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?

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!

The (In)Fidelity Factor by Elda M. Lopez

 

Conflicted about the role of (in)fidelity in relationships? Hurt? Angry? Confused? Need simple, sound advice?

The author can relate. She's been on both sides of the fence and addresses infidelity prevention in real terms. This is a much-needed book for those with a desire to know, and those in the throes of desire re: (in)fidelity in a committed relationship. An honest, easy, concise read that gets to the crux of the matter, with bits of humor thrown in for good measure. It offers up plenty of points to ponder; along with valuable information, statistics, commentary, personal stories (including the author's own) and surveys for examination.

Guidelines are given to preserve integrity and respect before falling victim to the harmful backlash of infidelity--and it's a big one. The purpose is to promote awareness, education, personal accountability, and growth. Bottom line: cheating is defeating. Right? This is your call to action, no matter which side of the fence you find yourself. Get healthy, get happy, get reading. This is where the change-up begins!

Interview with Elda:

1.  Why did you decide to write this book?
I decided to write this book because infidelity has gone absolutely wild, and it's annoying. High profile people are continuously dropping left and right (it was also a point of contention during the recent presidential campaign), so you can imagine what's happening in our own backyards, and bedrooms. Infidelity is becoming normalized. Why? Why is this acceptable? Prevention is key, so I took to mine and kept typing away.
Having been on both sides of the fence, I know the struggles--not pretty. There is much to be lost when adultery enters a committed relationship: emotionally, financially, psychologically; not to mention the possible extended mayhem: arson, dismemberment, murder--all real! This behavior affects everyone involved. Because infidelity is such a highly emotionally charged topic, most people don't realize there are various backstories; nor the scope of the fallout. I wanted to address infidelity prevention in a manner that would be easy to comprehend and hopefully, make a difference.
2.  What do you hope to accomplish through this book's publication?
My hope is that someone, anyone, will have at least one positive takeaway that can be applied to their life. Better overall understanding, eye-opening moments, and paying the good forward are also welcomed. I emphasize self-awareness, personal accountability, and growth. These aren't easy subjects for people to acknowledge, but they are essential components for infidelity prevention.

When my ex-husband cheated on me, I chose to take a look at myself as well. His actions were definitely of his own doing, but I had contributed to our disconnect on some level. It's difficult for people to look at themselves, much less when they've been betrayed. I get that. However, I didn't want to take unproductive patterns with me into a future relationship. And, I certainly wasn't going to play the victim card. I wanted to get healthy. That's what I wish for others, on a very large scale. My goal is not to eradicate infidelity, my mission is to bring awareness and do some educating while I'm at it. I'd like to switch up legislature too. I have a very long to-do list!
3.  Do you have any other published work?
So far, this is my only book. At some point, I'd like to do a broader version (are you listening lit. agents?). I've learned a tremendous amount during this whole process. I consider myself to be nonjudgmental, but I've had to continuously push back my boundaries to accommodate someone's else's reality with infidelity. It's a huge subject with many tangents. There's still tons of work to do. This particular plate is always full: I've been known to have a hearty appetite.
4.  What is one surprising fact you'd like your readers to know about you?
Surprising fact about me? A million years ago in college, I studied abroad at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark: one of the best experiences of my life. It's a lovely country. I lived with a Danish family with whom I'm still in contact. We've also exchanged visits. They truly are an extension of my immediate family. Also, I flunked out of two classes due to my love of travel. Hey, life experience is just as important as book experience. Luckily, I had enough credits so that it didn't make a difference. Besides, what I gained was absolutely priceless.
5.  If you could fulfill one wish in life, what would it be?
One wish: That all my wishes will be fulfilled. I'm getting closer!
Where you can find Elda:
http://www.eldamlopez.com/
http://mybook.to/facebookeml
http://amazon.com/author/eldamlopez.com
https://twitter.com/eldamlopez
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmvDF58NIik

 

Now Determines The Future

 

Now determines the future. Now is the "seat" of tomorrow. Don't project what happened yesterday into tomorrow. You'll create more of the same in "what is to come".

If you want to start fresh, make Now the best you can and see that best going forward into tomorrow. That is the most productive way to correct past mistakes, one moment at a time. And if you slip up or get off track, don't worry or fear. Just realign yourself in a successful Now and the future will be much brighter and better.

Remember: life is a journey and we are all works in progress!

Now Is All We Have

I AM the Method, I AM the Key, I AM the Answer, Please reference Me.

I AM the Creator, I AM the King, I am the Light, In whom creation sings.

When you're in doubt, You know you will fall; Cry out to Me, The Intention of all.

I AM your Redeemer, Of first and of last, I AM the Gatekeeper, Of all time that does pass.

It Wasn't Her

I saw her in the casket, lying peacefully, wearing the animal print dress she had wanted so badly four years before. We had walked around the store and she followed me, crying, wailing uncharacteristically, for me to buy her the dress. "Why are you acting like this?" I was irritated. I was so irritated, in fact, that I felt like flinging her across the aisles.

"I want this dress!" she wailed.

"You never act this way. You're a good kid. Calm. Peaceful. The total opposite of your sister. But now? You're acting like a monster! I already have $400.00 worth of clothes in this cart for you both. I can't afford any more. These prices are outrageous! This is why I buy everything at Goodwill!" I stared at her, beyond frustrated.

She insisted on getting the dress. Of course, I caved.

My younger daughter was the peaceful one of my two kids. She was the easygoing one. The one who gave loving advice and huge bear hugs. The one who told everyone that everything would be okay.

Now I was staring at her lifeless body, her cold, hard shell lying in a casket lined with pink satin fabric-her favorite color. The body of my beloved child adorned with the animal print dress she had pined over in the store four years ago.

*****************************************************************************

We were standing in my younger daughter’s room a few days before.   My older daughter held the animal print dress.  “We have to put it on her, mom,” my older daughter insisted through tears and whimpering. “You know how much she loved it.  It’s what she would have wanted.”

“I know.  Do you remember how she freaked out about that dress when I bought it?” I wiped my eyes, wanting to join my younger daughter in her casket.

"Yes."

We both broke down. It was inconceivable that she had been yanked from us. Our best friend, our confidant, our love.

We carefully picked out jewelry to match.

"She'll be beautiful," my older daughter said. "Just like she'd want to be."

********************************************************************************

How will I live without you, Bubby Girl?  I can't do this.

I went to her, kneeling in front of the casket. I put my hands over hers, placing one of my best rings on her fingers.

You were with me when I picked this out.  My promise ring to God.  Now it's yours.

I stared at her face.  That beautiful, angelic face with the pouting lower lip.  Her hair had recently been dyed red.  It looked good on her, falling in soft curls around her cheeks and over her shoulders.

I want to be with you.  

I had been through this before.  I knew all about God and spirits, angels and heaven.  I just didn't want to acknowledge the pain.  It was then that I heard her voice.

"I'm not in that casket mom.  I'm still with you."

I felt the familiar salty tears fall from my eyes, down my cheeks and into my mouth as I wept.

I know.  I just miss you.  So much.  Every second of every day.

I stared at her, laying my head on the chest of her icy cold body.  I smelled formaldehyde.

"That's not me anymore, mom.  Remember.  Now I can always be with you."

In immense pain, I ran my fingers through her hair, hating the smell and the coldness of her body.

You're right.  It's not you anymore.  But I still love you and I always will.  You'll always be my baby.

I stayed with her a while more as the funeral director closed the doors to the people watching behind me.

I love you, Bubby Girl.  Stay with me forever.  Help me to keep writing and show me how to take pictures like you did.

"I will, Mommy.  I promise."

Never stop calling me Mommy.  I love how you call me that.

"I won't, Mommy.  Try to be happy.  Because I'm happy now."

I ran my hands over her fingers, those beautiful curved fingers that I used to hold in mine.  I got up and told the funeral director he could shut the casket.  As he did, I knew that my time with my baby wasn't over.  It was just beginning.

 

 

The Worst Thanksgiving Ever by Kara Reynolds

People have strong, emotion-filled memories associated with the holidays, especially with the food we eat at those special times. It’s why I make sweet potato casserole every Thanksgiving—it’s my mom’s recipe, and making it reminds me of her. Every time I add a full cup of sugar instead of three-quarters of a cup I laugh inwardly as I imagine her cringing at how much delicious sugar goes into the dish. I am sure (I hope, anyway) that you have similar fond memories of holiday food.

For the first Thanksgiving that my husband and I spent together (before we got married), we went to visit my family on the East Coast. For weeks leading up to our trip, I regaled him with stories of my family and different holidays we’d spent together. I think my nostalgia started to make him miss his own family, because a few days before we left he suggested we eat dinner at a Country Buffet, like his family used to do when he was a kid. As buffets go, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good either. I couldn’t wait to get home and eat my grandma’s food. Later that night, my husband starting having stomach cramps. He spent the night on the couch in my living room. When I came back upstairs in the morning to check on him, he was in the bathroom. He had full-blown food poisoning, and it was kicking his butt. I helped clean up the mess (from both ends, people. It was BAD). He recovered enough by the time we had to fly out, so we went on our trip. My dad’s family picked us up in Baltimore and took us to my aunt’s house in Pennsylvania. By the time we got there, my stomach was starting to gurgle… I spent the next two days on the toilet at my aunt’s house, while my sister laughed her head off at me every time she walked down the hall and heard me spewing into the commode. My poor husband spent those days making small talk with my family, who he’d just met, and force-feeding me Gatorade. It was a terrible trip, but I have fond memories of it because that was the week I realized I wanted to marry my husband. Because I could clean up his bodily fluids (and he mine) without being repulsed, it was clear to me that we truly cared about each other. We’ve had nine Thanksgivings since then, and every time we sit down to eat we share a grin and remind each other how thankful we are that we can actually eat the meal that year—and that we’re thankful that we’re eating it together.

**********

Kara Reynolds is a stay-at-home mom of three who likes to spend her nearly-non-existent free time writing novels. Her weaknesses include James T. Kirk, lightsabers, and anything TARDIS-blue. She writes contemporary and light speculative YA novels. She is clearly a gigantic nerd, and if she could go back in time, she would tell her teenage self to embrace her inner geekiness. While Kara lives in Wyoming, she is not of Wyoming. But it's growing on her.

Kara blogs about writing every week at Operation Awesome (http://operationawesome6.blogspot.com). You can follow her on Twitter @reynoldstribe.

Donate this year to the Edmonton Food Bank:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/giftmas-blog-tour-supports-the-edmonton-food-bank/

The Rise Of Nazil by Aaron Michael Hall

the-rise-of-nazil-cover

It was the 75th year of Alberoth when the AsZar summoned the Guardians. There was an imbalance in the lands of Faélondul. The Zaxson, Draizeyn Vereux covered the lands in a pall of darkness. There was a plan to exterminate the infestation in Nazil and beyond, a plan to eradicate the humans.

Led by the priestly cast called the Cha, the Xenophobic Nazilians dominating Faélondul justified their brutalities against the humans. But when the First Chosen of the elite guard of Nazil discovers Brahanu Ravenot lost near the gates of the city, not only his life but also his entire system of beliefs is forever changed. With darkness covering the lands, can love—forbidden, yet eternal—save both humans and Nazilians?

The Rise of Nazil is an adult fantasy novel that takes your breath away. Intricate plotting, intense passion, exciting battles, and complex, challenging characters pull the reader into the mythical world of Faélondul, where powerful ethereal beings wrestle for domination against the brutal Nazilian rulers.

Honor above all! The elite Chosen Guard of Nazil live and die by that maxim. A xenophobic race dominating the lands of Faélondul, the Nazilian's fallacious sense of honor and preeminence enables them to justify their brutal treatment of humans.

Reviews for The Rise Of Nazil:

By Jocelyn on March 6, 2016
Epic fantasy novel! That's the first thought that comes to mind when I think of this book. It's a fast-paced story that will hook you into the storyline from the first page. It is a long book, but it wasn't hard to read or dull at all! It was an overall fun and enjoyable book to read and I would recommend it to others, especially if you love adult fantasy novels.

I don't want to go into so many details about the book, since I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but I will say that if you're looking for a good book to read next, you should give this book a try.

 

By J. Thomas Munson on February 15, 2016

The Rise of Nazil by Aaron-Michael Hall depicts both evil and good in a classic sci-fi fantasy thriller. Illustrating a true world easily envisioned for all readers, while sketching perfectly the human traits that make all so vividly fascinating. A page turning “epic” novel with pulsating fantasy and an ever-gripping creativity wrapped in a forbidden yet eternal love. With fantastic creatures, ruthless political beings and a love story to which Shakespeare would be proud of. Can this love story reconcile a feuding fantasy world, or will the same tragic ending cripple the masses? It is with all honesty, a high recommendation for The Rise of Nazil and a salivating anticipation for the sequel to the Rise, with The Seed of Scorn!

Where you can find The Rise Of Nazil:

https://www.amazon.com/The-Rise-Nazil-Secret-Seven-ebook/dp/B014FPTWVS

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rise-of-nazil-aaron-michael-hall/1122654528?ean=2940152347166

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-rise-of-nazil

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rise-nazil-epic-adult-fantasy/id1039982174?mt=11

Where you can find Aaron:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rise-of-Nazil/897437180316047

http://www.theriseofnazil.com/

You Can't Have One Without The Other

There is an unfortunate tendency in our society to focus on social class and egoism. While I completely understand the differences and needs of particular social classes and the importance of individualism, when it comes to our society working together for good these tendencies cause problems.

In the study of society, or sociology, differences in society are categorized as class, race, gender and geographic location. These differences affect how people can access resources and opportunities. (Reference: What are social divisions?)

Social divisions stem from the idea that society is separated into the powerful and powerless. Those in lower socioeconomic classes have fewer opportunities for things like education, health care and employment. Those in higher socioeconomic classes have an abundance of pretty much everything. (Reference:  What are social divisions?)  For far too long, our society has valued the upper socioeconomic classes such as doctors and lawyers and undervalued the lower socioeconomic classes such as fast food workers and janitors. But the truth of the matter is, we can't have one without the other.

celebration-by-diamante

(Celebration by Diamante Lavendar)

It is an inconceivable notion that some people are more important than others in a society that hopes to accomplish its very best in the given moment.  Yes, doctors and lawyers are important. But if society valued all walks of people more, perhaps lawyers and doctors would be in lesser demand because there would be less fighting and stress!  Who would clean the rooms and hallways of the hospitals if everyone were a doctor? Who would prepare gourmet or classic meals, create beautiful pieces of art to appreciate or music to calm the senses?  Who would make sure the factories worked correctly and that we had safe water, pipes, heat, electricity, running vehicles and amusement parks to occupy ourselves?  It takes all of us to create a happy whole.

Democracy is defined as "a system of government by the whole population through elected representatives". (Dictionary.com).  Are we truly being aptly represented by our officials?  Everyone matters.  Every life is important.  It is a travesty and a shame when some are deemed more useful than others.  Even in the Bible it says, "There is one body, but it has many parts.  But all its many parts make up one body.....if all parts were the same, how could there be a body?"  (1 Cor. 12:12 and 19).

We all matter.  Our lives matter. Our souls matter.  Our means of living matter.  When we are each contributing positively to the value of the whole, who can truly say one is more important or meaningful than the other?  Deep down, we all need the same things and crave the same things.  I believe it's time to value the parts of society contributing to the sum of our society's parts.  Even Aristotle said,  "Mathematically, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, neither more nor less." Then psychological Gestalt theory took it a step further, stating that "The parts, when working together, are able to achieve an outcome superior to one or two people working alone."   (PubMed.gov:  The whole is more than the sum of its parts:  Aristotle, metaphysical).

I know Aristotle was onto something but I believe the Gestalt theory summed it up beautifully. If everyone worked together in harmony and synchrony, wow, what an amazing society this would be!

Interesting Facts About Halloween

Are you one of those Halloween buffs who goes all out every year to have a crazy party and decorations complete with ghoulish food and friends? Well, you're not alone! According to statistics, Halloween is the second largest holiday celebration in the United States with Christmas being the first!

That seems a bit strange to me. I would guess Valentines Day or New Years' Eve to be the second largest holiday celebration, but hey, what do I know? (Apparently not much when it comes to Halloween!)

happy-halloween-2016-diamante-lavendar

I was always taught that Halloween was a holiday from the underworld.  But apparently there's more to it than that.  I did some research and found that Halloween is a celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31 which is dedicated to remembering the dead including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed.  So, it's not all bad.  It's like anything....it depends on what you believe about the holiday.  It supposedly began from a Gaelic festival called Samhain in which people celebrated the end of the harvest season.  And western culture kind of twisted it into what it is today.  (Wikipedia:  Halloween).  I prefer to think of it as a day to remember my loved ones who have passed on.  Though I remember them all times, it's a day marked to observe what their lives meant to me.  I also think of it as a harvest festival.

Here are some interesting facts about Halloween:

-Halloween celebrates the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve followed by All Saints Day on Nov. 1.  It's all in the attitude.  What does Halloween mean to you?

-In Great Britain, jack-o-lanterns were traditionally made from turnips.  We Americans turned that over on its head (ha!) and started the pumpkin craze!

-Trick or treating started in 19th century Scotland and Ireland.  Children went door to door praying for souls or performing for money or cakes.  Similarly, in medieval times, beggars went door to door praying for souls in exchange for food.  So next time you say trick or treat, you know where the concept came from!

-Halloween is a 6 billion dollar industry!  Like I mentioned above, it's the second most practiced holiday in the U.S.  (Things that make you go hmmmm......)

-Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween!  Yeah...this fact pretty much speaks (or screams) for itself!

-50 % of kids prefer to receive chocolate for Halloween.  (I'm right with them!  Pleeeaase hand over the heath bars....:))

-The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven in 1993.  It weighed 836 lbs!  I wonder how many pies could come out of that monster!

-According to Irish legend, jack-o-lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who tricked the devil several times and was forbidden entrance into Heaven and Hell.  So now he wanders the earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.  (Not a namesake I'd want to keep!!)

-Harry Houdini died on Halloween night in 1926 as a result of appendicitis brought on by three punches to the stomach.  Yeesh!  What a time to die!

-Dressing up as ghouls or spirits originated from the Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves so that spirits roaming the streets wouldn't recognize them!  I guess that could technically make sense...

-The Village Halloween Parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States with 50,000 participants and over 2 million spectators.  Huh...this is the first I've heard about this parade!

-Owls signify Halloween.  In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches.  When an owl was heard hooting, it was believed that someone was about to die. (Yikes!  That puts a clink into taking walks at night!)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Resources:

Wikipedia:  Halloween

Arts.Mic:  Halloween History:  13 Strange Facts On Why We Celebrate Halloween

Fact Retriever:  40 Spooky Facts About Halloween

Chicken Chatter: The Burning Question...

Bernie and Kurt were longtime friends. Best friends, really. They were also roommates that had lived together for years. Complete opposites, Bernie and Kurt found that the age old truth was indeed correct: opposites do tend to attract, at least most of the time.

One day Bernie and Kurt were sitting in their living room. Bernie was staring intently at the T.V. while Kurt read his daily paper. As the images floated around Bernie's mind from the television program he was watching, Bernie turned to Kurt with an abrupt and somewhat strange question.

"Is it true, Kurt?"

Shaken from his reverie, Kurt looked over the top of the newspaper.  "Is what true?"

"The age old question, Kurt.  You know....why did the chicken cross the road?"  Bernie stared vacantly at his friend.

"What, Bernie?  Why are you talking about chickens?"  Kurt responded, irritation edging his voice.

"Because, Kurt.  I have heard the question many times.  Why?  Why did the chicken cross the road?"

why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road-by-diamante-lavendar

Kurt set down his paper with a rustle and a bustle.  "Why are you asking ridiculous questions? That's not an age old question!  That's a riddle, Bernie.  A ridiculous riddle."

Bernie shook his head.  "No, Kurt.  It's an important question.  Kind of like the one about the chicken and the egg."

Kurt stared at Bernie.  "What's up with you and chickens, Bernie?  It's a chicken.   Who cares about a chicken?"

Bernie was taken aback.  "Well, you seem to care a lot about chickens, Kurt."

"I care about chickens?  When do I care about chickens?"

"When you eat supper...and sometimes lunch..."

Kurt threw his hands in the air.  "I care about chickens at supper and lunch because I'm hungry! Not because I care about a ridiculous riddle regarding a chicken crossing a road!  Since when have you ever seen a chicken cross a road, Bernie?  When?"

"I haven't."

"Okay then.  There's the answer to your question."

"What answer, Kurt?"  Bernie scratched his head.

Kurt sat forward in his chair, pushing his newspaper onto the ottoman in front of him.  "CHICKENS DON'T CROSS ROADS, BERNIE.  THAT'S THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION."

Cowed by Kurt's irritation, Bernie was silent for a moment.  Kurt watched him for approximately thirty seconds then sunk back into his chair, reaching for his paper again.

Sensing that the confrontation was over-at least temporarily over-Bernie said, "That doesn't answer the question, Kurt."

"Are you kidding me, Bernie?  Are you kidding me right now?"  Kurt plunged forward in the chair, almost nose diving across the ottoman.

"No.."

"NO?  NO what?"  Kurt ground his teeth together.  Then the thought occurred to him that it was ludicrous to be this angry over a riddle that some person most likely made up in the midst of a fit of complete and total boredom.

"I'm not kidding.  It....doesn't answer..the question."

Kurt sighed and shook his head.  "Okay, Bernie.  If you want the question answered so badly, go find a chicken crossing a road and ask it yourself."

"But chickens don't speak English, Kurt."

"Enough!  Enough!  I don't have an answer to your question!  I don't know why a chicken would cross a road, I don't know why it would WANT to cross a road and I sure am not going to ASK a chicken a question!  ENOUGH!  This conversation is over!  Good night, Bernie!"  Kurt jumped off the chair, tripped past Bernie and ran to his room, slamming the door.

"But Kurt, it's noon..."

"Done!  I'm done!  Putting on my earbuds now.  DONE Bernie!"  he screamed from his bedroom.

Shrugging, Bernie clicked the remote to turn the sound up on the T.V. and lay back in his recliner.  I'll ask tomorrow when he's in a better mood.  I wonder what got into him.  He's so cranky!

You're Much More Special Than You Think!

Are you aware of the numerous things that make you, you? What would your answer be if I asked you what makes you special? Some of you may look toward the ground and say, "Not much. My fingerprints, I guess." Others may exuberantly proclaim, "Everything about me!" Who's right? Let's explore the topic further!

For those of us with a "Pollyanna perspective", we'd happily exclaim,  "Why, it's my personality and the way I look!  Also the way I think and my unique traits like my fingerprints!"  Crazy thing is, these optimists are correct...and then some.  Not only is our appearance something that sets us apart, but there are other things that do too.

If your argument is "we're all human and we're all alike", you're correct.  But we're all also different and that's the beauty of life.  We are all truly unique.  Not only because of the above reasons but also because of several more.  First, our DNA:  the most important reality of this blog post.  Obviously DNA reigns supreme when it comes to pulling us apart at the seams, quite literally.  DNA evidence obliterated everything when it came to crime scene investigation and litigation.

But what else is there?  Well, our tongues for one.  Because our tongues are kept safely in our mouth (or not so safely, depending on what we talk about), our unique tongue prints are kept intact.  How would that work though, when asking for prints?  Could be a bit challenging....

youre-special-by-diamante-lavendar

Then there are our ear lobes.  Instruments have been created to illuminate our earlobes to help in identifying us.  And it's pretty conclusive.  Strange, eh?  I remember my grandmother being obsessed about earlobes....she was obviously onto something....

Many of us probably know about our retinol capillary patterns being individually unique.  Such is the reason for eye scanning equipment in high security areas.  But what about our irises?  Also very unique to each individual because "the color and structure is genetically linked, but the details of the pattern are not".  Hmmm....this gives more meaning to "looking deep into your loved ones' eyes".....

What about how you walk?  Have you ever given thought to the way your body moves?  Well, that's another way to determine individuality!  Not just your legs but your entire body, how you sway and put pressure on your feet, etc.  Makes me wonder about those of us who trip or fall off balance....can that be studied, too?  (Just a joke to make you smile!  Watch out for that rock...!)

Our voices and lip prints are also unique markers of who we are.  I don't know about you, but I can just imagine a police station:  someone comes in and is asked to be lip printed.  I  don't think that would be a fun scenario for the officers on duty.  Do you?  Could make for an interesting day, though.  :)

Judge:  Step forward, please.  I understand you are being held for theft?

Defendant:  Yes, your Honor.

Judge:  Would you care to share your side of the story?

Defendant:  Yes, your Honor.  I walked into the store, leaned against the glass case and left my finger prints.  Then I saw something... an amazing watch in the case.... and looked more closely, accidentally brushing my lips against the glass.  Stunned, I stood up and found myself staring directly into the eyes of the clerk.  As she asked me if she could help me, I cut my finger on the edge of the glass case.  She gave me some kleenex and I wrapped it around my finger, thanking her profusely.  Then she showed me the watch.  I put it on my wrist, starting to walk back and forth in front of a nearby mirror to admire how it shined against my skin.  I tripped over a chair near the mirror and the watch fell off my wrist, landing on the floor and shattering.  I freaked out, went back to the case where the clerk stood with her mouth agape, and offered to pay for the watch.  Flustered, I paid her and then began walking out of the store.  Without thinking, I grabbed a scarf and dabbed my forehead then shoved it in my back pocket.  Immediately, upon leaving the store, I was apprehended.

(This person is doomed!  Not only because of all the evidence left behind, but also because of the security cameras!)  There.  Hope I made you laugh at least a little.  So this has not only been an informative post which I think I could safely call 'Interesting', but also 'Humorous'.  Where will I post it?  Probably 'Interesting'.  But I digress....

As for the point of this post, you are unique for so many ways that it would be pretty much impossible to deny it.  And there are so many intriguing things about you that make you unique that you must admit, there's got to be an overall purpose to this!  So enjoy being you and know that nobody out there can fill your shoes-scientifically or from a humanitarian standpoint. Namaste!

References (Quite Seriously):

Quora:  What Things Are Unique To A Person Besides A Fingerprint?

Medical Daily:  Special Snowflake:  4 Things (Other Than Your Fingerprints) That Make You 1 In 7.2 Billion