It's Never Too Late!

Change your mind quote by Diamante Lavendar.jpg

It’s a misconception that is all too common. People think it’s hard to change. They think they’re too old, too set in their ways, too this and too that. But the truth is, change really isn’t that difficult. What it takes is a change of perception and a new mindset. If you can change your mind then you can change your life.

It is true that change can be challenging. But anything worthwhile is. Sometimes you have to change who you associate with, where you go and what you view as important. The moment you accept the fact that you need to change is the moment that your life begins to turn around. Acceptance and understanding are the crucial factors needed to change your life.

Nobody is perfect. Be patient with yourself. You deserve good things in your life and you also deserve to be happy. No matter how far off base you think you are, each moment is a possibility of a new start. And many times people don’t succeed on the first, second, third or even fiftieth time. The greatest way to change is to keep on trying, even in the face of failure. Failure is actually a fertile learning ground. Each time you fail, you learn what you shouldn’t do. And some of us (me included) have to go through a lot of situations before we become determined.

I learned to view failure as learning. I don’t look at it as the end of everything. I think to myself, “Ok. That obviously didn’t work so I’ll try something else.” That is literally the mindset you need to persevere until you succeed. No matter your age, background or family you grew up in, change is possible. So get back up, brush the dust off and keep on going. You can do it!

Grace

Since I was a young child I’ve loved the number 5. I remember counting by fives over and over again. I enjoyed the rhythmic sounds of multiples of 5. I didn’t know what the number 5 represented. I only knew that for some reason I loved the number.

Years later I found out that 5 is the number symbolizing God’s grace. I was comforted because I loved the number so but I also found it quite strange. The reason I found it strange? The life I’ve lived and the hardships I’ve endured required that grace would hold me up and strengthen me. I know that it was God’s grace that brought me through-and still is.

In spirit, coincidence doesn’t exist. Only destiny does. We are predestined to come and live on this planet. Everything happens for a reason: good and bad. It took over half my life for me to admit that even the worst things I’ve endured have happened for a reason. I believe we are here to learn and grow. To experience and understand. To gain wisdom about what love truly means and to prosper despite adversity. We are all born from the same beautiful spirit. But we have free will to decide whether we will stay in our predestined union with God or if we will turn away.

It’s easy to turn away and run. To become angry and hurt. The things of this world bring such pain that we have a knee jerk reaction to flee. But I have learned that because of God’s wonderful grace we can stand in the storm, accept the harshest reality and prosper anyway. It takes resilience and trust which are a test to gain in themselves. It isn’t easy. But if we are able to learn to reside in that grace, we will find peace. Not temporary peace but the peace of spirit. The peace that holds us together and calms us even when our lives have literally turned upside down.

Back in my twenties, after burying my first child, I was emotionally, physically and spiritually bankrupt. I had endured over a decade of molestation by extended family members. Then I buried my first child. I was an atheist. My family had taught me that we had descended from apes- the classic theory of evolution. After what had happened to me I had no hope. I had no reason. Then the day of my first daughter’s funeral came. And she visited me. I sat in front of her casket for over an hour, my hand resting on her tiny chest. At the moment I touched her, I was gone from the funeral home and encapsulated by the most beautiful bright white light I’d ever seen. I was completely at peace. There was no sadness, no regret, no pain. Just pure bliss. I could hear my daughter laughing and running through the light. I will never forget how cheerful her voice was when she told me, “Don’t worry, Mommy. I’m happy here.” Those words began my walk with God and carried me through the next twenty years as I dealt with the pain of her absence. God, in His great mercy, had allowed me to visit her forever home where He lived. It was such a vibrant, amazing visit that I’ll never forget it. And that was thirty years ago.

I thought I had learned a lot in the last thirty years. But it wasn’t enough to prepare me for the death of my second child just weeks before her 19th birthday. I waited to talk to her at her funeral like my first child had. But she didn’t. However, God opened up communication between us that has remained since she passed. I feel her, she visits me, and she communicates in ways that let me know she is always at my side. I believe she is one of my guides now, helping me put into words the experiences we have. I am convinced that it is my destiny to write about what I’ve encountered and to help bring the love of spirit into the lives of those who read my books and enjoy my art.

Life isn’t about who’s better or who owns what. Life is about learning and valuing each other. It is about growing into a person of deeper kindness, compassion and resilience. It is about turning to our Father and creator-the one who loves us and knows us better than we even know ourselves. And that is a lifetime commitment of deepening trust and understanding. Things that only grace can provide. It is my hope that I will increasingly gain that type of wisdom each day I walk out my time on this planet. And it is my prayer that everyone and everything will learn to live in the grace and mercy that life of that magnitude invites.

Your Heart Will Lead You

There are so many reasons why it is important to have a childlike faith. And one of the reasons is because of your heart condition. Not your physical heart but your spiritual heart. The heart of who you are as a living being.

Children are amazing because they are accepting, kind, caring and peaceful-unless an adult changes that reality for them. Children come into the world needing their parents, needing someone to watch over them and guide them, someone who will keep them safe from the storms of life. We are God’s children. And we need Him more than any written word besides the Bible itself can tell us.

This world has a way of jading us. Of creating hardness in us. It is a world full of pain, anger and deceit. We as people on this planet have to find our way through the muck and mire into places of happiness and peace. If we look at the world system as a way to lead us, we will always be let down. Forsaken. Deluded by lies. Let’s face it: things that happen on this planet can be very difficult to endure. That’s why a childlike faith is so important.

We try to figure out the answers, to create solutions to every problem. But sometimes there are no solutions. What can someone say when their child dies? When a child becomes sick with a deadly disease like cancer? When a family loses their income and home because a parent gets sick or is fired from their job? There are so many devastating scenarios that I could write paragraphs of them. When it comes right down to it, we need to trust something or someone. When we put that trust in other people, we eventually will be let down because all people have flaws. Nobody is perfect. Except our Father and Creator.

We have the choice to discern and follow the advice of others or the promptings of Spirit. Since God is perfect, we can decide to follow Him. He can be the maker and ruler of the path of our life. I found out a long time ago that He knows best. So I decided to follow His lead.

Truths of this world are transient and brief. A “truth” may hold up for a long time but eventually it will be discarded for another truth. Such as the discoveries of science. And the discoveries of technology and sociological norms and theories. We always seem to be led to new ways of insight and understanding. This is because Spirit is so vast that humanity could spend eternity attempting to figure things out and never come up with answers, or spiritual truths, to everything. Unless we allow Spirit into our hearts. Then we can have a taste of actual truth.

Our hearts lead us and guide us. The words we speak come from our hearts, or who we are deep in our core. If you are looking for explanations and understanding, let your heart guide you into eternal realms. The ways of God are a mystery, but He is willing to unfold some of His wisdom to help us end well. That’s what I’m hoping for, along with being able to join my children in Heaven one day and gain complete understanding as to why they had to leave and what their absence accomplished in me. I have some ideas but certainly nothing near completion. I know I crave completion. How about you? Do you long to understand things that don’t seem to add up? Things that haunt you and don’t make sense? If so, there is Someone waiting to take you by the hand and lead you into beautiful, inspiring places-even when life is hard. Give it a chance and heal your heart condition. You will discover insights that will truly amaze and comfort you!

Breath Of Life available  here .

Breath Of Life available here.

Why Weaknesses Can Be Strengths

You Are Beautiful by Diamante Lavendar.jpg

When I was younger, I was ashamed of my weaknesses. I wondered why I had so many problems and insecurities. I saw my weaknesses as pitfalls, or very negative aspects of myself. Only as I got older did I learn that my weaknesses could be strengths.

Your weaknesses cause you to seek help-to ask others for insight. That is a huge strength because no one is an island. We all need each other and asking for guidance is a very powerful way to not only get to know others intimately but also to learn more about ourselves. When we look at life from another person’s perspective, we learn more about life, ourselves and how we fit into society.

Your weaknesses also cause you to approach others which helps you realize and understand that you are part of a whole community and world. When you see that others have an answer you can’t provide, you gain respect for your fellow man. That is integral in being a valued member of society as a whole.

Your weaknesses also cause you to re-evaluate your life and your position in society. When you know your weaknesses, it also introduces you to your strengths. Your weaknesses help you to evaluate what you are good at and what you should do with your life. Knowing your weaknesses helps you to determine your life path and your destiny!

Your weaknesses also teach you appreciation and gratitude. When you see that you rely on others for help, you are grateful for them. You appreciate how you fit in like a puzzle with the people around you. And you also understand that nobody is perfect which ultimately causes you to value yourself more. You learn to respect who you are and not feel bad about yourself because you have weaknesses. You stop seeking perfection because you know it doesn’t exist. Therefore, you become a happier person.

When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you are able to move forward in life developing the things you are good at. It not only helps you to shine but it also helps others to shine around you!

The Benefits Of Tears

Do you ever wonder why we cry? So often we believe that tears are a sign of weakness. Have you ever been told that you’re a “crybaby”? Unfortunately our society devalues tears. However, tears are actually cleansing. If you’ve been through trauma, tears are a good thing. They help us purge negative emotions and thoughts. Tears need to be felt, released and then understood. Tears can be a misguiding influence at times if we feel the pain, cry and continue to be stuck in it. But if we feel the pain, cry and learn from it tears are a beautiful thing.

It is actually a sign of strength to show weakness. It is so easy to hide from hardship instead of having the approach of learning from it. When times get down and dirty, like death, divorce or financial distress, it can be so easy to get mad and want to get even. It takes great strength to feel the pain, learn from it and move on. I can almost hear you asking, “How do you move on when someone dies?” My answer: you learn from the situation, decide to be grateful for what you had and make the most out of your future to honor that situation.

When my children passed, I wanted to be angry. And I was for quite a while. But then I knew that I had to find good in the heartbreak and use that wisdom to move forward in becoming a better person any way that I felt I was being led to do so. And out of their loss came my books and my art. It was an outlet for me to not only help myself but to also help others who have experienced the same types of things head on. And when I was reeling from the effects of being abused and molested, I knew I had to find a way to make some good come out of all the agony and negativity. That was another reason why I wrote my books, talking about my life and healing journey to help myself and others. Gut wrenching pain like that needs to be acknowledged. And the journey of healing needs to be shared so that others affected by the strain and pain of difficulty can know that there is hope for better days to come.

This life isn’t easy. For anyone. Some go through more than others but the struggle of pain is universal. When we understand why we cry and why God gave us tears in the first place, we know that He wants us to learn from hardship the truth of His reality. He’s in the healing business. He’s in the business of growth and understanding. When we experience trouble,. we gain wisdom and insight not only into ourselves and others but also life in general. This world is a place to stretch and expand into a more loving, creative version of ourselves in His image. And with His depth of character and wisdom, the most effective way I have learned was through the pain I suffered. Fun is great and success is amazing but we can’t be “well rounded” beings without understanding both the valleys and the mountains. I believe God gave us tears, in His great mercy, to empower us to withstand those lessons. So if you’re having a particularly difficult time processing your pain, try the stance of being grateful for your tears. That in itself is an empowering lesson!

“Why Did You Leave Me?” available  here.

“Why Did You Leave Me?” available here.

Forgiveness

I feel led to write about forgiveness today. I have been going through a lot in my personal life. My father is clinging to existence and is having a lot of trouble dealing with the fact that he will be leaving us at some point. The family history and current situation has prompted me to think about forgiveness once again.

My life has been rough like many of yours. We have had our share of angst, anger and hurt in our family history. All types of it. I have spent years trying to overcome the demons of the past. Once I began writing about my life, I started to heal. No sooner had I begun publishing books, but my youngest daughter passed away just before her nineteenth birthday. Which led me on more rabbit chases as I begged for wisdom and understanding from Spirit. It’s been a long couple of years. During that time my earthly father became suddenly ill and has been waxing and waning in health issues for a while now.

It’s really interesting when hardship strikes. It has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in you all at the same time. Everyone in the family has been affected and it has brought the topic of forgiveness into the limelight.

People used to tell me to forgive. Counselors, friends, some family members. I thought, “If you’re telling me that what happened to me was okay, you’re nuts. I’m not forgiving those who molested me and abused me.” But I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learned that forgiveness is a gift which we give ourselves. Forgiveness is a gift from Spirit. It’s a gift that lets us know we are loved and cared for by Spirit and that we will heal.

When I talk about forgiveness, I don’t talk about forgetting. I talk about accepting and moving on. When you’ve been mortally wounded in your life, you can’t just forget it. But you can learn to give it to God and set yourself free.

Sending some Sonshine available  here .

Sending some Sonshine available here.

There’s a big misconception about forgiveness. The misunderstanding which blindsides us and creates rigidity in our spirits is the concept of forgetting. If you were molested, raped, beaten, verbally abused or endured any type of debilitating trauma, I know you can’t forget it. So many people bristle at the topic and dig their feet in, promising themselves they will never forgive. But the truth of the matter is, when you forgive you are giving the pain to Spirit and asking for help. You will find that your heart will soften and you will begin to be able to receive understanding and empathy which will override your anger. After that, you will further notice that the pain of the past will begin to fade. If you take it a step beyond and decide to help others who have been through and are going through what you’ve experienced, you will turn the negativity into positivity. You will be able to teach those who have suffered like you how to transform themselves into better, more loving people because of the hardships they have endured. It really is a beautiful thing. A design of love and light.

There is nothing as precious as helping a fellow human being discover freedom. And quite honestly, if you’ve experienced trauma, it can lead to deeper freedom because of the wisdom and understanding you’ll receive as you let it go and give it to Spirit. I know it sounds strange, but it will deepen you to an internal point that will create more strength, dignity and respect within you. A sort of light that will lead others to truth.

I’m right with you in agreeing that this life is hard. But with a decision to forgive-and that is what forgiveness is-then we are learning to spread our spiritual wings and fly. Good can come from difficulty and pain. If you learn to believe it and embrace new possibilities, you will find yourself a much more fulfilled and peaceful person. It’s only a matter of time!

Essence Of Soul

What happens when we leave this earth? Where do we go? What do we do? Age old questions of uncertainty. As I speak, my father is wondering what the answers to these questions are. He has been advised to be put on hospice. I am again contemplating the answers to these questions myself. My daughter passed into eternity two years ago and I am preparing for another round.

I have spent years studying the afterlife-since I lost my first child nearly 30 years ago. I have read books, watched documentaries, even delved into a sampling of physics and other sciences. I have read the Bible. I have learned a few things but it seems that the more I learn the more questions I have.

Essence Of Soul I available  here

Essence Of Soul I available here

Is it even possible to understand what we look forward to after we leave here? I think as God’s children we will come to know much. But I don’t think we could ever know all. Only God, in His wisdom could ever understand all of the nuances and infinite possibilities that His realm has to offer.

When I was younger, I imagined Heaven to be a place where we floated around on clouds and watched angels fly by. Now I believe Heaven is so complex that it would take eternity in itself just to begin to comprehend all there is to know. I guess I’m grateful for that. Because I don’t like to be bored! So I am looking forward to being infinitely amazed once I get over there. And very much looking forward to seeing my children again.

A parent-child bond is a beautiful thing. I could share stories of visitations from my children; signs that they are still around. And actually I do share quite a few stories in my upcoming book. It was written as a dedication to my youngest child that passed away two years ago. I prefer to say that she graduated. Anyway, now as I prepare to send my father off in God’s love and light, I hope he sees her and tells me that she’s doing well. I know she is. I still feel her around me, wrapped in God’s love. A beautiful feeling. I am and ever will be grateful for that love and that guidance until I too join them on the other side.

Essence Of Soul II available  here

Essence Of Soul II available here

I created these pieces of art as I imagined what we look like when we journey Home. I think of us as being healthy, happy, in perfect condition physically with God’s beautiful light shining in and all around us. Overwhelmed with gratitude and peace. That’s how I hope it will be. I look forward to hugging and laughing with my dearly departed ones. Until then, I will write and create art inspired by the beliefs that I hold.

I am convinced that this life is a learning ground. A school for the soul. I know I’ve learned a lot here and I still have time left. So I strive to do my best through the good and the bad to evolve to a point where I can be happy and peaceful here as well as in Heaven. That is what I wish for all of us. And for understanding that we can forgive and move on from all types of hardship, knowing that the harshest of days create in us empathy, compassion and understanding. All qualities that I consider to be of high spiritual significance.

Until next time, take care and try to enjoy your journey. The time we have here really isn’t that long. Even one hundred years happens in the blink of an eye. If we make the most of it and learn from our pain, I believe we have gained enough wisdom to enjoy our next phase of existence!

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.


Make A Decision To Thrive Not Just Survive.jpg

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.

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."