Don’t Let Hate Win!

“We will do almost anything to not feel pain, including causing other people pain. It’s so much easier to hurt than to feel hurt.” —Brené Brown


“I really don’t care with whom you sleep. I just care what kind of a decent human being are you. It’s such a personal private business and none of mine.” —Betty White


When has hate-fueled violence improved the world we all live in, ever?

I’m sharing a couple pages from my Itchy Nipples’ sequel: The Perilous Comedy Continues. In the book’s description on Amazon, I mention that along with a continuation of the hilarious crap that happens in my day-to-day life, it also contains some not so pleasant, controversial topics.

This is a sampling. It may go against your beliefs and upset you, or it may open your heart a little. My sincere hope is for the latter. Always.

We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are, just as we are.

No, I am not an atheist. I believe in God.

No, I am not against church or religion.

I am, however, against using those things as permission from God to spew hatred and inflict physical harm upon other human beings who believe, live or love differently.

The hate must stop!!


So, this happened today…

Upon entering the store, I’m greeted by a friendly, silver-haired gentleman.

While handing my wedding band to the nice man, I say, “I would like to see about getting this sized.” He inspects it closely then says, “Well. This is a beautiful ring.”

I say, “Thank you! We bought it here twenty years ago.”

“You didn’t buy it from me,” he says kindly.

I look at him quite puzzled. He sure appeared old enough to have been the jeweler 20 years ago. He continues, “You probably got it from the jewelry store next door.”

Turns out, I was in the music shop!

Anxiety vs. Reason

Anxiety vs. Reason

Anxiety says, “Nature is fierce, brutal, and cruel, with so much death.”

Reason says, “Nature is a lovely, awe-inspiring miracle, and is truly beautiful.”

This morning, I went out to check on our second duck momma’s hatchling progress.  I’ve named her Momma Two.  Not wanting to disturb Momma Two, I peered over the drywall that lies vertically creating a barrier between the kitty loft and our machine shed’s main area.  As I was climbing up, I could hear chirping.  Yay!  More babies?  I looked over at the nest and there was still just one duckling. It’s the one that’d hatched a few days ago, but it was all alone.  Momma Two was not in the nest.  

Anxiety is the first to speak up in most situations.  But, sometimes it’s the calmness of Reason speaking to me first, with that badgering Anxiety bitch immediately following.  Her name must be Karen! 

This is a sampling of the internal conversations I deal with regularly.  Keep in mind that all this transpired in less than 20 minutes.  Buckle your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!


Anxiety:  Momma Two has abandoned her one and only baby and it’s going to die!!

Reason:  The unhatched eggs are still covered with feathers, just as Momma has always done, so she’s probably only gone for a break.

Unable to fathom the loss of another duckling, Anxiety quickly scooped the lil guy up and went searching for Momma Two.  

I cradled the fuzzy baby against my chest, gently keeping it contained in my hands.  It continued to chirp and nibbled at my fingertips.  It was so very soft and fragile but tried to escape my grasp, poking its head out between my fingers. I walked down to the pond to see if Momma Two was there.  I see Momma One on the bank with her babies, but no Momma Two.  Where in the heck could she be?

I walked back up to the shed to check the nest again. Nope.  She’s not there.

Reason:  The nest still has eggs in it and you haven’t seen the Momma leave it for days.  And, there is no evidence of any newly hatched eggs.  Give her some time to return.

Anxiety:  But, what if our cats hear the baby chirping? They’ll come and eat it! You’ll see the bloody duckling remains and know YOU let that happen!

I walked down to the pond a second time to see if Momma Two was there.  Maybe she’s under the dock. She wasn’t. I contemplated placing the duckling near Momma One in hopes that she’d come and take care of it. After all, she’s doing an amazing job with her own offspring.  

Anxiety:  But what if you release it and she rejects it leaving it all alone and defenseless in the monster pond?  It will surely be eaten by turtles and you’ll have to watch it all happen! You won’t be able to swim out there and save it in time. And, it’ll be ALL YOUR FAULT!

Reason:  Well, we can’t do that, can we? Momma One has already taken her brood to the other side of the pond.  Let’s go back up to the house and see if Momma Two has returned to the nest.

Momma Two was still not in the nest.  I looked around the house and the backyard.  All the areas that the ducks regularly venture to, and nothing. I checked the nest one more time.  Still no Momma.

Anxiety simply could not leave the “abandoned” duckling in the nest unprotected.

Anxiety:  It’s up to YOU to save it! It’s not moving in your hands as much as it was, so you’re probably suffocating it!

Reason: No, it has merely calmed down and knows you’re keeping it safe.

I found an empty tote and frantically proceeded to create a safe place for the fuzzy baby all the while imagining how I’d keep it alive and wondering at what point I’d release it back into the wild.  I gathered a little bit of straw and feathers that were near the nest, but not in it because you never want to disturb a nest in the wild.  Then I lowered the duckling into the tote.  I placed the tote in the house garage which is very warm.  Ducklings are kept warm and protected by their mothers for their first several weeks, even in the summertime.  

Anxiety:  What do baby ducks eat?  It’ll surely starve!  It’ll be one more death to weigh heavily on your conscience. But, we can’t let it just DIE!

Reason:  Start by placing a small dish of water in the tote.  At least it would stay hydrated.  Then, get a few feed crumbles from the chicken coop.  No, it’s not duck food, but it should keep the fuzzy baby alive until you figure out what to do.

Anxiety:  But, remember when you were a little girl and tried to save that injured dove?  Yeah, you do.  It was hunkered under the doghouse on the patio.  You tried to feed it.  It didn’t eat.  And you remember what happened?  It died!!

I completed the task of providing water and the duckling had a safe place for the time being. But that feisty lil thing tried to jump out of the tote.  Those tiny things can jump surprisingly high, too!  I placed the tote lid in a position to keep the duckling contained while allowing adequate airflow for the sweet, precious, fuzzy baby, then went out to the chicken coop to gather some feed crumbles.

Anxiety:  Well, what are you going to do now?!  Every time you try to help (interfere) with nature, you end up devastated.  There is so much death in nature because it is brutal, heartless and cruel! 

Reason:  Remember when you read about wild ducks and that it’s best to leave the nests and the mommas alone because “they know what they’re doing”?  Try that.  Nature knows best.

Anxiety:  But, how can I just leave them, knowing that they might not survive?  That will be one more thing that I’ll feel guilty about until the day I die!  And people keep asking me to move the ducklings or keep them SAFE until they are grown.  I’m such a piece of shit for not doing that!

After gathering some feed crumbles, I decided to check the nest one more time to see if Momma Two had returned before returning to the duckling. To my surprise and delight, she was there! I went back to the garage, scooped up that fuzzy little duckling and raced back to the shed. I kneeled down near the nest, showing Momma Two what I held in my hands, and released the duckling.

Anxiety: What if she smells human scent on it? Rejects it? Or pecks it to death?!

The duckling resumed its place next to its mother. All was well, and this entire fiasco could have been avoided had I been patient for a few more minutes, giving Momma Two time to return to the nest. She does have to eat and drink now and then. I could’ve merely babysat the little duckling by watching it from a safe distance and keeping the cats away. But, Anxiety ran rampant this time, and I was unable to stop it.

Vonda:  I understand that nature runs its course, that not all offspring will survive their birth/hatching, and that it’s humanly impossible for me to save all the creatures that are facing their demise.  I am one person and that is a burden too heavy for me to bear. I must maintain a healthy respect for nature and trust that it knows best.

Reason:  You are not responsible for relieving the world’s anxiety and stress.  You are not required to overburden yourself with tasks that overwhelm you just to make others feel better.  Start with yourself.  Do what you can reasonably do, then let it go.


At times, it feels like my anxiety is trying to kill me and on occasion I kind of wished that it would have—it can be so exhausting, relentless and miserable.  It’s also a very sneaky son of a bitch!  I can be having a really good day, low stress and low anxiety–then, BAM!!  Anxiety decides to say, “Hey, Vonda!  Remember this?!  Yeah, when you did that thing that you felt badly about for years but then you forgot about it?  Well, let’s rehash that for a while, shall we? Here, let me start the film reel for you. Don’t worry, I’ll slow it down so you can really grasp all the worst parts.”  A random, distant memory from eons ago resurfaces and it’s never a positive or happy memory.  No, it’s something you did that was wrong. Or, it’s a disturbing incident that either caused you pain or a deep feeling of regret. Then, Anxiety plays it back for you in great detail so you can relive it all over again.  And again.

Anxiety sucks ass!!

However, I am learning and practicing coping skills that help me survive these anxiety-ridden maniacal episodes. It is an ongoing journey/process and I’m extremely grateful to have a wonderful therapist guiding me through it.

One day at a time, Vonda.

What are the lyrics?

While checking out at a convenience store, I was trying to understand the lyrics of the song playing overhead.

I asked the clerk, “Is that saying ‘What are we gonna do high?”’

She said, “It’s ‘Watermelon sugar high.’”

Well, close enough. Hearing-impairment is a continuous adventure!

Guess I should’ve worn my hearing aids. 😆

I Stop for Turtles!

I need that on a bumper sticker.

Yesterday was May 6, 2022, and my eldest daughter’s college graduation in Campbellsville, Kentucky. She worked very hard to get her master’s degree at Carver School of Social Work. It was an incredible journey with twists, turns, disappointments and struggles, but she did it. By golly, she did it, and I could not be more proud of her accomplishment!


The plan is to meet my daughter and her family at a Dollar General store on the way then follow them to the college campus. I leave the house before 10:30 a.m. and soon turn onto a long, winding and hilly country road. About a half mile later, I happen upon a turtle in the middle of the road. As is my routine, I stop my car, undo my seatbelt, open the door and set out on my rescue mission. I pick the fella up as he hunkered into his shell and I carry him to the side of the road in which he was heading. That’s what animal experts say to do. Not like I did a couple of years ago when I rescued a turtle and thought driving it to a nearby park was the best idea, while holding the guy over my passenger seat as he proceeded to spray said seat with liquid feces. Pleased with myself for doing the right thing (this time…you live and learn, sometimes the stinky way), I get back in my car, fasten the seatbelt and thoroughly cleanse my hands with a sanitizer wipe. And, I get back on the road again.

About half a mile later, an attack turkey darted out in front of me and I nearly hit it with my car! I could’ve had a free Thanksgiving turkey if only it’d been a tad bit slower. Not sure what I would’ve done with a freshly murdered turkey. I had a full day of activities ahead of me. Perhaps I could’ve asked one of the local farmers to keep it until I came back through? Hmm. Onward to Campbellsville!

Not even a mile further down the road, I see a second turtle in the middle of the road. This is unusual. I don’t recall ever rescuing two turtles on the same road, or even in the same day. Nevertheless, I stop the car, remove my seatbelt, get out and rescue this misguided turtle by placing him on the side of the road in which he was heading, and ask him, “What’s up with you all today?” He didn’t answer. Satisfied with succeeding in another valiant rescue mission, I get back in my car, fasten seatbelt, cleanse my hands, and continue my drive.

I was able to drive about one and a half miles before I found yet another turtle in the middle of the road. Now we’re up to three? Wow! Once again, I stop the car, get out, pick up turtle, place said rescued turtle on correct side of road, get back in car, wash hands…and head further down the road.

Seriously?! This is nuts! What’s that? To my disbelief, in the middle of the road–it’s turtle number four! I repeat my rescue procedure to the letter, but this time I turn on my emergency flashers due to the location of said turtle being in a curve located on a hill. I carry out my brave mission, get back on the road where I immediately see a bluebird. It’s an indigo bunting, one of my mother’s favorite birds. That was a nice treat. You don’t see those very often.

Guess what? You guessed it! Not much farther down the windy, hilly road, I find turtle number FIVE. I stop, put car in park, and as I was opening the door to get out and perform another heroic rescue, that little fella flat took off. I didn’t know turtles could move that fast! I grabbed my phone to capture its movement and was able to get the last few seconds on his run on video. (Unfortunately, I can’t upload videos on my blog or I’d share it here, but I can post it on the Facebook page for my Itchy Nipples book!) Then, I’m back on the road. Again.

I was able to go maybe two miles this time, before I found kamikaze turtle number six! SIX?! On the same road, the same trip, the same day. It’s crazy! Is this national mass suicide day for turtles? (This is where I begin photographing the turtles as evidence, for who would believe this was really happening?)

Turtle #6

I was a short distance from the Dollar General Store where I was to meet my daughter and her family when I saw turtle number seven. Now, this turtle did not resemble its predecessors. It was much smaller and was lying on its back. I get out of my car with some heavy trepidation since I could not tell if the little fella was alive or dead. I walk up to him, kneel down to get a closer look and he seems to have his eyes open. Or are they frozen that way? I tapped him gently and he hunkered inside his shell. Sigh of relief. He’s alive! I pick him up and see he’s not much larger than an avocado. So cute! I place him in the grassy area beside the road and feel very grateful I was able to save him from his imminent death by squashing.

Turtle #7

Once I placed the little guy on the side of the road to which he was headed, I got back in my car, repeated my steps and continued on my journey. I wasn’t on that windy hilly road for much longer and did not see another turtle, turkey, or bluebird for the rest of my road trip.

I did, however, realize I was at the wrong Dollar General store when my son-in-law called to see where I was located. I said, “I’m at the Dollar General store in Springfield.” He said, “I don’t see you. We’re at the Dollar General store in Springfield.” I surveyed my surroundings and informed him that, “I see a church, that says something-something church of…oh crap! I’m at the Dollar General store in Willisburg.” That’s a small town about 12 miles from Springfield. Shaking my head in disbelief (well, not really–I do this kind of thing quite often), I tell him I’ll meet them at the campus, not wanting them to wait on me.

After the graduation ceremony and a lovely dinner at a steak house, I headed back home. Once I got to the notorious turtle trail road, I wondered if I’d see any more of the crawling critters and stayed hyper-vigilant, just in case. I didn’t see any. I thought, well, turtles must not travel at night. Then, as I was marveling at that fact, a red fox darted across the road, fully illuminated by my headlights. Well, there’s that! Foxes do travel at night.

Yes, I need an “I stop for turtles” bumper sticker!

Book Club?

Today, via Facebook messenger, I received this photo of a magazine page from my wonderful niece, Brandy.  Thus ensued this epic niece/aunt conversation: 

Brandy:  I wonder how you get a book in the Good Housekeeping Book Club?  

Me (after careful and soulful thought):  Probably have to have sold 1,000s of copies, know (or have blown) a celeb, donated a vital organ to an orphan, and pledged your soul to a queen of darkness.

Brandy:  Hard to believe you’ve not done at least one of those things!

DISCLAIMER: Of course I am in no way accusing authors of books accepted into famous book clubs of having done such things!! I am merely painting a descriptive image of just how much difficult/uncomfortable work is required to publicize and promote your own book. It ain’t for sissies, I’ll tell you that much.

Failure: stepping stone to success

You’ve faced disappointments

Far too many to count

You want to give up

It’d be so much easier

You’ve hit brick wall after brick wall

You’ve got bruises on your soul

You see no way your dreams will come true

All that work…was it for nothing?

That’s when it’s time to trudge on

Dig your heels in deeper

No time to stop or slow down

You mustn’t give up now

Keep going!

You’ve got this!

You’re merely one failure closer to success!

Vonda Maxwell Newsome 3-23-2022