I am Finally Publishing a Book

Hello to all of my followers,

You asked for it, so now I am working really hard to accomplish it. What you ask? Well a Poetry Book! I have finally compiled a book of poetry and have gotten a quote from BookBaby to publish it. I have also started a Kickstarter Publishing Campaign in efforts to get this book funded.

Here is where you come in. I need your help and support to make this happen. Living as a widowed single mother on SSD, I just do not have the funds necessary. The Kickstarter campaign is my only hope and only option.

I am asking for your support in sharing the link and for a small donation of any size to fund this book. 100% of the donated money will go towards this process along with fulfilling the donation rewards.

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for this support! You all mean so much to me! http://kck.st/2ohiOR8

Tonya aka: cheynoa

Walking in The Shadows

By: Tonya Ross

© August 19, 2019


My eyes do not conceal

What’s hidden deep inside

And if my tears could talk

Oh, the stories they would confide


Cause all I ever think about

Are the memories of my past

Years of trauma have been my guide

This depression’s here to last


To others, I am a broken soul

To be forgotten and left aside

So, loneliness becomes another burden

I must carry with me and try to hide


Though in shadow’s I forever walk

With footsteps heavy as they be

To take it one moment at a time

This, is my solemn plea


Music Has Power

For my Advanced Composition course, we have been working on a 10-page research paper. To go along with this paper, we had to condense the main points and create a powerpoint presentation to present these points. I chose the topic of Music for my paper/presentation. I am very proud of how this presentation turned out and have decided to share it with you here. Oh, yes I did receive an A. I will share my final paper after it is complete.



Vickie Brennan and The Help and Hope Closet

vickie brennan


At the address of 78 Maryland Street, Battle Creek, Michigan does not just sit an ordinary home. Small and humble, this gray structure is as large in its reach as those who inhabit its walls. Upon parking out front you will see no signs informing you of the wonders inside. For it looks quite normal. Yet on this little piece of property, you will find the home of a cheerful, radiant woman of exceptional and extraordinary nature welcoming everyone with a warm heart, smile, and a hug. Vickie Brennan, the adoptive mother, and grandmother to all who cross her path saw a desperate need in a city plagued with blight and poverty and decided to open her home as a place of hope and comfort. Starting a Facebook page in 2015 called “The Help and Hope Closet” Vickie appealed to the masses stating she would take their donations of any unwanted and gently used items.

It did not take long before a few bags of donations showed up on her doorstep. At this point, thrilled at the prospect that she was actually doing something to help her community, she enlisted a few family and friends to help dump and sort the clothing right on her kitchen table. After disposing of the battered and stained unuseable items and washing the rest, Vickie then opened for business letting the community know they could come to her home and go through the items donated taking anything they had a need for.

Fast forward to present day 2018 and even Vickie will tell you she had no clue how quickly her little home-based organization would grow. Battle Creek, Michigan, known as “The Cereal City” is the third largest city in Michigan measured by square miles.

With the median income reaching only $38,216 it is not hard to understand why 20.8% of its population lives in poverty (United States Census Bureau, 2010-2017).

Surprisingly, in a city of this size, help for the less fortunate is very hard to come by. When you do find it, usually it is not of an adequate nature to provide a lasting effect. When I asked Vickie to describe to me what prompted her to start The Help and Hope Closet, she had this to say, “I got tired of seeing people turned away. Places were picking and choosing who they would help. That is not right, it’s just not right.”

As I sat and listened I could not help but feel as emotionally connected as she was to this topic. Having moved here to Battle Creek, Michigan only a few months ago myself and seeing the difference between the help offered in the area I came from, compared to what is offered here, I was astounded at the lack of viable options to seek out such help. If one is lucky enough to find help out here, those sources have very limited resources to give out. You are only allowed to go once per month and they are only open a handful of hours in the middle of one day per week. They apologize and give you a sheet of paper with the names of other places you could call such as 211 for a referral to other food banks. You will then have to obtain access to some sort of phone service so you can call 211 give them information and gain that referral. Next, you have to accomplish the task of securing transportation to an from the next location on the appointed date and time given to you. This entire process seems like it was developed in the dark ages in a time when it was not necessary or commonplace to help your local community grow, improve, and prosper.

While our community is desperate to see reform of a broken system, we find a glimmer of light in Vickie Brennan and The Help and Hope Closet. In her three years in operation, Vickie has watched the donations pour in taking over each room, basement, and garage of her tiny little non-assuming home. She has expanded to take donations of food, toiletries, baby items, diapers, formula, essential items, clothing, and medical supplies. All of which she personally stores, sorts, washes, and gives out.

Over the years, volunteers have come to help, some staying and some short-lived after their need has been met. Lacking a permanent building other than her private residence to set up shop, each day Vickie and her volunteers have to open up the garage and pull out tote after tote, table after table. They set everything up in her driveway so that the community has access to come and go through it. Some days she goes through this process alone.

No transportation to get to Vickie’s place? No worries, there are volunteers to come pick you up and transport you back and forth. They will even deliver items to you if you prefer.

Vickie is the perfect example of what it means when you hear that one person can make a difference to many. It is contagious and sparks an entire community that cares. One that takes matters into their own hands based out of human need and suffering then acts upon that need. I asked Vickie one final question as I was wrapping up my interview and tour of her home. I wanted to know if there was one thing she could tell the entire community, what would it be? Vickie smiled at me, nodded her head and replied, “That EVERYONE is welcome. I don’t care who you are where you’re from or what your need is, I am here to help anybody night and day.”




(United States Census Bureau, 2010-2017)

Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/battlecreekcitymichigan/PST040217

I Cry

I cry because I feel like a failure in life.

I cry because I am getting a 4.0 GPA in my college courses at the age of 45.

I cry because I have had so much happen out of my control.

I cry because I have survived that which would have broken me.

I cry because my finances are in ruin.

I cry because I am mindful of my budget and working to change my future.

I cry because I live every day in physical pain.

I cry because I can still get up and move and walk through that pain.

I cry because my house is falling apart and looks horrible.

I cry because I have a home to live in and we are not homeless.

I cry because my 16-year-old daughter has to get up at 5 am to go to school then after school work from 4 pm to 11 pm just to help us survive.

I cry because my daughter sounds like an angel when she sings.

I cry because my children have never had the life they deserve.

I cry because I have provided for my children despite our difficulties.

I cry because the love of my life betrayed me and abused our daughter and broke our family apart.

I cry because I stood up to stop the abuse once I knew.

I cry because I miss being in love.

I cry because I am learning to be independent.

I cry because I am medically disabled and this is not the life I would choose.

I cry because my disabilities have not prevented me from living.

I cry because I am lonely, oh so lonely.

I cry because I know what morals and values are.

I cry because my mother does not know how to truly love her children.

I cry because sometimes, sometimes my mother at least tries.

I cry because my father abandoned us when we were kids and does not care about us.

I cry because my father at least sometimes talks to my siblings.

I cry because my relationship with my son is sometimes strained.

I cry because my son is following his dreams which is what I always wanted for him.

I cry because I don’t know how to share my pain and no one would even care.

I cry because some days are good despite the pain.

I cry because I feel helpless and hopeless.

I cry because I am working through those feelings.

I cry because I don’t know how to stand up for myself.

I cry because I have not hardened my heart.

I cry because I have always been stressed to the max.

I cry because I have learned to be inventive.

I cry because I feel little joy in life.

I cry because my children help me smile.

I cry when I am sad.

I cry when I am happy.

I hide the tears I cry in an effort to be strong.



Fast Food: Good Management or Horrible Boss


The following letter is addressed to Carrols Corporation Upper Management. For those of you who do not know, Carrols Corporation owns and operates over 800 fast food restaurants better known as Burger King. It was written by a concerned parent regarding an issue that happened when her daughter tried to call in sick to work.

The following image is a screenshot I took right from the about page on the Carrols.com website. It gives you a clear idea of the image that Carrols wishes the public to perceive of them.

carrols 1.4


My intention for this post is to get my readers involved in analyzing this situation. I want an open-ended conversation on this letter and the duty and responsibility that our food service workers have to society. As well as the responsibility that managers have to listen to and be concerned for their employees and customers alike. All identifying information has been blacked out to provide the parties involved safety and privacy.


carrols 1.0


From the first part of this letter, it sounds like the minor had a pretty serious illness going on. Looking at it from a neutral standpoint, she did the right thing by trying to call in and even going as far as to drive across town to talk to the manager for her daughter.



carrols 1.1


In this next section of the letter, the parent explains the situation and even breaks it down into some very valid points. She brings up some great questions on what is and is not acceptable from managers in the food industry. It also shows a level of responsibility for the young employee’s part for actually calling in and not showing up for work in that condition to spread germs onto the customers.


carrols 1.2


Further going into details we see that the employee and the parent made every attempt possible to inform the manager of how serious the situation was with the minor’s illness. As well as trying to inform them of her absence because of it. The question remains:

  1. Did the manager handle the situation appropriately?
  2. Would you have handled this situation the same? Differently and how?
  3. What would you have done as the parent in this situation?
  4. Did the parent handle the situation at the location and furthermore with the letter in the correct manner?
  5. What would you have done differently?


carrols 1.3


In the conclusion, this parent gives solid evidence on her background and shows she is looking at the situation in a rational and logical manner not just as an angry parent wanting to complain. She is considering all sides of the issue here and giving reasonable suggestions as to how to resolve the issue.

Taking the ‘about us’ section into account on Carrol’s website is this the type of behavior they desire and expect out of their managers? What do you think?





How a Pessimistic Mindset Will Kill You

You must be willing to take ownership of your mindset just as if you would take ownership of a new car, house, or any other item you might purchase. Your mindset is a creation of you and will determine not only how you respond to others but how they respond to you.

Do you find yourself thinking about, mulling over, contemplating, and focusing on all of the negativity in your life?

Do you find yourself feeling defeated and despondent, or like the future is bleak?

Do you often remember only the negative events of your past?

When communicating with others, do you only mention your problems or medical issues?

Do people seem to shy away from you or avoid spending time with you? Leaving you feeling alone and ignored?

If you answered yes to any of these questions above, you more than likely have a pessimistic mindset. You see the worse in every situation that you find yourself in, you often have major disagreements with others over minor issues, and you cannot see any positive in your future. You are what others would consider a toxic person. I know that is a harsh statement that will bring me a lot of backlash. Yet, I feel strongly that it needs to be said.

The truth is that this is not entirely your fault. You have had so many negative emotions to events that have happened to you, that you can no longer react appropriately to any given situation or person. You think and act with an emotional mindset.

An emotional mindset is not entirely a bad thing. It helps you connect with others, offers you the gift of compassion and empathy, and gives you a sense of belonging when people come to you for advice. The problem arises when your emotional mindset draws on the negative emotions rather than the positive.

In order to understand, we must first define what a mindset is. Dictionary.com defines Mindset as an attitude, disposition, or mood. An intention or inclination. Therefore, a pessimistic mindset is one that causes you to involuntarily respond in a negative light.

Here is the deal-i-o with a pessimistic mindset…

You are creating the very situations that you hate. Now, I know that no one likes to be told when they are doing something wrong. Yet in order to change one must realize how they are in part responsible. You must be willing to take ownership of your mindset just as if you would take ownership of a new car, house, or any other item you might purchase. Your mindset is a creation of you and will determine not only how you respond to others but how they respond to you.

Being pessimistic causes you physical and emotional stress which your body cannot handle on a regular basis. WebMD has a great article on what stress does to your body. I strongly recommend reading this article. This stress will raise your blood pressure which in turn will cause lots of other medical, emotional, and cognitive conditions to arise. The tension surrounding you becomes so thick that you can cut it with a knife. The effects of a pessimistic mindset so closely relate to those of stress, that they could actually be considered one in the same.

Long-term, the pessimistic mindset is not a sustainable way of life. The great thing about mindset is that with awareness, it can be changed and molded into something different, new and positive. It will take a lot of hard work, effort, and practice, but it can be done. You just have to decide that you want and need this change.

Marsha M. Linehan wrote a book titled:  DBT Skill Training Handouts and Worksheets. Originally published in 2014, this book is a great resource to utilize in your journey to creating a new positive mindset. It will offer tangible worksheets and activities that you can do in an effort to improve your way of thinking and break out of that negative mind. It sells on Amazon for right around $30. And NO, I am not getting paid to plug this book. I am recommending it because I have bought the book myself and used it to break out of my old pessimistic mindset. I know from experience that it really works if you truly desire to change your life and will put the time, effort and care into doing the activities.

Once you begin to change your own mindset into a more positive one, more and more people will notice. They will start to support your efforts and show you the compassion you always desired out of them. Others will start to spend more time with you and most important seek you out because they actually ENJOY spending that time with you. Your overall outlook on life will become more joyful in turn causing you to adore, relish, and even savor those happy positive times.

Your focus will stop being on the negative events. You will be able to appropriately respond to life and everything within it including people. You will find that you smile a lot more, laugh a lot more, and gain a lot more overall pleasure from life. This is what you always wanted out of life, isn’t it?

What is the one thing that holds you back from changing your mindset? The answer is YOU! That feeling of fear of change. Of having to make a commitment to something new. The denial that you are causing these negative emotions and events yourself and refusing ownership. The thought that it is everyone else’s fault you feel this way.

No, you did not cause all negative events that have happened to you. But you DID and still DO have the power to control how you respond/ed to them. This is the KEY factor in determining if you will be successful at changing your mindset or not. Take back that control, stop blaming everyone or everything else and actually do something to help yourself. Stop thinking that others can or should step up to help you and do something to help yourself. This is not a statement of blame, it is a statement of concern and compassion. A statement with a strong desire to see you succeed and become the person you always wanted to be.