31 Nightmares: The 12th

31 Nightmares

I’ve got a little treat for you tonight. However, this particular treat was not created without its tricks. I had some technical issues with uploading and audio so I may eventually add subtitles upon request. For now, I’d just suggest turning your sound up so you can actually hear what I’m saying.

If there are any questions, feel free to ask.

During the commentary I go into detail about how these were made. I apologize for any difficulties with the audio as mentioned above. If you cannot hear, please let me know & I’ll make changes.

This has been Day 12 of

31 Nightmares

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.

B4Peace

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.

Sincerely,

J

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

Other Brave Souls:

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

This slideshow could not be started. Try refreshing the page or viewing it in another browser.

© 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!

Grief Management

In Between

A large number of men and women have dealt with or known someone who has gone through some shape of grief in their lifetime. Grief and depression can affect a person’s life negatively and hinder many processes that lead to growth. In order for one to move forward in life, one needs to grow, right?

To those reading this that may be dealing with some portion of grief, take solace in knowing I’m going to offer you some help.

Before reading on, read this first:

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 difficult time dealing with grief.

  • Instead of putting such emphasis in your mind about the day a person died, remember their birthday instead. Celebrate their life instead of mourning their death. For women/couples that may have suffered a miscarriage, remember the day you found out you were pregnant rather than a time that brings you pain.
  • Go though the boxes. This one is tough, I have to admit, but you’ll feel better afterwards, trust me. To anyone that’s lost someone, you know what this means. I don’t have to explain it. Sometimes, it’ll do you some good to get rid of some of the things that aren’t important too. I know that is also difficult, however, one needs to realize that deep down, you know this person will not be upset with anyone for getting rid of the unimportant items. Part of moving through grief is letting go. Holding onto too many objects can become unhealthy (ask a therapist) and can develop into a condition known as hoarding, which is a serious mental illness.
  • Do something you enjoy, preferably outside. The outdoors are the best place you can be as you’re moving through the grieving process. Take a vacation, go out with a friend; take a walk. Anything to keep yourself from constantly dwelling on sadness.
  • Remember the things that bring you joy and participate in them. Go through the motions. Stay active. Listen to music, paint, dance, sing, go see a movie. Whatever brings you happiness, take part in it.
  • It’s okay to cry. Male or female, no matter how young or how old…it’s ok, just let it out. We were given tear ducts for a reason. You may just feel a little better afterwards.
  • Build a support system. This can be so important. Even if your support system is only one or a few people. It’s essential to have someone to vent your feelings to. This could be a close friend, family member, therapist, or all three. You shouldn’t be alone in times of grief. Isolation is a dangerous thing when you are going through a grieving period. Isolating one’s self could turn grief into depression.
  • Write your thoughts down. (Optional) This can be a form of therapy. Getting your thoughts out of you and onto paper is an excellent tool for releasing pent-up anxiety.
  • Make peace with yourself and with the departed. If there were any grudges held, arguments had, resentment, or just plain issues before this person’s death…make peace with it and let it go. Forgive them, forgive yourself. You can even write a letter of forgiveness.

The above mentioned tools are just some of many. These are just the highlights of what has helped me the most. As a person that has lost many, mourned severely, dwelled, and later sought healing, you could consider me somewhat of an expert on the subject. However, I remind you not to mistake my helpful tools for medical advice. Although, some have said I’d make a pretty excellent grief counselor…

This post is intended to be thought of in conjunction with my Stress Management post (hence, the similar wording and format.) Think of it as a part two of sorts.