Causes CardCastles Supports

With all of the gloom & doom a Friday the 13th can bring, I figured I’d brighten things up a bit today.

If you’re a regular here, you may’ve thought some of the sidebar areas have disappeared. Well darlings, they haven’t. I just did some spring cleaning.

There is a new tab/page underneath my About section dubbed: Causes CardCastles Supports.

There you’ll find a donation page for my dear friend Rara, Bloggers for Peace, and last but most certainly not least, Blog for Mental Health 2014.

All badges will take you to these respective destinations so you could read more about them.

As a side note, I’d like to thank all of you for your overwhelming support so far in 2014. CardCastles is growing & now has a life of its own beyond me. I can’t wait to see how much more this place can flourish.


I titled this art: Empathize

For this month I wanted to create art that was a little outside my realm (such as the following challenge suggests) but not impossible. I wanted to see things from another artist’s perspective and it was a fulfilling experience. This was how my cousin who used to draw up comics took on art. I tried best to evoke his style of approaching a scene like this.

To match this art I also wanted to make a “gratitude list” of sorts like my pal Kozo has done for over a year now.

  • I’m thankful for my son’s willingness to try new things.
  • I’m extremely grateful for the progress he has made.
  • I’m thankful for my family.
  • I’m thankful for finding a way around road blocks.
  • I’m grateful for new friendships.
  • I’m grateful for you
  • I’m always grateful for a roof over our head.
  • I’m thankful for the healing power of music.

This post was in response to this month’s #B4Peace challenge: Empathy Blogging.

Other People Full of Empathy This Month




A Silent Pause for a Minute

I seriously had to take day off from blogging/writing because one of my dear friends the ever-so-well known Rarasaur was in some trouble over an incident everyone believes (including myself) she was falsely accused of. How could a person as sweet as her, who has brought so many great writers together do anything wrong?

It’s a serious miscarriage of justice and a statement about our legal system. (But don’t get me started on that!)
If you could please donate & help her loving family.
The Queen Creative | Thank you

Going “Home”

As an artist, I think drawing up your ideal self causes mental blockage in my world. When thinking of this month’s Monthly Peace Challenge: (Wo)man in the Mirror, thoughts clouded over in my head. Art seemed like the logical choice for this challenge. However, some of my more desirable ideas were best described with music in the past.

This all got me thinking. Memories flooded back from when time was simpler. There was a point during childhood where stress was minimal. Life, (for the most part) was joyous. It was a time when I was in my purest form.

The following song was not created from back then, but rather from more modern times. Somehow, the way it sounds still takes me back to that time, though. Maybe it will do the same for you.

Gustavo SantaolallaHome

Other Dreamers:

Peace Child

Peace Child
This is my take on my dear friend Kozo’s Monthly Peace Challenge: Peace Child. I wanted to create art that evoked peace in the eyes of not just adults, but children as well. Aside from my writing, some of you may know I design art for homes/lifestyle. One of those parts of the home I specialize in are children’s rooms and nurseries. So, I give you “Peace Child”, inspired by my dear friend and all of my fellow Bloggers for Peace.

Other Peace Children:

Path to Healing

This is the 1st time one of my #B4Peace entries has been late. My apologies go out to Kozo and the rest of you for the lack of punctuality. I have been extremely ill the last few days due to catching a nasty flu while caring for my son (who has also been ill). I hope the following will make up for it.

During the month of February we were asked deal with any pent up resentment, shame, or anger towards a particular family member. I’m going to go there but, I ask that you respect my need to keep that family member anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

I wish that you could see me; I mean truly see me sometimes. You tend to make a judgment call with the best of intentions but, you fail to realize that your words hurt. Even after many others (including professionals) have told you that you need to change your approach, you tend to use words and phrases that sting.

You know that I am sensitive – you’ve known this the entire span of my life so far. All that I ask is that if you have advice to offer – try to be mindful of my feelings.

When I go to you for help, it’s not to be a burden on you. Sometimes, I simply have nowhere else to turn. My parents are gone. This is a pain you and I know all too well. So, when I come to you, try to imagine that I’m looking for you to fill that space that my parents left. I know that I’m a grown woman. You need not remind me. Still, I am somewhat young. I lack the guidance that most people take for granted.

I love you regardless of your flaws. I am a friend to you. Although there are times you’ve caused me great pain, there are also times you’ve brought me tremendous joy. I’m glad you were there when I graduated, when so many others weren’t.

You need to know when I respond undesirably, it’s because something you said hurt. I don’t hate you. I never have. Even when I was at my worst and you couldn’t stomach me, I still loved you. I was simply broken.

Someday I may read this to you, or maybe not. Maybe it will just fade with me when I go, but somehow, I know it will reach you.

Let go of it all, please, because I have, and it’s freeing. Don’t let it all tie you down. You deserve better.



This was my entry for the Monthly Peace Challenge: We Are Family

Other Brave Souls:

Dance, Dance

Grace. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of the many friends I’ve made through Bloggers for Peace. This group is full of so many talented, kind, and loving people. I’m grateful to have met each and every one of you. I’d also like to thank Rarasaur for pointing me in Kozo‘s direction. It’s because of her I’ve gotten the chance to share and build with all of you.

It’s been a spectacular year and although I don’t have a traditional party planned, I did things the best way I know how. Through art and words. I give you…



To me it represents all of us coming together like one magnificent dance.

Gifts of Growth
With the year now behind us
Before we’ve truly begun
I’m anxious to tell you
That we all have won.

We’ve grown inside and you see it.
What a sight it is when we shine.
I hope it stays like this forever.
The gift is not just mine.

This has been part of the Monthly Peace Challenge: Party On, Garth for December. I couldn’t be prouder of all of the Bloggers for Peace. May you all have a peaceful New Year.

A Happier Thanksgiving

When this month’s Peace Challenge was first announced, a few of us froze a bit. After all, it is a difficult task to forgive, let alone “love thy enemy”. I had two sets of enemies in mind, but neither one I am quite ready to love. One raped me, and the other destroyed something I worked hard to build. Then, the solution hit me like a speeding train.

For quite some time, my family and I have been in conflict. This happens in spurts, but it seems to happen constantly. Inexplicably, these quarrels seem to occur more frequently during the holidays. A lot of times, it’s directed at me. Sometimes, it’s not – but I always get pulled in somehow.

Just a few days ago, one of these conflicts arose. My grandfather and I got into a heated argument over the phone. I can assure you I was not in the wrong. In fact, I called just to vent about something (which I often do) and it was taken as if I pleaded for advice. We’ve always had trouble with miscommunication in the past. For a second, I felt like the 5 year old me on the other end of the phone. He threw a lot of hurtful words my way. As the conversation ended…I felt my eyes welling up and in a broken voice, said goodbye.

Later, I called back with the intention of making peace. Even though I knew I wasn’t in the wrong, I know all too well that life is too short to stay angry forever. The phone rang and rang, but there was no answer. After feeling depressed about the whole thing for most of the day, my feelings slowly turned into anger. Anger about being mistreated, anger about past hurt, anger about the piercing insults that were so easily thrown my way, and anger that I let this get to me.

The next day, I cancelled the plans for Thanksgiving in my head. I cancelled the plans for our weekend visits and I cancelled the daily phone calls to see how each other were fairing. Somehow, in the haze of anger, I had a revelation. Even though there was so much animosity toward me through childhood and beyond, I need to let it go. Not only did I need to forgive this minor incident but I need to let go of any bitterness I was holding onto. What Kozo described in the Monthly Peace Challenge for November flashed through my head. So did many other things Kozo has said to me throughout the course of our friendship and I knew this would be perfect.

Empty Chairs
Empty Chairs

I need to let go. I need to just let the past be the past and truly love what I thought was my first enemy. My own immediate family, the one I had before the one I helped to create.  They may be guilty of much damage to my psychological health, but I’m an adult now. I’m responsible for mending those wounds, not them. I need to love them for who they are regardless of anything that has happened or will happen. Especially because, there are not many of them left. I’m reminded of this every time I set flowers on a grave. Every time I see the empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table, a part of me aches. We need to let go of so much to get by in this life  and yet, some things are worth holding on to. Family, no matter how broken, is worth trying to fix. I’ve seen this proven time and time again. So yes, Kozo…I will love my enemy, even when it’s hard, and even when it hurts. I know now because it stings more to see those empty chairs.

Other Brave Souls

Dream On, Dreamer

I know it was announced last week that CardCastlesInTheSky will only have Sunday posts until January 2014, but there had to be an exception today for two reasons.

  • #B4Peace
  • Halloween

The Monthly Peace Challenge for October called for an imagining of our world as peaceful. Being a parent, this stirred up thoughts of our children. My uncle, a retired law-enforcement officer, is now running for the Board of Education in his district. Sadly, one of the issues that came up in the interviews during the “Meet the Candidates” meeting was guns in schools. It’s a little unsettling that we have to talk about this, but this is our world now. You can watch that video below. His name is Gerald Bruno, and I am very proud to call him family.

Meet the Candidates

This is what a peaceful world would look like to me.

Peaceful Dream

The world is quiet now

It is free of strong sorrow

Severe pain

The children run and laugh and play

Love stretches to every corner

Every niche


We are free to roam outside





If our world was completely free of pain I’d dream it sounded something like that. Maybe someday. One can dream, right?

Other Peaceful Dreamers:

Caron Eastgate Dann – If everyone in the world did this…

Goldfish – A Lesson in Peace