Sunday, 20 November 2016

When Darkness Reigns: Thoughts On Depression

The first step towards healing & over-coming anything in one's life, is to admit one has a problem. 

I have not been shy about sharing that I battle with depression, along with extreme anxiety, panic attacks, & previously an eating disorder (which I still, on the occasion, fight with).

This year has been really rough. 
And yet there have been some pretty awesome things too. 
It's been a non-stop roller coaster of ups & downs, and I alternate between feeling like a warrior & then feeling like a coward. 

I share this not looking for sympathy, but rather with the hopes that it will help me continue to move forward & perhaps let others know they are not alone & to keep going. ♥

Today, I am going to be brutally honest. 
Let the chips fall where they may.
Judge me however you will. 
In the end, it's only the Creator's opinion I care about. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There are some weeks where I feel in complete control of my emotions, my soul & the spiritual world around me. 

I can remain calm.
I can stay content.
I can be happy.
I can observe nature.
I can focus on the job ahead.
I can tell the darkness to leave.
I can spread love, kindness & Light.

Life is good.
I know who I am.
And most importantly, I am proud of who I am & content with how I was made.

{Image Found Via We Heart It~Original Photographer or Model Unknown}

Then there are weeks where reality gets to me & the soul within me goes to a place that is hard to come back from.

I feel like a failure.
I am scared I'll be alone all my life.
The loneliness is crushing, making it hard to breathe.
The sadness is overwhelming.
I stop being able to see beauty & instead only see the bars that entrap me.
All I see is darkness & people being cruel.

The last few days have been dark.
Hard to

But I am learning.

Wisdom is often born in the darkest of circumstances.
And I know it is crucial to talk about the bad times, not just the good moments.
Because through talking & sharing, you can move on & often help others too.

I was raised to think it is not acceptable to talk about depression & demons.
That to acknowledge you battle with darkness is to show weakness.
You can't be seen as weak.
You have to have it all together.

Well, I don't.

I am full of flaws & mistakes.
Any strength or courage I show is purely Grace & the determination to inspire others.
And that is entirely, completely, absolutely, 100% OKAY!!!

{Image Found Via We Heart It~ Original Photographer Unknown}
I feel everything.
I feel it deeply.
Then, I let it go.
So I can feel new emotions.
Today I will feel sad...lost...scared...alone...hopeless...
Maybe tomorrow I will feel the opposite emotions!

I will remind myself that God is still there.
That He hasn't forgotten I exist, even though it feels that way.

I will remind myself that faith was "created" for these valleys.
I will become stronger...wiser...
I will control the darkness; the demons will bow down to the Creator who lives inside me.

And one day I will understand it & by.

{Image Found Via We Heart It~ Original Photographer Or Designer Unknown}

Sunday, 6 November 2016

To The Woman That Mocked Me: A Letter

To The Woman Who Mocked Me Tonight,

You strutted along the sidewalk, talking to your son, who appears to be around 5 years old.

You pointed at me with a stubby finger & said loudly, “Look at that weird girl picking flowers. I wonder if she knows how stupid she looks?!”

If I had allowed myself to march over to you & tell you what I was thinking, this would have been what I said.

First of all, I. Heard. You. Loud & Clear. I could just label you a Mean Girl who is snobby, rude & pathetic. But I am sure you are merely just jealous & angry at the whole world, & haven't stopped to consider how pathetic you look, knocking everyone down, when just a quick glimpse at you told me that you are struggling to keep it all together yourself. I am sure you are hurting, but as someone who is also hurting beyond words, I can honestly tell you that is no excuse to treat others unkindly.

Secondly, congratulations on raising a son that will not know how to treat women (& people in general) graciously & kindly. He was listening to you...watching you... copying you. He will be just like you one day. He will mock what others do, if he finds it to be “stupid or weird”. He will not respect other ways of life. He will be an abuser, who feels it's his right to be unkind & vindictive. He will be the one to trample all over women & instead of learning to admire & love what they love, will run them down & force them to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, & how he wants to do it. He will be the one arguing with a police officer one day because he doesn't respect authority or rules. Perhaps he will even find himself in court or jail because he was not taught how to value others opinions & just be kind. Oh & lets not forget, he will also be the one who is constantly stressed out, in a fight with someone, & needs tons of medications & psychiatrists to help him sleep at night, because he can't get along with others. Yes, this is going to be all your fault, because children learn by example! Your son would have never even looked at me twice, if not for you pointing me out. The thought to say something mean would have never crossed that 5 year old's mind without you putting it there.

Thirdly, I should also congratulate you on making a fool of yourself. Those flowers I was picking, I was also photographing to share online. Online where I get notice from official tourism all over the world.... fancy magazines that only top notch photographers get featured in.... not to mention I am flooded daily with likes & comments, saying how beautiful my feed is & how talented of a photographer I am. People love how pretty, positive & uplifting my social media is. I am known for being an inspiring person. Hey, for all you know, you may be one of those people who have seen my Instagram feed & admired it! **laughs** Wouldn't that be a lovely ironic twist?!

And Lastly, instead of mocking me & saying cruel things, maybe you should take a lesson from me. Yes, perhaps it is odd to see a pretty girl in a long flowing skirt & long hair, picking wildflowers that most people would label weeds, along the side of a road. But it is definitely not “stupid”. In fact, it's very very wise & I will tell you why. My life has been very hard the past couple years. Health issues, financial troubles, broken relationships, battles with anxiety & depression... all of them good reasons to give up on life & turn into a bitter, mean, cynical person. However I have learned that if you only focus on all the bad things in life (& in people!), you will be miserable day in & day out.

So I chose instead to look for & appreciate beauty in the places & things most people never notice. I look at the skies every day & admire them, no matter what the weather... I stop & watch ants peeling back peony leaves or beetles hauling food crumbs back to their homes.... I revel in the sound of sparrows, happily preening in the sunshine... I go for walks & take deep breaths of the cool, evening air.... and yes, I do pick “weeds” & leaves & things other people label “nuisances”. I take photos of everything, even things that appear ugly at first. I admire the texture of tree bark & the delicacy of dandelion seeds. I still like to make a wish, blow them away, & watch as the sunset sparkles through the white fuzz. I bring wildflower bouquets home to put by where my mostly home bound Mom sits 80% of her days, to brighten up her corner. That's what I was doing tonight when you laughed at me & blurted out the first thought that crossed your mind.

I chose to literally take time to “stop & smell the roses” because life is short & when you realize you could be gone at any moment, what really matters becomes a lot clearer. Our world is such a busy, noisy, chaotic place, and I take comfort in simple things like Brown Eyed Susans & the feeling of dirt between my toes. Instead of using medications to calm my frayed nerves, I exam the petals of wild clover or pick up a birds feather to paste into my journal. Until you learn to appreciate the simple things in life, you cannot truly start to live.

And so, I won't allow what you said to stop me from picking more wildflowers along the side of the road. I won't even be hurt by what you said or angry at you for saying it. I just feel sorry for you & hope one day you will decide to start being kind & showing your son what it truly means to be a good person.

The Girl with the Wildflowers ♥  

P.S. Here are a few of the photos I took that evening. Oh & guess what?! They were extremely popular. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

La Kitchenette Souris: Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

So yes, these have 3 types of chocolate items~ but technically, they could have 4 if you tucked some chocolate cookies into the center before baking them. *heehee*
Just an idea, for all you chocoholics like myself. 

For now, I will do my best to give you a fairly accurate recipe for these treats.
I say "fairly accurate" because the icing, well I just go by taste & looks.
Makes it hard to give you a solid recipe!
But I will try. 

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups sugar
2/3 cups canola oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour

Beat above ingredients for 4 minutes.
Then add:

2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water

Stir all together, just until smooth. 

Place muffin cups/liners in muffin tins. 
Fill approx 1/2 full.
(You will get around 2 to 2 1/2 dozen muffins)

Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Chocolate Icing

1 cup margarine 
1/2 cup milk
2 cups icing sugar

Cream together.
Then, by hand, stir in more icing sugar, slowly, until icing is very stiff & will hold its shape when piped.
I think I added around another cup by the time I was done. 

Then simply place into your piping bag & pipe!
I went with a basic swirl, because it's easy & always looks amazing, but you really could do any design you want~ browse Youtube & check out other designs. So many to chose from!

I sprinkled chocolate sprinkles (the 3rd chocolate item) on top & a pinch of icing sugar to add some color. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

La Kitchenette Souris: Fresh Pasta w/ Chicken & Onion Cream Sauce

Finally got around to getting back in the kitchen & trying a new recipe!

I had been feeling like some fresh pasta for a while, so I went in search of ideas on what I wanted to top it with... 

The pasta turned out lovely & if you want to make the recipe I used this week:
Don't hesitate to add a wee bit more milk if your dough is still a bit dry.

So I found a recipe online, but of course, by the time I was done making it, I had made so many changes it was an entirely different recipe. *heehee*
So here is my version~ hope you enjoy! 

Chicken & Onion Cream Sauce

1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 spring onions, finely chopped
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup double cream (I used whipping cream)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Dried Pasta (for around 6 average portions)
Fresh leaf parsley
Sea Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

Place olive oil, butter, & garlic in thick bottomed frying pan & heat for 1 minute. Add chicken strips & cook for approx 10 minutes, 5 minutes on each side, or until they are done to the temperature you wish. 
Don't forget to season with some salt & pepper!
Once they are done, remove from the pan & set aside.

Boil water, place in cup, & add the chicken bouillon cube.
Leave to sit & dissolve.

Get water for pasta boiling & don't forget to put the pasta in, so everything is done at the same time!

Place white onions in pan & cook for a minute or two, just so they get a wee bit soft & brown. 
Add the spring onions and the bouillon cube water. Bring to a good simmer.
Then add the cream, parmesan cheese, & more salt & pepper.
Allow all this to simmer until the sauce starts to get thick~ stir constantly, otherwise it boils too hard & burns.

When everything is done, simply layer pasta with chicken & cream sauce, top with parsley & serve! 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

That Haunting Place Known As Stonehenge

One of the places I just knew I had to see when I visited the UK was Stonehenge! 

For those of us who love history & learning about the very beginnings of civilization, sites like this truly intrigue us & the air of mystery about them, call our names. 

I have always been interested in the stories behind these giant rocks & the idea of how they even constructed this circle is impressive.

Now I understand a lot of people are hesitant to visit a place like this, due to the fact they are often steeped in various forms of pagan worship & don't support the Creationist view (aka, "....these objects are millions of years old...")
However, there is a good amount of truth to the actual historical facts & someone had to assemble these rocks in such distinct patterns, not to mention the real human bones they have dug up in this area & other material items found alongside the bones are pretty awesome to see. 
I personally just ignore the information I don't agree with & store away the details I want to use for future creativeness. 

These photos were all taken & edited by me, with the intention of setting the mood of the location for those of you who have yet to visit Stonehenge. 

I hope you will enjoy my little mini tour of this stunning sight & if you want more information, please do go visit the official website at:
~Stonehenge: English Heritage~

The little huts with some information about the era when you first step outside to head towards the actual rocks. 

That classic view. 

Stepping back in time....

The crows that are swooping about sure do make it moody...

The natural lawnmowers that help keep grass down in the area.

One final glimpse of Stonehenge, before we headed back to the bus that took us to the main centre.

What an experience to remember! 

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Potash Corp Fireworks Festival

This Labor Day Weekend, there were several events in the city, among them was the Fireworks Festivals, put on by the Potash Corp~ they do quite fancy shows! 

So Dad & I went to the Friday evening display & it was very pretty!

It is hard to get good photos, but between my phone & Camille (my Canon camera), I got a couple lovely photos & lots of videos for you to view!

Enjoy & don't forget TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN! *heehee* 

3 of the videos I posted onto Instagram~ just click on them to go view them:
~Video 1~

Our view, as captured on my phone.

The fireworks begin, also captured on my phone.

And a few snaps from my camera...