Blog

Spiritual Experience Search

Hey Readers! I’ve been busy adding to my books, and there’s no update on the ticket situation yet, so I’ve been slacking on my posts again. I’m sorry, but I’m back now, and a ticket update is coming up very, very soon. I go in to talk to the court later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that, because it will be either one of my best days, or one of my worst. We will just have to wait and see.

Now, as for today, I wanted to get you guys involved in my now current project (I just finished the roughest of drafts about my family’s World War I letters – more on that once I’m closer to publishing it), a book on spirituality and perspectives. I’m currently working on including a section that features experiences with spiritual, religious, and supernatural forms. This includes (but is not limited to): demons, angels, deities (gods), ghosts, orbs, shadow people, reincarnation recalls, successful spells (from ANY magic inclined system), and just about anything that you can think of that is associated with ANY religion or things that have really changed your spiritual perspective.

What do you get out of it? (I’m pretty sure you’re thinking that, if not, well, that’s awesome too) Well, there are actually going to be a couple options here, and you can pick both. Isn’t that pretty cool?

You can get a tiny bit of personal fame by allowing your given name (real one or an appropriate for a published book screen name – cuz I’m cool but professional like that) to be attached to your story either directly next to your story, or just in the references and sources area. It’s totally up to you, I get wanting anonymity too – just let me know what you’re going for and I’ll make it happen. Also, I will ensure that you get a free copy of the book once it is published! I will need a working email to be able to do this easily though, so see my email address as listed here in a bit and drop a note so I know where to send it when it’s ready.

In addition (who would have guessed it???) I will now share one of my own experiences here.

I was around five years old when this happened, and it’s probably the fourth scariest experience I’ve had in that house.

Strangely enough, it was early in the morning, with sunlight streaming through the upper windows into a shared bedroom that was on the second floor. The set of windows did not have any sort of roof or anything anywhere near them yet, that would come at a later time. And that’s important for reasons you’ll see in a moment.

My parents were already downstairs preparing breakfast and cleaning up whatever mess in the kitchen sink that had been left for the morning. I was alone upstairs, playing with toys and generally minding my own business. I always loved that early morning light in that room, it’s just so comforting in it’s own way. New day dawning and all  that. Now, for whatever reason, I look toward the wall that is opposite of those windows. Upon the wall there is the dark shadow of a man, wearing a tall hat. Not quite Abe Lincoln or anything, but noticeable enough.

Of course, I am suddenly confused, but don’t really feel any malice or meanness about it. I’m mostly just curious and wondering why it’s there. I look out the window, and while there is a tree outside near the road, it’s not in a position to cast a shadow that exact. (It certainly never appeared again, at least not for me) I look back toward the wall, even more confused than ever, and begin to look a bit more closely.

It is still there, and as I start the closer examination, I abruptly notice that where a human’s eyes would be, there are glowing red areas. Now, I finally feel scared, and that it might have an intent to harm me. So guess what… I did the most silly thing ever. I hid under my parents blanket for what seemed like forever, until my Pops had to come and rescue me.

Thankfully, that was the last of that particular thing. I’m not sure how I would react if it ever appeared again.

Alright, so the email we are using for this is azarathiasalternatives@zoho.com. Don’t be shy, I can’t wait to get to see and share your story! Til next time Readers, Goodnight! 🙂

Recent Creative Explorations

While I’ve been trying to focus on the writing for the books I’ve been working on, my hands have been itching to do something else for a while. I know it’s not my normal posts, but maybe it’ll inspire you to find your creative side. Studies have shown that being creative helps reduce stress, and if you’re a struggling felon like me – you’re probably pretty stressed out too (no rest for the wicked, even once we’re done with being wicked…)

Anyway, I have always indulged in the creative arts in one way or another, sketching with smudgy charcoal is my favorite (reminds me of those super creepy illustrations in the well known scary story series), but I have experimented with paints of all kinds, clay, jewelry, creative writing… and pretty much anything that is DIY.  Here, I’ll be sharing the photos of my recent work with watercolor and charcoal – if I can figure it out (yeah, still a noob to this blog stuff, apologies! lol)

Hey! I did it!  (pats self on back) As for my personal process with these, I’m mostly just playing around with the paints, experimenting with how they can blend together and then just doodling whatever random thing pops into my head (usually while I’m playing with the colors). I stick to simple stuff because I’ll drown myself in details trying to get more specific things perfect and lose the element of fun. I’ve been there too, and since I use this as a stress reliever, I’d rather not get fussy with it. If you for some reason love one of these, they are available on my Etsy page:  Aza’s Alternatives (Please let me know if this works correctly or not, so I can try to fix it if needed.) That wraps it up for now, and I have an errand, so take care til next time guys!

-Aza

Raging Against the Ticket (Final Update)

Hey Reader! Glad to see you back again! I have my final update about the ticket that I was given this April. Imagine that, it took a whole two months to straighten out! Goodness. Oh, well, that’s just how it goes when you play by their rules.

Alright, so, I got dressed up again (nice blouse and khaki pants this time, a suit would have been over the top for this discussion I’m thinking), and made my way up the courthouse stairs. I find a seat, and wait my turn to talk to the state’s attorney assistant.

After waiting a few minutes past my time, (it seemed a bit busy that day, and as she likely had multiple individuals to talk to with varying cases, I didn’t much mind), I was finally called in.

We review the ticket information, both the state statute (I brought a copy of that statute myself), as well as my recollection of the events. I had brought photos of the area that the officer had been parked at, and we looked it over and I had to point out where she was parked in relation to the hill. I explained that I did indeed drop my speed to a safe one, and had moved partially into the adjacent lane to make for an easier recovery should another vehicle have appeared at the crest of the hill at the worst time possible.

After this, and a few quiet moments where she looked through her large legal book, assuredly containing every possible detail about the law, she told me she would dismiss this ticket. The best part, is that she complemented me for being prepared and for being honest.

I tell you what Readers… I danced my way down those stairs and to my car. So, should you ever encounter a ticket situation where you are confident (honestly confident) that you did not actually break the law, simply be prepared and be calm. Know your limitations though too. Even though I knew personally that I had not broken a law, I was still scared silly that I would be forced to pay a huge fee and be embarrassed by a new ticket on my record (and since I am currently driving for my living, that’s a super mega bad deal). The reason why, is that I know how unreasonable the court system CAN be. It isn’t always. and this was a small victory for me, especially considering that I do have a felony record.

So, rejoice fellow drivers, you CAN win your traffic ticket, and avoid the embarrassment and wallet-emptying that tickets can cause. At least when you’re well prepared and are open and honest about the circumstances (and have a chance to speak to the state’s attorney people).

Also, please check out my second most recent post, which asks for your paranormal and supernatural stories (along with a free book in reward!). I even share one of my own experiences to get the ball rolling on the creepy and wonderful things that dig into our spirituality and change our perspectives.

That’s all for now guys, I’ll be jumping back into work on my books, and will post more soon. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you here again! -Aza

Raging Against the Ticket (Part Two)

Hello Readers! I’ve had my first court date about the ticket, and I’ll update what happened here.

I got to the court room early (as always, I can’t stand to be late to anything). I sat there, in the freezing cold air conditioning and waited for the dance of justice to begin. The assistant state’s attorney came in shortly after, carrying her large bin of filed cases and asked who was present for traffic court and without an attorney.

I was one of few that raised my hand, and we spoke for a moment about setting an appointment to see if we could work something out. I agreed to do so, but still had to go through the motions of the first court date. Apparently, when you’re being arraigned, you have limited options as to how to go about it. I’d read in other blogs how some people asked for dismissal based on lack of prosecution when the ticketing officer did not show up. Well, I had the luck of her not showing up, and when my name was finally called officially, I attempted to do so. I got a smile out of the state’s attorney’s assistant, but was otherwise denied my attempt to dismiss because it wasn’t a pre-trial/trial hearing. It was just the day that I officially made my stance as being not guilty.

I did however take a moment to ensure the photo of the approximate area was seen by the judge and state’s attorney assistant. I also quickly explained that I followed the statute of our state by slowing down to 45 mph, and moving halfway due to both the no-passing zone, as well as the fact that the area is directly on a hill where one is blind to on-coming traffic. The officer tried to quote a lowered speed requirement that in fact is NOT in the statute, so I want everyone to keep in mind that if you do your damn homework on your ticket or even your criminal charges, there might be some hope for you to get out of it in the first place.

After this (rather pointless exercise, honestly, but it made me feel better to know that my statement is now on file – as the court typist took every word down and I even quoted directly from the statue – kinda shocked the judge too -which is always nice), I was given a new court date for next month and instructed again by the judge himself to get an appointment with the state’s attorney assistant.

I am looking forward to convincing her to dismiss the ticket, and hopefully skipping out on another morning in that freezing and typically unforgiving room. At least, I believe I can do so once the state’s attorney’s office is on board with it, as they will probably take a note and simply say that they have dismissed it (if I am so lucky). Otherwise, I am hoping that I can convince them to allow me to simply offer community service in lieu of fines.

That’s all for now guys, I hope it’s been helpful and I wish you the best of luck in your own matters. I’ll update on this again once I have my appointment and talk with the attorney’s assistant (these guys are actually pretty helpful if you can be respectful and have done a bit of homework on your issue at hand)

Peace and love, have a great day!

-Aza

Raging Against the Ticket

Hey Readers!

Recently, I’ve been issued a ticket. Now, while I admit that I occasionally speed (especially if I’m running late for work), otherwise I am a very cautious driver. When you’ve had bad experience with the police force (male officers physically searching a female minor, male officer spraining a wrist, and refusing to allow a minor to call their parents [and that was just one experience…), you tend to do everything you can to avoid more interactions with them. And in that, I have been very successful with following laws and being as courteous to my fellow drivers as my personality will allow. It’s done wonders for avoiding issues with the local law, until recently.

So, the other day, I am driving to my second job of the day and see the local police parked on the side of the road near a disabled vehicle. Now, we all know that we have to slow down and move away from that side of the road, to maintain a safe distance from the professional individuals. Around here, they call it Scott’s law, apparently. (Didn’t know it had a name until the ticket came, honestly. Just knew that we’re ordered to slow and move over for emergency vehicles on all the lighted signs on the local section of interstate/highway.) Pretty easy right?

I slowed to the typical construction zone speed of 45 mph, and with the hills and curve of our road, I only moved over half of the lane, instead of the full lane change. I am very familiar with driving over hills, I live in a hilly area of the States, and this area even included a no-pass zone (on one of the hills, and this one is within a half mile of a curve that people LOVE to speed around…). I felt confident that I had followed the scripture of the law.  Yet,  within five seconds of passing the officer’s vehicle, cherries and blueberries was flashing in my side mirror, but sure were not passing when I slowed down a second time. I was still issued a ticket (with up to a 10k fine, and possible suspension), and was quoted by the officer that the required slow down is 25-35 mph, along with a full lane change (assumably required no matter the road condition, if we’re going by the amount of vigor in the officer’s statement to me). Well, that confused me. How could it be so specific? There are far too many variables to consider to make it that specific. So, once I got home, I decided to let my angry anxiety fuel a long search for these exact details that I was quoted by our lovely agent of the law. I spent over two hours pouring over my state’s statutes from every possible angle.

Guess what…..

It’s not that specific. I could go as far as quoting everything here, but I’ll keep it simple  by saying that it definitely is based on road conditions, and I will be fighting this in court. I’ve sent the little blue slip into the court, I’ve typed out and printed a motion for discovery to gain the evidence I need, and am currently trying to improve my nerves for the inevitable court date. I’m literally  a ball of anxiety in my daily life, so you can guess that I’m basically going to feel like melting into a puddle in front of the judge. (Even with good court experiences (for my certificate and what not), I still hate having to put myself in a spotlight, especially as a defense. There’s something about being forced to defend myself, especially against a rigged system, that is just utterly bone-chilling.

In all likelihood, I will go to the court date, and be told that the officer’s subjective view is basically God’s word. I pretty much fully expect that. But, in my heart of hearts, I hope to show that it was a desperate reach for a ticket (which leads to that all important revenue for the state/district/whatever) , on the grounds that had I driven as requested, I would have been endangering myself. I’ll update on this after the court date, if I can still afford my internet bill…jeez that fine is terrifying.

Thanks for reading my rant, and wish me luck on that court date. Goodness knows I’ll need it.

 

Homeschooling Review

Hey Readers! Again, I’m ever busy and totally slacking on a posting schedule, but I wanted to share that on top of everything else I do in my life, I also home school my son. Now, I’ve used a few different free services online, and while I found a variety of helpful things, none were made in a super easy sort of school-stream like what I envisioned for online home schooling.

So I did some research and found a site that is affordable, and it’s called Time4Learning. And while my state doesn’t track home schooling progress, and doesn’t require any regular communication with the state, having the record keeping done by the website is such a relief! My son loves the timer feature for doing his work, and once his first timer is up, he can take a break on the Time4Learning playground. I can also easily change his grade level as he advances through his work. In addition, they offer a ton of resources to help me better understand how to homeschool more effectively and easily!

If you’re looking for a great home school site for your family, Time4Learning is your lifeline to a smarter, and saner household.

Oh, can’t forget the disclaimer: As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review.

Morning Thoughts

Before I run off to my first job of the week, I have been wondering how my Readers (with records) have dealt with their own backgrounds and getting jobs. What have you found that has worked for you? I’ve kind of experimented with ways to get into interviews and employment, and have simply gotten lucky a few times. Once, I got the job because the boss lived above me in my apartment complex, so she knew me to some extent and was able to slip me in before higher ups noticed the record bit. They couldn’t fire me because I had been upfront about it on my application and after she later left the company, I was able to stay because I had proven myself to them. I was even offered her job as Manager of the place, but the pay wasn’t what I wanted for the hours I would be putting in (kind of a bad choice in retrospect, because having that experience would probably be really handy in helping get better jobs down the line). This is one way that enforced the idea that networking with people outside our typical groups of friends is important. They can help you find people that are helpful and willing to give you references or even give you a chance themselves.

I’ve also tried hiding the fact that I was a felon, but that never panned out, especially since it seems that backgrounds don’t have an expiration date. If you get a job by lying about the past, it’s because you lucked out and got a company that doesn’t run backgrounds most likely. (Even with the chance of being charged with negligent hiring…) I’ve discovered recently that a good percentage of background checks run the entire past, except for juvenile records (simply because it’s illegal to share those without extra special paperwork). One of my most recent background checks had no problem finding the ten year old conviction, plus I got charged 15 bucks to cover the business’s expenses. (Actually currently arguing with them about the record, because they’re trying to deny me a raise in position because of the background, which is not in line with equal opportunity law from what my early research is telling me – it’s old and isn’t connected to the work that I’m performing in any way.) Has anyone else used equal opportunity laws to help them with keeping or getting a position with a company?

Another way to go about it, is to avoid the background checks period. And the only way to really do that is to go into business for yourself. Sure, you’ll have to look into what you are good at doing, if it can be marketed, and if you need a license from the state you live in to do the work, but it can be very much worth it. You can build a better reputation through this, or at least learn a lot while trying. And it never hurts to learn (even if the learning itself might be a touch painful for some).

Anyway, I’ve got to run for now, and I’m looking forward to seeing my Readers interact and share their stories and ideas here in the comments.

Timelines and Tips

In light of my graduation (still blows my mind that I’ve finished it), there has been a lot of recent reflection on time and how it affects our convictions and our careers. I know that I will have to invest a lot of research into the companies that I will be applying to, especially because I chose a human services pathway (for my focal career, I have lots of different interests though, so I’m also not limiting myself – a very important factor for getting by as a felon) and they really want good examples for employees – which is difficult to prove when you have a felony background. So, I’ve started to venture into the pool of knowledge and experiences of other like-minded individuals with similar circumstances. Much like you yourself are doing now, reading this post.

First off, some employers are just always going to reject you. They have this policy or that policy or sometimes it happens to be some sort of personal bias based on a negative experience. It isn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t let yourself base your worth off of their rejection, and you shouldn’t hate them for it either. They simply want to cover their behinds in the case of court situations (based on some sort of statistics that they’ve had created by their insurance agencies) or they’ve been taught to be this way in some shape or form at some point. But there are plenty of employers that are willing to take a chance on someone that is honest and upfront about their past, you just have to sift through the rest to find them.

If you need additional experience for your resume, consider volunteering in various organizations or even a local community garden. It shows that you have interests in the community and that you’re taking steps in socially preferred situations. It gives you more depth on your resume and if you stick with it for a while, you get serious brownie points with human resources people. Stability of some sort really makes them happy, at least from my experience. For instance, when approaching interviews with personal resumes (not the single application sheet), I’ve found that focusing on the jobs I held the longest has been more rewarding in terms of improved (over minimum wage) employment than listing more of the shorter jobs that I have had over the years.

I’m also considering putting together presentations that show the specific reasons why felons are good employees, to be used in the application process for certain jobs. For instance, I am considering offering various organizations my skills on an independent contract basis, if my background comes up, I will be prepared with why my background has proven to be an asset in both my personal and professional aspects of my life. While this is mostly for my own personal use, if anyone is interested in creating their own, I’d love to help you brainstorm ideas for yours.

Obviously, not gaining any new charges or convictions is also helpful, as the longer that you stay out of trouble the more things you can qualify for both in jobs, certifications for jobs, college financial aid, and even housing assistance in some states/counties. For instance, certifications of good conduct  can be gained rather quickly in the state of Illinois, check your state laws to see if your area offers this and what conditions have to be met to earn it. If I recall my research into it a couple years ago when I earned mine, I found that I could have done it within a year or so of my conviction, instead of nearly 8 years later.

However, I didn’t even know something like that existed until right before I applied for it in 2015 after stumbling upon it while searching for expungement information (super lame in this state, which is why I decided to start owning my background and find a way to make it work FOR me instead of against me). I’m telling you, research is THE really big thing here. You kind of need to research until it FEELS like your eyes are bleeding and your skull is going to explode because some of it is very wordy and can be difficult to understand because laws have their own language and lawyers can muddle it up (sometimes in your favor if you’ve really proven to be recovered from making your bad choices, turns out State Attorneys can actually be nice people!). It pays off though, especially if your local court system isn’t even aware of the possibility and you are able to show them that it exists and that you deserve it. (It just makes your week, let me tell you that!)

And on that note, I’ve realized how tired I am so I bid you farewell until next time my dear Reader. If you have questions or suggestions for posts, please comment or contact me. I’d love to share useful information that you really want, instead of using random ideas that I get in the shower that become long rambles. 😛 (And I had the audacity to complain about 800 word essays…HA)

Peace ya’ll – Aza

 

Graduating! (Working around your Background )

So, I had the dates wrong on my countdown for finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and it took me a while to remember to fix it, but I have. And guess what, I’m now a felon that has a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology! I am living proof that our pasts don’t have to stop us from becoming better people. Seriously, the background can even help you depending on the career you choose to study for.

In my case, I want to apply my experiences as a felon into a program that will help other felons (and non-felons too!). Because I have managed to get my life back on track (messy as it might be, its what I have and what I LOVE), I want every felon to know that it isn’t the end of their normal life to have a conviction. You can move forward and you can be successful. You just have to want it, and figure out how to get it!

I have a theft record, so I had to work around what I knew I couldn’t work in. I have had to avoid corporate retail positions, because it’s often a waste of my time and printed resumes (precious, expensive ink and paper) often because corporate or state policy simply doesn’t allow a felon with theft to work for them (state seems to be picky about lottery too, so no gas stations either for theft records around here).

I chose psychology because I love the intricacy of the human mind and our emotions and how they drive us. I also love helping people with their problems, and have been the go-to for my friends both online and in real life for advice and guidance.Then I realized that with my background and my new expertise in psychology and life coaching, I could actually create my own career niche. There isn’t anything in my area that is directed to helping felons get back on their feet (the halfway houses around here don’t offer coaching, counseling, or any other actual support other than housing), and I recognized that there is a need for it.

I had to figure out my goals for the future, and what priorities I had to balance in my life. And I found that priorities change over time, so sometimes goals had to be adjusted to better follow what was currently more important. I had to even take a break from my college courses at one point because I was so drained from personal priorities that I couldn’t keep up with everything. So, self care had to become a priority over my educational goals for a period of time, until I was capable of adding it back to my personal work load. So, it isn’t easy, and the ability to adapt to your current reality is necessary to maintain your health as you push yourself toward your goals.

All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing that I’ve been through. My felony might have made me stumble, but it can’t keep me down in the dirt. If I can pick myself up, time and time again, holding my head high and continuing to move forward in life, I know you can too. If you need guidance finding your passion and need someone to be accountable to (it helps to have someone rooting for you, it really does), please e-mail azarathiasalternatives@zoho.com. I’d love to help you. First consultation is always free, and I am willing to work with your income after that, because I know it gets rough sometimes, and help isn’t always affordable. Love and peace my dear Readers, and hope to hear from ya’ll.

Backgrounds and Jobs

Hey Reader! Back again are you? Awesome! Today, we’re going to talk about the to-do’s and NOT to-do’s when it comes to your background and finding a job. I’ve been perusing groups on Facebook recently again, and there’s a lot of talk about simply hiding the background. It’s easy enough to try to ignore that little box that asks about your background, but it really isn’t the best approach. Especially if you’re still in the area that you were convicted in, it is extremely easy for an employer to get wind of your conviction after they’ve hired someone who told them they were ‘clean’. The LAST thing you want to do is get caught up in a lie with a job. This sort of thing is recorded on your work record, along with refused/failed drug tests, and more. And once you’re on record lying about it, well no other employer is going to want to trust you because you’re still relying on bad habits.

Now, it’s not easy to talk about something we’d all rather forget about. I hate going into an interview simply because I know I have to bare my soul a bit to get anywhere and I’m not a sharing person. But, I’ve come to realize that one sometimes has to take steps that are not comfortable in order to get anywhere near one’s goals. So, I march my happy butt in there, plaster a smile on my face to get those happy hormones running through my system, and I start making my best first impression. Once I’ve made the good impression, talking about what I have made myself accomplish since my conviction, I go ahead and bring up that portion. I don’t wait for them to ask, it gives them the power and makes me feel like I’m a bug. So, instead, I bring it up, take the power for myself, and use the conviction to set off my achievements rather than allowing it to be framed in a poor light. Of course, it will help you if you have followed any recommendations by your PO to gain your GED at the least, and to have pushed yourself further than that when possible. Not all of us have the same story, and you’ll have to find a way to make your past a vital part of your path to success.

Of course, there are also some options available for those that have the time and determination, to avoid the entire background question LEGALLY and safely, where there won’t be more punishment and social stigma with future employers. Some states offer pardons and sealing of records, and you’ll have a number of hoops to jump through – but if you want it badly enough, it isn’t that difficult. You can do anything you put your mind to doing, don’t be afraid to push for what you really deserve. You are worthy of a job, you are worthy of respect, and you are worthy of FREEDOM from stigma and distrust. Be the change you want to be, be honest and open, and help change society’s mind about felons. We’re just humans that made mistakes, and we can overcome all the barriers life presents us.

If you need guidance getting your life on track for becoming a better person, need help researching your state laws and options, or are in need of life coaching that is focused on overcoming felonies, please find my Fiverr here, and take advantage of the super low prices I’m offering for these services.  https://www.fiverr.com/azarathia/provide-felony-rehabilitation-support

Thanks again for stopping by, see you next post!