The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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My Skin

I meditate on the opening sentence of every blog. The world stops and the mind steps in to play on a canvas that is bland. As white and clear as the glow of death. So I ponder my life and end up in a place about my softer skin.
It came from a time in my life when the world was still new. A simpler time, even though being younger was at times so very hard. The difference is, we didn't know how hard it was. To me the world was new. New was a scent, a touch, a feel. It turned bedtime into daytime. The process of readying for a night on the town began at ten at night. God forbid you hit the clubs before the moon arced in the sky.
It was a time of shoulder pads and teased bangs. Banana Clips and red lips that teased the night. Being wanted was enough. Then our gaggle of girls would crash at one another's apartment. It was Sex And The City without the sex. We woke with nightclub clinging to our hair. The sweet stench of cigarets grasped the skin beneath my nose, the ache of nicotine inside my throat. Smoking was an attempt to discover who we could possibly be. I stood in high heels in front of a mirror and felt like a fraud. My hands still looked so young. I must hide my hands, I thought, for looking too young. Too soft.
Magical things happen when your skin is soft. You get invited to parties at midnight and enter homes with rooms that suck you in to a life too large for you. Men with stubbled cheeks whisk you inside. And for that moment you are everything he wishes you to be. Which is so much less than who you are.
Soft skin is the mask that blinds us to who we are. When eyeshadow smoothes instead of crinkles on the lid. We tried to hide our beauty with paint. We endured heels we walked in like a horse. Skirts inched high above our knees with a cave that beckoned wild animals in the night. We were so young.

God knew what he was doing when he chipped the mask away. I used to miss the mask. But now I know it was never even real. The skin beneath broke through revealing what is real. The real that doesn't reveal until we've lived long enough to earn its skin. A skin that fits so perfectly there is no need to hide it with heels. Or paint. Our lips speak words that do not trip on the cheeks of stubbled men - but instead implant within their minds and shaken who they are. Our lips speak words that can shake a country to its core. Our thoughts are heard instead of lost in a sea of thumping walls and rooms too large to care.

I am a woman now. It took forty-three years, but it was worth the wait. Even if now my legs are wheels. My hair is shortened to a pixie cut. I no longer need long hair to frame a face I do not know. Because its lines have so very much to say. I have finally earned the right to be seen at midnight under a moon that has arced the sky. But I opt to save it for myself. I no longer need the night. So I save it for the day. For comfortable clothes that speak my skin. The softness reflecting my mood. For holding my children when they come home from school. I save my skin for my husband's hands that remember only how I feel. For them I shed my softened skin. I am woman. Hear me live. I shed my softened skin.

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