Finding Respite in Place or People

All of us are troubled sometimes. If you are having a bad day or bad moment, find respite in place or those that truly love you.

From Happiness Doesn’t Come Easy -A Nash Sisters Novel we can take a lesson from what the Nash sisters do for each other.

Annie’s thoughts at the end of a visit with the her baby sister’s psychiatrist.

In the end, I was feeling a fraction of happiness to such a sad day. I grabbed Ethel’s hand under the table. It was warm and so familiar. It felt the same as Momma’s soft, wrinkly hand. Momma is watching over us. I am sure of it.

We stood to leave the room. “You know what, Dr. Redmond?” I asked. Ethel was reading my mind. She joined me in finishing that phrase that has always been true, “The Nash sisters are going to be just fine.”

Family Teaching Us How to Live

This is a happy/sad photo. On this day I was happier than I thought I deserved. Bob and I were married. The dress I wore was on loan from my new sister-in-law. Generosity from the beginning.

The people in this photo with us were those that made a life so their children and grandchildren would become responsible, caring, and loving humans. The people in this photo with us are all gone. They did their work. They lived a good life. I miss them all.

We are now living our life. Bumps in the road have taught us to hold on tighter to each other. Challenges have shown how to get up and go again. Sadness that seemed endless taught us to find gratitude. But most of the last 46 years have been happiness, laughter, and love.

Nash Round-Robin Letters Rules

An excerpt from The Nash Sisters – A Story of Family Sticking Together When It Counts.

The sisters stayed in touch by writing Round-Robin Letters. It all started when Dianne and Annie moved away. Ethel desperately missed her sisters and decided news about each other could be a gift. Like a present that arrives in the mailbox. The Nash Round-Robin Letters began with Ethel. These are her rules.

Add a letter to the Round-Robin letters each time it comes ’round. I hope we can have the robin go ’round at least once a month. Don’t hold the letters more than a few days before mailing them. Even if you are busy or can’t think of anything to say, just make comments on what other letters have said. You can write letters front and back of a page and no more than two sheets of paper to save on postal costs. Here is the way The Nash Round-Robin Letters will go.

I’ll start it since I am the oldest, and it was my idea. I write my letter and mail it to Dianne. Dianne, you write to us about your life in Burlington and mail my letter and yours to Caroline. Since we are never sure where Caroline will be living next, she has asked the postmaster to hold her mail. She promised to save some money for stamps and go pick up her mail once a week.

Caroline, please write your letter as soon as you can, add it to letters from Dianne and me then send all of them to Annie.

Annie, you contribute your letter and send all four back to me. I know you have a Roaring Twenties life to tell us all about, but please keep to two sheets of paper. When I get the letter from Annie, we have completed one round robin.

I take out my letter and start it all over again with a new letter.

The White Light of Love and Protection

An excerpt from Happiness Doesn’t Come Easy – A Nash Sisters Novel

Elaine said, “Mrs. Walsh, do you know what is happening right now? You are being surrounded by the white light of love and protection.”

Lelia walked to me and bent down on her knees. She looked up at me and spoke as if amazed, “I saw it too. I have heard tell of it but never seen it. Oh Lord, thank you for answering our prayers. Your heart is healing. I can see it. Can you feel it, Miss Annie?”

It was strange but true. I felt something. It was someone’s hand on my shoulder. It felt like positivity radiating around me. When we were children at church, the preacher used to talk about the hand of God. I don’t think it was that. It was our Momma’s hand covering Dianne’s hand, covering Thomas’s small hand. I said to Lelia, “I feel love and caring. I feel strength from that. I feel happiness without guilt.”

Those two wonderful women came near to envelope me and baby Dianne in their arms. That caress was powerful. You, my sisters, were all in it with me. I cried as hard as I have ever cried. Elaine spoke in a soothing voice, “Cry, dear woman. Cry until you can’t anymore. You are protected.”

Annie Nash Walsh, in my second novel, experiences the white light of love and protection. My good friend, Cheryl lost her husband. This reminds me of how that might feel.

Yellow Roses

As she arranged the roses in the jar, I thought of the fence line covered in yellow roses. Momma often told the story about Daddy planting those roses when they got settled in this new house. Momma’s best friend in the world, Ellen, lived in the house on the other side of the fence. Daddy said since Ellen and Momma would spend so much time yakking over the fence, they should have something pretty to lean on. Momma always ended this story with, “And that is how yellow roses became my favorite flower.” When she told that story, I thought yellow roses would always be my favorite flower too.

– Ethel Nash in The Nash Sisters A Story of Family Sticking Together When It Counts

Buy The Nash Sisters first book in the series on Amazon.

Help for those with mental illness – a look back.

Help for people with mental illness arrives late

in North Carolina.

Dix Hospital, 1872, Labeled “Lunatic Asylum”

In my research for second book in The Nash Sisters series, I learned much about mental illness diagnosis and treatment. One author I discovered in the process was Natasha Tracy.  In an article on HealthyPlace , she wrote this in The History of Mental Illness.

The history of mental illness goes back as far as written records and perhaps took its first major leap forward in 400 B.C. when Greek physician, Hippocrates, began to treat mental illness as physiological diseases rather than evidence of demonic possession or displeasure from the gods as they had previously been believed to be. Asylums for the mentally ill were established as early as the 8th century by Muslim Arabs.

As I kept digging to understand mental illness treatment, I found that North Carolina was slow to address the problem until Dorothea Lynne Dix came to town.*  In 1825 and 1838, NC was one of only two states that had not allocated dollars to build or create hospital space to care for those with mental illness. In the 1840s, Dorothea Dix made North Carolina her focus.  She worked to bring awareness to the General Assembly of the treatment needs for those with mental illness. It wasn’t until 1849 that legislation passed. The first state hospital opened to its first patients as Dix Hill Asylum.

One of the Nash Sisters was sent to Dix Hill for the first time in 1931. Because of advances in understanding mental illness and improved treatment, Caroline Nash learned to manage her illness.

* Harry McKown, UNC – North Carolina Collection

Mother’s Day – Where it Began

Mother’s Day 2020 is right around the corner.  This year it falls on May 10, 2020.

Today many people, as did one of the U.S. founders of a day for mothers, think this day is too commercial and the original meaning is lost. Here is a little history of why we began celebrating mothers.  

Recognition of mothers can be found as far back as the Greeks and Romans.  So, Hallmark did not invent a mother’s day.

An official proclamation, written by a woman, about the power of mothers in the United States began after the Civil War. In 1868 a proclamation announced a Day of Mother’s Friendship. The purpose was to motivate mothers of the Union and Confederate soldiers to gather and promote reconciliation.

A few years later, in 1872, it was named a Mother’s Day of Peace, as an anti-war observance.  Ironically more major wars were yet to come.

In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation that the second Sunday of May “be a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country”.

The Nash sisters remember best the resolution in 1945 by congress and President Harry Truman that there be a Mother’s Day to recognize American mothers “as the greatest source of the country’s strength and inspiration.”

The Nash sisters understood how important their momma was and liked celebrating Mother’s Day, even after she passed.  Caroline Nash expressed her opinion about the subject.  “I want to know when they will proclaim a children’s day.  You see, children are the only ones who could make mothers.”

Recognize your mother or any woman in your life with a gift of reading and solitude. Order a copy of The Nash Sisters A Story of Family Sticking Together When It Counts through Amazon.

Annie’s 1927 Nash Ambassador

In my novel The Nash Sisters,  Annie brings home a new car. It was a 1927 Nash Ambassador similar to the one pictured above. Annie tells her sisters how she got and paid for the “fabulous car”.

Toni was so sweet to buy this one in green. I love green. When I told them Toni had paid just over $2000 for it, Ethel’s eyes opened wide like a bullfrog and her mouth dropped open. She said “Good God, $2000!  I could buy a lot of land for that!”

Diane snickered and asked me what I had to pay Toni. I rolled my eyes and gave a coy smile. We all giggled. They did not want to know.

Order your copy of The The Nash Sisters  A Story of Family Sticking Together When It Counts

Click here to order from Amazon

The Gift of Reading.

It is for adults, too.

Woman sitting and reading a book

I have a friend who gives her children a new book every day from December 1 until Christmas Day. Another family I know adds books to the gifts it gives the children for each day of Hanukkah.  Both families use it as a way to celebrate books, but also enhance the ritual of nighttime reading.   Snuggling together with children to explore a different time and place with a real book makes getting ready for sleep a loving experience.

Why not give the gift of reading to the adults in your life?

Choose a book to share. Buy a copy for you and one for them. Read during the holidays and talk with your friend about the story, the characters, and how it might relate to you. This could be a sort of secret book club.

I’ve got one you might like. I just published my first novel, The Nash Sisters. It is historical fiction about women who struggle yet thrive through the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Their love and conversations hold them together as life brings death of loved ones, mental illness, prejudice, and poverty. When they move away from each other their conversations continue in Round Robin Letters so they stay in touch at a time when there were no phones or email.

Here is what people are saying about The Nash Sisters A Story of Family Sticking Together When It Counts

“I so enjoyed this heartwarming book!  I could not put it down! You are an extraordinary writer and you must continue writing stories about these sisters!”

“If you appreciate the dynamics of sibling relationships and tales of strong women who struggle and endure, you will enjoy The Nash Sisters!”

“The Nash Sisters is such an extraordinary and heartwarming book! I could not put it down. Looking forward to more stories about these sisters!”