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Life After Murder, Life After Suicide
By Diane Schachter

On July 19, 2005, the unthinkable happened.  Marlyn and Ian Ferguson’s 27 year old son Graeme was murdered.  To lose a child to murder is devastating, and for Marlyn and Ian, moving through this proved to be the biggest challenge of their lives.  Marlyn went through an array of feelings: Shock, disbelief, anger, disappointment, confusion, regret.

Despite her pain, Marlyn was open to talking to others about Graeme’s death.  She found that talking about it eased her pain and gave others who had also lost a child, strength.  Marlyn soon came to realize that although regular grief groups are helpful, there is a unique set of feelings for those whose loved ones have died because of homicide.  Marlyn explains,   “The Homicide Group came out of a need to offer something that wasn’t happening.”  In 2009, through Valley View Funeral Home in Surrey, British Columbia, Marlyn launched support groups for Homicide and Suicide Loss. She can be reached at 604-506-8866. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | grief, healing, murder, suicide
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I Always Will
By Paige Lougheed - 16 Years Old

I was there the night my sister nearly killed herself.

Sitting down on our cushy chocolate brown couch, I clicked half-heartedly through the channels on our old, beat-up box television. The T.V. had been a gift from one of our old friends. At the time I had thought it generous of him to donate an entire TV. to us for no reason– but now as I stared at its rickety frame and poor signal, I wondered if his motivation was really genuine kindness, or him just using our house as storage space.

As the screen flicked from the family channel to the evening news in the living room, I listened through the thin walls of our basement suite to my mother’s and sister’s argument, coming from the bedroom my sister and I shared. Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | anger management, children, communication, parenting, relationships
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Through A Dark Secret And Tragedy To Renewal
By Adam German

I was driving to a Halloween party on the 31st of October 2001, when my cell phone rang.  My stepfather said he had received a call from the police that my mother had been in an accident, and I needed to turn around and head back to the house to pick him up.  From there, we needed to go to a hospital in Pennsylvania.

I knew why she was there, but he didn’t.  According to him, she was in Buffalo visiting family.  According to me, she was in Pennsylvania visiting her lover.  She was cheating on my stepfather, the man who resurrected a sense of family from the debris left behind from my father’s abusiveness and neglect. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | depression, healing, infidelity, loss, parenting, renewal
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Therapy Dogs Are A Reader’s Best Friend
By Hannah Sutherland

On her regular Friday-morning shift, Katie walks into White Rock Elementary and is greeted by the excited students she has come to help read.

She has two associates in tow – 200-pound, three-foot-tall Chewbacca, whose head could compete with the size of most watermelons, and nine-year-old Dougal, who has been known to sit on students when she senses they are having a rough day.

Despite having a bad back and sight in just one eye – not to mention being a dog – there is no doubting Katie’s ability to engage young learners. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, animal training, children, learning
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“Nice To Meet You. I’m Lesbian”
By Reilley Olexson - 16 Years Old

My favourite colour is red. It always has been. My hair has always been curly, and my eyes have always been hazel. I am not a science experiment, or some new invention. Don`t introduce me as if I am some new species you have discovered. To exploit one aspect of who I am to the magnitude of a flying pig, reduces every other ounce of my body. Do not refer to me as “the lesbian”. I would even rather to be referred to as “curly”. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | empowerment, enlightenment, self realization, tolerance
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Revolution: How Cipralex & I Saved My Life
By Niki Chanway - 17 Years Old

You’d like to think there’s a quick and easy fix to depression. Exhausted, beaten girl that you are, having spent a large portion of your life wiping the metaphorical sweat from your hypothetical brow, you’re wondering why you just can’t access it.

You waste your Friday nights with your knees curled up to your chest.

Your Saturdays, in bed.

Sundays you force yourself to socialize.

Mondays you’d rather do anything than live through the week again.

You suffer. Struggle. Simper. You pretend that nothing hurts; you thrust candy-coated lies into the mouths of the people who love you. If the words seem sweet enough, maybe they won’t notice the limpness in your fingers, your voice, your spirit. Read more

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COMMENTS (35) | depression, empowerment, healing, self worth
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Transformed By The Re-Newing Of The Mind
By Marilyn Hurst

It was a quiet spring day in March 1990, the day my father died.   I had visited him at home just the day before and though it was apparent he was in the last stages of the “disease”, I was still expecting that any time he’d reverse the diagnosis and pull out of this horrible thing that was consuming his life.   His passing hit me so hard I could barely remember to keep breathing myself.

Over the following months, slowly at first then like a speeding train coming at me, the past, present and future closed in and I felt I was staring into a black hole.  I could see no light at the end of the tunnel.   Although it appeared to everyone around me I had lapsed into depression, I knew that a major life-altering event had occurred and the pain was so intense, I wanted to die myself.

I looked at the shambles of my life and realized I’d been sleep-walking through it for the better part of 40 years.  My marriage was only held together because of  our  9 year old son and were it not for my job as a flight attendant, which took me away for long periods every month, I probably would have ended it years before.  This empty void wasn’t just the passing of my father; something within me was desperate to “get out”.  At the time I didn’t recognize this as a symptom of a transformational process that was in the beginning stages. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | inspiration, meditation, self growth, self realization, spiritual
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I Am Sorry To Bother You
By Mike Harvey - 87 Years Young

Dear God,

I am sorry to bother you with a question that may appear silly to you.

The question is this: Is it okay to love a dog more than you do a human being? The reason I ask this is simple. Dogs have always been my very best friends.

As a youngster I was shunted into the background as my parents divorced and then remarried.

I was the excess baggage disposed of by being sent to a boarding school. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, loss, relationships
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Life Goes On
By Sean Cameron - 18 Years Old

Everyone says divorce is hard. They have no idea. I remember as a kid hearing about parents getting divorces and getting scared that the same thing would happen to mine. I would see it on the television, or see my friends heading to their father’s house for the weekend. So I made sure I kept a close eye on my mom and dad. I was always on the look-out for any signs of arguments. I would make them promise me over and over that they would never get a divorce. I knew it was immature and silly, yet I couldn’t help but worry. However, my parents always seemed so happy together. And of course, my mom and dad promised me they would never be apart. So what did I have to worry about? I guess even parents can be wrong sometimes… Read more

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COMMENT (1) | divorce, family, healing, relationships, self growth
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My Journey From Chronic Fatigue To Publisher
By Lynn Michell

I had been jokingly told by friends about the shock of the big 40, but no one had warned me about a nightmare scenario that began on that day and continued for fifteen years.

I invited a few friends to a party, and afterwards, several of us came down with the flu. At least, we thought it was the flu. But we did not get better. For eight of us from the same academic department, including the lively American Head of Department and Irish Administrator, what we faced was the long, long haul through a poorly understood illness called ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Personally I would re-name it No Idea Syndrome because the ignorance and dismissal we all faced from the medical profession was appalling, insulting and hurtful. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | healing, self realization
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Felix The Cat Part IV: The Grey Dragon
By Melissa Roberts

When my cat Felix decided to tolerate Mum and Dad’s cat Tiptoe in 2010, we had been living there for nearly two years. I never expected Felix to give in, but then again I never expected to lose my job and have nowhere else to go but back where I had come from.

Former stray turned beloved pet, Felix moved with me from St. Louis, Mo to small town Kansas after I lost my job as a hospital chaplain in 2008. My parents and I agreed this would be a temporary situation- six months at the most- until I could get back on my feet. We all overestimated my employability and underestimated the recession. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, empowerment, renewal, thriving
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Bipolar Disorder…And Me…Discovered & Embraced
By M. LaVora Perry

For almost 40 years, I struggled with depression and a nagging feeling that something was “wrong” with me.

In 1983, at age 21, I’d dropped out of college because I had been too depressed to get out of bed and attend class. A few months later, I spent seven weeks in a mental hospital because I’d abused LSD and other drugs, including the bottle of antidepressant medication I’d tried to overdose on. The drugs had made me manic and psychotic. I didn’t sleep, I had excessive energy, and I thought God was telling me to do things like set my high school photograph on fire, which I did.

In my mid-twenties, I stopped doing drugs. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | Bipolar, depression, self growth, self worth, spiritual
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How Smiling Meditation Changed My Life
By Billie Criswell

I have always been the type of person that one might associate with meditation…..or  New Age healing and Eastern healing concepts. I was even, at one time, a self-proclaimed “hippy.” But the truth was, I had never so much as tried to quiet my mind– I was too busy being busy to even ponder the concept of slowing down.

At a certain point, though, it seemed that meditation came to me much as other things had in life: on a whim, as though I invented the concept. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | loss, meditation, renewal, spiritual, thriving
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Inspired By A Life Of Travel
By Debbie McKeown

My passion for travel and outdoor adventure began at an early age. Growing up on my family’s farm in Ontario, Canada, I spent my days exploring the great outdoors and my evenings reading Nancy Drew mysteries and action books that featured lots of horses. Big adventures beckoned. I loved my surroundings but always felt a sense of restlessness and a desire to experience places and meet people beyond our small farming community.

Fast forward many years … with my husband Jack, I have currently visited 43 countries (and counting) and all of the continents. Each destination has left me with a lasting impression of the beauty of the world, whether it be through the landscapes, people or animals. As I consider my evolving travel portfolio, I realize that travel has really shaped who I am today. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | inspiration, self growth, tolerance
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Expert Series: Family Type-Casting
By Dr. Barbara Sinor

We tend to create similar situations in our lives until we become aware that the same experiences keep “happening to us.” When you recognize a particular negative circumstance seems to repeat itself over and over, or a certain type of person re-enters your life several times to your dismay, take a hard look into your childhood and search for the pattern or script which may be embedded in your subconscious mind which invites the same unwanted experiences into your life. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | family, relationships, self realization
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Expert Series: Midlife Divorce: Blame It On Your Parents?
By Deborah Moskovitch

Your parents’ divorce might be setting the stage for your own.

Shannon*, a 48 year old client of mine, recently explained her “aha” moment when discussing the issues behind her impending divorce. She married her husband because he “completed” her — masking low self-esteem and feelings of not being worthy of love.

It wasn’t until after therapy and introspection that she realized she had fallen into a relationship trap: Trying to fill a void of lost love left by her parents’ divorce, and the loss of a relationship with her mother, when she was just 5 years old. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | divorce, parenting, relationships
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No Arms, No Legs….No Worries
By Nick Vujicic from his Attitude Is Altitude website

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Click on picture above to view inspirational video.

Imagine being born without arms. No arms to wrap around someone, no hands to experience touch, or to hold another hand with. Or what about being born without legs? Having no ability to dance, walk, run, or even stand on two feet. Now put both of those scenarios together: no arms and no legs. What would you do? How would that effect your everyday life?

Meet Nick Vujicic… Born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, without any medical explanation or warning, Nicholas Vujicic (pronounced Voy-a-chich) came into the world with neither arms nor legs. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | inspiration, self worth, spiritual, thriving
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