Wednesday, March 20, 2019

RANDOM THOUGHT - Self-Control, Innocent Lives, and Parasites

Of all random thoughts, this may be the most random.

I spend way too much time on Twitter, but I still get things done. A question was posed about what we control. This question goes back many centuries, perhaps even before the Stoics. While it's perfectly obvious that we don't control external events, even though we want to, we almost don't even control ourselves. Add in the subconscious to the mix of influences, and we become beyond anyone's control, even our own.

When we act impulsively or reflexively, we're basically operating from the crocodile brain. This may serve us well in fight or flight circumstances, but not at all when dealing with loved ones or coworkers or clients/customers. 

We can practice mindfulness and meditation and written exercises and dream analysis to grow our awareness of triggers. I have more than a chapter in my WIP dedicated to getting aware of triggers and stopping reflex and going toward conscious responsiveness.  It was hard, but so fucking worth it in the end.

Those who are not taking ownership and responsibility for their own lives but feed off the kindness of strangers are parasites.  I'm talking about people who abuse gofundme. A certain fellow ex-Jehovah's Witness joined a private online group, chatted a bit, complained about his life circumstances, asked for money and promptly left the group.

This left a bitter taste in my mouth, to be perfectly honest.  I thought the group would be supportive, but not used as crutches.

Whether the Jehovah's Witness way of thinking to rely on God to solve all our problems fed into his parasitical approach to social media is beyond the scope of my knowledge, but I can speculate.

I'd sooner donate my money to save animals. They are innocent lives and are not parasites the way some humans can be.

Once you free your mind, the Matrix becomes your playground, not prison.

royalty free image


That is all.

Be well and have a magical day!
Mackenzie

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Versatile Blogger Award - 7 Things About Me

I had the honor and privilege of being nominated by Millennial Adulting.  For tips on living life and getting adult sorts of things done, please visit her blog.

Now I share 7 things about myself.

1. I can't commit 100% to a vegan lifestyle. I love animals and believe they should be treated ethically whether they're meant for eating or not, but the convenience of buying animal products and by-products is too easy.

2. Some members of my family are Jehovah's Witnesses, and their entrapment in this cult irritates me.  By some measures, the "cult" is harmless, but they are not free to leave without suffering utter and complete shunning.

3. I like solving my problems on my own first, or barring that, after consulting people who I believe have some sort of wisdom bone.

4. One vein in my body is ambitious.  The other is lazy.  I can't find a balance between the two extremes.  I am fully addicted to Twitter. It took less than six months.

5. I have a cat, who I adore!

6. My phone has become an indispensable appendage and it's possibly more useful than my hands.

7. The first two chapters of my novel-in-progress were sent to an editor to see what changes he might make. It's my desire to send my very best work to query literary agents. I'm very grateful to those who provided feedback so far.  While not all suggested changes were made and none appear in the blog post, the changes I did make appear in the document that I'm working on.

I'm now supposed to nominate 15 bloggers, so here they are for your perusal and enjoyment:

Twitter Handle - blog website

@weilandwrites - https://medium.com/jasonjamesweiland.com

@NerdMind1 - https://nerd-mind.com

@doc_bipolar - https://thebipolardoc.blog

@bipolarbattle - https://thebipolarbattle.com

@CUnderwoodUK - https://charlotteunderwood.com

@EleanorSegall - https://www.eleanorsegall.com

@momleficent - https://momleficent.com

@AlBell42017 - https://thewaterwholeonline.com

@iverboten - www.verboten.ca

@joansenio1 - https://kindness-compassion-and-coaching.com

@lukericha - https://lukerichardsoncreative.com

@SeaOfBlush - https://seaofblush.com

@graphitedragon1 - https://thegraphitedragon.com

@AV_writing - https://anovelhome.com

@housewifeboozy - https://boozyhousewife.family.blog

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WRITING EXERCISE - on addressing 5 senses


A writing exercise that became part of
This Darkness is Mine


As the morning sun peeked through gaps in Joe’s black window shades, she felt his arm draped across her and rolled over to face him.

She smiled with a hum and had to move in very close to detect his scent. Discreet, natural, earthy and masculine, his scent wafted through her mind, and connected tongue-in-groove with her memory of Atlanta peaches and magnolias. Sweet summer peaches with their promise of youth, pleasure and vitality, and the pristine white magnolias, like clusters of virgins whose time was not yet ripe for enjoyment. Joe’s aroma opened like magnolia petals, letting her remembrance nestle in its center, mesmerizing her in the same way as the lit torch in the courtyard fountain where they’d first met had. “Good morning, my love.”

“Buenos dias, mi amor,” Joe said.

“I have a question for you.”

“Ask away.”

“Tell me about these scars.” She caressed his bare chest, running her finger along the subtly discolored skin marking grooves deep like furrows in his bronze skin.

He stroked her exposed arm and stared intently at her hair before clearing his throat. “Those scars are from my ex-wife.”

Her chest clenched and she reached for humor. “I’d guess rough sex." But empathy took over. "Except you look so sad now. What happened?”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WRITING EXERCISE - ON SILENCE

On Silence, 3rd person
By Mackenzie Littledale
1/15/2019

Emily had no regrets about her marriage, or for laying her career dream to eternal rest in favor of having three children.  Her family were her pride. Her joy. Being together with them was her improved dream over aspiring to marketing director. Her home life infused her soul with an earthiness that no corporate job ever could.  But sometimes she just desired peace and quiet, and found none.

For her last birthday, Emily asked her husband to take the kids to Chuck-E-Cheese and leave her to pamper herself for a few hours, and then they’d spend the rest of the day together.

After a thousand goodbyes and I love yous, their clatter was on the other side of the door.  She had the house to herself and her muscles melted.

“I think I shall have a glass of wine, then meditate. Hmm, on second thought, where is that whiskey?” The clinking of ice cubes seemed much louder with no one else’s noises drowning out the sound of her activities.  The whiskey pour sounded so much more important than it was.

The house now quiet, she felt oddly anxious to sit still once she got back upstairs to enjoy her whiskey, to recenter, perhaps to draw a warm bath.  No children playing, yelling or harassing each other.

Her meditation CD was meant to be soothing, but no sooner had Emily settled down, she realized the television downstairs was on.  She thundered down the stairs, finally annoyed enough to give Sponge Bob a salty piece of her mind. Once the tv was off, she heard the soft ring of her windchimes that had been a wedding present from her now deceased aunt.  The chiming echoed her meditation CD, but the chimes were a song of mourning, not soothing.

Now back upstairs, she settled down to journey within to that still inner place at her center. But then she heard the air conditioner wheezing. She turned it off and Emily’s home was at last peaceful. Several minutes into her mind journey, her environment was muted, except for a hum.  “Is that--? Can I really hear the refrigerator? Has it been humming nonstop all these years?”

“I can’t realistically unplug the fridge,” Emily said softly, letting go of the moment. Annoyance made a bigger racket in her head than anything else around.  It was as though her mind craved the chatter and clamor of her young ones and couldn’t bear to orphan her ears, so it amplified the refrigerator’s humming.

Emily felt one with the quiet -- except for that infernal humming -- as if she were a flower alone in the woods. Do flowers have anything to say?  Do their hearts ache to be plucked and gathered with friends and admired until they wither? She became snowflakes adrift with no one to hear whether she was afraid of falling, and a shiver ran its course through her flesh. Cold reminded her of outer space and she felt lost forever, without a voice. I don’t belong to this nothingness.  There is no peace in this quiet.

This never-ending silence did nothing but make her miss the noises of happiness.  More thoughts of snow, outer space, and solitary flowers would have driven Emily mad.  She conjured her family’s laughter, and her heart beat warmth into her body once more.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Just For Kicks - My WIP (Work in Progress) in Hashtag Games

The Twitter writing community makes lots and lots of hashtag games asking questions about WIPS.

Just for kicks, I've noted down some of the answers to the games so you can get a feel for what's going to happen, how it feels, where the story will take you, and how it sounds in the world of my WIP.

MC (Main Character)
Michelle Delphinia.

Tagline:
Undecided, but could be something like:
Will Michelle Accept her Bipolar Diagnosis Before Her Denial Sabotages Her Dream?

Soundtrack:
1 - Schizophrenia by The Sonic Youth
2 - Manic Depression by Jimi Hendrix
3 - Mars: Bringer of War by Holst
4 - Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
5 - Times Like These by Foo Fighters
6 - Back in the Saddle by Aerosmith 
7 - I Belong to You by Lenny Kravitz
8 - Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye
9 - Tubthumping by Chumbawamba
10 - Salsa music
11 - Unglued by Stone Temple Pilots

Set in:
Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Atlanta, New York City
Day spa
Office Christmas party
Luxury resort spa
Lots of restaurants
Psychiatric ER
Rage Room
Lighthouse

Favorite secondary character:
Renie because she is modern, somewhat unfiltered when she talks with MC, and a potty mouth


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

RANDOM THOUGHT - The Shamash Candle of Twitter

I'm pretty active on Twitter.  This is new.  When I first signed up, I hated it.  The character restrictions felt like a death sentence, but as I got acclimated, I found it forced me to be concise.  Twitter forces a discipline to self edit and write with clipped precision.

The more I acclimated and explored hashtags, I found the writing community. I wish I'd written down the moment it happened, because it was seminal.  I got "invited" (sort of) to a writing community follower train.  I jumped aboard, because it was something I'd tried myself and failed quickly.  No spark, not even a sputter.  My attempt was a nonstarter.

On social media, having followers is really important, and there are devices to gain followers quickly.  I had joined one only to discover I had nothing in common with any of the others.  Their tweets were nonsense and boring and violated English, a language for which I have a great deal of affection.

This particular train is led by a selfless man whose stated goal was to help writers gain 1000 followers.  The level of dedication is truly mind-blowing.  This started on December 9th, and with only a break for Christmas, it's resumed full steam ahead.  He's become a friend.  He humbly denies that he's doing any heavy lifting, but I remind him frequently that he started something special.  The writing community on Twitter has new life, deeper connected-ness, and new friendships forming. I've been enjoying engaging with dozens of people I might never have gotten a chance to find.  The range of talent is itself remarkable.

At the risk of mixing metaphors, this man (@StevenViner1) is like a Shamash candle. 

It's a total guy thing to start a fire, but the Shamash candle on a Jewish menorah lights all the others.  It's the helper that spreads the light from one candle to the next.  That's Steven.  Helping spread light, and that was how my 2018 ended, getting lit up.




Sorry for the mush, but days into the train of everyone following everyone else, I wanted to thank Steven somehow.  He'd managed over 10,000 notifications and made sure no one was left behind.

I joked that we could raise some money to have an angel tree topper in his image made, but that was corny.  It was a joke.  I stared at Steven's profile and read his bio over and over, wondering what I could do, and then it was as if the light came on.  He's a writer.  Two published books on amazon.  All royalties go to charity.

What if I just bought his books?

What if everyone else wanted to thank him too?

What if we all bought his books and he could give the royalties to his two favorite charities?

Ooooh, I lit up at the idea!

So here, check out Joe's Redemption and The Never Never Door on amazon.

Happy 2019!

Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

RANDOM THOUGHT - Darkness vs. Evil

It's the day after Christmas and I should probably be thinking on the year behind for lessons learned and contemplating the year ahead for goals to strive towards.  In a little way, maybe I am.  I've been reflecting on a tweet that I saw not long ago.  A Christian tweeted about defeating darkness, and he equated darkness with evil.  It's hard to explain, but my first thought was, "how childish."  I replied to his tweet with a question, but he never got back to me.  I won't describe what I think of an ego that can't engage with a conflicting point of view.  Maybe the Christian tweeter just never saw my reply.

In my mind, darkness is not a force to be crushed or defeated.  How do you even go about eradicating shadows?  I imagine one would have to position light fixtures from every conceivable angle and never turn them off.  But in an artist's mind, rendering a subject with 100% light would flatten the image and make it cartoonish.  Rendering shadow gives an object dimensionality, and that is the stuff of life.  Artists must make friends with shadows or their art loses credibility.  In real life, we don't turn off the light switch and turn on the shadow switch.  Darkness is no more than the absence of light; it has no real existence of its own.  It's just a default setting.

We don't live on an artist's canvas.  In real life, we must navigate in daylight as well as in shadow.  The earth will not stop spinning, so night time will always come - literally and emotionally.

There is a difference between darkness and evil.  Darkness is inevitable and, as we tell children at bedtime, there's nothing to be afraid of.  Evil, on the other hand, thrives on our fears and hides in the convenience of darkness.  It's not the darkness itself that we can eliminate and we really have no reason to want to.  It's the menacing evil when we magnify our fear that causes problems.

I've written a post or two about overcoming fear, so I'll leave it at that.

I would, however, like to draw the reader's attention to a best-selling book that has been around for several years and will always hold a special place in my heart: Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.  Estés describes and explains the power of various cultural myths like a wise sage instructing young ladies on the verge of adulthood.  Many of the myths concern sacred traditions of maturing that require learning from uncivilized sources.  These uncivilized sources may be considered "dark" or "witchy".




My contention is that darkness is a fact of life and the strange creatures that dwell in the dark can be fantastic instructors.  Dark creatures are also God's creatures, so let them serve their purpose. There's nothing to be afraid of.


Merry Christmas, Happy 2019!  Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie

#WomenWhoRunWiththeWolves
#overcomefear

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

GUEST POST - 8 Tips to Avoid a Full-Blown Holiday Meltdown by Live Well Mentally

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Brandy Higgins as a guest blogger.  She is offering fantastic advice for anyone with or without mental illness to survive HOLIDAY STRESS!!!



8 TIPS TO AVOID A FULL-BLOWN HOLIDAY MELTDOWN
I have mental illnesses but I am also an introvert. Being in large groups of people or  around strangers is very emotionally draining for me. I need to have a plan when I go to holiday events for many reasons, including being introverted, trauma, and mental illness symptoms.

I have had some very difficult holiday events in the past to survive. My husband and I often pushed several holiday dinners into one day so as not to let anyone down.. By the end I would lose it with my family.

One time I had a holiday dinner with my abuser, my father, and his extended family. It was extremely difficult. I had high anxiety going to the event and during it. I had flashbacks and dissociated during much of it. I did not have a plan and it was a miserable experience.

I often made the mistake of pretending I was fine when actually I was a mess. I would push myself too far.  Here are some tips to avoid a full-blown holiday meltdown during or after a challenging holiday event


Tips To Get Through A Difficult Holiday Event
  • Know your limits. If this holiday event is to much for you, stick up for yourself. Pleasing others is not worth risking your mental health.
  • Don't go it alone. Go with someone supportive.
  • Take short breaks in the bathroom or outside.
  • Imagine yourself in a safe place.
  • Do not pretend to be ok. Give yourself permission to NOT be ok.
  • Stay away from alcohol. It will be difficult for you to manage your mental illness symptoms if you are drunk.
  • Have a code word. Agree in advance with your support person to leave if their code word is used.
  • Don't apologise for yourself. You have done nothing wrong by taking care of your mental health.

I really hope these tips help you through the challenges of the holidays. I pretty much live by them. What tips do you have for surviving holiday events? Happy Holidays everyone. Leave questions, comments, suggestions below.



BRANDY'S BIO: Brandy Higgins, RN, BSN is the writer of Live Mentally Well-Better Living Thru Mental Wellness. https://livementallywell.com.  Lifelong Mental Health Survivor. Live Mentally Well is impacting our community and the world by inspiring mental wellness one person at a time.  She writes about Mood disorders, Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, Christian Mental Health, Anxiety Disorders, Childhood Trauma, PTSD, and Dissociative Disorders.  Share my knowledge and come along with me on my recovery journey.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

RANDOM THOUGHT - My phobia

The TED Radio hour on NPR was on and the guest was the director of sensitivity or cultural studies or something very benign like that.  She's Muslim.

My phobia isn't Islam.  My phobia is radicals.  Radicals can be Christian or Muslim, and my feeling is that peaceful worshipers can't claim that violent worshipers aren't included in their religion.

There was a point in time when mainstream Christianity was violent and bigoted and racist and anyone-but-us-o-phobic.  I'm assuming the same was true of Islam.  The word Islam means peace but it also means submission to God's will and you know who determines what God's will is: Men in power so God's will is whatever they say it is.

There are simply too many passages in "holy" scripture describing a wrathful, raging, vengeful God to sincerely believe that organized religion is supposed to be peaceful and loving and forgiving.  It just wasn't always that way when the faithful lived in nomadic tribes.

It was perfectly acceptable to be homophobic because gayness is "against God" or "against nature".  I've got news for people like that.  Natural lions in the wild can be gay.  Here are the YouTube results to that search ----> https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=homosexual+lions


(c) Independent Co UK


Lions don't know God or doctrine.  They just are what they are and do what they do.

My point is that organized religion takes on the cultural flavors of the day.  Today's flavor is New Age.  When the religious zealots' "old guard" wants to keep the faith true to its original form by way of violence and hatred, they are still true believers.  I think they're completely f*cked up in the head and heartless and only hold dear the scriptures they cherry pick, but they are the object of my phobia.  There is plenty in religion that appeals to hate-mongers.  Believing otherwise is naive.  Perhaps a bit arrogant as well.  Human beings may be hardwired to "us vs them" mentality anyway (I'm thinking sports, religion, sexual orientation, race, nationality, politics etc.)

In my mind, God is all things, good and bad, male and female, known and unknowable, seen and invisible. 

But God is also too remote to play games with.  God is just there.  I am here on Earth trying to make my way and that's all I know for sure.  I won't kill you if you believe differently.

Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie

#thoughtsonreligion

Thursday, November 22, 2018

RANDOM THOUGHT - On Managing Expectations

I spent my morning keeping in touch with cousins and that was really nice.  I had a fascinating conversation with one and we talked about managing expectations.

My mother will never be the mother I have in my imagination and it's time to accept her for who she is.  It's time to let go of the unspoken expectations I carry in my heart, yearning for her to treat me some other way, to express her love in some other way.

So now, I bury that imaginary mother who can read my mind.  I grieve losing her but she was never real to begin with.

My mom sews.  Sometimes she sews things that I love and sometimes she sews things that I would never be caught dead in.  Her handiwork is her expression of joy and love.  That has to be enough because that's the mother I have.  When she takes time out of her days to make something from scratch with me in mind, that has to be enough.

This will be one of those things that I write down and burn for Old Year's Night.  If I burn something that doesn't serve me and my relationships, that's the only way to make way in my life for better things.

As for managing expectations, how do I say this?  If I have some unspoken expectation that my family and closest friends call me when I'm down and lonely, but they don't call, how will they know that's what I need if I don't express it?  It's not fair for me to be disappointed in them if they don't even know what I need.  If I write out what I need:

Please call me on the holidays since I haven't been a Jehovah's Witness for 31 years (how do you not know this?)
Please call me when I'm lonely; you'll just telepathically feel it, won't you?
Shoot me a text to encourage me because I'm embarking on something new and scary.
Please meet all my unexpressed needs today to show you give a shit.

I start to realize how utterly absurd I am.  Needy and ridiculous, and starting to sound an awful lot like my mom. OH GOD, NOOOOOOOO!!!!

I felt like a big turkey.



And then I felt like a



People can't read minds, and I have an obligation to know myself well enough to self-soothe.  What about their own lives and needs?  What would happen if I reached out to them?

Today I had a deep need for social connection and social media just wasn't enough.  Texting wasn't enough.  Email was completely out of the question.



I wanted to hear voice with intonation, inflection, laughter, joy and to hear how my family is doing.  Where are they going?  What's for dinner?  How are the kids and the pets and spouses?




Rather than sit and wait for the phone to ring, I picked it up and dialed and you'll never believe what happened.  I got what I wanted:  Human connection.  No other expectation than an honest conversation that could take off in any direction.  The real give and take of two people interested in each other's well-being.

Today is the best day of the year.



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving - a National Day of Gratitude




Tomorrow is my very favorite holiday!  I've been discouraged from celebrating because I was advised that every day should be a day of cheerful thanksgiving.  That may be true, but it's in the national interest for a day to be devoted to nothing but gratefulness, in my opinion.  People's lives are so hectic and inflated with the urgency of unimportant things that I see no harm in reserving one day out of 365 to reflect on the good things that we do have.

There are the the obvious good bounties: clean air, clean water, a roof over my head, food in the fridge, the soothing purr of my cat, a reliable car.  I'm wondering though if I can extend gratitude to life's pains and struggles.  It is in pain, struggle and reflection that we are forged from soft babies into tough people with integrity, resilience, and the ability to withstand future hardships. 

If we are never tested, no one can know with certainty if we can be relied upon.

I am grateful for my trials, the tests I passed, as well as the tests I failed.  In the end, they gave me answers to questions of my state of readiness: ready to go forward in one area, not ready to go forward in another.  It is at the points of pain and disappointment that we have opportunity to learn the most.  Easy success rarely teaches anyone anything; it often leads to arrogance.  Missteps on the other hand, often teach humility, and if we go back and try again, we also learn persistence.  Thank you, Life, for giving me so many chances to get better and improve.

I'm also grateful for my mind.  I do my best to be self-correcting and to exercise my power of choice even over the choices of thoughts within my own mental arena.  What I'm finding is the inner critic doesn't exist solely in my own head.  She invades everyone's thoughts.  That callous, jealous old crone.  She always negative, seeing the worst possible outcome in literally EVERY single situation.  Truth be told, every once in a while, she's right and she sees what can go wrong, which gives me a chance to craft a plan to avoid error.  For this, I'm grateful.

This doesn't mean she's always right.  The inner critic has an uncanny knack for predicting catastrophe, like 100% of the time.  Clearly, her forecasting skills are limited.  Having become aware of that, when she says I'm ugly, unlovable, an idiot, untalented or utterly hopeless, I just placate her and carry on.  "Yes, yes, I'm totally inept, here's a bone to chew on.  Now be quiet.  I have work to do, and I suspect I'll do it well." 

My biggest gratitude is this: I'm under absolutely NO obligation whatsoever to believe the inner critic.  Her accuracy in forecasting is worse than the weatherman's.  She's at 1% at best, which means, I've got a 99% chance of success in any endeavor, if I listen instead to the truth, which is:

Nothing beats a failure like a try.

As for trial by fire, as a tangential note, I like to think of the products of my mind (ideas) as natural resources, like crude oil or gold or iron or even water.  In their raw states, ideas and natural resources are damn well near useless.  Crude oil must undergo a refining process to be useful to people.  Gold must also be refined and often alloyed to increase its strength.  Even water must be purified.  The same with ideas.  No matter how elegant or beautiful or original my idea might seem at first blush, it must be tested rigorously if it stands a chance at survival.

In that vein, I try not to marry every single idea that springs from my head.  On the opposite side of that coin, I try not to crush them before I've had a chance to consider them.  Thank you Life, for humility and discernment.

Incomplete list of gratitudes:

Napoleon Hill
Stephen R. Covey
Brian Tracy
Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
Louise Hay and Hay House publications
Tom Bilyeu and Impact Theory YouTube channel
My super adorable furry dumpling of a cat
Melanie, for checking in on me
Shantell, for showing me the lighter side of life
Renee, for photographing all the poignant beauty of rural decay
Lily, for introducing me to the writers group and so much more
Life, for the joy and pain, food and hunger, opportunity and closed doors and tiny little lights on alternative paths, laughter and jokes aplenty, wonder and monotony.

It all counts

Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie
Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Life Lesson from a Joke Website

There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. 

The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.
"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.

"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.

So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. 

Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

Read more on page: http://www.jokesoftheday.net/best-new-jokes/


There's really nothing I need to add to this story.  I'm just glad I found it.

Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie

Friday, November 16, 2018

Caught between Natural Selection & Indecision

I have no kids.  It's partially by my choice, partially by Nature's choice.  Had I ever tried to get pregnant, it would have been challenging because of another condition I happen to have, which isn't necessary to get into here.

Meanwhile, I consider bipolar a genetic defect.  Having said that, I don't consider it a character defect.  But it does make the absence of motherhood a bit easier.  A lot easier.

For the duration of my peak fertility years, I was never certain that I'd be a good mother.  I had a bad temper.  People told me that I was moody and hypersensitive or sometimes too aggressive.  I could be reckless and irresponsible.  My work ethic wasn't always 5-star.  Kids were annoying, if you asked me.  Oh, but babies were so cute.  At least, most babies.  There are ugly babies, and their mothers don't know.




Finding babies to be cute isn't enough to make a good mother.

Of course, there are lots of moody, aggressive mothers, but pushing a watermelon-sized baby through a hole the size of a lemon wasn't appealing to me either.

That, and the thought of being 100% responsible for another life was overwhelming.

Over time, I matured.  I was a student of myself, in a manner of speaking. Always with my nose in a self-help book, I strove to better myself in various ways.  By time I thought myself capable of handling motherhood, the window of opportunity was lost.




As I gaze into the future, I think the world is too unstable to bring an innocent life into it.  I have absolutely no confidence in today's world leaders to leave Earth in a better state for the next generation.

 


YouTube video on the Widening Income Gap in the USA


The prosperity gospel that lots and lots of speakers and preachers are talking about is a lot of hot air.  Food scarcity is real.  Water scarcity is real.  Housing crises are real.  The yawning gap between the haves and have-nots is becoming have-alls and have-nothings. I bring this up because I would bear the burden of training my young one all day every day to love herself, fend for herself, provide for herself, play well with others, not steal others' toys but not let others take her toys either.  Do I teach her to master Monopoly and bankrupt her friends in "good sport", or master games of cooperation?  When should she hoard and when should she share?

Oh, the other thing I've been told is I overthink things.

Thank you Mother Nature for taking me the hell out of the gene pool!!! xoxox


Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie

Thursday, November 15, 2018

RANDOM THOUGHT - A day of self care

Today started off even earlier than necessary, thanks to my furry "son" who wanted treats for breakfast.  I'm too soft with him and got out of bed.

Anyway, I submitted a magazine article on deadline. Check.
Blood work.  Check.
Shop at Trader Joe's for said furry "son" and Moscato for me.  Check.
Writer's group reading.  Check. (tied with the next item for best part of my day)
Massage and steam.  Check, check.
Home, make dinner (dinner for one with bipolar, of course. EASY check)
Session with writing/life coach (last thing to check off)

I list all this meaningless stuff to illustrate one thing.  A busy day can be accomplished with purpose and without being in a hypo-manic state.  Today was a day almost exclusively for my mental health. 

I did work. This article required some discipline.  The assignment was for a topic that I don't give a rat's ass about, but if I'm going to succeed as a writer (and that's the goal, right?), I have to write.

I submitted to the needle for my health. 

I took care of my furry dependent and had fun picking up a little suh-em, suh-em for my own pleasure.  Knowing my limits with alcohol and timing a glass of wine means I don't negate the important work my meds have to do.

Reading to an audience from This Darkness is Mine to gauge readability and get feedback from dedicated writers is mutually reinforcing.  Just because I write in a vacuum doesn't mean I'm writing for a vacuum.  The reader matters.  Whether the words (and grammar and punctuation) I've chosen convey the meaning and emotion I'm thinking and feeling matters.  And then the writing takes on its own life.  They get more meaning and feeling based on their own experience and memory.  That wows me!  Hearing that they can't wait to hear more fuels my heart.  This was arguably the best part of my day.

But then, I put the attention to my physical body and got a massage.  Normally, I don't fuss much or fight my massage therapists, but today when she found a knot or a trigger point or a tender spot (whatever you want to call it), I forced her to stop and focus on it.  What a difference that made!  She was so attentive and gifted and skilled, I didn't want to waste the opportunity.  We made jokes.  She said she was glad I was laughing through the pain. 

I said, "When it comes to pain, I'm like a ten year old; it's just funny.  I have to laugh at myself.  Do you ever get people who tell you to beat them up?"

"Yes, it's very upsetting."

"I don't get that.  If they want to get beat up, all they have to do is go to some hillbilly bar and pick a fight with the biggest, baddest dude they can find.  Why go to the most relaxing, most peaceful place on earth to get pain?  Makes no sense."

After the best deep tissue I've ever had, I took refuge in the steam room and sweated out some trace toxins.  The heat is supposed to minimize next-day soreness from a deep massage. 

Yeah, I got the elbow
Photo: Unknown


Steam Room at Lapis Spa
Photo: Unknown


Thank you Trader Joe's, once again, for making dinner a snap and delicious!

And now I'm waiting for another high point: a session with my writing/life coach.  I anticipate that the editing/refining work we're doing will be done by the end of March and then I'll have to forge my way in querying agents.

I'm quite proud of myself today.  I'll leave you with this:

We are never enough for what tomorrow will demand of us, but we are always good enough for right now.


Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie

#selfcare
#bipolar

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

PART TIME HALF ASSED VEGAN NOTES - A tasty little snack that was just meant to be

I've been to the local Publix grocery store just about every day this week (mainly because I keep refusing to write down a list).  On one visit, I noticed a brand spanking new vegan section for alternatives to deli meat and cheese. (Me *high pitched, eyes wide*: ah-ha! ah-ha!).  While I'm looking forward to trying the vegan meatballs, I'm a little terrified of what they mean by vegan eggs, but maybe I'll buck up and try them in the future.

Tonight back at said grocery store, I had no choice but to stop by the vegan deli section.  I think once I explain, you'll understand why.  Carr's Rosemary crackers were on sale and they must have a white cheese and hard salami in order to enjoy properly. Or do they?  That vegan section might have a tasty plant-based alternative.  See, I had no choice.

To be honest, I was in a bit of a daze.  The sliced "meat" looked like meat, but the packaging didn't say what it was replacing.  It did make suggestions to use it in a Reuben sandwich, so I was thinking it might taste like pastrami, not hard salami.  I figured if I hated it, I'd just go back and get real salami. What's one more visit to Publix?

Once home with my booty, I wasted no time in slicing the plant-based "meat" and "smoked gouda".  The "meat" by itself was perplexing.  I could taste tomato and that was fine, but you really need to create a different category to describe the flavor and texture.

But - and here it's exciting - once you pile the "meat" and "cheese" on the rosemary crackers, suddenly all the flavors and textures meld together like they were soulmates.  It was simply meant to be!


Field Roast Smoked Tomato Deli "meat" with Follow Your Heart Smoked "gouda" on Rosemary crackers
Photo: Mackenzie Littledale


The low down:

Original Field Roast Grain Meat Co. (R) Vegetarian deli slices smoked tomato flavor
with hearty tomatoes, hickory smoked infusions with red wine, old world spices and herbs
Serving size - 3 slices
Calories - 100
Calories from fat - 25
Total fat - 2.5g
Dietary fiber - 2g
Protein - 14g

Follow Your Heart (R) Smoked gouda style slices VEGAN, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free
Serving size - 1 slice
Calories - 60
Total fat - 4.5g
Protein - 0g

Photo: Mackenzie Littledale


I'm not going to analyze the crackers because even if it turns out that they're made with animal products, I will NEVER give them up.  I love CARR's rosemary crackers and that's that.

Photo: Mackenzie Littledale


However, I was still proud of my snack, so I finished it off with Soy Delicious fake ice cream in Vanilla Bean (dairy free) and crushed Oreos (still vegan).

So Delicious Dairy Free FAKE ICE CREAM Vanilla Bean and Milk's Favorite Cookie
Photo: Mackenzie Littledale


This has been a public service announcement of sorts.

Make someone else's day magical!
Mackenzie

#FakeIceCream
#FollowYourHeart
#VeganCheese
#FieldRoastGrainMeat
#VeganDeliMeat
#Publix