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One Last Kindness
By Billie Criswell

To some people the thought of cleaning up after a person has died, especially when that person was taken at a young age or of unnatural causes, is a horrifying one. Indeed, there are many people who make their living doing this for families who find themselves unable to do such a thing. This was precisely the conversation I found myself engaged in with a friend recently. My friend works with a clean-up and restoration company and they recently expanded to include crime scene clean up a la “Sunshine Cleaning.” (A movie where the two sisters clean up crime scenes.) Read more

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COMMENT (1) | addiction, drugs, loss, relationships, siblings
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Saying ‘Yes’ To My Anxiety
By Billie Criswell

I know it sounds a little strange saying “yes” to anxiety, but so often it is easier to stuff issues away rather than face them head on. That was the relationship between me and my anxiety. It would crop up, catch me by surprise, and I would shout, “No, no, no!” And this became the pattern of my behavior… get anxious, get annoyed that I’m anxious, reject it, and fail to deal with it. Something had to change between us. Someone had to give, and that someone was me. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | anxiety, empowerment, self improvement
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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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From The Ashes: The Phoenix Rises
By Billie Criswell

My relationship with my stepsister, Laurie, has been a complicated one from its conception. I was six or seven years old when we met; she was two years older than I. I remember being so overjoyed to receive the news that in one fell swoop I would be getting the father I longed for and the big sister I wished for. It seemed to my childhood mind that everything was going to be perfect when my mother remarried.

…of course, as an adult, I know now that things don’t always work out perfectly, and that was the way it happened with our new, blended family. Laurie carried a lot of pain in her young heart. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | relationships, renewal, siblings
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Defining A New Normal Within Marriage
By Billie Criswell

I was 18 years old when I met the man that I would marry, Daren. It was a casual evening with friends that found us chatting on a couch, pretty impressed with one another from head-to-toe. Even at my young age, I knew that this kind of love was different than I had felt before. It felt like magic from the very beginning. I remember having an “ah-ha” moment when I saw him: we locked eyes and I thought to myself, “This guy seems important to me in my life.” From that very moment, there was never another for either of us.

We moved in together after only 3 months of dating, and our ‘honeymoon’ period of the relationship abruptly came to a halt. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | marriage, relationships, self improvement
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