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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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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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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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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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Stumbled upon this site from a friend on facebook the other day.  It has a lot of interesting features, including (but, not necessarily limited to) the below:

Legislative Advocacy

As an organization fully committed to advancing justice for consumers, NACA is actively engaged in promoting a fair and open marketplace that forcefully protects the rights of consumers, particularly those of modest means.

Today the fundamental consumer protections that we have depended upon to ensure fairness and justice are under attack. This can be seen in the watering down of federal regulations, the prevalence in consumer contracts of forced arbitration clauses that deny consumers their right to be heard by an unbiased court or jury of their peers, and the ever growing presence of unscrupulous and deceptive business practices that trip and trap consumers into predatory loans, unscrupulous fees, and unconscionable contract terms.

NACA is focused on promoting an agenda that lays the groundwork for rebuilding a consumer justice system that will be based on our nation’s fundamental sense of fairness, equity and honesty. Our agenda items include ensuring that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau holds corporations and businesses accountable for their predatory practices, fighting to ban the unfair practice of forced arbitration, staunching the swelling tide of foreclosures, strengthening laws that protect consumers from predatory mortgage and unsecured credit lending, unfair debt collection practices, and abusive credit reporting.

via Legislative Advocacy – Consumer Advocates – NACA | National Association of Consumer Advocates.

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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 »

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 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 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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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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The other day, I popped onto the site and realized just how long it has been since I have been on this site writing and sharing with you all various tidbits of interest that embarked upon various issues — especially domestic violence issues — mixed in with a variety of diverse things.

What have I been doing since then?

Well…

mostly being a domestic violence warrior — networking and sharing survivor stories in an effort to make a change — hopefully, for the better.

Please keep feeling free to offer feedback, ideas, comment, opinions and suggestions.  I love reading through all of them. 🙂

 

 

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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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I, honestly, cannot remember if this was also circulated around last year or not in our emails as well; whatever the case though, it certainly would bear repeating….enjoy!!

A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light,
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’


‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
He sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
< /S PAN>


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.


Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.


I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..


Who sta! nd at th e front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’


‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’


In his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

——————————————————————-


PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.  Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30t h Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

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Gone seem to be the days when the neighbors would gather at someone’s home, practice some caroling songs that they would be singing, have hot chocolate and goodies to warm themselves up, put on their scarves and mittens, and head out the door to sing from house to house in their neighborhood.  Why would that be?  Could it be that everyone is so worried about being politically correct and afraid of offending someone by singing Christian Carols to a Jewish home, for instance??? 

Ughhhghghghhh……

Visiting a client the other day, I observed a groups of highschool gals that decided that they were trapse up and down the corridors of the facilities.  The smiles of joy on the faces of the residents as they openned up their doors and saw the young gals singing directly to them was priceless.  When I wasn’t looking they circled around me and sang to me as well.  What a comfort and joy that was to be sung to; I don’t remember feeling that sensation in such a long time and more people would greatly benefit in this world by the old fashion door to door caroling.

The commercials with the singing cards taken around by the carolers is great…as one of the carolers hands the card to the recipient, then whispers “open the card”.  The sparkling of the eyes as the song was played was a great surprise, but not quite as heartfelt as coming directly from the caroler’s voices.

Somehow things are getting away from the personalization of the event at times and that is a shame.  The traditions bring warmth, sense of friendships and a sense of belonging and being a part of an event, seem to be disappearing as more and more families opt for more automated, commercialized celebrations of the holidays.  That was seemingly emphasized sarcastically by the below Heathcliff cartoon.  Sad.  So sad!

Perhaps, traditions will begin again and renew the spirits of the holiday seasons for everyone….before we lose the giving spirit and generosity of Christmas.

44451.gif

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has become a way of my looking at life in the advocacy world when answering domestic violence calls on a daily basis… or in working with the elderly… or in my victim advocacies….

It is a way of, essentially, looking at the glass half full rather than half empty. Instead of going home a bit exhausted from the many callers I wasn’t quite sure the seeds I was planting in planning for them to be safe and living a fruitful life was working, I started a while back counting the “God Bless You!”s I received that day. It would seem that those seeds might just germinate and grow into a future that one could have without victimization, harm, destructive behaviours, etc.

How many “God Bless You!”s have you received today??? or, how many “God Bless You!”s have you shared with someone else today???

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I know that whenever I have even considered dating anyone from a distance, especially that I have initially met off of the internet, I have sent them no less than 100 questions to complete. In some instances, it has been much longer than that — just short of actually running a background check. 🙂

Here is an application that is available on the internet, available through an organization called ApplySpace.   One of the things that I don’t like about their form is there is not a way seemingly to adjust the questions, but please check it out and let me know what you think….

Is it enough questions to ask?

Would you ask more?

If given the opportunity to ask additional questions, what would you ask???

Please advise…

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Seeing a blurb in SparkPeople in posing the question, “Is Procrastination Curable?”, I decided that it just might be a great time to write about it (that ugly word we all hate to admit to – procrastination):

“Procrastination. Putting off until tomorrow what you could do today. Is there a more counterproductive habit around? It causes more stress and anxiety than the Grinch in December. Procrastination solves nothing and usually makes things worse. It piles up unfinished business that lurks in and preoccupies the dark corners of your brain. You hope the pile will disappear, but for some reason it doesn’t. The worst part is that once we put off things we’d rather not do, we start to delay the fun stuff as well. How many times have you said “no” to an opportunity because you had to take care of something you put off earlier? How many lost opportunities can you accept? Let’s make action a habit instead. Tomorrow, focus on your toughest hurdle first. Get just that one thing out of the way and enjoy the rest of the day. Be firm and don’t let yourself off the hook. After all, it’s not going away. Follow that one strategy and you’ll be surprised how the momentum carries through the rest of the day. Do it now!!”

 

Procrastination can often rear its ugly head up in my world…

* cleaning house and decluttering one’s own life (in and outside of the home)

* remembering to take care of own’s own health before the needs of others around us (taking care of others is important, but without our own health in good shape, we aren’t going to be any good to them)

* writing a blog posting on a difficult (often controversial) subject matter

* remembering to have some humor and laughter in one’s own life (after all, laughter and humor can oftentimes be the best medicine in this world)

* delaying responding to a job offer or date because one thinks too long about it

* remembering to love yourself as well as others around yourself

* delaying to buy something that you really need while it is on sale

* remembering to say prayers for others around you (so often we pray for our own needs naturally before praying for others) and maintain the spirituality in our lives

* writing or calling a friend even just to tell them that you are thinking about them rather than waiting until you have something truly earth shattering to say

* remembering to continue to build relationships around us (building relationships is a two way street; if you haven’t heard from someone lately, contact them today!)

* taking time for oneself to have a vacation from work thinking that the needs of the business may not survive if you are not there

* remembering to be one’s own best advocate

* being that part of the village that helps a child

* remembering that we don’t have to be paid for everything that we do; it is okay to volunteer your time to meeting the needs of others

* and, so very much more!!

We all do it — procrastinate on some degree or level.   Recently, I have been guilty of it as well and have begun to take action.  For example, oftentimes, I will just let some ailments cure themselves; however, I have advocated for myself and found a way to get the treatment that I needed most immediately in order to feel “whole” and “healthy” in spite of having no insurance to pay for the needed care.  It took some whining and stomping of feet in an sense to get what I needed done, but after a lot of pleading, it has been taken care of this weekend.  Although the aftermath is currently a bit painful, it is certainly a window of opportunity to feel healthy again.

I have also done something about the feeling my career may be going as far as it may go by, upon hearing of a grant education opportunity to take a new path, I immediately responded and presented my case and won an opportunity to take that path through some additional education.  I am excited about that opportunity and look forward to learning, once again, about a field of sciences — a path that I should have continued some 30 years ago, but got diverted all because of a physics course that I had been advised wrong about.  That is a long story and all a part of history.

My daughter is about to have a baby girl in a little over a month from now.  I am truly excited about the baby coming into the world and have been enthusiastic in helping them as much as I can.   Because of her anticipated arrival, I have been making an effort to declutter much of my home and life so that focus can be had to help them out whenever possible as well.

I have vowed to make 2007 a part of making it about me this year — no longer procrastinating fussing about getting help for my health ailments that prevent myself being “whole” on the inside; no longer procrastinating about doing  something that might help me get out of the rut that I feel myself in career wise; etc.  Although, I love what I am doing for a career right now, it is barely able to meet the obligations for my bills and nothing left over for me.  I have no money available to do as I would like to do — travel, make myself more healthy, visit friends and family that live far away, etc.

What say you?  It isn’t too late to make 2007 a part of making it all about you either.  It is never too late, it is just delayed greatly if you procrastinate too much.  What procrastinations are you going to put aside to move forward in your life???

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.     ~Margaret Mead

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Heard it so on the news, but I couldn’t find any support of the story linked on their sites; didn’t find it supported on the official Lance Armstrong website as well — at least, initially!!

I’ll continue to look for support of the news announcement on the news sites….

 

In the meantime, though, I did find support of it on a blogsite from a New Zealand blogger that did make reference to it on his blogsite called, “WinosAndFoodies”. He is even sporting a yummy looking Lemon Meringue Tart (Pie) on his site.

 

Supportinglaf_2c

 

Hope you will show your support of a Livestrong Yellow Day, whether or not it is an official day!! 😀

Many people are affected by cancer each and every day;

whether it be directly or indirectly.dscn1519-042707-320×240.jpg

 

Livestrong Day 2007

 

Livestrong Day Events in a City Near You!

 

Insofar as Austin, TX, some of the events include —

Central Market

24 Fitness Locations

Iron Bartending Competition Benefiting LAF

 

 

Just uploaded a couple of days ago, a moving LiveStrong Mother’s Day story video on YouTube….

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wpbkCoHfZ4]

 

Here is a LiveStrong Message on YouTube:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibKkOXFZ44o]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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so-what-tyra-banks.jpg

Tyra Banks continues her “So What!” Campaign by having a Belly Brigade, which aired on April 26, 2007. I missed that showing, but enjoyed seeing it re-ran tonight on the television.

If you missed it, certainly it awe inspiring to anyone who feels like they have some flaws that they are not proud of; and, who of us doesn’t have some degree of flaws or misgivings about ourselves in one way or another — just saying to ourselves, “If only this…” or “If only that…” (and if we don’t say it to ourselves, we have been told repetitively these things about ourselves to the point that we actually believe them.

It is a “take charge” and “feel good” movement that Tyra Banks started as a result of a little negativity about herself. Well it has spread! One young girl even created a “pay it forward” approach by telling it to a group of her friends on a video with the edict that they each have to “pay it forward” (so to speak) to two other people. If this campaign hasn’t already taken the nation by storm enough, this young girl may be able to set forth the campaign into motion by making two other people realize “So What!” about themselves and take a different look at themselves.

The challenge is – “What is your ‘So What!’ attitude to regain your own self-esteem and image about yourself?”

More information:

My prior posting on the “So What!” Campaign

Tyra Banks’ Recap on the April 26, 2007, Belly Brigade Show

Good Morning America’s Recap on Tyra Banks’ April 26, 2007, Belly Brigade Show

I am a Mellow Chick’s blog Recap on Tyra Banks’ April 26, 2007, Belly Brigade Show

Associated Content’s Recap on Tyra Banks’ April 26, 2007, Belly Brigade Show

and the list goes on and on.

Plus, learn more about the “Pay It Forward Foundation” as started by the novelist who wrote the book “Pay It Forward”, as well as read about others’ who have sparked the continuation of the “Pay It Forward Movement”.

What say you???? 😀

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In searching for a site I am familiar with today, ThePhotoChallenge, I stumbled upon this challenge for photos from someone named Kara (as posted on 2/17/07):

Hey my name is Kara. I’m a photography student in Boston. I’m doing a photo project for display in a local coffee shop. I’m looking for unique and open minded volunteers for the project.What makes this project unique is that all of the pictures for the project will be taken by the volunteers themselves, which enables me to have people from all over the globe involved. I’m making a collage of peoples faces hands and feet and arranging all of the pictures randomly. The whole concept of the project is to see if people who view the project can match the feet and the hands to the faces. And since the people for the project will be taking the pictures themselves, no two pictures will be alike. If you’re interested in volunteering I would just need a picture of your face, Two pictures of your hands one picture of the top of your hands, the other picture the palms. And two pictures of your feet, one of the tops of your feet, the other one the soles. All you’d have to do is email me the pictures and I’ll add them to the project. If you’d like I can email you a picture of the finished project. I am hoping that the project turns out good, as I think it’s a cool concept that’s never been attempted before. Everyone I’m asking to volunteer is being selected completely at random. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I thank you for your time. I know this quite random, but such is life. I look forward to hearing back from you. Take Care 🙂
Kara

kara2zmax@yahoo.com

Are you up to the challenge????

 

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Austin City Council is considering a ban on plastic bags.

When Whole Foods and Central Market came along more than 20 years ago they promoted that recycled bag, but it didn’t really take off too well.  Oftentimes the bag weighs more than the groceries themselves and can oftentimes be bulky.

A CVS employee mentioned last night when I was checking out with my cat food and candles that he thought that, perhaps, it might evolve competition among the stores to come up with the most usable and unique bags so that their bags are the bag of choice one takes when going shopping wherein their name brand is recognized even when a shopper goes into another store to shop.

Austin American Statesman reports that Whole Foods gives a credit of 5 cents for bringing in a recycled bag; Houston Chronicle reports that Whole Foods gives a credit of 10 cents.  Whooo hooo… not enough of a credit for me to have the incentive to switch no matter whether it is 5 or 10 cents unless they talk about 5-10 cents off of each item purchased.  While I am disgusted with some of the plastic bags that don’t hold much in them beyond getting a small load from point A to point B anymore without disintergrating and the handles breaking apart with the weight of the objects in the bag, I am not sure that I am all that thrilled about not having the choice to have a plastic bag every now and then.

Don’t get me wrong.  As much as I love my bluebonnets and love seeing that the environment is encouraging of their continued survival (for instance), I will certainly do anything I can to help improve the longevity for everyone and every living thing through improving the environment.  With only one hand that can carry comfortably any significant level of weight (as one of my hands was broken a couple of years and still hasn’t regained the ability to carry the same level of weight that it used to), having to use non-plastic bags may limit my ability of carrying groceries into my apartment and I will then be required to make multiple trips to my apartment.

Of course, the CVS cashier also mentioned then we might be seeing more carts & dollies that folks bring in to carry things back and forth.  I do have one of those foldable carts that I purchased when my husband died and I had no one to help me bring up the groceries to my second floor apartment, which became useful too when I was moving from Houston a few years ago from a second floor apartment in The Woodlands to a second floor apartment in Cedar Park.   Now, I am in a first floor apartment to avoid that whole situation.  (It is too bad that apartments don’t put in dumb waiters in the stairwells so that folks can carry things up to the upper level apartments.)

At any rate, this morning on MyFoxAustin it is being announced that there is another “Call to Recycle” Campaign being had for rechargeable batteries, cell phones, laptops, PDAs, etc to the local Radio Shack locations.  This is a good thing because I have a lot of electronic equipment that I do need to get rid of, but wasn’t quite sure how to properly dispose of them.  That announcement was very timely indeed.

Funny thought.  How much gas will we be expending to cart all of our things from recycle point to recycle point?  Will the cost factors of expending the gas outweigh the recycling attempts?  I certainly hope so.

At any rate, it is certainly a good week to do some Spring Cleaning!!

For more information —

Austin Recycling Programs

Texas Recycling Programs

Home Hazardous Waste Disposal through AFD

AFD locations to pick up Austin Recycling Bins

Ecology of Texas – Listing of Where to go for Recycling What

Locations of Recycling in Greater Austin

Other Austin Area Earth Day Events – ie, Shred Day at Austin High School and much, much more.

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LOL…

Am I not alone?  As I read More.com’s article, Fixing the World After 40, I am captivated by the words:

“I came of age in the do-good 1970s, when we believed we would change the world by raising our consciousness, caring for the environment, or joining the Peace Corps. Some of us actually followed through — until we had to get serious about tuition repayment or the rent. Others chose the traditional helping professions of nursing and teaching right off the bat. I admired these women but was dead set on business, ready to work like a dog to prove I could be as big a breadwinner as any man. I figured I’d volunteer when I retired.

 

I’m still working full tilt, and although I’ve served on the boards of nonprofit organizations, I find it easier to donate money than time. But I’ve noticed an emerging trend: Many successful women are deciding at midlife to redirect their energy from a career to a cause. What is it about turning 40 that goads us to fulfill our early idealism? Is it that we can afford to be more generous when we have more money in the bank and kids ready to fly? Or do we feel time is running out and race to (as I heard one wag put it) “pad our obit”?

 

My bet is that by now, we’re ready to make our lives matter more, either by committing ourselves wholesale to an issue we’re passionate about or fitting small acts of charity into our busy lives. These MORE readers prove it’s never too late to share the love.”

While I was raised by a somewhat affluent family because my father had worked hard to make sure all four of us kids had what we wanted and dreamed for, which has had to have been difficult with each us having differing dreams and ambitions.  For instance, my sister had told me one night when we were laying in our beds in our bedroom that, “I am going to marry someone so that I can have steak and mushrooms every day.”  She married an attorney and could quite possibly have her dream fulfilled.  Another sister of mine wanted to be a teacher and she has not only fulfilled her dream, but volunteers her time at a few organizations and runs in marathons.  My brother had told me that, when he was four years old, “I am going to design a car that runs on air.”  While I don’t think he has done quite that, he has been quite successful in his life with work, travel and his friends.  With him being just shy of being the most genius man on this earth, it would not surprise me if one day, he also achieves that dream.  There is still plenty of time, he is in his 30’s; he has a lifetime to enjoy all the achievements and mark on this earth that he has made thus far.  I will never cease to be amazed by my siblings’ determination to fulfill what they have wanted to achieve thus far.

I, too, came of age in the ’70’s; I had my own dreams and ambitions, although my journey has not be quite the simply and paved road.  I have had to jump across many divets and take many detours along the way; however, I keep gravitating towards ways that I could help others.  While I had to keep working hard at bringing home some income as a single parent for most of my daughter’s life, I couldn’t help but find some time in the day to try to help others in some form or fashion.  My mother would get frustrated with me as she would remind me, “You can’t help everyone.”  I would look at her puzzled and think, “Why not?”, although as I get older, I realize that I truly can’t help everyone.  This became clearer too as I try to fixed the marriages I had with abusive men.  I kept thinking that I saw the good in them and I could help them shine; it is oftentimes I hard lesson to learn that the only one that one could truly change is oneself and take that knowledge to empower myself to move forward throughout the years.

That still doesn’t change the aspect of my desire to help others and make a difference in this world through whatever steps I can do to change the world to a more peaceful environment, including the many hours I have volunteered as an advocate for children through CASA and GAL, for the elderly through Family Eldercare, for the victims of domestic violence, and for the victims of crimes through being a Victims’ Advocate (and so much more).  Sometimes, I feel like a “Who” in “Whoville” waiting for “Horton” to finally hear me; however, it is the thanks that I have received along the way from folks that I have somehow made a difference in their lives that keeps me fueled to continue against whatever odds I have had to cross.

The difference between trying to help another person to change and making a difference in the world to change things for the better is that one is providing the tools for that person to change.

In the meantime, I am relieved to see that there are others who haven’t been necessarily vying for that $50,000+ job and have settled our lives in the hopes of making a difference in the world, even if that means a smaller income to live upon.  Some day, I will have achieved most of my dreams and will reward myself with a small home in the country built in accordance to my vision; in the meantime, I strive to make, at least, one person smile and feel better about themselves each day.  If I accomplish that, at the very least, I will have fulfilled my dream each day.  I’ll keep hoping and praying that “Horton” finds this “Who” in “Whoville” and a thousand prayers to bring peace to this world.

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Shocking is the news of the killings and woundings found at Virginia Tech this morning from a gunman that went on a rampage and killed 31 and wounded 29 with his shootings at two different buildings on campus  two hours apart — a dormitory and some classrooms in another building.  This sends chills as we all remember the
Columbine High School
and
University of Texas massacres in the past.   More information will be divulged in due time; it is my understanding that the gunman has been killed — either by the fire of the police or through taking of his own life.  We may never know the whole story; but, rest assured, it will be marked in history as one of the most tragic events in US History.  At this time, I understand that this may be a domestic violence issue because he was seeking out his girlfriend.  Nothing has been said so far, to my knowledge, whether or not his girlfriend was among those killed, wounded, or witnessed the tragic series of events today.

Another blogger stated, “It seems, even at this early hour, the Virginia Tech shooting seems to have been triggered (um), by domestic violence. We shouldnt take domestic violence lightly, and I dont think this is an issue that has to do with “bad” men, because women are just as likely to commit acts of violence. Just the other week there was a shooting at the University of Washington that also involved a domestic dispute, in this case, stalking. Unfortunately, it takes a public incident like today’s shooting to highlight the brutality of personal violence.”  I agree.

In my email, I have also received communication about the pro-life/abortion issues.  They seem to want to pinpoint the fault of the abortion laws being pushed actively by Nancy Pelosi, Teddy Kennedy, and Hilary Clinton to allow for funding under Medicaid for abortions, etc.  Whoever is to blame is not the point.   Pro-life activists state:

Both Pelosi and Clinton are getting stronger and stronger as the weeks and months go by. Every week they are in power, over 26,040 abortions are performed in our United States. Every month they are in power, over 111,600 babies die in abortion. That’s one baby every 25 seconds. Since 1973, that’s over 47 million babies. Babies who were going to be named Jack, Sara, Timmy, Adam, Claire, Ben, Elizabeth, Catherine, Mary, Abraham, Daniel, David, Michael, Salvatore and so many more….We cannot let Pelosi and Clinton set the agenda in congress for the next 2 years and stand idly by when over 2.6 million babies will die during abortions!”

No matter what your viewpoint on abortion/pro-life, those are some staggering numbers indeed.  One can’t help but feel how future generations will be affected by the availability of more abortions.  If you go by the adages of the survival of the fittest, it would seem that these potential children of the world are not given the opportunity to survive; they are not given a choice and many children who could be the future leaders of their generation are lost.  Just think it is so very sad to think about. On a brighter note today, this week is “National Volunteer Week”.  I would certainly go read my posting about this week and look to the right column for some ideas of resources where you can look to do your part in today’s society to make it a better place for living for all concerned.  At least, find a volunteer and hug them this week, letting them know that you appreciate all that they do to help make your community a better place to live, if you do nothing else! 

Sometimes, out of the madness of events, can come some good.  Austinite, Lawrence Wright (previously a staff writer for the New York Times), has provided a prime example of this.  After the 9/11 tragedy, he went on a pursuit to find out what had happened and wrote a book called, “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.”   Today, he was notified that he has won a Pulitzer Prize for his work endured to create and write the book.  Many kudos to his deligence and hard work!

Blessings for all the victims and their families, as well as all the volunteers.  May this Nation see some semblance of normacy in their lives, whatever normalcy may mean to them.

Worldly Inquiring Mind “iWIM” 😀

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This is the theme for this week’s National Volunteer Week as proclaimed by every President since 1974, as sponsered by the USA Freedom Corps and Points of Light Foundation.   

I am, myself, a huge advocate of volunteering.  In the past 30 some odd years, I have been known to volunteer for political campaigns, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Family Eldercare (Elder Advocate and Guardian), GAL (Guardian Ad Litem), Big Brothers – Big Sisters Program (Mentor to Children), Victim’s Advocate, and so much more.  I feel that the best way that we can best help give back to our communities is through helping others in the various programs that are aimed at helping special focuses on needs – whether it is to act as a voice in court, helping to spread messages, being their friend, helping a victim regain their life after a trauma, etc.

I try to lead by example and, hopefully, my daughter will also follow in my footsteps as she gets older.  In the meantime, I have certainly tried to influence and encourage others to do their part in their local community schools, Churches, police stations, libraries, etc.  The diversity of the volunteering opportunities is emense and never ending.  There is always someone looking for some help – some where, some way!!

Please look to the right column under “Volunteering” for some ways to find out where the best for you to volunteer might be.  Check with your local library or police department to see what special activities might be happening in your community to promote volunteering.  Look for ways that you might be able to get involved to help your community today!!

Additional resources about the National Volunteer Week:

To learn more about National Volunteer Week and how you may observe it, visit http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/about_usafc/special/nvw.asp.

For further information on mentoring as an opportunity to volunteer, visit http://www.mentoring.org/mentor_minute/national_volunteer_week_coming_soon.php.

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