My Thoughts · Patriotism

Freedom Isn’t Free!

Freedom is never free. Maya Angelou

Freedom has a price! Happy 4th of July to everyone as we celebrate this day. I want to look at the price of the freedom we enjoy!

First, we need to see where this festival day originated.

“On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.”

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th

The price is enormous, but do we minimize it on this special day, overshadowed by our traditional celebrations and busyness? Over the years, many American men and women have fought to keep this dream of freedom alive for you and me.

My Family’s Experience

In my family, my dad didn’t serve in the military during World War II—his rating was 4-F because of health issues. Many of his young ranch friend served, so Dad found a way to help out. He worked on many of the ranches in the surrounding area, doing day work, to ease the shortage caused by the young men who fought in that war. He thoroughly enjoyed this time with the different families and told hilarious stories about ranchers I knew.

Both my half-brother and brother were drafted into the Army. I know little about my half-brother’s experience because he was ten years older than me. I know he served in Germany.

However, I knew more about my brother, thirteen months older than me. Drafted at the end of the Vietnam war, he saw no action overseas, but from this, I realized the stress on families. He had severe asthma, and we never thought they would draft him. He ended up staying for the shortest amount of time and regretted it and wishes today he had stayed in until he retired.

My third husband served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, yet had a remarkable experience in the Army Air Corps. He felt totally rewarded for his twenty-five years of service.

Your Experience

So many of you have had tragic losses and given up so much. In facing these, you have paid the highest price, and I honor that today. Thank you so much.

So, what am I saying? Men and women like these identified have provided the freedom we enjoy every day by making our world a safe place to live in. Our great country allowed me, a country girl from Colorado, to pursue my many dreams over the years, and I still chase them today.

Happy birthday America. Freedom isn't free!

In conclusion, this year, take the time to think about all the freedoms you have and maybe take for granted. The price for those freedoms came high—the loss of life, losing limbs, and/or losing time with loved ones. Yes, it’s America’s birthday, but please realize your freedom today to barbecue a hotdog or hamburger, to drink a cold beer and to watch a spectacular celebration of fireworks or a drone presentation, cost someone else something and be grateful.

Do you have military people in your family or know friends who served? If so, have you thanked them for their service? What freedoms do you enjoy the most as an American? What are you willing to give up for the next generations?


~WATCH MY NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, from Friday, June 24, 2022. Join us for a lively description of all my books!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Baby boomer · family · Friends · My Thoughts

Sixty-nine tomorrow—It’s my birthday!

Happy birthday - sixty-nine

I turn sixty-nine years-old tomorrow and wonder about how quickly I got here! Let me ponder life at the end of my sixth decade.

At each major birthday in my life, I’ve advanced easily, without regret or any desire to be younger and go backwards. I have always felt age was an attitude and looked forward to the future with anticipation! Often, I still feel sixteen inside!

Turning Thirty

When I moved from twenty-nine to thirty, my family gathered together at my parent’s home in Branson and celebrated with a watermelon (crepe paper around it). Watermelons have always been my favorite fruit and my young nephew giggled as he presented it to me. They also gave me a survival kit for me that included a pair of my grandma’s underwear (see picture above) and a set of false teeth. And then my Aunt Willie added to the festivities and decorated a cake which said, “One foot on the grave and one on a banana peel!”

Turning Sixty

Sadly, when I turned sixty, Mom had just died, so my heart broke on my birthday because I found out she had big plans for my big birthday that year. But I enjoyed being with Lin, my brother and Aunt Willie. Mom always made birthdays memorable, and Lin continues to do that.

Turning Sixty-Nine

My beautiful birthday bouqet - sixty-nine
Beautiful birthday bouquet from Lin

Yesterday morning, Lin brought me a beautiful bouquet to start my birthday celebration; he said! Last night he forewarned me I needed to be dressed and ready to leave here at 5:15 PM for dinner tomorrow night—mysterious and so much fun!

At sixty-nine, I have had an amazing life, filled with much heartache and so much joy. Isn’t that what many people experience in this life? Last November, I came up with a resounding motto when I took part in a blog challenge where I posted blogs daily for the month of November. That motto is “a baby boomer with a purpose.”

You might wonder what that motto means to me. When it hit me so sharply last year, I felt deep down that described who I am. Yes, I’m a baby boomer, and just because I’m a designated “Senior Citizen,” I’m not done!

I’m not done with

  • Challenging myself—I continue as a lifelong learner.
  • Growth—My Christian beliefs grow daily. My spiritual life expands.
  • Adventure—In Lin, I have the perfect life partner to look at life as an adventure.
  • Writing—I’m working on my seventh book and have three poetry books and a fiction in the queue.
  • Traveling—Lin and I have two cruises planned for this year and more trips for 2023.
  • Dancing—I will dance ‘til I die because Harold and Elva Horner were my dancing parents!

So, as I face the end of my 60s, I look back and marvel. Yes, I have had several health issues over these last nine years, but I have had so many blessings. And I choose to focus on the blessings—my late-in-life writing career, my delightful, dear husband, my brother and family ranch and my exceptional family and friends. During these last nine years, I have hundreds of hilarious memories with each of these people and on our family ranch.

So, yes, as a part of being fully alive, I take part in a variety of sites in the social media world. On LinkedIn.com, I met another senior with a purpose, Idessa Toney, whose website, Seniors with a Purpose, and her YouTube channel, captured my attention. Idessa and I share a passion for living life now, no matter what age. Be sure and visit her website.

As much as I love my parents, I remember them so old at sixty-nine. Is that true or my perception only? My dad had breathing issues, and he started downhill about this age. He died at seventy-eight. At sixty-nine, my mom had been a widow for a year, burdened with the loss of her life partner. I had the privilege of being closely connected with her until her death at eighty-four. Yes, I feel much younger than I remember them to be!

Finally,

Tomorrow I age one year, but I look forward to my last year in my 60s. I trust my God to provide a memorable, fun-filled year. Then, look out 70s, because I know they offer adventure, life and surprises. I opt for it all!

How do you feel about aging? Do you dread a certain age? Do you have a motto?



~WATCH MY NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, Friday, June 24 at 1:00 PM. Join us for a lively discussion of my books!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Christianity · My Thoughts · Recovery · Spirituality

My Spiritual Father: A Priest and a Friend!

Father dancing with little girl - Spiritual Father

My spiritual father? Does that sound strange? I would say it’s a man who contributes to the growth and nurturing of my spirit, someone who touched my life deeply. As I thought about Father’s Day this week, I knew I’d already written about my dad and other key men in my life. So, I wanted to share about my spiritual father!

I met Fr. Tom Weston, a recovering Jesuit priest, thirty years ago. Here it is Father’s Day 2022 and I want to honor his work in my life. He contributed to my spiritual growth over the last thirty years in a variety of ways. I attended many retreats in Albuquerque after the Mesilla retreat identified below. After hearing him the first time, I have bought eleven recorded cassette tapes then CDs of his teachings. Then, during the coronavirus pandemic, Fr. Tom offered monthly Zoom retreats since April 2020 (or that’s when I started).

My First Experience

In the spring of 1993, I attended my first Serenity Retreat for recovery. A new friend in the program invited me to go with her to Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla, New Mexico, outside of Las Cruces for the weekend. She had raved about Fr. Tom often, and I needed a shot in the arm. I had been dealing with some heavy-duty stuff.

So, we took off at noon—both of us taught our morning classes and away we went. From the first talk on Friday night, I saw Fr. Tom’s amazing talents. He had me laughing one minute and crying the next, then laughing again. He provided a refreshing picture of recovery and Christianity that I needed.

On the drive down, my friend forewarned me Fr. Tom held ten-minute private counseling sessions on Saturday and sign up early because he filled up quickly. She knew the woes I had been going through and felt I needed an extra boost, so I signed up.

When my time came on his packed Saturday schedule, Fr. Tom suggested we walk around the pecan orchard next to the retreat house. I shared my current trauma that had my life topsy-turvy.

Calmly, he said, “I have no experience with your issue, but how about finding a tree here to connect with and something might come up.”

So, I followed his instructions and parked myself under near a tree with my journal. Immediately, memories flooded my mind, and I knew Fr. Tom had known my God and the trees would help me. This became a pivotal point in a deep healing for me.

Fr. Tom Grew to become My Spiritual Father

From then on, I became a follower of Fr. Tom, attending multiple retreats at the Dominican Sisters Retreat House in the South Valley and then off of Coors Boulevard in Albuquerque. Every retreat, I signed up for the one-on-one time with Fr. Tom, keeping him updated with my current life, and I loved the connection we made.

Over the years, listening to his teachings, Fr. Tom expanded my belief in my God from a punishing, judgmental white guy sitting in robes on the clouds to a peaceful, accepting personal God I could talk to and have a personal relationship with. And he did this through a variety of instruments: through an inclusive Mass on Sunday at the retreats and reading part of the Mass in Hebrew to connect me to our Jewish roots, through Rumi’s delightful and resounding poetry, through simple Buddhist reminders to stay present, through Fr. Anthony de Mello’s humor and stories and through Mary Oliver’s nature-focused poetry and especially her blue iris poem about prayer, “Praying.” With each retreat, I looked forward to his literary references peppered throughout the weekend.

Once, while listening to one of Fr. Tom’s recorded retreats, on one of my hundreds of four-hour trips north to Colorado to visit my folks or my southern trip to return home, he shared a very risky prayer. Immediately, I pulled over and jotted it down, shivered at its possibilities and put it away for many years. I felt if I prayed that prayer, the world would turn upside down.

Then he shared it again recently on one of his monthly Zoom retreats, and I embraced its truth and now pray it daily. Here it is:

Father Robert Egan’s Come Holy Spirit (Pentecost) Prayer

  • Come, Holy Spirit! We pray
  • Rattle our cages
  • Break into our locked houses
  • Water our parched land
  • Undo our bends and twistedness
  • Awaken our hearts
  • Help us overflow with kindness and
  • Give us unending joy.
Marked up Bible - Spiritual Father

Fr. Tom gave me the freedom to open my heart up to a larger God than I had ever known before and, with that, I have returned to my Christian faith and my religion of choice with a deeper acceptance and renewal.

In conclusion, your spiritual father may be the father that raised you. Mine wasn’t. My dad had little interest in spiritual matters. My spiritual father came many years later in life, in God’s time, and I am so grateful.

Do you have a spiritual father? Was it your dad? If not, who was he? How did he affect your life?

Fr. Tom’s website: https://www.innerlightproductions.net/fr-tom-weston


~NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, Friday, June 24 at 1:00 PM. Join us for a lively discussion of my books!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Age · Baby boomer · My Thoughts

Baby Boomers, Here’s A Must Read!

Older woman in orange flowers - Baby boomers

Baby boomers, how are we going to handle our 70s and 80s and beyond? Do those numbers strike dread and fear in your heart? If so, I have a book that might help! Garrison Keillor’s book, Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why You Should Keep on Getting Older, grabbed me because of the title. Serenity at 70? Gaiety at 80? My baby boomer heart knew he might have some answers for me.

On my next birthday, June 27—just a couple weeks away—I turn 69! Therefore, I face my last year in my sixth decade, and seventy looms ahead. My husband is 81, turning 82 in September, so we qualify for this book and the topics Garrison addresses with his usual sharp wit and consideration.

Why I Bought This Book

Lin and Larada Miller, 10th Anniversary Picture. We are Baby Boomers!
Lin and Larada

After purchasing this book for us, but before we read it, Lin and I had a heartfelt conversation about him buying a greenhouse. Sounds like a simple topic. Before this conversation, any time he discussed it with me, I responded positively. His garden graces our backyard, and it is gorgeous! So a greenhouse seemed like a logical addition!

One afternoon, he stated with strong yet controlled emotion, “We need to talk about the greenhouse.” I wondered about this because we had been talking about it off-and-on for months, but I heard something different in his voice this time.

“How do you feel about it? I’m 81 years old. What if I buy it and never get to use it?” he queried, looking start into my eyes.

I knew my response had to match the seriousness of his question.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea, because you’ve researched it for months. Also, you’re not the type of person to buy anything impulsively, so I know you will use it.” His hidden implication of his death caught me off guard.

He had more to say: “But what about Kathi’s greenhouse? She bought it and never got to use it. Is that an omen?” Kathi is his deceased wife who died of melanoma and a dear friend of mine.

Again, I knew my response had major implications!

“We can’t sit here, waiting to die just because we’ve hit a certain age that many think is over-the-hill. We have to keep pursuing our passions until we die. Buy it!”

From that conversation and an advertisement I saw for Garrison’s book, I bought this book, thinking he might have thoughts on the subject and he did!

Importance of “Prairie Home Companion”

When talking to Baby boomers, most connect Garrison Keillor with “Prairie Home Companion,” and to understand Garrison’s book, here’s an explanation:

A Prairie Home Companion is a weekly radio variety show created and hosted by Garrison Keillor that aired live from 1974 to 2016. In 2016, musician Chris Thile took over as host, and the successor show was eventually renamed Live from Here and ran until 2020.

The show is known for its musical guests, especially folk and traditional musicians, tongue-in-cheek radio drama, and relaxed humor. Keillor’s wry storytelling segment, “News from Lake Wobegon,” was the show’s best-known feature during his long tenure.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Prairie_Home_Companion

While at Colorado State University from 1982 to 1986, one of my best friends followed this radio show religiously. I’m sad to say I never did, but she talked about it often, so I knew about Garrison’s humor and wit and the woes of Lake Wobegon.

Researching, I found his radio shows on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=garrison+keillor+prairie+home+companion

Enjoy! I plan to some forty-plus years later!

Several years ago, I bought a poetry collection book, Good Poems, that Garrison edited. I loved this lively collection, but didn’t remember the reason for the collection.

“Every day people tune in to The Writer’s Almanac on public radio and hear Garrison Keillor read them a poem. And here, for the first time, is an anthology of poems from the show, chosen by the narrator for their wit, their frankness, their passion, their ‘utter clarity in the face of everything else a person has to deal with at 7 a.m.'”

Fast forward to 2009, some friends invited me to see Garrison in a theater at the Popejoy Theater Complex in Albuquerque, and what an entertainer he is—songs, poetry and stories filled the evening with background music! Laughter, too!

Why, As a Baby Boomer, I Loved This Book

This short 96-page tome delighted me from the beginning with a seventeen-page preface—a sizeable piece for such a small book. Immediately, his response to our world today captured me, “Not My Problem,” or NMP. He added, “I’m no longer from here,” and later repeats he’s a tourist here now. What freedom, and that’s one interesting, continuous message throughout the book.

The simple format of four chapters adds to the mystery of the book: 1) The Deadly Precipice, 2) The Rules of the Game, 3) A Night in the ER and 4) Legacy Is Posterity’s View of Your Posterior and One Posterior Looks Much Like Another. In each chapter, Garrison addresses key age-related topics in a stream-of-consciousness manner, like we were sitting on the sofa with a drink and talking about aging.

Peppered throughout the book, he shares personal poetry and limericks. I just noticed one of his limericks decorates the cover of his book:

“Old folks like Lena and Ole

Choose to dance sprightly and slowly

And thus stay upright

But the gentle delight

They find is quite joyful and holy.”

Above all, I truly enjoyed how Garrison identifies key simple events in his life and how they changed everything: an insightful teacher directed Garrison out his class into another that matched his talents and moved him forward toward his life’s goals. I laughed at how he got into the radio business for forty years, which changed his life. Also, I marveled at how a trip to Nashville changed the direction of his radio show.

Throughout the book, he references his relationship with his wife and their major differences and wonderful compatibility and the influences of his hometown of Anoka, Minnesota, his family and the church.

While reading, I laughed often at this light-hearted book, full of wit about the age I am in and headed towards, then I would spin quickly because of a thought-provoking passage where I knew his truth about aging was my truth. “Old age is foreign territory and you should enjoy it as you would if you’d picked up and moved to Paris.” Garrison Keillor, “Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why You Should Keep on Getting Older,” (2021): 52.

Finally, Baby boomers!

In addition, Garrison’s book helped me laugh at this phase of my life, step back and be thoughtful and consider it with warmth and acceptance.

Let’s end with his humor:

“The five stages of aging are: nameless dread, the crisis of bad news, self-pity and disgust, a revelatory experience, and then contentment and maybe even happiness.”

Garrison Keillor, “Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why You Should Keep on Getting Older,” (2021): 42.

So, Baby boomers, what do you choose? I choose happiness.

What are your thoughts on aging, Baby Boomers? Garrison Keillor?


ADVERTISEMENTS:
Favorite child meme

~Need a Father’s Day gift for your dad or granddad? How about a bundle of my books about ranch life? Go to my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, for 25% discounts on three bundles!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Marshall Flippo · My Books · My Thoughts · square dance

Are You a History Buff?

Collage - history pictures

History fascinates me—I love to read about what has happened in the past with well-known characters and events. When I wrote Marshall Flippo’s biography, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, I knew without a doubt; it stands as a history book of square dancing and so much more.

When I first interviewed Flippo, I heard stories about his growing up in west Texas in Abilene. He enjoyed his teachers and his education and had a favorite story about ink wells and the ink used in them. Family meant the world to Flippo.

World War II

Marshall Flippo in the Navy. History
Marshall Flippo in the Navy

Laced into those first few interviews, Flippo identified his patriotism with World War II raging in the background of his teen years. His older sister, Helen June, had already enlisted, so it seem natural for him to join up, but he was only seventeen years old. That felt so young as he described the process.

When I referenced his enlisting in the navy, I had a major misunderstanding about that event. Originally, I thought he said they had faked his enlistment papers, but he vehemently corrected me. His dad had to sign for him; patriotism ran strong in the whole family.

So, World War II became a significant topic in his biography, with him spending four years in the navy. He spent two years at the end of the war, going to Japan twice. He described being onboard ship, observing Iwo Jima as an eyewitness.

When Flippo described his last two years in the navy, I laughed out loud in amazement. No one could have guessed what he did those last two years. He enjoyed a dream post—playing baseball for the navy overseas and then in San Diego, California.

Square Dance Caller Career

After the service, Flippo returned to Abilene, Texas, married Neeca and embarked on a career that would change his life forever—square dance calling. He stood as a bridge in the history of square dance calling between an influencer like Dr. Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw, the person credited for the square dance explosion in the late 30s and 40s, and all those who followed him. Flip never met or trained under Lloyd Shaw, but Bob Osgood and Betty Casey did and, in mentoring Flippo, Shaw’s influence carried over to him through those two people. Learned more about Lloyd Shaw at https://squaredancehistory.org/exhibits/show/lloyd-shaw

With his career spanning sixty years, he followed those influencers and became a mentor to many callers over the years, carrying on Shaw’s legacy. As one of the original eleven founding fathers, Flippo helped start CALLERLAB, the international organization for callers that changed the direction of square dancing in the 70s. He continued attending this annual convention throughout his career, going to his last one in 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I spent 4-5 hours with him, interviewing him for his biography.

In organizing this book, Flippo immediately let me know he wanted to tell stories about callers and cuers who influenced him. He so much wanted to honor those who were deceased; we created a tribute to them at the beginning of the book. Then the book ends with stories he told about other callers and cuers. I added stories callers wanted to tell on Flippo. Flippo’s humility prevailed throughout the book, and I had to ruin him in, reminding him this book was supposed to be about him!

Sadly, Flippo died in 2018 before we finished what he wanted to share. When he passed away, I had 258,000 words to transcribe from his interviews—so much information. Flippo totally involved himself in the production of his biography. Before he passed, Flip commented about the thickness of Bob Osgood’s biography, As I See It. We saw it at CALLERLAB in Albuquerque. He demanded his biography not be that thick, so I found the word count of Bob’s biography and made sure Flippo’s was less!

However, yes, this book is thick, but the following features liven it up.

Added features to this book—

  • Footnotes explaining square dance terminology—interactive in the e-book formats
  • Period pictures of Flippo, callers, cuers and dancers from Neeca’s three scrapbook/photo albums
  • Pictures from a war book about his time on the USS Lander Flippo referenced often
  • An Index at the end of the book, simply because of my commitment for it to be a history book. I wanted readers easily to cross-reference any topic identified in the book.
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A–Chronology of Marshall Flippo’s Life
    • Appendix B–Itinerary of USS Lander (one of the destroyer tenders Flippo was assigned to)
    • Appendix C–More Burma-Shave Jingles
    • Appendix D–International Tours
    • Appendix E–Chek-A-Kaller Legend
    • Appendix F–Flippo’s Recordings & Reviews
    • Appendix G–List of Callers who Attended Flippo’s Last Night, December 31, 2017
    • Appendix H–Festus Article & Letter
    • Appendix I–Glossary of Square Dance & Round Dance Terms
    • Appendix J–Additional References: books, URLs, Marshall Flippo Song Bytes, News & Websites
  • Additional resources on my website for those who buy the book in the “Members Only” section

Finally,

If you’re a square dancer, this book has so much information for you about the activity we love and the inside story of Flippo’s life. If you’re not a square dancer, the historical aspect might capture your heart about a time in our history rich with stories and people of a time gone by.

Do you like history? Do you like stories about World War II? About life in the 20s in Texas? Let me know what you think in the Comments section.


Favorite child - Happy Father's Day

~Need a Father’s Day gift for your dad or granddad? How about a bundle of my books about ranch life? Go to my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, for 25% discounts on three bundles!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo Meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Thoughts

Another School Shooting: A Teacher’s View

Classroom teacher - school shooting

Another school shooting has happened this past week with nineteen students dead and two teachers. I gasped at the losses in this small Texas town and gulped down tears, not as a parent but as a retired teacher. Each repeated school slaying brings back my memories of Columbine. No, I did not have a child there; my best friend’s son was soon to graduate from there.

COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING

Broken hearted - school shooting

On April 20, 1999, I had just completed a busy school day at Washington middle school in Albuquerque, New Mexico and hadn’t listened to the news all day. We didn’t have Alerts pestering us all day with news and the such. As I left the building, a warm spring afternoon greeted me outside. I exhaled and enjoyed the warmth, walking out the front door with a peer.

As we gathered our belongings, she asked about my day. Then she queried me, knowing I grew up in Colorado, “Did you hear about the horrible school shooting in Colorado?” At just the mention of Colorado, some foreboding deep inside came to life.

“No, it was a busy day. Where was it?” We stopped near the street.

“Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado,” she replied. As my knees almost buckled, I steadied myself.

I shrieked, “Oh, no! My best friend’s son goes there. He’s graduating in a month. I’ve got to go!”

I left my friend standing there and ran to my car. I grabbed my clunky old cell phone and called my best friend and got a notification from the operator, “All lines are busy in Colorado. Call back later.”

Then I called my retired ex-husband to see if he had any news because he watched the early Evening News. His response was grim! That killing spree killed twelve students and a teacher and wounded twenty others.

On the twenty-minute drive home, I called my friend repeatedly, to no avail. When I got home, I fell sobbing into my ex-husband’s arm. No news yet from my friend, and of course, the national news wasn’t releasing any names yet.

After settling down some, we grabbed a quick dinner, glued to the TV. I kept calling my friend and finally, about nine o’clock I got through–her son was safe, but she shared an eerie story.

Habitually, her son ate lunch in the cafeteria at Columbine, which is where the two killers left “two duffel bags, each containing a 20-pound propane bomb set to explode at 11:17 a.m. The teens then went back outside to their cars to wait for the bombs to go off. When the bombs failed to detonate, the two shooters began their shooting spree.”

https://www.history.com/topics/1990s/columbine-high-school-shootings

That day, of all days, my best friend’s son went home for lunch! That saved his life from that horrible school shooting.

As we talked, my best friend sobbed through the conversation with gratitude for her son’s life and grief for those killed.

AFTER THE COLUMBINE SCHOOL SHOOTING

As a teacher, I was never the same after Columbine. We found out later that the first 911 call came from a teacher under her desk with a cell phone. I vowed from that time forward to always have my cell phone close and available. No longer did the “Active Shooter” drill feel rote but necessary, and I explained why I felt so strongly to my classes after that.

COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL’S GRADATION THAT YEAR

On Saturday, May 22, 1999, a short three weeks after the school shooting, Mom and I attended my best friend’s son’s graduation. What should have been a joyous celebration of the culmination of twelve years felt overlaid with sorrow. I remember a heavy presence of the police force that day, fearing the unknown.

“Three of Columbine High School’s seniors left hospitals to graduate with their class Saturday. One rolled on stage in a wheelchair.”

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-may-23-mn-40182-story.html

One mother, grieving the loss of her daughter, “held up her daughter’s gown and gold collar, signifying her membership in the National Honor Society. The graduate’s sister and two brothers accepted her diploma. . .”

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-may-23-mn-40182-story.html

What pain yet resilience we witnessed that day!

A YEAR LATER

I moved to a new school in Albuquerque which didn’t have a dress code. One day, after being there just a few weeks, I stood at my door during passing period and saw an eighth grader coming towards me in a trench coat. I panicked—the two killers at Columbine wore trench coats to hide their guns and get them inside the school. Nothing happened that day at my new school, but I still remember that feeling.

2022 & THE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS CONTINUE!

Now it’s 2022 and another school shooting has happened! Names like Sandy Hook and Parkland have become familiar across the United States associated with school shooting, but nothing has changed since the Columbine shooting!

As many of you, many reputable news sources have bombarded us with data the last few days about school shootings and gun violence. Because of my experience with the Columbine school shooting, the Uvalde, Texas school shooting has gripped my heart deeply, now so many years later. In researching, I found support for some data I saw this week.

“The gunman in the deadliest school shooting in Texas history bought two AR-style rifles legally just after his 18th birthday — days before his assault on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The gunman bought 375 rounds of 5.56-caliber ammunition. . .”

https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/25/uvalde-shooter-bought-gun-legally/

Questions I have today:

  • Why is it legal for an 18-year-old to buy not one but two AR-style rifles in any state in the United States with our track record?
  • Why is it legal that he bought that much ammunition for that style rifle?
  • After all these years, why are we still contending with this horrible evil?
  • Still, why do children have to die in 2022 in the United States of America in insane school shooting sprees?

To answer my last question, look at some stunning statistics from across the world:

19 Countries with the Most School Shootings (total incidents Jan 2009-May 2018 – CNN):

  • United States — 288
  • Mexico — 8
  • South Africa — 6
  • India — 5
  • Nigeria & Pakistan — 4
  • Afghanistan — 3
  • Brazil, Canada, France — 2
  • Azerbaijan, China, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Kenya, Russia, & Turkey — 1

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/school-shootings-by-country

Leading this list worldwide should shock me, but it doesn’t!

Finally,

Broken-hearted with a child's hands - school shooting

Being a ranch girl, I learned to shoot as a child, but we didn’t have AR-anything. We had hunting rifles to provide food for our table. I respect guns, yet know the harm they can do. My childhood playmate was accidentally shot in the face with a pistol and endured a scarred face for a large part of her life.

Being a Christian, I agree with the power of prayers, but those words of prayer ring hollow from our legislators because they have done nothing since 1999 and Columbine to stop this horrendous epidemic. Yes, they have done something—taken money from gun lobbyists who encourage their customers they need AR-style rifles. School shootings have to stop. School safety must become a priority with everyone in our country—mostly those who make legislative decisions.

Being a retired schoolteacher, I remember those precious middle school students who entered my classroom, believing I would provide a safe environment for them. School shootings have shattered that safety. I don’t know how teachers survive today! Please, we must do something! I’m broken-hearted—once again!


Happy Father's Day from your favorite child! meme

~Need a Father’s Day gift for your dad or granddad? How about a bundle of my books about ranch life? Go to my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, for 25% discounts on three bundles!

~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Shingles: The Result of Procrastination!

Asleep on the couch - shingles

I have shingles, diagnosed seven weeks ago and the pain, itching and burning continues. I meant to get the vaccine many times, but kept procrastinating. So now I suffer!

On Friday afternoon, April 1, Lin and I colored my hair, getting ready for our first square and round dance festival in two and a half years. I wanted to look good, and I hadn’t colored my hair in several months.

After Lin rinsed the color off, I jumped into the shower to rinse more thoroughly and take my shower before the evening dance. In drying off, I noticed some red bumps on my forehead, but I didn’t notice they were only on the right side. I wondered if I had gotten allergic to the hair color!

We had a delightful time at that festival (I wrote about it on April 3 for my blog), but I didn’t feel right—just off. We danced Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday morning. After the festival on Sunday afternoon, I attended the funeral of the wife of a dear friend and met another friend from out-of-town there, then we spent the rest of the afternoon together. As time went on, I felt sicker.

When I got home, I slept for two hours. After that nap, I looked in the mirror and the rash on my forehead had worsened. Deep in my heart, I feared it was shingles because my dad had them in 1988 when he turned 70 years old, and it looked similar. Now I noticed it appeared only on the right side.

Back then, the medical world thought Dad needed to be in isolation because shingles were highly contagious. So, we had to don medical clothes, and it was horrible. He looked like someone had painted half of his bald head red! He suffered with his eyebrow hurting until he died.

You would think that experience would have convinced me to get the shingles vaccine, but no, I kept thinking, “Next month, next year!”

The other reason I didn’t rush to get the vaccine is I thought I had not had the chickenpox, and I had read you had to have chickenpox to get shingles. I had never broken out with chickenpox; however, when my mom’s best friend’s baby got chickenpox, Mom put my brother and I in her crib so we’d get them as children. They did that back then as preventive measures—children suffered less with the childhood diseases than adults did.

I never broke out! However, during my teaching career, we had a chickenpox epidemic at one school I taught at, and I never got them. I always thought that curious! So, I probably had the chickenpox as a baby and was asymptomatic (I’ve learned the meaning of that word since the pandemic).

On Monday, April 4, I went to Urgent Care, and the doctor confirmed what I feared—I had shingles on the right side of my face: my scalp, forehead, eyelid and under my eye. He prescribed ValAcylcovir, an antiviral medication. When I got home, I messaged my primary care physician about the location of the shingles and he immediately responded, “Get to your eye doctor this week!”

So, I saw my eye doctor on Wednesday to make sure my eye was okay and it was, but he prescribed another week of the ValAcylcovir. Lin got his first shingles vaccination that day because he didn’t want to go through what I was!

For the first few weeks, I used calamine lotion on the rash—it helped so much with the itching and burning. Then a friend on Facebook suggested using CBD oil because her husband had been relieved when he used it when he had shingles. I had so many suggestions on Facebook, but I couldn’t try them all.

During the first four weeks, I had a leisure morning, tried to work on the computer for a couple hours in the afternoon, then I had rested for a couple hours—so unlike me!

Last week, I saw my primary care physician for a checkup for the shingles. He prescribed Gabapentin for my pain. The Tylenol didn’t help with the pain anymore. As I faced the fifth week, my doctor said I had postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of pain, burning, and itching that can last an indefinite amount of time.

Then I faced chairing a square and round dance festival the second weekend in May, so I did it last weekend, but it took its toll on me. I tried to catch up this whole last week. Then I helped minimally at another festival this weekend. I just didn’t have the energy to take part the way I’m used to.

Last night, I suffered with severe stomach cramps when I got home from the dance. I slept with a heating pad and went to sleep, but the severe stomach pain woke me at 4:00 am and continued relentlessly until 6:00 am.

I’m afraid my pain medication is clashing with my stomach medication and that may cause the stomach cramps! What to do???

Shingles are horrible, and I didn’t break out as severely as many people, primarily because I got the antiviral medicine so quickly.

This is my personal PSA (Public Service Announcement): if you are 50 or older, get the vaccine even if you don’t think you had the chickenpox! After seven weeks and facing my eighth, I do not know when this will end. I had many plans canceled (an audiobook put on hold, my seventh book put on hold, life put on hold!). Don’t take a chance!


~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

A Reality Check, Two Years Later!

Globe with mask - reality check

A reality check: two years later, the coronavirus death count just reached one million, and I had to look back. So many lives lost and so many families have changed forever—a favorite aunt, a precious grandma, an inspiring mother, taken from this earth too early. And yes, reality continues to be questioned today with Congress stalling for two months on future COVID funding. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/covid-19-funding-and-congress-no-clear-path-forward.html

So has our reality changed that much in two years?

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? to see where we were in 2020 and let’s step back in time.

Chapter Nine

WHOSE REALITY TODAY IS REAL?

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.”

Leo Tolstoy

Finger pointing on globe - reality check

May 24, 2020

What does the future hold for us? It’s the end of May 2020, and not a lot has changed—the coronavirus rages. The death count continues to increase daily, with it nearing 100,000 in the United States.

Amid this pandemic, people’s reactions shock me! One person posted on my Facebook page that this virus isn’t dangerous. Tell that to the families mourning 99,031 deaths. Tell that to the world whose losses stand today at 345,554 at 2:00 p.m. this sunny Sunday after‐ noon. I shudder at this callous response to this tragedy—it is dangerous and heartbreaking! Today, I choose empathy and compassion for the losses, for the pain, for the struggle, and I continue to wonder about our collective future.

In my circle of family and friends, I know someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March and is still experiencing symptoms ten weeks later. Some say it’s just like the flu. I’ve never had a flu that lasted that long.

Masked group - reality check

What Do We Face?

April 1, 2020

The future always felt

Predictable.

Not now!


Not post-coronavirus pandemic,

Not after the deaths,

The insanity,

The world in turmoil!

What’s coming?

Social distancing

’til April 30,


The whole month.

More cases

More deaths!

100,000s dead?

1,000,000s sick?

The uncertainty

No one knows

For sure,

But why?

Our tech age believed

We could control,

Order,


Orchestrate the world.

But no!


Here we stand frozen

Paralyzed

Isolated.

2020—


with all its advances

can’t contain

this small

tiny

Enemy.

It controls us!

The USA

Ill-prepared

So sad,


But so true!

World leaders, a part of the problem,

Yes,

But China lied!

Would the authorities have acted differently

If they knew the truth?

Not 81,000 deaths in China


But possibly forty times that amount!

3,240,000


Oh my God!

We will never know.

Where are we headed?

Done and recovered

And back to normal


At the end of April?

May?


September?

I haven’t even a thought

About our financial losses

Not in the wake of the deaths,

The sickness and trauma,

The despair!

We’re all in the same boat

Headed somewhere,

Destination unknown

God, help us!


The coronavirus catapulted me farther into a stark face-to-face confrontation with reality. Reality—different to different people? I thought I knew what reality was. I’m an intelligent human being, but the polarization of our country over wearing masks and the coronavirus has me reeling. Who do I believe? Is it a hoax?

I find myself defending my stance of believing in the severity of the coronavirus and adhering to the mandates set in place nationally by the CDC and locally by our state government. Depending on which news source you subscribe to, friends and family members appear to me to be out of touch. Or is it me?

I’ve struggled with reality my whole life, wanting to live in a LaLa Land of my own making, but adulthood and recovery forced me to grow up, move out of that imaginary land into the territory of the REAL.

Woman floating under the moon - reality check

Reality Check

April 2, 2020

The sun keeps shining.

The world spins.

Night follows day.

On the surface,

Normal is constant.

Yet the massive choirs


Of heartbroken cries resound

Across the dusty plains


Down through the fertile valleys

Atop the snow-topped mountains

Through the quiet deserts.

Human kind is under attack

A virus war zone!

People die;


The number mounts!

Doesn’t matter his color

Her Ethnicity

His Religion

No immunity!

The coronavirus kills,

Has no prejudices,

Is not judicious in its target.

The massive grief grows.


The weight of the pain stresses

This world to its limit.

A mother

A father

A daughter

Die alone

Not a hand to hold


No last kiss and hug!

And it’s not just the virus’s victims,

But anyone unlucky enough

To die now


Like my dear friend, Jan.

Her two daughters and grandson stood vigilant

Outside her door

No kiss


No touch

No hug


Only death!

And FaceTime

On an iPhone!

Such sterile technology

At a time

When she needed familiar touch.

Hearts break in unison,

Too many to count—

Exponential pain multiplied

By this devastation!

Yet the sun rises.


Days melt into weeks.

Pain from this horror lingers

Forever

An acrid taste in my mouth

And

Heart.


I know our realities might differ. Hopefully, somehow, some way, our realities meet and merge.

You may wonder why I keep posting my poems of struggle and uncertainty. I grappled so through this pandemic and recorded it. It certainly helped me; I hope it helps you.

YOUR REFLECTIONS:

At the end of May 2020, how did you handle all the conflicting information thrown at us?


Looking back after two years, my heart aches for where we were and all the losses in between. And reality still is questionable, so we needed another reality check now.

Dare you look back to 2020 and what you were feeling in mid-May 2020? Do a reality check today and think about how you have grown better, not bitter over the last two years.


~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

family · My Thoughts · Recovery · Sexual Abuse

Confusion About My Womanhood? A War Raged!

Confusion about my womanhood

I experienced major confusion about my womanhood for many years. A silent war raged inside me, yet I didn’t understand why. Many women suffer from this same silent killer, and I feel my story is appropriate as the USA again becomes divided over yet another issue—Roe vs. Wade.

You may wonder why I choose to talk about my internal battle on this Mother’s Day. In 1993, my mom played a key role in healing my heart over this tumultuous experience, and her response changed my life.

Let me state my position early so you can decide whether to read on. I am ProChoice. Two family members molested me as a child, causing this stance. I do not support abortion as a means of after-thought birth control, but I support it for mother’s health reasons, rape and incest cases.

As an incest survivor, someone damaged my femininity, confusing me about my womanhood, at an early age. With one perpetrator, this abuse started when I was about four and continued until I was eight or nine. It began with him touching me inappropriately and it ended with him forcing me to touch him. God protected me when the government drafted him, which magically took him away and ended the abuse. I’m sure the next step for him was the rape of an eight years old!

I just did the math and realized he stopped when I was eight or nine. I had always thought it lasted until I was twelve. It seemed to go on forever!

As I’ve read similar stories this week—one little girl pregnant at eleven by her uncle, I had to respond. I’ve spent this week pondering this subject and its effect on me. Specifically, I wondered what would have happened to my family if that person had raped me.

We lived in a small rural ranching community. Everybody knew everybody. At eight or nine years old, I was in the second or third grade, more interested in riding my bike, doing well at school, talking to my girlfriends, and playing with dolls.

Because I would have been so young, I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. But had the rape happened to me, me and my family would have been destroyed. Yes, the molestation damaged me, but I kept it secret for thirty-five years. The rape would have been a different story, with immediate outrageous repercussions.

Why do I open this dark curtain to one of my deepest pains? Incest and rape wound little girls, grown women, whatever their age, setting them up to be the victims of rape. If forced to keep the pregnancy of a rape, every day the victim would face their perpetrator, looking at that child and the rape would happen again and again. We can’t let that happen.

Women in a line Confusion about my womanhood

Women, we must unite and stand up for our sisters whose lives have been so damaged by the violent act of rape and incest. We cannot punish the victim of this hideous offense by demanding she keep a baby, the result of violence against the mother.

This message seems especially important and poignant on this day, set aside for mothers across our country. We need not force motherhood upon a woman who is the victim of a crime against her.

Let me share the gift my mom gave me and why I want to honor her today. After I got out of CoDA treatment in 1988, when I first confronted my parents about what had happened to me at the hands of family members, they sat shocked. It totally affected how we met together as a family from then on.

Later, I mustered up the courage to ask Mom about a time I remembered her coming into my bedroom, and I was being molesting and she turned around and walked away. She said she didn’t remember.

In 1993, my confusion of my womanhood, caused by my incest/molestation issues, raged out of control, so I went into Sexual Trauma treatment. The counselor gathered information from the clients about key areas that needed discussion during the family week for healing. So, during that special week, my second husband, Mom and Dad attended. I talked to each about pressing issues. When I got to Mom, I told her about her denial of that incident in my bedroom. She sobbed and sobbed, and said, “I am so sorry.” Her admission healed something so deep inside of me, and our relationship zoomed to a different level after that.

My confusion about me as a woman placed me in many compromising situations. I suffered domestic violence at the hands of my first husband. During my drinking days, my confusion put me in many risky situations, doing things I never thought I would do. Luckily, no one raped me, but after I sobered up, I wondered about my promiscuity. It all tied back to being a little girl robbed of her precious identity as a female and wounded until I sought healing. It has taken decades to resolve this issue for me.

Many wounded women, victims of incest and molestation, aren’t as lucky as me. They fall prey to predators that rape them and leave them to face the choice of what to do with the results of that violent act. Roe vs. Wade gave them an option. With it gone, they have no options.

Finally, I share my intimate story to, hopefully, open your eyes to whom many rape victims are—woman confused about their womanhood, possibly wounded at the hands of a childhood predator and then once more, attacked and victimized as a rape victim. I pray my story makes you think differently about the repercussions for these women with the loss of Roe vs. Wade. We need to protect these women, not victimize them once again.

I want to provide some resources for incest, rape or domestic violence victims:


~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flipp meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Thoughts

Positive Affirmations: Powerful or Not?

Just start positive affirmations

I have used positive affirmations for years to help me in my recovery and spiritual life. Is there really any power in them? In this blog, I’m going to get vulnerable about this and share mine and my experiences. Some people may say it’s New Age and I’m not interested. I also give scientific research to support the use of them.

When I began my recovery in 1988, I was open to anything that might alter the way I had been heading. I dove into attending meetings regularly and surrounding myself with recovery people. I lived in a place where there were only three – four sober women, so I did little step work then. We women co-sponsored each other and I mainly attended meetings.

Here’s a definition from PositivePsychology.com

“They are positive phrases or statements used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts.”

I needed to replace the negative thoughts circling around and around in my head because they had influenced me and gotten me to my knees.

Scientific Research from PostivePsychology.com

“There is MRI evidence suggesting that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks (Cascio et al., 2016). If you want to be super specific, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex—involved in positive valuation and self-related information processing—becomes more active when we consider our personal values (Falk et al., 2015; Cascio et al., 2016).”

That sounds powerful!

My Start with Affirmations

When I moved to Albuquerque in 1991, I jumped into recovery more so with both feet, got a sponsor, started working the steps and listening to what I could do to help myself. When I read The Artist Way by Julia Cameron in 1992, I started with a short list of affirmations and it’s grown to this list:

  • I will love. I will laugh.
  • I will live a rewarding, creative life.
  • I will write. I will dance. I will walk.
  • As I create and listen, I will be led.
  • My creativity heals me and others.
  • I nurture my artist.
  • I have no enemies.

Over the years, as I faced my incest issues and continued to heal, I added:

  • The incest and rape hurt, but I don’t have to shout, shut up, shut down or shame anymore. I will protect myself now differently by pausing.
  • I promise to protect my little girl from the perpetrators. I must!

For many years, I have used Louise Hay’s positive affirmations from her book, You Can Heal Your Life. She has a list at the end of the book identifying Problem, Probable Cause, and New Thought Pattern. So, over the years, I have used a variety of Hay’s new thought patterns (positive affirmations) for my health woes.

Currently, I use:

  • Sinus—I declare peace and harmony indwell me and surround me at all time. All is well.
  • Allergies—The world is safe and friendly. I am safe. I am at peace with life.
  • Hip—I am in perfect balance; I move forward in life with ease with joy at every age.
  • Osteoporosis—I stand up for myself, and life supports me in unexpected, loving ways.
  • Shingles—I am relaxed and peaceful because I trust the process of life. All is well in my world.

Other positive affirmations I use are:

  • I surround to my Higher Power today.
  • I celebrate Larada today!
  • May all events today contribute to my spiritual awakening.
  • “Called or uncalled, God is present.” Carl Jung
  • “Rouse yourself up and look to God.” Oswald Chambers
  • No one dies, including me!
  • It’s on its way!
  • Everything I need now is here!

Over the years, I collected these in my reading and when someone shared their affirmations.

Also, I have added Biblical verses:

  • We are God’s poem! Ephesians 2:10
  • Search me God and know my heart, test and me know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
  • Do everything in love. I Corinthians 16:14
  • I have chosen you. John 15:16, 19
  • “O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing!” It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  • Maranatha—Come, Lord Jesus!

The last few years, I added these Bible verses and Christian messages to my daily affirmations because they really feel like affirmations to me.

After all is said and done, post positive affirmations on the refrigerator door to see when you open it every day or on your mirror to read while you are brushing your teeth. Daily, I read my positive affirmations out of my journal, and they have directed me out of the dark sadness of addiction and pain into a world of positivity and possibilities. I truly feel these short phrases have turned my life around in a different direction. Powerful—yes!

Do you use positive affirmations? If so, share your favorites with me! I’d love to hear from you.


~NEW PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better/ meme

~Don’t wait another day! Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com