I'm a illustration-lassy & ex-fashion & textiles student from northern Ireland 🙊This is a little glimpse into my life, our animal sanctuary & all of adventures we have along the way:)

Laura Smile


Hey James! Recently, I've been getting pretty depressed and down about the world, and reading the news doesn't help this struggle. But I feel an obligation to be informed about the world and things that are going on, so I can pray and form opinions and things like that. I'm not sure how to balance these things, though. Reading about the things of this world saddens me, but I don't want to be ignorant. Do you have any advice for me? Thanks!! Sincerely, Anonymous


Hi Anon,

Man, do I hear you.

It’s awesome that you want to be informed. Too few people actually pay attention to what’s happening, where it’s happening and to whom it’s happening. But you’re right—without knowing these things, we can’t form educated opinions about why it’s happening or pray knowledgeably for those who need it. So way to be for keeping your eyes open.

Unfortunately, you’re also right that paying attention often means exposing yourself to a lot of uncertainty and heartbreak. So news hounds like us need to be careful not to be overwhelmed by the darkness of this world.

Here is how I’ve learned to deal with it:

Know your limit

Keep in mind that being informed doesn’t mean being an expert. Don’t feel obligated to read in depth about every news story, unless you’re particularly interested. The details will just weigh you down. And most of the time, the headline and first paragraph of any article will tell you everything you need to know anyway.

Also, remember to think critically instead of reacting emotionally. What do you believe about things like the civil rights, the role of the government and the ethics of conflict? Knowing where you stand on these issues before you read will help you keep current events in perspective—and help you avoid forming opinions based on fear or anger.

When I start to read anxiously and react emotionally, that’s when I know I’ve reached my news limit.

Know your antidote

When you feel overwhelmed, pray. Keep in mind that God is in loving control of everything, and He will use even bad things for good—even if we can’t see how He does it. Also, remember that we are to hold this world loosely. We don’t belong here. And God will set everything right someday.

Then, focus on something positive—something light-hearted to offset the heaviness you’re feeling. For me, this usually means watching a cartoon or listening to a funny podcast. But do whatever helps you to relax and have run, and don’t feel guilty for taking a break. Your self-care is worth it.

So I limit my exposure, I watch my attitude, I keep my eyes on God and I take breaks as needed.

One last point: Stay away from TV News. Networks rely on drama for ratings, so they emotionally hype everything. They rely on details to feed the 24-hour news cycle, so they saturate you with whatever is happening. And they rely on superficiality to match their visual format, so they avoid thinking critically about anything. TV News is poison for your mind—just get your news online.

Like I said, it’s great that you’re paying attention to current events. Just remember to also pay attention to how these events affect you and then do whatever’s needed to take care of yourself.

Great question.

Peace, love and Jesus,


While you sleep, I draw.
Some of last night’s drawing work. Ink/water on paper.

Check it out » “Tricky People” Are the New Strangers



Right after Diddy was born, I was in the car listening to NPR and I heard a child safety educator say, “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe. You know who’s safe? A mom with kids. Period. Your kid gets separated from you at the mall? Tell her to flag down the first mom with kids she sees.”

This was fantastic advice. I have shared it with everyone who will listen, ever since.

Last month, I finally got to meet the woman who’d said this brilliant thing, when I had the enormous good fortune of attending a kid’s safety seminar led by Pattie Fitzgerald of Safely Ever After. Safely Ever After offers seminars to adults and children on the subject of “keeping kids safe from child molesters and abuse.”

I didn’t seek Pattie out. I don’t spend every moment of the day worrying that my kids are going to end up in white slavery. But Diddy and Gaga’s preschool offers the material to parents of pre-K students as a preamble to teaching it to the pre-K kids, and Diddy’s a pre-K kid, so I went to hear what Pattie had to say. (And in light of all the Miramonte Elementary madness, I am thrilled I did.)

If it makes you uncomfortable to think about offering this sort of material to a 5 year-old, let me reassure you by saying our school offers an opt-out. But after spending a morning listening to Pattie’s presentation, I can honestly say I would have let her go teach my 3 year-old about “tricky people.” If the boys could understand it, I’d have her come over and talk to them, too.

And they’d like it. Really. I did.  Sitting around listening to all the horrible things that could happen to your kids might not sound like a good time — but oddly enough, with Pattie Fitzgerald, it is.

For one thing, Pattie knows her stuff, and I felt confident that her information was accurate and her advice studied and strong. For another, she’s pretty funny — so the material she presented never felt horribly gloom-and-doomy so much as matter-of-fact and manageable.


  • It is unlikely your kid is going to be abused by a weirdo at the park (huge sigh of relief).
  • That said, if there is a weirdo at the park, he’s not going to fit the “stranger” model — so stop teaching your kid about strangers! He’s going to come up to your kid and introduce himself. Voila! He ain’t a stranger anymore.
  • Teach your kids about TRICKY PEOPLE, instead. TRICKY PEOPLE are grown-ups who ASK KIDS FOR HELP (no adult needs to ask a kid for help) or TELLS KIDS TO KEEP A SECRET FROM THEIR PARENTS (including, IT’S OKAY TO COME OVER HERE BEHIND THIS TREE WITHOUT ASKING MOM FIRST. Not asking Mom is tantamount to KEEPING A SECRET.)
  • Teach your kids not to DO ANYTHING, or GO ANYWHERE, with ANY ADULTS AT ALL, unless they can ask for your permission first.

See how I said ANY ADULTS AT ALL? That’s because:

  • It’s far more likely your kid is going to be abused by someone they have a relationship with, because most cases of abuse follow long periods of grooming — both of the kid and his or her family.
  • Bad guys groom you and your kids to gauge whether or not you’re paying attention to what they’re doing, and/or to lure you into dropping your guard. Don’t. Kids who bad guys think are flying under their parents’ radars, or kids who seem a little insecure or disconnected from their parents, are the kids who are most at risk.


  • Be suspicious of gifts that adults in positions of authority give your kids. There’s no reason your son should be coming back from Bar Mitzvah study with a cool new keychain or baseball hat.
  • Be suspicious of teachers who tell you your kid is so special they want to offer him more one-on-one time, or special outings. That teacher who says your kid is into Monet, he wants to take him to a museum next weekend? Say thanks, and take your kid to go see the exhibit yourself.
  • You know that weird adult cousin of yours who’s always out in the yard with the kids, never in the kitchen drinking with the grown-ups? Keep an eye on your kids when he’s around.
  • Oh, and that soccer coach who keeps offering to babysit for free, so you can get some time to yourself? NO ONE WANTS TO BABYSIT YOUR KIDS JUST TO BE NICE.

And, here’s another good reason to add to the PANTHEON of reasons to teach your children the anatomically correct names for their genitalia:

  • There isn’t a child molester on earth who’s going to talk to your daughter about her vagina. Really. But if she suddenly starts calling it a cupcake, you can ask her who taught her that.


Ultimately, after spending an hour with Pattie, I felt LESS worried, not more. That, to me, is the number one sign of a good book or seminar about parenting — it doesn’t stress you out.

And you know why Pattie Fitzgerald and  Safely Ever After won’t stress you out?


She’s got a PREVENTION TIPS list, a RED FLAGS & WARNINGS list, and my personal favorite, a THE SUPER-10, PLAY IT SAFE FOR KIDS AND GROWN-UPS! list.

Check out Pattie’s site. Read her material, buy her kids book, organize a bunch of like-minded parents to take her seminars. I promise you’ll feel better after — and way safer — when you do.

- See more at: http://www.checklistmommy.com/2012/02/09/tricky-people-are-the-new-strangers/#sthash.GW5D9XV9.dpuf

Reblogging this because it’s been a while since I last read it.

Such great advice

(via cmkndy)


Carry me. I’m cold


Check it out » Things I learned watching children today


We are taught from a young age that other people have the right to tell us what we can and cannot feel. Instead of adults creating safe boundaries for children, we too often lose patience and act as though their emotions are ridiculous and an inconvenience.
Your emotions are not ridiculous. You…

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (via mrslahvin)

(Source: feellng, via joythedaughter)


For my local community garden @thewelcomegarden


The Yawn.

Allyson this totally makes me think of you for some reason :)))! Heheh h allybeesunny

(via pastagoddess)


I’m sure I will never be able to go to work again