Thursday, December 15, 2016

Quick Last Minute Afghan

Yes this afghan is quick and easy to make and so soft and warm, no matter what yarn you use.  The colors are up to you, you can use all one color way in different shades, you can use a variety of yarn colors. I personally think that there is no color combination that would look horrible, it all seems to work out beautifully. You can see in the photo (although the lighting isn't great) that the afghans are different in the colors I used but both turned out awesome.



Needed:
 size 35, 40 inch circular needle (yes size 35)
600 yards each of 5 different yarns.  I used primarily dk and worsted weight but I think a fingering weight or variegated sock weight yarn would be beautiful in the mix, or a really soft chunky yarn, as long as you have 600 yards of each.

Cast on 60 stitches using all 5 yarns knit together
Knit (K) 3 rows
Row 4: K3, Purl to last three stitches, K3
Row 5: K
Repeat rows 4 and 5, for as long as you like.  Leave enough yarn to knit three rows at the end.  And then bind off.  Work in ends.



My afghans turned out to be about 50 inches by 70 inches.  But you could make a smaller afghan or a larger one easily by adding more or less yarn.  You could use up all your scrap yarn, when one runs out just tie on another yarn and keep going.

I found that 5 yarns knit together was the key for me.  Less than 5 and it was a little too thin.


Friday, December 9, 2016

You are Not My Mother-Revisited

I posted this a couple of years ago and as I walk through this holiday season, my 21st without my mother, I think about her so much, and miss her even more.  I was looking for a photo, from my blog, unrelated to the holidays or my mother, and this blog post showed up and I loved it so much I wanted to repost it.  I know some of you can relate.

A friend posted on social media the other day, sharing her grief. Sharing how much she wished she could go talk to her mother again, just one more time. Her mother died less than a year ago and she is having a hard time with that empty space, believe me, I know that feeling.  More than 18 years later I still have times when I find it hard to cope with the empty space, wish I could talk things over with my mother, get her point of view and advice.  The grief can, at times, feel overwhelming.  One person commented saying, "I am always here if you need someone to talk things over with", or something like that, I don't remember exactly. 

I get that a bit as well.  Those, well meaning individuals, offering up their time.  "I am here to stand in for her if you need me."  "When you need someone to talk things over with just call me".  So many different offers, in different ways.  From people I barely know and a couple from family members.  But you know a brother or an aunt is not the same, let alone some stranger I only know online. 

I am not trying to hurt any one's feelings, or discount the generous offer.  I know the offers come from a good place, a place of love and care. But it feels at times like these offers are minimizing the importance of my mother, and her place in my life.  It feels like there is an implication that my mother's presence, thoughts, feelings, history can be replaced, or her absence eased.  That is NOT the case.  My mother was insurmountably important in my life, that space can never be filled, her absence is deep. 

If you have lost your mother, you get it.  My mother was not perfect, and our relationship had its ups and downs.  I don't parent the way my mother parented me, we are very different.  But she knew me from the beginning.  She knew me inside and out.  She knew how I felt when my first boyfriend moved away.  She knew my thoughts and feelings when I joined the army.  She was there when I was young and worried about death, started my period, started driving, met Jackson.  She shared the joys and fears.  She loved me truly unconditionally.  And there is a difference.  I know that if I have a disagreement with family, we might not talk for a while, but they will always be there for me, and I for them.  But with my mother, we could have a disagreement of any magnitude and she would be there to tell me it will be OK, that I have to do what I think is right, that I have to think for myself.  She would hug me and we would go on, and I would turn to her the very next day to talk about something else.  With my mom it wasn't always about having someone to go to and talk about life's problems.  It was having someone that I could be with and not talk at all, and she would know already what was wrong.  That she knew the history behind all my decisions, faults, joys, accomplishments, and relationships.  I didn't have to explain where I was coming from, because she knew. 


I do have family and friends that fill some of the gaps that her absence has left.  But there are things about that mother-daughter relationship that I will never know.  And that can never be replaced.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Cheering Up

I have not blogged lately, I just haven't had the heart after this past election.  I was so saddened by the open demonstrations of hatred and bigotry here in this country, especially here in the South.  I fear for my friends, their rights and their safety.  It really hurts my heart and disrupts the peaceful environment I work to create for myself and my family.

So the week after the election, Phillip and I decided we needed a little early holiday cheer.  Here at our house we always have a live tree, and start decorating the day after Thanksgiving.  This year we decided to start a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, so we opted for a second tree, and yes a fake one.  So our first tree of the season came from Lowes, and Phillip helped me pick everything out.  I had originally picked out purple and teal decorations so I am not sure how we ended up with red and gold, but it is beautiful and just the pick-me-up I needed.  Here is the tree...


It is a little more manicured than our real tree, and even though it is beautiful it isn't totally my "style", but it does the trick.

After we decorated the tree it needed a tree skirt.  I wanted to crochet one, I knew I could find a pattern online somewhere and I did.  The pattern is SIMPLE, and I found the yarn at OSuzannah's Yarn on Union Street here in Morganton.  I picked the traditional colors to go with this traditional tree, but she has so many different colors I can see this in purple and teal, haha.  The pattern is called SmoothFox's Christmas Tree Skirt and it is a basic chevron pattern, I altered it a bit but the pattern is easy to follow.  A beginner pattern that can easily be completed in a weekend.  



This tree has just brought my light back, I can feel it.  That tree and time.  I am a processing person, whenever I run up against obstacles or problems, I need to work the problem. I spend time thinking things through, or if you ask my husband, talking things through.  That out-loud process really helps me think, even if I am talking to myself.  Then I need a plan.  Before I can get back into my peaceful space I need to have a plan forward. And I have one.  There are a couple of things I plan to do to help here, in my local community, work for and with my local community.  And I think that will help me move forward.  I am back on track and have a few more blog posts planned for the near future.  So do whatever it takes to bring peace and light to your life, it is worth it, take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Sometimes I think we forget that.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

We enjoy Halloween.  For the past I don't know how many years, we have gone to a friend's house for a Halloween get together and this year it was last night.  We enjoy dressing up, although I generally don't have time for myself, this year I did.  I just like the connection of the holiday.  That time I spend with the boys helping them figure out how to make their characters come to life, what tools, make up, costume pieces we will need and how much time I think it will take to pull it all together.  The boys are generally more creative than I, but this year I came up with a couple of great ideas myself.  Jackson on the other hand.....what can I say, he has his own sense of humor about Halloween and comes up with his own character ideas and costumes.  Here are a few pics from yesterday.

Dallen as the headless horseman.  I thought his make up turned out pretty nice.


Phillip as Arthur from Stephen King's, I Am the Doorway.


My witchy self.  


Jackson as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Why I Vote...

I was asked recently, for a different project, to sum up why I vote, in one or two sentences.  Yeah, in just one or two sentences, not an easy task.  So I thought about it for a while, I had to separate "what I vote for" from the real, deeper reasons "why I vote", the why not the what.  The what may change from year to year but the why stays the same.  This is what I wrote

"I feel it is my responsibility to vote. 100 years ago I would not have been able to vote. The women that fought for my right to vote, hold me up on their shoulders, encouraging me to go higher. I vote for myself, and to honor that commitment. The second and third reasons I vote, are my children, the boys in the photo. I have nurtured them all their lives and I feel it is my duty to ensure that I do my best to leave this world in a better place, for them, in many different ways, part of that includes voting."

Not bad, for a couple of sentences. But in contemplating the what and the why I got teary eyed thinking about  my boys and the voting process. I have always tried to be an example for my boys. Living my process out loud for them to see and hear.  My boys are now 19 and 22. My oldest voted in the past presidential election, for my youngest this is his first presidential election. I have always taken time when preparing to vote. I research all the candidates, watch debates, go to forums and town hall meetings, from county commissioner on up. I really think local elections are so important on a local level, even more so than presidential elections. I have always tried to involve the boys in this process and I had taken them to the polls with me when they were younger. Now, years later it is nice to see them researching the candidates themselves and taking this seriously. I know younger citizens don't feel as much of a "need" to vote, often times bypassing the process altogether. My mom instilled in me the importance of voting and I wanted my boys to pick that commitment up from me as well.

I love hearing their thoughts and ideas about different candidates, I love listening to them pick the candidate's web sites apart, and discuss what the candidates are NOT talking about, the meaning behind candidates words. It just makes my heart burst to see what thoughtful, informed voters they are. Love my BOYS, such good young men!

So if you have young ones yourself, involve them in the process.  That doesn't mean making them research candidates with you.  Just live your life out loud, take them with you when you can (if they are real young bring toys with you to keep them entertained if you have to wait).  Be the example. It does make a difference.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sexual Assault is NOT a Joke

I have been holding off posting this, I just wasn't sure that I wanted to go public with such a private matter in my life.  Even after all these years and knowing what I know now, there is still that twinge of fear and shame. The words sexual assault have been tossed around recently until they have almost no meaning any more. People have said that it is "boys will be boys" and the talk of sexual violations has been deemed "locker room talk".  I want to tell everyone reading that sexual assault is very much real and devastating.

I was sexually assaulted at the age of 15, every school day for over a year, by a teacher.  I was a naive 15 year old.  But this man groped, grabbed, kissed and fondled me every school day, and I cried every school night, and some days too.  I remember feeling ashamed and fearful.  I remember feeling like my body was not my own.  I remember wishing with all my heart that someone would figure it out and set me free. I was afraid to say a word.  I was paralyzed.  I lived day to day until I finally gathered together enough courage to tell him to stop. I remember realizing, at that point, that he was more afraid of me telling someone, than I was in all of my fear.  Would anyone have believed me? I don't know.  But I never told anyone for a very long time.

I worked through much of this with a couple of college professors that really helped me process what had happened and my feeling about everything.  I told Jackson and a couple of close friends, and that is it.  I have kept it in all these years.  More fear I guess.

But I need to say something now, share my story.  Sexual assault is not a game, it is not something to laugh at, or set aside.  It is real, it hurts, and it shows something about the character of the perpetrator. Don't sweep it under the rug, shed light into the dark.  Remember all the stories you have heard over the past weeks as you head to the polls.  Remember me, remember my hurt, remember my fear, See my face as you vote. Remember the lives devastated by sexual assault and ask yourself if this is what you want to see in your president.  Sexual assault changes a person, it changes the course of their life, how they live, how they think about the world and about themselves.

I carry ALL of my baggage proudly now, as it is what has made me the woman I am today. I feel that the events of my life have helped birth (with a huge amount of work) a strong, confident, powerful woman, and I can now say that I love who she was then, and I love who she is now.  I can give comfort to that assaulted child that still lies within me.


This is a page in one of my art journals.  A friend added the picture on the left and the quote she wrote is spot on and means a great deal to me.  If you can't read it, it says "I can't abandon the person I used to be, so I carry her."  I do, I carry her.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Ups and Downs of This Year's Herbal Conference

I was excited about this year's herbal conference, I was unable to attend last year and really missed that boost of herbal mojo.  And this year did not disappoint.  It was such a beautiful weekend up in the mountains, the speakers were engaging.  I learned a little about herbs, and a little about myself.  I came away with that boost I had been missing and I can't wait for next year.

Let me start with the down, for me anyway.  The very first session of the entire conference started out with us yelling out our names, OK so that let me know what kind of a session this was going to be.  And the last 30 minutes or so was "SMALL GROUP INTERACTION".  Yes those dreaded words, break up into groups of three and.....  I  hate hearing that, "break up into small groups".  And we each took turns, in our groups of three, talking about ourselves (yes there was a specific topic) to two strangers.  That isn't really my thing.  So I spoke for a minute, volunteered to go first to get it over with.  And yeah, no I didn't take up all my "allotted time", and no I had nothing else to say.  I know many people find it easy to share their souls to strangers, more so than to friends.  I am not one of those people, for me it is harder with strangers.  That feeling of judgment maybe, I don't know.  Luckily for me that was the ONLY session of the conference that had any "group activity".

I did bring my knitting along, and that provided a couple of benefits this time around.  The one benefit, that I recognize and why I bring it, is that I have something to do, so I don't feel like I am just sitting there staring.  I have something to do, to take my mind off of things.  Also this time I had a couple of people come up to talk to me about knitting, an easy topic for me to talk about and connect with people.

A real positive for me this year, happened during lunch on Saturday.  There were a few food trucks at the conference and a few picnic tables, lots of space to spread out on the grass if you want and have lunch and just relax and process or socialize if you like.  In years past I generally get my lunch and then go spread out on the grass somewhere, knit, eat and relax.  This year I decided I was going to sit with a few other women if there was space at a table, and there was.  I think that space was waiting just for me.  So I went up and asked if the spot was free, introduced myself and sat there.  The other women were so nice, we chatted about the conference, about our lives, where we were from etc.  Just general chit chat.  It was nice, it was out of my comfort zone, and I enjoyed it.  I need to do more of this. ....Maybe next year.  One year I hope to fully embrace the social experience of the conference, and not just the information side, baby steps.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Suicide Prevention-Out of the Darkness

Many of you know that my family and I participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's "Out of the Darkness" walk, in Asheville NC this past Sunday. It was such a moving and emotional experience, I shed more than a few tears.  There were so many people there, far too many.  People who had lost friends, relatives, parents, children or were struggling themselves.  Here is a picture of my family before we headed up the mountain for the walk.  I just love my family and am so glad they decided to share this day with me, they were there to give me hugs and offer support.


I gathered photos for the memory wall at the event.  And it always hits me hard when I think about all that I have missed out on not having a father during my parenting years, and all that my boys have missed out on, not having a grandfather. So many missed memories, so many missed connections, and just a life that my boys will never know.  
He was an awesome grandfather.  Unfortunately my oldest doesn't remember him at all, and I was pregnant with my youngest when we lost my father to suicide.  So much missed.

For those of you that don't know our story, I lost my father to suicide on Halloween, 1996.  So it will be 20 years ago this coming Halloween, October 31, 1996.  We were living in Germany at the time and we were handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters.  My older brother was the one to call and tell me the news.  Not a memory I like to think about.  


As we approach Halloween, I think of him often, more often than usual.  And I think about all we can do to prevent suicide.  So as you look at my photos let me give you some facts to think about.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.  The annual suicide rate per 100,000 individuals is 12.93.  The North Carolina rate is 13.04, we rank above the national average with Burke County falling in at 16.99, ranking us 13th out of all 100 counties in North Carolina.  It is the second leading cause of death for 15-34 year olds and the third leading cause of death for 10-14 year olds.  These are OUR CHILDREN!  This is preventable.  
 

We need trained nurses in the schools, we need teachers, parents and peers trained in signs of suicidal thoughts, and what to do if someone is thinking/talking about suicide or struggling with depression.  This is a HUGE deal folks.  You can learn more about what you can do here at the AFSP site.  

Also read about your state statistics here at the AFSP statistics page.  And ask questions when talking to your candidates for city and county commissioner.  Find out what they plan to do to reduce suicide in your county, let them know that this is a priority and you are watching/listening to what they have to say and will vote accordingly.  This is a national epidemic that is swept under the rug, ignored, shamed.  Mental health is important to us all, living in a healthy society benefits everyone.  

  



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Surprise...Surprise

My husband is so wonderful.  And really this is a first.  I think I have mentioned before that he is not a great gift giver.  Well actually that isn't true, he is successful at picking out gifts for one person, his friend Ken. And he and Ken are really only friends because years ago, Ken's wife, Lori and I met through a homeschooling group.  We have been friends for probably around 15 years or so, during that time Jackson and Ken have become friends.  I think he picks out such great gifts for Ken because they do have a lot in common.  Things he would enjoy getting as gifts, he knows, Ken will enjoy as well.  But for anyone else, he is not a good gift giver.

So the fact that I loved this gift AND it was for no special occasion AND it comes at the perfect time for me, as I know today will be a hard, emotional day, all of those things make this extra special-tastic.




I have been drooling over this cookware set at The Kitchen Connection in Morganton for a few months now.  I showed them to Jackson and picked out the one I would like to own first to "try them out".  They are beautiful and heavy and....expensive, so I asked Jackson to remember this for Christmas for me.  Well they were on sale yesterday, and he bought me one, and he didn't put it away for Christmas, he gave it to me!!  I just love this man.  I don't think he even thinks that today will be a hard day for me.  But this is special, and sweet, and I love it!


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Out of the Darkness Walk

Tomorrow is the BIG day, the AFSP Out of the Darkness walk in Asheville.  Yesterday my youngest son, Phillip, decided he wanted to join us and walk as a family. I am just so happy about this, it will be an amazing day.  He also created our team tee shirt logo, and we worked last night getting those together.  We do want to look like a team.  For each of us our colors are different.  My color is gold, I lost a parent.  But for Jackson and the boys, their color is purple, loss of a friend or relative.  So we decided to go with a grey tee shirt for the walk.  My dad was a fisherman and his buoy colors were white and blue, so that is what he decided to use as part of the logo.  My family is just so thoughtful.



It will be an amazing, thought provoking, memory making, tearful day for me.  It will be 20 years this Halloween that I lost my dad to suicide.  Time does not "heal all wounds".  If you would like to donate here is the link for that, all donations are SO appreciated! :


Friday, October 7, 2016

Listen to Your Heart




I decided to share my oracle card with you this morning, it was such a powerful card for me right at this particular moment that I thought maybe some of you could use the inspiration and guidance as well.  The oracle card says "Listen to Your Heart".  Which speaks to following our instincts, our heart, our gut.  I think as a child I was taught to not follow my heart, but to listen to the adults in my life and follow what they had to say.  I was not taught that I am the best judge of what is right for me, and that my heart and gut, my instincts, should be listened to.  So this is a great card to remind me to follow our hearts, to be still and listen.


For the last week I have been feeling a shift happening.  A shift in my heart and in my head, a different way of thinking about my place in the world.  Just a really big shift, but really didn't know what it was, where it would take me, what change would be on the horizon.  This morning, that shift just clicked into place.  I have been resting with things, just letting things settle out and waiting for the important things to float to the top. Over the past week, my journaling has reflected that feeling, just trying to rest in it, trying to wait for this shift, not become irritated or frustrated, but sit silently and wait. I journaled this morning that it was like a whirlwind in my brain and in my heart, all of these wonderful ideas, and inspiration just swirling around in there. And then. this morning, it was like everything settled and two main thoughts were left, like clouds sitting in the midst. I just knew things were going to be different from here on out.  So this oracle card is important for me and is really guiding me this weekend.  I hope you all can gain some guidance from this card as well, as you go through your weekend....Listen to Your Heart!



Above is the tea that is in my tea cup this morning.  A Raspberry Hibiscus Tea, from "The Spice and Tea Exchange".  Love it, great fall color and delicious flavor. The mug is actually my son Phillip's mug that he bought at the Common Grounds Country Fair in Maine two years ago.  He loves this mug. This morning I used it as I think the colors are so fall-like.

This is the back of the oracle card, just as beautiful on the back.  It comes from the "Trust Your Vibes" oracle card deck and I think they are all beautiful cards.  

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles, and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?” ~ Lao-tzu







Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Winners and Losers

Why is our society so obsessed with winners and losers.  There has to be a winner and a loser (or losers).  I saw it again this morning after the vice presidential debate.  All this talk about who won and who lost, and then the sound bites and short clips featuring the "best zingers".  What is this really all about, a circus side show, or some high school debate club.

For me there is no winner or loser, that is for us to decide come November.  It is about hearing the answers to, hopefully, well thought out questions that are aimed at important issues we see in today's world.  This isn't a high school debate club where you are scored, graded and immediately given a trophy. This is so much more than that.  And seriously, if this were a high school debate team, they would know the rules of the game.  There wouldn't be all this talking over each other and interrupting.  I am starting to think calling these shows, debates, is a sorry use of the word.  Maybe there needs to be a different name attached, and let's just forget about declaring an immediate winner or loser and get back to the issues at hand.  Instead of showing clips of zingers or mishaps how about showing real answers to tough questions.  Instead of thinking the American public is too ignorant to pick a winner for themselves, how about helping educate about the topics and challenges.

I myself will pick my OWN winner when I vote.  And not just presidential, but more importantly local and state offices.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Who to Spend Time With

Posting this here on my blog so I can ALWAYS find it.  Sometime I need this reminder!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I Love You

It was a long day yesterday, for me anyway.  After friends left the house, I cleaned up dishes and wiped down the counters, Jackson and I had a chance to sit down together and just flip on the television for a few minutes before bed.  The TV was on one of the Charlotte channels and there was the news.  We were watching the riots in downtown Charlotte.  It was scary and I was amazed to see so many young people, screaming, running, vandalizing, scared and hurting.  We just kind of sat in silence, grateful that our boys were safe at home.  After watching for a bit and checking in with friends who have family in the Charlotte area, we decided to head on to bed.  I, as usual, made another quick round in the kitchen, clearing any dishes, and turning out the light.  I peeked my head into the living room as I do every night and said good night to the boys and as usual I said "I love you".

Now Jackson isn't an "I love you" kind of guy.  He will say it in response to me, as I say "I love you" frequently to my family.  But he is not the kind of guy to tell his boys that he loves them, or me for that matter.  But last night, he followed behind me and peeked his head into the living room and also said "good night boys, I love you."  So he was feeling it too, the emotional pull of being with family.  And we headed to bed.  Thinking about all those people out in the streets of Charlotte.

A friend said it well this morning while we were chatting.  She said (and these are not her exact words) that those people belong to someone.  Those young men and women, they belong to someone.  Those police officers, they belong to someone.  No one is here on this earth completely alone, there is someone in this world that knows them, cares about them.  So remember that when you meet people on the street as you go about your day.  That person belongs to someone, just as your child belongs to someone.  Let's treat each other as if that were our "someone".

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

This was my mother's favorite hymn.  Gosh she couldn't carry a tune at all, but she would always sing in church, in the car, around the house.  I can just picture her smiling and singing now. And she loved this hymn, she loved Sundays when Ronald Dolloff would sing this as a solo in church.  He sang this song at her funeral.

I was driving to the gym yesterday and somehow it hit me, I don't know why.  I can't remember now if a bird flew over the road or what it was but I started thinking about this song and about my mom.  For some reason I couldn't remember the words to the song.  I have spent enough hours in church growing up, and in the choir as a young adult that I know most hymns by heart.  And generally I can recall this song, when I think of my mom.  But yesterday I couldn't.  That brought me to tears.  It felt in my heart like I was forgetting pieces of her.  That felt so wrong.  I want to remember every single bit of my mom.

So I came home and found the song on youtube.  No, it isn't Ronnie Dolloff singing, so the same memories are not the same.  But it helped me remember the words.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Overload

This has been a busy week, with meetings and get togethers, and I am exhausted.  Yesterday was the straw. I could feel it coming on yesterday afternoon, and sat in the backyard in the sun looking out over the pasture and the mountains in the background, knitting, for a while.  That helped.

I had decided to attend a workshop hosted at the local Food Matters market.  They have such a lovely space there. I thought it looked interesting and would give me an opportunity to get out of my shell a bit.  It was somewhat informative, the topic was digestive health.

Before the event someone was asking, online, for a ride and really I was going almost right past her house to get to Food Matters.  So, even though I didn't know this person, I decided to do something I normally wouldn't, and give her a ride.  Well I don't wear much perfume if any, sometimes I wear a little, but not much.  And she, well she was covered in perfume.

We get to the event and of course the seats that remain are in the front and this woman sat right next to me. During the lecture the perfume was really getting to me, and my head started pounding.  I was sitting in the front so already uncomfortable to begin with.  (Don't people know the seats by the door are reserved for us introverts. If you want to interject your own thoughts all during the lecture, sit in the front.)  I couldn't escape easily, without everyone looking at me (introvert nightmare).  So I sat there for an hour, smelling that perfume, wanting to just cry and run out of the room.

I think with all the social things I did this week, this lecture was just one too many.  I came home and just cried for a few minutes.  I felt disconnected from my family, I think I spent too much time outside the house in the evenings.  All evening I could smell that perfume, changing my clothes didn't help.  My car now smells like that perfume.  I need this coming weekend to recoup, and air out my car and just connect with my family, spend time in my garden, knit.  Be within my comfort zone for a while. No more "new things" for this introvert for a little while.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Oh What a Week!

Last week was National Suicide Prevention week.  Yes, I know, before this year I did not know there was a National Suicide Prevention week, I didn't realize how many people lose their lives to suicide each year. Even though my life has been touched by suicide I really went through it alone, for years.  This last week was just full of emotions as I tried to blog and share items on facebook important to understanding and preventing suicide.  I cried, I remembered, I laughed, I shared stories of my father and of my experience.

I am glad I found the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  In reading about them, this is an organization that works to understand suicide and prevention, and lobbies for understanding of mental health as equally important in complete health care as physical health.  In harvesting important mental healthcare legislation, just think of other issues that will be lifted up along with suicide prevention.  They support suicide loss survivors as well as suicide survivors.  Just amazing work, on a critical issue.

I am going to post this again here as well as post it on my facebook page from time to time until the walk begins.  My family and I are walking Out of the Darkness, in Asheville, North Carolina.  We are raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  I am asking all of my friends to really look into your hearts and give what you can toward this goal.  Click here to be taken to our page, donating is easy.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Pam


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Shame of Suicide Loss

There is a lot of shame associated with losing a loved one to suicide.  I know, I have lived it.  I personally chose not to feel ashamed, but the societal pressure is there.  I know when I lost my dad to suicide, people did not know what to say.  No one knew how to say it.

For my mother, who was killed in a car crash a year and a half prior to my father's death, there were so many cards of condolence, there was food overflowing, people stopping by to say how sorry they were, lots of hugs and sorrow.  But for my father, there wasn't a whole lot of that.  The funeral was packed, he was a loved man, but no one knew how to say they were sorry so no one said anything, or I should say very few. There was no food brought to the house, no one stopped in to make sure we were doing OK.  There is a certain stigma attached to suicide, something that just isn't talked about.

But for me the feelings of losing a parent were the same.  Car accident, suicide, it all felt the same in my heart.  It hurt. He could have died any other way and it would have felt the same, there would be that piece missing, that hole, the empty feeling.  It was raw, it was emotional and I felt like, other than immediate family, I was alone.  And I wasn't supposed to talk about it.

I want everyone to know that if you know someone touched by suicide, it hurts.  Just say you are sorry for their loss.  Reach out.  For the suicide loss survivor, know that your feelings are valid, and it is OK to talk about it.  For me, I knew why my father was in such a deep depression, but for many they will never know. I can't imagine how hard it is to not know, to wonder why, to be angry.  I know that I get angry at my father every once in a while.  For leaving me, for leaving my children without a grandparent.  I live in that moment and it passes.  But I feel it.

I don't know why we have such a stigma about depression, mental health, and suicide. Maybe if we weren't afraid to shed the light on these tough subjects we could figure out better, more productive ways forward. Maybe it would be easier for people to ask for the help they need.  Maybe it would have been easier for my father to ask for help.

The answers aren't there yet, but if we talk about it, maybe they will be.  So I encourage everyone to talk about it.  If you have a story, share it.  Speak about it, speak it to the Universe.

There are suggestions for suicide loss survivors, here.

And here are some suggestions if you know a suicide loss survivor.  Please don't let them grieve alone.  It hurts, and talking about it doesn't make it worse, it won't make them consider suicide.  Open that door and reach out, you never know what someone needs until you ask.

And if you don't know already, my family and I are going to walk Out of the Darkness.  This is a walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  A great organization that works legislatively on mental health care issues as well as education on suicide prevention.  Please donate what you can.  Any amount will help us reach our goal. Just click the tab below to donate.

 Donate Here



Monday, September 5, 2016

Suicide in the Family

I am a suicide loss survivor.  I lost my father to suicide many years ago, on 31 October, 1996.  I can remember that day, and I think I have blogged about this before.  It was such a combination of emotions.  I remember we lived in Germany at the time, we were handing out candy in our housing community to mostly German children experiencing our tradition of Halloween for probably the first time.  They loved it and it was so joyful watching them be so joyful.  Then my brother called and just said "they found Buddy".  I knew instantly what he meant. I knew that my dad had been struggling with depression since my mother had died about a year and a half earlier.

I had tried so many things to get him help, even had him come live with us in Germany for a while, but he missed home, he missed her.  I remember my brother Jeff, telling me how Dad was found by a runner.  Well a runner was going by the house, and on the return trip noticed that my dad's car was still running in the garage, so he called the police.  That is how my dad took his life, he hooked up a hose from the exhaust of the car and ran the other end through the window and sat there.  I wish I didn't have that memory, the memory of that phone call, but I do.

Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Here are some more statistics:
-On average there are 117 suicide deaths per day
-Firearms account for almost 50% of suicide deaths
-Men die by suicide 3.5X more often than women

You can read these and more facts on the suicide statistics page of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I can't imagine my dad's misery, I know that my mother was his life, he loved her dearly.  Having her taken from him so suddenly just gutted his existence.  So today, in honor of suicide prevention week, I honor my father and his struggle.  The struggle of so many.

Here's to you Dad! I love you!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Burke County NC Moms Rising Meet Up


Have you ever wished that our elected leaders really understood the challenges families face?  Ever wanted to know more about how you can make your voice heard and improve the lives of families in our country? Would you like to meet others in your community who want to make a difference?  You can do ALL THREE of these at the same time! Come join Moms Rising for our first ever Burke County NC meet up on September 13.

What: Moms Rising Meet up
When: Tuesday, September 13, 2016, from 6 PM-7 PM
Where: Morganton Food Matters Market, Community Room, 210 Avery Ave, Morganton, NC
RSVP: Beth@momsrising.org

MomsRising has over a million members nationwide, and nearly 41,000 right here in North Carolina, including other folks in Burke County. 

While it's great (and powerful!) to come together online, sometimes you just want to have the chance to get to know each other in person and talk about the issues affecting families in your own community. 

We at Moms Rising want to hear about your experiences and concerns and share with you ways you can get involved right in your own community. This will be a fun, informal evening all about making new connections.  All you have to do is come!

We'll provide the appetizers, but you are also welcome to purchase dinner! As with everything Moms Rising does, you don't have to be a mom to attend and kids are always welcome. (We'll have crafts to keep them busy and happy!) The more the merrier, so invite your friends and neighbors!

RSVP, or for more information, to Beth@Momsrising.org

This is the first Moms Rising Burke County MeetUp.  We want you to share your experiences and learn more about the work of Moms Rising. Together we're making a big difference in North Carolina and nationwide, and we'd love to connect with you about getting involved in your local community. RSVP to Beth@momsrising.org

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

NOT "getting rid of my stuff"

Sorry people but I just read a "Balanced Life" post and must call bullsh&t on this post.  The title is How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood.  And I have no problem with purging (as many of you know) but in this post she specifically says "MY STUFF" in the title and yet the first thing she tackles is the play room.  NOT her stuff.  Her children's stuff.

I am not saying she was wrong or right in getting rid of her children's things without their permission or even any input at all.  (Of course I would never do that to my children and I would never want anyone to do that to me either).  But it is her right, as a parent, to parent the way she feels is best for her children.  So it is her decision and I would not think of taking that away from her.

But the title is very misleading.  She did say that this purging moved on to other areas of her home.  But the initial purge started with her children's things/toys NOT her things.

My personal opinion is and has always been, that when my child receives a gift, it is their property, not mine. And my boys did have trouble getting rid of things when they were younger.  But I never took anything away without their permission.  We did find creative storage ideas, and I did help them come up with plans for their things, some worked and some didn't.  But the decision was theirs.  I would NOT like it if I came home one day and Jackson, or the boys, had decided without my knowing, that half my things had to go, or even 1/4. I would be livid at another person deciding for me what is important to me, in my life.  So I treat the other members of this family equally.

I think I have mentioned this before, that Jackson is a bit of a hoarder.  But I would never consider tossing any of his things.  I made this mistake many years ago, before we even had children.  I was doing laundry one day and I just tossed a sweatshirt of his, it was torn around the neck and the sleeves were horrible shredded, it didn't fit and had stains all over.  I didn't think twice about it, he has so many clothes, this one really needed the trash.  Well he saw it in the trash and it turned out to be one of his favorites.  I hadn't tossed it because I thought he was hanging onto too many things.  I just tossed it because, in my eyes, it was trash.  I have never done anything like that since.  I would never want to make decisions for anyone in our household. So I really consider my actions. And I would hope we all would consider what it would feel like to have a basic decision, about what is important in our lives, taken away, before acting.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

More Christmas Presents

OK so I finished up a pair of socks for Jackson for Christmas and made a pair for myself for Christmas, while on vacation.  Jackson's socks are made from the Zauberball yarn, with which I am now in LOVE!  I just think the blending of colors is so unique.  I can't wait to go back to O Suzannah's yarn on Union and pick up some more.  I saw in a picture she posted on facebook that the shop has more in stock.  YAY for me!  You should all like her facebook page, she posts some amazing projects to the page.


The yarn I used for the pair for myself is an "artist hand dyed" yarn, extrafine, superwash marino.  And it is scrumptious.  The color in the picture looks blue, but really that is a deep, rich purple color.  Loved the way these turned out and that colorway of yarn is also available at O Suzannah's.  And yes, I am going to save these and give them to myself for Christmas, can't think of a better present.

Also, NO, Jackson will not see these socks.  I can knit anything right under his nose and he doesn't notice. So only if someone sees this post and tells him, will he know, he doesn't read my blog.

Happy knitting everyone, remember be thinking about those Christmas knitting projects now so you won't feel rushed come December!


Monday, August 29, 2016

This Mom's Perspective: Breastfeeding and Child-Led Weaning

It is August and that means National Breastfeeding Month.  My boys are now 19 and 22, and I have shared a bit of our breastfeeding journey in a magazine or two many, many years ago.  But not the whole story, as back then, we were still breastfeeding.  I have been hesitant about sharing, as I know breastfeeding is one of those hot parenting topics about which many disagree. And I know there will be negative comments, even though this is our experience.  So here it goes anyway.  Time to share.


When I was growing up, my mom did not breastfeed us.  It was a generation of bottle feeding and breastfeeding would have been way outside the norm in her circles and also way outside her comfort zone. So I never had really ANY experiences with breastfeeding mothers, positive or negative.  It just was what it was, I supported breastfeeding mothers as a nurse and that seemed just part of my job like anything else.

When I started working pediatrics, I became more educated about breastfeeding.  I then joined the US Army.  I was assigned to the 5th MASH, but when we were not in the field I worked in the Maternal-Child Health Section of WAMC at Fort Bragg, assigned to the Nursery.  I enjoyed that, and went on to become a lactation consultant.  So I knew breastfeeding would be the route I would take as a mother, and that is exactly what I did, nothing unusual there.

Jackson and I have two beautiful boys, both born in Germany.  Dallen was born in 1994 in Frankfurt and he breastfed from the beginning, no problems there.  Phillip was born in 1997, and even though he spent his first night in the NICU in Augsburg, I continued to breastfeed him and his older brother. I was fortunate in that I knew about breastfeeding, and knew the facts about tandem nursing and knew that I could do it.

So I tandem nursed.  We traveled a bit in Europe while we were there (we returned to the states in December 1997), I never had any negative interactions while breastfeeding in Europe, only positive ones.  It was nice, it was normal, it was just a part of daily living.  We traveled as a family to the states a few times while we lived in Germany, and everyone on those flights was wonderful.  Flight attendants and passengers.  I was not a modest nursing mom, although I wasn't "in your face" about it either.  I was discreet but not in a "I need to hide this" sort of way.  Nursing anywhere other than where I was at the time, just never crossed my mind.  And when I had two to nurse, well....there is no way to be discreet about that.  Everything was out on display.  But no one seemed to mind at all.  And I even had other passengers on flights, stop to say what a great job I was doing.  Although I am sure they were just happy that my two were sleeping.


Here in the states, we settled in North Carolina, and it really didn't take long for me to find my people.  We spent a couple of years buying and renovating our house (although all this time later and it is still not completely renovated), but in time I found my tribe.  And I will say I have never had any negative comments or interactions here in the states either.  Maybe because my tribe is very much accepting and supportive and...well.....like me.

So my breastfeeding experience was very positive, and uplifting.  We decided that child-led weaning was the way to go.  I was not working outside the home, and it was what felt right.  We co slept with our children and they nursed at night more than during the day, as they aged. Toward the end of our breastfeeding days they only nursed at bedtime. It was a very connected experience that, I feel, enhanced those relationships. My oldest son nursed until the day before he turned five.  Not sure if the excitement of his birthday disrupted his pattern or he was just done, but that was the last time he nursed.  My youngest nursed longer.  He stopped nursing Valentines day before he turned eight.  So Feb 14 he stopped and Mar 22 he turned 8, almost one month prior was his last time nursing.  Funny how we remember certain dates.

So yes, I breastfed my boys, I nursed while pregnant, tandem nursed, practiced extended breastfeeding as well as child led weaning.  All the little details are a bit foggy as time has washed over them.

And that really is our experience, condensed into one blog post.  I know there are other mothers out there that will read this and find a little comfort knowing there are other extended breastfeeding moms out there. Know you are not alone.  And there are some who have probably been told you can't nurse while you are pregnant or other such myths, know that you can, I did.  Know that whatever your breastfeeding journey is, it is all OK, it is your journey. Never compare yourself to me or anyone. No one will have your journey, it is unique to you and your child/ren.


The above picture is my oldest son Dallen.  I love this picture because of the memory associated with it.  His favorite movie, at that time, was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  LOVED IT.  And we both knew all the songs. He totally enjoyed getting in the hammock and pretending it was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and we would sing the songs and pretend we were flying in the car.  


And here I am nursing Phil in the NICU. 


Friday, August 26, 2016

NOT Back to School - An Option Worth Considering

With everyone posting back to school posts. And all the companies on television with their back to school ads, I just wanted to take a minute to remind everyone that public school is NOT mandatory. Yeah, let that soak in for a minute, empowering isn't it.  And in place of public school you are not REQUIRED to send your child/ren to private school either.  There is another option, HOMESCHOOLING!

A wonderful option worth considering.  Not saying it is the right choice for everyone but you should know your options.  It is legal everywhere in the USA.  Each state has its own regulations, some requirements are greater in some states, but it is legal, doable and I know families homeschooling all across this country.

Speaking only for North Carolina, as that is where I homeschooled my children (they are both beyond compulsory attendance age now), there are over 67,000 families homeschool across this great state. YES that is the number of FAMILIES!  It is estimated that there are over 118,000 students.  How awesome is that.  There are homeschooling support groups in all counties, there are more opportunities than you can imagine, including proms, athletics, events, and many many activities. Homeschooling is not difficult.  For more information on homeschooling in North Carolina Specifically you can go to the Division of Non Public Education web site.  They list the regulations/requirements as well as some suggestions/recommendations.

For other states, just google your state and homeschooling and I am sure a whole range of links will show up.  Or search for a local homeschool group.  Networking with other homeschooling families is a great way to see what homeschooling looks like, and I can tell you, it looks different for every family homeschooling.

Another detail I want to mention that is NC specific, is the compulsory attendance age.  Here in North Carolina it is 7-16.  So if your child is not yet seven they do not have to be enrolled in school anywhere at all.  They are not required to be attending any sort of school until the age of seven.  So when considering pre school and pre-pre school, think about that.  Are you ready for school, is your child ready for school, any sort of school?

I encourage everyone to think about all the options.  I feel we should all put as much time, thought, research and discussion into how/when/where we would like to educate our child/ren as we do in buying a car or house.  I think we all deserve at least that.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Sweater

This is a great summer sweater pattern.  Took me a couple of weeks to finish and it is just perfect for this time of year.  I wore just a simple black tank under the sweater and it was nice and cool.  You can find the pattern at the Knitty web site.  Just scroll down a bit and you will see the sweater in red as well as the pattern for the Myliu Lino pullover.  I used a lovely yarn made of sugar cane, perfect for this project, as it has a soft, slinky feel and drapes well.  Of course my favorite yarn shop, O Suzannah's Yarn on Union carries this yarn in Morganton, in a few different colors.  So if you are in Morganton stop by and grab some yarn, this pattern took me 4 skeins of the sugar cane yarn.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mom's Purse and Dad's Wallet

I started reading the Stephen King novel Bag of Bones, this week.  Great beach reading and I haven't read Stephen King in years.  In the first chapter the narrator talks about looking through the contents of his wife's purse after her death.  So the last few days I have been thinking about my mother's purse. You know, I can't remember what was in it or looking through it after her death although I know I did.  Her last purse was a tan color although not a yellowish tan, it was more of a gray tan.  I also remember it weighed, what seemed like, a ton.  And there was no going into my mother's purse without direct permission from her.  You know I don't ever remember her ever giving me permission to go in her purse, she always said "bring me my purse" and she would dig through and find whatever it is I needed.  I remember the bottom being filled with change, probably why it was so heavy.  I can vividly see her getting out a handful of change when she needed it, just by reaching in her purse.

I guess the days after her death were so filled with grief and then there are the logistics of dealing with all the legal "stuff" in the two weeks I had here in the states before heading back to Germany. Trying my best to make sure my Dad was set, and had what he needed.  So I don't remember specifically going through her purse.

I do remember going through my Dad's wallet after his death.  It was a black leather wallet, that was well worn beyond real usefulness.  Although he was one that hated to change a well "fitted" wallet in for a new one.  I remember there was no money in the wallet at all, at the time (strange for my dad), but there were photos of all of us. He had an older one of mom in there.  It was black and white, I think it looked like it was a pre marriage shot of her.  Everything in his wallet was well worn, I guess from years of sitting.  He always carried his wallet in his back pocket, as most men seem to do.  I still have his driver's license. And run into it from time to time.

So the last few days I have been thinking about my Dad and his wallet, and wondering why men carry their wallet in their back pocket.  I know Jackson complains when he is driving that it is uncomfortable.  So if you know the reason or the origin, please leave a comment and let me know. And take a minute to tell your Mom and Dad how much you love him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sunrise

Just an eerie sunrise this morning, with a storm off shore.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bringin' Up Memories

OK so this purging is really bringing up lots of memories, great memories.  The boys enjoy it when this happens.  I have been finishing up purging, organizing and cleaning the storage room.  I think I mentioned a while ago that my husband keeps everything.  Well....we have computers from our time in Germany, that would be 1993-1997 time frame.  With the cleaning, came deleting all personal information from these old computers and recycling them.

Phillip loves taking apart these old computers, he is so knowledgeable, more so than I.  So he was helping me out with this task.  While he was into one computer he found two discs crammed into the disc drive.


Do you all remember these?  My boys loved the Little Critter books, I think we had every one ever printed. We also had a few of the books on disc.  This was Dallen's first introduction to the computer.  He was two at the time, Pre-Phillip.  I remember sitting there with him at the computer and helping him move the mouse around the screen, clicking on different items that would animate and say a little phrase.  Interactive, but not difficult.  He LOVED IT!  And of course he hasn't stopped loving computer games, so much so that he is creating his own.  

"Just Me and My Dad" was his all time favorite, and I can still hear "B I G Tuna" in my sleep.  

Not sure why two were crammed in the disc drive, but Phillip found them, and now it is time to say good bye.  They are old, they are unusable and the memory is in my brain not in the discs.  Great find though. Now onto other things.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Public Speaking.....(Who me?)

OK yes, I crawled outside my box and actually spoke in public, I survived the ordeal. For me this is a huge milestone and I am here to tell the story.  Most of you know that I do NOT like speaking in front of an audience, and I am really not good at it.  I know that.  What most of you don't know is that I used to do it frequently.

What many of you don't know about me is that as a lactation consultant many, many years ago, I educated the entire maternal-child health department at Womack Army Medical Center on the new breasfeeding policies and procedures, that I wrote, for the section.  Which encompassed several weekend long inservices, as it was mandatory that every employee take the course.  What you don't know is that I was the hospital's Neonatal Advanced Life Support Educator, which means I taught and tested employees in the hospital and outlying clinics in NALS.  I taught infant CPR to parents, I taught breasfeeding classes to parents.  When we moved to Germany I became a Lamaze instructor and taught Lamaze and Breasfeeding classes there, as well as helped moms with breasfeeding problems/concerns.

Not that I ever enjoyed public speaking but I did a lot of it.  So I am not sure where this inability to speak in public comes from.  Since moving here to North Carolina I have loved my roles as homeschooling mom, and wife.  I have enjoyed organizing many types of events and activities.  Being behind the scenes and doing the leg work is fun for me, and rewarding, although generally thankless.

But I really want to try to overcome this hurdle.  So yesterday I attended the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, public hearing in Asheville North Carolina. I wrote about this hearing, and my plan to attend right here on my blog.  A few days ago a thought crossed my mind that I might be able to speak.  OK so it was just a fleeting thought as public speaking terrifies me.  But I put the idea out into the universe and one of the wonderful women at Moms Rising, helped me gather my thoughts into a few paragraphs that sounded nice.  But the terrifying thing is the getting up there and speaking.  I didn't sign up beforehand to speak, I knew for me it would have to be an in the moment kind of thing or I would drive myself crazy.

So I printed off my little speaking blurb and headed up the mountain.  Getting into the hearing area there was a long table and two sign up sheets.  You could sign up as a guest or as someone who wanted to speak.  So I stepped back from the table and let other people pass by as I pondered what, for me, was a HUGE decision, do I commit to speak or back out.  As I was standing there, a lovely lady on the other side of the table, who was explaining the procedure to people, whispered to me "you can do it".  She doesn't know how much that meant to me, in that moment, she has no idea how big a deal this was for me. And so with that I added my name to the impressive list of speakers and took a seat.

To start, the room was like 150 degrees.  They said the A/C in the courthouse turns off automatically at 5 (the hearing started at 6) and the back wall of this room is all WINDOWS facing west or course. So the setting sun was just heating it up like a solar oven.  I was a little intimidated, as they went around the room and every elected official stood up and introduced themselves, so about 1/4 of the 100-150 people are elected officials.  From listening to the other speakers I would guess that another 1/4 were attorneys and most of the rest worked in the court/legal system in some capacity.  I think there were only a few parents or people not employed within the system, there. So everyone was in suits or heels, except maybe 4 people (including me).  They were speaking to the commission about all sorts of topics. Many of the speakers were judges and lawyers.

But I sat there and told myself that I was strong, that I could do this and that I had just as much right to be there and speak as anyone else.  And I did.  I was nervous.  Those of you that know me, know that talking about my boys brings tears to my eyes and I did talk about them and how terrifying it would have been for me, if at 16 or 17 they had done something wrong, they would have been charged, and treated as adults and would have been held with other adults.  How terrifying for me and how scary for them.  I mean they are barely adults now, let alone at 16.  We all know what it is like to be 16 and know everything.

So anyway I spoke, I choked up a little but held it together, and I forged on through and I did it.  I am hoping to build on this experience trusting that it will become easier in time.  Jumping outside that box of mine is difficult.  It would be so much easier to just stay in my comfort zone.  But there are things I want to do, and I really want to get through some of the difficulties of being an introvert.

(of course as any good introvert, as soon as the hearing concluded, I bolted out of the room away from all the people...one step at a time...)

I hope that you are finding ways to look outside your box a little, whatever that box may be.  The view is empowering.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Herbal Conference...Are You Going?

OK it is that time of year again, time to pre register for the Southeast Women Herbal Conference.  I didn't attend last year, I didn't have enough money to do that AS WELL AS visiting family back home in Maine. So last year I chose Maine.  Turns out it was a wise choice as the conference had so much rain, and with several of the sessions being held in huge tents, probably made for a less than stellar event.  Although I bet those women made the best of it and had a great time anyway.

I have been going back and forth about attending this year.  I love Dr Jody Noe, she is an awesome speaker, and I also enjoy listening to Sarah Thomas, both are exceptional speakers and so knowledgeable, I really feel like I learn a lot from them both.  Dr Noe always has one or two sessions that really go in depth, and are more advanced.  I like that, I feel like I have the basics down pat, and enjoy going in depth into a topic.  But the early bird price is $280 and the deadline is August 19.

I heard a week or so ago that Rising Appalachia, will be there.  Love their music, so that swayed my decision and I registered on Sunday.  I will be attending.  I will be the one in the back of the room, hoping that the sessions are NOT interactive.  Or maybe I will just jump outside my box and actually talk to a stranger.  I can do that right?!

Here is a piece by Rising Appalachia, maybe it will sway you as well:



So if you are interested you can find out the schedule, sessions, teachers and all the details of registration and lodging at the Southeast Wise Women web site.  I hope I see you there!

Here is a little video about the conference, background music is by Rising Appalachia. I remember that now, like muscle memory, remembering what it felt like to stretch and learn and be joyful on my own, in my own space, and I remember hearing Rising Appalachia for the very first time there.:



Watching that video, reminds me so much of what I love about that conference, it just makes me want to go back, I remember that feeling now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Raise the Age

Not sure many of you know, but North Carolina is one of only two states that charges ALL 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system, automatically.  There is no option, currently, to treat 16 and 17 year olds as juveniles.  This means that even for a minor offense there is no treatment plan (currently available in the juvenile system), and the youth will have a permanent record, thus possibly preventing them from attending college or obtaining a job.  This needs to stop.  North Carolina really needs to come up to the rest of the country and provide for the option of treating 16 and 17 year olds, charged with minor offenses, as juveniles.


I am attending an public hearing by the NC Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, in Asheville NC.  If any of my friends that live up that way want to join me, it will be held on Thursday August 18, 6:00PM, at the Buncombe County Judicial Complex, Jury Assembly Suite, 2nd floor, room 272, Court Plaza, Asheville.

This is a big step for me and I would love the company.  I don't plan on speaking but am there to support those who are speaking in support of raising the age.  If you support raising the age, please attend, speak if you would like.  You can find a little more information at the Color of Change web site.

Here are a few facts:
MYTH (AND MISTAKE): Raise the Age means being soft on crime.
REALITY: Raise the Age is tougher on offenders —the juvenile system is punishment and treatment-oriented. The juvenile system holds youth and parents accountable unlike the adult system. Raise the Age only applies to young people who commit low level offenses. Serious, violent offenders will remain in the adult system. Also, the transfer law won’t change—judges still retain the discretion to transfer any youth age 13 or older accused of any felony to adult court. The fact is, 16- and 17-year-olds sentenced to the adult system end up with higher re-arrest rates than all youthful offenders ages 13 to 21. The juvenile system is tough, and it works.

MYTH (AND MISTAKE): Many youth are serious, repeat offenders.
REALITY: The fact is, most offenses committed by youth are minor and most youth are first time offenders. Of 16 and 17-year-olds: 79% are accused of misdemeanors. 18% are accused of low-level felonies (class F-I). Only 3 percent are accused of serious felonies (class A-E). 67% are first-time offenders; another 21% have committed one minor offense—most often a misdemeanor.

You can find more myths vs realities on the Raise the Age Advocacy Guide.

See you all there!