Monthly Archives: December 2014

surrounded by love

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This picture is precious to me. This little girl is the apple of her daddy’s eye (& everyone else’s). She is happy and eager. She is also sweet and innocent. I love talking to her and hearing her tell stories. Her hugs are like kisses from heaven. She is gentle and honest.
She is a gem and to be treasured, just like EVERY girl (& child for that matter) on the planet.
Unfortunately there are people on this planet who do not feel that way.
They feel children have no place other that to serve in some way.
Sad.
This whole month I have spent time thinking & writing about slavery and the people who are embroiled in it in some way shape or form.
There are people who sell their children so that they can feed their other children and themselves. There are children who choose to be sold so they can “provide” for their families.
These children shouldn’t have to feel the need to “provide”. They shouldn’t be the commodity that is traded for other commodities. They should be cherished, loved, & made to feel safe. To do otherwise is a travesty.
Why isn’t more done about this problem? I dont have an answer or a fancy quip. I wish I did.
What I do know is that every child I come in contact from now on will feel cherished in some way. They will feel like they are important. I will work to build them up. That is my way of providing for them in the hopes that they feel important to one person (at least) on this planet.
That is the least I can do right now. What can you do?

into the light

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Darkening blinds leave out all light. There is comfort in that darkness sometimes.  A cuddle under the blankets. A warmth. A silky smoothness. A never want to get up ness. A stay in the jammies. A keep your eyes closed. A lethargy.  If you choose to get up in that darkness perhaps a stumble.
But what if you forgot to close those blinds all the way?
What happens when it is time to get up?
That little sliver of light that shines in the darkness.
A prevention of a stumble?
A desire to get up?
An energy?
It is hard to keep your eyes closed when there is light (even a little) streaming into an otherwise dark room.
There is an allegory called The Cave. It is about a person in a dark cave who is dragged against his will into the light….. at first the person is angry and in pain but as he adjusts to seeing the new reality returns to tell the others in the cave about the outside. However, he is unable to see now that he is back in darkness again. The people who greet him think that he is damaged due to his experience outside. They do not want the damaging experience of going outside.
Now, I made some minor modifications in this alegory but it works. Once people find out about human trafficking they cannot go back to ignorance. Most want to figure out how to make a difference. However some really do not want to know. Ignorance is bliss after all right?
I am not going back to the dark cave except to tell others.
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sad.

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I have been out of the blogersphere for a few days. Recouperating my brain and my soul. I didn’t even take pictures for a few of those days. It has been a wonderful respite.
But now I am back BUT please forgive me as I am blogging from my phone due to some technological difficulties.
So here it is…. I have love. So much love in my life. I am remembered, cherished, & cared for.
When I am out of touch with the people who care about me they notice. I am not easily forgotten.
When I return I am greeted with joy. I am hugged, held, & reminded that I am important.
Now, take a moment think about recent news items. The children who have been kidnapped from school in massive numbers AND never found! Now, those who care about these children have not forgotten about their children, but the rest of the world has.
Why?
Maybe because we have so much happening that we can’t be bothered with the grief of others or maybe it is just because the media jumps from one thing to the next. Who knows but their plight isn’t on the top of our priorities. Sad.
On my journey this month I am realizing the short attention span we have in our culture. The fact that there are 27.9 million slaves may not be on anyone’s radar in January. Sad.
That is where I am today.
Till tomorrow.

Day 23

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I am about out of things to write about for Dressember and revelations.  I decided that the next few days I would do some incentivizing your giving to my campaign.

I know not everyone can give but for those of you who can I would like to offer this:

Everyone who donated $10-$49 I will give a 5×7 print of one of my photos. I will post several photos over the next 9 days here on my blog for you to choose from.

For everyone who donates $50 or more we need to have a conversation to determine your 8×10 print. I will get you my personal contact information so that we can see what photo you might want.

This is my thank you to those of you who have donated.

Here are today’s three photos to choose from.

For sale

For sale

Matt. 6:26

Matt. 6:26

"To the moon"

“To the moon”

Here is a link to my Dressember campaign & IJM: Dressember is a visable way to support the end of slaveryIJM helps to end slavery

#unselfie or #selfish

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Yesterday started with me thinking about what to write, yesterday.

I wrote in my journal, planned what I would talk about and then yesterday.

Yesterday I did few and many things. yesterday

So many things, yesterday

I didn’t blog yesterday.

Yesterday was day 21 of my daily writing for Dressember. Yesterday

So today I will write about what I was going to say yesterday.

School was out Friday and thus began our glorious winter break.

One of my co-workers said, “I know you’ll be glad that this is over tomorrow.”

“Why?”

“Well you won’t have to wear dresses anymore because we won’t be at school.”

“No, this is Dressember.  That means a dress a day the WHOLE month of December.”

“So you have to keep wearing dresses?”

“Yes”

“Man, I feel sorry for you.  I couldn’t do that.”

I keep running into people who are fastidious about their diet, exercise, work ethic, religion, etc and “do it” every day without fail or accolades yet never complain. However,when they hear I am wearing dresses for 31 days straight they balk at that as if it is something virtually impossible without people paying attention.

It is as if (without putting words in their mouths) they are expecting me to stop wearing dresses because “people” aren’t around to notice.  This journey, while it hasn’t been about others noticing ergo #unselfie, it has been rather selfish.  It has been about my learning about myself without the necessity of others attention.  No-one really needs to notice my growth for it to happen.  I have grown.  I have changed.

It has been a scant 22 days since Is started this but I am already planning next year, already thinking of what to write in my blog in January that will keep my new 40+ subscribers interested, & how else I can work to end slavery around the world in the next 334 days.

I know that despite the presumed attention I have received from friends and followers, “no-one” knows what I am doing. Oh, there are those in my inner circle, those who are participating in Dressember, & a small minority who are curious, but on the whole (out of the several hundred (700+) friends I have on facebook they have NO idea!)…

That doesn’t matter because I am not doing it for them.  I want them to know, yes.  But it is not for their praise or attention that I am wearing a dress.  I do not have a need for attention or praise (although most of us, me included, need that and we lie to ourselves if we say we do not). I do have the need to change.  Don’t we all?

I do not consider myself a selfish person (most of the time). I feel I am fairly giving in many ways.  This exercise of spending the month of December focused on slavery has made me feel…. well…. selfish.  I have several dresses that I have rotated through. I do not have 31 dresses.  I have worn several of them several times over. I am able to wash them when every I want.  I am taking photos of myself everyday (except yesterday when I forgot). OF MYSELF!

I am then aggrandizing myself

1. to widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend. 2. to make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor. 3. to make (something) appear greater.

by promoting my instagram, blog, twitter, & facebook accounts to tell what I am doing.

I have to constantly remind myself; Mother Teresa didn’t set out to aggrandize herself.  In fact, her aggrandizement only meant that the impoverished were finally seen as humans who needed love and care.

I am by no means Mother Teresa.

I cannot even hold a candle to her kind, humble spirit.

But what I am is one human who had no intention to make much of myself, just like Mother Teresa.  My only goal here is to let as many people who will listen know that human slavery still exist and in a grander proportion than we believe.

If you have read any of my blogs and have learned that you can help by seeing what IJM is doing, by donating to my campaign supporting IJM this Dressember, or by spending some time in prayer for the enslaved,those who would set the free, & the slavers then I have done my job.

My job is to reach one.  To help one person see that this is wrong and we should be doing something about it.

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The holiday dichotomy

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This is the season that causes people to feel a pull toward joy. A joy that for some is contrived and painful. There, in this season of supposed joy, is a deep grief that loss brings.

A loss of a person you love or hate, an animal that was dear to you, a job, etc. It could also be the loss of a relationship that was deemed important at one point. Now looking back with fondness on the better days you sorely miss it.

The songs in the stores and on the radio. The decorations on the streets, on the houses, & seemingly everywhere. They are a constant reminder of what you have lost and the pain you are feeling.

It is strange that in the most wonderful season of all walking around hearing that it is the hap-happiest time of the year and many are not really “feeling” it.

But that makes it so trite. Not “feeling” it? No, they are grieving and life has taken a turn in a direction they did not expect.
The hard thing is that this feeling is hidden as far down as the person who is experiencing it wants it to be hidden. No one ever has to know about the pain if the griever doesn’t want anyone to know.

Joy is an easy thing to fake. Show up to a party, laugh, engage in lively banter, meet new people, eat and drink too much. No-one needs to know that the pain you feel this to me of year is real and harmful to you and the people around you.

It is interesting that people in grief are expected to cover their pain so that others can “enjoy” the season and not have to worry about the “downers”.

I feel like this months conversation about slavery is like this grief joy dichotomy. Isn’t it something that December is the month that was chosen to raise awareness to this cause?

The month where we buy mounds of stuff for people who may already have loads of stuff.

The month where we have parties celebrating different holiday times.

The month where we cherish time spent with family and friends.

The month where we pull our hair out in stress due to financial issues or lack of ability to please others.

It is the month that was chosen to shed light on the people who are bought and sold on a daily basis.

It is a month where every morning I put on a dress and think about why I am wearing a dress.

We don’t want to see the slavery. We want to have the whole world at peace and in happiness for this one month during the year.  But that is the dichotomy.  That is what makes this month sometimes a farce.  It is why this HAD to be the month to raise awareness for this cause.

Slavery is a hidden ill in society.  It is something that is hidden so deep that we don’t have to see it if we don’t want to.  We can easily go on enjoying our parties and fun this month.

It’s like the sadness that is so pervasive this holiday; “a downer”.

If we don’t face it now it’s not like it is going away.  We need to look at it and take a stand, do something, help others that are outside our safe zone.  We have to look at it square in the face.  IJM helps us do that.  They tell us that they have freed and helped in after care 18,000 people.  They have convicted 770+ people who were slave owners.  They are making a difference and shining a light on the problem even in this month.

You can help too.  Look at what IJM is doing and see what you can do with them.  You can donate to my Dressember site where all the proceeds are going to help IJM and their mission.  You can also pray for those enslaved, their owners, and the people who are working to free them.

Yes, I said pray for their owners.  We can talk about that next time.

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This sweet little face is that of the daughter of one of mah honks. I love this girl to the moon and back!

19 down ~ 12 to go!

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I have spent the last 3 weeks working Monday through Friday.  I work at a high school, in case you hadn’t noticed from previous blogs.  It’s funny what students notice.  It’s also funny what happens when you engage with them.

I have been trying not to be impatient with my students this week.  It has been hard.  They have been a little squirrelly due to the 2 week break that is now here.  They have also had changes in schedules both here and many times at home.

There are concerts to attend, cookies to bake, projects to complete, unit tests to study for, & so many other things that make this holiday lovely.

Some of my students moved, found out about illness, lost their homes, made bad life choices, forgot about projects, didn’t study for those unit tests, and many other things that may not only make the holiday less lovely but also the life that comes after the holiday.

The last three weeks at work have been good and my eyes have been opened to their conditions in and out of school.

I came to a startling realization this morning when, at 6:00 AM my husband went and gently woke our younger son up so they could make fresh salsa for the cultural experience they had today at school.  Ethan helped his dad make salsa and my mom helped him carry it into his school this morning and give proper storage and warming directions to the teacher for this afternoon.

My children have had that sort of support their whole lives.  They do not know what it looks like to have their safety or well being jeopardized by anything!

While I am fairly certain (notice I do not say 100% certain) that I do not have many students who are held in bondage against their will or who have been sold I am certain that I have quite a number who have not known the certainty of the love and support my children have had their whole lives.

To have both a parent and a grandparent go out of their way to take food to a school party is something many of my students do not understand.

That sort of support allows a freedom to be who you want and to pursue a life of freedom and choice.  That sort of freedom can also be very scary without close conversation about direction and purpose (we make sure we try to give the proper guidance).

What is fantastic is that they have me (and the other teacher and support staff) at our school.  My students share information with me that I can either counsel them on or send them to the right person who will be able to counsel them appropriately.

It is nice to be the person they see and then walk in the room (actually having been looking for me) with a “hang dog” look on their face to tell me something they think they did wrong. It is nice to tell them they are over reacting or that they aren’t and they have a chance to change their direction.  It is also really  nice when I can challenge them to do better and BE better.  I always smile when they call me mom because they have no idea what calling me mom allows me to do 😉 they just trust me enough that they want me in the inner circle of confidence.

I love that I am able to reach them on a different and life lesson level not just on a textbook and test level.

That is what this whole month has been about, so far, right?  A chance for others to have a different life? A chance? A choice, finally? A change?

If you haven’t already check out the change IJM is making in the world.  It has been amazing what the 700 staffers around the world are able to do with the money that people like you and me give to their organization.  This month the dresses you have been watching me wear are similar to a 3-day or a 5-k that other people do.  Mine just last a lot longer! I am wearing dresses so that I can help raise awareness about the 29.8 million slaves in the world and also raise money to rescue them.  I am also spending time in prayer and meditation about their plight and the courage it takes IJM to find them and rescue them. My friend wrote a fantastic holiday meditation book called O Antiphons.  While is it about the holiday the tip that you leave on Noisetrade will benefit IJM as well.  You should check it out!

Will you join me? Hit any of the links above to find out more or to give.  If that isn’t something you can do then I know you can pray. That is something we all can do.  A short simple prayer of supplication for freedom and courage for those who need it most.

Thank you for joining me so far….only 12 days left in this journey!

PS aren’t my students adorable?!

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My 3rd period senior class.

vertigo & understanding bosses

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So last night while I was blogging the room began to spin and my fingers forgot how to type.

This morning I got up and went to work, still spinning.

When students have prepped for a presentation and the teachers isn’t there to see and grade the presentation then some trust is lost between the two. Plus, I didn’t want to write lesson plans! We are two days from a break & I wasn’t feeling bad enough this morning to call in so I went to work.

During first block my brain wasn’t connecting to my mouth and I felt sluggish and dizzy. I had them do vocabulary while I tried not to fall out of my chair.

Luckily 2nd & 4th block were presenting their career research and I just had to grade their work as they presented.

I came home during my planning, (after I finish with students) crept to the basement and slept for 3 hours.

I am blessed (always!!) to have a boss and family that care about my well being.

When I messaged (I had to rewrite the email a few times due to finger brain lack of communication) my boss to let her know I was headed home due to extreme vertigo she asked if I could drive and also to take care and rest.

I have worked at the school for 9 years now.  At my old work, which shall remain nameless, my last boss was heartless (for the record I had more AWESOME bosses there than this last one but he is the one who drove me out!).  I would have to justify absences and it was often easier to go to work and stay for an 8 or 9 hour shift and put up with him than listen to him passively a aggressively complain about my absence. It is so nice to work for a boss who cares.

As soon as I got home my son came out a greeted me at the car to see why I was home.  He also asked to make sure I was OK and to see what he could do to help.  (My boys! I tell you I am raising an awesome pair of men.) My husband and other sone went and got dinner.

Now it is the end of the day.  I am going to work at my second job (I teach online school too).  Then bed.

My vertigo is annoying more than anything. For instance as I look at the keyboard, it is moving back and forth like a boat on the water.  It makes me nauseous. I can’t talk properly.  There are other problems that the vertigo poses too. That is a post for a more lucid time.

What became clear today is that I have options.

I left my old job because I didn’t like the boss.  Is my new boss perfect? No-one is! But is she understanding?  Yes.  She knows I get my job done and take care of my students.

I have choices.  I get to choose to wear a dress to work or not every single day!

Today I made the choice to wear black and white houndstooth leggings, a black and white dress, with a velvet-ish jacket that has flowers on it. I added a green scarf to the ensemble.

I make choices everyday.  Some are good & some are meh. But the point is I still get to make them.  I own them.  No-one makes me do things I do not want to do.

There are so many people in this world who do not have that luxury and many of them are in bondage.  In slavery because they needed to feed their family and this long term solution seemed the good thing to do so their family can be fed. In slavery because their parents sold them due to a promise of a “better” life.  Working for pennies a day unable to see the end of the tunnel, plan for retirement, a vacation, a sick day, a mental health day.

My vertigo changes my day.  I am unable to do things I want to do.

My boss changes my life.  I do not call in sick for random things nor do I call in often.  But when I do I am not afraid to take the day to watch my kids or to heal myself.

Check out what IJM does for people to free them and then after they have been freed from slavery.  A bondage that they could not escape without our help.  My Dressember donation site is a good place to give.  As a collective we are raising $500,000 for IJM.  That money will go to help so many people discover a freedom they may never have known. Of course you can also pray, always, for the enslaved, the people working to free them, and the people who are helping the free in after care.

Just blessed

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So cliche.

At Christmas we say such cliche things.

You can look at and say, “Man, I am so over that!”

Or you can say, “Oh tradition!  So wonderful to have the same things said at this time of year.”

Some may even choose to just go against the whole idea of anything anyone has ever done and say, “Festivus for the rest of us!” (HA! Seinfeld, gotta love some old school sit coms.  They just don’t make them like they used to.)

Anyway, all I have to say today is that I am just blessed.

Blessed to live in the US

Blessed to work for the public school system

Blessed to worship how I like

Blessed to have friends over for dinner in the middle of the week

Blessed to go see movies with my son

Blessed to have 3 beautiful children

Blessed to have an amazing husband

I am just blessed

As cliche as it sounds, I am.  I am blessed! Part of my family just had a fantastic dinner with a family we have gone to small group with for the last (almost) 4 years (in Feb.). Lauren and I have shared so much and our boys are such good friends.  It is nice to have a closeness with a family, share a meal, & a faith.  So blessed.

The thing about being blessed is that many of us have no idea how blessed we are.  We take advantage that things will always be the way they have been. We shouldn’t, we should savor every moment.

I try to remember how blessed I am without being arrogant about it.  I try to look at the gift of life, liberty, & pursuit of happiness I have been given and remember that not everyone has those blessings.

This month I am reminded of that as I talk to people about IJM and my Dressember event.  I ask if they are reading my blog and tell them they should.  I ask if they know that there are 29.8 million slaves in the world today.  When they say no and get that far aways look in their eye, I just encourage them to come here and read about my self discovery.  I hope that they are and that it is ok to not realize.  It is ok to still be learning about the world.  No-one is expected to know everything about everything.  But once you are exposed to it you can no longer feign ignorance.  I am trying to learn and do.  I am trying to teach so others can help too. I am not perfect.  Never will be.  I am not better than others, that’s not my thing.  But I do want to be better than I was last year.  I want to share what I have with others.  I want others to be blessed.