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Has Life Left You Hardened Or Tempered?

25 Aug
Blast furnaces of Třinec Iron and Steel Works.

Blast furnaces of Třinec Iron and Steel Works. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would like to ask you all to indulge me in the following analogy.  I am by no means intimately familiar with metalworking, so if I make factual mistakes while making my analogy, I claim creative license.

When steel is worked, it goes through several processes. First, it’s placed in the furnace, and the heat of the fire softens the steel, allowing it to be shaped, or ‘worked’, after which it is plunged into water or oil.  At this point, the steel is ‘hardened’, but it isn’t strong;  carbon trapped inside the now crystallized part of the steel  causes it to be brittle.  If the steel were left in this state, a hard blow could cause it to break or shatter.  To prevent this, the steel is then submitted to a process called ‘tempering‘, by which it is again heated, but to a lower temperature, until the carbon has had time to diffuse out of the crystallized parts of the steel, and allowed to cool slowly until it reaches the desired ‘temper point’, and only then is it plunged into the water or oil, to stop the tempering process at the desired point.  If this process is done properly, you are left with a piece of steel which has most of the strength of hardened steel, but much less susceptible to breakage.

The troubles we face in our lives are much like this process.  Our hard times are the furnaces in which we are forged.  Continue reading

Bruised But Not Broken – A Survivor’s Tale

18 Aug
child abuse

child abuse (Photo credit: Southworth Sailor)

I am a survivor.

Bruised and scarred, but not broken, even though there are moments in which I feel I am.  I have survived abuse, in one form or another, since I was seven years old.  One abuser is dead (and burning in Hell, if there is a just god), another is still alive, in my life, and loved very much, because I am old enough now to understand.  I don’t have to approve of a thing to understand the motivation behind it.  I have forgiven, and life has moved on to happier, healthier times, because they have found it in themselves to change.  Another abuser is still alive (I assume) but completely out of my life, and although I haven’t been able to completely forgive, I’ve shed most of my anger and feel mostly pity and sorrow.  I count that as a win, too.

I am here to tell anyone who will listen or who needs to hear, that there IS life after abuse.  No, the memories will never go away.  The nasty little voice in your head will never be completely silenced, but there is life, and it can be a very, very good life. Continue reading

Hoping They Hear Me

17 Aug
English: Fragment of the USSR greeting card wi...

English: Fragment of the USSR greeting card with calendar and assistant postal markings advertising zip-code writing, 1962 Русский: Фрагмент поздравительной открытки СССР с календарным и дополнительным почтовым штемпелем, призывающим указывать почтовый индекс, 1962 год (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight I did something I haven’t done in a very long time, and something I’d never done before.

I read a blog post here about how nice it is to get a handwritten note or letter in the mail, and I decided that I would do the same.  I pulled out my dusty stationary and began writing a note to my mom.  It’s been a very long time since I wrote a letter to be put in the mail and sent off, even longer since I wrote one by hand that wasn’t written on the inner flap of a greeting card.

After I finished the letter to my mom, I didn’t want to stop, so I decided I would write another letter, this one to my nephew.  He’s almost 16, and his home life is pretty rough right now, and I had intended to just write him a little note telling him that I loved him and stuff, but it turned into a lot more.  I wrote to him about how soon he would be a man, and how important it was to know just what kind of man he wanted to become.  I told him to respect himself, and to respect women, even when they don’t respect themselves.  I asked him to be kind, I told him that there was always time for one more hug, and that no one ever regretted not being a worse person in life.  I told him that I loved him, and that I would be there for him if he ever needed me, and that the hard times will pass, even though they may not seem like it right now. Continue reading

Pity The Sun (A ‘Be Kind To Yourself’ Comment Rebuttal)

13 Aug
Moon

Moon (Photo credit: shahbasharat)

I could not let this pass quietly in the comments.

My dear friend… you may not be able to see your worth, but please, allow me to share with you how the rest of us see you.

The following comment was made in response to this post, I generally don’t publicize people’s comments this way, but I didn’t want to let my response fall quietly by the wayside.  My friend does not quietly offer support to others, she does so boldly and so I boldly do the same.  Even though she’ll hate it, lol.  I’m sure we all know several people who feel less than enthusiastic about themselves.  Many of us feel this same way about ourselves, too.  I’d like to offer my response to this comment as something we should remind each other of whenever we are being down on ourselves.  Continue reading

The Artist’s Ego – The Disaster of Indifference

29 Jul
Bellagio Artist

Bellagio Artist (Photo credit: metamerist)

The only artists who truly care what no one thinks about their art, whether anyone likes their work, or creates their art  truly for themselves alone, does so in secret.  They do not post pictures of their art, they do not hold showings in galleries, and they do not write down nor record their lyrics or music.  I, on the other hand, do care what others think of my work.  I care if they like it, and I do it for others as much as I do it for myself.  Otherwise, I’d simply delete my photos or toss my drawings in the trash the moment they were done.  I want praise, I want accolades, I want to wallow in the admiration of others for my creation.

Much like a mother preens at compliments about her children, so the artist preens at compliments about their work.

Is it shameful to admit that I seek approval and admiration for my work?  That I seek validation outside myself that what I have created is worth something?  I don’t believe so, but many do.  Perhaps it’s to protect their admittedly (or not) fragile egos from the sometimes harsh criticisms?  If they say they don’t care long and loud enough, perhaps one day it might be true? Continue reading

Fear and Faith – A Struggle Between Religion and Psychic Ability

29 Jul
English: A Christo-Pagan symbol called "P...

English: A Christo-Pagan symbol called “Pentacrossagram”. Which is a Christian Cross within or mounted on a Pagan Pentagram. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of you have figured out from reading my various posts that I was raised in a Christian household, with Christian values and beliefs.  You’ve also figured out that I am no longer a ‘practicing’ Christian, but that many of the beliefs and values I was raised with are still a part of me.  This brings me to a dilemma that I have faced my entire life.

I’ve always felt that I had something… extra.  That I had a gift, or something special, beyond the ordinary; something I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on within the scope of the religion in which I was raised.  Until recently, I didn’t know that some of the things that were just natural for me just weren’t normal for everyone else, or if anything did pop out as being ‘different’, there was always something else to attribute it to, such as keen observation (never mind the fact that I am often lost in my own world) or a simple lucky guess.  I had to attribute these phenomena to something ‘normal’ and explainable, because to do so was to invite thoughts that were not allowed by the religion in which I was raised.

‘Psychic’ abilities are considered of the devil, witchcraft, and to entertain such thoughts is to endanger your soul.  Mind you, I was raised (regardless of the ‘label’ on the front of the church) Pentecostal, where such ‘gifts’ of the Spirit like speaking in tongues, the gift of discernment and the gift of prophesy are accepted, but only in the context of the church.  In other words, you could stand up in the service and begin speaking in a language that sounds like gibberish to the rest of the congregation, know things with no explanation for knowing them, or you could stand and make a prediction that relates to God, the church, or even the world, and people would smile, nod, and say ‘Praise the Lord’.  It was accepted, and even encouraged, but to have these things happen in regard to things not of the church, well, that was witchcraft.  That person had been led astray by the ‘world’ and needed prayer to find their way back to God.

I never understood this.  Why would God give Christians gifts which would or could only be used in, or in relation to, the place of worship?  If I was given the ability to make prophesy inside the four walls of a building, would that ‘gift’ suddenly disappear when I stepped out the door?  Or what about the gift of discernment?  This website says the following in regard to these gifts:

PROPHESY: A prophecy consists of divinely inspired words or writings, which a
person receives through revelation from the Holy Ghost. The testimony of
Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
A prophecy may pertain to the past, present, or future. When a person
prophesies, he speaks or writes that which God wants him to know, for
his own good or the good of others. Individuals may receive prophecy or
revelation for their own lives.

DISCERNMENT: To understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The
gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It includes
perceiving the true character of people and the source and meaning of
spiritual manifestations.

To me, that sounds like being psychic, in all of the ‘worldly’ sense of the word.  Why do religions feel like everything unexplainable that happens in regards to themselves to be either a miracle or gift directly from God, but yet that same thing occurring outside the scope of their benefit, is of the devil, or witchcraft?  I couldn’t tell you how many times ‘psychics’ were likened to both while I was growing up. Continue reading

I’d Rather Clean-Up Than Work-Out

12 Jun
Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I’ve been playing around more on that site I found, and I’ve decided that they have one feature that I really like.  The ‘Add Activity’ log.  I said before that I don’t exercise.  I don’t like to, I have no one to help alleviate the boredom, and I usually don’t like to be bothered to do anything that requires me to put on shoes except shopping.

The ‘Activity Log’ benefits me two-fold.  Firstly, it’s like a game, because I wrack my brain trying to come up with something to add on there to subtract a few calories, secondly, those things I come up with usually involve activities like housework.  So, I’m getting up off my butt, and at the same time finding a reason to do some cleaning!  In the last two days, I’ve vacuumed upstairs and down, done about five loads of laundry (including putting it away!), made the bed, and washed my dishes by hand, all because I wanted to add stuff to my log.  I considered going out and raking the yard a little bit, but that’s going a little bit overboard, methinks. Continue reading

Moderation – Forget the Key, I Can’t Even Find the Door

11 Jun
my old analog food scale & new digital food scale

my old analog food scale & new digital food scale (Photo credit: Newbirth35)

Who knew that trying to eat healthy was so damn hard?  I mean, forget the ‘trying to lose weight‘ thing… I’m just talking about tracking what you eat in general.  Weighing out food, searching nutrition labels and ingredients like Nicholas Cage looking for the National Treasure- it’s pretty ridiculous.  Now I remember why I don’t like to go on diets.

I know I said I wasn’t going to go overboard with this losing weight thing, but I got sucked into this site through an app on my phone, because I went looking for the calorie count in something I’d eaten.  All I really wanted was to keep track of my weight, and heaven knows a pencil and notepad just won’t do; I need a fancy app to be able to admire my weight change wherever I happen to be.

The problem is that the fancy apps come with other fancy little features that are just too enticing to ignore- like telling you how many calories you need to consume (or not) to lose weight at a steady, healthy pace.  That’s good information to know, right?  However, knowing that, I then need to know how many calories I’m consuming, to make sure I’m staying below that magic number.  That’s where it sucks you in.  Suddenly, I find myself weighing, calculating, calorie-counting and obsessing. Continue reading

Finally Ready to Stop Whining and Do Something

5 Jun

There’s no one in this world who criticizes and hates on me as much as I do, no troll in the blogosphere that could be meaner, nastier, or ruder to me than I am to myself.

Why?  What have I done to me?  What heinous crime did I commit against myself to deserve such maliciousness?  To tell you the truth, I really don’t know.  It must have been awful, because there’s not another person in the world that I would say these things to with the level of venomous, unmitigated malice that I say them with to myself.

Should I blame the media?  If all of their skinny models and airbrushed centerfolds are the source of my malcontent, why do I not despise everyone larger than a size 4?  Why do I not feel the same loathing toward the chubby checkout girl at Target?  Why did I just make the effort to be nice and say ‘chubby’ instead of ‘fat’ to spare the feelings of an imaginary person, when I call myself names that make ‘fat’ seem polite ? Continue reading

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