Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Women's March on Morganton

I was so happy with how the Women's March on Morganton turned out this past Saturday.  It was so much larger than I ever expected and so many people from different walks of life.  I loved it.  I volunteer for Moms Rising, and I paired up with the Democratic Party in Burke County to pull this march together.  I think we made a great team.  It was a non partisan event, and people were so enthusiastic.  We had an estimated 600 marchers.  For this introvert it was amazing and a little overwhelming at times, but I made it though (I knew I would) These are my favorite three photos of the day, and I am sure you can guess why.

My boys started out marching for me, but by the end they were marching for so much more.  And they are so enthusiastic now to really be more of a part of the process.  I keep my sign here by my desk to remind me daily that there is work to do.

There is momentum to continue, so we are following the guidelines from the Women's March on Washington and we have postcard writing events planned already.  Of course, I have already written, called and e mailed my representatives to let them know how I think and feel, but for others this might be their first time.  And for still others I know the march was probably the extent of their political involvement, which is totally fine with me.  It takes all of us to make a movement.  

I do see friends on social media, backing away.  There is that "I need to take a break" post, that arrives to announce ON social media, that the person is not going to be ON social media.  While that seems like an oxymoron of sorts to me, I do understand that desire to retreat from the difficult discussions, the uncomfortable posts.  The posts from people you thought you knew, expressing ideas you never thought they would have.  So I get that need to retreat to your own place of peace, to get "offline" for a while, turn off the computer and the TV and dive into your family and the peace you have in your immediate world.  But while people are doing this, I hope they also remember that for so many this is their life, this is their immediate world, this is where they live, there is no peace.  They can't just retreat from social media and find that place of peace, as their world IS the chaos and turmoil that we see online.  Some people LIVE in these uncomfortable posts that we only view online.  The difficult discussions are their reality, their lives.  So while you retreat to your place of peace, be thinking about those people and at the very least maybe appreciate that you have a space to find solace.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

North Carolina General Assembly...Back to Work Wednesday

The NC General Assembly is back at work tomorrow, Wednesday, January 11.  Most of you know that I e mail my legislators often.  And I will call if there is something immediate at hand.  But today I just took a moment to e mail my representatives in Raleigh a quick note with two issues that are concerns of mine.  I am sure I will have more as I see bills being filed, but for now, in the "just getting started" phase, I wanted to touch base.  This is the e mail I sent along.

I live here in Valdese and I know the legislative session is just getting started.  But, I wanted to take a minute of your time to talk about two passions of mine.  NC Raise the Age, and Mental Health/Suicide Prevention.

I know that North Carolina is one of only two states that still treats all 16 and 17 year old children, automatically as adults, within the justice system.  I am sure you are aware of all the research on brain development and that children's brains are not fully developed until their mid-twenties.  I just want to encourage you to do all you can to make sure that legislation is passed this session that would raise that age to 18.  I spoke at the Asheville Public Hearing of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, in August 2016, as did many others.  As the mother of two adult men, I am passionate that we give our youth every available opportunity to make successful, wonderful lives for themselves.  That we lift our youth up.  And I think it is vital that North Carolina makes progress in this area.  I know there are logistics to work out, financial, and the area of major crimes.  But I am sure, with your help, we can do what so many other states have done.  If they can do it, we certainly can.  So I encourage you, as bipartisan support for this movement grows, to be at the forefront of this change.

My second passion is mental health accessibility.   I admit that I am not well versed on how the legislative process works.  But I do want to share my story and my goal.  My father died by suicide in 1996.  And I grieve for him still.  There is such a public stigma attached to mental health, depression, and suicidal thoughts.  The only way to prevent suicide is for this to change, and for avenues of mental healthcare to expand.  So I hope you will remember my story as you move forward through this legislative session and do all that you can to ensure access to mental healthcare remains a priority and we advance initiatives in this area.  If you look at the statistics it is staggering and I hope you can help.  

Thank you for your time,
Pam Genant
Valdese, North Carolina

Monday, January 2, 2017

Journaling Throughout the Year

Anyone else out here journal?  I have so many journals, many not even touched. It is something I find hard to resist when I am out and about, a great journal.  And that means different things, it could be just wonderful paper either in color, or small details on the pages, or it could mean paper quality, like hand made paper or thicker paper.  I love the different covers, some are plain or simple, and some are ornate, decorated, or just the perfect color.  Some covers have sayings on them or just words.  I also look at bindings, I love a great handmade journal with a coptic  stitch binding so it lays flat.  Or just perforated pages that easily tear out without leaving a mess of straggly paper behind.

I use journals for so many things, to take notes on different topics, to write down herbal remedies.  Soap making recipes, my todo lists, knitting patterns and progress, my journal for my thoughts....I have different journals for different topics.  And I keep my older journals.  Most have nothing in there that would ever be of interest to anyone.  But I  know how much I enjoy running into something handwritten by my mom, so I keep them.

I just stumbled across something I thought I would try.  I found this list of ideas.  A collection of journal prompts to leave as a legacy.  One prompt per week.  The prompts are so interesting and thoughtful.  And I do journal daily, so thought this would fit in nicely.  I am sharing it here in case anyone else journals and is looking for ideas.  I found it on the Family Search Blog, this morning.   The title is 52 Questions in 52 Weeks.  

Here is a sneak peek at the first few prompts, please go to the page for the complete list: 
  1. What is your full name? Explain why your parents gave you that name.
  2. When and where were you born? Describe your home, your neighborhood, and the town you grew up in.
  3. What memories do you have of your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
  4. What memories do you have of your mother (her name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
  5. What kind of work did your parents do (farmer, salesman, manager, seamstress, nurse, stay-at-home mom, professional, laborer, and so on)?
I see the promps as exactly what they are, starting points.  I can just visualize where I want to go from each one.  I think this will be a fun year of reflection for me.

So if you journal like I do, or if you don't but think this is a great reflection tool and something you would like to try, along with me, go check it out.  If you have a pile of journals just perfect for this particular project or if you have some scratch paper hanging around that you like to jot your grocery lists on, grab them.  You can use your fancy fountain pen that writes so smooth, or you can use the pencil you brought home after your last round of golf.  It doesn't matter.  The process is what matters most, getting the most out of the prompts, sitting down to put words to paper.  If you love that process you might enjoy this project.  So join me!