Adventure, America, Beauty, Bucket List, Death, Faith, Family, Health, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Suicide Prevention, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Women Empowerment

How Social Media is Destroying Humanity

When we think about humanity as whole, what do we think? We think of a species, the Homo sapiens. We think of a superior species that has been set to rule over the rest of the creatures on this planet.

However, it’s becoming clearer every single day that we are a species that is digressing at a rapid rate. Much of that has to do with social media.

Before social media took over the world as we know it, human beings were forced to do this terrible and archaic thing known as actually talking and communicating with each other.  We had to, dare I say it, speak to other people. We had to find out what makes them tick. We had to find out their secrets.

We had to actually care.

We do not care any more. We only care about something when it is trending on Twitter or is ranked highly on Facebook. Otherwise, we do not care about anything.

Last week was the first time I openly mentioned my depression online because of the tragic passing of Robin Williams. I told my story to provide an outlet for others that are suffering from depression to come forward. I battled back from trying to commit suicide. And to this day, I can say that successfully without any medication, I manage my symptoms with self-affirmation. I came forward and was happy to see that many people reached out to me to say that I made them feel more secure in themselves. They felt like they could share their stories. They, like me, shared one similar sentiment:

Why does it take a major tragedy for us to talk about such a serious problem terrorizing people all over this country?

The answer: Because unless it’s on social media, NO ONE CARES!

I saw the trending Tweets: #suicideprevention #depression and so on and so forth. I saw them, and while it made me happy….Deep down, I was mad. I was mad because no one cares enough to talk about this unless it’s a trending Twitter topic. It showed me that people are becoming less and less human. Our depth of caring is at an all-time low.

Fast forward two days and we have the Ice Bucket Challenge. And everyone forgets about their #suicideprevention tags

Now, I support causes for charity 100%. That’s not my complaint with this scenario. My complaint is that, once again, we need something to trend on Facebook or Twitter for us to care about a terrible disease. What is even worse in my eyes is that instead of just challenging people, we are wasting clean water. Literally. This is America and I get that we have clean water. But let us consider the thousands upon thousands of people all over this world that would kill to drink the water we are pouring over our heads to avoid a donation to charity. Originally, you were supposed to donate as well as do the challenge. However, along the lines it became, do the challenge or donate.

Seriously. You are dumping clean water that millions would die to drink over your heads to avoid a major contribution to a charity that helps cure a terrible disease?
ARE WE THAT ARROGANT?

And to everyone that keeps saying, “But it’s raising awareness.”
You are missing my point. You really are. And I do not know how to make it clearer.
You should always care about people with terrible diseases and you should donate to them as often as you can. You should care. ALL of the time. You should not waste clean water when so many people are not fortunate to have that luxury. There is a little kid without shoes in a third world country drinking water out of a sewer right now while you avoid donating money to charity with your ice!

And, in a few days. #ALS will not see any donations. They will go back to seeking out donations that no one will want to donate to because it is no longer a trending Twitter topic.

And not to mention, that ALL charities need our assistance and by “requiring” people to donate a large sum to one charity disinclined them to donate to multiple because they cannot afford it. I am very happy that so many people donated to this charity, but the premise is not right. We should not need to plaster ourselves over social media to donate to charity just so we can trend on Twitter or Facebook.

If it were not for business purposes or networking for causes I believed in, I would delete Facebook and Twitter. Besides the fact that people want to “trend” the amount of defamation and slander on these sites is astronomical.

And we wonder why the world hates us.
We are arrogant. Nothing more. We are extremely arrogant. The reason terrorists come to our country to commit mass murders is because we are arrogant. The reason some of our citizens snap and go on shooting sprees is because we are arrogant.

WE NEED TO STOP.

We need to stop being arrogant and start caring about our fellow man. We need to donate to charity because it’s right. We need to talk to people so that they know they are not alone.

WE NEED TO CARE.

But most of all….

We need to evolve.

 

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Adventure, Death, Dogs, Dying, Faith, Family, God, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Pet Ownership, Pets, Relationships, Self Improvement, Tragedy, Uncategorized

2013: A Call to Change and a Call to Faith

When I graduated from DuBois Central Catholic High School in DuBois, Pennsylvania in 2007, I really did not see my life heading in the direction that it went in. I had 57 other classmates heading into the world with me, which was very shortly cut to 56 a month after us graduating. We had big dreams to say the least. When I graduated I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I just headed to Penn State University in the hopes that I would figure it out as I went along. I spent four years there earning my Bachelors in Journalism with a minor in English. I loved writing and I loved taking pictures…..

and I knew somehow I wanted to change the world with them. I just had to keep faith that I could.

Part of growing up in a Catholic school was learning how to keep your faith. My class was like one giant family, and no matter where we head in life, we still are.  The school bound us together in faith and in love. At any given moment we can come together after being apart for months, and pick up right where we left off.

This year, my faith was tested numerous times, and I firmly believe that because of the class I had, my family and the teachers I had, I succeeded the tests.

This year was a year of love in many ways: Love in Death, Love in New Life, and Love for Eternity.

When I was in high school I told myself I was never going to get married until I was in my 30s, if I got married at all. I spent time talking to my friends about not wanting to settle down because I didn’t want to wake up next to the same person. I just wanted to have fun.

Flash forward seven years and I have a diamond on my ring finger.

I am a firm believer in soul mates. I saw it in my grandparents every day up until he passed away in February. And I’m a firm believer that it’s not something that can really be explained, it’s merely something that can be felt. I could say a million words about how I feel when I’m with Kyle, but none of those words can ever come close to the actual feeling. I’ve seen it a few times this year in people’s engagements besides mine and in people’s weddings. And I can say out of the engagements and weddings that I’ve witnessed, I believe every one of them is with their soul mate. And I believe that only God could have brought them together, just like he brought me and Kyle together. There is literally no rhyme or reason to how Kyle and I met, but I’m glad it happened.

Another thing I witnessed this year, was baby mania. I have never seen so many people I know get pregnant and pop out children. And every last one of those kids is absolutely adorable. It’s an amazing thing to see. I can see parts of the parents in each of the children, but I love babies the most because they have beautiful souls. They just radiate faith and hope. And it’s beautiful. And with new life also comes death, which I witnessed a few times this year. I started out with my grandfather’s death in February, and in August, Kyle’s grandma passed away. Through it all, I maintained the faith I had because it kept me going. And by doing so, it helped me make peace with death in general. Death isn’t as final as some people make it out to be, it just depends on how much faith you have.

With all of this faith, I have come to the end of 2013. There are 18 days left and tomorrow I’m going to continue to test myself by going to a local animal shelter and adopting a dog. Next to babies, I feel animals have the purest souls. In fact, I may rank them above, but it’s definitely close. I said I wanted to make a difference, and I can’t think of a better way to do that then giving a dog a forever home. Personally, I wish I could take them all, but I know I cannot do that. That’s where the testing comes in: knowing that I am strong enough to handle a fragile soul for life and walking away from those that deserve the same thing. If I had to ask for one specific thing for Christmas, it’s that every animal have a loving home. That’s what I want.

When I got my second tattoo, it was inspired by a quote that changed my life. That quote is, “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”

I read it after my grandpa passed away and it stuck with me because during his funeral, I sang every song.  Now granted, I had popped a Xanax because I get anxiety sometimes, but, I sang as loud as I could because I wanted him to hear me. The priest even said to me as I walked out of church, “I see you’re still singing. That’s good.”

I had to, because at that moment, with all of the emotion, I had to sing.

Change is inevitable, but if you have enough faith, change can be enlightening and rewarding.

America, Boston Marathon Attacks, Controvery, Death, Dying, government, Homicide, Journalism, Life Lessons, Loss, Politics, Self Improvement, Terrorism

In Defense of Real Journalism

This blog is a companion to the last blog I wrote titled The Boston Marathon Explosion in Pictures.

What would the world be without technology? At the click of a button, people can find monotonous amounts of information. When Alexander Bell invented the telephone, he probably had no idea what that would one day become. Nowadays people can carry mini computers in their pockets that make phone calls. I know because I have the “phablet” Samsung Galaxy Note II. These phones take pictures, surf the internet, transmit data and many other things. In a moment, people can capture anything on a device and upload it to Facebook, Twitter and various other social media environments.

Photo credits to Bill Hoenk of TIME Magazine http://www.time.com
Photo credits to Bill Hoenk featured in  TIME Magazine
http://www.time.com

That’s a far cry from the cameras of old.

Photography is changing and photojournalism is changing as well. Journalists used to hope and pray that they would get notice of an event, whether it be good or bad before their competition found out the information. Nowadays, everybody has access to all kinds of information, so it’s a chronic rush to publish before the competition. But, it’s important to cover the truth and only the truth.

Whether one likes it or not, the journalists cannot always capture the good moments. This world is full of tragedy and it’s up to them to capture those pictures as well.

Time Magazine just released the front cover of their newest edition and it features a little boy crying with blood in his hair. He was a victim of the Boston Marathon attacks. Now many of you may be disgusted by this image, while some of you may be moved by it.

But this little boy is a face of millions of children in the United States; the millions of children that could have been on that cover if they were in Boston that day. This little boy is lucky to be alive and people are upset that he graces the cover.

Why?

Tragedies aren’t supposed to be easy to look at. Tragedies are supposed to remind us that life is precious and that we need to live every day with purpose. Tragedies remind us that we aren’t invincible. The United States may be a great nation, but the people of America need to remember that there is not such thing as invincibility or being untouchable.

But the thing is, it’s always been like this in the world of photojournalism. Even back to the Vietnam War and way before that. Journalists have been capturing the truth for a number of years and they have faced scrutiny for it many times.

Photo credit to Kim Phuc. Found on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/05/in_pictures_the_vietnam_war_/html/5.stm
Photo credit to Kim Phuc. Found on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/

Many people do not realize the problems photojournalists face. Photojournalists are there to document events as they happen without any interference. Why with no interference? Well, because that compromises the validity of the story. I was taught in my ethics class by Russell Frank at the Pennsylvania State University that it is completely unethical to change a situation or interact in a situation that you are documenting. That is both in writing and in photography. The only, and I mean absolutely only time anyone should intervene is to prevent death. Otherwise, journalists are supposed to be flies on the wall of their situations. Journalists have a duty to their readers to present nothing but truth and facts. No person wants to read a story and find out that the journalist lied, and no one wants to see a picture that was staged or extremely photoshopped. It’s not truth, therefore there is no room for it in the journalism world.

Photojournalists have been capturing those hard moments for a number of years. Quite frequently photojournalists are placed in war zones with the American troops to send images back to their news companies for publication. Sometimes those images can be quite graphic. But that’s their duty. War is not pretty and if any of you out there are so blinded that you think it is, you are sadly mistake. People die, people bleed and it can be hard saying good-bye to your fellow brothers in arms. Some photojournalists have been taken hostage or even killed. Lisa Ling and Euna Lee were captured in North Korea in 2009 and put into a prison until Former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to negotiate their release.

How many of you have traveled to document something and been put into prison?

Photo Credit to Eddie Adams during the Vietnam War. Found at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/05/in_pictures_the_vietnam_war_/html/6.stm
Photo Credit to Eddie Adams during the Vietnam War. Found at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/

People also forget that they seek information and sometimes that means getting what you do not want to see. Online mediums often place disclaimers to their graphic content.

But is it really their job to protect people from the truth?

When the planes crashed in to the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, photojournalists faced similar dilemmas that those of the Boston Marathon attacks faced:
“What am I walking in to?”
“I must separate my feelings from my job.”
“It’s my job to report the whole truth.”

Can you imagine walking out the front door with a camera or a pen and notebook in your hand hearing that these tragedies occurred?

Think about that for one second. Your loved one could be in one of those buildings that may fall to the ground..

And you have to do your job.

Maybe photojournalists aren’t so bad after all. Maybe they’re just trying to make a living like the other millions of Americans in this country.

A lot of people argue that photojournalists aren’t really human when they publish photos that are controversial to others. A lot of people argue that there are certain things people should not see.

But, why is the truth so bad? Would you rather be lied to?

It’s hard to be a real journalist. It is hard to sit at a desk and pound out a story on a daily basis. It is hard to go to a simple borough council meeting and determine the most important factors  to put into a story to give to the people of your town. It is hard to go to a sporting event and cover every single play and get every single player’s name spelled correctly. It is hard to weigh what is important for a reader to know and what is not important for people to know. It is hard to be standing behind a lens and see a dead body. It is hard to look up and see planes flying into a building while fire and ash spew from the sides. It is hard to see people dismembered lying on the ground.

Photo credit to Richard Drew of the Associated Press. Featured at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/09/pictures/110908-about-911-september-9-11-twin-world-trade-center-towers-indelible/#/september-9-11-attacks-anniversary-ground-zero-world-trade-center-pentagon-flight-93-falling-man_39992_600x450.jpg
Photo credit to Richard Drew of the Associated Press. Featured at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com

It is hard to be a journalist.

But if there were no journalists, no one would ever know anything. And if people don’t know anything, then they cannot protect themselves.

The next time one looks at a picture and feels like complaining about its content,

Perhaps you should take a moment and step back and think of how the person that took that photograph felt knowing all he or she could do was capture that moment and hope for the best.

We all feel, some of our professions just don’t allow us the luxury of acting on our emotions.

If you want to check out more images, feel free to not only search, but check out these sites:
http://lightbox.time.com/2013/03/18/a-decade-of-war-in-iraq-the-images-that-moved-them-most/#5
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/09/pictures/110908-about-911-september-9-11-twin-world-trade-center-towers-indelible/#/september-9-11-attacks-anniversary-ground-zero-world-trade-center-pentagon-flight-93-airplane-shanksville_39999_600x450.jpg

America, Boston Marathon Attacks, Crime Rates, Death, Economics, Family, God, government, Homicide, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Obama, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Terrorism, Tragedy, Uncategorized

The Boston Marathon Explosion in Pictures

This photo was found on the ABC News Website at http://www.abcnews.go.com
This photo was found on the ABC News Website at http://www.abcnews.go.com

As a journalist, seeing the photos released by news organizations of this attack today does not bother me at all. No, it’s not because I am heartless. No, it’s not because I have a strong stomach either. If anything, I have a weak stomach. I don’t find it disrespectful to take these photos because, guess what? EVERYONE needs to know what real life is like! You can’t sugar coat a tragedy and pictures aren’t any more disrespectful than the photo of the girl floating around on social media sites that people say was “Running for Sandy Hook.” SHE WASN’T! Her number showed she wasn’t even running in that race, but people of America are too stupid to investigate that picture and will repost it mindlessly.

But they get upset about blood.

The photo was a fake plastered all over the place of a little girl running in a clearly rural setting saying she died today when an 8-year-old boy died today. That is social media, not real journalism. Because, that was fake.

Photo falsely proclaiming this girl to be running in the Boston Marathon in remembrance of the Sandy Hook victims
Photo falsely proclaiming this girl to be running in the Boston Marathon in remembrance of the Sandy Hook victims

War is real. Terrorism is real. You wouldn’t be the slightest bit upset if it was a terrorist you saw. How many of you felt anything when you saw pictures of Saddam or other terrorists in gruesome fashions? The world is real. You should expect the photos you see to be real. A photojournalist’s job is to capture the raw truth of an image. That’s what you’re getting. It’s not staged. It’s not phony. It’s TRUTH. We are trained with discretion and determine what people need to see. Granted Facebook and Twitter has ruined that because anyone can upload anything now, but the job is to deliver the story. And you can’t tell the story without the blood. You can’t tell the story without the tears.

I mean seriously? Do you expect all the pictures to be of people laying on the ground with no blood and no tears in their eyes at all? Just sitting there??? Is that what you want? An emotionless image that just makes the subjects look like they don’t feel anything at all? I’m just curious. Because that’s not what real life does. People cry. people bleed.

People DIE.

And then act like journalists don’t have souls or boundaries. You wouldn’t even know what happened if you didn’t see the pictures or videos. You would be standing around wondering, “What the hell happened?” Journalists have the hardest jobs. We have to separate our feelings from our work. We have to put ourselves in terrible situations to get the job done. I mean, do you think every photojournalist sits around praying for a bombing or a shooting so that he or she can go take a picture? Do you think that’s what we want to see? Do you think we don’t cry about what we see late at night? No we hope to capture and write about happy moments. But we can’t do that all of the time in this world. We have to show the bad stuff too.

Take it in. And try to make the world a better place so the blood stops. Stop seeing life through a rainbow-colored lens…….obviously, as we saw today, LIFE ISN’T LIKE THAT.

When I get up in the morning, I don’t look for photos of blood and guts from various massacres across the world. However, I think that as Americans we have an arrogance about ourselves that cannot be denied. We don’t want to see war and reality if it’s on the face of our own people.

It is known that most people do not mind seeing pictures of dead terrorists or dead animals. And then people wonder why other countries hate us. We should see reality. No we shouldn’t see it at the age of four, but as young adults and adults we are fully capable of handing the truth. These pictures should show you reality.

This photo was found on the CNN Website at http://www.cnn.com
This photo was found on the CNN Website at http://www.cnn.com

We need to be aware of what we can do to one another.

And we need to change ourselves. But how can we learn if at first we don’t SEE?

The answer is simple: We Can’t

This photo was found on the Business Insider website at http://www.businessinsider.com
This photo was found on the Business Insider website at http://www.businessinsider.com
This photo was found on the New York Post website at http://www.nypost.com
This photo was found on the New York Post website at http://www.nypost.com
Adventure, America, Beauty, Bucket List, Death, Dying, Family, Feminism, God, government, Gun Laws, Guns, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Obama, Politics, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Tattoos, Women

Once Should Be Enough

Earlier this year I posted a bucket list on my blog. I had posted it right after my grandpa passed away. You can view it here. Well, it’s been about a month since we buried him, and I have already done some of the things that I had said I would do.

Last week I got my second tattoo. It was rather simple but powerful; it is the infinity symbol with the word faith written in the symbol. Along one side is a cross and on the other side is two birds.

I have a lot of faith in God and what he has done for me. In fact, I think I have more faith than most of the people I know. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that the amount of times you go to church has absolutely no bearing on the amount of faith you have. I look up at the moon and I can see God. I can see him in the sunsets at the ocean. I see power and mystery; I would much rather praise God in his natural habitat than in a building that people made to worship him in. It seems quite counterproductive to build a building to be “in the presence of God” when God made nature. That is why I had the word faith written into the infinity symbol. The cross also represented God as well as Jesus. Jesus died for me as he did for all of us. It is my belief that we owe it to him to love one another regardless of religion, race or sexual preference. My Jesus was that guy that hung out with lepers and whores and loved them anyway because no one else would (Of course I mean whore in the sense that Mary Magdalene was painted as a whore by certain people. Personally I could care less how many people she slept with). That man died for me, so I owe it to him to try to love everyone. Finally, I got two birds, one to represent Kimmy, who I have written about before on here, and one for my grandpa. Birds represent freedom and peace. They are at peace and they are free. They are always with me and someday I will be flying with them. I know it’s rather simple, but it meant a lot to me. My sister also got her first tattoo with my grandpa’s date of birth and date of death on her back.

A special thanks to Josh Slovinsky of Dark Star Tattoo in Punxsutawney, PA.
A special thanks to Josh Slovinsky of Dark Star Tattoo in Punxsutawney, PA.

The second thing off of my bucket list, which I’m not entirely sure I actually mentioned in the first blog, was to buy another gun. After my initial experience with my Smith & Wesson .38 Special, I realized I was more suited to semi-automatic hand guns than I was suited to revolvers. My boyfriend and I went to Grice Gun Shop in Clearfield, Pa. for their annual gun sale. We initially had went for ammo because Lord knows that since all of these rules have been implemented, ammunition has been scarce. Which, I find to be extremely ironic because crazy ass people are STILL killing people. So guess what? It’s PEOPLE that need help with their mental problems. PEOPLE kill people, not guns. Anyway, I went to the hand gun part of the store, even though I saw a tactical rifle that I really wanted but could not afford on the wall. I walked around the cases when I saw it: the Beretta Px4Storm. It was on sale, and no it’s not a Glock, but Beretta’s are still highly reputable around the world (I mean, come on, they are made in Italy and my moms family is from Italy, so obviously I knew it was well made). I was lucky enough to have a Beretta representative wait on me and hand me the gun. It fit so well in my hand. It was larger, which I liked because I’m not the stereotypical “small-gun” female. In fact it was molded and crafted so well that my boyfriend was like, “Hell, I want to buy this, but I’m not going to.” So I surprised him.

I told the guy to give me a form to fill out for my background check.

My boyfriend was GREEEEEENNN with envy because I wanted it bad enough to purchase it on the spot. I assured him I would let him shoot it, despite him trying to convince me to trade him for his Ruger SR9. I decided to get the 9mm model instead of the .40 cal because I didn’t think I was ready for .40 cal yet. Also, I knew I wanted him to get the Glock in .40 cal because of its good reviews and high reliability.

And within ten minutes I had my full background check complete and headed to the cash register. Which, was surprising to me because the first time I bought a gun, it took them 2.5 hours to get my background check completed. But nonetheless, the people at Grice Gun Shop are the friendliest and they know their stuff; never hesitate to ask them a question.

This Thursday I will be going out to shoot my new purchase and I am extremely excited because I already know I will like it more than the revolver, and I shot well with Kyle’s Ruger. I will probably post a picture of my target when I am finished because I am that excited. I wrote in my last blog how I feel more and more confident that I can take care of and protect myself, and this gun will provide me with such confidence. See, gun owners don’t have to be psycho. In fact, most of the gun owners in the USA are not, but psycho people steal respectable gun owners weapons. I am not planning a mass killing nor do I want to kill myself, I simply want to know that if someone ever tries to steal my purse, rape me or kill me that I have the capability of severely wounding and incapacitating them (Yes. My faith in the human race is so HIGH that I will carry a weapon because I know monsters exist and refuse to be anything less than evil. And that’s a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. Screw gun control. We need people control).

That’s two things: A new tattoo and a new gun. I have many things on my list left to do this year. They say you only live once,

And if you do it right, once should be enough.

America, Assault Rifles, bartending, Beauty, Crime Rates, Economics, Election, Family, God, government, health care, Ideals, insurance, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Obama, Politics, Self-Help, Uncategorized

An Open Letter to the Government of the United States

Dear President Obama and the government of the United States,
My name is Alexandria (Ali) Prescott. I graduated college from Penn State University in May of 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Journalism. I pay my student loan back on time every month, even when bills are tight. I do not have a job in my field, though I do have a job bartending at the bar my mom owns. This means that I live off of the tips that customers give me; sometimes I get tipped well, but sometimes I also get tipped nothing at all. Companies constantly tell me that I do not have enough experience and that is why I have not been hired. I live with my mom, boyfriend, little sister, two dogs and one cat. We all work hard to make ends meet. I don’t have health insurance because I can’t afford it and I am trying to qualify for medical assistance. I have a lot of health issues right now that are progressively getting worse because I cannot get them taken care of. The insurance I was on kicked me off when I turned 21 and put me on this other insurance for “female only” problems. And since the new Obamacare proposals, I have seen such a decrease in my coverage that even my doctors and pharmacists cannot keep up.

I am writing this because I have one question: why? Why did I have to pay for my education when people sitting in prison get free education? You keep saying that children need to be educated, but yet, you freely educate criminals and make college kids have to pay back their loans. Why don’t I have insurance when people sitting in prison and jail get taken care of? Why does the government give drug addicts the ability to “get back on their feet” but it doesn’t afford that opportunity to people like me? Why are people like me working to “spread the wealth” when we are struggling on a day-to-day basis to make ends meet? Why do I see people in Sheetz using their ACCESS cards to buy cigarettes and specialty coffee? Why do so many people cheat the system and you don’t catch on? How can someone be on disability, have a job, collect food stamps and welfare all at the same time? How can drug addicts get put into programs where they get free housing and healthcare? And they do, because my father is one of them.

Why government? Why are you ripping this country apart by punishing the people who work hard to make it a great nation? Why is all this fairness you speak of fair to no one at all?

Why?

I used to be proud to be an American and now I’m not sure what it even means to be an American in this day and age.

And you wonder why people go crazy and kill other people. Well.

I think I found your answer, and it’s you, government, that is driving this nation of greatness to a nation of shambles.

Sincerely,
Ali Prescott

Adventure, America, Beauty, Bucket List, Dating, Death, Dying, Family, God, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Travel, Uncategorized, Women

Go With Your Whole Heart

How many times are we told that time waits for no one? And how many times do we put off things we should do because we think we have more time? It’s easy; everyone thinks they have time and they do not ever use it wisely until something tragic happens.

The year has barely started and I have already had to bury my grandfather. He was a man who I considered to be timeless until I realized that time would inevitably run out. He lived a good, and rather long life. Now, my family and I have to move forward.

If there is one thing certain about life, it’s that it has to move regardless of what tragedies may occur during our time on this planet. That means that it is time to start living. You must live every, single breath of every, single day. You must live with purpose and with fiery passion that way when you die, you have no regrets. You must love with your whole heart, not just part of it.

I have been inspired to make a two-year bucket list. Some things on this list are going to be wild and crazy while others are going to be simple. But nonetheless, I have a life to live. I have a life to live for myself. I may have my better half, and he will be involved in many of these adventures, but I still have to live these things for me.

Go to Hawaii 
My grandparents went to Hawaii and while they were there they met the Pittsburgh Steelers  like Lynn Swann and Franco Harris. I know I won’t get to hang out with celebrities like they did, but I want to see the mountains, waterfalls and beaches.
Get more Tattoos
I’ve always been fascinated by artwork in its various forms. And I have the idea of what I want next, I’m just baffled by the placement I want it.
See Wild Horses on the Beach
I hear it is possible in the northern part of North Carolina to see wild horses on the beach. I have wanted to see them since I saw “Nights In Rodanthe.” It would quite a beautiful sight.
Get a Job in My Field
I have learned so much from bartending at the place my mom owns. But I ultimately do want to find a job in my field. I would love to find one in Florida and I am confident that within these next two years I can make that happen. Until then, I am content slinging beers and mixing drinks.
Take Kyle to Disney World
I have so many memories from my childhood at that place: all with my grandparents. I think it is about time I show him why I love the place so much. Oh, and he has never been there either.
Read Every Book on my Bookshelf
I have many books. In fact when I have my own house I want many shelves to house these books. However, one would be surprised how many of these books I have started and not finished. I need to finish a lot if them, and there is no time like the present to do so.
Make a Difference in the World
I do not particularly care how it happens, but I will be performing one random act of kindness a month at least for the next two years to make the world a better place. It will increase to probably once a week until ultimately I try to do one random act of kindness per day.
Travel Abroad
I’ve only ever traveled to Canada. Other than that I have never been out of the states. That needs to change. I feel a few European countries are calling my name and seeking my visit. I want to see Sicily because it is where my grandpa’s family is from. Italy in general is my goal, but I want to see both places. I want to see the whole continent.
Take Lots of Pictures
I originally got my Nikon D5100 to take pictures of my grandparents. Unfortunately, I did not get to take any of them together  basically because taking something that large as a carry-on on the plane is virtually impossible without paying the baggage fees.  I was hoping I would get to drive down with my boyfriend and drive back with him as well. We were supposed to go this week actually to surprise them, but God had other plans. Thus, it’s only fair that from now on I try my best to capture every moment that I can because I will not ever know which moment will be my last.
Eat One New Food a Month
My grandpa was always trying to get me to eat new foods and most of the time I hated it. Well, now I am going to expand my food palette and try new things.

I know it’s not much, but I want to try to get all of these things accomplished. And if I have any new ideas, I will inevitably be writing about them in future blogs. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to comment them.

As one of my favorite songs says, “Forget regret or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today.”

Live in the moment. Live every day like it was your last day. Love every love like it will be your last love. Surround yourself with happiness.

Love.

Boldly go. And go with your whole heart.

Beauty, Death, Dying, Family, God, Health, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help

The Eulogy I’ll Never Get to Read

57.5 years of marriage in this world. A love story like Carl and Ellie's. Always remember that adventure is out there <3
57.5 years of marriage in this world. A love story like Carl and Ellie’s. Always remember that adventure is out there ❤

Tonight I stood in the funeral home and greeted many people who knew my grandfather. For the record, this man looked absolutely awesome. I know that sounds morbid, but I saw him just three weeks ago, and he looked worse than dead in that hospital. People gathered to say their goodbyes. Much to my heartbreak, my grandma continually went to my grandpa’s body to kiss and hug his face. She cried for a good portion of the day over his body, but after 60 years or so of being together, 57.5 of them being married, I did not expect this to be easy. I took quite a few Xanax to calm my nerves and hold everyone together because I am typically seen as the rock that holds everyone together; a title that I hold with pride, but realize that it’s a curse as well. Tomorrow, I will say my last goodbye and the casket will close. Tomorrow we will take him to St. Tobias Church in Brockway, Pa. Then, we will take him to the cemetery.

I wrote this eulogy for my grandfather to honor his life, love and dedication to his family. I was so excited to read it in front of the congregation at his mass until the priest at his parish informed me that because my sister was already saying something that I would not be allowed to.

Awesome right?

That’s what I thought. I mean, why would I get to say my final goodbye? Why the hell is that fair? Why should I get the chance to tell the people what this man meant to me? My sister was getting to, so why was I any different? Or why would my cousin be if he had chosen something? In fact it was a good thing the priest said something to us saying I could not say my piece at the funeral because I was just about to ask my cousin if he wanted to come up with us. But I never got that chance.

Thus, here I am, heartbroken on many levels because I don’t get to say anything. The only person that will be talking is my sister. She can say a piece of my speech, but I’m going to be honest and say I don’t give a single shit, and I would rather my piece not even be shared. I wanted to say those things. I wanted to tell people how I felt. And I’m not going to get to say those things.

I’m turning to my blog, because I want to reach as many people as possible with the eulogy that I poured my heart into that I am not going to get to share with my family because of a rule. One rule, that ruined everything.

—————————————————————————————————————–

The Eulogy of Anthony Salvadore Grecco.
January 15, 1934- February 17, 2013

My grandpa taught me many things in my 23.5 years of life. However I think the most important thing he taught me was how to love, which he showed everyday to his family, especially his wife.

When I was young, I watched Disney movies every single day. I wanted Prince Charming to come sweep me off to a castle in the sunset. I thought to myself, “That’s what love is supposed to be like.” As I grew older, I realized that all of those fairy tales were complete lies. I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy with Kyle, who I’m with, but I would be lying if I said that loving someone was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I had difficulty loving myself all of my life, so I didn’t know how to even love another person. But, if there’s one thing I have learned in the last three years especially, it’s that when people dream of love, they should dream of the love and dedication my grandparents have had to each other.

Over the last few months I’ve been helping my grandma take care of him and I didn’t regret that one bit. If she called me, I went to help her and if I couldn’t go myself, I’d send Kyle. I didn’t care what time of night it was, I went. It was during this time I saw the love that people write about in books. She would make him dinner and bandage his legs. She would make him do his therapy. And even if he complained she didn’t care because they never really argued, they had discussions. But even when they got angry with each other, they didn’t let it bother them. When they left for Florida this year I went with them. The thing that showed their love the most is that they stayed up a good portion of that first night just talking to each other while I slept in the next room. They talked about life and anything and everything they could think of. I was sad I had to leave but I knew I would be coming back, though I went back sooner than I expected when my grandpa went to the hospital. And again, love was the only thing I saw between these two. She drove every day to see him in Tampa. And they sat and talked and my grandpa slept a lot. But she still sat there, every day, to support him. I sat there to try to keep his spirits up and it worked for the most part. On the day before I left to come home, I went there with her to see him. I held my grandpa’s hand and gave him a kiss goodbye and told him that I would see him soon. I said that because I knew that if this was the last time I saw him that I didn’t want to say goodbye because I don’t believe in goodbye. But he kissed me goodbye and I started out the door. My grandma gave him a kiss and said, “Bye buddy. I love you and I will see you tomorrow.” And he said, “Buddy you have no idea how much I love and appreciate you because it’s more than you know.”

And when I look back at that moment, I use that to define love. Love is everything it’s cracked up to be and it’s worth fighting for…. It’s worth fighting until the last breath for. That’s what their whole relationship was about. It didn’t matter what people said, they stood beside each other. It didn’t matter what obstacle they faced, they faced it together. When they took their vows on August 6, 1955, they took them with God, and when they renewed them on August 6, 2005, they reaffirmed that no matter what the circumstances: sickness or health, good times or bad that they would do it all together. They were married in this world for 57.5 years and they will continue to be married in the next. Their souls are forever intertwined because of God. I know that my grandpa left his earthly home, but his soul is still around to guide us all. His soul can’t ever die.

I want to thank them for giving me the gift of watching their love grow. Especially for the last three years. I learned how to be a better person because of them. I learned how to love myself because of them and I learned how to love others because of watching them love each other. I learned that dating and marriage isn’t about being selfish, it’s about giving as much of yourself to the other person and guiding them through life.

Grandpa, I grow every day in my relationship and all my other relationships because I see how you love grandma and still love her from heaven. I wish people could have seen how you loved her as much as I did in those last two months and I wish people could have seen how much she loved you. I wish that everyone that got married nowadays would take their vows as seriously as you did, because then there wouldn’t be any divorce. But, you came from an era where if something was damaged, you fixed it… You didn’t throw it away.

So, grandpa: thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving my whole family. Thank you for giving me my mom and making her so strong. Thank you for loving grandma and continuing to love her every day. Thank you for never leaving us because I know you’re still standing beside grandma, your buddy, holding her hand.

-RIP-

Beauty, Death, Dying, Family, God, Health, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Uncategorized, Women

The Price You Pay For Growing Up

When I look back upon my life up until this point, there has been one constant that has always kept me grounded: my grandfather.

On February 17, 2013, my grandfather, Anthony Salvadore Grecco, Jr. went to be with God in his eternal home. Now, I find myself trying to find a compass to point me in the correct direction because the compass that I had is no longer in tangible and earthly form. And while I find myself currently lost, I have faith that I will find my way again through his guidance. His favorite saying whenever I became lost in what I was supposed to do was simple, “That’s the price you pay for growing up.” He had meant it to refer to life’s hardships, but now I realize a good portion of the saying is simply referring to death as the price you pay for growing up.

A common question people ask when someone dies is, “Is there life after death?” I can tell you that there is.

Everyone that knows me or that has read my blog knows that I had a best friend that was killed when I was 17. What a lot of people don’t know is that my best friend has visited me in my sleep many times to give me advice when I needed it the most.

Now, I know most of you probably think that I was merely dreaming, but I can assure you it was more than that. It was an out-of-body experience because I felt like I had floated from my body to heaven. Also, she had changed; she wasn’t exactly the same girl that I had class with and drove in the car with. She was somehow wiser and more beautiful than I had remembered, something only heaven can do. We laughed and talked about life. The most distinct thing I remember though is me asking her this question: “Kimmy, why did you leave me?” And she responded simply with, “I didn’t want to, but I had to.”  She then waved good-bye to me and I woke up.

Now, what does this have to do with my grandpa’s death? Well, I rest at ease knowing that he is with her as well as his parents. He’s also with a bunch of other cool cats I know that were gone from this world far too soon. But I know that there is life after this, and that life is eternally happy. Kimmy doesn’t visit me too often, but she always visits me when I least expect it. And it always ends up being when I need it the most. I know my grandpa will do the same. I find solace knowing that while his earthly shell will not be present for my wedding someday or when I have children, that his soul will be present for all of those events. I know he will be there when my sister receives her high school diploma and he will be ecstatic.

My grandpa left his earthly home and nothing more. He is still my grandpa because a person’s soul is who they really are. His soul was that of: husband of 57.5 years, father for 51.8 years, and grandfather for 23.5 years. His soul was a proud member of the United States Army where he served honorably in Korea as well as stateside. His soul was a member of the Knights of Columbus where his highest honor was State Secretary. His soul chose the Catholic faith.

I say his soul because it is important to distinguish the two, soul and body. God gives us a soul to be put into our human homes. When people die, their souls don’t die, their earthly home simply became unable to host them anymore. Whether they leave to be with God eternally or be recycled into another human home is something I am unsure of. But I do know that my grandpa’s soul is just as alive as it has ever been.

Death can be summed up in many ways, and a lot of other people do it better than I can:
“End? No. The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path; one we must all take.” -Gandalf, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”-Dumbledore, Harry Potter

“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Corinthians 15, as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and above all those who live without love.” Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

and, my personal favorite:

“The one’s that love us never really leave us. You can always find them, (points to Harry’s heart) in here.” Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I hope to make my grandpa proud and I hope to live the life of faith that he lived. I hope that those who mourn realize that they are not alone; our loved one’s souls are always with us. My grandpa looked at death and would say, “That’s the price you pay for growing up.”

And he paid the price, and he did it his way. And for that, I will be eternally happy.

I will put the lyrics to my favorite song of death on here. I wish I could say that I would be able to sing this song at his funeral, but part of me feels I wouldn’t be able to perform it the whole way through without crying.

I give you, “Into the West” which is performed by Annie Lennox and is at the ending credits of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Lay down your sweet and weary head.
Night is falling; you’ve come to journey’s end
Sleep now, and dream of the ones who came before.
They are calling from across the distant shore.

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away.
Safe in my arms; you’re only sleeping.

What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea a pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass.
A light on the water; all souls pass

Hope fades into the world of night.
Through shadows falling out of memory and time
Don’t say “We have come now to the end”
White shores are calling; you and I will meet again

And you’ll be here in my arms just sleeping

What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea a pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass
A light on the water:
Grey ships pass into the West

Rest In Peace
January 15, 1934- February 17, 2013

America, Beauty, Cats, Dogs, Family, God, Health, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Pet Ownership, Pets, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Uncategorized

The Human Virus

I for the life of me cannot figure out why human beings as a species is nothing more than an infecting virus.

Don’t agree? Well allow me to elaborate on my accusation. Viruses replicate and infect in order to thrive. Viruses will do anything possible to survive, even if that means destroying what is around them. Thus, human beings are a virus.

As I write this, I am watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.

I stand for many things in my life including honor and equality for humans everywhere, but one thing I advocate highly is the ethical treatment of pets everywhere. I have two golden retrievers, Bella, who is four and Princess who is eleven. I also have one cat named Nibby that is fourteen years old.

If there is one thing that I absolutely cannot stand it is a viral human being that adopts a pet without doing any research at all and then decides to throw away said pet. It is absolutely disgusting. But, that’s exactly what a virus does, it takes over living particles and destroys them with intention of doing irreparable damage.

Research is so helpful when one goes to either adopt a pet or buy one from a reputable breeder. Now, let me make the distinction here between a reputable breeder and a detrimental puppy mill. The American Kennel Club has members that breed pure bred puppies. These breeders are trained and must be registered with the AKC. If you’re buying a puppy from a pet store, chances are that puppy was born in a puppy mill. My mom used to be a member of the AKC and we had two litters in my lifetime. We forced anyone interested in purchasing a puppy to go through a series of interviews with us and the mother of the puppies. If she, the mother of the puppies, or us felt you would be a terrible owner, we would not sell. Also, if we sold to a good family that perhaps decided later on that they could not handle the responsibility of the dog, we had a policy where we required them to return the puppies to us to ensure that we would raise them or find them new homes. A puppy mill is where people have dogs and force them to get pregnant over and over and over again so that they can get money out of the sales. Sounds disgusting right? Well it is. These dogs live in terrible conditions: flea infested areas, too many dogs to where they are on top of each other, living in their own urine and feces….and that is just a few of the terrible conditions that the human virus inflicts upon these creatures. And that’s just with dogs. The same thing happens with all animals: cats, birds, horses, pigs, cows, gerbils.

People frequently wonder why tragedies happen all over America. There are people who snap and go crazy and open fire in schools or upon government officials. There are people who become serial killers.

You want to know why? Scenarios like the one above are exactly why people snap and lose control. People get tired of the human virus and combat it in the only way a virus can be combated: they kill it

I don’t advocate killing in any way because I want everything to live in peace and harmony. However, I wish that people who snap and kill other people…kill the virus so to speak, would kill the virus and not the innocents. People that torture and are nothing more that a nuisance to the human population, perhaps deserve death. I for one feel that puppy mill owners and people who abandon any animal or torture any animal deserve to be tortured in the way they torture others. Death would be doing this virus a favor.

There is a young woman who I am Facebook friends with. She went to my high school and graduated two years after I did. She is currently trying to adopt a dog from Florida that was going to be euthanized. She currently lives in Edinboro, Pa. This is going to cost her approximately $800 dollars. She is halfway to her goal and is accepting donations for this cause. You can check out the Facebook event here. I donated and I hope that this blog will encourage some of you to help her save this dog. The dog was raised in terrible conditions and was infested with fleas. The shelter was just going to euthanize this dog, basically because there are so many viral human beings on this planet that just dump these creatures that they are now over-run with animals.

This planet needs change. This virus, needs to be dormant and never infect again. Human beings need to change because they are to blame for every single terrible thing that has happened on this planet. Honestly, what else does this virus do?

Human Beings:
Destroy habitats for animals in the wild all for the sake of progress.
Kill for sport, not for survival.
Take animals and use and abuse them….then let them go.
Start wars

Is this the legacy that people wish to leave their children? Because I certainly do not want to leave my children the world in its current state because it makes me cry on a daily basis. I cry because the world is such a beautiful place and the human virus does nothing but try to destroy the beauty in it. Every time I see a World Wildlife Foundation commercial I cry. Every time I see an abused animal commercial, I break down. It’s depressing, but that’s what the human virus does. In fact every time a tragedy strikes human beings I barely show any feeling because most of the time….

The human virus deserves what it gets.

We need to change, and we need to be the change we want to see in the world. If enough of us ban together, we can ensure this planet is fit for our children. We need to stop standing for the terrible things we do. We need to speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves.

We need to not be a virus anymore.

We need progress, the kind that is good for all of God’s creatures, not just for human beings.

And we need it before we all get destroyed.

Please check out this link and consider donating to my friend. Also, I encourage you to donate to your local animal shelters. If you’re interested in adopting an animal, check out Petfinder for a list of adoptable animals in your area.