“Coastal Life”

A beautiful depiction of a day at the beach!

Life here on Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast has always been such a blessing to me and my family. We’re originally from Tennessee, moved to the coast back in 2006 after eight years of vacationing at the location.

It’s definitely a different world than from where we’re from, but everything has been such a wonderful change. We don’t have any actual family here, but the close friends that we’ve made while living here have without a doubt become our family. Even though they aren’t blood relatives, they are all special parts of our lives. All of whom we hold very dear to our hearts!

Living on the coast, there’s a sense of wonderment that still captivates me and I wanted to capture that moment so I could share it with you. A day at the beach offers serenity for any and all who appreciate the blissfulness that the coast has to offer.

My artwork simply titled, “Coastal Life” can be found at Fine Art America…… prints, phone chargers, towels, blankets and so much more!

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

(“Coastal Life” ~ artwork by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints, phone chargers, towels, blankets and so much more available only at….. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/coastal-life-sheila-renee-parker.html)

 

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“I…. Am…. A Man!”

Joseph Carey Merrick, a.k.a. “The Elephant Man”.

On August 5,1862, Joseph Carey Merrick (who was often incorrectly referred to as John Merrick) was born in Leicester, England. His parents were Joseph Rockley Merrick and Mary Jane Merrick. During his early years in life, Joseph Carey began to suffer from extreme facial and body deformities. He appeared to have thick and lumpy skin. His lips became rather enlarged, and a bony lump started to grow on his forehead. One arm and both feet also grew to be enlarged and during his childhood he had fallen, damaging his left hip which caused him permanent lameness.

At the age of only eleven years old, Joseph Carey’s mother passed away. The cause of her death was bronchopneumonia. His father remarried not long after. Wrongly, he and his new wife rejected Joseph, treating him like an outcast. Joseph Carey was forced to leave home, finding shelter at the residence of his uncle, Charles Merrick.

At thirteen years old, Joseph gained employment working at Freeman’s Cigar Factory in Leicester. And then, in December 1879, at seventeen years of age, he joined the Leicester Union Workhouse. A few years later in 1884, Joseph got in contact with Sam Torr who was a showman. Joseph suggested that Sam should put Joseph up as an exhibit because of his unusual deformities.

Torr agreed on the proposition and along with a group of men who managed Joseph, they came up with Joseph’s exhibit’s name of “The Elephant Man”. After touring for some time, Joseph made a trip to London to be put on exhibit in a penny gaff located on Whitechapel Road which was rented by Tom Norman who was also a showman. Norman’s shop was located right across the street from the London Hospital.

Frederick Treves, who was a surgeon from the hospital, visited Norman’s shop. Dr. Treves automatically showed interest in Joseph Carey Merrick. The doctor invited Joseph to the hospital to be examined and photographed. This made Joseph feel uncomfortable, like an animal, and he refused to return to the London Hospital. This angered Dr. Treves and oddly enough, Norman’s shop was closed by local authorities. Upset by it all, Joseph decided to seek another opportunity elsewhere and joined a gentleman by the name of Sam Roper who owned a traveling circus that toured throughout Europe.

As time went on, Joseph was unfortunately robbed in Belgium, abandoned in Brussels, and finally made his way back to the London Hospital. Dr. Treves allowed Joseph to stay the remainder of his life at the hospital, free room and board. With daily visits from Dr. Treves, the two men quickly formed a remarkable friendship. Even the wealthy elite, including Alexandra, Princess of Wales visited Joseph.

And then, on April 11, 1890, Joseph Carey Merrick sadly died at the age of twenty-seven years old of asphyxia which is a condition where the body is seriously deprived of oxygen. It was believed that he was awake, attempting to get up from his bed just prior to his death. He was found stretched across his bed with a dislocated neck. Perhaps the weight of his head was too much for his neck to support. His skeletal remains can be found on display in the Royal London Hospital, which is a large educational facility in London, England.

It’s said that one of Joseph Carey Merrick’s favorite poems was:

“Tis true my form is something odd,                                                                               but blaming me is blaming God.                                                                                Could I create myself anew,                                                                                               I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole                                                                                      or grasp the ocean with a span,                                                                                         I would be measured by the soul.                                                                                 The mind’s the standard of the man.”

 

 

“I am not an animal! I am a human being! I … am … a man!” ~ Joseph Carey Merrick, a.k.a. “The Elephant Man”.

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

Here is the artwork that I created in honor of Joseph Carey Merrick simply titled, “The Elephant Man”. Prints, pillows, blankets and even stationary…. available only at Fine Art America!

(“The Elephant Man” ~ by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints, tote bags, coffee mugs and so much more available only at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-elephant-man-sheila-renee-parker.html!)

 

TGI…. the Weekend!

Happy Saturday, one and all! Have a fab weekend and as always…. Be blessed! 💋

Life Is Beautiful ….. So, Keep Shining! You are definitely loved!!!!

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

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Art of Yesteryear

Happy Monday and Happy September, everyone! This month is already off to a stormy start as Tropical Storm Gordon begins to make its way up the Gulf Coast. Those of us who live here on Alabama’s coastline are pretty well safe, but will continue to keep a watchful eye on the impending weather. If you’re on the Gulf Coast please be mindful as well and remain safe.

Over the weekend I was going through some of my old things, sorting through what to keep and what to get rid of, and I stumbled upon an old photo album of some art that I painted many moons ago. Not only canvas art, but I’ve also painted on wine bottles, flower vases, etc… anything I can tickle a brush on.

The following photos are of the pieces that I’ve painted. They were so much fun to create. I no longer have them, they’ve all been purchased and placed in loving homes. (Yes, I know I speak fondly of my art, that’s only because I’ve always been so passionate about my creativity! As any artist should be. 🙂 )

 

Wishing you all a beautiful week!

~ Much Love & Light, Sheila 💋

 

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Haunted Swamp”

Ahhhh…. The Haunted Swamp. Nefarious place or a peaceful location? I guess that’s up to the individual and their experience.

Recently, my husband and I checked out a place called Bear Creek Swamp located in Prattville, Alabama. It was nearly a three hour drive that we took early in the morning to attend our son’s football game that was scheduled to occur later that night. The reason why we left so early was because my husband and I had already researched the city of Prattville, which was founded by industrialist and architect, Daniel Pratt in 1839. We love historical places so we took the opportunity to look around!

Upon our research, we looked for areas known for paranormal activity. That’s when my husband stumbled across some online articles about Bear Creek Swamp, also referred to as “The Haunted Swamp”. What he shared with me were some pretty interesting things. We read about ghostly sightings of Confederate soldiers, Creek Indians, early settlers, and even an apparition of a woman desperately in search of her lost child that will lash out at anyone who repeats three times, “We have your baby!”

People have even made reports of seeing floating orbs and phantom car lights that chased them down the road, that’s if their vehicles didn’t stall without plausible explanation. Yep, some say that their cars have actually “died” and wouldn’t start back up while encountering the freakishly paranormal activity of The Haunted Swamp.

Also, sightings of none other…. the big, hairy beast himself, Bigfoot! His echoing howls have been heard by various people claiming the validity of this creature. Oh, and we dare not leave out the elusive, legendary Chupacabra whose sightings have been reported as well.

And as if all that wasn’t enough to make one want to become a nail biter, there’s the Creepy Doll Graveyard where 21 porcelain dolls were found on top of bamboo stakes back in November, 2014. Who or what was behind this macabre creation? Who knows? The origin of such a morbid finding has never been discovered, or revealed.

Now, in finding Bear Creek Swamp, it seemed like it took my husband and me forever before we finally found it. Of course, we used our GPS and it sent us to a bridge that crossed over Bear Creek on Alabama State Route 14. We knew that wasn’t the exact location mentioned in the articles. Keep in mind, we weren’t able to find any road signs about Bear Creek Swamp, but did that stop us from our search? No way! We were determined to see what all the hype was about with The Haunted Swamp!

We traveled down a couple of paved roads that were near the bridge, but quickly knew that we were still in the wrong spots. My husband and I were just about to give up when we passed a dirt, gravelly looking road. He said,  “Hmmm…. wonder if that was the road?” Getting tired of driving around I asked him, “Wanna go back to see?” He was like, “No, uh huh… let’s just keep going.” But when he said that, I could tell that he really did want to go back to see if that old road was the correct one. “What would you do if you were me?” I asked him. “Go back.” He said without any hesitation.

That’s when I found the nearest place to turn our car around. I’m glad we did because once we turned down the old road, we were in awe of our surroundings! We weren’t even a mile away from Alabama State Route 14 when we noticed the swamp that was on both sides of the road. It was lush and green with a beautiful serenity about it! It was a road that appeared not traveled much and had very few residences on it. The entire time we were on the road, not once did we encounter another vehicle. It was absolutely quiet there. The only sound we heard was from a small, man-made drainage culvert. Trees were all over the place, moss was abound and I couldn’t resist taking some of the beautiful moss home. (The next day I put the moss into a crystal bowl and added some tiny, white wire lights to create a stunning coffee table centerpiece. One word…. “Gorgeous!”).

While going down the road we did stop and get out of our car a couple of times. Did we experience anything ghostly or otherworldly? Did we see our beloved Bigfoot and/or  Chupacabra? Nope! Didn’t see anything, hear anything, nor smell anything of the sort. (Smell? Why would I say that?? Because Bigfoot has always been known to have a foul odor about him. Poor guy…. you’d think that with all the water around there that he would take a bath every once in a while. 😉 )

Everything that we researched basically had supernatural activity at night. We didn’t stay there until nightfall because the main reason why we were in Prattville was to attend our son’s football game, which was far more important to us. So, that’s why we visited Bear Creek Swamp during the day.

What we did experience at The Haunted Swamp was tranquility and beauty. It was like stepping back into another time as we made our way down the unpaved road. No sounds of the hustle and bustle of a nearby city, no streetlights and buildings. Only vibrant green scenery and tall trees surrounded us. The occasional breeze that blew off the water was cool to our skin, taking away the humid, August day’s heat.

I was raised as a country girl, so I found myself extremely comfortable there. It made me reminisce the times when I was growing up on the old road that I did with my best friend. Together, she and I were always finding our way down hidden trails that passersby often forgot about.

My husband found himself reminiscing as well. He loved the place, too. We will happily go back at the next given chance!

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

My artwork titled, “The Haunted Swamp”.

The Haunted Forest 3

(“The Haunted Swamp” ~ Digital artwork by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints available at Fine Art America!)

 

 

(The coffee table centerpiece that I created using the moss from “The Haunted Swamp”.)

 

 

“You’re Looking Too Thin”

“You’re looking too thin.” Is what some people have been telling me lately. And even though I know they care, their comments are becoming a tad much.

A little over a year ago I was getting a check up and was told that my weight was slightly more than what it should be. Well, that did hit home because at the time, I had been feeling rather sluggish and unmotivated. But when the nurse practitioner said that, I did listen. So, I started eliminating certain foods that I knew weren’t of the right choice. I began eating healthier, choosing fresh produce rather than processed. Incorporating more fruits and veggies into what I eat on a daily basis. No more pop tarts, chips and things like that. Now, I do still like to eat the occasional cookie (or two… lol). Just a few days ago I baked some homemade peanut butter cookies that were out of this world! YUM!!! And yes, I still eat pizza every once in a while, indulge in a milkshake here and there…. but…. everything in moderation… even Hershey Kisses (which I will always love!)!!

I’ve gotten wiser on how I make my food choices and I couldn’t be happier! Before I made my lifestyle change, my energy level felt drained and my arthritis gave me fits. For anyone who has arthritis, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I would wake up in the morning feeling stiff as a board. My lower back would hurt so much that it would bring tears to my eyes. Not to mention the random hip pains that would often cause me to limp some. My hands would lock up and ache… my knees would, on rare occasions, literally give out on me. I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was 34, but knew I had it for a lot longer than that. As I got closer to 40, my pain and discomfort gradually got worse. Actually, to the point where it was starting to limit certain levels of mobility. I hid the pain, dealing with it the best way I could. In the beginning I tried pain medication, but quickly stopped because after reading all the ridiculous side effects, I decided that was not how I was going to live my life, taking pills on a daily basis. That may be for others, but definitely not me!

Then, last year when the nurse practitioner said that about my weight it made me start thinking, plus with my arthritis…. my body was controlling me, making me feel horrible and I wasn’t going to let that happen any longer. I finally woke up, listening to the things that my body had been trying to tell me for so long. That’s when I started taking control by eating healthier and incorporating exercise into my daily routine. Yes, I exercise every single day and I absolutely love it! Guess what?! That arthritis pain….. I kicked its ass!!! Yep, I said it! By me constantly being active, my arthritis pain has become extremely minimal. Every great once in a while it will remind me that it’s still there, but nothing in comparison to how it used to be!

I exercise in the comfort of my own home. I don’t have a gym membership. I have a core flex machine, some light weights, an ab wheel, an exercise stretch band and an exercise ball. I do a lot of sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, etc… I even incorporate isometric exercises along with yoga, and I also jog.

By eating healthier and being active, I feel soooooo much better now! Honestly, I feel better than I did even when I was in my twenties! I haven’t felt this great in decades!! And yes, I have lost 40 lbs., but I’m healthier and I continue to maintain my yearly check-up. My only regret about all this is that I didn’t do it years ago. But can’t dwell on that because everything happens for a reason. Carpe diem!!! 😉

I also minimized my diet soda intake. I used to drink 3 – 4 of those every day. I know they say “no calories”, but seriously… since I am down to only having one a day, I honestly believe that has helped my weight achieve a healthier goal as well. I have become addicted to fruit infused flavored water. I love going to the local markets and picking out fresh fruits and veggies so I can make my own infused water. Totally delicious with soooo many health benefits!! So far, one of my faves is a water that I add green apple, cucumber, mint leaves and lemon to. It’s so refreshing and smells divine!!

Ok, here’s the question… since I’m a vegetarian (and have been for 15 yrs), how do I get my protein? Well, a few years ago I used to be a plasma donor. Every time a person donates plasma, their protein and iron levels get checked. My levels were often higher than those of meat eaters. Why? Because I’ve always known the importance of that so I make sure to eat protein enriched foods. Peanut butter, beans… dairy… and I am also a huge fan of Morning Star products, which are low in fat, but are awesome with maintaining a great protein level. Also, protein shakes… yogurt…. (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it all!) You get the picture. lol

Together, my husband and I are both eating better so we can hopefully live long, healthier lives. So, for anyone who says, “It gets harder as you get older.” I say to that… Bullsnart! I was 41 when I made my lifestyle change and trust me, I’m extremely grateful I did it!

It’s up to us, people…. it only gets harder if we allow it!

 

Eat healthy, be active and stay motivated, my friends! Remember, life is meant to be enjoyed!!!

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

Here I am with a serious face because I am serious about staying motivated! Wearing absolutely no make-up and just finished working out, feeling awesome day by day! We can all make a difference in our lives, all we have to do is just do it! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One, Two, Three, Four… And Here’s To Many, Many More!!!

OMGosh…. Can you believe it?! At the end of this month will be four years since I created this site! Where has all the time gone? So many wonderful things have happened! I’ve had the awesome opportunity to meet tons of fascinating people, make amazing new friends and have had the honor to be a very special part in some pretty fantastic events! Last September I was a vendor at the Gulf Coast ParaCon in Biloxi, Mississippi. In November I attended the Paranormal Diaries Film Event in Sauk Centre, Minnesota and just this past weekend I was a vendor at the Society of Supernatural Convention in Wheeling, West Virginia (An upcoming article with photos about this trip will be published soon…. 😉 ).

And…. another event this coming November in New Orleans. Be sure to stay tuned for details about that one…. super exciting!!! Also, a quick SHOUT OUT to each and every single radio show that I’ve had the absolute honor to be a guest on!

All the while, staying busy working on my next novel and writing articles that you say you love! It is always such a pleasure receiving the positive feedback from all of you! I am extremely blessed every single day because of everyone, a big humongous THANK YOU!!!!

So, a VERY HAPPY 4 YEAR ANNIVERSARY to sheilareneeparker.com and all of you for making it happen!!! TOGETHER WE ROCK!!!!!

~ Much Love & Light, Sheila ❤

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

 

 

 

 

(Sheila Renee Parker. Author. Artist. Empath.)