A bottle can be the answertoa lot of problems. The issue for alcoholics, however,is whether or not their solution to life’s problems comes from good counsel. Among countlessquestions,they can ask themselves is if their next series of drinks makes them feel better now or long term?
Feeling better right now is a normal desire, especially when a person hurts; it’s instinctive. Physical pain, for example, signals our brain to ‘take our hand out of the fire!’It is a form of deep desire where we react involuntarily, and don’t pause to consider our reaction. Wesimplydo.
Sacrificing Well-Being and Health
Nevertheless, too much alcohol consumption can override our instinctive sense of self-protection. If a person drinks compulsively, they can harm each realm of their well-being andhealth — emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual (etc.). One’s entire humanity can be damagedwith enough bottles of liquor. Often, a person’s quest for ‘answers’is the core reason alcoholics seek the bottom of abottle. Sought after solutions become pressing issues — not just for answers, but wise ones.
It’s interesting that people soon don’t recognizewhat came first when they began chasing answers through overconsumption of alcohol. It’s the proverbial issue of the chicken or the egg, and drinking becomes a sequential cycle. Their need for a ‘remedy’ leads to alcoholism, and alcoholism leads to a need for remedy. Eventually, heavy drinkers spin in circles,andthe exit ramps speeding down a deadly highway, disappear in a blur.
Moreover, it’s not only that the pursuit of a remedy that is hard-wired into people’s brains, but wanting a thoughtful answertoo. People want to improve their minds, seekmeaning,andto haveassurance for their decisions. The ability to perceive information, analyze it, and problem-solve is key. But some people have their exquisite mental abilities hijacked andcompromised due to alcohol addiction. Bottom line, people can’t access their best decision-making skills nor find a peaceful mental place in a bottle of booze.
Some people also come to ‘a bottom of a bottle solution’ compromised due to trauma in life. Trauma, particularlylong–standingtrauma that occurred when adults were young, effects how they learned to cope in the world. Many people who chase their solutions through heavy drinking have had traumatic childhoods. They arrive at a bottle having problem-solving abilities, which are stunted. It is vital to discover solutions for people’s mental and emotional difficulties—from managing bad feelings to making healthy behavioral choice. Nonetheless, this can result in a lifelong and desperate struggle for those who wrestle chronically in their heads and hearts with alcoholism.
Seeking Hope and Support Through Alcohol
Consultingoraclesis a longstanding practice in human history, and by no means has disappeared. Everyone searches for hope when they’re afraid, confused, in pain, and worried. People seek answers that will relieve them of difficult feelings and will calm their agitated minds. They want their unknown questions to be answered, and a way to move forward despite life’s difficulties. Most alcoholics desire something or anything, to find serenity and relaxation in their days.
Sadly, alcohol is not often a reliable resource for short-term stress. Why else would we continue to ‘consult’ it? If a way of coping works for people initially, they will continue to turn to it; they will reach for it to work again and again. Every compulsive drinker once was supported by alcohol in a better way, no matter how short-lived that support lasted.
At one point, alcohol wasa solid, accessible, and steady support system. It worked, improving life for a time — even for an evening. But often, alcohol is never a reliable support-system for people; still, they cling to it despite knowing better. Sometimes copious drinking is only helpful for a gulp before it’s magic fades, but alcoholics appreciate that brief moment if life feels terrible enough.
Former alcoholics, such as myself, can be loyal to liquor to a fault. I can hang on to it until I’m shaken loose, clinging, kicking, and screaming. Until I finally, chose a road to sobriety, which also provided me with satisfying answers and wisdom (froma variety of sources) about life’s larger questions. I let go of alcohol, my ‘trusted friend,’ who had betrayed me too many times to count. Prior to rehab, my release from alcoholism was a bone-shattering experience. It’s not a mandatory way to become sober, but that’s how I did it. I was frightened to see how huge the iceberg underneath me was. I wanted to stay on the tip, happy in my denial of what lay beneath the waves.
One of the aspects about AA I liked was that members were encouraged to visualize alcoholism as more than drinking — as an iceberg, where the bulk of their problemswere hidden underwater. I found this difficulty in myover-drinking. No matter how much I drank; in the end, there wasstill horrendouspain I couldn’t drown with any amount of liquor. Drinking was my problem, but it was notmy keyproblem. At the root of my alcoholism was my life and how I lived it. No matter how worrisome my emotional state or my behavior while drinking, alcohol seemed as if it were always a suitable solution for my personal issues. Even in my desperate days, when alcohol failed me more often than not, I still clung to it.
Solutions Beneath Alcohol Addiction
Moreover, peering beneath my drinking solution, peeling back the layers through detox and early recovery, I discovered I was a scared and vulnerable person. I was ill-equipped to handle everyday life, haunted by trauma, and filled with deep shame. In addition, I was angry and sad. My regular excursions to the bottom of a bottlehad induced tremendous stress, but I came to the solution of ‘the bottle’ already weighted with pain. The first time I became drunk was the first time I can remember feeling at ease; I was a young adult, and my over drinking continued from there.
Nonetheless, I’ve learned the true solutions to life and life’s questions don’t live in the bottom of a bottle. Mystory is one ofcountlessstories, all told from someone who felt worse than most other people imagine they would, as an intoxicated person. However, there ishope and recovery is a real possibility. No problem hiding beneath anyone’s stream of alcohol is too difficult to confront and solve. With the right help,recovery is a real possibility.
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
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
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
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.
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
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:
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
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 blogContact 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!
Today’s National Poetry Writing Challenge is to write a poem in the style of a famous American poet named Kay Ryan.She writes poetry with “short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout, maybe an animal or two, and, if you can manage to stuff it in, a sharp little philosophical conclusion,” and today’s prompt is to write a poem like her. See an example of her poetry in the above link.
Also here is my A to Z Challenge at the very last minute yes, I know. A book quote that matchesthe poem everyday according to the author’s name alphabetically.
“You are the stories and incidents that you never tell to anyone. You are the thoughts that you get while standing under the shower. You are those memories that won’t lets you sleep at night peacefully. You are those words that you will never say while speaking with someone. You are those scars that you always hide from everyone. You are those little secrets that you will never let the world know. You are everything that you hide under the identity that you call the real you.”― Akshay Vasu
Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing Lee Ann from the blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too. As LeeAnn’s blog focus is more on helping animals through her blog, the focus of this interview will be slightly different than past interviews.
1. LeeAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Blog?
I have always been a quiet, deep-thinking, and observational person.Through deep-thinking and my tendency to observe, I noticed a lot of aspects about animals. Watching them, and paying attention to them, I fell in love with them.
As I am a quiet person, I feel I tend to get lost in the crowd much of the time. I noticed a similar thing often occurred with animals;they were getting lost in the crowd too when people didn’t pay attention and take care of them. Intrinsically, I felt their worth, their needs, and I noticed the way some of them were not treated nicely. My passion for helping animals was born.
2. When Did You Begin Blogging ? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You?
I had taken classes for Web Design in 2013 and one of the assignments was to create a blog. My blog was my current blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too and I wrote on it occasionally over the next few years. However, in August 2016 I started blogging regularly. I have had different experiences with writing throughout my life.
Back in elementary school I first fell in love with poetry and writing (and my poetry teacher J). Since then, I have written several poems over the years, but only for my family and friends for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and other special events. Currently, some of my responsibilities at work include writing newsletters and social media posts.
Blogging means everything to me because of what I write about. I adore animals and feel passionate about helping them. I have been trying to figure out my entire life how to utilize my love for animals. When the assignment came up in my course to create a blog, my teacher told me she thought I should continue with my ‘helping animal’ themed blog.
I guess you could say a light bulb went off in my head. It took me a few years to apply myself, consistently blogging. But I think I had troubles because I was burnt out from being on a computer all day between work and school. I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.
” I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.” – LeeAnn
3. Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer To Write?
Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there harming animals and not enough laws to protect the animals. This is where my inspiration and motivation comes from. I want to make a difference and ensure fewer animals are harmed. I also feel a lot of people are unaware of how much animal abuse exists and how few laws there are to protect animals (pets).I am hoping to bring light to these issues on my blog.
I am more alert and ‘fresh’ in the late morning after I have some coffee; however, because I have a full-time job, a lot of my writing and blog posts are done in the evening after work.
4. Do You Have Any Current Pet-Related Writing Projects or Hopeful Ones? Are You Planning on Publishing Anything Related to Animals?
My blog is my current and ongoing project. I am only six months into regular blogging, so I am still new at blogging. I am working hard at ‘getting my writing out there’ on animal issues. My hope is to grow my traffic, not for my sake, but for the sake of animals and to make a difference.
So far, I’ve not published anything other than blog posts. I have considered writing a children’s book on empathy towards animals someday. I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc.) I may also turn some of my blog posts into a book someday.
” I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc).” – LeeAnn
5. What Is Your Writing Process Like When Focusing on Animals?
As I mentioned, there is so much animal abuse going on, so there is not a lack of topics to write about. If I see a story on the web about an animal that was abused, I start thinking and the writing process for a post begins.
For example, after going to the Renaissance Festival I noticed an elephant chained to a contraption which only allowed him to move around in a circle giving people rides. I started thinking and when I was home, I wrote about this event and how awful it was for the poor elephant to be so confined and probably abused.
6. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Bloggers or on Advice on How People Can Help Animals in Need?
I am not a ‘professional’ writer, but as another blogger said: “If you’re writing on a blog, you are a writer.” Writing and blogging are skills I and other writers improve on with time. I am still learning and growing as I learn more about blogging, particularly for my significant cause. As well on my blog’s About Page I wrote this about how people can aid animals:
“Supporting animal organizations is . . . one way I help animals . . . I write about a wide variety of topics and types of animals, and I usually share links so you can check out the organization/topic being discussed.
There are many ways we can all help animals. Donating items to shelters, writing letters, signing petitions, volunteering time at an animal organization, sharing my posts to spread the word, and much more.” – LeeAnn
7. Do You Have Anything Else You’d Like To Share With Readers on Helping Animals, Yourself, or Blogging?
I am attempting to give my blog real purpose (a means to an end) that my writing and blogging actually result in animals at risk or already being harmed, not being hurt anymore. I also want people to know I do have a large variety of posts on my blog.
Some of the posts I write include Pet Tales, Vegetarian Recipes, Pet Care Tips, and Serious Topics such as Animal Abuse Issues. I also use pictures from other bloggers and Facebook Page followers. I post them in my posts called ‘Tuesday Tales.’
8. Do You Have Any Favorite Bloggers You Follow?
I enjoy different kinds of blogs, but I think my favorite blogs are when someone writes about their pet(s). I think it’s fun to see all those adorable pet photos and learn about various animals and their personalities. Oddly enough, I do not necessarily like to follow blogs that are about ‘animal activism.’ I applaud them but I find these blogs usually too graphic for me to handle.
9. Please Share With Us Some of Your Animal Related Blog Posts:
The post below was written when a young follower of mine contacted me to let me know she was inspired by my blog. She wrote a poem called “Animals Are Feeling beings Too” which she published on her blog.
I have been blogging (well…serious blogging) for a few months now. I have played around with my blog, changing & adding things like the “Tuesday Tales” where I share animal stories and “Sunday Pause (Paws)” where I encourage everyone to kick back & relax. On my “Vegetarian Challenge” page I try to add recipes every now & then. There hasn’t been an actual challenge yet, but maybe in the future. Also, I have been adding my favorite cruelty-free products to the “Links” page, adding some pictures of my cat, Cino and “Pet Care Tips.”
I will continue to add to these pages and keep a variety on my blog. But one thing that will not change is where my heart is, and that is helping the fight against animal cruelty.
This means some of my posts will not be so uplifting or fun. If I were to only do “happy” posts I wouldn’t be spreading the word about animal cruelty and therefore I wouldn’t be helping animals.
Something I saw on Facebook (or somewhere) not so long ago was this sentence, “The reason I dedicate myself to helping animals so much is because there are already so many people who dedicate their lives to hurting them.” Sadly, a true statement!
There are a lot of people who tell me they can’t stand to read or see anything about animal abuse because it bothers them too much. It bothers me A LOT too, but I can not turn my back on them. I want to encourage others not to either.
I recently have received a few great compliments from fellow bloggers about my blog. This makes me feel so warm & fuzzy. I also received a message from a young follower, named Leona, that said me and my blog inspire her, and that she wrote a poem and named it “Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.” I was overjoyed by this! It makes me think maybe I AM making an impact out there for the good of animals!
Thanks to LeeAnn for the lovely interview and sharing her passion for taking care of and helping animals at home and ones who are in need. Best of luck to her in her blog and spreading the word about animal empathy and the proper way to treat your pets and animals in general. Here is a Link To LeeAnn’s blog one last time: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.
If you would like to share your blogging or writing in my biweekly interview series, please reach out to me through mycontact page on my blog. I will see you in two weeks!
Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
Good Morning and welcome to another bi-weekly edition of my interview series. Today, I’m interviewing the talented, inspiring, seventeen-year-old, poetess, and writerNelly Mgendi who prefers to be called Nelly Cherry from the blog Nelly Cherry. Please take time to visit her site, she has many gems of poetry to be read.
1. Nelly, Please Tell Us About Yourself:
My birth name is Nelly Mgendi but I have adopted the name Nelly Cherry and that is the name I prefer to go by. I am Tanzanian by birth and currently living in Kenya.
In a nutshell, I am adventurous and I like to discover new things. I’m funny and as some would say, I am quite the drama queen. I was also raised in a humble religious home.
When I was younger, I never liked poetry or writing whatsoever, even though, I was a huge fan of reading books. Back at home, people didn’t think of me as anyone extraordinary, as someone who had hidden talents. All of that changed when I came to Kenya where I am treated with love and have support. People don’t see me as the plain and uninteresting “Nelly Mgendi” but “Nelly Cherry,”a girl who is full of surprises.
Moving to Kenya made me realize there is more to who I am as person than I or other people thought back home. I found a passion for writing in Kenya. At first, I hated it, but I grew to appreciate writing and learn about writing and creativity in-depth. Today, I love writing and cannot live without it; writing has made me a better person.
As the saying goes: “ Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This was extremely applicable for me and how I judged writing before I fell in love with it.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I considered going into writing when I was about to finish my O levels in school. I bought a journal to express my thoughts and started writing. Through social media I saw various different blogs, and decided blogging my writing would be a great idea. Before WordPress I joined Blogspot, a blogging platform I didn’t enjoy. So, I signed up for WordPress where I felt welcomed by a wonderful and warm community and my dear friend Vester Miles.
I decided to permanently, use WordPress for my social media platformfor writing.
“Today, I love writing and cannot live without it; writing has made me a better person. As the say goes: ” Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This was extremely applicable for and how I judged writing before I fell in love with it.” – Nelly Cherry
3.What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
Poetry is my comfort zone because it is where I get to express myself. I’m not an open person so poetry is where I can show who I actually am. I write because there is more to who I am than what people label me as being. Writing gives me comfort and it helps me forget about my own problems. Also, it gives me some sense of hope and purpose in life. Writing aids me in dealing with any situation which comes my way. It helps me express and cope with emotions, issues, and situations, as well as use my imagination.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
All of my writing begins as I perceive the people around me. I look at and dig deeper into my surroundings and the events that are currently, happening around me and in my life. I also find inspiration in music of different genres. I search for the ‘storyline’ in a piece of music and the bigger picture behind the song I’m writing about. I find motivation to write as I read about and read the works of other writers and poets who are not afraid to write what’s genuinely on their mind.
“Writing give me comfort and it helps me forget about my own problems. Also, it gives me some sense of hope and purpose in life. Writing aids me in dealing with any situation which comes my way.” – Nelly Cherry
5. What Time of Day do You Most Like to Write and What Are Your Current Writing Projects? Do You Plan on Publishing Your Writing?
I love writing in the morning when I have a clear fresh mind, but sometimes I write anytime, whenever I’m inspired to write.
My current writing projects include the poems: “Summer,” “Happy Father’s day,” “In Misery,” “Faded,” and “Abandoned Soul.” Also, I am working towards writing a book. I am planning to publish some of my writing in the future. But right now, I’m going to continue blogging on WordPress as a way of publishing my writing.
6. Can You Describe the Process You Go Through to Publish Your Writing? What Is Your Writing Process Like?
It is a long process for me to publish my work. I am still trying to get an editor which is why my work is currently on hold; however, I do have a writing process.
First, I write my ideas on a piece of paper or on my phone. Then, I look around for more inspiration and write the ideas I have on my Mac so far. If I don’t have a complete idea, I listen to music. Then, I go back to my Mac and write what the music has inspired in me.
After I am done, I ask my friend Ashley to provide me with further suggestions or tell me what she thinks of what I already have written down. Opinion from a ‘first reader’ matters a great deal as their opinion helps me decide on what I will continue to write. The first reader may have her own ideas or thoughts on my writing. I often, combine her ideas and my own when I’m writing.
7. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and/or Reading styles and/or Genres?
I prefer fantasy and science fiction genres. I love science fiction because it can includespecial effectsin film. You are able to visualizeideas and live in your head with creative ideas in science fiction. Also, I love reading the science fiction genre as it has imaginative concepts such as futuristic science and technology, space travel, and time travel. One of my favourite books on fantasy is called: Crossed Borders. In science fiction, my favourite books are the Divergent Series and Hunger Games.
“Opinion from a ‘first reader’ matters a great deal as their opinion helps me decide on what I will continue to write. The first reader may have her own ideas or thoughts on my writing. I often, combine her ideas and my when I’m writing.” – Nelly Cherry
8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
My advice is to never stop dreaming and never give up. Also, never be afraid to voice your ideas and write what’s in your soul. If writing is what you love, you need to put your time and dedication towards it.
As well, learning to listen to other people’s ideas is extremely helpful to you as a writer. If you’ve a problem, don’t be afraid to ask because learning never stops. Don’t be afraid to show your work because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions. Write and show the world who you are. Write what you feel but while you are writing, consider other people’s feelings.
I love when people express their thoughts and ideas on writing and it brings new thoughts and ideas to your own writing. Also, having people critique my work is valuable. Listening to what people want to say in regards to my writing, and what they think I should improve on helps me write. One of the most significant values I have learned in life is:“Learning never stops.”
“Don’t be afraid to show your work because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions. Write and show the world who you are. Write what you feel but while you are writing, consider other people’s feelings.” – Nelly Cherry
9. Please Share With One of Your Favourite Pieces of Poetry.
Hidden in the closet like playing a game of hide and seek,
I lock myself inside afraid of getting out.
Am locked in, afraid of releasing myself in the wild,
Afraid of breaking out as fear takes over my mind.
Embracing, exploring, discovering who I really am,
I finally go out of my way and show the world,
Breaking the walls I have built inside me,
Coming out and showing my true colours.
(By Nelly Cherry)
10. Here Are Some Links To Some Of Nelly’s Other Pieces of Poetry:
Thank You so much Nelly, for sharing with us your journey to becoming a writer. It is exciting and inspiring to see you put so much of yourself into your work. I can see how passionate you are about writing and your poetry, it’s wonderful to see. Thank you as well, for your wise and motivational advice to other writers. Nelly’s blog can be visited here: Nelly Cherry.
Would you like to share your writing and writing process with otherwriters and bloggers? Would you like to be interviewed such as Nelly? Drop me a note on my contact page and I will send you some interview questions. Thanks for reading 🙂
“F’ing loser back off, leave me alone.” Melonie shouted at Will.
“I want to take you on a date and after . . .”
“You don’t get it! Over and over I’ve been through this with you. If when we first met, you wanted to date me and see where things go it would have been one thing. But now I know your motives, you would expect me to sleep with you after our initial date because you wined and dined me.”
“Come on you’ll like it Melonie. A lot of girls enjoy sleeping with me. You’ll like it too. I have skills…” Will said slyly.
Melonie huffed, letting out a breathe of pent up air. “I don’t want to hear about all the girls you’ve slept with you man whore. I told you, I’m not interested in dating you because you only want me for sex. Not to mention, I’m really not into relationships right now with you, so you can’t win. I don’t like you that way Will.”
“You’re such a loser. You’re missing out. Maybe you should go back to your ex.”
“Call me what you want. I’m into guys I’ve developed a relationship with, who have made an effort to get to know me. I don’t do one night stands such as some chicks. I don’t do casual sex whenever you feel like it.”
“I’m in a good place in life and I want you to leave me alone. Stop bothering me, go find one of those chicks that love to sleep with you. My ex is out of the picture, I don’t want him back because I won’t sleep with you.” Melonie said expressively.
“I don’t get you,” Will said rubbing his chin.
“I’ve told you this over and over. Can I spell it out IM NOT INTERESTED in being with you at all.”
“Um, your obviously worked up right now. I’m going to let you calm down. Sleep with me, you’ll like it. I’ll be good to you. Think about it.”
Melonie sighed rubbing her temples. “Will, don’t contact me anymore. Stay away.”
“No worries, we’ll work it out some other time Mel.”
“Will . . .”
The word came to Melonie then, silkabo. A word her Filipino friend said meant an emotionaloutburst. Melonie was frustrated and realized she had been shouting at Will, but she truly felt the situation warranted her outburst.
What was the Filipino phrase for not seeing the ‘writings on the wall?’ Will couldn’t see the truth about him and Melonie if it smacked him in the face; he was oblivious.