A Fun Christmas Video!

Hello! Today I’m sharing a video that I created for my award winning books. It’s a Christmas video (hint, hint!) that features each of my books published so far.

Breaking The Silence, my first book, is a memoir about my life. Though it is listed as fiction, the story is true except for the fact that names and places have been changed to protect the identities of loved ones. If you or someone you know loves to curl up with a good book, take a peek at the video.

Poetry and Ponderings is also about my life. It’s a book of poetry and prose regarding healing and moving on from rough patches we all find ourselves in from time to time. Rated at 4.71 overall, this book is a great one for poetry lovers!

Also included is Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief, my most recent book about the tragedy that befell our family several years ago when my youngest daughter died. Finding Hope is a book of poetry, prose and art. I included a few pieces of my paintings, digital art, mixed media, photography and pencil drawings. The ratings have been wonderful on this book as well.

About a month ago I was approached by an editor of The New York Review Of Books who suggested that I have my work featured in their paper. I happily obliged and now all three books are being advertised there as well. I am humbled and grateful that my work is being recognized and well received. So much pain and hard lessons learned went into this work that it really means a lot to have such a favorable response.

If you have a chance to watch the video, I’d love to receive feedback! Feel free to message me on my contact form. Merry Christmas!

What Is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a concept that many times is widely misunderstood. When people think of forgiveness, they often think of having been wronged and perceive forgiveness as having to completely disregard the perpetrators who’ve harmed them and the pain they’ve inflicted. I don’t view forgiveness this way.


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When I think of forgiveness, I think of letting go of all the angst, fear and anger that a victim holds against perpetrators who have wronged them. I don’t view forgiveness as forgetting. I view it as having empathy towards oneself.

When we hold grudges we aren’t hurting anyone but ourselves. Those who have wronged us aren’t affected by our emotions unless we take it upon ourselves to harm them back. (Which obviously is not a good idea).

The only person who is affected negatively by unforgiveness is the person who is not willing to forgive. Why? Because unforgiveness allows bitterness to become a large part of a person’s life and views. Also because unforgiveness causes disease within the victim. Stress is a factor in cancer, heart problems and a myriad of other health issues. Not to mention the negative effects of stress on attitude and daily habits. Many stressed out people have depression, anxiety and OCD just to name a few issues. I know this first hand because I held unforgiveness inside of me far too long regarding things that happened in my childhood.

When we live in anger, we perpetrate more hardship on ourselves because of bitter attitudes and aggressive tendencies. It’s not a fun way to live. It’s more like surviving under threat than living in peace and happiness. Nobody deserves to have a life like that. We all deserve to be happy. And in order to be happy many times we must change our mindsets. And that includes being willing to let go of anger and angst towards those who’ve wronged us. We can remember and not allow ourselves to be around those people any longer but it is definitely in our best interest to forgive and move on.

Sometimes it seems crazy to forgive. Like me trying to come to the conclusion that I was going to forgive my perpetrators who molested me. Did I want to forgive? No. Because I thought that it meant I had to be okay with what happened and even be willing to go around those people again. When I realized that forgiveness was remembering from a peaceful standpoint and not allowing myself or my children to be around those people I was much more willing to give it a try. Forgiveness is a process. It may take years to completely let go and move forward but it is possible even in extreme situations.

This is a topic that I talk about in my books. I’ve had a lot of forgiving to do and I’m getting better at it with practice. Once I realized I was only hurting myself I knew I had to let go and move on. Because I knew I deserved better. So do you. Everyone deserves happiness and peace. It takes a mindset of wisdom and understanding but it is so worthwhile that even if it takes years it’s a journey that you should deeply consider.

Once you value yourself enough to seek love and good out of life you’ll attract more love and good to yourself because you know you deserve it. What a great way to move forward, don’t you think?

Why Abuse Is So Hard To Heal From

In my books I speak about abuse I suffered as a child. I don't go into detail but I do explain how much abuse hurts. And how wonderful it is to heal and be able to move on. One of the reasons why I wrote these books, which are entitled Breaking The Silence and Poetry and Ponderings, is because abuse is such a difficult thing to recover from. Why? Because it is a taboo subject. Back when I was victimized, people just didn't talk about it. Especially sexual abuse. Victims of abuse feel as though they can't tell anyone. Not only because the perpetrators threaten them but also because it's not a topic you can just talk to anybody about. That's why I'm grateful that in recent years it has been looked upon in a more open way. Victims are beginning to share more about these types of things, which is a powerful step not only for them but for society as a whole.

Another reason that I wrote my books is because victims feel alone and helpless. When somebody invades your personal space, you are threatened on a level that can't be described in any way but terrorizing and dehumanizing. When I was victimized, I was terrified of those who had their way with me. I was a child and I felt like I had nowhere to turn. It is extremely difficult to have someone not only invade your space and body but also your mind. All of those factors go into many forms of abuse. Victims are victimized on such deep, personal levels that they feel 'boxed in' and unable to defend themselves. Particularly when those victims are children.

Victims also have a reaction that is defined as 'learned helplessness'. They feel like they've been ostracised so they continue operating and living in vicious cycles instead of hoping to break free. That is why victims need a voice. Especially children. It is so difficult to make a child understand that what is going on is not their fault. They take on the blame and shame and hold it inside themselves, growing up with a warped mindset that they're lesser people because of what happened to them.

I am so grateful for places like RAINN. It is becoming more accepted to talk about abuse and victimization. This is what we need for people to heal and understand that not only is what happened NOT their fault but also that they have the right to seek happiness and have hope to be able to heal from the trauma. It is only with a societal mindset of understanding and openness that abused people will be able to adopt the fact that they are worthwhile and what happened to them does not define them. Before anyone can heal, they must first accept what they've experienced and realize they have the right just the same as anyone else to find peace and freedom.

Guest Post: Grief and Sleep: 4 Ways To Get Back To Sleep After A Painful Loss by Sara Bailey

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Sara Bailey. She, like me, has recently gone through a painful loss. Her loss was her husband.She approached me about writing a piece for my blog and I gratefully agreed. As you may know, I just wrote a book about the loss of my precious daughter entitled Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief. Sara, too, is in the process of writing a book about her experience.

Loss is very difficult. And so is being able to relax and move on. So, without further adieu, here is Sara's article. I hope you enjoy it!

Recovering from the loss of a spouse or a partner is a long — and often lonely — journey. Regardless of how much support you have, there will be times you have to face the grief alone, and night time is one of them. Loss of sleep is one of the most natural — and also frustrating — symptoms of grief. While trouble sleeping in the first few days or even weeks is very common, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your sleep to your grief. Here are a few tips to help you ease the ache of sleepless nights.

Meditate to Let Go of Ruminative Thoughts

Studies show that some of our most powerfully negative and painful thoughts creep in at night. We don’t have the business of work, family, school, or other responsibilities to distract our minds like we do during the day. The grief, anxiety, anger, and sadness — plus bittersweet memories — often hit us the hardest at night. Meditation is one way you can practice letting go of those thoughts. Plus, the work you do focusing on your breath and muscles can also help ease your body into sleep. There are several different kinds of meditation you can try. In guided meditation, a narrator guides your mind through a journey to a state of mind you’d like to achieve or a goal you want to accomplish. You could also try a progressive muscle relaxation meditation where you tense and then relax each muscle in your body, slowly and methodically, from your head to your toes to help bring you comfort.

Renovate Your Bedroom for New Memories

Your bedroom may hold memories of your partner that keep you up at night. Memories are powerful ways to keep our lost loved ones alive, but they can also keep us stuck, blocking us from moving through the pain. Consider a bedroom remake to help you feel like you are in a new space. Start with your bed, especially if your mattress is older and needs replacing anyway. You can save time and money by purchasing a mattress online instead of in a store, which usually comes with a generous trial period so you can make sure you’ve made the right choice. Once you’ve chosen a new mattress and bedframe, you can paint the walls a new color — soothing blues and greens work wonders for sleep — and hang a few blackout curtains, which will keep excess light out, signaling to your body it’s time to rest.

Start a Regular Exercise Schedule

Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day will make a major impact in the quality of your sleep. Physiologically, your body needs sleep to recover and rebuild, and exercise further encourages that process. Your mind and body will need to spend more time sleeping and will require better quality sleep. On top of that, research has shown that exercise is a positive coping mechanism for managing stress, anxiety, and depression — three emotions you are likely to feel as you move through the stages of grief. The endorphin surge and physical exhaustion you feel when you exercise is an unmatched mind-body boost.

Get Gadgets (Not Gimmicks!)

In a world that emphasizes immediate gratification, there are a lot of gimmicks out there that will try to “guarantee” you better sleep. Trust your intuition and approach these get-sleep-quick gadgets with caution. Be sure to look for sleep-aiding technology that is reviewed and approved by sleep professionals and organizations with solid reputations. For example, the Aura is a sleep tracker that offers light therapy, sleep programs, and wake-up programs. If you purchase sleep tech, be sure it comes with a trial period or a money-back guarantee so you don’t waste your hard-earned cash on a product that’s not right for you.

There is no set timeline for mourning; taking it slowly might seem frustrating, but it could also be a better long-term solution. You can build back a regular sleeping pattern over time if you take it slow, plan for sleep with intention, and focus on mind and body.

If you enjoyed Sara's post, you can find her at http://thewidow.net/

Thanks for taking a moment to stop on my blog.  Have a blessed day!

Why I Wrote Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief

Some of you may be familiar with my story by now.  But many  of you aren't.  It's my hope that the books I write will help my readers emerge from hardship and trauma with valiant trust that things will get better again.  That life will even out and be okay.  That is the core reason why I write.

Over the course of fifty plus years of living, I have experienced quite a bit.  My life has been difficult.  For the first thirty years I felt like I had been pummelled by the hands of fate.  I was disconcerted, angry, heartbroken and depressed.  I had been molested from the age of two to twelve.  From there I became an alcoholic and drug addict.  During those years I got pregnant, not realizing it, and drank and did drugs up until I realized I was pregnant.  My doctor counselled me to have an abortion.  I did.  Now I deeply regret my actions.  Then I quit doing so many drugs but continued in alcoholism.  I found myself pregnant again.  I went into preterm labor and my baby girl died.  That nearly decimated me.  But somehow I walked out of the rubble, though I was stunned and ashamed.  For twenty years I mourned my actions.  It was during those twenty years that I got married and had two more children.  My youngest was born with a rare syndrome.  I lived in fear for the first ten years of her life.  Her doctors told me that she would be fine.  They said she'd lead a full, healthy life.  I finally began to feel as though everything would work out.  Eight years later (nearly two years ago now), she died.  At the tender age of eighteen.  That was the icing on the cake.  I literally threw myself to the winds of fate and felt I knew nothing about life.   After digging myself out of the ashes once again I wrote Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief.

I wish I could say life was easy but I know it isn't.  Every day I watch the news with one eye closed (I really dislike negativity now-I strive to stay very positive) as my husband watches TV.  So much trauma.   So much pain.  I realize I'm not the only one suffering.  Everyone suffers at least some time in their lives.  That is why I wrote Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief.  And my other two books:  Breaking The Silence and Poetry and Ponderings.  I wanted to help others by letting them know they're not alone.  I wanted to pass on the things that I've learned so that my work could be a place of refuge to my readers.

It's been rough.  "The hard way" is a statement I can attest to.  Over the years I've developed a deep faith in God (Spirit).  My books are packed with spiritual insight and wisdom that I have gleaned over the past fifty plus years.  Without my faith I would have sunk under the pressure that I've been confronted with time and time again.

If you're suffering, or know someone who is, please take a look at my work.  I truly wish to be of help.  I'd love to hear stories from my readers that attest to what my writing meant to them.  Feel free to contact me.  I'm all over the internet-facebook, twitter, instagram and google plus is where I hang out the most.  But you can also find me on pinterest and linkedin.

Now that you know my motives for writing, I'd love to hear from you!

Fairy Houses

Ever since I was a little kid I have loved fantasy. From epic adventures to gnomes and fairies, my mind was always in the clouds.As a preteen I created notes for my siblings from gnomes who (supposedly)  lived in the walls of our house. I loved to pretend that creatures of fantasy were near at all times, just out of sight of the naked eye. I still enjoy thinking about these wonderful creatures. And I still talk about them-now to my grandchild. Who knows if they aren't just hiding in the flowers of our yards, waiting to cast beautiful nature spells amidst the stars of night? As part of my fantasy wonder, I have started to create fairy houses. Here are a few for you to enjoy:

I can just imagine tiny fairies with colorful hair and clothes moving in, their tinkling laughter riding on the wind as they bless the yard with flowers and dappled rays of sunshine.  Oh, what a wonderful dream!  Maybe that's one thing the old nursery rhyme song meant:  "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream...merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily-life is but a dream."

Mom's Choice Awards

I recently won a gold medal for Poetry and Ponderings from Mom's Choice Awards and a silver medal for Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief. I am deeply honored to be part of the Mom's Choice Awards family which is recognized in fifty five countries for excellence in products. Both of my books join my book Breaking The Silence in the Mom's Choice family, which also won a gold medal.Please find links below to all three award winning books:

Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief:  https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Hope-Darkness-Grief-Spiritual/dp/1982205687/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533615942&sr=8-1&keywords=finding+hope+in+the+darkness+of+grief

Poetry and Ponderings:  https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Ponderings-Journey-Healing-Through/dp/0998167398/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533617824&sr=8-1&keywords=poetry+and+ponderings+diamante+lavendar

Breaking The Silence:  https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Silence-Diamante-Lavendar/dp/1502381257/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533617913&sr=8-1&keywords=breaking+the+silence+diamante+lavendar