Voted Top 10 Mental Health Podcasts for Women in 2022!
April 6, 2021

Connie Neal's story: Transforming traumas into dreams come true.


Joyful YouTube creator & character (Grandma Goodie). Connie lives on the bright side, but with scars from battles won! She has overcome poverty, all manner of dysfunction and addiction in her family, tragedy, infidelity, and public shaming by a church, but transformed her traumas into dreams-come-true. Connie is the Author/Writer of 40+ traditionally-published books & Bible projects including The Life Recovery Bible (over 2 million sold), Dancing in the Arms of God, Holding on to Heaven While Your Marriage Goes Through Hell, and The Emotional Freedom Workbook.

Check out Grandma Goodie at: https://www.grandmagoodie.com/

Check out Connie's published books at: https://www.amazon.com/Connie-Neal/e/B001IQX9EE?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1617659125&sr=8-1
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Transcript

Connie Neal:

So anyone who wants to people are still benefiting from it, but I don't have to wallow in the old pain. I can go on to the new and the bright, and the fun and the joyous, which is pretty much what my life is these days. Welcome to the bright side of life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life.

Melissa Bright:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host, Melissa Bright. And before we get started, I am going to keep going with these reviews that I want to read every week. So I have two new reviews. And this one I'm excited for because I found that this one is from Great Britain. Apple podcast usually doesn't show reviews from other countries. But I looked on another website. And Miss Magdalena. I'm sorry if I butchered your name. I hope I said that right. She said raw stories of healing, a wonderful podcast. Melissa sensitive interviewing style makes for guests coming up about the darkest moments in their lives. But more importantly, the focus on how they gain the greatest strength through those moments. So thank you so much for that review. And just one more from Lt. It says absolutely wonderful. It is so important to share other people's stories. Melissa does a wonderful job with her podcast to bring awareness to many things that I can personally relate to. I really love listening to this podcast. Ladies, thank you guys so much for sharing these reviews, I greatly greatly appreciate it. And if you guys want to write your own review, all you have to do is go to Apple podcast, and you can submit a review there. I believe pod chaser is another app that I know does reviews, or you can simply just go to the bright side of life podcast.com. And on the review tabs, you are more than welcome to submit one there. So thank you very much guys. And we will just go ahead and get started with today's guest. Today's guest is named Miss Connie Neill. And she also goes by grandma goodie, as she is a joyful YouTube creator and Connie lives on the bright side, but with scars from battles won, she has overcome poverty, all manner of dysfunction and addiction in her family tragedy, infidelity, but she has transformed her traumas into dreams come true. Connie is an author and writer of 40 plus traditional published books, and Bible projects, including the life recovery Bible, which has over 2 million sold, dancing in the arms of God holding on to heaven while marriage goes through hell and the emotional freedom book. I'm sorry, the emotional freedom workbook. So Connie, thank you so much for being here today. And how are you doing, I can truly say that I'm living on the bright side. Awesome, I love it, then you're in the right place.

Connie Neal:

And it's nice to be able to say that and I just want to encourage anyone who's listening to your podcast, who's in the midst of the traumas, or the, you know, the depression or the devastation, you can get to a place where when I chose to come on this show, I had to really reach back a long way to find that pain again. And and that's, that's wonderful, right? You know, when I was going through hell, I took notes. And I turned it into things that would help others. But the joy in doing that is that I didn't waste any of the pain. But I don't have to keep mucking about in it. Yep, instead, I can just be filled with joy in this stage of life. And that's what I hope for all of your, for you and for, for you who who are listening. Yeah. And I love that. And that's inspiring. These are the stories I want to do. Because I always you know, I look up to my elders and for you, you know, when you're going to tell your stories of some things that you've been through. And that just goes to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that just because we go through these things, it doesn't mean that it it makes our whole life you know, and that that's exactly why this podcast exists. So thank you very, very much. Okay, so let's just start here.

Melissa Bright:

Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing and your environment and what your family was like when you were growing up?

Connie Neal:

Well, the the earliest memory that ties in here is me as a skinny little girl, I was about four or five. And I was climbing a 30 foot pine tree. And no one noticed I, that was where I went to try to feel safe. And down in my house that I could look down on once I got to my branch that I sat on when I was up there Far, far above the roof, and in great danger. I don't know why they might, I don't know why they weren't watching me because they were all getting drunk and fighting down in the house. And I could hear the screens and I could hear the beer bottles breaking. And I could hear the cussing and the screaming and it was safer for me to go and hide up on a branch of a tree, far above it. And my whole childhood, as I look back on it, I was searching for a safe place. And for every what everybody looks for someone to love us, and to keep us safe. And so my, my childhood was divided, because I had my mother and her husband, AB and then I had my father and his wife, Edith. And they were both married, but they were just never married to each other. So I from my earliest childhood, I knew two different I was I would be during the weekdays at one home, and then on the weekend, I'd go to the other home. And then that would switch each year. And so it was but that was that was you know, and we we did I mean when I was real little when I was about three, my mom lived in housing projects in North Long Beach, and a pretty bad situation. And my brothers were getting into a lot of trouble and sneaking out and, you know, my mom and, and her family and AB they would drink. But my my one brother was a heroin addict and my other brother, I don't know that he ever really got addicted. But I lived with this constant I remember sitting in the apartment, you know, the housing project bedroom, and watching my brother crawl out the window to go do you know, not good things? Right? And, and I remember times of him coming in high on heroin and knee as a little kid trying to help him and keep him from getting hurt and him kicking out all the glass in the refrigerator and screaming and you know, it was just it was chaos and fear. But the really confusing thing was when my mom and my my mom wasn't drinking. She was the most the wonderful mother. And so I had this kind of dual, who's that monster that comes out when she's drinking versus my mom who loves me. And then my stepfather adored me. I don't know why they had five kids together. But he was in jail at one point. And you know, my sister who's 18 months older than me, was born to my mom. And my dad took her home to his wife, because his wife couldn't have kids. She had had a miscarriage when she was 20 years before. And she was never able to have children. And so he wanted kids and so he went out lied to my mom told her he wasn't married. And she got pregnant with my sister and he brought my sister home to eat us to raise. And then 18 months later he brought me home. He raised us and loved us. I mean, we'll get to how that happened. But so I had this Edith who was stable and calm and loving. And when I would go there for my few days, she would even say to me now honey, when you're when your mama talks, those cuts because she calls screaming obscenities. I still have a hard time hearing the F word because my mom would call and speaking as a little child just screaming lots of you know, horrific words for a little kid to be hearing. And then Edith would just say no honey, that's not your mom talking. That's that's the alcohol talking. And she can't help that and then she'd give us like a care package to take because she knew my mom didn't eat well of homemade soup and bread that when we go back to my mom, we she wanted us to take that to her and to the other kids in the family. Wow. You know, yeah, it was like whoa, So, um, my dad's house at that time was the safe place. It was clean and pretty. And this was the early 60s when people thought everything was possible. And but it was, it was not a safe. I mean, I was always looking for that safe place. And, and during that season, my stepdad, he was my safe place, he would sit me on his lap and put his guitar around me, and that needs drums, guitar, and sing. And I just remember that, you know, and my older brother would do that too. And so, but in the midst of that chaos, that I'll spare you, anybody who's gone through an addictive dysfunctional family, fill in the blanks, you know, yours. Nobody needs to hear it from me. But, but during that time, when I was six, at who was just 45 years old at the time, he had fought in World War Two and he had gotten shrapnel in his lungs, and he contracted emphysema. So when I was six, he started really getting into the final stages of that. And I just remember, I would curl up on his hospital bed, and he was coughing, coughing, but we would watch battlefields. And he'd watched World War Two battles and tell me his stories. And, and I just, I knew he was sick. But I thought, Oh, God, please don't let him die. I didn't know what die meant, right? I heard people talking that he might die. And whatever it was, sounded bad. And then he went into the hospital. And I couldn't go because I was only six or almost seven at the time. And any time. And I remember my mom was drinking, she was drunk, okay. My mom was drunk. And the phone rang. And I remember standing there because I was wanting to know what was happening. And I hear on the phone going, what the hell what do you what, what does dceased mean? I don't know what DCs means. My husband's What? And then, you know, and then my, my older sister who lived next door, she came in, took the phone, and she said, she got all the information. And she said, Mom, AB died. You know, and then I was like, he left me. You know, he left me Oh, and so I, you know, and then everything gets ratcheted up, you know how it is when people are using addictions to medicate their pain, you have something like that. And I remember at the funeral, I mean, it was a very weird kind of enter my dad to eat up came to ABC funeral, my dad helped me make a beautiful bouquet for AB. It spelled his name, you know, and I didn't think it was just my life. I didn't know. And the funeral was just beautiful military cemetery in San Diego. And just, I remember standing there. And the whoever was doing the service, said this verse that I actually learned in Sunday school, Edith, she didn't drive an inch, but she would whenever I was there on Sunday, she would walk us to the church on the corner. And I learned this first and he said, Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God believe also in Me. In my Father's house, there are many mansions and I'm going to repair place for you. And if I go prepare a place for you all come again and take you where I am. So you can always be with me as I thought abs in a man channel. Great. Okay. And so I i process that but my mom didn't. And she started drinking more and more and more to the point where she took me in her bedroom. She swears to her date her dying day. She swears this didn't happen but I have witnesses in her bedroom and she told my sister Robin, you stay here. He never liked you anyway, but I've Connie and I were going to go in and we're going to go be with AB What? Okay, takes me in her bedroom, locks the door. And meanwhile Robin ran to get my you know, tried to get my sister she wasn't at home. And I'm in the bedroom with my mother and she's saying I can't take it baby. I can't take it. We got to be better off he's in the mansion. We can go there. Let's go to the mansion. And and she's trying to force me to take pills. She's got a she's got a bottle of pills. I don't know where she got them. And I'm seven years old and I realize what's happening. And I'm like, I I somehow managed to subdue her. Lock her in her office. one bedroom escape my sister I ran about two miles to Taco Bell, and called from the payphone and found my sister. And to this day when I don't feel safe, I go to Taco Bell. Weird our brains, right? wire that in. And, and, and I was, you know, I was like, oh my gosh. And so I went from there my dad found out about that took us to his house, we were in the safe place. And the thing is though, at my dad's house, my dad worked really hard. And he was he was a good provider, and they just dress us up like little dolls and spoiled us. But he was a compulsive gambler. And so he would take me with him, Tom, of course racist and say, Don't tell me that, then I'll get my horse wins, you'll get this, you know. And so I just grew up with that if you've lived with a compulsive gambler, it's like, everything to do with money is fear and shame and hopes, raised and then dashed, raised and then dashed. And so went on like that for a while. But when I was 11, and I promised to give you a break. No, you're fine. You are. It ties together. I was I was kind of in my safe place with my dad and Edith. But I was still staying with my mom during the week and going to school there. So it was very weird. And they're still all the craziness with her drinking and my brother's drug addiction. And, you know, one of my brothers went to prison, my big brother Richard, who was he was my other safe space. When he died. He took up sitting on his lap, and putting his guitar in front of me and singing to me. Yeah, to let me feel that safety. Well, he went to prison. And my big highlight of my week, if I was at my mom's on Sunday, we'd go to Chino prison, and I got to see Richard, that was like, my, that was the happiest day of my week if you know, and so that he finally got out of prison. And I was that was like the best day of my childhood was the day Richard got out of prison, he came home. So when I was 11, that Thanksgiving, 1969 we I had grown my own pumpkins, I was so proud of myself, I get them up. I made two pumpkin pies. And I was so proud. I wanted to slice them up and have you know, when you're the youngest of seven kids, you really have to work harder to get attention. Right. And so that explains so much about me. But Richard came in my mom and moved to a new house and Richard came in the back door. And he was going to I don't know what he was doing by now he had turned his life around, gotten a good job. He was married. Now he happened to be married to buy. Nevermind, that's another Nevermind. You can read it in the book if you're curious. But he came in, and we were all in the living room. He stopped in the kitchen and he saw these pies. Well, he was just going to get himself one little slice. I walk in as he is eating the last slice of the second time. Best pie I've ever tasted, who brought those, Richard because Just don't tell anybody else all just tell him you made the best pies in the world. And I'll never forget these buys. And so we had a great Thanksgiving even and he was able to turn it around for me because he just he just made it into something special. And it was about a week later. I mean, everything was looking up for him. He was 26 years old. Everything was going great. He had a motorcycle. He used to ride me on that too, which today would be illegal. But he was turning left on his motorcycle and a drunk driver ran a red light hit him. Saw him laying there but because he had issues and he was afraid of the police. He backed over him. Oh my gosh, and fled the scene. And he crushed Richards lower body completely. And they took him to one hospital. But because we were poor that hospital wouldn't take him because he didn't have insurance. And so they took him to the second hospital to the General Hospital in Long Beach. But by then his trauma had you know it. And so they said to him again, I didn't get to go to the hospital because I was too young. But they said that if he could live 21 days, then they thought he'd be able to turn the corner so they gave us that date and I counted it out. Remember I'm little wall calendar counting out if he makes it to December 23. He's gonna live we're gonna have a great Christmas, you know. And in my little girl heart, I, you know, I'm sure I prayed, although I wasn't religious or anything, and he was getting a little better getting a little better. And he so I kept marking off the days. And so it was the 23rd of december two days away from Christmas, and I woke up and my dad, I remember I slept on the couch, and my dad came to me and said, Honey, I'm sorry, Richard's gone. He and his wife went into labor, and it gave birth to his second son on the day that he died. And so Danny was born that day, and we had to go through and, and Richard had loved me. And now he was taken for me. And I was so angry. And anyone who's lost someone, you know, there's this. I don't know, maybe you don't. But as as a little kid, I didn't learn to mask it. And I was so angry. And I remember, we went through the funeral and they said, Whatever they said, and they had, he had curly brown hair. And they had just slipped his hair back in the coffin, and put him in a suit. He didn't wear suits he wore he would leave I 501 jeans and white t shirts, up with you know, and I like the Fonz. I looked at him and I came home from the funeral. And I went to my dad's house, and I went into my bedroom. I'm sorry, you know, this has been 50 years. I mean, it's like, it's just turned 50. But um, you know, I got I remember, I actually got down on my knees, which was not something I did. And I shook my fist at God. And I said, Okay, God, I used to believe in you. But if you don't explain to me why you took Richard and where he is, why did you do this to me? Why did you take no one person who loved me most? And I said, if if you don't explain it to me, I'll never speak to you again. You know, like, I'm gonna write. You're making a bargain with them. The biggest threat I could come up with, right? Yeah. And I went to bed. And I don't know how to explain this next part. I'll call it a dream. But I woke up. I was in my own bedroom where I had gone to bed. But there was a haze. And my brother Richard was standing there in his 501 jeans and his white t shirt. And he sat down on my bed. And he picked me up and put me on his lap the way he always had. And he says, oh, God told me you're angry. I said, Well, I was. And he said, I mean, I know you don't understand this. But I am happier than I have ever been. But God sent me to tell you that he wants you to tell the rest of the family that I am in Heaven with Him. And I am happy. And God wants you to know that you are going to be the one he's going to use to bring our family to him. Now, I wasn't a Christian at the time, right? I was doing drugs. You know, I had started following the family tradition of drinking and getting loaded. And, and then he said, and honestly, I know this sounds cheesy, but I heard a trumpet far off. I apologize for the cheesiness. But he said, I have to go. I love you. Please tell mom and pat pat was his wife. What I told you, and he tucked me back into bed, and I went to sleep and I woke up confused because I couldn't figure out was that the the fake thing and the funeral real? Or was that the real thing and the funeral fake? But it happened? So

Melissa Bright:

yeah, wow. Okay, so let me ask you this. What is the time from whenever you lost your stepdad to when you lost your brother? What was the age difference?

Connie Neal:

I lost my stepdad at when I was seven. Okay, and Richard died when I was 11. Four years. Okay. And I was in sixth grade, middle of sixth grade, when rich died and second grade when he died. Okay. And you were you were already getting into drugs by the age of 11. I was drinking at that point. I didn't start using pot and hasheesh until I waited till junior high. But yeah, I was drinking and I was drinking to the point of not feeling my pain, right. But then I looked around and I saw, I saw where it led. And I thought I don't want that. I didn't know how to not have that. Right. But But I didn't want that. Yeah. There's a big change a coming. Yeah. All right. Well, that's where that's where at the age of 11. You know, you're you're, you know, smoking weed and doing whatever drinking a little bit. But yeah, I waited till 12 to smoke weed. All right. Good job. Good job.

Melissa Bright:

My question becomes, did you just have this like, moment that you knew, you know, I've watched my mom, you know, drink and I see how she acts. Where was this aha moment for an 11 year old?

Connie Neal:

No, I actually went on for years, I drank a lot. And then I preferred pot once I discovered it. And so all through my seventh and eighth grade years, and into my ninth grade, I was smoking pot as much as I can afford to get it. And then I made friends with a close friend whose brother was a dealer. And so we were just nice thing. Everyone got their cast off, or we got in the garage and smoke with them. But we I was I was getting I was, I was getting stoned, almost every single day. And it was so funny because Edith She's so sweet and naive. She'd come into my room and smell the pot, and she'd say, Oh, I like that. Oh, that's my favorite incense I said mind to was though I was in a lot of pain. I hadn't had recurrent earaches my whole childhood. And my family was we never had money to go to a doctor. I never went to a doctor, my earaches would get so bad that my my mic, it would get infected and my eardrums would rupture and bleed. And that was the only time they would take me to the doctor was if I had blood coming out of my ears, then Okay, we got to take her to the doctor. I know. I know. But when you have no money and no insurance, and my dad by this time was okay. My dad must have had a sunstroke at some point. But he went crazy. And so my safe place home turned into crazy, frantic eccentric, he started hoarding, he filled up our backyard, like 10 feet with lumber and he was going to make all these things and he was a handyman. And he was and then he didn't have any more room there. And there was the fact we have five cats and six dogs, and they have no room to live outside. They have to come live in the house with us. So that to this day, I breathe through my mouth, not to my nose because I just had to block it out. Right? And my dad bought this giant like Beverly Hillbillies truck looked like a red fire engine old. And he built six foot extensions. So we could stack to me it was like so, so shameful. And we lived across the street from my junior high. Oh my gosh. And so I'm like, Where's my safe place? Now my mom moved to South Dakota with some man who would take care of her. And I'm like, my dad's going crazy. And he's gambling more. And I'm having these ear infections. And I broke my eardrum at that point. And I went to the doctor and he's like, you cannot get in water. And I'm like, screw you. I'll do whatever I want. Right? So I joined swim team, and I'll show them and I dove off the high died and broke my eardrums and lost 70% on my hearing. Oh my god, so I was almost death. And I'm like, just but I just kept getting stoned and pretended like I knew what people were saying and right and so that's where I work who God only knows what I tell you to good thing My life changed soon after that. Because I do everything all. Yeah, yeah. And it sounds like at that moment you're you're probably angry. You didn't want anybody else to tell you something. Oh, and on top of it at the US getting ready to go to high school. I was always skinny. I was 105 pounds. I looked great. Suddenly. Summer before I started a new high school, my hormones got whacked out, my thyroid got wiped out and I went from 105 pounds. Bottle, my school clothes, gained 50 pounds before school started couldn't fit into any of them. And now I'm the fat girl. Oh, my, I went from being the cheerleader to being Who is that? Oh my great. What happened to her? So I bought this black coat, put it over me, and just covered up, stayed stoned. And my friend Susie told me there was this place where we could go meet boys. Are there lots and lots of them. And it happens to be a church called Calvary Chapel. But don't worry, they got cool music. And so I'm like, okay, you know, so we got stoned, went to Calvary Chapel. And there's like this big tent. And there's 1000s I mean, the tent was made the whole 2000 people, the flaps were up, and they were like 3000 more out on the grass. And all these hippies and they're singing music and talking about Jesus as if he's there. And I'm like, Whoa, what is this? You know? So we stayed after. And now I couldn't quite hear what was being said. So we stayed after for like this thing they called afterglow. I'm like, I don't know what that is. Okay, so we got up close, and I'm trying to sit over here on the left, and this guy comes out and jeans and he's got this Bible, and he's talking and he goes, You know what? Jesus Christ was God. But he came down to earth to suffer the way that we suffer. And he died. And he rose again, never to die again. He lives forever. He's here Now. Now. Now. Here's my that's what got me. I thought, Wait a minute. The ones I've loved. I knew death was a one way door. They left me through death. If Jesus came in through death, and he wasn't leaving anymore, there's my safe place. There's the love If this is true, which I didn't know yet. So the guy said, Jesus is here right now. And they were singing this song. He is here he is here. He is moving among us. He is here as we gather in his name on it. Okay. Well, okay. And he said, If you need anything, Jesus can do it for you. I'm like, and I just thought, I was like, close enough to read his lips. And I just thought, I wonder if he could heal my ears didn't say anything. Suddenly, I hear something on the tent. And I'm used to going well, if I heard that sound, but it was turned down 75. Well, what would you know? So I was trying to figure that out. While I was trying to figure that out if that sounds like rain, but I can't hear rain. And he pointed in my direction. And he said, The Lord just healed someone. Someone's ears over here on the left side. If that was you, come talk to me afterwards. And I heard him perfectly. Oh, my goodness, I have gotten so many goosebumps giving them again to because the thing is, I was like, I mean, I was like, what that? Alright. My mom's language did rub off on me. And so I went home, and I sent all my friends. I went out to smoke pot in the field where we always did every day at lunch. And so I went out there, and I sat there and I, you know, we're passing it around, I passed it on. And I'm like, Hey, I got saved and they go stay from what? I said, I don't know. I have to go back and find out here, and he's like, Look, I'm going to go to the school nurse and prove it to you. So I went to the school nurse. I asked for a hearing test. She goes you're not doing I go please, please just give me a hearing test. She gives me the hearing test. She goes you didn't need the hearing test your your hearings, perfect. I said check all my records going back through all my school years. My hearing has never been perfect. So now I'm like, Okay, I'm in. He's alive. he's not. He's not leaving me. I'm in and. And then I got tormented, of course by my brothers and sisters. Because because now it's like, oh, she's a Jesus Freak. Oh, my. How did that happen? She's a Jesus Freak. I'm like, Well, you know what? Better than the other kind of freak I guess. All right. So let's

Melissa Bright:

Let me ask you this. Did you ever, like put two and two together? That Well, this was the same God in Jesus that took away my brother and my stepdad. So how do you how do you answer that? Because like, did you think about that when you're finding out about him? Thank you to better help for sponsoring this podcast. I have been using better help for almost a year now. And the progress that I have made in my mental health has been incredible. I just want to tell you, my listeners a little bit about better help to see if it might be a great fit for you. Their mission is making professional counseling accessible, affordable and convenient. So anyone who struggles with life challenges can get help anywhere, anytime. They offer four ways to get counseling, from video sessions, phone calls to live chat and messaging. It's also available worldwide, you will be matched with your counselor and 24 hours or less better help offers a broad expertise in their network. So it provides users with access to specialists, they might not be able to find locally, financial aid is also available for those who qualify. So visit better help.com slash bright side of life, that's better help.com slash bright side of life, join over 500,000 people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. And for your first month you're going to receive 10% off by being a listener of the bright side of life. So let them know that I sent you by using the link better help.com forward slash bright side of life. That's better help.com forward slash b r i g h t side of life. The link will also be in the description section of this episode.

Connie Neal:

You know a way because my reaction to Jesus was all about. It was the filling up of the void that was left by losing Avi and Richard. And so I At first, I just was so excited. And then I remembered that thing about the mansions. And then I heard a promise. And I tell you I know people get hurt by churches. But this is a promise you will never see on a coffee mug unless gramma goodie puts it on one in sales. Okay. And that's this promise that I heard early on. Jesus said, in this world, you will have tribulation. And that means really bad troubles. but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world. And I also learned early on that his resurrection wasn't just for him. But there's a there's a Bible story that most people skip over. And maybe tell me if you ever heard this before, because people just don't go there because it's too weird. When Jesus is okay, when Jesus rose from the dead, people all over Jerusalem reported seeing their dead relatives come visit them that day. Oh, I have not heard that. Yes, I can. I can find where it was and actually put it in there if you want to put it in the notes. But I heard that and I went, that's what Richard did. God sent Richard just stop by because these people were all the way going from being waiting for the Messiah to set them free to go to their mansion to go into they just stopped by on the way out to tell people Hey, Jesus has risen and saw. And so I knew that I accepted it. And I went, Wow, someday I'll get to see them again. That was more that was more of how it registered with me. someday. I'll get to go be with them and see them again. Yeah, but during this time, what what happened? My mom got worse and worse. She was. I rarely caught her when she wasn't drunk. She was living in in another state far away. And I couldn't I couldn't catch her not drinking. And I started sharing about Jesus and my oldest sister who's like the caretaker of the family. She's 18 years older than me. So she certainly doesn't want me telling her anything. I was the same age as her son. I made him call me at Connie even though we went to kindergarten together. My my sister said to me, You know what, I don't want to hear about your God. I don't want to hear all your stuff about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Unless if your God is so strong, have him make Mom. Stop drinking. And so I said, I like a good challenge. I said, we're on, you're on. I said, but as soon as mom stops drinking, Can I preach to you? She's like, Yeah, when that day ever comes, look me up. And so I started praying, I started praying, it was getting toward the end of high school now. So I'm learning more about the Bible. My dad's getting really crazy. Gambling more, we don't have food. I mean, my dad's going out and getting food when the catering trucks with throwaway, they're dated food, he knew right when they would out, offload it, he would grab it, bring it home, eat, it would take that, cut it up, take the meat out, turn it into beautiful lasagna is and all these things, and she just took care of us. And just, you know, made the best of it. Right. And as I'm in my senior year of high school, I was very bright. And I made great grades, even though I was stone, you know, through the middle of my ninth grade year, my grades did improve when I stopped getting stoned. Right? If you want to get a scholarship and get good grades, you probably shouldn't be stoned every day. But so so I'm getting in my senior year, and I come home one day, and our house is locked up with a notice on it. That it has been. We have been evicted. We cannot ever go in I lost everything I owned. We were my dad had stopped paying the mortgage, and couldn't bear to tell us he just kept working frantically thinking and and I didn't even know they could do this. I don't know if they can do this. Now this was back in 1976. And we were locked out of our home. We didn't have a home. I'm like, Oh, you know where? What are we going to do? You know, my mom wasn't where I could live with her. I went and stayed with a sister. And my dad and Edith. They had moved to Arkansas to live with relatives. And I'm here at the end of my senior year going God, what am I going to do? Oh, I bet I better go to college. At least I'll have a place to stay. And nobody in our family had ever gone to college. I mean, that was a crazy idea. And so I went to expand horizons, which was our I went to a mostly Hispanic High School and we have like 2500 students, but they had a really good program to help low income disadvantage at risk youth which Yes, raise your hand. I'm all of the above. And, and so I was working with her to try to get into college. But I thought so small. I just thought what's the most inexpensive college I could go to? Oh, here's a little, a little Bible College. It is in Oklahoma somewhere horrible. I know. No offense, Oklahoma. Oh, lovely. I'm sorry. But my perception, it was not my ideal. And I was praying. And the Lord spoke to me, and brought the scripture to me. I mean, didn't speak out of me like that. But the scripture came to mind as if I thought it was God's speaking. And he said, you've read where I've written Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart, write a list, what's everything you desire. And so I had a little prayer journal, and so I'm like, Okay, if this doesn't work, nobody will ever see this. So I wrote down, I don't want to go to a Bible College. I love Jesus, but I have a hard time with religious people, you know. So I didn't really want to be locked up in a little college with a bunch of religious people. And so I want to I want to college that has a Christian emphasis, but not a Bible college. And then I wanted it to I had to live there full time, I had to get a full scholarship. I had to I would like it to be closer to my church than where I was. And I just had my list. And so the next day, and I'm not making this up, I have witnesses. I went to school, and this is May of 19, second 76. All of the application deadlines are passed for colleges. And this lady named Patricia comes running out of expanded horizons office and says, Connie, come here, come here. I want you to apply for Pepperdine. I said what's Pepperdine. She says it's a private university in Malibu, and I hadn't really heard of Malibu have something to do with movie stars. And so I'm like, well show me on a map. And she goes, Well, listen, it's not a Bible college, but it has a Christian emphasis. She used the exact words I had written down. I'm like, show me on a map. She shows me on a map. And it's, it's like, oh, my goodness. And she goes, You know what, it's one of the most expensive colleges and one of the best colleges in the country. But let's just apply Okay, and I was so low income No. So she wrote out the paper. Sent them in. And the other thing was like it's already past the deadline within a week. So I'm staying with my sister within a week. I get accepted to Pepperdine grants and full scholarship. Plus, I've now been abandoned by my parents according to Social Security. So I got Social Security payments. And I'm moving to Malibu. You get up there, and it's this beautiful Hill, if you haven't seen it, just google Pepperdine. And look at the view from there. It's on a hill overlooking Malibu colony where all the rich people and the movie stars live. Yeah. And at that time, Governor Jerry Brown, who was dating Linda Ronstadt. And it was like, it was, it was just this hill, brand new dorms. And that's where I live. I have dinner every day, in this cafeteria with walls that are windows, looking out on the most beautiful scenery of the ocean sunsets, and I wasn't homeless anymore. And that's where I met my husband. That's where I got an education, which was so important to me being able to go on and do the things I did later in life. And it really, it was wonderful, but remember, my mom's still a drunk? Yeah, I was wondering about that. Okay, now it's Thanksgiving. It's getting near Thanksgiving. I call my sister My mom is moved from South Dakota to Oregon, which I can get a train from Malibu, to Eugene, Oregon. Yep. And so I call them and talk to my sister. And I'm like, how's Mom, I want to come up and share the Lord with her on Thanksgiving. And my, this is my sister, Diane, she's like, Well, good luck with that, because she is not doing well. And I took her to the doctor and the doctor says she'll be dead within six months if she doesn't immediately stopped drinking. Oh, my goodness. And I'm like, I better pray quick. I go, okay, I've cut me up for Thanksgiving. And in my imagination. I'm going to go up on Thanksgiving. God's heard my prayers. I'm going to share Christ with her. She's going to get saved. Stop drinking. Glory. Hallelujah. I'm going to go preach to Joanne and annoy her. So it was all in my head, right? Go up there. I take the train. I get up there. And when Diane picks me up at the at the train station, we're driving and she goes, You know what, you better brace yourself. Mom is on a bender. And I'm like, oh, okay, so as we're driving down her Street, we've got the windows down. And I hear I hear my mom screaming obscenities. Now, I haven't seen my mom in four years, she's been living somewhere else. I hear her screaming the F word. And just just if you've ever seen a praise person on the street, that scares you, okay. And I see my mom and she's cussing and calling them names and pounding on my sister Diane's door, and then they won't let her in. And then she's stumbling. She fell face down, hit her face on the summit. We're just kind of we stopped the car. And she stumbles down the street, she's crawling on wet grass, manages to get up. And Diane says to me, we don't let her in my house when she's drunk. We just have to have some boundaries. So she she went down the street. She was trying to go to my cousin's house three door down, and we could still hear her screaming. They wouldn't let her in either. So I watch and she comes out, stumbles along, opens the back door of a car in their driveway collapses and passes out. Oh my gosh, that was not in my scenario. That did not play out. Like I thought it was going to well, Thanksgiving Day. And if you This is the craziness of growing up with alcoholics. Thanksgiving Day, my mom's not drinking. She said Diane's house, the whole family's there. nobody says anything about it. And she acts like it never happened. And I said, Hey, Mom, I'd love to share with you what's happened while you've been away. I met Jesus and I went, and she's like, Oh, honey, I don't need that religious. So, in Thanksgiving, I'm back on the train. And I'm going home knowing my mom has six months to live. And I am devastated. And that's what I'm crying and praying and I'm like, God, I've never I'm not going to give you an ultimatum. But there's nothing else in life I want. I'm the youngest of seven. My mom has seen all my siblings, my older siblings, kids. I want someday to have kids and I want to grandma for them. I mean, they'll have Edith too, but I want my mom See my children. And I begged God, I begged God the whole time I couldn't sleep. I'm on the train. It's nighttime and it's dark. But I'm like, it's four o'clock in the morning or no, I was like two at that point. And we stopped in Sacramento. And I get off the train because I want a hot chocolate. You know, if you can't have drugs, chocolate will work. I need a T shirt that says, just give me Jesus, and caffeine, and chocolate. I love it. My drug of choice. Yeah. And so I get ready to go in. And this policeman stops me. And he literally put his arms, his hands, and he's big and burly. If you think Officer krupke in West Side Story, okay, this big burly guy, and he grabs my shoulders. And he says, young lady, I want you to get back on the train. And I said, but I want hot chocolate. And he said, I don't care if you want hot chocolate. He said, we have had several girls kidnapped from this train station. for sex trafficking. There is a pimp that has been stealing girls. And my job is to make sure that girls like you are safe. You turn around, you can get your hot chocolate down there. And so I'm like, Okay, I get on the train. I'm like, so Bye friends now, which is a couple hours later. Now it's four in the morning, and I still can't sleep and I'm still upset about my mother. And I want my hot chocolate. So I get off the train. And there's a couple of other people who get off. We're only there for a few minutes. They told us don't stay too long, we'll leave you. And so I rushed in to get my hot chocolate. And they gave me a little styrofoam cup full of hot water and a little packet of like carnation, chocolate nips. And I go and I'm trying to find the least sticky. So I sit down. And there were a couple of other people who were there off the train, and I'm making my cocoa and I'm very happy about that. And I was facing the door. As I'm sitting there I look up and in the doorway. Now, the carpet use the word pimp, I didn't know what a pimp looked like. But in the door stood this very tall, really beautiful, really debonair man with dark hair, a dark Fedora, a long dark core coat, looking very much in command, and his eyes just attached to me. And he walks over to me. And he sat down. And I said, Excuse me. And he said, I'm going to teach you what love is all about. And I'm thinking, Oh, they move their operation. And he said, Oh, I would, you know, you're gonna, you're gonna, you're gonna learn what love is all about, you're not going to be alone in the middle of the night. I'm going to show you what love is. And then I remember he reached in his pocket inside his coat and he takes out a pack of cigarettes and slowly takes one out. And I noticed that the little finger on his right hand has a very long fingernail. I knew enough about drugs to know that that had utilitarian. He's slowly all this time. He's just staring at me just staring at me. And he slowly lights his cigarette. And he takes a slow puff. And I said, I'm not that kind of girl. And he said when I get done with you, you'll be that kind of girl. They all become that kind of girl. How do you think they get to be that kind of girl. And so I got up to leave. And the other people had already left there. And he grabbed me, threw me back into the chair. And he just looked at me and I looked at him and a Bible verse came to my mind. Because Do you know that scene in the jungle book where the snake comes down out of the tree and he's looking at little mo? stand me, just in me and there's that mesmerizing? And I thought this guy is a snake. And I knew a Bible verse about that, because it says, God said I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the evil one. And it dawned on me what would happen to my mother if I went missing and I looked in his eyes and I think the holy Spirit just came over me. And I said, Sir, I'm going to excuse the vulgar things you've just said to me, because obviously you don't know who I am. You don't know who my father is. He's like, Say what? And I said, My father is gone. And he doesn't take kindly to anyone talking to his daughter that way. And secondly, you're going to teach me about love. Well, let me give you a clue. Love has four letters, l o, v. e, what you're talking about has three letters, s i, n, and what's your name? And he said, Samuel. I said, Well, Samuel, I have good news for you. And he's like, what? And I said, Every morning, I get up, and I pray, and I said, Oh, God, please let me meet someone who needs your love. And Samuel, you are the answer to that prayer. So I have something to share with you. And at the time, we were all trained to lead someone to Christ using the four spiritual laws. So I reach into my bag and I put up this little golden book called The four spiritual laws. And I'm like Samuel law. Number one, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. This is not it. Law. Number two, your sin, what we just mentioned, has separated you from God. Law number three, Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins so that you can cross that bridge of the gap between you and God. And you can be forgiven for all your sins. All you have to do is repent of your sins, accept Jesus as your Savior, and you will live forever. Samuel, would you like to pray with me right now? He's like, no, what was funny was he's he's following along. He's reading the little booklet with me. And I'm like, you know what, Samuel? He's like, No, no, no, no. And I said, Okay, Samuel, well, you know, I'm gonna leave this little booklet with you, and I'm going to pray for you, but I have a train to catch. So I jumped up, and I ran to the door. And then I turned around, and I think the Holy Spirit must have left me because I looked back at him still looking at that little book and look at me like, and, and I said, Samuel, and he looked up and I said, Does your mother know what you do? And then I turned and I made it back to Malibu. I got up to my dorm. And no sooner had I gotten there that morning. And again, I'm not embellishing this. I got a phone call from my sister, Diane, and she goes, Connie, mom wants to talk to you. And I okay, so mom was at Diane's house, she's not drunk, right? Right, gets on the phone, and she says, baby, I I stopped drinking. Somehow in the middle of the night. I just knew that I could. And so I did. But what you pray for me? And I'm like, well, mom. So then we waited a day, three days, a week, weeks, months. She didn't drink. She didn't add the next summer I was able to go and live with her. And I was invited to speak at a youth function. And she came to it and I was able to pray with her that little that little book. And she trusted Christ. And she never drank again. She went on. When I when I graduated from college, my mom, either. And my dad came to the graduation I was now married my husband I because if you get married, you're laughing is the same so you get to sit together graduation. And so they I have a picture of me in my cap and gown. Oh, because my mother she came out for my high school graduation. She got drunk and her drunk and brother drove her to the wrong High School. So I was giving the speech. She missed it. Because so she had to let you know. Right, right. Which graduation and and later as I had three kids, my my EDA was grandma EDA to my kids. And my mom spoiled them as sweets. So they nicknamed her my son Taylor nicknamed her grandma goodie.

Melissa Bright:

Oh, I see where this is going. This is amazing. It really is.

Connie Neal:

It really is just the very last scene to tie this all together. My dad had always prayed that he get to live to see his grandchildren. The day after my first child was born. Three he was sick. He wasn't feeling well. So three weeks after she was born. I took her to see him at his home. He held her I have a picture of him and either looking Her little three week old Casey. And my dad died that night of a heart attack. God let him see her. But Edith went on to live for a long time. And later I was able to ask her cuz she lived with my sister. And I said EDA. By this time I had gone through my own marriage dealing with my husband's infidelity. We worked it out, and I don't really want to go into that in detail. But I said to Edith, how did you do it? How did you do it? And she says, well, honey, I always wanted children. I there's nothing I wanted more than to be a mother and a grandmother. But I had a little baby. He, I miscarried him when he was a four months along, and then I could never have kids. So I can't blame you girls for what your daddy did your daddy. But God used that wrong to bring me children, and now grandchildren. And she laughs and she goes besides. Now, this is eight years after my dad passed. She goes, besides. I'm sitting here with four grandbabies because my sister had had a daughter by them too. And he's long. Who got the blessing in that guy again. And so as she was in her, her mid to late 80s, she started declining. And my mother nyna. So Eve, it was my stepmother, my mother nyna, who hasn't drank now in over 30 years. She moved in with my sister, and she took care of Edith while she was dying. Oh, my goodness, your mom did my mom. Mom, grandma goody, my mom. So she took care of EDA. Well, my mom was dying. And, and, and it was it. It's just so amazing. So my children only knew grandma EDA and grandma Harry. And they had this idyllic loving experience of the two grandmothers who were amazing and wonderful. Yeah. And it came out of all that trauma, right? Oh, my goodness. That's, that is so incredible.

Melissa Bright:

I went out a long time. I haven't told those stories in a very long time. No, it's okay. I mean, oh, my goodness, I like I said, I was getting so many goose bumps and just how it all like, how it all ties together. And we haven't even gotten to the best part yet about about you being now grandma Goody. So that's a that's just an amazing story. It really, really is.

Connie Neal:

And really, I do have a lot of books I spent my childhood dream was to be an author. And I was able to spend 20 years making my living this was before you could publish your own books, you had to get accepted by a publisher. So it's really hard. It took me 10 years of trying before I got my first paying writing job. But I went on to be able to work at home, raise my children. And my very first writing assignment was I got to write the devotionals for the life recovery Bible for people in a and

Melissa Bright:

it was, it was, it was really good. That's amazing. And you know, honestly, I wouldn't know. So my parents are both in a well my mom was before she passed away. My stepdad has 25 years sober. My mom had 14 or 15 years sober before she passed away. So now I'm wondering if my stepdad might have your book.

Connie Neal:

It's called the life recovery Bible. And it's published by Tyndale house publishers. And it's still used in a programs. It's used in prisons. I mean, it's, it's, at one point, the prison, the publisher sent me 250 letters, because that was a work for hire. So I don't get royalties on those 2 million copies. But I get I'll get royalties in heaven. Right? But But my publisher sent me a 250 letters from prisoners saying how the devotions and that changed their lives. And actually, I wrote those after I know, you deal with mental health, and there was a crisis point in our marriage. And if people want to hear that the rest of the story that's in my book, dancing in the arms of God and also holding on to heaven while your marriage goes through hell, or holding on to heaven while your husband goes through hell. But in going through all of that, we lost everything. And we were working for a church at the time he was fired. They forced me to resign from my position as youth pastor, and we lost everything again. And they did a big ceremony and a public shaming. And that's not what they called it. But, but we ended up going inpatient into a hospital. And both of us almost suicidal. And this is, after all this great stuff that happened. I remember that promise, yes, world troubles. And yet from that, it was from being in that hospital being devastated, I got pregnant with my third child at that time. And actually, I was pregnant with my middle son, when all this happened. And I was they sent me to the hospital because they thought I was gonna lose the baby. And out of that, it was the head of that program, that recovery program that I knew who got us into the hospital, he was the one who had just gotten the contract to do the life recovery Bible. And I'm like, I have a few things I can say about that. Right. And that's how the door opened to what ended up being, you know, writing a lot of books and helping a lot of people. And so you know, the nice thing about living on the bright side, and I will say this to give people hope, is that I hardly ever think of that anymore. While I was going through it, I learned what I needed to learn. I wrote it carefully. When you're working with a publisher, they really edit and really go through it and make it clear and focused. And so now I've left that to the world. And so anyone who wants to people are still benefiting from it, but I don't have to wallow in the old pain. I can go on to the new and the bright. And the fun and the joyous, which is pretty much what my life is these days. Yeah, that's amazing. And you have published 40 books.

Melissa Bright:

Where what books or books do you feel that you have, like that have really changed you? Um, not so much like what did it do for you? You know, monetarily, but what did it do to like change you as a as a person like it it? Did it heal you?

Connie Neal:

Yes. I noticed in your little lower third, you say turning traumas into dreams come true. I really saw it was. It's my book dancing in the arms of God. And it's a Cinderella story. Because we all long but the tricky is, it's not a man here on Earth, who's your prince? charming, you got to look higher. Yeah, and, but in processing all that all the stories I told you plus, what happened later on is in that book. But it said in a way, the subtitle of the first publishing of the hardback was finding intimacy and fulfillment, through following God's lead. And then when I redid it, I did like the rest of the story. You know, in 2012, I made the subtitle discover your Cinderella story. And so in processing it and coming to know God as that Prince Charming, who moved in my life, and people could see me twirling around, but they didn't know how this was happening, right? And really seeing God transformed me I am a different person. Even though when I was living in my what I thought was my dream come true. And then the infidelity became open. And then we lost everything again. At that point, the clock struck midnight. But I have, I was able to look at it and go, you know what, this isn't the end of the story. So my husband and I were able to go into therapy, he repented. We work through everything, we dealt with the issues that were still underlying because of the way we had both been raised. And it was through processing those and years of therapy. And I love that you have a sponsor does. I think that's great online therapy. I think that's wonderful. That's who I go to. Yeah, it was so good. And so, so I all of that is great. But dancing, if somebody was only going to read one of my books, I would say dancing in the arms of God. But if you're dealing with shame, boundary issues, things related to unhealthy relationships, that might be the emotional freedom workbook would help. And then if you're going through marriage issues, I mean, I get down and dirty and holding on to heaven while your marriage goes through hell. But if that will help someone, I will tell everyone. It's from a Christian perspective, because there's no way my story makes any sense. Unless there is that one who came into my life through the door of death never really began. By the way, I did go back and preach to my sister. She, she didn't listen for many years until she got breast cancer. And then she reconsidered. But she got over that, too. So, and now she's 77 and runs marathons. So Oh my goodness. That is amazing. And I definitely want to check out your books. I the the two that you just mentioned, well, the three dancing in the arms of God, I want to read. I want to read. Of course the emotional What is it? The emotional freedom? I can show you? I don't know if you can. That's what it Yes. Yeah, that one. And there's the life recovery Bible. I'll show you two because I thought some of your your folks might. I swear my stepdad has that book, I guess were widely used. It is widely used and then holding on to heaven while your marriage goes through hell, yes. Yeah. Myself. Not be for anybody that's not married, that maybe they've been in a long term relationship, like 510 years. Yeah, if you're dealing with Yeah, you know, like, I dealt a lot with what held us together was the marriage vows. And that's what kept me in it. I'm sure. I think for somebody in that I would recommend dancing in the arms of God first, okay. Okay. Because I, basically people came to me after dancing in the arms of God, and they're like, Oh, can you go into details. So if you read dancing in the arms of God, it'll give you enough that will really, strategically change your relationship with men, especially if people have been in a long term relationship. Without getting married. I don't want to make any judgments. But often it is that fear of abandonment. It is that fear of commitment, it and all of those things that I found that when I put my first love relationship to Jesus, and I learned to trust him, and I was able to say, you know, what, if this doesn't work out, that's sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I wish it had. But you know what? I'm not desperate. Right? Okay. And that changes all the dynamics. At that point, my husband really started working and, and we we've been married 43 years now. We have a wonderful, in fact, my kids are all adults. And they were saying, thank you so much for going through that because we never knew any of it. They grew up with no addiction. Well, not no addiction, but we weren't drunk. or doing drugs. We've improved. And and and love and and security. Remember, I was climbing up that tree to find that safe? Yes. With love. We don't have to climb up the tree anymore. We we have a home. You know where that happened? And that's

Melissa Bright:

very cool.

Connie Neal:

Thank you for making me remember all of this.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, of course. And I want to get to the best part. I want to talk. So you were talking before that your kids called your mom grandma goodie? Yes. But now you have a YouTube channel. And you have a character you have created grandma goodie.

Connie Neal:

So yes, well, now grandma goodie. Oh, wait, Connie was tough to you minute. Okay, so anyway, ramaa Goody is the the merger of granny EDA and my mom. And in fact, if you go watch one of grandma goodies, Bible story videos, search gramma Goody on YouTube, Jesus needs a nap. Okay, all right, in that I am wearing an old flannel night gown. That flannel nightgown was the one that Edith wore when she used to Rock me when I had my ear infection and my earaches and and so it's and so gramma Goody has the spirit of both of them. And yet well, and let me can I tell them? Can I word that tell him about the YouTube the YouTube thing? Go ahead, grandma. Goody. Well, the YouTube It's amazing. Did you know you can talk to your phone? And I don't know how it's I don't know how it worked that talked to my phone, I tell you the story and it goes somewhere and the kiddos can see it on the TV or on the on the screen, you know the screen time they could see it. They can see it all kinds of places. And so grandma good to watch this. I just want the kiddos set up. First of all, I want to give the parents a break because they need a break. Okay, so I'm gonna give them a 10 minute break where they don't need to worry. Because I'm not gonna say nothing to them. I'm not trying to sell them nothing. I'm not stealing none of their data. I don't know what day it is, but I wouldn't steal it. And I don't try to tell him any stat any particular church or nothing. All I do is I tell these great stories. And you know what the good thing about folks not knowing the Bible today. They don't know the end of the story. It's much more it's set in that way. So I've just all I do is I tell them what little Bible story, and that tells where they can find it in the Holy Bible. And I even have a little video that teaches those how to find it, because most parents even don't know exactly how to find something in the Bible. And so in the end, this is the best part at the end of every video, grandma good. He says. Now you remember, kiddo, Grandma, good. He loves you. But God loves you more.

Melissa Bright:

I love it. That's amazing. That is amazing. How did you even like besides coming up with the character and the voice? Did you just think one day? I just want to try it? And you started talking like that?

Connie Neal:

No, actually, what it was was I had just had a failure. You and I talked about We both are admirers of Pat Flynn. And I had tried this idea that I had and i i i got on his ask Pat podcast, and I pitched this idea to him, I sent it to him. And he sorry. And he he didn't like it at all. And, and I realized, and so I pivoted but the thing was is where I had done it before. My daughter is an artist, she's a Disney storybook artist. And she she had talked me into going with her to My Little Pony conventions, and she would dress up as Applejack and I dressed up as Granny Smith, who's a character in the show. And what I realized was these 20 somethings that are you know that bronies but adults who go to My Little Pony conventions are called bronies. Okay, which is not to be confused with furries, who are a little creepier, but and so there's all these people who love My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. And so we would dress up as these characters from the show. And as Granny Smith, I stayed in character all weekend. Well, what we found was happening was these 20 somethings, we had a booth That was sweet apple acres. And these 20 somethings were coming and asking life advice from Granny Smith. So much so that it was detracting from my daughter sales, and she needed the money. So I said to the, the convention proprietors, I said, Look, why don't we just have a session, ask Granny Smith. And we'll take it away from the booth so that we can sell art and I can do that. So we did it. And there were 1500 people at the convention and 400 people showed up and 50 got in line to ask for Granny Smith advice. So it was that in the back of my head that I realized, this generation has basically don't feel bad if you know nothing about the Bible. Because most people don't really know anything about the Bible. And so I just thought, I don't know, it all kind of melded in my head. And when when the product I created for parents was not right. I went to a parenting convention, I looked at these parents who were just so wanting to do right and they were so exhausted and so tired. I got you know what, they don't need me to tell them to be a better parent. They need parental relief. And I just went I can give them a 10 minute break. I'm a good storyteller. And and it just it just came into my head. And I pitched I was on Pat Flynn's ask Pat follow up podcast to hear the rest of the story. And I pitched it to him and he was like, you might have something there. And then I've been working on it. I started it on September 2 of 2019. And that was Edith's birthday. And I spent a year just workshopping the character. Very few people have seen grandma goodie, I hope you will come if it can I tell them where to find grandma goodie, of course. And it'll probably be in the show notes too. But it's a grandma goodie. So g r a n dmagodie.com. So grandmagoodie.com. And when you go there I have links to the videos. That's the easiest way because made for kids. shows on YouTube are very hard to search. And so I spent the first year workshopping the character learning to make her voice not quite so screechie and I have an Easter playlist and a christmas playlist. And now I feel like it's finally good enough to share with the world so I thank you for inviting me on. This is my first podcast I'm doing to share grammar goodie with the world. That is awesome and you did so good. And I've seen the videos and I love it. And I, I wish there was something that like, was around when I was a little girl besides Channel Nine. I also hear that if you can't sleep at night grandma goodie sometimes can make you.

Melissa Bright:

Oh, but I love that. Well, I'm glad that this is the world premiere of grandma goodie.

Connie Neal:

Well, Grandma Goodie did spend a year with Pat Flynn and his live stream. So I have I have friends there who encouraged me and helped me learn to do the YouTube channel better. So I've been learning as I go along, and I don't I work a full time job. I have a third career now. And so I only get to do grammar goodie, I spend all day on Saturday preparing for a 10 minute video. So each 10 minute video takes eight to 12 hours to get it right. And yeah, and and it's my labor of love to share with the world.

Melissa Bright:

That is awesome. And I hope people check it out and encourage it. Well, I just pretty much have one last question for you. I know we've been talking about it. It's obviously the theme of my show. But Connie, if you could explain in your own words, what does the bright side of life mean to you? Well, I thought about this quite a bit. And

Connie Neal:

it's it's twofold. One is expect suffering. You don't you know, for people who who say oh, come to Jesus, and he'll make your life just perfect. No, come to Jesus. And it may get worse, but he'll give you the strength to deal with it. That's one thing is don't be surprised at that. And then I know I was hurt terribly by a church. And there are a lot of people who want nothing to do with organized religion. And I understand that that often comes from hurt. But what I want to say to people is if you want to live on the bright side, God is love and God is light. And so don't throw out a relationship with God, just because you may not want anything to do with organized religion right now. And, you know, in time, God commanded me that I had to be in community, and that I had to love his other people. And that takes tremendous help from God. Because I've met some really obnoxious Christians and I found one, right. And so but just that just, God loves us. And for people who are hurting right now I know they're gonna listen to your show when they're hurting. The Bible tells us that God is near to the crushed in spirit, and that he saves all of our tears in a bottle. He will not waste your pain if you reach out to him. You know, but time doesn't heal on all wounds. If If you don't get help, time just makes it corrupt, more corruptible and more terrible and more pain. And then, you know, that's where people give up and just don't want to live. But if you let God in and let his light in, you know, you may not like what it shows. Like the light goes on, and then scatter. You know, we've all got the cockroaches. So, anyway, I hope that helps. And I'm so privileged to be with you and appreciate this opportunity.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, thank you very, very much in in you couldn't say it best. I feel. You know, when I lost my mom at 25 years old, I was rather naive. You know, of course, at 25 years old, I thought I had it all figured out. No, I did not have it all figured out. And there was much, much, much, much more pain to come after losing my mom. And I wish so bad looking back. I wish I could have been better prepared for that. And not so naive thinking that the worst thing in your life that could possibly happen is going to happen at the age of 25. And you better be ready and that's the thing is now that I've lost my mom, I have now lost my dad. I now know that life is not always going to be perfect. And knowing that now it I feel like I can I'm better prepared for life a little bit.

Connie Neal:

So I just love that that you said that too. to expect it because it's gonna happen. The tribulations are gonna come and but don't forget the rest of that verse. Exactly. It's gonna be inside the mug on the bottom. But yeah, he has overcome the world. And he did it. I mean, it just blew me away. Who would you to come and be human if you didn't have to write and to suffer the most horrendous death any human being could suffer. Yep. Because He loved us that much. I'm like, sign me up. Exactly. Somebody loves me that much. And if it's true, and you know, I'm, I'm, I'm living proof. Yeah. So So and, and get friends to pray for you too. Because there were times I was hurting and crying so much I, I didn't know how to pray. Right? So just find somebody, you know, find somebody. Even if it's online, there's a place called the daily audio Bible and they have a prayer wall. Go to strangers, because they read through the Bible in a year on an audio podcast, but they have a website, just find someone else to pray for you if you can't pray.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, just love it. Yep. Well, thank you, Connie, very, very much.

Connie Neal:

Thank you. My pleasure.

Melissa Bright:

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the bright side of life What a story Connie has and she has truly persevered every time. The thing that stuck with me the most is when she said, when I was going through hell, I took notes, and I turn that into helping others and she did just that with all of her books. And now with grandma goodie, which by the way, if you have any small children or grandchildren, I highly encourage you to check out her website, which is Grandma goodie.com and that link is also in the show notes of this episode. The videos are adorable and educational. And the grandma goodie character is so sweet and welcoming for kids. So if you're interested in any of her books also I also have that link listed in the show notes as well. So with that being said, if you know anyone that may need to hear Connie's story, read one of her books or to check out grandma goodie, please share this episode with them because we never know if this is the one that puts hope back in their heart.

Connie Neal (Grandma Goodie)

YouTube Creator/Character (Grandma Goodie), Author/Writer/Speaker

Joyful YouTube creator & character (Grandma Goodie). Connie lives on the bright side, but with scars from battles won! She has overcome poverty, all manner of dysfunction and addiction in her family, tragedy, infidelity, and public shaming by a church, but transformed her traumas into dreams-come-true. Author/Writer of 40+ traditionally-published books & Bible projects including The Life Recovery Bible (over 2 million sold), Dancing in the Arms of God, Holding on to Heaven While Your Marriage Goes Through Hell, and The Emotional Freedom Workbook.