Asking for Exposure

Hey Friends,

So as I’m sitting here at my desk (read: on my bed) this morning I’m thinking about the concept of marketing.  Direct marketing, grassroots, bad videos that go viral,  things like that.  The purpose of my search was to find out how I could best reach a wider audience with my book and podcast.  The answer, so far, is I don’t know.

I have an online profile coming out next week, and a blurb in a local magazine.  I asked for both of those.  Up to now, that’s been my strategy: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  A part of me believes, though, that if the work is good the people will like it.

If you build it, they will come. right?  I don’t make a habit of arguing with classic movie talking cornfield logic.  So if my work is good enough, it will attract followers.

dreams
Did you guys hear that?

Still, I can’t help but wonder what might happen if I had just one BIG name. One influencer.  One celeb who read the book and loved it and wanted to pass it on. The work IS good.  And because it’s good I want it to reach many people – and hug them and validate them and save them – and so I’m impatient for it to go global.

So, my friends, I’m asking you – will you be my influencers?  Will you support my small endeavor so that it becomes a large endeavor and eventually a movement? Will you help me build it, so they will come and read and listen and grow? Write a post! Interview me! Link to the book, buy the book, share it on kindle.  Listen to the podcast, share it, tell others if you find value in it!  I’d be so grateful.

The book is on Amazon here

The Fear Itself podcast is here, with options to support and subscribe.

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He Killed Himself

One semester away from his Masters Degree

But he couldn’t see

The light at the end of the dark tunnel

He fumbled

PTSD was too much, he was humbled

Split open

Overtaken

Outnumbered by just one.

He was a brother to her in every sense of the word

But just for a moment

He forgot himself and his family

Who he was

Depression held him, held the gun

Nowhere to run

Now it’s done

Despair won.

Rest In Peace, Nate.

If you know someone who is struggling please help them get help.

Hotline 800-273-8255

My book on Anxiety is here

Podcast on how to overcome anxiety and mental illness is here

I love you. Please don’t give up.

X-Ray Vision

My son sprained his ankle yesterday at school.  He didn’t tell anyone and the teacher didn’t see, so no one called me.  When he got home, he told me all about his day but he didn’t mention his injury.  In the evening, when he was winding down, he finally mentioned his foot pain.  After some interrogation I got the story and proceeded to perform Mommy Triage.  Everything seemed ok, just a bit swollen, so I gave him Motrin and an ice pack.

Everything was fine.

Until.

An hour or so later, my son walked over to me and began to cry, almost inconsolably.  He was cold, he said.  So cold it hurt and he couldn’t get warm. I took his temperature, expecting a fever, but what I saw was the opposite.  His temperature was dropping.  His skin was cold and clammy to the touch.  I carried him, still crying, back to his bed.

As a mom I feel like I’m constantly walking a line between not reacting ENOUGH and TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.  There is not much in between for me, unfortunately for my calm, collected, level-headed husband.  Husband, of course, thought our son was overreacting, but I had a feeling he was telling the truth.  His tears, hot and streaming down his face, were real.  The fear on his face was real.

Externally, I tried to comfort him by saying things like “It’s going to be OK”.  Internally, I was making a list of who to call, what to ask, and what to pack for the hospital.  I called my mom, who is a nurse, and with her guiding me, checked his pulse, his temperature, examined his body for bruising, and put a heating pad in his bed to help him get warm.  After watching a couple of episodes of Transformers on Netflix, he fell asleep. I took out the heating pad and left the room, still feeling some anxiety in my gut.

I checked on Emmett every two hours until the morning, taking his temperature, feeling his skin, and watching him breathe.  I felt very strongly that he should get x-rays, since he just sprained this same ankle a month or so ago.

Early this morning we arrived at the Pediatric ER. The staff was courteous, if a bit incredulous that I wanted x-rays on what was obviously a sprain.

Fast forward to lunch time, and my sweet boy is in a splint.  He has a distal fracture of the fibula that, due to the location of the break, did not present as such.  The break is on the growth plate, which means we will see an orthopedic doctor next week to discuss next steps.  His “just a sprain” turned out to be a broken leg.

[On the bright side, his cast is red and festive.]

This was a sneaky break.  A painless fracture.  There is internal damage on a pretty important part of the body.  Fluid has pooled in his ankle and heel. The fracture wasn’t visible, so no one I talked to believed it was there. Only after looking inside did they realize how seriously he was hurt.

Considering this, I am reminded me to be more conscious of others.  What I can see with my eyes doesn’t often betray what’s going on underneath.  A person may look like they have it all together when they are crumbling on the inside. They may not look to me like someone I could befriend, when we actually have a lot in common.  NOTHING is  ever what it seems on the surface. While I don’t have X-Ray vision, I do have opportunity to dig deeper. I have an obligation to look deeper.  To investigate.  To find out what’s going on in the heart, the mind, and the spirit.

Finding out about an injury is the first step to healing.  Knowing a person, really understanding them takes time, but it is the first step to helping them heal and grow.  Stepping out of comfort zones, crossing invisible lines we’ve drawn for ourselves, choosing to let go of old beliefs in order to embrace new friends.  These can only lead to good things – things like love, peace, and community.

I am grateful for this awareness, particularly at this time of year.

This holiday season, and always, may you see others –  and may you be seen – for the magical, powerful, gorgeous creature that you (we, they) truly are.

Happy Day!

I’m vegan, and part Native American so tomorrow is a different day for me.  I’ll still be gathering with my lovely family and eating LOTS of things, as well as concentrating on being thankful and in the moment.

No animal products, and a prayer for those who lost their lives in the “civilization” of our nation.

Here are some links on gratitude, veganism, how you can support the remaining tribesmen and women, and blessing loved ones with love and light, if you’re into that sort of thing.  If you’re reading this, I love you and I hope your day, however you choose to spend it, is full of joy, fellowship, and delicious food.

Ball of Light Blessing (Audio Only)

30 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary

One last thought: In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, please remember two important days that come AFTER Black Friday.  The 25th is Small Business Saturday, a day to support small businesses, shop local and purchase thoughtful, sustainable gifts for loved ones.  The 28th is Giving Tuesday, a day designated for supporting whatever causes you believe in, so please choose a charity near and dear to your heart and rain down love and affection (and generosity!) on them.  It will come back to you tenfold.

You are light

You are love

You are MAGIC.

 

Thankful and Hungry,

Jenee

Thirteen Reasons Why: My First Book Review

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated and was not retained by the author, publisher, or any other person or persons to review this book.  I just read a lot, liked it, and want to write about it.  The opinions expressed below are my own.

“Thirteen Reasons Why” is a best-selling Young Adult novel by Jay Asher.  It’s a haunting story told by high schooler Clay Jensen, an all-around nice guy and friend to troubled (and recently deceased) classmate, Hannah Baker.

Hannah’s death comes as a shock to many, but unbeknownst to them, she has set a plan in motion to explain it.  Not to everyone – just to the people who were, whether directly or indirectly, involved in her passing.

It’s an easy, exciting read and (hallelujah!) a new concept.  While aimed at a teenage demographic, the writer does not condescend or ‘dumb it down’, and still manages to capture accurately the sometimes horrific sub-culture that is High School, USA.  The dialogue is smart and relate-able, and most importantly, believable.

Asher has found a new way to discuss an old, much talked-about subject: Bullying.  It happened when I was in school, and it happens now.  We hear about it more now thanks to social media, and that also contributes to more drastic actions by teens and unfortunately, frequently dismal outcomes.  This is what we see (or hear) happening to Hannah Baker.  A new student at a new school whose world is slowly destroyed by others, some never realizing the damage they’ve done.  He also conquers a the difficult topic of suicide, and reminds the reader that oftentimes a person’s screams for help are just whispers.  But if you listen, you can hear them.  Unfortunately for Hannah, they didn’t listen.  Now she’ll make sure they do…

Anyone who is in high school, has a child or relative in high school, or who simply wants to be more aware, should read this book.   Not only does it shed light on the real struggles (and perceived “life altering” effect of those struggles) that teenagers face, it also reminds us that what we do and say to others has meaning.  Sometimes a flippant remark can remain lodged in someone’s psyche indefinitely.  We should all be more careful with how we treat each other.   The Bible says the power of life and death are in the tongue [Prov. 18:21] and sadly, sometimes it’s more true than we want to know.

To learn more or purchase this book: http://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Reasons-Why-Jay-Asher/dp/159514188X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

To find mental health counseling in your area: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

And finally, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.IMG_3345

Feeling Too Much

What is an Empath?

I am an Empath.

There, hope that clears it all up.

(kidding.)

An Empath, depending on what you believe, is either a name or description someone made up (totally bogus) to describe someone who cries too much, is a drama queen, is anti-social, etc. – OR – An Empath, sometimes called an HSP or Highly Sensitive Person, is someone born with the gift of feeling.  Google dictionary defines Empath as “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual”.

Don’t let the word “paranormal” throw you.  Empaths aren’t evil, ghosts, spirits, witches, or make-believe.  They are real, flesh-and-blood people like you, good reader, who feel on a level much higher than most.  When I describe this to others, I like to say “mine goes to 11” and I also reference E.T. and Eliot.  (If you do not understand those references, get off my blog now. Seriously. Quit. Bye.)

My ability shows up in little ways in my life.  Quirky things, like not being able to watch blood-and-guts movies.  I have a visceral reaction to … well, viscera. I also can’t handle lots of loud explosions.  Honestly my favorite types of films are happy ending, Disney-style, boy-gets-girl ones.  I tend to insert myself into the film, and feel emotions even as I watch, as if the story were real, and it hurts (physically, hurts in my chest) when I have to watch tragic things.  So I avoid them.  My sweet husband is wonderfully accommodating with me on movie dates, even if it means we see something rated PG or animated.   Another way it shows up is in thinking so strongly about someone that they call (or show up), or dreaming about someone, asking if they are alright, and having them respond with “how did you know?”

In addition to having stronger experiences emotionally, Empaths can often “read” other people, or feel the emotions of the people around them.  This is true in my case.  (Remember Deanna Troy in Star Trek?  She had this ability.) As you can imagine, this makes trips to places like the mall and crowded restaurants uncomfortable.  Often, it makes me tired, and I experience sensory overload.  The talking, the music, the clanging, the smells, and on top of that, the anger/depression/worry soaking into my pores usually gives me  headaches and a strong need to nap.  Empaths love to love people, and have a strong desire to avoid confrontation at all costs. (I have a shirt that says “Lover, Not a Fighter” on it.  That pretty much sums it up.)

Some people say that Empaths are not really gifted, they are just people who get their feelings hurt easily.  I am writing to say that 1) That’s a lie, and 2) People who call others “too sensitive” just don’t want to feel guilty for acting like jerks.  Now, it is true my feelings get hurt easily.  But I also love easily and deeply, feel compassion and – of course – empathy in a way that most others don’t, and when I’m happy it’s an ecstasy that most people don’t get to experience.

Most Empaths are gifted in more than one way.  Some can see auras, some have visions in dreams.  In a crowd, they usually go unnoticed, sitting in a corner somewhere watching quietly.  But they are valuable members of society, the “bleeding hearts” who have a tremendous ability to love their fellow man, generosity beyond measure, and an appreciation for people of all shapes, sizes, and creeds.

Mother Teresa is believed to have been an Empath, as well as actor Keanu Reeves, who is famously reclusive, shy, and kind.  Empaths are extremely good listeners, will quite literally hand over the coat on their back for someone else, and do well in creative careers like writing (hello) and painting.

Do  you know an Empath?  Are you Empathic?  I’d like to hear about your experiences.  If you would like to take an Empath test, try here: http://www.empathtest.com/ or here: http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html

If you love an Empath or HSP or want to know how to love them best, please read: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-tips-help-you-love-empath.html  AND  http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/famous_empaths.shtml  AND https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/awake-the-wheel/201305/feel-live-the-secret-life-empath .