The Trifecta of Blog Prompts

There were three blog prompts that I could not separate this month and decided to do a bundle for this post.

  • 6 Top things streaming on my Facebook page
  • The last thing that scared me the most.
  • If you had one wish…what would it be for?
  1. The top thing streaming on my FB page is the election.  I HATE this season, because it really tests my patience with the ridiculous posts on both sides of the fence.  I get the urge to block certain feeds because I get sick of seeing all the negativity and bashing that goes on.  This #1 topic streaming also encompasses the other two blog topics.  Let me start by saying that since I have been able to vote the options have been dismal and I end up voting for the lesser of to evils.  Well this year takes the cake…this election season is the last thing that scared me the most.  I can’t believe anything that comes out of either Hillary or Trump’s mouths.  I can’t trust either will do the right thing in office.  Honestly, it made me think of an article I read last year, Early Warning:Identifying Potentially Genocidal Political Movements, I found it very scary.  My wish is for the people in office in this country to consider the welfare of the citizen’s before themselves.
  2. “If you believe in God, like & Share” posts. amen I have my own relationship with God.  Honestly I don’t think he reads Facebook posts or cares if I like or share any of the various types of posts crossing my page.  I don’t need to type “Amen” for it to be true that God loves me.
  3. Cat Videos (or Dog videos):  I love the cat videos and pictures.  I try my best to keep my page positive and uplifting as much as possible  watch this cute little video Cat Chat, a funny cat related picture that made me laugh so hard my sides hurt. 12803275_10153998366117287_2914277709992761146_n
  4. DIY Tips:  I love these because they give me ideas on things to try.  I love being creative. Today’s Craft Post
  5. Trust Your Journey:  This is one of my favorite pages on FB.  It is always uplifting and they have great little videos they post. 30 Second of Gratitude
  6. My friends photography or current projects.  I love to see what they are working on and support them in any way I can.  Kevin’s Photograph, Dianne’s Cross Stitch project. 12734258_10206092852339535_4903021319130432687_n

When the Noise Stops.

Have you ever noticed that there are times when, through all the noise that the world throws at us, a message stands out?  It resonates with your soul and gains your attention. Once you notice it, it repeats until you do something about it.  For me, these are things the universe is presenting to me as an opportunity to learn and grow. This knowledge has been gained by looking at my life and in hindsight, I can see this path very clearly.  There is an intentional sequence to my lessons.  Each one building and preparing me for the next.  Each lesson is harder and goes deeper than the one before.

I spent my life up until 2010 at top speed, living in a fight or flight mode. If I ran fast enough all the feelings would never catch up to me, but that doesn’t work.  As we all have heard the phrase, “No matter where you go there you are.”  Up until this point I had lived in the delusion of being in control.  In 2009 I lost my mother, that was the straw that broke the camels back.

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I got the message loud and clear to STOP!!  Stop running! Stop hiding! Stop NUMBING!  JUST STOP!  It took a full year to be able to STOP.  It was through divine intervention that this happened and my life stopped and turned on a dime.  I was surrounded by people who understood immediately and loved me until I could love myself.  I was so far out of my comfort zone that all I could do was let go and ride it out.  Through this process I had to completely examine my life, the good and the bad.  “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates was right.  This process changed my perspective on life and various events in my life.  Perspective is key to whether or not I have a good day or bad day.  I get to decide.  Connecting the Dots is a perfect example of this.

In 2011 was the year of FORGIVENESS.  Forgiving the little things, mistakes, things said in the heat of the moment are easier than others. Asking for forgiveness is even harder.  There is a level of humility I had to gain, but once I started taking the action the relief was palpable.  I had no idea the weight I was carrying with the fear and shame. Then when it comes to forgiving someone who IS WRONG and HAS HARMED YOU or someone you love, the resentment and righteousness are tough to put down.  The event that harmed me was life changing and for the average person is unforgivable.  This was quite the struggle because my resentment had manifested in PURE RAGE.  Inside I knew that if I couldn’t let this go my life would never get any better than it was right then.  I WANT MORE!  I WANT TO FEEL PEACE!  I WANT TO BE HAPPY!  I had to make my peace with him, I had to make amends for my actions towards him after the event and in my heart I had to forgive him.  It took more divine intervention to get to the place where I was sitting across the table from this person and asked him to forgive me for my actions.  He did.  In sitting across from him my perception of him changed.  Seeing him where he has lived his life on the streets, in half way houses, drunk, losing his sight and day-to-day not knowing what might come hcropped-1510909_10152359989386030_7638752685126468128_n.jpgis way, my anger turned to sadness.  Life has a way of balancing the scales.  A friend told me, “forgiveness does not mean that they were right, or what they did was ok, it just frees you of the burden of carrying the resentment.  It helps you to move on and live free of the toxic feelings that resentment brings.”   When I got up from that table and wished him well I felt PEACE!  I WAS FREE!  I never dreamed that any of this was ever possible.  It is one of the greatest days of my life!

I had over a year of PEACE from 2012 and into 2013.  I am not saying that I didn’t have struggles, but I was able to face them with a level of grace I never had before. I was spending time with God and enjoying each day.  5 Ways I Get Closer to God is a blog post wrote during this time.  My mornings consist of

coffee with God as my meditation practice.    aa6c4-file3931347376227

Now 2013 was one of those years when I realized that everything before was preparing me to deal with what was happening.  The message FEEL.  FEEL EVERYTHING! Ugh, seriously?!  It has been so nice for so long.  At this point I had been divorced for 12 years, and my ex-husband had managed to continue the emotional abuse via stalking me electronically.  I never really felt safe or completely at rest, part of me was just waiting for the next thing.  In September of 2013 I was contacted by my step-son, who told me that my ex has lung cancer and only has a few weeks to live.  He died that night.  I found out most of the information from Facebook.  I have never felt so many feelings all at once..relief, guilt, anger, fear, shame, peace, guilt….all cycled over and over.  FEELINGS!  TOO MANY FEELINGS!!  This triggered my PTSD.  After talking to a very dear friend who was going through the same thing at that time, I went into EMDR treatment, which helped me process everything and I was back to a peaceful place within the month.

2014 was all about me. Once I had faced all these external demons I only had one demon left and it is one of the toughest…ME!!!  SELF-FORGIVENESS and SELF-LOVE. This is a current and ongoing battle to change my brain.  I need to break old habits and treat myself like I treat my friends, and even people I don’t know.  I have undergone intense therapy where it was reflected back to me how mean I am to myself.  My greatest lessons have come from being around groups of people in the same situation.  I have always seen it, but now I actually don’t completely believe the things I tell myself.  I am making progress, slowly but surely I will get there.  “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene’ Brown has really helped me find my way out of a place of shame and into a place of love.  I am still a work in progress.

I am enough!!
I am enough!!

Today the word that jumps out at me is JOY.  Brene’ talks about how joy is one of the most difficult things to feel.  What she describes is so me.  When I feel JOY I feel so vulnerable and I am so afraid that something bad is going to happen that I just shut down that feeling.  PEACE is one thing  JOY…real JOY AND BLISS?!  I am not sure I even know how to feel it.  I see it in others…kids playing, couples in love, friends…

…You know I just realized when I am in a group of people where I feel safe I do experience JOY.  It almost always happens when I hang out with my friend Dianne and our group of friends.  Also, My friends Amy and Shy and our group of friends.  I feel 100% safe around them.  There’s HOPE!!!

How do I create a life where I can allow myself to be Joyful everyday?!  In 3 months I will find out exactly how to do that when I go on Matthew Hussey Retreat in Florida.  This week will wrap all this hard work up into a road map to living my life the way I want to live it!  I am so excited I can’t even wait.

Tell me do you see your lessons or path through the noise?  Have you found your path to PEACE, LOVE and JOY?!

 

 

PASSION IN ACTION: PURE STEAM RPG

It always amazes me how many people I know who make full use of their time doing projects or businesses for which they have a passion.   Some do projects or are creative just for the pleasure it brings them.  We all need to do things that give us joy, whatever that may be.  Others have carved out time and money to create their own businesses.  I hear all the time from people I have talked to or listen to people complain that they don’t have time or money to so something that makes them happy.  I am stuck in this job or I have a family to take care of…I have found people who knew that you can make time for everything that is important.  You would be amazed at how much time is wasted in an average day.

Adam Crockett works in the purchasing department where I work.  He has a demanding job, a wife and 3 daughters.  Even with all these demands on his time he managed to create a business creating supplements for role playing games without negatively impacting his work or family relationships.  I interviewed Adam recently and this is what I learned from him.

Brenda:   Tell me about your company and its products?  Do you have a website?

Adam:   Yes, we have a website it’s www.PuresteamRPG.com.  We are licensed to create supplements for Steampunk, Americana role playing games (RPG).   Here is the description from their Facebook page: “Pure Steam is a Pathfinder RPG compatible Steampunk setting. In the age of steam, coal is king. Play a moonshinin’ halfling alchemist in the Blue Ridge, a dwarven mechanical prodigy able to jury rig vehicles on the fly, and many more!”

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Brenda: I am really only familiar with online role playing games and honestly It’s not my thing, but I hang out with lots of people who love RPG’s.  What inspired you to do this?

Adam:  I have always been into RPG’s and have played for 20 years. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  My dad owned his own business.  So, as I was working through my MBA, we had a lot of projects and papers to write and I always did them on RPG’s.  Through that process I found a niche that I wanted to fill.  I meet a guy through mutual friends who went to school for game design.  He had the desire to go into business, but he lacked the business side. We figured we would team up.

Brenda: I know you have a very demanding job, and your family is very important to you.  How did you carve out time to start this business and keep it going?

Adam: My philosophy is that everyone has free time.  I found out how much free time I had when we adopted our daughter.  It is a very expensive process and I took on a second job to pay for it. I was working 40 hours a week at my regular job and 30 hours a week at my second job and I still ate, slept, watched TV and still saw my family.   How I don’t let this interfere with my family is I wait until the girls go to bed at night, and spend time 2 or 3 days a week working on this.  I have been married long enough where my wife gets sick of me sometimes, so it all works out.  I do take a vacation day here or there.

Brenda:  How do you distribute your products?

Adam:  It’s an open game license through Pathfinder.  You have to apply for a license, but that is the biggest selling point for this game is that there is so much modularity to it, because it is an open license.  Other games are locked down so you can only buy them through the producer; this one allows us to sell our products separately.  They even sell our products on their own website.  It’s a very symbiotic relationship.

Brenda:  Do you craft pieces yourself?  How did you find someone to publish your books?

Adam:  The main deliverable for us is a rule book.  I have worked in purchasing for my entire adult career, so I just shopped publishers in the area.  I found a local one in Dallas Balfour, who does small runs.  They do year books for high schools.  They are used to working with armatures and are very forgiving.  They really helped us through this process. We also have the adobe electronic version which we sell also.   We sub out the artwork to artists we have met at conventions.  We have a couple of miniatures we created.  One of the top miniature producers in the world is in Denton, Texas, Reaper Miniatures.  I asked them who designs their sculptures and got a few names and decided on a couple  people who 3-D design the sculptures, 3-D print and then cast the miniatures.  We also produce props; my cousin is a prop designer.  It is common for people who attend the conventions to dress up.  He designs props for use to cross play or to sell to people.  We found the path of least resistance.

The smallest run we could do was 1,000 copies, which we printed 2 years ago.  I would just take a few books with me on trips and rather than doing dinner I would go out and hit gaming stores all over the country.  I cross pollinated the northern United States.  I was taking a trip to London and I contacted a store in London before I went and they said they would be happy to buy some books when they came out.  We have been shipping to them.  The first 500 took a year to year and half to sell; the second 500 only took about 6 months through distribution.  We just sold out.  We are talking about reprinting the first book.  We are just finishing up our second book, which is a Wild, Wild West expansion to the first one.  This will be available this summer.

Brenda:  So you have used Kick starter to get funding for these projects as you come up with them?

Adam: Yes, so far we have been, but we are hoping to develop enough of a steady cash flow so we can get away from it.  Kick starter is a really amazing tool for a little Indy company like us.  It helps you gage market interest, get followers, generate buzz and funds it.  Those who back it usually get something extra for their support.

Here’s a cool story, before we did the kick starter we wanted to have some of the artwork done, so to raise the funds for someone to create the artwork to show people.  I had this funky idea I had this box of just random stuff that I went on Craigslist and traded up for other stuff until I have enough stuff to sell to fund the art work.  I raise $600 for the artwork.  I got the idea from this story about this guy called “The Red Paperclip” from a few years ago.  This guy started with a red paperclip and in something ridiculous like 15 trades he had a house.  So I thought I would see what I could do with this box of stuff.

Brenda: What’s your favorite thing about this business?

Adam: The coolest thing about it is that we go to conventions and complete strangers come up to us and know the games, have played them and love them.  It is so amazing.  We have customers from all over the world who buy our products.  To have retold my family stories from Appalachia in a steam punk setting and people love it!

I want to thank Adam for sharing his story and experience with us. I am so inspired by what we are all capable of if we have the desire and are willing to work for what we love.  Let’s all “Dare Greatly.”

This is one of my favorite quotes:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 ― Theodore Roosevelt


	

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in th…

Source: Courage

Courage

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt