A World Of Gratitude

November is the month that we celebrate being grateful. Why we don’t make this a daily practice is beyond me but here it is. What is gratitude really & why it is so important? How do you appreciate your situation & how do you properly offer thanks? It’s a lot easier than we think. See, gratitude is simply acknowledging the beauty in that moment. To be thankful for a gift or for help. I believe that most folks are so fearful that gratitude is now sitting on the back shelf of their subconscious. We have developed a society that questions good deeds and market those who do nothing but bad. We have developed a paranoid society that has forgotten that a polite hello or simple thank you is all that is really needed. And that act is NOT sexual harassment. A scorned look or drivers who shake their fists at you because you are not going fast enough for their liking is what we endorse.

We undermine our children by lacking patience or concern for them. They have a question, we hand them a computer to answer it. Children see how we react in life as we are the role model they look up too and we are creating apathetic and confused adults by our dismissive and thankless actions. We have created a society in which we never have enough time, enough money, or enough emotions to share with someone else. The very act of putting off our children’s needs to watch a mindless and insulting Real Life tv show demonstrates to them their lack of importance to you. Yes, we need to unwind, I totally get it but it’s HOW you unwind and when that makes the impact. Hence my advocacy for morning Gratitude lists. However, there may be side effects in offering gratitude. I also believe that this is the main reason WHY people ignore being thankful. The side effects are Permanente & life changing.

I believe very strongly that if you were to sit or lay down & write EVERYTHING you are grateful about, we can change the course of the world. We can change the course of our parenting & how we perceive each other. We will begin offering more endorsements for the good, releasing the hold that fear has on us. It’s simple and yet so many don’t acknowledge the value this list offers. After about 10 days of writing a daily gratitude list, you will show significant signs of happiness. I know!! Amazing, right? The other side effects include heart opening, better relationships, self-love, smiling and wait! Here is the big one, your CHILDREN will become happier too!

WOW!

I am asked often how I can find happiness in my world. My life as everyone knows has been a painful roller-coaster ride with some bad monsters along the way. A couple of them still try to hurt us but that too will fail as the world is watching them. They are no longer hidden from view. In that, there is gratitude for the world is acknowledging that these types of folks exist, and we need to protect each other from them.

How have I found gratitude in my abusive relationships, rape, and even in poverty? The best way for me to describe this is that I have found appreciation for all that I have. See, folks can take but they can’t take everything. I still appreciate the moon, sunsets, my soft skin against my blankets. I appreciate a good warm meal and shelter from the rain. I appreciate the very part of me that those monsters were afraid of.

My strength.

My resolve and my unfettering desire to say, I am here. I am alive. I am well.

I am grateful for my daughter as she is a gift and she offers so much for her generation. I am grateful for a voice and a platform to speak my story so that others may heal or help prevent these crimes. I am grateful for things like avocados and sand. Of course, not as a meal but as a nice picnic on the beach. I find gratitude in every experience as its important to acknowledge your life. The good only is relevant when experienced with the bad. If everything was perfectly good, we would have no understanding of the value of Gratitude. So, we need to experience the bad to truly, soulfully appreciate the good.

I have been given a lifelong experience that is now used as a voice for others who have survived, died, or are currently in the midst of abuse and severe poverty. I tell my story worldwide on radio, TV, and through writing to help inspire change. To help end abuse of all kinds. To educate on the realities of what abuse is and how we can stop it. I am grateful to have walked in those shoes so that I can relate, advocate, and be compassionate about a very tough subject. I truly believe that we can stop these heinous acts and that we have the power, as a united voice, to change the world. Each time you share this information, its opening the eyes of others. Each time you listen too and share a podcast, its offering hope to someone in need. Each time you offer a hand of kindness, you are changing the world by displaying that you are in Gratitude. And that’s contagious.

So, in that, please celebrate every day. Life truly has no limit of possibilities, but life is limited in time. There is not a lot of time in our lives and I really urge you to make the most of what you do have. Get on writing that gratitude list. Nothing is too small to be thankful for. It’s wonderful to be grateful for even the assholes in our lives. Why? They represent what you are turning away from. That’s gratitude.

There is always a reason, purpose, and season.

I am grateful for you.

 

Until next time……………….

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Emotional Quagmire

There are certain things that I can not articulate after years of abuse. There are certain things that we survivors hold close to our hearts.  Including our want to have you in our hearts. We lock our needs up. We shut down. We protect what little of ourselves we have. There is nothing more terrifying than having someone who you offered complete trust, rip you apart as though you are nothing. The heart can only break so many times before it stops beating.

As a survivor, we don’t want to use our feelings as for years, our feelings were dismissed by our abuser. Our feelings had to be boxed. We had to box them away like seasonal objects. For years, our boxes piled up high and each time I packed another box, I opened a moment of contempt and closed my contempt into another box and piled it along the side of my emotion boxes. Eventually, the room that held my boxes became what I call an “Emotional Quagmire”. This obligatory place of reaction, fear, hopes, dreams, and death. Over time, this E. Q. was my safety. At least I knew what to expect there. A Place that I knew would hurt. The E.Q. is a place in which all the sadness, monsters, fears, hurt, bruises, memories, love, anger, hate, hope, and faith hang out together. Each fights for you. They want to be apart of your today. Fear and hurt rally together and hope that sadness will take over your “today”. Then hope and love beg faith to be a louder cheerleader in your thinking. The question is who will win? Eventually, one will and the result will always be who you allow winning. Even in this emotional battle of healing, you are more powerful than your past thinking. At times, we just dont know that. We lose ourselves in this battle and forget who we are over time.

See, people are unpredictable. Even the ones you love will be the first to rip every piece of soul out of your body with enough intention. Parents will call you horrible names, tell you are you will fail and they may even abandon you. While husbands remind you why you were abandoned as you are simply a failure. Then they agree that you should have been abandoned and maybe they will leave you too. There are daily insults, and sometimes shoving. But there is always an insult. Shaming. Blaming. Guilty demonstrations of the abuser’s inability to accept their own insecurities. The boxes stack up higher and higher. Eventually, you will stop labeling them. Just fill and stack.

The battle in the E.Q. rages on for as long as we allow. Even in the fight to get away from our abusers, they use deceit, lies, and money to keep you tethered to their need to hurt you. Yes, a cycle that is played over an over again. The saddest of all is that our society is far too educated to continue to allow this but we do. Lawmakers ignore pleas to change laws, lawyers indulge in continuing the battle as its finical security for them. No moral scruples for some of these folks. It’s a game that doesn’t hurt them. The lack of compassion and morality to assist with ending Domestic violence does not exist in some. Then there are those who live in a world that is antiquated. They only perceive domestic violence as that of which is seen. Bruises. Blood. Death. The very fact of manipulation, mind games, verbal, emotional, and finical abuse means nothing. I wonder what these folks think of Manson? Hitler? They must be innocent in their eyes.

Trust? No. Not me.

I am a sensitive, quirky soul who gives every ounce of her being to people. The gift I get back has been lies, cheating, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and watching my daughter being abused. Motherhood is complicated and frankly, a mother would never allow or do any harm to her child. We are to protect our children and as scary as it is, there are places in this world that prevent us from protecting our children. Even in 2017, there are places in this world that our children are no more than a car. Simply property to be divided 50%. As mothers, we stay in shitty relationships because we know that leaving our children alone, maybe the most dangerous. Sometimes, we have to lie to the abuser to keep them at bay. Sometimes, we leave. I know in my case when we left, we tried to find help but in #Newhampshire, they only believe what they can see. #Newhampshire has a theory that children are to be split 50% as they are merely property. The judges refuse to speak to the children as they deem one parent “unduly” influences the child’s independence. In New Hampshire, children are mindless creatures without souls, so it seems. Frustrating to think this is how we are forced to live when in truth, we all know better. Of course, I am sure other states have similar thinking but I can only speak from my experience.

Yes, even in our highly educated society, children are still deemed “dumb”. Treated as though they are mindless. Even in our educated society, we have men who are State Representatives’s that make misogynistic statements like “that a man’s inclination is to grope women who are breastfeeding in public” or statements like  “rape isn’t an absolute bad because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he’d say it’s quite good really.” Or even famous son’s that state that sexual harassment should be expected otherwise women should teach kindergarten.  Eventually, this will explode and we will be a civil, and peaceful society. At least, while I sit in my E.Q. Hope offers this thought to me.

Abuse is a very real issue that folks face daily. The majority of abused are children, then women and yes, there are men who are abused but not on average. As we witness ourselves in this world, become compassionate to those who maybe going through a storm. Or maybe, they are cleaning out their Emotional Quagmire. Healing from past storms. Abuse isn’t a good thing, a thing to be cherished. It’s a condition that can be fixed. However, we need to strongly educate what Abuse is so that it can stop. We are far too smart to continue to ignore abusers. We are far too aware what the end results are if we do not work harder to stop Abusers. Abusers spread their condition by abusing. New abusers emerge. Its a fact and it needs to stop. We can do this.

The first step is to clean out your own Emotional Quagmire. Learn to speak what you have held so tightly in your E.Q. boxes. Forgive. Allow the resentments to be heard and let them free. Allow yourself to heal. This is the first step that we all can do to end Abuse. To end the cycle from continuing. The next is to speak up and advocate for the children who can not or are not allowed to speak up for themselves. Bang on the lawmaker’s doors and let them know you are serious and want to be heard. Help by volunteering at Domestic Violence shelters, orphanages, foster care programs and advocate to end abuse.

Our children have hope and that hope is YOU.

                                                                                   Until next time……………….

 

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Sunday Funday

I woke up this morning super early. Why? I guess sleeping in on Sunday is not an option. 3 AM came and poof! Eyes wide open. I snuggle into my pillows and pull my quilt up under my chin. I am so grateful for my bed, for our home, for work. It’s been a hell of a ride but we are getting there and this morning is a reminder of how hard work eventually pays off.Today is special for many reasons but mostly because we are just in a state of gratitude. I bundle myself deeper into my bedding and one foot pops out. I am at a perfect temperature. Its fall here, the sun rises around 7:30 now and goes down at about 4:30. The birds are chirping their wake up songs and I am smiling.

THIS!

THIS is what I want! 

I am super excited as I just submitted my Article to a Smart Healthy Women’s Magazine to publish in November. The Topic is on Gratitude, a subject I am very fond of. I crawled reluctantly out of my very comfortable bed to finished writing my chapter in a new book I will co-author on  “Energy Healing”. Another subject in which I am well versed. I have a pile of invites to respond to for Radio/TV Interviews sharing my story. I am feeling very blessed right now. I am feeling like all the hard work and sacrifices have finally sparked more interest. I do feel that it would not have been possible if it wasn’t for you. My readers. Thank you for helping me share my story internationally.

Obstacles are there to test you. Obstacles want to know how bad you want something. Fear is there cheering all those obstacles on. Self Doubt, who is the best Friend of Fear, stands on the sideline, timidly whispering at you how you simply “can not”. Yes, I love learning and I am getting better at overcoming my obstacles. I am getting better at not allowing people to interfere with my goals. I know that I will be hit with more challenges. I know that I need to be gentle with myself as those obstacles will test my resolve. They will test me until I learn.

Boy, am I learning.

Chloe is doing rather well. She is one of two youth artists at the Venice Chalk Festival. She won the 2nd place in the Lung Cancer Poster Competition AND we will know if she won Districts AGAIN the first week of January. I am so proud of her and I know that with her continued successes, she will have a very bright future. She is paving the way for other young artists to excel and I couldn’t be more proud. She is a superstar! Ok, Ok. I am her biggest fan.

Chloe and I are headed out today as its #sundayfunday and who knows what we will get into. We are grateful to be getting back on our feet. We are grateful to be apart of an amazing community and we are grateful that we are safe. Unfortunately, that means today’s post will be short.  Tune in to the radio shows and don’t forget to buy the latest book!

 

 Until Next time………………

 

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Healing in Paradise

As I sit in a metal chair, my feet resting on white sand, the ocean breeze brushes my hair off my face. The tiki statues stare firmly outwards and a cover band takes an attempt at David Bowie’s Ground control to Major Tom. The dragonfly dances in circles, chasing another. The SeaGulls swoop around hoping that one human dropped something off their plate. People drive up to the Tiki Hut and park their boats and kids play sand games. Dogs lay at their owner’s feet and the clouds slowly pass us by.

This is Paradise. 

An announcement of a 30 years wedding anniversary and then the drummer begins to drum on. The breeze takes a break and the humidity takes over causing a sweat mustache to form over our lips. This isn’t the kind of weather where you wear your best as no matter what you do, your clothing will still stick to your skin causing you to look like a damp towel. Makeup slowly floats off your warm skin and the eyes are starting to have forehead droplets interfering with the view. Then the breeze, back from its nap, cools you off again. The clouds begin to gray as this is early afternoon and the showers are due any moment now. 

This is Paradise. 

The folks are eating, laughing and having fun. Lovers cuddle closer and husbands clutch their wives. Mothers dance with their toddlers and the band plays on. The clouds roll by. Some look like dinosaurs, others like an attempt to practice origami while drunk, but still the band plays on. The sudden fierceness of the crackle and the rain arrives. Pelting down on us hard. We are soaked, we are feeling cooled down and thank goodness I had time to grab my love, my notebook. My coveted notebook so as it did not get wet. I wipe my glasses and slowly sway to the beat of the song. Folks are laughing about being caught in the rain. What are you going to do? This is paradise after all. Strangers dance with each other having a good time.

This is Paradise. 

The water rises and circles around the pier. The barnacles being bombarded with the waves. Seaweed is laying gently on the top floating side to side. The smell of the rain hitting the hot cement and grass is invigorating. The palms wave back and forth as though swaying with the music. Everyone is dancing huddled under the Tiki Hut. Then the rain stops as suddenly as it started. There is a feeling of disappointed that the fun is over and everyone starts to scatter back to where they started. I sit back down at my soaking wet table. I am already wet so it truly doesn’t matter. I finish my drink, writing some more and then I decided that I should walk the beach.

This is Paradise.

My thoughts are more complex than usual and the beach is my home. We are safe here and that’s a feeling I haven’t had in years. We are supported now and very much at home. It has been a tough ride to get here. To become safe. To sever ties with those whose only intention was to hurt us. It has been a painful growing up time but I am so much healthier. I am so much stronger and wiser. I could never have imagined enduring what Chloe and I have had to endure alone. But we did in many ways. We had fleeting moments of disparity. We had fleeting moments of giving up. We endured. We dug our heels in harder and continued. We have worked so hard to get to a safe, healthy and happy place. Now, we are healing. Healing from the abuse. Healing from the drama. Healing from the pain.

We are healing in Paradise. 

Chloe is flourishing here as I knew she would. The programs, teachers, and opportunities are endless for this kid. She is so happy to be home and bouncing back from her traumatic summer. She is winning awards, volunteering, laughing and walking in confidence again. She losing weight again and acting more confident.  She is having sleepovers, reading again, and simply being a kid. Chloe is learning Russian as she has her mothers gypsy blood and wants to travel. She loves to travel and I couldn’t be more grateful to our future as we plan to globe trot. She wants to visit so many places, I think we will have to turn it into a career for her. 

Thank goodness.

I know it’s going to be a battle for the next few years and of course I wish it wasn’t going to be. This battle is out of my hands and all I can do so offer as much safety and stability as I can.  I attend my meetings at the battered women’s shelter and Chloe has her therapy. We are committed to moving past this past few years and getting to happier & healthier times.

I have a few new opportunities for speaking that have popped up over the last few days. This is a good thing! I have been interviewed by several radio shows and its increasing peoples understanding of what we have gone through. I cant say that I am thrilled about having to have experienced all that we have but I can say that since telling my our story, we have been able to inspire several thousand folks who are struggling in their own ways. That is an honor like no other. So, please keep sharing my blogs and writing in. I love talking to you all and I am glad that the silver lining of our trauma is that we are able to help so many get through theirs.

Latest interview:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coffeetalkwithsoy/2017/10/14/soy-is-taking-a-stand-on-domestic-violence

                                                                                                            Until next time..

                                                                                                                                          Until next time..………………

 

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Walking barefoot on broken glass

It has been hard to recover after this summer of hell. Frankly the last 7 years have been hellish and hit or miss on the happiness factor. We have done our very best to make the most out of this situation and rugs keep getting pulled out from under our feet. The court battle keeps getting feed and I can’t seem to get away from it. I feel like I am forced to walk barefoot on broken glass. The pain surges up my legs into my brain and doesn’t stop. The bill monster keeps reminding me I am behind and the money isn’t pouring in. It’s simply not. Now, I have a LOT going on and doing my best to change our circumstances but I’ll tell you it’s really hard. I keep getting dragged up north to attend court hearings and that causes me to lose that weeks pay. Again, putting us behind. I know that’s the intent by his lawyer. To keep pushing the limits and to keep hurting me finically.

Somedays, I feel like its an exercise in futility. Once I had a savings account. Once I had a decent job and in one court order…I lost it all. It’s hard to explain to folks how painful this all has been. Overwhelming doesn’t seem to be strong enough of a word to describe the constant stress that we have been forced to live under. The stress has caused me to have weight gain, sleeplessness, my B’s and D’s are down again. All for what? That’s how it was over the last 6.5 years. I haven’t had a job with benefits in years. I haven’t had health insurance since my ex immediately took me off of his.

Yes, that’s what its like to live in poverty. A small taste of the continuation of the struggle. Poverty is like quicksand. It’s so easy to feel one moment you are getting straight and then the next…POOF. Gone. One missed the car payment, One missed Rent Check. The zombie effect of poverty makes time seem as though it’s slow but it’s passing you by at rapid speeds. Then you are back to Ground Zero. Bills keep pouring in and now they are fined as they are late. It’s like walking on a hot frying pan wearing vaseline slippers. It will take a miracle to get out of this cycle. The feeling of the mind-boggling overwhelming shit storm hits and you begin to lose control over the bills, time and even your own needs.

Poverty sucks and it sucks, even more, when you are FORCED to be in this role. In my upcoming book (yes, I know I am having to edit AGAIN) I explain everything that we endured and the whys. Its a harrowing and chilling story. But through of the shit we have been put through, I made sure my daughter was loved, cared for and has more than enough. I find every scholarship I can to keep her going. I hug her, support her, encourage her and praise her. Whether we live in a house, tree, car or storage unit, I will always give her all that I can. I dont have very much for clothing, shoes, or personal items as I am focused on her. She is the one who needs, I will be fine. We laugh, joke and do all that we can do to get our lives back to some form of happi place. She is doing well in school and her art is FANTASTIC.

Breath. 

As I write, I feel tears welling up as this journey has been emotional and painful on many levels. The largest is that I trusted someone who is so deeply hateful, he won’t stop doing everything he can just to keep hurting us. That’s a sadness I can’t seem to heal. But my feet keep moving forward and I still wave my flag in hopes that our circumstances change quickly. That for once, we get that much-needed break. I fake my happiness when I have to and I cry when I have too. I stay up all night accepting that my thinking is riddled with fears and there are some nights I sleep like a baby. I pace the house, fearing that we will lose it and I am nervous at work fearing I will lose my job because of all the damn court hearings. Then I breathe and come to terms with the fact that we are where we are because I am supposed to be here. I am supposed to tell the world our story to inspire change. To inspire young women to keep moving forward.

Breath. 

Chloe and I are just starting to feel stable & normal again. We are sleeping better and laughing more. She is finally having friends over. We are making plans for a vacation next year and looking forward to volunteering at various upcoming events. We are meeting new people and becoming one with our community. I feel like we might catch up financially as I took on a new 3-month contract and  I was also hired as Creative Director for Cheers, Sip, & Paint. I will have to work extremely hard to find work with this role but it’s a good opportunity that eventually will help us stabilize. I have to build a book of business to get this rolling. The income is just not immediate and everyone wants immediate. I am included in that. I am doing all that I can to get us back on our feet and yet We are still tittering on collapse. We are so very fragile. My ex-decided that he was going to stop paying child support in May and that caused a huge issue as I am now behind on rent. He is paying again but hasn’t paid the arrears so I am still behind. It only takes one misstep to fall completely backward as one tries to recover from poverty. Or one Hurricane named Irma who also cost me another weeks wages.

Can I get a break here?

Breath.

Unfourtantly, New Hampshire has not understood or simply may not care as to what finical withholding is. Or how it is used as a way to abuse the other party. The goal of this form of abuse is to make everything completely difficult. And so far, its worked. Things have been very difficult and I am glad that some folks have been patient with this like my job. I know I won’t lose it. My current landlord is losing her patients though. Frankly, New Hampshire is so far in the dark about Domestic Violence issues and there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to take it like a “good girl”. It has been a strange process to go through when some many years have gone by, the many wasted $$’s fighting in court and the refusal to respond to co-parenting requests.  The TIT for TAT, Gaslighting, and the storytelling that is mostly untrue but has convinced some. The years keep going by but his desire to keep fighting has not ended. The truth is always going to be smeared with some delusional paranoid thought and the truth will be lost in the battle. I suppose that is why family courts are just not ever going to be an honest place to be.

And there is nothing I can do….but share my story.

What I have endured is that there is a spiraling effect in the courts. The largest problem is that money will buy your verdict. The second largest fault is that lawmakers are apathetic with domestic violence issues and so cases like mine get to drag on and on and on.  I have found in New Hampshire, I haven’t seen it here in Florida or in the Vermont courts, is that New Hampshire judges are allowed to use discretion more than law. So, if the judge doesn’t “like”  you, you are not taken seriously. The case is automatically swayed to the other side EVEN if the evidence shows them to be in the wrong. One would think after 7 years of the BS my ex-has put us through, the courts would finally do something about him. This spirals around and around and there is no way to stop it. This is also a form of abuse that New Hampshire doesn’t recognize. The utilization of court to continue to hurt the parent by bringing them in on false charges, the latest in my case was a “clarification & demand” for me to pay his lawyers fees. Around 6K. There is that darn finical withholding again.

84% of the single mothers in this country are well below poverty level and they are very under-represented as they are not able to pay for a lawyer. Like me. I have a degree and skill set but its hard to get a high paying job that will allow you to work between the hours of 9-4 as you don’t have childcare. That too costs money. ITs even harder when you have a pending felony over your head as your ex will do all that he can to claim you kidnapped his child. True? Not even close.  Granted Chloe is now 12, she does not feel she is ready to be home alone yet and after what she has gone through, I totally understand it. So, single mother like myself are forced to work low-income jobs, multiple jobs and that too can cause frustration. Heaven forbid you to get a Public Defender in New Hampshire, as you still have to pay for them.

Surprise! 

And that’s how the spiral goes for the poor. For the mothers fighting for their children. The laws are set up in such a way that you are either forced to quit fighting or jailed for fighting and in some circumstances, the children are removed because you just can’t get on your feet while the other continues to hit you with court dates. Money wins. I really feel that New Hampshire has set up the “system” to punish the poor. There have been ZERO regards to our struggle and there was even a comment by the judge that I should be able to pay my bills on my weekly salary of 210$. Ok?

“So, if you are poor, let’s push you down further.”‘

” Lets really see how homeless you can be.”

Yes, there is a disparity between reality and the law. This is how the Family court system works, at least what I have experienced in New Hampshire.It’s not about the children. It’s simply about who has the most money, who has the strongest will and who can find the dirtiest lawyer. My mind still remains boggled at how the “system” fails so many folks.

And so, we move forward with- I am sure– more battling and his continuation of not responding to pertinent co-parenting questions. And all because he wants to make things difficult. 7 years later its still the same. Nothing but the same thing. What a ride.  All I can say is that it’s deeply heartbreaking to know that the focus of his attention is to get back at me and not help raise his daughter. BUT the family courts allow this to continue. He has the money to keep paying for a lawyer who utilizes these tactics and New Hampshire continues to allow it. I am just grateful that we have already gone through 7 years and there is only about 5 left to go before it finally stops.

My goal this year is to lose my extra pounds & to get healthy! I will keep supporting Chloe and all the amazing things she has accomplished. As well, I will keep working towards stabilizing our life and praying that one day, this family can heal from the unfathomable pain caused by hate and a broken judicial system.

 

                                                                                Until next time……………………

 

 

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Writers bleed

I woke up in searing pain. I had something stuck under my eyelid. As my eye slid back and forth, the thing scratched my fragile cornea. My eyes watered in hopes to remove whatever this foreign object was. My eye swelled, tears streaming. I used saline, water, showered, and even put a hot compress on this cornea shredding monster. 3 hours later, this monster was removed but the scratches and swelling remain. I love to sit outside in the morning, listening to the birds and watching the sunrise. Today, the dawn light was far too bright for my eye and it teared up. The tears gathering as a team to protect the delicate cornea. Driving to work was a challenge as only one eye could handle the Sun’s rays. As the day wears on, the eye begins to heal. The tears are no longer flowing and the swelling is down.

There is a sensational beauty in my moment of pain. Our bodies are so miraculous in the lending of self-made resources to achieve self-healing. The tears committed to protecting my eye. The eyelid committed to swelling to add more protection and the very pain caused me to be cautious during this healing process. How beautiful that my body can act as a team to work towards the same goal. My drive is maybe 15 minutes long but I was hit with the idea that if my body can act like this amazing healing team, why can’t we act that way as humans? It became very clear to me that my body has the power to heal itself and if we can begin to act like a team, this world can be healed.

This is how writers bleed. 

We write to control the bleeding. The Words. The emotions. The Sensations. The story.

As I drive to work, I watch folks fussing over the waste caused by Irma. The tree branches, leaves, debris, and broken roofs floating around each other’s yards. There are signs of mild flooding and almost every yard has a large pile of whats been gathered to be removed. There are a handful of folks complaining about all the work they have had to do because of this storm. I watch in amazing aw and try very hard not to yell at their complaints with my thinking. I want so badly to say, “you are an ass” as my mind’s images flip to the photos of Puerto Rico Or the damage in Barbuda. I would love to say: “You can not stand here tell me about all this work and not utter one word of being grateful?” I bit my lip and keep my fleeting thoughts to myself. It’s not my place to argue others feelings. They just don’t want to see the beauty in this moment. I am grateful to see it and to respect it. I have realized that there are just some folks that need to be unhappy. They like themselves better unhappy. So, I am learning to respect the fact that they are never going to see the beauty in this ever-changing world.

I have known my entire life that I have some purpose, some reason to be here. I have gone to hell and back a few times. I am still here. I was told how worthless, lazy, fat, hyper, stupid, and anything oppressive that suited that persons need to hurt me. But I am still here. My body will still heal me. My heart will still be scarred and tattered but it is healing. As I watch the yellow broken line in the middle of the road my minds creative juices start flowing and a story has to come out. My words are boiling in my veins, wanting to get out of my body. 55 MPH and 3 minutes to go until I can click on my keyboard.

My mind may be a maze of incredible thinking but there is no end to where my thoughts go. Leaving me, the writer, bleeding. My words flow throughout the mental labyrinth with such ferocity. My words mingle with my visions and scents. The words go unstoppable until they finally hit the keys on the keyboard. Racing to get out of my mind and to be shared with you.  My emotions can run wild, my thoughts are at times out of control and yet I am still here. I can no longer cry over whats been done. As I am still here. The intention? The purpose? As I work on the 5th version of my latest book, I am re-inspired to be a human on this planet. I am re-inspired to see all that I have done, endured and somehow got through. I am re-inspired to know for a fact that everyone on this planet could have the same ecstasy life that I do.  I am able to sit back and watch folks fussing, laughing, living and being apart of this world. I love it. I am so grateful.

I have come to terms with the fact that I still have a certain amount of Obstacles with the ineffective legal system in New Hampshire. I perfectly am aware that my ex is going to “drama-up” the next few years.  But time is running out for that drama too. I no longer have tears for this and I feel healed. My body acted as a team and has helped me to be at peace with all of this. I am going to get through that as I have everything else.

I must now LIVE fully in my life. Boy. that feels so good!!

I love to stand in the middle of my yard when it rains. I feel each drop hit me and I fall in love with being alive all over again. Each drop pushes its way across my skin and the warmth of the water becomes so refreshing. I love it. I am so grateful. When I sit I sit with purpose. I like to watch life unfold and I use all my senses to feel the moment. I wake up loving the very sensation of my bed, comforter, Bellas nose gentle leaning against the nap of my back and the excitement of what today will bring me to explore, to feel and to write about.

I love being alive, being healthier, happier and more at peace than I have ever known.

Yes, I am finally HERE.

 

 Until Next time…….

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Creative Director for Cheers, Sip, & Paint

I am now offering classes in SW Florida but we have them in NH & Maine as well.
 
I love to paint, laugh, and enjoy my friends. What a WONDERFUL way to spend time together? It’s $35.00 per person, includes two glass pieces, paint, instructions and plenty of jokes.
It’s a SUPER wonderful way to make gifts for yourself, your friends, and your family.
 
Are you looking for a FUN way to FUNDraise? Talk to me! I can help you!
 
AND if you want to be a Creative Director like me? Contact me.
 
Now booking Private Parties – your place or we’ll help you find one. From 6 – 36 guests, we’ve got you covered. HOSTESS GIFT – for each Paint Party booked at yours, you’ll get a free voucher. PLUS, have 10 guests, you paint FREE!
FMI: Email to info@cheerssipandpaint.com

 

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Another Year

It’s a stunning and humid Sunday here in Florida. I certainly can state that for the first time in 20 years, I am grateful winter is coming. It will be nice to have the 75-degree weather that I so love. It will be nice to walk on the beach again and to have the car windows rolled down. We are actually being rather lazy at the moment. Most of our chores are done and we are ready for school/work tomorrow. It’s our time to just relax. Chill. To Be in the moment. It’s a nice feeling to have a sense of security. To once again feel safe. It’s nice to know that the police here do not tolerate Domestic Violence or Child Abuse. It’s nice to live in a state that is up to date with what that actually means and a state in which lawmakers take these matters seriously.  As I type away, I hear the strangest of noses coming out of my kitchen. I look up at our skylight and boom! There it is! This huge ass lizard hanging out on our roof. I know that isn’t a romantic dream nor is it a wish most folks have. However, the point is that we are so focused in the moment that we are blessed to see the belly of a huge lizard. I am sure there are plenty of bugs up there for him/her. I am sure the sun is refreshing for this 3 ft long cold-blooded creature. The lizard is also in peace. Relaxing on this amazing Sunday. I enjoy my writing time as I get to reflect and in that, I believe it helps me heal. I also believe that by sharing my experience, I help others. Even if that help is only allowing them to become aware. 

Folks are often amazed at why I remain positive. Why I remain happy. I have been handed a lot of shit. I get hit often with life’s obstacles and yet I remain working on staying as happy as I can be.  I have to tell you its not always easy but it’s the easiest way to be. I have to choose happiness. I have to CHOOSE positivity. Just like I have to choose to go to the gym or to eat an entire chocolate cake. Each moment I choose how I get to react to that moment and somedays I have to fake though it. It’s so much easier to be in joy then swallow that jagged pill of anger. I choose to help folks in all possible ways. I feel it’s my duty as a human on this planet to help others. I choose to live as much in the moment as I can to stay grounded. I am not 100% perfect at this but I would say more like 75% and growing.

 

Victor Bregeda

It’s been a trying three years since the State of New Hampshire denied relocation the first time. I lost my job, home and every physical thing that we owned. We have been living at 120% below the poverty level since. We literally lost everything including the life of my unborn child. I was clinically diagnosed with “severe stress” which was the cause of the miscarriage. To this day, I still have a hard time not blaming the courts for my child’s death. The amount of stress and pressure I was put under was unfathomable. The chemo I had to undergo screwed with my metabolism and I have yet to lose the 40 lbs I gained during the process. All the while, battling early stages of cervical cancer and attempting to find work that would fit into a single moms schedule. It’s clear that healing is a must and at this time, that’s all Chloe and are doing. Our journey made painful by the very man whom I was to trust, only made us stronger. We are now fighters. Warrior Goddess’s.

#healing

A year ago, Chloe and I were fighting to keep our home, fighting to get stable and dealing with my ex and his issues. A year ago, we struggled with healing, feeling safe and secure. A year ago, we were so afraid that we were going to lose everything that sleeping was difficult and allowing people in our lives was even more difficult. We didn’t want anyone to know where we lived to protect us. We lost the battle to keep our house. Banks simply don’t care. We eventually lost custody of Chloe for 9 weeks due to the judges “feelings” and my lack of evidence. I did end up in jail for a few days as my ex-provided the State of New Hampshire the wrong address to serve me, with the intention to have me arrested. I never knew about the hearing and therefore was jailed for missing a hearing I knew nothing about. That’s the way it is in NH. NH is a state that I strongly believe is unsafe for women and children.

I am fortunate enough, now,  to live in a community that cares for its people. A community that serves food to those who cant physically get to food after a terrible hurricane. A community that has gathered food together to feed those without power and the linemen who are working hard to restore power. I am so proud to live in a community that cares for each other. I haven’t had that in several years. If I lived in NH I am sure that I would have lost my job & housing because of all the lost work due to these egregious court hearings. Here, no worries. We are behind on our bills due to all the missed work because of the outlandish behavior of my ex and his lawyer but we are also assured that it can be worked out. So, safety is here. Stability is here. Resources for help, also available.

We have come along way, baby!

I am grateful that in this last year, even through my daughters unfortunate and heartbreaking  9 weeks with her father, we are back together and safer than ever. Folks are now seeing what we have been going through for the last 7 years. Folks are now witnessed to what the courts have done and have not done to protect this child. Folks are now aware of what money buys you in court and what revenge filled -with money- parents are fully capable of. The courts even recently refused to hear what happened to Chloe over that period. They know what they did was wrong and yet, still, refuse to protect a child. I wonder how many other children suffer the same? So, as my team and I edit my upcoming book, I have to wait to see what that “side of the room” will do next as it only adds chapters to what Family Court really is. What family court actually does. So far, this court has only offered hardship for us. Financial. Emotional. Mental. Hardship.

And now the world is finally aware of it.

  #grateful #keepsharing #NHGov

While I write my memories and court testimony to add to my upcoming book, I continue to work towards stability. I smile. I wish you could see me. I am at peace and feel that I was chosen this hand as I will not be silent about abuse, anymore. I just can’t be. I want a better life for my daughter. And a better life for your daughters and sisters. I am not backing down and even though I only have about 5 more years with the possibility of him stringing this out in court, I will have a lifetime of work ahead of me. Sharing my story to all of you. Speaking out loud and in public in hopes to better the future of our children.

One book? No, I believe this is only the start to many books about child abuse, domestic violence and the apathy of the Family Courts. My story, our story, our struggles, and pain are very much needed to be heard So far, we have 33 thousand folks listening. Each time you share, our voice gets stronger and eventually, the lawmakers will HAVE TO change. They will HAVE to listen. I don’t want to be a whisper in the wind. I want to be a bullhorn in the middle of your sleep. I want to change the system and the only way to see that happen is to be loud.

VERY LOUD. 

So thank you for those who join me on this journey. Thank YOU to those who help fight this darkness.

A big THANK YOU to those who support us.

Love, encouragement, and sharing is so important right now.

I fight for all of our daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives.

 

                                                                                      Until next time…………………

 

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Irma & a Shelters Tale

It’s around 2 am on Saturday morning. I am laying in my bed filled with anxiety. What should we do? I am a full-time single mom and I work a lot. I have always had to make the tough decisions and this one was super tough. Do I try to keep our lives in balance for the emotional well being of my daughter or do I swoop up my girl and her pup and head for shelter?  By 7 we get a mandatory evacuation notice and my decision was clear. We sought shelter.

By 9 we were out of the door and headed to the nearest shelter. We stood in line for 45 minutes only to be denied as the high school was at capacity. We were told to head to the middle school and after 1 hour of standing in line, we finally got confirmation that we were going to be offered shelter. Bella, of course, was least interested in separating from us and being placed in a kennel. The gym bathroom was filled with anxiety laden animals that were unusually separated from their loved ones. The howls, whimpers, and cries were over whelming even for me and I tend to have nerves of steel.

We got to our room and unloaded. We immediately went to volunteer as there were so many elderly coming in and the shelter was limited with 8 volunteers. By 5 I had to be in the kitchen to start serving a never ending line of starving, scared and tired folks. Children, men, women, poor, rich, and homeless. This storm took everyone and anyone to our shelter. No one really knew what was going to happen but we followed our orders and everyone was there. The internet gave out later that night. I had limited signal and Chloe was able to intermittently text. Her father sent so many texts as he was not satisfied with her answers and he refuses to speak to me. She ended up turning her phone off as it was beginning to stress her out. 

We had a nice room full of folks. We had a little girl who kept all of us smiling; She was a feisty little tester for sure. She loved her Dad but loved to test his limits. I think she might have been 2. Most of the folks in the room were pleasant and one liked to read to us scripture. A fella I will call Mr. C has Alzheimer’s and his wife is one of the most patient women I have met to date. Mr. C did give us a scare when in the middle of the night he decided to try and leave the room. Boy, I couldn’t have that. So, I walked him back to his barely awake wife who soothed his confusion. I laid back down on the hard concrete floor fully awake after that. My mind flooded with what will Mr. C and his family do if they lose their home? His condition will get worse I imagine and that is not good. I worried about all the elderly folks who were limited in physical ability and was concerned as to what would happen if this Irma did the destruction we guessed would happen. I wondered where their children were and why they did not come and take care of their folks. Were they local? Were they far away? Whats the story?

I finally fell asleep around 4 only to wake about 6:30 when everyone kept coming in and out of the room to get breakfast. I got up to get Chloe breakfast as I knew I wouldn’t get anything as a Celiac. Dietary needs are hard to meet in an emergency situation. I got Chloe some yummy breakfast and headed back to the room. I tried to check internet and messages but again signal was intermittent so I felt in the dark for most of the day. I went to get a coffee and women collapsed at my feet throwing up. The fear was so intense for a lot of folks and their bodies were just shutting down. As the morning continued, Chloe and I got right out there to help get the new arrivals settled in. Then by lunch, I was serving again. This time we were at around 2500 folks. We served one hot meal and one bagged meal for everyone at the shelter was going to Lock Down around 4 to prevent anyone from getting hurt. The winds were expected to exceed 45 MPH.

After lunch, a lot of us sat outside, waiting. The breeze was perfect. It was sprinkling here and there. Pet owners walked their pets for the last time and many of us just listened. Although there were voices, chattering, and giggles, there was still an uncomfortable silence. It was thick in the air and we all tried not to “look it” in its eyes. We skirted it. This silence. We dodge it with uncomfortable laughter and acknowledging another’s pet. The kids raced chairs up and down the hallway and the baby girl made her dad chase her around.We all knew that we didn’t know. We all tried to avoid the thinking that this was the end or that when we come out of lock down, the world as we currently see it won’t exist. Several of the Elderly felt lost and alone. Some made mention that they knew that this was it. The big one. Everyone shared new news as they got it and that seemed to offer seconds of comfort.

NorthPort Sun Article

I am unsure why we didn’t get updates. It was really difficult to go about our days with limited information. Maybe there just wasnt enough volunteers? Who knows but I think it would have eased folks worry even if we had a tv or radio set up. As we got closer to lock down the winds began to pick up and the rain thickened. Folks were reluctant to get behind the door as we all knew that when we come out the next day, our world may be turned upside down. Once inside our room, folks tried to make light conversation and one lady had the internet. She was able to help us learn that Irma became a 2 and that we may be out of the damage zone. As the night grew later, everyone went to bed. Lights out. Around 2 am another woman tried to escape from the room. She was clearly unaware of where she was and why she was there. She was frightened. I got her to her room and fled ours to get some form of help. At this point, All emergency personnel would not leave to help anyone. After the high-risk time frame, then the emergancy responders would respond. She was scaring the children and began to throw things at the other adults. I had to try. We found a national guardsmen who was able to check her vitals and help settle her. She finally fell asleep.

Snores filled the room and I felt like this was finally a calm. The concrete floor was getting more comfortable as I was exhausted. 4 hours a night of sleep and all the running around did me in. My body won and I was out. 6 AM Monday morning and 3 folks had disappeared in the night. I felt as though I failed by falling asleep and that if anything happened to them it was my fault. I was nervous only to have been assured that they left safely on their own will. The storm passed us leaving us with some minor flooding, downed trees, branches splattered everywhere and a renewed feeling of empowerment.

Yes, Irma gave us a new hope. A hope that our community can come together and help each other with out complaint. A new hope that we are getting smarter about these storms and although we did not get it as bad as anticipated, I believe that our damage is far less than it would have been if there wasn’t a sense of urgency to get everyone safe. So, I think all was well done. When we got home, we lost all of our refrigerated food, had no power and was told that we may not have power until Sept 22. However, after I finished cleaning out our refrigerator, the power came back on.

Another sign of HOPE.

Some family donated money so that I could replenish some my fridge. I am currently missing work due to no power. I am not alone in that boat. I can say that I am so grateful our home wasn’t destroyed and that we didn’t get major flooding. So, we clean the house and begin again. It’s not the first time for us as most of you know who have followed our heart ache. We are stronger now and more able to handle this because of our journey. 

I have to give a shout out to Principal Kris at #heroncreekmiddleschool. She was fantastic and her team was so strong. They went above and beyond. They had more than 2000 of us and handled it with a small crew of 8 and a handful of us. Yup. They are amazing.

Thank you for all that have stepped up and “got nice“. So many folks needed a hand or two. I am grateful to #glutenfreeemergancykits. I can eat safely now. My next blog will showcase the kit and I really advise you to visit their site and stock up. Irma may have been the first 400-mile hurricane but we all know she is not the last of natural occurrences and to be prepared is the best way! I would even ask that #fema, #redcross, and others take stock in this as we are many more of us than folks realize. No one should go hungry.

I would ask that if you are interested in donating to help Floridians, call the county that you wish to donate too. I know the largest need in my area is volunteers, food, and water. Project Phoneix is asking for donations of the same. There is about 40% without power still and a pizza place here in town that is helping serve hot food to the elderly. Call Robs Pizzeria and buy a pasta dish for one of the elderly folks who can not get out. These guys have done a lot for our community.

Until next time.…….

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The Eye of the Storm- A Harsh View

As I sit here watching Irma and Jose race to see who will hit us first, I wonder how many other folks in my life really understand the value of this perspective. I wonder if those of us who have been through many natural disasters are feeling. I am personally numb to all of this. My coffee is warm, the dog is having a puppy dream, Chloe is happily sleeping in late and well, this is all too tragic. My landlord wants rent, my car is overdue by 2 payments AND I am going to miss more work now. Thanks, Irma. WTF? Really?

In the world there have been 10 lives lost, 2 islands destroyed and this bitch is heading right down the center of my home state. Bitch! Chill man.  The Panic and fear are evident. Any and every social media outlet is swarming with a variety of “insights“. My twitter feed is filling up with comments like Its time to Repent” and “God is punishing the Gays”. Ignorance and some tweets are not so ignorant. The news keeps us abreast with as much as they know. Aside from my personal storm with my Ex who continues to stir the shit up, my views on this storm is no different than the Ice Storm I lived through in Vermont or the one I lived through in Maine. All of the many blizzards up north and the hurricanes as a child.  Power outage, after power outage. Either freezing in New England or wet in the south.

Nature happens and at times she can certainly be a bitch about it.

No matter where we go, there will be a storm and currently, no matter what direction we drive we will be put in more danger than staying safe here, hunkered down. We currently do not have evacuation orders so to me that’s a good sign. No matter what state, there will be a disaster of some sort at some time. Nature doesn’t discriminate like people do.  It’s an unbelievable hard call to make. My ex-continues to finically abuse us and we are without the means to fly out of here because I am behind on my bills due to all the legal issues I have to deal with. We may be able to drive about 30 minute’s North but that puts us into the eye of the storm.

Will I ever catch a break? Will PCH FINALLY show up and hand me that damn check that they keep saying I am SOOO close to getting if I just hit SEARCH one more time? I have the same worries as everyone else in this country. Or at least those of us who are the majority. Chloe and have worked SO hard to get out of harm’s way, only to end up in it again. I truly give up. I am only one person raising a truly amazing kid in a really messed up world. I want love, hugs, laughter, prosperity, peace and to watch my kid grow to be the famous Artist I know she is destined to be. But we keep getting our ass’s kicked by life’s storms. Relentlessly trying to make it out of the gutter and back on to dry land.

Ah, God. You have jokes and this one isn’t funny. Really! 

I have dealt with the “eye of the Storm” for way too long now. I grew up in a very toxic household, married into a very toxic family and have taken the brunt of these tragedies. 7 years divorced and the man still wants me to pay his bills according to the court hearing yesterday. Tragic. I have lost two children and have battled the early stages of cervical cancer most of my adult life. I have dealt with abuse, severe poverty, homelessness, stalking and most recently been falsely accused of a crime I did not commit. I could go on but that would be a book spoiler.  My daughter and I have lost more than you can imagine. The State of New Hampshire’s Family court has caused irreversible damage with their inability to STOP my ex and his lawyers shit. There is nothing that we can do about that. Just like there is nothing we can do about this storm and the pending loss of what little we have managed to regain. I have to accept that we will once again lose our personal items and pray that is all we lose.

Folks are dealingout  a lot of criticism and handing out a lot of “know it all” attitudes right now. Folks in the stores are acting greedy as if they are the only ones that need supplies. The highways are jam packed and moving super slow. This all in hopes to beat a hurricane that is currently cruising at 165 mph. But these cars are only able to push 40 mph. Irma wins that race and if Jose grows fast enough, he will too. The fear is so thick the air lacks oxygen and as much as we love to play “make a guess” as to what will happen, no one will know until after the fact. The largest concern should be the storm surges. Folks are being cruel with their words and instead of being supportive, they are making accusations of others. I watch carefully as I see people screaming at the TV claiming that “those idiots should have fled. “As if those folks on high and dry land know what we are dealing with. Have you walked in our shoes? Does everyone have the same finical ability that you do?

Probably not but you certainly are an expert, huh? And screaming at a TV your “expert opinion” is super NOT helpful. How about you sit down, shut the fuck up and maybe think about what extras you have in your house that you can donate to those folks that have a real need? Or better yet, why dont you go to that area and start helping with clean up? That would be far more useful than your screaming at a TV. Also, less embarrassing to those sitting around you.

I mean if you want to donate some air fare, we would be more than happy to take it.

As I tell everyone, kindness, and support are much more valuable than negativity and demands. As much as I appreciate everyone telling me the airlines that are offering AWESOME air deals, I simply don’t have the money. We are recovering from my expensive, exhausting custody battle as my ex’s priorities are to make our lives difficult. As much as I appreciate the hundreds of private messages, facebook messages, texts, and calls telling me what I am to do, I am the one in the hot seat having to make a very difficult choice. I with millions of others who are considered living in Poverty. It’s a real issue and the largest emotions I can muster is a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. That feeling is stemming from the knowledge that the homeless will be the worst hit. They will have the hardest time. They will be Damned for sure. I can’t do anything about it. Yes, I know you- TV screaming smarty pants- that there are shelters. At this point- FULL.

AND

I also know that a large majority of homeless have mental health issues and can not “survive” in a shelter. My heart goes out to them as we really won’t know how many have suffered as we don’t know our homeless. Get it? 

In that, I want everyone to know that I love you all. Even those who have done nothing but hurt us. I have survived a very long life so far and will prevail here too. God simply isn’t ready for my eye rolling & smart mouth. If you want to help, go through your personal effects and what you don’t use, box up and get ready to send to Florida.

Extra sheets, pillows, curtains, clothes, dishes, gift cards…….shoes.

This state is going to need all of that pretty badly. We also will need a lot of love. So send cards to us. Send light and prayers. It may be a long recovery afterward and instead of screaming at your TV or thinking God is punishing us….be productive.

Be Proactive.

If you call yourself Christian, be Christian.

If you call yourself a Friend, be a friend.

If you ever want to know what its like and what we have to deal with, ASK questions. I know personally, I have  3 folks that constantly ASSUME they know me, my needs, my goals, my dreams and my actions. They don’t ask they sit and assume and JUDGE. Very unproductive.

ASK.

Lend a hand.

Be compassionate. As you will see when this storm is over, life is FAR too short to remain an asshole.

Get up. Get nice. Start helping.

 

Until next time……………

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