Surgery and Side Effects

I had major surgery last March to reconstruct my ankle. I have CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth Atrophy). It has destroyed a lot of nerves and muscles in my feet and hands. There is no cure and no treatment but new advances can help correct the damages of the disease. Because of the weakness and instability in my ankles, I was walking mostly on the side of my right foot. They cut a bone, straighten the ankle and screwed everything back together. It has been a long year. I no longer have constant pain in that foot and now walk on the sole and not the side. Thank God.

I was prepared, somewhat, for the post surgery pain. I wasn’t prepared for the depression. Facing limitations have always been hard but facing a future with a crippling disease was something I wrestled with this past year. Besides having the surgery, in the last 2 years I have lost the use of my little fingers and most of my ring fingers. This might not seem like a big deal to most, but as a writer it’s hard to adjust to typing with five fingers instead of nine.

I was also following the blog of Julianna Yuri. A precious, precocious little five year old. Her mother wrote her outrageous, hilarious comments. I enjoyed her wit and wisdom. Julianna also had CMT. Probably the worst case known. The sweet child passed away this past year. I felt her loss as if I were a close companion.

But with all this year has thrown at me, I am alive and will continue to go on and adjust when it’s needed. I will try not to mourn the losses ahead but be creative to overcome them.  I face reconstruction of my other foot in the fall but know it will give me more mobility. I wish my dad could have had the advances that I am enjoying. I also know some great writers only typed with two fingers. God is still in His heaven and all is well with my soul.

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Hazardous Ingredients In Hygiene Products

In the early 1990s, I worked for Christian Book Distributors. They were a forward thinking company that cared a great deal for their employees. Periodically they gave out health brochures. In one of these, I read about Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and how these chemicals were in our hair products and caused hair loss. I went home and checked, finding out that my hair products did indeed have these chemicals in them.

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I did a personal test. When I used them I had a handful of hair, when I used products without them, two or three strands. Needless to say, I watched what I bought for a long time.

Unfortunately as time passed, I became less vigilant. So recently I decided to look these chemicals up to find out if what I read so long ago was true. I find that it’s worse than just a loss of hair.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are foaming agents called surfactants. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is the worse. These chemicals are found in shampoos, conditioners, soaps and TOOTHPASTE! They can damage hair follicles, skin, give permanent eye damage in children, and cause liver toxicity.

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The Journal of the American College of Toxicology in 1983 showed that 5% concentration of SLS could cause skin irritation. 10 to 30% caused skin corrosion. Some soaps have 30%.

Why would companies use these dangerous products? – They’re incredibly cheap and Americans associate suds with clean. Please google these products and read for yourself then check your health care products and make better choices.

 

Largest Active Volcano in US – Yellowstone?

When our kids were young we were able to take a month and visit most of our country’s major national parks. We traveled to Mount Rushmore through the Black Hills to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, up to Montana and down through the Redwoods and the Sequoias. Ending our trip, we visited the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Cavern. It was all exciting and very interesting.

Yellowstone was fascinating with Old Faithful and other geysers soaring high.

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The numerous hot springs had colorful mineral deposits glowing in their depths.

We enjoyed the woodland and the many vast roaming herds of bison and antelope that live there.

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Little did I know, we were walking and driving on an active volcano. Yes, Yellowstone is an active supervolcano! AND it has erupted! Of course, as you may have guessed. that was ages ago.

But scientists say it is still possible today and may even be overdue. There are two massive chambers of magma miles below Yellowstone. (Magma is what lava is called while it’s still underground.) One chamber was measured in 2013 to be fifty miles by twelve miles. The second, underneath this one, was found later. The heat and pressure, geothermal activity, from these chambers are the reasons for the superheated geysers and springs. If that pressure were to build up, an explosion, much worse than Mount Saint Helen, would devastate several states.

Scientist believe we would have ample warning if this was about to take place. For which we are all so very thankful. So, if you get the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend going to Yellowstone. Enjoy the amazement of walking on top of an active volcano.

Sgt. Stubby – Dog Hero of WWI

Born in 1916 he was an average mixed breed with signs of Boston Bull Terrier. Just a homeless mutt who attached himself to a training unit at Yale University in Connecticut. Little did the troop realize, when they befriended him, how beneficial this little dog would be to the troop.

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He became the most decorated war dog of the first World War. He was the only dog issued a rank and became a sergeant due to combat. He became the mascot of the 102nd infantry division, assigned to the  26th Yankee division. He served for eighteen months and was in seventeen battles.

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Though the regiment befriended him, he had one special friend, Corporal Robert Conroy. Conroy hid Stubby on the troop ship when they were deployed and smuggled him into France. When he was discovered by the commanding officer, he was given a salute and permission to stay.

Stubby entered combat February 5, 1918. He was under constant fire, day  and night, for over a month. In April, he was wound in the leg by a grenade. He was sent to the rear to recover. While there he raised the troops morale. When he recovered, he went back to the front.

That year, he was also injured by mustard gas and issued his own gas mask. With his sensitive nose, he learned to warn the troops at the slightest detection of mustard gas. His dog hearing also allowed him the ability to warn the troops of incoming artillery. He also would find injured soldiers in the trenches and signal for help, while staying with the soldier.

He was once approached by a soldier, who he attacked and held till troops came and found him to be a German spy.

Then he was once more injured in the chest and leg by a grenade.

After the eighteen months, Conroy smuggled Sgt. Stubby home. Sgt. Stubby had been in many newspapers and came home a hero. He marched in parades and actually met Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding.

In his retirement, he went to Georgetown University Law Center with Robert Conroy and became the school mascot.

Sgt. Stubby died in his sleep in 1926. His obituary was printed in the New York Times.

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Original caption: Washington, DC: Meet up with Stubby, a 9-year-old veteran of the canine species. He has been through the World War as mascot for the 102nd Infantry, 26th Division. Stubby visited the White House to call on President Coolidge. November 1924

 

Women Soldiers in the Civil War

I have always held a fascination with the Civil War. Having a northern mother from the Green Mountains of Vermont and a southern father from the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, I had a hard time understanding how one country could be fighting against it’s own brothers. I had never known there were sisters fighting, also.

No one knows how many there were, as women were not allowed to enlist. But it is believed to range from 200 to 500, women disguised themselves as men to enter the southern and northern ranks. They had many reasons including patriotism, not wanting to be separated from their loved one, desire for glory and even just a refusal of being left behind.

Here are just a few of the known women:

Loreta Janeta Velazquez. She took on the name of Harry T. Buford. But when her husband discovered her, she was sent home. When he was killed in battle, she again joined the southern ranks. She served as a spy and sometimes commanded troops.

 

Sarah Emma Edmonds. She took the name Frank Thompson. Sarah was born in Canada to a very abusive father who had wanted a boy. She ran away to avoid the abuse and an arranged marriage. To hide from her father, she donned the disguise of a man. Fearing she still might be found, she traveled to the United States where she enlisted into the army. She worked as a hospital attendant, mail carrier, and orderly. She deserted in 1863, due to Malaria and fearing she would be discovered by the doctors. After her recovery, she became a female nurse to the troops.

 

Elizabeth A. Niles. Her husband was called to war on their honeymoon. She fought beside him and was mustered out without the military ever learning of her gender.Niles

 

Frances Hook. She was twenty two when she enlisted. She and her brother were orphans, they decided to enlist together. She continued serving even after her brother was killed.

 

Florina Budwin. She enlisted with her husband and fought by his side. They were both captured and sent to Andersonville prison. Her husband died there but Florina survived. She died a year after her release due to illness.

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This are just a small representation of the women who fought and died for the things they believed. They were, also, great Civil War soldiers.

The Promise – Chapter One

IMG_5662For all who have shown an interest in my books but have not yet purchased. I have uploaded a sample for you to view. I hope you will enjoy this true to life story of the orphan train riders.

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Books may be purchased at Amazon.com or you may send a check for $12.95 ($9.95 plus $3.00 shipping) to Carolyn Johnson, PO Box 311, Arapaho, OK 73620. If you would like it autographed, please include name.

 

 

Chickasaw Tribes -American Allies

Not all Indians fought the new influx of European people.  The Chickasaw people had good relations with the new white people. In 1670 the Chickasaw traded with the British. The British traded guns for captured Choctaw Indian slaves. When the French supplied guns to the Choctaw the slave raids stopped. The Chickasaw fought with Britain against the French but had not fought against the Americans.

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When the Revolutionary War broke out, the Chickasaw allied with the Americans. In 1791, they fought hostile tribes in Ohio for the colonists. In 1794, their chief, Piomingo, was invited to visit George Washington in his home. Washington thanked the tribe for their loyalty by giving gifts. A peace pipe was smoked between Washington and the chiefs present. Also a document was written showing the boundaries of the Chickasaw territory, which included the western half of Tennessee, parts of Mississippi, and Alabama. It provided protection for the Chickasaw people against white abuse. Washington also assured the tribe that they would never lose their land. Unfortunately, the following presidents did not honor Washington’s pledge.

The Chickasaw Nation was viewed as one of the five civilized tribes. They had integrated with white people and many were mixed race. Originally from the southeastern part of the United States, they were forced to sell their land and move to the Indian territory of Oklahoma in 1832. This happened as part of the Indian Removal of the 1830s. The Chickasaw people were part of the terrible Trail Of Tears. Unlike the other tribes, the Chickasaw negotiated with the government to sell the land for three million dollars. The government did pay the amount but it took thirty years for the payment to arrive.

During the Civil War, the Chickasaw joined with the confederacy. Owning black slaves, resentment of lost land and suggestion by confederacy of making a Indian state lead to this partnership.

The Chickasaw today are a proud and prosperous tribe. I am proud to say my husband is a member of the Chickasaw tribe.

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Traditional paint. Tattoos were given for bravery.

 

All Aglow

This little creature is known as a clusterwink snail.

glowing-snail-shell-deheynThe tiny (about the size of a fingernail) sea snail gives off green luminescent light flashes to scare away predators.  The flashes trick the enemy by making the snail look larger. The thick, heavy, opaque shell acts as a powerful reflector.

The clusterwink snail is found along the New Zealand and Australian rocky shores. When the tide is out, the snails cluster together, hiding under rocks and in crevices. When the tide comes in, they journey out to graze on algae.

Embryos of the snail are incubated in a brood chamber located internally behind the female head. When mature they are expelled into the sea.

Several research studies are being done to learn the biological cause of the luminescence and how the shell works to reflect.

Below shows the snail at rest and in danger mode.

 

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An Appeal To Heaven

Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free. Gen Joseph Warren 1775.

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In 1775, this flag was used during revolutionary times. The flag was ordered by George Washington and designed by his secretary Colonel Joseph Reed. It was first used by a squadron of six schooners commissioned by George Washington, who reportedly paid for the schooners out of pocket. These ships were skilled at capturing British schooners.

In 1776, the fleet of twenty-five naval vessels sailing out of Massachusetts adopted the flag.

1885_History_of_US_flags_medThe pine tree was a symbol in New England, dating back as far as 1686. During Revolutionary times it became a symbol of  colonial outrage and resistance.

The white pine in New England grew to heights topping 150 feet. They were sought after for sailing masts. The English king, knowing the value of the trees, placed a mark on the larger trees claiming them for the crown. Colonist could not harvest these trees. They also had to get a surveyor and a license to cut the trees not marked. Not surprising, the colonists did not like being told what they could and could not do with their own trees. In 1775, this anger led to the Pine Tree Riot in New Hampshire.

This was not the only flag, at the time, with a pine tree. The flag that flew over Bunker Hill was red with a green pine tree in the top, left corner.

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The words, “An Appeal To Heaven”, was a common phrase in those days. It was used several times in historical documents, including Second Treatise on Civil Government by John Locke in 1690 and by Patrick Henry in his famous, Give me liberty or give me death speech.

In 1968, a United States stamp was issued commemorating Washington’s flag.

 

Stagecoach Mary

In 1832, she was born a slave in Tennessee, she was freed in 1865 at the age of 33.

When she was freed she worked for Judge Dunne, who some believe had been her owner. When his wife died in 1883, Mary took his children to their aunt’s home in Ohio. The aunt was Mother Mary Amedeus the Mother Superior of a convent. Mary stayed near Mother Mary Amedeus until the Mother Superior was transferred to Montana to start a school for Native American girls. In 1884, Mary heard of Mother Mary falling ill with pneumonia. She traveled to Montana to nurse her back to health.

So far this sounds like a loyal slave caring for former owners. But Mary Fields was no subservient ex-slave. Unlike most slaves, she had been taught to read and write. She stood six feet tall and weighed 200 lbs. To say she was an imposing figure, would be putting it lightly. If the persona didn’t intimidate you, be aware, she carried a pistol under her apron and a shotgun in her hand. She smoked hand-wrapped big black cigars and usually had a whiskey jug someplace close by her.

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Mary Fields was not afraid of anyone or anything. And was know to not back down from a fist fight. She stayed at the convent, when the Mother Superior got well, to help out. She hauled freight, chopped wood, did laundry and cared for the chickens and garden. The Native Americans called her White Crow because she acted like a white woman but had black skin.

In 1894, her temper got the better of her when a male worker made derisive comments concerning a black woman getting higher pay than him. Mary grabbed her gun and went after him. They had a shootout behind the convent. A bystander was slightly wounded by a stray bullet which was the only injury after Mary and the male worker had emptied their six guns. The Bishop told Mary she would have to leave, he was tired of her temper and foul language.

The Mother Superior helped her open a restaurant but it went broke in ten months. Mary made a habit of feeding people whether they paid or not.

Then in 1895, at the ripe old age of sixty, Mary found her calling. Having the fastest time hitching up a six horse team, she won the job of US postal carrier. This made her the first black woman postal carrier and the second black woman ever hired by the US postal service. She delivered mail with a team or with her mule, Moses. If the snow was too deep, she’d put the mail on her back and hike the trail in snowshoes. She once walked ten miles through the snow. She never missed a day. Her dependability earned her the name Stagecoach Mary.

When she hit seventy, she quit the postal service. She started doing laundry and ran an eating establishment. At seventy-two, a man tried to stiff her on a laundry bill. She reared back and laid him on the ground with one punch. Mary was still a force to be reckoned with.

I am Mary Fields.  People call me “Black Mary.”  People call me “Stagecoach Mary.”  I live in Cascade, Tennessee.  I am six feet tall.  I weigh over two hundred pounds.  A woman of the 19th Century,  I do bold and exciting things.  I wear pants.  I smoke a big black cigar.  I drink whiskey.  I carry a pistol.  I love adventure.  I travel the country,  driving a stagecoach,  delivering the mail to distant towns.  Strong, I fight through rainstorms.  Tough, I fight through snowstorms.  I risk hurricanes and tornadoes.  I am independent.  No body tells me what to do.  No body tells me where to go.  When I’m not delivering mail,  I like to build buildings.  I like to smoke and drink in bars with the men.  I like to be rough.  I like to be rowdy.  I also like to be loving.  I like to be caring.  I like to baby sit. I like to plant flowers and tend my garden. I like to give away corsages and bouquets. I like being me, Mary Fields.

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