Team Brittany.

This face is one of the thousands of reasons we RELAY.
This face is one of the thousands of reasons we RELAY.

See this beautiful girl? She is the face of cancer. Spindle Cell Sarcoma—a horrible cancer that ended her life way too soon. Brittany Richardson was a 17-year-old girl who lived in a small town in Southern Illinois. She was like every other girl her age, except she fought for her life every single day for the past two years. She endured pain, loosing her hair, being poked and prodded by Doctors; but she always smiled. Just read the comments on her Facebook page and feel the love this community had for this wonderful young woman. R.I.P. Brittany Richardson.

Here’s her obituary from The Carmi Times:

Brittany P. Richardson, 17, of Norris City and formerly of New Haven, gained her wings after long battle with cancer on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at her home surrounded by her family.

Brittany P. Richardson, 17, of Norris City and formerly of New Haven, gained her wings after a long battle with cancer on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at her home surrounded by her family. Brittany was born in Evansville, Indiana on November 28, 1997 to her loving parents, Kevin and Tina (Fals) Richardson. Growing up she was always loving, caring and compassionate child. She attended Gallatin County School and was faithful member of the Crossroads Bible Church in Norris City. Even before her sickness she was a special person always caring for others, and when her life changed due to this she only became more special—always positive, always caring about others and mostly wanting everyone to know about God. Her contagious smile and witty and serious sayings would captivate you. If anyone ever lived her testimony it was Brittany. Peace became her by word and symbol, how ironic that is, as this world needs Peace so much right now. Brittany was a wonderful daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend. Gone but never forgotten. Peace Brittany!

Brittany is survived by her parents, Kevin an Tina (Fals) Richardson of Norris City, a brother, Clinton Richardson of Norris City, maternal grandparents, Steve and Sheila Fals of Cottonwood, IL, paternal grandparents, Jim and Kay Richardson of New Haven, IL. Great Grandparents, Nancy Fals and Janice Gross. Many uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.

Visitation for Brittany will be on Saturday, December 27, 2014 at the Crossroads Bible Church in Norris City from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Her funeral service will immediately follow at the church starting at 1:00 PM. Rev. Chad Everett will officiate and interment will follow in the Union Ridge Cemetery near New Haven. Cox & Son Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements. In lieu of flowers the family ask donations be made the Riley’s Childrens Hospital in Indianapolis, in her memory.

Envelopes will be available at the church. You may leave note of comfort to the family at

To Be Determined, Part 01.

(This is a work in progress by my beautiful friend Misty. She hasn’t really figured out where to go with it, but I think it has the makings for a great story and I can’t wait to see where she takes it. -Julie)


Once upon a time—wait hold on, this is no freaking fairy tale. Hell, it might not even be a good story but, I am not writing this for you. This one is for me.

My name is Misty. I live in a small, country, wanna be gangster, drug-induced town called Harrisburg. Some say “you will always come back,” I say “kind of creepy.”

Harrisburg is a southern town with a mix of all kinds.

First there are the rednecks. They are the deer huntin’, big truck muddin’, “you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands” kind of people. These are also the hard working, get shit done, been working since they were 9 years old folks.

Then there are the wanna be “gangstas”. Their pants are saggin’ and their mouths are running. They dream of a “gangsta knot” in their pocket, but for now it’s just a bunch of $1’s with a $20 wrapped on the outside. Harrisburg is their hood, ghetto, their Chicago or Watts, although they have probably never been to either place. They talk about “running up on people”, when in reality the only thing they are “running up” is their parents’ and baby mamma’s bills. News flash, this is not Chicago, it’s just little ole’ Harrisburg, Illinois.

Let’s not forget the God-loving Christians. Of all social classes, this is the one I dislike the most. These are the holier-than-thou, bible thumping, religion pushing, “if you don’t follow who we follow then you are going to HELL” crowd. They dance with the Devil on Saturday and sing with the Saints on Sunday—AMEN! I guess I my attitude was molded because I was shoveled this shit since I came into this world. Not to mention, I was born out of wedlock; born of sin, they say—but of course not to my face.

Don’t forget the drug crowd. Pills, meth, crack, heroin—you name it, Harrisburg has it. Addicts stay where they can find the shit, so they aren’t leaving soon. Don’t let them get caught by the police. They will handcuff themselves, jump in the back of the squad car just so they can get to jail faster than their buddy so they can tell on the other first. Drugs have killed more people in this town than the gangstas toting gats. Drugs have also made more people turn against each other than religion. That is quite an accomplishment considering more people in the world have been killed in the name of God than any other act of violence known to man.

Let’s just say in this small town everybody knows everybody, and everybody’s business, or at least think they do. People around here are cool face to face, but as soon as you are out of ear hustling distance you are just the next victim on the social chopping block.

Who are you?

Curiosity may kill this cat, but I want to know. If you are a HughesNet customer who spent some time reading my blog today (November 3, 2014) around midnight, please contact me. Use my “Contact Me” page or just comment below and tell me who you are. I am strictly just curious, but if you are up for it, I may have a few very brief questions I would like you to answer. And there may be a gift involved. Thanks!


controlLet’s talk about control. Who is in control? One answer: I am. I have realized lately that I was being controlled by the past, controlled by people who really don’t matter, and controlled by the almighty dollar. I have cut the cord on all of these. I have paid my penance in full for past mistakes, although I may have to start paying again for present mistakes—I may be awesome, but I am far from perfect. I have cut out the people who don’t matter. And I have taken a job I love, although I didn’t know how I would be able to handle a 9 to 5 job after working in my pajamas for so many years. I’m in a new city all by myself and I am enjoying the solitude of it all. Of course I miss my boys, my folks, and my friends, but it’s worth it. These past few weeks have reminded me just how important I am to my own self worth, happiness and future. Seems like I had taken a 6-8 month hiatus from who I really am. It is crazy how one person can get in my head, cloud my judgement, lie to me and have their own agenda. Sure I’m a nomad, but I am a nomad by choice. When it’s time for me to put down roots, I will. I don’t need somebody else to make this decision for me. And seriously, I always deserve the truth—the entire truth.

I’m getting back into my own groove again and it feels good. I had forgotten that I am more than capable of making important decisions all by myself. And if I’m not, I have a lot qualified friends who I trust to give their opinion if need be. Of course all my friends always tell me to do what makes me happy, but right now I am really having a hard time figuring that out. But, it will come.

I am definitely not unhappy, I just haven’t quite got to happy. I’ve said it before and I stand by it now, “I am a work in progress.” And I don’t see this changing anytime soon. I’m always growing, always learning and usually always smiling too. I have been accused of being cold and unemotional, but that’s how I’m programmed. Sometimes showing emotion makes me feel weak, but sometimes it empowers me. This week I have felt strong and I don’t want this feeling to end. So for now, I am in total control.

Fall is awesome.

LeavesWhy I love Fall:

  • Hoodies.
  • Beautiful changing leaves on the side of Womble Mountain.
  • Coffee tastes better when it’s cold outside.
  • Bonfires.
  • Vegetable soup and Chili.
  • Curling up on the couch with a blanket.
  • Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
  • Brandon’s birthday.
  • Candy corn.
  • And finally good TV is back.




Home is a state of mind.

SuitcaseI have been living as a nomad for too long. My home has been my suitcase for more than two years. Sure, I have had my home in Southern Illinois and an apartment in Western Kentucky, but I have bopped back and forth between them. I have tried to get grounded and have failed. I have taken a new job (my first 9 to 5 job in a loooooong time). Its in a town I am familiar with but have never lived in. I started last week and it is going great. I haven’t found a place to live yet, but I’m looking.

My best friend is trying to encourage me to put down roots, but I am balking. As much as I am happy being by myself, it would be a lie to say I am not lonely at times. After years of working really, really hard I am tiring of the grind. I’m not complaining, I am so fortunate to get to do a job I love every single day. But I’m ready to slow down a bit. I’m ready to spend time with the people who mean the most to me, I’m ready to sleep past 5:15 a.m., and I’m ready to write my novel.

This new job is short-term, maybe 2-3 years, maybe less. Of course this isn’t long enough to put down roots. Again, I am back to my old habit of being a nomad. But what is it going to take to get me to pick a place, love it, and stay there? My dream would be to be surrounded by the people I love, all at Kentucky Lake. I want to be able to sit on my back deck in the morning and drink coffee, eat a Twinkie and half a pound of bacon, and listen to the water. After breakfast I want to walk to my office, write for a few hours and be able to look out my windows and see kids playing and hear them laughing as the grown-ups supervise. After a productive writing day I want to cook a delicious meal, clean up the mess and then relax on the couch and actually watch TV without my MacBook Pro on my lap. I want to crawl into my king size bed beside the one I love and curl up for a peaceful slumber filled with happy dreams.

Patience. I can still hear you.

Don’t quit.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit—
Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a fair and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,—
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
Author unknown (

One phone call.

All I want to do is make one phone call. One phone call could answer all my questions. I trust this person completely and he could find out the truth. All I have to do is give him the go ahead—he’s been prepped already. I have been wanting to fight back for months, but didn’t even know what I was fighting against. I don’t like being in the dark. I want all the facts. I have complete faith that everything will come out in the end, but I don’t want me or him to be battle scarred either. What little I do know is very confusing. There are certain things I know to be true. And a lot of the other stuff makes no sense to me.

It has taken every bit of restraint and patience to not go full speed ahead to get to the bottom of the bullshit. I have to keep reminding myself that the reward for my restraint is definitely worth me sitting on my hands and keeping my mouth shut. I keep reminding myself the the truth will come out eventually, no matter what I want to do to speed it along. Just step back and let it all unfold.

But one phone call would take care of all of it.

My compass is broke.

creativepeopleSometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I forget everybody is not like me. I don’t always do the right thing, but I always try to. And sometimes I can’t even figure out what the right thing is. I’m tired of the gray area, I’m ready for everything to be black and white.

As much as I try to be an open book, there are still parts of me nobody gets to see. I’ve been accused of being cold, unemotional and sometimes a tad too full of myself. I’ll take that, but with an explanation about all of them. I’m cold, because it is hard for me to trust and as a realist I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I disagree with unemotional. Just because I don’t show it does not mean I don’t have emotions. I have been programmed to believe emotions make you week, so to be strong I don’t show them. It may not be right, but that’s how I work. I am probably too full of myself, but you know, I earned it. I have worked hard and I am good at what I do. And for every member of the “Julie is awesome” club there are that many nonmembers. It’s their loss.

I have been paying my penance for past wrongs for more than a decade. I honestly try every day to wake up with a good attitude, do at least one random act of kindness and help others whenever I can. I wonder when it will ever be enough. I have been fighting the urge to burn hard drives for months, and it’s only getting worse. I have stood back and bit my tongue. I have not defended myself, even when I should have. I may be naive, but I think that if I wait long enough and give her enough rope, she will hang herself. I just have to be patient. I totally believe that what is meant to be will happen whenever it’s supposed to, but I am getting very tired of waiting. I know it’s just a test, but right now I feel like I am failing.

I feel like I lack direction right now. My heart is telling me to write, but my bank account is telling me to keep doing what I am doing to pay the bills. And then I don’t write for a week and when I do it’s just crap. I can’t win right now.

I’m ready for my compass to point true north.