Musings, Inspirational stories, Book excerpts and Inspirational quotes
from McCartney Green and Grandmaster Eric Kino, Sr
|Posted on April 6, 2017 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 6, 2017 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
I recently watched the movie "Passengers" and being claustrophobic myself, the movie totally freaked me out. Claustrophobia aside, Jim felt so alone he condemned another passenger to his own fate. Sometimes when the day is dark and things are not going so well, we too may begin to feel that we are all alone.
Once we feel completely alone, the next logical step is to wonder why we exist at all. That is a subject for another post.
The point of this post is really just to say this to all who may be feeling lost and alone. "We are NOT Alone. I know this of a surety. When we quiet our minds and connect spiritually, there is no trauma, no sadness, no depression, nothing that cannot be overcome..." Again, we are not alone! Not ever.
Wishing you exuberant joy, McCartney Green
Let's Talk! Visit with me by clicking on the "Let's Talk" tab above. I would love to share with you the 7 keys to Unshakeable Joy.
|Posted on February 12, 2017 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Just some of my thoughts this morning. A bit disjointed, but hey, it’s Saturday!
Most who know me know that I am all about love and joy and kindness and patience and understanding. However, a few of you know that I am also a warrior. I am not afraid to stand up for what is right, to stand up for freedom, to stand against hatred and violence, to rail against ignorance. I am also not one to follow the status quo, to agree with what “everyone else” is doing.
I am a rebel. I believe in honesty and integrity in all things, business, personal relationships, with myself. Yet I also believe in tactfulness. I don’t have to tell you that I dislike your dress. What purpose would that serve?
I don’t believe in taking something that does not belong to me, standing in anyone’s way to impede their progress, or in hating people just because they don’t happen to agree with me. There are a lot of people out there who preach togetherness and love, unless you disagree with them. Then they hate just like everyone else. This saddens me, and makes me resolve to stand up and fight.
The unbeatable foe, many times, is one we cannot see. It is a thought process, or a lie, or something so giant and unfathomable we cannot even describe it. We only know it is dark and looming and has the ability to destroy.
Freedom comes with responsibility. Freedom comes with caveats. We are free to do what we please as long as that freedom does NOT infringe on others' freedom, life or property.
So, love whom you want to love, hate whom you want to hate, that is your right. Notwithstanding, you have no right to harm, to infringe, to destroy OPP.
We need to remember that nothing good can ever come from anger, hatred or darkness.
One of my very favorite quotes came from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Does this mean that we should tolerate evil? No. We shall stand against evil. So let's be clear on what evil is. It is anything that tries to take away your individual freedom to choose. Remember though, freedom’s caveat... And remember, that doesn't mean your choices won't have consequences.So choose well.
|Posted on February 8, 2017 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
Let go of the past. It’s a hard thing to do.
Lately I’ve tried to listen and be super-conscious of the people around me and what they are actually saying. I’m amazed by how many people continuously put themselves down for the mistakes they’ve made in the past.
Have we beaten ourselves up enough? Let’s go ahead, and give ourselves one more swift kick, one more good slap, and then, well, we just gotta let it go.
Let’s use the past only to learn from our mistakes and move on.
Let’s think of the past only in gratitude for lessons learned, experience gained, and things accomplished.
Let’s turn our heads and thoughts to the present. Let’s really “see” what is happening right in front of us. Is the sun shining? Is the sky blue? Did someone just smile at you in line at the store?
Let’s really listen to the sounds going on right now. Is there a child giggling? A bird singing, a bell ringing, a song playing on the radio? People laughing, car horn beeping, computer keys clicking? TV blaring?
Let’s learn how to be really present in what is going on in our lives this very moment, and the next and the next.
Let’s let go of any stressing about the future too.
Let go of the past. It’s a hard thing to do. Lately I’ve tried to listen and be super-co
|Posted on February 6, 2017 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Super Bowl Sunday. Such a fun day. This playoff season and now the Superbowl has been more fun than usual for me because I really liked three of the teams, Falcons, Cowboys and Patriots. I was sad to see the Cowboys lose out. But then my other two fav teams blew out their opponents to play today. Awesome! It's a win/win situation for me.
I like Tom Brady. So much to like about him, personally and professionally, and so I would love to see him win his 5th SuperBowl. I really like Matt Ryan too and would love to see the Falcons win Some say the Falcons are the underdogs, but I don't see it that way at all.
And it's not just the QB's that I like. The Patriots like to say they are a "family," and the way every single member of their team loves each other and works together is evident. Each member is utilized because each member is important. Same for the Falcons and their "brotherhood." Exact same thing. It would be so cool for them to finally go back to a Super Bowl and to win!
Either way, I'm happy, as long as they each play well and don't make stupid mistakes and don't just hand the game off to the other. I'm looking for a well-fought battle, and I think it will be.
All that being said, I wanted to get a jersey to represent either of "my" teams and alas, there were none to be found, so....I made one. Patriots on the front...and Falcons on the back. Okay, so I'm not an artist but I didn't too badly for painting free hand.
Side note: You will notice that I used Super Bowl and Superbowl, for apparently, there is an "American Spelling Crisis" about this very thing. Superbowl, Super Bowl, brotherhood, family, Brady, Ryan, Patriots, Falcons... best, best. Have fun, be safe.
|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
If current circumstances in our nation or in the world are stressing you out and causing you pain, maybe this will help.
Everyone wants to be happy, right? I thought that once.
A few months ago I ran a survey, well, it’s really an ongoing survey on the front page of my website. It only has three questions. In a nutshell I asked people what was the one thing in their lives that caused them the most pain, the one thing they would change if they magically could change it.(Take the survey www.mccartneygreen.com)
The answers were overwhelmingly narrowed down to four things. Tho top four things were:
2. Health problems/illness
4. The 2016 presidential election
I ran that survey because my goal was to help people with the thing that blocked them from their happiness. The results seem to cover a wide span of subjects, but really, if I were to get down to the real basis, people just want to be happy, and they believed that if they could change one of these main pain points then they would be happy.
I am very happy. I live in joy. But I wasn’t always like that. I am certainly no stranger to the hardships of life. There are many labels I could apply to myself. As a child....abused, neglected, and starved. Both my parents were alcoholics. We lived in poverty. I was bullied in high school. When I married I thought everything would get better. But we were destitute. I worked three jobs to keep a roof over our heads. By the time I was 39 years old, I had seven beautiful children but my marriage was crumbling, I had no idea how we were going to survive, I was sexually assaulted in a Wendy’s parking lot. Feeling alone, unloved and like my children and the world would be better off without me, I tried to take my own life. So yeah, I was at the bottom of the barrel. Now, the only reason I allow anyone to know these things about me is only so that they can know that I can identify with their pain, that I understands where they are coming from and I can indeed help them to rise up out of the ashes. But I will yell at the top of my lungs....I am NOT a victim.
As I go about the business of helping people relieve their stress and find joy and happiness, I’ve come to realize a few things. First happiness really is a choice. Usually when I say that people get pretty angry with me. They say, “Happiness is not a choice. Don’t you think I want to be happy?”
And I say, “Wanting to be happy and choosing to be happy are two different things.”
If you choose to be happy, that doesn’t mean that suddenly you will magically be happy. It means you are choosing to do what it takes to be happy. And I’m not talking about hard work. I’m talking implementing 5 to 7 keys into your life that will help you find joy. Notice I didn’t say that will help you find money, or health, or love, or a new president. It will help you find joy no matter what your circumstances.
Some will say that is impossible, to feel happy when nothing is the way you want it. But I say nothing is impossible. I know first hand. Now here is the kicker....once you begin to feel what I call, joy for no reason, the “reasons” begin showing up. You see, it’s sort of ironic, but once you begin waking up each morning with joy in your heart, your vibration rises and when that happens it turns you into a magnet for all the things that give you even a higher vibration which are the things of your fondest dreams. In other words, joy first, and become a manifesting magnet.
I actually work with people to help them find this joy, but many in the world and in our nation are in despair right now, so I will list the steps to relieving your money/health/relationship/election stress right here. I want for every single person in this world, to come together in love and joy.
Yet, here’s an even greater kicker. Many people don’t really want to be happy or joyous. They want to be victims. They want to continue in their misery. This has been made evident to me over the past several months and I am incredulous. So, I ask you, do you really want to be happy or are you a victim? If you enjoy the attention of being a victim...and victims have many labels, (assault victims, war victims, abuse victims, societal victims, racism victims,) then just admit that you don’t really want to be happy and move along. If you realize that the bottom line is you just want to be happy AND you want to have your fondest desires, then implement the following steps into your life. I guarantee it will change your life. I know this because they changed mine.
(If you would like to download the PDF, go to this link..... http://www.mccartneygreen.com/profile/7%20EasytoImplement%20Steps%20to%20Overcome%20Despair%20and%20Stress.pdf)
Or just read it here....btw, it's not actually a book, it's simply in book form, but it is only a few pages.
Copyright ©2016 McCartney Green
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, or in any information storage or retrieval system is forbidden without the written permission of McCartney Green.
Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician.
This book is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician or counselor. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.
Warmest of Greetings!
Welcome to YOUR free gift from me to you!
If you’re reading this I’m going to assume your mind is at least a little bit open, if not wide open. That doesn’t mean you’re stupid, or crazy or silly, it means you have the intelligence to know that there is much more going on in this world than we can experience with our five senses. With that being said, read on to find an easy step-by-step formula that if practiced daily, will open your mind to experience true, unshakeable joy, what I call joy for NO reason. The cool thing is, this joy has a delicious side-effect, and that is it will turn you into a manifesting magnet. That means you will be able to finally achieve your heart’s desires.
The following process is a daily routine that is easy to implement, takes very little time and can actually change your life. First up, I won’t make you wait.... is a list of the steps. Following that, an explanation of why each step is important.
You do not have to be religious at all to partake in this exercise, though you can be. The Universe is vibrational. Your joy and your problems, your happiness and your despair really all have to do with vibration. You may believe in a Divine power, or just the force or quantum power that is out there in the Universe, it doesn’t matter. What matters is being consistent in following these steps. The goal for this gift, and for my latest books, Messages from Transcendent Beings, AND Kino Martial Arts Student Manual, is to have everyone, religious or not, spiritual or not, confused or enlightened, master or student, Democrat or Republican, black or white, legal or not, coming together in love and joy by revving up their vibrational alignment, “pulling light” many times a day and preparing this world for what is to come. In other words, it is meant to bring everyone together in light and in love and that is absolutely possible through vibrational alignment!
You will find several items in quotes and/or italics. Unless otherwise noted, they are taken from, Messages from Transcendent Beings, We Are Not Alone, and Kino Martial Arts Student Handbook, A Guide for Every day Living with Purpose.
What you are learning here is a quick and easy way to align your personal vibration to the quantum power in the Universe, or to God, or the Angels, or your Spirit Guides or to Benevolent Beings or simply your own higher consciousness. You don’t have to dedicate hours and hours to it. It only takes a few seconds, but boy is it powerful. When you align vibrationally to a higher vibration, you find a delicious side benefit.... Joy! And Joy too has a delicious side benefit.... it turns you into a manifesting magnet!
“True joy comes through an awareness and awakening to life beyond this Earthly realm, and this awakening comes from spiritual alignment.”
~Grandmaster Eric Kino in Messages from Transcendent Beings~
Let’s get started! I won’t make you wait and read through a bunch of fluff before we get to the heart of the matter... Here are the steps right up front. Following is a quick explanation of how to easily accomplish each step!
1. Be an observer of your own thoughts
2. Let go
5. Pull Light
7. Pay Attention
1. - Be an observer of your own thoughts
Everything begins with thought. There is nothing that can be done without thought, and there is nothing that can be done that is of the light without positive thought. So, observe your own thoughts. Are they positive, or are you focusing on your fear of what could happen, what might happen, on hate, on violence, on despair?
“Be an observer of your thoughts. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t be frustrated with yourself. Only observe. That is the beginning.”
When you find yourself in a bad situation, angry, frustrated, sad, depressed, stand back and simply observe your own thoughts. Do NOT try to change them. Just observe...for now.
2.- Let go
This is one of the most difficult things for people to do. Just try. Think of the very worse case scenario and then say, whatever will be will be. This letting go, this acceptance helps your mind and heart to actually relax. In my book, the boy trapped in the cave finally let’s go, though his death is imminent. This letting go is what changed his vibration and allowed him to change what was happening. Most people will find that they will have to do this step many times a day.... but always do it at least once....early in the morning is a great time.
Let go of all expectations. Let go of any negative thoughts or emotions. Let go of your need or want for anything. Simply accept all that is you right now. Say, ‘yes,’ to who you are, what you are, where you are, how you are, right now in this very moment. If you are in a place that feels pretty good, be grateful for it. If you are in a place that feels terrible, wallow in it, but either way, accept it. At this moment, you may be feeling a little bit rebellious about what I’ve just asked you to do for you may not want to accept where you are right this minute. I am not asking you to never again reach for what you desire. What I ask is a tiny adjustment in your thought, for before you reach for anything else, you must accept and say ‘yes’ to the now. The working toward goals comes later. For now, let go.
Every day, throughout your day, let go. Stop pushing. Relax. Accept. If you feel yourself tense up about anything, let go. Visualization always helps, so, take a deep breath, and as you exhale, see yourself letting go of a taut rope. You let go and you float down to land softly.
This ‘letting go’ sometimes takes practice. We are so used to gripping onto everything in life with such desperation that letting go seems impossible. Let go as if you are accepting that your life is coming to an end. Surrender. You will know when you have achieved this moment of surrender because you will suddenly experience the most freedom you have ever felt in your life. It’s a wonderful, empowering feeling.
3. - Hydrate
Water is not only perfect for flushing out impurities from our bodies, it is a super conductor and therefore, staying hydrated is an important part of the energy connection between our bodies and Source energy. It is a spiritual conduit.
4. - Stretch
You might think I’m speaking of your mind, and yes, I always ask that you ...
“Stretch your mind and open it up to new possibilities.”
“However, in this section we are actually speaking about stretching your body. Your body is more important than you may think in the seeking of vibrational alignment. In this Earthly realm, our bodies are the clear point in which the spiritual meets the physical.
“Our bodies are important, but this doesn’t mean that the only way to connect with spirit or our higher consciousness is to be physically fit, though many people who focus on health and fitness also find a beautiful spiritual connection. (Ever heard of a runner’s high?) I always recommend everyone be as fit as possible, but if you are not fit, don’t let this defeat you. You do not have to be perfectly fit to align vibrationally or spiritually. Anyone in any physical condition can reach beautiful alignment. You can be handicapped, wheelchair bound, even paralyzed. I ask you to simply stretch, for I have found that the moment we decide to stretch the body, to use it properly, to be grateful for it, the higher the vibration that moves through it, and the higher the vibration, the closer we are to the higher realms.
“How can someone who is paralyzed stretch? Remember, thoughts are an energy form. See it! Use this same principle if you have a difficult time using your body. See it. Try it. Take small steps in the right direction.
“Though I always recommend yoga, this stretching should not be difficult or complicated. Make it easy. Bend, breathe, stretch over your head, breathe, lean to the side, breathe. Hold the stretch, any stretch, for at least three breaths and then change positions. It doesn’t matter what stretches you do, as long as you are slow and gentle with your body. Be safe. Be comfortable. Breathe oxygen and light into each part of the body that you stretch and try to hit most major areas, (legs, waist, arms, chest.) Do this stretching for at least five minutes, unless you are truly enjoying it. If that is the case, stretch as long as you like.”
5. - Pull Light
This is a super easy process that takes all of two seconds. Even though it may be the shortest part of everything so far, it may very well be the most important part. I hesitate to say that, because each of these keys are important. It’s like a combination lock. However, I cannot stress enough how important this step is. It has changed my own day and my circumstances hundreds of times now. Here’s what you do:
“See a bright light coming from the heavens toward the top of your head, (the crown chakra.) Some people like to embellish this procedure, seeing it come from a distant galaxy, to the Milky Way, to the solar system, to our planet, through the atmosphere, through the roof of the building they are occupying and finally into their bodies through the top of their heads. Some people see this as the light of Christ, some see it as coming from the finger of God, some from a star. I don’t embellish mine so much, for it is not necessary. I find the simpler I make things, the better they work for me. However, others feel the exact opposite...so embellish away if want!
“I usually begin by saying these words in my mind, “I call upon the light of Source,” or, “I call upon the light of God,” or a fun one I like to use, “Power Shield activated!” (Makes me feel like a superhero, lol!) As I speak the words I immediately ‘see,’ (visualize,) the light burst from the heavens into the crown of my head. I ‘see’ this light move all the way through my body. I ‘see’ this light increase in brightness and volume as it fills my body, moves through my body and exits. If I am standing I ‘see’ this light exit through my fingertips and soles of my feet to continue on into the Earth and all the way to the Earth’s core. If I am sitting, I ‘see’ this light exit my body through the root chakra and again, continue down into the Earth’s core.
“Sometimes I pulse this light in huge bursts and sometimes I just let it flow. Do what feels the best to you. Say what feels the most comfortable to you. If you are not religious at all, simply call upon the communal light of the Universe. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is you are “pulling light” through your body.
“For, where there is light, there can be no darkness.”
“Now, you must understand that when you are visualizing this light coming through your body, indeed, that is exactly what is happening.
“Your thoughts are energy and what you think and what you say and what you visualize, IS. Thought energy exists.”
When you first begin to do this, you may not feel anything. Eventually though, you will. When I first began to feel something, after a few weeks of doing this almost constantly, (that is, every time I thought about it during the course of my day,) it was a strange feeling in my little finger on my left hand. I realized that whenever I pulled light, my finger would stick out and curve in a strange way as if I were being electrocuted. I realized I could actually feel this power as it moved through me and I knew then that what I was visualizing truly was taking place.
Now it sounds like I am asking you to do a long light meditation. That is not what this is. It is a two second whoosh of light and power moving through you. I call upon the light and whoosh, it is done. Take longer if you want, but I have found that a fast explosion of light is easier for most people and makes them more willing to do it. So.... pull light, two seconds, it is done. Great job!
Like the feeling? Want more? Do it again. Do it three times in a row, or five, or sit with it for as long as you like. The point is, everyone can do two seconds. So do it!
6. - Meditation/Prayer
Meditation and prayer, though similar, are not the same. I actually use both. My prayer is usually a statement of gratitude, a statement of intention and an asking for divine guidance. My meditation is a quieting of the mind for if we do not quiet the mind, we will not hear the messages that come to us. These messages may be from God, from a Divine source, from our higher selves, from our eternal families or from any source of light. I highly encourage you to pull light and be attuned only to sources of love and light. To do anything else is foolhardy and could be dangerous. I am a warrior of light and I do not compromise with evil or dark and negative forces.
I will not instruct how to pray, for each person’s religion or spirituality is different. Do what you feel good about.
From Grandmaster Eric Kino about meditation:
“How do we meditate? There are no firm rules, though some disciplines will tell you that their way is the best way. What I think about that is – YOUR way is the best way. In other words, whatever you instinctually feel comfortable with is the way you should go. The best for one is not the best for all.”
Here is what I teach my students: Simply sit or lie down comfortably, take a few deep cleansing breaths and then just breathe normally, in and out anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. The longer you take, the more inspiration flows.
Now, you may have heard that you should focus on your breath. The reason for that is to keep your mind from wandering and thinking about a thousand different things, which we, as humans, have a tendency to do. Focusing on your breath as it enters and leaves your body is the simplest and closest thing to our goal, which is, no thought at all. Breathing is an instinctive action and doesn’t require much effort. Your mind will wander away from your breathing, and when you realize it has done that, simply bring it back to the breath, in, and out. Do NOT feel like you’ve failed because your mind wandered, for that would bring negative emotion. Be kind to yourself. Be forgiving of yourself. Love yourself. You are a beautiful creation capable of much good, love and light. Let go. Be a light.
I have a trick I use when my mind is being particularly active, racing all over the place because I am upset or worried or stressed or in despair. It’s a visualization. I simply see a body of water, a lake, a pool, a quiet stream, a bird bath.... I see it with waves or ripples and slowly I see the surface calm and the water become still. It is very relaxing. Try it.
7. - Pay Attention
You may ask, “Pay attention to what?” To everything. To synchronicities that happen throughout your day. To the person sitting across from you on the bus. To the birds chirping over your head. Listen. Watch. Be the observer of life. Remember the positive thoughts. The inspired thought will come. The “aha” moments will come. The meeting of a key person will happen. You will begin to see things from a higher perspective and your fears and anxieties will melt away. You will begin to feel joy.
There are no such things as coincidences. The Universe is not random. Everything, EVERYTHING, happens for a reason. When you are thinking of someone and they call you out of the blue, it is not random, nor a coincidence. When you pay attention to all the things that are happening around you, you will begin to see the correlations. If we choose to simply ignore the signs we are given, then the signs will stop coming.
There was a time recently when I was having a hard day. I began to feel a little bit alone, a little bit disconnected, and so I pulled light, and meditated. I directed my thoughts to my “heavenly messengers” with whom I usually communicate. I told them, I was feeling alone and disconnected and asked for a “sign,” of some kind. Then I remembered the bible says “Do not ask for a sign,” and so I said, “Oops, sorry, I guess I’m not supposed to ask for sign,” and the message came into my head clearly. “That is a fallacy. Of course we want you to see the signs. We send them to you everyday. They are all around you, all of you. So go ahead, ask, but once you do, you must be aware, you must pay attention. The signs are everywhere.”
Now, there are some things that will also come that are not inspired. Use your gut to tell the difference. Being able to discern is a skill. For example, I have visions, but I am sent these visions from both the forces of light and those of darkness.
Quick Side note: Yes, there really are forces of both light and darkness, regardless of what the Law of Attraction gurus say. That’s why I am currently writing a new book about the LOA. The LOA people say there are not “dark forces,” out there, only what you attract to yourself, but that is really not the full story. They have not lied, but kept the real story from you for perfectly good reasons. I am offering disclosure in When the Law of Attraction Doesn’t Work - The Secret You Haven’t Been Told. Be on the look out for it.
Back to the point about my visions. The “good” visions never frighten, are only positive or give hope. The dark visions are filled with taunts and hatred and ugliness. I am sharing this with you for a reason. You see, just before I see a vision, a vibration moves through my body. I use to not be able to tell who the vision was from until I actually saw it. Now, I can tell from the feeling of the vibration and I can immediately pull light and raise my vibration so that I am not affected by the darkness. It took me a while to get it, but I am now pretty good at discerning from where my messages are coming.
Also, listen, even, to your mind chatter. I spoke at a conference about the words that came into my mind and how I knew I was being led in a certain direction. After the conference a woman asked me how I was able to differentiate between normal mind chatter and the inspired thoughts that may come. I explained to her that sometimes I can’t. Sometimes it seems just like my own mind just going a mile a minute, but then, some little coincidence/synchronicity, will occur that lets me know that what I was thinking was indeed the inspiration for which I’d been searching. However, I wouldn’t have noticed the synchronicity if I hadn’t been “paying attention.”
So, listen to your mind chatter, listen to the world, pay attention. It doesn’t take very long at all before you realize things in this world are not what they seem. There is much more going on behind the scenes than we know or realize. And it is MARVELOUS!
As you persist in following these 7 easy-to-implement steps you will become more and more in tune, and before you know it, you will begin to have amazing, joyous, inspired things happen in your life. Or if you already did, it will begin to be at a much higher rate and much more controllable. Your connection will grow stronger and stronger every day.
As I love to say, there is a delicious side-effect to following these 7 steps, for they are steps to overcoming stress, depression and suddenly realizing the feeling of a deep, true, wonderful joy, the joy that comes from a high vibrational alignment.
Of course, you can always take this deeper. If you are truly struggling and want help, you can schedule a free one hour Personal Life Transformation Strategy session. We will discuss your current situation and help you get on a road for total life transformation!
Just go here: http://mccartneygreen.youcanbook.me
For now, be in joy. Follow the 7 steps in this gift and if you would like to share your progress, please write me at [email protected]
|Posted on September 24, 2016 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
Football can be a beautiful thing visually. All the bright colors, bands with a heavy beat, big strong guys in colorful tight pants. I love football and.... well....I hate football! I will try to explain my bipolar reaction to the game.
I've always understood the game. Back when I was cheerleader in high school, we actually knew what was happening on the field. We were as into it as the players and actually believed if we revved the crowd up enough, we could help the outcome of the game. Waaaay back then, every school's cheerleaders and bands thought of themselves as the "12th man." Being quite the tomboy, I also played football with a lot of the guys who were on our high school team at weekend pick-up games. I was fast and intercepted many passes much to the admiration of those boys. Back then, football was plain ol' fun.
Then my 5 sons played football. All quarterbacks. All really good. And suddenly football became much more serious. I was that mom, the QB's mom, pacing either on the top stadium seats or behind the stands. Nerve racking. We all got through it. Now, one of my sons is coaching high school ball, and one of my grandsons is a high school QB. I thought I was over it, the nerves, the anticipation. And I AM much better than I used to be. But I admit, I've felt those old worries and stresses coming back. The old wanting to scream at a ref, or yell, "Are you freaking kidding me," at the play the coach just sent in. I don't yell at the players anymore, because I've begun to see them all as my own children and know they are doing the best they can do. I think it was the politics of football that made me want to distance myself as far from the game as possible.
Still, when it turns fall, and the excitement builds as each team believes they are going to do better this season, and tail-gating takes off, and the bands rev up I feel the old pleasure from a long time ago. With all that, there is one thing, to me, that is the most attractive thing on that football field and it's something I wish we could see more of, something I wish the coaches and parents would think is more important...and that is...a show of good sportmanship. Whether it's putting in your "twos" when the score is 45 to zip, or no late hitting when you're frustrated because you're losing, or even just the helping up of an opposing player. Yeah, when one player helps up a player on the opposing team, that is THE most attractive thing! Of course, I realize they may not be saying something nice, they're probably saying, "Come at me again and I'll knock you down again..." (I cleaned that up, lol.) But I like to picture in my rose-colored world, that they are doing what Andrew Luck is thought to be doing.... paying a compliment to the player for a great effort.
Yep, a show of good sportsmanship is really, really attractive...not just in football, but in every sport, in every game, in every thing. It's one of the things that sets us apart as humans. Would sure love to see more of it. How about you?
|Posted on August 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Shelley dressed quickly, hands trembling, as the fear of her first competition seeped into her mind. She smoothed golden brown strands of hair back into the thick braid that fell just a few inches short of her waist and hurried down the stairs to join the others already sitting on the floor along the edge of their designated mats.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor, she took long, slow, deep breaths, to help center herself. She tried to clear her mind, seeking the strength she needed to perform this seemingly simple task. Looking her opponents over, she took measure of the eight other women competing in her division. None were from her class at the “Y”. Except for herself, only the younger students from the YMCA had opted to participate in the tournament. Her instructor had pretty much let her know she was on her own because he had to be there for the kids. She assured him she’d be fine.
She’d acted so nonchalant, but truth be told, she wanted so badly to do well. She'd practiced for hours with her two young sons. Still, she reminded herself, the winning wasn’t important. It was progressing that was important, and participating in competition signified progress in her quest to become strong.
Feeling calmer, Shelley exhaled, letting her mind relax. The minute she did, the traitorous organ wandered immediately back to the man she'd run into. Why was she thinking about him? She hated men. Well, most men anyway. Okay, she didn’t hate them, but she sure didn’t trust them. Especially strange men. Still, as men go, that particular one had been quite attractive. Even so, was she really so shallow that a hunky male could distract her from the important task she was about to undertake? She shook her head. What a fool she must have seemed, crawling around on the floor, collecting deodorant and hairbrush. Thank goodness she didn't have anything more personal in her bag.
She rubbed her head, remembering the hardness of his body. Well, she thought, he was an impressive specimen. Even more impressive was his kindness, and, what was it? A calmness. There was a quiet calm that seemed to surround him. Realizing her mind had again wandered, she reprimanded herself, and quickly regained her concentration. While she waited for the tournament to begin, Shelley closed her eyes and desperately strove to “become one with the universe.”
It was only a minute later, however, that the event director began speaking into the microphone, snapping Shelley out of her reflection. He gave a small welcoming speech and went over rules of conduct. “Now I have a surprise for you,” the director continued. “I know we said we were unable to get a celebrity to attend today’s event, but it seems he was able to fit us in after all and he brought along a bonus. So, we’re extremely excited to have with us today two stars of the martial arts world!”
Shelley squirmed around excitedly to get a better view.
“I have the extreme honor of introducing to you a legend in our industry. A Master who has taught other Masters. Three time MART instructor champion and black-belt hall-of-famer, Master Eric Kino!”
Realizing now who she’d run into, Shelley's jaw dropped. She watched Master Kino stand and bow to the crowd and then he seemed to glance in her direction with a slight smile. She looked behind her to see who he could possibly be acknowledging, but there was no one. Me? Is he smiling at me? She was sure steam rose from her red face.
“And we’re very pleased and excited to introduce to you Master Kino's son, star of Shadow Warrior, The Lone Wolf, War Zone, and To Master the Art, just to name a few.” The applause all but drowned out the announcer. “I'm sure you all know– Ricky Kino!” The gym was filled to its four thousand capacity, making the wild applause and whistles deafening. Ricky stood and bowed to the audience very seriously, then broke into the famous broad smile, waving to all.
Shelley joined the crowd, applauding long and hard. Ricky Kino! The boys are gonna die. Oh, how I wish they could be here. She’d taken her sons to see Shadow Warrior just before they'd left to spend the summer with their dad. She couldn't wait to tell them.
“After our forms competition, Ricky will be honoring us with a demonstration.”
The crowd erupted again. It took the director several minutes to regain control and get the tournament underway.
While the women in her arena were called on to perform, sudden stage-fright overtook Shelley. Maybe I won't compete after all. I don't really need to. I have nothing to prove to anyone. She wanted desperately to rationalize her way out of it, but she couldn't. She really did have something to prove, if not to anyone else, at least to herself. She hadn't fought two years ago. She'd laid there and let him touch her. As usual, her stomach churned at the memory. She would not just sit idly by today.
Pushing the unpleasant memory aside, she tried to focus her mind on something else, anything else, and found herself thinking of Master Kino. Had she really asked him if he was competing? She shook her head and groaned inwardly. He must have thought her a complete idiot. She should have recognized him or at least realized he was not just a regular competitor.
Her head jerked around, the blood draining from her face as she realized her mind had been wandering all over the place, when she should’ve been paying attention. They called her name again, and she pushed herself into action. She rose and bowed, out of respect to her domain, which in this case was the mat, her home for the next few minutes. She walked bravely onto it, purposely avoiding any eye contact with the head judges' table.
In a voice as loud as she could muster, she called out the name of her form, her instructor and school. She then addressed the three judges sitting to one side of the arena. “With your permission I will begin.”
The judges nodded. She backed up three steps to the exact center of the mat, bowed and took her stance. Forms, hyungs, or katas, require intensity and concentration in order to be properly executed. The forceful yet fluid movements are to be “thrown” as though each blow lands on an imaginary opponent. Inner vision and discipline are necessary. The judge can count off for the slightest variation such as an arm too high, fingers not together, foot turned out too far.
Shelley had worked hard perfecting her form. Every muscle of her body from her fingertips down to her toes was tense, yet she moved smoothly and gracefully as she stepped and kicked first one invisible opponent to her left then the other on her right. She became completely immersed, imagining the attackers coming at her from each side.
“Watch her and tell me what you think,” Eric said to Ricky as he pointed to the woman with the long hair in arena two.
Ricky waited for her to finish. “She's a looker, but I guess that's not what you mean, huh?” When his father didn't answer he got serious. “She has potential,” he allowed. “Someone you know?”
“Someone I'd like to know,” Eric answered softly without taking his eyes off her.
“Hmm,” Ricky considered. “I see.”
Eric turned his head. “You see what?”
“Oh, nothing,” Ricky answered with a sly smile.
Ignoring his son, Eric folded his hands together and rested his chin on them. He watched as she finished and returned to sit beside her mat, thinking about how she'd looked up at him in the lobby. He'd nearly grabbed her by the shoulders proclaiming her “the one.” He'd looked into beautiful, big, brown eyes and felt hypnotized. He'd seen those eyes before, in his dreams.
She'd blushed under his gaze which made her appear quite innocent. He'd had to fight an overwhelming urge to wrap his arms around her and comfort her. The need to protect was strong. Now that he’d found her, it seemed obvious that his task is to train her. Ricky was right, the woman in his dream and the student he is to teach for the MART are one and the same. And he probably has been led to her to train her because there is some unfortunate event lurking in her future.
So positive now of the direction he should take, he wondered how he should approach her about becoming his student. If he explained to her how he's seen her before in his dreams, she’d think him a lunatic. However, he knew he cannot let the opportunity to meet her go by without taking action. Nothing to do but go with instinct. He was pulled from his thoughts when the forms competitions in each category neared their end.
Eric turned to his son. “Ready?”
“Always,” Ricky grinned.
Ricky stood and stretched his thick, muscular arms above his head then walked back to a clear space behind the table to limber up. Eric pulled a box of boards out from under the table. Ricky would blast them to bits in his demo.
A group of kids leaned over the railing, looking down at Ricky as he warmed up. Ricky glanced up grinning and waved. They shrieked with laughter.
Leaving his son to his antics, Eric looked back to arena two but they had been dismissed. Rising, he walked slowly through the crowd and up the steps, but didn’t find the person he sought. He went into the lobby, grabbed a bottle of water and spoke to a few teenage boys who asked his thoughts on a particular defense movement. He set them straight. “The best defense is offense. Don't mess around. End it and end it quickly. Then there is no room for error.”
He shook their hands, autographed their programs and started back, but pulled up short. There she was, at the top of the stairs, gazing out over the crowd. She’d changed out of her uniform and was dressed now in jeans and an airy white blouse. Light brown hair with streaks of gold, still crinkly from the braid she'd worn earlier, cascaded over her shoulders. It wasn't cut into one of the day's trendy styles. Instead, it flowed down her back in long, golden curls. It added to her inherent femininity and made a statement that she wasn’t your average woman. He found himself longing to comb his fingers through the thick curls.
Eric watched her for just a moment as she went up on her toes and leaned over the railing, looking down on the activities below. Her hair stopped just short of a trim waist. Her jeans hugged her bottom. Man, what was he thinking? He sighed. He was thinking like a man and not like a martial arts instructor, because he envisioned running his very lethal hands all over that firm backside. Getting himself under control, he strode up to her and lightly touched the small of her back to gain her attention. She stiffened and spun to face him.
“Hello Shelley,” he said softly. “Sorry if I startled you.”
“Oh,” she said, drawing a breath to calm herself. She smiled at him. “You know my name?”
“I heard the judges call you. By the way, you did well.” He watched for a reaction in her eyes, but she looked down too quickly.
“Thank you, Master Kino.”
“Please, call me Eric,” he insisted.
She looked back up at him, nodded in agreement. “Have you seen the scoring results?”she asked anxiously.
He shook his head.
She shrugged. “It doesn't really matter. I'm just glad I got through it. This was my first competition and I was extremely nervous.”
“If you were nervous, I certainly couldn't tell.” Eric gazed into her eyes. He could glimpse something in her. A quiet strength. He smiled at her. Simple words had been spoken. Nothing of importance. Yet the feeling something of magnitude was taking place was hanging there, waiting for him to grab it.
Eric watched her as she glanced away, looking out over the huge gym as down below, competitors and their families ran helter skelter, trying to find the place that would offer the best view of Ricky Kino’s demonstration. He told himself it was merely the master observing a potential student, yet there was a certain pull that he couldn’t ignore. She was extremely attractive, in a simple sort of way. There was an innocence about her, a sweetness. And, well– and she was sexy as hell, he admitted, though he would have to quell those kinds of thoughts. He was here to help her. In his dream, she'd been in peril. He needed to keep his mind clear if he is to help her, and the need to help her was strong.
“Are you staying for the rest of the tournament?” he finally asked.
She turned back. “Oh, yes I wouldn't miss any of this for the world,” she gushed. “It's all so wonderful and everyone's skill is amazing. I just love it!”
Her face was a delightful pink, her eyes sparkling, her enthusiasm refreshing. She rolled her eyes and he knew she silently reprimanded herself for getting carried away.
He paused, took a deep breath. “So, please don't think it too forward of me, since we've only just met, but, when this is over I'd love to have you join me for dinner.”
He watched her face go from pink to fire engine red.
Shelley went over his words in her mind, making sure she really did hear what she thought she'd heard. Master Kino just asked me out. This can't really be happening. Why me? Why would this man ask me to dinner? Maybe it's like you always read about celebrities, they have girls in every town. One night conquests. I don't even know if he's married. Why me? Does he see me as a groupie that would be just too easy to pass up? No. It can't be like that. He is, after all, a Master and someone in the public eye. He’d want to show irreproachable behavior, wouldn’t he? If he just wanted to find a girl to have for a night, he could have his choice of any of the women here, most who are younger and beautiful and— Oh, what am I doing? Okay. Okay. Get a grip. I’d be perfectly safe with him. This is a once in a lifetime invitation. What could it hurt? Besides, the boys would never let me hear the end of it if I were to turn down Ricky Kino’s father.
“Well,” she started slowly, trying to think of a clever way to accept his invitation. Nothing came to mind. “I'd love to,” she finally blurted out.
“Wonderful,” he beamed, hitting his fist gently against the railing. “May I meet you in the lobby as soon as the tournament is over?”
“I’ll be there,” she said, nodding her head.
“See you then,” he said as he walked away, pulling out his phone immediately. He needed to rent a car.
Shelley watched him walk, his well-muscled arms swinging down from broad shoulders. Her eyes followed to the trim waist, powerful buttocks and magnificent thighs. He was dressed for the occasion in black silk Kakama pants that were snug at the waist, ballooning out at the sides and a black silk sleeveless shirt. His hair, also like black silk, was back in a queue, swaying gently as he walked. His voice had been soft, yet commanding. He'd spoken her name in a way that moved her. A soft caress, almost as if he'd touched her cheek.
Taking a deep breath, she told herself she was not hallucinating. This really had happened. She'd come to a tournament, met a martial arts master and he’d asked her, yes her, out to dinner. Not any of the gorgeous young girls in any given direction. Her. Why? And why, with her aversion to men, had she accepted? She should be terrified to accept an invitation from a man she’d just met. So why did she? Because, she thought, somehow, he made her trust him.
Shelley maintained her place at the railing as the room grew quiet with anticipation. The announcer needed no other words than the few he spoke. “Ladies and Gentlemen— introducing, Ricky Kino!”
Accompanied by the roar of the crowd, and dressed in a black and gold martial arts uniform, Ricky entered the floor at a run, turned five back hand springs, ending with a full layout. He bowed and waited for the narration.
“In the martial arts, nothing is as important as your reaction time in defending yourself against an attacker. If you’re ever caught with your pants down —”
The laughter made speaking impossible for a few moments while Ricky joked around, pretending to check his waistband.
“If you’re ever caught with your guard down,” the narrator corrected, “it's all over and you may very well have made a fatal mistake. In actuality, it isn’t reaction as much as anticipation. Some call this instinct, some magic. Whatever you prefer, it is a skill that with enough practice can be acquired by anyone.”
All eyes were riveted on Ricky. Shelley was amazed at how quiet the room had become when just moments before the crowd noise had been deafening.
“For the next few minutes you will be witnesses to a type of martial arts paint ball, minus the paint, of course. Nothing has been preplanned. When a lethal punch is thrown, you must stay down. Let’s see how Ricky Kino fares against these guys. By the way, he’s never met any of them before today.”
Shelley watched Ricky prepare to fight five black belt assailants. His body tensed for a moment, then suddenly he straightened and shook his head, wagging his finger. One of the assailants didn't have on his head gear. Ricky motioned for him to put it on.
“What about you?” the young man asked.
“I'll take my chances.” Ricky grinned.
Shelley giggled along with the crowd at the banter even though it was obvious it had been scripted. Finally, the competitors swung into action. Ricky was amazing as he worked against the men. It became quickly evident Ricky wasn’t just a movie artist. His skills were real. With Master Kino for a father, Shelley figured that was as it should be.
When the five attackers were down, the audience stood and cheered, none more enthusiastically than Shelley. Next Ricky grabbed the nunchakus from Eric, in this case a pair of bright red and black hard wooden sticks joined by a chain. Ricky spun them around to get their feel.
Suddenly, he stopped, dropped the weapon to the floor. Much to the delight of the young girls in the crowd, he untied his belt, and pulled his uniform top over his head. Shelley had to admire him along with the rest of the crowd. His golden skin glistened with perspiration, his broad shoulders and rippling abs eliciting “oohs” and “ahhs” from the female assemblage. One even called out, “I love you, Ricky!”
There was laughter as Ricky looked up and blew a kiss in her direction. An excited scream, more laughter.
A murmur of admiration hummed through the crowd as he warmed up by working through a series of movements with the nunchakus. His speed was incredible. He then proceeded to demonstrate his skills using kicking pads as targets, held by twelve assistants. The weapon made a loud “pop” as it hit each pad. A back somersault, “pop” as he hit another target, then speedily to all sides of the circle, more pops. It began to sound as if someone had set off a string of firecrackers. The audience roared.
In the last part of Ricky's demo he broke boards using hands, feet, elbows and fists. When he finished, Ricky knelt on one knee as thundering applause rocked the arena.
He finally arose, looked up smiling, bowed and ran off the floor. Immediately the tournament was set back in motion, but Shelley kept her eyes on Ricky, as he joined his father. Eric threw a towel at his son and patted him on the shoulder.
Shelley studied them both, deciding they were quite a pair, and apparently very close. They looked like brothers, she thought. She felt intense admiration, and was thrilled to have witnessed such perfection. Since Eric was the “Master”, Shelley wondered if he ever gave demonstrations.
Moving down the steps, she settled into a seat. This tournament had been a long time coming and she wanted to soak in every bit of information she could. Soon enough it would be over and she’d sit across the table from Master Kino and speak with him, and listen to him and— Oh my God! What could I possibly have to say that would interest him? Get a hold of yourself. Talk about the tournament. That's it. The tournament. Now sit and watch, you need conversational ammunition. With as much patience as she could muster, she sat back and waited for things to begin. Things like– the free sparring– the weapons' forms– and her life.
One of the judges spoke into the microphone. “Attention everyone. Before we move on to the next portion of our tournament, we want to announce the winners of the form's competitions.”
Eric looked up, curious to see Shelley’s reaction. He knew exactly where to look because this time he hadn't let her out of his sight. When they called her name for third place her expression fell and his heart went out to her. During their brief conversation she’d told him that winning didn't matter, yet he could see that it had.
He watched as she leaned forward, her elbows resting on her knees, her head in her hands, a childlike pout on her face. He had to smile. She was very readable and entirely too cute. He blew out a breath as he thought of his base reaction to her, acknowledging the fact that he found her extremely appealing. Shaking his head at his weakness, he struggled to push the thought from his mind.
When the women's sparring began Shelley sat totally entranced. Could she ever progress far enough to be able to hold her own in a sparring match?
Shelley noticed one girl in particular who stood out from the others. She was beautiful. Shoulder length blond hair, tall and lean. A Taekwondo brown belt with a killer smile. She glowed with confidence, practically oozed with it. Shelley picked her to win and the woman did, with ease.
When the tournament finally ended, Shelley watched as one by one the names were called and Eric and Ricky handed out trophies, ribbons, and certificates to the participants. Unable to sit still during the long awards presentation process, she freshened up in the restroom and headed toward the lobby to meet Eric, excitement and apprehension building.
Slowly, to calm herself, she strolled around, reading the plaques and trophies on display. Her daughter, soon to be a college freshman, had just graduated from this school. Shelley searched for and found Bree's name on the most recent cheerleading plaque and allowed a proud smile to cross her lips.
Ambling around to the doors, she peered out. The early June temperatures had already reached record highs. Heat waves distorted the street and cars, but Shelley didn't mind the heat. In fact, she loved it. She loved getting into her car after it had been sitting in the sun with the windows up. It was comforting, like slipping into a hot bath.
She turned as people began filing into the lobby area, signaling an end to the day's proceedings. Several of the female competitors entered the lobby together. Shelley went over to offer her congratulations to a few of the winners.
“Thanks,” drawled the pretty blonde Shelley had chosen to win her division. “I watched you do your forms. You were pretty good but you should think about competing in the sparring. That's when it really gets fun. I think you could probably do well.”
Before Shelley could answer another piped in. “Look who's talking, Angel. You do pretty well yourself.”
“Yeah,” a third teased. “As long as there are male judges.”
The blonde placed her hands on her hips and pursed her lips in a strategically cute little pout, obviously accustomed to using her beauty to get whatever she wanted, but not liking anyone to accuse her of it.
The blonde changed the subject. “Speaking of looks, what did y'all think of Ricky Kino?”
A much better subject, Shelley thought. It certainly piqued her interest.
“God, he was fantastic,” one woman answered.
“Forget fantastic, did you see that body? He's gorgeous.”
“Yeah, and don't leave out his dad. Girl, you can see where he gets it.”
“Oh yeah, the man is definitely fine.”
“I'd love to have a daddy like that,” the blonde purred, causing giggles to erupt.
“What was the dad's name again?”
“I don't remember, I only remember how his biceps bulged when he handed Ricky the nunchakus. After that, it's all blank.” More giggles.
Shelley decided to speak up and help out. “His name is Eric.”
“Yeah, that's it.”
“No, it's not Eric, is it? Are you sure?”
Shelley smiled. “I'm positive. It's Eric.”
A sneering smile from the blonde. “Whatever it is— all I know is, I bet he looks as good under his shirt as his 'little boy.'”
“And if anybody can find out, it's you,” Angel's friend assured.
Jealousy reared its ugly head. Shelley tamped it down. Jealousy rooted itself in low self-esteem. She was working on that.
The blonde grinned with the challenge. “I suppose little old me will just have to see what I can do.”
Shelley could only roll her eyes.
“You see what you can do, Angel, and I'll baby-sit the ‘little boy’,” Angel’s friend offered.
Shelley considered telling them she had a date with Eric, but she came up with two good reasons not to say anything. First, she passionately hated catty females and she wasn’t about to join their ranks. Second, they probably wouldn't believe her anyway. She barely believed it herself.
She endeavored to find a polite way to leave the group while the women continued raving about and lusting after various parts of the two men's anatomy. However, before she could excuse herself, one of the ladies nudged another and whispered loudly. “Speak of the devil.” She nodded in the direction just behind Shelley. “Oh, God, here he comes.”
Shelley turned, feeling chills popping out all over her body. Master Eric Kino approached the women, his eyes on Shelley. Smiling, he joined the group, sending temperatures and heartbeats through the stratosphere.
“Hello, ladies. I trust you all had a good time today.”
The blonde gave a feminine squeal, spoke in her very best southern drawl. “Oh myyyy, yes!” She extended her hand. “He-ey, my name is Angel.”
Eric clasped her hand. “A great pleasure to meet you, Angel. I'm Eric.”
“Oh, I know who you are,” she tittered.
The others began offering hands and blurting out names.
Eric took each lady's hand as they introduced themselves. All, except Shelley, who was succeeding in self-control.
Angel nudged her. “Speak up, honey, don't be shy. He doesn't bite. Introduce yourself.”
Shelley knew the words Angel spoke had been constructed to make her feel small and look silly. And it worked. What she didn't know was if Eric purposely rescued her with his words and actions. He turned to Shelley with a familiarity that didn't yet exist, and gently brushed a stray hair back from her face, which for the umpteenth time that day, had reddened.
“This one I already know,” he said softly.
The others looked on, their faces a mix of surprise and envy. There was an eternal moment of awkward silence, which Eric finally shattered. “Are you ready to go?”
He lifted Shelley's bag. “Excuse us ladies,” he nodded as he turned and placed his hand on the small of Shelley’s back. She was tempted, so tempted, to turn to the group and make some kind of gesture, like– what? Stick out her tongue? No, no cattiness. She held her breath at the feel of Eric’s warm hand resting gently on her back. The evening was about to become very interesting.
|Posted on August 6, 2016 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Shelley Adams stared into the mirror and wondered at the woman who stared back. She was the mother of three and had at one time believed there would always be a loving husband standing beside her. There was not. He’d forced her hand, shown her just what kind of person he was and, remarkable as it seemed, she’d found the strength to remove him from her life. Her husband's nonchalant attitude toward her assault had been an eye opener and the final nail in the coffin for their marriage. Pregnant and married at sixteen, she'd never been without him and now that she'd gone through with the divorce, she admitted she wasn't quite used to the quiet house.
At times the loneliness threatened to engulf her. This was one of those times. The house was dark. The silence was deafening. The boys were with their father for the summer and Bree was in New York. Taking a deep breath, she reminded herself that she didn't need her ex-husband. She didn't need anyone, or so she liked to think. However, she hadn’t been prepared for the fears that had begun to take her over.
It surprised her because she’d been so fearless in divorcing her husband and reaching for her own independence. She never used to scare easily. Yet over the past few years she’d begun to jump at her own shadow. She was afraid of the dark. She never walked anywhere alone. She was over-protective of the kids. Allowing Bree to go to New York had meant a major fight between herself, her ex-husband, and her daughter.
Maybe the fear was because of what had happened to her, or maybe it was because she’d never really been alone until now. Over the past two years she’d learned to stand on her own and she was learning to be strong emotionally. Physically, though, the fear was always there, though she was working on that. That work would keep her occupied all day tomorrow.
In the morning she’d be participating in her very first martial arts tournament. The huge regional event included all styles from karate to taekwondo to jujitsu. It was very exciting, but she had to admit she was more nervous than excited.
Either spawned by that random act of violence that had taken place almost two years earlier on a bright, sunny afternoon, or by some new post traumatic fear, she'd set a goal to master one of the martial arts. Once she’d begun, that goal had grown into a burning desire. The police had never caught the man who'd assaulted her. Sometimes she wasn't sure they even believed he existed. The counselor at the rape crisis center had helped her with the frustration, but not with the self-disgust.
It sickened her that she hadn't fought. She'd let fear paralyze her. She’d sworn she’d never let that happen again, and yet it had begun to do just that. She’d also sworn she would stand up to her husband, a considerable feat considering her emotional dependency on him. At least she’d followed through on that. She’d stuck to her guns when she up and divorced him. The divorce had been a huge step, but she had to do more. She had to become strong. Her counselor had supported Shelley's conviction that taking action would help to alleviate the feelings of shame and frustration. “Do something positive. Something you've always wanted to do. Do something for you.”
That's what had led to a Tae Kwon Do class at the local “Y”. It had given her something to focus on and given her back some confidence. She worked hard, desperate to even the odds, to be on a more equal footing with the male species.
Shelley studied her reflection. Sometimes she felt so old, yet she was only thirty-four. “Thirty is the new twenty,” a co-worker had remarked. She admitted, she was flattered when people thought she and Bree, her seventeen-year-old daughter, were sisters. I have great eyes, Shelley thought. Even her ‘ex’ had told her that. They were large and brown, and were framed with unique lashes, that appeared to have been sprinkled with gold dust. Coming out of an emotionally abusive marriage, she was learning to be kind to herself and this was the first thing she'd allowed– pretty eyes.
Her hair was long and thick with large voluptuous natural curls. Bree let her know that her girlfriends would kill to have those curls and told her she’d personally kill her mom if she were to ever cut off her hair. That was no problem for Shelley since leaving it long made it easier to put back in the no fuss, long braid or ponytail she usually wore.
Making her way to the front door, she tested the lock, then headed into the kitchen to check the back door. She was a wimp, especially when the children were gone. Sometimes, in the dark, she could feel the panic take over. It was those times she questioned her decision to become single. It would be nice to have someone there to help her feel safe. She’d definitely had offers, but she’d turned them down. Mostly because she hadn’t ever met anyone who intrigued her enough to draw her interest, but also because she had to learn to stand on her own. For a long time she’d been both emotionally and physically crippled. She was getting stronger.
Tomorrow’s tournament was a big deal because it was her first time competing. The goal to obtain black belt meant she must compete. There were several different areas for competition in a tournament. Forms, sparring and weapons. She must spar, and spar well in order to accomplish black belt, but that would be down the road. The further the better, she thought. For her very first competition she’d elected to compete in forms only. Taking a breath, she repeated her new mantra. “Strive for perfection. Strive for perfection. Strive for perfection.”
As the early morning sun made its way across the plush hotel room, Eric emerged from the bathroom to find Ricky sitting on a bed, peeling a banana plucked from a complimentary bowl of fruit.
“It's about time,” Ricky laughed. “Come on Dad. If you don't hurry, we won't have time for breakfast and I'm starved.”
“Where have you been then? I woke, you were gone, I assumed you were eating.”
Ricky gave a sheepish grin. “Naw, just checking out the scenery. Not much to check out though. I guess southern girls sleep late on Saturdays. However, I did accidentally manage to attract the attention of a couple of kids in the lobby, so I signed a few autographs, let them snap a few pics, you know, just enough to get the blood going.”
“I hadn't realized your star status ego had grown to such proportions that you now need a 'fix' in the mornings to get you started on your day. Looks like I'm going to have to bring you down a peg or two.”
“Can't even take a joke,” Ricky grumbled as they left the room.
The tournament was being held in a large high school super gym just south of Atlanta. The huge event included competitors from most of the southeast and there would be several thousand spectators in attendance.
The limo arrived and, as celebrities, Eric and Ricky were escorted to the judge's table where they were introduced to the local martial arts dignitaries and given a place of honor at the same table.
While Eric took a seat, a crowd quickly formed around Ricky. Eric watched as Ricky, ensconced in his element, signed autographs and chatted with youngsters, boosting their confidence with a well-placed word. Local press took pictures and tried for impromptu interviews. Thankfully there were no paparazzi. They tended to avoid the Kinos.
Watching Ricky now, Eric considered his son's bright, exuberant personality and compared it with his own more serious demeanor, marveling how they could be so close, yet so different.
Physically, they were similar. They both had straight black hair. Ricky's just skimmed his shoulders, Eric's was slightly longer. They had bronze skin from the Hawaiian part of their ancestry, and dark eyes. One film critic said it was remarkable how Ricky’s eyes could go from warm and compassionate to hard as steel. His eyes though, were only part of what made Ricky a star. He had a musculature that was rock hard, and a bright, alert mind. He was swift and agile and very good at what he did.
Ricky had achieved black belt at nine years of age. Two years later his mother had died of cancer. Ricky and Eric immersed themselves in their art as therapy for their loss. Losing his wife had nearly defeated Eric. It was caring for Ricky that brought the light back into his world.
Another glimpse in Ricky’s direction made Eric smile. His son now had his arms around two gorgeous, giggling blondes. They posed while a third girl took a picture, then demanded her turn. “Thank you sooo much,” the girls purred in their sweet southern accents.
“Ahhh, the pleasure is all mine I assure you,” Ricky crooned back, glancing over at his father with a grin.
Eric rolled his eyes and pointed to his wristwatch, letting Ricky know he should head to the locker room to change. Ricky bid the ladies farewell, grabbed his bag and headed to get into his uniform.
At eight on the dot, the nervous tournament director approached and bowed to Eric. “Uh, Master Kino sir, uh, do you happen to know where Ricky is? It's time to begin and we wanted to introduce everyone.”
Standing, Eric offered to go and locate his son himself. He passed up the locker rooms and headed toward the lobby where concessions were already being served. Ricky was an insatiable eating machine, and Eric had a feeling he’d find him there, stuffing his face with all manner of unhealthy delicacies.
Cursing herself as she drove, Shelley pushed her old faded red Ford to its limit. I know I turned the alarm on. I know I did, darn it. I checked it at least twice. Of all times for it not to go off. “Stay green, stay green,” she chanted as she approached the next intersection. Beads of perspiration trickled down her forehead as she streaked into the school parking lot at 8:03.
Grateful that at least, the tournament was being held at her daughter's alma mater, only a few minutes away, she hoped desperately they'd let her sign in late. Grabbing her bag, she sprinted to the gym, and jerked open the heavy door. Cool air rushed to greet her, calming her. Sucking in a deep breath, she looked around nervously, to find a young man in a white uniform gathering papers from a long table.
“Am I too late to sign in?” she asked in a panic.
“No ma'am. You lucked out. We're running a little behind,” he answered, thumbing through the papers in his arms. “Here you go,” he said pulling out a paper. “Find your events and sign in.”
Once she did, he looked over her entry form, checked off her registration number. “You're assigned to arena two.” He looked up. “Locker rooms are through those doors and to the right. You'd better hurry.”
Shelley shot toward the doors in a run, turning back to offer a belated thank you.
She swung back around, happy that– UUMPH. Her face smashed against something solid and she went down hard. The contents of the bag she'd never bothered to close tumbled across the floor.
Realizing she'd run into a person, even though she'd first thought she'd misjudged the distance to the door, she rubbed her nose and began apologizing profusely. “I'm so sorry. I was late and in a hurry. I should've been watching where I was going. I hope I didn’t hurt– ”
She'd been crawling around gathering her things but stopped when a bronzed hand held out her folded purple belt for her to place back in her bag. Her eyes followed the hand up to its source and she found herself looking into the most incredible face.
He smiled. “Please, let me help you.”
He lifted her to her feet as if she were nothing more than a rag doll, which both amazed and annoyed her. Amazed, at his strength. Annoyed, because it reminded her of her vulnerability as a woman. The latter thought stirred anger in her heart.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
His voice was calm, soft, and stole her anger immediately. She gazed at his face again. Dark eyes and long black hair tied back at the nape of his neck gave a certain nobleness to his appearance, like that of a Native American warrior. And that smile. He had the kindest smile she'd ever seen. It made her feel safe. It took her breath away. He raised his eyebrows at her and she realized he waited for an answer to his question. “Oh! Oh, yes! I'm fine. I'm sorry. I was late and– ”
For the second time she was unable to finish her sentence but this time it was because he raised his hand to quiet her.
“I'm the one at fault. I should've been looking where I was going and certainly should’ve been quick enough to get out of your way. Are you sure you're not hurt? You were moving pretty fast.”
She laughed, rubbed her forehead. “I'm fine, other than the fact that your chest is hard as a rock.”
She felt the blush creep up her neck. I did not just say that.
“Are you competing?” he asked, as he handed her the rest of her belongings.
“No– I mean, uh, yes. Well, I mean, only in forms.”
He smiled again. “Forms are important.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Are you competing?”
“No I’m not.” He seemed amused by the question. “I came to watch my son, however, now, I have two people to watch.”
“My son and you.”
He smiled again and she thought she’d rise off the floor. He quickly brought her back to earth. “Better hurry. I think they’re about to start.”
“Oh, goodness, I have to go.”
Eric turned and watched as she disappeared inside the women's locker room.
|Posted on August 2, 2016 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
South of Los Angeles
The moment she’d uttered the words, “Help me,” he’d come immediately awake. He'd been dreaming again. Same dream. Same feeling of urgency. He glanced at the clock. 3 a.m.. Rising, he made his way to the bathroom, flipped on the light and reveled in the sensation of cool water as he splashed it on his heated face. He glanced in the mirror and gasped. Staring back, floating before him for a brief instant, were “the eyes.” Raising a dark eyebrow, he shook his head and gave a soft chuckle. He could see the headlines now; Martial arts master, Eric Kino, dies of fright in his own bathroom.
He’d been having dreams and visions of “the eyes,” as his son called them, for some time now. He had no idea to whom the eyes belonged. They were definitely feminine. Beautiful, but always sad and sometimes filled with fear. He'd had precognitive dreams before, but they'd always involved someone he knew. These dreams were different and they were accompanied by an enormously intense feeling of desperation.
He’d struggled to interpret the meaning of the dreams. Who is this woman? Is she going to be appearing in his life? What does she have to do with him? Tonight, he'd heard her voice clear as a bell. “Help me,” she'd said, as if she'd been lying right next to him and whispered in his ear. He’d felt her breath against his cheek, felt the press of her body as she’d leaned close. He'd come immediately awake with the knowing that he had to find her. He had to actively search for her and not just hope that one day he’d run into her.
Decision made, he returned to his bed, stretched out, and visualized a white light moving throughout his body, commanding each muscle to relax. Taking long, slow breaths, he slowly sank into a deep sleep.
The next morning Eric tossed items into a suitcase as he packed for a regional martial arts tournament in Atlanta. He was glad to be on the move after the decision he’d made the night before. He intended to keep watch for “the eyes.”
When he and his son had first received the invitation to the Atlanta tournament they'd had to decline, but then Ricky's schedule opened up. Eric would be there only as observer and “honored dignitary.” He shuddered at the title. His son, movie icon Ricky Kino, was scheduled to perform one of his much demanded demonstrations. Eric wasn't immune to the pride a father feels when his son achieves success and he enjoyed seeing Ricky do his thing. After all, Eric was the one who’d schooled Ricky in the martial arts since he'd been old enough to walk.
Eric hadn't realized at the time that passing his knowledge on to his son would make Ricky a celebrity. Ricky had the “package” as the producers put it. The looks, the body, the talent, the personality. He'd begun as a child star and worked his way up to leading man. At only twenty-one years of age, Ricky was one of the hottest stars in Hollywood.
Even though thoughts of Ricky's success always lifted Eric's spirits, his mind was still heavy with images of the woman in his dream. It concerned him because other such dreams had turned out to be a prediction of unpleasant things. He'd dreamt of his wife in great peril and pain a year before she was diagnosed with cancer. He'd seen a branch of a great tree snap over and over the week before Ricky fell out of one and broke his arm. There had been numerous dreams touching numerous subjects.
Every once in a while he'd actually been in tune enough to be able to avoid disaster, like the speeding truck that ran the red light. He'd known not to go when the light turned green, avoiding his own death and the death of his son. And he'd known the time the punks waited in an alleyway with thoughts of murder and mayhem. He'd revised their actions if not their thinking. Those events, however, involved himself and people close to him. Now, for some reason, he felt he was supposed to help a woman he didn’t even know. Still, he trusted that nothing is random. Things happen for a reason, and so he was anxious to find her before it was too late.
The cloud hanging over Eric dissipated at the sound of his son’s voice. Eric glanced over. Ricky stood in the doorway with his usual wide smile. He was a breath of sunshine wherever he went, and Eric could think of no one in the world he loved and treasured more.
“What’s up, Dad? You look like you’re going to a funeral.”
“Yeah. And you’re not. You're coming to watch me and what could be more pleasant than that?”
Eric smiled. “Truly,” he said, not hiding the slight sarcasm.
Ricky grinned. “So really, why so down?”
“I’m not down.” Eric shrugged. “Guess I’m feeling a little– intense.”
Ricky circled around to massage his father's shoulders. “Whatever you want to call it, Dad, you gotta learn to lighten up. You know what they say– stress kills.”
“Really? What do 'they' say about the surviving children? Do they say anything about the guilt that must consume them?”
“Funny, Dad. So it seems you have a sense of humor after all, be it ever so small.”
Eric closed the suitcase. “Large enough to accommodate you every day.” He placed an arm around Ricky’s shoulder. “Let's go.”
“You know, you don't have to come if you’re not up to it.”
“Are you kidding me? I'm looking forward to it. Besides, I'll be able to keep an eye out for my MART student.”
Ricky smiled. “I have no doubt you'll find the right one.” He thought about his father's legendary status as MART instructor. The MART, an acronym for Martial Arts Recruiting Tournament, had become a huge event. An instructor takes a rookie student and turns them into a black belt champion in one year's time. The MART, the Olympics of the martial arts world, had become big business, thanks in part to his dad. What Bela Karolyi is to the world of gymnastics and Vince Lombardi is to football, Eric Kino is to the world of martial arts.
“I will find the right one,” Eric agreed. “And after last night’s dream, I’ve decided that I also need to find the owner of ‘the eyes.’”
Ricky nodded thoughtfully. “Maybe they are one and the same.”
Eric shrugged. “Maybe.”
Throughout the long and tedious flight to Atlanta, Ricky kept up a steady stream of chatter. Hours later in the elevator of the Atlanta Hilton, Ricky eyed his father. “You’ve been awfully quiet.”
Eric touched his son on the shoulder and sighed. “I guess I haven't been very good company. I'm okay, just a little preoccupied.”
“As long as you’re okay.”
“You're starting to sound like your grandmother,” Eric teased, trying to lighten the mood.
Ricky's smile flashed. “Well, Grandma did tell me to take good care of you.”
“That’s funny. She told me to take care of you.”
“Well, I was about to go straight in and order up some room service for the both of us. Would you consider that trying to take care of you or just being polite?”
“I’d never think you were just being polite,” Eric quipped, knocking Ricky in the back of the head as he swiped the key card.
Ricky headed straight to lower the thermostat and next, to the phone to order food. Atlanta in June was unbelievably hot and humid. Having been raised in Los Angeles, Ricky was accustomed to the heat but not the humidity. He placed his order quickly then plopped across the bed, bemoaning the heat.
Eric smiled at his son’s discomfort and decided he would make up for being a lousy traveling companion by resorting to some of their old antics. “Heavy air, lots of oxygen, this would be a great alternative to your training– give some diversity to your workout.”
“Yeah, until I have to fight on a mountain top.” Ricky rolled over, grabbed a pillow. “Work out if you want, I'm already in great shape and even if I wasn't, I'm not leaving the air conditioning.” He grabbed the remote. “Let’s see what the Braves are doing.”
Nonchalantly, Eric made his way to the bathroom, ice bucket beneath his arm. “I don't know Rick,” Eric called from the bathroom. “You're looking a little soft to me.”
“No way Dad, you're just jealous.”
“Of your youth maybe,” Eric said quietly, having crept up beside Ricky. “Or, maybe because I'm standing here all hot and sweaty and you're nice and cool.”
“What are you talking ab– ”
The bucket of water hit him square in the face. Eric's laughter almost botched his quick retreat to the bathroom. He locked the door, but could hear Ricky sputter and threaten to do all kinds of ill will to his own father. Ricky's tirade soon ceased and the room became eerily quiet. Smiling, Eric folded his arms and waited.
It took Ricky only a few seconds to pick the lock. Slowly, the door eased open. Ricky stood calmly in the entry, grinning wickedly, dangling his nail clippers before his father's eyes. “I'm gonna kick your butt, honorable father.”
Eric sprang forward with blinding speed, disarming his son and tossing him handily and unceremoniously into the shower. Before Ricky could get his footing Eric flipped on the cold water. Ricky gasped for breath, reached out and grabbed at his dad, but Eric easily deflected his son's arm, leaving Ricky to clutch nothing but air and cold water.
“Honorable father kicks honorable son's butt, amazingly effortlessly.” He bowed to his worthy opponent. “Like I said son, you're getting soft.”
Ricky returned the bow. “Well, you ARE 'the Master'.”
“And don't you forget it” Eric called back as he left the bathroom to wait for room service.
|Posted on July 30, 2016 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
She gasped, her jaw dropping. “How can you say that?” Shelley stared incredulously at her husband. “I brought it on myself? Are you kidding me?”
He shrugged. “You go walking around in those tight exercise shorts, just begging some guy to have his way with you. Now that it's happened you want sympathy from me.”
“I can't believe you can turn this on me. I’m not the criminal here.”
“Admit it, Shelley, if you didn't think you shared some of the guilt why didn't you go to the police right away?”
She shook her head as the tears began to fall anew. “I– I was confused. I needed to get home before Bree came home from school. I needed to pick the boys up from after-school. I wanted to wait for you to get home. I needed you, Robert.” Wiping her face on her sleeve, she looked back up at him expectantly.
His mouth taut, he rolled his eyes. “Well, come on, then. Let’s go. You’ve waited so long they probably won’t believe you now. I’m not even sure I do.”
“Oh my God, are you saying I made this up?”
He shrugged again. “How did he subdue you? Did he hit you? Where are the bruises?”
Shelley could feel the blood drain from her face and she thought she might pass out. She hadn’t fought. Not much anyway. She’d frozen.
Shaking her head, she raised her eyes to her husband. “He, he pushed me down. He was so strong.” Noting her husband’s raised eyebrows she threw her hands in the air. “Do you think I’m doing this for attention?”
“Just get dressed and let’s go,” he answered as he turned to leave the bedroom.
She watched the door close. He didn't slam it. He never slammed anything. He was perfect. Mr. Perfect. She laid back across the bed, staring up at the ceiling. The sense of utter and complete loneliness threatened to engulf her. She'd thought she’d tell her husband what had transpired and he’d take her in his arms, hold her, comfort her, promise her everything would get better. Instead, he was acting like a total prick. She wanted to hate him, but she couldn’t let herself. After all, he was the father of her children.
But, oh, Robert, I needed you. I need someone. The emptiness of that thought jolted her. Had Robert ever been there for her when she needed him? Had her own parents? Her brothers? In so many ways, she suddenly realized, she was alone in the world.
Shelley rose and went to the window. It was dark outside now and with the light on behind her she could see nothing but her own image. Staring at her reflection, she mentally fought down the emotions, but the self hatred kept surfacing. I didn't even fight. I just laid there and let him do it. God, how weak. And now I'm standing here crying because my own husband doesn't even care.
She pulled the edge of her shirt up to wipe her tears then eyed herself in the glass once more. So what am I gonna do now? Am I gonna just lie down and take it? I already did that once today, she thought sarcastically, giving a slightly hysterical chuckle. Getting a grip, she shook her head. Why do I allow him to treat me like dirt? He treats me like I’m nothing.
And it struck her, penetrating her brain and lodging there. I don’t have to stick around and take this. I deserve more than this. I don’t have to stay. What makes me think I’m stuck here? I’m not. I can leave him. That would surprise you, wouldn't it, Robert? She sniffed, stood up straight, her mind now racing with the powerful ideas springing to life.
She realized she’d never really stopped to question how she feels. She’d simply been moving through life like it was a chore, her head down, obediently placing one foot in front of the other. She asked herself now, what do I feel? The answer was obvious. Miserable. She was miserable. And she’d been miserable for a long time. It reminded her of the time she’d been hiking with some friends as a teen and there was this pain in her foot. She’d walked with that pain most of the day before getting the idea to finally sit down and see what the heck is the problem. She’d taken off her shoe to find a small rock. Why hadn’t she looked earlier instead of walking all day with that pain? It was like a light going on. Robert had been a rock in her shoe, a source of pain and discomfort in her life. How did I let this go on for so long?
She drew a deep cleansing breath. This is about to change. Right here. Right now. I have a right to be happy. I am NOT going to just take it anymore. She wasn't sure if her thoughts were aimed at her husband or at the man who had stolen her dignity earlier that day. Actually, she acknowledged, both men had accomplished the same thing.
“I have a right to be happy,” she said aloud this time, and she realized as she spoke the words a transformation came over her. Declaring her intentions aloud not only felt really good, but seemed to spawn some magical occurrence. She felt exhilarated and strong and suddenly had a rock-hard resolve to obtain a goal.
The door opened briskly. “What are you doing? I said to get ready to go.”
What I’m doing, she thought as she slipped on her shoes, is waking up.
|Posted on July 29, 2016 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
More fun with quotes from Grandmaster Eric Kino! Now up for pre-order at Amazon...
Messages from Transcendent Beings
We Are NOT Alone
A Super Easy Guide for Spiritual Alignment,
Self-Help and Personal Development
|Posted on July 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
How often are we the first ones to belittle our own selves? Shelley has been assaulted along the path of a nature trail and is trying to get back to her car.
As she walked, paranoia took over. She could swear he watched her, waited for her, behind every tree and shrub. Of course, she thought, he’d be long gone by now, wouldn't he? The trek to the clearing seemed to take an eternity. She’d thought she’d feel calmer once she'd made it out of the woods, but terror overtook her at the brink of a field of empty picnic tables.
She stared at her car, now the only one in the parking lot, which was on the other side of the picnic area, another eternity away. Was he watching? She stood motionless, minutes ticking by, watching from her place of cover, wishing she could just wiggle her nose and transport herself. No use wishing. Somehow she found the courage and dashed across the clearing, fumbled with the key, opened the door, climbed in and slammed the door behind her.
Once locked inside the relative safety of her little car, Shelley tilted the rearview mirror down and stared. The tear-streaked face of a stranger stared back. Images of what had just transpired flashed through her mind and with those images came nausea and despair and a terrible feeling of helplessness. She touched her face and the hysteria bubbled up. She wanted to scream and cry and– and– what? Hurt him back? Yeah, she did. She wanted to hurt him. She wanted to make him feel what she felt. The indignity, the shame, all topped with the most debilitating fear she’d ever felt in her life. Utter devastation.
How could she have let this happen? How does a man think he can assault a woman in broad daylight and get away with it? Well, of course he thought he could– he just did. She hadn't even tried to fight, had she? Not really. She'd made it easy for him. That man was walking around at this very minute, a greasy smirk on his face, smiling and speaking to his friends or family as if nothing had happened. As if he hadn’t just destroyed her world. The thought forced the scream from her lungs. Shouting, she pounded the steering wheel, finally giving vent to all the turmoil she felt.
The van pulling up beside her, teenagers spilling out, music blaring, brought her to her senses. School was out. She had to get going. Taking slow, deep, breaths to calm herself, she quieted, glancing back up at the mirror as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Get a grip,” she whispered to herself. “Come on now, get a grip, you wimp.” Sniffing, she turned the ignition and started home.
|Posted on July 26, 2016 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
I want to keep up my blog. Seriously, I do. But there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I need to do. Then... I read a "blog" about using what you've already written several ways. For example, write your speech, use part of it as a video and also in your blog. I've struggled a bit, even with that, so I was thinking of material I already had, and of course, my books came to mind. So, this will be an experiment of sorts. Let me see what happens if I post parts of my books, not very long parts at all, as a blog post. Should I post them randomly, or in order, as a book? I'm not sure, but maybe someone will have an opinion. So then, what follows is the opening scene in Dandelions Never Die. It was a gruesome time for our Shelley and unfortunately, a time too many women know all too well.
Shelley struggled desperately against the large hand braced against her chest, pressing her down into the soft bed of pine straw. She whimpered as she strove to free herself from his grasp. Even though she fought with every ounce of strength in her body, it seemed he held her down effortlessly. How could he be that strong? Or maybe it was how could she be so weak?
“Oh yeah, that's it. Fight me, baby.”
His words brought her efforts to an immediate halt. Resisting was futile. Tears welled in her eyes as she accepted her fate. It was really going to happen. This wasn’t some news story on TV. It’s really happening and it’s happening to her, here, now, in the bright sunlight.
No one would’ve held this man suspect. He wore expensively tailored slacks and shirt, a businessman by all appearances, who'd struck up a friendly conversation with her as she'd walked in the middle of the afternoon. She hadn't questioned it. Several regulars walked the peaceful paths of the nature preserve during their lunch hour to breathe fresh air and grab some exercise. “A nice walk after lunch before returning to the drudgery of the office.” That's what he'd said. She'd smiled at him, commented on the beautiful weather.
“What? That's it?” he asked, derision in his voice. “That’s all the fight you got? That's because you want it. Secretly, you know you do. All women do. I know your secrets. How does that make you feel? Huh?”
Her entire body trembling with fear, she looked up into his glazed eyes, hoping to see a shred of compassion. “Please– please don't do this,” she begged. “Please don't.” Her voice whined, as if that of a child's and she hated it. She hated him. Mostly though, she hated herself for being weak, for sounding so pitiful and for begging.
Shelley frantically tried to think, searching her mind for some small bit of information she may have picked up on TV or in a magazine about self-defense. But nothing came. Should she fight or be passive? Which one would preserve her life? My life! For the first time the thought crossed her dazed mind that she might not live through this. Oh God, is this guy crazy enough to kill me? What can I do? She had no time to decide.
His hands tore at her shirt and she did nothing. He ripped away at her shorts and she did nothing. Groped her bared skin, and still, she did nothing. And for many minutes, after he left her in a heap on the bed of pine straw, she did nothing.
Slowly, her mind began functioning again, her first cognizant thought being that she was indeed, still alive. The second was of her kids. The two youngest were in after school care and would be okay until she arrived, but her eldest would be home from school soon and wondering where she was.
Brain numb and hands shaking, she struggled to her feet and began gathering the remnants of her clothing– and her mind. She dressed, holding her shirt closed in her fist and began the frightful walk back to civilization along the path of the nature trail she’d taken. A trail that should’ve been safe in the middle of the day. A trail to which the local school brought children on field trips. A trail she’d once loved to walk and breathe in the rich aroma of earth and trees and flowers. Now, a trail where a complete stranger had assaulted a woman in broad daylight. Her stomach turned. Assaulted in a public park in broad daylight. There was shame in that and she felt it deep within her soul.
|Posted on June 11, 2016 at 10:20 PM||comments (0)|
Was I stumbling....or was I being watched over....or maybe a little bit of both.
|Posted on June 11, 2016 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|
Well, then, I guess I owe everyone an apology. I was going to write each week about one of my fav shows, and then, I got so busy, I was unable to accomplish what I'd set out to do. It doesn't really matter now, however, my OCD-ness won't let me simply go on so, here is my final post for Dancing with the Stars Season 22 2016. Below is my opinion only, so don't go gettin' all huffy.
Jodi Sweetin went home too early.
Ginger Zee stayed on too long with a little help from her popularity on GMA. No offense, she is adorable, just shouldn't have been in the finals.
Wanya definitely should have been in the final three.
I'm okay with Nyle winning because what he accomplished was simply amazing.
Paige VanZant was definitely the best dancer.
Congrats to everyone. I truly enjoyed the show. Sorry I've been so busy, but for me.... that's a good thing!!
Wanya and Lindsay (Abc.com)
Ginger Zee (Abc.com)
Paige and Mark (US Magazine.com)
Nyle and Peta (Abc.com)
|Posted on April 26, 2016 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
I suppose I should start with an apology for not writing about the past two weeks. Life got busy and I had to let something go, and of course, that would be my “guilty pleasure.” However, I’m going to try to make it up to everyone today.
Last night’s show was awesome. I love when they reconstruct iconic dance numbers! Though, I have to say, I sure missed Derek. I still think that he and Mark Ballas are the most amazing choreographers.
First up last night were Kim and Sasha who performed a fantastic Jive from Hairspray. It was really well done and I could tell Kim was having a great time. I could also tell she was disappointed that they got three 8's. Bless her heart. I have to agree with the judges. It really wasn’t sharp enough to get nines. But don’t give up Kim, you can obviously dance! It would probably help if she wasn’t dancing on tiny stress fractures in her ankles, ya think? The week before during the “switch-up” night, Kim danced a Viennese Waltz with Keo and the judges jumped all over Keo for not dancing in “hold.” Keo said he was so large and Kim so small he was trying to compensate for that. Good try, Keo. I thought it was lovely. Those scores were 8 - 6 - 6 - 8 (Max was there as guest judge.) I first decided Kim could really move however, the week before during “Disney” night when Kim and Sasha did a Quickstep to I Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book. Those scores... four 8's. (Zendaya was back as guest judge.)
Second up, Von and Witney. This was my big surprise of the night. Von did a great job with MJ’s Bad. You might think, how could he go wrong with such a great dance number, but when you’re big and not used to intricate work, it can be difficult. Last night showed he can actually dance. They received all 8's. The week before, switch-up week, went badly for most everyone and Von and Lindsay’s Jive was no different. Len and Max judged pretty harshly. Their scores, 8-7-7-7. Disney night Von and Witney performed a really nice Viennese Waltz from Cinderella. They were pretty and so were their costumes. Those scores, four 8's.
Third up, Jodi and Keo performed a contemporary number of Pink’s video, Try. It was amazing. Jodi, like Kim, was injured but fought through it. They struggled a bit on one lift, but it was still really, really good and I’m so proud of Jodi, and I just really like Keo. I even liked how he got upset after the dance with Kim the week before when they fussed at him about not being in hold. He’s a passionate guy. Anyway, this week Jodi and Keo scored 9-8-8. The week before, Jodi danced a Paso Doble with Val. They were one of a few who received good scores that night and those scores, 9-8-9-9, were well-deserved. On Disney night Jodi and Keo danced a Samba to Zootopia. I loved it even though Jodi was upset that she messed up. No biggie. Those scores, 7-6-7-7.
Fourth, Paige and Mark were AAMMAAAAZZZIIING doing the Austin Powers opening jazz number. They had originally planned to do something else but it got pulled due to legal complications so they had to start over. Their number was the best. My husband happened to look up from his computer to watch this number and said he thought Paige was the pro. Yep, she was great though I don’t think anyone, (except for Max last week,) is giving her enough credit yet. No one ever talks about her as the “one to beat.” To me, she is right up there with Wanya and Nyle. Last nights scores, 9-10-9. The week before Paige danced a Rumba with Sasha. It was beautiful and her lines were perfect. But, she smiled too much I guess. The Rumba is supposed to be an intensely sexy dance. They scored 8-8-7-8. On Disney night Paige and Mark performed a magnificent Quickstep to Toy Story’s You Got a Friend in Me. It was “To infinity and beyond!” They received all 9's!
Fifth, Nyle and Peta danced a Quickstep to Hey Pachuco from The Mask. The costuming was so great, you really couldn’t even tell it was Nyle under that mask. Nyle always dances well, but this one was a little sloppy and he was a little off. I was just telling my husband last week that I think he is usually so in sync with his partner because he really has to zero in on their every nuance. But tonight, that didn’t happen. Also, he got a little over-confident, and that’s always a precursor to a fall. They scored, 8-8-9. The week before on switch-up night, Nyle and Sharna danced a beautiful Viennese Waltz almost perfectly! 9-10-9-9, one of the few high scores for that night. On Disney night Nyle and Peta danced a cute Samba to Tarzan’s Trash the Camp. 8-8-9-9.
Sixth, Ginger and Val danced a jazz number to Janet Jackson’s Nasty. I thought Ginger did an awesome job. She can obviously dance, but needs to be a little more precise in her movement. I could tell she was disappointed in her all 8's, but I think those scores were low because, she just can’t be, “nasty.” Her bright smile during the number took away from the intensity she was supposed to express. The week before Ginger and Mark danced a bright yellow saucy Salsa and she got four 8's. On Disney night, Ginger and Val performed a Foxtrot to Belle from Beauty and the Beast and it was FANTASTIC! They received all 9's! Don’t be discouraged Ginger, you’re doing great!
Seventh, Doug and Karina performed Bollywood from Slumdog Millionaire. He did a great job and obviously was having a blast! It was his last dance because at the end of last night’s show Doug exited the show. But he did a credible job and I really grew to respect him even more, not so much for the dancing, but for who he is on the inside. They scored all 7's. They also got four 7's the week before when Doug danced a Tango with Peta. On Disney night Doug and Karina performed a Jazz number to Spoonful of Sugar from Mary Poppins. It was, well, a good try! They received four 6's.
Eighth up, Wanya and Lindsay danced a “Jazz” number from Nsync’s Bye Bye Bye. As usual, Wanya delivered an almost perfect dance. He was awesome, and their scores reflected it, 10-9-10. Almost perfect! The week before Wanya danced with Lindsay’s best friend, Witney and did a great job, but Len and Max thought there was too much movement “up top” for the Tango. They scored, 8-7-7-8. Disney night Wanya and Lindsay did an awesome Samba to Lion King! 8-9-9-9.
Last up last night, Antonio and Sharna received three 9's for their production of Footloose! I’ve always loved that number. It just makes you want to get up and dance! I think Antonio struggled a bit with it, but the scores say differently. There was a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling because his partner, Sharna, the week before said she thought Wanya may win and that upset Antonio. He wants her to be totally loyal and believe in their own team, and I get that, but I felt sorry for Sharna. She wasn’t being disloyal as much as being totally honest. I think she has a little more experience and logically, she “called it like she saw it.” However, I’m sure in retrospect she would take it all back, because she didn’t mean to show disloyalty to the “team.” The week before Antonio danced a ChaCha with Karina and received low scores, so that may have contributed to Antonio’s hurt feelings. 7-6-6-7. On Disney night Antonio and Sharna did a fantastic job dancing a Jazz number to Aladdin’s Never Had a Friend Like Me. Carrie Ann called Antonio a “smooth operator,” and he certainly was. Their scores, 9-8-9-9.
Not dancing last night or switch-up night because they went home after week four, was Marla and Tony. On Disney night they a very pretty Waltz to Little Mermaid’s Part of Your World. Both Bruno and Carrie Ann commented on Marla’s natural elegance. I agree. Still, she only received four 7's. I wish she could have stuck around a few more weeks because I love when older women come out and show that you’re never too old. Oh well. Thank you, Marla.
So that’s it. Next week, I think are the team dances and I think they are going to do guys against girls. Not sure if I like that, but we’ll see how it goes.
|Posted on April 7, 2016 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
I was moving some old blog pieces to my new blog spot and found this little story I wrote about the blessing these baby birds helped to give me. I decided to reshare.
This picture was taken two years ago. It is a picture of baby birds in a plant that I move from inside my home each spring to sit outside in the shade of the eave of my house. Here's the story...true story.
I woke up this morning with a terrible feeling in the pit of
my stomach. I felt sad, or troubled, like there was some impending doom.
I didn't want to begin my day in such a negative way so I immediately tried to quiet my mind. I "pulled light", a meditation techinique I like to use. It is usually empowering and calming.
This particular morning however, it did not do the trick, at least not immediately. I was having a difficult time shaking this feeling of despair. My vibration was very low. So, I then prayed, asking for guidance and asking for assistance in changing my vibration. I usually meditate after prayer, so that I can calm my mind enough to actually "hear" the whisperings of my soul. Yet, when I rose and dressed, I realized I was still feeling the same blah, troubled feeling.
I went about my usual morning activities and went outside to water my tomato plant and flowers. One of the plants I water is a large ‘Wondering Jew’ potted plant that sits under the eaves of my house just outside the sunroom. A few weeks earlier I’d discovered a bird had built a nest in this pot under the leaves of the plant. Every morning, when I water the plant, the little bird flies out of the nest and then comes back when I walk away. I have peeked inside of the nest a few times and saw five or six beautiful dark blue eggs with white swirls. This day, I peeked in again. . . and was horrified.
Apparently, the baby birds had hatched. And now, the nest, which was very deep, was filled with water and the baby birds were floating under the water, mouths gaping open, still…dead. Gasping, I dropped the hose and stood back, tears coming to my eyes immediately. It may sounds silly to some, but the horror and despair I felt at that moment, knowing I’d killed those sweet new babies just overwhelmed me.
I rushed into the house, crying to my husband about what I’d done. He was slightly sympathetic, trying to convince me that it wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t realize they’d hatched. But all I could think was how stupid I was, that I should have been more careful, that I’d destroyed something beautiful, something innocent. I'd taken away that mother’s current reason for being. If only I could take it all back and do it over again. I knew I was acting was silly. There are so many more serious things going down in the world right now to waste tears over a few baby birds. War, murder, children being hurt and abused, starvation, etc.. My mind went back to the bad feeling I’d started the day with and thought, "Oh no! My bad feelings are perpetuating! What else may go wrong? How do I stop this train?!
My son and granddaughter were visiting and after I’d cried about this for a time, they decided to go out and see the tragic site firsthand. They came back in and reported that my original diagnosis was wrong. The birds were alive, breathing, sleeping, and whatever water had been in the nest had now drained away. It was almost too good to be true and at first I thought maybe they were teasing me. But they had me go see for myself and I came back inside all smiles, a huge weight lifted off my chest. And for the next several hours, that wonderful feeling of relief and elation and joy and miracles and wonder kept coming back to me.
It was then that I realized, my prayer HAD been answered. The feeling of despair was gone. My vibration had indeed risen to soaring heights.And why was it back? How did that happen? It was gratitude. Gratitude was back. My gratitude for life and for every single living thing was back.
I’d asked for help fully believing I’d get it. But I'd left my room feeling disappointed. I'd forgotten to count my blessings. I'd forgotten to be grateful. I'd had a little bit of faith that I would receive help in raising my vibration, which is why I asked for help in the first place. The asking always shows a bit of faith or why would we ask if we didn't believe we would receive and answer? The help I was given was a miracle.
In hindsight, it is so easy to see how all it took to raise my vibration and get rid of the blah feeling was a little divine wisdom shown to me in the form of the miracle of baby birds. I was reminded of the importanace of living in gratitude..... gratiude for each tiny insignificant little life.
And so now, I will say...I am grateful for this small divine intervention that helped me to understand the power of living in gratitude. I am grateful for feeling such a strong spiritual connection and for the absolute knowledge I have that when I appeal to the loving powers that be, I WILL receive just what I need!
|Posted on April 5, 2016 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
MISCHA BARTON & ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV exited this week [photo from wetpaint.com]
DWTS Episode 3 theme was most memorable year for each star. This night on each season is usually full of emotion and gives us a glimpse into each of their lives. Last night was tremendous. I heard some wonderful, amazing, lovely and sad stories and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you!
One of the very best things I love about this show is how supportive and loving the cast is to each other. I think it makes the show so very high vibrational and it just makes me smile in my heart!
1) First to dance was Ginger and Val who performed a contemporary number to Phillip Phillips’ Home. Ginger’s most memorable year was 2013 when she met the man whom she would marry, Ben Aaron, at the fountain outside New York City's Lincoln Center. They fell madly in love and apparently that fountain has been a part of their relationship every since. (First kiss, etc..) Ginger did a great job with her number. I always love the contemporary dances and this one was no exception. Though it wasn’t perfect, it was beautiful. Well done Ginger Zee! (Her name just demands you say both sometimes, lol!) Their scores 7 - 7 - 7.
2) Doug and Karina performed a Waltz. He chose 2015 as his most memorable year and with good reason. His emotions were raw as he told the story. His father had been ill and finally passed away. His mother then rose and crossed the room, approached his father and kissed him on the forehead, and then, she simply fell forward and “was gone.” When I heard this story I was blown away. He said he just wanted to make them proud. Still trying to prove himself, even to them. My heart went out to him. Their waltz was much better than I thought it would be. He put a lot of effort into making it smooth and graceful. Great job! Their scores 7 - 6 - 7.
3) Kim and Sasha performed a Foxtrot to the old Facts of Life theme song. Kim chose as her year 1976, when she nervously auditioned for a Mrs. Butterworth syrup commercial. She was very intimidated by the large, highly competitive group who were there to audition, which included Janet Jackson. But her mom gave the 6-year-old a pep talk and she went for it and got it! That was the beginning for her career and it changed her life, obviously. Their Foxtrot was rock solid, graceful and well done. Len said it was like maple syrup, smooth and tasty. Their scores 8 - 7 - 7.
Coming back from the break we got to see a tiny bit of the awesome jazz dance performed by troupe members Shannon and Hayley.
4) Von and Witney performed a contemporary number. As expected Von chose 2016 as his most memorable year, the year he and his team won the Superbowl and he was awarded the MVP. I loved the story about Von’s father not wanting him to play football and his mom sneaking him off to play on the weekends. Though once his father found out he was playing, he supported him. Even more I love that Von uses Phil Collins’ song, In the Air Tonight to get psyched up for the games. And even more than that, I LOVED the expression on Von’s face when Bruno describes him as a superhunk. They did a respectable job. The lifts were great! Their scores 7 - 6 - 7.
5) Marla and Tony performed a jive, one of my favorite dances. Marla chose 1993 as her most memorable year as it was the year her daughter was born. I’ve gotta say, that Marla is such a darn classy lady, I just really like her. She is so positive and .... up. Her dancing to Happy is perfect. She was a little soft in energy, but, that’s just her and I like her. Their scores 7 - 7 - 7.
6) Antonio and Antonio and Sharna with a Foxtrot. Nope that’s not a typo. Antonio chose as his most memorable year 2007, a year he set college records (not the only year he did that,) and the year his first son, Antonio, was born. Love how much Antonio loves his kids, (four of them) and how he’s vowed to be a great dad, something he knew very little about. Little Antonio performed with his Dad in the number and they all did a great job. Their scores 7 - 6 - 7.
7) Paige and Mark performed a Paso Doble. First let me say that I’m very happy to see Mark is feeling better and is back. That’s not to slight Alan who was awesome to come in last week and dance for Mark last minute. Paige chose the year 2014, when she won her first UFC championship. She went in against an undefeated opponent and won, because she truly believed she could. This was an amazing transformation after she was bullied so much in high school that she went from being a 4.0 student to never showing up for class. Bullying... I just don’t get it. But that’s another whole story. Let me just say, parents, check to be sure YOUR child is not doing that bullying. Some of you may be surprised. Back to the dance.... Mark’s choreography is always cutting edge and tonight was awesome. Len didn’t like it because it wasn’t the normal type Paso, but as Carrie Ann pointed out, it’s choreography like Mark’s that keeps this show moving forward. And as Carrie Ann also said, their number was “bad ass!” I agree. If you just take time to watch Paige’s lines, her grace, her ease of movement, she is really a top-notch dancer. Their scores 8 - 7 - 8.
Jodi and Keo performed a Foxtrot. Jodi chose 2015, the year she came back to do Fuller House, as her most memorable year. She describes how she grew up on Full House from age 5 to age 13 and suddenly it was over. She felt like she’d lost her family, likened it to a death that she was unable to grieve. She fell into the depths of despair using drugs and alcohol. She’s been sober now, I think she said, 5 years. And then, they called her for Fuller House and she thought, “What a gift!” I’m so happy for her, that she has been able to defeat her demons. I hope she continues to heal. Keo’s choreography for the Foxtrot, much like Mark’s, was out of the box and I love it. Their number was awesome and finally, Jodi is beginning to show what she can do on the dance floor. Their scores 8 - 7 - 8.
Coming back from break we got a glimpse of Jenna, Alan and Kiril in a powerful Paso Doble.
9) Mischa and Artem performed a Samba. Somehow I think Mischa got the news that she needs to focus on the good and not “the bad.” She chose 2008 as her most memorable year as it was the year that brought much change in her life. She actually smiled during rehearsal and during her number. Focusing on the positive made her performance much less painful to watch. I mean, let’s face it, she’s not great at dancing, so that’s when she needs to let the fun take over and just be grateful for being able to do the show. That seems to be what she did. Their scores 6 - 6 - 6. Later in the show, we discover that Mischa was the next to be eliminated. I hope she was able to learn from her experience and discover that “reacting” to a circumstance is not conducive to a happy life. She can “choose” to be happy and focus on the good things and that will bring her many more good things.
10) Wanya and Lindsay performed a Waltz to the National Anthem. Yep, you heard that right! Wanya chose the 1996 as his most memorable year. It was the year of the Atlanta Olympic Games. If you recall, there had been a terror attack during the games and Boyz II Men were singing the National Anthem in the closing ceremonies. Wanya says they just wanted to do a good job and make it beautiful for everyone after all that had happened. They nailed it and he said, it was then he thought they had truly arrived. So Wanya and Lindsay danced to that version of Boyz II Men singing the National Anthem. She had to come up with way to make it a Waltz and to give it a beat and she did an amazing job. Their dance was beautiful. Their scores 8 - 8 - 8.
11) Last but definitely not least, Nyle and Peta performed an amazing Tango! Nyle’s most memorable year was 2012. He’d been born into a deaf family and in 2012 he decided he wanted to discover the world. He traveled without an interpreter and became fearless. He is amazing and Peta too is amazing and their Tango was amazing! Top scores of the night... 8 - 8 - 9.
Next week is Disney week and Zendayah Coleman will be back as guest judge! Zendaya danced with Val in Season 16 and was fantastic! She is adorable for sure!
|Posted on March 29, 2016 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
|Geraldo Rivera and Edyta Sliwinska [pic from tvnewser]|
It’s so much fun to get home late on a Monday night, looking forward to relaxing before bed and then remember, oh, wait, I have a recording of DWTS to watch! Okay, let’s get this mirror ball rolling.
First of all, I want to say that I think the scoring by the judges was a little bit more in line with my thinking this time, except for one. We’ll get to that one in a bit. I also want to say that Carrie Ann’s braid was really pretty and feminine. I like it.
Up first were Jodi and Keo with a Samba. I gave you last names in the first edition, we’re on a first name basis now, lol. I thought she did great though I still feel like Jodi hasn’t broken out of her shell yet. I wish I could help pump up her self-esteem a bit. Keo told her in rehearsal, “Don’t be desperate...and bring that energy!” He’s so supportive and seems to realize she needs a boost. I’m lovin’ me some Keo. Even the judges wanted to help Jodi. Bruno said, “Don’t doubt yourself.” He’s right. Come on, Jodi, we love you and you can do this! Go for it. I think her scores will go up soon. Tonight’s scores... 7 - 7 - 7. A little lower than she deserved..IMHO. Still, she went first and I think that hurts because they want to keep them low at first.
2) Marla and Tony performed an Argentine Tango. Marla is just so darn pretty and graceful and elegant. She seemed a little detached to me and at least one of the judges agreed with me. Len said it lacked intimacy but was clean and polished. Carrie Ann said it was elegant and classy. Exactly. She has such good lines. I love her all natural way of life. I know some people who do all those things she was talking about. Their scores 7 - 6 - 7.
Coming back from break Dennis and Jenna were doing a cha-cha. It was so hot. Wish we could have seen the whole thing. I love watching the pros dance. After some research I have found the names of the Season 22 Troupe. Their names in this photo (which I found on BuddyTV.com) from L to R are Shannon Holtzapffel, Jenna Johnson, Kiril Kulish, Dennis Jauch, Hayley Erbert and Alan Bersten.
3) Geraldo and Edyta tried hard to do a Salsa. Geraldo impersonated ‘The Donald’ and they had great fun. There was a bit of improvement and Carrie Ann agrees. Len said he came out and gave it his best shot and Bruno called him a source of inspiration. Bless his heart. Scores were 5 - 4 - 4. At the end of the night Geraldo was the one to leave the show this first elimination. I think he may have been relieved, though I hate to see Edyta sidelined. It was her first time back after having a baby and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
4) Next, Paige and Mark, only it wasn’t Mark. Mark hurt his back just a few hours before showtime. I haven’t heard how bad the injury is yet. I hope it’s not as serious as it seemed to be. Pro troupe member Alan stepped in and learned the routine in short time. I guess that’s why they’re called “pros.” That’s hard on Paige to learn the dance with a new partner, but you couldn’t tell. She and Alan were great. Paige is a powerful presence when she’s dancing. I still think she’s one of the top. Mark’s choreography was awesome as usual. Alan was awesome too, but I hope Mark is okay and can come back, cuz I think he and Paige have a real chance. Their scores, 8 - 8 - 8.
5) Antonio and Sharna performed an intimate, sexy, Rumba. With those two beautiful bodies, how could it not be sexy? They did a great job but had points taken off for a lift. We won’t talk about the “blood flow” comment. They did better than their scores show. 6 - 6 - 7.
6) Next up, Tootie, oh shoot, I mean Kim and Sasha. They did a Salsa to to Conga by Gloria Estefan, a song I loooovvvveeee! If that can’t make you move, nothing can. Apparently Kim loves Gloria Estefan and so Sasha surprised her by getting Gloria on the, I don’t know... facetime? Instagram? Skype? Google Hangout? Something like that. Kim was very excited. She did a great job on her number, though she had a little mess up. Their scores, 7 - 6 - 6.
I was excited to see that Noah Galloway dropped by. The double-amputee Iraq War veteran was on Season 20 of DWTS with partner Sharna Burgess.
7) Nyle and Peta performed a Rumba. I thought it was wonderful, but Len and Bruno felt like it was too intense and too aggressive and hectic. Carrie Ann thought it was stunning and so did I. They took off points for a lift. I was surprised that one of the judges hasn’t told Nyle to keep his bum tucked. I love what Nyle had to say. He said that first show was the most memorable experience of his life. He thought people would see him as a sympathy vote, but he’s a dancer! Yes, he sure is! Their scores 7 - 6 - 7. Too low.
In the audience they showed a quick shot of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, the ballroom dancer who lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombings and announced that she would be running the Boston Marathon again when it takes place in a few weeks! You go girl!
8 - Mischa and Artem with a Cha-Cha. In rehearsal she was worried and frustrated. If we can learn anything from Mischa, and we can, we see a perfect example of being your own worst enemy. Her performance was a good try. The judges tried to encourage her. Carrie Ann told her that people’s hearts want to embrace her and lift her up, that’s why they love this show... yes, we do! Here’s what we can learn from her. I wrote down just a few of the phrases she said after her dance. “...really bad...really rough... kinda tough...” If she perked up, focused on the positive, just tried to have fun, and maybe even, be grateful that she is there because soooo many of us would love to be in her place, then I think things would go better for her. Preach over. Their scores, 5 - 5 - 5.
9) Von and Witney danced a Cha-Cha though Bruno said there wasn’t much Cha-Cha in it. Love Von. He has a great attitude. He still seems a little ...unleashed... I guess, but I think if he really applies himself and actually tries to dance a real ballroom dance, he might be great. His passing gas fines were hilarious and I’m glad they are donating the money to a charity. I enjoyed their dance. Their scores, 7 - 6 - 7.
10) Wanya’ and Lindsay did a fantastic Salsa. I loved it. He is up there at the top with Paige as far as I’m concerned. He’s already lost 15 pounds and he says he just wants to look like a dancer. Well he’s looking great! And while we’re talking about looks, come on, did you see Lindsay’s dress/costume? That girl is smokin’!!!! Their scores, 8 - 8 - 8. Tied for first with Paige!!
11) Doug and Karina with a Paso Doble. Sooooo much better. Doug came across as powerful and masculine and moved with confidence. So glad to see this. Way to go. Their scores, 7 - 6 - 7.
12) Ginger and Val rocked a Samba. If they judged just on Ginger’s legs they would have 10's. Gorgeous. They did a great job, though Ginger slipped a couple of times. I’m sure their scores would have been higher if not for that. Their scores 7 - 7 - 7.
So that wraps the night. If you missed it earlier, Geraldo was the first to exit. It was a great night and the scores were a little more in keeping with what I was thinking. We’ll see who surprises us this next week!