, understand, accept and forgive them all. I let them go.

I choose only to keep the love of my mother and dad as comfort to guide me in the rest of my life’s journey. Of course, I do have happy family memories that I enjoy at times.

Embrace challenges in life as opportunities for self-reflection and transformation.

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius


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Memories of my Dad that fill me with his love and…

A2AC1define my worth and character forever, no matter what happens in my life. In my early twenties,  I was getting ready for a formal evening out, designer dress, the works. While getting out my attire, I realized that my satin evening purse had a busted chain… not only that, but it was broken in a way that… Oh my gosh!  I thought could never be repaired and certainly not in time for  my date. It was the only  purse I had that would work with my dress and I just had to wear that dress with that particular evening purse!

Because I had chosen this particular dress just to go with the evening purse my Dad had given me for Christmas which had been his perfectly selected  gift wrapping for his generous Christmas check.  My Dad had shopped for and selected this elegant designer purse just for me and I liked it so very much for just that reason.

I rushed into the library where Dad was watching TV and in the brokenhearted frustration drama only a twenty year old preparing for a black tie affair with her beau could create,  held up the purse that was destined to  ruin the whole evening.

“Daddy can you fix it? Please can you?! I got my dress just to go with the purse you gave me. Please Daddy, I have to take it tonight. I just have to! But I think it’s broken for good … Daddy, what do you think?”

He turned from the TV with a slightly  amused but concerned smile as he took my purse from me and said. “Go on and get ready. I will see what I can do.”

Feeling better that my Dad was on it, I showered then rushed into  the kitchen to see my Dad at the breakfast counter with his tools out working on the chain of my purse.  There was also a needle and thread involved.

I observed Dad’s work table as I thought, Daddy can sew?… “Daddy, how’s it coming along? Do you think it can it be fixed?”

Dad glanced up at me and said. “Don’t you need to be getting ready. Your date will be here soon.”

Okay… Daddy, okay … I am. I will.” As I rushed back to my dressing area and proceeded to do my hair, make up, etc. I was frantic. I had no other purse that would work with the dress that I so wanted to wear.

I walked into my bedroom to get my dress and there on my bed sat my purse.  I held it up and I couldn’t even tell it had been broken. I quickly put on my dress and finished  getting ready, putting my lipstick, hairbrush, etc, into my treasured Dad given, Dad repaired purse.

Then, the doorbell rang.  I hurried down the hallway to the entry hall to find Dad talking with my date. Dad smiled in pride when I entered…. his eyes lit up as they always did when I entered a room. “Dad, you did it, you fixed my purse.” I gave my Daddy a big hug. “Thank you Daddy! I love you.”

Dad’s reply. “You’re welcome honey. You look beautiful. Have a good time.”

On the arm of my date, as I stepped out the front door wearing my poofy black satin dress with my treasured Dad given and repaired evening purse over my shoulder, I turned back to smile at Daddy, our eyes met in our special love,  my knowing of his pride in me and my respect  for and trust in him.

My Dad has been gone four years, memories often come to me of all theDadandmemahog special ways that he treated me that instilled his pride, love and created my self-worth as a woman. That imprinted, taught and showed me how I want, need, must be treated by any man and most certainly ‘the special man’ in my life.

Those moments of love, respect and pride that my Dad instilled in me created my worth. My Father,  a master engineer and builder who built the Valdez terminal in Alaska, refineries and nuclear power plants around the world, this former Navy man, pro-baseball player, pilot, yachtsman, golfer, intellectual giant, leader in his industry, accomplished masculine towering man, sat in his kitchen late on a Saturday afternoon foregoing sports on TV,  with tools and a needle and thread Daddy at pooland worked on my purse, until it was fixed perfectly for me, his precious blessed to be his daughter, because this man of so many worldly accomplishments knew his most prized and devout duty was that of being a Father.

Recently, I reconnected in friendship with my first college boyfriend and he told me how the talks with my Dad and the way in which he observed my Father treating me, molded him as a man throughout his whole life. That he observed a man protective of his daughter and that he knew, that I knew, my Dad, while being tough on me in order to stretch and to build my character, at the same time, would always protect me.  He recalled that even as immature as he was at nineteen, that when I took hold of his arm, even though I was strong, independent, out going and capable, that I expected him to protect me. And I do recall, this young man did protect me. He also told me after knowing me at eighteen, nineteen and not having seen me since I was twenty… and us now meeting up again decades later… that my Dad would be impressed and proud of the woman I have become. That I have femininity filled with my Dad’s strength of character and intelligence. And that he knew in a relationship that I  must feel safe with a man because I felt safe with my Dad because that is the world he created for me.  What a compliment and a blessing to have him share this with me.

On the flip side of this…My Dad wasn’t perfect and he also left negative imprints for me to see clearly, to break against, understand and to grow past. Because of his perfectionism and great accomplishments, while feeling loved,  I also had the imprint on me that if I wasn’t perfect, I was not worthy of love. Dad was tough on me, and held me accountable and would turn cold even harsh and withholding, when I displeased him and when those times occurred, I felt rejected, ugly, dumb, and unloved. So all my life I have been dealing with this imprint. Interesting, huh? As much as my Father’s imprint on me was that I was protected and loved…there was also the imprint that if I wasn’t perfect, I was not worthy of love.  Part of the duality on this planet and my growth to  recognize  and overcome to achieve wholeness.

As I have grown into life and full awareness, everything my Dad was as a Father, role model and teacher continues to incorporate fully in me and my psyche… both the positive and the negative. And I am fortunate that the tough way he dealt with me, at times,  and the way that he held me accountable, created  strength in me enough to have the tools to grow past his negative imprints. When you recognize the humanity in your parents is when you heal your wounds. What a blessed gift.

A Dad leaves his mark on the world by the love he gives his children along with many others as this gift floods out into the world.

A Father creates self-worth or not, in his children in everything that he does; by example, by actions, by words, and by unspoken looks.

Dad&Annbday2My Father was the example of a fine, great, generous, provider, a giver, a protector and even a fixer of chain woven with satin on a purse that created a memory in my heart that will last forever.

In the later years of my Father’s life, he shared  many deep feelings with me about his life, his choices, and about his love for me that revealed clearly his deep love for me, so that could release more of the pieces of that imprint that I am not worthy of love unless I am perfect.

Happy Father’s Day to my Father who is now in Heaven looking over me. Thank you for the gift of you in my life.

Ladies, don’t ever settle for less than your worth… Every woman, if  she was fortunate to have a good Father, deserves a man that treats her accordingly.  This is the blessed gift of a great man and Father, he knew in his soul the worth of women.

Also, the way a child observes the way their parents treat one another provides the standard with which they either will emulate or break against in their own relationships .

Ephesians 5:25-29 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

Ephesians 5:28 

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Genesis 2:24 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

—The way a man treats women defines his character, his soul, and his life.

Jesus loved and respected women.

We are all perfect in God our Father’s eyes.  As our Fathers on earth  define and polish us, in some people’s eyes, their Father on earth defines how they think God deals with, or thinks of them, defining  spiritual connection of peace, worth and security in self.  And this is another reason the Fathers of this world are so important.

Happy Father’s Day to all you great men in the world!

We are who we are because of who brought us into this world…

the example that they displayed, the environment that they created and their ancestral lineage. And this makes us all individuals…

Were you a planned for child with basinet and layette awaiting your arrival? Or were you unplanned for, an accident of two teenagers? Did you come from a night of random, meaningless, mindless sex? If so, you have much to deal with as you grow as a human being…

Or were your parents two adults that knew what bringing a child into this world entails and the responsibility of it?  Even if your parents were thinking about you, and what future you might have before you were conceived, you will still have trials and challenges in your life. Were your parents clueless, reckless and only concerned with themselves? Did your Dad stay with your Mother and help rear you? Do you even know who your father is?

These familial beginnings create who you are and how you perceive your world. And none of us are the same. Even siblings reared in the same environment have different imprints and perceptions. If your parents did drugs, steal, or live off the government, that is probably what you will also do. It’s a rare one that pulls out of their familial examples and environment, especially if it is a destructive and abusive one. But occasionally, these bad examples can show a person exactly what they don’t want to be… so an opposition can occur.

Families create who children are and who they become. Families are the backbone of our country.  A person’s parents are their lineage, their example, the rock that they break themselves upon, the abuse that they endure, or the solidness of love that sustains them, or maybe, a bit of it all. It’s where self-esteem lives, or dies. It’s where morals, honor and standards are instilled. It’s where we learn how to interact and treat others. It’s the basis for most everything that we are….

It’s not the schools. It’s more the family. When I grew up, I felt like school was an interruption to my education. I was mostly bored while there. Sure, I had friends and learned some…umm, or did I really? Well, I learned what not to do, or be and that’s a certainty… many kids smoked and were promiscuous and this was not me. I rejected peer pressure because of who I am and what I was taught at home. I read voraciously and studied on my own and went to ballet everyday after school. My life began once school was over. School was something I endured…

I stayed home from school when our decorator came, as I loved to ask her questions and learn from her. I learned more from her than I ever did at school and I later became a decorator.

It’s the family, the home environment, what you see as an example and what you are exposed to through your family that makes the most profound imprint on you.

That is why so many in our world today lack in manners, morals, values, motivation, refinement and common sense. Little is being seen as an example in families even if they do have a family environment. Many families today are fragmented, broken, and corrupted internally as well as externally.

Looking to the government and the schools has and is creating a disaster. It’s the example of two parents, a traditional family that creates an internally solid person and therefore, a solid world.

I am not ignoring that alternative families can be successful, but it is more difficult and why risk the life of a child to chance and experimentation?

A child is a terrible thing to waste. Bringing children into this world is the most important and profound decision that most will ever make.  And now, we have more unwed mothers, absent fathers and self-indulgent, irresponsible people bringing children into this world and it is lowering the standards of our world to almost nothing These people, many times, rely on the government to take care of them and their children and it is disgusting.

I say back to the traditional family, and Judeo/Christian values to lift our world back to higher standards. Families take care of their own. The government is no ones’ family and those that rely on it, or are dependant on it, are fools that have been fooled.

Just as with a doctor… they can’t ‘make’ you healthy… only you can take care of your health… a doctor assists when there is a need. Relying on a doctor to ‘give’ you health is as ignorant as relying on the government to give you a lifestyle.

The family is key … everything else is secondary and the government is nothing, but an entity that should be small and play a minuscule part in anyone’s life.

We are individuals. Not equal, but with equal opportunity in our individual circumstances that are God given. No one knows the reasons for your circumstances, but you and God…
Agree or not?

Playing on Tulsa Time!

by Ann
While in Tulsa recently, on a hot, humid day, my much loved niece, Cory, and I spent a day playing and walking down memory lane.  Cory drove us around in her new Subaru.First, we went to the Gap, where Cory works. 

Then  off to lunch, at the Wild Fork restaurant, in Utica Square…

Where we pigged out on almost a taste of everything, including onion strings. Total YUM!
Then shopping. shopping and more shopping, following a 24 year-old around, while she shops for what to wear when her boyfriend, Ryan, comes in from OU, is well, exhausting, but fun. I was once the very same way. My choice back in the day, was Miss Jackson’s.

Most of the time, we dressed more formally than the young people of today. 
 


I also worked part time at Miss Jackson’s, while attending TU.
Later in the day, it was back to Dad’s…

 

A nice relaxing day, playing in a more laid back timeframe then in Dallas… Love it! Good ole Tulsa time!

Family…the good, the bad and the craziness!

by Ann
My sisters and I hosted a small celebratory dinner for Dad for his 86th birthday, with most of his immediate family and a couple of his friends, in attendance. Like most families, we have the jokester, the tormentor, and the usual sarcasm. We know each other’s secrets and some other things, too. We get along then we don’t. We love each other, but could annihilate with a glance or an admission, as in. “I recall, when thus and so happened.” Some get along well, some better than others and some don’t get along well at all. Some are jealous, some arrogant, some too sweet and kind. Some honest and some manipulative, as they listen and observe what’s happening then lay in wait to use it to their advantage, or to laugh, or jab about it at a later date.

Some think eating at McDonald’s is the greatest, while others never eat fast food and everyone thinks that they are right. Some drink a lot and others not much. And pictures can be deceiving… as the one holding two wine bottles doesn’t indulge much at all.

Some are happy. Some are genuine and some are fake. Some are silly, some are serious and most are a mix of everything depending on their mood. Some will be angry that I put this on the internet. Others will think it’s cool! Pretty much the typical family!

And we have a former, Bishop of Oklahoma, to bless it all! Through it all and in spite of everything, there is the connection of love. We are family! Family is the backbone of America. Not the government, but FAMILY. Those with it have a strength and support and don’t have the need to lean on others. Thank you Dad for being our impervious leader. 

Happy Birthday Dad!!! 

I love you very much!

Dad with his four daughters…

“We are family! I’ve got all my sisters with me!”

Debbie did the work. We all just showed up!