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When we're constantly surrounded by negative energy, it becomes almost impossible to have calming moments. It's my nature to immediately detach from such situations or people in life, but now it's impossible. I'm staying with my sister, her husband's mother was diagnosed with lung cancer only a few months ago, and now she lies dying in the room beside me. She's been a very negative person her entire life, plagued with pessimism, four husbands have come and gone...I think you can easily see the picture of such a character.

I don't know how to handle this situation, and part of me feels guilty because I have no emotional attachment or connection to this woman, or sadness that she will soon fade away. As an extremely compassionate and loving human being, this feeling of apathy toward a dying person is unsettling. We can't force feelings in life, although many humans attempt to do it for various reasons. Connection - I have none to this woman's mentality or negative disposition. She could have chosen treatment, and in the beginning she did. It helped, but recently there was a downward shift in her attitude, and the cancer quickly returned. I truly believe the energy we project in life, is the energy that is returned to us. All of this hate, negativity, gloom - nothing good can come of it in the end. I compare her to my mom's oldest sister, who died a few years ago from lung issues. Doctors diagnosed her as terminal, yet she lived years after they predicted her death. A positive mind, attitude and light - these can be healing factors, which science and medicine cannot explain. I've seen it many times in life...while negativity, a rotting force from within.
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When I was young, my mother often told me stories about her difficult childhood. Ten kids growing up in a poor, rural region of Virginia, with an alcoholic dad and an exhausted/abused mother who was forced to raise all the children almost entirely on her own. Her father provided only a paycheck to the family, and little more. He spent long days working in the coal mines, and almost always came home drunk. I remember this man as my grandpa, and even in his older years he suffered from severe alcoholism. He was completely tied to the bottle and a horrible human, for whom I have absolutely no positive emotions, memories or feelings. The stories I remember most vividly from my mom are the ones where she had no shoes to wear, or ones that were so old and in disrepair that it was difficult to walk in the snow or on hard gravel. Her mother sewed almost all the kids' clothes and coats, and they wore them until they tore or fell apart. You can see the results of my grandma's hard work in this photo dated 1956, where my mom and some of her siblings are wearing her handmade clothes...Read more... )
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Today in America we celebrate National Sibling Day, a day to honor your brother or sister. I have one sister who is four years younger than me. Here we are in Portugal about ten years ago. Youth and thinness! :) In general, we've always had a close relationship, although I used to steal and hide her stuffed animals as a child when she annoyed me. Somehow she always forgave me. We have different personalities. She's more reserved, quiet, and not as outspoken as me. She can solve equations, fix mechanical things, and change a tire. I'm not so good at any of those things. Conversely, she struggles with conveying her thoughts in written form, and is overly polite, even when people don't deserve such respect and kindness. This sometimes makes me insane. I would say my sister is more like my father - passive and reserved, and I inherited my mother's trait of "telling it like it is." This isn't always the best policy, as it's sometimes better to bite your tongue and let the moment pass. Overall, she is more conservative than me in ideology and life practices.Read more... )
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Last night I started going through old photos. Since childhood, my father has had a camera in our faces, snapping shots at the most unexpected times, and sometimes in the most unflattering of angles. I found it annoying in youth, but today appreciate the boxes of images which always carry me down memory lane. Each time I look at them, I grow sentimental and nostalgic. In general, I've been blessed with a beautiful life, encountering few obstacles or traumas. A huge, supportive family carrying me through the ups and downs.

I don't think I've changed much over the years, looks or personality wise. The only thing that fluctuates in the images is my weight. This is a constant battle! Even as a youngster, I was curious. Talking and quizzing people to learn more about them and their lives. Do you have such old photos? What has changed most about your personality or looks over the years?Shannon through the years... )
peacetraveler22: (bear)

Hello! My name is Shannon, and I'm an American who lives near Washington, DC. I previously showed you my day with Russian villagers in the Kostroma region, but today I want to show you how an ordinary family celebrates an important U.S. holiday - Thanksgiving.  If you ask any American what their favorite holiday is, the top two answers will be Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are the most popular celebrations in the States, and on both occasions even distant relatives gather together for large feasts and companionship. Now, let's take a look at how my family celebrates in the small town of Manassas, Virginia. Enjoy my Thanksgiving day and happy eating to all readers who celebrate this day in the USA...:)

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Today is a special day! The birth date of a very strange American, my Uncle Dean. He is the oldest brother on my mom's side and a unique character. If you ever meet him, you will remember it for a lifetime. He's been a roofer his entire life, climbing on top of houses in boiling heat or freezing cold. Mixing and smelling hard chemicals. A hard laborer with an immense amount of knowledge packed in his brain. This knowledge hasn't been knocked out, despite several falls from high altitudes, broken ribs and even legs in the course of his roofing work.Read more... )
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There's a common phrase "home is where the heart is." My main passion in life is travel but every person needs a place to return. A place they truly consider "home," where they feel welcome and at peace. For me this place is my hometown - Manassas, Virginia. I lived in Manassas most of my life, having moved to Arlington, Virginia only three years ago to be closer to my job in DC. I still spend almost every weekend here. Many readers have written me to request a story on my hometown, so today I'll tell you about Manassas and introduce you to the people who know and love me best in life - my family. It's a big post and I hope you don't get bored.Read more... )


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