Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Incarcerated again on New Years Eve, continued...

Click the below link to my Examiner article, Mike's interview, for background information to this blog entry:

Examiner article

This was a tough interview for me, it is hard to imagine finding a healthy side to alcoholism. It has been part of my environment as a child and into my adult life. Both my father and my ex-husband fought these demons. I lived the devastation of it, watched the denial and felt its pain. It was a demon I wasn't able to conquer for them and, Mike A. is right, you have to have the desire to get help and no one can do this for you. It is hard to cope under such unhealthy conditions but I survived and I learned that I could control the impact it had on me and on my children. I prayed a lot and, in time, we rose out of the circumstantial ashes!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blessings of trials and tribulations, continued

Click the below link to my Examiner article, Sheri's interview, for background information to this blog entry:

Examiner article

Sheri is my cousin (I still claim my ex-husband's family). They are wonderful, all of them! Sheri has, probably, the most courage of anyone I know. If you met her in public, you would have no idea the sadness she has endured. She is a very charismatic person and a wonderful mother! I can't even begin to imagine, nor do I hope I ever have to imagine her agony. I will always look to her for strength when I'm fearful of something in my life. Her testimony truly inspires me! Who inspires you to push forward?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Heavenly memories of loved ones from Christmas past

Click the below link to my Examiner article for background information to this blog entry:

Examiner article

This is our 2nd Christmas without my Dad and it still feels pretty bad. I did go through the motions as I discussed in my last post but my spirit wasn't quite on board with my body and mind. I'm sure as the holidays come and go I will feel happy again but I guess I'm not quite there yet. I did have joyous moments which I'll hang onto as I'm sure these moments will grow and eventually I'll be back to the happiness I once felt. I know it will be packaged differently but I'm sure I'll recognize it and embrace it when it arrives! Are you looking to the future or are you imprisoned by your past? Cherish past memories while navigating forward to make new ones; Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

How to overcome the winter blues, continued...

Click the below link to my Examiner article for background information to this blog entry:

Examiner article

It doesn't matter how much of your dreams you have reached, we're all human and, at times, we feel down. It does seem to be more frequent in the winter time. This year it seemed like I didn't really feel the holiday spirit; like I was just going through the motions. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful for friends and family and being able to give and I have such appreciation for my gifts, I just felt like all of the activities we're things I had to do instead of really being present in the moment. I'm anxious to take the decorations down and glad to put the craziness behind me. I'm going to work hard to be present and upbeat, as much as possible, as I move into 2010. What about you?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Building better communities, continued

Click the below link to my Examiner article, Claudia's interview, for background information to this blog entry:

Examiner article

I met Claudia in 2008 when I replied to her add looking for artwork for her gallery in Brighton. I knew from our 1st meeting we would be connected in someway for many years. She is a warm person who is really trying to make the world a better place. If you are looking for a church or even a virtual forum, be sure to check out Wisdom Circle Ministries, I know you will embrace her virtual home!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holidays rekindle relationships, continued...

Click the below link to my Examiner article for background information to this blog entry:

Examiner article

I feel so blessed with such good people in my life. I still see friends from school and from everywhere I have worked. It seems like I'm finding more and more sincere people around me as I move through my life. Although, at the end of each year I end up feeling bad thinking about how little time I spend with my older friends. I'm going to make a better effort to touch base more. The older I get the more I realize the value of this companionship. I did a better job this year using the Linkedin and Facebook forums but I need to venture my efforts out of the virtual world to make physical connections with everyone. More lunches, dinners, movies and visits will be prioritized in 2010 for me. It sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Accident or Coincident

I created the below blog post and article in December of 2009. It was posted on the Examiner.com although they closed their internet door about 5 years later. I revived the content below. I hope it resonates in some way!

I'm 100% sure I should have been listening to my inner voice and developed my creative talents instead of choosing a career that was more materialistic. It took me 40 years and much turmoil to realize my calling but, I believe, it is better late than never. I am very anxious about the money.  I'm hoping I'll be able to support my current lifestyle while keeping my inner peace and by helping others heal all at the same time. What a great win-win opportunity! I feel I'm finally on the right path, are you?


Accident or coincident

According to the Encarta Dictionary, an accident is defined as a chance happening and a coincident is defined as a synchronized event.  Is it possible we might actually have more control of our destinies then we realize or do you think our free will navigates us through a lifetime of random events without any universal connection?

Regardless of your opinion in this matter, free will is common and active in either scenario.   We’re each born with particular talents we can choose to develop or not.  If our choices do not feel right but we push forward with them anyway, probably for the wrong reasons and this sets a life course that does not align with our core purpose.  These decisions affect our well being causing physical and mental discomfort.  Usually, as we evolve into adults we find ourselves, after we’ve struggled with hardship for some time, at a crossroad and it’s not by choice.  Maybe a health issue or job loss threatened our safety.   Once the trauma dissolves, peaceful feelings surface from our core.  The devastating event that turned our world upside down awakened our spirit and enabled a re-alignment prompting our lives to get back on course revealing, through our feelings, life’s purpose. 

As we’re moving through the ordeal we label it as an accident but in hindsight it is much easier to see the sequential events are clearly coincidental; part of a bigger plan influence. 

Next time you are drawn to something or someone, follow your instinct, you might be tapping into your greater life’s plan.  Accident or coincident, maybe we are just guessing, but if you choose to ignore your instinct, is it worth potentially missing an opportunity that might trigger sequential events that unveil celestial intention or as we know it, our life’s purpose?  


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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Loss through incarceration

I posted the below interview on the Examiner.com in December of 2009. Several years later they closed their internet doors and took down the content. I'm hopeful the article might educate and perhaps surface empathy for those in the sidelines of this type of grief. 


I have never really thought of families who bereave loved ones through incarceration. Many innocent people love and lose family and friends through incarceration but unfortunately society isn't prone to empathize with this population even thought they had no involvement in their loved one's crime and suddenly, in a moment's time, this person is now out of their life. I can only imagine the confusion, hurt, angry and sadness that impacts all at once but, of course, I really don't know and hope I never live this experience. Bonnie has opened my heart to this type of bereavement. She is a wonderful person and we need more people in the world like her! I hope the articles helps you relate with them better.


Loss through incarceration 

We have no choice when a loved one is taken away from us.  It forces us to find our way through an emotional darkness to enable healing.   Grief recovery is an individual journey taking on many forms as it turns lives upside down.  Society is usually sympathetic to those coping with loss but what about someone whose loss was caused by incarceration? 



Bonnie Hilberer discovered, when her Son-in-Law struggled with the loss of his father, community support was unavailable.  The system took his Dad when he was found guilty of 2nd degree murder, crippling the family! 



Bonnie communicated, “I watched the devastation; pain, anger and hurt my Son-in-Law and my Daughter went through.  The next few months were filled with anger, bitterness, and heartbreak; both knowing his Father had done this.  Shortly after, I realized I needed to start a support group of this type.  God had provided me with the tools through years of grief experience; both in personal loss and volunteering in grief support.   While this was not a loss through death, it was still an emotional loss and needed to be dealt with and understood.  Hope 4 Healing Hearts began October, 2008.”   

Her public support group meets the 2nd Monday of each month and averages approximately 10-15 participants.  The forum includes non-denominational prayer, an overview, promise of confidentiality and open discussion. This non-judgmental setting promotes healing and offers resources.  It is free to survivors. 



Bonnie’s mission, “To follow the map God provided me – with His guidance I will try to help others find their peace through love and forgiveness.  God never gives us more than we can handle.  I honestly believe this.  Everything and everyone, in my life, has been there for a reason; to give me direction, to use my strengths and talents and to help others through their grief so they too may know God’s healing love.”  She continued, “Each time the group meets, I’m elated when I see tears turn into smiles.  When a new person joins the group, I love hearing everyone tell them they have come to the right place!” 



If someone in your circle is coping with bereavement loss through incarceration, Bonnie recommends you do not avoid or judge them.  And, do not believe everything you read in the papers.  Instead, offer non-judgmental loving support and encouragement during their time of need! 



Click her for more detail, www.hope4healinghearts.com




Manifesting your dreams


I created this blog post and article in December of 2009, which I posted on the Examiner.com. Unfortunately, they closed their Internet doors several years later so I revived the content to offer it here. I hope it resonates, in some way, for all of those who find it!

I whole-heartily believe in manifestation. When I'm feeling like life is kicking me in the butt, I'll pull out my copy of the Secret and it helps get my mind back on track again. I think you can practice manifestation and you can actually get better with practice. Start by visualizing a good parking spot and once you've learned how to materialize this "actively" in your life, move to bigger and better things. For me, my biggest and best manifest I brought into my life is my boyfriend, Jim . I made a list, cleaned out some space in my house and then I bought some nice nighties:) He came into my life 4 months later. I don't think I could have done any better. He is the most awesome man I've ever met. Pretty cool, huh. All you have to do is believe, really believe and I know you can make your dreams come true. What do you think?

Manifesting Your Dreams


What is on your wish list?  It is the perfect time of year to contemplate how to improve your well being.  Are you someone who is content with your life and its substance or are there desires that might better enhance your journey?  Whether you’re dreaming for materialistic wants, yearning for a more enhanced spiritual connection or your inner desire craves a new love in your life, you have the power to manifest your dreams!

As taught by the Secret, think of yourself as a magnet and, realize, you attract like things.  Your mindset creates your own destiny; this is called the Law of Attraction.  Is your line of thought sending the universe an invitation for hardship through focused anxiety or are you manifesting your dreams?  

Start by determining what you really want.  Stay sincere during this process.  Look through magazines or print on-line pictures to create a collage depicting your dreams. Use this vision board to help train your mind to keep these dreams active in your thoughts.  Hang the board somewhere you frequent often; maybe in your bedroom so you can look at it when you first awaken each day and before you drift off to sleep each night.  Envision your life with your dreams fulfilled and embrace these feelings of gratification to turn your fantasy into real life bliss.  Make sure to create space in your life to welcome your vision.  For example, if you want a new vehicle, clean out your garage so it’s ready and awaiting the new arrival!  Visit FutureMe.org and write an email congratulating yourself for making your dreams come true.  This website will allow you to send an email to yourself and date its delivery up to 25 years in the future.  The process of writing the email and setting a future date of achievement will help solidify your belief.   
Believe it will happen and it will!

Remember, let go of your negativity and find your silver lining regardless of the situation.  We all know life can be hard but by focusing on the hardship, you’re empowering it and attracting the wrong type of energy.  Take back your life and train your mind to think positive.  Send out magnetic vibrations to attract and create the happiness you deserve.  There is no time like the present to believe in yourself and manifest your dreams!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ideas to ease holiday stress, continued...

I created the below article and posted it on Examiner.com in 2009. Several years later they closed their internet doors. If you have found your way to my words, I hope they offer some stress relief to you!

This was my blog post, which inspired the article listed below it.

When I worked full time, I can't even begin to imagine how I handled everything, especially during the holidays. I think I've turned soft; I feel like a wimp now. It is hard to believe but I'm stressed even serving within my new stay at home life! I think maybe the truth is, I've increased the expectations of myself as an attempt to overcompensate for not getting a payroll check. Perhaps someday I'll be able to give myself a break; accept myself without giving me far too many "to do's" which actually set myself up for failure! Why do we do that to ourselves? HELP!!!


Ideas to ease holiday stress

Trying to find the right gifts while fighting economic issues, harsh weather, heavy traffic and busy stores can be exhausting and stressful this time of year.  Juggling your schedule to fit in shopping, decorating, wrapping gifts, filling out Christmas cards and socializing with your family and friends, all within a few short weeks, is extremely overwhelming.  Do you wonder how in the world you will accomplish it all in so little time?  Here are some helpful hints.

Start by making a list; don’t try to keep it all in your head. 

Recruit help, kids in your family or in your neighborhood are hungry for extra money, and most of them actually enjoy decorating and wrapping gifts.

Carry your Christmas cards with you and fill them out during spare moments; your lunch hour, waiting at the doctor’s office or while sitting in your car when you’re waiting for your kids when you have to pick up from school.  

Don’t spend more than you can afford; offset costs by shopping clearance items, comparing prices and bartering where possible.  Are you creative?  If so, gift homemade crafts or holiday baked treats.  If not, gift your time; busy parents or single parents will welcome a personal coupon to babysit for them for a future occasion, senior citizens would love to receive a promise coupon to help them with errands or tasks, your significant other will cherish a massage coupon or a night free of household responsibilities!

If you’re not okay shopping in crowds or you white knuckle your wintery drives, you still have some time to shop on-line and avoid waiting in line for Christmas gifts.   

Discuss your time constraints openly with your family, most likely they are struggling also.  Perhaps you can work your schedules around the holidays; plan your party for the week before Christmas or, better yet, the week after.  It gives everyone extra time to shop and you’ll benefit from the 50-75% discounts that start the day after Christmas!

Remember, every year, somehow everything necessary actually gets done.  Offset your stress by planning, asking for help, utilizing your spare time, gifting creatively, shopping on-line and scheduling holiday parties either earlier than the Christmas week or after.  This holiday take some time to warm up by a cozy fire, enjoy your loved ones and have some fun with even your most quirky gift; this is the true meaning of the holidays!     



Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC Photo- enlist help for gift wrapping or at least a buddy to de-stress with!



Sunday, December 6, 2009

The perfect holiday gift fit for all ages, continued...

In December of 2009, I posted an interview article on the Examiner.com although they closed their doors about 5 years later and removed the content when they did this. Below is the original post:

It was a pleasure meeting and spending time with Jenni Gordon today. She is really an interesting person; warm, intelligent, cultured and creative! I can't speak enough about the story she brought to life in her book, One Day, I had Enough! It will engage anyone who picks it up. I highly recommend, regardless of your age, you purchase this book for someone you love or for yourself this holiday season! Do you have a self-centered, innocent but a bit malicious story you want to share from your childhood? Post a comment and let’s share a laugh!


The perfect holiday gift fit for all ages

Look no further for the perfect holiday gift this season; Jenni Gordon’s humorous, bilingual, book, One Day I Had Enough, is fit for all ages! 

       Her rendition of Mathilde, the main character, speaks to most everyone’s inner child; sweet and self-centered with a bit of malicious innocence!  The story line confronts the “ordeal” of a second child stealing the attention from the first born with its abrupt homecoming.  Jenni’s writing was influenced by her own childhood memories when her little sister was brought home, “I remember feeling utterly shocked after realizing I wasn’t going to be at the center anymore.  My parents tried to prepare me but it never dawned on me the new baby wouldn’t come with its own set of parents!”  You will, unquestionably, be able to relate to some aspect of Mathilde’s adventure.   

       One Day I Had Enough, was created as a teaching tool to help capture the attention of college students in Jenni’s French language class at the University of Michigan.  She communicated, “I was urgently looking for a story that would keep my students kind of spell bound so they would forget they were hearing it in a foreign language.  I knew I could go back far enough, into childhood and they would be interested.  I think you can kind of hit on universal experiences and a story like this is the best way to keep people interested.”      

Although this book is being marketed as a humorous children’s book, it serves several purposes; a discussion prompt when an additional child is coming into the home, a conversation piece triggering shared childhood memories and a teaching tool engaging anyone with French language.  Jenni remarked, “It does all of those things at once but the most important thing is, it makes people laugh and the fact that you can turn it upside down and read it through in French offers something different.    

Enjoy this unique reading; offset your holiday stress with a little humor and cross another item off of your gift list.  You will, most definitely, fall in love with the comical and somber character, Mathilde!  She will leave you hopeful for a sequel.  Jenni is working on her next, more complex, story about Mathilde’s, almost, two-year old cousin who says only three phrases; its mine, I don’t want to and all done!  I’m sure this light-hearted, easy read adventure will be a delightful addition to a growing, highly anticipated collection from this new and upcoming author!    
Jenni’s book can be found in stores such as
Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC photo
Mudpuddles or Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor, MI.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nurturing young survivors of divorce

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Although it saddens me that I was unable to maintain a healthy marriage, I realize I did my best and, even considering the pain we all shared, I feel like my boys have survived, to date, as healthy as possible. My article is based on my own experience and although I didn't research it, the first article I looked at (and linked to) validates my advice. I know I can only control my impact on my kids and I believe my focus was and continues to be in there best interest. I've told them many times, I would do it all over again (even knowing how the marriage ended) because the love shared between me and their father did create them. I couldn't imagine my life without my boys. They truly make my world and I hope they feel the same way about me in some way! I've copied the original article in below that was posted on the Examiner before they closed their internet doors and pulled the content with them.



As parents, it is our primal goal to provide love, a healthy environment and encouragement to our children.  Everyone wants to mentor their offspring into successful, giving adults, perhaps raising the next President of the United States; after all, they are our future.  Today’s family structure is much different than the hierarchy of family from forty years ago.  Blended or single parent households are now more the norm as opposed to the Leave It to Beaver parental role models.  How do parents continue to nurture their young survivors of divorce as roles change and traditional family breaks down?

By, most importantly, creating a forum supporting honest and open communication; keep your children apprised (providing enough age appropriate information) of how their environment and roles will change even when you’re unsure of the outcome.   It is okay and part of real life to admit that you do not have all of the answers and although things will change, all will work out.  Hiding the truth and denying the change will only delay the inevitable and increase stress. 

Kids are very smart; they pick up non-verbal cues and then begin to imagine the worse as they take on unjust ownership for the turmoil.   It is essential to accept ownership for the failed marriage; both parents presenting a united front to the children.  If it isn’t possible to do this, it is necessary to communicate shared parental responsibility instead of verbalizing fault of your partner during the discussion with the kids.  Blaming their other parent only causes confusion and weakens your child’s self-esteem.   

Emotions will run high and there will be times when you lose your composure and strike out, with your children in your line of fire.  When this happens, acknowledge you acted inappropriately and apologize.  Show them your respect to enable theirs and gift and receive forgiveness!

Adolescents are resilient and they will emerge healthy.  Keep your focus on them; this will help you cope through the difficulty also.  Make a new routine welcoming love and adventure; even when you feel like hiding away from the world!  Enable your children to have options in your new routine and keep them busy.  Maybe, you set up Monday as game night or Friday as movie night and the kids take turns picking the games or movies.   

It is possible to support your children’s wellbeing during even the most troubling times.  By being honest, communicating, surrendering to change, offering respect and encouraging participation, you will counter the negativity of divorce and gift your children an environment promoting their healthy growth! 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Judgmental Injustice continued...

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When I see a person who looks "different" I always wonder what their life is like and if they might be reaching out for attention even if it isn't the best kind. If I feel threatened or intimidated by the individual, I notice my judgmental self comes out. My cautious thoughts become overwhelming and judgmental. This causes me to work on finding a middle ground and learn to trust, because even though a person may look intimidating, he or she can be a really good person. I have to make sure I'm not being too na├»ve but also I need to use my intuition. I was inspired to write the article below for Examiner.com in December, 2009. Unfortunately the Examiner closed its online doors and removed the original content.

Judgmental Injustice

What do you think when you see someone who has the colors of the rainbow in his or her hair, someone whose clothes might look a little out there or maybe they do not speak proper English, do you dismiss them morally and comment negatively under your breath?  When most people encounter individuals whose appearance do not meet their preconceived cookie cutter expectations, injustice surfaces resulting from their judgmental self.

Is this our human nature and, if so, what can we do to change it?  It is human nature to make observations based on facts and it is okay to share such observations so long as they are not hurting anyone.  But, if your opinion is based on assumption and not fact, you may need to find your moral compass to soften the judgmental self.  There are many ways to overcome this way of thinking. 
It is important to recognize these negative feelings when they occur and acknowledge that they are inappropriate and connected to thoughts, not necessarily your own, even if it is in your head. Witness these thoughts as if they are just commentary. Fundamentally, we must learn to accept everyone regardless of how they are packaged.  Find their positive traits and focus on them.  It is liberating and worthwhile to connect with all walks of life. Open your mind; once you can move beyond your superficial scrutiny, you’ll find you can actually relate with even the most quirky characters. 
Next time you’re walking with a group of friends and an innocent, eccentric person becomes a target of offensive attention, find your common ground with this person and counter your peer’s inappropriate behavior if this is the case (and I hope it isn't).  The more you are able to keep your ethics in check, the less the negative thoughts and behavior will occur.  This compassion will change your perspective of the world and empower a new found kinship!

Check out KindOverMatter for some great advice in overcoming the EGO!