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Archive for the ‘humanity’ Category

Being a survivor from domestic violence can mean many things to many different people. Here is my story, and my journey after that in order to have a voice in helping others through a variety of advocacies that I do.

National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project

The story of my past experiences with domestic violence and how I have moved forward throughout the years to provide advocacy to others.

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Madagascar Cyclone: “Getting ready to respond”

Posted by: Daniel Fava at 10:16AM EST on February 16, 2012

John Uniack Davis, Country Director CARE Madagascar

February 15, 2012

Impact of previous cyclones in Madagascar, such as wind damage. Picture taken by� by Katia Rakotobe– Location : Mananara (North East)

“On Wednesday morning, CARE sent a helicopter to the areas affected by cyclone Giovanna to assess the damage. The storm made landfall on Tuesday, February 14, on the east coast of the country and it brought heavy winds and rains. Our staff have been preparing for this as we could monitor the storm coming close. Luckily, when Giovanna made landfall, it lost some speed and was therefore not quite as strong as the Category 4 storm that had been predicted. But still, it left a path of destruction through several districts. �Two districts in particular, with a total population of over� 400,000 were particularly hard hit. What was really unusual was that after hitting the coast and traveling inland, the cyclone passed directly over the capital city, so I and the rest of our staff had to stay home until late Tuesday morning. There were extremely strong winds. Giant billboards were blown down and debris was flying around. I am glad that all of my colleagues are safe and accounted for. Here in “Tana”, as we call the capital, there has been quite some destruction and people were not really prepared for the storm.

via Notes from the Field.

via Notes from the Field: Getting Ready to Respond to the Madagascar Cyclone.

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Domestic Violence is no joke. Glamour and the National Domestic Violence Hotline are working on a campaign called, “Tell Somebody Campaign”. Click on the video below to learn more about what you can do to help stop domestic violence in your area.

http://www.glamour.com/tell-somebody/video/2011/05/tell-somebody-help-put-an-end-to-relationship-violence

#DVWarrior

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As one that has Lymphedema in the legs since 2004, I just love it when folks can come up with creative solutions to the fashion of having to wear  unslightly compression garments, which always lead to questions of “What did you do to your leg/arm?”  “Is it going to go away?”  “Is it just water retention?” etc, etc.   Although this isn’t going to work for me with my lymphedema in my legs, it is nice to know that someone out there is thinking outside of the box to come up with some fashionista hints.

“My name is Debbie and I am a two-time survivor of early Breast Cancer.” I am also in the daily trenches of surviving BC’s chronic ‘dirty-little-secret’ of Lymphedema. LE is indeed a potentially life ending diagnosis, but beyond that little attention getter, it poses a daily & never ending array of life-challenging agonies, concerns and frustrations. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of LE. Based on my experience & that of a goodly number of my ‘swell’ LE friends, neither has much of the medical community. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Like my early BC diagnosis, I am also in the short-end of the LE pool and I’m making it my daily work to stay here. Due to my various surgical procedures plus radiation and its aftermath plus a variety of other complications and set-backs, I have lymph nodes that no longer function properly. Ya never know how significant your lymph nodes are — until they get rearranged and quit smiling. My right arm (and yes I am right handed) no longer feels like it’s mine. It doesn’t feel like it belongs to me. It’s heavy. It tires. It’s dingy, pingy, Grumpy, sleepy and several of the other seven dwarfs as well, tho not Sneezy. I have a whole host of protective, proactive behaviors and exercises. You don’t even want to know about the threat from mosquito bites, I kid you not! Genuine threat the skeeters. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

The long and the short of it? I need to protect my effected arm by wearing a compression sleeve. I also wear other compression garments for various reasons and purposes, but that’s a whole different story and post. Today is about summer. Heat. Ugly sleeve. Intrusive questions from total strangers. [Like the waiter who looked at my compression sleeve and said with an air of knowing superiority, “Drug addiction issues, eh?” Nothing like an insightful waiter. How could I make that up?] This post is about my occasional desiring not to be a billboard for BC/LE. Going under-cover. Yes and fashion! Being the fashion maven that you’ve come to recognize here, you know how fashion plays a large part of my mindset. Here’s what I wrote last month over at BCO.

When we were in Europe, earlier this spring, EVERYONE was wearing scarves. Scarves were available EVERYwhere, in every possible design.

I bought a 6 foot scarf that is made of one continuous piece of ‘pre-pleated’ fabric which measures about 20 inches in it’s natural/scrunchie state. It measures about 40 inches when the fabric is pulled to it’s max width or flattened.

Anyhow. Quite by accident, while in Europe I wrapped the scarf around my compression sleeved arm while wearing a tank top. A little tuck here and there and I could have one ‘naked’ arm and one bare shoulder. VOILA!!!!!

For the first time in the summer I felt like I didn’t need to be ‘on guard’ from total strangers asking what I’d done to my arm. Oh happy day!!

Today, a delightfully warm summer day in the low 80’s, we went to see “Jersey Boys” and I decided to use my European scarf idea again & wanted it not to flop/slip around so much –with me tugging. So I made the scarf into a ‘tube’ by sewing it closed at one edge to slide my compression sleeve’d arm into and then just draped the rest of the length of the scarf around my neck. The sewing it shut/tube is a more permanent solution for using the scarf as a dressy hiding spot. I hope that this makes sense.

I have been experimenting with scarves for the last month.

Having enough length in the scarf seems to be the real solution — especially for the body-draping concept. I hope that the illustration gives the impression of just a scarf draped oh so casually across the shoulder (to the on-looker.)

The tube affair is the real camouflage.

As you may be realizing, I am now at the point of wearing just a sleeve for ‘everyday’ sitting at the theater events. I still wear my gauntlet when doing anything physical, flying etc etc.

I think with enough material in the scarf you could put a little stitch in the very end to create a mitten effect and still hide an entire gauntlet with ease.

The response from my LE cyber-friends round the globe has been awesome. They like it! They like it! I share here, just in case someone googles up LE and fashion (yeah, right!) My original post from BCO has been moved to the site specific for LE created by a trio of the kindest, most brilliant women on the planet called Step Up, Speak Out. It is an end-all, be-all site for support info and all things LE.

I hope that my sharing the same idea here, in this format gives some of my dear friends and supporters just a little further insight it what it means to be a survivor on a daily basis. If the post accomplishes that in the mind of one reader I have met my goal for the day.

***Oh and one more thing!!! When in doubt, out in the real world, if you meet someone with a “difference” in their appearance, count to 10 before you launch into a series of questions or insightful comments a la my waiter. If there’s any wondering at all on your part, you can always fall back on the tested and true voice of your Nana, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” The classics are indeed classic for a reason.

via RainbowsWithinReach: Lymphedema Fashion Scarf.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lymphedema-in-the-News/127336167284700

 

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Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

Some of the tell tale signs of compassion fatigue are listed below.

Lack of enjoyment in day to day activities

Not deriving any joy from things that used to excite the person earlier

Difficulty in concentrating in any task

Feelings of anxiety and perpetual fear

Feelings of irritability triggered by trivial things

Isolation from family and friends

Detachment from work and life

Inability to take big or small decisions

Lack of interest in work

Avoidance of certain situations and people at work

Unprovoked outbursts of anger

Constant feeling of dread and imagination of doom

 

Causes of Compassion Fatigue

Some common causes of compassion fatigue are listed below.

Interacting with and taking care of terminally ill patients day in and day out

Caring for a physically or mentally challenged child

Counseling grief stricken families in times of grave environmental disasters

Counseling victims of sexual abuse

Working in a help line to support and encourage trauma victims

Working in close association with mentally challenged people

Providing support to people suffering from depression

via Compassion Fatigue Causes.

 

As an advocate the key to success is being able to balance compassion so that fatigue is avoided, or if it occurs that it is quickly diverted and conquered.  I am fortunate that I work at a place that takes “wellness” seriously and we are allowed to go into a wellness session for almost 2 hrs each month paid for and flexed time away from the phones, giving one an option and opportunity to balance a 40 hr work week on the phones with folks in various crisis situations  with some downtime to take care of you (the advocate).

Sometimes the wellness sessions would include meditation methods, a bit of art therapy, a bit of learning of various techniques that we can also share with the callers, some yoga, some zumba, pottery making, learning to laugh, and so much more.

More important is to take application of the things learned from the wellness sessions to make a better quality of your own life.    Healthy eats, exercise/movement, quiet time, time to voice and be an activist outside of the work environment, and so much more.

A great book that wasn’t mentioned in the connective article to read about compassion and taking care of yourself is a book called 

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

 by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk, which can be found on Amazon.com.  It’s definitely a worthwhile book to read and may become your “Bible” beside you if you are a caregiver in any aspect.  Their website is something that is valuable for continued support in your own journey for continued caregiving of others — http://traumastewardship.com/.

What ideas do you have to focus upon to combat compassion fatigue in your everyday life and continue on the enjoyment of the journey of Caregiving in the sense that it is really meant to be?  Would love to hear more ideas from you.

 

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Empathy can be literally defined as:

em·pa·thy [ émpəthee ]   Audio player

  1. understanding of another’s feelings:the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties
  2. attribution of feelings to an object:the transfer of somebody’s own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting

[ Early 20th century. < Greek empatheia “affection, passion” ]

 Ashoka Fellow Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on the Run International®, who has been working to build-up Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. suggests the following:

Empathy has been a hot topic at the summit. Typically considered a soft skill and not necessarily essential to leadership (at least in the traditional sense), Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, has uncovered a number of thematic connections between all of those folks who are social entrepreneurs. Empathy has been and continues to be at the top of that list.

Empathy is one of those things … “things” because I’m not sure precisely what to call it … that I’ve taken for granted. I was raised in a very empathetic home. My family members are empathetic. My children are empathetic and most everyone – heck, EVERYONE! – I work with is empathetic. I’ve naturally, based on my own experiences, assumed that most people would understand why empathy is essential to being human … a kind of “duh” sort of thing. A clear and VERY obvious outcome of Girls on the Run is the ability of every girl and coach to give and receive within an empathetic context.

In my mind, without empathy we lack the ability to deeply connect with another living creature. Empathy affords us the experience of being one in experience with another, putting aside our own ego, the need to be right, and being with the emotions of another. It doesn’t mean fixing them, making the emotions go away or enabling the individual. To me it simply means being with their emotions without interference from me.

via So how do you get empathy, anyway? (Hint: You won’t find it in a lecture.) | Ashoka.org.

As an advocate, I am always under the impression that being with empathy is demonstrating a concern and understanding of the here and now of the caller/person communicating with (no matter the mode of communication).  It isn’t a time of formulating one’s opinion of the situation; it is more important to sort through options and more options for the situation given at hand, as well as providing emotional support and guidance for catapulting forwarding to the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to move forward to, hopefully, without the burdens of the crisis situations at hand.

People need to have a voice in their lives moving forward, they need to see and weigh out the options available for them (because when in crisis mode, you rarely see through the mist of the tears caused by the emotional and/or physical pain currently enduring); however, they need to know that they aren’t crazy, that they have lives that are valued, and that they can do things and make great decisions that affect their own lives, as well as those around them.

How do YOU see empathy?  How do you apply empathy in your daily lives?

 

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Kathryn’s Story

Please join me in the fundraising effort for this organization, the Lymphatic Research Foundation who strives to find a cure for Lymphedema.

In 2004, when a suburban hit me in an intersection and spun me around, my knees hit the steering wheel hard.  At the time, I didn’t have medical insurance; just the PIP insurance with your normal coverage of auto insurance policy.  When it was discovered a month after the accident that my swelling in my legs was simply not going to go away, it was only a beginning to a journey of learning how to be an advocate for myself.  The hospital granted me a grant for 10 treatments, but anyone who knows anything about lymphedema, 10 treatments is clearly not enough.  I was left on my own to wrap my legs and utilize a small pump and try to get the swelling to go down on my own without any insurance coverage.

By the time that I gained health insurance in 2008 through my employer when transitioning from a full time relief employee to a full time permanent employee, my legs were getting out of control and I was beginning to develop some pressure wounds.  After 3-6 months of physical therapy, aqua therapy, and transitioning from the ace looking compression bandages get up to the juxt-a-fit garments, and the approval of a flexitouch pump, I finally was able to have a better guide, control and understanding of what to do for maintaining my condition.

To this day, I still walk about with garments on both legs, although the right leg is far worse than the left, and tennis shoes that are way to big for me ordinarily (because of the wraps, I have to wear much larger shoes).  I have some sights on a new garment that comes in black and cheaper than the ones that I presently have, however, are supposed to work even better.  Hopefully, I won’t have the $500 annual garment purchase, plus the additional $100-200 I purchase each month in various specialized stockings that I have to wear with the garments.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  At least, if they are in black, they might be less noticeable.  For the past 7 years, everyone seemed to look at me with strangely while I continued to wear these garments day in and day out for the past 7 years, going on 8.

During the past years, I have been a strong advocate, learning more and more how to speak up for myself and try to make sure that I have the latest in the developments to ensure that there is continued progress without any set backs.  I’ve also promoted latest and greatest news on my Lymphedema in the News page on facebook and have become one of the admins in a patient’s only page (private) on facebook where we work to encourage and inspire one another.

In additon, I have had other lymphedema advocates come on my blogtalkradio show called, Beyond Words Live, to share updates about HR 4662 bill that is the national legislation concerning helping to defer the high costs of treatments towards the lymphedema patient.  It is critical that there is attention to this bill because, if lymphedema is left untreated, it poses a much higher health risk — such as the awfully painful pressure wounds that can run deep past the fatty tissues underneath the skin layer, exposing it to the opportunity for more infections, etc.

My story is one of many stories.  This is not lympoma or any form of cancer, although it can often result from having radiation treatments necessary to combat cancer.  Many other folks have many other causes — some trauma situated causes like mine — many others have other situations that have occurred to where the lymph nodes were damaged in some other way; and, in some cases, too, there are some hereditary links to this long lasting condition.

I come to you today to ask that, even if you can only contribute $5, it is $5 more towards the research that can be done to find a cure.  Thank you for reading my story and considering helping the cause.  I look forward to being able to tell the foundation that I exceeded my goal in raising funds for the much needed research.

Thank you!!

Kathryn

via Personal Fundraising Page for Kathryn Benefiting the Lymphatic Research of the Lymphatic Research Foundation!.

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The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a great fact sheet resource to Domestic Violence  and Children:  Questions and Answers for Domestic Violence Project Advocates, answering such questions as:

How do children react to domestic violence?

What are some typical short-term responses?

What about children’s responses in the long term?

What are the factors that help children recover?

What should parents tell their children about domestic violence?

How much information is enough but not too much?

What should a parent tell a child about the parent who was abusive?

How can advocates protect children from adult information?

How should parents respond to and cope with their children’s feelings about them?

What are some strategies for managing children’s behaviors that may occur in families with domestic violence?

How can advocates determine when a child needs more help?

and,

What is secondary trauma and how does it affect me?

 

 

Click on the link below to learn more:

http://www.nctsnet.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/DomViolenceFactSheet_final.pdf

 

 

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Domestic violence cases seem to prevail in spite of all the efforts of the advocates across the United States and throughout the world; however, that doesn’t stop the advocates from continuing to try.  One focus has turned its head towards the affects upon childhood trauma.  One such foundation taking this focus in their hands is the Makers of Memories with its public policy initiative:

The Makers of Memories Public Policy Initiative, launched earlier this month in Washington DC, has already begun to develop momentum towards our two key objectives of:

1) raising awareness about the problem of childhood exposure to domestic violence; and

2) developing a set of solutions to address this problem.

Participants from a wide range of national nonprofit organizations have agreed to collaborate on the educational content and distribution of our documentary film project, 43 Million Secrets, and have contacted us to explore ways that we can work together to motivate leaders and policy makers to take action to provide support and assistance to children who experience domestic violence. We also are exploring programmatic initiatives with these organizations. Some of the individuals and organizations we have engaged to collaborate on our work are featured below in the images from our meeting in Washington DC on June 14.

via Makers of Memories.

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The inaugual event is going to be about 35 miles west of Austin, off of Hwy 290 in the McDade area, from September 24-25, 2011.  More events also planned from February 11th – April 1st, 2012.

This should all be very interesting place to explore.  The hard economic times certainly lend itself to a need to escape into the mystical fairie tale times that the Sherwood Celtic stories that we have only read about in the past.  No longer, will Austinites have to think that the closest places for Ren Faires to be in Tomball/Magnolia, near Houston, or up towards the Waco area.

Have you ever been to a Renaissance Fair in the past?  Would you sign up for the upcoming events at this place?

Check out the link below for more details.

Sherwood Forest Faire – Medieval Renaissance Park in Lost Pines between Austin and Houston..

 

Tickets:

https://tix.extremetix.com/Online/?siteID=2462&cartID=ef3f66d9-0020-4637-a48b-9cbac571c7c8&eventID=28825

 

 

Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/SWFF2010?sk=app_212371285462773

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Jamie Olive is my hero.  Last year, when he came to the United States and make a debut in the small, sleepy town in West Virginia, he clearly made an impact and difference in their lives.

This year, he might have taken on more than he could chew by tackling the enormous Los Angeles Community.  By the end of the last show, though, he gained the support of the new supertindent of the LA School system.

He’s got the right ideas though.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and is aiming to put things into good perspective with good eats, starting in the schools.

I thank him for his perseverance in keeping on the school systems.  I look forward to see the long range effects of his efforts.

What’s next for this hero?  Can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for the next leg of his crusade!

News | Jamie Oliver (US).

 

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Marsys’ Law created as a result, in California, when a woman was lured back to her ex-boyfriend who claimed wanted to get back with her and make up but in actuality had a shotgun ready to kill her when she entered his home.   This event was a great opportunity to learn more.

PASADENA – The Pasadena Police Department will host a free Crime Victims’ Clinic from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday in the second floor assembly room at the department headquarters, 207 N. Garfield Ave.

The clinic will offer information on the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights Act (Marsy’s Law) passed in 2008, giving victims of crimes and their families 17 constitutional rights.

Workshop participants will include the Pasadena Police Department, Justice for Homicide Victims, Pasadena Superior Court, L.A. District Attorney’s Office, Bailiff’s Office, Victim-Witness Assistance Program; Peace Over Violence and Crime Stoppers.

The clinic is being coordinated, organized and planned by Police Specialist III Patricia Magallanes.

via Crime victims’ rights to be discussed at police clinic – Pasadena Star-News.

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Recently attended a child custody inservice presented by Barry Goldstein and Dr. Mo Hanna (who, incidently co-authored the book called Domestic Violence Abuse and Child Custody).  Dr. Hanna also speaks to childhood trauma in her part of the presentation.  The statistics presented in this video by Makers of Memories foundation are, indeed pretty staggering and worth taking note.  In a quest to end domestic violence, we must take a look from all perspectives to really figure out a solution to end it forever.

Please reveiw and let me know what you think.


YouTube – 10 Shocking domestic violence statistics for 2011.

See also for more information:

http://domesticviolenceabuseandchildcustody.com

http://blog.makersofmemories.org/

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Being a lymphedema patient myself, and having a wonderfully doting and caring boyfriend who acts as my daily caregiver, I can appreciate reading this lymphedema patient’s daughter’s point of view as a caretaker.

I love the title of the blog as well — DREAM FOR A CURE… 🙂  This is definitely a common theme among all lymphedema patients and caregivers because this lymphedema condition isn’t necessarily a temporary condition but one that is a lifetime commitment to keep it from becoming a dangerous and lethal situation if left untended.

Be sure to take a glimpse at this blog and learn more about this condition that so desperately needs a cure. 🙂

Dream For A Cure….

 

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In 2004, when a suburban hit me in an intersection and spun me around, my knees hit the steering wheel hard.  At the time, I didn’t have medical insurance; just the PIP insurance with your normal coverage of auto insurance policy.  When it was discovered a month after the accident that my swelling in my legs was simply not going to go away, it was only a beginning to a journey of learning how to be an advocate for myself.  The hospital granted me a grant for 10 treatments, but anyone who knows anything about lymphedema, 10 treatments is clearly not enough.  I was left on my own to wrap my legs and utilize a small pump and try to get the swelling to go down on my own without any insurance coverage.

By the time that I gained health insurance in 2008 through my employer when transitioning from a full time relief employee to a full time permanent employee, my legs were getting out of control and I was beginning to develop some pressure wounds.  After 3-6 months of physical therapy, aqua therapy, and transitioning from the ace looking compression bandages get up to the juxt-a-fit garments, and the approval of a flexitouch pump, I finally was able to have a better guide, control and understanding of what to do for maintaining my condition.

To this day, I still walk about with garments on both legs, although the right leg is far worse than the left, and tennis shoes that are way to big for me ordinarily (because of the wraps, I have to wear much larger shoes).  I have some sights on a new garment that comes in black and cheaper than the ones that I presently have, however, are supposed to work even better.  Hopefully, I won’t have the $500 annual garment purchase, plus the additional $100-200 I purchase each month in various specialized stockings that I have to wear with the garments.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  At least, if they are in black, they might be less noticeable.  For the past 7 years, everyone seemed to look at me with strangely while I continued to wear these garments day in and day out for the past 7 years, going on 8.

During the past years, I have been a strong advocate, learning more and more how to speak up for myself and try to make sure that I have the latest in the developments to ensure that there is continued progress without any set backs.  I’ve also promoted latest and greatest news on my Lymphedema in the News page on facebook and have become one of the admins in a patient’s only page (private) on facebook where we work to encourage and inspire one another.

In additon, I have had other lymphedema advocates come on my blogtalkradio show called, Beyond Words Live, to share updates about HR 4662 bill that is the national legislation concerning helping to defer the high costs of treatments towards the lymphedema patient.  It is critical that there is attention to this bill because, if lymphedema is left untreated, it poses a much higher health risk — such as the awfully painful pressure wounds that can run deep past the fatty tissues underneath the skin layer, exposing it to the opportunity for more infections, etc.

My story is one of many stories.  This is not lympoma or any form of cancer, although it can often result from having radiation treatments necessary to combat cancer.  Many other folks have many other causes — some trauma situated causes like mine — many others have other situations that have occurred to where the lymph nodes were damaged in some other way; and, in some cases, too, there are some hereditary links to this long lasting condition.

via Personal Fundraising Page for Kathryn Benefiting the Lymphatic Research of the Lymphatic Research Foundation!.

Read Full Post »

$31,244 is the average income of 90% of the income earners, which has only seen a change of 1% during 1970-2008.  As you climb the chart to see other ranges of earnings, the population gets smaller and smaller, but the change of income earned during this same time frame is increasing higher and higher.  Something is very wrong with this picture.

How are folks supposed to hold on to hope for economic change in the future, if 90% of the population is seeing the littlest of changes?

via (Not) spreading the wealth – The Washington Post.

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One of the most creative and latest/greatest social sites being placed out on the world wide web recently is a site called, Soul Needs!

It really works on getting to know people for their wholesome goodness, as well as a place for each and every person to come and explore fitness by way of the mind, body and soul.

Create your own profile.

Explore the “Circles”, various communities centered around specific topics or needs for fulfillment — or, create your own.

Take the many quizes available on the site to explore where you stand with your mind, body, and soul.

There are also other areas in development — entertainment and events, to begin with.

If you are wanting something a little more fulfilling than the social sites you have been to lately, you really should take the time to explore this more by clicking on the link below:

 

SoulNeeds Beta – Dashboard – txbluebonnet.

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On June 19, 2010, I interviewed author, Shelly Beach:

This author wrote the book SILENT SEDUCTION SELF-TALK: CONFORMING DEADLY THOUGHT PATTERNS TO THE WORD OF GOD. Whether or not that you actually believe in God (maybe you just believe in a higher power of some sort), techniques that Shelly Beach puts into play in her book should indeed ressonate with you, or someone you know. It is easy enough to fall victim to the self-talk that we do to ourselves, which leads oftentimes to low self-esteem and gives an abusive personality power and control edge over our lives. We need to empower ourselves to become stronger so that no one takes control of ourselves and allow us to lead the lives that we so richly deserve. Please join me in welcoming Shelly Beach to our show today and feel free to join in the chat during the show.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET AUTHOR SHELLY BEACH June 19 2010 9a CST 06/19 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On June 12, 2010, I interviewed Michele who also had an incredible survivor story from many perspectives.

Against all odds is the best three words that I can describe this surivor of domestic violence after hearing about and reading her story. She is a product of extremely young parents that were ill-prepared for parenting (her parents being involved with drugs and prisons) and various struggles leading prior her own domestic violence relationship. She is an incredibly strong woman now and I know you will want to hear her story and her amazing story of survival!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET MICHELE JUNE 12 2010 9aCST 06/12 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 29, 2010, I interviewed Danielle Joy, an author with a personal story to share.  Take some time to listen to her story when you have a chance.

Danielle Joy Linhart writes the FROM DEEP WITHIN – BLIND AND BRUISED book straight from her heart, which makes it very straight to the point; however, she has written in a format that is an easy read, and one that can certainly ressonate with any teen going through any degree of teen datingabuse. Please join me as Danielle shares her story on our show and tells more about her book, of which a portion of the proceeds are going to help the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (http://loveisrespect.org)! The last paragraph on her backcover of the book states, “As a survivor, I want to help those being harmed or whos might be harmed, and to educate those who can help prevent a violent relationship. This book has been a path to self-discovery, to close the chapter on that part of my life. I feel as though I have re-lived the abuse all over again. At times, I had to stop writing, but I am glad I continued because there is a chance I will help someone in need.” How true! It is hard to write book about something that was so painful in your life; it is wonderful that Danielle has managed to get past that to share her story. I can’t wait to share this guest with you. Chat room will be open for discussion too. 🙂

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DANIELLE 05/29 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 22, 2010, I interviewed Marilyn Bray, an advocate in Sexual Assault who also shared her own personal story.

Marilyn Bray serves as the epitome of becoming a huge advocate for non-violence, inspired by her own personal experience and has become a catalyst for the new movement of survivors to talk candidly about their journeys, sharing their experiences and become empowered by the truth. Since 2001, Marilyn’s journey toward empowerment and professional growth evolved into advocating and helping those in anguish from being “victims” or rape and sexual assault. She has become actively involved in SOAR SPA, The Clothesline Project, Take Back the Night, survivor workshops and women’s perspective workshops, among many, many other things. Currently, Marilyn serves on an advisory role to Men Stopping Violence Against Women Intiative, recently started in Tampa by a group of concerned men wanting to be a part of the solution. Her story has been shared in SELF MAGAZINE, as well as more recently in the November issue of MARIE CLAIRE MAGAZINE. Please bring a warm welcome to Marilyn has she shares with us her story of survival and her mission of advocacy.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET MARILYN BRAY 05/22 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 15, 2010, I inteviewed Hadayai, who talked more about Muslim women and their survivorship:

Domestic violence knows no age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc – including no culture is immune from domestic violence occurring in their relationships as well. The guest today also has her own show on BTR, but comes to my show to talk more about her story and how it relates in the Muslim Community. In fact, she states that “any association with feminism is alienating in Muslim cultural circles … and… confidence from women has been slow in coming.” We hope to help demonstrate the need of understand cultural struggles when trying to help those victimized by domestic violence situations to seek help. Please join us while Hadayai talks about her mission to enact upon her, simple and huge, vision: “Give Muslim women the tools to change their climate by changing themselves” stemming out of her own experience with domestic violence and her compelling need to fill a need to help others in similar situations. Her goal through the program she founded in Georgia (here in the United States) in 1997 is to “end the silence about domestic violence and to help abused Muslim women and children with shelter, food, and clothing, as well as teach them strategies for self sufficiency – how to be confident in speech, mannerisms, and body language.” Come prepared to understand additional dimensions of struggles found in those encountering domestic violence.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET HADAYAI 05/15 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 8, 2010, I interviewed Lauri Allen, who is a survivor, as well as part of the Private Quarters comapny.  She told an amazing story.  Please feel free to listen to her show when you get a chance:

Unbelievable turn of circumstances is a great way to describe Laurie who will be talking to us today. I have been enjoying getting to know Laurie and learning more about what she is doing today with her role at Private Quarters (an organization supporting domestic violence survivors) and part of a documentary in progress called BY A THREAD, as well as her personal experiences involved in domestic violence and why she has been so adamant to advocate for change. She states that she is on a mission to share her story as how she became safe in her own skin, as well as just her story of domestic violence on a whole. There is a certainly level of abuse and violence that women hear about on the news, in the obituaries, the obvious and repeated, daily and nightly abuse; however, there is another level of abuse that is hidden, forgotten about and not on the radar because it may not be thought of as “that bad”. At what point does it have to be “bad” to do something about it, after all? What about those less than obvious signs that lead you down a path of abuse and violence that young and mature women don’t understand and don’t know to look for? Those are the masses we need to reach and educate, speak to and empower! Please join us on May 8th, 2010, at 2pm CST to hear what Laurie has to say to empower all our listeners to changes in our lives.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET LAURIE 05/08 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On April 17, 2010, I hosted this interview with Julianne. Hoping that you take time to listen to her amazing story:

 

Julianne will discuss her own personal experiences with domestic violence, as well as her involvement in the development of domestic violence programs in rural America, as well as some dilemmas and issues surrounding reaching those in the rural america about resources available to them too. Domestic violence in rural America is a perplexing issue because the batterer will often go to great lengths to alienate and isolate a victim — oftentimes, this includes moving them out to the most remote area that they can where the victim has little access to communication with the wide world, as well as their friends and family members. How can we possibly reach these folks? Be sure to tune in and perhaps we’ll hear some creative ideas that you, as a listener, can proactively do as well.

 

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET JULIANNE 04/17 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On April 3, 2010, I hosted this radio show with Denise Wolford.  Just catching up on what I have been doing in the past few years:

I’m very excited to present to you a show with Denise Wolford who has been dedicated to working towards ending domestic violence through her ministry, All Women Marching for Hope! Denise will share with us her story that led her to where she is today, as well as tell us more about her ministries for hope for freedom from domestic violence in this world. Just about a month ago, on March 6th, she was found marching in the streets of the community of Dallas, along with many supporters and Carolyn Thomas. She will be taking their march in other communities as well. Learn more about domestic violence and some avenues for proactive action. Look forward to seeing you at the show on April 3, 2010!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DENISE WOLFORD 04/03 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

 


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Information to be passed around and acted upon:

 

Glamour Launches “Tell Somebody” Relationship Violence Awareness Campaign In Honor of Yeardley Love

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of UVA student Yeardley Love. (Note our blogpost about Yeardley Love’s death and what to say to someone you care about here.)

To honor the one-year anniversary of her death, Glamour is encouraging women to talk about relationship violence—both to ask for help and to offer it without judgment. Glamour‘s Tell Somebody campaignis aimed at raising awareness about the secret that kills four women a day in the United States—relationship abuse. Over the course of an average year in twenty-first-century America, more than 1,400 women will be murdered by someone they’ve loved. Glamour asks: Why are women more likely to be killed by their boyfriends now than they were 35 years ago? And what can we do to reverse the trend?

In an exclusive Glamour/Harris Interactive representative, online survey* of 2,542 women ages 18 to 35—single, living with a partner and married—a full 29 percent said they’d been in an abusive relationship. Another 30 percent said they’d never been abused but then went on to acknowledge that, at some point, a partner had viciously hurt them: from verbal degradation to being strangled or threatened with a knife. View the top findings from the survey athttp://glmr.me/jKUWxq.

The Tell Somebody campaign kicks off in Glamour‘s June issue with an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Also included in the feature are family photos of Yeardley Love that serve as a reminder that the women we hear about in the news are much more than just headlines. Many brave women came forward to tell their stories—and 62 percent said that having the support of a friend, family member or coworker helped them “get through the relationship safely.” 

The message here? Tell Somebody. Ther feature includes exactly what to say to a friend or loved one who may be in an abusive relationship.(Note our blogpost about Yeardley Love’s death and what to say to someone you care about here.)

“The fact that abusive relationships have actually gotten more deadly for young women in the 21st century is not only confounding—it’s maddening,” says Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine. “Glamour wants to encourage all young women to start talking about this violence. Our message is simple: If you, or a friend, are in a dangerous relationship, Tell Somebody.”

Young celebrities like Emma Stone and Ashley Greene, are also joining the campaign, coming together to create an awareness video highlighting shocking statistics and underlining the message of the campaign: If you or a friend is suffering, Tell Somebody. To see the video, along with a moving series of exclusive videos of survivors, go to http://www.glamour.com/tell-somebody/video/2011/05/tell-somebody-help-put-an-end-to-relationship-violence.

There is an easy way everyone can help: In 2010the National Domestic Violence Hotline received 281,787 calls, but due to a lack of resources, 83,027 of those calls went unanswered—that’s more than 1,590 calls per week. We can change that. Glamour, the Avon Foundation for Women and the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program—an initiative that has donated more than $30 million globally to reduce domestic violence since 2004—are working to make sure that no call goes unanswered from now through October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Women need to have someone who will listen,” says Katie Ray-Jones, director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We know that for about 85 percent of our callers, it’s their first time ever telling their story.”

Glamour is asking people to make a $10 donation by texting TELLNOW to 85944. The Avon Foundation will match every dollar donated, up to $200,000. “It takes so much courage for a woman to pick up the phone and make that call,” Vice President Joe Biden told Glamour. The least we can do is make sure someone is there for her.

Join Glamour‘s campaign to stop relationship violence by changing your Facebook status to—Relationship violence kills 4 women a DAY in the U.S. If you or someone you know is being abused, Tell Somebody. Make sure someone is always listening by texting TELLNOW to 85944. Your $10 donation will help keep the National Domestic Violence Hotline open.

To learn more about Tell Somebody, visit glamour.com/tell-somebody.

*Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States between March 3 to 17, 2011 among 2,542 women (aged 18-35). Figures for age, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Go to http://www.Glamour.com/tell-somebody for the full methodology.

Credit to:

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What many folks don’t realize is that this is the lady that I met long ago who said that the magazine folks who had her tell her domestic violence story, but wouldn’t publish it because it didn’t fit exactly in their demographics at the time.  This realization that survivors were not able to have a platform to tell their own story in their own words, led me on a journey which eventually started me doing shows here on BlogTalkRadio, allowing survivors to tell their stories in their own words.

By survivors telling their own story, it is the opportunity for them to share with those that may be listening in and may resonnate with them because they are currently in a domestic violence situation and/or know of someone who is.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/oralhistory/2011/06/11/meet-charlottewith-a-story-to-tell

 

 

 

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Just happened upon this today.  You’ll just need to read the article to understand the full scope:

 

Reposted article for quick viewing here:


In case you hadn’t heard the latest news to make you doubt the basic humanity of the people around you, several years ago a 16-year-old cheerleader from Silsbee High School in Texas was assaulted at a party by Rakheem Bolton, a basketball player and football star whom she says held her down and raped her. Bolton later pleaded to a charge of misdemeanor assault, but here’s the part that’s going to make you want to set things on fire: Not only did the school allow him back on the basketball team, they told the girl it was her responsibility to lay low, stay away from the lunchroom and not go to Homecoming. And when the girl refused to cheer specifically for her attacker at games — while still cheering for the team at large — Silsbee High School officials did something so fundamentally awful that they might as well be twisting their mustaches: They threw her off the cheerleading squad.

She challenged the school in court and recently lost, so now in addition to suffering a horrendous assault, predictably being branded a “slut” in her community, and getting thrown off the cheerleading team for refusing to shout “put it in” at her attacker (seriously), her family has been ordered to pay $45,000 in legal fees to the school.

Jason Ho, an illustrator and Assistant Editor at Bongo Comics wants to help, so he is drawing custom sketches at $20 a pop and donating the proceeds to the girl’s legal costs. They are both very attractive sketches and a small way to help someone who has been failed disgracefully over and over by the indecency and institutional cowardice of seemingly everyone around her.

“The less I say about it, the better, cause if I start talking about it, I’m just gonna get mad,” Ho wrote on his blog. “Suffice it to say, this is utterly unacceptable, and if we can help, we should.”

You can read more of the profoundly depressing details here, but the courage of the young woman cannot be overstated for speaking out about an assault by a football star in a culture that disproportionately values sports prowess (you’ve seen Friday Night Lights, right?) and is quick to blame victims — even 11-year-old girls — for their own sexual assaults.

Thanks to Silsbee High School and Superintendent Richard Bain Jr., for rewarding the young woman’s bravery with the tacit message to shut up because winning sports games is more important than her assault, and for affirming yet again to girls and women around the world that seeking justice for a sexual assault is the fastest and easiest way to get victimized all over again, except in more public and expensive ways.

Sincere thanks to Ho — an artist we’ve featured on ComicsAlliance before — and Help the Cheerleader, which is working directly with the girl and her family to raise money for both the school’s court fees and their own. Donations are being accepted via Paypal here.

Read More: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/08/cheerleader-texas-rape-sketches/#ixzz1OuQWnMyG

 

 

 

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OMG, just read a blog posting that an author stated that,

“There is an oft-repeated, but false, myth that Super Bowl Sunday is the worst day for violence against women.” 

Of course, the author then adds,

“Would that it were that easy.  Domestic violence doesn’t care what day it is.  It is an every day (and everyday) problem of individuals, families, and society as a whole.  The solution to domestic violence cannot, by definition, take place only within the family unit.  It is a public health issue if ever there was one.”

The first sentence sent the hair up on the back of my neck — MYTH?  a fallacy???  I don’t think so!!  I have been working in the domestic violence field for more than 5 years now, not counting the 15 years that I have been a paralegal and the many years of physical and emotional domestic violence that I personally encountered for many years, and yesterday was probably the first experience I had had with working specifically on Superbowl Sunday in this industry and I wrote the following on another site…..

entitled, “Underdogs come up and win! Thank goodness someone did!!!”

Today has been a rough day for me. For many that know, I answer crisis calls for a living. That, in itself isn’t too bad because I generally can separate myself from their pain and move forward to the next caller.

Today, it has been different. Perhaps, it is because I have never worked in this field on Superbowl Sunday; I don’t know. It seems like I had before, but I don’t remember it being this rough.

Superbowl for most people can be all fun and games, but from the domestic violence perspective it can be quite the opposite. I have been receiving higher risk crisis calls today percentage wise than I ever have, I believe. I mean, usually, it is just calls wanting more information or how to plan to help from friends or family members OR understanding how they need to understand why they need to stay away from the abusive person OR some students wanting help on their projects.

Today, though….

* a woman’s face was bashed in by her ex and she just returned home from the hospital. Her ex was on the way to p/u the kids and she needed to ensure their safety until she could reach the attorney and the district attorney in the morning….

* callers calling from places they are hiding from their abusers….

* callers from the other room while there abusive partner was enjoying the superbowl game after having beaten them up. They were seeking shelter space….

* callers wanting us to call 911 for them…

* caller stating that her husband had just “disciplined” her daughter by yanking her hair and dragging her through the house and throwing her into the doorway. The daughter now has a concussion….

* other child abuse calls being called in….

and sooooo much more.

It is times like these when one gets these sort of calls you would like to be able to hang up the phone and call “The Equalizer” to take care of things. I guess I always loved that show because the actor would do so in a not necessarily violent way to get the point across to the aggressor — a sort of person who advocated for the underdog.

It is sort of the peace de la resistance (sp?) in the fact that, at least, one underdog has won today — even if it is from an event that seems to masks the pain of others in the same day.

Some day — I wish the pains of the victims away and the abusive/aggressive folks of this world find peace so that we can all live in the world as one happy family. Is it really too much to ask for???

Now, try to tell me, after my experience yesterday on a domestic violence hotline, that Superbowl Sunday isn’t one of the worst days ever for domestic violence.

In all fairness though, there are hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of calls received day in and day out throughout the entire year.  Domestic violence isn’t just domestic violence on Superbowl Sunday; however, the intensity culminates to something that is both exasperating and emotional.

Some day…..

the violence in the home has to end!

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Making lists doesn’t always put our world in order, but it certainly helps us to feel more orderly.

~ Anonymous

lol..

I don’t know how many lists that I have written over the years, but it has certainly made me rest better at nights very often so that I could have a renewed perspective of the upcoming day, as well as a renewed charge and dedication to eliminate as many of the items off of my lists.

How about yourself????

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Wow!  One of the men on a social site similar to MySpace (called Fubar) put 2 and 2 together about a small town that we both had family connections to.  It so happened that his aunt and uncle were bee farmers in that town and had died in the 80’s.  I couldn’t help but respond to him by stating —

“When I was little there was a bee farmer that would bring over to my Grandma’s and Grandpa’s ranch a couple of jars of the best honey with the combs still in it.  Honey became my favorite commodity.

The man that would bring the jars would sit with my family in the country air and talk to us.  He was the nicest man and I really got a kick out of his visits — especially when it meant that he would bring us honey… lol!!

One time, he had held me in his lap and a bee landed on me.  He said to me – don’t worry.  The bee won’t sting you unless you show him that you are scared….

It was a great exercise in overcoming any possible fears of bees and every time I encounter bees, his voice echoed in my head.

My Grandpa worked for Humble Oil for many years, then the Lumberyard until he simply couldn’t work anymore.  He ended up with TB, lung cancer, and emphesema…so he stayed in the house connected to the garage mostly and would come out on the porch, smoke us pipe, and tell us all kinds of stories.

Because he stayed in that house, we would meet in the yard between the two (the garage house and the main house) and socialize; hence why the bee man was also visiting us in the country air versus in the house.

You stating that they died in the 80’s makes perfect sense since it was a rare find after that time to have that delicious honey.  Whether or not they are one of the same, it was nice to relive that memory.”

It is amazing how small of a world that we may or may not live in….and it is wonderful still that such inquiries can trigger such marvelous memories from our childhood.  I can still smell the freshness of that honey that the bee farmer would bring to us, a quality unmatched from honey sold today.

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Just something inspirational to share with you today:

“I Wish You Enough

Recently, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at a regional airport. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.” They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking,”Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing.

“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?” I asked.

“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.”May I ask what that means?”

He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.”

He paused for a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.

“When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting theother person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued. Then, turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye.”

He then began to sob and walked away.

My friend, I wish you enough!

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to give enough to those you love. ”

~ Unknown author

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One of the social sites that I go to has some lounges. They are pretty fun to get lost in, chat a bit, and listen to tunes from all eras (depending on the lounge that you are lounging around in).

There is one that I have been checking out lately and the owner has offered to train me on how to be a DJ. Can’t really pass up the opportunity to learn—we’ll know soon how much more involved it can be soon enough. I have to contact her on the Yahoo Messenger later today.

Is anyone out there an Internet DJ? Do you enjoy it? Do you have any tips or suggestions???

Look forward to hearing what folks have to say…..

It is certainly something different, and a whole new world to explore. Who knows where it will lead to—or, not! lol… It will be fun to explore, nontheless!

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On January 9th of this year, a posting was made by Timmy called “You want what?”.   In the posting he states:  

Today’s Kick in the Ass goes to an anonymous person, or asshat, who filed a claim against the federal government for of $3 quadrillion for over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following Hurricane Katrina.For the sake of perspective: A mere $1 quadrillion would dwarf the U.S. gross domestic product, which was $13.2 trillion in 2007. A stack of one quadrillion pennies would reach Saturn.Or maybe this would be a better way to put it in perspective – compare that to $250. That’s the amount FEMA gave residents of my area when in September 2004 Hurricane Ivan dumped 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Nine inches is an unbelievable amount of water to come roaring thousands of feet down mountains and into already flooding streams. The result was the worst flash flooding in the history of the area. That’s where the “impressive” numbers stop. Because unlike some other natural disasters that gained the attention of the world and the backing of disaster efforts and corporate moneys, “only” dozens were killed. “Only” hundreds of homes destroyed. “Only” thousands were displaced. The town I once lived in, Jacksonburg, was wiped off the map. The town was situated on the inside of a huge horseshoe bend in the creek. A temporary earth and culvert bridge had been put in place to allow work on the existing bridge. This became a dam as soon as the wave of water brought trees off the hills. Within minutes, dozens of homes were gone. These were homes built out of the 100 year flood plane, and no one ever imagined flood water could possibly reach them, including my aunt’s home. How did people recover? Neighbors helped them out, mostly. The company me and some other residents worked for declined to help saying the numbers just weren’t there.

But at least not one opportunistic attorney got rich.

This is certainly an atrocity with the audacity of some thinking that they are going to sue the government, especially, for such an exorbitant and outrageous sum of money.  That being said, though, I responded on his posting with the following comment:

I so concur with your thoughts on this.  Any suit would be insanity and justification in comparison to what??

True.  The Katrina victims did face great adversity in their plight; however, years have gone by, and at some point in time, a line in the sand should be drawn, and those same victims should say to themselves, “While we were victims during the Katrina hurricane storm, we are now Katrina survivors!” and work to strive to empower themselves to move forward, out of adversity, and towards a better life for themselves and their community.  At some point, the past can be remembered, but shove the memory to the past and allow all to move to the recovery and survivor mode.

Okay, okay.

Off of my soapbox — for now…

Of course, I don’t want to downplay the enormity of the devastation felt by New Orleans and its surrounding communities; however, at some point of time advocating must be done towards moving the victims from the poor pitiful me stage to empower them to say that they are victors above all because they have overcome such an awful fate of nature that day.

I am sure that there are many victims of the Katrina that have moved forward and are looking at this suit as “Oh, God, when will be able to forget and move on without this being played out and expanded in the media again and again and again??” or “When can the healing process begin without having constant reminders of the past?”

What is really going to be served at attempting to bankrupt the very government that continues to issue grants and support in many continuing situations throughout our society?  Are they really thinking this all the way through?  Do they really want to be remembered for causing a riff in the economy from a potentially bankrupt government, as well as the affect on our children and other members of the society throughout the United States, as well as other parts of the world that we, as a nation of people, do help to support???

Does anyone have a true good solution???  I’d really love to hear it…

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Life isn’t perfect — it never really is. A man lost his wife tonight who he had been married to for 14 years, dated for 10, and known each other as children growing up.

I have been on many victim bereavement calls after the death of a person. They all take you back in a certain way. This one bothered me more than per usual because, although the paramedics had already come and gone by the time that I had arrived, the woman’s eyes were still opened. I guess I am just used to paramedics in the past closing the eyes of the deceased before I arrive — and when I had found my own husband dead, his eyes were already closed (but my husband had also often talked with his eyes closed – a habit of his for some reason).

Currently at work, working on advocacy in another realm tonight; however, the vision of the woman still remains engrained upon my mind. I am sure that it will for quite some time.

Throughout life there are things that approach the way we feel about life and treasure life for what it is and is to be. Seeing death in people, as morbid as it may sound, is one such way that we gain a greater perspective and value for life and the life we live each day.

As family members thanked us for being there, I mentioned to them that, “I can’t say that we enjoy being here, but we are indeed happy that we can help in any way that we can.” I even had one woman bless me tonight; this is certainly not your normal sequence of events at a scene.

I think I remember from a time when my closest grandmother died a person told me that for every death there is a birth. In so doing, while we sadly will miss the person leaving us and heading towards their life after death (for those of us who do believe in that), it is a joy in being able to look forward to births to follow.

I wonder what great birth will become of this death tonight, as a result. Who knows? In the meantime, we are always forever touched in our souls by life’s experiences — the good and the bad, the life and the death.

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Today I awakened at my Alzhiemer’s client’s home to find that she is distraught over her cat.   She threw her cat out the door after the cat appearing to have changed colors (say what?). She said that the cat turned pink.  After seeing the cat last night myself and wondering if the cat were pregnant because she was big around, I was wondering if she meant that the cat was about to have babies or what.  Still not sure what she meant, but I encouraged her to take a shower after engaging her in the Joel Olsteen show this morning and having some freshly squeezed orange juice and toast.

I put out some cat food while she was in the shower after not seeing the cat myself.  After cleaning up the home we left but she thanked me for everything as she was encouraged by Joel Olsteen’s power talk about minimizing our adversities and putting a magnifying glass towards the bigger and better things to come for us ahead – and, she agreed the the shower did make her feel refreshed as well.

We set out and went to Denny’s for breakfast and then off to Sun Harvest for some bits and pieces for things to make at home.  Poor thing.  She got in her mind that she was going to make her famed chicken soup and when I told her that we might not need to buy a whole chicken because it won’t fit into the toaster oven, she felt despair and disgust to her son who had taken apart her stove to keep her from setting the place on fire accidentally.  I tried to point out that she might be able to do the same in a crockpot and she toyed with the idea for a moment then said, “No, I just want my stove to be working!”.  We went around and put some of those ingredients back and searched for other possibilities that she could do — for instance instant oatmeal with the water boiled in the electric kettle, etc.

When we finally got home, we prepared some tuna salad for sandwiches this week and put away the groceries we did purchase.  After calling her son to tell him that he really must get the stove working and hanging up on him after a conversation about his love life that isn’t working out too hot, she pulled up a chair for me to sit in and said, “Come.  Talk to me!”

I sat down and I got a lecture about taking a chance with life and finding a man for me.  She called me a “gootah” (phonetically correct, but Jewish for a woman that does things for everyone else but herself).  She says that she wants me to go out and spend $100 on myself — a new dress, earrings, lipstick — and go dancing.  She says that I should get a sign to wear (like a nametag) and say that I am a free woman! (I can just see it now — women who have already been married and are now divorced and/or widowed must wear a “W” – – an “M” inverted for “woman” and signifying turning over a new leaf!  OMG…lol…..

As I finally was heading out the door after spending 30-1/2 hrs this weekend with her this weekend, she said to me, “You are a lovely woman.  I enjoy spending time with you because you make me feel sane and you are fun to be around.  You need to buy that dress, earrings, and lipstick — and, find something daring to do!”  It almost sounded like a preacher giving me a charge to do for the week ahead, as well as a challenge to find something daring to do.

Thank goodness she has Alzhiemers and she may not remember that she told me that next weekend or I might have to actually report to her the daring thing that I did this week; however, on the other hand, because she does have some degrees of Alzheimers, I might have the same lecture next week.  Oh, nooooooo!!! lol….

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Just had a bump in some plans… lol.

While I didn’t get the FT position that I was vying for, I did get a raise finally that I really should have received back in October.  I am just thankful that I did get that much good news today.

Just took of the 9th quote for the month of January to reveal the 10th’s quote as it is already past midnight while sitting here at work.  It states:

“Reality is something your rise above.”
~ Liza Minnilli

This is so on cue today.  Reality is that I someone scored higher in the hiring process this time around, but that isn’t going to steal away my joy.  I reminded myself that the real joy is in the work that I do.  All the same though, it would be better if I were to get paid for what I do at a better rate of pay, which is what I would have received had I been able to get the fulltime job.  However, (1) I did finally get my raise (so today I am getting paid better than I did yesterday and the days before) and (2) I have an opportunity to apply for an upcoming parttime position.  Being “just a relief” has its disadvantages as the person hired was hired from a pool of applicants that were already either fulltime or partime applicants; being “just a relief” has a rung lower than a true employee of the organization, but better than an outside applicant.  Oh, well…

On to revamping and waiting my turn.  My turn will come soon says the director to me after I had already heard the news from the supervisor and attending an inservice training meeting that builds our knowledge about new laws and law resources to better help our victims.  I truly hope that my turn does come soon.

At any rate, I have risen above and no joy is stolen today!!

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In reading some profiles on Fubar (much like MySpace), I ran across one that had this written on it (by “Lonewolf”)…..

The most wonderful of all things in life,
I believe, is the discovery of another human being
with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth,
beauty, and joy as the years increase.
This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident.
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special. Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give.
Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love.
The fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly;
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Don’t dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you’re going.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

I, especially, love the part about “…Don’t dismiss your dreams.  To be without dreams is to be without hope; to be without hope is to be without purpose. ….”  We all need a purpose in our lives – a purpose for the enjoyment of the moment, and for our future ahead of ourselves (whether or not we can determine what our future is exactly).

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This is the first morning that I have felt half way awake since I woke up on Saturday afternoon b/c I then left Saturday night to work a shift from 6pm Saturday night until 2pm Sunday with an Alzhiemers client.  When I arrived her, there was a new shift person that was there for the first time and it had made her extremely nervous and frustrated.  I managed to settle her down that evening and she awoke refreshed and rearing to go, while I awoke with a backache from hell b/c I had slept on the wooden futon bed all wrong.

It took me a while to get moving and she hopped in and out of the room I was several times asking me what was the agenda today.  Finally, I got her engaged in the Joel Olsteen preacher from Lakewood Church in Houston TX on the television.  I told her that he was a powerful speaker and she sat and listened with great intensity.  He spoke about frustrations and not letting people get under your skin and get the best of you — in another words, not to let other people steal your joy.  This was poignant for her….

as well as for me (for what had happened earlier this past week and what is about to happen this week).

We both went forward into the day with a great attitude and went to have breakfast at an Austin tradition hole in the wall place, then tried to go to the LBJ Wildflower park (but we ended up being there an hour too early) then window shopping for a bit before we headed back home.  While we were back home she relaxed reading the NY Times Newspaper and a book about Elvis Pressely.  She became recharged and we headed to the local Dairy Queen to find a sign outside the door over a trashcan stating “Bad Attitudes Here” with an arrow directed towards the trashcan.  We laughed about the irony of it — especially after the Joel Olsteen sermon about the joy and marched into the Dairy Queen saying “No one is going to steal my Joy!” and ordered some delicious waffle sundaes.  (BTW, did you know that the first Dairy Queen was actually in Canada???  That was something that I hadn’t known before.)

At any rate, I went from her home to my home to sleep for a few hours before heading into an overnight shift.  Getting off Monday morning, I was still exhausted because I hadn’t caught up on my sleep yet.  Today, though, even after working last night on another overnight shift, I am feeling recharged (at least, for the moment…lol…).

On the desk I share with another employee at the hotline, I tore off the 7th quote of the day off of the 2008 calendar and revealed the 8th.  Today’s message was — “There’s nothing noble in being superior to someone else.  The one mobility is in being superior to your previous self.” — a Hindu proverb.  That is, indeed, so very true.

Today, the supervisors are meeting to decide about who is to get the permanent overnight shift (you see I have been working as a relief for the past 5 years) that is open.  Myself and two others applied.  One is disqualified from applying because she hasn’t been there long enough to transfer to another shift; the other one would not be a good choice because she has argued with the employees on the overnight shift in the past.  Hopefully, the logical choice will be me.  Even the overnight shift folks are all rooting for me.

But that has no effect on the rhyme or reason of the supervisor staff.  We’ll see.

All I know is that I am better today that I was yesterday — no matter their decision and choice — and, no one can still my joy.  My real joy isn’t whether I am working PT or FT; my real joy is being able to be the best advocate that I know myself to be.

Of course, I am going to have to remind myself to think positive.  My coworkers have already planned to order out for our meals tonight.  We’ll see and hope that that might be in celebration that I am “in” for the FT position.

No harm in keeping my fingers crossed for the best though, right?

Any prayers would be appreciated….as I really need the FT work income wise, which will allow me the opportunity to not work for 2 employers quite to the extent that I have been.

At any rate, please remember that there is no stealing the joy!!!

😀

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(Actually written 1/2/08:)

I saw a bumper sticker the other day and was puzzled slightly by what it said — “Those who abandon their dreams, will discourage others.”  Although I wrote it on my hand, and later on in my datebook journal I received as a Christmas gift, it just didn’t make sense to me until today.  After all, eventhough I haven’t achieved all of my dreams, I am still the cheerleader encouraging and empowering others to be able to move forward with their own dreams.

Today, though, I indeed had a v-8 moment and realized just what the bumper sticker could possibly mean.

For my living, I am an advocate for those who may not necessarily speak up for themselves.  Currently, I have found myself being an advocate for the elderly as part of my vocation and passion and, as a rule, I truly enjoy what I do.  One client though I have been struggling with to keep upbeat about it.

When I first started going to this client a few weeks ago, I was shocked by the care of his room.  While he may have incontinence, his room reaked of urine all over newspapers, bed linens, clothes, and such.  Apparently, he can’t remember to wear his “briefs”, the depends.  That, in itself is one thing, and makes my job enduring as each week I have to spend 3 hours waiting for the loads to wash through and I don’t feel like I can do this client justice fully because I don’t feel like I have as much time to visit with him, but he tends to stick things in the toilet and stops it up as well (ie, apparently he doesn’t like carrots so they end up in the toilet, which is very disgusting.  I end up having to call maintenance of the facility to come fix the toilet.  It shouldn’t get to the point it does.  The client has a phone; he could call for maintenance himself.  He also walks to the dining room each day; he could tell the management office his needs as well, but he chooses not to.  So, each week I return and I encounter much of the same thing.  You would think that someone wouldn’t want to stay in a room that smells like urine, much less sleep in wet sheets and covers each night.  Each week I keep thinking to myself, “Why, then, do I put myself through such turmoil?”

The answer lays in the fact that I continue to hope that I can make a difference in this man’s life, although, it appears that his level of care needs to be much higher.  This man, who used to not even move out of the bed, does now greet me at his door each week so I am doing something right, it would appear.

Too, while waiting for the clothese to be washed and dried, I’ve met other residents that walk (or, ride) by and they either wave or stop to talk to me for a bit.  I think that they are just happy to see someone else available to hear what they have to say about their day.  Some of them are now even introducing themselves to me with their names and inviting me to go visit them in their rooms — so many are just anxious to have company and companionship.  Even in an assisted living facility, so many residents keep to themselves, which is a shame.

Earlier this morning, I checked my Fubar page just as anyone might check their MySpace page or emails, and saw one of my best friends indicate that he was having trouble waking up this morning.  I called him and told him that, while he was having trouble waking up, I was having a great deal of trouble just motivating myself to move forward to go see this client this morning.  We were talking about why I was having trouble in particular today and he set a positive tone for me by saying to me, “At least, you will have lots to blog about today,” and he was right.

Although I am discouraged by this man’s seemingly giving up on his dreams of having a great life in spite of his health problems, I am discouraged (just like the bumper sticker says).  However, what relights my enthusiasm for returning each week is the brightened eyees and smiles of others I see each week at this facility.  Today, I was surprised, too, in that this man didn’t stay in his room while I was tending to his laundry down the hall.  He actually got up and took the trash to the laundry room area and later he came down to the sitting area and talked with me for a bit telling me that the maintenance has come while I was down here.  Not only once though, but three times!  Maybe next week, he’ll actually sit down and talk to me?  At any rate, any progress made is certainly making way for encouragement that my advocacy is making a difference.

I’ll certainly have to remind myself that, as I crawl out of bed next Wednesday morning, while advocacy work can indeed be very discouraging, it is encouraging to see when folks be able to crawl out of their hinderances (sometime created by themselves) and start getting a little more excited about life.  That is the reward I get in lieu of great monetary salaries, a richness more fulfilling to living a life than making a huge income and not being able to stop and observe life for what it is.  Humanity is a precious regard on this earth; unfortunately, most people are too focused on making the big bucks that they often forget the joys that would surround them if they would just stop and look!

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