Life as it is

I’m an anxious person. It’s my cross. I’ve learned to work through some of my issues via cognitive therapy. It’s been great, however, these last two weeks have proven difficult for me. I know that I’m not the only one. So instead of sitting around worrying about the coronavirus and a host of things that I cannot control, I’m going to work on things that will bring me peace of mind.

First, it’s way past time for me to exercise. I purchased a new stationary bike for Christmas, and it’s still brand damn new. WebMD says that increased cardio helps anxiety, so I’ve set up a daily exercise schedule.

Second, I’m setting up my online classes similar to my face-to-face classes. I need order, so my Tuesdays and Thursdays classes are still my Tuesdays and Thursdays–they’re just online. I’ll use my afternoons to grade and correspond to my students. I truly think keeping a strict work schedule will help my online students, too.

Last, I’m cutting out sugar and processed foods. I’m not sure if eating clean will help my anxiety, but it can’t hurt. I won’t lie to you. I admit that I’ve eaten so much crap lately. I eat when I’m anxious and I must come put with a better way to deal with life as it is now.

Tell me, how are you keeping yourself busy during the quarantine? Remember, stay in and stay safe.

Deb Payne Purnell

Holding Yourself Captive

Colossians 2:8 reads, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit… not based on Christ.” I left church today with the belief that I truly did not learn anything that would carry me through the week. But, as I reread my notes, I realized that I wrote a note to myself to check out Colossians 2:8. I’m glad that I did.

As someone who loves to collect stuff, I’ve been wondering if I’ve become captivated by worldly things. Greed can hold your thoughts captive. And yes, we can be greedy for more than money. I, for example, enjoy office stationery. I’m a writer and an educator, but, at the end of the day, I think I just like adding to my collection of stuff. On top of that, I love looking at my collection. That admiration is actually greed. And, while this is not the worse hobby to have, it does keep me focused on worldly things. My stuff does hold be captive.

I would love to tell you that I won’t god to Hobby Lobby for more crap. I may even a friend to join me (looking at you CP Little). Yet, I’ve also challenged myself to share whenever I can. Recently, I gave several boxes of paper, pens, calendars, and even Happy Planners to my MVSU students. My stuff made their day, and their smiles captivated me for the rest of the week.

adult art artist artistic

Photo by Anthony on

Sometimes loss is about acceptance…

The stages of grief are universal. Trust me when I say that death is not just for loved ones.

Three years ago, my more than10-year PR career became a job.  Sorrow was etched on my face and in my jaunt as I was forced to leave my office and join a cube farm. The privacy every writer deems necessary to create, to write, to think flew out of my now windowless coop.

Anger reared its head quickly as I purposefully turned in assignments late and half-heartedly. “What’s the problem?” I was asked. Honestly, I didn’t know. I didn’t understand that I was hurting, or may be I couldn’t accept the loss of my career for what it was…death. I suffered in silence because the salary was decent; silence lead to isolation and overeating.

I began bargaining with God everyday. “Father, if…” became my mantra.

I became depressed when God answered my prayers. Why? Because leaving an unsecure job with benefits definitely was not the answer I was expecting.

Honestly, I’m still depressed over my career, but I am smiling, joyful and scared as I daily accept that I am on a new journey to be a published novelist and screenwriter.

Acceptance is the final stage of grief and while I’m not totally healed, I’m well on my way. Thank you Father.

I’m not your buddy or your friend…

It seems I’ve adopted a cat named “Cat.” I’m pretty sure Cat belongs to someone in my little cul-de-sac. She has a nametag and she’s fat. Cat has only gotten fatter this winter because I’m feeding her too. Don’t judge me, I hate to eat alone.

In an effort to fight fat and winter malaise, I purchased Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred.” Yesterday was Day 1.

I hate Jillian and not because she has an AH-mazing figure. No, I also hate her for yelling, “pick up the pace,” and for calling me “buddy,” for well, picking up the pace. Actually, it’s “buuuuddy.” I want to kick box her in the face.

Today is Day 2. It’s a repeat of yesterday, but maybe I can get through the entire workout without stopping to catch my breath every 30 seconds. Geez, Jillian, what’s with the freakin’ jumping jacks? I haven’t done those since I was 10.

I think she’s trying to kill me. In fact, I’m sure of it, but I’ll let you know on 30 days because that’s how long I have to suffer through this exercise regime. But no worries, I have a will that leaves my house and my food to Cat.

The friend of my enemy is still my enemy…

It’s 2014 and I’m turning 35 years old (uh, make that 40). It’s my lie and I’m sticking to it. Anyhoo, one thing I know for sure is that friendships shouldn’t be painful at 42 years old (43?). Hmmm, I think it’s time to call my mom ‘cause I’m iffy about my age.

Another thing I know for sure is that it’s time to rethink a friendship. Yeah, I know that’s easier said than done, even when you’re in your 40s, but that’s why it’s so important.

A quick Google led me to my favorite new word, “frenemy.” Frienemy or frenemy is a portmanteau of friend and enemy. While the term has come into vogue lately, Wiki notes the word appeared in print in 1953. One thing is true; frenemy is still hard to define.

Some sites claim frenemy is someone with whom you enjoy spending time, but don’t completely trust.  Wiki defines the term as someone who “pretends to be a friend but actually is an enemy.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer my enemy to just be a wolf. I’m serious. It would save me from buying Tylenol and keep you from buying sheep clothing.

If it sounds to good to be true…

The call came at 7:55 a.m. I answered without looking at caller ID. That was the first mistake. Michael Washington from American Sweepstakes said I won $65 million. Hell yeah, Thursday morning looking awesome!

The second mistake was not hanging up, and the third was entertaining the scam artist who claimed my money arrive in an hour. The catch, yes, there was a catch; I needed to purchase a check card for $1050. Wait, what?

At this point, I’m not longer entertained, plus my coffee was cooling, so I hang up. This should be over right? No, it’s not. Washington called back 15 to 20 more times. He cursed me when I finally yelled, “Just send my freakin’ $65 Mil!”

Again, this should be over? Again, it’s not. Washington called today at 7:55 a.m. His accent was the giveaway, although he gave a different name. I yelled at him and he cursed at me. Is he angry I refuse to be scammed? I put the phone on silent. When I checked the phone log several hours later, it showed Washington had called me every five to 10 minutes until 10:51 a.m. What the French toast? Definitely time to go to the police.

All the news that fits…

Wow. I wrote more than a thousand words towards my novel. I’m excited and nervous and scared. Simply, I’m a mess. I know that’s not news, especially to those who know me well.

Hey, did you know Robin Roberts is gay? Is that news?

Yes, Roberts is a highly recognized newscaster on ABC’s Good Morning America. And yes, Roberts fought and won her battle with breast cancer and later with myelodysplastic syndrome. Roberts’ public and publicized health issues brought much-needed attention to both diseases, and that’s definitely news. In fact, Roberts’ resolve to share her private battles with America is why I started watching GMA again.

In December, Roberts shared another private moment when she Facebooked (yes, I just made Facebook a verb), “…I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”

It’s been nearly two weeks and the media still treats Roberts’ coming out as news.

Trust me, Roberts being gay is not news. The fact that Roberts has been in a loving relationship for 10 years is newsworthy especially when stats show the average American marriage lasts eight years.  Now, that’s news.

Selfies!? I feel so dirty…

I read Yahoo’s “Trending Now” daily. I ask myself “Is he/she dead?” before clicking a name. Not kidding.

Rebecca claims celebrities pay to be on the trending list. I disagree.

Today, I clicked Kim Kardashian’s name. She’s No. 1 on the trending list.

No, she’s not dead and no, she hasn’t done anything to deserve trending (score one for Rebecca). Wait, I take that back. Her butt made the list and that’s deserving, right? You see someone claims Kim has been photoshopping (butt-shopping?) her selfies. Yes, I just used the word selfies, I feel so dirty.

While Butt-Gate 2014 will trend for the rest of the week, I wonder if Yahoo heard that some UNC Chapel Hill athletes could read only up to the fifth grade? This didn’t make the trending list at all. Again, not kidding. A Chapel Hill learning specialist even recalled tutoring a student-athlete who couldn’t read multisyllabic words.

CNN’s own investigation of student-athletes at public universities across the nation showed many could read only up to the eighth grade. While CNN notes their survey is not exhaustive, this result is staggering and still not trending. Hmmm?

By the way, there’s a Velveeta shortage. It’s No. 3 on the trending list.

CNN: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders –

Rest in peace Dexter…

I tried to write this goodbye yesterday, but couldn’t. It’s nearly impossible to say rest in peace to a childhood friend who was only 44.

I’m not sad; no, I lie. It’s a lie I’ve been telling myself for days. I am sad—sad I’ll no longer see Dexter when I drive to Itta Bena. Sad it will take me years to remember—to admit—that he is gone.

I’m not sad for Dexter, I’m sad for me. You see, anyone who knew Dexter would know that sadness was not in his vocabulary. He was not a noun type of guy.

Dexter was full of life, so I guess that means he was a verb or maybe an adjective. Yes, adjective seems to fit.

He was lively and definitely always full of movement.

He was also spontaneous. Planning is for suckers and Dexter was no sucker. He enjoyed the moments.

When we were younger I wanted to be more like him. I tried and tried, but sadly, I’m a planner. Lately I’ve been trying to add more spontaneity to my day. I’m really trying ‘cause Dexter would want that for me. Sigh. Rest in peace my friend.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

One of the biggest issues for me in 2013 was my inability to stick to a schedule. This year will be different, especially with my trusty pink Filofax planner by my side. Check out today’s schedule:

January 3, 2014

7:00 a.m.        elliptical workout

7:30 a.m.        breakfast

8:00 a.m.        write blog

8:30 a.m.        complete novel outline

 A bit much, huh? I figured as much, so I Goggled, “How to stick to a schedule.”

Hmmm? One site implied that over-planners, like me, tend to be too optimistic to the point of being unrealistic. That explains the schedule above.

Another site recommended building in margins, planning breaks and planning for interruptions.

Planning for interruptions? Huh? I definitely need practical advice, and decide to call my sister, a mother and teacher.

Danielle bragged she simply knew how to stay on track. Really? Just as I’m about to hang up on her or throw my cell across the room, she said, “I also plan by the hour and I don’t beat myself up for not getting to everything on my list.”

Awesome sauce! This advice is much better than her suggestion that every woman should have a thug lover. Yeahhhh, that’s definitely a discussion for another day.

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