Who Is Normal?

Seeing the person and not the disability as John writes is something some people do naturally, without thought and because people like John and many us of writers on WordPress, it is important to spread the word that there is really no label to be given called “Normal”. My twin sister and I have been working with disabled children and adults since we were teenagers. My sister is has spent her life as a teacher for severely, profoundly disabled children. Normal is a word that is foreign to me and I applaud John for his insights and understanding. I know the word normal is foreign to him too regarding physical and mental disabilities. via: https://johnkraft.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/who-is-normal/v

Down the Hall on Your Left

EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE I AM ASKED TO GIVE SHORT SPEECHES or presentations to civic groups or service organizations. I’ve done a few things for the likes of Kiwanis and businesses. Lately I have been asked to speak before an organization that serves citizens with special needs.

A couple of months ago I went downtown and spoke before both clients and staff of this same outfit about the value of writing down their own personal stories.

I said to them that, “No matter who you are you are a special and unique individual and you have a story worth telling.” I spoke to them about how to write down their stories and how, in doing so, they would be able to both learn and to teach. They would learn more about themselves and they would teach everyone else about their uniqueness, challenges, and gifts that they have to offer to…

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Why We Search for Authenticity in People!

Authenticity is the practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Brené Brown via http://www.powerofpositivity.com

Psychologists correlate the attractiveness of authenticity to three things: (1) We believe that people who are authentic are more trustworthy; in part because they’re truer to themselves. (2) Genuine people often possess a sense of individualism and firmness, which we admire. (3) Remaining true to oneself requires courage, strength and tenacity – all qualities that we find appealing.

With that in mind, here are 10 signs of authentic people:

They Speak Their MindAuthentic people are confident about their opinions and perspectives – and share them with confidence. Their thoughts are also well-constructed and, when prompted, are conveyed with both firmness and civility.

They Realize the Unimportance of Material ThingsWhile authentic people may enjoy certain things, they certain do not base their happiness off of them. Furthermore, they do not judge an individual by what they have and do not have. Authentic people focus on a person’s character, not their bank account.

They Relish in ExperiencesGenuine people realize the impermanence of life and try to live it fully. This means experiencing what people and the world has to offer – and they make every attempt to do so.

They Set Their Own ExpectationsAs apparent by now, authentic people are highly individualistic; they do not seek the “approval of others” and never will. Their beliefs, ideals, morals, and value are self-acquired and applied.

They Are Active ListenersGenuine people exemplify the “two ears, one mouth” axiom. Active listening is listening without anticipating one’s response. 100 percent of their focus is on the speaker and nothing else. (Was the person you thought of earlier an active listener? Please share!)

They Acknowledge Their Faults and MistakesIt takes tremendous fortitude to admit to your failures – and authentic people have plenty in reserve. They know their weaknesses and mistakes; but what really differentiates a genuine person is they take necessary action to correct them.

They Take Personal ResponsibilityThis one really doesn’t need to be said, but here it is. Authentic people are hold themselves accountable to what they do and don’t do. They are very responsible for many reasons, including the self-empowerment and pride that comes from being answerable to themselves.

They Make Their Own WayGenuine people are not a “sit back and wait” group. They find a way to make things happen, regardless of the sweat, blood and tears required. Further, the path they set for is their own – something that requires grit, determination, and… self-reliance.

They Aren’t Scared of FailureHow many of us would love to say, “I’m not scared to fail”? (Raises hand and nods head.) Part of being a truly authentic person is acknowledging the possibility of failure, looking it in the face and not blinking. Whew…easier said than done.

They Aren’t at All JudgmentalPerhaps of all the wonderful traits listed, this last one may be the most admirable. Genuine people can wholeheartedly and honestly accept individuality precisely because they are different. Authentic people are often very smart – and are able to see right through the pointlessness of preconceived expectations and human stereotyping

Twin Flames & Karmic Soul Mates – What is the difference?

 

 

 

When I first saw you, my soul said, “There you are, I have been looking for you!”  

 

“What is the difference between a twin soul and karmic soul mate? Can I have more than one soul mate?” ​We have many soul mates, or karmic soul contracts, but only one twin soul. To better explain is to understand what each one is. via http://www.powerofpositivity.com

Signs of a Twin Soul Relationship (Twin Flames)

Many also refer to Twin Souls as Twin flames. This is because the level of passion and radiant light that is involved in these relationships. Not everyone will experience a twin soul reunion in their lifetime. This only comes to those whom are ready to ascend from this realm onto the next, by sharing and completing a mission which requires the help of their twin. There are many legends and myths about twin soul relationships and a lot of them share a common theme. While they do share these qualities, each relationship is different any may not be exactly by the book. Not to mention, a lot of these qualities may just be karmic soul mates – there is really a lot more to a twin soul- relationship than some of the info explains online. If most of these signs relate to a relationship you feel is of twin soul quality, then you just may have met your twin. However, if only a few stick-out, then you more than likely have a karmic relationship.

The ‘Knowing’: You just know from the depths of your being that “the one” or some romantic fairytale was meant for you. There is a strong urge to love, to be loved, and to find your healing cure of true love.

Repeated Visions or Prophecies: Many Twin Souls have foreseen one another or had dreams which manifested upon meeting their mate. Your dreams and daydreams are filed with passion and spiritual love. You may have even encountered previous karmic mates who have matched many of these “visions”.

Folk Memory: Twin Souls are usually very evolved, or ancient beings whom are connected with their past lives. When you have met your twin in the past, and did not complete the mission you were destined to, then you get a chance to repeat the lesson in a future life. This is much like karmic soul mates and balancing the debt, however with your twin soul you have a mission to fulfill together, rather than just personal growth and life lessons to partake in.

The Runner & the Chaser: Now here’s the thing, I don’t necessarily believe that twin souls run from one another when the connection gets too deep, or the shadow work becomes too intense. If they run, they are simply karmic soul mates here to teach you about attachment or rejection and loneliness. The ‘theory’ is that when they first meet, they are given a mirror image of what needs to be worked on within, and then they will part ways to evolve and come back to one another evolved, and ready to do the soul work they were destined to do with one another. I feel that information was placed there to give those hope whom are desperately chasing after someone who doesn’t want to get “caught”. ​Twin Soul relationships are more powerful than karmic ones, and that is because each soul much do the self-work and soul evolution before the meeting can even take place to begin with.

Shared Life Purpose:  Twin Souls reunions are more than just a mind exploding love that transcends time and the universe. They are work. Not just self-work, they are work in serving humanity as a whole. Your life mission becomes apparent, which is shared and amplified with your twin. You don’t have the share the same trade or modality in healing, but you two together as a team enable each of you to push forward with your best self for doing what you do. This is the key ingredient to make a twin soul relationship – without a mission or some urge within to help mankind together, the relationship is then just karmic.

Ascension: When the mission is fulfilled, the souls will combine into one, and leave this plane or realm. You would not have to come back to this Earth again to undergo karmic lessons and soul evolution.

Signs of a Karmic Soul Mate Relationship

Before you reincarnated on this earth you had discussed the lessons and goals you aimed to achieve with your soul group. Many have different ideas and theories on what a soul group is, or how many you have in your group, but mainly these souls are reincarnated with you to fulfill soul contracts of spiritual evolution, growth, and life lessons.

Karmic soul contracts:  are some tricky relationships, can be anything as well as romantic. A karmic mate is someone you had made a contract with to balance karmic debts and life lessons. They are here to teach you, to change you, and to evolve you into new levels of consciousness and growth. Often these are relationships are the ones where you feel as if you have known one another lifetimes before because the connection is so deep and painful.

Karmic relationships: can also be your most challenging and life-altering. These can be the people who have hurt you the most – but through that pain and experience you are able to find your strengths and redirection towards your higher path. For example: Your mother may have rejected you or withheld affection growing up, and so you had spent much of your life with toxic or difficult relationships with women when it comes to attachment and that need for affection or validation. Your mother had taught you what you needed in love, by giving to you the opposite.  Often, you will meet many of the same personality or tone in relationships until that karmic lessons are learned within yourself – each one of those relationships are placed there by contract to push you of the repeated mistakes/lessons so you can evolve and grow.

 

 

 

WHAT MAKES BAD WRITING BAD

virginia-woolf

 

Virginia Woolf: “The psychic risk of a novel such as Woolf’s The Waves is vast – particularly for someone for whom psychic risk was so potentially debilitating.”  This article is Written by Toby Litt who is a London-based writer. Hospital, his latest novel, is published by Hamish Hamilton. ( A reblog from 2015)

Bad writing is mainly boring writing. It can be boring because it is too confused or too logical, or boring because it is hysterical or lethargic, or boring because nothing really happens. If I give you a 400 page manuscript of an unpublished novel – something that I consider to be badly written – you may read it to the end, but you will suffer as you do.

It’s possible that you’ve never had to read 80,000 words of bad writing. The friend of a friend’s novel. I have. On numerous occasions. If you ask around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a really bad novel easily enough. I mean a novel by someone who has spent isolated years writing a book they are convinced is a great work of literature. And when you’re reading it you’ll know it’s bad, and you’ll know what bad truly is.

The friend of a friend’s novel may have some redeeming features – the odd nicely shaped sentence, the stray brilliant image. But it is still an agony to force oneself to keep going. It is still telling you nothing you didn’t already know.

Bad writers continue to write badly because they have many reasons – in their view very good reasons – for writing in the way they do. Writers are bad because they cleave to the causes of writing badly.

Bad writing is almost always a love poem addressed by the self to the self. The person who will admire it first and last and most is the writer herself.

When Updike began writing Rabbit, Run it was either going to be a great technical feat or a humiliating misjudgment

While bad writers may read a great many diverse works of fiction, they are unable or unwilling to perceive the things these works do which their own writing fails to do. So the most dangerous kind of writers for bad writers to read are what I call excuse writers – writers of the sort who seem to grant permission to others to borrow or imitate their failings.

I’ll give you some examples: Jack Kerouac, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou. Bad writers bulwark themselves against a confrontation of their own badness by references to other writers with whom they feel they share certain defense of worthy characteristics. They write defensive admirations: “If Updike can get away with these kind of half-page descriptions of women’s breasts, I can too” or “If Virginia Woolf is a bit woozy on spatiality, on putting things down concretely, I’ll just let things float free”. If another writer’s work survives on charm, you will never be able to steal it, only imitate it in an embarrassingly obvious way.

 

Bad writing is writing defensively; good writing is a way of making the self as vulnerable as possible. The psychic risk of a novel such as Woolf’s The Waves is vast – particularly for someone for whom psychic risk was so potentially debilitating. When Updike began writing Rabbit, Run all in the present tense, it was either going to be a great technical feat or a humiliating aesthetic misjudgment. (Excuse writers aren’t, in themselves, bad writers; not at all.)

Often, the bad writer will feel that they have a particular story they want to tell. It may be a story passed on to them by their grandmother or it may be something that happened to them when they were younger. Until they’ve told this particular story, they feel they can’t move on. But because the material is so close to them they can’t mess around with it enough to learn how writing works. And, ultimately, they lack the will to betray the material sufficiently to make it true.

Bad writers often want to rewrite a book by another writer that is written in a different time period, under completely different social conditions. Because it’s a good book, they see no reason why they can’t simply do the same kind of thing again. They don’t understand that even historical novels or science fiction novels are a response to a particular moment. And pretending that the world isn’t as it is – or that the world should still be as it once was – is disastrous for any serious fiction.

Any attempt to write fiction in order to make the world a better, fairer place is almost certain to fail

Conversely, bad writers often write in order to forward a cause or enlarge other people’s understanding of a contemporary social issue. Any attempt to write fiction in order to make the world a better, fairer place is almost certain to fail. Holding any value as more important than learning to be a good writer is dangerous. Put very simply, your characters must be alive before they seek justice.

Bad writers often believe they have very little left to learn, and that it is the literary world’s fault that they have not yet been recognised, published, lauded and laurelled. It is a very destructive thing to believe that you are very close to being a good writer, and that all you need to do is keep going as you are rather than completely reinvent what you are doing. Bad writers think: “I want to write this.” Good writers think: “This is being written.”

To go from being a competent writer to being a great writer, I think you have to risk being – or risk being seen as – a bad writer. Competence is deadly because it prevents the writer risking the humiliation that they will need to risk before they pass beyond competence. To write competently is to do a few magic tricks for friends and family; to write well is to run away to join the circus.

Your friends and family will love your tricks, because they love you. But try busking those tricks on the street. Try busking them alongside a magician who has been doing it for 10 years, earning their living. When they are watching a magician, people don’t want to say, “Well done.” They want to say, “Wow.”

At worst, on a creative writing course, the tutor will be able to show you how to do some magic tricks; at best, they will teach you how to be a good magician; beyond that, though, is doing magic – and that you will have to learn for yourself. For what a tutor can’t show you is how to do things you shouldn’t be able to do.

Toby Litt is a London-based writer. Hospital, his latest novel, is published by Hamish Hamilton.

Cast Your Writing Prompt Vote! Wk 2, K & D Suspenseful Collection

I think Didi and Kim have great prompts and doing short stories hones writing skills better than most other writing exercises. Vote now and write a very short story. via https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt

A new week, a new genre, a new improv writing prompt that YOU CHOOSE! (some stories will be 18+ and some will not. We plan to cover everything!)

I’m so excited to be working on weekly short stories with Kim! She’s an amazing writer, and it turns out we have so much in common for a couple of gals who live in such different worlds!  

Yesterday we posted our very first short story. It’s a twisted historical fiction featuring a WOMAN SERIAL KILLER ON DEATH ROW! Wow right!  All of you fantastical nerdy voters picked the prompt “It was the first time I killed a man”and we ran with it! Read Story Here It’s juicy, dark, psychological, and packed with suspense. I couldn’t be any happier with our first challenge!

But that’s not why where here today is it? Because TODAY YOU GET TO VOTE ON ANOTHER…

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Look What Happened!

This is a wonderful post (via https://jenniefitzkee.com) and I was so surprised at these 4 year old students gathering together to read, even though they can’t truly read yet. However, the environment in their teacher’s school room has fostered a love of books and the need to want to learn to read. Remarkable!

A Teacher's Reflections

Independent reading.  SSR.  Call it what you like.  It is crossing over from learning to read words, to learning to read.  Parents and teachers alike take a deep breath and clasp their hands together when this happens.  There are no words to say.  Words might spoil the moment.  After all, major milestones don’t happen often.

Look what happened!

I was busy in the classroom, working with children on a 100-piece puzzle. Things were bustling yet quiet.  I looked over at the big rug and saw children dragging chairs.  Little did I know that they wanted to arrange chairs in order to read books.  After they set up chairs on the rug, they went for the books.  Then they sat down, together, to read independently.

These are young children who cannot read, yet that is exactly what they are doing.  Babies hear words; that’s how they learn to talk. …

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A Review: Wicca Girl, The Flowering

 

 

 

 

 

This story is a heartfelt journey of the present and past world of wise women, often referred to is Wicca Healers that were mercilessly hunted, tortured and executed for witchcraft. Califia Montalvo, the author, weaves a story rich with complex characters, mystery and suspense. The protagonist is Simi, a young girl who is mystified at the supernatural events that occur and appear to be connected to her. As she matures into womanhood she learns to harness this ability to create forces that can change people’s lives. She eventually learns of a surprising explanation of why hers is a life always at the forefront of what appears to be mysterious paranormal events.

There are journeys in this engaging story that relate to the present, in times past, throughout history, that enfold into the story regarding the treatment of women healers during the time of the witch trial executions that lasted over a hundred years, where tens of thousands of women healers were burned at the stake. This historical matter adds to the complexity of the story in a well-thought out manner.

Montalvo’s story is a plethora of fascinating details regarding the women that were persecuted for their intelligence, their communion with nature, and what others saw as inexplicable knowledge deemed mysterious, even evil, as they used their ability heal others. I found this novel to be well-written with interesting details that made me glad I did not live in an early time when any woman could be charged with witchcraft. I highly recommend The Wicca Girl, the Flowering.

 

What is True Love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Love is Selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice. Sadhu Vaswani 

“Love is the emblem of eternity; it confounds all notion of time; effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.” Madame de Stael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.” e. e. cummings

Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds, William Shakespeare, Sonnet # 16

 Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love ’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

  What Shakespeare is referring to in this love sonnet: As the title suggests, the poem argues that true love will not be impeded, changed or stopped by transitory circumstances. True love, implicitly opposed to lust or some shallower form of affection, is a fixed form: the narrator describes it as “an ever-fixed mark.” The poem sets it in opposition to all that is changeable.

If the love between two people is real, it will rise above whatever temporary material conditions might get in its way. If trouble comes, which the poet likens to “tempests” or storms, true lovers are not “shaken” by this. If time ravages the looks of the beloved, wreaking damage on rosy cheeks and lips, that doesn’t matter either: love transcends physical appearance. The poet likens true love to a star that stays unchanging in the sky. It is eternal. The poem argues that true love is a perfect, Platonic form based on the union of minds, impervious to what can happen to the body.

If we understand this sonnet as the voice of a lover speaking to his beloved, it mounts a strong and fervent argument in favor of the depth and sincerity of the poet’s love, reflecting the heart of a person who even promises to stay with the beloved to “the edge of doom.”  Written by F. Steinbeck 2016  

 

 

Problem, Lesson, or Opportunity? – Guest Post by, Tina Frisco…

Oh my gosh, this is one of the most astute, knowledgeable, well-thought-out assertions on learning to think through anger, fear and self doubt by Tina Frisco via https://tinafrisco.com/

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Image is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

When faced with an inexorable problem where emotions run high, knowing what to do can be a challenge. Rational thinking becomes obfuscated, forcing us into a holding pattern of circular thought.

Anger wants to place blame on others. Obsession with fine points masks the big picture. Abject frustration insists we bury our heads in the sand. Emotions churn and become ill-defined. Focus obscures. Common sense derails. Indigestion, insomnia, or worse take up residence.

None of these gets us anywhere. All of them threaten our sanity and plunge us into a maelstrom of inimical emotion. What to do?

Taking in a few deep breaths is a good first step toward relaxing. Listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking a long bath are a few ways to ease the constriction felt in the midsection. Relaxing the body helps mitigate mental and emotional distress. We all know…

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A Review: Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd is the first of Hardy’s novels to gain him widespread popularity. What can one say about the incredible writing of Thomas Hardy. This story is lavish and romantic with characters that are unforgettable. The historical details are rich in nuance and fascinating for the period. Hardy’s use of the English language is exquisite. When readers discover Thomas Hardy they always comment, “I fell in love with 19th Century English literature because of Thomas Hardy.” And, so did I.

The Story is set against the backdrop of the beautiful landscape in Wessex, England. The overall theme of the story questions rural values and is striking for its singular sensibility. The story revolves around Bathsheba Everdene and her suitors, as well as the Bathsheba’s difficulties managing a large farm.  One of her suitors, Gabriel Oak is attracted to the very modern sensibility of the independent and spirited Bathsheba. She is also charming, beautiful and vain. However, he must compete with the roguish and dashing soldier, Sergeant Troy, and the wealthy, respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. While their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she must learn the consequences of vain flirtations with all three.