Monday, December 29, 2014

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED #5

DECEMBER



The Holiday's can get complicated when you are single. People ask you where your ex is and you have to kindly inform them of the break-up, or some people have to endure the third-degree tactics of people grilling them about why they're single. I think at this stage in my life people don't ask or suggest anything to me, not that they ever really use to when I was younger either - I don't really know why that is. However, this Christmas was especially difficult because I was truly alone for the Holiday's. Christmas day I hibernated, I scrolled through endless Facebook feeds of happy families, and endured some Holiday movies. I did make the effort to meet-up with friends and go to family functions and I think it helped me keep what little sanity I have left. Something else that kept swimming around in the vast knowledge-pit of my mind was what a good friend once told me; It's okay to be depressed and to be sad, just don't live there. I'm really trying to make the conscious choice to challenge myself and condition my delusional thought patterns (Cognitive Behavioral Training, CBT) to make better choices, to snap myself out of thoughts that are dangerous to my psyche.


"I want you to be free from anxieties... the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure our undivided devotion to the Lord." 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV

What does this tell me? It speaks that I should not be anxious about being single and I should not put any restraints on myself about what has happened in the past, or to worry about the future. I was reading a devotional from Joyce Meyers recently and it really spoke to me. "How many of you know that God test you from time to time? Pass your test now. If you don't, you'll get to take it again." This made me think, when I use to think that bad stuff kept happening to me as a punishment, NO - I haven't passed His test yet. I know my shortcomings, I know I can be a pushover and I know I have a hard time telling people no or whatever. Because I haven't learnt my lessons, I keep getting into the same relationships and they fail because I haven't passed the test. However, He also tells us not to dwell (because that will lead to those anxieties and restraints of the world) but to learn from our lessons and to move forward and "shake it off" Joyce Meyers Daily Devotion - It's time to shake it off! I need to switch my focus from obsessing over finding that man to grow old with, to enriching my soul with the word of God. 

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

I was watching some program the other day I'm not sure if it was Joyce Meyers or Joel Osteen - have you ever listened to a message and you know the Spirit is telling you something completely different? I can't recall the Ministries exact message, but I know the message I received. It was that God has known me before I even knew myself. He has known all the hardships and struggles that I have face and that I will continue to face. Yet, He has entrusted me with this life. He is precious to me that He believes in me and that should be sufficient, more than sufficient, it should be all that I need! His love is all the love that I should need, I shouldn't need the love of another to feel complete. His love will sustain, His love is enough, and His love will see me through. I will grow old in His eyes and receive the deserving love of my lifetime through Him.

"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." Hosea 2:19-20

Affirmation Station:




Join my Pinterest - AFFIRMATIONS board

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED #4

NOVEMBER

Leading into November I buckled down and along with other generous souls, we started the tedious editing process. This kept me too busy to worry about that prickling need to have someone in my life. I stopped focusing on other stressors; I have this ability to put on horse-blinders sometimes, which really helps me to stay focused on tasks. It was really exciting for me this time around too that I booked and scheduled a cover reveal and a book tour. I knew I needed to focus on positives and not let my mind wander to negatives. I feel that my brain does this on its own and I really have to work hard in focusing on those positive things in my life, or else I get totally sucked up in to that depressive state of what I've lost instead of what I've survived, achieved, and continue to work hard to pursue. 



November is all about Thanksgiving, even though I don't have my own family, I found thanks in what I am blessed with. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, loving and supportive parents, a super-sister and two wonderful nieces, along with a career that I have been working on and building from scratch, I am also very blessed that my immediate family is so supportive but, that I also have other family members that are so supportive. Now that I have released my second book, the book tour is in early December and then I'm going to dive right back into the third book, so that will keep my mind busy. Also, I've decided that I have really botched this dating thing up, so I read something a while back and decided to just give it to God, and I questioned myself as to why I was obsessing over finding that right person. Instead, I decided that it is in His hands. Now, I tell people that I am not ready for a relationship, because I'm not. I feel God is still molding me and that when I'm ready He'll send me who He intends for me to spend the rest of my life with. I've accepted this and expect it; it's why I now say that for me to even consider a relationship he will have to be perfect. Which for me in my brain right now doesn't exist, so if a guy is perfect it only makes sense that he was sent from God. I would like to say that's when I will open my heart but I know myself well enough to know that my heart is always open - I would be fighting with myself and wasting too much energy and time to try to change my core characteristics of opening my heart and loving, that's just who I am! I'm just learning to respect myself more and that I don't need a man, that when he comes into my life it will be to share life together. I put it this way to my brain: I've gambled so much on love and have lost, I'm not gambling anymore - if I don't like something, I'm out! *wink* 








Links

This link helped me to remember why dating sucks!
23 Excruciating Tinder Exchanges


Friday, December 19, 2014

DEJA VU BLOGFEST

http://www.dlhammons.com/2014/10/the-deja-vu-blogfest-2014.html
The Day of the Do Over Link

While the majority of people enjoy the holiday's with their loved ones, parents watching the enjoyment of their children on the anticipated morning, some have a more bleak day ahead of them. Me, I'll be sleeping in, hiding under my covers and wishing the day away. I've seen post after post of friends enjoying decorating for their holiday season, while I haven't decorated at all. I know it's a choice, I could push myself and dig through boxes to find my Christmas decorations. The only obstacle is dealing with items that I can't bring myself to deal with yet. It's been over a year, I thought I would be able to figure out what to do by now; where to put things and how to handle my emotions. The truth is, I'm not. Everyone handles grief differently and there isn't a day that goes by when the thought of my son doesn't take my breath away and the sadness expands with a deep burning sensation within my chest. However, I know I'm not alone. The Holiday's can be difficult for a lot of people. Each day there is a new obstacle, a new challenge, and more emotions I have to try to deal with. Some days are better than other too. The Holiday's seem to increase the hardships to a maximum level. So, in an attempt to try to work through these times, I took to the internet to try to research how to make it through the season and keep what little sanity I have left.

Top Tips to Surviving the Holidays

Honor Them - for those that left us too soon, find a way that you can honor them. Many people believe that those that have passed know how we honor them here in the present and they enjoy it. We decorate my sons grave site; we just went today! My sister made my son an adorable Christmas tree, while my parents bought him items too, and we went together to honor him and make him a part of our life. While other parents are buying their children toys and other goodies, I bought my son items for his grave site. I'm starting to understand though, it's still an action; whether buying him a gift he could have enjoyed in his physical form, or enjoy in his spiritual state, either way I made the effort, and it did feel good to be doing something for him. While last year my sister honored my son, her nephew's passing by having a star named after him, and for Christmas she gave remembrance items, as well as did my parents and sister have presents from my son; which was hard but, I cherish them for their thoughts and efforts.

Daily Reminders - through sites such as Grief Share, you can sign up for daily e-mails to help you through the tougher times. Another great suggestion through Grief Share (Reasons) is to focus on the reason for the season (in my case, I celebrate Christmas, so it's all about Christ). So, this season I am going to focus on the reason for the season. Where the article is about how Jesus "came to end all suffering" although, as a person suffering, this isn't that comforting; it's actually more upsetting to think there is still so much suffering left int he world. However, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" John 10:10. What this says to me is that we need to find our happy; find something each day to laugh and to be thankful for - God wants us to be happy.

Get Help - something I have a hard time with is asking for help. Through AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), they suggest leaning on your friends and family. Talk with them about what you are going through and have someone, a "buddy" to go with you places that can help you through. However, it has been my experience that after your loved one passes (and maybe it's just because it was my son, and a child's death is difficult for anyone to talk about) but, people just don't seem to talk about it. Maybe partially because they don't want to upset me or maybe because they don't want to be upset themselves. Then again, many people (myself included) aren't well equipped to comfort those that are suffering inside. But, I can't tell you how elated I feel inside when someone does say my son's name or talks about them. So, don't be afraid to talk about the deceased. What doesn't help, when I'm feeling low, is the comment "he wouldn't have wanted you to be sad" or something along those lines. He's not here. Instead, try bringing up happy holiday memories that involve the deceased, or suggest how you could honor their memories instead. Believe me, the person grieving is going through a hard enough time, they don't need to be scolded.

Self-Love - forgive yourself and give yourself the time and energies to deal with your feelings. Another thing I have to work on. First, I never knew learning to love myself was going to be so difficult. Second, that I have a hard time dealing with my feelings. I let them well-up until I just burst and can't hold it in anymore. I shared a post I read the other day that stated "I'm exhausted from being stronger than I am" (or something like that). On the Hand to Hold site they suggest to "Be Generous with Others [and] Yourself". Share your talents and share with others because it makes us feel good (basically). "Expect that you will feel sad sometimes. Or angry. Or alone. These are all appropriate feelings and are an acknowledgement of the intense love you hold for your child" or your loved one that has passed.

Thorn Pathways

When looking up the scriptures in the Godvine fictional story titled Thanksgiving Thorns, I came across Suffering is a great grace... quote from St. Faustina. Remember the pain that you feel is a direct result of how deeply your love for the deceased. In Thanksgiving Thorns, it is about a flower shop associate and her faith in God and how we should be thankful for the thorns in our life. I didn't particularly care for the story, however I can appreciate the message. Even though we are deeply suffering, we shouldn't forget that He is still here for us. It seems like He's not, which I have felt but, suffering means so much more than what we are experiencing. God understand how mad we are at Him, yet He still remains. When I read scripture about how He knows all our days before we are even born and has given us what we need for this life, sometimes I feel harsh against this, as if I'm being punished. However, as my mother explained to me years ago that it's not a punishment at all. That He thinks so highly of us that He has given us the hardest of situations (Thanks!); it's about perspective. It seems absurd to say that any death is for our benefit but, as St. Faustina suggests through our suffering are still gifts we need to be thankful for.

So, now what? Well, find some funny videos on YouTube, laughing helps our brains in more beneficial ways. I read once how it's okay to visit being depressed and sad, just don't live there. Help yourself claw out of the darkness with the light of laughter. The next step is up to you! I know this year I haven't decorated at all because it's so upsetting, it would mean having to go through my sons items that I have in the same area that I haven't wanted to deal with yet. I've been contemplating on recruiting someone to help me with this, I know this would help me but, everyone's so busy. I need to just get-to-it, if it gets too hard then I can grab the box of tissues and work through those feelings too. I know it's much easier said than done though, so I'll continue to just take one day at a time.

How do you honor your deceased loved ones during the Holidays?
Comment with your tips and suggestions!


Links

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grief and the Holidays

While the majority of people enjoy the holiday's with their loved ones, parents watching the enjoyment of their children on the anticipated morning, some have a more bleak day ahead of them. Me, I'll be sleeping in, hiding under my covers and wishing the day away. I've seen post after post of friends enjoying decorating for their holiday season, while I haven't decorated at all. I know it's a choice, I could push myself and dig through boxes to find my Christmas decorations. The only obstacle is dealing with items that I can't bring myself to deal with yet. It's been over a year, I thought I would be able to figure out what to do by now; where to put things and how to handle my emotions. The truth is, I'm not. Everyone handles grief differently and there isn't a day that goes by when the thought of my son doesn't take my breath away and the sadness expands with a deep burning sensation within my chest. However, I know I'm not alone. The Holiday's can be difficult for a lot of people. Each day there is a new obstacle, a new challenge, and more emotions I have to try to deal with. Some days are better than other too. The Holiday's seem to increase the hardships to a maximum level. So, in an attempt to try to work through these times, I took to the internet to try to research how to make it through the season and keep what little sanity I have left.

Top Tips to Surviving the Holidays

Honor Them - for those that left us too soon, find a way that you can honor them. Many people believe that those that have passed know how we honor them here in the present and they enjoy it. We decorate my sons grave site; we just went today! My sister made my son an adorable Christmas tree, while my parents bought him items too, and we went together to honor him and make him a part of our life. While other parents are buying their children toys and other goodies, I bought my son items for his grave site. I'm starting to understand though, it's still an action; whether buying him a gift he could have enjoyed in his physical form, or enjoy in his spiritual state, either way I made the effort, and it did feel good to be doing something for him. While last year my sister honored my son, her nephew's passing by having a star named after him, and for Christmas she gave remembrance items, as well as did my parents and sister have presents from my son; which was hard but, I cherish them for their thoughts and efforts.

Daily Reminders - through sites such as Grief Share, you can sign up for daily e-mails to help you through the tougher times. Another great suggestion through Grief Share (Reasons) is to focus on the reason for the season (in my case, I celebrate Christmas, so it's all about Christ). So, this season I am going to focus on the reason for the season. Where the article is about how Jesus "came to end all suffering" although, as a person suffering, this isn't that comforting; it's actually more upsetting to think there is still so much suffering left int he world. However, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" John 10:10. What this says to me is that we need to find our happy; find something each day to laugh and to be thankful for - God wants us to be happy.

Get Help - something I have a hard time with is asking for help. Through AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), they suggest leaning on your friends and family. Talk with them about what you are going through and have someone, a "buddy" to go with you places that can help you through. However, it has been my experience that after your loved one passes (and maybe it's just because it was my son, and a child's death is difficult for anyone to talk about) but, people just don't seem to talk about it. Maybe partially because they don't want to upset me or maybe because they don't want to be upset themselves. Then again, many people (myself included) aren't well equipped to comfort those that are suffering inside. But, I can't tell you how elated I feel inside when someone does say my son's name or talks about them. So, don't be afraid to talk about the deceased. What doesn't help, when I'm feeling low, is the comment "he wouldn't have wanted you to be sad" or something along those lines. He's not here. Instead, try bringing up happy holiday memories that involve the deceased, or suggest how you could honor their memories instead. Believe me, the person grieving is going through a hard enough time, they don't need to be scolded.

Self-Love - forgive yourself and give yourself the time and energies to deal with your feelings. Another thing I have to work on. First, I never knew learning to love myself was going to be so difficult. Second, that I have a hard time dealing with my feelings. I let them well-up until I just burst and can't hold it in anymore. I shared a post I read the other day that stated "I'm exhausted from being stronger than I am" (or something like that). On the Hand to Hold site they suggest to "Be Generous with Others [and] Yourself". Share your talents and share with others because it makes us feel good (basically). "Expect that you will feel sad sometimes. Or angry. Or alone. These are all appropriate feelings and are an acknowledgement of the intense love you hold for your child" or your loved one that has passed.

Thorn Pathways

When looking up the scriptures in the Godvine fictional story titled Thanksgiving Thorns, I came across Suffering is a great grace... quote from St. Faustina. Remember the pain that you feel is a direct result of how deeply your love for the deceased. In Thanksgiving Thorns, it is about a flower shop associate and her faith in God and how we should be thankful for the thorns in our life. I didn't particularly care for the story, however I can appreciate the message. Even though we are deeply suffering, we shouldn't forget that He is still here for us. It seems like He's not, which I have felt but, suffering means so much more than what we are experiencing. God understand how mad we are at Him, yet He still remains. When I read scripture about how He knows all our days before we are even born and has given us what we need for this life, sometimes I feel harsh against this, as if I'm being punished. However, as my mother explained to me years ago that it's not a punishment at all. That He thinks so highly of us that He has given us the hardest of situations (Thanks!); it's about perspective. It seems absurd to say that any death is for our benefit but, as St. Faustina suggests through our suffering are still gifts we need to be thankful for.

So, now what? Well, find some funny videos on YouTube, laughing helps our brains in more beneficial ways. I read once how it's okay to visit being depressed and sad, just don't live there. Help yourself claw out of the darkness with the light of laughter. The next step is up to you! I know this year I haven't decorated at all because it's so upsetting, it would mean having to go through my sons items that I have in the same area that I haven't wanted to deal with yet. I've been contemplating on recruiting someone to help me with this, I know this would help me but, everyone's so busy. I need to just get-to-it, if it gets too hard then I can grab the box of tissues and work through those feelings too. I know it's much easier said than done though, so I'll continue to just take one day at a time.

How do you honor your deceased loved ones during the Holidays?
Comment with your tips and suggestions!

Links

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How Pain Affects the Body

Head to Toe - This Pain Has To Go!

If you are like me and deal with daily chronic pain, then you know the affects on your body. But, in reality you might not because our brain processes things differently. All we know sometimes, is that we feel or are experiencing some form of discomfort or pain. Especially when it's all-the-time, it's torture! Then, our brains have to combat ways to evolve in a sense. Our brains either let the pain rule and then we're unable to be productive (which, do we really have control over?) or we try to occupy ourselves in a way to ignore the pain (I do this all the time). The only problem I've found with this technique is that for the break-through pain (severe) when it hits, it really hits and I'm unable to do much of anything. My brain is on over-load trying to deal with the pain. I've also read that if pain is not dealt with over time, it will affect your heart.

Literally, pain affects our bodies from our head to our toes. From how our body reacts and communicates pain to the results afterward. The results can be in the form of tension pains (such as neck pain, headaches, and so forth) because the constant pain sensors trigger tension. As such, this same concept will also trigger depression. As a person who deals with depression, I can tell you first-hand that it is a vicious cycle. If I'm depressed, the more I am upset or stressed, the more the receptors are communicating and the more I experience pain. Part of the vicious cycle we face is also the ability to take care of ourselves (how we need to); this includes exercise and socializing. When a person is depressed and dealing with daily chronic pain, they have a hard enough time moving, let alone considering exercise or being around people that don't understand your struggles. Just remember, you can't judge someone if you haven't experience what they have. We're all different and experience things differently. 12 Nice Things You Can Do for Someone in Pain12 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with a Chronic Health Condition The Spoon Theory






Links

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

What Are The 10 Things You Would Tell Your Younger Self?

There have always been certain things that, if given the chance to tell my younger self, I would definitely share some well-earned knowledge. However, it was more difficult than I originally thought to come up with ten things. I've experienced a lot in my life and I wouldn't necessarily want to change those events because it's made me who I am today. However, if given that miraculous chance - I would definitely whisper quite a few things into my ear. The tricky part actually is, would I actually listen to my older self? I'm so darn stubborn that in itself would be the crux in the entire situation. I also wonder how my life could possibly be different if I did follow my own advice... provided by bullet-points, here are the ten things I would definitely tell my younger self.

MY YOUNGER SELF
  • FAT DOESN'T DISAPPEAR - I actually just read recently how the fat in our bodies contracts and expands. It is why when we lose weight it is more easily re-gained. I would want to tell myself when I was in my early twenties to continue to care for my body. I had worked so hard to lose the weight I had carried before. After I had my son and my life drastically changed, I was dealing with daily chronic pain (I still do) and I totally dropped the ball with physical therapy (I didn't make time fore myself). I should have fought for that more, I would tell myself that I need to fight for my health, go to physical therapy and have a plan to continue to care for my body with what works for me. Whether it be a modified plan for exercises, yoga, whatever! At least I would have that knowledge and would have a plan that I could utilize and have some comfort in. But, I would definitely tell myself to INVEST that time and effort!
  • FAIRY TALES ARE FICTION - There's no such thing as "Happily Ever After". I grew up watching Disney movies and have always dreamed of that one man that is my soul mate that would save me. I would tell my younger self that the only person that can save me is myself. If you put stock in others to save you then you'll be disappointed - every time. I keep wondering if I should tell my younger self how disappointing that department has actually been? But, I wold definitely tell myself that kind of love is fiction, it's not necessarily not real but, I should focus more on myself. I guess I would tell my younger self how my past relationships have ended. It would definitely change my outcome now! I know if I told my younger self that the man I married would end up cheating on me and everything else, I wouldn't even have gone down that road. So it would totally change everything! It makes me wonder how different my life would be now.  
  • BE SELFISH - Make choices in your life for yourself, not what other people want. If you want a wedding, have a wedding, don't accept anything less. I am stubborn, so to a degree I do what I want but, there is a side of me that if I love someone I would do whatever they wanted. Because I loved them I wanted to appease them, even if it went against what I truly wanted. Don't fear what other's will think of you or that they'll think any less or love you less - if they do that's their fault - if they don't like it, don't let the door hit them on the way out.This could have saved me so much stress and anxiety and would definitely change everything. Never compromise yourself or what you want out of life. I do believe in compromise in relationships but, don't sacrifice yourself or who you are. It's been my experience the other person won't make those changes for you... so, why change for them?
  • STAND UP FOR YOURSELF - I never really spoke up for myself until I had my son and had no other choice but to be an advocate for him. Just brush it away too when people think you are being a bitch for speaking your mind, if they think that then you need to reevaluate that relationship too! I would tell my younger self to stop thinking that the world will end if you upset others - it won't! You have to have respect for yourself or others won't respect you either. Your needs should be more important to you than what other's think of you.
  • SAVE MONEY - Things will inevitably happen, if you aren't able to save money then you need to look at your career. I would tell my younger self to go for a career where you could make more money. Although, I believe I worked with special needs students to prepare me to care for my special needs son, however if events changed and my life altered because of those changes, I would definitely want to be more financially secure. I would definitely tell my younger self to take more care with my credit and to make more of an effort in that area. This will be important to have the security that I wish I had now.
  • WRITE - My mom always use to tell me that I should write, even when I was younger. So, I would tell my younger self to listen to our mother's advice and write. Get involved in the writing field and pursue that career, go to college for writing, and really invest yourself. I'm just getting started in the Self-Publishing and Indie field, I often wonder where I would be if I had jumped in much earlier when I should have. I remember when I first went to Community College after I graduated from High School and ended up dropping out because I didn't want to waste my parent's money, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I would tell that younger self to take those classes and pursue writing, it's where you will flourish.
  • COMFORT EATING - Don't do it! Along with telling myself to respect my body and continue to take care of it, when I was in my early twenties I read every food label and was much better about caring what I put in my body. I would tell myself to continue that, while it may taste good and send those chemicals in my brain the sensation of feeling better, that in reality I will feel much worse when I'm feeling depressed about gaining weight and not being able to fit in those clothes that I love so much. Respect yourself and your body! I would also whisper in my ear to pay more attention to the chemicals on the labels - to care more about the poison going in and what possible long-term effects that it can have.
  • INVEST IN FRIENDSHIPS - Make more time for the people in your life that make time for you. If people can't make time for you, then it should tell you that they don't want to be with you. When I was married this happened with my own husband, he couldn't make time for me, that should have been a huge red flag. I would tell my younger self, before you sacrifice your friendships for your relationships, why? You should not sacrifice them! Go out with your friends and do you. If the person you're with is jealous or is manipulative, then that's another huge red flag - of their own guilty conscious. Don't ruin your friendships with other people to appease your partner - NEVER!
  • DON'T STOP COORDINATING - You have this insane ability to pull-it-together - don't ever stop! I would tell my younger self to continue to coordinate Cousin's Night, it's very important! It saddens me now that we don't get together as much as we should, so I would definitely tell my younger self to keep up that tradition at all costs. You know your persistence pays off *wink*
  • YOU ARE WORTH IT!! If you think you are not, then it's toxic and leave - immediately! Most importantly - LOVE YOURSELF!!


THE ONLY LIMITS YOU SET YOURSELF

Links


What would you tell your younger self?


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED #3


I've decided to just add two months together to try to catch up. October is a rough month for me anyway because it is the month that my son passed away and was born, so it's a difficult month to get through which I'll go into more depth alter. November was busy because I dove head-first into getting my second book published, which I'll go into more about as well. So here we go, the third and fourth installment of "No Mean For A Year Challenge"! This was originally started in an attempt for self-respect, teaching me how to condition myself for greater things, and I must say it's WORKING!

OCTOBER

Originally October was going to be the month I took charge of a healthier me, it wasn't the right time to start this just yet; one thing at a time. October is especially difficult for me because my son was born October 28th, 2002 and he passed October 6th, 2013. It was his one year anniversary of gaining his angel wings. We did a lot of healing things to honor his memory, I have an entire Facebook page dedicated in his memory. We shared pictures of his precious time here on earth and I shared some great memories. Last year to honor his birthday (which was only days after his passing, so it was excruciating) we released balloons that we had written personal messages on with the hash-tag #HonorKaleb. Although, after reading about how dangerous this is for wildlife, we decided not to do that this year. His plaque was finally placed on his grave site, so my mother and I went and purchased big beautiful synthetic flowers and things to place in the vase. It was sad but it felt good also to finally get his site looking nice. 


Needless to say, I didn't have much time for the month of October to even think about dating or the opposite sex; which is a good thing! And yes, I've slacked off a lot with journaling. I think every day was a lot to take-on. In retrospection, I think it's good to journal every day in the beginning to condition your brain and to get someone started in the right direction. It was really good for me to focus on loving myself - which honestly, I still have a hard time with - but, I'm learning. I've already learnt so much, I know I definitely deserve better than what I have put up with in the past. This time is all about me and what I need, no more sacrificing of myself for others, no more of the altruistic BS. In this attempt I sat down and considered goals to accomplish this year. These goals include a couple different blogging challenges (this one included) along with my publishing goals. Writing has becomes more than something I just do, now I consider myself a writer and if someone asks me what I do I replay "I'm a blogger and writer" which has helped me to get over some social anxieties as well. With these goals printed and posted so I had visual reminders to keep me on track, I dove head-first into the writing realm. I finished my first rough draft of my second book toward the end of October. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Delicious Quick & Easy Breakfast Bites

Breakfast Bites

Watching my two nieces in the mornings before school it can be a challenge to put breakfast on the table, especially if the morning is already rushed. Kids easy get bored with cereal options, and if you've been watching the Monsanto fiasco's, they're adding their ingredients into cereals without our knowledge. So what can we do to provide healthy alternatives? If you haven't heard about Monsanto and their crusade to include their ingredient in our foods, it's sickening. Let's just put it this way: Monsanto is the same company that created Agent Orange. My dad was exposed to this chemical during his service in the military, because of this he now receives benefits because of the long-term damage (including diabetes).

As most mother's and caregivers know, it can be quite a circus getting the kids out the door in the morning. So, in saving time I've prepared breakfast in advance and wanted to share. We have tried them out and they are delicious! This is a similar recipe that my family has used for many Christmas Morning Breakfasts (Breakfast Casserole). It's just modified to meet our needs and easier to prep and cook.


What You'll Need:

Muffin Baking Sheet - 12 count
(we used cupcake liners)
1 package (pound) sausage
12 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Prepped Muffin Baking Sheet w/Cupcake Liners

First Step -

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep muffin sheet with inserting cupcake liners and spraying lightly with a baking spray. Brown sausage in a skillet. While the sausage is cooking crack the 12 eggs into a large mixing bowl, adding salt and pepper. We used bagged spinach, washed, dried, and then cut to preference and added to mixture.

Egg Mixture

Once the sausage is browned and crumbled, mix into bowl along with the shredded cheese and mix well. Spoon mixture in about 1/3 full (the eggs will expand when cooked, don't overfill). Cook for 25-30 minutes, test with toothpick - if you insert toothpick and it comes out clean then they are finished. I cooked mine for a solid 30 minutes. After you take them out of the oven, you can use tongs to remove the Breakfast Bites to cool. Once they are cool you can store them in the fridge and then pop them out and heat them up in the morning through the week. This recipe yielded 24 Breakfast Bites. Enjoy!

Added Sausage, Spinach & Cheddar Cheese

 Links 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

BUILDING THE ARK

The Problem with Church in the Bible vs. Church Today

This is the problem I have with what the Bible teaches us and what most church organizations practice. The Bible teaches us that the donations that are collected from the body of the church is suppose to be given to those less fortunate. Today, most churches turn around and use that as profit and put back into their own organizations. The main message of giving and tithing within the Bible teaches us to give so that we can receive

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38 (KJV)

I understand that the church needs money to stay functioning. To me, I would rather attend and be a member of a small church that gives a majority of their proceeds to widows and orphans than a huge over-blown organizational church with all their pomp and circumstance and jumbo trons, prerecorded sermons and bloated presence. I miss the days of that personal touch, when the pastor knew each and every member of his congregation. When I was younger, I remember the pastor of the church we had once attended would always check up on us if we had not been to church, just to make sure we were okay! Who does that anymore? Now it's automated e-mails with so much going on you are just another tally to mark for attendance and numbers. 


Some interesting links to read is an article through the website about religion titled "What Does The Bible Say About Church Giving?" When I tried researching about what happens to the donations once they are given to a church, most of the articles were about the actual act of giving to the church. A huge issue I have within the operations of a church is if they ask your income. If they ask you this it is because they are expecting 10% as a donation to their church, once you are a member. They'll use the Bible to tell you that's what is expected and there is evidence in the Bible to instruct as such. But, it's just a suggestive. God tells us to give what we can, not to be dictated to about how much is required of us to give. One of my favorite passages within the Bible is the generosity of a poor woman who gives her last cent to the church she went to. Even though it was only a single cent, it was all that she had. Could you imagine a person of wealth giving all that they have to a church? This article also lists the reason why people today have issues with giving to church organizations. 

Another interesting read is Let Us Reason Ministry with their articled titled "The Origin of Tithing". I personally love reading these more to the point articles because it researches the beginning, it goes to (as so titled) origin and gives us the history behind the reasoning. This articles takes us through the course of giving along with the different passages from the Bible associated with tithing and the specifications of today. If you are questioning yourself about giving to your church, read both of the articles (I'll list them both below) and write out a devotional and see how He opens your heart and blesses you with understanding. Make sure to share with us your opinions on giving, tithing and those practices in today's church.

Associated Links


Random Acts of Kindness

When I first started putting this post together, I looked into the Adopt a Soldier program. I actually did sign-up and conversed a couple times through e-mails with my soldier. He was married and had two young children, one was just a baby. It's so altruistic of the soldiers who commit their lives and it reminds me of another person who sacrificed his own life so that the rest of us could continue to live. Yes, I get it - people are against war. Yet, war has been around for far too long and it doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. So, for those brave men and women who sign-up and sacrifice their lives for our perceived freedom and for their belief in doing something good, the least I could do was to sign-up to say "Thank You" and send them a little goody box. I don't have much money but, I sent them what I could. Even if I never hear back from them, I know in my heart that I did something good. Years ago, a friend's sister was deployed and at the time I did have more money so I put together a box full of Bath & Body Works items and they loved the "thank you." But, it's these random acts of kindness that go a long way and not only brings joy to those who receive the gifts, it also brings joy into your own life. For more great ARK ideas, check out the links below!

Associated Links

Friday, October 10, 2014

DOUBLE STANDARDS BS

"Fat" Person Social Experiments

If you don't agree that it is more socially acceptable for a male to be overweight than a female, watch these two video's posted by Simple Pickup and then share your opinions. "Fat Girl Tinder Date" received over 11,967,762 views against "Fat Guy Tinder Date" receiving only 6,940,949 views. The social experiment takes an socially acceptable (thin and beautiful or handsome) individual and post pictures of themselves on a dating site called Tinder. Then, when they meet their dates they look quite different from their pictures. The actors put on fat suits and go on these dates and the different reactions are interesting. Some are just down right mean though. As a person that has battled weight all my life, I found the video's very hurtful. I've never lied to men but, I can testify the different treatment.




Societal Double Standards

I get really frustrated with how many movies, television shows, and everything else in our society where it is socially acceptable that a large (overweight) male can be with a thinner or healthy woman - but, when do we see an overweight female with an healthy or thinner male in societies eyes as acceptable? Just like these two video's - women are much nicer to men than men are to women in reference to their weight. I get it, there are some other levels that the men could have been disgusted with (because they were deceived). All but one male left the overweight woman. Where all the women stayed for their date with the overweight male. By nature statistics show that women are more empathetic and nurturing and I'm sure this is proven here as well. However, watching the first video really gives me no hope for humanity.

Watching some other YouTubers videos and podcasts referencing weight, when they talk about themselves being "fat" it's not as derogatory and as negative as when they are stating to weight with women. Why is it such a crime to be overweight as a woman - but, men can be overweight without all the social flogging?
I recently listened to one podcast last week where they were talking about how much women are crucified for their looks and now this week they make stupid jokes about women and their weight. I don't like to leave negative comments or else I would have told one of the podcasters to look in the mirror. But, whatever. It's one of those things like many other prejudices, until society changes ... but, can society change?

Closing Comment

This isn't the first social experiment, I've seen other examples of models and famous people putting on the fat suit and they are always astounded by the mistreatment they've received. So, this isn't anything new by far. However these boys that have created this YouTube channel and titled it Simple Pickup is more of a channel about their attempts at hooking up with women with no respect given to the opposite sex. You would almost hope that they are attempting practical jokes but, no - they are really showing us how crazy the dating scene is. That's not true, the only respect they have are for their dicks and the apparent STD's they are attempting to contract. There are some great videos that you should show your daughters as a horrific warning of what to avoid and to not engage in their attempt at social behaviors. It's also very disturbing to see how this generation conducts themselves - total disgust. They can keep their herpes. I'll stay fat and happy - far far away from them!! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED #2


September is the second month for my NO MEN FOR A YEAR challenge. This is very personal and I'm only sharing my opinions, beliefs, and experiences so that other girls, ladies, and women can learn from my mistakes in the past and together learn to love ourselves first. Part of my contract is that I journal every day and in doing so, I use writing prompts and so forth to help me to better understand my mistakes and to learn from them instead of repeat them. Let me know what you think or if you have experienced a similar situation, sharing is caring! I'd love to hear your testimonies as well, we can all learn from each other.

~ HERE WE GO ~

September 4th, 2014
Writing Prompt: Be Determined and Believe in Yourself
“Remember that old adage, ‘every long journey starts with a single step’. You may be depressed or unhappy being the person that you are. But if you are truly determined, you can change every single thing you hate about yourself from today itself. If you really want to know how to love yourself, be determined and focus on starting to make little positive changes every day. It could be issues related to your work, health, or even your own personal dreams. Whatever they may be, be determined and pursue them with all your heart. By doing this, you’ll respect and love yourself a lot more.” (©Lovepanky.com, 2014)
This has been an exceptionally hard year. After losing so much, break-ups and the loss of my son, I needed time to heal before I could even contemplate working on the future. It’s nearly been a year since my son has passed and I know at some point I have to emerge from under this dark rock and move forward; I’m the only one that can do this for myself. I think this is a great realization; in the past I have always done things for everyone else, not taking me into consideration. I stopped smoking for my son, I lost weight to gain a relationship, I buried my pain in order to have a job etc. Now is the time to begin a healthy change. I can only do this for myself.
After my son passed, as much as I have craved to start smoking again at times, I have been able to push past those desires. Now, I need to use this determination and focus in other aspects of my life. I think next month I will work on starting a healthy weight loss program. I have been working on my writing and setting goals for the year. I also know a crucial part of getting back on my feet is obtaining a job. I think I’ve made great progress in this aspect of my life. Previously I would have sought a job with my past employers. I think this would have been a step backward. In that field, while I do feel accomplished and utilizing gifts, you are way underpaid. This will feed the beast of negativity, by accepting this I am telling myself that I am not worth being paid more money.
So, I’m changing course (plus, my friend stated that if I went back into the special education field she would beat me, she knows I’m worth more), I am seeking a new career all together. It is taking me longer to gain employment this way, plus because of my physical restraints currently. The goal is also to gain heath insurance and benefits so that I can also take care of myself physically, which will also help mentally and overall.

September 5th, 2014
Writing Prompt: Focus on Your Appearance and Posture
“Appearances may be shallow but, unfortunately it’s the shallow things like clothes, money and weight issues that make us feel worse and hate ourselves even though we may possess a lot of good stuff that’s hidden from the view of others. Spend time to understand your physique and pick clothes up that look good on you. Get a great haircut, buy well fitting clothes and dress like a million bucks. You won’t believe how much of a positive boost just good clothes and a great posture can give anyone. After all, when you look good and are complimented by someone else, you’d feel a lot better about yourself, would you?” (©Lovepanky.com, 2014)
I’ve never been one to take compliments well. Growing up I cringed and even today I still have a hard time accepting them; I have learned to say “thank you” and then pray that they start talking about something else. Why? I don’t want the spotlight on me because to myself I am not worth the spotlight. Ever since I was young I’ve never thought of myself as beautiful or worthy of such praises. Rather, I feared others reactions because when I was growing up if you were heavier you were considered ugly and unwanted. Now that I am 37 I look back at pictures when I was 24, when I did receive compliments on my beauty, and realize that I was beautiful. This depresses me though, because I feel that I can never reclaim that younger beauty, I’m not that same person.
As well, growing up I was astutely aware of the dangers of some compliments. Meaning, that not all compliments were made in truth, girls can be catty, vindictive and plain mean. Someone might compliment you and then turn around and say something negative. This is why I don’t particularly light going out anymore either. To me it is something I’ve endured in the past and don’t care to suffer through anymore. Going out has always been considered a time for you to put yourself out there and hope to get some attentions from prospects. I’ve watched those around me get the attentions but, not myself. This only feeds into a depression and fuels the delusional thought patterns of not being worth the praise or attentions.
I do agree with the writing prompt that we should look our best and this will help our perception. I know I can further pursue this goal once I obtain a job. Those are some of the first things on my list: get my hair done, manicure and pedicure, get new shoes, new clothes etc. This way I can feel better about myself.


September 6th, 2014
Writing Prompt: Don’t be too critical of yourself
“Learning to love yourself takes time and initiative. It’s a wonderful feeling to look good, be admired by everyone around you and loved by everyone including yourself. But it does take time. Never be too critical of yourself and expect immediate changes. Give yourself some time, and wait for the good times to roll in. We can assure you that just following these simple tips on how to love yourself can change your life. Just trust these tips and allow the tree of love and confidence to take root and grow into a wonderful beauty, without being critical of the progress.” (©Lovepanky.com, 2014)
As women I think we are programmed to be too critical on ourselves. We compare ourselves to models in magazines, we compare our love lives to those in movies, and we compare ourselves to what we think we should be. What I’ve learned is that comparing yourself to someone else is a ridiculous perspective. We are each unique and different, what would work for one individual, might not work for someone else. When looking through magazines don’t compare yourself to the photoshop models (who have confessed that they don’t even look that good in person) and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Each of us have experienced an entirely different life, as each of us have completely unique features and characteristics that make us who we are.
I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have gone through life as an attractive, thin woman. Would I have acquired the romance and love like in the movies? Even movies are fake! Do men even possess such abilities as actually caring for a woman? My delusional thoughts recently have made me ponder this. Would I still be married, would I have experienced a compatible relationship with someone who actually cared about me, if I had been physically altered?
I still battle myself when watching movies, my heart aches when I see the connection and romance between two people. It might be a defense mechanism but, I tell myself that this is not reality and it is certainly never going to happen for me because I am not that actress, I am not thin nor beautiful; so those things I could never have and will never have. Which, when I tell myself this, I am dosing myself with a lethal amount of poison; I’m terrified of trying to give myself any shred of hope just to be let down again.

September 7th, 2014
Writing Prompt: Never be a pushover
“You can listen to someone else but, never let them dominate you or control your thoughts. Every time you let someone push you over, your confidence takes a beating and you end up hating yourself. If your friends take you for granted or treat you like you’re not important, perhaps it’s time you stopped spending so much time with them. Spend time with people who respect you and want your company, and your ego and the love for yourself will grow.” (©Lovepanky.com, 2014)
A good friend once told me that people will treat you the way that you allow them to. This took a while to sink in and really take hold. Even afterward I ended up in a manipulative relationship. However, I definitely have learned from my mistakes and if it’s one thing I detest is a person that manipulates the goodness of another person. Now, I have no tolerance for such people and hence no reason for them to be in my life.
Again, growing up I was a huge push over. I never wanted to upset anyone because I was afraid that it would affect the way that they perceived and accepted me; I wanted to be accepted. I’ve learned what my limitations are and that in order to respect myself; I can’t let others have such control over me. If they don’t like me then so be it, no sweat off my back.
Being a push over has been repetitive within each of my failed relationships. In my marriage I thought in order to keep my husband happy, I needed to give him as much freedom as he needed. This, ended up giving him too much freedom, to the point he thought he was still a bachelor and he thought he could sleep with whomever he pleased. Another relationship, I was a push over letting a man move into my home, get rid of family antique furniture so that he could replace it with “new” (rented) furniture (that he couldn’t pay for) leaving me in the end without furniture. Usually in relationships I’m too focused on making the other person happy and not taking myself into consideration. Again, I didn’t learn from my previous mistake, as a push over I let another man move into my home (with the agreement that he could help financially) and when he didn’t, instead of confronting this issue, I struggled and tried to do my best; being a complete push over has gotten me nowhere.
Understanding these crucial mistakes, I now know that IF the day comes when the prospects of a relationship are on the horizon, not to jump right into things. Not to let someone push their way into my life. To go at a pace that I am comfortable with, that he must pursue me, and that I am definitely worth it.

Challenge Accepted August Post

Link

·        11 Tips to Fall in Love with Yourself and be a Better YOU (©Lovepanky.com, 2014) - http://www.lovepanky.com/my-life/better-life/how-to-love-yourself

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED #1


A friend challenged me to write a personal contract: No Men For A Year. It's only been a month and already it's been difficult. This is very personal and I'm only sharing it so that other girls, ladies and women can learn from my mistakes in the past and together learn to love ourselves first. I've been contemplating on how I wanted to share my experiences. In my contract I have agreed to journal daily. Instead of sharing the entire months journal, which would only be a long posting, I thought I would just take some highlights. This will also help me to reread what I have written and guide me toward bettering myself. I don't know if I should post most of them or just one or two from the month. I guess it will depend on the response I receive. If you'd like to know more about what I'm journaling, writing prompts, scriptures and more just let me know.

~ HERE WE GO ~

August 24th, 2014

Writing Prompt (reflective journaling): What is the quality that you like most in a man?
At one point in my life, the honest answer (which I would have never told anyone) would have been that he only had to like me. What is that saying about myself?

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19

This scripture helps me to know what to NOT look for in a man. Do not seek a man with haughty eyes. I didn’t know what haughty means so I looked it up. Haughty by definition means arrogantly superior and disdainful. So, not to look for someone that thinks they’re better than everyone else; check. Do not seek a man with a lying tongue. Been there and done that; check. Do not seek a man that his hands have shed innocent blood. Do not seek a man that has a heart that devises wicked plans. Again, been there and done that. Do not seek a man that make hast to run to evil. Do not seek a man that is a false witness, who breathes out lies, and who sows discord among brothers.

One of my past relationships the man I was with did lie and created this entire scheme, that later when I finally found out about it, was devastated. Not only did it affect me, his lies and cheating ways affected friends that were trying to help me along the way. He wanted to give me things; he wanted to give me a matching bedroom set and a new living room set. Nice – right? He accomplished this by going to a renting place, which there is nothing wrong with this. But, when you don’t make the payments, they come and take your furniture. So after we broke up, I literally was left with no furniture. As he so generously had given my old furniture away (which were hand-me-downs, which had more meaning to me).

Also, in this relationship he didn’t have a vehicle. He would borrow mine. It started that he would run errands for me, since I had to stay home with my special needs son. I couldn’t just pack my son up to run to the store if he needed a prescription. Then, it evolved into letting him run his own errands. When I asked him to have the oil checked, he said that he had. When my engine blew (because he hadn’t had the oil changed, which I didn’t think was a huge thing to ask since he would use the van for his own needs) I had a co-worker that was generous enough to lend her car to me. When he had an accident with her car, he told us that he would have it fixed. He took it to a place he wanted to and worked out a payment plan to have the car fixed. After some time, when there wasn’t any progress with the repairs, I called and found out he wasn’t or hadn’t made any payments and they were actually trying to get a hold of him to tell him he either needed to come pick up the car or they were going to have it towed. We were devastated. Once I confronted him about this it was all downhill from there. I can honestly say it was one of the worst relationships I have ever experienced. The first being my ex husbands betrayal.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” Psalm 1:1

What this tells me is to seek a man who has some integrity. Integrity by definition is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. 


What attributes and characteristics are on your list?