Tag Archives: 1000 Voices for Compassion

Not my kid

My kid would never…
My kid is “everybody’s” friend…
My kid is never mean…
My kid was provoked.

Let’s be honest, there is always going to be kids that are mean, there will always be “cliques”. There will always be the kid that doesn’t fit in and will be picked on.

We always hope it won’t be ours. If it is mine, I want to know.  Continue reading

Mirror, Mirror on my wall

I am not a fan of the mirror.

When I look into at the image the mirror, I see Rosannadanna hair and a face only Cher would love in the movie Mask. I see the long front teeth that got me nicknamed “bucky” by a vengeful cousin in JR High. I used to hate going into the bathroom that said “Bucky was here” where a chunk of the counter was chipped. Continue reading

When children are denied an education

There are 62 Million girls around the world who are not in school.  Think of that for a moment. In this country we take education as a right, something a lot of us take for granted. We believe that all should have access to preschool through high school.  There are many of us who believe college should be included in that matrix.  Yet world-wide there are 62 million girls who have no access to education. They are illiterate, uneducated and financially dependent on others. Education is a known factor in advancement yet is denied to young woman around the world. Sometimes through circumstance, most often by men who fear the change women challenge the world to undertake.

A girl without access to reading, writing and arithmetic is more likely to end up in an abusive relationship, motherhood before she is emotionally ready and in poverty.  Want to stop terrorism? Educate the poor, the disenfranchised and the children of the world. Let them understand that the world is more what they see out their window. Malala proved that one girl’s education can give voice to a movement of change. Once their minds are awoken, young women’s voices cannot be silenced. They become mothers who will impart the importance of education to their offspring.

With access to education, young women across the globe will affect change. This is not just women in underdeveloped countries, but here at home.  According to PEW Research only 63% of US high school women go on to secondary education. Some of the 37% decide not to go further because they go into trade, the military or for whatever reason decide not to go to college.  I am willing to bet that out of the 37% of high school girls do not go to college due to circumstance. Looking at colleges is not a financial undertaking most of us can afford nor have the credit rating to achieve. If your parent did not go to college, you are less likely to see the value a college education can be to your life.  Children of lower-income single-mothers are less likely to have the opportunities for higher education. A recent study showed that 100% of former welfare recipients that receive a four-year degree and 82% of welfare recipients who received a 2-year degree stopped relying on welfare support.

In 2013 our country had 10.9 million school age children living in poverty.  Unsurprisingly, 40% of US children living in poverty are unprepared for school.  A staggering 31% of US children without a high school diploma will continue to live in poverty. Compared to just 20 years ago, the rate of children living in poverty has increased and the gap of income inequality continues to grow. Their children will repeat the cycle, unless change is made and education becomes a priority.

Education breeds personal power. If we want to see more women CEOs, leaders and Heads of State we need to educate them. Not in our own backyard, but in every back yard. I do not want women to overtake men; I want women to work alongside them. Equal partners effecting real change to leave this world a better place then we found it.  Advances in science, economies, living conditions and education benefit all of society. We need to stand with the United Nation’s stance that education is a human right and a “driving force of human development”.

When our youth are educated homicides are decreased, crime is lessened, reduces infant mortality and teenage pregnancy. Famine and world hunger can be alleviated. Terrorism loses its footing when those being suppressed are educated on how to make their voices resonate across the lands.

The US Peace Corps is collaborating with USAID and the First Lady to work together in educating girls, one girl at a time, through grassroots efforts. Volunteers committed to teaching all children. They understand that with education comes change, and maybe peace.  It’s time to get the facts and be clear: education should be a fundamental right of every child. To learn more about the initiative Let Girls Learn please visit their website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/letgirlslearn

Want to change the world? Make it personal

Warning…I’m on a bit of a soapbox.

I just finished reading a book about WW2 (Escape from Davao). A quote from the book resonated in me as it applies to everything: Natural and man-made disasters, the horrors of the news, the treatment of our elderly, 9/11, Ferguson, police being killed, domestic violence, the drug war and (insert horrendous thing here). I honestly think words from 1944 are still true. Until it becomes personal,until we understand that WE must feel we cannot win.

“We’ve got to have the nature of this war drilled into us Day after day before we sense the whole horror of it, the demands of it, the danger if it….This War has not yet become personal with us…But if we hear the truth day by day … We’ll silence the babble, sober the feather-minded and fight like hell” (Palmer Hoyt page 332)

Continue reading

My brave friend Divya

When I joined the LTYM Boston cast I had no idea the breadth of stories that would be told. Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Divya. (Four Kleenex warning, but a must watch) I am honored that she is allowing me to share her piece.

I remember when I met Divya she said she “wasn’t a writer”. She is so much more than a writer, Divya gorgeous from her spirit outwards, a mom of two wonderful children, a postpartum depression advocate working diligently to make sure all women have the tools needed to triumph  and (my hero) helped to create a state-funded perinatal program to help other new moms in need of support. Divya is co-founder of the Every Mother Project that provides much needed training and support to professionals to increase availability of care to women in perinatal crisis.

To learn more about her program please visit: The Every Mother Project

Thank you, Divya, for allowing me to share your piece.

If we were having a glass of wine…

A fellow blogger, Jamie, did a recent post entitled “if we were having coffee”, what would she say to the person across the table. I thought it was a great idea, but I don’t drink coffee. Thus the change in title.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you about the hectic weekend we had moving my parents moving from Virginia to our home. That we left at 3am on Friday for Logan airport, flew down and packed up her house. That we left VA at noon on Saturday and everyone in the free world was on Route 95 so it took us until 4am to get home. That it was only possible to do her move because we have a great village of supporters who took care of the girls, the bunnies and the Bailey. How much I appreciate the gift of friendship and families. How glad I am that both our parents will be in close location of their granddaughters and the positive changes happening in their lives.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you how I seem to be on a World War II reading binge. In the past month I have read The Nightingale, Unbroken, The Heart of a Soldier, I Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust and am just beginning Escape from Davao. I would ask if you had any recommendations for maybe a lighter read.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you how excited I was to be leaving in a few days to go camping with our friends. Our annual retreat where there is no WI/FI or cell service. The one week a year where we completely unplug from the world. How we were looking forward to floating down the river, campfires and community meals. That I would be using this time to hopefully break the Facebook obsession that is taking too much time away from actually living life.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you how I am currently failing in my running goals but that I hope to get back up to speed and dedication soon.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you how I feel the summer is slipping by faster than I can breathe. That while we have traveled and taken vacations it seems like September is coming faster than expected.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell how nervous I am about all I have taken on recently. That I am worried I am doing too much, yet not enough. I would ask you where you thought I could extradite myself from or how to manage my commitments better.

If we were having a glass of wine I would tell you about how David has been working too much and we recently had a conversation based on the Zac Brown song, Free. How that someday we want that life. The one where it is just him and I in a van traveling the country. How before marriage, “real” jobs and family we would put the tent and dog in the car destination unknown. That we want to get back to that feeling of just being us, no qualifiers. That I miss that connection of my husband and yet am thankful that after all these years we still wake up and want to be there for the other.

If we were having a glass of wine I would ask how your week was and what was new with you.

So tell me, how are you?

BlogHer 15 is next week!

As many of you know I am beyond excited to meet Wil FREAKING Wheaton next week when we receive our Voice of the Year Awards together. I know, he might not show. But of course he is going to show! I mean, come on I’m going to be there!

I have some other news I am overwhelmed to share. I was asked to be a speaker/panelist at BlogHer 2015: Experts Among Us. I know, I am so not an expert. Just a mom sharing her journey. I will be part of a panel at Care To The People’s “The Healing Power of Stories”. I will be joined by other woman bloggers who have used their blogs to share their stories in order to build a community. They probably have earned the expert badge! I’m just happy to included.

If you happen to be at BlogHer ’15 in NYC on July 17th, I hope you join me for lunch. You will not only meet some wonderful writers, have a chance to connect with others to build your village and best yet have a delicious meal! All attendees will also be entered into a drawing. I am not sure what the prize is, but it would be great to meet everyone in person.

You can RSVP here: http://caretothepeople.com/bloghher/

Hope to see you! Oh and if you see Wil FREAKING Wheaton make sure you bring him with you. Just don’t pull a Cousin Eddie and get us into trouble.


My Best Friend Bridget

It finally happened. Bridget was invited over for her first ever official play date. A girl she went to school with last year had moved onto kindergarten without Bridget. Although “A” made new friends in kindergarten she never forgot her first “best friend” Bridget. She invited us to birthday parties and other events.

This would be the first time I would be just dropping off Bridget and going to work. In full disclosure, the mom is a trusted ESP who knows Bridget inside and out. I probably would not have been comfortable otherwise. Nervous, though, when I heard other neighborhood girls might be over to play.

Will they understand Bridget? I wondered. What if her friend is embarrassed or doesn’t want to play with her when her friends arrive? I worried.

For nothing. While I was at work worried that Bridget would not be accepted this happened:

She also played tea party, play dough (a substance banned from my house), painted and played. Bridget spun on the gymnastics bar and tried to do a cartwheel. She had snack and watched Sofia with the girls. She played Legos and colored.  Bridget played for hours with children her actual, not developmental, age and older then her.  It wasn’t noticed by any of the children that she was different than them.

My heart got three sizes too large as the text updates came in.

To “repay” our friend we had them over for dinner the following night. I watched as “A” interacted with Bridget. How she slowed down for her without realizing or explained how to play with the Barbie. I thought this is how it will be for Bridget. All her hard work, the therapies, the schooling will enable her to forge friendships. The typical peers will accept her for who she is and she will be included in their lives. Not because they have to, because they like Bridget.

Then “A” called Bridget a weirdo.

Here’s the thing though, Bridget was acting silly. “A” wasn’t being mean at all. She was laughing and treating Bridget just like she would any of her other friends. She called her on her silly behavior. When her mom (horrified) went to explain that “weirdo” wasn’t a nice word, “A” replied: it’s my best friend Bridget. I would never hurt her, she was just being silly and we were laughing.  I felt bad, honestly. I had overheard the exchange and knew “A” didn’t mean any harm. She was just laughing with her friend. Yet thankful that my friend had overheard as well and used the moment to make sure that harmful words would not used to describe my child.

Sometimes a word is just a word but it serves as a learning moment for a little girl who just repeated a term she used in school.

One word she will now defend her best friend Bridget against.

Her Best Friend Bridget

It was perfect…

I was reading this post by my friend, Sandy, the other day entitled Will Hate Win? It got me thinking about how each generation faces something that makes a parent cringe with fear. When I watch the news I wonder how is this the world I am raising my child in? How do I teach her to live a life without fear, when I have to teach her not to let her friend take a photo and put it on Instagram? Continue reading

I struggle with autism awareness…a guest post

A personal guest post from my dear friend, Laura. She is a warrior mom to her son, Zachary. Her son is gorgeous. Like a mini-Elvis gorgeous. You know before he got old. Laura is an incredible photographer, gorgeous inside and out. Her smile lights up a room.This is her feelings on autism awareness and why she struggles to define what it means to her.

April is Autism Awareness Month

A day where many Facebook posts are made showing supporters wearing blue shirts, lots of puzzle piece memes floating around, and posts declaring support for family and loved ones affected with autism.

I struggle with this day for so many reasons.  Mostly I’m grateful for the support and recognition for my son and his friends who live with autism.  But I also try so hard to be a little vulnerable and allow people to see into our world of struggle, meltdowns, heartache, therapy, triumph and successes.  But this is where the ‘awareness’ part of ‘autism awareness day’ comes in.   I have to be strong and let people see that we do struggle daily with our own ‘norms’ and having the outside world understand what our ‘normal’ looks like. Continue reading