The Tiny Adventure of the Moon

Today I’m unveiling the surprise I spoke to my readers about. This is my second children’s story. I worked really hard on it and even lost sleep on the illustration portion.

There is no fee. No need to download anything. Just sit back, and hit the arrow [< >] buttons to turn the pages. It’s set up to function like an eReader. I know a lot of you have children and some have been going through some rough times lately. Let this be my gift of quality time to you.

My own son is my most honest critic and he happily approved of it. So, run and get your kids or your tiny relatives and have a happy reading journey!

For Chris

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© 2013 CardCastlesInTheSky

Let me know what the little ones thought!

Background Info & Author’s Notes: This written work and illustration is property of CardCastlesInTheSky. The ebook format was created using a feature here on WordPress called “Presentation”. If you would like to learn how to make presentation posts of your own, you can read more about it here: WordPress – Support – Presentations.

Thank you for supporting CardCastlesInTheSky. It is you, the reader, that make stories like this possible. When you keep coming back, you inspire me. I am forever grateful to you.

If you enjoyed this, check out my first children’s story, Little Blue Feather.

Anger Management

Anger PangsOne of the most powerful of our human emotions is anger. Sadly, it’s also the most destructive. It can ruin relationships, void employment, and cause a monstrous amount of anxiety to the person it holds captive.

Anger can manifest in a variety of forms. Some studies say it is most commonly followed by sadness or vice versa. There are facts that support fear being anger’s long lost cousin.

If you or someone you know is having trouble with anger the tips below may be of some help.

Before reading on – Read this 1st

 Please do not mistake these tips and tools for medical advice or treatment. (This is specifically vital in cases where you or the person in question is indeed in crisis.) These are simply some steps I’ve taken that have helped me and those surrounding.

  • When you come in contact with your trigger[1], be aware of it. This mainly translates to being aware of your surroundings and trying to avoid things that set off your anger.
  • Don’t let disagreements turn into heated arguments. Simple and concise. If you feel yourself wanting to scream, take time to breathe deep and calm yourself. Don’t even respond if you can’t do it calmly. If the other person nags at you to respond…you may need to reconsider the friendship or relationship. Someone that knows you have an anger problem and only fuels it may be toxic to you. (That brings us to our next point.)
  • Dump toxic relationships. These will only hinder your progress. (It may even render it useless.) This is relatively self-explanatory. People in your life that do the opposite of supporting you shouldn’t be there. They’ll only cause more heartache and eventually more outbursts from you.
  • Let go. Walk away. This is the golden rule. It sounds so cheesy but it really is true. When you feel your skin get hot and your blood is boiling – there’s still about a 30 second window to step right out of that situation.
  • Meditate. It doesn’t take much to set some time aside and clear your head. Even if it’s only 10 minutes of your day, you’ll be better off for it.

 

The above mentioned tools are just some of many. These are just the ones that have helped me and those around me the most. If you know someone dealing with severe anger, there is help out there. There is a long list of resources available in each county, state, and even country. Anger management groups are held in countless clinics everywhere. It’s not such a bad idea to try them out.

There are two other articles of mine that have been a great deal of help to some people. This is part of that series. Think of it as a “Part 3” of sorts.

The others are: Stress Management and Grief Management.

 


[1] trigger: In psychological terms, this means something that sets a person off. It could be (but is not limited to) an object, an event, a place, or even another person.

This form of the word is most commonly used in treatment facilities, in group or individual therapy, and amongst psychologists and psychiatrists alike.

Summer Reading

With summer fast approaching, some parents may be thinking of things to keep their children busy.

I’m a firm believer in keeping your child’s mind active over the summer vacation. Instead of letting their brains turn to mush from watching too much TV, here is a colorful list of books for them to read:
Summer Reading 2013

The neat thing about this list is you can enter as a parent, or teacher, and enter their school name as a whole. This puts them in the running to set a record for the most books read. The website has a very descriptive, artistic, little chart that measures these numbers comparing it to landmarks like the, Eiffel Tower, Mt. Everest, etc.

I hope you all enjoy this & help make the most of your child or student’s summer!

When to Shut Up: Comment Responses

Many of my readers new and old may not know I respond to my comments via mobile device. I do this with the sensational WordPress app. For those chat iconof you that may’ve thought, “How in the world does she respond so quickly?” that’s how. I’m a person that carries their iPhone everywhere. Since I have the type of profession that requires me to check e-mails often, I really do need to have access to my phone most of the time.

Recently, I was reminded why I have a rule about sharing my personal views in both my writing, and my blogging. Controversy ends up repelling the type of readers I am trying to draw in. If a reader does not know on which side of the fence I stand on many issues, they cannot form an unfair and bias opinion of me. My rule is somewhat like the “no religion, no politics” unspoken mantra of many organizations. Most of the loving people that follow me have come to respect this rule and enjoy my work all the more because of it.

Reading and leaving comments are a large part of what makes this community breathe and function. Sadly, I’m starting to feel the need to adopt the above said rule in those cases too. My reason is simple, I find arguing over the internet absolutely pointless. Some people just love to do this, and they’ll leap at the first chance to disagree and screech all over you for it. Disagreements are fine, we’re all human, and that is part of life. Sometimes people can be downright rude, though, and I’m a hypersensitive individual. Often, if a remark is thrown at me in a condescending manner, I’ll become hurt by it. This may sound pathetic, but it’s just how I am.

em·path noun
An individual that possesses the psychic ability to sense or feel other’s emotions with great intensity.

To contradict myself, (as I find it to be a fun way to see if you’re paying attention), I find the way I am to be a gift. It is probably the chief reason I am a writer and an artist in the first place. My head is chock full of emotions. The trick is balancing them out; knowing how and when to turn them off.

Has someone ever hurt your feelings online? Be honest. We’re all friends here.

Word Garden

Springtime SunsetWell into our first Friday of the spring season…

I come sharing seeds.

~*Behold*~

The Word Garden

Today I had an interesting thought. If you have a website or blog, or generally anything you share online with the world – it’s alive.

 

Your readers, people who share your links, and generally anything you continuously update moves and breathes just like we do. Now, before you go to get a broom to bash your computer with… I don’t mean it’s going to literally jump up and run away from you. Stay with me.

Take for example, here on WordPress. Widgets can help make a blog come alive. Especially those like “Most Popular Posts & Pages” that constantly update based on your site’s statistics.

If you update your website, blog, gallery, social media often this helps keep it living and breathing. When users come to your site, if they have a place to communicate with you, think of them as your fellow gardeners. “Plant the seeds and they will grow”, etcetera. To maintain healthy soil, one must be in an ideal climate, have desirable soil to begin with, take decent care of it, and fertilize. This thought could be applied to the content you share as well. If we update regularly, keep our content fresh, build an audience…and learn how to keep them present and engaged, it shows. Then, we’ll have “watered our plants” so to speak.

There is no perfect formula for this. Every facet of media is different. No breed of art is the same. Although, much like the beginning of spring we could learn to take care of our flowers and see just how stunning they grow to become.

Creative Workshop

You can create an image like the one pictured here. SpringySome of you may be thinking “Well, no I can’t…don’t lie to me!” but I assure you it’s possible.

Not everyone needs a background in graphic design like mine to create colorful images just like this. As long as you have a decent illustration program on your computer or tablet device, you may be able to create a piece worthy of showing off. In fact, you don’t even need to use your computer at all. You can sketch, paint, use your hands…the possibilities are endless.

Now, I don’t promise everyone will become a world renowned artist. Although, by reading some of the following tips and tools, you may just be able to improve your confidence.

Phase One

  • Don’t be afraid to get colorful! Assorted Crayons
  • Leave your logical mind behind and tap into your creative mind. What I mean by this is, don’t be so critical or judgmental of yourself. Just let go.
  • Use a barrage of different techniques at once. Mix and match; experiment. You’ll be able to see what fits.
  • Don’t expect instant gratification with any project. Beautiful artwork takes time, and more importantly, patience.
  • Use your emotions. True artists know what I mean. Pour yourself into it. If you just had a breakup, an argument, let those feelings drip out into your work.

Phase Two

  • Cut, Crop, Resize, etc. Don’t like one part of the image but adore another? Crop the undesired piece out! Again, “let go”.
  • Don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone.
  • Familiarize yourself with every single tool. Read tutorials. Click on “Help” buttons/links.
  • Save your work and come back to look at it later. You may see something you didn’t before.
  • Change things, but not too much. Sometimes you can go overboard with tweaking something; you then end up with a mess.

 

Art can be defined in many ways. Beauty is truly “in the eye of the beholder”. So, have fun, paint, sketch, render, smudge away. Get your children involved, they’ll love it! There is no age limit on artistic expression.

This post is dedicated to all of the art programs in schools across the world.

Support your local children’s school art program!

Safety and Our Children

Happy Clouds

Lately, some events have been taking place that may make parents feel their children are not as safe as they once were.  In some cases, this is quite true. So, we ask ourselves as parents “What can we do?” “How can we prevent this?”

There is no simple answer. Although many of us are taking peaceful steps to help put a stop to this, we cannot put a halt to all of the violence in the world. As one of my favorite characters in a story once said “There’s just too much of it…”

We can however start taking measures to educate our children on safety both in & out of the home.

Below is a list I’ve created over the past few months for my own son and his friends.

In the Home

  1. Limit internet access unless completely necessary. (School projects, printing, keeping in touch with family, etc) Smaller children should not have internet access at all unless an educational program or app you approve of requires it. In both cases, internet usage should always be supervised.
  2. Dialogue with your children in terms understandable to them about the dangers of internet predators and cyber-bullying.
  3. Speak to smaller children about “strangers” that may try to lure them somewhere when they are outside of the home. (I know this is a scary subject for both parent and child but try to explain it to your child or children in a way that won’t terrify them…but still make them understand the danger.)
  4. Put restrictions on all gadgets like smart phones, tablets, and iPods.
  5. If your child plays video games, supervise them and please…for the love of puppies DON’T buy them anything too graphic or violent! That stuff is rated M for MATURE for a reason. Those kinds of games are meant for adults. In my not so humble opinion, children 12 and under should not be allowed to play games online. They are playing amongst adults and for reasons mirrored above, it’s just not a great idea.

 Outside of the Home

  1. If your child walks to school or anywhere, if you’re available, go with them. If you’re not, have them go with a friend and the friend’s parent that you trust. If this option doesn’t work, try a family member. Children should just never be alone nowadays. It’s sad to say but it’s true.
  2. Ask your child about safety measures they may be taking in school. Go over any steps or drills with them at home and make sure they understand.
  3. Keep an open line of communication with the school and your child or children’s teacher(s). *This one is super important. Give your most recent contact information whenever it changes and be sure you have theirs.
  4. Teach your child that if they see something that’s “not quite right”, say something. Tell a teacher, an aide, their bus driver, a police officer, or any trustworthy adult.
  5. Have them aware of their surroundings. Take them for a drive (or walk) and show them where the nearest police station is, hospital, fire department, stores, etc. These are good things to know in case of an emergency.

These are just some highlights. Schools are excellent these days on educating your children about the importance of safety such as this. However, I strongly recommend going over this list and passing it on. If you find this to be extremely helpful, let me know & I’ll post it up on a page & have a printable format available for you to pass around among fellow parents or school faculty members.

Most importantly, hug your children and tell them you love them often. We can never do too much of that. 🙂

 

Stress Management

Dancing CloudsMost of us as human beings deal with some form of stress on almost a daily basis. A good portion feel this burn more than others. Rest assured, I’m here to offer some help on the subject.

My key readers consist of a group of mothers and writers. A portion of you may not fall into that bracket. However, I feel the following may be a substantial relief to all of you.

Stress can come in many forms but, it all feels the same. Stress could spike our blood pressure; make us feel nauseated, fatigued, and sometimes (in a worst case scenario) cause a panic or anxiety attack. From a medical and psychological standpoint, there are many ways you can deal with this.

The following are some tools I’ve learned over the years. Please do not replace these for medical advice. Especially, if you are indeed in crisis. My only intention is to pass on some knowledge that may be of help when you are having a particularly stressful day.

Turn off all devices. Electronic and otherwise. Minimal noise and distraction will already alleviate about 50% of your stress.

Find a place that brings you peace & go there. When you feel your blood pressure start to rise is clearly the best time. (This may be harder for my Mommies reading this since you can’t always just “walk away”. In that case, I suggest doing this at your first free moment.)

Clear your head. This can be difficult but once you know how, you can do it at the drop of a hat.

Do something you enjoy. With our many jobs/occupations, this can again be difficult. Make a list of activities. It can start with something as simple as listening to music & end with something as complex as painting that spare room. If it relaxes you, do it!

Give yourself alone time. We all need this at times. Even if we don’t realize it.

The above mentioned tools are just some of many. They’re just the ones that have helped me the most. Being a Mommy and the many skills that requires (nurse, teacher, therapist, organizer, janitor, etc. All Moms know exactly what I mean.) along with a writer and an artist; juggling the three can get quite stressful at times. My main advice to all of you along with these tips is simply to relax. Not to take yourself so seriously all of time.

Now, I just have to nail taking my own advice. 😉