Category Archives: dressember

I am

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I am comfortable.

I am sheltered.

I am warm.

I am fed.

I am clothed.

I am loved.

I am cherished.

I.am.free.

These are all reasons why I #dressember.  I know that I have so many privileges in my life that others cannot even perceive.  I am going to try, over the next month, to use the privilege to bring a voice to the voiceless.

Two years ago I decided to go on a journey.  That journey has brought me here.  I am a better consumer by being a less consumer.  I am more aware of people around me by actually seeing people in need.

But the more I think about that the more I realize that it is not about what I have become but more about what I am unbecoming and how I am changing the focus from me to others.  I am trying to take the I out of my life.  That is super hard, trust me and I am not good at it, AT ALL!

So stepping back and thinking (without using “I statements”) about how this venture of dresswearing will change the world one may become more self centered OR not depending on how they view the cause.  Choosing to view the cause as opposed to yourself can turn dresswearing into #unselfies and #advocation.

It is a work in progress so we shall see what happens as the month progresses.  Keep watching and reading to see where it lands.

In the mean time check out https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/isaiah-61-1-3 and give what you can or pass on the link to a friend if they are able to donate.

 

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In spite of me

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I think that I am the one making a difference by wearing a dress. But really,  the difference is being made in spite of me.
Bringing attention to myself by posting about myself, words or pictures, isn’t as helpful as I would like it to be.

I am not important.  It is not me that makes this work or go away.

Sure, I am a vessel for the cause.  But it all works in spite of me. In spite of my self-consciousness, my forgetfulness, my desire for attention, my fear, my inattention, and all my other faults!

Here’s what I mean: I am important.  My voice in the fight may be the only voice some hear.  AND despite all my faults a difference is being made.
Someone once told me that it must take courage to do this challenge. To wear dresses every day and have my own style.  Another person said I was a trend setter due to my eclectic pattern mixing. I heard someone ask, “What is she wearing?”
What’s interesting is that it takes more courage to move that conversation away from my fashion choices and to the real issue of slavery.  There is a special kind of courage to move the conversation away from ME & to the issue at hand.

I am working on having that courage.  Your choice to read this blog is helping me find my voice and courage.  I appreciate that you have chosen to read my blog.

IF you are able donate to the cause of freeing people form the bonds of slavery. Not only will you help free them, you will help to rehabilitate them by your gift.

 

 

Dressember in April

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So I told you that you would hear about this whole “slavery” thing again and that it would likely be a recurring theme across my blog from time to time.  Well, here it is popping across your feed again.  Recently it came to my attention that IJM was doing another awareness campaign.  They have called it #stand4freedom & it is a 5 day campaign to let people know that slavery in the modern age needs to end.

I have decided to take this campaign and do a #dressemberinapril campaign since I cannot stand for the whole 5 day campaign.  I have to work. While I do stand a lot when I work I do not stand for the whole time.  So, in lieu of standing all day I will be wearing dresses and writing every day this week.

Here is my epiphany from the last two days…

Christ died.

Christ has risen.

Christ will come again.

He came for ALL of us, not just the few elect and prestigious.

But he also asks what have we done for the least of these.

What have we done for the hurt and the sick.

That what we have done for the least of these we have done for him.

I am still trying to figure out how I can really, actually make a change in the world where slavery is concerned.   I know awareness is a very tangible way to bring about change.  How can you change something if you do not know about it?  So I am making my small step toward making my little part of the world aware of slavery and it’s impact on our world.

This week my classroom of students begin to wade its way into the research project that I have decided needs to be a social justice project.  My students & co-workers will see me AGAIN wearing dresses.  They will again hear me talking about slavery.  They will hear me talk about ways to combat slavery right here in our own town.  I’ll fill you in on that as it progresses. (it will last till the end of May so bear with me).

When I was posting in December the number of slavers was estimated at 27 million.  It is now estimated at 36 million.

I have learned that one of the best and EASIEST ways to combat slavery is to buy from the thrift store.  No money goes back into the store you bought it from or subsequently to the plantation that grew the cotton. AND many thrift stores are local and help around your neighborhood.

BONUS!!

PS if you want to see my pictures from this week you have to head over to my instagram (imacurlygirl), twitter(syndlazo), or facebook profiles.

The holidays are over & I have glitter in my hair!

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I had to go back to work today.  I am exhausted.  I felt like falling asleep while I was lecturing.  My students were all asleep too. Think about it…

They say that having 2 days off for a teenager is like traveling to the west coast and back in the amount of sleep lost over the weekend.  So, now imagine 2 glorious weeks!!

They are bound to be jet lagged for at least a week or more.  It took me a month to recover from my 10 day trip to Seattle 2 years ago.

But still, the beat goes on!  We must, we must, we must, teach to the test…..

Wait this blog isn’t about the perils of being a public school teacher.  I will not let that be a thing, not here anyway.  At happy hour? Maybe. Here. No. Not a thing.

Good news:

  1. I had a great holiday with my family and extended family.
  2. We celebrated a beautiful birthday of my grandma who is 90 years young.
  3. Our travel was safe and there were few, if any, road blocks along the way.
  4. We ate delicious pizza at Sergeant Pepperoni’s in Knoxville.
  5. We are back to a schedule (a thing that humans apparently love??) and I have a job (that I do love!!).

Bad news:

  1. I have glitter in my hair.

I don’t know what to make of that.  I see these strands of hair and they are gray.  Silver? no. white? no. My mom says glitter. No, because glitter would be of my choosing.  AND the glitter would be green or purple, not silver (gray).

Over the break I spent a lot of time with my Aunt and her family.  We discussed Essential Oils (another post all together but a future post nonetheless), work, faith, family, football, & so many other things ( we did not discuss my glitter!).  The one topic that kept coming up was my Dressember mission.

My cousin was really interested in what I was doing and why I wasn’t taking my dress off and getting “comfy” when we were just hanging around at my aunt’s house. I told her that it was because I was sticking to my mission to choose to do something where other had no choice at all.  I was choosing to wear a dress till I went to bed each night for my own sake, a personal statement to myself.

Now, I know that dressember is over (it is officially Jeanuary, not really a thing BTW) but the slavery hasn’t stopped.  IJM has a desire to end all slavery by 2020 but without our constant vigilance and continued discussion about the issues it will disappear as quickly as it came about.  I am in this for the long haul.  You will see IJM reposts on my insta, facebook, & twitter feeds. You will encounter the topic more than once in the next 11 months as I learn I will share.

The best part is that Dressember knows there are people who wait till the last minute to donate and then still forget!  They have extended the donation window till the end of this month.  SO donate away!! I have raised half my goal amount and Dressember has $60,000 left till they reach their campaign goal.

I am going to blog my normal once or twice a week (maybe more but ALWAY on Mondays or Tuesdays) and be assured that for Jeanuary I will post pics of me in my jeans from time to time.  The jeans are a thing that is easy to choose. 🙂

Thanks for reading.  Tell your friends to read my blog too.

PS I still don’t know what to make of the glitter.

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.