The smile…

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Pressed uniform she is ready for her day

Her hair not chic but nice…in its own way

No make-up on her face… just a smile she would wear

Embracing the hope that it would illuminate her care

For all of those people she would touch that day

With the love that only she could give in her own special way

The crippling of hearts and limbs, minds filled with vacancy, eyes with blank stares

She wanted to share an embrace, a word softly spoken and maybe unspoken prayers

The ones that she especially streamed along by her heart

Were those with no memories and families not taking part

In their lives because why? Just because now they don’t know you or what to do?

Or do they remember sometimes and can’t show it to you?…

Because you aren’t around to make the memory come true

So it’s erased in a second and gone like the breeze of the wind

And their faces show their solemnness once again

For a moment there would be big smiles on their faces

And she would look into their eyes to see the brightness in their dazes

Which family member did they see

was it the spouse that loved them?….unconditionally

They were married for years too many to count

Their legacy was left by the pictures they would mount

On the wall…black and white tattered edges to show

But a solid foundation made by love left their faces aglow

Picture frame old as it hung crooked on the wall

How many times were the memories recalled

As the girl in the uniform

Sits side by side with a widow in lost stare

Her heart becomes broken at times hard to bear…

Now what she sees is someone forgotten

By others from her life dead relationships that once blossomed

She reaches over to embrace the wrinkled and worn hand

Only to feel a soft grip that somehow could understand

That although none of her relatives would care to stop by

This girl in the uniform had heard her heart’s cry

And though all of her loneliness had been hard to bear

It was eased by the illuminating smile the girl in the uniform decided to wear

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Poem by: SHARON SCHWARTZ (my experiences as a nursing assistant)

 

 

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This might encourage you…

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

This morning when I got up I found my mind to be weak with old thought patterns. Sometimes when this happens and my mind gets jumbled I write poetry hoping the thoughts will leave. After I wrote my poem this morning I googled my daily devotional like always and found this….I will share my poem first and the devotional will follow. God is always here in the good, the bad, and the ugly of us. My biggest struggle in life is learning to continuously embrace my failures and refocus.

Nov 1 at 9:14 AM

Just when you think you’ve  figured it out

Then you feel your heart is in a drought

Oh! And when yesterday’s battle you have overcome!!!

It doesn’t mean today’s battle has already been won

Because everyday there’s something new

It seems to just be thrown at you

A sting of rejection your perception skewed

Then there’s the defensive attitude

Why are you back I will ask myself??!?

I wish i could forever put you on a shelf

Then I find myself looking around about to drown

In…

Their…

Approval…

I think…

I need to be found…

It’s hard to live inside a cursed brain that gets stuck sometimes

That’s the way it has been trained

To deprogram it is a continuous fight

The pull of the thoughts I wish would take flight

Out of here to never come back

The pain of brokenness and all of its lack

I have to accept why it seems so ill and take those pills so I can chill

To cry out in prayer, “Oh come now PEACE be still” because it cannot be found in my own strong will!!

Poem by: Sharon Schwartz

The prayer that follows this comes from the person that posted the devotional.

Jesus Calling: November 1

Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know that your heart’s desire is to be aware of My Presence continually. This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life. Don’t let feelings of failure weigh you down. Instead, try to see yourself as I see you. First of all, I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with Me through your life. I am pleased each time you initiate communication with Me. In addition, I notice the progress you have made since you first resolved to live in My Presence.
When you realize that your mind has wandered away from Me, don’t be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that has been rigged to distract you. Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, you achieve a victory. Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days.

Romans 8:33-34
English Standard Version
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Hebrews 4:14-16
English Standard Version
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

My Prayer
Father, the world trains me to not focus on You. How I need your love forever. Help me to begin each day with you, so my perspective for the day begins on You. And then throughout the day help me to surrender to you and make wise choices.

Things I am learning and my thoughts…

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I need to step away from the noise of life as many times as it takes to find my true self; there is true fulfillment and peace in that!!

I do not need to worry about how others perceive me or allow it to deter the path I am on to becoming a better me. I am a work in progress with this one. I think sometimes we lose ourselves and get caught in that trap. The faster you untangle yourself from that web the closer to peace you are.

Not everyone will love you or understand you that’s THEIR LOSS. This one has been hard for me. For many years I have felt like certain family members (especially my mother) have judged me for so many things not to mention those outside my family who also have. First it was because I was wild, rebellious and an alcoholic/addict for years. Then, it was that I was going to the “wrong” church. Then, it was my mental illness and diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder/Depression. Some of them would say things like “I have emotional issues” or “I am trying to get attention” or “I should do things the natural way and not take meds” NOPE that’s not the case for me. Medicine saved my life. That’s why God in HIS infinite wisdom gave us doctors, nurses and everyone in the medical field plus medicines to HELP us!! Anyway, my point is…if people don’t love you because you aren’t up to THEIR standards then they don’t deserve you. This lesson has been hard for me to learn. It took me so many years to accept the fact that my own mother chooses to see me with a negative perception because of all the things I have done wrong. She has also brought that poison into my relationship with my oldest daughter. That’s a whole other blog that I choose not to write about.  Let go and let GOD with that one!

I am learning to SLOW down before I start my day. Sometimes, especially the last few days I have found myself dreading going to work. My mind starts racing with all of my tasks I will have to complete and then the stuff I will have to do when I get home. Mostly my job tries to stress me out before I even start. I work really hard and it can be so exhausting like most people that work doing whatever they do. However, if I just take that break in the mornings with God/meditation/prayer and savor my coffee in the quiet the days go much smoother. It is a NECESSITY!!

Self-care has to take priority over EVERYTHING…by that I don’t mean being selfish. I mean being quiet and still…living in the moment. Don’t stress eat (I am a work in progress with that one, too). Slow down and enjoy food. It is fuel for the body. Don’t eat a lot of crap either. You are what you eat from your head down to your feet! That is so true! If you eat crap you will feel like crap. The older I get the more I keep an eye on my blood pressure and cholesterol levels. I was so EXCITED this week I brought my cholesterol down from 241 to 196. I was euphoric lol. I EXERCISE on my days off to feel good. I just feel healthier and I try to enjoy it. I take walks/runs and sit outside. Fall is FAMAZING!! I LOVE THIS WEATHER right now. I am outside as much as I can be. It just makes a person feel better I think!! I also keep a clean body from head to toe and practice good dental hygiene. When I used to struggle with depression really bad it would be hard for me to even get out of the bed some days. I am very thankful that I am on the other side of most of that. When I learned that self-care plays a big part with depression it helped me to be more proactive in that area.

Last but certainly not least!! Be grateful for EVERYTHING!! I KNOW FOR A FACT that will change your day and your life!! I have always tried to thank God for something everyday!! There’s SO MUCH to be thankful for!! When we lost power during Hurricane Florence it was hard, but the whole time I was trying to practice gratitude. It didn’t flood in my part of town like it did other parts. We never lost water. We had food and a propane grill for cooking. We had our cell phones charged and data. I had coffee!!! We had each other and we were safe! Those weren’t in any order lol! We were only without power for 5 days some people may not even have theirs back right now. There was so much destruction and it just missed us. It rained and rained and rained though. Our neighbors brought their boat in from the beach and I thought we were going to have to hitch a ride if it didn’t stop, but it did. Anyway, there’s always something to be grateful for. I just want to say right now how GRATEFUL I am for my amazing husband and kids!! They are all on their own journey and they all inspire me with their different qualities and gifts. They are truly a BLESSING to my life and have changed my life! GOD did that!! Also, I am GRATEFUL for my friends…the ones that have stood by me even when I was difficult or annoying or going through a mental illness crisis. It really means a lot to have those people that you know see good in you in spite of yourself. I am also GRATEFUL for people that follow my blog. Ya’ll inspire me with your words, your stories, your photography, your paintings, but most of all YOUR TRANSPARENCY!! Because in this sometimes fast paced and superficial world you take time to reflect and share your struggles. Our struggles don’t make us weak they give us the strength to inspire and that is a miracle. Thanks for sharing!!

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5 Things Every Person with a Mental Illness Needs to Hear

Sharing this from a fellow blogger. This is awesome!!

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If you are open about your diagnosis of mental illness, most likely you are faced with more negative feedback than positive. We are labeled as damaged goods. When I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder, there were no words of encouragement or pamphlet that taught me how to handle stigma or love myself. I was set up for failure, and I know many of you feel the same way. The following blog post is what every person with a mental illness needs to hear. It’s the truth that we are kept from acknowledging.

You are not stigma.

Self-stigma is when you are aware of the stereotypes that exist and apply it to one’s self. The negative misconceptions about people with mental illness are so heavily present in our society that it can influence our self-perception. We cannot control how the public views those of us living with a mental illness…

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Reflections (a poem)

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Reflection time can be hard to find whispering to the mind’s confine “come and connect to what is pure and divine”

The cool air will kiss my face while the birds flying high give me a warm embrace

The green grass surrounds me the sky rests up high except for the billowy clouds floating by

The air that I breathe will fill my lungs the escape of it is like a song that’s sung

Oh peace come find me in this mind of mine…where busy bees swarm and hoard their sweet honey from dripping to my soul entwined 

By: Sharon Schwartz

A Beautiful Mind and my story of Hope…

Oct 1 at 11:36 AM

If you want to understand mental illness without living it watch the movie A Beautiful Mind. It portrays the life of a man living with schizophrenia. He learns to live a productive life in spite of his illness. At first, it overtakes him, but then he learns how to cope and begins to truly live. Living with a mental illness is hard, but with the right treatment plan I believe one can live a fulfilling, peaceful, and productive life. I say this because I am a miracle of mental illness. I was diagnosed in 2012 with Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) I was hospitalized after I experienced a psychotic breakdown. When skeptics or people in general hear that word they may automatically be afraid or think a person is “crazy” or violent. That is not true. Sometimes it means that they have suffered in silence trying to bear the weight of the world they were never meant to bear. In my experience,  I was withdrawn into feelings of worthlessness and defeat. I also felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was desperate for my family to know that I loved them even though I didn’t realize I couldn’t even love myself at the time. I thought I was supposed to go on a fast like Jesus did for 40 days and that would make me closer to God. My perception of God was grossly distorted. I thought He was sitting in Heaven with a gavel in hand pounding it down at me every time I screwed up. I was full of fear. During this time, I not only neglected to eat but I thought I didn’t need to drink much either. I was dwindling away and became very thin. I vaguely remember my husband (my angel/best friend/ love of my life trying to make me drink juice so I would get some kind of nutrition in my body. That whole experience was hell on earth for me. I had grandiose “spiritual/religious” thoughts, but at the same time thoughts of suicide and how people would be better off without me here. I remember watching Obama give a speech one night on television and I thought he was talking about me. I had extreme paranoia. I thought I could perform miracles. I also thought if I went to sleep that I would die and I had thoughts of hell. Therefore, I tried with all my might to stay awake. Which brought on what I know now was severe hallucinations. I lived across the street from people that had roosters and they crowed all the time. Or did they? I thought they were crowing at me telling me I was having a wake up call. And maybe I was because my body was wasting away. I would attempt to eat food and it felt like it would turn to gravel in my mouth. Some religious songs would freak me out and put fear in me. I felt severely unworthy of my husband and family to the point that I tried to change my identity and run away. People in my life at the time would look at me with concern. I remember their faces. Sometimes I would just get in the car spontaneously and disappear for hours. I was told this by my family and to be honest I don’t really remember or even know how I was able to drive. Sometimes it was in the middle of the night. One day I managed to drive my car to a local shelter and I gave them the keys to my car. I reached out that day and asked for help because I knew in my heart despite all of this I really didn’t want to leave my family. I signed myself into a hospital in Atlanta and even though it was the worst and darkest memories of my life it also led me to the biggest place of healing I have had. The memories I am sharing with you are like debris from that storm, but a rainbow followed it. After all of it, I am here to say…I am VERY much ALIVE!!! I have been on medication since then and my life has changed in such a positive way. It has been a process and continues to be. Unless one experiences it or watches a family member suffer and be changed by meds you have no clue. When your brain is lacking chemicals it is weak and cannot function properly. Medication can give it the help and strength it needs. Which brings me to this…after I went through that whole experience…for a long time even the memories of that would freak me out and haunt me. I have had fear in the back of my mind that the nightmare would come back. I sometimes find myself thinking what if my meds quit working, what if I have to go to the hospital again? What if I have suicidal thoughts that become beyond my control? I would even turn off or avoid songs that reminded me of that experience. But yesterday while I was running I felt like I had some type of breakthrough. I was listening to a song that used to make me feel tormented and I SMILED!! I think I may have been internally laughing, too. I realized I won’t live in fear about what happened to me or what might happen to me. I believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason. That part of my journey was like being refined by the fire. It has left me with a few lessons learned and since I have survived that mental torture it has made me who I am today. It has helped build the foundation of strength I have in my heart and Spirit. It has shown me the very Hand of God in ALL of it. His love, His kindness, and His compassion towards me not the harsh judgment I thought He had for me. It has taught me I have to take my meds, keep Drs. appointments, practice self-care, fill my mind with positive things and speak positive words to myself, meditate, pray and learn compassion for my failures. My failures and flaws aren’t final; they are tools to build on and embrace. They are to help me learn to depend on God and my Savior Jesus to help me rise from the ashes. They are to share with others to help them understand they are not alone. They are a gift. Everyone is fighting their own battles and living out their own journey. Some people have their own illnesses; such as: cancer, diabetes, strokes, paralytic, dementia, emphysema, Alzheimer’s etc, etc. Seeing other people LIVE and not allow their illnesses to hold them back inspires me to embrace mine even more!! Mine is Bipolar Disorder and MDD but IT DOES NOT DEFINE ME!!! I am a child of God that has been rescued many times. I can look back now and celebrate my victories. They spur me forward with a fire of HOPE knowing that somehow with God’s help whatever comes my way victory will be my outcome. In the right timing ALL things will work out for my good because of God’s good plan for my life. That is my peace. If you have any thoughts of Suicide or experience hallucinations or tormented thoughts please reach out to someone!!  You are here on purpose. You deserve to live and be happy.

Roman 8:28 And we know that God works ALL things out for the good for those who love Him and are called for His purposes.

Jeremiah 28:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord. “plans to prosper you and NOT TO HARM YOU to give you hope and a future.”

Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident in this that He who began a good work in me WILL COMPLETE it until the day of Christ Jesus.

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