The Past Does Not Define You


Written By, Crystal S. Kauffman

Lifestyle changes are hard and painful at first, but soon you will become stronger with each step you take. You are walking a new journey that will require you to push yourself beyond your personal comfort zone.

Embrace the strength that you will unleash with each new step you face, as you walk the path of recovery from the brutal snare of addiction. Each small victory will lead you to a life that is full of big triumphs daily. Hold your head up high, because you are winning the battle against your addictions and yourself.

Your addiction is not like your sister or your brother’s addiction, because it is tailor-made for you. As your becoming sober, you will be forced to decide how you will clean up the mess you created. Each day, you will find the courage to dream again, especially once you learn to believe in yourself again.

Many times, you will find that you are not missing the craziness that the demons of addiction brought to your life. Maybe you will forgive yourself for the bad choices you made. Only you can make your life manageable by starting to take each step that leads to a life filled with joy and peace.

Start taking each step daily as you begin your path to recovery and redemption. You won’t gain everyone’s forgiveness, but do your best and keep moving even when you have a setback or a delay. Keep going and you will learn new ways to cope with life’s disappointments.

Keep telling yourself, “Your Past Does Not Define You!”

Chat On Facebook or Email with Princess Crystal if you need to talk.

Copyrighted 2020

Stop Worrying and Count Each Blessing


count your blessings

By, Crystal S. Kauffman

Are you constantly worrying about everything so much that you are now dealing with anxiety, which has required medications to stay calm? Does the medication make you feel off your game, which makes you doubt yourself in your career? It is easy for others to say stop worrying, because they are not wearing your shoes or living your life. However, I want to give a way to combat the negativity that consumes your mind and body whenever you spend precious energy worrying about stuff you can and cannot control.

I challenge you to join me in counting each blessing throughout the day and let’s see if we can combat this anxiety together. No matter what you believe, you can find blessings all throughout you’re day and night if you think about it. First, just waking up in the morning is a blessing; as well as having food to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  If you have a job, then that is another blessing and having a vehicle is another major blessing. Once you start looking and counting your blessings, you will notice that you have a lot of reasons to smile instead of frown.

No matter what you day holds, just count your blessings and focus on looking for new ones that are happening to you. You may have a job promotion, a raise in pay, or some other positive thing happen to you. Count all of those and you will notice your anxiety disappear and you will be smiling more, while others are dealing with severe anxiety. Then, you can inspire them to count their many blessings and you may even watch them smile again.

Copyrighted 2019

Don’t Ring That Bell


My Uncle once told me that, “Sometimes our words ring a bell when we speak them out loud!”

An unbearable amount of pain can come from someone words, especially when they can literally cut a person’s heart to pieces. Sometimes, people are dealing with things that you may not know about, so be kind when you speak. Lately, I have been trying to watch my own mouth and not say mean things to anyone, since I have been trying to get right with God. However, some days I fail too and my anger erupts like a volcano and I am saying stuff I completely regret.

Do not say something if you don’t mean it, since not everyone will forgive you for the mean things you have said. Everyone can be very mean with their words, but you must change the way you react when you are angry at a person. Try to be quiet and say a prayer, whenever someone seems to be pushing all the right buttons and your anger is swelling. Take a deep breath or listen to your favorite music, which may help you calm down.

Don’t say something that you cannot take back, just because you are angry and someone is relentless and is constantly pushing you to your limit. The anger swells like the lava in a volcano and before long you are spewing venom from your lips. Instead, offer a prayer of forgiveness and try to get away from the person who brings the contempt out of you. Honestly, don’t let your anger cause you to say things that you will one day end up regretting for the rest of your life.

I always try to remember what my Uncle always said when he was alive, “Don’t Ring That Bell, Christy!”

©2019, Crystal S. Kauffman

PS: I am not a Licensed Therapist! Based on Personal Experience

Our Dream Dance


By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

Dedicated to JD

dance 3
©Unknown

Missing your arms and touch tonight,
Our song floods my ears and entices my mind.
I close my eyes and picture a time when,
We had it all, because we had each other.

I never thought I would be feeling so alone without you,
Dancing together in my dreams and kissing your sweet lips.
Your love changed me in ways that you will never know,
Do you remember the way we met and the nights we shared?

I never felt so in love with a person before I met you,
Remind me of the way, we lost ourselves in each other.
I need you now to just smile and say something clever,
However, you are a dream now that I meet each night.

We were so close to finally having what we want,
Being in love with you took my breath away.
I gave you my heart so many years ago,
I force a smile when my heart is shattering.

How do I reach out to a memory that has faded?
Do I ever enter your thoughts and your mind?
The pain shows me that you were mine once,
My heart hasn’t healed and there is nothing I can do.

Praying and crying won’t bring you back to me,
It has been so long, since we ignited that everlasting fire.
All the feelings we felt and the nights we spent together.
Came to an abrupt end and that is what truly hurts the most.

©2016, Crystal S. Kauffman
(Free Verse)

Mesothelioma Awareness and A Story of Survival


By, Crystal S Kauffman, Staff Writer/Heather Von St. James-Guest Blogger/Collaboration

©Heather Von St. James
©Heather Von St. James

Patients and doctors want to raise awareness for cancer that is caused by asbestos, which was used in factory and other places people worked at for many years of their love. So, Mesothelioma Awareness Day was created and was celebrated on Sept. 26th, 2015. Survivors are happy to be alive. but they are angry that the use of asbestos has not been banned. The fibers are invisible and deadly, yet 30 million pounds are still used by many different businesses.

This dangerous substance is also used in homes, buildings, schools, and commercial buildings all over the world. Additionally, asbestos is the leading cause of cancer in the workplace around the entire United States. The peak of using asbestos was 30 years ago and over 43,000 die each year from exposure the asbestos, which is still in work places like: mills, military, and in old housing units.

Here is a personal story about a spectacular woman named Heather, who is a courageous survivor of this deadly disease. She is on a mission to spread awareness about the disease, in any way she can. Additionally, if her story, can save one person and their family from facing what she went though. Then, she has accomplished her mission to help families to avoid what she has endured once she learned that she had Mesothelioma.

***Personal Story Written from Heather Von St. James***

In 2005, when I was 36 years old, I was diagnosed with pleural Mesothelioma. This was only three months after giving birth to my baby girl Lily. The symptoms I had could have easily been chalked up to postpartum issues. I was tired, I had only gained 5 lbs through the whole pregnancy, and I had difficulty breathing. I was lucky, and I got my diagnosis within two weeks and that is not usually the case for Mesothelioma patients.

My journey then led my husband, newborn baby and I to Boston, and Dr. David Sugarbaker, who was a world renowned surgeon. I had my left lung removed on February 2nd, 2006, and spent 18 days in the hospital afterwards recovering. My husband had to stay home in Minnesota and work, because the bills still needed to be paid. He saw Lily a total of 36 hours in 3 months. It was a big sacrifice but needed to be done for our family.

After going back home, I did 4 rounds of chemo, and 30 sessions of radiation. I finished my last treatment almost a year to date from the onset of my symptoms. The reason I got sick in the first place was from wearing my father’s coat when he got home from work. He worked with drywall and construction, and at the time as a little girl I did not know that his jacket carried harmful asbestos fibers that would ultimately cause my illness many years later. But, here I am.

I am lucky to be here today, and I’ve made it my life goal to be a voice for the victims, the family members who have struggled with this disease and those who know someone battling or who have lost someone to this disease. Asbestos is still not banned in the U.S. or Canada, and can be found in many commercial buildings and products today. I share my personal story to help spread hope and awareness, in hopes that one day no one else will have to go through what I did.

***Meet Heather Von St. James on Facebook or Twitter ***

Let’s raise awareness together!

©Heather Von St. James
©Heather Von St. James

My Guiding Light


By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

©Unknown
©Unknown

You’re the one I look to when my life falls apart,
You have had me in your hands from the start.
My life was bleak when I decided to move away,
So today, I come back home to you and here I will stay.

I know you will accept me, so I don’t feel an ounce of fear,
I am humbled, on my knees, and silently listening to hear.
Where do I go next as I choose to let you guide me,
You are the only the one in this world that can set me free.

Only you know where my life will ultimately lead,
I haven’t forgotten that I gave you my heart and its deed.
I have stumbled through life and looked for guidance from all,
Instead, I found a ton of strength the moment I took my fall.

I will continue to grow in the ways you choose for my life,
Despite the trials and tribulations that will cut like a knife.
Lord, I know you are in control of my life and my future,
Therefore, the peace will replace the temporary sutures.

©2012, Crystal S. Kauffman

Caitlyn Jenner: Transitioning into a Woman


By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

©Unknown
©Unknown

Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner) has her own reality show, which is chronicling her transition from a man into a woman. Caitlyn or Cait indentify herself as transgender, however she was able to transition so quickly in isolation and she didn’t learn all that she needed too.

An interesting moment happened, when Scott (Kourtney K. Husband) came by to see Caitlyn. They both talked and Scott really seemed to understand that she was truly happy, even happier than in the past.
They discussed the famous Vanity Fair Article, where Scott explained why the family was angry. In the next few episodes, Kim K. West stopped by to talk to Cait about the article as well.

She pointed out things she thought were unfair and asked Cait not to bash the family on her rise to fame. Additionally, Caitlyn visited Khloe K. at her house and she spoke with Caitlyn about the article. Basically, Khloe asked Cait not to bash her mother Kris and that she should explain herself better to Kylie and Kendall.

Finally, Caitlyn musters up the strength to call Kris Jenner and he invites her to come over for a talk to her about the kids and other stuff. The next day, she showed up and was pleasantly surprised, by how she looks and how good she is doing. They begin talking and Kris admits she is having problems, because she is mourning the man he used to be for 25 years…Bruce Jenner! Thankfully, the talk allows them to start anew and they agree to talk more about the kids.

Then, Caitlyn finally meets a group of women, who are transgender and accepting of Cait. Suddenly, Caitlyn feels ecstatic and elated to be in a group of women that understand how she is feeling. Caitlyn whisks the women on a road trip and they all enjoy themselves, while talking about how they felt during each of their transitions in to women hood. As Caitlyn, she is honest about how she feels and about things she doesn’t know.

The friendly group of women helped Cait to identify with the LGBT community in her city and state, which help her find a new purpose in life. She went to several places and listen to youth who transitioned young and parents that have been supporting their child’s choice. In addition, Caitlyn met other adult women who are transgender, but she learned that it is hard them to find job because they are transgender.

Caitlyn also created a naming ceremony to announce her new name, but it was also for the other women in her group as well. Boy George and Candis sang for the ceremony and it was absolutely nice and beautiful. The tabloids have said the Candis and Caitlyn are dating, but they are actually really good friends. They spend a lot of time together, because are both transgender and they enjoy each other’s company.

Amazingly Caitlyn’s mother had broken her hip, but that didn’t stop her from coming to visit her new daughter. Caitlyn’s sisters came with their mother and each accepted her for who she was, instead of putting her down. At the Espy Awards, Caitlyn shined as she received her award and gave her speech which was from her heart. Both Caitlyn’s family was there and her children were there, as each person cheered her on and the crowd cheered as well.

Reference:
Personal Experience
Watched Season 1- I am Cait

Toddler Friendly Vacation Ideas


By, Crystal S. Kauffman

©Unknown
©Unknown

Family vacation spots can be fun for older children, but most toddlers are too young to enjoy the actual vacation destination. Most toddlers truly are satisfied with the simple things in life: like camping out, zoos, nature trails, and museums. Luckily, there are many inexpensive vacation choices, which a parent’s can put together for a toddler’s enjoyment. The vacation destination should include some fun for toddler and for the parent’s too.

Many toddlers love to go outside to explore nature, hold or pet animals, and find different types of bugs or animals. The parent could set up a camping trip and nature walk, in order to keep the toddler’s mind busy and learning new things. The parent’s can take pictures and create a notebook to write down the types of animals they find. When the film is developed the parent and toddle can affix the pictures to the proper page in the Nature Notebook.

The zoo or a petting zoo is another place that a toddler will get excited about, especially if it is part of a family’s vacation plans. The toddler will get to see, touch, and look at all of the animals during their visit. The family can take pictures of each animal and help the toddler create an All About Animals Notebook. Additionally, the parent could look up facts on each animal and write it down for the toddler to learn from.

A vacation destination could include a beach, where the toddler could collect sea shells and rocks. The toddler will get excited every time they get a chance to show them off to other beach goers or their family. Many toddlers will be enthused by the water, but may not want to get it the water to swim due to fear. The parent can introduce them to the water by holding them or just build sandcastle together on the beach. Families should take picture of their fun together or buy a souvenir, but don’t forget the sunscreen.

When planning the vacation, families should try to find a destination that has a local museum or a recreational park. Local museums are always full of fun things that any family or any toddler would enjoy learning about. Recreational parks have fun playgrounds for families to enjoy and meet new the locals. Parents should remember to bring their favorite drinks and snacks; just in case to toddler becomes hungry or thirsty.

The parents of toddlers must choose to create a toddler friendly vacation, because a toddler will love a simple vacation destination. In addition, parents need to bring a few of the toddler’s comforts from home to help with their possible fear of the new place. During the planning stage, add in enough time for naps and keep a consistent bedtime schedule from home. Therefore, with a little extra planning, parent’s can plan a vacation to remember with a energetic toddler in tow.

12 Unique Hybrid Animals


By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

Hercules - Largest Liger Guinness World Records 2012 Photo Credit: Jamers Ellerker/GuinnessWorld Records Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
Hercules – Largest Liger
Guinness World Records 2012
Photo Credit: Jamers Ellerker/GuinnessWorld Records
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

I began wondering about how many hybrids actually exist in the world, after writing the article about the hybrid big cat named a Liger. I was completely amazed to see how many hybrids actually do exist thanks to modern technology. Most of these animals were created by man’s interference and the hybrids are generally sterile. I am compiling a list of different hybrid animals, which you can go take a moment to learn more about.

Here is list of beautiful hybrid animals I found:

Liger– Male Lion and female tiger or tigress

Tigon– Male tiger and Female lion or lioness

Leopon-Leopard male and female lion or lioness

Pumapard– Leopard and Puma (cougar)

Zonkey-Zebra and donkey

Zetland-Shetland Pony and Zebra

Zorse– Zebra male and Horse female

Grolar Bear-Grizzly bear and Polar bear

Wholphins– Bottle nose dolphins female and a false killer whale male

Cama– Dromedary camel male and female llama

Beefalo– Domestic cow female and bull American Bison male

Wolfdog– Gray wolf and a dog (German shepherd, malamute, husky, and ECT…)

This is not a complete list of the world’s different hybrids, but it will get you started in learning more about these amazing creatures. I had no idea that any of these hybrids existed, until someone told me all about the biggest cat in the world…Hercules! This unique cat was called a Liger and I had to find out more about how he was created. During my research, I seen pictures of other unique hybrids that I just had to share with my readers.

©Unknown
©Unknown

                                                                                                                                                 

Meet the Liger


By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

Hercules - Largest Liger Guinness World Records 2012 Photo Credit: Jamers Ellerker/GuinnessWorld Records Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
Hercules – Largest Liger
Guinness World Records 2012
Photo Credit: Jamers Ellerker/GuinnessWorld Records
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Until eight weeks ago, I had no idea what a liger was, until I read an article about this beautiful hybrid big cat that only thrives in captivity. According to A-Z Animals, a liger is the offspring of a male lion (Panther leo) and female tiger or tigress (Panther tigris), which is striped and can come in different colors like tan with black stripes. Additionally, the hybrid liger can also come out white with black stripes; however, the color depends on the color of the parents.

So far, ligers have not been found in the wild, because lions and tigers actually live in different areas of the world. According to A-Z Animals, these hybrid ligers are generally sterile and only a small number of these beautiful big cats can be found in different zoos. These hybrid big cats measure about 12ft. tall whenever they are standing on their hind legs. These amazing hybrid big cats are huge compared to it parents and generally is known is the world’s largest cat.

Mating in captivity can happen in two different ways, which can be completed by natural instincts and mating has been done by human intervention. According to A-Z Animals, the liger has the mom stripes and some have the father’s mane and generally takes after the father in look, but the liger’s mane doesn’t look like the majestic lion. Some male ligers may not even grow a mane like their father. Every time a liger is born, it is anyone’s guess as to what he or she will look like once they are full grown.

One liger named, Hercules carries the world record in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records for being biggest living liger in the world. According to Huff Post, Hercules weighs 922lbs and 131 inches long, as well as 49 inches tall at the shoulders. He enjoys his home at the Myrtle Beach Safari Wildlife Preserve in South Carolina. As a liger, Hercules is an endangered species due to the small number of these hybrid cats in the world.

References:

A-Z Animals (2015) Liger
Retrieved on the World Wide Web on September 25, 2015
http://a-z-animals.com/animals/liger/

Huff Post (2015) Hercules, 922-Pound Liger, Is the World’s Largest Living Cat (PHOTOS)
Retrieved on the World Wide Web on September 25, 2015
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/hercules-liger-worlds-largest-cat-photos_n_3920158.html