Blog Archives

30 Women in 30 Days – Day 18 (I think)

Holidays are crazy at my house and it can be exhausting.  There’s so much cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping and decorating to do. I’m posting this as a reminder for me as much as for you.

Don’t forget to take time out for yourself.

Sending hugs to you!

Image Gallery #1

30 Women in 30 Days – Day 16

Body Beautiful

Heal your wounds.

Redefine your own beauty.

I have come to drag you out of yourself, and take you in my heart. I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky ~Rumi

“Step Away from the Mean Girls…
…and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks.
Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.

This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”  – Oprah Winfrey

“A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but an obsession about female obedience.” – Naomi Wolf

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”  – Simone de Beauvoir

30 Women in 30 Days – Day 13

Celebrating Motherhood

Since the moment my first daughter was born 35 years ago motherhood has been my top priority in life.  I fell in love with my baby girl and knew I would fight for her no matter what it took.  My second daughter was born two years later and I loved my second baby girl as much as my first.

Parenting was challenging at times. They don’t stay babies forever and before you know it they’re out of your sight and starting to live their own life.

Eventually they become teenagers and the challenge of raising daughters peaks.  I used every trick imaginable to get them both through high school and to keep them safe.

Then they left home and went to college. I cried my heart out and thought they would never come back.  I guess it’s call the empty nest stage.  Oh, but they did come back and they were grown women by then, college educated and ready to take the world on.

Somehow we all survived those years of joy and angst, pushing and pulling each other through the best and worst situations.  We faced life together and shared our special love for each other when it was needed the most.  We still do.

I wasn’t perfect but they both tell me I was a good mother.  Who would know better than them? I did my job and now it’s their turn.  Motherhood is contagious.

“What is so real as the cry of a child?
A rabbit’s cry may be wilder
But it has no soul.” – Sylvia Plath, Ariel

30 Women in 30 Days – Day 12

Today’s post is honoring the women who have been targets of domestic violence, stalking or any type of sexual, physical, emotional, economic or psychological abuse.

Whether a woman has witnessed it in the street, had a friend or relative in an abusive relationship or was in one herself, I believe we’ve probably all witnessed violence against women at some level.

Women are victimized by intimate partners, social acquaintances and friends, family members and even strangers.  It’s not unusual for violence or abuse to cause long term trauma related health effects.  Healing is their mission.

Violence against a woman is a violation of her human rights.

Love Denied

Walk the line between tempest and torment.

Hope lost, love denied, end of innocence.

Douse the lingering fire of lustful dissent.

Praise the wound that bleeds with discontent.

Abandon the heart that loves without consent.

Mom’s Wisdom

These words speak louder than the voices in my head and drown out the chatter of my neurotic inner critic.

My mother used to tell me…

-the only happiness that is achievable is my own-

-the way to love is unconditionally-

-hope can be found in friendship-

-everything happens for a reason-

-live for today-

-treat others the way you want to be treated-

-we all live in glass houses-

-you can’t please everyone-

-respect yourself, even when others don’t-

-tomorrow never comes-

-live in the moment-

-freedom isn’t free-

-this too shall pass-

Choices

Talk or walk?

Hold or fold?

Make up or break up?

I hate it when a relationship falls apart.  Either I’m in complete denial about the situation or I believe I have the power to fix whatever breaks.  Sometimes I forget the other choices…the choice to not fix, to not hide in a fantasy, to face the truth and to take the path that’s best for me.

It doesn’t take long for reality to take over.   Then I remember I have choices.  In the end it’s all about  what’s best for me.

It Takes a Village

It takes a village to raise a child.

This is the tragic story of two children raised in isolation.

This African proverb essentially means that “A child does not grow up only in a single home.”‘  “Regardless of a child’s biological parent(s) its upbringing belongs to the community.”  (Quotes from Wikipedia)

This made me think of all the people involved in a child’s life other than their parents and immediate family.  For example, teachers, friends, neighbors, extended family members and clergy are routinely involved a child’s welfare.

These role models help to shape a child and their viewpoints of the world around them. They set examples and influence a child’s thoughts and behaviors.  A child learns how people behave by observing others, and through the experiences they’re exposed to.

Through positive, supportive interactions with the people in their life a child develops a sense of themselves as being worthy and valuable.  They learn confidence. They learn to trust and to reach out to people.

Being part of a community, a culture or social group helps a child develop social skills. They learn what is acceptable as the norm within the group. They learn to conform to social rules of behavior and learn the value of belonging.  A child forms friendships and strong bonds with peers that provide emotionally satisfying experiences.

I believe it’s important to surround a child with as much love and caring as possible.  It’s normal and necessary to meet a child’s needs with an abundance of supportive people and resources outside of the parent home.  I agree that it takes a village to raise a child.

With that being said, what happens to a child who is prevented from becoming a part of the world beyond the parent’s home? It seems hard to believe that there are children who have never been allowed to experience the typical life of a child.

For months I’ve been wrestling with an experience that shook me, seized me with fear and disgust to my very core. I witnessed first-hand what I consider the most extreme case of child abuse and neglect I’ve ever seen.

I’m not naive…I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime that has made me cringe.  I never would have imagined that parents can raise their children in captivity, isolated and hidden from the outside world.

This is the story about those two beautiful children, now in their late teens, and the tyrant who imprisoned them and stole their lives.  I’m compelled to give those children the voice they deserve.

Children are extraordinarily precious members of society; they are exquisitely alert, sensitive, and conscious of their surroundings; and they are extraordinarily vulnerable to maltreatment or emotional abuse by adults who refuse to give them the profound respect and affection to which they are unconditionally entitled. – Unknown

I was shocked when I met two children who were literally raised in captivity in their parents’ home.  London is 19 years old now and his sister Moon is 16.  Their mother died almost two years ago from cancer. They live at home with their father, who I suspect has been solely responsible for raising them in isolation. I’ve been to their home three times, and each time was more disturbing than the last.

These children shouldn’t be confused with the “wild child” who was raised without any human contact.  Seemingly they were nurtured by their mother.  Their father is present physically but unavailable emotionally.  Other family members have distanced themselves and wear blinders. They sit back in silence and have allowed this to occur.

Their father, the tyrant, is a survivalist. He claimed he was preparing to survive the catastrophe of a collapsed society. He believes the Armageddon will happen in his lifetime and he is preparing for it.  He has a cache of weapons and ammunition in the home and a large collection of items a family would need to survive an apocalyptic event.

You may wonder how the parents were able to hide these children all these years. They never attended school, but were home schooled by their mother. To home school a child, the local public school system requires oversight of the child’s education. They also provide the necessary curriculum.  The children were never enrolled in the public schools.  Because of this, they were virtually nonexistent.

Neither parent is educated beyond high school and has no qualifications to independently home school their children. With no input and oversight by the public school system it’s likely their education is way below even the most minimal standards.  Moon claims she has a sixth grade education and has a learning disability.  Without a professional evaluation there’s no way to know what level of education she has and whether or not she has a learning disability. This is what her parents told her and what she believes to be true. London has yet to take his GED.   Since their mother’s death their education, what little there was, has been ignored.

Not only are they unprepared for the world in terms of education and work skills, they have no solid foundation in social skills. They have no friends their age to talk to and socialize with. They have no face to face peer interaction. In fact, they never leave the house.

A typical teenager gets their license, works and goes to school. They have friends they go out with to shop, eat pizza, watch movies, play sports and just hang out together. These children have no such life.  When questioned the father’s responded, “at least they’re in the house. I know where they are and they’re not getting into trouble.”

How pathetic for those children to be forced to live in isolation.  The only contact they have with the outside world is through the internet.  I observed both of them on the internet every minute they’re awake. London is a gamer and is on the computer at least 12 hours a day every day.  Moon is also on the computer at least 12 hours a day unmonitored with no adult supervision.  This is their only source of stimulation and socialization.  They’re maladjusted and aren’t evolving.

I think I’ve made my point. I will never forget these children. I had to leave the situation because I couldn’t do anything to help them.  He would never allow me to influence the children by giving them what they need…a new life.   I believe it would have been dangerous to stay in the situation. I would have become his hostage too. They are the lost, the forgotten, the undiscovered. I wonder how many more children there are who suffer from a similar tragedy.

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This is a true story. The children’s names were changed to protect me and them.

Black and Blue

Did you ever have a broken heart that took forever to heal…a  heart that  hurt so much it was  black and blue…you’re sure you’ll never get over that person who was such a big love in your life… crying day and night for days, weeks, months and not believing love could hurt so much…wailing and waiting for closure and for the day when you can say your heart is not your enemy?

Then one day you wake up and realize you’re over them.

 

It pays to be fearless. Love to you all…Karm