Friday, October 24, 2014

My Girl is HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In a cool turn of events, my teenager decided living in Alabama with her biological father was for the birds! Home she came! We are over joyed to have her. Here's some of our fun family moments thus far. 

Just enjoying being a family again! 

~Sunshine Biondo~ 

Dream Valley - excerpt from Taking Time to Breathe

 "Taking Time to Breathe", The original 77 page devotional was published under my previous married name, a name I would like to distance myself from. A newer version is in the works and this book should be available once again, very soon -  but here's a little sample of what's to come ~

Chapter 1
                                  Dream Valley Revisited
Far beyond the beaten path, away from all the noise, a place existed. Many times my grandma spoke of its beauty. According to her account, everything about the valley was so perfect and enchanting, that she coined it “Dream Valley”. She often promised to take me there, but that day never came.
      Shortly after her passing, I realized that if I ever wanted to experience the peace she talked about, I would have to journey alone to find this special place. It seems I’ve journeyed alone the majority of my life. Born the youngest of four children to a small engine mechanic and his stay at home wife. Daddy was a master when it came to small engine repair, but it didn’t pay much. My siblings were all so much older and off doing their own things. I spent quite a bit of time alone.
      This day was to be no different. Early that Summer morning, before the sun had risen, I began the long journey. My heart was heavy with grief as I made my way through the old dirt path. Memories of holding Grandma’s hand danced across my mind. I questioned how I was going to survive without her. For the past few years, it had seemed she was my only friend in the world! I never could please my Mama, and Daddy had gone from making me “Daddy’s Little Helper” to the one he directed his anger at as well.
      As I journeyed alone, I thought about a previous conversation with my dad, that still to this day weighs heavy on my mind. I was fourteen years old, one year younger than my own daughter I as write this. My sister had given me an old, out-dated computer, the kind you connected to the television to use. I became very frustrated while trying to enter enough code in order to create an image.
      One typo had thrown the entire image off course. In frustration, I slammed my fist down on the desk and shouted out the question that would forever change things between Daddy and I. We shared similarities, and on that day my frustrations collided with his frustrations, and irretrievable words were spoken and forever instilled upon my heart.
      “Why can’t I have a better computer?” I blurted out at him. If it were possible for flames to shoot from his usually gentle blue eyes, they did in that moment.
      He opened my bedroom door wide, so I would hear him clearly. He looked into my eyes, cutting me to pieces as he spoke. “You really want to know why?” By this point, I wasn’t sure.
      “I’ll tell you why,” he snarled. “Because you were born poor white trash, you will always be poor white trash, and you will die poor white trash! That is why.”
      I learned two valuable lessons that day. I learned never to ask why. I also learned my dad could say some pretty rotten things when he wanted to. Those words he spoke over me have hung over my head like a dark cloud carrying a curse! I’ve tried for twenty years to rise above those words. Many times I have come close. Those days are filled with joyous memories of peace and calmly enjoying life. Many times I have fallen back into the same scenario. Those days, like today as I write, are filled with struggle, hardships, and a heavy heart. My dad’s words echoe through my head, though he is long gone – his words carry on.
      Words spoken have the power to bring hurt or healing. I know my dad didn’t mean to break my spirit. I’m sure he was tired of the struggle and I caught him at a bad time. I know I’ve said irretrievable words to my child. She has chosen to live away from me now, long story, but I cannot blame her. She chose a better life for herself and I am proud of her for making that decision. I hope I poured enough good into her that it outweighs any wrong spoken through frustration. I decided long ago after those words from my own dad, that I wanted my words to bring healing, not harm. I know I’ve fallen short. Falling down and getting back up again is all part of the journey.
      That day, as I walked alone through the woods, my mind lost somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow, the July sun scorched my fair skin. My only break from the relentless rays was an occasional pine or flock of birds flying overhead. The hard red rock earth pressed through the thin soles of my cost-efficient shoes and right into my tired feet.
      I journeyed on, recalling my grandmother’s description of my destination. Supposedly, it was like having a small piece of heaven on earth. A free-flowing, natural spring was to be the best water I would ever taste. The tongue, dried against the roof of my mouth, longed for a sip.
      Everything there flourished, according to her stories. I could have sat for hours and listened to those stories. How I long to hear them now! She told me of her carefree days as a child, climbing great Oaks and wading in the spring. Often she would chase the butterflies, but never did she catch them.
      Usually at that point in the story, my young mind would begin to wander. I imagined that I was a butterfly. Grandma had told me time and time again that God made the butterfly to be the most beautiful and free creature, there was. “The butterfly is so magnificant that the good Lord didn’t even have to give it a voice for the world to see it’s beauty!” she would say.
      Grandma loved nature, especially butterflies. She warned me that I mustn’t ever put such beauty in captivity. To stifle its freedom would bring certain destruction. The butterfly endures so many changes, and just when it thinks all is lost, it emerges more beautiful than before!
      Sometimes I look back on my life, and wonder if Grandma was trying to tell me something. Perhaps she saw a bit of herself in me. Perhaps she understood my personality in a way that she knew others would not. Maybe, just as the butterfly, my grandma believed I would emerge more beautiful than before.
      She loved nature and taught me a deeper, more true appreciation for it than I could have learned from reading any school book! Through her I learned the delicate ways of a flower’s soft petals. One simple and seemingly innocent touch could cause the petals to fall and the beauty to wither. I could see sadness in her eyes at the sight of a fallen bird. Many times I watched her nurse wildlife back to health and happily release it once again. The few times, we were too late, her eyes would fill with emotion and she would remain silent, tearfully accepting what she could not change.

On that summer day as I walked many different trails in search for “Dream Valley”, love was only a memory. It was not spoken in my home, except for that one endearing time. Mother threw a Christmas card at me that read – I love you.
 “There I said it!”
      For some reason, that heartfelt message never quite sank in. She did tell me shortly before her passing away that she loved me. It was on my 25th birthday. My 24th birthday had gone by without recognition and without a birthday cake. I decided on my 25th birthday that I would bake my own cake. Well, apparently everyone felt bad for forgetting me the year before!
      I woke up early and began baking my own cake. Then my daughter, who had just turned 6 years old at the time, came from my inlaws’ home upstairs and brought me a beautiful white cake with blue roses and a music CD of a band I’d been trying to remember. Then about an hour later there was a knock at the basement door and there stood Daddy holding a handmade chocolate cake from Mother, pink roses, and a birthday card!
      I opened the card without hesitation and inside Mother had written something to the effects of “Who would have thought on our thirty something wedding anniversary, we would have a had a sweet thing like you?! We love you – Mom and Dad”.
      That was the last thing Mother ever baked and the most endearing message she ever gave to me. She passed away on Christmas Eve a few months later, Daddy was soon to follow.
      On that day, as I pushed my way past the ache of my sunburned skin, Grandma’s love was the only love I knew beside God. The numerous briar scratches on my bare legs mingled with sweat, causing a rather uncomfortable stinging sensation. My hope began to fade with the setting sun. I had gone the entire day without food or water. My eyes burned from the tears of frustration and grief.
      I was almost ready to accept that the stories of “Dream Valley” were just that – stories. It was a beautiful place that Grandma had fabricated in her mind. Just as my heart began to sink with the acceptance that this place existed only in our dreams, the ground that I was walking on began to change.
      My feet were no longer stumbling over red rock, but sinking into sand-like dirt. Stepping from beneath the last pine tree, I could see patches of purple flowers all along the path that lay just ahead. I slipped my shoes off and dug my tired toes into the cool, soft ground.
     My heart beat faster as I ran towards the sound of the trickling water. The path led to the top of the hill. Standing upon a carpet of lush green grass, I breathed in the deep fragrance of berries growing around the clean stream of water below. Having gone all day without a drink, I rushed down the steep, green hill, grabbing a handful of blackberries and dipping into the stream.
      I quenched my thirst from the cool water and rested beneath a great old Oak. I had found it. The place of beauty and peace that I’d always heard about, was mine to hold. The “promised land” was stretched out before me. I had found Dream Valley.
      I only shared my secret with a few close friends. Many times during the harsh and difficult days that followed, it was my exclusive refuge from the storms. Countless hours I spent there, crying, praying, singing, and writing. It was my place of comfort, security, and peace.
      Time succeeded in drying up the spring. Weeds came in and choked off the beauty. However, time cannot kill Dream Valley, for it lives on in my heart.

~Sunshine Biondo~
©2011LisaM.Earnest  (now Lisa M. Biondo 2014)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Remember me?!?

This crazy thing called life came in and swept me up in a turbulent storm and tossed me upon a shore covered in shattered glass! OR so it seems most days. 

As I recall, I used to have semi, on my way to being, doing okay, maybe better than below average, over 75 at least viewers reading my "Scattered Pieces of My Mind" Blog. I had over 2,000 visitors each week! I felt like what I was writing was actually being read. I felt like maybe I had a purpose on life, despite the brain injury setting me back. 

My life began to spiral with the divorce from my husband of 13 years and my access to internet was very limited by time and money. Without my blog there to keep me on track, I temporarily lost my ever loving mind! I started talking to strange men that I had no business talking to. Then one by one I ended up in their beds. I looked for love in all the wrong places and learned what the term "players" really meant. 

By the time true love found me, I was almost too far gone. This time love swept me up in a different kind of turbulent storm. I made decisions rapidly. I didn't think things through. I jumped with a parachute that I'd hoped might open. I got a good man, no doubt there. I love my husband with all of my heart - no doubt there. 

I just wonder if I'm any good at being a wife. 

With my first husband I worked part time jobs helping with special needs and elderly. He made plenty of money and there really wasn't a reason for me to work except that he was stingy with the money. I homeschooled our daughter. She seemed happy. I did nanny work, elderly care, and special needs help and used that money to buy birthdays, holidays, random parties and outings for my daughter and her friends. It wasn't that important that I worked. 

There were times before our easier roads. We lost everything in 2001, right after the 9-11. My ex lost his job. My daughter and I were very sick and I missed a week of work. Things weren't good, NICU bills were still hanging over us, and the credit cards were maxed out. That's when his parents rolled out the "welcome mat". They gave us a place to live in the basement, rent free, they helped buy our food, and slipped money in our car for gas and gave "dollars" here and there to buy little extras. Their wonderful act of generosity allowed us to rise above that basement and get back on our feet! I love my ex mother n law to this day, even though I have no idea if she remembers me (dementia) and my late ex father n law, even though he didn't live to see us move forward. He played a big part in his son's success. 

Now, my new husband doesn't make much. He's on disability and works part time when he can. We live off of food stamps. It's not the easy life I was accustomed to. I know that I need to work. I enjoy having some independence, but I haven't had the best of luck with online applications and finding places hiring. I plan to go out Monday, if he will trust me enough to give me the keys. He says I'm too emotional to drive (shaking my head). I'm going to be emotional as long as I'm out of work. I need something to keep me busy. I need some independence away from everyone in the family knowing my business. 

I just need to be me again! My identity was "mom" and "hey you". Now its whatever pet name my new husband chooses to call me. He's a very sweet man. I don't want to go through life without him. I just don't want to give up on who I am either. I like the country. I like having nicer things in life. I like working hard. I like having my own secrets. 

Well, it's okay if you don't remember me. I remember me. I know who I am and where I've been and what I must do to get back. Some days I just feel like giving up, but there's this little tiny voice that says "try just one more time". 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

To Angela

Dearest Angela Marie,                              September 25, 2014 , 5:42 PM, Tallahassee FL 

This is a letter that's been on my mind for a while to write. I've learned that anything can happen in an instant and all the love in my heart for you might not be known. For that reason, I wanted to write these words straight from my broken heart to yours. 

April 24, 1999 was the most amazing day of my entire life. I was just shy of 20 and scared to death! My body had gone through a transformation and all day 24/7 morning sickness had taken its toll. On that day, though, none of that mattered as the surgery ended and your life began. 

It wasn't right away that your heart beat, or that you drew a breath. I just felt in my heart that God had not brought me that far to give you back to Him, and with faith my doctor and I prayed for you! That's right, little miss self proclaimed "Athiest", we prayed to the God in Heaven that I taught you about all those years, and HE breathed life into your lifeless body! The doctors gave you 0% chance at survival and gave me 50% chance of survival. Just look at us now!

The pressures of breathing on your own were too much for your pneumonia infected under developed lungs, and it wasn't long before you crashed and your tiny body went limp again! What did your mom do? I prayed again to the God in Heaven that He would let me keep you and you were breathing at 40% on your own by night fall. Don't tell me there isn't a God looking out for you! 

Doctors said you'd never walk or talk. I didn't care. You were my angel. Doctors said you'd be a "sickly" child. I didn't care. You were my angel. Every time a germ came near you, you caught it. Did you know that I spent every day of your first year on a ladder cleaning the walls with bleach water because you were allergic to dust? It was a labor of love. 

If only you knew how much I loved you. If only you could have seen beyond your friends and your dad's money. I loved you from before you were even known about! I started loving you when I was a little girl. My heart filled with anticipation of being a mom and having a little girl to do special things with. 

Don't you remember? I took you to the park. I played games with you. I read to you. I was reading to you before you were even born! My heart is so filled with love for you. I loved every moment of the fourteen years you gave me. You are the best thing that ever happened to my life and that includes marrying the love of my life who only wanted to be your "Dai" but you pushed him away too.

Angel, you mean the world to me as I write this. My heart carries a huge hole since you walked away. If something should happen and I never see your beautiful face again, I would die with that hole in my heart, that emptiness of not having you in my life. 

Oh can't you see? I only wanted to be a good mom. I tried so hard. I loved you. I took the best care of you that I knew how. I tried to home school you so you wouldn't have to deal with bullies and mean teachers. You were everything to me. You were my reason to wake up, you were my reason to fight against memory loss and immobility. I lied to protect you from the anger of your father. I took the blame when you made a mistake so he'd yell at me, not you. I couldn't stand to see him yell at you. 

I always tried to have your friends over and take them places when he wasn't around. He hated kids. He always told me he hated kids. I did everything in my power to make sure you got together with your friends. Don't you remember the museum? the park? the concert? the mountains? the trick or treating? Doesn't anything I did mean anything to you? 

Oh Angela, you'll never understand the depths of my love. I only hope I am still around when you come to realize that life isn't just about your father's money. You are choosing to live a life without a mother's love. That's the biggest slap in the face I've ever received, and still my arms are always open - hoping you'll return and let me hold you. 

Another year passes by, a few texts, a visit here and there (if I'm lucky), and you seem fine with this.


I am dying inside, a little more, each and every day that you choose to be away from me. My heart is shattered by your decision. 

I will never feel completely whole again. 

The only thing I ever felt I was good at, was being a mom. 

Now, I'm not that anymore. 

Even if I have more children, I'll never get to be "Angel's mom" again, unless you decide to throw me a holiday or visit along the way. 

If you're reading this, and its too late, just know that your Mutter loved you to the moon and back and left this world imagining you in her arms. 

Forever your mom,


Let's Be REAL, You don't know me!

This is one of the most painful posts I will ever write and one of the REALEST posts you'll ever read. I am on the verge of completely losing my mind and nobody knows or understands my pain. Do Not tell me you understand because you do not. You might try to. You might think you do, but you don't know the whole story and sadly I can't tell you the whole story. All you know is what you read. You know I come from a history of abuse. You know I've been divorced. You know I left my life in Alabama and moved to Florida to remarry. You know we got pregnant and miscarried 3 times. You know I don't associate with my family and that we've been screwed over by multiple people we tried to help. You might even know that my husband has a past that makes life difficult for us. You might even know that I've had multiple brain injuries and have lost 43 loved ones to illness,accidents, murder, and suicides. You might know that I left my long hour job to take on a shorter hour job. Did you know we lost that job yesterday? Did you know the air conditioner isn't working correctly and tripled our power bill and its going to be cut off soon? Did you know we can't survive on my husband's disability? Did you know its nearly impossible for us to find a new place to live based on income, credit history, and the extenuating circumstances that I cannot mention? Did you know I haven't heard from my daughter in 2 months? Did you know he hasn't seen his children in over 11 years? 

Those that read this blog or maybe those that read previous blogs or "Taking Time to Breathe" (the spiritual devotional I published in 2011), did you know I drink, smoke, and curse all the time now? Did you know my faith is so small that I find myself questioning if there is a God? Did you know that people have said "God Bless you" and then screwed me over so many times that I cringe at the sound or reading of those words? Did you know I hate kids now? I hate pregnant women? I hate babies? I wanted one so bad and it didn't come and now, I literally just get pissed when I see them? Did you know that's my one and only training and qualification to get a job, childcare? Do you know how fucked up that is? 

Did you know that I'm so jaded now that I can't stand helping people? Did you know that my life is spiraling out of control and nothing anyone says or does makes me feel safe and secure? Did you know I don't face a day without pain - physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological pain day in and day out? Do you know I have people in my life that just seem to enjoy adding to that pain? 

Did you know that sometimes I sit and wonder if my husband would have been better off never meeting me and if he'd be happier if I just didn't wake up one day? Did you know that? Did you know I feel like by my moving down to Florida I fucked his life up more than it already was and that sometimes I just wish I would cease to exist because everyday I just make things worse by being here. 

Did you know that I live in constant fear that my husband will leave me (voluntarily or involuntarily)? 

Did you know that when I think about losing my husband, I cannot think of a single reason I will have to go on living? I've already lost my girl. Miscarriages have ruined any hopes I had of being a mom. I'm not even going to get to be a step mom like I used to hope. I'm jobless, surrounded by bills I can't pay and rats and roaches taking over what little shelter we have. My body hurts everyday. My heart is shattered from all the loved ones that are gone. I simply wake up each day with the anticipation of being loved by my husband and having that special one to pour my love into. 

So, you can delete me from you life, you can call me crazy,depressed,mentally ill, negative, weak, or fucking white trash bitch whore (for all I care), but there's one thing you can't call me 

you cannot call me fake. This is as real as it gets. 

~Sunshine Biondo~

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Autumn Changes With Grandma

Let's go walking in the woods, Grandma. Let the cool wind blow through our hair. I want to see the pretty colors of the changing leaves. Grandma, they crunch when we step on them! Oh Grandma, take me there!

Autumn is all around. Feel the crispness in the air. Squirrels are preparing for the cold. The last of the black berries are here. We'll have them with milk and sugar in a bowl. I'll tell you stories of when I used to walk with my grandma. Hold my hand child, we'll go walking. Grandma will take you there.

Let's go walking in the woods, Grandma. Come on, take my hand. I'll lead you. Feel that? It's the cool wind telling us Autumn in near. Don't you remember? It's your favorite time of the year? The leaves are crunching beneath our feet. Grandma, do you hear? 

Let's just sit a while. I will take your hand. Heart to heart we'll go walking. Oh Grandma, your eyes light up at the colors by your window. A chill in the air says your time is drawing near. Breathe in the freshness of the Autumn air. Isn't it lovely? It's my favorite!

No matter how old I grow, you will always be there.

Let's go walking Grandma. Autumn is here again and I feel you all around! I hear your laughter as the leaves of red and gold tumble to the ground. I see your bright eyes in the faces of my children as they point and giggle as we stroll. I'll tell them stories of our long walks, as we sit and eat the berries,milk, and sugar in a bowl. 

~In Loving Memory of Mandy Fortenberry who was never too busy to take her youngest granddaughter for a walk in the woods, and taught me all about Autumn~ 

~Sunshine Biondo~

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Daddy was a Dreamer

Daddy walking me down the isle at my first wedding "97
I suppose that's how I learned to dream big! I don't know if my dreams will ever come to be, I hope so, but my dad's did. He was in his forties by the time I came along, the surprise baby, youngest of four. Most would see me as just another mouth to feed, but my daddy called me his baby and we were quite close! I'm not sure of the long line of job titles my daddy held to get to his dream of owning his own business, but I've heard stories of his military days, his milk man days, and his small engine mechanic (working for the man) days.

By the time I was in high school, Daddy was getting on up in age and after years of devoted service, he was let go from his small engine mechanic position. A position that I'd been familiar with my entire life as long as I can remember so I know he'd been there awhile. He said nobody wanted the old man hanging around. He could have given up at that point, but Daddy was a dreamer and through it all, he held onto those dreams no matter how bleak it looked trying to feed a family of 6 + help with a grand baby on such a tight budget. 

I forget just what age he finally opened up his shop, but I believe he was around 60. Unfortunately a family member and his buddies robbed the place once. Then there was the day Mama's fire got out of hand and burnt the shed to the ground! I guess Daddy was a stubborn man too! He always rebuilt! I definitely have that trait! If you truly want a dream to come true, then you have to be stubborn about it and willing to rebuild when it all crashes down.

I sure want to be a writer! I want to be a writer just as bad as my daddy wanted to open his own small engine repair shop. Sure enough, his persistence paid off and "Sumiton Small Engine" became a reality! Daddy was an excellent mechanic. He put multiple small businesses out of business, simply because he was good at what he did and most people genuinely loved him! They called him "Lawn Mower Man", coined by his unique advertisement of a push mower on a post rather than a sign. It got people's attention and his dedication and expertise did too! 

Today is the day my daddy entered this world, September 18, 1934. He celebrated 72 years on this earth and I got to be called his "baby" for 29 of those. 

In honor of my Daddy's birthday and the dreaming ways that he instilled in me, I'm going to try to write 500 words a day until I work my way up to 1000. I don't want to be 60 before my dreams come true, and though times are extremely tough right now, I don't want to let my dreams die either. 

So even though I like to go to a place where I can dream about unicorns, slide down rainbows, float on clouds, dance in the rain storms, catch glow worms,play in the pixie dust, roll in the glitter, paint the world with bright colors, run through fields of flowers, splash with the rainbow fish in the rivers, and spend my free time loving puppies and kittens while trying to catch a flutterby, that doesn't make me delusional! It makes me my father's daughter, the daughter of a dreamer. 

~Sunshine Biondo~ 582 words~