Interview with Carolyn Shelton Author, Writer, and Blogger #amwriting #nonfiction #interview #author


 

Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses)  who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.

Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe, where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.

As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles, are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie.  She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work. 

Carolyn’s blog can be found here: Nuggets of Gold: Helping You to Find the Gold Amidst the Dirt, Sand, and Pebbles of Life.


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Credit Carolyn Shelton

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Carolyn? 

My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.

Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.

My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Dewey the Spoiled Cat!

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

I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest. WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging. My love of writing had been rekindled.


” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – The Humble Manservant

3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?

My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.

Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.


4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing? 

I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles, with fellow blogger, Colin. I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release


My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Jaxon the Jackalope with Magical Powers

 5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun.  I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.

As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.


6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them? 

Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.

  • Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
  • Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
  • Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.

Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine. That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest. 


” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Odessa the Wise Owl Whom Carolyn and Colin’s book is named after.

7. Can You Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts? 

Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!

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Come Away With Me My Friend

Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

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JoyRoses Ocean 2
Credit; Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!

Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback.  No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.

In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart.  Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.

My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.

JoyRoses 2
Credit: Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

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Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)

Come away with me my friend

***

Let us run to the ocean,

Where you can let the pain in your heart

Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.

Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,

And scream as loud as you need.

Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.

***

Let us run to the ocean,

Where I can hold you tight, and let you cry.

Where you can let your shoulders sag.

Where you can let your tears fall,

To be carried away by the waves.

Lean on me. Let me be your strength.

***

Let us run to the ocean.

Oh, my dear friend… let us just go!

You need not think about the future.

Let us walk along the water’s edge.

Remember when we were young?

Our lives were so carefree

***

Let us stand in the water.

Let the waves splash your face,

And gently wash away your tears.

Let us run to the ocean.

Let us go where the waves go on forever.

Life can be hard my very special friend.

***

But let us run to the ocean.

Life we cannot always understand.

Things happen that cannot be explained.

But the waves will go on forever

Through night and day; Through rain or shine,

As will my love for you.

***

Let us go to the ocean, my dear friend.

We will face the rolling waves together,

And if you slip… I will be there to catch you.

If you feel you are losing your way…

I will be there to guide you.

***

Let us talk in silence,

For our love does not need words.

We have a special friendship.

Let us run to the ocean.

Let the waves mesmerize you.

Let the ocean’s rhythm soothe your soul.

***

Let us go to the ocean, my friend.

Go where no words are needed.

Where we will let the waves speak.

Let us go the ocean, my friend.

Let us go… and be as one,

For I will never let you fight this on your own.

***

Come away with me my friend.

*****


Here are more of Carolyn’s Blog Posts:


Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.


If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!


© Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

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Sunday Prompt: NonFiction – Bad Days Mean Good Days Ahead #amwriting #nonfiction 


Thanks to Oloriel of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s Sunday Prompt. This week we are to share the happiest moment in our life, or the saddest moment and how we overcame it. 

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Credit: MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie
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I’m not going to share my saddest or my happiest moment. I think these moments  constantly shift. But I will tell you about yesterday, for me it was a day where I felt hopeless. I’m a goal-oriented person and when I’m not feeling well enough to complete even the tiniest goal on my to do list, I feel lost and useless.

The background to this is as some of you know, is that I deal with depression that has caused what my psychiatrist has diagnosed as Chronic of Severe Fatigue. I’ve had it for years, I’ve always known.

Most doctors don’t even recognize CFS or ME as a disorder although there is information about people suffering from it hundreds of years ago and presently everywhere. As well a good friend of mine also has CFS/ME but hers while sharing some similarities, is a bit different from mine — she is able to work.

I’ve been homebound lately feeling extra fatigued and also because my insurance company ended my disability in November –I’ve lost a great deal of my income for the moment. When I’m so fatigued there are days it’s too much to take a bus.

Sometimes I have no choice but to take a cabl. Some days I wake up greatly worn out even after sleeping all night. The kind of tiredness CFS or ME produces is beyond sleepy –it’s mental and physical exhaustion. So when you can’t afford a cab and only the bus, it makes a person feel trapped when the ride their is tiring. 

At times when I’m home too long, I feel lonely and bored. I enjoy being out with friends and family or being able to visit a coffee shop, the mall, the art gallery (etc.), to be around people. The CFS doesn’t allow me to work (go to an office etc). as I never know how I will feel each day. On the flip side, I also need to be home a great deal to recharge. When I go out it’s not for more than a few hours, it’s what my body can handle.

Some days I can’t concentrate well on reading. Some days I can’t concentrate on writing. Other days I can’t do anything but watch the TV or programs on Netflix and after a while, even the stimulation from that bothers me. One or two days a week I feel well and get quite a bit done, only to exhaust myself for the following day.

Yesterday I felt awful even though I had it in me to do a short yoga video and a few simple chores that needed done, then I was physically and mentally worn out and frustrated. I was bothered that I have to stretch a small income so far and that I couldn’t take the cab a short way to this local coffee and book shop or to the mall to look around and have some Edo for lunch. 

I’ve also been dealing with weight issues due to a medication. I can’t switch medications, these ones work the best, but as a person who was a chubby child it bothers me I can’t keep my promise to myself to always stay fit. Each diet I try doesn’t work. I need intense cardiovascular exercise but beyond a bit of walking when I’m well I don’t have the energy for it. So yesterday, that too felt overwhelming. 

As well I’ve been freelancing and realized starting out, even to only make a a few extra hundred dollars a month is difficult. It’s like any career, something you have to learn from and build upon overtime.

But today I woke up and my outlook on the world had changed. I prayed last night and I realized this morning, I’m doing fine. I have a warm place to live with nutritious food and for the most part, I can buy what I need each month and do a few things with friends. My friends are also extremely understanding of what I experience and that along with my family’s understanding is a blessing as well. 

I’m hoping on ‘good days’ I can learn to endure the bus, to get out of the house more often because being around people makes me happy, even if I’m only an observer on certain occasions. 

I don’t feel lost today. I stopped focusing on ‘me’ and ‘my problems’ and recognized even though I think I have it bad certain days, others are experiencing much worse problems around the world.

I also realized starting something such as a part-time freelance career (even a limited number of hours a week) after not being able to work after nine-years at all, will take time, more than a few months effort and additional learning.

Most vitally I realized God has me and my problems in the palm of His hand and He is taking care of me even when I feel stuck in life. He says even when I’m still and not doing much at all, it’s enough. Yesterday was a bad day but sometimes you need bad days so you know how to be thankful for good days. Do you agree? 

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Three Line Tales: Missed The Rocks #3LineTales #fiction 


Thanks to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting a#3LineTales:

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Credit: William Bout

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Darkness was stealing the light of day, taking my weary breath away; I prayed while the cold, careless ocean ripped my feet from the pathway of stone I stumbled down, attempting to reach the lighthouse door. 

The storm raged and the sound of thunder, a giant drum rumbled and the clash of lightening frightened me; but above me the lighthouse torch glimmered, a shining beacon glowing in the dark for any passing ship –in my heart grew hope dimly. 
I wondered how the Captain of the grand ship approaching, could see when the night was black and the shadow seemed to overcome us both; but I, as was the ships Captain, was blind to think darkness could swallow light; as the gleam of the lighthouse blended with the dawn, I was thankful to have survived a dreadful night, stuck outside the lighthouse door, no one to hear my quivering knocks; the storm surrounded me and roared while I witnessed the grand ship barely miss the rocks — the lighthouse torch grew brighter, just in time. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

July Quotes: Inspiration for Summer and Beyond #quotes


Happy 4th of July my American friends. I’m sure it’s nice to have the Monday off work if you work usually. I’m also sure there are fun festivities and celebrations happening in the US today. Anyways, here’s some quotes to think about this July.

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1. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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2. 

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3. 

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4. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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5. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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6. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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7. 

wwww.pinterest.com

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8. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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9. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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10. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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11. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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12. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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13. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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14. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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15. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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Thank you for reading. I guess some of these quotes were more poems, but as you know poems have significant inspirational affects as well as quotes. My favourites are #8, #10, and #15. How about you? 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Poem/Song: “Lift Us Up” 


At the end of the day, 

You’re lost and you’re praying,

Lord please lift me up.

The skys are all grey, 

I feel lost and I stray, 

God, please lift me up.

I don’t know all your plans, 

But many you have,

I don’t have strength for much,

But Please lift me up,

When nobody cares about anyone else,

When we throw out our neighbours, 

As if they don’t mean much,

When we war, and we’re dying,

In life and inside us,

Please lift us up.

—–

And I know I won’t make it without your grace,

I’d be nothing but ashes without your love,

From dust we were made of, to dust we’ll return to,

So, now while I’m living, I say:

Lord Please lift me up.

Lift us up, lift us over,

Climb the mountains we’ve made,

Give us your reflection,

Save us from life’s strain,

When your cup runneth over,

May we be thankful at least,

When the cup seems to run dry,

When we don’t know the words,

To say how much we need you,

Give us strength, give us meaning, 

God, please lift us up.

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My prayer is so simple,

And you know I’m imperfect,

Lord, please lift me up.

I’ve done terrible things,

No matter if in thought or deed,

God, please lift me up.

When they’re children not eating,

Mom’s have nothing to feed them,

When the day aches as pain assails,

Yes, Please lift us up, 

When worse pain, is inside,

When you’re waging against demons,

When nothing has meaning,

When we’re so lost we’re grieving,

When we’ve walked out on life,

Please lift us up.

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And I know I won’t make it without your grace,

I’d be nothing but ashes without your love,

From dust we were made of, to dust we’ll return to,

So, now while I’m living, I say:

Lord Please lift me up.

Lift us up, lift us over,

Climb the mountains we’ve made,

Give us your reflection,

Save us from life’s strain,

When your cup runneth over,

May we be thankful at least,

When the cup seems to run dry,

When we don’t know the words,

To say how much we need you,

Give us strength, give us meaning, 

Lord, please lift us up.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Writing 101: Day 12 – Being Thankful and Shopping Sales.


Prompt: Critique something.   
I know that Black Friday is coming. Last year I avoided it, most of my Christmas shopping was done by that point. But from online shopping emails,  I noticed how great the deals were from both Canadian and American stores. I remember going to Banana Republic Canada’s website and seeing all clothes were 50% off. That hardly ever happens at Banana Republic! The best price you can get is 40 % off and that’s not often. In fact, it was odd to me that Canadian websites and stores were giving deals that were so good on Black Friday and they were better then the Canadian equivalent, Boxing Day deals. I like to shop, that’s not a lie. But I also have this part of conscience that is telling me that whether we are shopping crazily on Black Friday Week or Boxing Week, we are missing the point of the holidays these shopping marathons are based around.

The largest difference between Canadian and US Thanksgiving is when we hold our festivities. Canadians celebrate the second Monday in October and Americans the third weekend in November. But I know for both nations, it is a time for us to be thankful for all God has provided us with in our lives. For the plenty we have in our wants and needs. We remember so many do not have ‘plenty’ in other places in the world. We give thanks to be alive and for the relative peace we find living in our countries, especially when places so close to our hearts such as Paris, are attacked by terrorists. We eat large meals and see our family, whom we may not see all year. But to be specific, Wikipedia tells me, the first thanksgiving was celebrated in the US after the pilgrims first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast lasted three days and in attendance were fifty three pilgrims and ninety Native Americans. In Canada, we simply celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year during our Thanksgiving celebration. But I wonder how such a time of thankfulness has become a shopping race, to find the best deals. To think of all we ‘want,’ instead of all we have. 

Every Black Friday or Cyber Monday we see Americans literally fighting over electronics and grabbing items from each other as if they were toddlers. People are pushy, loud, and not nice to each other. They think that if they act how they act, they’ll get all the items they want. It is all about “me” and “I” or “my family.” I have to say it is worse on Black Friday in the US, worse then it ever gets in Canada even though Black Friday is gaining force here. But I’m not sure deals will be as great this year with the fall of the Canadian dollar from near parity.

 What ever happened to being a decent person, sharing, and being thankful for what you have? You may get a great deal but at what immoral price? What are you teaching the younger generations when you gorge on food, say that everyone should be thankful, then push and shove in Victoria Secret over a bra, of which you have ten or more? Or, was it worth it to battle through bodies and buy a TV at a hundred dollars saving?

I know some of you Black Friday shoppers are kind. And that every person just wants nice things for their families or theirselves at a good price. Maybe you can only afford certain items on sale, so these shopping days are important. Things are pretty tame in Canada but there is always the exception. And it’s just my point of view, but I wonder how being thankful and all this merchandising, advertising, and worked up shoppers fit together.

 In Canada, we celebrate Boxing Day after Christmas. It’s origins lie in people boxing up their leftover food from Christmas meals for the poor. But instead, we shop with our gift cards and Christmas money for more of what we have, for stuff, instead of celebrating family and Jesus’ birth; instead of celebrating people being together. I just find it a bit difficult, putting Christmas and shopping hauls together. I still shop and I still celebrate with my family. But I try to remember that when I’m out buying merchandise there is a way to treat other shoppers with respect, not like they’re the competition. I remember that buying stuff is fun but only temporary. “You can’t take it with you when you go,” as the saying goes.Whether you can buy a lot of things or hardly afford any, in death we leave all our junk behind.  We need to remember that there  are people who can’t afford are grand celebrations at Thanksgivings and Christmas. We need to give money and our time to those in need. To give presents to kids whose parents can’t afford, or food to the family who can only go to the food bank.

 I think if we were more thankful we could see how it is for some people to have so little, while we have a lot. For some people a tiny gift or a helping hand is worth so much. Little things like God, family, good friends, and health should matter the most. Without them all the ‘things’ in the world are worthless. So, be happy if that is what you have and if your basic needs are met. Happy Thanksgiving Americans and start of the holiday season for many of us. May you be thankful and gentle when you shop and generous with your time and donations to those less fortunate. May you cherish the life you have because you’re a priceless person to many people you know and loved very much. 

  

Writing 201 – Found Poetry/Chaismus –  Saving Face 


(The following is taken from Facebook posts and my own words)

Hysatirical, I laughed out loud; this is what courage looks like, not this  face it. 

I was invigorated today as I seemed to fly over and down the mountain face, what a perfect time to stop and reflect on the gifts in my life.

Wearing the cosiest sweater, my pal Lemon stripes introduced me to it and I rub my skin softly against it, it whispers cashmere on my face. 

For safety’s sake, travel in pairs; when you’re stressed float awhile; it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do (some face saving advice from Noah’s Ark and the late Steve Jobs!)

None of us is getting out of here alive, so please  stop treating yourself like an after thought; you are the beauty of your face and your face makes you beautiful; be silly, be kind, be weird. There’s no time for anything else.

I am stressing about saving face for absolutely no logical reason; the kids living in today’s world  will never know this struggle.

The weapons that make us super heroes, just when you thought you’d seen it all, you haven’t seen it all because we have to face facts — you can’t really have faced it all.

On Friday, the First Day of advanced pills, 850 000 people voted — that’s a 90 % increase from 2008; they did it so can you, show your face go out and vote!!

Some people create their own storms, we have too much to be thankful for; is your soap doing you more harm then good? Face every challenge with grace, grace will help you face every challenge. 

You felt he was better just because he gave you more. But he had two- hundred dollars, and all I had was ten. A river cuts through rock not because of it’s power but because of it’s persistence; when you go to face the world do not worry about how much power you have allotted be persistent and give generously. 

10 things I am grateful for this past year!


Seeing as it is still close to New Years I thought it would be neat to make a list of things I am thankful for this past year, 2012. They are in no particular order:

1. My family-who does not care that I often do not have the patience to listen to them at certain times in the day and say nothing when I am too sick to do anything but lie on the couch that day. They make me feel useful even though I am sometimes useless.

2. My friends, who except me just the way I am. Even though I am not the busy energetic person I used to be, they still make the effort to invite me out, come to events I have planned, and they do not mind when I can only stay for three or four hours or that I need a ride home because I medically, cannot drive. They listen to everything I have to say and appreciate that I listen and respond in kind.

3. My dog, if you are going to be stuck at home half the time you need a dog to cuddle and love you just because. What’s more I have an interesting dog who likes few people (especially with curly hair – she doesn’t like poodle’s either), barks at everyone who passes the house, scares the FedEx and Canada Post people, and sits on me like she thinks she’s a lap dog.

4.For online shopping – I have discovered a whole discounted world of shopping with greater selection and websites to every kind of interesting thing you could need or want. As much as this has become something I need to control it has made Christmas and Birthday shopping easier. I have bought or researched unique items for myself and the important people in my life.

5. WordPress – the decision to write blogs has led me back into something I love – writing! This in turn has led me to writing articles for Flurt magazine weekly, and to researching Master’s programs for 2014. I hope to write more articles for Flurt and other magazines in the future.

6. For my residential interior’s program – I have 3 courses to go and have realized this is something I cannot do the rest of my life. It has led me to greater understanding of homes and decorating them; I understand that it entails a type of precision I will never have and taught me how to further organize my life. I will finish the program, but it will not bee my career of choice.

7. For Herbal Magic – although I have been stuck at 180 lbs for a couple months I have lost 11 lbs and learned how to eat a diet with small food proportions and be completely full. I feel healthier, my clothes fit better, and I never feel that gross stuffed feeling. I am confident I can lose another 10-15 lbs the remainder of this year.

8. For my boyfriend, even though we have a long distance relationship most of the time I am that more excited to see him when he is in town. When I freak out he tells me it’s okay and not to worry, he does not get mad at me. And when I tell him something’s bothering me he listens and adjusts. I am comfortable around him and he is hot! Despite our ups and downs he is the longest relationship I have ever had.

9. For my iPhone and iPad – which organize my life, and help me to remember all the activities I need to do. I can budget, take notes, write articles, jot down ideas, schedule appointments and even schedule rest time. I can read books on them, surf the Internet, and print off my iPhone/iPad. Best of all they both fit in my purse.

10. For God and all the people with more wisdom then I who have taught me that you can survive through sickness and tragedy; that people can handle more then they think and in turn help other people deal with their problems. They have taught me that I can adjust from the life I thought I wanted, to the one I have; that I am extremely blessed and stronger despite my failings; and that there are more people in this world that have things worse than I despite my health issues.

These are what I am thankful for in 2013, how about you?