Words I “TRY” to live by!

DESIDERATA

Yes I agree. I’ve lived by this one writing most of my life, well since I found it way back in 1992 it’s called Desiderata Here is the poem.

DESIDERATA Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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Here and there…no matter where you look LIFE is NOW!

Sometimes there are days when I get up and really have to work at staying out of bed.  It has nothing to do with recent events or any particular reasons but I’m just depressed.  I guess that is how Bipolar works.  Other days I’m so hyper that I don’t let John get a word in edgewise.  No matter where I look, LIFE IS HERE AND NOW.  I’m on medications but all I see some days are just the pessimistic views about life and how it drags us down with us.  Then I go online and see something a friend has posted to me, or a funny cat picture and I smile without even realizing my day is better than when it started.

We all take things for granted, and expect those around us to be there forever and we don’t think about losing them on a daily basis.  I usually think about that every night before I go to bed.  I think to myself, my God what would I do if I lost one of my best buddies (my cats) or if something happened to John and usually shed a tear or two at the thought.

But this keeps me appreciating and praying thankfulness for the time I do have right here and now.  I try to tell myself everyday just how lucky I am to have the life I do right now, and try not to focus on the past.  But then I will get a nightmare that brings it all back to the surface.  John usually wakes up to see me sleeping sitting up.  *we couldn’t lay down in the camp even at night so Faresh and I would put our backs together and sleep sitting up leaning on each other.  Even though that was over 11 years ago I still feel safer sleeping sitting up.  This goes to show that no matter how hard we try to get on with our lives there will always be something that “pops” up to remind us of a horrific event in the past.

It is how we deal and justify these returning memories that makes us survive another day.  When John finally wakes me up, I feel so relieved that I’m in a bed next to the man I love and no one can hurt me right now.  I think that is why I have such a feeling of ‘greatfulness’ to God like I’ve never had before.   It just goes to prove that sometimes we are tested, no matter who we are, but the test is alot less stressful than the event was.  And it gives us pause to realize that all of that mourning isn’t going to waste, it is reminding us how GREAT life is NOW!  No matter what your belief system is you can’t deny the affect that God has on us.  I’m not what they refer to as a “BIBLE THUMPER” but I have a strong faith in God, and I know he was with me at that camp, as well as he is here with me now.  When I was in that camp and the night before we were going to escape, I felt someone touch my shoulder, I jerked around to see if it was a soldier and no one was there, then I heard a voice say, “Lori your going home”, and I looked all around to see if someone was mocking me and everyone was either trying to close their eyes but none were looking our way.  And I HAD NO IDEA WE WERE GOING TO ESCAPE THE NEXT NIGHT.

Whenever I feel doubt or someone into evolution tries to sway me to a LOGICAL STANDPOINT, I just tell them, we might have evolved, we might have experienced everything that the scientist say, but still SOMEONE HAD TO BE THE INITAL CREATOR FOR ANY OF THAT TO HAPPEN in the first place.  I can’t believe they don’t get it. 

Anyway I just wanted to share my thoughts for the day,  and make some of you realize that sometimes if I don’t reply positively it doesn’t mean I’m mad or sick of people, I’m just in the midst of realizing that you have two choices in life, to exist in it or live it, and I choose to LIVE IT.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL in your endeavors and remember you will be tested, and no matter what our test is it is far less than what Jesus did for our lives that we are living NOW!  :):)

My new interview with Pastor Justin Steckbauer!

Interview with Lori Foroozandeh on Being Held Prisoner in Iran

An Incredible Interview About Personal Strength and the Power of God in Times of Struggle

Justin Steckbauer

Justin Steckbauer, Yahoo! Contributor Network Jan 31, 2013 “Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here.”
I was working on my business Facebook account when I was approached by an author by the name of Lori Foroozandeh with some questions about publishing and marketing. What developed was a conversation that blew me away. She told me she had written a book about being held hostage in the country of Iran by a man she met in college. I asked her if she’d do an interview on my blog. Here is that interview. Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book. My name is Lori Foroozandeh and the book is “Lori’s Song” it is my true life story of childhood sexual abuse, substance abuse, PTSD, and living with bipolar. This all culminated with moving to Iran with my Iranian husband who turned out to be a terrorist and I didn’t know it. Once I got there the real horror began.Give us a little history on the events leading up to your move to Iran. I was in an accident in 1992, I was introduced to Vicodin then. Gradually I went from that to Morphine, Demerol, and then I met Mohammad while I was attending Northern Michigan University for nursing. He also was addicted to Vicodin but he also liked to sniff Ritalin, I was far from a saint and did my share of recreational drugs, but toghether Mohammad and I escalated to doing hard drugs such as heroin and crack. Eventually I was caught writing false prescriptions and that is when Mohammad suggested we move to Iran to start over. He was a DEA snitch so he was able to get me out of jail on bond then we took off for Iran. Mohammad had a LOT of money and at the time I had no idea he was shipping cars to Iran with weapons in them. He ran a car dealership and this is what he did. He was also a terrorist who would kill Iranian war vets for the govt. so they wouldn’t have to deal with the disabled veterans

You mentioned abuse while you were a child. Do you think that lead into drug use? I’m sure it did. When my adoptive family got me at 6 months old, I had a LOT of cigarette burns and rashes all over from not getting bathed or my diaper changed. Then when I was 10 -11 yrs. old my adoptive brother started molesting me. I emancipated myself from my family at age 15 to get married and get away from my brother.

Then you started attending Northern Michigan University? How did you meet Mohammad?  He was visiting his children from a previous marriage. Beth (his ex-wife) and I were friends before I met him, and she told me she had to go into the witness protection program to get away from her ex husband because she was afraid she would end up dead or her kids taken away. But when I met Mohammad I thought Beth must have been crazy. Mohammad found Beth because he was close to the police department (in every county due to being a snitch) and they got the information for him. I was living in family housing at the University.

Tell us about your move to Iran. I had a 13 yr. old son (Doug) when I left, and I had asked him if he wanted to go with us or stay with his dad back in the USA. He chose staying with his dad. (In hindsight I’m so GLAD HE DID). We went to NY first and Mohammad had some secret dealings with his (COUSIN) he received a LARGE sum of money and then we took a plane to Iran. When I arrived I couldn’t speak Farsi (the persian language) and his family accepted me and were kind. They even held the traditional sacrifical lamb event, and I had to step over when welcomed to their home. I was an animal lover and this bothered me. I had to keep my head and body covered with a chadora or a roose a ree which was a scarf. The chadora was a big black wrap around piece of cloth. Paradoxically though I loved Iran, I taught English to girls aged 10-21 in a school called Zabanoomazan Language Institute. I loved my students and the feeling was reciprocated. I loved the fact that no one knew my past and loved me for who I was, that was until Mohammad started beating me.

Was the culture in Iran very different from the United States? The culture in Iran is so different. First thing I learned when we arrived at the airport and they took my passport, was that I needed my husbands written permission to leave the country. Mohammad had lied to me and told me how much more Iran was modernized now. When we got into a a nice limo like car at the airport the first thing I saw was a building that said “DEATH TO AMRIKA” then I saw women who were being slapped in the face for walking too close to their husbands.

They hang women quite regularly for sins like adultery. But a man only needs two people to back his story to get his wife killed. I think they don’t want to divorce her so they kill her. I saw them hang them with contruction cranes, and they want the children to watch too. They consider “compassion” as letting the womans mother walk her to the noose and spend five minutes with her. They consider Friday their day of rest and only have that day off work. All the shops shut down in the day from 2-4 for lunch and nap time. After dinner the men go smoke opium together.
Tell us about the events leading up to your being taken hostage. I had heard rumors from Mohammad and other women that something was going to happen on 911 (they picked that date because it correlated with our signal for distress). We didn’t know what or where just that something was going to happen. I tried to call home on the 9th,10th and the morning of the 11th, and the operator said no international calls being placed at that time.
Mohammad said we had to leave the country in case something happened and the USA retaliated ( i still didn’t know what they would retaliate for) we went to the Shiraz bus station and were going to catch a bus to Istanbul then a plane to America. About ten minutes or less two convoy cattle type trucks pulled up and took me one way and Mohammad another (that was literally the last time I saw Mohammad. I was blindfolded and taken to this camp in the hills. There was a L shaped cement building which we were led thru to the outdoor camp where we were handcuffed to one other person for the entire time. We were beaten, raped and starved for six weeks, the girl I was handcuffed to was Faresh she was from Bahrain, she told me that anyone who was American or who had ties to America were being picked up. She was a younger girl and when the guards saw that after they took one of us girls to rape us we would communicate sympathy to one another when they came back by facial expressions. This angered them so they started publicly raping us because then we were too embarrassed to look each other in the eye then. Fareshes parents and brother had to watch her get puclicly raped, and eventually her brother worked something out with the guard (I have no idea what but they were from a rich family) and one night we were finally going home. I told you what happened the night before we left. When we got out of the camp there were two men waiting to help us get back to Shiraz where I went to Ostandary (a place for foreigners in trouble) there is no embassy in Iran so they flew me to Dubai and then home.
When I got home I weighed 70 pounds, my teeth were knocked out, and I had suffered traumatic brain injury. But once I got home I didn’t care anymore started doing drugs again, stripping, and you name it I did it. Then I met John my true knight in shining armor. He sold his John Deere dealership to stay home and take care of me. I got clean in 2008 and have been ever since. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2005 and am on meds that help tremendously. Is that it? I’m sorry still emotional after 12 years you’d think I would be less emotional but I’m not. I have a few more questions, but we can postpone. Oh OK go ahead we might as well wrap this up.You mentioned when we were talking earlier that you heard the voice of God just before you escaped. What was that like? When I felt the tap on my shoulder I turned around thinking someone was coming to take me away and beat or rape me again, but no one was there, then I heard a low clear voice tell me “Lori your going home” and I just felt warm and content for one moment. But I had no idea we were going home and the next night we were on our way.

So you got back and things didn’t go well at first like you said. Then you decided to write a book about the things that happened. Why? I kept being told that I should write a book about it, that it’s cathartic, it would take my mind off other things, yeah right I thought. So I sat down and started typing and for three months didn’t stop. I never have read my book from cover to cover because I’m scared to, but I let John proof read it for me chapter by chapter then I submitted it to a literary agent who edited the grammar and spelling. Then I self publbished. I really don’t know if it has helped me by writing it, but others tell me it has helped them (which is great). Everytime someone contacts me to speak or do a signing or something else, I have to embrace the whole book again and the nightmares come back and the flashbacks. Luckily my seizures have been few and far between though.

I love the title. How did you come up with it? A movie a long time ago called Brian’s Song it had James Caan I think in it, it was about a football player who got cancer and his struggles with life. I just loved that movie so it was after that.

Is there a message in the book you want to get across to readers? Yes you can overcome anything if you try. Don’t fall into a pattern like I did when I first got back from Iran, just focusing on all the pathetic things that have happened to you, that is the easy way out. Rise above that and be wise and break away from the crowd by turning your tragedy into a lesson learned and help to others when they are down on their luck. Portions of my book sales go to Amnesty International, The humane society, my drug addiction hospital and Henry Ford Hospital which has treated me since 2005. Thank you Justin for allowing me to tell my story, your a good man and on the right path to being a pastor.
When we first started talking you mentioned being interviewed on the Discovery Channel. What was that like? Was there any political or media response to what happened to you? The Discovery Channel (Fit and Health) did a mini documentary on me regarding my story. Even though a few facts were minimized if not wrong, they overall did a good job. I haven’t heard that there were ANY RESPONSES from that interview. Which I think is weird. I’m the third story in a series of three. This was aired on Dec. 27th 2012. The interview was nerve testing for sure.
Thank you so much for the interview. Your story is truly inspiring. What’s your life like now? I’m very happy now with the love of my life. I wish everyone well and never give up in the face of adversity. We have two choices in life to LIVE it or EXIST in it, I choose to LIVE it, and I hope you do too. I also have a blog that list all the links to stories or interviews regarding my book on the right of the page. www.lorissong.com

Miki Peluso, fellow blogger and author’s interview

There are times when we long to escape aliens and vampires and come back to reality. We find a quiet place to sit, open our book and begin to read a true, emotional, uplifting story that many of us can only try and identify with. Such is Micki Peluso’s “And The Whippoorwill Sang.”

With America being overwhelmed with the stories of children who leave this world much too early, at times we forget about the family they left behind. .

No matter how hard we try, until it happens to us, we cannot know the grief, the pain, or the overwhelming loss a parent or sibling feels.

Married to her high school sweetheart, with six, healthy, happy children; a drunk driver will change Micki Peluso’s family forever. In between two heart attacks and a memory loss, “And The Whippoorwill Sang,” took over twenty-nine years to complete.  Micki Peluso, however, never forgot her promise; the pledge she made to her fourteen-year-old daughter, Noelle, before her daughter passed on.

​Light a fire in the fireplace or, if you live in a warm climate, go out on your deck with Micki’s book and be prepared to laugh so hard you cry and cry so hard it hurts.

“And The Whippoorwill Sang” is a story about a family; a family that did everything right; a family that, like so many, didn’t deserve to lose a daughter and a sister.  Yet through the strong bond of the Peluso family, Micki’s promise to Noelle became a story that will live on forever.

Welcome, Author Micki Peluso to People Like Us!

Kimberly:  Please tell us about yourself.

Ms. Peluso:  I was born in North Carolina, moved to Texas, then to Easton, Pennsylvania where I grew up in the suburbs. I married my high school sweetheart, Butch, eloped in a crazy double ceremony with my own mother and moved to Long Island, New York. I knew it was a stupid thing to do, but my parents had recently divorced, my plans for college were dashed, and I felt backed into a corner. Since I was about to graduate high school, we kept the marriage a secret — we were so afraid of me becoming pregnant that we kept a platonic relationship for four months. Good thing — first night of passion — pregnant. I was living with a friend and Butch lived at home. Telling his Italian Catholic parents that their son married a feisty Scottish Baptist was all we expected and more. I moved into Butch’s home and, was coerced into taking lessons from a young priest. Rumors had it that after counseling me he was sent to a rest home for frazzled priests —a just reward, I thought.

We had six children almost two years apart and it was a wonderful, hectic time, but I was alone a lot with no one to talk to that was more than 3 feet tall. We moved west to Las Vegas in a camper resembling the “Beverly Hillbillies”, due to the drug situation in New York. Work was difficult to find for my restaurant manager husband, so we limped back east and settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a safe place, we thought, to raise children. Time would quickly prove us wrong.

Kimberly:  Tell us about your career as a writer..

Ms. Peluso: I actually loved to write from the time I was five and crayoned my Raggedy Ann doll’s face – making some sort of statement, I suppose. I wrote my first poem in fifth grade and it had perfect meter. I loved writing book reports, essays and stories all through high school. I was writing ala Erma Bombeck, at the same time she was, except she got famous and I got honorariums. I put writing aside with so many kids, but did keep journals and blogs of their comical antics and our two trips out west. Butch was like the father in “The Sound of Music”, and made them toe the line like a Drill Instructor. Our “vacation” driving west was worth everything to see Butch struggle trying to make things go perfectly when Murphy’s Law was always one step ahead of him. I never let him see me grin.

I began writing again after losing one of my six children to a DWI vehicular homicide, as a catharsis for my grief. This led to a first-time publication in “Victimology: An international journal” and a 25 year career in journalism. I have published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in colleges, magazines, contests and e-zines. My first book was published in 2008 and reissued as a second edition in 3/2012: a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called . . . “And the Whippoorwill Sang.” Writing saved my sanity since I was unable to handle my deep sorrow through any other avenue.

Kimberly: Do you remember an ‘aha’ moment in your career that you knew you were an author?  Was there an article  you wrote, or a short story that turned a passion into a career?

Ms. Peluso; There were several: the first was when I wrote a short story of the DWI tragedy costing my 14-year-old daughter’s life and changing our family forever. The next was when I made an attempt to write fiction. My oldest daughter, Kim, then grown, insisted I write about her dad’s constant objections to my house plants. I said it was impossible to do and began writing to prove it. Somehow a muse took over and “For the Love of Houseplants”, a killer plants horror story, was published first time out in a large woman’s newspaper giving me my first big sale of $100. But when I really knew I was an author was when my book appeared on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. I remember holding the original first copy in my hands – and I cried.

Kimberly:  Tell us about your book “And the Whippoorwill Sang.”

Ms. Peluso:  “And the Whippoorwill Sang” is a funny, poignant, sad true story of one family’s journey through grief to the other side of sorrow. It had to be a celebration of life rather than a eulogy of death. I did not plan on writing it, it planned on me writing it. It seemed the only way I could keep my promise to my child whose spinal cord was severed, leaving her on the with an intact mind, ears that could hear and eyes that kept darting around searching for me; I think she could see me vaguely. When I saw tears roll down her face it was then I vowed to make her story known to the world in honor of her life, and to prevent others from her fate.

Kimberly:  Your book is a memoir; something you lived through.  Would you share the difference between writing fiction and writing a memoir?

Ms. Peluso: Basically I write non-fiction, essays, commentaries, journalistic analogy, and slice of life humor and pathos. I was determined to learn to write fiction by teaching myself to write in all genres except screenwriting. I started by using writing prompts and went on to publish many short fiction stories. In fiction it’s difficult for me to identify with imaginary characters, but writing a non-fiction story of my own family just came naturally. My memoir is different in that it is filled with dialogue and descriptions, not an “about me’ book.

Kimberly: The inspiration for your book was a tragedy.  How do you work through the process of going forward?

Ms. Peluso: Writing my book was twofold; it was a deathbed promise kept, and I thought it would, after so many years, bring closure. Bringing Noelle back to life was a delight. There were 20 years between when I started to write, and then continued, due to a trauma-caused memory block covering the five years before the tragedy. Once that broke, I wrote the second half, surrounded by paranormal events. A whippoorwill, like the one in the book, an elusive nocturnal bird, would sit outside by my open door on the late-summer nights leading to the end of the book. From dusk until midnight I wrote and the bird sang its sad song of summer’s loss — then left the night I wrote, “The End”. Yet instead of closure, I felt that I had lost my daughter once again.

Kimberly: Did you start writing your book and not stop until it was finished?  If not, what were the pitfalls?

Ms. Peluso: After the memory block receded I finished the second half of the book in six months. I wrote my story in present tense, starting from the ICU waiting room, going back in my mind to the beginning of our lives. Eventually the past merged into the present. When the children were told of the death of their sister, they all went crazy. Their father had pulled all distributor caps from the cars of all those who drove. I wondered why but didn’t care. All those who drove ran for their cars and I stood amazed at the pandemonium. After the funeral, none of us could speak of it. Butch never said her name for five years and seldom does to this day. Kelly became suicidal, bulimic and locked herself in her room. She was the closest to Noelle. Dante raced his car in the hopes of dying too. Michael, the older brother had to be held back from heading to the home of the drunk driver. The oldest, Kimber, could not bear our grief and retreated to her apartment. The youngest, Nicole, suffered panic attacks and anxiety. After screaming at God for taking my child, I began to write . . . and write.

Kimberly:   Do you feel that the loss of your daughter changed your life?  In what ways?

Ms. Peluso:  My life and the life of my family were forever changed on that sunny summer day when a drunk driver destroyed the life of a beautiful, funny girl who was the light of our lives. Our loss made us all aware of the fragility and brevity of life, but it was hard to continue enjoying a life without Noelle. I continue to fulfill my promise to her and will until the day I drop.

Kimberly:  Tell us about children and husband and how they worked through losing a sister and daughter?  What are they doing today?

Ms. Peluso:  Today my children are grown, successful, with children of their own. Butch still cannot read my book and never will. Paranormal events continue to surround us especially where my grandchildren are concerned. Kim’s first child, Ian, was born two years after Noelle’s death on the same day. I felt it was Noelle’s legacy of love to help us celebrate that day rather than grieve. At two years old, Ian said to his mom that when “I grow up and become Noelle the truck will miss me”. At 14, the age Noelle died, he was in Rome with his grandma and in a narrow alley; a car with a wide rearview mirror missed him by inches. Dante’s wife felt her son, Mac, jump in her womb on Noelle’s death date. Nicole’s first son Nicholas told his mother that Noelle was in the room. It was her birthday. Kelly’s second son, Brandon, saw Noelle many times– once in the front seat of the car next to his mother. He said at four years old that he could not see her at Christmas because the skies were filled with so many angels. As I lay dying from back-to-back heart attacks, 15 years after her death, Noelle came to her dad, smiled and gave him a thumbs up – I lived. My publisher out of respect for Noelle released the book on the day she died, but what she didn’t know was that the time it went to print was the exact hour and minute that Noelle left us.

Kimberly: Is there another novel in the works? Tell us about it and when it will be published.

Ms. Peluso:  At present, I’m working on putting together a collection of my short stories, slice of life, journalistic commentary and essays, into a book called, “Heartbeats . . . Slices of life” will be released sometime in 2013

Click on te book to buy it

Fellow bloggers….a category for you!

Fellow bloggers and friends, I’d like to start a category for all my friends and bloggers who might have something important to say.  Not saying that EVERYTHING you say is important.  But when it is something you urge to be shared or if it touches me in that way that only some things can, I will re-post your blog entry or award here.  If you go to the categories I will add “BLOGGERS & FRIENDS”.

The first addition to the new category is Micki Peluso’s  recent interview.

I hope we all utilize this category to the best of it’s ability and share those things that are really IMPORTANT to get out and/or something that just needs to be said somewhere else besides on your blog.  I thank you and I hope this is a good idea.

Lori