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Archive for March, 2019

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!

What If???

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What if I never met him?

What if I decided on a different career?

What if I didn’t have a mental health disorder?

What if my mom and dad stayed together?

What if I never signed placement papers?

 

Him? Which him? Hmm. What if I hadn’t met Jason? Hmm. There would have been a lot less heartache and stress. But. Then my son wouldn’t exist.

Different career? Like what? Accounting perhaps or maybe a career in law? Yeah. Maybe. But. No. I don’t think it would’ve suited me, in all honesty. But. Maybe. If I would have found a different path and stuck to it, I wouldn’t have met many of the people that I have. I have made some great friends doing what I do and it’s changed my life in ways I can’t explain.

What if I didn’t have a mental health disorder? Well. I think sometimes things would be a lot easier. But. Sometimes I think then I’d be someone different and I’m meant to be who I am. Maybe if I didn’t have the mental health issues I do, I would be a decent person, but maybe I wouldn’t. I’m guessing that a lot of my creativity wouldn’t exist, at least not the way it does. I don’t know in all honesty who I’d be, but I know I wouldn’t be me.

My mom and dad together? I’ve never known that. I don’t know that I want to. If they had, there’s no guarantee it would have lasted long. If it had, there’s no guarantee they’d be happy. What I do know though is that I wouldn’t have my brothers and sister. I wouldn’t undo their existences in my life or period. My parents didn’t make it. I used to wish that they had. That dream died years ago and I’m okay with that.

What if I never signed the placement papers? Maybe things would have gone better. Maybe all the heartache and struggles wouldn’t have happened. Maybe my son would have had a better life. Maybe. Maybe things would have been worse. I don’t know.

The truth be told is, there are many what ifs we can ask ourselves. I decided years ago that I don’t like the what if game. What if doesn’t really matter. Things happened the way they did for a reason. Going back to old events and imagining them differently won’t change how things are now. Even if they could change, I don’t think I’d want them to. What if? Well, maybe I just don’t want to know.

 

**picture taken of the view from my front porch**

Maybe

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When the life of someone you love slips away, your first reaction may be to shut down. Maybe you cry your eyes out. Maybe you feel hopeless and helpless. Maybe you hold your child extra tight. Maybe you say extra prayers. Maybe you wonder why. Maybe you try to be grateful for a life that is still yours. Maybe the emotional part of your brain aches in ways you can’t explain. Maybe you wish things were different. Maybe you feel guilty for still being here. Maybe a part of you is thankful for all you have. Maybe you are confused. Maybe you are torn. Maybe you are just trying to find a way to push forward. There is just so much loss, heartache, and pain. But, we have to keep going while it’s our time to be and maybe we need to find ways to help others do the same. Maybe. Maybe.

Rest in peace, my dear friend, Latasha Greer. You will live on through your girls, your husband, and all else who love you. You changed our lives and touched our hearts. For that, you’ll never be forgotten.

Through the Open Door

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Through the open door, adventure awaits

You can fly with your new fairy wings

Soar through the sky, into fantasy’s gates

Play with elves, nymphs, and a unicorn that sings

 

Through the open door, anything can happen

You can run as fast as a cheetah does

Or find a friendly centaur to take campin’

Ever want to step inside a beehive and listen to the buzz?

 

Through the open door, that’s where you witness the magic

Climb a great sycamore with the squirrels and chipmunks

See a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly is a great trick

Have you ever played with an otter that has such spunk?

 

Through the open door, you can decide what to do or where to go

You can even decide to be someone or something new

Want to help the sun rise or help a great river flow?

Dance with a dinosaur or live in a tree, there’s nothing you can’t do

 

 

***photo taken last year, at Ridge Run***

 

 

Trapped

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Trapped

Trapped without light

Without light

Without light, no sound

No sound

No sound but the voices in my head

The voices in my head

The voices in my head frighten me

 

Alone

Alone in the darkness

The darkness

The darkness brings an eerie comfort

An eerie comfort

An eerie comfort washes over me

Washes over me

Washes over me with an intensity

 

Depression

Depression takes hold of me

Takes hold of me

Takes hold of me and won’t let go

Won’t let go of my every thought

My every thought

My every thought grows darker

Grows darker by the hour

 

Tears

Tears flow violently

Flow violently

Flow violently into a puddle

Into a puddle

Into a puddle that continues to grow

Continues to grow

Continues to grow until it consumes me

 

Drowning

Drowning in pain

In pain

In pain and begging it to stop

Begging it to stop

Begging it to stop as the tears continue

The tears continue

The tears continue to swallow my soul

 

Numbness

Numbness takes over

Takes over

Takes over as I close my eyes

I close my eyes

I close my eyes and drift away

Drift away to a place full of light

Bi-Polar Unmasked

 

Many don’t know or understand what living with a mental health illness or living with someone who has one is like. It’s definitely more recognized now than in years past and I’m thankful that more are taking this seriously. Mental health illnesses deserve acknowledging, being researched, funding for help, etc. From bi-polar to schizophrenia, doctors, scientists, and more are taking notice and working hard to help those of us that struggle with these seemingly invisible illnesses. Still, there are many out there who treat mental health illnesses as though they’re unimportant, made up, or those who have one are some sort of freak show. Being treated like what we live with isn’t a big deal or like we’re damaged goods gets old. It can be hurtful to be treated like what we live with is just something we can just snap out of at anytime.

Maybe if you eat better, surely it’s just a matter of diet. Maybe if you just willed yourself to overcome it. Maybe if you just get over yourself. Maybe you should just stop being so dramatic. Maybe if you prayed harder. Maybe if you did this or maybe if you did that. Gah!!!!!!

OR…..

You’re a total freak show. I can’t associate myself with someone so messed up. Your moods are just too all over the place. Your depression brings me down. Why are you so anxious all the time? Does it really matter if things are out of place? Why are you freaking out? Is there a reason you’re crying, again? How long has it been since you brushed your hair? I can’t be your friend, you’re just too high maintenance.

Unless you live with a mental health illness, you can’t truly understand how crippling it can be. How long has it been since I brushed my hair or showered? You know, I’m not sure. Why did I just spend money on things I don’t need? I felt a compulsion and couldn’t stop. Does it really matter if things are out of place? Yes. YES! If things are out of place, I feel an agitation I can’t put in check. I MUST have order. I MUST have things a certain way. I won’t rest until I do. Rest? I feel like staying in bed all day. I’m just exhausted. I feel so depressed. The tears won’t stop. I’m a failure and a freak. Why would anyone love me? I’ll just call in today, again. Mania sets in and now I’m crazy cleaning, extra irritable, and ultra hyper. I have such energy. What’s wrong with you? I don’t know. Why are you so touchy? I don’t know. Why are you snapping for no reason? I don’t know. Why are you crying, again? I don’t know. Why can’t you just snap out of it? I DON’T KNOW!!!!

Therapists, pyschologists, psychiatrists, and medications, oh my!!! Say that five times fast! Insults are hurled if we utilize these to get help. Can’t you deal with things without meds? Why do you need some shrink? You’re just weak. You’re just having a few bad days here and there, just suck it up. But then again, if we refuse to get that help, then we are wrong too. Clearly you need help, so why not get on medication to control your mood swings and stabilize yourself? You know, it’s not just about you, right? See a therapist, you need help. No matter what we do or don’t do, we’re failing in someone’s eyes.

It’s a daily struggle, on or off meds. Whether we see a mental health specialist or not, things are still hard sometimes. Fighting your mind isn’t an easy feat. You’re constantly torn. You try so hard to be “normal”. Why can’t I just be mentally stable? Why am I like this? Why?! Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Why do people turn their backs on me? I know why. I wouldn’t want to deal with me either. I want to hold a regular job. I want to succeed. Eh. This job just wasn’t right for me. Maybe the next one? I want to be loved. I don’t deserve love. I can overcome anything. I am strong. I can beat this. I can’t do anything right. I’ll never amount to anything. I can’t beat this. My past stirs up awful memories. The nightmares leave me barely able to function. The past won’t beat me. I survived. I can survive anything. I am lonely, but I don’t want to leave the house. I want to make my dreams come true. I’ll fight to do just that. Well, maybe tomorrow. Up, up, up, and then crashing down, HARD.

I have bi-polar, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. I’ve been ridiculed, laughed at, treated like a freak, and pushed away, by many, including myself. Many can’t make sense of what goes on inside my head, least of all me. Growing up, I didn’t know what to make of what was going on inside my head. I just thought I was broken. As an adult, I got diagnosed with bi-polar first. The others followed behind that. I have been on many medications and seen many doctors. It’s been a fight the whole way, with or without that specialized help. One thing I’ve found that’s helped the most is a personal support system. They have made and continue to make a huge difference in getting through the really hard days. They deserve so much credit.

Those who live with people that have mental health illnesses should never be overlooked. They deal with our mood swings, meltdowns, odd behaviors, and more. They help us through. When we’re beyond reason, they just wait it out and deal with whatever we throw their way. If they themselves deal with mental health illnesses, that makes things even tougher. When you have more than one under one roof, it can be a challenge. My son and I both deal with them. Our relationship sure has been tested. Then there’s my husband, the stable one, trying to deal with us both. It’s not been easy for anyone. Somehow, he manages. Accepting us both hasn’t been easy, but I’m thankful he has. Since he’s entered our lives, there’s some semblance of stability. He deserves a thousand shout outs. As hard as it is to live with the actual illnesses, it’s plenty difficult living with those that do. So, thank you.

Things like cancer, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, and heart disease are major concerns and definitely deserve to be recognized, researched, have people fighting for cures, and to have people across the globe raising awareness for them. I find no issue with any of that, at all. I have had family members and friends face cancer, Type One Diabetes, heart disease, CF, Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and more. Some I love have even lost their lives to these. It’s not been easy watching people I love suffer. So I support causes that try to help them and others that live with or have lost their lives to such illnesses and diseases.

I just want to also raise awareness for people who live with mental health illnesses. What we go through is serious and deserves recognition too. So, here is bi-polar and such unmasked. Yes, the illnesses are in our minds, but only in the sense that’s what they effect. They stem from imbalances in our brains. They’re very real. If you know someone that lives with one, try showing compassion, patience, and love. I know we’re not easy to deal with, but we’re far more than the illnesses we live with.

I am not bi-polar. I’m not my illness. I have bi-polar. There’s a difference between being and having something. I refuse to let it define me. The mask is off. Here I stand, telling you about a part of myself. I hope you’ll learn something. Maybe it’ll help you with someone you know or maybe you are dealing with this yourself.  Either way, I hope this opens eyes and minds. Mental health is important. It starts with the mind, but it also effects physical health as well. A healthy mind and body go hand in hand. Having support instead of insults and ignorance is the first step to helping. Let’s all take one step forward today….

The Stars

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Billions of stars represent billions of hearts

Both alive and those that have gone before us

Which one would you say you are?

I’m THAT one, the one with extra sparkle

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star up in the sky

She’s up there singing a little tune

Watching me as I get my shine on

Her light still guides me as I learn

 

When our bodies die, our souls still live

It feels like they give the stars extra shine

When we feel extra sad or unsure of our paths

We can find comfort in the sky up above

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star up in the sky

Where are you on this cold night?

I need you more than ever right now

Can I hop on a cloud and see you?

 

Closing my eyes, I slow my breathing

Listening intently, trying to hear your voice

Willing the voices in my head to grow still

It takes great skill to quiet the noise

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star in the sky

Can you hear me as I call your name?

Is my voice being drowned out by your singing?

I miss singing with you and listening to your voice

 

I hear you, calmly telling me to let go

Let go and trust one we both love

The One that made these very stars I talk to

I feel her hands gently touch my hair

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star in the sky

I still struggle with worry and doubt

But I know deep down You’re with me

I think now I can finally get some sleep

 

Billions of stars represent billions of hearts

Both alive and those that have gone before us

Which one would you say you are?

I’m THAT one, the with the extra sparkle.

 

Break the Cycle

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I’ve been working really hard to be that person. It’s not an easy feat, at all, but when I look at the world today and see so much hatred, ignorance, cruelty, and bitterness, how can I just be a part of that? Sometimes I look at how people treat others and wonder how they came to act that way. I wonder if they were hurt somehow and ask myself what if they’d been shown some compassion, love, forgiveness, or acceptance? What if they had been taught to do the same by someone? Maybe they’d been hurt really badly, but what if just one person had shown them there was a different way to handle things?

We are NOT what happened to us. We are NOT our pasts. We are NOT our mistakes. We are NOT our illnesses. We are NOT defined by the color of our skin, what neighborhood we come from, who are parents are, how much money we have or don’t have for that matter, our political views, our sexual orientation, or any of that which many decide should label us.

We CAN be whatever we choose, no matter what others say we should be. We CAN be greater than the choices we’ve made thus far. We CAN be better than we have been. We CAN make a difference. One person CAN change things for those around them. We don’t have to let the cycle continue. Don’t let the cycle define or confine you. Let the anger, resentment, bitterness, vengeful actions, and state of constant sadness stop here. The choice is yours.

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