Donations, SSDI Backpay & More

First off, I wanted to share that I got another monetary donation to my blog! Thank you so much! It looks like the donation came from China, which is really cool, I didn’t even know I had regular readers in China!

Also, I finally got my SSDI payment for last month…and even more exciting, I got all my backpay!!! We plan to use the backpay to do some repairs around the house and on the car, replace some electronics and appliances that are breaking down, and hopefully build a porch onto our house! I love spending time outside, but being directly in the sun for very long makes me physically ill (vampire genes?), so having a porch with a roof will really help.

I also got a new phone with a much better camera, so I am hoping to be able to make more YouTube videos and maybe do some YouTube livestreaming. We’ll see though. I already have a lot on my plate, but I do have over 3,000 followers on YouTube and would like to communicate with them more. Here’s a cute pic from when I was playing around with the new phone last night:

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Water is Back! 800+ Blog Followers! Awesome Book Series!

Hey everyone! There were a few random things I wanted to share today. First, an update about my water heater situation….we now have hot water again! I can shower, I can brush my teeth, and I can flush the toilet again! Woo-wee!!! We are out almost $2,000 though, so that part really sucks.

Secondly, I want to thank you all so much for getting my blog to over 800 followers!!! That is awesome. I set a personal goal a while back to hopefully reach 1,000 followers by the end of the year and I might not exactly reach that, but I’m getting close and I appreciate all the support! You guys are awesome! You have no idea how much having communication with you all helps my mood and my attitude in general. You make me feel less alone and like I do have people in this world that care about me other than my immediate family.

Lastly, I want to share this awesome series of books with you all. If you are like me and you enjoy the children’s picture book format, but also have a sarcastic, wacky sense of humor, and a love for philosophy, I’m sure you will love this series just as much as I did!

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The series is called the Animalosophy series (written by Eric Kesselman and illustrated by Erica Missey) and includes the following books:

#1 The Existential Giraffe
#2 The Moribund Mouse
#3 The Perspicacious Penguin
#4 The Nihilistic Sea Otter

Love for My Fellow Autistic and Bipolar Peeps!

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I just want to take a moment today to say that I love and cherish those in the autistic and bipolar communities. I know I may be extremely biased, but I find other autistic and bipolar people to be some of the most honest, creative, caring, and talented people around. I don’t want to bash neurotypicals or everyday “ordinary” people, but I often find them boring compared to others who share my abnormal brain neurologically or chemically.

I feel like no one can truly understand me or the struggles I deal with on a daily basis unless they share some of those issues. I am grateful when those outside of my reality try to understand what I go through and have empathy for myself and others like me, but some things have to be experienced to be fully understood. Here’s a special THANK YOU to all of you who make me feel less alone in this alien world!

Gratitude and Positivity Only!

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Aren’t these “namaste/praying” skeleton and black cat figurines I found at Michael’s cute? They had an entire line of both skeletons and black cats doing various yoga poses and I had to pick up a couple of them. I picked these two because I love how this pose represents gratitude and a peaceful heart. Some people might think the skeleton one is kind of creepy (which makes sense considering these were part of a Halloween display), but I think there is something beautiful about the simplicity of a human skeleton doing yoga.

I used these figures on my altar the other night while I was doing a gratitude ritual. I decided to do an impromptu meditation/prayer session, focusing ONLY on feeling and expressing gratitude and thankfulness for anything I could think of which makes my life (or the world in general) better. I specifically chose to NOT ask for anything, request divine help, or focus on any problems or pains I am currently wrestling with. ONLY GRATITUDE. ONLY POSITIVITY.

So, how did it go? Well, it definitely improved my frame of mind and sense of well-being that night. No, it didn’t cure the deep depression I have been fighting with, and it didn’t open the floodgates to riches or worldly success (at least not yet!), but it did make me feel good at the time, and it is something I would recommend to anyone (including myself) who tends to become weighed down with negativity and pessimism.

Poetic Art #3 – We All Fall Down

I’m not feeling too well right now due to one of my wisdom teeth hurting pretty bad, but I wanted to share another of my recent art/poetry drawings. Lately I’ve had an uptick of sales on my art and I truly appreciate it! Thank you so much to all those who support me that way!

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“I once had a name,
had a home, had a life.
But the winds swept thru
like they always do,
and I lost it all
at that trumpet call.
And their voices sound,
spinning round and round,
till we all fall down.”

You can find this drawing and other artworks of mine for sale at my Ebay store!

My Poor Husband…

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Sometimes I feel truly sorry for my husband. From what I have read and been told by psychologists and psychiatrists, he has a rough road to travel. Asperger’s can be extremely hard on intimate relationships. Bipolar can be extremely hard on intimate relationships. Long-term chronic pain and chronic illness can be extremely hard on intimate relationships. PTSD can be extremely hard on intimate relationships. And my poor husband has to deal with them all on a daily basis…

Of course, when we married fifteen years ago, I didn’t know I had any of these conditions or that I would develop some of the others. I did already have chronic foot pain and issues with depression and anxiety, but nowhere near as bad as I have them now. Nor did I have a true understanding of what was causing the symptoms I sometimes experienced, whether they be mental or physical. I wish I could have warned him, but I simply didn’t know myself.

On the positive side, he has definitely been a trooper. He always steps up to the plate and is there for me and willing to do anything he needs to do to take care of me and help me through the confusing mess that is my mind and my body. If anyone in this world has shown me the meaning of true love, it is him. And I am thankful.

*By the way, for great advice about marriage counseling, check out this article from BetterHelp!

Almost 500 Followers! And My PO Box Info!

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I’m only 2 away from 500 blog followers! That is so cool and makes me really happy! I am always astonished to see that many people who care about what I have to say and who enjoy my art!

By the way, in case any of you were unaware, I do actually have a PO Box which I originally set up for my YouTube channels, but if anyone who reads my blog wishes to send me a note, letter, fan art, supportive donations, a book or other product to consider featuring on my blog, etc., you can send it to me at:

Maranda Russell
PO Box 14
Englewood, OH 45322

Please keep in mind that if you do send a book or product for consideration, I am most likely to feature ones that go along with the themes of my blog (art, writing, mental health/mental illness, chronic illness/pain, autism, etc). I am also a sucker for anything sweet (like candy) or cute and fluffy lol.

If you send something you DO NOT want featured on the blog or you wish to remain anonymous, make sure to let me know by enclosing a note expressing your wishes. I will be adding the pertinent information on this post to a separate blog page so that it will be easy to locate in the future if anyone wants to support this blog in that way.

New Year’s Goal – Fear and Appreciation

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I’m not going to call it a resolution, but I do have a goal for the coming year that I hope to work on, and somewhat it was inspired by my last visit with my psychiatrist. You see, I spend far too much time worrying about what would happen if my husband were to pass away. I have very good reasons for worrying about it (fear of homelessness being top), but it has almost overtaken my brain in many ways, probably partly due to OCD and partly just because it is my deepest fear.

Due to this fear, I feel like I have not even been enjoying the time I do have with my husband. I live in such fear of something happening to him and being left alone, that I almost live as if he is already gone sometimes, and that needs to stop. From now on, to the best of my ability, when those horrifying thoughts intrude of something happening to him, I will try my best to redirect my thoughts to thankfulness for having him in my life and for the good things we share right now. I know that won’t stop the fear from coming and it will probably be something I always struggle with, but if consciously choosing to appreciate him now means that we grow closer and both of us feel better, why in the world wouldn’t I try to do that?

– Art by Maranda Russell

Those magical little moments that make life worthwhile

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For the last few days, my husband and I have been out of town, attempting to squeeze in a little vacation before summer ends. We didn’t go too far away from home, just enough to see some new sights and break up the monotony of our normal routine. While away, I bought a new book entitled “My One Line A Day”. The book is similar to a journal or diary but is set up a little differently. Each day for the next three years, I am supposed to write one line about my day in the appointed spaces in the book, leaving an interesting record to keep and reflect on after the three years are over. Honestly, I’m not sure if I will remember to write every single day, but I figured since I only had to write one line every day, that I could hopefully handle that.

I am currently on my third day writing in the book and I have noticed something interesting. First of all, it can be hard to sum up an entire day in one or two sentences! For this reason, I have decided to focus on the “highlight” or “happiest” thing I remember from each day. Interestingly, I have found that the highlights I remember are not the big things. What made me happiest the last few days wasn’t the tourist attractions, the big events or acquiring new “stuff”. Instead, I wrote about spotting a snapping turtle in a tiny runoff from a nearby creek and feeding sparrows bits of my bagel at an outdoor café. I haven’t written my line for today yet, but again I think it will probably be one of the smaller things, such as seeing my cats again after being away for several days or the delicious decadence of enjoying a chocolate covered strawberry.

I am definitely interested to see how this little project keeps going over time. It is amazing when you truly pause to think about what made you happiest on a particular day. I would encourage everyone to try something similar and see what you come up with. You may be surprised to find out what brings you the most joy and what doesn’t seem to matter that much at all by the end of the day. If you want to get one of these books for yourself to chronicle your next three years, you may be able to pick one up at your local bookstore or you can order one from Amazon or another online retailer.