Blast from the Past! 2012 Photos!

2012 was a year of change for me. I can to terms with the fact that I may never work outside my home again… sort of. I was warned by different doctors that it might happen. I found this (I cropped out all the personal stuff) in my folder. Just a painful reminder of reality.

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But not all pictures are sad moments. Here are my favorite pictures from the 2012 folder. I know I have more somewhere but this is from the folders I am cleaning out. Continue reading

Blast from the Past! 2007

I decided to share pictures this week as my youngest son is leaving and I want to spend some time with him and then, once he is off to his dad’s, I will spend a little time organizing.

Here are some pictures I found from 2007!

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This is when we lived in an RV and on a boat.

People of 2007!

Places of 2007!

Random Photos of 2007!

50 Questions: Homelessness is a Goal, Right?

Before I dive into this one, I will try to update with a question a little more often. I’ve been exhausted and trying to make bags to sell which eats into my blogging time. Bare with me. I’ll get there.

#45 on the list is not really a question but I like it.

Set a goal, and a plan on how to get there

My goal? I am going with “Be happily homeless!”

But first… WHY?! Before you lecture me on how that isn’t acceptable as a plan, I have already heard it all. Thank you for your concerns. Without a job, with not being able to get on disability, I am pretty screwed. No one will hire me. Without an income, I have to make plans for the future that don’t include a lot of costs.

Let’s be done with that and move on to something constructive… or productive!

How to get there step 1: How can I make money?

I know, I know! No job. But I still need to be able to buy the basic needs, even if I am homeless. Mild depression, and the thought that I will never get hired for any job, has become a firm reality. I need to do something that I can do from home. Here are my list of things I can do.

  • Blog. I love blogging! Like, stick to it! Even on the bad days.
    • My goal from now on is two days a week. No procrastinating!
    • I would like to work up to three days… but for now, it will be Tuesday and Thursday. Every week!
    • I can post pictures the other days like I have done on occasions. I should probably figure out how to make money from photography.
  • Write. I am thinking of writing books. Cookbooks. Stories. Poetry. Kids’ books.
    • My goal from now on is to write something every day (or at least Sunday through Thursday)! I’ll post my goals met on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Crochet and sew. I am going to make items to sell on Etsy too.
    • My goal from now on… eh, I am working on that. Not sure what my goal should be yet. But I’ll figure it out.
  • YouTube videos. I can make those too. I actually love making videos, I just don’t share them because I am self-conscious.
    • My goal from now on is to post one video a week.
    • I would like to work up tow two a week but this will give me a chance to learn video editing and other video related things.
  • Design shirts or items to sell. (T-shirts, bags, cups, etc) Not sure if I’ll stick with the crazy theme but I like crazy. Me and crazy are good pals! Anyone want to help with designs?
    • My goal for now is to … thinking … working on this plan. It’s still a very new idea. So… keep researching!

I know these things won’t have me rolling in the dough. But any amount of money means that my family has to help me that much less.

I have friends and family helping in the background. Some are in the cheering squad. Some are going to help me get things rolling. I love my friends and family!

I can’t use Google Adsense or Amazon to help with income. So those two are out. I have to make it on my own. This is both terrifying and exciting.

How to get there step 2: Where to park my RV

I have some options here but most of them mean I would have to move from Montana. My goal will always be coming back to Montana if I have to move.

I need to survive though. I am working on this. My hope is that I can stay in Montana, or at least the Northwest. I love the mountains over here.

I love the climate. I can go outside most of the year! I am not stuck inside all the time. Living elsewhere, I would be inside eight to nine months out of the year. I don’t want to do that again.

So this is a difficult one for me. Plus, I have to make sure I move somewhere that allows marijuana (either medical or recreational). So that limits my decision also.

My first thought was if I could find a mobile home park that will let me park there and pay the low rent, I can figure out the rest later.

How to get there step 3: Think positive!

I am not really sure what else I need to do for this. I need to get rid of pretty much EVERYTHING! Frugal living is a must. Simple living is a plus. RV living is making me excited! I am so looking forward to this!

Not every day is a positive day for me though. I have many days where I am just down on myself. I have to remain positive. I have to keep telling myself that this is going to all work out. It always does. I just have to keep my chin up. Nothing is so bad that it can’t be worked through.

How to get there step 4: Everything else

There is a lot I need to figure out.

How am I going to get around if I am not allowed to drive? BIKE! Or living somewhere that has public transportation.

Selling all my stuff. I won’t have to sell ALL of my stuff. Some of it will go to my kids. Some of it it their stuff. But I need to downsize.

Deciding what I need. I NEED shelter, clothes, warmth/cold, and food. But other things will make this so much better. I have to figure out what I can live without. I can live without a microwave and other items I would miss but don’t NEED. But my coffee. I have to have coffee. There is no way around it. I can use a press though.

The need category is a tough on for me. Like, I don’t NEED internet but it is going to be how I make money. So I kind of do. There are quite a few things like that.

I need to plan when I am going to do this. I have help now but I still need to plan for the future. That is so scary. I have never been this low yet so optimistic.

Okay, readers! What am I missing? What else should I add to my list? Let me know in the comments or down below.

What it’s Like to Witness Death

I am doing laundry today and decided to take a mini-break and watch a YouTube video. I usually look for something fun and upbeat so I don’t know why I clicked on the Buzzfeed video “What It’s Like to Witness Death“. It got me thinking about all the times I witnessed death.

Watching this, I felt so bad for the girl who saw her friend’s brother die by being crushed by a log. Her reactions as she told the story just broke my heart.

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I just want to hug her!

The first time was when my son died at five days old in my arms. Other times were as a Nurse Assistant in nursing homes. I think that working there, while it was a great experience, really messed with my head. I witnessed so much death that it became a sobering reminder of how cruel this world can be.

The worst one I can think of.

The one that haunts me to this day was a lady. We’ll call her Myrtle (because I suck at picking random names.)

I always had this philosophy about caring for people who were mean. Every day was a new day. So greet them like you would a friend because maybe they were just having a bad day the last time. And always treat them kindly, no matter what. Myrtle tested me on this every time.

Myrtle was a crotchety old bat. She was mean, verbally and physically abusive, and wheelchair bound. Every time I had her, I had to get help because she just hated me. There were days she took her mean streak to evil levels. I never hated any of my residents… but I was getting close to it with her.

Then she took a turn for the worse. She lingered for a couple of weeks and we thought she would die any day. Every time we took care of her, changed her, or anything else, she would throw weak punches and cuss us out in a whisper and then pass out from the effort.

Toward the end of her life, I actually felt so bad for her and grew to feel for her. I went home each night and cried a little because it was so taxing to watch.

The last day, I went in to check on her because it was obvious she wasn’t making it much longer. She looked me dead in the eyes with a panic look on her face and said, “I need a preacher before I die.”

I am a reverend  and I told her that I am. I was worried she wouldn’t want to talk to a female reverend but she motioned me over. I was expecting her knuckles to crack my jaws or something, but no. She asked me to hold her so she could confess her sins so she could get into heaven.

I immediately sat down next to her and took her into my arms and then asked her to tell me why she thought she wouldn’t get into heaven. The things she said in the next 15 minutes… holy shit. I was blown away. I can’t put them here (confidential) but it was bad.

In 15 minutes she went from a crotchety old bat to someone who had a shittier life than I could imagine. Suddenly her hatred for everyone and everything made so much sense. I genuinely felt pain for her.

She started crying and said she was so sorry for being so mean to me all those times. She did like me but didn’t want me to like her because she didn’t want to get close to anyone. I told her I forgave her. How could I not?!

As she told all this, it seemed like some of her strength had come back. Not a lot but enough to move easier. It was like she was lifting a burden off herself.

Then we prayed together holding hands and asking for forgiveness. I even asked for forgiveness for her for anything she may have forgotten to mention and anything in her past.

She looked up at me when we were done and asked, “Do you really think I can go to heaven?”

I tasked her, “Do you feel like you have repented? Do you feel like you have God’s forgiveness.”

Her eyes welled with tears and she nodded saying, “I really do.”

I told her that I felt she would go to heaven then. She said thank you, smiled the only sincere smile I ever saw her smile, and wrapped her arms around my neck for a big hug. She gave me a big squeeze of a hug and muttered, “Thank you.” into my neck… then she died.

I had a moment of panic, checked her vitals, got the nurse (who confirmed she had passed), freaked out a little because she died on my shoulder (and really, the whole experience of it), and then went outside to calm down… nurses orders.

What I Remember Now

To this day, I still remember her. But I don’t remember her for the mean, abusive lady she was. I remember that smile. I remember the moment she looked like she had the weight of the world lifted off her shoulders. I remember that hug.

I remember the scared little lady who thought she was going to burn in hell. I remember the kindness in her eyes. I remember the warmth of her voice as she told me everything she regretted and felt bad about.

But mostly, I remember her kind smile and the relief that I forgave her for being mean to me. That totally reshaped how I saw people, especially mean people. It changed the way I forgave people.

That whole experience changed me into who I am today and I think it made me a better person.

So, thank you, “Myrtle”. I hope you found your heaven and it was all you dreamed it would be.

 

I’ll be a Youtuber!

I know this isn’t logical, I really do, but I decided to do what I always wanted to do… well, at least since YouTube has been around, and make YouTube videos to journal/vlog. I mean, I know I won’t get paid, but who cares… I want to try to do something fun. My therapist wants me to explore my worth, explore what I deserve… mmm, okay. So, I figured I would do that through video blogging. I mean, I will still be writing down my thoughts too, I’m not leaving the blogging world, I just want something fun to do, something to look forward to.

I did one test on my camera LOL, I was a bit too close. But if this works, you’ll be able to see the video. Warning: I have ADD and tend to change sentence/ subject mid-thought!

This way, I can update all my blogs in a fun way, still get beading done in the “real life” instead of spending too much time writing… at least in my head that is how it’s working… and I will be happy to get to explore the vlogging world a little.

I do have anxiety about this though. I have a lot of anxiety. 1) I don’t like the fact that I am missing a lot of my teeth (not my fault) 2)… no, that’s about it. Well, not really, I also have anxiety about people looking at me. I know, it’s a not a healthy thing to obsess over… that’s one of reasons I am in therapy. It makes me all nervous and anxiety ridden to think that someone, somewhere, that I don’t know LOOKED at me. Massive anxiety attack right there. I like to walk around imagining I am in an invisibility bubble. No really, that’s how I cope.

Like I said, I know that’s not healthy… but, then too, I am in therapy, okay?

I figure, if I do this, it will help with anxiety and being a hermit/shut-in, and I can have fun with it too. I’m going to practice editing a video today to cut out all the rambling bits that I tend to do when I am talking. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Real Quick though… I am trying to do an “introduction video” about myself. My friend, Jane, suggested I could do a bunch of questions people ask. I have a list of 11 questions so far. I will reorder them before I do the video.

  1. How many kids do you have?
  2. Why are you vlogging?
  3. What do you hope to gain by doing this?
  4. What are your fears about doing these videos online?
  5. Do you still not smoke? Like, show everyone your necklace!
  6. Do you drink?
  7. What is your favorite drink?
  8. What is your favorite thing to do? (I think he meant “hobbies”)
  9. Do you crochet or knit?
  10. Do you like to read? You should do a thingy where you share what book you are reading and how you like it and what’s happening so far in the book and stuff like that. (OH! I like this idea!)
  11. You should talk about your allergies on your blog. Tell people what it’s like to live with that many allergies. (okay)

So, if you could add to the list, what would you ask? What would you want to see in an introduction video about me?

Setting My Quit Date to Quit Smoking

As a present to myself this Valentine’s Day (funny, I don’t celebrate it, but hey! What a great day!) I picked today to be my quit date to stop smoking.

This last class we went over our quit plan. We also went over short-term rewards and long-term rewards. My short-term Stop Smoking reward will be chocolate, a pizza party (beginning of next month), and getting to dye my hair. Dying my hair will probably be a little further out, like about two months, but I look forward to it! My long-term goal is going to be a book for myself called “365 Days of Fresh Air”. Each day (or close to it) I will journal my experience, draw, create, write a poem, or do something to mark the time passing; and at the end of the year (Next February 15) I will it into a book form, self-publish it, and buy a copy to keep and show off.

As a reminder of how far I have come with quitting smoking, I will make a bead for every day I don’t smoke and put it in a mason jar. I got the idea from “switched At Birth” where Bay’s birth mom tells her about being an Alcoholic. She tells her about these chips she gets and keeps out in her living room, that help her visually see to help remind her of how far she has come. I don’t have chips but I do love making beads! So each day I will add a bead to my jar to help remind me how far I have come in my journey to not smoking. And since “quit smoking” and “not smoking” are so negative, I am renaming the whole concept for myself. It is now “breathing fresh air”.

I’ll update on how it goes. That is one of my ways of dealing with the stress. Journal more!

Exploring my Triggers

This week we are taking the thought log one step further. Last week we wrote down a thought log for each time we smoked. It included:

  1. Situation/ Trigger: example- argument with roommate
  2. Feelings: example- sad/depressed
  3. Automatic thought: example- “she hates me”
  4. Behavior: example- I smoked

This week, we are still doing 1-3, but we have two new columns:

  1. Is it true? List evidence to support your statement.
  2. Is it true? List evidence that does NOT support your statement.

Here are a few of mine so far:

Trigger: Friends went out to smoke

Feelings: Content

Automatic thought: “I should go smoke with them.”

Is it true? (Supporting evidence) Yes, I should go smoke with them. They are my friends and we always smoke together.

Is it true? (NOT supporting evidence) No, I don’t HAVE to go smoke with them. They are still my friends. I could take coffee with me and drink that instead of smoking. Or I could just stay instead and wait for them to come back inside.

Trigger: Doing bills

Feelings: Sad, frustrated, depressed

Automatic thought: “I am broke”

Is it true? (Supporting evidence) Yes, I have no job, no hope of getting a job because I can’t work, no one will hire me after all the applications I turned in, disability hasn’t called me back, I can’t pay my bills, Google Adsense disabled my account, I have no hope of making an income (of any size) online now, and I depending on others to help me until disability goes through (which could be YEARS).

Is it true? (NOT supporting evidence) Currently, I have $15 to pay towards rent. So, TECHNICALLY, I am not broke. I am still looking into Fiverr, so there is still hope to make income online. My electric is paid for about five or six months so, that is one bill I don’t have to pay. The people who are helping me are all very understanding and patient people who are willing to write letters to the disability board, if needed. The fact that I am not homeless, living in my van with two kids, shows how blessed I am for having a support network like this.

Trigger: My ex called and told me about his job hunt, then went into a spiel about how I need to get a job, he can’t support me forever (child support?), and listed everything he thinks I would be able to do (that I can’t do 90% of the things listed).

Feelings: Absolutely felt like crap, just horrible about myself, felt totally awful. I actually cried.

Automatic thought: “I am worthless”

Is it true? (Supporting evidence) I can’t do 90% of the things listed. I have no health insurance, I can’t afford health insurance, I can’t get on Medicaid either, I am a drain on society, my family, my friends… Wow, this is too painful. I could go on and on… but I don’t to.

Is it true? (NOT supporting evidence) I CAN do 10% of the things he suggested, even though I tried those already… I am CAPABLE of doing SOMETHING, no matter how small. I am writing books, making children’s books, checking out Fiverr, and working on artwork to sell also. I am waiting for my rejection letter from Medicaid so I can sign up for the Share Pay program at the hospital. I am making payments of $1 each month at CHC so I CAN have medical care. I am NOT a drain on my family and friends. We are there for each other. I help them out as much as I can. I have been there for them in the past and they are here for me now. I am ONLY on SNAP (food stamps) and once I get disability, I will probably not need them anymore. I can take a small amount of my income once I am on disability, and give food to the community food pantry each month to pay it forward for my time on SNAP. There are other ways I can give to my community also. I can donate to the Pregnancy Center, the Battered Women’s Shelter, the hospital, the Community Health Center, etc. I have always been a productive member of society and paid my taxes for 20 something years. This is me using the benefits I paid for all those years. This is what it is there for. Now… get to crocheting! You can do it! or WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! Don’t let that man get into your head! You are better than this!