Tuesday, April 24, 2018

😊 8 Surprising Facts about the Happy Bob Ross 🌲

I remember many a Sunday spent falling asleep to Bob Ross. I grew up out in the country in the 80s. We didn't have cable, we didn't have a satellite, and we did have a party line. When I was little, I always thought I fell asleep because he was boring. Now I know, that Bob Ross was just relaxing. In fact, his ability to relax people inspired an entire culture called ASMR

Here are some facts about the beloved painter, Bob Ross. 

  • One of the signatures of the Bob Ross personality was his curly, bushy hair. It wasn't a natural look for him, he permed his hair to achieve the halo. He actually started to hate his hair, but he did not cut it because he knew the marketing value of personal branding. 

  • Bob Ross was in the Airforce for 20 years. He enlisted in 1961 and left the service in 1981. He was a drill sergeant. Although he was full-time in the service, he still sold his paintings part-time. After having the personality of a drill sergeant, he decided to live a much calmer, quieter life which showed through in his work and demeanor. 

  • Born in Daytona, Florida October 29, 1942, he died in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on July 4, 1995. He lived in various places during his time in the Air Force and took his first painting class in Anchorage, Alaska while stationed there.

  • Bob Ross was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1994. This was the reason he retired, with his last show being May 17, 1994. He died one year later. As a private man, he kept his illness a secret from the public. A statement was released after his death verifying that he had died from cancer. 

  • His voice was so relaxing, it was once compared to "Demerol". It was one of the inspirations for the ASMR movement. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and is described as a relaxing, euphoric tingling. 

  • The signature style that Bob Ross used is called "Wet on Wet". It allows a user to complete a painting in one sitting in about an hour's time. He learned the technique from William Alexander. He received his own show, The Joy of Painting, on PBS and started a line of videos, books, art supplies, and even "Bob Ross" trained instructors.
  • As a child and teenager, he filled his time rescuing animals. He carried that love of animals into adulthood frequently having animals on his show. Wherever he lived, he supported local animal shelters with time and/or money. 

  • One of the most known things about Bob Ross is his expressions. In his soothing, low-keyed voice, he would say the most gentle things. "Happy Little Trees", "Happy Accidents", and "Pretty Little Mountains", were some of the turns of phrase he used. It is so well known, that my mom found the tin of mints pictured above - happy little mints.
Do you have any Bob Ross memories? If you have a favorite episode or special time when you would watch "The Joy of Painting", please let us know in the comments!!


👁️Seeing through your Eyes ❓

In clinical terms, it is called dissociation. That feeling you get when you are looking around and all of a sudden, you feel weird - weird about you...weird about seeing...weird about what you see - just an overall detached feeling.

I think I was nine or ten when it first happened. It is hard to explain, but it's like I couldn't believe that I was seeing things, or even that there were things to see. I really understood then that I am something. I am here. I can see. I can think. I am me.

It still happens to me sometimes. I think it happens to everyone sometimes.

When it happens now, I think that it must be how Plato and Aristotle felt when they were developing those classic philosophies that we know so well.

  • "Man is a being in search of meaning." - Plato

  • "To be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious of our own existence." - Aristotle

  • "I think therefore I am." - René Descartes
If you think about this too much, it is indeed considered a mental illness, but some thought on this is normal and healthy.

When I have these feelings, I ponder what does it mean that I see.

  • "What if I didn't see? Well, I wouldn't be here to see, and I wouldn't know the difference."

  • "Do other people see what I see?"

  • "What do we see? Atoms, forms of energy, a simulation, a dream?"

  • "What exactly is it that allows us to be here - in the world, conscious, seeing?
Sometimes I even feel like I am separate from everything around me. Even though that isn't true. Space is only a perception. There are actually atoms and light rays. We touch everything we see, and it touches us. But at these times, I feel like I am me, and everything else isn't real. It is hard to comprehend that other people see. I am real, and they are real. Or are we?

My mind can go around and around for quite some time with these thoughts. Eventually, I just have to make myself stop, and start occupying myself with things to do instead of thoughts to think.

Do you have similar thoughts? Share them in the comments! I find it to be a fascinating topic. 

photo credit: haris.krikelis Never stop moving via photopin (license)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

💡Why People Like to Rock Out in a Rocking Chair💺

As I sat here rocking, I started to wonder, "Why am I rocking?". I find that I am always rocking.  Sometimes I will be watching TV, and I find myself rocking harder at the exciting parts. Businesses have even started using chairs to calm their customers. If you go to Cracker Barrel during rush hour, you will be hard-pressed to find one free.

Today, I will try to find out why people love to rock in chairs, and I would like to take you along for the journey.

The rocking chair was invented in the early 1700s in the USA. Well, it wasn't the USA yet, so I guess I should say the colonial period. In the beginning, they were used to soothe patients who were mentally ill and to help ease the joint pain of the elderly. The fact that they gained popularity in institutions meant they were unfashionable at first, but that didn't last for long.

In the latter half of the 18th century, Shakers begin making quality rocking chairs for casual use in homes. People learned that they were useful for calming the nerves, quietening fussy babies, and soothing the body after a long day spent working. 

But why is that? Well, I can tell you that it seems that no one really knows for sure, but there is plenty of speculation
  • It goes back to the womb. - While we are in our mother's tummy, we are always in motion. When our mother's walk, sit down, and even breath, we move through the liquid that we are encased it. After birth, the memory remains in the subconscious and fuels the desire to keep rocking.
  • It calms nervous energy. - We have all had an experience where we were nervous and tapped our foot, chewed our nails, or performed another form of fidgeting. Rocking chairs actually do a better job at spending the excess energy, and it does it in a healthier fashion. Even airports and hospitals are getting in on the benefits. 
  • It conforms to your center of gravity. - When you sit in a rocking chair, it automatically adjusts to your frame. This makes it more comfortable as less pressure is put on the hips and back. This makes it a great choice for people suffering from arthritis or other joint injuries. People automatically gravitate toward a rocking chair at the end of a long day. 
  • It improves function. - Rocking chairs are great for toning muscles and improving balance. They are a great way to get some core exercise work done with little effort. Also, as long as you are moving, the blood is flowing better helping to relieve the pain of tired, sore muscles. So while the person may not be consciously aware of it, they want to sit in a rocking chair because it just feels better. 
If you are ready for the benefits of a rocking chair, even if you don't quite know what it can do for you, you can go down to many furniture stores and pick out the chair that is most comfortable to you. If you want to get really serious about it, you can even order a custom-made rocking chair. 

If you have any great memories involving rocking chairs or have any insight into the primal urge to rock, please let us know in the comments! 

photo credit: Pedro Moura Pinheiro temporal shift via photopin (license)

Monday, April 16, 2018

🧠20 Common and UnCommon Mental Illnesses🧠

For my topic today, I decided to write about something that actually uses my college degree. Please know, this is not making fun of anyone or making light of anything.

I have mental illness as do other members of my family. I just find it fascinating and thought you would, too.

🤦🏻Ok, my disclaimer is done. 😇

As we the people learn that just because someone is different, it doesn't mean they have an illness or disorder, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) changes to reflect those lessons. Here are 20 of the many, many disorders that are currently recognized.

What is important to note is that people who suffer from mental illness can't just snap out of it or make better choices. It takes therapy and medication for someone to learn how to live successfully with mental illness. This is a life-long process that never happens overnight.

General Disorders

The general disorders are more common and have some overlapping of symptoms. These are usually treated with a combination of therapy and medication. 

  • Co-Dependency - A generational illness, Co-Dependency is learned from watching others. If a father is co-dependent, his children will learn that behavior from him. This behavioral illness is diagnosed when someone gets all their satisfaction from the relationships around them. They feel greatly responsible for everyone around them, and then get mad when they feel their efforts are not recognized. The victim feels the need to control everyone around them so that they can get the positive recognition they need and feed on. When people don't do as the sufferer expects, they can become angry and abusive. 
  • Dissociative Fugue - Also known as dissociative amnesia, this illness involves a trip. There may be little or no warning that a person is about to enter this state. It starts with the victim getting an urge to travel to another place. By the time they reach their new place, their unconscious mind has created an identity for them to assume. This altered state can last from a few days to a few months. It is hard to recognize that a person is in a fugue. The incident is usually only discovered when the person regains the memories of there "normal" life. The victim of Dissociative Fugue is then shocked, scared, horrified, and depressed. 
  • Body Integrity Identity Disorder - This rare disorder is a truly strange one. The person that suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder begins to feel that a part of their body is not theirs. Some people will then attempt to amputate the offending body part. Victims may also feel like they need to be paralyzed in order to fully feel like themselves. While some sufferers may feel like a certain body part is not theirs some may feel they aren't complete as long as they have the offending body part. 
  • BiPolar Disorder - This is a commonly diagnosed illness in today's world, but many doctors disagree with all the new definitions that fall under the BiPolar Disorder umbrella. This is due to the fact that many symptoms of other diseases have been changed to mean a new type of BiPolar disease, and the name of the former disease has fallen into disuse being replaced by names such as BiPolar I, BiPolar II, and Rapid-cycling BiPolar. Someone who is BiPolar feels the highest highs and the lowest lows. They can even have psychotic episodes that may resemble schizophrenia. In a manic state, they can hear voices, think they are the Queen of England, or they may even attempt to fly. When in a depressed state, they become withdrawn, suicidal, or angry. 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Another commonly misdiagnosed illness today is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADD and ADHD. The symptoms of this illness are very close to the symptoms of anxiety disorders. In sufferers that have anxiety, ADHD medicine can lead to disastrous consequences. The symptoms of this disease include starting multiple tasks while being unable to finish any, inability to concentrate, "daydreaming", fidgeting, and impulsiveness.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder - In today's fast passed world, anxiety is becoming more and more common. As one of my college professors put it, "Multi-tasking makes you stupid". The human brain is not used to thinking about 10 things that have to be done today. With all the scheduling, deadlines, and daily tasks, anxiety has been given open reign in many people's lives. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by fidgeting, inability to sit still or finish tasks, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, or even physical symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath, and sweating. 
  • Schizophrenia - This feared illness strikes in adulthood. Often it is preceded by disorders like schizoaffective disorder, but it can often strike unexpectedly. Some people lead normal, successful lives before waking up to the debilitating symptoms of Schizophrenia. Unlike some other mental illness, if it hasn't struck an individual by age 35, they can consider themselves safe, but it can strike unsuspecting victims from age 15 to 35. Symptoms include auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, a disconnect from society, or an inability to complete tasks and perform socially. It is commonly an inherited illness
  • Body Dysmorphic Syndrome - Characterized as an inability to see oneself as they truly are, this is the driving force behind mental illnesses such as Bulimia and Anorexia. In the past, gender dysphoria was included in this category and treatment revolved around self-acceptance. People who experience this illness believe they are something that they are not, or to themselves, they appear to be something they are not. Compulsive cosmetic surgery is also a symptom of this disease. People who suffer from this are often considered to be vain or narcissistic when actually, they think very little of themselves. 
  • Major Depressive Disorder - Everyone can get depressed after a death, loss of a job, or unmet expectations, but people with Major Depressive Disorder are down and sad almost all of the time. It has nothing to do with their outside environment; however, withdrawal from society, inability to work, and loss of relationships can cause experiences that will contribute to the depressed state. The feelings of hopelessness, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and guilt overcome everything else. To friends and loved ones of the sufferer, it is difficult to understand why they victim can't just "snap out of it". 

Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders are hard to treat as they are the very fabric of who a person is. Not considered a chemical imbalance, medications can still be used to help control symptoms, but talk-therapy, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is the most important form of treatment. People with Personality Disorders do not usually seek treatment unless another mental illness is co-occurring. Due to the fact that suffers, and their loved ones and acquaintances, feel that this just "how they are" and that nothing can be done. 
  • Borderline Personality Disorder - Often mistaken for a BiPolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by anger, mood swings, constant feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and low self-esteem. These feelings drive everything in the life of the sufferer. Frequently the victim is impulsive, promiscuous, and self-destructive. They will do anything to feel like they belong, often taking on the personality of the people they hang around with. They often don't even know who they truly are. 
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Unfortunately, a lot of abusive relationships involve a person who is the victim of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. These individuals are unable to recognize the needs and feelings of others. They believe they are superior to everyone and have little patience for people that don't agree with this morphed opinion of themselves. People who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder must have the best of everything, must be the main focus of any gathering, and will take advantage of others to get what they want. 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder - Many people believe they are "OCD", but true Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is life-altering. The victim can not lead a normal productive life due to the disorder. The symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people have rigid rituals that they feel must be performed, such as counting to three after going through a door. If they are not done, the victim has intense feelings of dread and uncertainty. Some sufferers have a set of rules for cleaning or organization that must be done daily. These tasks often fill the person's day, and they have little time for anything else. Hoarding, excessive hand washing (to the point of skin damage), and preoccupation with details are also included in this disorder.
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder - The signs and symptoms of this disorder overlap with other disorders, as is common for many mental illnesses. People with Schizotypal Personality Disorder are prone to flights of fancy and magical thinking (such as thinking they are psychic or belief in superstitions).These are the people who are often thought of as "eccentric" or "a little off". The sufferers of this disorder usually dress and talk differently from other people. These people often isolate from the world. They are awkward in social situations and don't really understand how to navigate the nuances of the world. This is sometimes a precursor to Schizophrenia, but that is definitely not the rule. 
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder - One of the most known personality disorders, these victims have little regard for anyone or anything. The person who suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder often participates in cons, lies, and thefts. They have no remorse for any acts they do for pleasure or personal advancement. Victims of this mental illness have little use for laws and unspoken rules. They make a habit out of doing things that are unlawful and dangerous. They not only have little consideration for others pain, they also show little consideration to their own pain. 

Sex-Linked Disorders

I decided to do a list sex-linked disorders here. I learned about them in my Abnormal Psychology class. It is important to note in this day and age that many things can go wrong in forming a human that can make them "not like others". These are extreme cases (and not all that exist), and no one knows all the milder forms of imbalance exist. 

It is important to note that all fetuses start as female. Female is the base form and the blueprint for life. The male form comes about from hormonal changes during development. I learned this in college👩‍🎓, but I linked it here so you can see for yourself. I know it can be upsetting due to machismo or religious issues...but there you have it. 🤷🏻
  • Klinefelter Syndrome - This occurs in men who have an extra X chromosome (XXY). The
    physical characterizations of this illness are reduced or no facial hair, partially formed breasts, smaller genitals, and sterility. It comes with many mental characterizations as well. These include slower cognitive development, depressions, anxiety, learning disabilities, and low libido. Many victims of Klinefelter Syndrome turn to testosterone supplements to alleviate some of the symptoms. 
  • Jacob's Syndrome - Also known as XYY syndrome, this disorder is when a male has an extra chromosome. Instead of the usual XY that men have, there is an extra Y. This can cause physical issues such as severe cystic acne and taller stature. Mentally, there is often learning disabilities, mental disorders such as ADHD, anger issues, antisocial behavior, and defiance issues. Treatment should begin early in speech therapy and occupational therapy. Counseling
  • Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome - Someone with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is genetically a male (XY), but the body can not sense the male hormone. A baby born with this disease is outwardly female. There may be nothing to point to any problem at all. They have fully or partially undescended gonads, little body hair, and long limbs. In the past, the problem was not found until the late teens when the girl had not started her menstrual cycle. Today, it is rare for someone to go that long without it being diagnosed. With all the advances in fetal testing and imaging, it is usually spotted before or immediately following birth. Although chromatically male, these individuals live as female because that is what they are. Their bodies are unable to read and respond to the testosterone in their body. 
  • Hermaphrodite - One of the most baffling of cases is the Hermaphrodite. They have cut and dry genetic material (XX, XY) and there is no known hormonal issue with these people. For whatever reason, they are just born with ambiguous sex organs. They may have a vagina with testes in the place of ovaries. Many have some of both characteristics such as a small vagina with a non-functioning penis. Someone could also have a penis but have a uterus and ovaries. In these cases, some parents opt to have genetic testing done. Then doctors will perform surgeries to match the person up, as much as possible, to their genetic sex. Other parents opt to do nothing and let the victim decide how they want to live when they are older. Victims of this disease may need counseling and medication to help deal with issues in self-esteem and self-acceptance. 
  • Turner Syndrome - This disease is caused by an incomplete X chromosome. The victim will be an XX female, but one of the chromosomes is missing genetic material. Physical characteristics of these sufferers include oddly shaped ears, jaw, or neck, a hairline that drops low on the neck, malformed arms, and misshapen digits and nails. There is a higher percentage of learning disorders and social disorders in these females. They may have difficulty understanding and comprehending other's reactions and emotions. Estrogen therapy is used as a treatment along with learning considerations and counseling. 
  • Trisomy X Syndrome - Also known as Triple X Syndrome, this genetic condition exhibits as an extra X chromosome to a genetically female baby, or XXX. Many females with this disorder exhibit no symptoms, while some may have learning disabilities, slight physical differences in the structure of the face, or more severe complications such as heart defects, kidney problems, or seizures. Treatment is comprised of symptom control for health problems and psychological treatments for developmental, social, and emotional issues. This is not an inherited disease. It is a genetic anomaly. 
I got my degree in Psychology, and I decided to write this article, for one reason. That reason is that I find human behavior fascinating. While most people think that there are rigid rules that govern behavior, sexuality, and social ability, there aren't. What makes up a person is not "cut and dry" nor is it "black and white". This article shows only a fraction of the differences that occur from one person to the next. The biggest thing we can do for people who suffer from mental illness is to show love and compassion. Being a little more patient, being a little more tolerant, and being a little less judgemental can mean so much to the affected people.

Are you fascinated by human emotions and behavior? Do you have a personal story involving ay mental or behavioral issue? I would love to see your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in the comment section below! 

photo credit: kelemengabi Convection cell 1 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Claudio Nichele (@jihan65 on Twitter) Sketchnotes Stress, anxiété, dépression via photopin (license)
photo credit: benchilada OCD when drawing via photopin (license)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

💖Top 14 Weird Dating Sites💑

I can still remember when dating sites first came out. No one I knew went on them, and even if they did, they never admitted it. In one of my psychology classes, we had to do studies based on dating site profiles, and I found that there were lots of people I knew on there - nobody I wanted to date, but still, there they were.

On all the sites!!

The same people that were on the regular sites were on the Christian sites and the successful people sites and the hookup sites. One guy was on all of them and I had just seen him in the bar the night before. He was drunk and talking about being unemployed. HA! The lesson - no matter what kind of site it is, make sure you do your homework.

Here are my top 14 picks for weird dating sites.

  • www.russianbrides.com - The web search advertisement for this site said "Russian Lady Dating Deal". The site also boasts that it is "bringing the world together" by letting you chat with cute Russian brides. I always find mail-order bride sites sad. Imagine the desperation one must feel to agree to go to live with the highest bidder in another country.
  • www.amishdating.com - Why would a people that are supposed to shun modern life need a dating site? Do they have a smartphone in that phone shanty by the road? I admit, I am not well-versed in the Amish culture, but I am surprised to see that they too have a dating site just for them. 
  • www.christianmingle.com - I believe the original commercial stated that sometimes God needs you to act, or something like that. I always had a hard time believing that a God that could do anything needed me to join a subscription-based dating site to send me a partner. "Yes, God! I know you can send me the money in the mail. I know you can heal my cancer. I know you can impregnate a virgin. I know you can pay that electric bill after I put all my money in the offering plate. But a date? Nah, I need to join a dating site."
  • www.farmersonly.com - When I first saw a commercial for this site, I thought, "What in tarnation?" I would think there were plenty of places to for country people to meet others. The sale barn, the church, the local butcher, or the rodeo. I guess I was wrong, farmers and ranchers need their own dating site as well. If you don't like the local farmer's daughters, just hop on here and find someone who would never want to leave their land, but that's fine, you don't want to leave your land either. 
  • hotornot.com - I don't think I would want to date anyone that sits around all day and rates people online. If you are superficial and stuck-up and you want to meet someone else superficial and stuck-up, then this may be the perfect dating site for you. Hey, if it doesn't work out, you can always try out the next site on my list...
  • www.uglyschmucks.com - If got it, flaunt it. If you don't, just go here where no one is trying to keep up any pretenses. Once people reach a certain age, they know if they are hot, average, or below average. If the last category is you, just go here where you can meet other singles just like you. Hey, I always heard that there is a lid for every pot. In online dating, that really seems to be true.
  • diapermates.com - I try not to be judgemental, but this scares me. It truly does. If this is on the home page of your new dating site, "Do not upload photos of kids; poop or nude pics.", you know you are in for something different. Do not click the link unless you are ready to be frightened. I had no idea this was even a thing, and I wish I could still enjoy the bliss of ignorance. 
  • www.sugardaddy.com - I am calling all the hot single ladies!! Want to get your bills paid, get expensive jewelry, or take lavish trips? Here ya go!! I am calling all the married men!! Want a hot little number for a side piece that you can put on your arm for all those events where you loving wife just won't do? Here ya go!! Shite, at least these people live honest...well, to themselves and their match. Too bad, I didn't know about this before I became a middle-aged, overweight woman. Kidding guys, kidding!! ... or am I?
  • www.tallfriends.com - Are you  Nicole Kidman's body double, or were you bullied with taunts of "beanpole" when you were in high school? Fret no more! Meet someone who knows everything you went through being the tallest person. They don't have to ask you what the weather is like up there.  They already know!! Women, you can put away those flats, and men, you can stand up straight. Tom Cruise and Lady GaGa need not apply.
  • 420singles.com - Not again! You missed your date after you got too high hitting the bong. No worries! Here you can meet other weed loving mates that will understand. Maybe when y'all are short on dubies you can go to the beach, the movies, or the skating rink. Until then, enjoy many dates vegging on the couch, eating everything in the kitchen, and laughing your ass off. Hey, that is a better date than many of my past dates. 
  • glutenfreesingles.com - I have food allergies, and they are nothing to sneeze at. It makes it harder when everyone else in the house can eat what they want and you can't have one of the main ingredients in most American meals. I don't find this site weird at all, but I knew that you would, so I put on here. 
  • www.genepartner.com - For the small fee of $250 you can find your genetic match. The perfect person for you based on science. Wait...wouldn't your genetic match be related to you? Before you go on your first date, you may want to go over to ancestery.com and check out their family tree. 
  • www.naturistpassion.com - WARNING -NAKED PEOPLE - I never understood nudist. Just as I don't understand thong underwear. When did we, as a culture, decide to throw out all basic rules of hygiene. I don't know though, at least you know what you are getting. With all the shapewear, flattering clothing cuts and styles, makeup trends, and hairpieces, this may the only way to really know what you will be waking up to on the honeymoon. 
  • furrymate.com  - Can't make it to your nearest Furry Fandom convention? That's fine, just head on over to this site and find your furry soulmate. Make sure you bring baby wipes and deodorant because after a whole day walking around in a full-body, furry costume, you may need to freshen up - a lot. You may want to read up on the culture before you go on a date thinking you will just hang out at a convention. Before you say yes to yiffing, you really need to know what it is.
    As you can see whatever your need, there is a site for you. I would end this, as I do most of my blogs, with an invitation to share with me in the comments, but that is ok. I really don't want to know.
      photo credit: Gwenaël Piaser * via photopin (license)

      Thursday, March 1, 2018

      ✏️What is the Oxford Comma? 🎓

      When I started writing for other people, I found that there were a few changes from when I wrote in school. One was that it changed from two spaces between sentences to one space and the other was the "Oxford comma".

      To me, it was redundant.

      "I went to the store, the library, and the gym."
      "I went to the store, the library, and and the gym."

      However, my first client required the Oxford comma and so does my current client. That is why in all my blogs here, I use the Oxford comma as well. Habits are hard to break.

      Some writers have strong opinions about the Oxford comma and purchase items like this mug and this plaque, so let's talk about it.

      🤷🏼‍♂️Where did the Oxford comma start?

      Also known as the serial comma, it started being used by the authors and editors of the Oxford University Press over a century ago. It is now recommended for most writing styles with more and more issuing a mandatory rule.

      🤔How do I use the Oxford comma?

      The Oxford comma is used to make lists easily understandable. Here are some examples:

      "I went to the store with Jared and Linda, Susan, and Philip." Here, it shows that while Jared and Linda are a couple, Susan and Philip are not.

      "She went to the concert with her friends, the teacher and the janitor." Here it looks like her friends are the teacher and the janitor, which may be true, but if not, write it as follows:
      "She went to the concert with her friends, the teacher, and the janitor."

      The last reason to use an Oxford comma is for no reason whatsoever. Like this:
      "Today, I ate beans, carrots, and peas."
      I see no way to confuse that sentence, but I write it that way because my editors tell me to. 🐵

      💔Hard Habit to Break

      Since I can't write half the time one way and the other time another way, I use the Oxford comma all the time - and I never double spacebar. Yes, a better writer probably can write five assignments a day using a different grammatical style each time. But then, if I were a better writer, I wouldn't still be slogging it out writing other people's content, 😂 and that is a whole other issue!

      Do you use an Oxford comma? Are you able to switch easily between writing styles? Let us know in the comment section!!

      photo credit: Dave Dugdale Open Book via photopin (license)

      Friday, February 23, 2018

      🥧Pie in the Sky🥧

      For the life of me, I cannot remember, what made us think that we were wise, and we'd never compromise. - The Verve Pipe

      Today, we found something in the house that needs to be fixed. It joined one of 50 other things that need to be fixed. If you read my short memoir, My Trip on the Pain Pill Roller-coaster, then you know I have some health problems.

      Wait...don't leave! This is not a hashing or re-hash of problems. 

      Over the last few years, I have had nothing but time. Some of that time was spent feeling sorry for myself. Some of the time was filled with doing the work I could do. Some of that time was filled learning about and doing meditations and positive affirmations.

      When I meditate, I visualize myself in this house - my house. It has a small stream that runs beside the house. I have some soft, comfy lounge chairs there. They are placed in the shade of the forest right where the stream breaks away from the trees. Inside the stream are rocks of different sizes that make bubbling and gurgling sounds. There is always a cool breeze. I can relax and look at my dream home. If I am not in the backyard, I am in the turret. There I have a custom-made round bed where I can lie comfortably and look at the stars. While my mind is in my fantasies, I often get glimpses of things that speak to where my life is at the moment - like the Cheetah vision.

      Right now, I am not in a dream home. It needs work. We don't have the money to fix it, nor can we get a home improvement loan. We have tried to move, but we can't buy a house until we sell this house, and we can't rent. We are stuck....for now.

      When I am really down in it - the hopelessness, the illness, the fear - I feel like nothing will ever get better. I have to remind myself of certain things, and then I am hopeful again. I am working toward those dreams again.

      This is what I tell myself:

      • There are at least a million people who dream that they are where I am now. I am living someone else's dream.

      When my health is poor, I remember that I can still do a lot of things other people can't do. When I look at the things in my house that need to be fixed, I remember that a lot of people went to bed last night in a box or a tent. Ran or shine, day or night, cold or hot, they are outside - while I am inside. We have family that helps us while some have no one. They are alone facing their problems alone. I have faith and hope that there is something bigger than me, bigger than my family, bigger than our earth. Some people have no faith or hope left, and they take their own life.

      It has become a cliche now, but I have to remind myself that my problems are first world problems.

      So, I will now get up and do what I can to make what I have the best it can be. I will practice an attitude of gratitude. I will meditate later, and I will be sitting in the backyard of my new house because one day I will be there.

      I will reach that pie in the sky.

      Do you do positive affirmations or gratitude work? What has been your experiences? Let us know in the comments. 

      Friday, February 16, 2018

      🧘Meditations on the Cheetah - Spirit Animal🌬️

      Last night, I was meditating. I try to meditate every day, and since I have found benefit in it, it is usually very easy to make some time.

      One of the first things that happened is that I stopped biting my nails. I don't remember a time when I didn't bite my nails. At first, I didn't notice. All of a sudden, it just hit me that my nails were long.

      There are times when I will have a "vision" or a flash of insight, whichever way you choose to word it. Sometimes it is on the chakra system or other spiritual matters. Not for the first time, last night my
      "flash" was of an animal - the Cheetah.

      This morning, I looked up the meaning of the Cheetah as a spirit animal or "totem". Here is what I found.

      1. The Cheetah cannot change its spots. It must learn to work inside its skill set and characteristics to get the job done. 
      2. The Cheetah is lightning fast. Whether it is hunting food or protecting its cubs, it reacts quickly to every danger and opportunity. 
      3. The Cheetah is at the top of physical fitness. It knows its strengths and develops those. It knows its weaknesses and accepts them and uses them to its advantage.
      4. The Cheetah is solitary and doesn't trust easily. It is not lonely. It simply knows that it has a better advantage while alone. 
      5. The Cheetah remains focused at all times. It knows what it needs to do and doesn't waste time in the decision. By waiting, the Cheetah may lose its food for the day or succumb to an enemy. 
      6. The Cheetah is strong and powerful and never gives up. Through hard work and perseverance, it achieves its goals.
      Why am I telling you this?  - for a couple of reasons.

      First and foremost, I write to make it true. Writing has always been special to me. I would write notes to people that I never sent. When in school, I rewrote class notes, vocabulary words and definitions, and chapter summaries. Writing makes things stick in my mind like nothing else.

      Secondly, after some study, I immediately understood what the vision was meant to tell me. By sharing it, I hope to show people the benefits of meditation and spiritual work.
      1. I am who I am. I procrastinate. I have pretty bad "down" days. My short-term memory is shot. I can not change these things. Instead of focusing on the bad, I need to focus on the good. I started doing ASMR videos due to the popularity and potential for income - but writing is what comes easily to me. By understanding my character flaws and using my strengths, I can move forward and be successful.
      2. Again, I am a procrastinator. The Cheetah is to teach me to stop putting things off. Whether it is danger or opportunity, I am too slow to reap benefits or avoid consequences.
      3. I am not physically fit. I have several food allergies that I keep eating, and I don't exercise. The only other time I weighed what I do now is when I was pregnant. I feel miserable, but don't know how to start. I lack motivation. Motivated or not, I must work towards the physical prowess of the Cheetah.
      4. I am solitary. I am quite the hermit. I find, that for me, it is better if I am alone. My husband, daughter, mom, and dad are my friends. For me, that is fine. Not so much now, but in the past, I felt the need to be more outgoing. I would have to drink or drug to feel like I fit in, but that just made me annoying. I have learned to accept my isolation. Being alone doesn't have to mean you are lonely. Like the Cheetah, I must accept who I am and stop trying to be the person I think I should be.
      5. I am not focused. I do waste time and "hem-haw" around. Right now, I have a novella I am writing, I want to continue growing this blog, and I want to do better at keeping the house clean and the yard looking nice. I do have some physical limitations, but a lot of it is just flat out not feeling like doing it. I wake up, I say, "I will work on my book today" or "I will get two blogs out today" or "I am going to vacuum the floors and all the furniture today". First thing I do is jump on my computer and play a few games "to wake up". Next thing I know, I don't feel like doing anything. Like the Cheetah, I need to stay focused and not waste time. My intuition might be prompting me to do something that will be successful that day but not a week later. My intuition might be prompting me to do something that avoids a financial setback or a health setback, but by the time I get around to doing it, it is too late. 
      6. Through hard work and perseverance, the Cheetah achieves its goals. I don't. I am easily discouraged, and if I don't see immediate rewards, I give up. My success isn't measured by the number of comments I get on my blogs or the number of shares and likes I get on social media. The reward is in sight, and I must keep working to get it. I see what's mine, and I take it.

      Today, I awoke renewed in hope and determination. I can't escape by playing video games. I need to be in my life...in my feelings...in my work. My blog needs to be a reflection of me, not filled with stuff that I write because the topics are popular. I have my attitudes, interest, and beliefs for a reason. To be successful, like the Cheetah, I must live my truth. 

      My book needs to be finished. I can't keep putting it off. If I do, then by the time it is ready, my opportunity for success may have passed. My intuition gives me ideas and answers that need to be addressed right then. Like the Cheetah, I trust that my intuition is correct and timely for success. I must listen to it and not shove it to the side for later.

      Do you use totem animals to help you find inspiration and guidance in life? Let us know your experiences in the comments!


      photo credit: Cloudtail the Snow Leopard <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57256462@N07/25483397348">Young cheetah on a log</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

      Saturday, February 10, 2018

      👻Ouija Board-True Mysteries #3👾

      I am hard-pressed to think of any occult symbolism as well-known as the Ouija Board. For decades, people have tried to explain it, people have tried to ban it, and people have uttered tales of fear and horror of it to their friends and family.

      As a teenager, I had a friend who had the Parker Brothers game version of the Ouija Board. It was absolutely terrifying which made it so fun to play. 

      What are the mechanics behind it?

      How Does It Work?

      The most accepted answer is that the people playing it are subconsciously pushing it. It is known as the ideomotor effect. When people are asked, "Are you pushing it?", they truthfully answer, "NO!". "Oh My God, it is moving by itself!!" Of course, we assume it is, because our conscious self is not the one pushing it. 

      The people playing it really believe they are not pushing it, but everyone is actually pushing it. This is the reason why teenagers looking to scare themselves always get tales of murder and mayhem. People seeking to know the future receive answers about loves to come and paths to take. Ones that are hoping to talk to loved ones past are greeted with words and answers that only the deceased could know.

      Real, Useful, Evil?

      Is that truly all there is to it? The instructions on how to safely use any spirit board are numerous and are put out there by people who really think this stuff is real. You can find almost an equal number of sites saying it is real, and it is evil and demonic. These people usually believe that you are pushing it subconsciously, but spirits are acting on your subconscious to make you push it where they want it to go. One rule that spirit "professionals" have - always play with three or more people. The one asking the questions is not one of the ones running the planchette. That way, you reduce the attachment to the answers of the people pushing it. 

      Honestly, I usually believe it is a bunch of "hocus pocus", and you get the answers you are looking for.

      Or is it?

      My Story

      On the night of a friend's slumber party, we decided to break out the Ouija Board. It was stored in one of those entertainment cabinets with the other board games. You know, one of those 1970s monstrosities that housed stereos, records, TVs, and whatever else passed as entertainment in the days before the internet. 

      We all had nervous giggles as we took it out of the box and placed it on the hardwood floor. Some people refused to play but still wanted to watch, while some of us were bickering over who got to run the planchette first. I don't think we called it "planchette", but my memories fail me. Maybe you, dear reader, can put in the comments what your teenage self called it. 

      Anyways, we settled in and started the game.

      As it is for most young people, the board did not disappoint. We were entertained with tales of murder and trapped spirits. We talked to a little boy who fearfully showed us that "Ouija" was coming, and he had to leave. We got a prank phone call (which was common with children and teens of the 80s and early 90s) and was convinced it was an entity of the spirit realm reaching out to haunt us. 

      At one point, in fear, we screamed and pushed the planchette off the board and ran from the room. 

      We then laughed as we made a few prank phone calls ourselves and ate a few slices of pizza. When we returned to the room, the planchette was set on the board, ready for more play. 

      We all swore we didn't put it there. We all agreed that none of us could have put it there as we were all together in the other room. We were freaked out and fearful, and hurriedly put the spirits back into the box, and back into the entertainment center where they could bother us no more, but over the years, we would tell and re-tell the story of when the Ouija Board set itself up for another session. 

      Do you think someone actually went back in, unnoticed, and set the board up? Do you believe it was an omen from beyond the veil? Do you have any frightful stories of personal Ouija Board sessions?

      Share with us in the comment section!

      Photo credit: Christopher A Mills Photography <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/115098184@N05/38047906196">Ghost of Haynesville Woods</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

      👪My Grandmother's Poetry Part 2✍️

      My grandmother (Tattan) had a strong faith and a strong belief in family ties. She was often depressed and anxious. Poetry was an escape for her - a way to get her thoughts out.

      Her poetry was often scribbled on little pieces of whatever paper was nearby. At one point, she did write most of them down in a book, but those pieces of paper were still shoved in its pages. Some have dates and titles, some do not.

      With permission, I am sharing her verses of hope, pain, love, and God. This is number 1 of the series.

      I hope you enjoy!

      A picture of her beloved Oklahoma

      Some “Better”, Some “Worse” In Rhyme and Verse  

      Mystery of Life Grows Deeper 
      When I was young, oh so very young,  
      my life had been lived, and my song was sung. 
      So I wed a good man because I thought why not,  
      though my dreams are gone, my life is not. 

      Then I born a child so sweet and fair, 
      with soft brown eyes and golden hair. 
      She was my pride, she was my joy, 
      and I had a reason for living! 

      Oh, we loved her so and we saw her mature. 
      Of her sweet love, we were very sure. 
      She was sweet and mild such a pleasant child, 
      she was our reason for living! 

      Then she left and went away, 
      and returned again with us to stay. 
      She was with child, our darling girl, 
      and our hearts and our home we were glad to unfurl! 

      Then she born a child so sweet and fair, 
      with soft brown eyes and golden hair. 
      He was our pride he was our joy, 
      we had another reason for living! 

      Now they’re both gone to another home, 
      just you and I, aren’t we so alone? 
      All our love for them, she doesn’t want to share, 
      and our broken hearts, she doesn’t seem to care. 

      Where are our beautiful children? 

      My Prayer 
      Our father, which art in heaven hallowed be Thy name. 
      Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

      Don’t hide thy face from me, oh Lord, 
      Help me in my pain, 
      And if it’s Thy will that this should be, 
      Don’t let it be in vain. 

      Lead me, Lord, guide my way, I’m lost and all alone. 
      Take my hand and lead me Lord to the light that’s always shown 
      For those who lose their way upon the sea of life. 
      O Savior guide me home. 

      Bless those we love and guide them too, don’t let them lose their way. 
      Let them feel our love and understand, 
      Oh Lord help us all I pray. 

      Forgive me, Father, I’m not worthy to call upon Thy name, 
      But for mercy mild upon Thy lost child, 
      I pray You love me just the same. 

      Forgive me Lord, and thank you, for all that You gave, 
      Don’t leave me, now I’m so afraidYour love our souls please save. 

      My Prayer 
      If I could have everything, and not share, I would have nothing, and my soul would die in the darkness, where no sunshine from the Loved One’s appreciation would flourish it to grow. 
      God grant that I may never become a selfish, hollow person of wealth, for worldly things are but the trappings of hell.  
      He is far wealthier that giveth all he has for the love of humanity, to ease the pains and sufferings of others, for wherein lies the healing power of the soul. 

      Mansion of My Heart 
      In this mansion of my heart, there’s many souls who dwell. 
      Precious ones whom in my life I’ve grown to love so well. 

      There’s my precious loving mama who suffered so to give me birth,  
      All the love I have to give her another equal her worth. 

      There’s my precious loving daddy who slaved to give me life,  
      He’s worked so hard and oh so long, Lord let me love him and never cause him strife. 

      My beloved parents helped me build this mansion grand,  
      And taught me not to build it on shifting drifting sand.  

      But on a firm foundation of love and faith and trust,  
      So this mansion of mine will never crumble to ruins and dust. 

      Each loved one has their special room, their memories do abide, 
      And no matter where they ever roam, they are always here, inside. 

      There are brothers and sisters and childhood scenes, 
      Mates, children, relatives, and dreams. 

      My husband, my daughter, her mate and children, too, 
       Old friends and new ones - There’s room for you, too! 

      photo credit: kenrem <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/134699689@N08/37291009334">Autumn Arrives</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>