A Tale of Heritage- Raising my Peoria/ Cherokee children in a world slipping away from it’s heritage

I’ve always been a history nerd. It fascinates me to think of the ones who stood where I stand in the past. The overwhelming calm as you walk through undeveloped woods with no other people around and you simply stop- you stop to feel the presence that seems left behind…that flutter of your eyes where you feel someone brush your shoulder- that is the history I crave to know. That is the history I want my children to slow down and really truly know- because Lord knows this world is so fast paced that the footsteps of our ancestors are slowly and wrecklessly being destroyed.

My grandparents were from the mountains of North Carolina, specifically Murphy and Robinsville- two places most of you have never heard of. Now let’s get super specific and travel down into a holler known as Shoal Creek right on the wooded outskirts of Murphy- this is where my grandma and her family called home. They were poor farmers…Cherokee Indians that did not live on the reservation. They were not “registered” due to my (however many greats) grandma’s stubborness and wit when allot of our cousins were sent towards Oklahoma . I grew up hearing stories of her hiding her kids in a cave and some rebel soldiers stole her food one night so she single handedly waited for them to go to sleep and stole it all back! Now that’s a lady worth learning about! If I have daughters I want them to be like her!

My grandma is now in her late 80s and still looks great although her mind is gone. She is dark skin as if she’s outside everyday with black hair that has never seen dye. Her eyes are a dark brown hazel that flickers green and yellow. Her cheek bones high and narrow like the picture of her grandma in her bedside drawer. So many things she passed down to me, reminiscent of her heritage…hominy and pickled corn, gosh pickled everything 😂 how you use a stone crock jar to make anything and everything because you might not have a fridge one day and you must know how to dig a hole in the clay bank to put your milk so the river or creek keeps it cold. She had a old list of our family members…their given “Cherokee” name listed first then the more “modern” name listed beside it….various lines and scribbles connect husband’s to wives to children…our heritage scrawled on a paper pad…not in a history book or even a ledger…scrawled by one old Indian , a cousin , probably ten times removed named Johnny Ray who is still living and somehow knows you are family when you knock on his door or call his phone.

David’s family is the opposite in terms of documentation. Everything is nice and neat and they know history because they each hold a Peoria tribal card. I’m still learning his side of the equation but I know my husband has a card proudly in his wallet as well as my children…a card that links them to the original Americans . Now I had honestly never heard of Peoria’s until we were together . They are a much smaller group and they were from Illinois which is far different than being an Indian from Appalachia.

Connors name sake, Benjamin Gelon( Connors great great grandpa) was the son of a Seminole woman and a French immigrant. Adding yet another awesome puzzle piece. This side of the family is almost impossible to trace…

So…here we are…an average American family living on a farm in the piedmont of North Carolina. I am blonde with my grandma’s hazel eyes and I never sun burn but rather tan amazingly easy…however , the only “Indian ” trait I show is my cheek bones. David is relatively tan with black hair and ridiculously blue eyes… We produced two blonde hair blue eyes boys who also hold cards as members of the Peoria Tribe…blonde haired Indians 😂💁

So. I decided along time ago that I was not going to let this part of their history go undiscovered . How can we keep our history alive if you pretend it never happened? I hope my children feel proud that they are decended from people who originally lived in America. I hope they feel proud that their ancestors fought for their right to stay on their land. I hope they stop- I hope they stop and search their souls for the footsteps of the ones who were here before.

Today , do me a favor and walk in the woods, close your eyes and really take it in. Think of the people who originally called your yard home . Think about them as they were run out. Just slow down and think. ❤️

Eat❤️Beat❤️Love

4th of July – a medics perspective

Everyone in the general population loves the 4th of July: pool parties, bonfires, hotdogs and of course-fireworks. The 4th represents everything that makes our Great Country Great- the freedom to celebrate, the freedom to be as loud as you want and not get arrested for it, the freedom to enjoy being an American….the 4th represents our military who have fought for our freedom to celebrate- all of those lives maimed or taken fighting our enemies on homesoil and foreign.

We are SO lucky that we do not have active war on homesoil, or do we? The general population is oblivious to what first responders see everyday -especially around holidays. Military and first responders do not get to stop and celebrate( most of the time until you go part time like me lol) . I can tell you that I have worked every single Fourth since 2011 until today. It’s a luxury in my line of work to be off on such a day.

I use to cringe at the thought of working on the fourth especially night shift…

One let’s look at the not so obvious reason- it is prime time for violence because criminals know that most of our resources are spread thin covering fireworks. We (police , fire and EMS) are distracted because we would like to think for just a moment that everyone would join in comradery and just enjoy being an American….but nope…in steps job security….

So if you are not part of the first responder or military community , I can guarantee that at least once in your life you have been star struck by a person in uniform and innocently asked-whats the worst thing you’ve ever seen? Then you stare at us wide eyed waiting for all the gory details…we know you don’t want to truly hear the “worse” because for military it could be their buddy’s dying, for first responders it could be working a loved one or a child….you want to hear the drunk redneck story…..well lucky for you God made the fourth of July….stupidity at it’s finest always arrives on this day…job security as we call it because no amount of ranting or warnings will stop people from sticking fireworks up their butts or (sorry Mike Londke you’re facebook post actually inspired this rant) someone who you consider relatively smart posted a picture of them supposedly shooting a rocket out of a nipple ring ???😂😂 y’all the creativity never ceases to amaze me…when you combine creativity with beer and fireworks things get interesting ….and us first responders hate running the calls but they are fun stories to tell.

A few years back , people were making these firework, Cannon /bomb things…I can’t remember the name of them but we brought SO MANY people into the ED with blown off fingers…the ED was a blood bath of drunk ignorant (honestly probably just plain stupid) people. And this brings me into my next point is that our ER staff totally count , in my opinion, as first responders, especially when we are talking about mass casualty situations like the fourth.

So my overall message is you should enjoy the fourth. Celebrate. Revel in the knowledge that we live in a country where we are FREE…but before your celebration say a prayer for all of our military and first responders. For military ,the fire works might be too much to bear . For first responders, remember we are the first ones you will see when you wake up minus butt cheeks or hands.

Also on a serious note remember to know your state laws regarding fireworks and if you live near farms please don’t shoot fireworks it literally kills horses every year. Horses have very sensitive hearing so know I will be up all night watching mine and my neighbors horses while you are celebrating 💁

Also think of me tomorrow…I’m returning back to work after hand surgery , and it’s the day after the 4th…that’s just a bad combo😂 my black cloud builds up when I’m out of work so keep my supervisor and whoever my partner is in your prayers this weekend 😂😂 so if you party hard tonight, I will see you tomorrow💁💁🤪

Happy 4th from your friendly local paramedic and farmer – the two occupations who don’t enjoy fireworks🇺🇸💥💣

Eat❣️Bray❣️Love- and keep your fingers!

Faith of a Farm Child

This year has been rough…and I mean one thing after another…we have buried two goats, two dogs and now my four year olds lamb that he’s been working so hard to prep for show this fall.

Yesterday when putting the animals up we saw Otis, Connors lamb come running towards us in a panic, he was screaming…this was highly unusual as usually Bailey is wherever Otis is so I went to the barn and there she was. She had died probably several hours prior without warning.

Now I am new to sheep and goats but my OCD has made me read every possible journal on small livestock and I batter the people that know livestock with questions daily. There were no signs. No palor. No diarrhea…nothing…she just died…and man that was hard.

I immediately began sobbing…not because I bottle raised this baby but because she was Wesley’s. He has been so excited to show this year and he tells everyone he knows that he has a lamb named Bailey and he is going to show her at the fair this year.

I had no idea how to tell him. Everyone else has given us warning that they were going to die…this blindsided us.

This morning I sat him down and told him that yesterday Bailey got sick and went to heaven…I don’t know what I was expecting but I guess I was expecting grief or tears… He just looked at me and said “ok she’s in heaven with God” he did ask me if I couldn’t just give her medicine to make her better but when I said no he simply said OK.

He took it for 100 percent what it was that she had died and was with God. He doesn’t know any other ideas. He’s seen alot of death in 4 short years .I think he has disappointment that they aren’t here anymore but he has joy that they are still somewhere . Maybe he thinks they are simply on a space ship like star trek lol.

I want to always have that child like faith. I want to not sob for days on end when someone dies. Of course as adults we believe and we know about heaven but it seems we always second guess it…at least I think I do…but to have the faith of a child and to have that knowledge in your heart that they are simply with God and then just move on to the next thing. Maybe we should all strive for that.

Have a great weekend ❤️

Eat Bray Love ❤️

Finding Husband Material : an error of finding self worth

I got pretty darn lucky when I met my now husband eight short years ago. We have one of those marriages that people are always ooohhhing and ahhhhing over so in honor of his 32nd birthday tomorrow I wanted to write a piece for all of the women, no matter how old , marriages, history etc on how to finally find someone worth walking down the aisle to.

I grew up, and remain, conservative Christian…but you can be as liberal as possible or even athiest to abide by the following few principles. Now I will go ahead and say that I do believe that a truly strong marriage is not possible without God. Having that one core fundament serves as an anchor that even on your worst days you can reach out to and somehow find the air to breath….but mainly I want to talk about your self worth.

What price do you put on yourself? Yes, I am talking about the most intimate side of you…the side that throws all the love you have at someone and fully trusts them to respect and care for you at your most vulnerable.

The guys out there that are oh so handsome but they have a background of sleeping around….what makes you think that they are going to settle down? Did they tell you that on the first date then take you to bed? Don’t you think that that line was used before on other girls?

Guys like that are smart and know all the right words to say and the things to do. After all, Every girl dreams, to some extent, of being swept away by prince charming.  Why would a guy like this settle down with you if they realize that the sex is easy? Do men like this have your heart at the top of the list of concerns?

As women, especially in a world of social media and Photoshop, it is SO easy to fall for some smooth talking, good looking guy. He might even tell you things like “you won’t get anyone else” “if you don’t sleep with me I’ll be gone and I’ll tell everyone”.

Listen to me young girls, heck listen to me girls and women of ANY age….your body -your heart and your soul- are worth so much more than what some guys will make you believe.

I was married before but even then me and David waited until we were married. When we met I told him that I wanted a fresh start and that it was important to me to only sleep with someone after I was married….and girls…hear me out: HE SAID OK! HE WAS FINE WITH IT BECAUSE HE WANTED TO DATE ME. My husband dated me and got to know my heart, my hopes , my dreams and I learned his.

By the time we were married we were so in love and could genuinely say that we were marrying each other until death do us part. So many people get married now because of the physical attraction….they get married at 25 because they have been having sex since day 1 and it’s awesome and they are both super attractive people….but what happens when she is pregnant and vomiting for 9months and doesn’t want her husband to even breath in her direction? What is the man who married based on physical attraction going to do? Is he still going to”love her” or is it going to be the start of a downward spiral?

Now I know I am a minority when it comes to these beliefs, and you don’t have to take me at 100% of what I did, but all I’m asking is that you reevaluate your self worth. If a marriage is really what you want, sit back and look at the guys you are attracting. If you don’t believe in waiting until marriage try a timeline . Tell them that you want to wait six months-a guy interested in your heart will wait it out whereas a man interested in your body will leave.

I found my prince charming. I set my self worth high by watching how I dress and how I carry myself and how I speak. I like to dress modestly with things left for the imagination. I do not believe in speaking vulgarly or cussing. My husband never questioned my beliefs. He never pushed or asked for anything . He respected me which made me love him even more. He opens doors, holds umbrellas, rubs my feet when I get off work and does an amazing job being a daddy and setting models for our boys to grow towards. There are plenty like him you just have to change your value. After all, God made you perfect so why do you have to try to make yourself desirable?

Eat *Bray*Love

What’s so special about a horse?

For pretty much my entire life I have been easily described as “the horse girl”. I got the horse bug early in life and then started riding at the ripe age of 7. Lessons were the highlight of my week. For the next ten years my parents toted me to weekly lessons, 4H and weekend horse shows. I woke up and went to the barn before school, doodled horses on my notebooks during class, skipped lunch in order to do homework (so I had more time to ride, duh) then I went home and straight to the barn. It was my drug. My addiction. My escape. Everything bad about being the bottom of the totem pole at school, the ugly duckling, the introvert, the quiet, awkward teen, melted away when I was with my horse.

Now the thing I want you to realize is that horses are brilliant, sensitive, intuative, loving creatures. They feel our emotions and react to them. My first pony was a small 14 hand palomino pony named Sonny that Santa delivered with a bright red bow for Christmas 1997. He’s one that, as a parent you can’t put a price on. He was a baby sitter. He was far from a show horse…but he was awfully cute. I could climb on him, spin backwards, whoop and holler , jump rope, hula hoop , and he would just stand there. He would have died if it meant protecting his girl. I had him for 4 short years…but he taught me confidence ….I still didn’t know much about riding but he trained me for my next horse. He died in 2001.

In March of 2002, my parents brought home the most beautiful liver Chestnut morgan- my Captain. He was a lot of horse. In horse lingo that means that he was fiesty and spirited. He had been a show horse coming from show lines. I was 12 and he was 14. It was time for me to grow and he was my teacher. I came off of him more times than I can count and I think the ground got harder each time. Each time I hit the ground though, he came back for me, I sucked it up, dusted my pants off and got back on. He taught me resilience . We showed Saddleseat and took a State Championship in 2016 and Reserve in 2017. Out of the Southern Region (15 states) we placed 8th overall in our division in 2016. People were charmed by his easy going and versitile personality. Old style Morgan’s are rarely seen and he was a perfect picture.

So with this- you may still wonder- why horses? Or it’s “just a horse,” right? Highschool was rough. I was a introverted, self conscious teen who avoided friends like the plaugue. I was bullied horribly and made fun of. Today, kids like me , far too often, commit suicide or get involved in drugs and crime. Horses don’t give you a chance to do that. On days where I felt like a nobody, I could go to the barn and just sit with Captain. He would lay his head on me and just be there. He let me know it was ok. As years went on , I went to college and got married. I married an abusive , horrible individual who , when I left him, tried to play on my emotions telling me that no one would never date me because I was ugly and useless….but Captain was there then too. I remember going to my parents and just getting on him bareback and riding to the end of the pasture and letting him run wide open…no bridle or saddle…just free.He knew what I needed and always grounded me. More years passed and now I am married again with two boys. Captain has been a HUGE part of their lives and has taught them love and confidence as well….

He was my secret keeper…and today…today he carried my love, my heart and my secrets on great big angel wings across the rainbow bridge.

Sonny taught me confidence and Captain taught me to ride.

Horses teach you things no human can. They teach love, passion, determination , patience, what it feels like to win and what it feels like to lose, and then they teach you to say goodbye….

So do you still wonder why I started my 4 year old in riding lessons? Do you still wonder why we have so many animals and why my kids are always outside working with them? The youngest generation is fragile and use to having things given to them. They are so concerned about their social media image that they make choices that should be reserved for adults. Their “friends” often are simply catalysts for disasterous behavior. I don’t know about you but I want my kids to be the horse kids. I want them to never have enough free time to get into disasterous places. No I can’t protect my kids from everything but I can build a good foundation. I guarantee you my 4 and 2 year old boys know more about life and death than most teenagers and gosh maybe more than some adults. Farms teach you things quick and horses will love you through it all.

Eat*Bray* Love

EMS Week in a Small Town

If you have at least one friend on Facebook that is involved in EMS, then you have been, most likely, bombarded with posts about “EMS Week”.  See, the thing is, there is a section of emergency services that remains invisible- Emergency Medicine….we aren’t cops and we definitely aren’t firemen….we are EMTs and Paramedics out on the streets day and night…waiting for the call. That call could be for someone having a heart attack, someone in labor, a car accident or a host of other unimaginable tragedies that most people run from…yet our job requires us to run in even on calls where we want to tuck tail and run…this is EMS.

Now, I work EMS in a relatively small city. We have a very dense population but we still have that sensation of “everyone knows everyone”. You want to know what’s worse than running into tragedies? …What about running a call and realizing that the patient is a family member, friend or coworker?

We have this amazing mechanism….at least anyone who has stayed in EMS a while…to dissociate and not see a person but rather see a training scenario. It sounds brutal but we dont work a job where we can be emotional. What happens when knowing the patient takes down that defense ?

One year ago today, our county suffered a tremendous and ground shattering loss. One of our charge nurses and her sister in law (a sheriff deputy in our county) was killed by her father in law. I personally did not work this day. I was suppose to but I was sick that morning and stayed home. They were killed in the same county they worked…we are a small town.

Word spread fast and sadness and anger whipped through the community but especially the EMS, PD , Fire and Hospital community. The effects are still felt within our EMS community and I find it ironic that the first day of EMS Week this year falls on the anniversary of such a horrible time.

If you don’t know about what EMS does, come talk to someone sitting in a ambulance one day. We may have had a really bad day and could use a friendly gesture. Let EMS Week be a way to educate everyone of not only the bad things we see and work through but also the amazing things that we do.

I am very thankful for the experience that EMS has given me. Everyday is a new challenge with new expectations. I am thankful for every partner that I have shared a truck with and I am thankful for the calls, laughter and tears that I have shared with them.

Happy EMS WEEK!

About those “card players”

Senator Walsh,

As the whole world knows, you made a very spur of the moment, foot in mouth, uneducated statement the other day. We all have things that come out unattended I get that…but when giving any kind of speech the general consensus (as any kid who took public speaking can tell you) is you have to be willing to back and argue your statements.

I can see how you might have the perception that nurses “play a game of cards” at work if your only interaction with nurses is go to the ER on a Saturday night for a cold.

I Have seen both sides. As a paramedic in a busy county I see how hard our ER nurses work and how they are constantly running trying to get all of our patients into rooms and stabilized so we can get back on the streets to bring more patients in. In our county, EMS runs approximately 100 calls a day with most being transported to our local hospital. I promise you that the nurses at our hospital don’t have time to play cards.

On the other side, I have been the patient….usually once a month or every two months due to me being autoimmune. I’ve went in “big sick” and I’ve went in “little sick working on becoming big sick” When I’m big sick, I have 2 nurses and a few doctors floating in and out and I’m rarely left more than 10 minutes but when I’m not quite that “big sick” then I might have an hour between nurses coming in….they aren’t neglecting me…they aren’t playing cards…they are simply doing something called triage where they take care of the worse ones first.

If you get constant attention in the hospital… I have news for you-you are pretty dang sick…

Senator, I have a project for you. Document how many times you go to the bathroom , eat, get a bottle of water, sit back and breath or just look at your phone or call a loved one in your typical work day. Then come shadow a nurse in our county hospital for a 12 hour shift and compare it. Tell me which one of you is more likely to have time to play a game of cards.

I realize you had no idea this would blow up like it does . I’m not going to bombard you with hate mail but I do think you need to shadow a nurse or even come hang out on an ambulance for 12 hours and see how the nurses have to keep up with our influx of patients.

I hope you have opened your eyes through your mistake and I pray something good comes out of it.

Sincerely,

A Paramedic