Live in Love

Posted: 10th January 2013 by Barb Kampbell in Love
Goldfinch/Photo by Barb Kampbell Photography

Goldfinch/Photo by Barb Kampbell Photography

I watched as the tiny chickadees and titmouse birds ate from the feeders
then the big ugly birds suddenly flew in.
I wanted to shoo them away, but what is beauty anyway?
Feeding the birds because they need sustenance, because I want to watch them and feel good about helping them, yet one that is different from what I picture as cute would be denied the same gift.
It’s that way with people—we shun those who are different, we don’t like their clothes or the car they drive, we might even turn our backs to needs they have in which we can help.
We aren’t to judge, but we do.
Live from a place of love, that’s what will turn our world around.

–Barb Kampbell

I’m Still Standing

Posted: 21st March 2012 by Barb Kampbell in Forgiveness, Joy, Love


Wine bottle planters that I made.

I am really surprised it’s been so long since I have written anything. Life is great and despite my back condition I have been able to move forward in my personal growth.

Through much work and personal effort I found myself able to forgive some folks and move on without further allowing them to hurt me. It has been a life-long struggle with some of these people, but I have finally let it go. They no longer hurt me and I feel free. I tried so very hard to be loved by those who should love me, but you can’t make someone love you. And I believe you have to suffer through these lessons to truly get them. I get it. I got it. It is what it is. I’m a wonderful, loving, imperfect human being who is so full of a loving heart and soul that to not love me is kind of silly, but like I said, I can’t make you care.

I discovered recently that I spend a whole lot more time talking nice about people than I do talking badly about people. I believe that when we love ourselves we are able to do this. Forgiveness truly does help us to move forward and opens us to a more pure heart. When we see the good in ourselves and love ourselves we are then able to see the good in others and love others instead of seeing the bad.

In other news…Instead of writing I’ve been doing some artwork with my photography and then I started recycling wine bottles to make planters and wind chimes. I didn’t know I had this artistic side until it started to flow and I have been able to spend time using my creativity rather than just sitting around hoping for some work-from-home income.

Wine bottle wind chimes

I still have much pain and if I do a little too much the sciatica starts coming back so I settle in and rest a bit more. I took myself off of the opioid for pain recently and found that I wasn’t addicted and that it wasn’t helping anyway so I’m on one less medication. That’s a dangerous drug to be on for an extended period of time and I’m glad that I am free of it.

Today my beagle is celebrating her third birthday inside as we’re having heavy rains for about two days here. She and my little rescue dog Rosy had a big part in my healing from some major life-changing events that occurred along with my disability. I no longer run 5ks, but I can still walk and for that I am more than grateful.

So there you have it…I’m still alive! I just haven’t been writing on my blog and that needs to change beginning today.

‘Tis the Season

Posted: 22nd December 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Depression

I’m not going to tell you something that most people don’t already know and/or battle: the holiday season from Thanksgiving through the New Year is a tough time for many of us.

Oh, sure, there is a percentage of those who love nothing more than to pull out the Christmas decorations, bake fudge and cookies, and shop ‘til they drop, often spending money they don’t have on things nobody needs.

Whether you are a Christian, atheist, Jew, Muslim, agnostic, Buddhist, or just do not have a clue about any of it, this time of year is different and difficult (for some). If you live in the U.S. and you aren’t a Christian, or even if you are, then you may feel bad for not wanting to participate in all the festivities that others seem to love. You may think to yourself: “There must be something wrong with me that I don’t enjoy all of this and I just can’t wait for January to get here.” And in my opinion the whole meaning of Christmas has been way overshadowed by materialism anyway so even Christians may not be too keen on all the hoopla.

Even if you are into all the holiday parties with that comes other types of struggles too. Getting left off of those party invitations can hurt your feelings even if you probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. Or you go to everything with the intent to eat, drink, and be merry only to find yourself depressed. This is the season when depression begins or is exacerbated for many. Being alone when you think everyone else is having a good time is not fun even if you used to have family or friends you shared holidays with and still did not enjoy it.

Depression kills people every day seemingly suddenly or over the long haul via overdoses of drugs, drinking too much over too many years until the liver gives up, a gun to the head, or any of the numerous ways one can commit suicide. For some reason our society deems depression as something that’s different from other ailments. If you break your leg and wear a cast people will offer to do almost anything to help you, but tell them you are depressed and they may shun you.

One of the worst things a depressed person can do is isolate and wallow in that depression. But one of the most difficult things a depressed person can do is get out and join the festivities.

Whether you are depressed during the holidays or any other time of year, please seek help. There are therapists who can talk to you and help you to not feel so alone. If you have insurance, you probably have at least a few visits provided for you to see someone. If you don’t have insurance there are places that charge according to what you can pay. You do not have to suffer alone.

“Life is difficult,” as M. Scott Peck wrote in the opening paragraph of his book: “The Road Less Traveled.” To pretend it is anything less than that is to fool yourself. Just because some people cannot deal with the fact that they or others suffer from depression doesn’t mean it isn’t real and just as important to deal with as a broken bone or cancer.

Sometimes depression is caused or worsened by life events; this is known as situational depression. At other times it is caused by an imbalance in the brain. If you have high cholesterol or a heart condition you might not hesitate to take medication for that, but God forbid someone says you are depressed and medication can help. Why many of us have that attitude is beyond me.

I’m uncertain about life after death, but if you believe as many do that this is our one life on this Earth then you owe it to yourself to make the best of it. There are no prizes for making it to the grave depressed. If you seek help and do what is suggested I can almost promise that you will feel better and maybe next year’s holiday season won’t be so crummy.

A New Adventure

Posted: 26th October 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Gifts, Goals

Fireworks in Little Rock

Coming soon: Living Life Inside Out art! Nature photography combined with quotes from the book “Living Life Inside Out.”

There will be small (5×7 photo plus text and mat) and large 8×10 photo, plus text and mat.

It’s still a few weeks from having ready to unveil as my favorite framer is booked. I’ll mostly just mat them and not frame, but I have a business that has given me the opportunity to share/sell them there and I will be getting a few framed soon for that. I’m excited for the opportunity to combine my bookwith my visual art! More details as I get things worked out.

Dogs Enjoy Life

Posted: 29th August 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Fun, Self-care

Rosy and Sully can be taunted into running if I get a toy out for them.

Dogs seem to know how to enjoy life better than people.

Eat, sleep, poop, pee, play, love on mom, repeat, not exactly in that order. On the other hand, people seem to have it all wrong. We work; eat on the run; sleep, but usually not enough or too much; we forget to play; we don’t always show love to those we care for; we just have different motives. Of course, dogs don’t have to work, unless they are trained for such.

I find it very difficult to just relax. Even though I’m unable to work at a job and have a whole lot of free time I worry that I should be doing something. Some people can chill out and enjoy a day by the pool with no worries about things that need to be done. Not me. Currently the house needs to be cleaned, the bed changed, the little dog needs a bath, there’s laundry to do, there’s money I need to make and it just goes on and on.

I’m going to try to be better at relaxing. If watching my dogs doesn’t work I’ll watch the cat for a while because cats really know how to just be.

Life Moves Forward

Posted: 18th August 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Abandonment, Answers, Blame

Self-portrait on a rock.

I spent a few days as a victim. I admit it.

As many of you who have my book know, I don’t like to be the victim of things. Blame just keeps us stuck in feeling bad and causing us to want to isolate, or use drugs, drink too much, or any other behavior that is bad for us.

When I awoke yesterday I felt horrible from the grief and I was having some mild to moderate nerve pain in my foot and leg. I did a little of my work from home job and decided to stop procrastinating and go check with the nearest hospital about some water therapy for my lumbar spine.

So I walked the two blocks there and was told they would call me and set up an appointment. Yeah, that is stupid, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. I did what I was told and it will be convenient to go there when I get started on the treatment.

When I got back I didn’t feel so heavy with grief. I think that we can change the course of a day by doing something different; as simple as just following through on something I’d been putting off.

I decided to move forward and stop wondering why. I could analyze my life away or I could do something positive.

Grieving is a process which will take its course. I am going to control those things which are mine to do so with and leave the rest to the universe. Moving on.

Surviving the Crash

Posted: 14th August 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Uncategorized
The best thing that happened in the past year was getting this little rescue dog we named Rosy.

Two years ago last week I had my first, and so far only back surgery. The surgery fixed the problem and within two months I had sciatica even worse in my other leg. If you read my blog you know that this eventually led me to be unable to work and I became disabled.

So this marked an anniversary of sorts, a year after surgery, but so many things changed over this past year it’s almost unbelievable to me.

The latest and greatest (that greatest would be a tie with getting my second dog, Rosy) was that I fell in love and was fallen in love with (so I thought), only to have the rug pulled out from under me in a sudden change of actions. For the reason given I believe a compromise and my wisdom would have allowed me to continue with what was long distance (a three-hour drive). So if the reason I was given is the true cause of why we “won’t make it” then we wouldn’t have worked because I always believe in talking things out and this decision was made without my input.

If it was some other reason, I may never know, and I’m okay with that. I have learned over my life that we often don’t know why things happen or why others do what they do. Sometimes we don’t even know why we do things or perhaps the reality is we aren’t willing to admit it, even to ourselves.

I’m heartbroken and I have cried a lot of tears since getting this news. If you know me, you know that I cry easily anyway, so it’s no big deal for me to cry—but the pain is deep.

It’s one of those issues I talk about in my book, how we go through things and we don’t know what the lessons are. Often we really don’t have a clue. Sometimes, later, years even, we figure out what happened and why, but at the moment we can only wonder what the hell this lesson is about.

I got a sweet note from a friend today who said I have a sensitive soul. My sensitivity has caused much grief but I wouldn’t change it if I could.  I’m not even sure what she meant by that, but I’m touched when people say they love my sensitivity because it’s not easy being me.

All I can determine through my grief at the moment is that I will survive because that’s another part of who I am: a survivor.


No, No, No

Posted: 26th July 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Addictions, Enabling


Amy Winehouse in better times.

The death of Amy Winehouse was not a surprise to anyone. She was unable to go to rehab and stay long enough to get well and will always be known for her song about just that issue: Rehab.

It is sad that the demons that caused her to continue to abuse drugs were not found and that somehow, someone was enabling her. She had opportunities for help, but whatever her internal pain, she was unable to bear opening herself up to sharing it so she could heal.

I don’t believe people get into that condition just because drugs feel good. I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail here (it will all be revealed someday in my autobiography) because I faced some of those demons and I covered them up with drugs that easily could have killed me. I was really close a few times.

I didn’t need to go to rehab. Something inside of me said “enough” and I never touched the drug that was killing me again and have not been tempted with it either in eighteen years. I had to check my math because it doesn’t seem possible it has been that long ago. I got help after I had stopped using.  I just didn’t go to rehab.

Some people die before the realize life has more to offer than the drugs that never do for you again what they did for you the first time. There is lots of ugliness that goes along with using heroin, cocaine, and some other drugs that many folks will never know. Be glad for that if you don’t.

We don’t hear about all the not-so-famous people who die every day just like Amy Winehouse did. Unless you know someone personally, it’s not all over the news that they overdosed or died from complication of drug abuse. I don’t know her exact cause of death, but it’s easy to see that drugs played some part in the death of someone her age who could no longer use her amazing talent on stage.

The world lost another talented entertainer to this horrible problem. That is sad.

Can you make a difference? If you know someone with a drug or alcohol addiction that is killing them, try to get them some help. If they refuse, be aware of staying out of the business of enabling them in their sickness because they have to hit bottom to get help.

If you enable someone who is using any form of cocaine, heroin, meth, or abusing pharmaceutical drugs, you are part of the problem rather than the solution.

On Life’s Terms

Posted: 22nd July 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Challenges, Taking Care of Self

Me walking along the beach at Washington Oaks State Park in Florida.

While most of us fight it, we simply must live life on life’s terms.

There is so little in this world we control and often the things that are ours to handle we don’t take care of because we are too busy trying to handle something that isn’t ours. We get into the middle of our friends’ relationships and drama. We try to control how other people live their lives. Heck, some of us even think we have some control over the weather or some other thing in which there is no part of it we own.

Life ebbs and flows. We never know when the death of a loved one will happen. We don’t know when our car will break or the air conditioner in our home will stop working. Life happens.

What part do we play in living life on life’s terms? We take care of our self first by getting sufficient sleep; seeing a doctor when we need to; eating things that are good for us, at least most of the time; getting enough exercise; spending time alone and with others; feeding our souls things that make us feel better, not worse; loving big even while risking being hurt; we help our friends, but also let them help themselves, in other words, don’t tell them what to do, love them through their difficulties; and we have fun.

Yes, life can be fun in the midst of struggles and pain. We all have had horrible times in our lives and times of great joy. When we are in emotional pain it is difficult to have any fun, yet vital that we attempt to do just that.

Life IS like a box of chocolates and not always a bowl of cherries. We can make it better or worse, but only by staying within what is ours to handle.

Lesson From a Dog

Posted: 11th July 2011 by Barb Kampbell in Uncategorized

My sweet Sully when she was still a puppy.

One day while at the dog park I observed the cutest little dog named Rusty. When Rusty gets to the dog park it appears to be his mission to go to every person there and give them love. I mean, crawling-up-in-your-lap-giving-you-kisses love.

I have seen many dogs who seem more interested in people than other dogs; in fact my beagle goes up to folks often and gets petted at the park. But she does not go to every person, nor does she crawl up in people’s laps.

This little dog kissed every person as if he knew them. That is his mission in life.

If only people could be this way. I’m not suggesting we go up and kiss every person on the street, but I’m merely saying that if we would love more and fight less we would all be in a more peaceful and happy place. If we always tried to think the best about others and not the worst it would be a start.

It’s not easy and I’m not saying I do it; but I think it’s definitely worth a try. There are lessons in everything we do in life. I got this lesson from a cute little dog.