Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Be Empowered

What do you do when people try to break your spirit? For example, if you're overweight and you're working on losing the weight by eating healthy and exercising. Someone makes fun of you, for the fat that's jiggling, as you try your best to run down the road. Or, another example, you're a high school dropout, but you're back in school, working towards your GED because you would really like to make something of yourself. People, you know, make remarks about how you'll never make it because you're a loser.

Do you ignore them or believe there is something wrong with you and become embarrassed? Don't EVER be ashamed or embarrassed that you are taking care of your body and mind or are doing something to better your life. Protect your mind from those who wish to poison it. Why would they do that? Here's a little secret: their mind is already poisoned. Some people are hateful/rude/mean because they're jealous or miserable with their own lives. Those tend to be the main reasons behind it.

Don't give people the power to break your spirit. Only you control whether they have that power. You are in control. Believe you are in control. Assert your power over your mind, body, and your life.

On that thought, if you don't have something nice to say, you shouldn't say it. Not only that, fix your life and stop blaming others for the reason you are in your situation. You need to be able to depend on yourself. If someone is unable to help you in your time of need, find another way. It doesn't mean that they're not your friend. It doesn't mean they've stopped caring. Some people are barely able to help themselves. How can they help you if they're struggling? Don't spout garbage stating that you know who your "true" friends are because someone stepped up to help you in your time of need. Some people simply can't. Don't make someone feel bad because they can't help you. Learn to help yourself. Everyone is in a different situation. Don't dismiss their friendship because you needed something, yet they couldn't help. That's disrespectful and makes it seem like you only cherish your friendships based on what your friends can do for you. That's not a friendship.

You know, I have had a couple of encounters the past few days with people who do not agree with certain facts. Instead of arguing with them, even though I know that I'm correct, I bowed out and walked away from the conversation. I have no need for the arguments or the headache it gives me from banging my head against a brick wall of blatant ignorance. Believe what you wish, but it doesn't change scientific evidence or other supporting facts. Sure, it confuses me, but I'm not going to allow it to make me angry. I refuse to argue with people who choose to dispute solid evidence. It's my choice to ignore them. AND - it's an excellent choice!

My point? Ignore these people. Walk away from the arguments. It's not worth the stress or hassle. It takes time off of your life. Be empowered and take control. If you can walk away from an argument or a fight - that takes power. When you lose it on someone, they win. They win every single time. Wouldn't you rather be in control? What's stopping you? Take control. Protect your mind from the hate. Be kind. Don't associate with people who feed off of the poison. They just want to bring out the worst in everything they touch. Forget them and be the powerful you that you know you can be.

Be an inspiration for others and associate with those who bring out the best in you. I've always been told to hang out with a like-minded crowd. That's exactly what I've been doing. My friends, old and new, are amazing people. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything in the world. They inspire me to be better and to be kind. My children do too. They are my biggest inspiration yet.

Clean your mind of the garbage cluttering it. Protect it from negativity. Sure, we all have bad days or days when we feel down, but overall it shouldn't be like that. Be loving, kind, understanding, and forgiving. There isn't a single perfect person on this planet. Take control. Be empowered in all that you do.

Thanks for reading!

~ Penelope ~

I posted the picture below a while ago on Instagram, but I love the message.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Omega 8006 Juicer

Omega 8006 JuicerI finally bought a juicer. I purchased the Omega 8006 Juicer. I've been planning this for a while, but never really took the plunge. I picked this one up from Bed Bath & Beyond. It was $299.00 before a 20% in-store coupon. I saved $60.00. I'm extremely pleased with my purchase because I rarely manage to snag coupons. However, you can get it for much less on Amazon without the coupon!! You can find the link at the end after you've taken a moment and checked out my awesome review of this amazing masticating juicer!

Organic gala apples

I pulled it out this morning, read the instructions, washed the parts, and put it together. It took a couple of minutes to assemble. There wasn't anything difficult about the assembly process. The instructions are extremely specific with pictures. You can do it. I believe in you.

I moved on to peeling and slicing up some organic gala apples for juicing. I rinsed them before I juiced them. I chose apples for my first experiment because I figured that the apples would be easy to start with. I cut them into eighths, slicing out the core of four apples. I wasn't concerned with the little bruises here and there. The apples were about to be crushed to oblivion anyway.









I placed the slices into the feed chute and used the plunger to push them into the drum. The auger spun and crushed the apple slices without any issues. I found that by slicing them into eighths, they easily fit into the chute. I read some reviews by other people stating they had issues getting the vegetables or fruit down the chute, but if you slice them into manageable pieces, then you won't have any problems. It's simply common sense.



The pulp coming out of the juicer was not completely dry or even close to being dry. It was definitely more than slightly damp. Maybe I could have put the pulp back through to see if it could be juiced anymore, but I'll have to try that next time.








Even the juice that came out was filled with lots of pulp and foam. I used the sieve to strain it. I am not as bothered by the pulp as I am the foam. I don't like foam. Either way, there was a lot of pulp in the juice.









Well, I'm extremely excited and in love with this juicer. It's not tall at all. It fits underneath the counters. It took about 10 minutes to clean. I washed the parts in warm soapy water. It states that you can put it in the dishwasher, but I'm not putting it in the dishwasher. The juice that came out was sweet, but definitely not as sugary as commercial juices. They claim to not contain any sugar, but they do. Furthermore, they don't taste nearly as good as the juice I made this morning. They're not nearly as healthy either.

Here's that link I promised you:



Now, the fun starts. I've made a list and I'm ready to explore the adventures of juicing. I've been feeling kind of sluggish lately, so I think this is just the thing to kick-start and flush my system of toxins. Thanks for reading!




Do you have any recipes that you would like to share?


Happy Juicing!




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get to the Polls: Vote Florida

I, like many others, will be casting my vote in the Florida General Election today. I hope that you're going to get out and vote today. I want to add a few thoughts of mine. I'm not a fan of politicians for the simple fact that the majority of them don't actually care about the residents of this country. They're completely self-absorbed running after their personal agendas. Notice, I didn't say *all* of them. I said the *majority* of them.

It completely sickens me that the people behind these campaigns, including the candidates, choose to spend millions of dollars on ads that attack and tarnish the images of their opponent in an effort to gain more votes. The commercials are repulsive. Instead of putting that money towards something useful, they waste it trying to deceive the residents of Florida(and our nation).

Many politicians are gravely misinformed when it comes to climate change. This is something that irks me more than you would believe. How can ANY of you deny climate change? Have you seen the news about California lately? Have you seen the news about the polar ice melting or the rising temperatures in the sea? Do you deny the findings of accredited scientists? It floors me me that politicians are in denial. Either they're really that stupid (yes, you read that correctly - stupid) or they're pretending for the all-mighty buck. Your ignorance irritates me, but that's OK, I'll just keep moving forward.

It is baffling how some politicians are voted into office in the first place. I watched a show the other day portraying a list of candidates from around the nation. Not only were these candidates complete imbeciles, but their chances of being placed into office were extremely high. I don't have time to go over that list because I really want to get this out before I leave to go cast my vote.

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of transparency. Large corporations funnel money into each party to buy their cooperation. Let's face it, that's what they're doing. Familiar with King Ranch, Texas?? That's just one example of what our dirty, rotten politicians and large corporations try to keep  from the public. What's even funnier is that EVERYONE knows the truth! You're not fooling anyone. Keep thinking that you are, but we see right through your lies. Well, at least most of us do. Any of you who don't, really need to examine the facts.

This election is a struggle (for me) because neither of the two front-runners will be any good for our state. Rick Scott is an awful choice. If you haven't a clue as to what I'm talking about - Google is your friend. Look him up. Charlie Crist isn't a good choice either. They're both liars, except Rick Scott is worse. Again, look it up. I don't have the time to explain everything I spent hours scrutinizing. Adrian Wyllie is a much better alternative. I agree with the majority of the issues he is behind. I don't agree with everything, such as repealing common core. I don't see anything wrong with it, then again, my brain is wired differently than most. It encourages children to think critically. Critical thinking is a necessary and important skill for everyone, not just children. Moving on, there's also Farid Khavari and Glenn Burkett.

Obviously, there are others up for election/re-election. I'm not going to say anything on them either, except that Pam Bondi has to go. Do NOT vote for this woman! Why anyone would vote to keep her in office is beyond me!

The part of the election that is bothering me is that I don't want Crist OR Scott to win. I can't stand either of them. It kills me that I might have to vote for Crist to push Scott out of office. The election is so close in numbers though. A friend of mine stated that nobody is going to get what they want from this election. I agree with her, but it's sad that people don't educate themselves enough to see the other potential candidates that are right in front of them. Adrian Wyllie is a good solid candidate, even though I don't agree with everything he supports. Wyllie is who I want to give my vote, but I'm stuck because I don't want Scott in office for another term. Wyllie isn't going to win this time around. It's unfortunate that Crist and Scott are winning the majority of the votes. Neither of them deserve to be the governor of Florida.

One thing I do not agree with is that if you vote for a third-party candidate, then it is a wasted vote. Any vote is not a wasted vote. Do not let others bully you into believing that you have to vote for one of the two in the lead. It is your decision and yours alone. Educate yourself about the different candidates before you decide to vote. Don't base your decision on whether you "like" someone you have probably never met. SN: I met Wyllie last year at a function, unaware of who he was at the time. Base your decision on the facts and their past actions. Don't rely on your friends/family because most them have been misled.

Personally, I'll bite the bullet to push Rick Scott out. Then, if Adrian Wyllie plans on continuing, I'll gear up and volunteer to help out. We need better politicians that recognize that their job is to work in the best interest of the people and NOT in lining their wallet or going on extravagant trips. Your job is to serve the public. The majority of politicians seem to forget or overlook this very important fact. It's time that we, the public, start reminding them.

Now, I'm going to mull over the numbers once more and head out the door.

Thanks for reading!!!

~ Crystal ~







Thursday, October 23, 2014

Be Open

Human emotions are unable to be switched on and off, like a light. We become lost in them, trying to find our way through what seems like a dense forest. We can't see things from other's perspectives because we are not open to new ideas, opinions or options (for anything). We firmly cement ourselves in what we believe to be true, unable to twist and flow like the water in an ever-changing river. Most often, we have to be thoroughly convinced in order to even change in the slightest. However, that does not always ring true. For some, they never change. It doesn't have to be that way. 

Learn to find yourself and exist in the present moment. Leave the past behind - focusing only on today - for a brand new tomorrow. Change and sharpen the focus of your thoughts. Your life will be transformed. The first step is to be open to new perceptions, because unless you do that, everything will remain the same. Break down those walls of ignorance. Be open.. Even cement can be broken... Become like the water..

I always say that it starts with you. Gandhi had similar advice:

- "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves."
- "You must be the change you want to see in the world."
~Mahatma Gandhi~

I know that I wrote something shorter than this on my author page (Penelope Winthrop) several months back, but I wanted to expand on those thoughts because I had previously written it in haste. It was incomplete. Of course, knowing me, I'll just think of more things to add to it. Thanks for reading!!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~ 



Double Standards

There I was the other day, finishing a Halloween story/play for my aunt, thinking about my travel blog post, when it hit me that I wanted to talk about hypocrites and people with double standards. You know those people, the ones with the attitude of, "do as I say, not as I do" - the ones who drive you insane and deny their behavior when you call them out. Oh yeah, everyone knows someone like that. So, here I am!

I read an article the other day, which you can find here, about Kevin D. Williamson, who posted on Twitter that all women who have had abortions should be hanged. When confronted with the question pertaining to whether his wife should be hanged for needing to have an abortion due to life-threatening circumstances; he ignored the question - multiple times. Therefore you can only assume that giving women the death penalty, albeit by public hanging or another manner, only applies to those outside of his private circle. What kind of hypocritical, double-standard is that? Typically, hypocrites have values or beliefs that they do not actually believe in, they just present themselves that way. Hypocrites tend to also have double standards because they can do it, but nobody else can, just them or others like them.

He's not the only one with double standards. Social media is the driving force behind our societal expectations of "typical" behavior. These expectations are obviously subjective and dependent upon our exposure. Society tends to mirror what is seen on television, billboards, pictures, articles/books read, etc. These become the standards of which everyday expressions and behaviors are based upon. Let's explore some of these:

- Men can sleep around, but women can't - Some men believe that it's fine for them to sleep around, even with women who are friends or acquaintances, yet it's forbidden and deplorable for women to behave in the same manner. I wasn't aware that any woman needed your permission to sleep with you, your friends/brothers, etc. Men don't ask for permission, so women most certainly do not need a man's permission either. It also doesn't matter if you've briefly dated them. Men are not studs if they sleep around and women are not sluts. In addition, I want to point something out about this sort of behavior. Many individuals that engage in promiscuity most often have attachment issues, depression, anxiety; amongst other issues that they choose not to confront. This doesn't apply to every situation, but it is applicable to many. There is no way of knowing why someone is promiscuous, unless you have access to a record of their sexual behavior and mental health.

- It's OK for men to have more than one partner - Society (not just men, women too!) believes that it's  typical, normal, and even expected, for men to date and have sexual relations with more than one person at a time. It's absolutely unacceptable for women to do the same. I have an acquaintance who believes it's absolutely FINE for him to date several women at the same time (plus having sexual relations with all of them), however, a woman has to be solely faithful to him. What kind of backwards rubbish is that? If I recall correctly, I smirked and told him that, as a matter-of-fact, women can simultaneously date as many men as they choose - AND - there was nothing he could do about it. Again, many individuals with more than one partner at a time most likely have psychological issues that they are not addressing.

- I can have friends of the opposite sex, but you can't - Significant others or spouses who don't allow their partner to have friends of the opposite sex or even go out with their friends, yet they do whatever they want. That's not only a double-standard, but it's manipulative and controlling. If you don't trust your partner, then you shouldn't be with them.

- Women need to be perfect, men, not so much - Women are held to high standards when it comes to their appearance, yet men are not held at these same ridiculous standards. It's "okay" for men to be overweight, but women are judged harshly when it comes to their weight. Why are women judged like this? Are we supposed to be perfect? The standards society sets are not realistic or healthy for young girls growing into teenagers and young women. It's not healthy for older women either. Women and men should be encouraged to lead healthy lives, not based on some superficial standard.

- Abuse - If a male places his hands on a female, he's sure to end up in jail. If a female places her hands on a male, then most of the time, nothing happens. It's a slap on the wrist. Unless you are in danger, you should never place your hands on another person with the intention of harming them. It's disrespectful and shows that you can't control yourself. There are better ways to handle a situation when you feel angry with someone. There is a big difference between what you are capable of doing and what you actually do. You may be capable of physically hurting someone, but it doesn't mean that you should.

- Men are weak if they show emotion - This double standard pertains to the idea that men shouldn't be sensitive or cry. Apparently, only women are supposed to be sensitive. If a male cries, then he is seen as a sissy, weak, or a coward. It's an absolutely ridiculous and archaic notion. Males are allowed to be emotional and express their feelings - even if that means crying.

- The wife must keep everything neat and orderly - The wife (or female partner) is expected to run the household, completing all the chores, cooking every day, etc., in addition to holding a full-time job and/or going to school. Unless you live alone, your other half should be expected to help. Relationships are a partnership. Partners are expected to be there for each other. If you share a household, expect to do chores and cook.

- An opinionated woman is a B**** - I have been called many names over the years because I tend to be opinionated. Of course, I don't take the name-calling seriously because, well, I'm pretty awesome and happy with myself. Seriously, women are seen as hateful or overbearing when they share their views, especially in heated discussions. Why are men seen as assertive in these same situations? Women are allowed to have opinions without being slapped with a condescending label.

These examples are heavily a result of the norms presented by social media to our society. These norms tend to shape our behavior and attitudes towards each other. Obviously, this is only a small portion of examples. I could continue listing various examples of double standards in our society, but I won't discuss them any further.

These attitudes are damaging for any individual involved. It isn't solely gender-specific, as you can see from the few I listed above. The only way to begin to move past these double standards is to identify why some people have these views to begin with. It is essential for the world to grow beyond these views. In the past, I held my own hypocritical double standards, but I abandoned them. Nobody is perfect, especially not me. Life is about learning and growing as a person. I always say that it starts with you. This is no different. It definitely starts with you. Make one small difference in the world at a time. A positive change in you, will have a ripple effect on the world.

Be thoughtful. Be kind. Smile and laugh a lot! Thanks for reading!

Many blessings,
~ Penelope ~

Friday, October 17, 2014

Couples with/without kids and happiness

There's usually a huge debate, between couples with children and those without, about which is happier. I'll admit, it's a little annoying when I have to listen to someone who thinks their life is better than mine or even when parents think their life is better than my friends who do not have children. The entire subject irks me for different reasons. Take it from someone who never wanted children and struggled for many years to find their identity as a result of being a young parent. It's all about perspective and the individual desires of each couple.

(SN: I love my children and would never change a thing. I never wanted any, but I'm happy they're in my life. So, don't develop any ideas that I'm suggesting otherwise. LOVE LOVE my little guys.)

It doesn't necessarily mean that one way of living is better/happier than the other. It's just different. As a parent, I most definitely cannot relate with childless couples or even parents who have more than a couple of children. There's absolutely no way that I would ever want six children. If tons of children make you happy, then that's wonderful. However, I would probably go insane. I love my boys, but I'm looking forward to the day they leave for college. Then, I'll be able to experience what it's like to be an adult without the responsibility of children for extended periods of time. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, but neither are relationships in general. 

Anyone can claim that their way of life is better, but really, it's just different. Perhaps someone is happy with six children and the chaos that is involved. Maybe another couple is happy without children. That's fine too, but it doesn't make either life better. Different things make different individuals happy. Your experiences in life are not necessarily more enriching or fulfilling than mine. Most parents choose to have children, which is the point. They "chose" their path, which is the same as childless parents "choosing" their path. If I choose to color my hair red, but you choose black; then it doesn't mean you will be happier than I will be. I love red and you love black. Choice being the key term. There are always exceptions, but do I really have to spell them out for you? I'm sure you can come up with a few without my assistance.

Another point, being a parent does not necessarily take away from your relationship with your spouse/partner. Relationships are extremely laborious anyway. There are many disparate stresses which affect relationships and cannot really be compared. Parenting is one of those stresses, but so are things like your in-laws, job, money, insecurities, etc. If you are not happy with yourself, then you will not be happy within your relationship. You have to learn to be happy from the inside first. Children nor a spouse can make you truly happy. 

I hope that I've provided a different (more logical) slant on the subject. The next time someone tries to belittle or make you feel as if you're missing something out of life because you do or do not have children, tell them that it's all a matter of what makes you happy. It's that simple. 

Smile, love yourself, and be kind! Thanks for reading! 

Many blessings,
~ Penelope ~

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Solitude

I love being around people, but I really enjoy spending time alone and away from everyone. I know, I know! I DID just state that I enjoy being alone! I can't think if I'm constantly going and don't take the time to reflect. Sometimes we need to take time out for ourselves. It's important for a balanced life. Being alone is a fear that many are not able to conquer. Being alone shouldn't be thought of as negative or frightening. Although, it's seen that way by many people. Most fear being without family, friends, or companionship. While it's normal to fear loneliness, while being alone, learning to enjoy it is extremely beneficial and healthy.

Over the years, I've grown a lot as a person. I've faced many tribulations, which I've conquered head on. I'm not afraid of pain or being alone. I know that I'm a complicated person sometimes, this is a fact. I grew up in the least ideal of situations, this is a fact too. I care and notice more than people realize, just another fact. I've always been extremely observant. I've also always been the person that most people forget about. Of course, I could be imagining that. I'm not sure, maybe it's partially my fault because I tend to fade into the shadows at times. Is it really that odd to want - to need - to take a break from everyone and retreat for a period of solitude? I don't find it to be so peculiar.

Apparently, I don't handle situations in the same manner as the majority of the population. In the past, I would approach something that was bothering me and blow it out of proportion by causing a lot of unnecessary drama. I never actually took the time to reflect over the details. I was also insecure and felt lonely, when really I needed to spend some time working on myself. These days, I prefer to withdraw so I can think about things. I think a LOT! I like to put them into perspective, which I think is much better than being hateful and saying something that I don't really mean. In fact, I enjoy spending time alone on a regular basis.

Honestly, I don't believe I would be the person I am today if I had not taken the time to be alone with my thoughts. It has helped me grow as a person and become more comfortable with myself. I don't feel bad if I go to the movies or a restaurant by myself. If I have to be alone for a week, I welcome it with open arms.

Learning to be at ease with solitude takes time and confidence. However, once you learn to love and understand yourself, you won't feel the constant need to be around others or feel lonely. You'll be able to enjoy your own company, which makes time with loved ones even more enjoyable.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being alone. I'm not saying to overlook your loved ones. Don't forget to spend some time with them too! If you need to take a break from society because it's overwhelming or you're upset, then go for it. Your loved ones may or may not understand, but they usually respect the space you've created.

I'm fine being alone because I love myself and realize that when I am alone, I can listen closely to my thoughts. It allows me to really understand and get to know who I truly am as a person. If this is something that bothers you, then maybe you should simply try it. Learn to create time for solitary walks, meditation, or other hobbies. Step out of your comfort zone. Embrace your time alone. It's extremely freeing and empowering when you become comfortable with it.

As always, thanks for reading!

Many blessings,
~  Penelope ~





Sunday, October 12, 2014

Life's not Fair

Some people will read this and only see negative, but I implore upon you that this isn't a negative post at all. I'm not racist. My family is interracial all the way. The proof is in the genealogical line. As far as religion goes, I'm not religious. I believe that some horrible people manipulate and twist religion to accommodate their specific agendas. It ruins it for others that just want to live in peace. It's unfortunate.

As the years go by, awful crimes, including war crimes, are continuously committed. Most recently, a progressive-claiming society has been on the verge of completely breaking down and strengthening the racial divide, especially between whites and blacks - pretty much ignoring any other ethnicity, which is devastating and ridiculous. If a crime is committed by a white person against a black person, then it receives national news. However, if the crime is reversed or is black on black, black on brown, brown on brown, etc. Then it doesn't warrant very little attention. I wrote a blog post that remains unpublished because I was livid and hurt when I wrote it. It will be deleted once I finish this one. Anger just begets more anger. I'm going to write this one with a different slant because I'm not angry now. I'm saddened by the tragic events that have occurred over the past months.

The crimes committed against the Palestinian people over the years, especially just recently were completely uncalled for and unacceptable. I don't really sympathize with Israel, but it doesn't make me an anti-Semite. In fact, I'm not religious at all, which I've pointed out in the past. I also do not believe the world is fair, but we should be free to try our hand at success and be treated as human beings. It is inhumane to try to control an entire nation because you feel they might soil your image(You really think you're better?? Check again!), because you're paranoid or you believe you have the "right" to control them. In addition, one person is no better than another.

Alas, I care not for your status, religious preference, ethnicity, or anything else. What concerns me? Well, are you a good person? Instead of meeting violence with violence, did notions of letting them live freely and treating them as human beings ever occur to you? Why should they suffer and live like animals because you feel more important or covet more land/power? Why should they suffer because you feel better than them and won't ALLOW them to rebuild? I hope the UK votes for Palestine to become recognized as a state on October 13th. You can read a little more about this, from the perspective of an Israeli here: Palestinian statehood: True friends of Israel will vote yes for the state of Palestine. Simply put, they deserve freedom from the oppression of Israel and a chance at a regular life.

They(Israel and Palestine) have to also recognize each other's existence and work together. This is a two-way street. Turn a new leaf and set the hatred aside for the future. It won't be easy, but everyone deserves the freedom to at least attempt to succeed and be happy. Nothing in life is ever easy. I realize that not everyone agrees with my opinion, so this is all I will say on this matter. I have Jewish and Arabic friends, some even from Israel, Palestine, and surrounding countries. I cherish their friendships and them for who they are as people. They're good people. They don't let their ethnicity or religious preferences define them. We need more people like that in the world.

In my other post, I also touched a little on the history of slavery, but I won't go into the major details in this post. Basically, I listed when slavery started, pointed out that it started in Babylon, with a link to the Code of Hammurabi, which you can still click on and read about the first official record of slavery, along with a timeline listed on HistoryWorld.net. Again, you can click on it and it gives you the world history on slavery. You can also double check the facts by searching online. It's not right that people choose to blame others for problems that had nothing to do with them. You can't blame slavery, from a time when you and your parents were not even alive, for your current problems. Slavery was abolished before the 1900s. So, there's a chance that not even your grandparents were alive either. Blaming someone else for your problems does not solve the current issues at hand.

Oh, and let me point something out: If you believe that blacks are the ONLY ones who are racially profiled, you are very wrong. Yeah, it happens more frequently. Yes, it's wrong, but it's wrong to do that to anyone, not just blacks. Lashing out, in anger or destroying someone else's property, makes you (specifically *anyone* not just blacks) the bad guy. It makes people look at you and say, "See, this is what 'they' do," and you KNOW that I'm right. Let me clarify, I would never say that. I think that sometimes people aren't certain how to handle their emotional reactions to situations and negative reactions come out more often than other ones. It disappoints me when people resort to that type of behavior. It's disappointing because you can be better than that, be better than the people who are pointing their fingers and shaking their heads. You have a choice.

Anyway, my point is that you can't change the past, but you can change your future. You can choose to change your future for the better. Yes, the system sucks when it comes to the way it is set up, but it is possible for you to have better, to be better, to do great things to leave behind for your children and future generations to come. Then, they'll say, "look at that person, see what they did? It's amazing what they accomplished." Wouldn't you rather be that person instead?

I'm sure, I've mentioned this before, but I grew up poor, dirt freaking poor. My house had holes in the roof and the walls. My clothes swallowed me or had rips in them. I had no control over that and I was treated like a pariah by my classmates. I was bullied for many years as a child, which was excruciatingly painful to experience. I've also written about bullying in the past. I never actually admitted this, but once in a while, I actually wanted to stab each person who tortured me. I wanted them to hurt because they hurt me. I didn't though. I could have done that, but I chose NOT to resort to doing something so heinous. Inside, I knew I was the better person. I relied on that to get me through my school days. Today, I have my degree, figuring out exactly what I want out of life, and I'm working hard to get there. You have to WORK for the things you want in life! Also, I avoid the horrid people from my past because of the way they treated me. I haven't anything to say to them, so why should I include them in my life? I have made a conscious decision to try my best to be good and kind to others. You should treat others well despite how they treat you. Of course, I'm human and I falter, but I try.

When are we, as a society, going to get to a point where we've had enough of the violence and anger? When will we, as a society, go against this trending direction and work for the betterment of our future? When are we going to start planting the seeds of kindness for the future of our children? Where are your morals and ethics? When will you start being accountable for your actions? When will you realize that you can't sit back and expect things to change? When are YOU going to come to the realization that we have to work together and treat others the way they should be treated - with respect. Do you really enjoy fighting and being hateful to others? How does that make you feel deep inside? Let me tell you, when I've hurt someone, it makes me feel pretty bad. Staying angry and resentful sucks the life out of you. I know! I've been there. Being optimistic and kind to others makes you feel good inside. When you feel good, you're more likely to spread it, resulting in a huge impact on others. We have to work together, but it starts with you. Go forth into the world and make a positive difference. That's what I'm going to do because it starts with me.

If you made it this far, then thanks for reading. I truly appreciate the time you took to read this post. It's something that has been bothering me for some time. I needed to get it out of my head. I'm certain that I didn't touch on everything I wanted to, but I'll have to come back to this post and figure it out later. Again, thanks for reading!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Do it for Yourself...

I've been absent for a while. I've started posts that I haven't completely finished, afraid I might offend someone, but I had an extremely enlightening conversation with a friend of mine last night. We discussed our blogs (amongst other important topics) and came to the conclusion that we hold back because we're afraid of offending others or about what others will think.

We decided that we're just going to write for ourselves from now on and if someone doesn't like it, oh well. It is not our job to please everyone, especially those who will not be pleased with anything we write/say anyway. There will always be people who do not like anything you - EVER - do. That's part of life. We write from the heart, which is the most important thing of all. Sometimes, we lose sight of the fact that we started writing for ourselves. As a result, we become tentative with our writing, sometimes ceasing for long periods of time. We shouldn't do that though. Your feelings belong to you. If you want to write about them and share your perspective with the world, then you shouldn't be afraid to do so.

The same concept should be applied to life. Don't be worried that something you do is going to offend another person if you do not have ill intentions. Live your life to the fullest and be happy. Sure, you'll probably hurt or disappoint someone along the way. Again, that's life.

I haven't been pushing myself lately. I've been a little hesitant and afraid of what lies around the corner, but no more. My writing will be for myself. I'm a little more than halfway finished with the book I've decided will be my first self-published eBook. I accidentally lost a few chapters the other day. Oops.. I have backups also, but they weren't saving either. Technical malfunction. I guess that I need to make a 4th backup. Either way, I should have finished it by this point. I've just been a little nervous that my story isn't going to be interesting or liked by others. I'll never know if I sit around, taking my time because I'm afraid to finish it, right? Right!

Have faith in yourself. Believe in yourself so hard that it gives you that shove you need to keep going. Don't fear the opinions of others. There are people who love and believe in you, but you have to believe in yourself too.

Write for yourself, believe in yourself, be kind to others, and live your life for yourself.

Short, sweet, simple, and best of all, to the point. Thanks for reading everyone!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~


Monday, July 14, 2014

Look Past the Differences

Life can seem so shallow and selfish, you know? People are shallow - concerned with things like, Lebron James decided to leave the Miami Heat. Who cares? Do you have a stake in what he decides to do? Are you receiving payment to be so invested in his life? No? I didn't think so. Let him do whatever he wants. People hang on to celebrities and athletes like cult followers. It's ridiculous.

Meanwhile, you have people suffering all over the world, including my own country. For example, babies and pets being left to die in vehicles. Parents and pet owners claiming it was accidental, which I will never believe. I mean, you remembered your cell phone - how in the world do you forget the one thing that is most precious to you? Others are starving, jobless and homeless.

There is an enormous amount of suffering throughout the world. Yet, the majority of people turn their heads the other way. Do you believe if you ignore the problem that it will go away? Yes, choosing NOT to read the news article about the baby who died from hyperthermia WILL indeed ease your conscience because you chose not to read it. Out of sight, out of mind is the saying that comes to mind. It doesn't change the fact that it happened though. If you choose not to read the article about the young teenage girl who was raped and beaten by five other teenagers - it will ease your conscience, but it doesn't change the fact that it happened! Stick your head in the sand if that is what you prefer, but if something bad happens to you, it will be your fault for not paying attention.

The leaders of our world tend to stick their heads in the sand too. They brush things off as though they really aren't concerned. In addition, politicians are constantly fighting with each other. They bicker worse than children. Politicians and others in leadership positions should set better examples to the world by promoting peace. As higher powers (i.e. government officials), they should strive to be tolerant of others who are different, instead of trying to push them around to prove a point. Perhaps if more were like this - the world would be a better place. Greed, power, intolerance, and hatred of those we know nothing about in this world are why we have so much fighting. Not a single person is alike, but we should respect them.

Who is affected when more powerful countries decide to knock others around? The families and their children are affected. These are innocent people, who see what is happening and how they are being mistreated. How do you think those children will grow up? They will grow up hating the countries and the people that are bullying them.

Who cares if I don't believe in following a specific religion? Who cares if my friends consist of different religions?? I cherish ALL of them in the same way. I respect ALL of them in the same way. Why must we continue to be hateful to those who are DIFFERENT?? Different religions, races, sexual preferences, and the list goes on.. Why do you hate me if I eat meat?? Why do you hate me if I am pro-choice?? Who taught you to be so hateful? (Not you, specifically you, people all over the world) Even if everyone shared the same views - you will STILL find something to be hateful about. It's not right!

Why do you think you're better than me or anyone else? By the way, you're not better than anyone. Even if you believe something to be true does not make it a fact. Every single one of us bleeds red (after oxygen hits the blood). Every single one of us has feelings and a family. Every single one of us is human. Treat others decently and you will discover so many interesting and nice people in this world. Don't judge a book by its cover. I firmly believe we can all live in harmony if we can get past the differences. Instead of saying it will never happen, start saying it WILL happen. You have to be willing to try. Start focusing on the future and let go of the past.

My heart hurts for people in peril throughout our country and all over the world, so I try my best to be a good person. I try to do my part and help those in need. I try to be a person who sees things from all sides. I don't judge or hate people because they are different from me. I celebrate those differences because this world would be a boring place if everyone were the same.

I encourage everyone to try and open your mind. See things from a different point of view. This world has enough hate in it. Instead of meeting hate with hate, choose to forgive and be the better person. Show compassion for your neighbors and the strangers you meet in the street. Anyone can be aggressive and beat others down. That is the cowardly way. Real power is in how respectful, compassionate, and kind you can be towards those you consider to be your enemies. Real power is not found in fear and aggression. Real leaders teach others to love each other and to not judge.

Also, pride is not a reason for anyone to fight. Sometimes it's best to suck it up and let it go. You will make others proud by being the bigger person and letting the conflict go. Learn to compromise. Pride is an extremely poor reason for the world to have more wars.

It's time for a change. It's time for people to take a stand and make a difference. There is power in numbers. If you have the numbers, then that makes a HUGE difference. Be kind to someone. Be understanding. Put yourself in a stranger's shoes, rather than judging them for being different. We CAN change this world, but it starts with every single one of you.

Thoughts? Comments/Questions? Leave them below!

As always, thanks for reading!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Life is too Short to Complain

First, I want to apologize because I have been busy learning how to code for a project. It has been an adventure teaching myself, but it has taken up a lot of my time. It is, quite admittedly, extremely challenging. I enjoy it. Anyway, I'll be posting the release date for my first book soon. I would like to finish the artwork for it before I actually set the release date. Stay tuned! I will have details available in the next few weeks!

Next, let's move on to what I'm going to touch on in this post - complaining and haughty behavior. I notice people on Facebook complaining about every little thing, such as the following:

I don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend. I don't have any friends. I'm just done with people. People are such haters. People are just jealous of me and what I have. Where are all the good men? I'm so lonely because I don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend. My car is broken down and I'm freaking out. I'm always broke. It seems like there isn't anyone left to date. Parents don't parent their children anymore. Women who have abortions are murderers. Why me? Why this or that.. 

*Sigh* I shake my head when I read a multitude of complaints on a daily basis. It's exhausting. I know - I've been there! I used to complain about everything. I was miserable. It only felt right to complain about how awful I felt.

Negativity attracts negativity. For example, if you shout to the world how miserable you are on a daily basis, then you attract other miserable people. In addition, you share negative energy with everyone you come across. It drains you of your energy. It is difficult to stop being negative once you start, however, only you can pull yourself out of that nasty cycle. Instead of complaining about why you are unhappy, speak positively about what makes you happy. Speaking and thinking positive thoughts can have an excellent impact on your life.

Don't even think about the fact that you are alone or don't have any friends. Stay busy with activities. Put yourself out there and become involved with your community. If you live and push forward instead of remaining still, you WILL meet people. Sure, it may take a while, but eventually it will happen. Be patient and have faith. See the potential of what you can do and go for it.

This part applies to meeting people and keeping friends as well - In the past(my ignorant/angry years), I was very negative and hateful about other people. I didn't like other people, but honestly, I just didn't like myself. I also boasted about everything, when really none of it mattered. I mean, people naturally enjoy showing everyone the things they are proud or happy to have, but then there are the people who talk about others "hating" them because they have so much.

Listen, I promise you that the majority of people could not care less. You are not that important in someone else's life that they need to "hate" on you and your possessions. There is a significant possibility that the problem is your attitude. People simply don't like those who are arrogant. Being humble goes a long way. Kindness and positivity gives you huge plus marks too! People gravitate towards pleasant personalities. Nobody likes a conceited jerk.

People seem to choose to complain about things instead of thinking outside of the box to find resolutions. Take ownership and be responsible for your actions. Are you always broke? Well, examine your spending habits, income level, and if you need to make adjustments or get another job - then do it.

Instead of: "Why me??"
Try: "What can I do?"

You are perfectly capable of doing something about your situation. Stop crying and do something about it. Figure out ways to remedy the situation and achieve your goals! Stop complaining. Having trouble figuring out what makes you happy? Check out my post: What Makes You Happy?

Furthermore, when it comes to the personal lives of other people - mind your own business. Worry about yourself(and your family if you have one). You are entitled to your opinion on things like abortion, but you have no right to push what you think should be done onto others. Or would you prefer they have the child in the woods, choke it out and dump it for someone to find the lifeless infant, that suffered a cruel death at the hands of someone who didn't want them?? Sounds bad, right? Well, it is and people will go to great lengths to get rid of things they really don't want. Unless you're adopting kids left and right, with the means to take care of them, then shut your mouth.

Stop shaming these women who are going through an extremely difficult situation to begin with. You should be ashamed if you are one of the people who make these women feel even worse. Are you going to adopt their baby and give it a good home? No? That's what I thought.

Oh, I have a marvelous idea! Teach others about sexual education and how to protect themselves against STDs and avoid pregnancies! Don't complain about someone wanting an abortion when they were left uneducated about sexual relations. Contraceptives, such as condoms and birth control pills, are excellent resources that should be utilized. Teaching young adults abstinence until they are prepared to be responsible for their actions is also an excellent idea, instead of making the idea seem taboo.

The more you push someone NOT to do something, the more they want to do it. At that point, it's an issue of control and not whether they want to actually do it. Many people want things they are told they can't have. Don't hide it. It's better to talk about the pros and cons of having sex. If they are armed with information and protection, you probably won't end up with a pregnant teenager. Be proactive, not reactive. It's good for everyone.

See, those are my thoughts on the matter, but I'm not going to scream until I am blue in the face trying to convince you otherwise. I have other stuff to focus on and don't have the time to sit in forums arguing with people in defense of my point of view. They're right there for you to read though. In other words, I leave people to live their life as they see fit. You should do the same.

Unless it is affecting your life on a personal level, leave the business of others for them(and nobody else - that means you!) to worry about. It must be extremely exhausting to constantly monitor what other people are doing. How do you focus on your life, if you are zoomed in on someone else's life?

Instead of meddling in the lives of others, focus your energy on living your life in a peaceful, positive manner. Spreading positivity is like throwing fuel on a small fire. It rapidly spreads everywhere. Start a fire of positivity. Smile and be kind to someone. Be kind to yourself! Take up meditation or yoga to find yourself again. Speak constructive thoughts.

I'm going to finish this off with these thoughts. Remember everyone occasionally falters or struggles. The important thing to think about is what you will do when you fall. Will you hide behind a wall of complaints or put on a brave smile, be positive and face the world? You are your biggest obstacle when it comes to being happy. The only person who can get past you - is you!

If you have any comments, ideas, or questions - leave them below!

Thanks for reading!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Straight Trees with Crooked Roots

I ordered Chinese last night from a restaurant in the area. Fortune cookies obviously come with the food and I opened one to find this: "Be careful! Straight trees often have crooked roots." I contemplated for some time. I think about things more than I probably should, but I came to the following thoughts.

First, let's get the meaning out of the way. People are not always what they seem. A perfect citizen might actually have been a criminal in the past. A wonderful husband might have three girlfriends on the side. A seemingly normal person may be on the verge of shooting their brains out. Poison dart frogs are beautiful, but they are deadly. Actually, let me clarify that. Only three species of dart frogs are dangerous to humans. Poison dart frogs are NOT poisonous in captivity - only in the wild. They're beautiful though and I don't really care for frogs.

Anyway, you understand the point. I don't necessarily see it as a negative message. To me, it means that sometimes things are just not what they seem. People are hardly ever who we think they are. You can feel when a person is not who they seem to be - even though we tend to ignore the signs. You need to trust your instincts. Learning to read people is a great asset when trying to figure out the ulterior motives of others.

I can read people so well that it's scary at times. It is an excellent asset when trying to understand people and their actions. I'm always watching. Even when it's not suspected, I'm watching everything that's going on around me. I don't want you to know I'm watching, so I'm inconspicuous. It seems creepy, yes? Honestly, I like to observe interactions and everything around me. I don't just watch people. I adore watching animals and water, like the ocean or a river. How do you experience and understand the world around you if you don't pay attention?

Here's another thing to think about - nobody has a perfect past. Everyone has problems at one time or another. Sure, some people have a past they would prefer to keep covered, but perhaps they've worked really hard for their future. Let them have their future they worked so hard to achieve. Don't ruin it by bringing up their shady past. People pay for their mistakes all the time. These people would like to move forward, not be reminded of the past.

Who are you to deny a "straight tree with crooked roots" a happy life? I mean, especially if they worked so hard to become straight. Don't turn a blind eye, but don't discourage either. You don't necessarily have to trust them, but a little bit of trust can go a long way. Many trees require fire to reproduce and grow. People CAN change for the better, if you simply give them a chance to rise through the ashes. Make a difference and be the positive influence in someone's life.

Thanks for reading!

Many blessings,

~ Crystal ~

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Enjoy the Weekend!

I am taking the weekend off to finish working on a programming project and to just relax. I will catch up with my blog posts on Monday. Well, I might finish one sooner. I'm trying to focus on my other project first because it needs to be finished.

Anyway, before I go, I am inviting you to go check out some of my pictures. I have a lot of pictures that I have yet to upload. I'm an amateur, but I love photography very much. I'm thinking of getting out to take some pictures if time permits. :) Enjoy!

Crystal R Cox - Fine Art America

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

~ Crystal ~


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bullying Study - American Journal of Psychiatry

There's a new study out about the effects of bullying on individuals in the long run, which you can find here:

Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade
Longitudinal British Birth Cohort

Basically, their study shows that childhood bullying continues to have an effect on individuals through their middle age years. I wanted to address this topic because I was a victim of bullying growing up. Yes, it definitely had an impact on my life, but not necessarily in the same ways presented in their study. We were poor. I wore clothes that were far too large for my tiny frame. My shack of a home, had holes in the walls and a tin roof. They had plenty of ammunition and spite to be hateful towards me. I felt like they really hated/disliked me. I was always the oddball out. It tapered off when I was in 9th grade.

Of course, this wasn't the only time I experienced bullying. I experienced it again later in life, but I was able to deal with it more proactively than I could as a child. I don't allow others to push me around anymore. I'm more forthcoming whereas in the past, I would slink away. That was a result of the programming by my biological mother. I was always afraid of what would happen if I got into trouble at school.

I never really thought about it until later in life, but she was the biggest bully. Those kids in school weren't the worst. It was her. Yes, they made me feel bad. She made me feel worthless. It's truly unbelievable how your own parent can make you feel that way. Then, I wasn't so bright and married someone who was also a bully. It dawned on me later in the marriage and I got out, but not before more damage had been done to my emotional/mental being. It took several years to break free of the psychological harm done to me by both of them and the others. It took years, but being free of it now is amazing.

The biggest effect bullying has had on me was NOT a negative one. I treat others as they should be treated. We are all human beings. As such, every one of us has feelings. I am at peace with my past because sometimes life is out of your control, especially when you are a child. You know, I do not believe that children should have to go through what I have been through to become strong. However, I must admit, I am a strong-minded individual. This is in spite of what I have been through. I have fought through a lot in life. I have always been a survivor.

The reason I am able to be at peace with my past is because I learned something from it and let it go. People have a tendency to not let go of things, then it weighs them down for the remainder of their lives. You have to let go of the way people treated you in the past. I'm not telling you to forget it, but let it go. You'll never heal otherwise. Do you want to dwell on the past? It's exhausting to live in the past and wallow in self-pity. Please note, I will never forget my past. I know how I wish/deserve to be treated. It also allows me to put things into perspective on how to treat others. How can someone preach on things if they do not follow the same philosophy?

I try to be kind, polite and helpful to everyone I come across. I also try to do the right thing. Compassion, not hatred, should be spread throughout the world. THIS is how it affected me. THIS is how I CHOOSE to spend my life. I fight for the good of the people. I am against bullying and hatred. I am strong. So are every single one of you! The statistics in this study should not dictate your life. Let me remind you that you are human - flesh and blood - not a number. Forget the numbers!

One of the first steps to getting over the past is to let go of it. It can't be changed, but you can learn from it. Think about what is important to you. I can remember how some of the children from my past treated me. I remember most of it like it was yesterday. I worked really hard to let go of it and adjusted my attitude. I realized that the way they behaved towards me, really wasn't about me. I recall having a conversation a couple of years ago with someone who used to bully me from time to time while we were growing up. It turns out that her life was a lot worse than mine. Apparently, I was her victim of choice. She had to take her frustrations out on someone, right? I chose to let it go a long time ago. I'm not bothered by anything from my past anymore.

Any pain you feel, especially from the past, let it go. Sometimes we feel as though we deserved what we went though. You are not to blame for the painful bullying you went though. Throw that guilt away! Accept what you have been through. Realize that there is no changing the past. You can always change your future though. It's a choice, not a given. You are in control. You can choose to be unhappy or you can change your attitude and be happy.

You know, it's hard to let go of something that either made you so happy at one point or was incredibly painful. I know it's difficult. I've been there. I won't deny that it took a lot of work to get to where I am today. I am a sensitive person. I'm empathetic on all accounts. Anyone who knows me, understands that when someone hurts, I feel it deep into my core. I don't even have to know you and I can still literally feel your pain. So, letting go of my painful past was an arduous endeavor. I achieved it though. It is probably one of my favorite accomplishments. It makes me feel so wonderful inside.

Don't fall through the cracks and become one of these statistics. I will go over some other things you can do to take control of your life in another post. I hope you were able to take something away from this post. The effects of bullying are real, but you don't have to continue feeling them for the remainder of your life. Take it one step at a time. Remember, every failure is one step closer to success. If you fail, then you already know what doesn't work. Try it differently until you succeed. It's your life. Own it. Control it. It's a choice. What do you choose?

Thanks for reading! Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

Many blessings!

~ Crystal ~


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hope for our Environment

Our planet is on the verge of disasters even worse than the ones we are experiencing now. Yet, the peril goes ignored by most because they don't have a clue. Others simply don't believe, as though our planet contains a never-ending supply of resources. Even less actively do their part to counteract the devastating effects we have on our planet. Slowly, more are starting to take notice, but it still isn't enough!

Oil spills, increasing greenhouse gases, deforestation, overfishing of the oceans, etc. The list goes on and on. Why don't people recycle? Why are we not replanting the trees as we cut them down? The conch in the Bahamas are being overfished. If you don't allow them to reproduce, then how can the population be sustained?

Hello? Are you awake out there? Where are the people crying in outrage and standing up in defense of our struggling world? It literally pains me to see how the planet is in distress, yet it goes ignored. What are you going to do when we have nothing to drink or eat? We have a clean water crisis, with less than 1% of available drinking water - for the world AND many corporations now want to privatize PUBLIC water supplies. Greed, greed, and more greed!

Water is a precious resource and should not be used to make money. Do you really think providing clean, usable water will be the top priority of these companies? No, companies like World Bank Group, want to make money. They will increase prices and cut funding for the necessary infrastructure needed to provide clean water. They do not operate with public safety in mind, only the bottom line is at the top of their priorities. The amount of money they can put back into their pockets is their prime concern. They do NOT care about the public and whether they have access to clean water.

Climate change is starting to affect our national landmarks, such as the Kennedy Space Center and several other NASA sites around the US. I read earlier that NASA has already begun tearing down buildings and moving them back as far from the coast as possible due to the rise in ocean waters. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are under threat from rising sea waters as well. Ellis Island is STILL under renovation since Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, 2012.

Alaska has seen temperature rises double the pace as the rest of the US. The permafrost has started thawing in Alaska. Many fear buildings, roads and many other areas will begin to collapse at it melts. Another possible side effect of the melting permafrost, is the release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

We should spend more time and money investing in clean renewable sources of energy utilizing solar, wind and hydropower. Did you know that solar power is the most plentiful source of energy on the planet? Yet, our government would rather invest in oil or natural gas, which are NOT renewable resources of energy! Some states are trying to shut down the very bills designed to move us forward into using cleaner, renewable energy sources. For example, Ohio legislators seem intent on freezing their renewable energy resource mandates for the next two years to "reassess" the effect on the market and how to approach it. I'm not so sure about that. I think the oil fracking business is booming, so they would prefer to follow the money. It's possibly even their window to shut it down completely. It wouldn't be the first time a government has chosen money over the best interests of their people. Search "Ohio Senate Bill 310" and "Ohio Oil Fracking" for more information.

These are just a few examples. We should take responsibility for our actions and do the right thing. For those who hesitant to believe anything about global warming, I pose these questions. If you are correct about global warming NOT being factual, then what will the results be if we turn to renewable sources of energy and start cleaning up the planet? However, if you are incorrect about global warming and it is actually TRUE, yet we do nothing, then what will be the consequences as a result? Think about that.

I could write a book on everything that is occurring in our world today. It is truly saddening how the majority of the population either has no clue or doesn't care. Take a stand. Go green. Help our environment!

Personally, I'm going to continue spreading the word and doing my part to help clean up our environment. This is my home and I take care of my home. Join me for the greater cause in cleaning up our planet and home!!

Check out some of these useful sites for more information:

U.S. Department of Energy
NOAA Climate.gov
Climate Hot Map - Global Warming Effects Around the World
EPA - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Recycling Basics

Thanks for taking the time to read!

Many blessings!

~ Crystal ~

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bee Pollen Update

If you recall, almost a month ago, I started taking bee pollen as an attempt to combat my allergies. I want to report that with the exception of the first few days of taking the pollen, today is the first day I've been forced to take an allergy pill. My allergies are driving me insane today.

I attribute this to the fact that the maintenance crew came around checking up on all of the residents and changed my air filter. Normally, I use one that catches the dust and particles. The one they use is pure crap. It doesn't catch anything. In addition, he shoved it in there to the point that it is bent. I discovered a layer of dust on my cabinets the day before yesterday. I have been cleaning like crazy, but still need to replace the filter. I will replace it later today.

So, there it is. Usually, at this time of year, I am sneezing my head off every single day. However, it seems that the pollen is doing a bit of good. I'll continue taking the pollen until it is all gone. It'll be a couple of months before that happens.

Thanks for reading!

~ Crystal ~

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Going Organic

I mentioned that I used all organic products when I made my sugar cookies in another post. I wanted to touch on that subject. Organic products are definitely better. There's no doubt about that. Not only are they better for us, but it's better for our environment when we grow food free of GMOs and pesticides.

Sure, the general public would love to have products free of GMOs and pesticides. Most often, the problem people face is the price of organic products. They aren't sure how to get around the cost of organic living. There are many key factors in how converting to organic living can be extremely minimal in cost.

1. Gradually switch your products. I started switching all of my conventional products for organic products a while back. It took a bit of time to cycle through things, like sugar or flour, but the majority of my products are now organic. I have a few spices that aren't organic, but once they are empty, I will switch them as well. If I had thrown everything out and replaced everything, the cost would have been astronomical.

2. Research! Research! Research! Learn to recognize the different brands. Compare and contrast the products you are interested in purchasing. Learn to differentiate between "natural" and "organic" because they are absolutely NOT the same. Plus, both "natural" and "organic" products cost more, but you are losing out on true organic products when you choose "natural" produce.

3. If possible, try to locate a local organic grower, meat/dairy farm or farmer's market. Not only is it fresher and better for your family, you can support your local farmer. It's our responsibility to support our community. How can we do that if we are sending our money elsewhere? I recommend this for every city, state, country, etc. Support your community.

4. If you can, create a sustainable food source for your family or just yourself by planting a garden. In terms of cost, it's relatively cheap - I mean, really cheap - when done properly. I grew up extremely poor and we had a huge garden. You just have to know what you're doing. Start with a few things and add more as you establish the garden. The added benefit is that you know exactly what went into your garden. You don't have to wonder if the grocer labeled conventional apples with organic labels because they were out of the apples you wanted. See how that works?

5. Have it delivered to your door. There are many companies around the nation that deliver organic produce to your door, such as Full Circle, Farm Fresh To You, Shop Organic, and Annie's Buying Club. There are SO MANY out there - with lots of wonderful prices. You might even find a community-supported agricultural program. How wonderful and convenient is that?  

6. There are other options such as a buying club or a co-op. LocalHarvest is a good website for checking out these options.

7. Buy your organic products in bulk. BJ's, Sam's Club and Costco might carry the organic products you desire. Again - check out the company and verify the details. Personally, I shop at BJ's and they have started carrying more organic products than in the past. It's great and the price is fair.

8. Buy your products around your menu. Create a weekly/monthly menu and stick with it.

9. Are you spending money on unnecessary foods like candy bars or chips? You might need to rethink your entire food budget. Sometimes we don't count that dollar spent on a bag of chips. Don't leave it out. It ALL counts.

10. Buy a lot while it's in-season. Then, freeze the extras. It's the same as purchasing frozen fruit or vegetables, except you can freeze it yourself.

These are just a few ways to simplify going organic. There's more to it, but this is a solid set of tips that will help you get started. It's not nearly as expensive or difficult as some people make it out to be. Hope this helps!

Questions? Do you have any tips for going organic? Feel free to leave a comment below! Like what you see? Subscribe to my blog!

Thanks for reading! Many blessings!

~ Crystal ~

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Video of Cop Tazer a Man Reading a Book

I came across this video of this man sitting on the ground reading a book, as a cop is leaning over in his face. The man gets up and walks away. He apparently just wants to get away from the harassing cop. He wasn't being confrontational or violent, yet the cop decides to tazer him with a taser gun. While we can't speculate as to what occurred before the video, it appears that the man wasn't doing anything illegal.

Of course, again, we can't be sure of what happened before the video started rolling. This is just another example of why cops should be required to wear cameras on their uniforms. It protects our civil servants/police officers and the general public.

Becoming a police officer means you are supposed to be one of the good guys. My uncle was an officer for many years. He was a good police officer. I have friends who are GOOD and law-abiding police officers. They didn't become involved in the law to take advantage of it. If you feel the need to get on the police force to use it for your power trip - then maybe you need to find something else and definitely take a good hard look at your character. Your job is to protect and serve the public. It isn't to harass people and break the law.

This is a ridiculous video. I should be appalled, but really this seems to be happening everywhere. It kind of makes me want to wear a video attached to my clothing! Eventually more details will come out about what occurred beforehand. I'll post an update once I have more information.

The video shows this incident occurred in Salem, OR.

You can find the video here:
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cellphone-video-shows-cop-walk-man-reading-book-taser/


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bee Pollen for Allergies

Growing up, I was never allergic to anything. We had cats, dogs, birds, etc. and I never had any issues with any of them. My biological mother and ex-stepfather both smoke - excessively - in the house. The house was filled with smoke when they were home, thanks to their habitual chain-smoking.

Therefore, imagine my surprise when I moved to North Carolina and discovered that I was allergic to the pollen falling from the trees. It was everywhere. The cars, ground, and the balconies were all covered in yellow pollen. I was miserable. Since that time, I experience sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose, itchy eyes, etc. during season. It's awful. I've tried every over-the-counter medicine possible. Benadryl works, but it knocks me out cold. I can't function if I am passed out!

I started to research different methods of coping with allergies. You can get a prescription, but I don't really like going to the doctor. You can get the allergy shot, but I abhor needles. There are many claims that bee pollen alleviates allergy symptoms by building up your body's defense system. With daily doses, starting with a few granules and building up to one to two teaspoons a day, your body becomes desensitized avoiding future reactions.

At this point, I'm up for anything. So, I started taking a few granules a day almost a week ago. I've worked up to three-quarters of a teaspoon. Tomorrow I will start taking a teaspoon. I will increase my dosage to two teaspoons in a week or so, depending upon how my body reacts to this serving size. I follow it with orange juice. It tastes really gross. The granules are orange, golden, brownish, green, etc. I picked it up from a local farmer's market. It comes from a local farm, which is what you want to take. Keep it in a dark, cool place - like your refrigerator.

*****Please note*****
I am absolutely NOT allergic to bees at all. I have been stung by many throughout my life and have NEVER had a reaction. I mean, besides it hurting and swelling up like any sting does. I have been stung by many wasps also. My reaction to all of the stings were the same every time. If you are allergic to bees, there is a chance you will have a severe reaction to taking pollen. Consult a doctor before you even attempt something like this.

Here are a few articles I checked out while doing research:

Green Eyes On: Bee Pollen Cures Allergies

What's the buzz on bee pollen?

10 Amazing Health Benefits of Bee Pollen

I am going to reiterate the importance of doing your research and consulting your doctor before taking this.

Look for ongoing updates in the coming weeks. Hopefully this works.

Questions/Comments? Leave them below.

Thanks for reading!

~ Crystal ~

Earth Week Project

It's no secret that I am a staunch supporter of recycling and try to live as green as possible. I believe everyone should do their part to implement life changes to help turn the Earth around for the better. We've done so much damage to the Earth already. Once it's gone, we can't replace it.

We need to teach everyone about sustainable gardening/farming (which I will talk about in another post), green living, renewable energy, and how they can take action where they live. This is what will determine the future for our children and grandchildren. Believe me, it will take everyone, not just a small portion of the population.

Some people don't care, some don't know how to help. Some don't believe in global warming or about how we're damaging the Earth at an alarming rate. Well, I care about the future of my children and grandchildren. I trust the facts. I have also noticed the changes in the temperatures and weather patterns over the years. It's extremely significant.

I've been teaching my children about green living for a long time now. It's imperative for them to understand and be enthusiastic about saving our planet.

Since everyone around the world is celebrating Earth Day this week, I decided that we are going to do a project I did in 5th grade. I created a paper mache Earth. We will do the first part today and paint tomorrow.

If this seems interesting to you, then check out the instructions below and try this with your family or students. Adult assistance and supervision is needed for this project. This is a messy project. Try to do it outside. Once we have finished, I will come back to edit this to include pictures to go along with the instructions (and will also delete this message).

Also, there are many paper mache paste recipes to choose from. I am using glue and water because it is quick and easy.

Items needed:

Large balloons
Newspapers
Scissors
White glue (for paper mache paste)
Water
Bucket or bowl (to hold the balloon)
Large bowl
Paint
Paintbrushes

Steps:

1. Inflate the balloon. Secure it in the bowl for stability.

2. Either tear or cut the newspaper into 1-inch strips. You will need enough for three layers.

3. Some people use a 1:1 (glue:water) ratio, others use 1:2, 1:4, etc. I am going to use a 1:2 ratio and add a little more or less depending on the consistency. You want the glue to have a thinner consistency to make it slick and easy for spreading. Stir it until it's smooth.

4. Dip the newspaper strips into the paper mache paste and lay them across the balloons. Smooth and continue working around the balloon until it is completely covered.

5. Repeat until three layers have been placed onto the balloon. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. It may even take two or three days.

6. Once dry, cut a small hole in the bottom, puncture the balloon with something sharp, like the scissors and gently pull the balloon out of the mold.

7. Using a paintbrush and paint, decorate as you wish. We will be using blue paint for first layer of paint, then we will paint continents with green, brown and white.

They don't have to be exact. Remember to have fun!

Questions/Comments? Leave them below!

Thanks for reading!

~ Crystal ~

Saturday, April 19, 2014

When Pets Attack

So, I'm browsing my Facebook, trying to see if I can find anything interesting. I follow a lot of news outlets, so when something pops, it usually shows in my news feed. 

The following caught my eye: Pet cat attacks Roseville family, 3 taken to hospital  

It reminded me of this incident:


Here's a refresher if you haven't seen either of these. The first incident involves cat, named Khat, who attacks the owner's family. The second one is a 911 call involving an overweight Himalayan cat that attacks and traps a family in their bedroom. Yes, they really are as ridiculous as they seem.

I grew up with all kinds of animals. My family owned cats, dogs, ferrets, snakes, turtles, birds, etc.. It was practically a farm! You know, I can't ever remember a time when I was afraid of any of our cats growing up. If we had a cat that was EVER violent, it would have been immediately put down. That sort of thing would not have been tolerated.


I'm sure there were times when we probably deserved being bitten or scratched. Actually, I can think of specific bathing incidents. If our cats could have gotten free from our grip, they might have given us a few good swats. Honestly, they really needed bathing. They were inside/outside cats. Fleas, ticks and dirt were the enemy. So, we occasionally gave them a flea bath. The dogs hated it also, but at least they stood still. Thankfully for us, upon finishing and rubbing them down with a towel, they promptly darted away from our reach and outside!!

Back to the subject at hand. I don't understand why people don't use common sense. If your animal has violent tendencies, then put it to sleep. Don't bring it around other individuals, especially small children. Everyone knows that small children tend to poke and pull at animals, even if they really mean no harm. Do everyone, including your family, a favor and be done with it. A friend, from years ago, owned a temperamental cat. Her cat was very possessive of her and jealous if anyone came near my friend. Well, my friend and her husband decided to have a baby. Once the baby came, the cat was hostile towards the baby. She gave the cat a chance, but in the end, she got rid of it. She loved that cat very much, but she loved her baby more.

I also recall a cheerleading coach of mine who owned a hostile cat that would attack anyone and everyone, except her. I couldn't fathom keeping a cat like that around. She kept it in her room when she would entertain company. What if it managed to get loose while guests were over and mauled someone? In a lawsuit happy country, that's a rather poor decision.


If those cats had been dogs, then the dogs would have been euthanized. Cats do not deserve to be treated any differently than dogs. For that matter, any type of animal should not be treated any differently. Neither should humans, but that's a different story for another day. 


Thanks for reading!

~ Crystal ~


Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

So, I'm Writing a Book

I started this book around December 2012. I worked on it for a couple of months. Then, I set it down for about a year before I actually picked it up and started working on it again. I revised what I have written so far and realized that my book is for the bilingual person. I mean, I knew that was objective when I started writing it, but it just kind of hit me that not everyone will be able to comprehend it. The language barrier will be lost on many. So, I put it down again two weeks ago to ponder over this "dilemma."

I considered writing two versions. One of them would be in English and the other in Spanish. Of course, that's a lot of extra work for this book. The setting of the story is in a predominantly Spanish-speaking area. The backstory would have to be completely different. By the time I finish making the changes, I should just write two different books.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that I don't really care if everyone understands it. I believe there are more than enough bilingual individuals who will grasp it. I also think those who are not bilingual may be interested to the point, they will look up the translation for the words. I mean, even as a young child, I had an interest in other languages.

My point is simply this: Write YOUR book for YOU. Yes, you should keep your target audience in mind. SN: I didn't actually do that with my first book. It's specifically tailored for a friend of mine. There's a chance that nobody will actually enjoy my book. There's always that chance with anything you write. Have fun with it and put it down if you feel you need a break. You should enjoy what you're doing. Right? Thanks for reading!

Until next time!

~ Crystal ~

Learning to Live in the Present

What I've learned in life is that when we feel that we have nothing to live for--living doesn't really matter.  For someone like ...