Animals/Pets, Children/YA/Family, Current Events, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nature, Nonfiction, Religion/Morality

Interview with Kathy Dunn for ‘Shepherding All God’s Creatures’ a Christian Animal Organization #interview #nonfiction #animalrights #Christianity


Welcome to another biweekly interview for my interviews series. I apologize I am behind with interviews as other projects have been keeping me extremely busy. Today I have a wonderful interview for you with Kathy Dunn, her team, and their blog for the cause of bringing awareness for animals in a Christian context. Kathy’s blog is called:  Shepherding All God’s Creatures


Credit: Kathy Dunn (From Left ) – Roselyne Smith and Kathy Dunn

1. What is Your Name and the Name of Your Cause? Where are you located? 

My Name is Kathy Dunn, and I love animals! Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in SAGC’s ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!  

My team includes myself, Kathy Dunn, from Minnesota, US; Roslyne Smith from Leeds, England; Marcello Newall from Italy; Jessica Lopez from Florida, US; and Philip Guyott from London, England. 


2. Please Tell Us About Your Cause and What You Are Trying to Accomplish?

We are Christians who love animals. I (Kathy) started a spiritual venture a few years ago that led me to blog. One day I was awakened to the industrialization and incorporating of animals into factory settings. I realized animals are exploited on every level by man for factory farms for food, the skin and fur trades, vivisection, puppy mills, hunting, and animals in entertainment. In the wild, animals face unprecedented pressure just to survive; many species are endangered and face extinction. In homes, some people mistreat and abuse family pets.

Our organization seeks to accomplish certain goals including: 

  • Using a Biblical approach, to share Christ’s love for us and all of creation, following the Holy Spirit’s lead, and using the truth of scripture. 
  • To focus on animals and exploring their role in creation as well as to explore what mankind’s role is as a caretaker of creation and the earth in general according to The Bible.
  • To provide resources on our blog page so that readers have a place to find educational material on the topic of animal exploitation and abuse. They can also find information on how to become involved and take action against animal abuse. There is also information on diet and how to live a Vegan life-style.
  • To encourage others to speak out to church leaders about the need for Creation Care Ministries within the church.
  • To serve as a tool for people to take information to their church bodies, as churches awaken to their role of caring for creation. On our site, we hope to provide some material that leaders can use to help them create ‘Creation Care Ministries’ for their church.
  • To work alongside the animal welfare movement in their most important work, bringing the love of Christ and knowledge of scripture with us to minister to people who do not know God. For those who don’t know Him, we invite you to take a look and make an informed decision as to what this life all about!
  • Our ministry encourages people to have a heart for Jesus and for His truth, that God will show up for them (Jeremiah 29:13) and is real. He is there to comfort people and loves people and animals. His intent was not that mankind would exploit animals but care for them. We believe Jesus Christ is the answer to overcoming every kind of evil plaguing this troubled world.

 “Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in the SAGC ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn- Mercello
Credit: Kathy Dunn (Right) Marcello Newal

3. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging for Your Cause and Why?

I started our blog in December 2013, when I asked Roslyne to join me in my endeavor. In 2014, we asked Marcello to join us. As well, in 2017, we asked Jessica to join as an author and prayer event leader. We are in process of bringing aboard Philip as an author as well as our Information Technology blog and web designer.


4. Why is Your Cause Meaningful for You and Your Team? How Does it Help Other People and Animals?

Our cause is meaningful as it fulfills our desire to help animals according to God and His word in the Bible. It is a calling I have felt since the onset. I have heard from others who follow us, how our ministry is helpful for people in finding support and understanding through our faith-based cause, focusing on animal welfare. 

Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world to bring hope, love, mercy, kindness, and peace for all of God’s creation.


“Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another, in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn - Jessica Lopez
Credit: Kathy Dunn – Picture of Jessica Lopez

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue in Your Cause? Why Is Your Cause Important to You and Your Team?

I am motivated by my faith in Jesus Christ and other people whom I share my personal walk with Christ with. Reading The Bible and studying scripture – the written Word – as well as the spoken and Living Word of Jesus also inspires me. As well, sermons from going to church and other blogs add to my inspiration. Knowing about animal suffering and how it break the hearts of my team at SAGC and God’s heart, leads me to urgently want to share our message.



SAGC’s cause is significant because a lot depends upon it!  The spiritual world manifests itself in the physical world. War, hatred, bloodshed, and death, were never intended to be experienced by people or animals. One day, Jesus is going to return to the physical world as he says he will in the Bible. “Our reward,” Jesus says, “is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:12) for following and believing in Him.

Our organization believes that all who entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.


6. How Does Your Blog and Writing Habits Fit with Your Cause? 

We hope and pray that our blog raises awareness of caring for animals and creation from a Biblical perspective. We want it to encourage people of faith to reach out to their communities and leaders, insisting that they take up animal and earth welfare issues. People are responsible for these issues such as any other social justice issue that affects people such as poverty and sickness.

We desire to bridge the gap between secular animal welfare and faith-based outreach, showing the world that Jesus cares about animals and the earth and  drawing people to Him so the can achieve salvation through Christ.


“We believe that all who believe and entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.” – Kathy Dunn


7. Have You Published Anything On Your Cause Outside of Blog Posts? Have You Held Any Special Events for Your Cause or Do You Have Future Plans to Do So? 

In 2016, the article, “God, Love, Peace and the Animal Kingdom” was published in the annual edition of Twin Cities, Veg Living, a publication by Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA). They are a local animal welfare organization dedicated to building community and raising awareness to the suffering of animals in factory farms, and advocating for a Vegan lifestyle.

CAA also interviewed me for a Podcast, “Christianity and Advocating for Animals” This link is also found on the SAGC blog page under “Feature Podcast.”

SAGC hosts ‘Animal Christian Concern’ through Roslyne’s group in the UK. You can also check out this book compiled by Roselyne Louis Smith:A Collection of Animal Christian Concern Articles” which is available on Amazon. 

For Special Events:  We host Prayer Events Online and recently, SAGC absorbed “Christian Vegan Prayer Calls Group” and their membership which was led by Jessica Lopez. We will host the prayer conference call which was the main feature of Jessica’s prior group on a monthly basis (to begin with). Members can join in this call for prayer as the prayer leader (Jessica) leads them.

For the future, there are many considerations. After attending the’ Creature Conference’ hosted by Sarx in the UK (March 18, 2017), I have been feeling inspired to put together a similar event here in America. This event would be dedicated to bringing faith groups together to strategize on common goals of animal and earth care issues, while unifying, finding support, renewal, and encouragement for the cause of our blog as well as our calling as Christians in the world.


6. Can You Briefly Describe How Your Blog and Your Cause Began?

In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur.  I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

It led me on a journey seeking all the realities of our industries where animals are concerned; I wanted to know what was going on in our world. I discovered many of the various uses mankind utilizes animals for, treating them as “things” at their disposal. I kept asking myself “where is the church?” This took me on a spiritual journey to find that answer and the SAGC blog was born three short years later.


“In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur.  I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn - Philip Guyott (right)
Credit: Kathy Dunn – (Right) Philip Guyott

7. What Is Involved In Supporting Your Cause and Blogging for It? 

Staying on top of the issues and current news around the world in regards to animal welfare issues is vital. I do a lot of this work by gleaning through other animal welfare organizations and what is happening with them. I also study the Bible and read the related material and educational books both from a faith/theological perspective as well as from a secular animal welfare venue. Networking with other people and other organizations with God’s guidance is also important!


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for other Bloggers/Writers who are Blogging/Writing for A Cause?

Follow your passion where God leads you! Read, study, don’t be quick to judge but find out as much about your cause and its background including: people involved, the culture, the history of the cause, and other particulars about your cause as to gain as much truthful knowledge and understanding as possible.You will find confidence approaching your cause this way, knowing you know the material thoroughly. 

A favorite piece of scripture of mine is:  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  (2 Peter 1:5-7) 

God has given us everything we need to work with for supporting causes such as animal welfare in a Christian context.


9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share with Readers of This Interview, Pertinent to Your Cause or Your Organization? 

Always be ready to go the extra mile!  Causes are human made – all social justice issues are the result of a fallen world and man rejecting God. It is easy to fall under the influence of the powers and principalities of evil at work in this world.

Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly. 


“Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly.” – Kathy Dunn


10. For Fun, Please Tell Us Your Three Favorite Blogs?

  •  Greg Boyd — A theologian, Bible scholar, and teaching pastor at Woodland Hills Church; he is the author of this blog. His wonderful teaching keeps me seeking and ever hungry for truth and knowledge of God
  • Swords To Plowshares — Craig Wescoe is a wonderful writer in his knowledge of scripture and our Biblical responsibilities for the earth and animal kingdom
  • Animals Are Feeling Beings Too — LeeAnn’s blog is uplifting with a serious side. I love all the photos and videos she finds and shares.  She is very creative and her posts are short and to the point.

11. Please Share with Us Some Favourite Link From Your Cause’s Blog:

Praying The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN:
Father, we come to you now in the midst of great division among the people in the United States and around the world.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME:
First, we honor you as Creator of all and PRAISE YOU for all that you have made! Without you, we can do nothing (Joh 15:5). We want to put on display the glory of the Father by bringing about the rule and will of God on earth – guide us in doing so and protect us as we work at it with the Spirit’s guidance.

THY KINGDOM COME:
In us and through us, with us and without us, because of us, for the animals the earth, the downtrodden, abused, voiceless, marginalized among us so that we are an example of Christ for those who live by the power of the sword, who are living by the patterns of this world, that they also might humble themselves and repent and find you, Jesus; shower your Spirit upon us, enable us to be that example of Christ the world needs to see, guide us in studying what that means and to apply it in ALL we do – You are the answer to ALL that ails mankind.

THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN:
When I think of your will being done on earth as it is in heaven, I think of the Garden of Eden and what a pristine, peaceful world would look like for ALL that you created. I think of how we would treat each other, the animals and the earth, under your complete Lordship and that love is the goal – may we all pray for our world according to this model and the visions he gives each of us. Help us use our imaginations when we pray and in how we live out what we see in as much as we can in this broken world by the power of the Holy Spirit; help us love as Christ loved. We are asking that your reign is accomplished now in us, through us, in spite of us, and without us!

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD:
We ask that all that we need daily to remain steadfast in a dark world ruled by Satanic powers will be supplied and that we will utterly rely on the Father to trust him for all that we will be needing as we work to bring about your kingdom on earth.

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS:
Lord that we would extend the same forgiveness to others that you extend to us, unworthy though we all are. We are admonished by you to extend grace to all, including those we consider our enemies (maybe there is no love lost for animal abusers, or perhaps in light of the American election, a candidate who won the election that we may feel is our vehement enemy) – Lord not that we sway to and fro with the powers that be in every kind of wickedness or agree necessarily, but that we stand our ground on the basis of what Jesus taught, act like he did when he came against enemies, and that we leave the final judgment of a person’s character and any revenge for wrongs done up to the Father. As Micah reminds us, we are to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE:
Lord, please protect us from the hardships that accompany our kingdom work; yet when they come as they will in this war zone in which we live, strengthen us to place all our hope and faith in Jesus and to carry on, knowing that like Paul said, no matter the situation, whether well fed or hungry, with plenty or little…. we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:12, 13); enable us to put on all the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) and having done all to stand; and Lord that we will not give up, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not! (Gal 6:9)

In the Holy name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN


For an excellent article on the Lord’s Prayer, go here.

Thank you for reading and following our blog, we hope you are blessed by it and will share it with others!  ~Kathy


Here Are Some More Links to Kathy’s Blog Here:


Thanks to Kathy Dunn and all the members of her blog and organization. The preservation of the earth and the ethical treatment of animals is an extremely important issue in today’s world so thank you for sharing your cause with us and from your unique Christian perspective as well. Here is the link to Kathy’s Home Page again: Shepherding All God’s Creatures.


If you would like to have your blog or writing featured on my biweekly interviews please reach out to me on my blog Contact Page. I am happy to interview writers/bloggers in most any kind of writing, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and any kind of blog theme including blog pages for causes such as animal welfare.  See You Again Soon!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Books, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Works Published

Interview With Ian Kelly


Goodmorning and welcome to my biweekly interview series. Today I have the honor of sharing with you the writing and blog of Ian Kelly. He’s a talented guy who has recently published a book of short stories. You can find Ian’s blog here: Ian Kelly Writing.


interview-ian
Credit: Ian Kelly

 

1. Hi Ian, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

Hi. My name is Iain Kelly and I’m from Glasgow in ScotlandI have lived here all my life and it’s where I write my blog from. My blog is called: Iain Kelly Writing.

Telling about yourself is always the most difficult question to answer, so I’ll keep it simple! I work as an editor of television programs for BBC Scotland. I’m married with two-year-old twins who take up most of my time. After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.


2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

I first started my blog six years ago and spent a year doing film and book reviews. I neglected it for a couple of years and then took a fiction writing course online. When I had finished that I had a few short pieces that I liked and decided to share them on my blog. From there I have kept writing new short stories and flash fiction.


“After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.” – Ian Kelly


3. What Does Writing Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

When I was much younger I wrote stories. I have always enjoyed coming up with characters, letting my imagination wander with them and see what stories resulted. I used to play football (soccer) and would write stories about fictional football teams and players. As often happens, life gets in the way of dreams. 

I went to university and studied English Literature, Film, and Television. My career took me down the path of television. Eventually, I’ve found the writing bug again. Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.


4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

I tend to write fiction based on real life, or perhaps a fictional future world rooted in reality. I don’t tend to write fantasy or science-fiction specifically. My inspiration comes from the world around us. It could be something happening in the news, events, politics, but also from looking at everyday people, the struggles and/or laughter they share with each other. My motivation may come from wanting to try and comment on events that are occuring. Writing is a way to turn frustration into something creative or to attempt to cope with a situation in life.


“Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.” – Ian Kelly


5. Is There a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?

My time available to write depends on my work schedule and my children. When the kids have gone to bed in the evening I try to fit some time writing in. Or if the twins go for a nap during the day sometimes I have a chance to write. The main thing is that I have to find the opportunities to write when I can!


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing/Blogging Projects? Any Hopeful Projects for the Future?

At the moment I am working on my first novel-length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.

After the first draft is finished I will re-write and edit. I’m aiming to have a finished novel by the end of the year and then decide what I want to do with it –- if it’s worth sending to a publishing company or self-publishing the novel.

Alongside that, I will continue writing short pieces for my blog. It helps to take a break from a long novel and focus the mind on something different every so often, before going back to the main project.


“At the moment I am working on my first novel length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.” – Ian Kelly


7. Can You Tell Us About Your Recently Published Book? 

At the start of this year, I self-published a collection of my short stories from my blog in a book called Collected Sketches. I decided to do this at the end of 2016. I realized I had a lot of stories, some with similar themes and dealing with similar issues, that I thought were quite good and worth collecting together as a compendium.

The other benefit of publishing theses stories was that it gave me a chance to try self-publishing out for myself which I hadn’t done or considered doing before. I’m pleased with how my book turned out. It’s available to a global audience through on Amazon: HERE, which is an amazing thing to happen to my writing. You can find out about Collected Sketches by Ian Kelly on my blog or through Kindle on  Amazon.com


interview-ian-collected-sketches
Credit: Amazon.com – ‘Collected Sketches’ by Ian Kelly

Buy it HERE

 


8. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process that You Went Through To Publish? 

I used Createspace online to self-publish. After looking around at a few online resources I went for this one mainly because it was free to do, and also it allowed me to do everything myself. Other sites offered help in editing and formatting and design, but at a cost.

If you’re confident to do these things yourself then Createspace is excellent. With the novel I am currently writing, I plan to try the traditional route of sending it to agents and publishers. But it is good to know that if all else fails I can self-publish and still have my novel out there into the world. Here is the link to Createspace HERE.


9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I think I’m still figuring my writing process out as I go through this novel. Most writers advise that the best thing to do is write the first draft as it comes to you. Whatever happens, keep writing! So I’m following that advice.

I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form, freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing. Doing flash fiction short stories is great practice for that.


“I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.” – Ian Kelly


10. Do You Have Certain Genres You Prefer to Write or To Read Books In?

I tend to stick to everyday drama or real world stories. But I also love to read and write spy stories, war fiction, and crime fiction. I might occasionally try other things too.

I spend a lot of time reading. Favorite authors would be John Le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, Agatha Christie, James Ellroy, Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Ian Fleming, and Terry Pratchett –- to name a few. I also like to try and go back and read the classics every so often such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and I love Alexandre Dumas and The Three Musketeer novels. I think that comes from my days as a student of English Literature. 


11. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers? Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like To Follow?

Just keep writing and getting your work out there into the world for people to read. Ninty-Nine Percent of people will be kind to you and give constructive criticism and feedback. If you love doing it, keep doing it. And read lots too.

 I follow loads of great fiction writers out there so rather than trying to pick from them I will pick three alternatives:

  • One for writing prompts is a relatively new flash fiction challenge called ‘What Pegman Saw’ which uses Google Maps as a prompt each week to give a location to inspire stories. It’s a great idea and means I learn a lot about various places around the world, as well as writing stories.
  • I don’t really do film reviews anymore, but one of the best blogs that I follow for all things film-related, including reviews is The Snooty Ushers at which one of my friends from University days contributes to. Great reviews and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
  • Finally, Joanne Kelly Art and Design. I am biased but my wife Joanne has her own blog. She is a graphic designer and artist and has started creating works both by hand and on computer software. Some great stuff, so I hope people will check it out.

14. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog? 

Flash Fiction, I have always liked this one, to sum up being a writer:

 

“The Writer’s Spiral”

By Ian Kelly

***

interview-ian-joy-pixley
Credit: Joy Pixley

***

Mark met Bob from Accounting at the bottom of the stairs.

‘Another Monday morning,’ said Bob, as they began the trudge up to the office. Mark grunted in reply. Bob began every Monday with the same conversation.

‘Don’t you ever feel like we’re hamsters in a wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere?’ Bob continued. ‘There must be something more exciting in life than this.’

As Mark prepared to answer, the lights went out. Out of the window, they saw bright orange beams cut through the air. Aircraft buzzed around them, firing at one another. Buildings exploded as aircraft and missiles crashed into them. The sky darkened as a large spaceship loomed over the city. Mark ducked as a piece of debris crashed through the glass next to them. It caught Bob and sent him plummeting to the ground below.

***

The writer paused and read back what he had just typed. It all spiraled out of control too quickly. He sighed and pressed Ctrl+A and Delete. The cursor on the blank screen blinked at him. He started again.

***

Mark arrived at work at the same time as Bob from Accounting…


Here Are Some Of Ian’s Longer Pieces he wrote and favorited:


Thank you so much, Ian, for wanting to be interviewed I enjoyed your answers and you seem to have a solid idea of what you’re doing as a writer and how to achieve your set goals. Best of luck with the novel and future endeavours. 

If you would like to be interviewed please reach out to me on my contact page. I would love to tell your story as a writer or if you blog for a cause, I can also interview on that as well. See you in two weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Religion/Morality

Interview With Jasminder Bains


Welcome to another biweekly interview on Mandibelle16. I’m hoping where ever you are the weather is nice and spring is on its way or summer isn’t too hot. This week I interviewed the impressive and talented writer Jasminder Bains from the United States. You can check out her blog here: Confessions Of A Reborn Girl


interview-jasminder
Credit: Jasminder Bains

1. Hi Jasminder. Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

Where to begin…I live to write because it’s my form of therapy and I love weaving words into stories. I’m a full-time dream chaser with a knack for crafting things and philosophizing and overthinking when I can.

I’m two years clean and keeping it that way. Psychology fascinates me; hence, I’m majoring in it. You’ll find there is a lot of psychology based posts on my blog. I love to sing and dance to KPOP when nobody’s around, or at least when I think nobody’s around. I had to run up three flights of stairs because I got caught once.

Also, I’m obsessed with green tea and I like to meditate because it clears my mind. I prefer video games and Doc Martens to dresses ( I only own one dress) and makeup. The only makeup I wear is eyeliner and it’s about as good as my sense of direction. I get lost even with a GPS to help me find my way. I’m an aggressive middle-class minimalist who pillages anything I can get my hands on; this is why I have a ring of rocks sitting on my dresser.

I have moments where I’m incredibly with the times and others I’m not. I set up a Twitter account recently. I have no idea what half the buttons mean. But I can give you Excel pointers and talk about ‘markdown formatting;’ I can’t tell you much about Facebook.


2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? What motivates and inspires you?

I started blogging last July, but I’ve been writing since I was in fifth grade. Poetry and blogging are how I vent as well as defeat stereotypes. I write because I want to heal other people and because I love doing it.

I find inspiration from my life because I’m an avid people-watcher and I overthink everything. I find new material is as simple as walking into the middle of a cafeteria and sitting down. I learned so much about human interaction by doing this. I make time for writing whenever I can.


“I live to write because it’s my form of therapy and I love weaving words into stories. I’m a full-time dream chaser with a knack for crafting things and philosophizing and overthinking when I can.” – Jasminder Bains


3. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Any Future Projects You Have In Mind?

I’m planning on participating in the 2017 Kindness Challenge! The link to sign up is here if you’re interested. I’m also hosting my own blogging challenge, it’s called the ‘Boundless Challenge.’ The premise of the challenge is to share a #boundlessmoment from the past week where you did something that you thought you weren’t actually capable of doing.

I started the challenge not too long ago so it’s relatively new. My goal is to inspire people through this prompt. Maybe they will believe they are capable of doing much more than they think they can do. Check out the sixth #boudlessmoment challenge on my blog HERE.


4. Can You Tell Us More About Your Blog and Why You Started Blogging?

When I founded @Confessions (Confessions Of A Reborn Girl) I had one goal and one goal alone: to teach others about human potential. Too many times I’ve heard stories of people who gave up on their dreams because they didn’t think they had it in them or someone discouraged them from their path. I’m here to tell you that you are good enough and that nobody can tell you otherwise.


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker


That being said, [my blog] would qualify as a lifestyle blog, though I focus more on mentality and mindset rather than fashion or food. My blog categories are different takes on that ‘boundless lifestyle’ if you will.

Life, as the catagory name states, revolves around my everyday thoughts and experiences. [As I noted above] you can also find my own blogging challenge, the Boundless Challenge, which is devoted to inspiring the WordPress community to achieve their full potential. At the end of each week, I share #boundlessmoments of my own and from across the internet. . . Who knows? Maybe next week you’ll be featured!

Writer’s Corner is [a segment on my blog] where I analyze social norms and American culture along with occasional philosophizing. DIY is exactly as the name states. I have this category because crafting opened up my thinking in a way nothing else could. I believe that it can do the same for you. [Lastly, my] meditation journal [catagory] stems from my adoration for — well — meditation. [Since I] over-think, meditation is the perfect counter to my habit and it helps me analyze my emotions and inner conflict. 


“Too many times, I’ve heard stories of people who gave up on their dreams because they just didn’t think they had it in them or someone discouraged them from their path. I’m here to tell you that you are good enough and that nobody can tell you otherwise” – Jasminder Bains


5. How Does Your Blog Tie-In With Your Stance on Mental Health?

I continue to challenge the stigmas and negative stereotypes surrounding the field of mental health. There’s so much more to psychology than depression or schizophrenia or bipolar disease; [these are] only a small branch of [what is called] abnormal psychology. In order to understand the abnormal, we must first understand the normal.

I hope that by being open about my own experiences with mental health challenges and triumphs, I can give others the strength to do the same. There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day, month, or year. There’s nothing wrong with having things that keep you up at night. There’s nothing wrong with being broken.


6. Do You Have Any Other Projects On The Go? What Is Your Writing Process Like? Do You Have Any Genres of Writing or Reading that You Prefer?

I’m planning on writing a fiction book called Project Rebirth. I’ve no details other than that because I hardly know what the book is about myself. 😛 For me, writing is painful.Writing is life. WHAT WAS I THINKING WRITING THAT?!! Editing is painful. Editing is life. Rinse and repeat.

Fantasy is my FAVORITE genre. None of this 21st-century teen smut fantasy romance. I mean classy fantasy like Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series or Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or The Ranger’s Apprentice booksI prefer these types of books so much more than teen romance novels. 


“I hope that by being open about my own experiences with mental health challenges and triumphs, I can give others the strength to do the same. There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day, month, or year. There’s nothing wrong with having things that keep you up at night. There’s nothing wrong with being broken.” Jasminder Bains


7. Do You Have Any Helpful Tips for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Share Pertinent to this Interview?

Keep writing. It’s the only way you get better (and shameless). Also, I want to fight the negative stigmas and stereotypes around mental health because it’s vastly misunderstood and generalized which is dangerous for everyone.


8. What Are Your Three Favorite Blogs You Follow Of Any Kind?


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Credit: Jasminder Bain

9. Can You Please Share With Us Some Pieces from Your Blog?

“Pain”

By Jasminder Bains

August 26, 2016

*****

What’s this? My insides feel like they’re tearing apart. 

Something’s wrong, I should take some medication.

Something’s wrong, it’s 3 A.M. and I’m awake again. Did I ever fall asleep? I feel like I’m dying. 

I’m frozen, I feel like screaming, is this really real?

Maybe this is the dream I have to wake up from, I don’t remember falling asleep so maybe I never woke up. 

Something’s wrong, it’s 4 A.M. and I’m still here. I should just close my eyes, I wouldn’t be able to sleep if it was appendicitis….would I?  

Something’s wrong, it’s only 7 A.M. and I’m already awake. No, mum, don’t leave for work just yet. There’s a patient lying here in bed who needs to be seen.

Mum is gone. My brother needs my phone for school. It’s low on battery because I stared blankly at music videos and funny vines for half the night unable to react thanks to the burning sensation in my stomach.

Dad wants to know what’s going on so I spill my guts on him. It’s time to try another medication, stay hydrated, and ride things out.

Mum says book an appointment if it doesn’t get better. I wonder if it will get better.

I’m a statue, unmoving and emotionless. I thought today was yesterday. Guess my brain didn’t register that I ever went to sleep.

Should I feel crooked that this pain is now who I am? I don’t want to do anything let alone go the hospital. It could be nothing. Just like me.

Dad wants me to make him lunch if I’m able. Fine. The pain is mostly gone and I can wait 10 minutes to pass out.

There are two types of naps: the kind that make you feel worse than before, but you know you had no choice, and the kind that make you feel energized. Mine was the latter. Maybe it’s because I slept two hours instead of 20 minutes. Oh well. At least the pain’s almost gone.

All I’ve had to eat today is half a bagel and a tin of Chobani yogurt. I should eat something else. A salad sounds divine only I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to eat the croutons and leaves yet. Only one way to find out. Verdict: I can chew a crouton. I can’t chew a spinach leaf. I’ll just have a burrito.

Something’s wrong, it’s been 18 hours since I laid awake in bed screaming in my head and I’m doing it again. Except this time in a chair with a plate of food in front of me. Forget it. I’m not eating if it’s gonna sting this bad. Time to take some more medication. 

I don’t want to be a physical embodiment of pain, I want my life back. I want to feel joy again, I want to listen to music that lifts me up again, I want to write a blog post ahead of time again, I want to have faith again, I want to feel healthy again, I want to have both feet planted firmly on the ground again, I want to be me again.

~Live Boundless.

*****


Here are Some Additional Posts By Jasminder: 


Thank You Jasminder for sharing so much about yourself and your blogging. You’re an incredibly inspiring and motivational thinker and writer. 

If you would like to be interviewed for my biweekly interview series, please contact me HERE on my Contact Page. Once more here is the link to Jasminder’s BlogConfessions Of A Reborn Girl.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Quotes, Religion/Morality, Writing

Interview With Jackelyn Santana


Welcome back to another December issue of my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing the gracious and beautiful Jackelyn Santana who was recently married. She has a faith based blog here: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1. She describes her blog using the Hebrews 1:11 Bible Verse: “Now Faith Is The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of things Not Seen.”


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Jackelyn Santana

1. Jackelyn, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

My name is Jackelyn Santana, I am from Miami, FL, and my family is of Cuban descent.I am a child of God and passionate about my faith. I LOVE reading, blogging, and spending time with my family.  I was married on November 11, 2016 and  I am a mother to an amazing six-year-old and a stepmother to two beautiful young ladies.

This year has been full of blessings. To emotionally prepare myself for our marriage, I spent the year analyzing myself and I’m finally at a place where I can embrace my authenticity. I spent a good portion of my life internalizing my pain, wearing masks to cope, and believing something was wrong because I didn’t have everything as it seemed everyone around me had.

Having this frame of mind enslaved me. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I was facing, but because there’s a stigma associated with imperfection and emotional struggle, I thought it was a ‘ME’ problem. I didn’t realize the truth, my problems were natural and universal.

As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.

The most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed is a group of hopeless lost souls coming together and loving each other back to life. We found a reason to smile again. This world is in such need of healing. I would love nothing more than to help spread love and healing wherever I go in my life.


” As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more  people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.” – Jackelyn Santana


2. When Did You Begin Blogging? What Does Blogging and Writing Mean To You?

I started blogging about four months ago July 20, 2016 to be exact. Blogging means everything to me! It’s liberated me. I’m free!! The more I write about things, the less ashamed I am of what I’ve faced. With each post I’ve removed the chains of emotions and experiences I kept a secret. These emotions and experiences have lost power over me.

This has allowed me to acknowledge and celebrate my spiritual growth. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers. Blogging also gives me an inside view of my soul. Sometimes I’m shocked when I read older posts because when I wrote, I let the words flow from my soul and they expressed things I wouldn’t voice out loud.


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?

I am inspired by my faith and other bloggers. I began blogging about one-year ago, but I didn’t think I could write posts people would want to read. I’m better at public speaking than I am at writing. A co-worker of mine kept pushing me to write. I would share advice with her and she would nudge me to put it on paper. I finally decided to test the waters by submitting a guest post on Proverbs 31 Women.

They approved my guest post one-month later and I was shocked and honored.  I started writing away on my blog often. My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs. It’s become a way of life for me and I want to help others learn about Jesus in practical terms.

Many times when we think of the Bible we think of a standard which is too high for most of us to reach. The Bible comes across as something only ‘Holy’ people read. Or, we become intimidated by it because we find it unrelatable since The Bible was written many moons ago and times have changed.

These ideas of Christianity couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to find the right tools to break down barriers from reading God’s Word, The Bible, and help others understand faith in simpler terms. Believing in Jesus can guide us towards love and happiness. Once we understand the basics, our soul will keep searching for more – our hearts will be “homing our Heavenly home,” if you will, and we will grow spiritually.

By identifying with examples from the stories in The Bible, we can understand our obstacles are not too much, our lives can be molded in a way which allows us to serve both God, our families, and friends because they’re all related.

God acknowledges our need for connection and sent his son Jesus not only so that we could be saved, but so we could identify with Jesus and strive to imitate His way of life. As a woman, fiancee, and mother, I have been able to love more purely and unconditionally through The Bible’s teachings, making them a way of life.

Reflecting on the dark moments I’ve faced, I see how fine the line between good and evil can be — being saved or being lost; I want to help others be saved as I am saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection. 


“My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs.’ – Jackelyn Santana


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Jackelyn Santana

4. When Do You Like to Write and Do You Have Any Current Special Writing Projects?

There isn’t a time of day that inspires me the most. I write whenever my heart moves me to write. As of today I’m only blogging. My passion and dream is to help others. Perhaps join /create a traveling retreat group, or participate in spiritual workshops. This is a concept similar to a ‘Women of Faith’ tour, but on a smaller more personal level.

There would be one to one interaction, healing exercises, and honest group talk. I would love to help others come out of their shells and be saved through faith in Jesus and God as I was. My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.


5. Are You Planning on Publishing Any Written Work in The Future?

I have not published anything. Perhaps later in life I will be presented the opportunity to do so, or I will submit writing drafts. With only four-months of blogging under my belt I’m focusing on identifying my writing voice, interacting with others through my writing, and improving my writing skills which are at a novice level. I would also like to study theology and I think it would further advance my writing.


“My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.”


6. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I sit in front of my laptop or a notepad and I pray, relax, and set my soul free to express itself. When an idea pops into my mind I write it down either on my phone’s notepad, or sticky notes. I may begin draft posts that I revisit at a later time when I can give my writing undivided attention. I have about fourteen draft posts which I’ve begun and I’m saving for the future blog posts.

When I first started blogging I would write and post instantly. I’ve learned to slow down and process topics, allowing my mind to continue digging for information. I will officially post my writing after I have looked at every angle.


7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers Starting Out?

Write about topics you are passionate about. It feels great to do what you love. I love what I write about and it’s how I live my life. If you’re on the fence about writing I would suggest you take a leap of faith and see what comes from this desire.

WordPress has a wonderful community of bloggers and this community helps you grow as a writer. Don’t write posts for the sake of increasing traffic and followers, write on topics you enjoy writing about.  


8. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?

I am God’s creation, I am human, I am imperfect, and I am meant to depend on God. Read this post to learn more about me.


9. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Favorite Blog Posts:

Slogging Through The Tears

By Jackelyn Santana

*****

“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature.  They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of  highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings.  They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs  the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” –Shannon L. Alder

 *****

I am on an emotional roller coaster ride.

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I will not try to deny it, this is who I am, sensitivity and all. I wear my sensitivity as a badge of honor, although throughout life I have been ridiculed or further wounded because of it. I cannot control the sensitive nature of my heart. I may pretend something has not stabbed or wounded me, but more likely than not this is not the case.

For many years I have tried to harden myself, hoping that I would become immune to the blows of life, and the harsh words received from those I hold with high esteem. Despite my efforts, my sensitive nature is unchanged.

My sensitive nature is misunderstood.

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Those closest to me believe they understand me and my motives. They believe they can read between the lines. Many dare to correct me when I express my intentions and motives, determined their interpretation of my position is correct. My hard and serious exterior denies me the right to ever be recognized as a victim, although, my heart tells me otherwise. Many times I find myself confused, doubting my heart, thinking that there is something severely wrong because I’m always wrong and never right about my own feelings. Maybe I am bad at the core?

One Of My Favorite Bible Verses:

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”  Romans 7:15

broken-heartIn my case, I do not understand why I continue to love and care the way I do. I know better, yet I cannot help it. I continue to express my vulnerabilities to those I care about in hopes that I will be understood. The more I explain myself, the further away I get from MY truth, and the closer I get to shedding unfavorable light on myself. I allow the fighter in me to get the best of me when I feel taken advantage of. This without a doubt, is used against me as I fail to be consistent, giving in to my human frailty. I can only be silent for so long without jumping into protective mode. I can only shed so many tears without lashing out. The cruelty I spew is the cruelty I have learned through life, it is not the natural nature of my heart. I would never purposely provoke tears from anyone, not even those who have hurt me profoundly. Yet sometimes acting in this manner is the only way I can get someone to listen to my voice and believe my truth. I am neither too proud to extend an apology when deserved and make amends with those I’ve offended. My truest desire is to maintain peace.

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I am not taken seriously in my tender moments; my tenderness is taken for granted. The world demands yet resents my tenderness. Should a loved one offend me, my tenderness is an inconvenience because my tears take away from focusing on the “root” of the problem, and I am forced to slog against the tears. Should I act sternly with others, not allowing my emotions to flinch, I’m accused of being cold and harsh. The combination of my emotions is never seen as right.

It seems my sensitivity is to be used at the convenience of others. I can never be me. I’m never entitled to the beauty of my emotions. My view of my emotions is brushed off because I am overly sensitive. Yet, I cannot label the world as overly cruel, overly angry, or overly unforgiving.

I read once that instead of numbing our pain we need to identify the source of our pain and work on the problem instead of the symptom. For example, we may have a headache because we are dehydrated, hungry, or stressed. We should work on fixing those issues rather than silencing the headache calling out for attention.

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The same goes for my tears. My tears, the ‘water works’ as they’ve been called, are not crocodile tears. It’s not an act or an attempt to manipulate; these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. My tears are indicators that my soul is experiencing pain, something is hurting me. To stop my pain at it’s root I need to either freeze my heart (which I have failed to accomplish) or excuse myself from the undesirable situation until I’m emotionally ready. This I can rarely accomplish without ridicule that I cannot work through a topic, without being accused of being overly dramatic.

I am always apologizing, but rarely entitled to an apology when hurt because my over-sensitivity is what causes the pain, not the actions or words of others.

When is my sensitive nature ever right for me!?

People say my tears and sensitive nature take away from the moment. I have slogged away for a good portion of my life to hide these parts of myself. I keep my tears a secret and am ashamed of my weakness.

As an adult, I find that my sensitive nature and heart are not the problem. The problem is the lack of sensitivity in the world. It’s not the compassionate who are the problem; a lack of empathy is the problem!  I will continue to embrace my sensitivity, tears and all. I do not lose hope there are more sensitive people out there. I won’t (and truthfully can’t) harden myself and lose hope because I find the world to be cruel and unloving. I am who I am. I am transparent.My anger is pain masked with anger. It’s sadness for being the recipient of a pain I would never wish to inflict on others. It’s a betrayal I never foresaw. It’s the second opportunity no one else would’ve extended, yet I’ve already extended a third to my offender while knowing how the situation will likely end. It’s fighting the urge to assume the worst in others. It’s the unconditional love I am willing to give which is rarely cashed in.

It’s the product of a broken heart living in a broken world that is trying to break the best in me.

  “Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a “hot mess” or having “too many issues” are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” – Anthon St. Maarten

Slog

*****


Here Are More of Jackelyn’s Posts:


Thank you so much Jackelyn for agreeing to be interviewed. I am thrilled to find out so much about you and hope your struggles in life have become easier to handle through your faith. I hope you have more peaceful moments, than times which stress you out. Here is one more link to Jackelyn’s BlogFaith Walking Hebrews 11:1


Thanks for reading! If you would like to answer some interview questions about writing/blogging/poetry and your unique perspective and process on writing, I would encourage you to reach-out to me on my Contact Page. I would love to have you featured as a biweekly interviewee. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.