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Posts tagged ‘growing’

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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Once Upon a Light Saber

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Once upon a plastic light saber

There was a young boy ready to travel through space

To defeat the Sith lord, no matter the labor

Fierce determination set upon his little face

 

Taking a break from the arduous fighting

He unmasks himself and comes to tell me his tales

And asks me to find out why his weapon stopped lighting

For he knows mom’s magic rarely fails

 

It seems like a lifetime ago that he was this little Jedi

Now stands before me a young man, still ready to fight

But his battles are far more real than those in the sky

Standing tall and facing each foe with all of his might

 

Why do we often a teenagers strife overlook

Or not take them as seriously as they’d like

So the young man before me expresses with such a look

And we couldn’t possibly understand since we’re nothing alike

 

Oh, you were a teenager, yes yes, I know

But surely you don’t face the things we do now

Says my fourteen year old, so full of woe

And why are there so many things you don’t allow

 

Yet through the angst this young man does feel

He does know that he’s not as alone as he’d like to portray

And that my love for him is still so very real

The laughter sounds and for awhile, worry is kept at bay

 

He is not so little anymore, it’s true

No, now he’s my young man standing tall

Voice changing, hormones raging, and my how he grew

But, he does let me know he needs me if he were to fall

 

So strong and increasingly seeking independence

I both fear and anxiously await the day he goes in the world alone

Will he use the lessons we taught or leave them on the fence?

Whatever he does, I hope that his light is brightly shone

 

I want him to lead his own life and do well

But, I hope that wherever he may roam

That he should not ever in homesickness dwell

For this will always be a place he can call home.

 

The Cost of Empathy

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Most of the time, I feel my ability to empathize with others is a valuable trait. To be able to put myself in one’s situation and allow myself to feel as if I was going through whatever is going on has helped me help others. It, in many ways, is really a blessing. Empathy and sympathy are two different animals and not many realize that. To sympathize is simply to feel bad for someone and to empathize is to truly feel the sorrow, pain, anger, frustration, and so on yourself. Not everyone is able to empathize with others and when you’re able to use that ability to help someone and it’s successful, it’s an amazing feeling.

Sometimes though, it takes a lot out of you when you feel too much and often times, there’s not much you can do to get away from that. Sometimes seeing or hearing about bad things happening around the world will get to you. When there’s so much weighing on you, it can pull you into pits of despair. Sometimes that very thing we may call a blessing one day, well it can feel like a curse the next. It can be really hard to separate yourself from the pain that surrounds you, especially when you yourself have things going on.

When you’re struggling, some may even tell you it’s okay to take a step back from everyone else and focus on your own life and while you know on some level that they’re right, this overwhelming sense of guilt haunts you. “But they need me! What if I can help?” And doesn’t it sometimes help us when we’re able to help others? Yes, sometimes helping another can heal your own soul and what a gift that is. Sometimes though, it can be too much to handle. How though, do you convince yourself to actually put yourself first?

There is a great cost to one’s self when you empathize with others. We don’t always see it or wish to acknowledge it. Sometimes we feel that is why we’re here, to help others so that they’re not alone, so that we might do some good in this world, especially when there’s so much hate surrounding us. But to open yourself up and allowing other’s lives to touch your own and get to you, well it changes you. It can become depressing, keep you up at night, make it hard to eat or push you eat too much, cause crying fits you don’t always understand, and cause damage to your well-being and relationships. People may ask, “Why do you always put other’s needs ahead of your own?” “Why can’t you tell people no?”

Some find their ability to empathize a great strength, for it takes a lot to be able to do this. To make yourself vulnerable really does take courage not everyone possesses. Some though, they feel it is a weakness to make yourself a “slave” to others emotionally, if you will. Some feel that it makes you weak to be that vulnerable, to feel that much, and to allow it to drag you down. I feel, after really thinking about it these many years, that it is both, for me at least. I think it can make me strong, especially when it allows me to truly help another, to make things better for someone, even if just a little. I hate seeing people in pain, of any kind, especially those closest to me. If I can help ease their pain at all, I am glad to do it, most days. There are times when I feel it does hinder me though. There are times when I feel like it’s too much and that it’s taking its toll on me. Sometimes I do feel weakened by it.

I will admit that there are times when there is so much going on and my mind feels as if it’s going to come unhinged. And while there’s some feelings of guilt for “abandoning” people who need me, sometimes I admit it is best when I shut myself out from those around me so that I can focus on me for a moment, so I can think and sort things out. Sometimes I need a breather, some time to relax and let the stress levels come down. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever needed to walk away from everyone else for a little bit so that you could fix your own problems? Have you ever felt so dragged down by what everyone around you is going through that you feel like you’re about to lose control of yourself? What do you do when you feel these things? And how do you convince yourself that you’re not being a bad friend or relative? How do you convince yourself that it’s okay to look out for you before others sometimes?

Mostly, I do feel being, what some call an Empath, is a good thing. But yeah, it really can cost you. The trick is to find a healthy balance, but often times we don’t know how to achieve that. I think it’s a learning process, one we may never fully succeed at, but perhaps get better at as the years go by. Here’s to learning, growing, helping  one another, and yet not neglecting ourselves. May we get even a little bit better each day and finding ways to improve both our lives and those around us.

Thoughts on Parenthood

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As we grow, we change, both outwardly and within as well. As babies, we need so much help. We can’t feed, dress, bathe, or clothe ourselves. We need help to get from place to place. Months go by and we’ve begun to learn. We’re rolling over, sitting up with support, and observing more of the environment around us. Then comes sitting on our own, crawling, picking things up, throwing things, learning to stand, and taking those first wobbly steps while clutching onto something. Eventually, we’re walking, climbing, and running. While all of this is going on, our bodies are changing and so are our minds.

Fast forward and now we’re talking, learning how to structure sentences as we speak, open things, match objects, count, recite the alphabet, and more. Off to school, and we learn so much more. As we grow and learn, we have been developing personalities of our own. We’re not just so and so’s kids, we’re truly our own souls. Many think kids can’t think for themselves, but sometimes I think they have a clearer and more level head on their shoulders than a lot of adults out there.

We, often times, don’t realize how complex and yet simple kids are until we’re adults and dealing with them ourselves. They’re fiery little people! Being a parent is both one of the greatest joys and most difficult things I have been given the chance to do. Some think that being a parent is all or mostly late night feedings, crying, disgusting diapers, tantrums, crayon on the walls, yelling, fighting, broken things, piles of laundry and dishes, and oh no more social life, at least one that doesn’t involve children. And others think that it’s laughter, cuddles, homemade projects, school plays and concerts, smiles, hugs, first steps, first words, braiding hair, playing catch, and love.

Parenthood is a mixture of some the greatest times in your life and some of the most difficult ones. It is late night feedings, tantrums, teenage angst, fighting, scolding, hurt feelings, and difficult times. There are days you will question your sanity, where you’ll wonder if you’re doing everything all wrong. You’ll cry in the car, lock yourself in the bathroom for a moment of peace, disagree with your partner (if you have one) on how to raise your kids time to time, panic, and overthink things. But, it is also seeing their smile and feeling so much joy, helping them unwrap their first Christmas presents, dressing them up for their school spring concert, seeing their face light up when they see you, hearing them tell you how much they love you, helping them get ready for a school dance, having fun play dates, cuddling on the couch, and the feeling of their hand in yours. You’ll smile when they bring you a handmade ornament from school, feel pride when they bring you a picture they drew just for you, (even if you don’t know what it is) laugh at the silly joke they made up, and feel more love than you ever knew was possible to feel.

When our kids grow into adults, that’s when we truly see our hard work put to the test. Did we give them tools they need to lead their own lives? Did they learn how to take care of themselves? Did we do enough? Did we do too much? What if they don’t need us anymore? What do we do now that we don’t have noses to wipe, cuts and scrapes to bandage, homework to help with, lessons to transport people to, nights to wait up, first and last days of school to anticipate, someone to read a bedtime story to, or get little snuggles from?

I am not quite to the point of having an adult child, but I do have a teenager. I also have a baby. They’re both in very different stages in life. I do often feel overwhelmed, but I also feel so very blessed. My children are the ones that inspire me daily to do and be more. I want to show them how to chase after their dreams, work hard, have fun, be good to others, and make the most of their lives by doing so myself. I don’t enjoy the fights, the attitude, messy diapers, waking in the middle of the night, or lack of time for me. However, I can’t imagine my life without the laughter, inside jokes, hugs, smiles, game nights, or feeling the love I feel for them or that they give to me return. That there is what makes it all worth it, the love. That, to me, is what life in and of itself is all about. Through every phase of our lives, it’s about the love within it, both giving and receiving. Life without love, to me, isn’t really living. My kids are the finest example of what unconditional love can do to and for someone.

I am blessed to have been able to watch them grow, learn, and become their own people. Parenthood isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. I don’t judge anyone who decides not to become parents, whether by having their own, adoption, fostering, being a step parent, etc. Some say it’s selfish if they decide not to continue their legacy, but I find it is more selfish to expect someone to have kids when that’s not what they want to do. Not all people are meant to be parents and sadly, many that are shouldn’t be. But, that’s for another blog or perhaps ones I have already written. 😉 Today, I am just counting my blessings for being able to be a parent. I make mistakes, we all do. I second guess myself a lot. I don’t always make the wisest decisions or the ones others want me to make. But, I do the best I can and my kids both have what they need and so much love.

If you have kids and you’re able to, let them know you love them today. Even if they’re grown, moved away, with the other parent, in college, or whatever the case may be….e-mail, text, call, snap chat, Skype, etc makes communication much easier. No matter how old they are, they’re always our kids. Life is short and we don’t know when our last chance will be to show love, so if you have the chance to today, don’t waste it. I got off topic a bit, but I hope you enjoyed reading today. Have a wonderful Wednesday, may you be richly blessed!

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My 20’s versus my 30’s

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I remember when I was my son’s age, 12, thinking that 30 was old. And when I reached the age of 20, I still thought 30 seemed a lifetime away and surely when I reached it, my life wouldn’t be the same. Well, I was right about that, though not in the ways I thought back then. I remember thinking that once you reached your 30’s that life would be more boring, that I couldn’t possibly enjoy my life like I did in those moments of my most cherished youth.

As my 20’s progressed, I began to see that life wasn’t turning out the way I once thought it would and so many things I thought I knew about life were proved wrong. I must say that my 20’s were definitely full of excitement. There were so many parties, adventures, random road trips, and explorations. There are many days I can’t quite remember though and while we would laugh about such things with one another, truth is, it was sad that there were hours of my life when I couldn’t recall what I had said or done. But, such was the life back then for me and many others I know, and many others around the world too for that matter.

While my party days of my 20’s could be a blast, it is quite accurate to say that it was not all fun and games. With that partying also came being sick, injuries, death to loved ones because of reckless behavior (drinking and driving – not because of me, but it very well could have been due to many stupid decisions I made.), near death experiences, drama, drama, and more drama, heartbreak, and so on. I have learned a lot of painful lessons and often times, the hard way.

My 20’s were full of a lot of irresponsibility, careless actions, unwise decisions, and rash behavior. Now, I am not going to say that I didn’t enjoy my 20’s at all, because I do have a lot of great memories, made some great friends, and still have inside jokes that many of us still laugh about to this day. And, I can’t say that I just screwed everything up and didn’t do the right things at times. I wasn’t an airhead, but sometimes I made people wonder. I look at some people in their 20’s now and think, “Was I really like that?” And the answer, dear readers, is yes and sometimes much worse.

I am now 36, approaching 37 at the end of this year. Looking back at my frivolous days of my 20’s and then looking at my life and who I am now, I can tell you there are some major differences. The me back then and the me now would have quite the conversation should they be able to speak to one another. When I was 26, I said I wanted to find someone special, settle down, finally establish myself on a good career path, do better for my son, and behave more responsibly. But what I said I wanted and how I often behaved didn’t match up. I still was so selfish a lot of the time, though I wouldn’t bring myself to admit that. I worked here and there, wasn’t there for my son like I should have been, stayed up too late most nights, partied too hard with my friends too often, chased after the wrong guys, and just made a mess of my life. You’d think by 26 that I’d start to get a handle on things and I was making progress, but not nearly enough.

It’s so weird, when I turned 30, it’s as if a light switch went off in my head. It didn’t happen overnight, but turning 30 was really a turning point in my life. It’s as if the mist surrounding my head began to lighten and the fog began to lift. I began to see just how badly I needed to change, how my priorities needed to shift. I started going out less, trying harder to better my life, and began truly growing up. Life started to be more about my son, family, and working hard.

When I was 26, I lived with my grandma, had my son very sparingly and never knew when I’d see him, worked a seasonal job at the ballpark, and worked here and there on the off-seasons, hung out with a lot of people I shouldn’t have, and did things I am not proud of. My younger days were even more chaotic. At 19-23, oh it was even more wild. At 23, I got pregnant with my son and during that time, I did pretty well. I didn’t drink, took care of my body, and tried to change. At nearly 24, my son was born and then it didn’t take long before fear I’d ruin my son’s life the way that my parents had ruined mine and selfish wants took over. I have always loved my son, but back then, it wasn’t enough to do what I should have. It was about me, but I said it was to protect him, to spare him of the life I had. To a point, I did believe I wasn’t any good for my son, but that was also because I was afraid to try, only to end up failing. I didn’t give my son every effort he deserved and for that, I’ll always feel horrible. I am getting better at forgiving myself, my son already has. I know too that I can’t make up for time lost, but I can be there for him now.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing. Fast forward to present day if you will. I now find myself working a stable job that I love that more than pays my bills and takes care of Zach’s needs when he’s with me, have a schedule with my son and am overjoyed at being a much bigger part of his life, am engaged to a wonderful man who loves us both that has always been there for us, am a member of a church that really helps me grow in my faith, and have surrounded myself with a good group of friends that I can trust and that I don’t let take me down dark paths. If anything, if I start to have problems, they’re right there guiding me back to the right path. Life is truly wonderful, the best it’s ever been. I am much happier in my 30’s than I was in my 20’s. I finally look in the mirror and see someone I am not ashamed to look at, someone I can really love and respect. If you asked me to go back to my 20’s, I wouldn’t. Truthfully, I feel the only way to go is forward. ❤

A blog redefined

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I changed the title to my blog today. Part of the reason for that is that I don’t want my blog or myself to be defined by a disorder I have. Yes, I do have bi-polar disorder and I am not ashamed of that. I have learned how to control it (most days lol) and don’t let it hinder me. However, I felt it was time for a better title for my blog.

It is now titled Life, Love, Poetry, & Other Randomness. I feel it’s a better fit and that it aptly describes my blog’s purpose. I share stories about my life, mostly to inspire others and sometimes just share info about me so that you, my readers, can get to know me better. I also talk quite a bit about love, the love I feel for others, the love I am blessed others feel for me, and just about love in general. I do also share some of my poetry from time to time, when inspiration hits. The other randomness part explains itself. One never knows what goes on in my mind. Today I could post about music, tomorrow it might be about ways I like to cook chicken. 😉 Hmm, chicken.

Anyway, I really do hope you’ve all enjoyed reading my blog thus far and I thank you for your support! You’re an amazing group of people and I am honored to both have you as readers and to be a reader of your works as well. Let’s keep it up, eh? 🙂 Here’s to us bloggers!  And here’s to more writing, music, photography, and much more…let it reach out to as many as are willing to be taught and inspired! 🙂

Who Am I?

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I am many things to many people. Who am I to you? I am a mom to Zachariah. I am a daughter to Danette and Russell, a step-daughter to Cindy. I am a sister to Mike, Matt, & Brenda. I am an aunt to Joey, Ethan, Avery, Dorian, Spencer, & Kaylee. I am a grand-daughter to William & Clara and David & Lorinda. I am a niece to Lyle, Scott, Debbie, Karen, Pam, Cindy, Sandy, Marion, Holly, Lisa, & Georgia. I am a cousin to Chris, Meghann, Halley, Emilee, Scott, Kari, Katie, Sean, Courtney, Stacie, Hannah, Jack, Will, Lyle David, Jim, Bill, Tony, Alan, Theresa, Kristina, & Tamara…that’s just my first cousins. 😉 I am a friend to many. I am God’s child, a Christian, a beacon of light & love. 

I have been a co-worker, a passer-by in the store, the woman driving ahead of you and also behind you as well as next to you, the woman next to you at the bar, the one you see/hear singing karaoke, a teammate on bowling leagues, your competitor, a foe and adversary, the woman next to you at church, a choir member, an actress on stage at school and church, a writer, a photographer, a cook, a nurse to my sick child and others I have baby-sat for, ah yes and a babysitter, a cat owner, a lover, a fighter, a doodler, a giver, a taker, a loaner, a borrower, a thief, a crier, one full of laughter, a thinker, a procrastinator, a motivator, a roommate, a loaner, a party goer, a student, a judge and jury, a forgiver, and that list goes on and on.

I am one who loves even numbers and has an obsession with things being even and symmetrical, yet my favorite numbers are 3, 7, & 11 and not really sure why. I am O.C.D. with cleanliness and organization. I can tell if people have moved my things and some have messed with me with that because they find it funny to do so, I usually am not amused, though have gotten better with it over the years. 😉 I used to HATE the color pink, but I like it now. However, nothing trumps green and deep down, it’s always been that way even though I love many colors. I am known as Rainbow Dark, Rainbow or R.D. for short in the karaoke world because of that and also my tendencies to be random and show up in all black now and then. I love music, most forms of it and the forms I don’t, I find ways to at least appreciate them….like opera, polka (good at weddings lol), most rap, etc. I have Christian Contemporary, country, pop, classical, show tunes, Disney, alternative, rock, metal, ska, punk, E.D.M, and so on in my library. It’s been a lifeline for me for my whole life, as has been my writing. They have both been great outlets for self expression. I love to read, mostly fantasy and perhaps some drama/suspense as well. I do not like horror movies, messes with the Schizophrenia that I have. I LOVE comedies, laughter is wonderful medicine for an angry mindset or someone who is tired of crying. I also love fantasies like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, etc. Prayer is HUGE, as is my faith in general. It’s a huge part of me.

I am NOT a morning person, never really have been. I like to cook, when I have people to cook for. I have been experimenting more and more these days. I used the broiler for the first time this year and it turns out I can use it well. I also have been using spices and marinades. 🙂 I like to snuggle under a warm blanket and watch Disney or perhaps read a book till I am tired enough to sleep. I still sleep with stuffed animals and/or the pillow my grandma made me, when my boyfriend isn’t with me. I like a warm bath to relieve tension, but most days I prefer a shower so I can just get in and out. I still color and doodle, it relaxes me. I collect Tinkerbell dolls, many colorful things, butterfly stuff, and still have an obsession with Rainbow Brite. I like to watch N.C.I.S, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, & such to make my mind think. If it weren’t for the gore, I’d love to be a forensics scientist. Though I am more numbers oriented and think I’d be best suited as an accountant. If I’d ever gone for my dream however, I’d be doing Broadway to combine my love for theater and music. I’d love to be in the cast of RENT, Les Miserables, Grease, Oklahoma, and more. I will settle though for just watching and listening to the soundtracks. I wish I had more theater loving friends, eh, but it is what it is! I do also love football, GO GREEN BAY PACKERS! Oh and of course for baseball, GO BREWERS! I have tickets for opening day so that my boyfriend and I can go, it will be a first for us! I used to work at the ballpark, it will be nice to be there just as a fan. 🙂 

I hate onions, but love sour cream and onion dip, the chips are good too. Meat, yes, it is good. I especially like chicken and pork. found out how yummy they are when broiled. 😉 Cheese, it goes on a lot! I like my veggies too: cucumbers, non cooked green and yellow peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts…when made right, green beans, raw spinach, corn on the cob, peas, and I suppose carrots are alright. I like strawberries, raspberries, peaches….only the fruit itself, not anything peach flavored, nectarines, pears, bananas, oranges, kiwis, black raspberries, grapes, and will tolerate apples. Bread, I usually remember a restaurant for the bread they have. I am not big on rye or the bread that has chunks of stuff in it. Olive Garden has great bread sticks and Red Lobster has great cheddar biscuits. I am not big on seafood, but I eat more than I used to. Hmm. I am hungry now. I did brush my teeth not too long ago though and I should be headed to bed soon.

Throughout my ramblings, I don’t know what you have learned, but I hope I did entertain you for a moment or two. Dream big, just remember to go for them when you wake. Love without letting fear hold you back. Sing, dance, write, be you always, LIVE! It’s never easy to find balance, but try in all aspects of your life. Do grow up enough to take care of what you need to, but never fully grow up, keep a part of your youth alive. Make mistakes, get back up, and push forward. Celebrate your triumphs and learn from your failures. Don’t be naive and be a doormat, but do let people in. Give more than you take, but don’t be afraid to accept offerings of kindness. Love more than you hate. Hate and anger consume. Forgive, not for the sake of the other, but for your own so that you may be free. Preaching about karma means you still dwell upon it, let go and let God. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell your kids you love them, that you’re proud of them. Be a friend and let people be one to you. Be good to yourself, no matter how hard it is to do. Believe in you! It took me a long time to believe in me, but now that I do, it feels great! 

Who am I? That is where I started this. I end this by saying, through all that I am to many people, at the end of the day, I am me. I am Carissa. Make of that what you will! I am finally heading to bed because I have finally grown tired enough to sleep. Good night and God bless!

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I am Brangien [Brangaine] of Weisefort, Ireland, lady-in-waiting to my cousin Isolde, who became promised to King Marc of Cornwall. His nephew Tristan escorted us to England by ship. But Tristan and Isolde fell in love at sea. As ye may know, or will find out, they cite the philter they drank as the cause, over which I was supposed to keep vigil. I would like to share my perspective of how I have created good in the world through my herbs and observations. There is much to tell, including how I have adopted this odd language. In good time. My life is in God’s hands. –Inspired by the modern French translations of the Tristan and Isolde texts

New Beginnings

A safe haven where the mind is free.

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