A Little Lost

I have to admit, I must be the worst blogger out there. I have spurts of time where I am posting every single day, sometimes more than once per day. Then I can go a year or two without posting at all. It does not make for a very popular blog.

I do not know why I am like this. That’s not true, I do know. It is my BPD. I get super involved in a project and focus all of my available time on that one thing. Then I suffer from burnout syndrome and need a break. The problem comes in when that break takes months and even years to correct and find my way back.

I love to write. I love sharing my stories with whoever chooses to read them. I love writing poetry especially. So why is does there seem to be such long-lasting lapses in time where I don’t write even one word of type?

The only reason I am even here today walking down memory lane is that a fellow classmate of mine (Thanks Pete) asked me for the correct link to my blog so he could read some of my work. I had to come to the blog to get the link for him. This in turn took me down a deep rabbit hole of rereading some of my posts.

I am ashamed at how long it has been since I last wrote. I am ashamed of the last post I posted, being one stating that I was finally publishing a book and asking for support for a Kickstarter campaign that I TOTALLY forgot about. I have not done a thing with that Kickstarter at all. In fact, I don’t even know if it is a valid campaign anymore. I have no clue how to sign into it or even get to it.

Needless to say, I am also ashamed that I lost the files to my poetry book I was working on and never published it. Again, it is a depression/BPD thing. Part of my personality that I have come to just accept. I start projects and never finish them just like I start school and never seem to finish it. I have good intentions when I start these things. You could say I am full of “High hopes” my dreams lead me down a path… and getting trapped inside my own head stops me dead in my tracks. If something starts to get hard, I quit. I am a quitter! I hate that part of myself. I don’t even know if anyone can relate to this side of me.

How can I learn to start something that I actually finish? I really have a strong desire to publish that poetry book. It is a dream of mine. But now I have to start all over from scratch and try to find and compile all of my poems again. So can I do it? That is the question.

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

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.”

 

References

 

(United States Census Bureau, 2010-2017)

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

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.

YOU GOT THIS!

 

 

 

 

 

Mothers and Their Children

*Repost*

This is an article I originally wrote and posted MARCH 12, 2015. I am choosing to post it again because it is a subject I feel needs to be heard, an opinion that needs to be said, a life experience that need to be shared. So often in life we feel that what we are experiencing is unique to just us. That no one could possibly understand our turmoil.

Mother’s especially feel this when experiencing their children growing up. I want every mother out there to know that they are not alone. What you experience is a natural progression of the life cycle. So read this article in its entirety. Soak it all into your deepest core. Let it resonate with you until you understand that you have done nothing wrong. You are not a failure as a parent, in fact, quite the opposite. You are a wonderful, kind, caring, nurturing, loving, forgiving, and compassionate human being. Transitions are hard to accept but hang in there, I promise it will get better. I have added a few more thoughts to the end of the original article. Things I had wish I had included in the original. I hope you enjoy!

Now here is the original article

A mother’s love starts the moment they get the news they are pregnant. They give up things their children will never understand or know. Just in order to allow their baby to grow healthy inside of them. They go through tremendous pain during labor. Then lose hours and days of sleep caring for and nurturing their child.

During the growing up years, they teach their children everything they need to know about life and guide them in the right direction. Their hopes and dreams for their children’s success in life burst with possibilities. They worry and fret constantly over dangers or wrong turns their children might put themselves into. They do everything in their power to protect their children from harm and do not wish their children to follow in their own footsteps. Rather they want their children to excel past where they have been able to go.

They hurt when they see their children making mistakes and as the ‘forever teacher’ mentality in them will always exist, they are quick to point out where their children are going wrong. In hopes that it will guide their children back to a place of enjoyable healthy living.

When their children are young, the children count on and depend upon their parents for everything. Making their parents especially their mothers the NUMBER one being in their lives. A bond like no other forms within this little private social grouping of mother and child. The mother swells with joy and the child beams with excitement and wonder in the safety of the confines of their mother’s arms.

The child grows becoming increasingly independent. Forming their own thoughts, views, and opinions based on what they are taught and what they experience while under their mothers’ care. They all too quickly wish to strike out on their own as soon as they are able. Wishing to grow up and ‘cut those strings.’ Feeling confined as time goes on. Even held back in a way, like a prisoner in their own homes. Like a never-ending story, a tug-o-war is set on fire inside them. Once their homes were a place of refuge and comfort as all they sought was their mother’s arms, now the doors and windows are barred in their minds and that refuge is now a bottomless pit of imprisonment as they wish to run far far away.

The children all go through this stage of trying to find their own individual place in this world. They stand confused for an undetermined period of time as the conflict inside of them wages war. It is so hard to run, but so hard to stay! To grow up and take on the challenges of adulthood and all of the responsibilities that come with it. Blaming their parents (especially their mothers) for everything going wrong in their lives. The words “If only you ….. believed in me,” “If you cut me some slack,” “If there weren’t so many rules,” playing over and over in their heads. Planting seeds of distrust and anger growing their desire to step out into the great unknown. Yet not realizing that it is NOT their mothers that have changed, but THEM that have changed. Their mother is still the same loving, nurturing and caring soul she has been since their seed was planted in her. However, instead of loving, respecting and admiring they have a mother that cares about them; they now dislike, disrespect, and even hate their mothers. They have this ill-conceived notion that their mothers should automatically ‘get over’ their protecting nature and allow them the freedom to do as they please. As if their mother’s had an actual superpower that allows them to turn off those mothering traits.

This struggle lasts as long as the child themselves wishes it to last. Sometimes years and yes, it is sad to say sometimes forever! As long as this natural resentment plays a role in this relationship on the child’s part, nothing will change.

However, what is so very important to note is that in a healthy mother/child relationship that is based on a solid foundation of nurturing and love while the child was growing up. After the resentment stage is over, and once the child comes to a point of maturity; a light bulb literally goes off in their minds. They start realizing it was them all along. Their mothers may not act in ways they wish, but they do act out of love and concern. Their mother is still there with open arms to greet them, guide them, nurture them, and most of all love them.

With these changes in place, the relationship can quickly begin anew. Sparking one of mutual love, respect and caring. The turmoil is over, the fight has been won. Just remember mother’s, you must NOT bring up anything to do with the time of separation. You cannot hold your children’s actions against them from this time period. You must be able to cast it aside and be thankful for the fresh, mature, loving start of a new era.

Quesion of the day from Athling2001

The question of the day from Athling2001

What sentences (about anything) have stopped you in your tracks and changed your life?

“You learn more from failure than from success; Failure builds character.”

I know that some variation of this quote has been around ever since I can remember. It is one of those quotes that stand the test of time however very few actually understand it’s true meaning.

I was one of those people that for years, did not have a clue how failure could help me actually succeed in life. Society has a way of molding us to believe that failure is a negative experience. If we fail at something we must be losers, we must not be socially acceptable, or there must be something wrong with us.

We become anxious and noticeably irritable when we fail at something we have tried. Our brains shut down and we begin to sweat. We may even lose control of our wise mind and start acting out in irrational ways due to our emotional responses to failing. We then try to hide our failures from others in fear that we will be judged or that somehow it will become the defining feature of our very essence.

These responses to failure are exactly why I never understood the above quote. If I felt so horribly after failing, how could the experience ever possibly help me succeed? Failure brought down my self-image and self-esteem. I had a closed mind and could not see any benefit from my failures.

The odd thing is, it was my children that taught me to think differently on the subject of failure. Not by intent, but by mere coincidence. You see, I am the type of mother that would encourage my children to keep trying if they could not get something right away. I would support them by making comments like, “Keep trying, you will get it.” or “I know you can do it.”

My son was a daredevil if ever there was one. He loved to climb trees, BMX bike riding, and his all-time favorite was skateboarding. The little town we lived in while he was growing up had a skate park for the kids with ramps and rails. I would take him there all the time. It killed me as a parent to watch him fall over and over again hurting himself in the process. But rather than running up and stopping him from trying, I would make sure he was not seriously hurt then tell him to keep trying and he would get it.

My daughter, on the other hand, is the type that wanted everything done for her. She refused to even tie her own shoes until she was around 10 years old. Every time I would tie her shoes for her, I would patiently use the rabbit ears trick and show her how it was done. I knew that someday when she was ready she would be able to do it on her own. I never gave up on her, got impatient with her or mad at her. I would simply show her how it was done and tell her when she was ready I had faith she could do it. Guess what, when she was ready, I never even had to show her because she knew just what to do.

These are just two examples of how my children’s failures taught me to open my mind to my own failures. How could I be so patient and understanding with my children but so hard on myself? I have always been the type to lead by example but I was not being the example in the case of failures. If I failed at something, I simply gave up. I never tried again. I was sending mixed messages to my children.

This finally dawned on me a few years back when my daughter was about 13 years old. I had asked her to take the trash out. At the time we lived in a mobile home that had a screened in porch with a door to the outside on both ends of the porch. Our trash cans were out the back door and I had a bunch of stuff on the porch because I was trying to fix something in the house or rearrange the furniture or something. I can’t even remember at this point what the reason was for the stuff on the porch. Anyway, rather than going out the front door and walking around the outside of the house, my daughter had chosen to climb the mountain of stuff to reach the back door. In the process of doing this, she knocked into a chair which fell into a window and broke it.

I had no clue what was happening. About a half hour later I noticed she never came in from taking the trash out. So I opened the door and called for her. She came in with tears streaming down and her face all swollen from crying. I asked her what was wrong as my heart sank thinking the worse. When she explained what had happened, I asked if she was okay. Once confirming that she was not injured, I burst out in laughter. I could not help myself, I literally sat there for a good 15 minutes laughing uncontrollably.

Confused, she stopped crying and stared at me as if I had gone nuts. Once I gained my composure, I explained to her that it was just a window nothing more and nothing less. It could be repaired and I was just thankful she was okay. She asked why I was laughing and I had to explain to her that at that moment it dawned on me how absurd we act as individuals when we fail or mess up. I was not laughing at her nor her reaction to breaking the window but rather, at the fact that we humans place undue stress upon ourselves over failing.

Moral: Failure is definitely a teaching moment.

Never Too Old

The last few months have been a whirlwind of new experiences mixed with normal daily tasks that have kept me pretty busy. Along with buying a new house that needs a lot of tender loving care and moving across the state, my daughter has started a new job and I have decided to FINALLY go to college.

Yup, you heard that right. I am officially a full-time college student at the age of 45. It is something I have been wanting to do for a very long time, 27 years to be exact. Life choices, financial concerns, and unavoidable circumstances all combined to keep me from pursuing this dream of obtaining a college degree.

I kept that dream in the back of my mind all these years occasionally bringing it to the front to dwell on it. I would search for information online about various degrees, online courses, different colleges both online and on campus, yet ultimately always deciding it was not the right time or I just could not do it. I had no self-confidence. I was beaten down by years of turmoil, bad relationships, being bullied, and always told I would never amount to anything.

This combination of things I went through over the years caused an extreme fear within me. I feared taking chances on things I really wanted to do. I feared not being good enough, not succeeding, being a failure, how I would look to others, if I would be accepted by others or if what I was doing would be accepted. In essence, this fear became my true self, hindering any forward progress in life. Therefore, I became just what those negative people surrounding me said I would become, a nothing.

With all of the positive changes, my life has been going through over the last few years, the most notable is my mental change. My attitude towards myself. I no longer give value to the negative opinions of other people. I no longer listen to their voices whispering over and over again in my head telling me, “You can’t do that,” “That won’t work,” or “You are crazy if you think you can do that.” Instead, I listen to myself, my own inner voice. I give myself the credit and value I deserve to have and it feels truly wonderful.

I am still fearful of the financial burden that college is going to put on me. After all, college is expensive! I was able to qualify for Pell grants and student loans which I will not have to start paying back until 6 months after graduation. I am still fearful that I am too old to put my new degree to good use and find a decent job after graduation. However, I am not allowing these fears to rule my actions. I am instead, shoving THEM to the back of my mind and I am doing it.

A huge motivating factor in my decision was passing all of my CLEP Exams with flying colors. The admissions rep could not believe that I had no formal training or degrees already because of the scores I obtained. He claimed to have not seen scores like mine. This gave me a huge boost of confidence and has put me on cloud 9 for the last few days.

I have to say, I am shocked at myself for being so excited to embark on this new journey when there are so many unknowns to follow. How many people can genuinely say they are excited to go to school and learn? I don’t fear the classes. I don’t fear the learning, the studying, the time and effort it will consume, or even the grades I will get. I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity to finally accomplish one of my lifelong goals.

That said, I just found out today that now I have to try and come up with a new computer by July 9, 2018, when classes start. I have enrolled in DeVry University Online Full-Time. My computer is 15 years old and cannot run the programs needed to be able to complete these classes. My excitement is dwindling just a bit as I try to come up with a way to overcome this final hurdle which would prevent this dream from coming true.

I have absolutely no idea how I am going to come up with the money for a new computer in the next few weeks. But I will not let it deter me from this lifelong dream. I can do this.

 

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