Who Reads This Kind of Stuff… I Mean Seriously???


Okay, so I just checked my blog’s stats, ’cause I got that kind of time during the day, and I must be seeing things, on some mysterious medicine or just that damn good because you people, my loyal subjects, my fans have viewed my blog……… are you ready??? Drum roll please…………………………………. more than 7,600 times!!!!!!

I can’t believe it. Who knew my blog was this important to so many people? I just wanted to share a little bit of my story with my closest friends and family, but it apparently looks like the REAL Jason Bourne has a bigger fan club than some guy named Matt Damon who plays an amnesiac who’s hauling ass from the CIA and getting shot at the whole time…. by the way, that guy’s name is Jason Bourne too, but…. according to Ray Charles in the Pepsi commercial…. “You got the right one baby!!! Uh-huh!!!”

I truly want to thank all of you who’ve taken the time out of your busy days to read my blog. I know sometimes you don’t have time, hell I don’t have time to post every day, but you’ve stuck by me and stayed on the bus and for that I will forever be grateful. I just hope I am touching even one person’s life, whether it be with a quote, an inspiring story I get in my email or discussing the struggles I face every day of my life. THANK YOU!!!

The ride’s still not over, so I encourage you to stick around, find a spot on the party bus (if you can find a spot. Try to squeeze in there by that beautiful brunette in the back…) and keep reading and commenting. If you have an idea for a post or want me to help promote something, shoot me an email with the info. If you or your child has special needs, I’d love to chat and perhaps share your story on the blog. That’s kind of what I’m going for here. You see, this blog isn’t so much for me as it is for you. Help me HELP YOU!!!

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The Sky’s the Limit!!!


I can’t remember the first time I began singing, but my mom said that when I was two, I would run around the house wearing a cowboy hat singing Madonna’s song “Music.” As I got older, I began listening to a lot of Selena’s music. “Como La Flor” was a song that I sang often. When I was nine, I started to sing karaoke at a local restaurant. I love to sing, and from that moment on, I knew that it was what I was meant to do in life.

In 2010, I joined the Network for Young Artists (NYA). The Network for Young Artists is a wonderful organization here in San Antonio that supports so many young musicians. We travel throughout the local community, participating in events with fellow performers, as well as performing at solo events. The organization is amazing, and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities it has given me to share my gift. That same year, I also joined El Shaddai Mission Church Ministries as a vocalist. I begain to sing for a local radio station here in San Antonio, KCHL 1480 AM, on Saturday mornings. These performances are very special to me because I am able to use my gift to share an important message. I always am very selective to pick a special song to share every time I appear. I am so blessed and want to give back wherever I can. NYA and KCHL allow me the opportunity to do just that. I was even invited to New Jersey last year to perform with the ministry group. It was a trip I will never forget.

A lot has happened since last year. I was invited to perform the national anthem at the Martin Luther King Jr. March. More than 100,000 people attended, and the day was amazing. In April, I started to perform with Chris Torres during Fiesta. I was invited to perform during so many events at Fiesta San Antonio. My schedule was very full, but I had so much fun and met so many great people. After Fiesta, Chris and I began to perform together at other events. In May, I was able to perform with Eternal Flame with Jessica Marie and Jennifer Espinoza. They perform at Six Flags, and when they were younger, they also performed with NYA. They are so amazing, and it was such an honor to have them invite me to perform with them.

More recently, Chris and I have performed together a lot around San Antonio, and we also have been traveling out of town for performances as well. We spent some time in the recording studio at Motivated Studios with Andrew Guerra to produce a demo CD. Andrew is amazing, and the entire recording process was great. It was the first time I was in the studio. I also had a great time with Paul Salaz from Serene Photography during the photo shoot for the album. I cannot even describe the feeling. I believe it’s important to enjoy what you are doing, and I enjoy every moment. I am very blessed to have such great supporters. This past month, Chris and I were involved in a lot of radio appearances to promote our demo CD. We appeared a few times on Radio Ola FM, for interviews and live performances. We also attended the official launch party for Radio San Antonio on August 1st, where we were able to celebrate the new station and perform live. The local support is amazing.

I am enjoying every moment of life. I am currently working on some new material for future events. I am determined to learn new guitar chords as well. I love to play the guitar and the piano. I have not selected one genre of music to focus most of my attention. I have performed everything from pop music to country music. I can perform Spanish music as well. I also feel it’s important to continue singing praise and worship music. Some people feel it is necessary to pick a genre of music, but I believe there is really no reason to limit myself. When we limit ourselves, we do not tend to go very far. I am so fortunate to have so much support with family and friends. I also have amazing supporters on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The feedback is phenomenal. I do not plan on setting any limits. Music is my passion. As long as I can sing, I am going to sing.

About Brianna Rangel

Brianna Rangel is a 13-year-old singer from San Antonio, Texas. Brianna began singing karaoke at a local restaurant at the age of nine. Soon after, Brianna quickly adapted to singing in front of crowds, and her passion for music was undeniably sparked. In 2009, Brianna won 1st place in a local talent competition for her district. The following year she was cast as Annie for her school musical. Brianna was awarded Outstanding Soloist at El Shaddai Mission Church and also made the all-region choir.

In addition to performing with NYA at many local events in and around San Antonio and appearing live on radio station KCHL 1480 AM on Saturday mornings, Brianna also makes private appearances in her local area and elsewhere. Brianna traveled to New Jersey with the ministry group in 2010 to sing at an event.

Brianna sings music from various genres including Pop, Christian/Gospel, Spanish, Blues and Country. Brianna’s musical influences are Selena, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, Shelby Dressel, Etta James and Kelly Clarkson. Check out my website, and get updates about my tour schedule, look at my photos and listen to my videos.

How to Turn Pessimism into Optimism


If you’ve ever found yourself expecting the worst without clear reasons why, you were probably the victim of a negative-thinking habit. Rampant pessimism can be annoying at the least and chronically destructive at worst. It can take over your mood, mind-set, career, relationships – and life in general – making it impossible to hope for anything good.

The good news is that pessimism for most people is nothing more than a habit – a habit that can be broken with a little conscious effort.

Below you’ll find three simple suggestions for turning pessimism into optimism:

– Challenge the doom predictions.

When your mind is ruled by a pessimistic outlook, you automatically imagine the worst possible outcome and hold it as your expectation. Even worse, you usually have no “evidence” to support your belief that things will go wrong, you are just choosing to think they will.

Turn this around by challenging any prediction for doom or gloom that comes out of your mouth. The moment you catch yourself thinking or saying something pessimistic, pause and ask yourself, “Why do I think that’s true? How do I really know it’s true? Am I willing to suspend judgment and wait and see what happens?”

The more you challenge these negative predictions, the more you open to greater possibilities.

– Choose a better outcome.

You can also take a more proactive role in choosing a better outcome. Instead of just opening to greater possibilities, CHOOSE the outcome you want! Just like your mind can say, “This isn’t going to turn out well,” it can also say, “This is going to be great!”

Make a habit of always focusing on and choosing the BEST possible outcome in every situation. Even if the absolute best outcome doesn’t come to pass, you might still end up with something nearly as good. (How will you know if you don’t even try?)

When you first begin to do this, you’ll probably feel a little silly, and maybe even downright uncomfortable. However, keep up with the practice and remember that an optimistic attitude can become a habit too! If it helps, turn it into a game you play to amuse yourself. Try to come up with the most outlandish, hilarious outcome to every situation, and keep a record of what happens when you do.

– Focus on the why.

Your underlying beliefs are what often fuel your pessimism. For example, if you hold the belief that you’ll never succeed at your goals, you may find yourself thinking pessimistic thoughts whenever you try to accomplish something. “This will never work,” “I can’t do this, who am I kidding?” and so on.

Whenever you catch yourself thinking pessimistic thoughts like these, narrow in on the “why.” Why do you think you’ll never succeed at your goals? Why do you believe your plans will never work?

Even better, ask yourself why they might work after all. Ask yourself why you DO have what it takes to accomplish whatever your heart desires.

If you make a genuine effort to ponder these questions, the answers might surprise you – in a very good way!

Quotes

“The pessimist is half-licked before he starts.” – Thomas A. Buckner

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” – Helen Keller

God’s Days


There are two days in the week upon which and about which I never worry — two carefree days kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday. Yesterday, with its cares and fret and pains and aches, all its faults, its mistakes and blunders, has passed forever beyond my recall. It was mine; it is God’s.

The other day that I do not worry about is Tomorrow. Tomorrow, with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its perils, its large promise and performance, its failures and mistakes, is as far beyond my mastery as its dead sister, Yesterday. Tomorrow is God’s day; it will be mine.

There is left, then, for myself but one day in the week – Today. Any man can fight the battles of today. Any woman can carry the burdens of just one day; any man can resist the temptation of today. It is only when we willfully add the burden of these two awful eternities – Yesterday and Tomorrow – such burdens as only the Mighty God can sustain – that we break down.

It isn’t the experience of Today that drives men mad. It is the remorse of what happened Yesterday and fear of what Tomorrow might bring. These are God’s Days … Leave them to Him.

Author Unknown

Rudy’s Angel


I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn’t hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.
 
Rudy often came with me and almost every time he’d pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I’d always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.
 
Rudy knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy had passed on.
 
Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two. Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak.
 
Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks. She saw me watching her and she smiled. “My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don’t know.”
 
I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes. “My husband passed away eight days ago,” I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. “Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together.”
 
She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.
 
I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the front of the store. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone. I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front.
 
I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blond hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine. As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. “These are for you,” she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. “When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for.” She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.
 
I wanted to tell her what she’d done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision. I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know?
 
Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn’t alone. “Oh, Rudy, you haven’t forgotten me, have you?” I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.
 
Everyday be thankful for what you have and who you are.
 
— Author Unknown

My Journey Through Bipolar Depression to Happiness


My journey starts as a child, extremely depressed and anxiety ridden. As far back as I can remember I hated life. Surrounded by mentally ill parents (who to this day are not diagnosed or treated in any way) and being severely depressed, I had no way to see the joy in life. Around the fourth grade, I wanted to walk out in front of a bus and end it all; I just felt like I couldn’t take any more. It was distressing because I knew it wasn’t right. It wasn’t who I was, but it was being seriously considered. I was distraught, my mother was difficult to deal with, and I had no purpose for living at that time. Yet to part of me, that idea was a way to get relief, which I desperately wanted. I survived that year by talking to my friend, Stephanie. I talked to her about it, and with her support, I got through that year and on with life.
 
My home life was stressful, full of anger and belittling. I had absolutely no self esteem and really didn’t understand why I was here on earth and still breathing. As I got older and reached my high school years, I completely withdrew from life. At school I had almost no friends (just one really), and I never socialized with anyone. Tania was the total opposite of me and did help me see a bit of life; I love her for that to this day!

She opened me up to someone who cared about me, accepted who I was and overlooked those flaws to see the person I really am inside. She got me out of the house from time to time even though I wouldn’t party with her. She cared for me, and I felt it. This gave me a bit of confidence!

Tania didn’t really help me overcome being bullied, but she made me see that I was lovable and gave me that bit of confidence to stand up to it.  Really, the bullying made me withdraw more, but she helped offset that.

I ate my lunch at the door of my next class and did homework while I waited. I always looked down as I walked through the crowded hallways, and had people push and shove me for no reason. If anyone went too far I blew up and scared the crap out of them. I think they all thought I was crazy. One time I threw a desk across the room in my Spanish class because the kid behind me was banging it against my seat and refused to stop.

Although I was not abused sexually, I was mentally and (a little) physically abused. I was an easy target for bullies and had my share of problems with them, the worst of which was my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I know now that she loves me, but she has some issues with depression, etc.

My mother was downright mean, and you never knew what she was going to do or say next. She had a way of cutting you to the bone and making you feel like a horrible kid with just a few words. My father was full of anxiety and depression, and off partying all the time. Personally, I think this made me aware of how my actions would affect others and how uncaring my parents felt toward me, even though they loved me in their way. It helped me to accept my own illness later in life and also helped me accept others flaws. No one is perfect.

As I became an adult, I was determined to get out from under my mother, and discovered I had some serious mood and anxiety issues although I didn’t know that was what it was. There were times I couldn’t leave my apartment at all and needed someone with me in order to go out. I fought that by going to a local store. No matter how long it took me to get prepared to go out of the house, I walked to that store, looking at stuff as long as it took to bring my anxiety down. Finally, I was able to go do some things alone, but it took quite the effort just to leave the house. 
 
As far as dating was concerned, I had no idea what I had to offer or how to act around a man because my father was a bit detached when I was a child. I think I dated three guys before I ended up living with one of them. Then I got pregnant accidentally and lost the baby, which added to my depression. A year or so later, we broke up, and I moved out and back to my mom’s house. Then I met my now ex-husband, and we just clicked! In three months he was living with us at the house and we were in love, or so I thought! Our relationship was rocky, partly because of my insecurity and depression/anxiety/mood issues. He also had a one-year-old son from a previous marriage. That was hard on our relationship as well, but that’s another story. We were together for 17 years, married after we had our two girls, and separated seven years later when my daughter caught him on the phone with his girlfriend telling her he loved her.
 
But to back up a bit…during that relationship, after having my first child in 1995, I began to realize that I wasn’t just that bitch that everyone had labeled me as! I knew something had to be wrong. I didn’t have control over my moods, reactions or the things I would say.  As it got increasingly worse, I began looking for some help from doctors. I went to the family physician, got some anti-depressants and felt a bit better, but it did not last. Many, many doctors appointments later and after visiting different doctors, they told me, “I can’t help you, you need a psychiatrist,” and I got a referral. One psychiatrist helped me some but wanted to do electric shock therapy to pull me out of my depression. I wasn’t having that because we hadn’t tried enough medications yet. After a while, I realized he wasn’t the doctor for me and set out to find someone to help. 

In the meantime I had my second child in 1999, and boy did things get worse after that. I saw many more doctors, but then my first child started having mood issues when she was five years old. So I am still looking for a doctor for me and, now, a doctor for her. We went through many doctors for her as well. To make a long story short, we ended up at a great psychiatrist, who then diagnosed us both as Bipolar 2. It was not what we wanted to hear, but I also had a good therapist who really was there for me and helped me see things from a different point of view. During this time I started doing research on my own about this illness. As they say, “knowledge is power!” There are lots of great people and information out there, if you look and are persistent. 
 
So after about 15 years of treatment, medication and self improvement, I found “me” and found out that I am not that bitch that others labeled me as. I actually have a mental illness that was in control. I knew I was in there somewhere and that I was a good person.  It was quite a search to find her, but here I am at 42; I’ve been on disability for nine years and am raising my kids. I’m happy and dating a wonderful man who treats us all with love and respect! After my separation from my husband and divorce, I realized that “happiness is a choice,” and I kept telling myself, “I don’t have all I want in my life but I am not unhappy. I can choose to be happy.”

My oldest daughter remembers how I was and actually having that memory gives her respect for the work I did to become who I am now. My youngest I’m not sure really understands it at this point, but she is of course inheriting her own issues from us. I think they both see how strong a person can be no matter how you feel; you can survive it and be happy! As far as the man I’m dating now, it has allowed me to open up to him and accept his flaws as a glorious part of him. It has allowed us to have a better relationship I think.

Truthfully, I probably know myself better than most people.  I was able to take the initiative and time to work on who I wanted to be and become who I truly was underneath all the illness and emotional abuse I endured. Because of the illness, I have to monitor every feeling and reaction I have to everything because if I am not paying attention it can get out of control quickly. If I don’t feel well emotionally, my medicines may have to be changed. We see the doctor once a month when we are ok and more often when we are not.
 
I am a partner of a website called LeanOnUs.co and hope to offer the same support I got online through my journey. We are here for anyone having a good or bad day or looking for a friend to lean on or an ear to listen. We offer friendship and support to anyone and everyone. We are “A Community Here for You.” This is where I think I can use my intuitiveness and my heart to help others on their journey to happiness!

If you or anyone you love struggles with depression, please realize that they aren’t in control of what they do at times. Encourage them to get help; there is no shame in being ill, just in not getting the help to live free of it. You must accept that you have a problem and do what it takes to handle it; there is good help out there. Learn, learn, learn and be persistent with your mental health providers. Make sure you are being as clear as possible with them; they must understand what is going on inside you to help you. If you think there is a better person inside of you then you are probably right. Go find that person and develop him or her, take the control away from the illness and drive through your journey.  Realize not every doctor is the best fit for you and keep looking until you find the one that is. The best lesson I learned was that I am responsible for my own happiness, I can’t make others be happy, but just encourage them through their journey.

About Shauna Smith

I am the mother of two teenage girls, ages 12 and 15.  I love my girls to bits; they are the light of my life!

My life has been a struggle from almost the very start. I have had to deal with depression my entire life basically. About 16 years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and have been in treatment for it. I am pleased to say that I am doing well with the treatment, but it hasn’t been an easy time.

My illness definitely had a negative affect on my marriage; I was out of control at times, and I know it isn’t easy to live with someone like that. I recently divorced after being separated since 2006, and almost a year ago I met a wonderful, caring man, whom I am still dating.

My life has been difficult, but I worked hard to learn to control what I could about my illness and changed some bad thought processes. After my separation, I realized “happiness is a choice!” I have always been a real intuitive person, and I think I may be able to help others realize happiness! My goal is to help others achieve true happiness, friendship and support, and that is why I am now working as a partner at LeanOnUs.co.

Follow me on Twitter

Letter In The Night


This is pretty deep and definitely worth reading!  You just can’t keep it to yourself, you’ve got to tell somebody about the love  of God! Be blessed!
 
One day a woman named Louise fell asleep in her bed and dreamed a very fitful dream.  She dreamed that someone in Hell wrote a letter to her, and it was to be delivered to her by a messenger.
 
The messenger passed between the lakes of burning fire and brimstone that occupies Hell and found his way to the door that would lead him to the outside world.
 
Louise dreamed that the messenger walked to her house, came inside, and gently but firmly woke Louise.  He gave her the message, saying only that a friend had written it to her from Hell.
 
Louise, in her dream with trembling hands, took the letter and read:
 
                      My Friend,
                      I stand in Judgment now,
                      And feel that you’re to blame somehow.
                      Never did you point the way.
                      You knew the Lord in truth and glory,
                      But never did you tell the story.
                      My knowledge then was very dim;
                      You could have led me safe to Him.
                      Though we lived together on the earth,
                      You never told me of the second birth,
                      And now I stand this day condemned,
                      Because you failed to mention Him.
                      You taught me many things, that’s true.
                      I called you “friend” and trusted you,
                      But I learn now that it’s too late,
                      You could have kept me from this fate.
                      We walked by day and talked by night,
                      And yet you showed me not the Light.
                      You let me live, and love, and die,
                      You knew I’d never live on high.
                      Yes, I called you “friend” in life,
                      And trusted you through joy and strife.
                      And yet on coming to the end,
                      I cannot, now, call you “My Friend.”
                      Marsha
 
After reading the letter, Louise awoke.  The dream was still so real in her mind and sweat dropped from her body in pools.  She swore she could still smell the acrid smell of brimstone and smoke from her room.
 
As she contemplated the meaning of her dream, she realized that as a Christian, she had failed in her duty to “go out to all the world and preach the gospel.” As she thought of that, she promised herself that the next day, she would call Marsha and invite her to church with her.
 
The next morning she called Marsha, and this was the conversation:
 
      “Hello Bill, is Marsha there?”
 
      “Louise, you don’t know?”
 
      “No, Bill, know what?”
 
      “Marsha WAS KILLED LAST NIGHT IN A CAR ACCIDENT.  I thought you knew.”
 
Fellow Christian, is this your testimony?  Are you witnessing to your friends that you are with everyday?  Or will there be friends of yours in Hell, asking you why you did not tell them about JESUS?
 
As your friend. . .
 
If you don’t know Jesus, here’s how:
 
If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 – 10)
 
If you have not done so, just pray this prayer:
 
“Dear God, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus is your son and that He died on the cross for my sins.  Jesus, forgive me of my sins and come into my heart and become my personal Lord and Savior.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.”
 
P.S. If you are a believer – new or old, send this to others and let them know you are a true friend.
 
— Author Unknown