Posted in Guest interview, inspiration, Personal, promotion

Let’s Hear it for Mike Hamp!!

Hello everyone,  I hope all is well with you. Today, I have a guest with a unique message. He’s trying to take his own experiences and trying to help others who may be struggling with the same issues he has struggled with. I won’t go into any more detail than that because I want Mike to share his story and the project he’s working on. Take it away, Mike!

  1. Mike, tell us a little about yourself.

Hey Lisa!! Thanks a ton for the opportunity!! I was born on the east side of the state in Port Huron on November 1st, 1982.  That makes me 36 years old 😉 I have 4 amazing children. It goes from oldest to youngest, ages and gender follow names. Michael 14 Daughter (Yes, its Michael, yes, she is a girl…) Rylee 13 Daughter. Jonah 8 Son. Ailey 6 Daughter.

These kids are incredible and help remind me daily that I MUST lead by example. I make a living and goof off a lot at Tom’s Meat Market here in Hastings. We just recently went viral on Facebook with our Gummi Bear Brats!! Daniel Tosh (Tosh.o) shared it, I also did a live radio interview recently about them with a station in Rockford, Illinois. I honestly can say if I MUST have to earn money to pay bills, then Tom’s is definitely the place I want to be as the Values Not Feelings Organization and A Walk For Thought are growing and taking shape… I’ll explain more in the questions below.

 

 

  1. If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about how you became addicted to opiates?

Sure, this is all part of my story, although I speak of it a lot lately. I LOVE sharing it in hopes that I reach the MANY others who battle the same or similar things that I have. I was introduced to opiates when I was 16. I had 4 shoulder surgeries pretty much all back to back. There was a lot of work done in a couple years span which pretty much kept a pretty decent number of opiates flowing into my life for a solid amount of time. I really enjoyed the way the opiates made me feel. They helped the chaos in my brain feel better, that I can remember super early in my younger years. This was a chaos that I still deal with today, one that I have thankfully learned to think through rather than go numb and try to hide from. The hard stuff never goes away, it might fall back a bit, it might sit in the shadows out of your sight, but the fight in the mind that so many are engaged in will show back up at times with more opportunity to grow. Around this time is when I took my first drink of alcohol. Something that was a problem from the very first drop… I am just shy of 17 months sober from drinking alcohol as I write this and I am grateful for how much my quality of life has improved without it. Mixing opiates and other pills with alcohol became a war that lasted for half of my life before I was finally able to break out of the hell like grips of addiction. A “disease” of the mind and our thoughts…

 

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  1. When did you realize you had a problem and what were the steps you took to resolve it?

 

With opiates and alcohol both it was almost instantly that they both became very big issues in my life. I had many times in between the 16 years where opiates weren’t as big of an issue as alcohol was for me. If they were around and I took them, well, it would just depend on how long in between therapies, rehabs, meetings before I was faced with yet “another” failed bout with self-control and will power. I would once again give into the fight and would take opiates and then  would face the consequences in one way or another EVERY TIME. Until finally, after a shit ton of tries, many and I mean many hard lessons and close calls, I stopped using opiates 4 years ago. Alcohol on the other hand had its grips around my neck for a bit longer and other than a 7 month period of not drinking (For a girl), it was the longest I went with out alcohol from 16 years old until just about 17 months ago. Where I made the decision that if I was going to choose life,  I was going to put in the work NO MATTER WHAT happened. I’ve tried quitting so many times before so I was skeptical about my success, but deep inside I knew this time was different.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about your struggle to resolve your problem.

I’d say my senior year of High School is when the use of the substances reached a place that put a real problem on the radar. I was drinking in school, before school. Just before graduation was my very first attempt at a try in the substance abuse programs that are around. (Not by choice) My parents tried helping by putting me into a program. It was an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for people battling addiction. I had to go 3 nights a week for 3 hours. It only lasted a few visits and then I stopped going which then lead to years and years of juggling through trying to quit and failing which then the many different therapy sessions, and aa/na meetings, other types of rehabs followed. I have been married and divorced 2 times. My issues with my mind and battle with substances played an enormous role in both marriages failing. Although we are in control of our own actions and behaviors, its super hard to be the husband you need to be when you don’t even know who you are…

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  1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent project.

 

My newest project is something called A Walk For Thought. It is a solo walk from Hastings, Mi. to St. Ignace, Mi. Its roughly 280 miles and I will be finishing on Labor Day of 2019 by crossing the Mackinac Bridge. The whole point is to attempt to bring awareness and funds to the Values Not Feelings Organization, a Non Profit that I am currently working on that will be based in my community and will be here in hopes to help others struggling with mental health and addictions. I have experienced this War first hand and it helps me  to support anyone who is ready to get out of this lifestyle that shortens life spans and steals life’s happiness and joy. It takes a ton of hard work on their part however, and that is where I feel I can help. Coaching so to speak…

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  1. How would someone who wishes to participate get in touch with you?

We are ALWAYS looking for financial support as well as people sharing the vision. I have had so much amazing support and sponsors come on board, one being J Pixel, who has built an awesome website for me www.valuesnotfeelings.com which has a bunch of information about the project as well as a page for anyone to sign up as a sponsor. I’m also available on social media and  via Email. Facebook: Mike Hamp or A Walk For Thought Page.  and Instagram: Mike Hamp (Valuesnotfeelings) as well as Email: valuesnotfeelings@gmail

 

  1. What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

A Walk For Thought and Values Not Feelings are 2 separate projects that ultimately go together very well. The walk is meant to help push the Non Profit, it’s meant to help fund it, to help put it on the map so to speak, so I really hope that the walk brings a ton of attention in hopes to get the message and vision out to reach any and all who are ready to change their lives. This walk is meant to cause enough of a stir and gain the attention of people all over in hopes to help support those fighting for their lives. As well as, get people who have the finances and other things in hopes to get more sponsors and donors. The fight of addiction and the battle against poor mental health make this awesome life super hard to live, I want my story and experiences to help the people who are stuck now, get out and get to a place where they experience life fully…

 

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  1. Do you have any plans after this project for another one?

OH YEAH!! 😊 I have found a new Love/Passion for walking, hiking. 280 miles is only the beginning. This project has caught some attention of companies and donors thinking that 280 miles is far, just wait until you all hear of some of the other things we are tossing around… East coast to West coast maybe? We have A TON of great ideas that hopefully will turn into something more in the next few years. But as far as the foundation, the original base of this whole vision is helping anyone and everyone who is ready to put in the work and discipline needed to pull themselves out of the fiery pits of hell that addiction is. I NEVER want to lose focus of the real reason I am doing this all, and that is to offer myself to anyone ready to live this life on purpose…

 

  1. Where did you get the idea for this project?

There is a lot to this question as far as layers and ways I can answer it to get to the most descriptive answer so bear with me… At 16 I fell into this trap after 4 shoulder surgeries before I even graduated from High School. I am not blaming anyone but I didn’t even have a chance to be a “normal” High School  kid. I started life behind the majority because I battled for mine early on. After ALL of the things I have faced and all the extreme lows that I sank to, after the dust settled and I was able to walk out of that War alive. I got to a place in my life where I was solid enough to toss some ideas around. I started to see patterns and little tricks to help stay away from the poisons that were screaming in my brain to let in. I realized that we are in control of our responses only and that even though we “feel” emotions, as hard as they can be, we don’t have to respond!

This put a power into my life that I didn’t know was possible. I became part of a Crossfit Gym (Trifit), who is now a sponsor of mine, and was introduced to the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. This was the EXACT shift I needed. After putting in some very hard work and remaining disciplined in my work outs and diet, things began shifting in my mind. I had begun experiencing some awesome responses from the way my brain was working, it was like my once broken-down beat-up body and mind (which was like an old beat up car that was backfiring and spitting and sputtering, smoking and back firing) was just barely running and barely getting from point A to point B. But when I got on purpose about putting the proper fuel in my body (My vehicle), and took care of it with exercise and other maintenance, it started running like a fine-tuned machine, and it brought me into a place in life that I hadn’t experienced before. I began to trust my thoughts; my brain and body functions were amazing. I got into good shape and enjoyed life from that place and learned that that is a HUGE part at building a foundation to a life where you aren’t NEEDING drugs or alcohol to live…

The idea for the walk however only came when I went through a few months span of my body falling apart. I was recently sober, eating awesome and working out intensely. I was hit with some unexpected health issues that made it impossible to work out or even run. I had Rhabdomyolysis. I had shoulder surgeries #5 and #6 and I got to a place that when I ran, I peed blood, every time. (Bladder rubs when I run, causing enough trauma to bleed, very scary stuff until you get an answer) After the last 7 months of doctors, surgeries, overnight stays in the hospitals and all the chaos, I was pretty much left with only the option of walking… I had a new love for pushing myself and my body, but I was sinking fast when I wasn’t able to do much. I had just started realizing  I could take control of my mind and body and really do a lot to become healthy and strong. Exercise and good nutrition helped my thoughts and it was hard when I couldn’t exercise, I felt everything was crashing down around me and burying me in the very same mental mess that had buried for so many years previously.

I lost one of my most dear friends in March of 2018 to the battle of alcohol. Watching him die did something to the deepest part of me. I knew that with my story and past and with the determination I had from Brandon’s death, it was time to make my life mean something. I had to do something. I wondered, how far I would I have to walk for people to notice… And Bang, the idea was born. I began walking very far everyday because it was all my body can do and it turned into a passion. Now, I walk a ton everyday but I have also gotten back into the gym as well as slowly recouping and rehabbing. Now, its just what needs to happen, in order for my mind and body to fire on all cylinders, they must be treated properly, on purpose…

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  1. On a lighter note, what are some of your hobbies and interests?

I LOVE writing. It’s been a passion and an escape for me from as far back as I can remember. It’s a way for me to dig deep down inside and grasp onto some of those feelings that are there, and attempt to pull them out and put them onto the page, hoping they might just make sentences and paragraphs that will positively impact anyone who reads it. I have 4 amazing children who I LOVE spending as much time with as possible. I work in a pretty awesome Meat Market and spend quite a bit of time there, but it’s among my friends and it rarely ever feels like work. I love people, hearing their stories. I enjoy comedy and laughing a lot. I just might take a crack at it myself someday… 😊

 

Photo on Visualhunt

 

Thanks a lot Lisa for this opportunity. I am grateful for the chance you’ve given me to get my story and vision out. Keep fighting, Keep pushing, Be love; #valuesnotfeelings #awalkforthought

 

You’re welcome, Mike! Thanks for being a guest today. The meme below reminds me of you. So, keep spreading your message. The world needs to hear it!

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Posted in inspiration, Women

What sets your Soul on Fire?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s a blustery Wednesday and most of the state of Michigan has closed including the company I work for. So, I’ve been snuggled under my blanket in front of the fire working on my story. That’s when the inspiration hit for this blog post. So, here we go!

Photo credit: paul+photos=moody on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

Women through out history have been given conflicting messages from society when it comes to their role in life. Dealing with this is exasperating and draining, so here’s my take on that.

Women should decide for themselves what they want to do with their lives.

Don’t ask your partner because most likely he or she will pick what they want, and that may or may not be what’s best for you. Now, this may be uncomfortable for you because we were raised to be nice and think of other people’s feelings first, but it’s okay to be self-focused about this. You have just as much right to pursue happiness as everyone else on the face of the earth. It’s written in the constitution.

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To do this, you have to prioritize your goals. Choose the ones that are most important to you. It may be you want to stay at home and be there for your kids. It may be you want a career because accomplishments are important to you. Whatever the case may be, decide what aspirations are important to you and pursue those goals.  Don’t listen to anybody else.

To find the goals that resonate with you, you must know yourself, know what sets your soul on fire. It takes time to do this and sometimes it might be a little uncomfortable, but it’s worth the discomfort. Trust me. Once you know what’s important to you, the setting and following goals part becomes much easier.

 

Photo credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography on VisualhuntCC BY-SA

As you go through this process, you’ll see not everyone has the same dream and not everyone will understand your journey, and that’s okay. We all have our own paths to take and once we accept that, we’ll be able to allow everyone in our lives to walk their own path. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel pain or discouragement, but  maybe we won’t spend so much time wallowing in those painful emotions. We’ll learn our lesson and move on.

Once we do this, things will start to flow. Decisions will be easier to make because we’ll ask ourselves, does this align with my dreams? If the answer is yes, we know what to do, and if the answer is no, we know what to do.

So, take a few minutes, or a few hours, or a few days, months, or years and think about what sets your soul on fire and then go for it!

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Thanks for taking time to read my post. I hope it resonates with you! What are your dreams and aspirations? What steps are you taking to go after them? Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

Posted in Personal

Tropical Vacations on my Mind

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after finishing a couple of scenes in my story. It’s coming together and I’m excited to see the final product. I hope you are, too.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. What with the Super Blood Wolf Moon and the bitter cold weather, I’ve been staying inside, working on my story and dreaming of warmer weather.

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I can’t wait for summer and my days and nights hanging out by the beach and reading! I have so many books I on my TBR pile, I can’t think straight, but enough about that.

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Today as I hibernate against the bitter cold outside. It’s nineteen degrees, by the way, too cold for me that’s for sure. I daydream about a nice warm vacation that I’d like to go on. My kids want to go to the Bahamas. Right now, that sounds pretty good, I want to go anywhere warm.

 

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I’ve googled a few places and found that it’s going to be expensive, so I’m going to start saving right now and maybe by this time next year, I’ll be sitting on the beach drinking a strawberry margarita.

A tropical vacation would be good for my soul. Can you imagine sleeping with the window open and listening to the waves lap the shore? I can. Did you know that walking barefoot on a beach or anywhere is good for you? It’s called Earthing or Grounding.

I could certainly do some earthing in the Bahamas. Just having direct contact with the earth helps stabilize daily cortisol rhythm and creates an internal bio-electrical environment. In other words, it’s good for your soul.

Photo credit: Kew on Flickr on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

There are also health benefits from being by the water. Did you know the salty air around the ocean helps support serotonin and melatonin production? Say good bye to the blues when you’re by the water.

Just researching these facts makes me think about returning to nature and simplifying my life so that I can do all the things I love to do. Maybe at retirement, I’ll live by the beach and read all the time, but for right now, I’ll just concentrate on a vacation.

How about you? When’s the last time you went on a vacation that was good for your soul? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Uncategorized

Let’s End the Mom Wars

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today with a post I wrote a few years back. It was a popular post and it still has relevance today so I thought I’d share it again. Thanks to all my followers for reading. I love you all!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the Mom Wars. You know what they are, where Moms become competitive with each other over mothering. Whenever I see it I groan. It drives me absolutely nuts.

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I remember talking to one parent in particular. My kids weren’t friends with her kids, but we’d end up running into each other at the park and we’d compare notes. For example, what movie my kids liked and what one they didn’t. She’d tell me what play areas were good and which ones weren’t and so on. However, each time we parted, I felt frustrated and I wasn’t sure why. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So the next time we talked, I paid attention to what was going on, and I noticed that every…

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Posted in Personal

A Series of Unfortunate Assumptions

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Christmas break is finally over, and the Christmas decorations are all put away. Sob. Christmas is my favorite holiday so I’m always a little sad when all the lights and other décor are taken down. Sigh.

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The night before the first day back to school, we received a weather alert informing us a storm was coming very early the next morning. Freezing rain. We didn’t think much of it because we get alerts like this quite often and the predictions usually don’t pan out or they’re not as bad as anticipated, so we went about our evening rituals, got the kids to bed and settled down to watch one of our favorite shows.

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The next morning, we got up and had our breakfast before I took the boys to the bus stop. When we arrived, there were no other kids waiting for the bus. Now, our bus driver has a history of arriving early and leaving whether or not anyone’s waiting for her. Something numerous people have complained about. So, we NATURALLY assumed when we didn’t see the bus that she’d already left. So, I proceeded to drive to the next bus stop, I’ve had to do this numerous times in the past to make sure my boys get to school. (Not happy about that. Let me tell you!)

Photo credit: RubyT (I come here for cameraderie!) on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

No one was at that stop either. So NATURALLY, I assumed she was really early and we had missed the bus, so I proceeded to drive my boys to school.  When we arrived, there were no other cars in the parking lot except for the snow plow, plowing the lot. I thought this was odd, but my son informed me the school doesn’t open until seven. This is a new policy and I remember receiving an e-mail about it a couple of months ago. Since it was quarter to seven, I NATURALLY assumed the staff would be arriving any minute.

So, I pulled into the circle drive and proceeded to wait with my boys until the school opened. As it neared the witching hour, no lights flickered on and no cars arrived in the parking lot. I turned to the backseat and asked. “Why are there no other parents dropping off their kids this morning? What’s going on?”

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And only then did my oldest say, “I wonder if school is cancelled.”

“Check the website.” My tone was light but inside my breakfast started to curdle while my brain shouted. You mean to tell me, we didn’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to get the boys to the bus? We didn’t have to crawl out of a warm bed and go out into the cold morning air to drop the boys off at school? I shushed my inner demon and reasoned with him.  Relax. We usually get a recorded call at five in the morning when school is cancelled.

I sincerely believed school wasn’t cancelled, but there were no cars and no lights. I started to sweat a little. When my son checked the website on his phone, it was only then we learned we had a two-hour delay.

I’m sure the snowplow driver we encountered had a hearty chuckle out of the lone car parked in front of the school, waiting for the school to open, and I’m sure he had a full belly laugh when we finally realized it wasn’t opening for another two hours and drove away. Yeah. That’s how my week started. So, you know the rest of my week has got to be good after a start like that, right?

 

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How about you? Did your week start as planned? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Personal, raising kids

Gratitude in the New Year

 

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s the New Year and I’m excited for what 2019 has in store for me. I have some stories I need to finish and I’m hoping this year is the year for me to do that.

However, I don’t want to talk about that today. I thought today, I would talk about gratitude. There’s a meme floating around Facebook and it states, if you list three things you’re grateful for every day, you’ll become happy.  Let’s face it, we’re all looking for happiness and it’s so elusive. Hidden behind the mundane routine of our everyday lives. It’s hard to find in the morning traffic jam and the bills we have to pay to keep a roof over our heads, but it’s there.

 

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If you’re smart. You’ll look for it in the simple things, like making your kids their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or getting up at the butt crack of dawn to make sure they make it to the bus stop on time. That’s truly where happiness lies.

I know you’re questioning my logic. After all, crawling out of a warm bed and throwing your coat on over your pajamas to go out in the freezing cold doesn’t sound like much fun. It isn’t, but the fact my kids rely on me to do this every morning makes me happy. We chat for a few minutes as we wait for the bus and they tell me things they don’t mention at the dinner table. I know it doesn’t sound magical, but it is. It is to me. They’re growing up so fast and these moments are becoming fewer and fewer as they develop friendships and become more independent.

Photo credit: RubyT (I come here for cameraderie!) on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

I’m grateful for those moments. I’m also grateful for the moments when we’re together and they give me grief. They enjoy picking on me. I tell them that’s their way of showing me they love me. They deny it, but I know it’s true.

I’m also grateful for those times when we’re up north and night falls. I stand on the dock, taking in the moon and stars, and my family wanders out to take in the night sky with me. I love those moments, especially because my youngest is interested in the stars and our solar system. We chat for a few minutes about them and take in the wonder of the heavens. We connect in a world where most connections are digital, and it’s such an awesome feeling to connect even if it’s only for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all you need.

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Wow. I’ve listed three things I’m grateful for and you know what? I do feel happier. That meme wasn’t lying.  I’m going to try this for twenty one days and see if it’s permanent. How about you? What are you grateful for? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!