Monday, April 25, 2016

Motherhood is Hard

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert  Buford Weekly Illustrated April 26, 2016
Recently, I saw a Facebook post that really struck a chord with me centering around motherhood. Mother's Day is upon us and I'd like to personally say to every mother who reads this.  Happy Mother's Day from the bottom of my heart. Your commitment and sacrifices are truly appreciated for raising our future leaders, doctors, judges, writers and artists of our future. The Facebook friend who wrote these three little words really stayed with me. What an understatement.  Motherhood is really hard.  It doesn't matter what stage of motherhood you are in, most mothers that I know and love are amazing women and incredible mothers. I truly feel empathy for this mom as I'm sure every mother in her friend list did.  It really doesn't matter what she was referring too. I know from those three words that what she was saying is this;  I made a hard choice, my son or daughter now hates me and I feel like the most horrible mother in the world.  Does this sound familiar?   Why do we beat ourselves up for not being perfect and for making choices that aren't popular, yet are almost always necessary?

Non-mothers out there think it is so easy. Those well meaning, friends who have all these ideas about how they would do things differently, "if it were me..."  I saw a post by a non mother who gave a stranger, a mom with children in a Chic- Fil-a, an ice cream coupon with a note saying, 'it looks like they could use some attention.'  I say so what? This mom took some R&R in a restaurant and chatted it up with a friend which may have been the first bit of "me time" she had experienced all day. Perhaps, she should have spent quality time with her boys in the Chic-fil-a. It isn't my place to judge. Trust me, there were days when my children were young that we might have gone out to get a break from the spills and little fingers under the bathroom door saying  mommy, mommy can you see me, for the hundredth time.  You know the old saying don't judge anyone until you walk a mile in their shoes.

Be grateful for these guilt ridden mothers.  The hardest job a mother has is bringing this little ball of happiness into the world, falling instantly in love and then doing her best to make sure that they turn out to be accepted into society, by making hard choices that make them hate you for a minute. One day, so much sooner than you realize you have to give them wings and let them fly. To the mom's with graduating seniors, I promise you will make it. To the mother of the bride; she will always be a part of you especially, when she hears your voice as she makes those same hard choices. To the groom's mother, you will know by the way  he treats his bride. Mothers, Let go of the guilt and enjoy your special day.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wild and Wicked Wisteria

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert  Buford Weekly Illustrated April 20, 2016

You are not a tree, you can cut
away the vines. If you need help
 please reach out for it. 
Our mild winter has moved up spring and unfortunately, the high pollen count from April to March. Every morning on our way to work we are all following the yellow brick or paved roads covered in sticky pollen. Georgia's pollen counts are in the thousands. People are sneezing, coughing and wheezing.  Yet, with all that drama the temperature is comfortable and the blooms are amazing.  I look forward to April every year, Why?  Wisteria of course, those grape -like purple blooms that take over every area where they grow.  They are so beautiful, smell amazing and they are all over the county.  The smell brings back my childhood as well as many of my friends and families allergies.  Growing up in Georgia I remember enjoying our neighbor's Wisteria vines invading the yard of my childhood home.  It is a wonderful memory from my youth except for the extra bees they attracted.  
You either love Wisteria or hate it.  Impossible to kill the vines are well, a weed and a very invasive plant. Wisteria  is much like a Kudzu which climbs trees and shrub shading them until the tree dies. My love for the Wisteria  vine is a guilty pleasure because it is really more of a tree murderer. Once it takes over a tree it almost always strangles it to death.  It wraps around the tree trunk and eventually chokes off the tree's plumbing. The poor host tree rots away, the sinister Wisteria creeps along the ground until the fingers of a new stem finds another object to climb, and the murderous cycle continues.   Wisteria doesn't even need the host tree, it can grow up anything, yet whatever living thing it slithers up it kills.   
I couldn't help notice the comparison between Wisteria and people. Specifically, those people in your life that you meet and they seem to ooze charisma.  You are drawn to them because the aroma and sheer beauty of them.  They creep along invading your life, your friends and your time until you are in over your head.  You are slowly being strangled by "The Wisteria Relationship."  They squeeze into your emotions or even your love until you have nothing left.   If you have a person like this in your life. You do have hope. You can get the pruning shears and cut the vines away.   The first thing you have to do is recognize the traits in yourself that the "Wisterian" sees and knows instinctively you will make a good Wisterian Victim.  A Wisterian relationship can be a friend, love interest, co-worker or family member.  
If  you feel useful and loved only when you can take care of the needs of other people, you need to have the approval and acceptance of other people,  you fear expressing negative emotions, you lack a strong sense self. you are unable to say no.   You might be a Wisterian's next victim.  If you do find yourself are in a Wisteria relationship, know you are not alone. You are not a tree, you can cut away the vines. If you need help please reach out for it.  You can't change the nature of the Wisteria Vine you can only change how the vine grows towards you or away.  How you respond can make all the difference . Don't be afraid to find someone to help. Take a class, find a therapist, visit your local library's self help section and most of all learn from the experience. Life's about the lessons.   I always believe when you know better you do better.   

True Crime Book Launch and Reception at the Courthouse Where it all Began

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert  Buford Weekly Illustrated April 20, 2016

Local Author Carole Townsend Launches 4th Book at the Historic Courthouse and focal point where the crime occurred.  On Thursday evening, April, 14, 2016 many of Gwinnett County’s movers and shakers including three of our Gwinnett County mayors, numerous city council members came together with many her students, friends and family met at the Gwinnett County Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville for a reception for author Carol Townsend to launch her new book, “Blood in the Soil,” A True Tale of Racism, Sex, and Murder in the South. It is estimated that about 200 people were in attendance to honor Georgia girl done good to stand in line to get their personally signed copy of her new book, which has already earned over three thousand dollars in pre-sales. Townsend who has a reputation for writing southern humor books such as Magnolias, Sweet Tea and Exhaust and Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear has changed genre’s to write a true crime drama about the infamous shooting of Larry Flint during a trail in Lawrenceville, GA  and the serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin who shot him.  Her interest in writing the book was sparked by the execution of Franklin in 2013. This true account is written from the perspective of Detective Michael Cowart and the life from childhood through his execution.

Speakers included Madam Chairmen Charlotte Nash welcoming the guests and good friend Ron Goodbub who introduced Townsend with a few personal and humorous antidotes about her. A somewhat touching part of the evening was a personal reading of a chapter from the book from Detective Michael Cowart from whose perspective the book was written.

The event was hosted by Michelle McGill Couch and Natalie Miller who brought in local sponsors, good food and some of Townsend’s students as volunteers. The d├ęcor was both interesting and entertaining including some blood stained gauze, crime tape, historical pictures and loads of bullet casings.  A special southern touch included the centerpieces of hand picked cotton arrangements.

Carole Townsend is local reporter and columnist for the Gwinnett Citizen and has appeared on CNN and FOX, ABC and CBS news, and talk shows. You can get the book in local book stores and on amazon. 

I was honored to be able to cover this event for the Buford Weekly Illustrated. Carol is both a mentor and friend.  You are an inspiration Carole. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Survivor or Walker, Who will you be?

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert  Buford Weekly Illustrated April 6, 2016
photo credit:
AMC's series The Walking dead is the number one show on television.  It's so popular that if you happen, heaven forbid to miss an episode you hold your hands over your ears close your eyes and press the scroll button on Facebook, No spoiler alerts please.  Everyone has that friend who gets a sadistic satisfaction out of being a "Spoiler"  At our house it happened entirely by accident.  I can't believe Carl got shot in the eye, What? "Carl got shot in the eye." Oops, I forgot my husband had dosed off that week.   We actually make this a family time watching it all together every Sunday evening. We got hooked season 2 fortunately, they are terrific about playing out entire seasons before the next season so we now have bragging rights that we've seen the entire show from the beginning.   There is something so real about the totally unrealistic possibility of a virus that kills the host and then brings the body back to life to eat the rest of us.  Why is it that so many of us are obsessed with this alternate reality?   Is it that survival instinct of the human race?   I do find myself wondering from time to time, what would I do?  How would my family survive?  How would we be among those bravest of the brave and wisest of the wise?   I am not really talking about surviving a zombie apocalypse.  Yet, there are emergencies everyday for people in all walks of life.  Atlanta, Snowpocalypse 2014 stranded hundreds of commuters on the Interstate, I had a relative walk miles down the road to sleep in a semi only to walk back the next day to try to get home.  Babies were locked in car seats for hours with no food, students spent the night at their school unable to get to their families and on buses and families were locked in their homes for days.  We were a community completely unprepared.   So, would I be a part of the elite walking dead survivors?  Would you?   I do realize this pondering makes me a nerd, don't judge. 

My husband and I have a little garden in the yard that seems to gets bigger every year.  We now know how to compost, grow herbs and veggies but, would that be enough?  I'd  have access have to all the books in the library.  I love to read and well where else are we going to get any knowledge once we feel the loss of the almighty Google of knowledge. Fire is a must. Matches we must have all the matches.  What would you need to survive any type of real long term emergency.   I decided to compile a list for all of us who weren't boy or girl scouts and don't have a degree in survival skills.   Top Ten Lists are always popular, my favorite number is thirteen so get your back pack and here we go:

1.Non Perishable Food

2.A radio with extra batteries or better yet one of those wind up or solar radios

3.Propane, Matches, Firewood

4.First Aid Kit

5.Flash Light with extra batteries

6.Heavy Duty Tarp to catch rain water insulates room for warmth

7.Bowie Knife

8.Hiking boots and spare socks w/ 3 days worth change of clothes


10.Pepper Spray

11.Sleeping bags

12.Personal Hygiene Items

13.Bottled Water or Gallons of water 

From Georgia's unpredictable tornado season to  the zombie apocalypse or whatever is next, it never hurts to have a plan.  I don't know about you but, what I'm not ready for is the six months of waiting to find out what beloved cast member they took from us this time.
Cindy Pitts Gilbert is a Columnist and Reporter  for Buford Weekly Illustrated and Blog. She is also the Director of Training for Know It Training in Lawrenceville, GA. She is also available for speaking engagements.