Out with the old…

Well, thank God that’s over! 2012 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had in my life and in truth, I’m surprised I was able to accomplish anything with all of the chaos that surrounded me for most of the year.  But, with God’s help, I finished a degree in Religion and my sixth book in the Rona Shively Stories series.  So, there was some productivity tucked in there, though it was often difficult to discern from the outside.  In any case, I’m looking forward to 2013 and I’ve already got several ideas for projects I’d like to finish by this time next year.  With the release of Thy Will Be Done just around the corner, I’m already working on the next Rona book and I’m loving this storyline already.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Rona has some exciting things happening in Thy Will Be Done and the fun won’t stop there.  I’m also working on a couple of other writing projects that I’m not yet ready to talk about, but will share soon.

One thing I’m going to concentrate more on next year is having more speaking events.  I’ve got a great new workshop planned that I’m hoping to launch after the first of the year.  I’ll be approaching libraries to see who would like to host a workshop, so keep watching for upcoming events!  Aside from that, I still want to find more ways to help women overcome barriers to personal growth.  I’ll be looking for opportunities to work with women to help them achieve success and all proceeds from the Rona Shively books go toward Higher Ground Ministries efforts to promote women’s empowerment.  More information about the activities planned for Higher Ground will be posted on the Higher Ground website later this week.

I sincerely appreciate those of you who support me in these efforts and those who actually enjoy reading the Rona Shively series.  She’s still got a few adventures to experience and I’m hoping you enjoy every one of them.  If you’re out tonight, please be safe and have a Happy New Year.  May 2013 bring you many blessings and a spirit of peace and abundance.  God bless!

Until next time…

Don’t forget to check out the changes to Benston Writes!


Trick, Tramp, Skank or Slut?

Sorry to put it out there like that, but the topic of my discussion today is going to have to be about women who can’t seem to figure this out. I’ve run into lots of men in my day. I’ve dated a few, loved a couple and even married one. I’ve never been able to understand why it is so easy for a man to stray from the woman he says he loves. It occurred to me that the fault is not entirely that of the man. Though I like to believe that each of us is responsible for our own actions, I have to admit that if there are women out there who are more than willing to offer themselves up as some kind of prize to a man who is teetering on the edge of commitment then they are just as responsible for the behavior as the man who engages in it. And well, those women need to be slapped.

I believe in lifting women up and helping them to achieve their higher potential, but if the woman is so determined to get what she wants that she has no boundaries or respect for what another woman already has, then she doesn’t deserve to be lifted up. These women just don’t seem to care. They look for any and every excuse to justify their behavior.

“Well, if he could be that easily persuaded, then he didn’t love her anyway.” No, if he could be that easily persuaded it just means he’s a douchebag and that she will eventually need to get rid of him. It isn’t your job to be a catalyst. Get your own.

“But he loves me and he’s just staying with her because he doesn’t know how to let her down.” No, he doesn’t love you, skank. He’s just getting what he can get from you until you either move onto the next one or he finds another one of you to add to his lineup.

“She must not be doing her job as a ‘wife, girlfriend, significant other’ or he wouldn’t be looking for something else.” You know, sometimes men just look to be looking. She could be doing everything right even to the point that she’s given up on her own dreams to keep his fulfilled (and that’s usually the case). It is definitely not your place to determine what she may or may not be doing for him. He doesn’t belong to you. You don’t know the situation, you only know what he is telling you and I’ve got news for you, if he’s cheating, he’s also lying and he doesn’t give a damn whether or not he tells you or anyone else the truth.

“She’s let herself go, how can you expect him not to think I’m more attractive?” Beg pardon, trick. No. This is certainly not your call. If she has let herself go, it is probably because he has put her through hell and she’s given up on trying to make herself look good because he didn’t appreciate her when she did. Spend some more time with him and see how you look.

When I was single and out being stupid, I tried to be careful who I spent my time with. Sometimes a man is up front with his status and sometimes he tries to hide it. It used to burn me up to see the same married man out having dinner with his wife in the early evening and then see that same man hugged up with some tramp at the bar later that night. At the time, I didn’t know how to approach it. I thought, “It’s none of my business.” Well, in a way, it should have been my business. I should have said something to them. I knew both of them, not well, but probably well enough to point out that what they were doing was absolutely messed up. It didn’t really hit me until I got married that it would have been nice if I’d had the gumption to speak up. If more people publicly frowned on the behavior, then maybe it wouldn’t happen so often. Wishful thinking, but you never know.

There might have been something to that whole scarlet letter thing. If all the tramps, skanks, and low-down dirty cheaters had to wear a big red letter on their clothing, wouldn’t that be helpful to those of us who are trying to do things the right way? The bottom line is that if he isn’t yours, don’t look at him, don’t touch him, don’t think that he’s just passing the time with his wife until you pop onto the scene ready to satisfy his every desire. No, he’s not been waiting for you. If he was waiting for you, he’d have waited, ho. See, that’s how it works. If someone is waiting on you, they wait. They don’t just take an eleven-year detour and stop off to have a wife and kids while they await your arrival. Funny how that works.

So today’s lesson for all the tricks, tramps, skanks and sluts out there is that we must first look for a wedding ring. Second, we ask the question, “Are you married or living with a steady girlfriend or otherwise engaged?” Third, we make the decision whether or not we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Fourth, we think better of ourselves and of other women than to try and settle down with someone who has already been pretending to be settled down with someone else. This is easy. Give it a shot.

Until next time.

Subscribe to Benston Blogs by Email

Rona’s Vision of Love…

In my last post, I talked about the importance of knowing what you want in a partner. I even threatened to have Rona come up with her own list of qualities she was looking for in a mate. Well, here it is. Rona and I sat down last week and went over some of the things that have been plaguing her relationships all these years. I asked her, (just play along), if she could list all of the traits she would want in a life partner, what would they be? Her answers were as follows:

Rona’s Personal Vision of Love

He would have to like the same television shows I like…and more importantly to hate the same ones I hate.

He would need to be somewhat affectionate, but not smothering.

He would need to understand that my rear end does not need to be swatted simply because it enters his vicinity.

He would need to like most of the same music that I like…and as with television, hate the same music I hate.

He would need to be somewhat adventurous. Note, adventurous has nothing to do with being open to playing a different video game than you’re used to playing. For God’s sake, get off the damned couch.

He would need to be ambitious enough to look for ways to improve himself without my constant prodding.

He would need to be fairly self-sufficient, at least to the degree that I am.

He would need to actually talk and listen when we are trying to have a conversation. It would be nice to feel as though speaking with one another and enjoying it was an option.

He would need to understand that I am not prone to sitting back and relaxing. I like to be busy and I like to be doing something that means something. Oh, and it would be nice if he were somewhat interested in doing something meaningful as well.

He would need to be at least as intelligent as I am. I’m no genius, but I really hate spelling things out for people. It tends to dampen my mood when I have to explain something simple to a grown person.

Lastly, he would need to understand that I am nobody’s mother. Especially not his.

Whew! Well, I’d like to say that Rona is on the right track with this, and I guess, she might be. At least she knows what she wants. In my latest Rona Shively book, This Side Up, Rona is struggling with some serious relationship anxiety. After reading the book, let me know if you think she might be on the right track with her list or if she should just hang it up altogether. You can buy the book at my website or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Subscribe to Benston Blogs by Email

She’s baaaack! And she’s hoppin’ mad!

Hello, all. Sorry I’ve been away for a while. I’ve been struggling with several things including a rather nasty bout with morning sickness. I simply haven’t had access to my brain cells for the past few weeks. Thankfully, a glimmer of coherence has presented itself and I’ve decided to give blogging another shot.

Yes, you heard right. Although I didn’t really want to say much about this until we’re sure everything is ok, I’m expecting our second child in late September. We’ve had some problems in the past with miscarriages and so forth, so please keep us in your thoughts as we pray for a healthy baby to join us this fall.

Today, I have a few things to say about the election. Like everyone else, I was all geared up to get out and vote for my candidate, Hillary Clinton. I was extremely disgusted to find out that my registration, which I filled out sometime last year was never turned in to the Board of Elections. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this until it was too late to do anything about it. And so, I couldn’t vote today. Talk about pissed. I’m sure there was steam rolling out of my ears. In fact, there might still be a little puff coming out here and there.

This discovery led me to wonder how many others had the same problem. It almost has me a little paranoid. Did someone lose it on purpose? Was the booth I registered at plagued by crazy, little Republican trolls who sought out my registration form and tucked it away, never to be seen again by the BOE? Who knows? All I know is that I made it a point to register early so that I would be ready and here I sit unable to vote. This was a big day for women to get out there and make their statement. We need Hillary in the White House. She’s been there before and if the truth is known, she’s responsible for much of the good that came out of the Clinton administration. I’m a big fan of Bill Clinton, but we all know that behind every good man, there’s an even better woman. 😉

Since I can’t vote today, I figure the least I can do is to state my position here on the blog. Ladies, it’s time to get Hillary back into the White House. We need this. Women have been taken for granted for too long and it is definitely our time to shine. We have a highly qualified, intelligent, motivated woman who can do this country some real good and we need to show her our support. I have filled out my new registration form and will be mailing it today. I will also be calling the BOE every month to make sure that they have me on the list. I’ll not miss another opportunity to vote. I just hope that I’m voting for the first female president when I go. If you haven’t already, get out and vote for Hillary. If not for yourself, do it for our daughters.

Until next time…

My better half…

This one’s for all the ladies whose husbands or boyfriends just have to go out and chase the animals this time of year. Though I don’t understand it, I know it’s probably good for them and for us to have this little break.

I don’t often talk about my husband here on my blog but I felt it was time to acknowledge his presence. For the first time in years, my husband has gone away on a hunting trip. He left a couple of days ago and will be back this evening. This was alot harder for me than I thought it would be. Not only did I have to keep up with all of the household demands by myself, I really did miss him. We’ve been married almost eight years and he’s only gone away one other time. He’s been around for so long that I guess I often take him for granted. Being away from him for a few days has given me a true appreciation of what it means to be part of a couple.

It means having someone to tell you that you forgot to lock the doors at night. It means having someone to take out the trash. It means having one more pair of eyes to look after your child when you’re busy doing everything else. It means having someone to get that oil change that you’ve put off for months while you take care of the grocery shopping. It means having someone who will tell you if the Christmas tree looks ok after you put it together. It means having someone hang pictures for you so that your house isn’t decorated at eye level. It means having someone to bounce your ideas off of when you have a bad case of writer’s block. It means having someone around who can reach the stuff on the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard. It means having someone around to drink the other half of that pot of coffee in the morning. It means having someone around to answer the phone when you don’t feel like talking. It means having someone to blame your PMS on. It means having an extra pair of hands to carry in library books. It means having one more kiss at bedtime and one more hug when you leave the house. It means more than I usually think about.

I know others who have gone through divorce and I have felt awful for them because I can’t imagine how terrible that must be. Though I often grumble about him, he is the greatest guy I know and I can’t imagine how life would be without him. Anyone who could put up with me and my moods for eight long years has to be something special. I may not be happy to see the ten-point buck he’s bringing back, but I know that I’ll be glad to see my sweetheart when he finally gets back tonight.

Until next time…

Guest Blogger: Tylar Drake!!!

When Tylar Drake was seventeen she decided to write a fiction novel. She convinced her parents to let her take her senior year of high school by correspondence, so she could have more free time to concentrate on her writing. The book entitled; Her Ghost, over the years, was reworked for different publishers and grant programs and ended up becoming the first novel of a planned mystery/suspense series. Though all prospective interest fell through at the last possible moments a new project was born called The Other Side: The Bleeding Door. Over the last year, after coming in contact with a film producer in Philadelphia, she was convinced to ditch the book and turn it into a series for television, which is currently being considered by HBO.

Currently Drake is researching her next project a thriller about the most horrifying thing that could ever happened to a human being.

Thanks to Tylar for being my first guest blogger!

From: Tylar Drake

I want to start by thanking Rebecca for having me on as a guest blogger. I think this might be quite interesting.

So at the beginning of August I was watching an episode of Dateline, trying my best to sort through a terrible case of writers block. I’d been working on this new project for months with no forward movement, when they aired a story about an uncle who got a phone call from his niece in the Philippines asking for him to come and get her. See full story here.

So now you say. Well so what!?! It happened to a girl thousands of miles away, poor and desperate to make something better for herself and her family. But imagine this dirty ghetto in the Philippines. You are the young woman walking home from school, dreaming of a better life, a life where you can attain your dreams of modeling and acting and where you can perhaps make some money for your family. Suddenly you are stopped by a beautiful woman who asks you if you’ve ever modeled. Your smile brightens. She gives you a business card. From there she asks to move, where you will attend a modeling and acting school, where all of your needs will be taken care of, only thing is you need to sign a contract saying that you will eventually repay off expenses once you begin working.

Now imagine that you’re an upper middle class, educated, white American girl with the same dream. You sign the contract. You board a plane and fly out of the country towards the promise of achieving success and fame. You have just been trafficked.
This is the misconception that allows these piranhas to kidnap and prostitute young women and men all over the world, that it only happens to people who are naïve and uneducated. But look at the stats, last year alone nearly a million people were trafficked world wide, 17, 500 of those crossed through American borders.

As a people where have we failed each other to allow individuals to get away with selling another for money, whether it be the sex trade or the labor trade? What would you do if someone you knew was taken with false promises and forced into a life of slavery? Would you not do anything in your power to get them back? Why as fellow human beings have we decided that this problem is not our problem unless it affects us personally? Isn’t a life, any life, worth saving?

Waiting for a towel to dry…

It’s amazing how many things go through your mind when you are waiting for your laundry to be done. I’m sitting here at the computer while the dryer is finally finishing a load of towels. Over the course of the last fifteen minutes or so, I’ve thought of at least fifteen different things I need to get done today. Aside from doing laundry, I need to take some library books back, clean up my house, go to the grocery store, get clothes ready for tomorrow morning, pay some bills, balance my checkbook, write the rest of a short story I’m working on, work on my website, pay attention to my daughter, exercise, visit my mother, and God knows what else… One of the things on my list was to write something here, so I guess I can cross that one off the list. The point is, no matter what I get done in a day, the heads keep growing back. Granted, I create some things for myself to do so that I can continue to feel like my life has a purpose. But there are other forces at work that create the rest.

How much of what we do is generated solely from our need to stay busy? How much of that need to stay busy or productive comes from simply being a female? I think women fall into this cycle much of the time because we are expected to keep things going. To make things “comfortable” for the people in our lives. Even if we have a really great husband or boyfriend who actually cooks or cleans, there is a degree of guilt attached whenever we don’t do the little things. I am by no means domestically inclined, yet I still feel the nagging sense that I need to prove my worth in this area. Look how good I am at keeping house, folding clothes, washing dishes, etc. Even though I hate housework and feel that it isn’t extremely important in the grand scheme of things, I still feel inadequate when I don’t do enough of it. This is some bullshit that is hardwired from years of listening to a grandmother who felt that “a woman’s place was in the home.”

I guess it was this kind of coaching that ultimately led me to become a feminist. I wasn’t sure that I was one before, but over the last several years, it has become clear that I believe in the power of women to achieve nearly anything. I believe that women should work together to make this world a better place and that we should use our strengths to help make other women stronger. So, as I sit here, waiting for my laundry to dry, I think about all of the things that I can do to make a positive impact on the world today. What can I do while waiting for my towels to dry? It’s hard to say for sure, but I hope that blogs such as this one are a step in the right direction. I found this quote over at http://www.feminist.com and thought it would work nicely here:

“In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: either she’s a feminist or a masochist.”
—Gloria Steinem

Now we just have to ask ourselves, which one will I be today?

Until next time…

If a tree falls in the woods…

is anyone reading this blog? I sometimes get the feeling that I’m all alone out here. Although I’m sure that there are others who feel the same way, it unnerves me somehow. I’m at that point in the writing process where I’m wondering what it all means. I’m in the middle of writing the third installment of the Rona Shively series and I’m working doggedly to promote the first two books as well as that little-known Amazon Short I wrote a few months back. Every other day or so, I write a little and then start to think, “Is anyone going to want to read this?” Self-doubt is not the author’s best friend, although she is a constant companion. At least for me.

I’m also attempting to write a non-fiction book on Women’s Self-Esteem issues. This project has been brewing for some time now, but only recently was I able to start getting together some real data. A subject that is close to my heart, self-esteem is something I’ve always wanted to write about. I’ve tried to give my Rona Shively character a degree of self-esteem that helps her to cope with some of the crap she has to deal with and in doing so, I hope that has made her seem more like someone that readers feel close to. After all, we all have struggles and how we deal with them has a great deal to do with how much self-esteem we have. Rona is alot like me. Although I have some issues, I still try to be confident and to bolster myself with the knowledge that I have done a few good things and that I shouldn’t feel badly about myself.

The non-fiction book will be based on a collection of ideas gathered from survey participants. So far, the information I’m getting is great! I’m excited about the insights being provided by the participants. I think this is going to be a wonderful project once it is completed. I’ll go ahead and say it here, I’m still looking for more women who would be willing to participate in this study. It wouldn’t hurt to have at least ten more. If you’re interested, please e-mail me. If you need more information about the project, I’ve been working on a networking website for this one. You can find it at http://www.2higherground.ning.com. Even if you don’t want to be one of the study participants, you can always join the NING group. I’m hoping we can share lots of advice and support at the site.

That’s what’s cooking today. Until next time…

Give up the funk!

This is what I keep telling myself. I am in a funk about turning 35 on Friday. I can’t seem to shake this terrible feeling that I’m at a major turning point in my life. Right now, I’m as happy as I could probably be. I have everything I need, though it wouldn’t hurt to have more money. Of course, even when I had more money, it would have been nice to have more than that. I’m not even sure what good it would do. After all, the more you have, the more you spend.

In any case, turning 35 has me worried. I’ve been a worrier all my life, but now, I am a little overwhelmed with it. I’ve been reflecting alot lately on what else I have to offer. I’m past the age where I feel I can safely or sanely have more children. I’ve finished school a couple of times and they simply will not let me borrow more money to do something different. I’ve written two books and am now working on a third. I’ve been on a plane, I’ve traveled a little, I’ve even met Jerry Springer. What else is there?

Well, there used to be a very long list of things I wanted to do, but it has since been replaced by only one goal: living to see my daughter grow up safely and helping her get through life. Outside of that, everything seems trivial. Perhaps this is a temporary funk. I hope so, at least. There are still some things I would like to do, I just need to give myself permission to want them again. Once life gets rolling, it’s hard to stop the train of guilt and obligation from running you down.

I think what I’ll do is this: Stop worrying! Shit, it’s bound to pass. After Friday, I’ll still be the same crazy chic that wrote this post. I’ll just have a new number attached to myself. Who cares, really? I still have my sense of humor. Actually, on Friday, I think I will make up a new list of things I want to do with the next thirty years. Seems like a worthwhile project for someone who’s having a bit of a crisis. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Until next time…

Slowing Down

I think the hardest thing for me to do is to slow myself down and enjoy life. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to back off from taking on too many projects and now that I’ve phased some things out, I’m going a little nuts. I get to a point where I just need to have something going on. While most people seem to enjoy the sounds of silence, it makes me feel as though I should be in a rubber room somewhere.

The point of my slowing down was to allow me to enjoy the time I have with my little girl before she has to go to school. I have a couple of years, but I wanted to make the most of the time. When I had my little girl, I was a very different person. I wanted to get to the top of that career ladder and teeter there on the brink of insanity for the next thirty years. Now, I find it hard to even prop the ladder against a wall. It’s funny how our priorities change once we become parents. I know I never would have dreamed that I would leave a prestigious position with a well-known organization to stay at home and be a mom. But for me, the mommy gene and the corporate career gene simply aren’t able to coexist.

So, I sit here every morning making my rounds on the internet. Before she wakes up, I check e-mail, update websites, update blogs, look for interesting stuff, check the obituaries to make sure I haven’t passed on, and then I think about all of the things I used to get done before 9 a.m. when I had a “real job.” I can’t believe I ever put myself through that. Now, when my daughter wakes up, I’m here and she doesn’t feel pressured by my hurrying to get her to a babysitter. It has made a significant change in her. One that is worth at least giving up a relatively large salary. She’s happy, she’s having fun and I think she feels more secure.

I’m approaching my thirty-fifth birthday and it has become clear to me over the last few years that life is much more than how much you can bring home on your paycheck. If you can’t get something more from the work you are doing than simply cash rewards, then it probably isn’t even worth doing. I feel more fulfilled at this point in my life than I ever did before. Although it scares me to slow down, I am comforted by the knowledge that it has made a very positive impact on my daughter. She sees that she is more important to me than anything else and that it is possible to choose a path that fits what is in your heart.

Until next time…