The Virus

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Ladies and Gentlemen, readers and scrollers, this week Savannah isn’t smiling.  A dirty, rotten, no good, stomach virus attacked my house with a vengeance.  There are eight of us under this modest roof and four of them are sick.  Sounds bad, I know.  But the worst part is that they attacked the mother of the house.  Not good at all.  That means Mama ain’t happy which means ain’t no one happy.  No one.

There is an exception to this rule though, I have learned.  The exception is that usually when everyone else is sick, Mama is busy running around and getting everything handled.  Not so much the past day or so.  Recently, Mama has been doing a whole lot of nothing.  A nothing she does not do very well.  Nothing means Mama is sitting in Daddy’s recliner with a blanket and pillow.  That means Mama snuggles with you if you climb in her lap.  That means Mama will read (ok, skim) a book with you.  That means Mama will sit on the edge of the tub with her feet in while you take a bath and babble about stuff no one understands yet.

As I intro’d before, I have six children.  Six.  1/2 dozen.  The better part of a soccer team, a water polo match, and a basketball team, I get it.  I love each and every one of them but sometimes I need a virus to remind me to slow down.  To remind me that there is a reason I do all of the running around that I do.  I hate viruses, but I do love me some pj days.

Off for now, a cup of ice chips sounds divine right now!

Until then,

Savannah Smiles

Retreat

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I’m incredibly grateful to live where I live. Our house is close to the grocery store, close to school, and above all (to me anyways) close to the lake. Or as I selfishly call it, ‘My lake’. It’s a manmade lake, and I know some will think that because it is manmade, and ergo, ‘not a real lake’, it’s not all that great. To me, however, it is. I adore it. I loved going there as a child. Still do now. I have a very distinct memory of being five years old and sticking my feet in the water to cool off from the summer heat. I beckoned my hesitant mother to come and join me as I kicked my feet, splashing the water’s surface. I also have a memory of playing a soccer game at the field near the lake, being very pleased that it was so close by. That I would go there as soon as the game ended. There’s a bunch of memories of me being at school on the playground, looking over the fence at the waters, wondering why I couldn’t be there instead.

   If I ever move away, the lake will undoubtedly be the place I will miss the most. My small, quiet retreat only a walking distance away. No crowds shuffling about, no loud, blaring noises. Just peace. To have that gone would be incredibly upsetting. So for now, I’ll enjoy my little paradise, until I can no longer.

#revonthestreets

Every year for the past couple of years my family has put together care packages to share with homeless in downtown Sacramento. Every year for many more years my church has hosted Winter Sanctuary and opened up its doors to offer a warm meal and a dry and warm place to sleep for those who have no home. Every little bit helps and last night my church pastor made a decision that will be life changing. He left his wallet, his iPhone and his warm bed for the streets. He has set out to raise $100,000 for the Winter Sanctuary and will not come back home until every last dime has been donated. (Not to mention that today is his birthday). The homeless in Sacramento and the surrounding areas is no joke. I lived downtown for a number of years and my children were always frightened to death when they were approached by a homeless or if we came across someone sleeping in the alley. It was at that point that I decided to do something to stamp out there fears and to also find a way to open my families hearts to people that are just like us, only less fortunate. Pastor Rick Cole is embarking on something that will more than likely change his life and will most certainly change the lives of others as well.

God Bless you, Pastor Cole!

Gingamamaof 3

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Demons

One of my biggest demons is my addictive personality. I’ve struggled on many occasions with the temptation to splurge, to numb myself or in someway alter my brain’s chemistry through outside substances. Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, weed, these all have played a role in my life for many years.

My addictive personality first manifested through reading. A rather harmless addiction, as a child I would dive into books, so absorbed that I would regularly forget where I was and what time it was. I could so completely enter my chosen fictional world that in some cases, I have more vivid memories of stories than my actual life. Take Scotland. I’ve traveled to Scotland many times over the course of my life, and on one occasion I went while in the middle of a few Gaunt’s Ghosts novels. In that instance I was bustled here and there to catch a train or eat lunch, yet my memories of that journey lean heavily in favor of the books. Though I remember that black and green windbreaker I wore, and the restaurant I ate a baguette sandwich in, what I really remember is the Elder attacking and being defeated by Gaunt’s Ghosts.

Then I turned to video games, which really took me to another level. I could sit and play games for twelve hours a day, if I was allowed, which I rarely was. I was so engrossed that when I would get up to use the bathroom or get food or what have you, my muscles would be stiff and click from the sudden departure from stillness. My thumbs, however, were as loose as could be.

In late high school I found alcohol, something which was validated in college, and I discovered that I could easily chat and be social with just a few drinks. Being an excellent beer pong player, this addiction lasted for some time. But as I got older I began to notice that I would be tired after a night of drinking, and so I’ve cut back.

Smoking cigarettes, and other forms of tobacco and nicotine products, relaxed me. Being a very anxious person, and at times a highly emotional person, I used tobacco to calm down, to slow down and reflect. The height of my tobacco run also came during college, when I used it to wake up after a night of partying. I’ve quit four or five times, and have started smoking again, though I know I will quit again at some point.

Weed, though easily contained for most people, opened up a new world for me. Life became a video game, which isn’t healthy, and I soon found myself an excellent player of life’s many games. I was great for awhile, but my reliance on the drug for emotional wellbeing soon came back to bite me on the ass, and I became depressed. I stopped smoking for a couple of years, but I still deal with cotton mouth and paranoia as my social situation requires.

Caffeine is totally addictive. People don’t tend to include caffeine in their conception of drugs, but it is. My dad used to have a serious caffeine addiction, and would get headaches if he didn’t have at least one Coke in a day. Now he drinks a lot of caffeine free Pepsi, and sometimes a diluted caffeinated Pepsi. I still take half a caffeine pill every morning to help get me out of bed, but I used to be in the habit of taking up to 2,000mg of caffeine in a single day. Sometimes more. Though this helped, I found that I would become irritable and sleepy if I went too long without more, so I cut back.

My addictive personality has been a factor in my life since I was eight. It always comes back, no matter how much I do to control it and quell it. To cope with this, I try to latch on to healthier addictions. Exercise. The Daily Show. Creativity. They work much better and have few side effects.

Courage

So often we refiread stories about people with amazing courage and when asked what was going through their mind prior to the action hailed as courageous they respond with something along the lines of, “I just did my job” in the case of firefighters, law enforcement, etc.

Strangers who risk their lives to help others humbly respond by down playing their role, and deflecting back to the incident. “I just tried to help,” is a common response. People see someone in danger and they react. They don’t have ulterior motives nor is their a selfish motive behind it. One cannot predict the outcome and there are times when the act of helping another goes horribly wrong. Strangers have often lost their life in the process of trying to save that of someone they don’t know.

We don’t always we think the courage it takes for people to face their fears. Standing up to a bully,  trying out for something, giving a speech, or making a decision to get help for an addiction are all things we do daily that may take days, months even years of courage to finally take that crucial step.

The definition of fear, in short, is described as “Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.” I agree. We often think of courage based on the physical and moral acts, but courage doesn’t have limits or boundaries.

For some, stepping out and facing something that brings paralysing fear, is courageous. There’s no award, press conference or trophy for forging through the fear that holds us back from having the courage to take that step.

The photo is a great example of what it’s like for some to gather the courage to carry out a goal, task, wish, etc. Your fear encompasses the goal in the form of danger. It may feel like walking into the unknown and your mind might register it as danger. The fight, flight or freeze kicks in and, for whatever reason, you can’t get beyond that fear.

This quote captures what courage means to me. ““Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”  ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Le Photo Quotidien

I have often wondered how writers get their inspiration. When I ask, it seems like each writer says something different. Walking on the beach, their kids, music, a season, colors, I have even heard shopping, or watching fashion shows. These modes of inspiration are foreign to me. I am a visual person, and I usually draw my inspiration from things I see rather than my feelings or tactile senses.

Before I begin a writing project, I like to browse images of a certain subject (thanks Google!) or even look at my photo album on my iPhone.

I take at least two or three photos daily, consequently I have a lot of images to go back and browse. Often my inspiration has been my daily life.

What inspires you to write?

-ck

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Helping others :)

What would you do with 1,000$ dollars , if you had to spend it within a day?

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Some people might be selfish thinking of people helping themselves instead of others in need. There are many needy people, they could be homeless, suffering from illness, or some type of catastrophe. If I had the opportunity to have $1000 I would consider helping a family member in need, a homeless person and somebody you see in the news who is in need of help. I could even contact the cancer society, the Children’s Hospital or one of the many listings on the Internet that are available to help people. If there is any leftover money I would make sure that I pay my bills and make sure I have a working car to get me to and from school. Helping others takes the selfishness in our lives and replaces it with selflessness. It gives us a sense of self worth and make us feel good about ourselves. Helping others is beneficial not only to you but to the people you help. One act of kindness turns into countless acts of kindness. Not only does it provide support to those on the receiving end, it makes you, the helper, feel better too. tart off the day by doing one act of kindness. Have a blessed Wednesday!
-Katherine A.