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Thoughts of the Day

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Why be weird alone when we can be weird together??

Though if we’re both weird, does that make us normal?

Words can heal or they can hurt, use yours wisely.

Looking for a miracle? Everyday is just that.

Storms change us, sometimes for the better and other times not, but they will change us.

The good things in life will change us too.

Alone, we’re wonderful, but together, we’re so much better.

Beauty isn’t or at least shouldn’t be defined solely on one’s looks. For me anyway, it’s not about how much make-up someone wears, the brand or style of clothing worn, the amount of bling someone wears, how their hair is done, how much they weigh, etc. Upon looking at someone that has outter beauty, I can definitely appreciate it. However, if I see that they’re cold, stuck up, cruel, etc, it’ll be hard to appreciate their outward appearance. Looks fade, but money can’t buy you a moral code or kind heart.

We are not solely one thing. We aren’t easily defined. We are not our pasts. We are not our illnesses. We are not our mistakes. We are not our jobs. We are not the various titles others give us. Yet we are all of those things combined and a lot more. We are made up of our dreams, flaws, strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, talents, emotions, thoughts, lessons learned, pasts, presents, ancestral roots, memories, and choices.

There is often not a “right” time to do things. Sometimes there is a wrong one. Many times though, we just have to decide we want something bad enough that we make a go for it.

Words like always and never should be used carefully. Also, the words love and hate carry a lot of weight and should be used only when truly meant.

Forgiveness isn’t necessarily about freeing someone else, it’s about freeing us from the anger and pain. Both can consume us, many times without realizing it. Forgiveness means letting go and moving forward. It means not bringing it up in the heat of an argument. It means not letting the pain or anger blindside us. It means truly letting go, even when we feel we’re in the right to stay angry and hurt. Free yourself….

We can have different political views, religious beliefs, come from different backgrounds, look different, act and think different, etc and still get along.

I disagree with the statement that respect should be earned and not freely given. I don’t set out to disrespect someone who has not caused me to do so. So, I feel it’s important to give respect first. If it’s not returned, I will still try to be the bigger person. I don’t always win that fight in my head, but I try.

The debates on what foods together make me laugh. You may not like pineapple on pizza or ketchup on your eggs, which is fine, but it’s also fine to like those combinations. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Why are we always finding ways to disagree and make others feel weird for being different? 😉

Art comes in many forms. An artist isn’t simply one who paints, draws, or sculpts. An artist can be a musician, singer, actor/actress, chef, fashion designer/seamstress, software engineer, web designer, interior decorater, teacher, etc. Art lives within us all, in our own ways. Live your art!

Be kind. You never know what another is going through.

Be you. Don’t settle for being like someone else. You’re not meant to be an echo. You’re meant to be you in full force.

Those are my thoughts today. I hope even one of them made you smile, think, or find inspiration. Go out and live the rest of the day to the fullest!

 

 

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Beauty Is All Around Us

 

Amidst all the ugly pain and destruction, there’s also beauty in this world. I like to get out there and capture that from time to time. I hope you like the pictures! See something beautiful, something that makes you smile today? Share it with me!? Let’s share some good with one another!

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It’s Semicolon project awareness day. In honor of that, I want to say…

Depression and other mental health illnesses aren’t always shown by making overly dramatic posts. Living with them doesn’t always mean we’re wanting to die and often times, when it is, it won’t be announced, it’ll be kept hidden. Living with mental health issues isn’t always easily visible to others. In fact, many times, those dealing depression try to hide the pain and sadness. We sometimes hide it with smiles, silliness, and a happy go lucky attitude.

They manifest themselves in different ways and they’re not on the same level for anyone. Maybe plans get canceled because we’re not up to acting happy and sometimes we’ll go out often because we don’t want to be alone. Sometimes we’ll over eat or not eat at all. Sometimes we’ll sleep a lot or barely. Sometimes the joy in things we normally love will fade and sometimes we’ll throw ourselves into it even more to try to distract our minds. Sometimes we will seem perfectly fine and other times, it’ll be easy to see. Some hide it well and others don’t. That doesn’t mean one is hurting more than another.

Depression can kill, not always via suicide, but also many times, over a long period of time, a mind can slowly give up and the body will start to deteriorate. It is not something to be ignored or treated as if it’s something we can just get over. It doesn’t have a cure. There are things that can help and make a difference, yes. One of those things is a good support system.

A support system of people that don’t judge, people that are there to help us through often makes the biggest difference. Coming from someone who has been on medicine, seen therapists, and tried many other forms of treatment, having people that stand by me has helped the most. We can be difficult to deal with. When in deep ruts, we can lash out, become unresponsive, and act out in many ways. When you stick with us through all of it, that says you love us, we’re worth the effort, and we’re more than the crippling sadness, anger, anxiety, etc that we face.

We are not our illness. We are people with hopes, dreams, desires, and goals. Thank you to those that see that. Thank you to those that help us in any way you can. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for tough love, when needed. Thank you for a kind and compassionate love, when needed. Thank you. Thank you for all you do. Many of us know that what effects us effects you too.

My story is far from over and I hope that yours is too. If we work together, we can lift one another up and get through, one day at a time. You are, he is, she is, I am, we are worth it. Our lives are worth living. I love you. Thank you for loving me too.

A Letter to My Daughter

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Dear Clara,

You’re still so young, but there’s some things I think you should know. I write this letter with the hopes that when you read it, you’ll know how much I love you.

You are beautiful.

Can’t is only a limitation you set for yourself.

If you want it, claim it.

Treat others with respect.

Give, give freely, but don’t be a doormat.

Don’t abuse any power or influence you get.

Laugh, laugh a lot.

Dream.

Chase your dreams.

You most likely won’t need things like Algebra post high school, but I expect you to do your best in ALL of your classes.

You don’t NEED to be in a relationship to have a happy life, to feel complete.

However, there’s nothing wrong with being in a committed relationship, not if it brings you joy and it’s someone you love that loves you.

If you need to cry, do it. Trying to look strong when you’re hurting isn’t necessary. Crying helps.

Girls don’t have to like pink and frills. Guys can, without being gay and whether they are or not, I go back to the respect thing.

It doesn’t matter if someone is different than you. Their skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political views, etc may not match yours and that’s okay. People can be different and still get along.

I love you. I will always love you. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Being your biggest cheerleader will not cause me to sugarcoat things when you need to know the truth or cover your butt when you’re in the wrong.

I cry, a lot. Not all of my tears are sad ones. When I’m proud of you, I’ll cry. When I’m scared, I’ll cry. When I’m really angry, I’ll cry. When I’m over the moon happy, I’ll cry. I’m not weak. Like I said above, if you need to cry, do it. Crying or showing emotions doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

Did I say you’re beautiful? I did? Well, you are.

If you’re wrong, admit it.

If you need to apologize, do it, but only if you mean it.

Don’t let pride ruin relationships with those you love. It’s okay to apologize first, even if you don’t feel you were wrong or more in the wrong.

Like stated above, if you love someone, it’s okay to say it, but only say it if you mean it.

Words can heal or hurt, use them wisely.

Believe in yourself. No matter how much we may believe in you, it won’t hold nearly enough weight unless you believe it too.

Some people really suck. Some people are mean, beyond cruel. With that said, know that some people are really wonderful. Some people are loving and kind. Don’t give up on humanity, no matter how bad things get.

The world is huge, don’t let yourself get lost in it. Remember too that, one voice and one person can make a huge difference. So stand up for what you believe in.

And before I end this letter, once more, I loved you from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I loved you as you grew within me. I loved you the first time I held you. I loved you every time you threw up on me. I loved you every time you threw a tantrum. I loved you every time you curled up in my arms. I loved you every time you smiled at me. I loved you yesterday. I love you today. I will love you tomorrow. I will always love you.

No matter what life throws at you, me, your daddy, your brother, or any of us, you are my daughter. I love you. As big as the sky, for as long as the stars shine, I love you. You and Zach are my life.

Love,
Your mom

 

**picture I took at my son’s birthday party**

Just Be You

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Don’t be a carbon copy of another, no matter how good they may appear to have it. You weren’t born to be someone else. You were beautifully made, wonderfully created to be you. So, do that…. Be you. That’s all for today, folks. Short, sweet, and to the point. Now, go and be the best you that you can be. Much love!

Once Upon a Time….

My daughter wanted me to read a story. Without a book in hand, I simply made one up. 😉

Once upon a time, because she thinks all stories start that way, there was a little girl named Claralynn. She loved to sing, dance, and play all day.

She got out of bed one morning, changed her clothes, and then flew down the stairs. (Maybe she quite literally flew! It’s a story and within such things, anything can be true!) She felt so hungry that she could eat a house, though, why would you want to eat a house? So, she grabbed an apple and devoured it. Still hungry, she looked through the cupboard and found cheese crackers. (Who doesn’t love a good cheese cracker now and then?) So, she ate those too!

La la la la, she was singing a little tune. She envisioned a furry red Muppet named Elmo. Together, they sang his song Elmo’s world and played with his fish, Dorothy. After awhile, Elmo had to go. Other kids want to see him too, he’s quite the popular fellow, don’t you know? So, they sang one more song and then it was time to move on.

Next, she wandered through the house, which became a rainforest. Rain, rain, go away! But it wouldn’t go away, not just yet. While taking in the new view, Wyatt flew by. Claralynn exclaimed, “Super Why!” He turned, smiled, and waved hello. Claralynn waved back. He and his merry band of Super Readers landed and decided to play with her in the trees for awhile.

As the rain slowed, it was time for them to go. They said their goodbyes and she made her way through the rainforest. She went into the familiar living room she’s known for as long as she can recall. (To a toddler, as long as she can recall isn’t long to us, but to her it’s a lifetime.) She turned on some music. She decided then to have a dance party. She danced for what felt like hours.

Dancing can sure tire a little girl out, so Claralynn switched the music from party music to lullabies. She laid down on the couch and covered herself up with her favorite purple blanket. It felt soft upon her bare arms. She snuggled into it and soon she was asleep.

Awhile later, Claralynn awoke. She grabbed a cup of milk and a peanut butter sandwich, had herself a late lunch, and then decided it was time to play again. She put her dishes in the sink, because that’s where dirty dishes go after all.

Claralynn went potty on the toilet, because that’s what big girls do and after she washed her hands, she put on her shoes and went outside to play. She saw her friend and he saw her too. He waved and she waved back. They ran around, kicking a brightly colored ball for awhile and then decided to go on the slide. They took turns, as that’s what polite people do. (Gotta teach them young, you know!)  Later, they rode on rockets to the moon. Within your head, it takes but moments to make the journey. Before long, they were standing on the moon, looking at their world far below. “The world is so small!” Exclaimed Claralynn.” Her friend nodded vigorously.

They explored the moon for a bit. Looking at the galaxy around them was so wondrous. After a little while, they found that they missed home though. So, they ate a quick snack (nom nom nom) and flew home. Traveling to the moon and back took longer than they thought. It was getting late. Her friend needed to go to back to his house. (Surely his mommy and daddy were missing him so!) They said their farewells and she watched him walk down the street a little before heading in.

Claralynn saw dinner on the table and climbed onto a chair between her mommy and daddy. As fun as her solo adventures had been, it was nice to be with her family again. (I’m thinking they were there all the while, but sometimes a girl just needs to feel like she’s doing things on her own.)

After dinner, she went potty on the toilet, again, my what a truly big girl Claralynn is! Then, it was bath time. She was washed from head to toe. Among the bubbles and foam letters, her day’s adventures fell away. She splashed water all over. There was a small pool on the floor. (Maybe she’d play there later too!)

After her bath, she put her pjs on. She got a cup of milk, sat on her mommy’s lap, and daddy started to read one of her favorite stories about settling down for the night. “Read book!” Claralynn shouted when he finished. Okay, little lady, one more book. This time, her mommy read about green eggs and ham. After spending time with Sam I Am, it was time to brush teeth. So she did just that! (Ooh sparkly!)

She gave her mommy and daddy their nightly hugs and kisses, squeezes too! She went upstairs, climbed into bed, laid down her head, and cuddled with one of her Mickey Mouse toys, don’t forget about Minnie! With her lullabies playing once more, it wasn’t long before she drifted off. Sweet dreams of her fun day began and fun ideas for tomorrow filled her head too. Goodnight, my sweet sleepy head. God bless you, my love. See you in the morning, then new adventures will begin.

***pictures taken by me, of the inspiration for this story, miss Claralynn herself***

To be 17 again…

I worked with a wonderful high school senior recently. Listening to her talk about her post high school is future was great. She has big plans and I just feel she’ll do absolutely amazing!

When I was 17, my plans were to go to school for theater and music. I didn’t end up doing anything big with either. I sing, for myself mostly and my daughter likes listening to me sing. Karaoke is a fun outlet I get to use once in a great while. My theater ambitions have just become dreams of old. Sometimes I’m sad for the future that never was.

When I think about where I’m at now though, I don’t feel so bad. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 13. Getting to capture life’s moments and turn them into forever memories for others (and myself) fills me with joy.

It took me until I was in my late 30’s to go after my photography dream. Before that, it seemed like all my childhood career dreams would just be that, dreams. Finally, upon a suggestion by a good friend and an impulsive whim, I went for it. Sometimes it’s stressful. When I feel overwhelmed, I find I need to step back a bit and lighten my load. Overall though, it’s been a fantastic journey and I feel blessed I’ve been given this chance.

That’s how I started my blog too. A good friend suggested I share my story with others and on a whim, I decided to go for it. Nearly seven years later, here I am, still sharing my story with all of you. It fills me up with joy that I get to do this and that I get to be a part of your journeys as well.

That’s one dream still that I know is within my reach that I’ve only scratched the surface with, my writing. I blog and it’s terrific! I share my life, poetry, ideas, thoughts, etc with you. I want to do more. I have a couple poems published through poetry.com, but I want to reach even more people. I want to write and publish books. I’ve gotten a start to many and only finished two, back when I was 15 and 16. I never did anything with those. My style has changed as I’ve grown. I want to touch more hearts with my story. So, I’m starting to write a book, again, one I hope to finish and publish. This dream CAN happen!

With that said, if there’s anyone reading this that is wanting to take a leap and go for something they dream of and yet just haven’t yet, DO IT!!!! Don’t say that it’s not the right time. There’s often not a right time to do things, you have to create that time. Don’t let others and their doubts hold you back. Don’t hold yourself back either. DO IT, GO FOR YOUR DREAM! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND GO FOR WHAT FUELS YOU, WHAT YOU WANT MOST!!! Write. Bake. Act. Start a band. Record music. Teach. Be a doctor. Fight for injustice and be a cop or maybe a lawyer. Be a parent. Open a flower shop. DJ. Start a business. Whatever it is, GO FOR IT! Be your best you and let others see it! As long as we’re here, still living and able, it’s not too late. We don’t need to be 17 again. We can make things happen at 23, 37, 45, 51, 68, etc. We CAN! LET’S DO IT!

Emma Ortega Negrete

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