20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


My Rock-n-Roll Life Went Country Overnight

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

Every relationship is as unique as the people in it, who each bring, amongst other things, a collection of experiences, wisdom, and personality to it. No matter what, only the two people in an intimate liaison can know fully what it looks and feels like. Like a child’s DNA, something unique to only two people in the world springs up into existence. If it self-PIXECT-20130315055221destructs, the experience can leave one or both parties struggling with a grief that cannot be easily understood by anyone but the other participant who is now either causing the pain in the first place, or reeling from the shock of the destruction a breaking bond causes. I learned firsthand that the stronger the bond, the more miserable the breaking of it would be. A frustrating and traumatic journey began for me, and I grappled desperately to understand what had just happened to

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Captain of My Own Destiny

Math Mark

Math Mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to admit that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my brain for as long as I can remember. Our relationship began to have trouble when I was in the third grade. Evidently, I was unable to keep up with the class when it came to math, and I was dispatched, to my utter dismay and humiliation, to a mobile classroom on the outskirts of the school for an hour each day. While the rest of my class stayed put, I would have to scoop up my flagrantly different math text-book, exit the class with my cheeks burning, walk the long distance to the Special Ed building, all the while feeling stupid,  and meet a sugary sweet teacher who would talk to me like I was not only mathematically challenged, but also having trouble understanding the English language. The whole experience was completely appalling to me, and I decided that I’d work extra hard on my own so I could get out of the Special Education Math Class.

To me, my circumstances have always been something that I felt I could change, if I could just figure out a plan of action.

Evidently, I have always been a control freak.. :-)

My plan was to get better at math immediately. Back then, though, there were no home computers, much less the World Wide Web, so I was a tiny bit unsure about how to go about becoming a mathematical genius overnight. Luckily, my mother had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica‘s, and I began my quest right there. Everyday after school, I would begin my research into a quick, sure way to improve my brain’s performance.  Often, I would get distracted from my mission, running across something entirely unhelpful, but way more interesting.

And in time,  I found a little excerpt from an old research study that stated  how the brain worked in general, and had come to the conclusion that people who write with their left hands tended to have better mathematical abilities. Ah Ha! I thought.  All I needed to do, in my own estimation, was to teach myself to write with my left hand. This, I surmised, would “wake up” the right side of my brain, and I’d be a mathematical wiz…Good-bye, Special Ed Math. Hello, Popularity and Wealth. Actually, I didn’t really care about the popularity and wealth thing so much..just getting out of that humiliating class.

I had this gut feeling that I’d just stumbled on to a little known cure, and that soon, I’d leave my classmates in my mathematical dust…

So, I did exactly that. I practiced writing with my left hand for weeks, then months, and then years. To this day, I will occasionally write with it just to make sure I still can. I have so blended my left hand/right hand capabilities that I made myself somewhat ambidextrous.  :-)

But did it help my math abilities? I did catch up in math during my fourth grade year, and then later, in high school, I was able to hold my own, and to get good grades. I scored higher than average in math on my SAT’s, though I always find English grammar, literature, and the like easier to learn and understand, and those scores were higher than my math scores. I ended up working most of my life in accounting.

I have no idea if my little quest tricked my brain or not. Maybe, because I believed that it would make me smarter in math, it did. All I know is that I’ve learned that the brain is exceedingly magnificent and complicated, and we can train it to do what we want. Too cool!

One teacher that I admired and respected once told me that I was unusually logical, always breaking everything down to its simplest forms, which was actually a mathematical skill, and he thought it was unlikely that I was ever behind in math, but instead just wasn’t being taught in a method that I could learn from. Back then, in the 1970’s, the multiplication tables were taught by memorization, and he theorized that this method would not have been something I could have kept up with. A bunch of numbers memorized for reasons I couldn’t explain would not have been easy for me to retain. Instead, had the teachers shown me what exactly was actually being done when you multiply 2 by 2, I would have kept up just fine.

I remember thinking that I liked that teacher’s theory about my brain, but a tiny part of me wants to believe that in elementary school, I figured out a way to trick my brain into being smarter in math. :-)

– Bird


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Dreams, Like Wine, Need Time To Age

Vicar

Vicar (Photo credit: Nick Kidd) A Man Who Isn’t Afraid to Dream!!!

So, I was strolling through the internet this evening, really rather bored, but trying to keep my hyper-vigilant brain from worrying to death over the fact that my husband has been on his motorcycle for 5 hours on a trip, and hasn’t called me even once to let me know he’s alive, and I came across this little nugget of delight:

Vicar Quits To Become Elvis Presley Impersonator

And it got me thinking about dreams. I may be mistaken, but I think it is safe to say that everyone in the world has had at least one dream while growing up. Of course, depending on where you come from, the dreams would vary drastically. I imagine if you are starving in a hut in a third world country, getting enough food to live to puberty would be a common dream. However, in America, the dreams are probably a little bigger and less life-sustaining. For me, when I was little, I dreamed of being an architect. My favorite uncle,  The Master Debater and All Around Most Awesome Uncle Ever, my Uncle John, gave me some of the tools an architect would use, and I spent endless hours designing fantastic mansions. Then, after a relatively small amount of time, I realized that I just kept designing the same mansion over and over again, and the luster wore off the dream. Well, that and the amount of math involved…So, I moved on to other dreams (tap dancer, stand-up comedian, Comparative Religion Professor), but the only other one that ever stuck was to be a writer.

In my family, there are several excellent, published writers, and even more just as excellent, unpublished writers. What is really cool about this dream, though, is that we all write different genres, and none of us write with the same kind of “voice”. For instance, my brother writes about his church ministry and how he and some other financially strapped guys were able to build a church from scratch. Yes, he and I have the same sense of humor, but our interests couldn’t be further apart and our approaches to life are spectacularly different. My mother wrote many, many romance novels. They are actually really clever, well written, and juicy… but have you ever read a graphic love scene written by your mom? :(   I can barely read a romance novel, much less one written by my mom, and to write one…I am not that gifted. Romantic I am not! I have an  aunt who writes young adult books, including some kind of strange book that lets you make decisions throughout the whole thing, which then changes the ending. Witty and interesting, but beyond my abilities…..And another aunt that wrote science fiction back in the 60’s and 70’s. I was told that one of her books was made into a story for some drama series back then, but I’ve forgotten all the details. Strange that our interests never once seemed to cross over with the number of writers in this family, but so far, that is the way it has all turned out.

I blew off my dream to write most of my adult life. I’d written a couple of fiction books as a teenager, but I cringe to even speak of them. They were horrible. I just figured that my writing career would go the way of my architect career…no where. I just didn’t have the imagination one would need to create a believable story.

So, I lived my life, married, had a family (not in that order), and worked my little accounting jobs and all but forgot my childhood dream.

Then, I set up my blog, and I started writing about stuff I was interested in, or things I felt I wanted to share about myself, and boom! The dream came back to life like Snow White being kissed by Prince Charming! And you know what? It occurs to me that I am now in a better position to be a writer because I’ve lived a whole life. I’ve endured this circus show called life, and now I actually have something to say. I have something I can write about from the heart, and with real honesty and conviction. The dying embers of the flame of hope have been fanned into a roaring bonfire, and for the first time since I was a little girl, I have a real dream to work towards!

And vicars who quit their jobs to become Elvis Presley impersonators serve as a MASSIVE inspiration to me…Thank you, Vicar! You are my hero.

You are the wind beneath my wings… :)

I just think we never get too old to dream, and we should go for it!!! What is your dream??

– Bird


A Pictorial Guide To Bird’s Latest Crisis

Bird:

Sharing my thoughts through pictures…

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

Lately, I believe it would be fair to say that I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to this blog thing. One thing that I’ve really come to value about writing here is the therapeutic nature of getting my bottled up thoughts out of my head and in front of my eyes, and the eyes of others. It tends to make the monster in my head look smaller and less destructive than I’d originally supposed.

 

I’ve been dealing with two major problems in my marriage, and as I tend to do, I keep my secrets well guarded. It is one thing to blab my own shortcomings and failures to the world…I’m okay with people taking pot-shots at me, because I embrace my ridiculous mistakes and try to use them as cautionary lessons for others. But when you’re getting into the problems that a marriage goes through…

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The Red Carpet of My Mind

Bird:

Reblogged from Everyone Has a Story…

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

It occurs to me that making friends on the internet is kind of an odd exercise when it comes to me. I spend a lot of time watching people…how they speak, what they say, body language, tone inflection, etc. Last night, I spent a good amount of time talking with Sara, and we talked for hours about subjects I’ve almost never discussed with anyone in my entire life, except maybe with Audra.

When I first set up my blog, it never occurred to me to not put my picture on my gravatar or in the About Me section…But some of my new friends on the internet chose to keep their physical appearance a secret. In fact, most of my Blogosphere friends who opted for anonymity have been assigned a “look” in my head based on some pretty goofy criteria.

For instance, Sara looks like Katherine Heigl to me in my…

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Depression – A Lack of Faith or A Disease? You Decide

I know it has been a while since I posted here, but it isn’t because I’d forgotten about it or that I was blowing you guys off. In a nutshell, it has been because I’ve been struggling with a bout of depression, and getting just one article out for my main site was a really hard thing to do, and getting two out was near impossible.

Lots of Christians seem to find the subject of depression uncomfortable, largely due to the fact that they see it as merely an emotion that people have when they aren’t living by faith.  Anyone struggling with it will tell you, the emotion part is just a symptom of the disease. The heart of it goes to the physical misfiring in the brain and can no more be controlled than a broken arm or having a heart attack.

I used to just go to bed for a few days, sleeping away the tears and sadness, and while I did stay in bed more than I usually do, I didn’t sleep. Damn insomnia.. :) But, I made myself write once a day, and I think because of that, the episode didn’t last as long as it usually does.

Anyways, sorry I neglected you guys. Hope you will forgive me.

Love,

Bird


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Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs and Honor

Chef told me back a few months ago when I started my little blogging adventure that I was bound to offend someone,

The best thing I learned from this whole club experience -- Some people live by a code of Honor.

and guess what?! Now I have. I actually blogged bout this on my site, but it occurs to me that the author of the email might have followed me from here, so I’m going to post it here too, just in case. Besides, the message holds.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been honored and humbled by an outpouring of personal emails that people have sent me asking for advice or saying how much a piece I wrote helped them. They always leave me in tears, plus it makes me feel useful in God’s kingdom when I can comfort someone and help them in a difficult time.

And now I’ve been scolded. For what, you may ask? I’m still trying to figure that out. This person doesn’t seem to be one of my followers, and it seems to be a dummy account because you can’t respond to it. Tsk, tsk. But, I’m not even going to use the name you used or publish the email. It really isn’t important to me to embarrass you, and in my opinion, you not even letting me respond via email back to you should embarrass you enough anyways.

Now, I’ve made it pretty clear that you shouldn’t fire off verbal grenades and not have the fortitude to identify yourself. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a different opinion than someone else. But when you hide, you are invalidating said opinion, and I don’t know about other people, but I can’t respect that. So, since I know you read my site, I’ll share something with you and hopefully this will put the matter to rest.

The outlaw motorcycle club seems to be a concern in this person’s thoughts. Let me tell you exactly what I think about my husband being in an outlaw motorcycle club.

Many, many years ago, before Chef was involved with this club, he was actually part of what is called a Mom and Pop club. This is mainly a riding club where motorcycle enthusiasts join up each week and ride together to different locations. It is a lot of fun, and is a good way to get to know each other. And for the most part, this group of people were just wonderful. This is the club we belonged to when I was involved in the motorcycle accident, and they were there for my whole family when we needed help. I have nothing negative to say about them.

After the accident though, mainly because of the accident, at least in my mind, I wanted some distance from the reminders, and that kind of killed the joy for me in the club. And with that death came Chef’s, because if the wife ain’t happy, neither is the husband. There was some disagreement, and the club split in half, and our half took to creating a new club.

Now, without getting in specifics, I will say that the one thing that was lacking in this “new” club was honor. Men were hitting on me behind my husband’s back, and it caused a real stir in my marriage. One thing that you have to understand about motorcycle clubs, or any clubs for that matter, is that trust has to be a central point.

It didn’t take long for that “new” club to completely implode, and poor Chef, who desires the camaraderie he once experienced in the military, was left without that important part of his life. And along came The Motorcycle Club. I’m a big one on first impressions, but I’ve learned over the course of many years that I need to gather more information before deciding yay or nay on something, and so I sat back, running my little bar, and watching these men and their women who came calling on Chef. And after some very kind and open conversations with one — Yes, that’s you Brooks– I decided that I kind of liked the structure of their honor system. I’d been told we women should never ask them questions, and in one fell swoop, Brooks invalidated that theory and let me ask the questions that I’m sure others would be offended by, and then he gently answered every single one of them honestly and openly. I’ve had less experience with honesty with pastors than I did with him. Thank you, Brooks!! Turns out, they have more honor than most Christian churches I’ve been in.

Now, let me be clear. Unless you’ve held in your arms a girl who has had her innocence stolen by an adult just so that he can get some sexual gratification, you don’t get to have an opinion about how we perceive the world. The minute that happens to a little girl…and I imagine it is even worse for a little boy…the world suddenly becomes dark, dangerous, perverted, evil. And with that perception comes an innate distrust for people…You tend to assume that everyone is selfish and that you will be annihilated if you are vulnerable. Compounded with that hurt, is having a pastor that your respect, even if you never really liked, tell you that your rape was your own fault. There is nothing you are going to tell me about only looking to Christians for the answers. I’ve learned a ton from non-Christians.

I’d read books on biker culture, scoped the internet, watched television…I definitely had a preconceived notion about who these people were and what they were about.

Then, I got to see up close and personal just how protective these people were with their young, and anyone else’s children as well. I laugh because for all the jokes about them being dumb, I find this lot of people pretty damn smart. And I watched a convicted child molester try to join. Guess what? He didn’t get very far. They have this uncanny ability to sniff out the people who hurt the innocent, and he was sent packing. I’ve watched serial adulterers join, thinking the women would be easier to lay, and those guys are gone too. I’ve watched liars join, and be escorted away from the family. In fact, I have to say that I know a ton of bikers that are professed Christians on varying levels of their walks with God. So much for judging books by their covers.

I also have watched over the years this code they live by. No lying. If you get caught lying, you’re on your way out. No stealing from a brother…You steal, you’re out. Need some help..they are givers, even if it is just their talents they have to give. My home is nice, neat, and well-maintained because of this family we are in. In turn, I take a lot of wedding pictures and Chef cooks a lot food to help out this family. No cheating with other brother’s wives…You get caught, it isn’t allowed and you won’t be staying in the family. And child molesters….just move out of town now. They don’t condone it and will handle their business. In other words, this motorcycle club taught me the meaning of honor and holding themselves to a higher standard than some Christians I know. So, please. Spare me. Unless you are in it, don’t preach to me about who I should be hanging around with. I am not gifted at leading Christians to the Lord, they are already there…. What do they need me for? I will say that I feel safer surrounded by these men in colors than I do sitting in a pew at church. And for those of you who are childhood sexual abuse survivors, you know just how hard it is to make us feel perfectly safe surrounded by people. Am I right?

I am not going to apologize to you or anyone else for being completely honest about the things that I struggle with, or the people who I have a loyalty to. This club had never done a single thing to me that they should apologize for. Are they perfect? No! But they are humans, and they deal with the same failings that Christians in the church pews deal with. Difference is, from what I can tell, they’re more honest about it to themselves and others.  I find that sharing what sins I struggle with makes me human, and it doesn’t give this image that once you are saved everything is Noodle Salad and Church Picnics. Life is hard, and it remains hard. The difference is that I feel like I have a purpose. I have a healing direction, and I have an empathy to help others head down the same healing path. I usually feel like I’m in big trouble when I die, because I do make a lot of stupid mistakes even though I know better. But, for whatever reason, God always deals really mercifully with me, and in turn, I intend to do that right back to my fellow human beings, Christian, motorcycle bikers, strippers, prostitutes, drug fiends, whatever. I love them all. I’m a firm believer and preacher of grace…Without it, you wouldn’t be getting in either!! I will continue to try to become more like Jesus, but let’s be real….I’m never going to resemble Him much…He was too perfect and very much God Reincarnated…

Hope this sets things straight. You don’t have to agree with me, and maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think so, but what do I really know anyways? And seriously, stop sending dummy stuff…that is just too weak! I have mad respect for the atheists and agnostics that disagree with me on my site (respectfully) than I do someone who shoots off fiery arrows and then hides in the trees….Seriously???? For all of you, my email is cathiemartin68@hotmail.com. I’m standing behind my opinions and beliefs.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox for now. :)

– Bird

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