The Dangers Of The Screen

When the main sounds heard are the sounds of keystrokes and televisions, rather than the sound of each other’s voices, each other’s laughter.  It’s time to unplug.

Too many screens, not enough personal interaction.  Too much worrying about what everyone else is doing, what everyone else is thinking and what everyone else is posting… not enough time spent worrying about what each other is doing and what each other is thinking.  It’s time to unplug.

Who can I prove wrong, who can I argue with. Who can I let frustrate and irritate me, needlessly  – through the screen.  It’s time to unplug.

To sit on the same couch, laptops in hand, mouths closed, voices silent.  More conversations and interactions with people on the other side of the screen than together with each other.  Like, dislike, post, share, comment.   It’s time to unplug.

Doing your own thing, stuck in your own heads, staring at your own screens… has turned into the norm.  social media, research, games, work, writing.  Solitarily social.  Growing afraid to talk, to say, to ask.  Irritations increase, understanding and patience decreases.  Frustrations arise where they didn’t used to be.  It’s time to unplug.

Why has it become hard to turn off, to unplug.  How do you go back to how it was before, when you came home and talked about your days, planned your future days, talked, laughed and enjoyed each other more…. More than the screen.   The screen that has become a danger, to your relationship, to your interpersonal interactions.  The things that used to be so important just don’t seem as important anymore.  It’s time to unplug.

I Remember You Brother

I remember you brother

Each and every day, I know you are with me

Never far away

Growing up you were my friend, my companion

We fought like brothers and sisters do

Not a picture to be seen, of me

Without a black eye

Sometimes we fought each other

Other times it seemed like we fought the world

I remember our fort, and watching incredible hulk together

I remember drinking milk and laughing until it came out our noses

I remember wearing daddy’s pants, you in one leg and me in the other

I remember the birthdays and the holidays, Christmas and Halloween,

The excitement and the anticipation

I remember, I remember

So many memories, so many experiences

We were always together, whether we liked it or not

Throughout our teens

A part of me lost a part of you

But no matter how far away you were in your own mind

We still had that connections siblings do.

As you grew into an adult, the person that most people saw

Was not the real you

You showed very few the real you

Such a big heart, under all the sorrow

So much love and caring, under all that anger

I wish we could have been closer

I wish I would have tried harder

I remember my amazement, when talking to the people you spent time with

How much you talked about me, even bragged about me

How much you really did look up to me, and the things you would say about me

I had no idea

I wish I had realized

It has been a year since you had to leave us

My heart cries to hear your voice and see your smile one more time

Yet I know, with all of my heart

That you are ok.  That you are happy.

I know that this life had been difficult for you

Now you have no sorrow, no pain,

Never lonely, never unsure or unhappy

Your smile is constant, your heart is free

I love you Brother

I remember you Brother

I miss you

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My Newest Artwork – AHIMSA

Ahimsa – Simply stated, Non Violence.  Non Violence in thought, Non Violence in action and Non Violence in speech.  This is a Hindu term which means the absence from violence either by thought, word or deed.  It implies compassion, respect and loving kindness to all living beings.

I knew I wanted my next tattoo to symbolize and embody this as this is how I strive to live my life.  It is imperative to develop a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love.  Compassion is such a major theme in my life and one word that describes me perfectly.

So when I was contemplating my newest piece of artwork, I did not have any difficulties in coming to a decision about this.  It is sanscrit for Ahimsa.  Each of my tattoos has immense meaning to me and represents a certain stage or turning point in my life.  Works of art that I am proud to permanently wear for the eternity of this body.

Here is the outline completed without the shading

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And the finished piece of art!

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This piece of art was completed by Lisa McLeod (click to view her facebook page and other works of art).  She is not only a tattoo artist, she is also an artist.  She specialized in custom work and has many other projects such as children’s books and art for surfboards.  Check out her stuff!  If you are looking for some tattoo art work done in the Hampton Roads area, she is working on her portfolio and has a lot of great good deals!

 

A Writer’s Heart

writers heart

A Writer’s Heart

The written words of a writer are all as important as her spoken words, if not more so. With each stroke of the keypad, or with each placement of ink on paper, a writer shares with you a piece of her heart and soul. Sometimes that comes with a tear or two, some laughter, joy, fear or anger. A mix of many emotions, feelings and thoughts encompass each letter, word, sentence and paragraph.

When her head is filled up with so many twisted and tangled thoughts and emotions, sometimes writing them down is the only way to untangle them, to make some sense out of them, and to express them. She sees writing as a therapeutic process, a way to process all the mess in her mind and make some sense of all the emotions that have the ability to confuse and torment her.

She sees her writings as a way to share her heart and soul with the reader, whether it be intended for one single individual or an open writing for all to read. Her wish is that when you read her words you are able to sense and feel her emotions, all the mix of feelings in her heart she was experiencing while she attempted to transfer it all to paper the best as she could.

Each word she writes is an expression of her love, her compassion and her passion for the things she writes about. Everything written is a confession of the heart. Maybe more honest and true than anything else. When she writes to you or about you it is a result of all the love inside that she may not be able to express otherwise.

Sometimes the things she writes are so personal and so intimate that it is scary to share, with anyone. Sometimes her darkest corners peer into the light and fight to be written about. A part of coming out of her shell, expressing who she truly is inside, and helping the world to understand a little bit of who she is and why she does some of the things that she does is the process of opening up and sharing those things.

Writing is a process. It is an emotion within itself. It is a release and a way to share, or attempt to share the thoughts in the deepest crevices of her mind and her heart.

 

I Never Imagined It Wold Be So Easy!

I am a big fan of getting money for nothing!  Aren’t we all??  Well in this day and age, it is rare that you can find a deal like this that actually works and is actually worth the little time and effort you spend on it.

I started using Inbox Dollars a couple of years ago.  They send me emails each day with a link to click to view the Paid Email and to receive cash credit for clicking on the link.  That is all I do!  Click the link, close it out.  Click the link, close it out.  I do this for each email they send me daily and the cash builds up!  You can also respond to and complete surveys for additional cash but this takes more time than I have, so I typically only do the paid emails.

Once you reach a $30.00 credit, you can request a pay out.  This can be in the form of a check or a prepaid Visa Card.  Easy as that!

Here is a summary of my past earnings and checks received:

July 1, 2012 – Check received  for $40.87

January 30, 2013 – Check received for $32.69

and now today, I am ready to request my next payout in the amount of $35.35!

Yes, it takes a while for the cash to build up if all you do is view emails and not complete surveys as well, but the way I look at it, $30.00 + for doing nothing.  And I like those odds!!  A little extra money here and there for whatever I want.  A special surprise to myself.   I always receive the checks within a couple of weeks.  I am excited to figure out what I am going to spend the extra money on this time!  I make sure to use it for something FUN and not paying off bills.

They also have a referral program where you can earn cash for friends you refer to the rewards club.  If you are interested in making some extra cash for doing nothing, like I do, then just follow the link below!  This is a special link to my referral page so I get the credit for you signing up.  Give it a try and see what you think about it, what can it hurt?  Nothing but a little extra cash in your pocket!  It is free to join and you are out nothing for giving it a try.

 

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Click the link above and sign up!  And let me know what fun and exciting things you do with the extra money you get!  🙂

 

easy money

 

 

Winter Solstice Celebration 2013

Happy Winter Solstice to all and Blessed Yule!

Today, December 21, 2013 marks the Winter Solstice this year.  This is officially the first day of winter, the longest night and the shortest day of the year.  Winter Solstice is also known as Yule, Christmas and Saturnalia. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is typically around December 21-23rd and is the day in which the sun’s path stops moving toward the sky. Solstice literally means “sun stands still.  Days will now stop growing shorter and will start to lengthen again.  This is a time for festivals and celebrations for Earth, for the new Solar year and the beginning of winter.  The solstice is linked to the idea of rebirth.  It is a time for inner renewal.

Today we welcome back the Lord of Light.
Tonight is the Winter Solstice and will be the longest night of the year, it is a magical time of transition. After this day the nights will start to get shorter and the days will become longer. As the waxing Sun grows in strength in the coming months the earth will start to blossom once more.
Build a fire of Oak in honor of the Sun God and speak your wishes into it’s flames for the coming New Year. Eat drink and be merry.

I have my own tradition as a way of celebrating.  I started my ritual Winter Solstice celebrations four years ago in 2010, and have carried on some of my own same traditions, as well as created new ones to develop the holiday as well as ways to include Eric and develop new traditions for us together.    Whether it is Christian or Pagan or Traditional or whatever you want to call it makes no difference to me.  This is something i started for myself, four years ago while i was going through a very difficult life transition.  I had always celebrated the Christmas holidays with my family as a child.  However, as i got older and begun to develop my own beliefs and ideas i started to question my reasoning for the celebration.  What it boiled down for me was a time to share and spend with family and loved ones.  During the Winter Solstice of 2010 i was in Wichita, KS with no means to spend the holidays with my family in West Virginia.  I had begun researching the Solstice in terms of traditions and meanings behind the celebration and it made sense to me, and made me happy.  I wanted to come up with MY OWN tradition to celebrate the Solstice.  I had always celebrated or at least acknowledged the Summer Solstice so it only made sense to me to celebrate the Winter Solstice as well.

The way our culture has come to celebrate the December holidays often leaves me feeling more miserable than merry. All of the shopping, the stuff and the stress seems to crowd out the anticipated joy of the season.   I decided to start a new tradition: honoring the original December holiday, the winter solstice.  The winter solstice as well as the summer solstice have become two of my favorite holidays and reasons for celebration… mainly because it is completely rooted in nature.  It is not commercialized or stressful.  It doesn’t matter what one believes or doesn’t believe, it just is.  People from the Celts to the Hopis have celebrated the solstices for over centuries.

I came across a website, EcoHearth, that had some really great ideas for celebrations and they had a recipe for Winter Solstice Vegetarian Chili.  I make that chili every year now!  I spent that first year alone, enjoying my chili, delicious wine, lighting candles and meditating.  After that,  Eric joined me in my celebration.  Along with my Winter Solstice Chili and wine we read stories and passages to each other about the Winter Solstice and celebrations and meanings.

Last year we started a new tradition for the two of us and incorporated a Yule Log into our celebration.  We took a day and went out in nature, in search of the perfect log along with all the greenery and adornments to make it perfect.  We stopped into the A.R.E to get a special devotional candle and decorated our log together.  This is another tradition we will carry on.  We then keep our log and burn it during our Summer Solstice Celebration.

Today is a beautiful day in Virginia Beach.  I will start my special traditional Winter Solstice Vegetarian chili in the crock pot and Eric and I will head down to First Landing State Park in search of the perfect log and greenery to decorate it with.  I plan on going to the A.R.E for another new candle to add to last years.  We will come home and decorate our log, enjoy our chili and wine and special holiday ale, relax and enjoy time together.    After our log is done, we will have a special meditation session with our log, blessing it and preparing it for us, energetically.  Gifts aren’t really a big part of our celebration, but this year we decided to get each other flasks for our Solstice.  We thought it was a fun idea and neither of us have ever had one before.  I also went out and got some special new toys for the girls to enjoy.

The Winter Solstice is a time for new beginnings.  To reflect over the previous year and plan for the new year.  Some traditions say that the mood for this day sets the tone for the year to come.  Suggestions to create a great year ahead are to let lose and have fun!  Drink, be merry, feast, dance, sing, make love and enjoy your day.  Do not let the stress of daily life infringe on the day.  Do the things you enjoy and set the tone for a great year to come.  I plan to!

There are many rites, rituals and celebrations that are historical or traditional, and I took the ones that made sense to me and geared the celebration toward myself and what felt right to us.  If you are interested, here is the link for my traditional  Winter Solstice Vegetarian Chili.

But most of all…

Journey of the Soul

As I look back on the last five years, I am reminded of how strong a soul can truly be.

Somehow, I got lost somewhere along the way… a realization that made me leave everything I knew and everything that was comfortable, everything I had built my adult life around.  I got a divorce.  After spending fifteen years with someone, I realized I was not myself any longer.  I had to embark on the journey, in search of myself.

During that search, my Mamaw passed away.  A woman so amazing who had touched so many lives.  She was kind, strong, loving, compassionate, open minded and open hearted.  Losing her left its mark on the souls of many, many who would never  be the same without her.  It happened so sudden, with no time for goodbyes or time to prepare.  Complete shock and heartache.

During my journey I reconnected with myself.  My compassion, my confidence and my independence.  I met a man who accepted me, 100%, no matter what.  He liked and appreciated my oddness, my quirks and my differences… and he had some of his own.  I fell in love.  For the first time in my life, at the age of 32, I fell in love.  A year later, we packed up everything we had, left everything we knew and moved halfway across the country to the beach.  A move that will prove to be the worst and the best thing we could have ever done… if that makes any sense.

Ups and downs, and then more ups and downs.  The biggest roller coaster ride I have ever been on.  My life got turned upside down and flipped over itself.

Three years ago, as of yesterday I lost my Tig. Yes he was a cat but he was more than that, he was like a child to me.  My companion, my friend.  He was with me through so many things.. so many ups and downs… and was always there by my side to show me unconditional love, affection and companionship.

Then my Poppy got sick.  I rushed to West Virginia to be by his side.  A year ago, to the day I lost my Poppy.  After spending days by his side, I had to experience the heartache of saying goodbye to one of the most important people in my life, for the second time.  I didn’t leave his side.  I was honored with the unforgettable moment when he awoke, and was conscious and alert.  He talked to us all.  He held my hand and told me he loved me.  He thanked me for being here and told me how much it meant to him.  We got to share those last moments with our Poppy, sharing love, hugs and smiles.  Not many people get that opportunity and I will forever be thankful.  The next day my sister, myself and my cousin sat with him while he left us in this world, to continue his journey of the soul. I had to say good bye to my Poppy.

Then in August, just two short months ago, I lost my little brother.  A shock that none of us will ever quite get over.  Again, our lives are changed forever.  He had such an impact on so many lives around him, he probably never even knew.  Loved by so many, leaving such an emptiness in our hearts and our lives.  I wish i had been a better sister toward him, i wish i had made more of an effort to tell him and to show him how much i love him and how much he meant to me.

I wish, i should have, i could have… things that can’t be changed now.  But what can be changed is the now.  All of this heartache, all of this sorrow and all of this loss has taught me that you have to appreciate the people important to you.  Love them and appreciate them each and every day.  Don’t wait for tomorrow to say how you feel…. because the reality is that tomorrow is fleeting…. none of us know if we will be blessed with a tomorrow, or if our loved ones will.  Losing my little brother hit me with the realization that i had also taken my sister for granted.  I had assumed they would both always be there.  I neglected my family and let the business of everyday hectic life get in the way.  I was mistakenly content with connecting with them on holidays or birthdays, or when i came into town… rather than taking advantage of the opportunity and telling them each and every day how much i love them.  That is a lesson i learned and now i make it a point to not take my family for granted.  To stay connected with them and to appreciate our bond even that much more… because all of this loss and heartache did bring us all together and created a family bond even stronger than ever before.

These last five years…. a lot of loss, a lot of change and a lot of transitioning.  A lot of heartache and a lot of sorrow.  Yet also a lot of growing and strengthening.  A lot of lessons learned and a lot of bonds cemented. I continue to grow and to change.  My experiences make me who I am, good and bad.  Always see every experience as a lesson learned, as an opportunity to grow and strengthen yourself.  Maybe when you work hard to find the positive in each situation, the negative doesn’t hurt as much?  There is always a light.. .don’t get lost in the dark.