Writing the Wrongs

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by: Shaka Senghor Reviewed with pleasure by: PnJbookreviews (www.emergencyrn.org) Written by: Janet (J) Writing My Wrongs I have…

Source: Writing the Wrongs

Writing the Wrongs

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by: Shaka Senghor

Reviewed with pleasure by: PnJbookreviews (www.emergencyrn.org) Written by: Janet (J)

Writing My Wrongs

writing my wrongs book cover

I have never heard any truer phrase than when people say, “It’s not how you start the race, but how you finish it that counts,” then when I read this amazing novel written by an amazing man.

I was in between reviews for the publishing houses I usually write for, and this book and its picture pulled me to it like a magnet. What did I know about prison? I had never been there. What did I know of death? Well, as an Emergency Nurse I was surrounded by it every day. What did I know about redemption? That is a question I still have yet to find, however after reading this powerful book, I realize that he is right in so many ways that we as HUMANS need to stand together and stop this madness of gun violence and sending the young to prison only to come out worse than before. I have never been racist, nor seen color of the people around me. I had this image that everyone just saw each other like I did, people trying to navigate this thing called life.

a great soul maya angelou image

In the beginning, we are introduced to James White, a young boy who is suffering from the tragedies of living in a broken home. While his father was very supportive, his mother turned to alcohol and verbal abuse of her children leaving James to either stay and suffer the wrath of his mother all day, or go out to the streets to hang out with friends and escape his chaotic home.

dove and crows quote

Longing for love and acceptance, James was led by an adult down the path of dealing drugs to support himself since his mother was not. He was seduced by money, but in reality he was crying out for love and attention, for hope and faith. While he found none of that in the drug life he had entered, he did find a love of things. His void then being filled with shoes and clothing, women and drugs.

drugs and money

How could a child resist the temptation set before him by an adult that he trusted, and another adult to disappoint and push him down the road that would eventually lead to prison? Maybe a more poignant question would be how did we as a society fail this young boy, and all the boys before and after him?

child drug deal

Common in the drug world comes guns and violence and James unfortunately was led down that path after being shot himself during a dispute. Two years later, James does the ultimate crime himself and altered the paths of two young men; himself and his victim.  James himself was a child that ended up murdering another boy in a drug related interaction. Sentenced to a 20 – 40 year prison term, James could only watch as the cards fell down around him. He became angry and bitter. Having one child already and another on the way, James became as hard and locked down inside as the prison that held him. Five years into his prison sentence he was placed in solitary confinement and left where there is minimal to no interaction.

solitary cell image


With nothing to occupy his mind of all he had done and where he had come from to get to where he was, James started to read. He read African Heritage books, the Bible, the Koran, Plato as well as any other book he could get his hands on to broaden his mind and strengthen his soul. Through reading the words and ideas of many, James found what he had always been looking for, hope.

a thousand words image

This book was so raw, so powerful, that even days after finishing this book and having time to reflect, it still provides me with hope. Hope for all children forced into this kind of situation, hope that even in the worst of times, forgiveness can be obtained, and hope that maybe one day we will be a world that doesn’t see color and promote violence. Maybe one small act of kindness could prevent a future institutionalized child who knows nothing but life in prison.

dont gain the world and lose your soul bob marley quote

When James was 5 years into his prison sentence, he received a letter from the grandmother of his victim providing him with what he could not provide himself, forgiveness.

dear james white letter, forgiveness image

When the boy James finds where his true self lies, Shaka is who emerges. Reading this book is tough. This book points out so many wrongs that no one wants to talk about. How long should we be leaving a young boy in solitary to only have his worst demons be his only company? While punishment is needed and America has lock up locked down, what about true rehabilitation? This book is a must read for everybody. His story could be substituted for any number of names.

flag with prison bars

Be warned that Shaka does not spare the events or actions of himself or his fellow inmates. He tells prison from the point of view only the strongest of survivors can tell.

shaka put down gun quote

For me, I was overwhelmed by the power of his words. For his raw truth, that while ugly, brought about something beautiful. His words are bringing about a connection and a reason to reach a hand out to our fellow man. For me, this “criminal” is an inspiration.

shaka quote for hope

For me, I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to all. If only all of our voices could be so powerful and raw, what a beautiful world it would be. It was truly an honor to read and review this book. NOW RUN!!!!!!!! GO GET YOUR COPY BEFORE THEY TOO ARE LOCKED UP!!

no one saves us image buddha

~ J    🙂



New Blog Site Sure To Entertain You!

Well, as I am switching around my blog pages, and hoping I don’t lose anyone in the process, (Or if I do don’t worry, I will call 9-eleven on my phone…..when I can find that darned 11 button….) I do hope you will stop and say hi, read a blog, read a post, make a comment,(and you know you’re checking FB and IG and every other social site while you’re “going to the bathroom,” and besides… this blog will absolutely be a SUPASTAR! (Don’t make me pull out my FABULOUS side …….)


So while I am busy posting the reviews and linking all the blogs together into one site, even adding a link to my store, y’all run on down to this link below and help an RN that would always help you…..this aneurysm was no joke! I am quite the joker please see the information I have up on Grace and Restoring Faith! (now hurry and push the hyperlink….every dollar will help.) Thanks for reading my post!


~ J

Time is a river…



Eleanor by Jason Gurley                                                        by: PNJbookreviews   (~ J )


Two bubbles, back to back, a spark of light, a string severed in time. One brief, crushing moment and two bubbles float away from each other, forever severed and blowing away, each in their own iridescent way. Do the bubbles know they were together once? Can you miss something if you have no memory that they were ever there? What if only a thin red string reminds you of …something. Something familiar, something that carries with it a feeling, maybe a memory of that other bubble. Would you want to know if you knew this bubble? Watch it? Bend the shape of your bubble, stretching and bending to reach towards the other bubble. Would the other bubble recognize your presence? Would it also bend toward you? Time is after all fluid…what if you could go backward and forward through time and watch just snippets of that other bubble, would you? Would you want to fluidly move between time and place on that river of time?

giphy dark river

Such begins the story of Eleanor and Esmerelda, twins that were extremely close, that in one violent moment were forever separated. Eleanor is left behind to watch her mother grieve so hard that she turns into an alcoholic, and watches her father leave the family when he can no longer deal with the drinking and sadness. She mourns for Esmerelda every day. So much in fact, that she can rip the space of time, sending her waves of sadness through and catching her sister’s attention. Eleanor starts having weird things happen to her such as walking through a door at school and ending up in another dimension. The time she spends in her alternate universe seems natural to her, while back home she has disappeared for longer periods of time that her only real friend starts to notice. If they can bend space and time to see each other, could it be possible that they could rewind time? While looking at the destruction, would they even want to? Would the one who holds Esmerelda even let her go? So many questions, so little answers, and what will happen if they just experiment? What happens if there really IS a reset button?  What would you do as a 14-year-old girl that is desperately trying to heal the wounds of your family’s tragedy on your own?

alone kiss

Ostensibly, it’s the story of a young girl who is overcoming grief. On the surface, Eleanor goes on a quest to heal her family. But underneath, it’s also a story about her parental failure and growth. Eleanor is both the heroine and the grail. Through her parents the story explores, in a blunt, honest way, the claustrophobia of being the surviving sibling in an accident and just how powerful the idea of escaping from the pain can truly be. Eleanor sometimes fears she is giving up everything, even her very identity to protect her parents from their destructive paths as well as keeping the memory of her twin alive. She experiences the imagined relief of leaving it all behind. Whether through denial, death, or just plain escape, the characters become unbound from each other, free.

But as in every fantasy story, there are hidden prices to pay for abandoning Esmerelda. The themes of inadequacy and abandonment run through the second half of the novel. As the loving actions of Eleanor work on those around her, freedom turns to regret, and then to guilt and resentment, then at last, into empathy and forgiveness.
abandoned umbrella
The overarching message seems to be that things happen. Everyday. As parents, as siblings, as people. Sometimes we get pretty close to doing the right thing. Other times we fail spectacularly, or things just spiral out of our control. If we find a way to forgive ourselves, both for what we have done and for what we’ve wanted to do, we may discover that those we love forgave us for the same things long, long before. Through magic, mystery, or just through blind navigation of dream like places, or traveling through doors we know nothing of, or what we will find, there just might be a second chance, or reset button if you will, for those of us who keep our eyes and senses open to the possibility.

new world

For the author, Jason Gurley this was a magical, deep, emotional ride that he has presented for our imaginations. I’d read another novel by him anytime. Thank you for the depth of your creation Mr. Gurley, and for sharing your magical river of time.                           waterfallorgasm-large

*** I was given an ARC to post an honest review of this novel. ***



Dead of Night by Jonathan Mayberry


Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry   Reviewed by: PnJsBookReviews  02/18/2016


Serial killers. Who likes them? Killing men, women, and children as if they are inconsequential while causing fear, and chaos to reign over the mass populous. Then if our police are lucky, diligent, maybe both, and they are arrested, we house and feed them while they navigate the legal system. While they strangle more life out of our countries budget and now can control that chaos and fear, even while “off the street.” The public resumes its status quo existence until the next big story breaks on the news, giving less and less thought to that serial killer, while they are living and breathing behind prison walls. Back to the safety of our own individual lives and that thin veil of “safety” we each believe we have. What about the family of the victim? Do they resume normality, just in a new state? Or do they sit and brood about what they would do if they could get their hands on the killer of their loved one? What about the officers and staff in the prisons that deal with those serial killers every day? What if after the 10th, 50th, or 300th time as you continued to watch the tsunami of destruction that one person’s actions can cause, you start thinking about how death is easy, it’s the living that’s hard. What if you have found a way to preserve someone’s thoughts, feelings, and rationality all past the sentence of “death” that they are given, would you use that power to “even the score” just a bit? To allow the prisoner’s brain to remain intact, thus feeling the body as it dies, but consciousness remains. To feel every bug and worm consuming the shell that was your body. To exist in darkness but unable to move even a finger to do anything about it. Would that “even the score?” Could you do it if you were given the syringe and told to inject it just before lethal injection occurred? Would you want to? Would you think about the potential consequences of that single action? What if the same agency funding your research on how to perform this very feat assure you the body will be buried in a box on the prison grounds, always within watch and will be maintain public safety? Could you do it then? For all the senseless brutality forced upon an innocent child, a kind of “revenge” for the heinous crimes committed. No one would know. Would you do it? Could you?

This is the exact morality position we find ourselves in the suspenseful Dead of Night novel by zombie master Jonathan Maberry. One injection from the prison doctor, Dr. Volker, on the day of the execution of Homer Gibbons, a heinous killer, given and the start of the worlds demise. This tale is told by many perspectives of many of the characters in this small town, and how each one reacts, or is reacting to the rapid spread of “violence,” was the “icing on the cake,” as they say for me. Learning of the transfer of the body of Homer Gibbons to a local mortuary, as well as how the zombie wave starts its modest ascent, and then its building to a crest throughout the novel kept me turning pages well into the night. Seeing the world collapse around this small town, starting with “Doc” Hartnup, the local mortician, and his transition event, through his own thought bubbles on his journey to becoming a “Hollowman” was truly frightening. A consciousness and rational thought process, trapped in a Hollowman’s body, (one that used to be who was known as “Doc” Hartnup), and the driving force to kill made me cringe that on its fundamental principles, is not unthinkable in its simplest form. We also view the story through Officer “Dez” Fox, a local war veteran returned from Afghanistan, who I instantly identified with, and in truth, was rooting her on as if we were old friends. Dez is loud, Dez likes to drink and party, and Dez is a fantastic cop with killer instincts that she attributes to gaining while serving in Afghanistan. (I think more closely to the truth would be her character was meant to just BE a bad ass, because she was!) We also introduced to her partner, Officer J.T. Hammond, who serves as a “father figure” to Dez as well as the “Yin” to her “Yang.” This book is SO fantastic that I do not want to be the one that puts out spoilers, (as I HATE when that happens when I am reading an intense book), so what I can say is the entire plot leads you down a path of enlightenment as to HOW all of this really began, as well as a glimpse of what a future that starts as this one did could look like. I found myself cheering, and wanting to bite my nails, and hanging on to the edge of my seat while simultaneously angry and sad. THAT, my friends, makes a FANTASTIC novel.

If you are a person who loves thrillers and horror and that “quick let me check under the bed for monsters” feeling, then this is the absolute right book for you. If, however, you are looking for a book that ties up nicely and everything is just perfect, may I point you down the road towards the Twilight series where everything is sparkling and perfect and everything ends on a good note.

This novel has a sequel called Fall of Night, which I quickly obtained, but haven’t started yet. Everyone needs a chance to let their heartbeat come back down to normal before continuing on in the little town of Stebbins with their huge zombie conundrum. This is a fantastic novel with just enough blood and carnage to keep you hanging on tight to your seat without being over the top, completely unbelievable, or just gore to be gory. (If you like that type of book, may I point you in the direction of author Matt Shaw. Don’t get me wrong, I love his writing too. His are straight gore fests!)

I would recommend this book to even those zombie lovers who say “all zombie novels or movies are the same.” I would definitely challenge that, as I too thought at first, “what possibly could an author do with zombies that is new?” Well, friends, jump on board with author Jonathan Maberry and his series starting with this unbelievable novel, Dead of Night. You truly won’t be sorry. What fantastic writing Mr. Maberry did, and I am now anxiously waiting to jump into Fall of Night. I hope you all enjoy your home “safe” feeling. I’m headed to stock up on ammunition, food, secure my home, and get EVERY other novel Jonathan Maberry has written to read while being ready for the Zombie Apocalypse his book is building to.

Now, GO! RUN! BUY THIS BOOK! You won’t be sorry you did!


~ J

My Journey Finding Jake

Finding Jake Book Cover

Finding Jake by: Bryan Reardon

Reviewed by PnJbookreview  02/16/2016


Imagine, you are at work, home, in the grocery store, just going about your day. It’s been an especially pleasant and warm day in November, your day is like every other day. For 16 years you have stayed at home, raised your children in a loving and happy home. Everything is going just how you planned it and you are comfortable in your middle class life living in the suburbs and are proud of who you are, and where your life has gone. Neighbors wave at one another and kids build tree houses in the woods and play instead of being on the television all day. You feel your phone vibrate. You sigh and think I wonder who needs what now. You pull the phone from your pocket and feel the warmth of it in your hand, and then your blood runs cold when you read the words “THERE’S BEEN A SHOOTING AT THE SCHOOL. YOU NEED TO COME NOW!” Every parent’s nightmare.

Told from the point of view of a father who received that text, and all the earthshaking aftermath that occurs afterwards. The torment of rushing to the school where everything is blocked off, and being escorted to church to sit, and wait. Wait for news, wait as you see the body bags coming out of the school. Waiting for an absolution that may never come. This is the ride you sign up for as you embark on the journey with Simon, Jake’s father, as he searches for any clue as to what could be happening, and most importantly as he searches for Jake.

This brilliantly written suspense/ thriller novel brings about the question, how well do we really know anybody? The journey you join with Simon is a long an emotionally charged road. While you travel this road, think back, what was the last thing you said to your child? What were they wearing? This is the agony of the journey Simon is on, and we can only tag along and wait with him. Where is Jake?

The author, Bryan Reardon, was a freelance writer for a bit, and co-wrote a few novels and then worked in the government. His degree in psychology made this novel an intense journey for those brave enough to read along.

I read lots of genres of books and have written many reviews, but never has a book held me just as captive as Simon. The road is rough, there are lots of bumps along the way as he guides you through this terrible tragedy and is trying hard to get us all home. I most definitely would recommend this book to readers of all genres as well. In its own way this book was more intense than any thriller I’ve read, kept me hidden under the covers reading furiously with my heart beat slamming more so than the last horror novel I read. This also showed me kindness and redemption.

Go on, go purchase Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon. You won’t regret it. Amazingly powerful book! As always, I am adding the donation hyperlink to PayPal should you me moved to contribute to the Sudden Aneurysm fund to assist an Emergency RN that would always be there for your emergency. Suddenly life throws you a curve ball and you didn’t expect it…what can you do but ask for help. I was lucky this time but PLEASE take time to educate yourself on migraines, brain aneurysms and strokes. What you think is a headache may not just be a headache.

Thank you for reading my book review, and thank you in advance for your donation. Every dollar helps in the aneurysm fund.

~ J

Random Act of Kindness- for Aneurysm

Sometimes you have to believe………….

So, I said I would continue on about living life with my new diagnosed brain aneurysm and the “other” things that they have diagnosed, or are in the process of testing for searching for some other pleasant thing that I can add to my rapidly growing list. And I may get around to that, but first I just wanted to talk a bit about believing. We are taught as children to believe in the impossible, the unreal, the theory that you can me tiny but mighty……and then we crush our childrens dreams by finally admitting things like, oh Santa isn’t real (it’s really MY wallet forking all that out and that bastard is getting all the credit), and that there is no tooth fairy or Easter Bunny….(and I’m just saying that when I was little I was digging a quarter or a dollar for my teeth, kids now a days are getting anywhere from one to ten or I have even heard a co-worker talk abou giving $20 for a tooth……ok this is one of two things….parents now a days are just wanting to be show offs and put lots of money that the 5 year old child has no damn use for, or I WANT MY MONEY OWED PLUS INTEREST, BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN RIPPED OFF!!!!  …so tooth fairy, I do accept cash, credit, PayPal, just get to steppin! Time is money and I charge a CRAZY high interest rate….like 500%)…..whew! But again I digress. You will see I do that quite often.

she better

So, of course, like I said in my prior post, when confronted by TONS of bad news at one time……bury your head in the sand like an ostrich….or maybe not so much….


I realized that there were people that had already taught me things…people that had shown me true strength and pure love, and never asked for anything in return. Much like this beautiful ribboned eel, they had without even knowing it shown me true strength, true beauty, and unending grace. To remember that each turn will have another, and another, but that each turn meant I was getting somewhere, even when I felt lost, confused, and spiraling out of control. They willingly and eagerly shared their strength with me, even though they were fighting a battle of their own.

It has taken me a long time to understand the depths to which they have changed my life and didn’t mean to. I have also realized that for a long time I just took that for granted. They would always be there. I was busy thinking I was there supporting them, and yet somehow they were easing my pain.As in all good blogs, I won’t use their last name, and I debated using their names at all, but to tell a story that’s such a fairy tale, relate that to my growth and gratitude, names are in order…lest you will be more confused than I normally make people….

that doesnt make any sense

So, I will try to speed through some of this tale, as my posts are long and I know that gets tiring to read. My friend Anne-Marie (for all further references to her, she will be AMVM, because that’s so much easier for me to type, and well I absolutely love the significance of it.) When I first moved to where I live now, this was not a move because all my family was up here, or I was on the lam from the cops….(although……anyway where was I?) Oh yes,moving. I came to this area to work in a specific hospital for a specific reason, and so that meant moving up here with no resources or back up. Now, I will admit, that was one of the scariest things that I have done because you never know how it will turn out. Or did I just move the beautiful kiddos to somewhere terrible and now we would be stuck. I had previously worked in an area that is relatively small, but is known for its football team. I would never have guessed coming to this HUGE place that I live in now I would ever find anyone who knew where I had come from. Well surprise, surprise! I didn’t only meet one, I met two. And we all had worked there all around the same time, missing meeting each other there by months, days, or hell maybe even hours. But fate made up for it when it put us in the same place at the same time, this time.

Let me tell you, there has never been a bigger, more beautiful, intelligent, creative, loving, or honest person than my AMVM…..(o.k so this will be the spoiler because looking at that again I have to say sorry L, I know she REALLY is yours, but since its my blog and my story, I will call her mine…so there! ****although I already know that she doesn’t mind because she is mine by proxy!****) She is incredibly funny and I think the first person I actually ever heard use the words “Hey, I just love lifting heavy shit!” (Yes, she does a little cross fit, pick up my car and bench press it while balancing on the balance beam, sipping on Gin and Juice….hehe!)


Yeah, that’s my bad ass friend who likes lifting heavy stuff so much she has become a coach and a trainer (and hell no I don’t go with her…..lifting my 24 oz. Dr. Pepper is enough for me.) I mean Starbucks is as far as I go in the whole coffee fit thing. I’m cross fitting from Starbucks to Dr. Pepper now….you can feel free to talk to me after I’m done with THAT workout! Whew! I mean some of us DO work harder than others in their seriousness of our training…..just saying……


And yes they were totally all mine! Ha ha! She’s a firefighter and a medic and communication specialist, that moonlights as a tech, all while teaching Yoga, coaching and training as well as competing in cross fit….she’ll never beat me in the Starbucks and Dr. Pepper events though! Man, I’m tired looking at that list…..and did I forget to mention she’s a new mommy of a beautiful special needs baby and helps her wife as needed teaching classes in the yoga studio? Totally, she is Wonder Woman!


So, now the fairy tale….Anne-Marie and I talked at work, but nothing like we do now. I knew she had left a bad relationship behind her and just happened to have one if those lock eyes across the cross fit gym and I know I’m in love moments that we all wish we had as a romantic tale to tell, and I knew she was so crazy in love that she and Lisa decided to get married (and this was still in the same sex marriage ban, otherwise known as the way too much in someone else’s life and you need to find your way back to your own life ban.)

need jesus

I was invited to the wedding, however so many people wanted to attend that since I was the newer kid on the block, I offered to work so that someone she had known longer could attend the wedding. Of course I was about mauled by dozens of RN’s wanting me to swap … Yes I’m a good friend like that to almost be killed by maurading Emergency Nurses wanting to see these two beautiful souls get married.


That could just possibly be my favorite picture of a real true love moment captured on film.  There wedding looked like wonderland with candles and smiles that made me wanna throat punch the girl I swapped with haha. I can tell you to be in the presence of true love is a humbling experience. Never have I seen two people show more depth and compassion, as well as humility and grace. These two crazy chicks are an example to all people, not just me, that love has no color, it’s blind to physical body composure. Love is driving from the studio to the ER Ambulance bay to get food and a quick kiss.

Love is definitely blind to every thing except forming one hell of a partnership and wanting to help your other half accomplish all their hopes and dreams. It’s about being there when the other half of your heart and seeing pain and heartbreak, frustration and hopelessness, and still opening every wall you have erected to keep you safe in exchange for the piece where openness, calm, tranquility, and understanding have time to flourish and bloom. (Wow, AMVM did I get sappy there or whagt? Taco Bell time ha ha) And yet as always I digress….

From the first time I met this lovely human something clicked and I know we were destined to be friends. She’s a riot to be around! I have never really got into the part of sub-cultures where they believe that all people when they die are reborn to give life another try. In that culture, people believe that the old souls find each other and will be around but each other until whatever they are supposed to have fulfilled in life has been fulfilled. Strange as that is, that’s kind of how I feel about AMVM, right from the start I as at ease and comfortable with her, like a cool breeze on a warm day, soothing, and it felt like she had been in my life forever. (And besides, who else can you run around and share that your friends spouse has a great butt and not get knocked out for looking, but have an instant agreement and a whole conversation about it. ****hehe sorry Lisa…..at least I didn’t share how her and I made plans for everytime you drove up to bring food, I would run to another window to watch and then her and I would compare notes**** ooohhhh wait…..did I just say that?!?!?! Oh well at least now it is public, all that yoga and cross fitting something made your butt look great! And now the world knows too…. I mean you always see face pictures…..why don’t you ever see great behind shots….YOU TOO CAN HAVE THIS BUTT FOR $29.99 WITH GUARANTEED RESULTS! NO MONEY BACK POLICY PEOPLE, IF YOU BUY IT, YOU OWN IT! ) AND NOW…..back to our regularly scheduled program already in progress!)



So, these two amazing people that stood up to the retarded gay marriage ban, and went their own path. They were married in an amazing outdoor beautiful wedding ceremony that was attended by family and friends. But you know what they say about first comes marriage……………

Well, the baby carriage was the tough one. Without going into detail (because if you really want to see how beautifully raw and honest these two were you can always check their blog out as well,) I watched my friend suffer. I saw sadness and raw pain. From her? Really?During this time, I had a car accident and injured my shoulder. Everytime I watched her come in or through the Emergency Room, she was smiling, and silly, and always either grabbing  me to walk with her to get coffee or bringing it to me. She was so much more concerned for me than for her AND she had a shoulder surgery during this time too. (I would think she was my twin as many things as we do the same and the way we approach and treat life.) The amount of time and love that went into trying to have a baby was crazy awesome. She called me and said I do pediatrics, the needles are little, you do both. Can you come give my wife a shot in her ass for me? I don’t know what size and this thing looks HUGE to me. I said are you really asking me to because I will but you better see how Lisa feels about me seeing her ass!



Yes, well I ‘m sure you wanna know how that turned out…well so did I so I asked and AMVM had been able to finally give her the shot. (Just for the record the above jerk and stab video……I’m all for it! Come see me some time haha)

I watched them try and try and try some more. I heard about all the things Lisa went through to have a baby, including a surgery before a baby to have a baby. They never complained. AMVM always had a smile. Each time I was there waiting for the update. They would go to the OB clinic and each time AMVM would come find me if I was working, or text me if I was off. Each time that the test was negative I watched a little more of AMVM spirit fading. I even started joking that the milkshake was spun too much so the little guys didn’t know where to go.


They were getting to the bottom of their reserve strength. I hurt so bad for my friend, because she was always asking me how I was and really what I wanted to do was just be there for her. She also is a giver not a receiver and so in some aspects that allowed me a space to believe. There was a collection on Go Fund Me and let me tell you, the village threw out their hearts to my friends. In the first hour alone I think they were over a thousand dollars in gifts and love, and that just kept growing. They had said one more time then if it was negative this time that was it. So, poor Lisa was under the microscope by her entire village as we patiently waited for her results….

That definitely was me. I think I even still have the green coat! Ha!

When they finally found out you could hear the collective sigh of the entire village! This time, SHE WAS PREGNANT!!!! My faith again restored because if any two humans needed or deserved a baby, that would be them. Their child would be the most well loved and well rounded kiddo. Everyone was excited, but remained with the cautious optimism so that if things went south, there would be a village to help her. As time went on all seemed to be ok. Now, I however, had been in a car accident and injured my shoulder. I could not get people to operate right then do to medical things, however thought she now had “mission get ready to be a mommy,” I didn’t want to ask for help from them. They were so awesome about checking on me, and I was almost ashamed as they had this wonderful gift they had been dying for, and I’m in whiny mode because I’m in pain and working and no one could fix it, and I was so grumpy and salty, and she was so filled with joy, I was trying to fake everything was ok so that we could focus on her, and because we are alike she called me out on it. She offered to drive, bring food , whatever I needed and though I was grateful for the offer, I knew her plate was full and so I refused to let her carry any of my burden.

Moving forward in time, I had signed up to go listen to a speaking session which was being held in the hospitals auditorium JUST because my friend AMVM was one of the speakers. She had came and asked if I was going, which I already was, but she asked me to sit where she could see me if she got nervous and I could help be her strength. Damn right I sat in the front row, right in front of her. She was an AMAZING speaker! She did great, so calm and poised, like she didn’t need me there at all. Afterwards she asked if we could walk to get coffee, but I saw her face, I knew something bad was happening…..I mean it was only an hour so I didn’t think her hemorrhoid’s would cause her so much pain she needed me to help her walk it off….but you never know, it’s a crazy ass world out there.


As we walked she told me that they had found out the baby was going to have Down’s Syndrome as well as a multiple other medical problems and they were struggling with it. This baby they worked so hard for and they were struggling. I watched as one was weak the other was strong. I learned that being open about what was happening was like watching the pressure valve release for their emotions. They were raw, they were brutally honest, and most of all they were of love. This is an amazing thing to watch and grow from if you have never had that experience. The struggle, the emotions, the raw and real pain, and also grace and humility and strength. That is the biggest thing I learned from her, strength and resiliency. That my friends, is a gift.


How grounding is the gift of life? How beautiful is it to know the struggle and pain, and the blessing all in one big package. You see, my friend taught me that there’s always a way through. My friend has given me strength when I had no clue how to tackle my journey. These two people are a God send, and if you are lucky enough, you just might get to call them friends too. That’s not a word I use often, but that is what these two are. My friends. They are symbols of strength and perseverance for me. They are there to say it’s ok when my cup is empty. These two have taught me grace and beauty. Friends like this don’t come along often.

I’m proud to say my friend just graduated from fire academy and moving closer to her dreams. I’m proud to say that Lisa was the most beautiful and patient pregnant person I’ve ever known, and through her commitment to see it through, and the thought they put into this baby…..I know that more than anything life is a precious thing.

That my friend is your rose for graduating, for sticking it out when times got tough, and for having the sense to snag Lisa and marry her! And the biggest thanks is for this gift, this is a gift she shares with me everyday because that’s how a kick ass friend rolls. Friend, twin, whatever, I love you my friends! The world just needed to see you, because you two make it a better place to be.

Thanks for teaching me about how to walk this journey with grace and hope. Thanks for always being there. And a BIG thanks for this:

You guys are my heroes! It’s just not often you meet people like these, and that’s so sad. I chose to share my joy and lessons and part of my journey because THIS is what it is all about, knowing it’s gonna be tough, but still buckling down and getting it done. This is how life’s journey is supposed to be…….beautiful and innocent, and a whole big adventure where we leave pieces of our selves, our foot print in the lives we cross.

I just can’t leave a post sappy with love (though I love to be sappy when it comes to them, I just don’t tell them……..I’m not an emotional weakling **cough cough **….so I will leave you with one very important final thought:

~ J



Heartfelt Donations


If your heart leads you in such a way that you would like to donate to the medical needs and other costs of living associated with the recent, life altering diagnosis of the aneurysm, please feel free to email me at onesoldierand1princess@outlook.com

Every little bit helps in this strange turn of events in the lives of those in this aneurysms highly destructive path. We do have a special pay pal account set up purely for love donations to assist, so please email if you want to give even $5.00. You can also use that email to send tidings of love via email too. The good will and well wishes. 

Alone, an uphill battle is daunting and seems impossible. With the help of our fellow humanitarians, anything can be accomplished. 

Whether you want to make a monetary donation, send words of love and encouragement, or you just want to ask questions, please feel free to do so. I am not shy and I know that sometimes lighting one candle in the dark will help lead others in finding their way too.

Please also remember to wear burgundy in support of aneurysm survivors, and those that put forth a great fight to lengthen our path, but sadly have gone on to help pave the paths in heaven in burgundy too, to guide the rest of us on our journey. 

As always, thank for for reading my thoughts, my book reviews, and supporting my small bookstore and I wish you good tidings, love and peace.

~ J




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