What I Believe, Do Not Believe, and Am Unsure About


Like many others with Aspergers and OCD traits, I enjoy making lists and organizing my thoughts in a linear fashion on paper. While flipping through an old notebook, I found the following lists of “What I Believe”, “What I Do Not Believe”, and “What I Am Unsure Of”, and thought I would share it just for fun. Since I am not religious anymore, I made this list to try to figure out and pinpoint what I personally believe or no longer believe.

What I Believe

  • There is probably some kind of all-encompassing spirit or energy in the universe. Whether that energy is conscious and/or aware can be argued.
  • There is an inter-connectedness of all things.
  • I believe in the power and goodness of love, kindness, and forgiveness.
  • I believe in the power and strength of nature.

What I Do Not Believe

  • Any form of religious dogma. It is ALL man-made.
  • I do not believe that any human or religion has all the answers, no matter how much they think they do.
  • I do not believe in eternal punishment or “hell”.
  • I do not believe that everyone needs to or should follow the same path.

What I Am Unsure Of

  • Are there any Gods or Goddesses in any form?
  • Is there an afterlife? Are ghosts, hauntings, or reincarnation real?
  • Are there other “realms”? For example, do fairies, aliens, alternate realities, mythical monsters, etc. exist in this current reality or any other?
  • Is there such a thing as a personal soul? If so, do only humans have them, or all living beings? Can a non-organic being (like Artificial Intelligence) have or develop a “soul”?

“Mini Myths”, Kids Board Books Based on Greek Mythology

I love children’s books. I collect many different kinds of books for kids and honestly probably have more books geared towards children in my library than I have books geared for adults. Recently I came across these “Mini Myths” board books that are made for babies and toddlers (written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli). They feature characters like Pandora, Hercules, and Medusa from Greek mythology and are simply adorable:


Here you can see a brief glimpse inside the books:


I think my favorite is probably Pandora, although I love Hercules’ energy and trouble-making attitude. If you work with or have small children of your own, I would definitely check these books out. They are a great way to introduce even the youngest of kids to fun characters from mythology in a silly, playful way kids and parents will love.

Lady Lilith


“Lady Lillith” Painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Lilith has been one of my favorite mythological figures for years. Here’s why:

Lady Lilith
Written By: Maranda Russell

Adam’s first wife
you spurned his advances,
refusing to be beneath him,
but had to be equal
or even superior.

The Dark Maid,
The Maiden of Desolation,
are you truly so dark?
Like the owls you adore,
you flex your wings
and curl your talons.

Symbol of fears,
cursed to give birth,
your children murdered,
you seek revenge
from human children,
but who can blame you?

vampire of wet dreams,
refusing to kneel,
you chose to leave
paradise rather than
submit to a man.

Pony Gods


Pony Gods
Written By: Maranda Russell

I pray to the Pony Gods.
I don’t know if they listen,
or even if they care,
but sometimes
they do seem to answer.

Why the Pony Gods?
Why not?

I figure the Pony Gods
have just as much a chance
of being good –
or being real
as the human ones.

Bodhi Sitting Time


Sometimes I sit around and wonder what my purpose in life is, especially right now when I am struggling with so many physical issues that it makes me feel useless, or like I can’t even live a “regular” life. From what I have heard, this seems to be a common feeling among those suffering from chronic pain or illness, but it doesn’t make it any easier just by knowing it is normal. On bad days where I spend most of my time in bed or on the recliner, I do start to sink into depression and wonder, “Am I really making any difference in this life?” I worry about my impact on others – do I inspire people? Do I encourage people? Do I love enough?

Tonight though, while I was meditating/praying in the bathtub (something I do frequently), I came across an image that made me think maybe I am right where I am supposed to be. Although I am not a Buddhist by religion, I have always respected Buddha and his desire to ease the suffering of others and know the truth. I have often read about Buddha and the great amount of time he spent in self-imposed isolation sitting under the Bodhi tree, determined to stay there until he found some answers. In the traditional story, the evil one sent many distractions to Buddha (beautiful women, bad weather, demonic armies, etc.) to try to lure him away from finding enlightenment, but Buddha continued to sit, determined to become wiser. Eventually, his persistence did pay off and he was granted great wisdom and became known as Buddha, which means “The Awakened One”.

Anyhow, this story flashback made me realize that maybe at this time in my life I am in my own Bodhi sitting phase. Perhaps there is a reason why my illness has come at the same time that I have a strong desire to grow spiritually and find greater wisdom and truth in life. With all the self-imposed downtime that chronic illness provides, I do have plenty of time to read, meditate, study, pray and think deeply. I still hope this illness won’t last forever, I would eventually like to be able to do more and return to a somewhat normal lifestyle, but for now, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for what I’m not able to do. Perhaps, I should focus on what I can do and let the changes happen on the inside for a while.

“The World of Fairy” Art Book Review

“The World of Fairy: A Sketch Book & Artists Guide to Fairies”, written and illustrated by Ty Hulse, is fun, interesting and colorful. I immensely enjoyed this book, not only because I have always had an interest in fairies and other magical creatures, but because I learned things I have never read in any other book about fairies. For instance, did you know that in some cultures fairies acted as poltergeists? Or that it was once believed that humans that died at sunset might become fairies because they are caught forever between the living and the dead?

Pretty interesting stuff, huh? One thing that I really like about this book is that it weaves many different types of fairy folklore and mythology together. Some attention is given to the fairies from the British Aisles that we are most familiar with, but there are fairy stories from many other lands included as well. It is fascinating to see the similarities and differences in how various cultures view the world of fairies.

Of course, this book is above all, an artist’s sketch book. The illustrations included are obviously drawn by someone who loves the subject and does their best to visually depict the various types of these creatures. Some of the pictures are in color and some are black & white, but you kind of expect that when you get a glimpse into an artist’s sketch book. This is the kind of book that you could study for hours and hours and still find new details to notice. I would highly recommend this book for fairy lovers, mythology buffs and art enthusiasts everywhere.

To find out more about this book and other fairy tale projects by Ty Hulse, please feel free to visit his fascinating website, http://zeluna.net/. If you would like to purchase your own copy of “The World of Fairy”, it is currently available on Amazon.

“Walking Through Walls” – a Mythological Fantasy Adventure

I have always loved Eastern mythology, so I was very excited to read and review the new chapter book, “Walking Through Walls”, which was written by Karen Cioffi and illustrated by WillowRaven.  The story is based on an ancient Chinese tale about the Eternals.  For those of you unfamiliar with the legends, Eternals were God-like human beings who carried divine powers, such as the ability to turn into any creature they desire, walk through walls, live forever and perform feats similar to those of a superhero.  Since the Eternals are also pure in heart and intentions, only those who are unselfish and caring can become Eternals.

The main character in “Walking Through Walls” is a young boy named Wang.  Wang is dissatisfied with his life.  He dreams of being rich and powerful, but knows that if he stays at home he will likely just become a poor field worker.  So Wang sets out on a journey to become an Eternal, even though it is against the wishes of his family.

At first, I really liked Wang.  After all, he is a dreamer who wants a better life and is willing to take the risks necessary to pursue his dream.  However, it becomes apparent fairly soon that Wang is also extremely selfish, greedy and somewhat lazy.  Wang does find an Eternal willing to let him become an apprentice, but the hard work and selflessness necessary to become an Eternal soon has Wang ready to give up on the noble path.

Soon it looks like all hope is lost for Wang and that he has turned to the dark side, but don’t worry, the story does have a happy ending.  By the last page, the story meets a resolution that is both satisfactory and inspirational.  The book does include several morals, but they are hidden within the action so that they don’t intrude upon the story.

There are a few black and white illustrations spread throughout the book, but the majority of its 61 pages are filled with text.  This book might be a little overwhelming for a brand new reader, but it’s isn’t a hard or extremely long read, so it’s perfect for children who are ready to make the transition to chapter books or who have already successfully made the switch.  The few illustrations in the book are drawn well and really add to the enjoyment of the book.  There are also a few extra sections at the end of the book, including reading comprehension questions, activities to go along with the story, a brief lesson in Chinese history and information about the mythology surrounding Chinese dragons.

“Walking Through Walls” is a great read, and I would definitely recommend it to parents who want to buy their child an entertaining but meaningful story.  You can preorder the book on the 4RV publishing website, or wait until it is released in July and buy it from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or even order it from your local bookstore!