Surviving A Pandemic With Mental Illnesses | A Life I Deserve

As humans, it seems that we are rarely willing to agree on anything. The one thing we CAN all agree on, is that 2020 has been a rough year, especially for those battling with mental illness.

I haven’t smoked cigarettes in almost 2.5 years, yet I spend 85% of my day convincing myself not to smoke them. Each day is getting increasingly more difficult to convince myself not to pick that habit back up.

I haven’t used heroin in over 7.5 years, yet this year I have found myself fantasizing over the idea of making all of my physical + mental pain go away. Logically, I know that won’t work for long & it will only be a matter of time before I have all my current problems, plus a whole new set of them, which is what holds me back. When you know better, you do better. Getting and staying off heroin was far easier than 2020 for me.

Then the suicidal thoughts. Its a strange place to find yourself when you don’t want to live, but not ready to die, yet. It’s a lonely place to be. I have so much to be thankful for, yet I want to throw it all away so someone much kinder, happier, and more deserving can take my place. Someone who is more patient, someone more still. Someone who doesn’t have the long list of mental illnesses that I live with. Someone who isn’t set off over the simplest of things. Someone who won’t show them what the dark side of mental illness looks like. Someone who is nothing like me.

But in the midst of my latest stress-induced meltdown, I realized something really big that stopped me in my tracks.

I have 4 girls nearly 24/7.

4 girls who I have been isolated with inside a tiny house for the better half of a year.

4 girls who fight. & scream. & cry. & shriek. & yell. Usually all at the same time.

A newborn, turned infant, who is now running. Who has been attached to my hip since birth with no breaks.

An extremely high-strung, dangerously-fearless, independent, messy, busy toddler.

A half-day preschooler who we have to pile in a car (if you’ve ever watched this ordeal, you understand) to drop off, only to pile in a car again to pick up almost two hours later.

A very hyper-active 1st grader who I am now homeschooling 3 days a week. Who I can rarely bring into public due to behavioral reasons, especially without another adult present.

3 days at home, means 2 days at school. 2 days that start 30 minutes of each other, who because of covid cannot be dropped off together. With a baby & toddler who cry every time they sit in a parked car for any length of time. 2 days in a classroom with 6 other children with a teacher who doesn’t believe me that she displays every symptom of ADHD, and an ADHD test which is based entirely on what unrelated adults around her believe to be true.

Speech therapy appointments for my toddler.

Behavioral therapy appointments for my 1st grader.

Parent coaching appointments for myself.

Doctor appointments for all. Trying to find a dentist in our network that specializes in Pediatrics.

With not one break.

Not one single one.

I’m stretched far, far beyond what I can mentally handle. Yes, having so many children WAS my decision; but neither I, nor anyone else, planned for a global pandemic when planning for a family.

Nobody planned for this.

I am not alone in my struggle, but that does not make it easier.

When you live in a constant state of manic-depression, it is very hard to remember to be kind to yourself. It is difficult to see your worth and hold on to your will to live, if you can even find it.

I wrote this list of things I deserve in life, even if I don’t believe it yet. Someday I might.

And who knows, it may be exactly what someone needs to hear today.

We are all in this together ❀

  • I deserve to be built up.
  • I deserve to share my feelings without feeling weak.
  • I deserve to be loved despite my imperfections.
  • I deserve respect.
  • I deserve to be happy.
  • I deserve adventure.
  • I deserve to plan for the best.
  • I deserve to feel beautiful.
  • I deserve help. I NEED help.
  • I deserve a break.
  • I deserve kindness, compassion, & grace.
  • I deserve mental health days.
  • I deserve to feel stressed.
  • I deserve to embrace progress over perfection.
  • I deserve to relax.
  • I deserve to stand up for myself.
  • I deserve to be heard.
  • I deserve to live.

And so do you. ❀

Vegan Banana Oat Muffins

My husband and girls LOVE bananas, so lately I have been making a lot of banana flavored treats for my family.

This breakfast is healthy, delicious, and super simple to make with and for kids! Ella and I made this batch together for Sunday breakfast for our family.

This recipe makes 24 muffins- which is perfect for our large family. This recipe can be easily cut in half if your family size isn’t as large! Or you can make and freeze for an easy grab & go breakfast for those accidental last-minute mornings!

Let’s Bake!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Stick vegan “butter”, softened (I use Earth’s Best!)
  • 4 Over-ripe bananas
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 TSP cinnamon
  • 2 TSP Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 TSP baking soda
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • 2 Cups oats

Instructions:

  • Wash hands βœ‹
  • Preheat oven to 400Β° + prepare muffin tins (reusable liners or spray with Pam Baking Spray w. Flour)
  • In your stand mixer bowl, mix together bananas, flour, and brown sugar.
  • Add in salt, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  • Add oats, stir to combine.
  • Spoon batter into muffin tin + top with oats for decoration
  • Bake 15 minutes + let cool before serving

That’s it! So easy that kids can make these almost entirely by themselves!

I hope you enjoy your Vegan Banana Oat muffins! If you do, please share!

Have a beautiful day πŸ₯°

Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup | ONE POT | Easy + Affordable

My sweet Mia recently decided that she is going vegetarian! My husband recently told me that he is going pescatarian! Hooray! We are taking another giant step closer to being a completely meat-free home!

My mom also recently told me about these “Blue Zone People” who eat very little meat and live to be over 100 years old. I’m not a fad-diet person, or a diet person at all if we’re being honest, but if it involves no meat, I’m a supporter!

However, all three share a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to “fake meat,” or meat alternatives. I, for one, LOVE ❀ “fake meat,” but that is probably for the first time in my life, I can eat something that resembles meat without being afraid of eating it. We aren’t supposed to put dead things inside living things πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ.

[ ❇ FUN FACT: I did not eat meat growing up due to a very debilitating phobia of vomit (better known as emetophobia), but did not classify myself as vegetarian because my diet consisted of strictly noodles, butter, and cheese until I met my husband. So basically, I was a carb-ivore. πŸ˜‚]

I became determined to find recipes that make “fake meat” more appetizing to keep them from losing their interest in going meat-free and provide a variety of healthy AND large-family affordable meatless meals, using mostly ingredients we keep regularly stocked in our pantry. Using what you already have is the MOST eco-friendly thing you can do.

Let’s Get Cooking 

β—Ύ Fresh Ingredients:

  • 1 Yellow onion
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 LB. “Meatless Grind”

β—Ύ Pantry Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 Carton vegetable broth
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TSP dried oregano
  • 2 TSP dried basil
  • 1 TSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 TSP black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Cup brown rice

β—Ύ Instructions:

  1. Get Prepared – Begin heating 3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in your Dutch Oven pan (I prefer Lodge brand) + chop all veggies.
  2. Dump in your peppers & onions, after a few minutes add the tomatoes, cooking for another minute or so.
  3. Scoot your veggies over against the sides and add your meatless grind into the center & cover. Stir grind, cover. Stir grind, cover. Eventually you will mix all of the meatless grind in with the veggies as it cooks.
  4. Add your 3 TBSP tomato paste, stir. Add 1 carton of vegetable broth, stir. Add 1 TSP oregano, 2 TSP basil, 1 TSP garlic powder, 1/2 TSP black pepper, + salt to taste, stir.
  5. Bring the temp down to low, cover + let simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add 1 Cup brown rice. Cover + cook until rice is finished.
  7. Serve, paired with a crusty bread. We chose French Baguette.

Enjoy 😘

Found this recipe delicious? Please consider sharing! Make sure to subscribe for more easy & affordable meat-free recipes!

Have a beautiful day πŸ₯°

My DIY Dream Nursery | ON A BUDGET

My youngest baby is already about to turn 1 year old in just a few weeks! It is hard to believe this time last year I was perfecting every last detail of her nursery makeover before she arrived.

I never got to design Kaden’s nursery since we lived with my parents at the time he was born and they made the executive decisions about what was purchased for his nursery.

I never got to design Ella’s nursery, and as we added more and more girls, we just sort of left the dull pink color and mismatched furniture for all of the girls. I finally decided to design the nursery that I wanted and would love, and learned that I really don’t care for pink all that much, especially as a wall color.

My DIY Dream Nursery

This bed has made it through all 5 of my babies. It’s time is certainly coming to an end, but for now, I’m still loving all of its beauty.

This nursing chair has also made it through all 5 of my children, and 2 of my cousins before them. It came with an ottoman, which was well loved, but very large and in a small home, every inch of space counts. So it was freecycled, and hopefully loved.

I have always preferred hand created art over store bought art. I want my home filled with unique items that no one else in the world has. Basic is an insult in my vocabulary, so I prefer to be anything but.

I made this dream catcher to match my fall + earth inspired nursery with hemp and ribbons. I think it pulled the room together with its color palette.

The stars are decals that I found on Etsy. They were very easy to put on and made a huge difference in the room.

I have had this shelving unit since my oldest was a toddler and housed his VHS & DVD collection. I asked my husband to hang them on the wall instead. I love being able to have my cloth diapers on display, easily accessible, yet stylish at the same time. I spent a long time finding the perfect additions to style these shelves and I have to say, as simple as it is, this is probably my favorite wall in the house.

When my husband came to America this was his dresser which we were gifted by his parents. The shelf I have had since Ella was a baby which I picked up at the thrift store.

I chose to omit a changing table this time around and use a Moses changing basket instead which I highly recommend. We didn’t have enough space for a changing table, and quite honestly, over a span of 4 kids, it was only used about 6 months per kid, if that. I decided to convert my changing table into a hutch for my dining room. I love being able to take the Moses basket easily from room to room. And it takes up no extra space.

The Llama toy basket came Target.

This shelf I had a bit of trouble styling, but I love the wood and simplicity of it.

The lamp came from Target. The Adventure sign came from Hobby Lobby.

Small houses require a lot of additional storage anywhere you can add it. This cloth storage unit added some extra storage and fit well in this room’s color palette.

This was an additional step that everyone thought I was silly for adding, especially at around $15 a piece, but I think small details are important in the big picture. Why redo an entire room and leave those ugly plastic ones? Especially when we want to be a plastic-free home! I think they look beautiful in this room, and with the amount of money I saved shopping my home, using mostly what we already had, I figured that I could splurge a little on the cover plates I wanted.

I loved these animal hangers from Hobby Lobby. I got them during a 50% hanging decor sale making them less than $5 a piece. They went so well in here and add even a little bit more extra storage space. Every little bit counts in a small house!

So that’s my DIY Dream Nursery! I loved designing it and I love the feel that it has brought to our home. If you love it as much as I do, I ask that you please share!

Be sure to check back for more home makeovers as I share each room!!

Please subscribe & have a beautiful day πŸ₯°

My Minimalism Journey | A Minimalist Gift Guide for Women

A few years ago during the worst of my grief depression following the death of my son’s father, I began what I later learned as “Swedish Death Cleaning.”

Swedish Death Cleaning is the idea of clearing out all of the clutter from your home in order to leave less of a burden on your loved ones when you die to make it simpler on them.

I began obsessively tossing everything in my home and organizing everything perfectly in the event that I would pass. I wanted everything to be in order (even controlling from my grave, I see πŸ€ͺ) so that when I was gone they would be able to find everything easily and they wouldn’t have to go through any of my things.

I got rid of almost everything in my home and found that a huge part of my stress had gone away. I found that my children actually played with the toys they had left. I found that every item left in my home has a purpose, and is used. I found that having a completely decluttered and organized home significantly cut down on waste. I found that it is much easier to thoroughly clean when you have less to move.

I learned that holding onto items for the off chance that I “might” fit in something one day or “might” use it one day even though we haven’t used it once in years was only creating extra unnecessary clutter. Why was I holding onto it? What purpose did it serve sitting in a corner or on a shelf being stored away. We aren’t supposed to hoard earthly treasures. We should give freely when we can, and if we have things that we truly are not using, we should offer it up to someone who could use it now.

With my 30th birthday approaching as well as the holiday season that will also soon be upon us, I thought I would create a gift guide to make shopping for the minimalist woman 😘 in your life a little easier.

A Gift Guide for the Minimalist Woman in your Life

  • Personal Care Gift Card (Massage, nail appointment, hair appointment, a facial. πŸ’†πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ’‡πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ [ ⚠️TIP: Find out what salon the miminalist woman in your life uses before purchasing a gift card.]
  • A new candleπŸ•―
  • Take care of one bill, expense, or outstanding debt. πŸ’΅ No matter how big or how small, its always nice to feel less financially stressed.
  • A grocery store gift card, or take grocery shopping! 🧁 It’s always nice to be able to get some things outside your family food budget.
  • A gasoline gift card β›½
  • A new plant 🌿 real or faux!
  • Offer to help with something that needs finished! πŸ™ŒπŸΌ From finishing a project together to getting the laundry caught up for her, there’s always so much to do & not enough time to do it. An extra set of hands can be greatly appreciated.
  • Offer to babysit 🀱🏼
  • Provide an already prepared meal that is heat-able in the oven or crockpot for a night off from cooking, with minimal cleaning. OR go out for a meal. πŸ₯— [ ⚠️TIP: find out dietary restrictions ahead of time!]
  • A book or cookbook πŸ“š (Find out dietary restrictions ahead of time).
  • A Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer attachment for the homemaking minimalist woman. There are so many neat attachments that make cooking or baking from scratch even easier!
  • Cute reusable grocery bags
  • Earrings from a local artist or Etsy.[ ⚠️TIP: Etsy can sometimes have long shipping times. Plan accordingly.]
  • Baked goods. πŸͺ Homemade is always best.
  • A bag of coffee from a favorite local coffee shop

I hope that this list helped give you a few ideas for creative and useful minimalist gift giving for the woman in your life! 🎁

πŸ™πŸΌ PLEASE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE! & Also check back for my Gift Guide for the Minimalist Children & Families, as well as my Gift Guide for the Minimalist Man!

Birthday Garden Tea Party | On a Budget

One of my very favorite hobbies is planning, especially for events. I dream of the day we find our forever home with plenty of space to host many elaborate parties for the rest of our lives.

Throwing Mia a “socially distanced” birthday party was my first event since covid-19 began, and I was ecstatic to be party planning again! I was a bit further behind on time than I had hoped, but overall my first “socially disanced” party was a success.

I’m excited to take you along to join us for an afternoon tea!

The Invitations

I had so much fun making these invitations and I was really impressed with how they turned out.

I found a free teacup template online, printed it out and lightly traced onto white card stock. After that, I bordered it with pink and added a pink heart to each teacup.

I typed up the wording and cut out each one to be able to fit inside the hearts. Unfortunately, by the time I realized that it looks best if you cut along the individual letters, I was already on my last one πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ but now I know for the future! I wanted the letters to pop, so I used drafting dots to attempt to create that effect.

I made a hole behind the cup and two holes above the cup to be able to tie in a string for the teabag and a bow. I attached the string from a white & gold foiled Christmas string I already had and attached the teabag to the string using a stapler to give it a realistic look. I asked my friend to tie a perfect bow for me because she makes beautiful ones and mine are downright sloppy πŸ˜‚.

I then bordered the pink with a brown to match the guest’s teabag and hide the strings behind the pink card stock and tie it all together.

The Spread

The waffle fruit bowls were a big hit! I bought 1 box of 12 small waffle cone bowls and an already prepared fruit salad and divided it between the 12 waffle cone bowls. We also had a cream cheese fruit dip to be used as a sauce to drizzle on top of each bowl, or to dip your fruit skewer in.

I would have preferred to buy my flowers from my friend, Celeste, the owner & artist of Village General; but due to lack of time, I purchased two small, half-price, day-old bouquets and blended them together to create the look I was going for.

I found some Celestial Caffine-Free Fruit Tea Sampler to serve the children. I thought that fruit flavored tea would go over well with the children, and there were multiple really yummy options for them to choose from! Even my pickiest of all found a flavor he enjoyed!

I had tried desperately to find some colorful macaroons, but had no luck tracking any down. I decided to substitute my original plan with meringues instead and that worked out just fine.

I made the pressed flower sugar cookies that turned out very cute! The other two cookies were purchased: Frosted Sugar Cookies in pink & of course, Verona cookies because you can’t have tea without those!

The bottom layer was simply a few boxes of powdered donuts, nothing too fancy. I would have liked to get the mini powdered donuts, but one package of them cost as much as 4 packages of the large ones, so I decided to go with those for budget purposes.

My mom found very cute little tea party plates that really pulled the theme together and came in several different patterns to match the various colors. They have an entire tea party set as well, that would make it even more adorable!

More food that was unfortunately not photographed was:

  • Chicken Salad Crossant Sandwiches
  • Fairy Bread Sandwiches
  • Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

The Activities

I found these plain white tea cups at the thrift store for 50 cents each. Each kid was given their own tea cup to decorate with sharpie to take home with them.

When decorating your own mugs or teacups with sharpies, it is important to bake them in the oven at 250Β°F for at least 2 hours so that the sharpie does not wash off.

I had planned to incorporate the tea cups into a game of having the children race with full tea cups of water to the fence and back while spilling the least amount of water, but tea went into the cups before I was able to get that far πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ.

We also found many fun dress up ensembles at the thrift. The girls had a blast dressing up in boas, hats, and beads galore.

It was a really lovely day and I am very pleased with the turn out.

I cannot wait to begin planning for Thea’s FIRST birthday coming up in October (which if you know me, know that it is my FAVORITE month)! & Ella’s birthday in November!

Don’t forget to subscribe πŸ˜‰ & as always, PLEASE share!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through any of my links, I will make a small commission at no expense to you. Thank you for supporting a mama with a dream ❀

Top 5 Mom Must Have Items From a Mom of 5

It’s been awhile!

My oldest baby just turned TEN years old on July 31st. I cannot believe that I have already been a mom for a whole decade! It really does fly by! He will be an adult before I know it!

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks especially when it comes to mega motherhood!!!! I wanted to share my FIVE favorite items that have gotten me through the last ten years & mega motherhood a lot more smoothly.

1 β€’ Itzy Ritzy Purse

New moms, this one is for you. I have some eye opening news for you. You have too much stuff.

When I had my son, I had this giant diaper bag that was heavier than he was stuffed to the brim with all of the things that the baby books told me I needed with adorable little travel size everything, safety kit with every size bandaid imaginable, bubbles, chalk, lipgloss, a small grooming set, tampons, pads, vomit bags, kroger bags, lysol, advil, bibs, toilet seat covers, grocery cart covers, multiple outfit changes, a blanket, winter gear, books, toys, activity packs, snacks, etc. I was ready for anything.

As I added kids, this bag became the bag of car essentials that I stopped bringing in because it was so heavy and so stuffed, it was just added stress. Plus, I hardly ever actually needed anything from it. I began carrying a smaller bag of the essentials while also carrying a purse.

Then I found this hands free crossbody Itzy Ritzy purse which is absolutely needed as a mom with young children. The back section is your purse, the front section is your diaper bag. You can now combine everything into one small, adorable bag.

In the diaper bag section, there is a pocket for your wipes and a small changing mat that is included. There is also room to hold diapers and a pacifier. That is literally all you need on a daily basis for outings. All of the extra stuff is just over-stimulating you and making it feel stressful to leave with kids when it doesn’t have to be.

In my purse section, I keep my wallet and a few small items. It keeps me from cluttering up my purse and it only takes a few seconds to clean out. Keep the essentials with you, and leave the rest at home (or at least in a secondary bag in the car if it makes you more comfortable). You don’t need it.

I clip my keys onto the outside so they are easy to grab and I don’t have to fumble around for them with children in a parking lot.

When you have multiple kids, you cannot be weighed down with things that you may need one day. You need your arms and eyes free at all times. This Itzy Ritzy cross body bag allows you to fashionably have everything that you need.

2 β€’ Sit and Stand Stroller

I have tried several double strollers and this Sit and Stand Stroller by Baby Trend is by far my favorite.

It is lightweight enough that I can carry it to and from the car by myself which means that getting it in and out of your vehicle is not a struggle. It also folds up well so that it will be able to fit into any vehicle.

I place my toddler in the front seat, and my baby in her car seat in the back portion so that we are facing each other, but it is very versatile for moving children around and allowing older children to ride as well. Each side has a handle bar on it where I have my older girls hold onto while we are out so that they are all safely in one place in front of me.

3 β€’ Cloth Diapers

I highly recommend cloth diapers. In fact, so much that I wrote an entire article about them! If you are planning on having more than one child, these are a MUST!

Cloth diapers grow with baby from newborn to potty training which saves you from buying a LOT of diapers, especially since you can then reuse them with future babies, or even save for your grand babies.

Cloth diapers saved us during this 2020 pandemic! When all of the stores ran out of diapers, we had our trusty cloth diapers already! We never had to worry once that we would run out. I highly recommend buying at least one pack of cloth diapers to have in the off chance that there is another emergency since the world saw how fast and unexpectedly that can and will happen. Being prepared is key to motherhood. It would be a great gift for a new mother at a baby shower as well! πŸ˜‰

4 β€’ Built-in Potty Seat

We live in a very tiny starter home with four young ladies. It was originally a very tiny one-bathroom home until we added a second one on the upstairs floor to create a master suite. A tiny bathroom with a crowd full of tiny ladies runs out of room really quick, leaving us very little space to have a separate potty chair.

We installed a built-in potty seat onto our toilet so that we could still have a potty seat, but not lose any necessary space or add clutter to our floors which is vital when you have crawling tots!

5 β€’ Bumbo

This portable seat called a Bumbo is so important! It is easy to carry with you so you are able to bring it from room to room or on-the-go.

● You can keep a supported-sitter with you while doing your housework.

● You can bring it to older siblings sporting events.

● You can bring it with you on a picnic, or to a restaurant so your baby doesn’t need to sit in a dirty high chair that is covered in germs (I have worked in enough restaurants to know how unclean restaurants are in general 🀒). You can add-on this Bumbo Play Tray to turn it into a portable highchair anywhere!

● You can bring it with you while traveling for hotels that may not have high chair recommendations. Make sure to add on the Bumbo Play Tray!

● With the Bumbo Play Tray, you can create a minimal mess space for your baby to engage in messy play such as finger-painting or shaving cream play.

There are so many uses for the Bumbo! You cannot go wrong with getting one of these! It minimizes messes and is extremely easy to clean. I have had the same Bumbo for the last 10 years, it has made it through 5 kids, and is still in the excellent condition! It is definitely built to last and worth every penny!

Ella holding Vera, Mia, & Sasha
Athena (Thea)
Kaden

I hope that these tips helped you for yourself or with finding a baby shower gift idea! Best wishes to the new mama-to-be! The best start to motherhood is being prepared not for one stage for one child, but for all stages for all children. 😘 Have a beautiful rest of your day.

πŸ™πŸΌPLEASE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links in which I will make a commission, at no expense to you! Thank you for supporting a mama with a dream! 😘

Remember Ebola?

The following cartoons are all 6 years old. Anything look familiar to 2020?

The signs are all around you. Watch for them.

The Priviledged vs. The “Drug Court”

I have 7 years opiate-free because of priviledge.

My priviledge was going to rehab 15 times, while most addicts can’t even make it to one.
β €β €β €
My priviledge was being able to go to the same rehab centers as celebrities, while most addicts receive the minimal amount of government funded resources for mental health and addiction.
β €β €
My privilege was being able to receive Vivitrol shots once a month for a year costing $1,700 a month, while clinics provide false hope with methadone to those who can’t afford what actually works to treat addiction or even the resources to find out about this miracle treatment.
β €
My privilege was being gifted a home because my five felonies would have prevented me from being able to get any kind of housing, when most people being released from jail have to go back to their unstable environment.
β €β €
My privilege was walking away and blending into the “white society” to save my own ass, while NO black person is able to do that.
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I spent the last 7 years growing, resting, refocusing, and educating myself because the way I was fighting before wasn’t working. I’m here to be a voice for the voiceless because 401 years of allowing this corruption to go on is inexcusable.

πŸ“·: Hamilton County Justice Center, circa 2013

I admit my privilege, but that wasn’t the whole story.
β €β €β €β €
Those expensive rehab centers didn’t get me sober. They were more like a vacation resort to find myself.

Government funded “rehab” is why I am sober.

I lived in trailor parks & crack houses with better living conditions than government-funded “rehab” centers and I made it VERY known while I was there. BECAUSE of my privilege I knew this place was deplorable.
β €β €β €β €
The judge looked me in the eyes and told me she wanted to ship me off to Marysville Prison for 5 years because I would never change. I looked her in the eyes and told her “You don’t know me. I am stronger than you and I will absolutely never return to one of those vile places as long as I live.” 7 years later and here I am. I vowed to never return, and now I will do everything in my power to try to make sure no one else has to either.

While in the government-funded “rehab” center, I said “I would rather be dead than be in these grotesque living conditions.” β €

β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
So they sent me to the psych ward for “threatening to kill myself.”
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Upon intake, they do their psychological evaluation and I corrected the report they had sent over and said “No. I didn’t say I was going to kill myself. I said I would rather be dead than live in those grotesque living conditions.”
β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
I begged them to keep me there, but I was sent back that day because clearly I wasn’t suicidal, I was angry for the situation in which I was living. β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
JAIL was better than this place. I THANKED them for kicking me out and sending me to jail. I was having a difficult time not smiling for my mugshot.
β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €β €
The government help is not helpful. It is a trap that you will never be able to escape unless you have the privilege to.

πŸ“·: Ella, circa 2013

I found out that I was pregnant while in this deplorable government-funded “rehab” center, so to make matters worse, my first trimester was spent here.
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I was eventually kicked out & moved from this “rehab” center, to the Justice Center where I spent my second trimester.

Because I was pregnant, I was given a mat with a built in pillow lump that resembled a pool raft and a night-time snack πŸ‘πŸΌ. I couldn’t let myself get attached to my baby. I wasn’t sure what kind of sentencing I was going to get. I didn’t want to get attached only to go off to prison for 5 years or there be a major health complication due to lack of proper prenatal care.

Pregnancy is supposed to be celebrated, but I felt like I had nothing to celebrate.

πŸ“·: Ella, circa 2013

Finding out that I was pregnant was a complete shock to me.

Days before entering the government-funded “rehab” center, I was body slammed against the ground & more by the arresting male officer over a non-violent warrant I had. I had a welt slightly bigger than a tennis ball on the left side of my stomach.

A day after I arrived, I had began bleeding the heaviest I ever had in my life, which I had just assumed was my period so I said that there was no way that I was pregnant. When the test came back positive, I was flabbergasted.
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I began fighting to be sent to a halfway housing community for mothers where I could have my baby with me and work towards getting my son back at the same time. Providing absolutely no reason, they refused to let me go there.

So here I was, stuck in this hellish place, with a corrupt judge and probation officer putting up every obstacle to insure I failed, but hell has no fury like a Madison scorned.

πŸ“·: Ella, circa 2013

I was not supposed to go to this court room. There was a plan already set into motion, then at the last second my case was transferred due to the death of the prosecutor’s wife and being assigned a public defender.

A public defender is a “lawyer” of sorts for those who cannot afford representation for themselves. This public defender ignored the plan in place and transferred me without notifying the victim – my mom.
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As soon as I was moved to this court room, my mom filed to have the charges dropped. They wouldn’t let her. She fired my public defender and hired a family friend who is a well known criminal defense lawyer, who has known me since I was very young and knew my heart.
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The judge was quoted saying, “how you treat people is as important as what you do to them.”

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I watched how she treated people. I watched what she did to them. And most of all, I have watched case after case of hers – my friends – die over the last 8 years. Because like I told her, her way doesn’t work.

7 Years Later

I have not used any opiates in over 7 years. I have not been arrested, or had so much as a speeding ticket, since 2013. I have paid off my restitution and court costs in full. I successfully completed probation in 2015. I put in my time and work.

I still cannot get a job near children, even though I have enough experience with children to run my own daycare. I still cannot get a job in any sort of medical field, even though I can draw blood better than any professional I’ve ever met. I cannot even get a job in retail, even at a grocery store. I cannot apply for life insurance. I cannot open a bank account. The list goes on and on.

If I did not have the PRIVILEGE of my parents and husband fully supporting me, I would still be out there committing crimes just to survive on a daily basis, because as much as Corporate America likes to *SAY* they don’t discriminate, that is all they do.

I didn’t make it out because I’m strong. I made it out because I had the privilege to. Privilege is the answer to the question: why “only a few make it out.”

STATISTICS

πŸ“·: Hamilton County Tax Levy Review
πŸ“·: Hamilton County Tax Levy Review
πŸ“·: Hamilton County Tax Levy Review
πŸ“·: Hamilton County Tax Levy Review

REVIEWS

πŸ“·: Rehab.com
πŸ“·: Rehab.com
πŸ“·: Google Reviews
πŸ“·: Google Reviews

My Instagram Growth Tips

I came back to social media, mainly Instagram (who was then purchased by Facebook), after a serious mental break down, to tell my story to the world with the hope of helping at least one person.

Although this time I have made amazing friends, had gifts sent to my children and I, and have had many women (and a few men) ask for guidance or simply tell me that I am making a huge difference and saving lives, sadly, being on social media destroys me. It once again proved to be way too much for me to be able to consume. I felt as if I were beginning to spread much more hate than love, and that is not the kind of person or parent that I want to be.

I’m no longer using Instagram as a platform to share my writing

It hurts me to see fake woman, selling fake happiness while there are real issues going on in the world that need to be talked about and fought. It hurts me that they have very clearly chosen profits over people. That is not something I want to stand by and witness or partake in.

It hurts me that people care about social injustice because it is currently “trending,” but won’t care enough to keep fighting until its “trendy.” It hurts me because no matter how many times this happens, we end up back in the same “who me? Couldn’t be” place of magically “forgetting” about history, even only last year. Watching “influencers” choose to stay silent so they don’t offend any of their internet friends. You who stayed silent spoke louder than any of us.

It hurts me to see how many people don’t care about this Earth or the people in it. It hurts me because I don’t know how to make people care for more than a week. It hurts me that grown adults don’t “believe” in climate change, as if it’s the Easter bunny or something. It hurts me to watch people sell and promote products that are harmful to our earth and our people. They “greenwash” you just to make a quick buck.

It’s NOT real

NONE of it. It’s the new-world equivalent of a popularity contest. My followers are a collection of various acquaintances & accounts picked up along the way in “follow loops.”

Follow loops work a few ways, but the short story is there are “ghost spots” (you buy friends), and “regular spots” (you work for friends).

“Ghost spots” pay real money to collect friends without having to follow them. Since I would never pay money to collect fake friends on the internet, I chose the “regular spot” route.

“Regular spots” are free, but have the requirement of following typically 100-200 people at a time and hope that at least most of them follow you back, make a feed post promoting said follow loop, leave it up for 24 hours and then comment “Hi my name is” on at least 10 peoples posts within the first hour of posting. It takes any kind of entertainment out of social media, and you end up with a ton of accounts you are following only out of obligation and fear that if you unfollow them, they may in turn unfollow you.

You end up following a bunch of people who either didn’t follow you back, you don’t want to follow, or a bunch of “fitness” moms pushing weight loss products on you.

Then, you have to find yourself some “engagement” groups where you will spend a majority of your time liking and commenting on other people’s posts in exchange for them liking and commenting on yours.

The engagment groups that I was in, took an average of 20-40 minutes each sitting and liking around 500 photos in a row, in order to then get a portion of those likes back. They allowed 2 photos per day, so I would use that days photo and the photo from the previous day to increase likes. It’s a very “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of game.

You can also pay real money to promote your posts which, again, I refuse to do. Some people pay for likes, followers, and comments. I suggest you check the first posted photos of your favorite “influncers,” as it’s pretty easy to spot. The signs are all around you.

Instagram gives you a certain amount of characters, so I would spend hours perfecting everything I needed to say into 2500 characters. My story deserves more time than that, so does yours.

With only 2500 and a lot to say, I ended up having to break stories into multiple posts and I would end up losing my train of thought and never making it to the point. This left people a bit confused.

I do not support a platform that condones censorship. Shadow-banning, removing hashtags, “instagram jail” are all forms of censorship. Not being allowed to promote certain products is a form of censorship. Your algorithm is a form of censorship. I cannot support a platform that not only supports, but highly pushes censorship.

When I had my mental breakdown, the first thing I noticed when I found the will to live again, was nature. I noticed the trees and the pictures in them. I noticed how beautiful the Earth was, something I was no longer seeing because my mind was so busy and full of hatred. Getting off of social media gave me a will to live again.

My Son’s Father, 2015

I believe that social media has a major part to play in my son’s fathers suicide. I believe that social media is an extremely dangerous place for those who struggle with mental illness or depression. I believe that social media is an addiction. Only when you get away from it will you truly realize how much it is negatively affecting every aspect of your life.

I came back because I wanted to tell my story, but I found that social media is not where I want to do that. I watched as the influencers stayed silent over matters of social injustice as to not lose their following. I watched as they said things such as, “its sad, but…..” I watched as people pushed products on others that they don’t even use themselves. I watched the people, and I once again, fell back down the mental breakdown hole. Our brains are not meant for social media. The entire thing terrifies me.

I left your world to stay home and find peace, then y’all came home and invaded my space. Now, I’m leaving this world to go back into the outside world. At least until the world opens again.

I will continue to share my story through my blog. I may never get famous, but my words will be remembered like books. And as long as it helps at least one other person, I’ve done what I came to accomplish.

My Biggest Instagram Growth Tip

There is no growth on Instagram. Real growth begins when you live for yourself. Go get on with your real lives.