Super Carlin Brothers

Many people, especially teens, are familiar with YouTube and their many videos.  From anima to music and more, if it’s a video, you are likely to find it there.  It doesn’t matter what your interest is, you can search for it and likely find various videos in response to your query.  I’ve watched many crafting videos there to learn how to do many things.  It’s a super cool place to visit and can be very addicting as well.

Last year, as Marching Season came to an end and my son, no longer needing me to drive him to and from school after hours, as a typical teenage boy, spoke to me for a total of 5-10 minutes daily.  This included rides to and from school and while we ate dinner together.  To say I was feeling alone is an understatement.  Especially since the previous year and a half I’d spent taking care of a sick friend 24/7 and his passing left me with a lot of free time.

In typical teenage fashion, probably to get me off his back, he told me about how he loves to watch various YouTube videos and that there were a lot of channels there and I may find something of interest on it, since I was not into watching television all that much.

YouTube suggested a number of videos to watch, one of which was Super Carlin Brothers.  Super Carlin Brothers is two young men, who started a year long conversation with each other via video uploads in May of 2012.  What got me hooked on their channel was their love of Harry Potter and Pixar.

So began the journey to binge watch every video they made from day one to the present. LOL!  Who are the Super Carlin Brothers?  Two brothers from the Roanoke, VA area who were inspired by John & Hank Green to start to start their own YouTube channel and see where it would go.

Jonathan Carlin or “J” , the older brother, was super excited to be a new video maker and was very enthusiastic from day one.  All of his videos were intense and fun; because of his obvious love of doing them.

Ben Carlin, on the other hand, looked terrified for his first year or so.  He was not as comfortable as his older brother with the idea of making videos, let alone being put on the internet for anyone in the world to watch.  It made him seem vulnerable and sweet.

They also have a younger brother, Tyler, who has guest appeared in several videos; but is not a regular on the channel.

As the years began to pass, they became more and more invested in their channel and much better at the whole video posting world.  J has never lost his enthusiasm and Ben has become relaxed and more excited about being an internet celebrity.  I just love watching them.

You get to really know these guys well over the years as they tell so much about their personal lives.  J shared videos about getting engaged, married and is currently expecting his first child.  The viewers have all shared in these wonderful life events with him.

Ben owns an aquarium business in the area and has shared some of his “fish tales” on the channel.  You can even hear about his frustrations about Nemo & Dory making the business a bit harder; because kids began wanting tanks with fish similar to the fish in the movies.  I won’t spoil it; go see for yourself.  😀

You can check them out in this link:  SuperCarlinBrothers

Ben & J influenced another young YouTuber into making his own video channel.  I also got hooked on watching Seamus Gorman.  Seamus is from England and is also a theorist of the Pixar and Potter universe.  He actually came to the US about a week ago to meet Ben & J for the first time and collaborate on a few videos and theories with them.  It was great!!  You can check out Seamus Gorman’s channel in this link:  Seamus Gorman.

As I have watched all of the videos on both of these channels, I now have to wait each week for new material to come out.  That’s what happens when you binge watch things. LOL!  Of course, I’ve also gone back and re-watched some of them when I can’t remember what they were about by just the title.

These two channels have really made me rethink and re-watch movies I’d previously seen with different eyes as well as reexamine the HP books like never before.  I like things that make me think.  So, if you, like me, are looking for new takes on movies or want to visit various theories, check out their links.

I’m also a stalker, I mean fan, of theirs on Instagram.  J & Ben post a lot of their social lives on there daily.  I also follow J’s wife, who is adorable, as she shows off her baby bump and gets ready for the Super Carlin Baby to arrive.

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Bad Day

Today is a bad day.  Nothing bad has happened, it’s just a blah kind of bad day.  I am feeling low, vulnerable and in a lot of pain.  The weather is reflecting my mood, as it is overcast and cold.  It’s a soup and biscuits day.  Foods that offer comfort and love.

I woke up in massive pain.  I am walking around in a foggy haze of pain.   They began to collect hurricane debris this week in my neighborhood, first removing it from my front yard to the vacant lot on the corner and then collecting it yesterday from the lot and other areas with large amounts.  This stirred up all the allergens and I’m suffering for it dearly.  Ears, nose and throat all clogged up and headache from hell.  UGH!  Just kill me!

I’m sitting here in silence and darkness, praying for relief that I know will not come.  I just have to ride it out until either the rain comes and dampens it down or the wind comes and blows it away.

I hate when I am feeling this way.  It makes me vulnerable to outside forces that make me weepy and depressed.  I’m trying to hold it all together; but sometimes, these forces get the better of me.

My son turned 18 this week and I am so proud of the man he is becoming.  I am grateful that the abuse we suffered at the hands of his father have not turned him into a replica of that man’s evil.  I’m grateful to God for allowing my son to see the good in people, to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and that he, unlike his sire, has empathy for those around him.

He told me last night that during the half time show, one of the gals on bass drum dropped the drum from her harness and just stood there at a loss.  He was watching her and realized she wasn’t going to do anything about it, so he yelled to her, “Pick up your drum.”  This spurred her into action and they continued on with the show.  Afterwards, he went to her and apologized to her for yelling, at which point, she explained that she hadn’t known what to do and that for some reason, the harness was the problem and she began to cry.  He felt horrible and told her it was okay, they’d figure it out.

My son told me, hours later, that he was still feeling badly for having yelled at her.  I told him that at least he apologized and that he was going to check out the harness and ensure this didn’t happen again, so he was relieved at having a solution to the problem.  I further told him that when she froze, not knowing what to do, getting her to do what was necessary was a good thing, even if it felt like it was a bit harsh.  I am proud of him.  He’s a good man.  I can’t wait to see what he will do with his life.

I can hardly believe that this year is nearly over.  It has gone very quickly and I know it won’t be long before he graduates and goes off to college.  He’s filling out applications now and he’s also videoing his auditions.  He is working hard and I am so proud of him.

 

World Gone Mad

From the NFL taking a knee, the current hatred of the President and everyone offended by any and everybody that doesn’t agree with them, this world has fallen into sheer madness.  I never thought I’d see the day when it was okay to report news that is half truths, personal attacks and complete dishonesty.  SMH!

If you are not happy with someone or want to hurt someone, whip out your phone, record them and send it viral.  There is no such thing as privacy anymore and you never know when even the most innocent actions are recorded and sent viral.

She’s too fat.  He’s too skinny.  Look at all those tattoos!  What a monster!!  Body shaming, sexual disorientation and GMO’s turning food into crap, it’s a wonder we’re all still alive.  Add to that the fact that when someone cries out for help, they turn the victim into a predator who asked for it and we wonder why our children are confused, inconsiderate brats.

Good is bad, bad is good and even the most innocent of gestures are turned into civil rights violations, we’re heading straight to hell.

I posted on Facebook about my unhappiness with the NFL’s protest to take a knee in the workplace.  I am a retired US Marine and I am offended by the way “million dollar babies” are taking a knee on the field and not doing anything about the problem when they’re off the field.  A friend was quick to point out that a veteran was the one who gave the suggestion to Colin in the first place.  I DON’T CARE!  It was wrong no matter who suggested it and that it continues is just going to kill their franchise in the end.

Am I supposed to feel shamed that a vet was the one who made the suggestion?  Hell no!  Is my opinion less valuable than yours?  Hell no!  Wrong is wrong.  If I am making money off of you, for entertainment purposes, I will entertain.  My opinion has no baring.  Further, if I was working at McDonalds and you ordered a hamburger and I’m a vegan, do I have the right to tell you that I will not serve you?  Hell no!  My job is to provide a service, not lecture you on how offended I am that you eat meat.

In the same spirit, once I clock out, I can protest up the street in the meat packing district about how killing animals for food is bad.  I am no longer on the job, getting paid; but out in the world, sharing my dislike.

We’re the laughing stock of the world.  Our country has always been known as the land of opportunity; but what opportunity do you have when everything is considered offensive?  We were founded on freedom.  You want to worship God, go ahead.  You want to worship satan?  Go ahead.  You want to voice an opinion?  Go for it.  You want to own a gun?  You can.

The problem we face today, however; is that people want us to conform to where they come from, their traditions or religion.   Or people want us to surrender our weapons.  Your opinion is invalid if it doesn’t match that of the minor elite.

My cousin loves to voice her opinion on everything.  Lord help the person who makes a negative comment on her comment, she’ll go postal on them.  She’s a staunch believer that her voice counts.  She faces bullies on the internet with regularity.  (I think she may even thrive on it, LOL!)

I am sadden by this country and this world.  We’re quick to judge, unforgiving and want our cake and to eat it, too.  I fear we’re on a crash course to implosion and all I can do is pray that God blesses and saves us from ourselves.

I fear for the fate of this nation and world.  Kiddie porn, rape, abuse, sex slaves and more are on the rise and we’re powerless to do a thing about it.  Offensive behavior is the norm and destruction is everywhere.  We don’t build up, we tear down.  Makes me want to become a mountain hermit.

Only God can help us now.

Autumn Dreams

Ah, Autumn, how I miss the smell, the crisp air, the crunch of leaves under foot, a light sweater and the beautiful colors.  I sometimes wish I was still up north, enjoying the season in it’s full glory.

I used to love to hike in the mountains and enjoy the Autumn in all it’s splendor.  I love it so much and is truly the only thing I miss about this time of year.  I remember when I was pregnant with my son and we didn’t know if he was a boy or girl yet.  We picked two names.  If a girl, she was to be Autumn Hope.  But, alas, he was not a girl and his name is perfect for him.

It’s only 3 days until we celebrate his 18th birthday.  I can hardly believe that he will be 18.  The years seem to have flown by so quickly. I still reminisce about the joyous times we’ve spent together.  He’s been my miracle since birth and I have enjoyed every moment of it I’ve spent with him.  I am incredibly blessed by God to have been chosen to be his mother.  He turns 18 and 6 days later, I turn 49.  Best birthday present ever! ❤

Last night at church, our Pastor discussed Matthew 25:14-29 — The Parable of the Talents.  In this parable, three men are given talents from their overseer to take care of while he was away.  The 1st man was given 5 talents and multiplied it to 10.  The next was given two and multiplied it to 4.  The final man received only one and he buried and hoarded it, not doing a single thing.  Upon the overseers return, he congratulated the two investors and chastised the sloth, casting him out.

As we reviewed the scripture, we began to understand it.  God gives us each talents.  We are all unique, we are all in receipt of abilities that are ours alone and we are to use them to glorify God.  Because, sometimes, we are the only person who is seen by others as God in the flesh.

I took a “Spiritual Gifts” test to figure out what God had given me to use in this world for His glory.  I received giving, caring and mercy as my top 3 gifts.  (These were far above the other gifts you can receive) I have to say, they were pretty obvious to me, even before the test; but to have it confirmed, was a pleasant surprise.

As I reflect on my life, I see these gifts in so many parts of it.  I’ve always felt it is better to give than to receive.  I take great delight in giving things to people and watching their joy and happiness unfold.  I’m also a natural care giver.  I feel my best when I am able to take care of people and ensure their well being and happiness.  As for mercy, I have always forgiven others much more than they deserve.  It’s why my ex-husband told close friends of our years that he could sh*t all over me and I’d always take him back.  <sigh>

I do it all for Him, and still, I cannot do enough for Him.  It is just not possible.

It’s been a strange few weeks.  For some reason, the Lord is surrounding me with the name of my “love”.  I chaperoned my son’s competition a few weeks back and there were 3 boys with his name, sitting and speaking with me.  I turn on the t.v. and I hear both his given name and nickname, which is not a common one.  I hear it on the radio.  I’ve encountered several while out and about in stores, the mechanics, at the VA,  and on.  It is so weird; but also mysterious as to why I am being bombarded with his name.

November will be 2 years since we’ve reconnected.  In 2015, his name popped into my mind, unexpectedly, while driving home after dropping my son at school.  This has happened to me with various friends I’ve know and usually after I reminisce about them, I forget them again and move on.  Not this time.  Three days later, I am still thinking of him and I decide to look him up on Facebook.  He’s the first choice and I check him out and decide to friend him.  He immediately connects and I move on.  Nope, still there.  UGH!  So, I send him a message.  He had pneumonia, so I tell him I’m praying for him to get better quickly and I’m sure he doesn’t remember me at all.  Low & behold, he not only remembers me; but looked for me on more than one occasion; but to no avail.  LOL!  Spelling my name is a bitch. LOL!  No one gets it right.  So we chat several times over the next year.  He dates a woman, I pray for his relationship.  It ends, I pray for his heartbreak.  Until last November.

November 2016 is when I get the vision of him in church during prayer.  It shocks, it disturbs and scares me.  I come home from church, deeply upset and after an hour of contemplation, I message him angrily and tell him I don’t appreciate his invading my God time, etc.  He finds it funny, I don’t.  I pray about it and God let’s me know His plan and his involvement in it.  I’m in shock.

As this year has gone by, this man and I have had several conversations in which he teases me, leads me on and then disappears from communication for months.  Drives me insane.  Now, I’ve read several articles that state if a man shows no interest, move on.  I have tried.  I pray daily.  I ask God for clarification.  Each time, God answers: “Stay faithful to Me, the plan and the man.”  So I do.

So, here I am.  Still faithful to my Lord, His plan and the man. 😀  Only God knows how this will come to fruition; because He is the author of this love story.  ❤

My son has only 2 more weeks until the end of Marching Band season.  Not sure if the new Band Director is going to be doing Indoor Drumline this year or not.  We shall see.  Because of Hurricane Irma, the band is not motivated at all.  They seem to have lost their mojo for performing.  My son and his friends, who usually love it, seem down and ready for it to end.

I’m almost hoping we don’t have Indoor; but we shall see.  I found out he is graduating on May 19th at 10am and I’m happy for him.  Looking forward to him to do so and also missing the fact that he’s going to go to college at the same time.  So proud of him, though.

And time marches on………………..

Blessings and such

Last week, after dropping my son off at school, I turned onto my street and came to a stop.  Why?  Bunnies.  There were 3 of them blocking the road.  Wouldn’t move, so I had to get out of the car and shoo them out of harms way.  Yesterday, it was ducks!  Couple of weeks ago, it was ibis.  I am blessed to live in an area where I can see so many animals living free.

Yesterday, I was doubly blessed.  I’d gone to the VA for a dental appointment and as usual, afterwards I was in misery due to my TMJ and Trigeminal Neuralgia.  I was paying more attention to my pain and getting home to take more Tylenol than I was anything else when I spotted a police car and instantly knew I was in trouble.  Yup, that’s right, I was speeding.  UGH!!!  I pulled over and the officer asked if I knew why he pulled me over and of course, I admitted my sin.  No sense playing the innocence game, we both knew what I’d done.

Barely holding myself together, I handed him all my paperwork and waited for the ticket we both knew I deserved.  He walked away and I bowed my head.  “Dear Lord, help me.  I know I am in the wrong; but please have mercy on me.  Amen.”  Moments after I raised my head, I saw the officer was returning to me.  “This is your lucky day.  The printer just broke in my car and I can’t give you a ticket.  Slow down and have a nice day.”

I thanked him.  Tears sprang into my eyes.  I looked up and praised God for His mercies.  Prayer is not always instant gratification.  Sometimes it’s a hard lesson, won over time.  Sometimes they’re not answered in the way we think they should be.

Isaiah 55:8-9 New King James Version “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Scripture tells us that we don’t know how or why God does what He does, just that He knows better than we do.  Sometimes that “no” is for our own good.  Though I regret nothing in my life, I sometimes wish I’d heeded His warning by listening to my “gut feeling” instead of ignoring that voice.

Over the last year, I’ve grown in ways I never imagined and it is all because I’ve tuned into the voice of my Lord.  He speaks to me in so many ways as to open up my heart, my mind, and my dependence on Him for all things.  Because I have done this, I see the blessings He bestows on me in the smallest and largest of ways.  I see God in the details.  I see His hands all over my life.

He has firmly closed doors I was still willing to walk through.  He has opened doors and gently push me through them in order to give me more.  He has spoken volumes to me when I’ve asked Him to lead me and show me.

Last night, my son and I attended the Memorial Service of a dear friend.  She passed after 73 years of love and kindness in service to the Lord.  When we first met her, she and her husband were the greeters at our church.  Each Sunday, they would open the doors, welcome us in and hand us a bulletin.

I shared a wonderful story about her with those in attendance about our 1st Cub Scout Sunday with our new church.  I had called up our Pastor and spoke with him about Cub Scout Sunday and asked him what my son could do for our church on that day.  He assigned my son to Judy and an instant bond grew between the two.  In the last few years, she’s been absent from our service; but not from our hearts.  An injury, followed by several mini strokes, kept her from rejoicing in the Lord with us; but she was never far from our hearts.  We celebrated her life last night and shared our stories about her and wished her Godspeed.  This lovely lady is home with our Lord, greeting everyone  welcome at the Pearly gates.

I can only hope that I will be as fondly remembered as she is by us all.  I want to be a blessing to those I know and meet, just like Judy.  ❤

Freedom

Tonight I went downtown to “Bike Night” and saw Lita Ford in concert.  Had a fabulous time and as I was driving home, it occurred to me that in the last year, I have truly enjoyed the freedom of not having to ask someone’s permission to do things and have them say no or to say yes and then upon the day’s arrival, force me to cancel my plans, leaving me disappointed.

I can hardly believe it took me a year to realize I am finally free!  I’m free of controlling men.  I can come and go as I please.  After spending the last 22 years with 2 different men who controlled my every move, I am free to do as I please, when I please, with whomever I please.

WOW!  I am amazed.  After all this time, I’ve finally realized that I owe nothing to anyone.

I always believed that a couple should share everything and respect each other and love each other and treasure each other.  In relationships where one partner is completely controlling of the other, you don’t get these same freedoms, love or respect.  You become a virtual slave to the other person and their needs are all that is important.  Even though I’ve completed some intense therapy, I have only just now realized the extent to which I was controlled.  I am so grateful that I am no longer in such situations.  YEAH!!

Knowing that God is bringing me my next relationship and it will be blessed by Him, I have no fear that I will have to worry about that again.  God is directing me toward His plan for my life and I have to say that it is greatly anticipated and looked forward to.

I’m keeping busy while I wait for this plan.  I’ve been crocheting blankets for Boggy Creek Summer Camp, which children with brain tumors and cancer attend yearly.  This camp gives each camper a blanket and teddy bear to keep.  So far, I’ve made two and am working on the 3rd.  I also am working on two other blankets for friends having babies in December & January.

I’m busy with my son’s Senior year of HS as well.  He got his Sr. portraits taken and the cost about floored me!!!  YIKES!!!  I didn’t really like them, either.  He has about 3 weeks left of Marching Band and the time seems to be just sailing by.  He’s working on his college audition videos with several boys from band and is making progress.  So proud of him.

I’ve lost 19 lbs in the last month and am happy with my progress.  I’m steadily getting my life in order.  I’ve got to downsize more and I am waiting until it is a bit cooler to start again.  UGH!  It’s still so incredibly hot.

I miss living up north sometimes.  I miss the leaves changing, the crisp smell of autumn air and the crunch of leaves under foot.   I miss hiking in the woods or up the mountains.  <sigh>

My grandfather passed away this week.  It’s been 18 years since my grandmothers passed, within one week of each other, while I was pregnant with my son.  My grandfather suffered with dementia for the last few years and it is truly a blessing that he has gone home to our Lord.  I know my NC family is grieving his loss.  It hurts that I will no longer get to see him; but I will one day, when I leave this world.  He will be greatly missed. ❤

Most of the missed hurricane days from school are going to be made up before the new year, with only a few days after the new year comes to finish it up.  My son will be graduating on May 19th at 10 am and my parents told me that they’re planning a cruise right after with my cousin, who’s twins will be graduating on the 17th of May, so we may tag along if the price is right.

My world is finally settling into a new normal.  I’m learning to be me again.  I’m who I am again.  Living my life, raising my son, taking care of my pups and loving the new freedom I’ve regained.

Life is good. ❤

 

Mom?

On Saturday, I chaperoned my son’s Band Competition trip.  They competed with other bands in their 2A Class at another high school north of us.  It was a hot and tiring day; but the kids were terrific and placed 2nd in their class and received a 1st place for their Color Guard.  Overall, it was a great experience with a lot of younger, freshman competing for the first time.

At the end of the evening, the leaders come on field for awards presentation.  I had moved from where our band was in the stands to the otherside of the field’s bleachers in order to take photos for the event.  As the 2nd to last band performed, I waiting with our kids and one of them told me he wished I was his mom.  I was stunned.  I gave him a hug and told him I loved him.

For me, it’s easy to love these kids.  I am their cheerleader, mom, task master, shoe tying, instrument holder, jacket zipping, water giving volunteer!  And I love it!  I have taken them to the movies, out to eat, hosted parties at my home, cooked for them and just given out hugs where needed.  I listen to them without judging and I give gentle suggestions when needed.  No child is turned away from this loving momma.  Need a hug?  I got one for you!

So, upon hearing this declaration, I was touched.  I was also shocked.  This young man has a mom and dad; but I learned today that his mom is 30 minutes from where we competed Saturday and he is currently living with dad locally.  That his mom, despite being so close to the event, couldn’t even care enough to attend.  My heart hurts.  He hasn’t seen her in months and I hurt for him.

I was telling my son this on the bus, just before heading back that night and a gal in a seat next to us stated that she, also wished I was her mother.  WTH?  From the sadness in her eyes, I knew she was also hurting and I smiled and told her that I loved her.  I later found out that she has a horrible home life and though there isn’t any physical abuse, you can tell she’s dealing with a lot emotionally.  A friend of my son’s told me that she is a Junior, has no cell phone or internet access, isn’t allowed to have friends over and her parents are very strict when it comes to what she can and can’t do.  Her parents also “forced her to come out of the closet” when she identified herself as a lesbian.  Though none of what I have stated about her home life is truly terrible in and of itself, I cannot help but think that whether my child is gay, straight, bi or whatever, it isn’t anyone’s business but his and who am I to tell him to announce it to all and sundry?

I have, in the past, listened to these kids cry on my shoulder for hurts and heartaches and even though my son is a Senior this year, I do believe that I will still be here for those he’ll leave behind.  His very good friend has already told me he was going to call me and invite me to games and competitions next year, so I had better be prepared. LOL!

I may only have given birth to one child; but my heart is filled with love and compassion for all these other young lives.  I adore them.  I remember my son telling me that one of the Seniors last year was telling him how he didn’t like to be touched or hugged and my son reminded him that he hugged me all the time.  This young man told my son that he does it for me; because he knows I need it.  LOL!  I think that worked both ways.  He never missed an opportunity to give me one. 😀

It’s been a great 4 years.  I love watching these young people go from tentative playing/marching to full on completed shows and victory!!!  Their hard work and effort really shows by the last night and I am there, cheering them on and showing my love and support.

The band director spoke to our bus and I asked him if I could say something.  When I spoke, I told them, as a 4 yr band mom, I was proud of them, they did great for their 1st Comp. and I could hardly wait to see the completed show and watch how far they’ll go.  They then screamed out that they loved me and we left to go home after a long, exhausting  day.