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Tangled

Life presents us with problems. That’s a fact, and it’s unavoidable. 

A couple years ago, I got a set of lanyard (string? Not sure what to call it?) They have sat in their plastic bags, unused all this time.

Enter my eldest child, who discovered the colorful “string” and asked if she could use them. I obliged and said that she could have it, since it’s not been touched, with the stipulation, that she keep it up and out of her baby sissy’s reach.

As you can see above, that did not happen! I was busy doing housework as Baby Girl had discovered this fun, colorful mischief to get into. She was parading around the house, string wrapped around her arms, like a glamerous Hollywood boa that you see actresses wear.

The string ended up in a messy heap in my kitchen when she was done playing with it. I paused for a moment, deep in thought, looking at the colorful mess, before taking a picture of it and cleaning it up.

Life can be quite a tangle for us at times. We struggle to untangle our problems as we sort through the colorful mess. We only need to be patient, because the tangle will eventually work itself out, with patience and perseverance. 

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The Story Behind #project_avocado

The story behind #project_avocado is, well, still being written, as it unfolds.

According to http://www.veteransandptsd.com,  in 2014, there were an estimated 2.7 million American soldiers, soldiers of the wars in Oraq and Afghanistan, of which at least 20% reported to suffer from PTSD and depression ( which usually go hand in hand, alobg with substance abuse).  There are an estimated 8000 reported veteran suicides a year. 

That’s just in America…

My dear friend, Brandon Shonyo, was one of those statistics on April 30, 2016…

PTSD and depression can trap someone in their darkest realms of their mind. They find life to be bleak, and they can feel helpless, stumbling around the dark bumping into things, cursing their darkness.

My photography teacher and mentor, Korey Rowe, is a current statistic, battling his every day darkness in his head. He trudges on through his darkness, trying to encourage others to be inspired. 

Project Avocado started out as a whim, just to see if I can succeed at growing my 1st acocados, but now, it has more meaning. When I discovered that Korey loves plants and they are a sort of therapy, the inspiration hit me. He will be given the avocados to plant in his yard that he may enjoy for many years. 

I thought that it would be a nice gesture to grow plants for other vets as well, that they may have at least a moment’s break from their darkness.

Korey has inspired me, to reach out to others by way of plants, and to be a light in another’s darkness. I want to raise awareness for veteran PTSD, specifically, and to me, the plants represent a chance for healing and growth. 

I am inspired to do this for our current vets to help them heal, and I’m doing it in memory of my friend, Brandon, so that others will not have to know the pain of losing a loved one to suicide!

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ENTER: #project_avocado

It is a personal game of mine on Instagram, to come up with new hashtags that no one else has ever used. I’m not too sure why I do this, whether it’s an OCD thing or I am just being creative, but at last count a couple months ago, I was in the 40’s of how many I created. (Stay tuned for, “The List” soon! I just got an inspiration!) 

I got the inspiration to try my hand at growing an avocado tree from someone on Instagram, who was attempting to root an avocado, which had sprouted a little after a few weeks (from what she could recall, she said she didn’t track it) I bought a couple of avocados from the local grocery store, since they were on sale (2/$4) and a wee bit past their prime. 

I have found that seeds seem to root faster when already sprouted or close to sprouting inside the fruit. I planted a mango seed last month, and the sproutling will be a month old tomorrow. Another time, over the summer, I planted a pepper sproutling that I had found inside of a pepper just to see of it would grow. It fared decently, untill it hit the bulb of an Easter Lily that I had forgotten about (and also has started rooting it’s thick, white shoots) I wanted my mango tree to have a chance at thriving and being fruitful outdoors. 
After much careful consideration, I have picked the mango tree’s forever home to be in sunny California, rather than the tundra-half-the-year Adirondacks, where she would have zero chance of surviving. 
I have been inspired to start #project_avocado to also send a couple of avocado trees to join the mango, should they survive. I was curious if one of the avocado seeds would root in a wet paper towel like my mango did, and also curious just how long, if, the other seed would root in water. I gently peeled away the fleshy part, being careful not to harm the seed in case it had started a root.

The one on the left has a root starting, so I put that one in the water, and the other, wrapped in wet paper towels and kept in a tied up plastic bag. 
Now…the wait begins.

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Clinging by a Thread


After a 3 month hiatus from blogging, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. It’s been a busy summer, living life going on ventures, tending to my little “jungle” (follow me on Instagram, @junglejennavive and check out my plant ventures!) and working on my photography. 

I took a break from writing my blog, to concentrate on my freelance writing, and earned enough to take Baby Girl and my “Babyson” (who is not so “baby” anymore, being 12 years old!) on vacation to Connecticut to visit my folks. 

The colorful beauty of a spider above, (beauty and spider never being 2 words that I ever have juxtaposed in the same sentence) was in my Mom’s garden. That picture was taken 2 days after we had origionally spotted it, in its full web. It rained, and when we went to look for it, we found it hanging on but a few threads, dinner in mouth. 


Sometimes life rains upon us and we find ourselves clinging onto a few threads. Like the spider clings to its web, we must cling to our threads of life, with the gumption to eat at the same time. 

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Freelance, or not to Freelance?

As any writer will tell you, contrary to popular belief, writing is HARD to do, and especially to make a living doing so. It’s a cut-throat world out there and a lot of people are competing to be read, and to make their “bread”.

I have decided recently (not-so-impulsively) to try to give freelance writing a try. I say “not-so-impulsively” because I had decided to look into it a few years ago and was easily discouraged. I came across scam after scam and sites promising “free” info, only to have links to other sites that you had to pay. That was just to try to LOOK online for freelance writing jobs that were legit. Being that I had a job outside of the home at the time, I put it on the back burner for future reference, should I ever acquire the patience to sort through so many websites.

I researched a little today and came across a site with tips to blogs that would pay at least $50 per post. I have a lot more research to do on other sites and check out what is for real or not. There are freelance writers out their writing their freelance pieces, and they found out about calls for submissions from somewhere!

Once site intrigued my by not only offering $100 if your piece gets accepted, the content caught my attention as well. They want submissions of lists, consisting of at least ten items that must be at least 150 words each, writer’s choice of subject.

It got me to thinking: what would I make a list for, or of? What kind of random facts tied together by a unified subject would I care to research and write about? How could I turn this opportunity for a submission into something bigger down the road?

I have a lot of brainstorming and research to do to start on my venture to attempt freelance writing. I have always liked writing but feel I never put enough effort into it because it had no purpose. This venture could be a springboard to launch me into something bigger and better to make me MY bread!

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The Resiliance of the Human Spirit

bracelet_056
“To Friendships Near and Far”

It is amazing how resilient the human spirit can be. Our spirit will take a beating from life when it brings us down. We tolerate and accept it, holding everything in to keep that façade that we are okay to others. We hold back our tears, hoping things will get better.

Then it happens; the levy breaks and all of those emotions pour forth beyond our control.  Negative emotions release in the flood of tears that have been locked away from the world. We feel weak, broken, hopeless, lonely and lost as those tears gush. We don’t see an end in sight and we cry until our faces are swollen like we’ve been punched in our tear ducts, and then we cry more.

When the tears finally dry from exhaustion and we are out of tissues, we collect ourselves and move on. We try to fix and eliminate the problems that caused us to break down in the first place. We lick our wounds and hope to heal, as we trudge on. We pray not to be that sad again. We realize that we are human; imperfect in our emotions and flawless in our resilience.

I have a very dear Facebook friend, Jenn Lepage, that is the very definition of resilience. She had been suffering from endometriosis for a good many years now, and has had many surgeries, all to no avail to alleviate the problem. Her stomach is a mess and she cannot eat real food anymore. She is in constant pain from everything and yet, in light of all of her suffering, she remains positive. Jenn is the type of friend, that cares and reaches out to others, even when she herself is suffering beyond tears at times. We met in high school and though we weren’t friends then, thanks to Facebook, we are now.

Jenn sometimes passes the time by making rubber band friendship bracelets. I received the above one yesterday, with a nice card and cute stickers (I’m guessing those were for Baby Girl for me to use in her book that I’m writing to her?) and it totally made my day! I shall always treasure it Jenn, and think of you and your beautiful soul when I look at it!

I post random pics of mine to Jenn sometimes to try to make her smile, because she likes my photography. I know it’s not going to fix things, but if I can make her smile, that makes me smile. Jenn is expecting twin grandbabies this summer, which is such hope and motivation for her to keep on keeping on, and she has invited me to CT for the baby shower, so that we can visit and I can take photos of such a memorable occasion.

Here’s to friendships, near and far:

“There are good ships and wood ships,  and ships that sail the sea,

but the best ships are friend ships, and may they always be!” old Scottish salute to friendship

 

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Don’t Be Fooled

April Fool’s Day…the one day of the year that people get to play pranks and get away with it. How did it start? It’s debatable just exactly when it started, but it started at least several hundred years ago. Whether the where and when of the origin of April Fool’s is known or not, it is practiced worldwide in a similar manner.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day

I have never been much of a prankster myself; I don’t really have the imagination for it. As circumstances permitted four years ago at my old job, I was able to pull a good one off.

I worked as a night manager at a gas station/convenience store at the time. On this particular night, I was working with my co-worker, Sam. We had found a dog roaming around in our parking lot and had to call the local police to come pick him up, as our town did not have a dog catcher at the time. The police came and pick him up.

A little while later, a mischievous idea popped into my head as I realized a great opportunity to play a prank for the first time ever. I told Sam that the police had contacted the store (conveniently when she was outside on her smoke break) and said that there was a reward for the dog being found. I told her that they needed her to call back to be able to collect her award.

Well, she DID call them to collect her reward. They were confused as to why she was calling them and told her no, there was no reward. Needless to say, while she was steaming mad at me that I had actually gotten her, I couldn’t help but to laugh! I really had not thought that she would have been that gullible to believe me and actually call for the reward.

She got me back that night though…she used a prank call app on her phone and called our boss with it from the work number. My boss was not too pleased and called the store to find out what the call was all about, why I had called her. She couldn’t understand how the work number showed up on her phone if I hadn’t called her. She hadn’t believed me about it until I explained the prank I pulled on Sam, and how she retaliated with her crank call.

I am fondly giggling to myself, as I recall this memory of the one and only prank that I ever pulled off. Are you a prankster? What have you ever done as an April Fool’s joke? Please share, I’m sure myself and others could use a good laugh (and idea) to celebrate today!

 

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Voter Discrimination

Politics: people love them, people hate them, people love to argue about them, people fight about them, but never once have I heard anyone use the term “political discrimination” when it comes to voting.

Until now, until I have been deeply thinking about it lately, and came to the realization that registered Independent voters are not allowed to vote in about half of our states’ primaries.

Years ago when I registered to vote, I registered Independent, because I don’t want to be affiliated with any party, rather, I care to vote about the ISSUUES, and not the delegates behind their parties.

I have been trying to figure out, just WHY exactly, Independent voters are discriminated against from voting in the primaries. Is it even Constitutional to exclude Independent voters from primaries, when all voters were independent when the Constitution was made? When did it come about that it was ok to discriminate against a voter because they are not affiliated with a specific party.

Below is the link to the definition of an Independent voter, according to Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_(voter

I registered Independent, so that I could vote for whom I best see fit, rather than what the Democrats and Republicans tell me I should vote for. What exactly are they so afraid of that they do not want Independents voting? It actually would be beneficial to either party to get any Independent votes, so the question lies: WHY? When did “we the people” become only “we the Democrats and Republicans”?

It seems that I am not the only one feeling the discrimination. Here are a couple excerpts from the link below:

http://www.latinpost.com/articles/15293/20140621/independents-third-party-registered-voters-protest-partisan-primary-elections.htm

“One of our core issues is the issue of restructuring the primary process and making it a nonpartisan process so that all candidates and all voters are on a more equal terrain. Right now, we have a very partisan, closed process in New York State and [in] many ways, New York State’s election process is one of the most backward in the country,” said New York County Independence Party Chair and Citywide Coordinator Cathy Stewart.

“The purpose and goal is to really highlight a very deep flaw in our democracy, which is the exclusion of independent voters from the primaries,” Fields said. “We want to be visible on primary day, which is a day when independents are invisible because we cannot participate in the elections. It’s very undemocratic, and we want to let people know that that’s the case.”

Fields said many people don’t know they are excluded on primary day if they are not registered Democrats or Republicans.

“We want to highlight it, dramatize it and also reach out to ordinary people and tell them about the situation, and it’s also part of our efforts to organize reforms of the exclusion of independents,” Fields added.

“Primaries are an important juncture in the democratic process and are often the most competitive. The winner of the race in the 13th Congressional District, for example, will be the presumptive winner of the general election. Excluding 72,000 district residents from that process is unfair and undemocratic,” Hanks said.

Excluding Independent voters is indeed, unfair and undemocratic. According to Wikipedia, I am not the only one that feels this way:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_primaries_in_the_United_States

I have had people tell me to change my party affiliation, and I will not do so just to appease people. I will only hope and pray that the one candidate that I want to win the primaries wins, so that I may cast my vote for him in November, when I’m not being discriminated against.

I’m not much for political debate, but what are your thoughts on this? Are you registered Independent, and where? Do you have open primaries in your state, or are they closed? If they closed, what are your feelings on that? Do you think that all states should have open primaries to accommodate ALL voters? What do you think can/should be done about this voting plight? Leave your comments below and let me know (and please keep it civil, I know how edgy some can be about politics!)

In the meantime, I shall be doing more research for further posts on this matter!

 

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Fairy Tale Farce

It’s the day after Easter as the kids all head to school with their sugar hangovers from too much candy and the parents heave a sigh of relief that it is over.

I have never been one to get into the hubbub of holiday stress. For one, I have never participated in the common lie to my kids that there is a Santa, or Easter Bunny, or even tooth fairy for that matter. Some parents have told me that I have no imagination. Some have told me how much my kids will resent me when they get older.

Holidays have become too commercialized and selfish over the years. Instead of people celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and Easter, they are all about “me me me me” and “what did you get me?” Christmas commercials come around Halloween now, and back in the day, at least they waited until after Thanksgiving. The bombardment of advertisements provokes kids to beg, plead, throw tantrums, do whatever to get what they feel like that HAVE to have, because the TV says so. (Incidentally, I do not own a TV!)

I find that as parents, it is our responsibility to be truthful to our kids (at ALL times)  and not lead them to believe in things that they will eventually find out are not true. Personally, I think it’s kinda mean to lead a kid to believe in magic, only for them to discover that the magic was never really there to begin with.

My childhood was wrought with every form of abuse and neglect, though my “parents” still did the Santa Claus and Easter Bunny thing. Believing in that magic, is what helped me get through some tough times, believing that somewhere out there, there IS a big fat man in a red suit that could save me…or at least bring me joy for one day of the year.

When I was eight years old, I discovered that there was no such thing as the Easter Bunny or Santa, and I was crushed. I was crushed that I was stuck in my hell, with no magical reprieve. I think what crushed me most, was that I lied to and led to believe in something that is not there. That’s a tough realization for an eight year old to grasp, lost in her own world of terror and misery. There was to be no reprieve until she could do something about it on her own.

I want my kids to believe in a higher power, that is bigger than them or you or I. I want them to know that I will always be truthful, no matter what. I don’t want to deceive them and crush them as I was once crushed. I want them to believe in the spirit of Christmas and Easter as it is meant to be, about God, in whatever form he may exist in. I want them to be selfless, not selfish, and I feel like nowadays, the holidays bring out more of the latter in people. I want my kids to be logical and realize how impossible it would be for a big fat stalker in a red suit to physically visit everyone in one night and leave presents, or in a bunny that lays eggs (how did that one come to be, anyway? A bunny, laying eggs???) and yet, I want them to be spiritual and believe in a higher power that they can’t see.

Am I unimaginative? Yes, yes I am, which is why I am not good at fictional writing. Am I honest? Yes, yes I am, maybe to a fault in other’s eyes (though I have never thought that there is such a thing as being “too” honest like has been said to me in the past) but you know what? I would rather be honest and live in peace with people,than to deceive and lead people to believe “magic” that does not exist. Life is not always the fairies and glitter that we would wish it to be.