Coping With Chaos

Things seems so out of control these days. How are you coping?

Most of us have lost control over many of the things we took for granted. Our employment, our family and some of our simple freedoms.

I am the type of person that always had a plan B, just In case. In case of what? A pandemic? Well that is kind of crazy, or so I thought. Its not so far fetched anymore.

This is certainly where I have been blessed to have had a plan B.

You see, the pandemic with its associated forced isolation, caused my PTSD to spiral out of control. It was undiagnosed at the time. The signs were there but, being a firefighter, it was considered part of the job.

Unknown to me, I had been coping for quite some time effectively. Hitting the gym after being up all night with your third cardiac arrest and your second multi alarm fire of the shift. I would hit the gym, hard. I worked myself to exhaustion so that I could catch some sort of sleep without Visions and dreams haunting me. I left it all in the gym. To me, it was better than hitting the liquor with the boys for breakfast.

I coped with the chaos everyday. In an odd way, the more I sweat, the more fear and guilt I got rid of. The abnormal became my normal. It was my life.

My World

My unexpected Journey

My life has been very rocky this past 15 months. But, who’s life hasn’t? I spent most of it struggling to find me again.

I was analyzing the person I had become. Grumpy, overworked, unhappy, pissed off, moody and very difficult to deal with.

My life had taken a turn that I didn’t expect and it was moving fast.

I went from sleeping 6 or 7 hours a night to only 30 minutes. I became both physically and mentally tired with absolutely no interest in anything that used to make me happy.

Depression is not a dirty word. Its grabs hold of you when you least expect it. It controls you and your life. Its suffering that you cant see. It changes you and the people around you.

I experienced this and I will share my thoughts with the hope that someone sees it and reaches out. I suffered in silence and fear. Silence because I thought I was alone, unloved and no one would really care anyway. Fear of losing control and not knowing what was happening to me.

I spent years on the job as a firefighter saving others on their worst day. For some reason there was no one to save me. I reached out a few times but they didn’t understand and neither did I. I didn’t want to be called weak or judged unfairly.

Then the day came that I had lost all control. Its time, time to shit or get off the pot.

I had suspected that I was dealing with some sort of mental illness a week or so prior. Now, I had no choice but to make the call.

If your a firefighter and you are having issues. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t put it off til tomorrow. Don’t walk away. Pick up the phone and make the call.

IAFF Center of Excellence

Treatment for firefighters experiencing mental illness, PTSD and addiction.

301-358-0192

You cant change the past, only the future.

I love you

Its just 3 words. But, it has Proven difficult for some people to say.

I know because I grew up in a home like that. I never heard those words growing up.

I know, its just words. Sometimes you need to hear it, for a little reassurance that you are indeed, loved by someone.

My mothers last words before she passed away was, ‘I love you”. I had never heard them from her so, as you can imagine, it was a bit shocking.

As a result, I also find those words difficult to say. It is just something I never learned or practiced.

It was a major milestone, in recovery to learn to express myself better. I cant change the past. I can only move forward and shape my future.

Anderson/ Easy blending techniques

There it is, the inspiration for my next project. This is pretty much “Me”. Straight forward, not too mushy but flexible.

A simple reminder that we all need to tell our loved ones how we feel and express our true selves every damn day!

This project showcases the ink blending technique which is typically a background. I added a fun twist by blending ink onto a doily and using that as my focal point.

A Big Hello There!

This project started with card stock from my stash. Two layers were cut and the second one was covered in beautiful Altenew washi tape to create the background. A paper doily was then ink blended with oxide ink in hues of red. While that was drying, I fussy cut flower bouquets from the washi tape. It is time consuming but worth it.

I cut 3 layers of “hello” from the Altenew “Waterbrush Hello Die” from red card stock. I glued each one together to add dimension and stability to the “Hello” word phrase.
The word was layered on top of the paper inked doily. The washi flowers that I carefully cut earlier were added around the center. The sentiment strip was added at the bottom from the “All the Hearts” Altenew stamp set to finish this project.

We all should say “I love you” a little more and remain silent a little less. Drop a comment and share this with someone who needs this today.

Remember, be still and create something beautiful. 💘

Hard work pays off “Happy Dreams”

I don’t know about you but, I have been doing a lot of thinking the past few days. How far I have come and how far I have yet to go.

I have accomplished so much and many things that I never thought I would. My dream job as a firefighter, raising 5 beautiful children as a single parent, a healthy lifestyle, two college degrees, adorable grandbabies and at some point it seemed impossible. I worked hard and made more sacrifices than people know.

I have been physically sick, felt helpless, became homeless, abused and lonely.

I have been a teacher, a mother, a caregiver, a paramedic, a daughter, a secretary, a wife, a firefighter, a coach, a mentor and an actor.

Keep dreaming because it gives you something to work for. You will get there but you have to work hard. There will be sacrifices, heartache and frustration but, you will get there.

This was my inspiration for creating this card as my class project. This class “Clean and Simple Boutique Cards” by the Altenew Academy.

To All The Dreamers “Happy Dreams”

I started this card by using specialty teal mirror paper, watercolor paper and a black card base from my stash

The mirror paper was trimmed and mounted on the black card base. The watercolor paper was stamped with the Altenew “Happy Dreams” stamp set and altenew permanent black ink. The stamped image was then painted with Altenew “Lagoon” and “Persian blue” watercolor markers.

Simply,majestic!

Once dried, gold gel pen highlights were added to the feathers for some detail. Gold splatter was scattered for some extra sparkle. The watercolor panel was then cut with a scallop edge and mounted with foam tape for dimension.

The Distance Between Dreams and Reality …..

The sentement from the same stamp set was stamped on matching white card stock and added with more foam tape. Gold Nuvo glitter drops were added for more interest. That completes my creation.

While working on this project, I used several techniques taught in the class. I used watercolor for the first time ever and some gorgeous colors! I played with specialty paper and gold accents. I am very happy with the outcome.

I hope that you find some joy and inspiration in your life as much as I do. This past year has been very difficult for many of us. Keep looking forward and let your accomplishments guide you….. Not your failures.

Drop me a comment below. I cant thank you enough for all the love and support that I have been given. 💘

As always, all my creations will be donated back to the IAFF Center of Excellence for Firefighters experiencing PTSD, addiction and mental illness.

If you are a firefighter in need of help, reach out because your never alone.

Appreciate your differences.

I had one of those “aha” moments while I was out with my girls celebrating their birthdays. Traditionally, me being a single parent, I take my 2 younger girls out to a dinner date the week of their birthday. They fall within a week of each other and it has just been more affordable to put them together. This has slowly evolved to one dinner with both of them and now a second dinner with each one of them.

I am just realizing that they are polar opposites and deserve to have separate evenings with Mom.

A new goal for this year will be to recognize my kids’ differences and individuality. Its time to stop looking at them as my kids and start looking at each one for their strengths and personality.

As parents, no matter how old your kids are, its important to allow them time and opportunity to establish their own path.

Spread Love. Layering 1 Altenew Academy.

This project was inspired by my girls.

Created with Altenew “Hawaiian Coral” stamp set, layered dyes, glitter paste and nuvo pearls.

As always, thanks so much for the support. I have had an overwhelming response to my blog.

Until next time, stay safe.

Grief is different for everyone

I think most of us can say that we have recently lost someone very important to us.

Did you stop and take the time to grieve or did you just push it away to be dealt with when the time was right?

The time will never be right. Avoidance is something we all do whether we realize it or not.

I lost my Mom a few years ago and it was unexpected. I wasn’t ready for it at all. The thought never crossed my mind that someday I will only have memories.

Suddenly all the little things she used to do that bugged me disappeared. The opportunity for the mother daughter chats we had disappeared too. The person that I had become so fond of was taken from me way too soon. I was devastated, hurt and lonely. The visions of seeing her take her last breath and cry out my name began to haunt me.

Its been several years now and I have finally stopped beating myself up with guilt and blame with false hope that I could have saved her. I have finally began sorting through some of her belongings that are tucked away in my attic.

As the years go by, the grief that we tucked away in avoidance gets heavier and heavier. Soon enough, it pokes its head out and begins to overwhelm you.

Perhaps its time. Time to move on. Time to smile at her memory instead of cry. Time to finally put her to rest.

Altenew Academy – Layering 1 lesson 3 project.

Inspired by the memory of my Mom and all those recently lost. 💘

This gorgeous project was created by me and without a plan. It sort of evolved into this beautiful heart. Made in the typical rose pink fashion that was my Mother’s favorite.

Comprised of the “ornate foliage” stamp set and layered inks from Altenew. Finished off with floral washing tape, heart shapes, foil paper and glue dots..

I want to also thank my readers for stopping by.

I am truly humbled by the support you have given me.

Until next time…. Stay safe my friends. 💘

Because life happens…

Here we are, its finally 2021. It doesn’t feel like it yet. People around me are me are still suffering. Families are still grieving and people are still assholes.

Me, I am simply working hard in an attempt to remove myself from the effects of the past year. Who said 2021 will be better?

The reality is, the beatings will continue until you make your own changes. Prioritize your goals and write them down. Keep them in your face all day long. Stick them to your bathroom mirror, your dashboard, the wallpaper in your cell phone.

Statistically, the majority of us create goals and then by March, the motivation is gone. Perhaps those goals were not obtainable to start with.

Maybe instead if your goals of losing weight, it should have been lose 10 pounds because that is visual and therefore obtainable.

Now, revise those goals and create something obtainable. Hold your head high because you have the courage to even move forward after the assault that 2020 gave you.

Keep up the good fight, kick ass and keep moving forward.

“Courageous You”, inspired by two lovely ladies.
Ka and Pauline keep up the good fight. 👊

Push forward…

As I begin to push 2020 out of the way, I am feeling some excitement. 🎉

Much like everyone else around me, I am so done with 2020 and can’t wait to ring in the New Year with so many things I want to experience. Some are new and some are renewed.

Every year, I begin by creating lists…. Lots of damn lists… 😔

My Planner Page

There are “to do” lists, workout program lists, meal plan lists, goal lists, book lists, budget lists. This is simply too much. Sometimes baby steps are needed. Quite often, small changes are more effective and lead to better habits without even thinking.

For example, one small change I made last year was substituting a scoop of protein powder instead of cream or sugar in my coffee. Guess what? It resulted in less of an afternoon crash and not feeling “hangry”. Why? because protein fills your fuel tank and makes you feel full. Sugar absorbs quickly and makes you want more. The wonderful result of a small change was more muscle.

Reflecting on this past year no matter how much it hurts, has to be done.

Growth needs to happen. If you never planted a seed last year, your going to fall on your face this year. 🌴 Bet me!

Your love gives me Hope. Welcome to 2021, its going to be grand!

And there it is….. This was my project for lesson 2 of Layering techniques 1 and my inspiration came from my readers. Enjoy! 💘

Are you ready for 2021 …..

Wow! I am really enjoying these creative art classes. Here is my first project.

I incorporated my daily planner into my Altenew Academy Lesson 1 assignment.

I tend to think outside the box a little and I am loving that I can use my planner in other ways.

The assignment requests a double layer effect. Here is my version, on my planner page. I love the way it turned out.

All About Layering 1 (The Planner Version)

Discovering an old love 💘

Its seems as though many of these “stay at home” orders are not going away anytime soon.

I have decided to dust off some of my tools and direct my creative energy into learning something new.

Being able to sit down in the evening and reduce my anxiety by simply coloring, organizing my planner or just writing was proving to be therapeutic.

I have decided to take on some art classes at my own pace and time.

While some weeks get really crazy with work, some weeks I end up with more time than I know what to do with.

Check in frequently to see what I may be getting into and what crazy things I may be doing. You just may find something that you want to try yourself.

Coloring with Copic Markers