Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ode on a Pair of Proton Pistols

Any time she,
tried to be the superhero instead of the damsel,
tried to be the one coming home from work instead of playing in the kitchen with the plastic broom and dishes
wasn’t allowed to ride, play shortstop or stoke the fire
was chastised for going out alone at night, not knowing what it does to a man when she dresses like that, asking for it

“Because, you’re a girl.”

Any time she is told,
be rational, calm down, she is too emotional, she will balk when making difficult decisions
that being a mother is the only way to be fulfilled, feeling maternal is an instinct, it is something all women are meant to do
she is not as strong, is not as fast, cannot understand, that her body or brain are biologically inferior

“Because you’re a girl.”

For every,
mother who taught her daughter to apologise even when she was not at fault, to be agreeable, not to draw attention, to smile in preparation
time she was reduced to T&A, sent a dick pic in lieu of a hello, passed over professionally
woman who hoped that the way she lived would finally prove that it does not have to be this way
“first woman”, “only woman”, “never before woman” who shoulders the burden and the pride.

“Because you’re a girl.”

Holtzmann, laying waste to a host of shades,
the answer to them all
confident, decisive, fearless
all of us who refuse to listen when we are told--
She reminds us that being a girl is not a curse, not a threat, not an epithet.

Because a girl is not the only thing you are.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Being the New Girl is Ruining My Rep

Ok, we all know I don't actually have a rep to ruin because, well, who cares? Least of all me.

But seriously, this moving business still kicks my ass on the regular.

An alternate title for this post could be "How Decision Fatigue is Destroying My Ability to Human in 20 Minutes or Fewer."

Trying to find the face cream I've been using for the last four years (I never bothered before that because I'm no good at being a girl). I can't find it in the store. I walk into Ulta. They have Nivea, but not my product. Tired of looking and not finding, I decide just to pick up something else (also known as: The Fatal Flaw). Do you know how many different types of moisturizers and creams and toners and masks a place like that has? Too many. And not the one I want. I recently heard about toner (no, not the copier kind, that kind I knew about years ago), and as I am easing into my 30s, I am noticing some particularly unkind discoloring (especially on my upper lip, so it looks like I have a stache --which, despite their meteroic rise to popularity, are still not fashionable on women--that needs bleaching or shaving or both), and I am told toner will help with that.

I finally make a selection (Eenie Meenie Minee Moe would have been equally as effective as my process) and make my way to the register. I am whipped into a savings card process where I give out my name, number, address, birthday, maybe my mother's maiden name, my social, and rights to my first born (ha! Jokes on them this time!), but don't-worry-it-is-not-a-credit-card.

After that, I walk up to the "Push" door only to realize I nearly walked right into it, expecting it to open for me automatically. This epiphany nearly causes me to trip over my own feet as I make my way through the second set of doors and I feel similtaneously dizzy and giddy and nauseous. I feel like I could maybe identify with a two-year-old tantruming in that moment.

Can I just not be new anymore?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Big Move: Day 1

We survived the first leg of the trip (which we have broken into five days) from Cedar City, UT to Gallup, NM.

Other than a few unanticipated stops for a tire strap that doesn't seem to want to stay ratcheted on Adam's Passport that we are towing, things have gone very smoothly.

I, of course, have been a basket case at times. During the first fifteen minutes of the drive I received a phone call that turned into a short phone interview and made it into the second phase of the hiring process. Lack of proper cell phone service during a stretch from Kanab to Flagstaff made trying to figure out our housing difficult. At one point I received a phone call that our former landlord needed to fill out a form regarding our rental history, but he hadn't done so yet. I called and left a voicemail which he promptly returned, only to find that the Windows 10 updated had locked him out of his email.

So far Arizona and New Mexico have felt a lot like Utah. Of course, we barely crossed the Arizona/New Mexico border, so I'm sure the landscape will change more as we go, and as we get to Texas tomorrow. It's so strange to drive through places we've heard of but never seen (like Winslow, which every time I say triggers the Eagles' song "Take it Easy" in my head).

We're staying in La Quinta hotels the whole way because of their great pet policy. The hotel here in Gallup even has a little fenced mini-dog park which was nice because the drive so far has been significantly less than dog-friendly. It seems finding dog-friendly stops was an oversight on my part when planning the trip.

We ate at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner, since we figure the further east we go the less access we'll have to proper Mexican food. When the server mentioned that the green chile was a little spicier today we knew we had authentic food, and it was delicious.

Now to prepare for the next leg tomorrow. Over 400 miles today and nearly that many tomorrow. Our Google map told us the drive today would take just over seven hours and it was closer to ten. Tomorrow's drive says just under six, so we'll see how accurate that is.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spilling Feelings

Too many thoughts keep competing for space in my head. It is as though I am shattered into tiny pieces - one piece worrying about work, another worrying about a place to live, another concerned about the drive to South Carolina, and another concerned about how the dogs will do, a piece for finishing work here, a piece for saying goodbye, a piece for Adam, a piece for each member of my family, a piece for selling the house, a piece for each friend, piece, piece, piece, until I feel like there are no pieces left. No pieces for me.

Yesterday, as my sister dropped me off from our customary pre-school pick-up and Pepsi (yes, we are VERY into alliteration), I teared up as I thought about saying goodbye, and that I had a limited number of chances to do it again before I left. For good. Not for a year. Not for school. Not for a mission. For good. You know, the thing I've always wanted to do since I was four? Anyway, I choked back the tears. I reeled it in.

I learned something. I can control when I cry now. I didn't used to be able to do this. If you had told 14-year-old me that I would learn how to do this, she would have thought it akin to a super-power. But with that control there is a cost. The emotions come bursting out in different and sometimes ugly ways. So I realized, it's ok to cry. It's dialectic really. I can be tremendously thrilled about leaving, and completely heartbroken at the same time.

I made a rule for myself, if I have feelings, I am going to feel them. In the moment. Even if that means I cry at work, sobeit (I cried five times today, three times at work--I'm a rules and regulations kind of girl, so if I make rules, I stick to them).

Because really, how does one say goodbye to her home of 31+ years? Piece by piece, I suppose.

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Leaf

I never thought it would happen to me. 

How many times have people thought that? We never think it will be us. "Those things" happen to other people.


I've talked about it in the past--being more sensitive with what we say and how we frame things. But I didn't know I was talking about myself. I have suspected for a while that things have not been "normal", but I didn't want to say anything until I knew what I was saying.

So far, the results of tests have done two things: cleared Adam, and required further testing on me. Further testing meant an MRI of my pituitary to determine if there is a tumor causing my {very} high prolactin levels (results [AND story!] to come).

That hole feels A LOT smaller when I'm squished inside it!
Part of the treatment my doctor has prescribed is changing what I eat, as I am also Hypothyroid and Vitamin D deficient. So, starting Monday, Adam and I will be transitioning from Take Shape for Life to Whole30.

I must confess, I wasn't really sold on Whole30, even after reading through the website. But I was curious enough to buy the book (It Starts with Food). It sat on my table for close to a week before I finally picked it up to read. And boy did I go down the rabbit hole. Read the book in a day, and was sold.

Yup. This is totes happening.
These 13 gallon garbage bags, an eight gallon bag, and one box later our pantry, spice cabinet, and fridge/freezer have been purged of all non-compliant food products. Today marks the trip to stock the pantry and fridge/freezer. Tomorrow and Sunday will be food-prep, and Monday--well, Monday is going to be the beginning of a whole new life.

There's a lot of change and uncertainty in the near future, and that's why I'm documenting here--a place to record results, ups, downs, and to be accountable.

Let it begin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Walking to Bring Suicide Out of the Darkness

Ever wanted to help someone in need, but didn't know what to say or do? Organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP) help with research, raise awareness, and reduce stigma about suicide.

On Saturday, September 27, there is an ASFP walk called Out of the Darkness. I will be walking as a participant, and representing a friend who died of suicide almost a year ago. If you would like to join as a participant, our team would love to have you! Register at Team: Cowboy Up. 

I am also looking for donations as a participant to raise awareness, increase research, and decrease stigma. If you have anything to donate, you can do so using my link. Every bit helps! And if you want to try to make more of your donation, you can see if your company is willing to do a matching gift (it's really easy to see if your company participates--just click here).

As anybody involved with research knows, it costs money to fund. As a result, the event is also looking for community support for raffle donations and participant donations (water bottles, ice, fruit, etc.).

This is a way to be part of the change. Whether you or a loved one has experienced depression, attempted suicide, lost someone to suicide, or not, it doesn't matter. What matters is what we do moving forward.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Promote Fighting. Here's Why.

I've never been much of a runner, so when my fight or flight response is triggered it seems like a no-brainer. I stand and fight. I fight a lot of things. I used to use my fists. I've learned to use my words.

Words like the one on this bracelet. I wear it every day (literally--to bed, in the shower, swimming, it doesn't come off).

Yup. Just my everyday arm and my everyday bracelet doing our everyday thing.

It opens a door to have conversations. People ask me what I'm fighting/why I promote fighting. They're usually shocked at my response.

Four years ago I had the opportunity to meet my first Fighter. He gave me a card with something about Fight the New Drug (FTND). My curiosity was piqued. I had just begun working in addiction recovery, and wondered if pornography could actually be comparable to traditional drugs and alcohol.

Four years later I've come to my own answer.

Addiction is addiction is addiction. I don't care if its sex, drugs, food, shopping, exercise, etc. It is insidious, it is no respecter of persons, it is self-seeking, and it only quits when there is nothing else to be taken. At least, that's how it used to end.

The truth is, nobody can stop an addiction anymore than a person can stop a loved-one's cancer or diabetes. It can be easy to judge those who are addicted--to ask why they can't appreciate the lives they have, their attractive partners, promising careers, why they just can't choose to stop. 

For those who have moved beyond the "why" and into the "how", there are still unanswerable questions. There is no answer to the heart-broken family/friend/loved one who asks, "How can I fix it? How do I make them stop?" It has to be the choice of the person who has the disease to have it treated, and in most cases requires life-long monitoring/upkeep.

Every day I'm fighting--working to put myself out of a job--to help people treat addiction and to educate about prevention. Some really amazing people are doing the same. They're over at Fight the New Drug. They have non-judgmental, research-based information to help people gain understanding about Pornography. They have also developed an online program to help those who have already found themselves trapped by addiction called Fortify (click the link to apply and find other FTND materials).

And to you I say, join the movement. Become a fighter (want your own bracelet? You can buy it here along with tons of other awesome Fighter swag).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


One of three CDs for the third anniversary this year.

While I am a tenderhearted woman, I'm not very good at sentimentality. For instance, a few months ago a co-worker asked how many years Adam and I would be married on our upcoming anniversary, to which I thought (for an over-long amount of time) then responded, "I think two." Then, with her help, I realized it would actually be three years. THREE YEARS! Already? Seriously??? Where did the time go? I can remember so many things about our courtship and wedding day so vividly that much time could not possibly have passed already.

Aquarium in Vegas while dating.

Just minutes before he proposed and I was SHOCKED!

At the same time, when pressed to think about it, remembering a time before Adam feels like an alternate reality. He is such an important part of my life now I can hardly imagine life without him. He can tell you, I often have to sort through memories to determine why he can't remember the event (turns out I was 11 and he was on a mission--duh! Ok, ok, it's not that bad, but seriously...).

He can always make me laugh.

One of the things we share best.

Before getting married my sister Natasha asked me, "Why do you love him?" I wondered why it was so important for her to know, and she told me that I would come to a place when I might need to remember those things when times got hard and I maybe questioned why I did choose him. I don't remember what I said to her that day.

Shameless excuse to use engagement/wedding photos.

So I'll tell you what I've learned.

I am an outspoken, stubborn, extroverted, opinionated, lazy (it's true!), excitable, spicy woman (I would say lady, but my mother would argue with that). I love Adam because he is thoughtful, easy-going, introverted, considerate, hardworking, mellow, chill man. He is all the things I am not (except thrifty when it comes to books--neither of us are that, and both of us are ok with it). He provides grounding to my cloud-surfing ideas. And because he tethers me, this kite can soar.

Fun Fact: We didn't actually cut our cake!

Since before we were married Adam put his goals on the back-burner to follow me on crazy adventures (안녕하세요 South Korea--I'm looking at you!) and waylaid dreams of my own (yeah, no, still not going to be a teacher, still don't know what I'm supposed to do. Trust me, when I know you'll know and we'll all celebrate together, but I digress). He puts me first, he pushes me higher, and he loves me through it all--mistakes and missteps included.

Open Mic Night at the Double Decker in English Village.

I was thinking the other day how I dislike when people get all competitive over their spouses with the, "I know you all say you have the best husband, but you're dead wrong because I married him...blah, blah, blah..." I decided, instead, to recognize that I married the best husband for me.

Tuacahn's 2012 Production of Aladdin.

This last year has included some real doozies for downward slumps, and he has hugged and loved me fiercely through it all. Have you ever tried to love a strong-willed, independent, competitive, Type-A through a downturn? I'm telling you, I know I'm not easy to love in that place, but he does it and with the greatest tenderness and devotion. He is the best husband for me.

Grand Canyon Trip August 2013.

He constantly tells me he loves strong women (seriously--his sisters and mother are amazing, he loves stories with strong female characters, he listens to strong female musicians, he married me--he is truly more of a feminist than I am), but I must say, it takes an incredibly strong man to love such a woman.

SUU Gymnastics 2013.

In three years we moved to South Korea, moved back, lost a dog, adopted two more, moved apartments, have found six jobs (and kept two), had our plans for the future utterly wrecked in every way possible, fallen down, picked each other back up, and are looking forward to a bright future. I do believe, year three will be our best year yet.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Thawing Frozen Hearts...and Ideas

Disclaimer: I am not a well-behaved Mormon woman. In fact, by most standards I'm not a well-behaved woman. I believe in radical things like human rights are women's rights, that a lot of the world's issues would be resolved if we focused on improving ourselves as individuals rather than using energy to tear down others, and that what we direct our energy toward grows (positivity breeds positivity). Oh, and I'm a Frozen fangirl. *squee*

Hope I don't let you down, sis.

A few days ago a friend posted a link to a personal blog of a woman, Ms. Kathryn Skaggs, who did an in-depth analysis of Frozen. Using literary theory terms, she did what is called a "queer reading" of the "text." Allow me to begin by saying, I believe people are entitled to opinions. Conferences the nation and world over are filled with academics putting works old and new through the lenses of theories to find new meaning in them. It is my opinion that this particular woman fell into a trap of persuasive fallacy. That trap is one of single-meaning reading in artistic creativity. In other words, that a creative piece can only be interpreted one way.

The beauty and joy of film and stage, when done well, is that it allows the audience to experience a catharsis. People are able to participate in a willing suspension of disbelief which allows them to accept that giant robots really can fight enormous aliens that come from under the ocean (did I mention I'm also a Pacific Rim fangirl? *double squee*), or that two sisters can discover that love is, in fact, the key. We crave being taken along on a journey, becoming part of relationships, crying when the main characters experience loss, laughing when they find joy, and applauding when they succeed. Very few things in the world can do that.

In general, people respond differently to the same things. For instance, my husband is enamored with all things Jim Henson, and really loves Labyrinth (yes, David Bowie in his wild hair and crazy cod-piece glory). I cannot stand the movie. Detest it. I encourage him to watch it whenever I'm not in town so I don't have to see it. I believe this is in part due to the fact that I was 28 years old upon first viewing a film meant for children in the 80s (I think the Barney Stinson theory of age applies to this like it did with Star Wars and the Ewoks). My point is, I firmly believe we are entitled to our different interpretations.

Here is where I differ.

People are entitled to different interpretations, but I do not believe that we--as people who are working on making the world a better place (for some, trying to be more Christlike)--ought to promulgate, support, share, or participate in hate-speech or any thing which debases, lowers, degrades, or others human beings in any way.

When I strip away all of the analysis of Frozen from the other blog, what I choose to see is a woman encouraging people to filter what content to which their children are exposed. I support that. She and I may have different standards regarding what is or is not appropriate, but I do believe it is the responsibility of parents to be proactive in ensuring children view age-appropriate content, and have meaningful conversations about things they may (and, let's be honest, will) be exposed to outside the home or parents purview (i.e., school, friends, public places, etc.).

Perhaps it is because of the explosion of popularity that Ms. Skaggs has chosen to single out Frozen for it's so-called "liberal agenda." My suggestion is that we put more of what our children consume under a microscope: Curious George is more than a cute monkey--have you ever noticed how he suffers no consequences for his, sometimes quite seriously damaging exploits? What kind of message does that send to children? Plenty has been said about other Disney films and how they teach our daughters that they must change everything about themselves to be worthy of a one-true-love (a concept I abhor, btw). But what about how the men in Disney films are portrayed as, well, idiot-heroes? And that if they complete a quest, even unintentionally, they are entitled to be given a beautiful (and talented and wealthy and usually royal) woman as reward for "being a good guy"? What is THAT teaching our children? I could go on, but that's a post (or two or three) for another day.

One more thing.

At one point Ms. Skaggs did a close readying of the lyrics of Frozen's, arguably, most popular song "Let it Go" (I mean, seriously, how many best cover EVERs can there be?). In it she highlighted what she felt were the lyrics supporting her "queer reading" of the film. Afterward she stated, "The words to "Let it Go" are clearly not Christian-values friendly, by any stretch of the imagination, when understood and heard. This is not an innocent song, with a catchy tune. It is rebellious. It mocks moral absolutes. It is careless. It is unaccountable. It is anti-obedience. It is regardless. It is selfish. And if you still disagree, then by all means, feel free to show me how I've misinterpreted the lyrics (underline and italics added for emphasis)

I feel this is perhaps the most egregious statement Ms. Skaggs makes in the post. As a student of English and Communications I have been taught to seek out multiple meanings. I learned from poet and professor, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, that artistic language is like a galaxy. Anyone can draw a grouping of stars (series of lines or phrases) together to create a whole sky full of constellations (meanings or interpretations). None are right and none are wrong so long as they are founded in the text. While I may not appreciate her interpretation, I deign not to state it was wrong anymore than I believe mine to be more-correct. What I do find fault in is her statement that any disagreement with her interpretation is incorrect. Ms. Skaggs, I must protest.

People seeing things differently does not mean either is right or wrong. Different is merely, beautifully, wonderfully different. Please don't white-wash the delightful colors that make this world such a glorious place out for the sake of needing to be right. In all honesty I am reminded of Flowers are Red by Harry Chapin (lyrics here). It hearkens to the teacher who insists, "Flowers are red, young man/Green leaves are green/There's no need to see flowers any other way/Than the way they always have been seen" when a little boy is seen painting with all colors of the palette. Another literary character this resonates with is Menolly from the Dragon Song series by Anne McCaffrey who is hidden away and punished by her parents because it is thought her singing will disgrace her community since she is a girl, and that is a man's occupation.

My final take on Frozen.

Ms. Skaggs, even if you are right--even if Frozen revolved around promoting what you code the "gay agenda" may I ask what is so bad with people wanting to be accepted for who they are? What is so wrong about showing parents that forcing their children to hide their differences, the things that make them unique, rather than exploring and developing their talents and gifts harms them and the rest of the family? Or that when we ostracize people for being different it hurts the individual, the family, and the community? Would it be so bad to teach our children to love people not in spite of but because of their differences? Love is, after-all, the key.

I may not be a very good woman or a well-behaved Mormon, but I do recall the Plan of Salvation and Atonement being very strongly associated with unconditional, eternal love. It is embraced in that love that all children flourish. May we show a little more love. OK, a lot more love. I said in the beginning, I believe positivity begets positivity. So it would follow that love also begets love. Perhaps we could interpret Frozen through that lens.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Unknown Road

The above image depicts my life right now. The road is moving quickly beneath me, I can only see exactly where I'm at, and everything around is shrouded in darkness and fog renders the distance unclear.

People don't generally respond kindly when you answer their question, "Why did you quit (insert activity here--whether it be school, work, a pastime, behavior, or what-have-you)?" honestly with, "Because God told me not to."

Ok. That's oversimplifying the case.

But how do I get into the depth of my divine intuition and connection which guides my life--which I seek and strive for daily--to ensure that I'm living the kind of life I want to live across simply and clearly?

I'm not saying that everybody has to get on the path to Jesus (it's not a bad path, I'm not naysaying either), or that they have to be in order to get where I'm coming from. Can I just say, "It's not what I was meant to do." And leave it at that? I only wish. That leaves me open for the onslaught of questions, "Why not?" "How did you come to that conclusion?" "Did something cause this?" Or, my even less-favorite: the directives and thinly-veiled doubts. "You're so good at it, just do it anyway." "Someone with your talent can't quit. Maybe you were wrong."

Here's where it comes down to for me: I fully respect everyone else's right to not believe in God, to not believe that He speaks, and that our lives are not directed/protected/enhanced by any Higher Power of any kind. I unequivocally concede that. I merely ask the same courtesy be extended to me. I do believe. I also believe I have a close, personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, and I believe that He watches over and gives me direction when I need it and as I seek it.

So when you find out I quit the teacher education program with only student teaching left to finish, and all you want to do is ask me, "WHY?!" My answer is simply this: I wasn't meant to do it. And when you want to follow up with, "So what are you going to do instead?" I'll probably shrug and whisper, "I have no idea. I only know what I'm not supposed to do. And I know I'm not supposed to student teach."

Because you see, the funny thing about being a woman of faith is that I don't get all the answers at once. I get one piece of a very large puzzle. I don't know where it goes, I don't know how it will fit in. I only know that I have it, and that it will go somewhere, and that it will all eventually fit together, and somewhere down the road I will look back and say, "That's why. That's why."

It also means I don't drive forward looking into the rearview mirror wondering "Whatif...?" or musing on when the course changed from what I thought was supposed to happen. I get to turn my gaze completely forward.

So for now, I speed into the unknown future. I do not doubt. I do not fear. The road is not unknown, it is simply unknown to me.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Birthweek: Day Seven

Ok, for reals this time, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Yup, today is the big day. At 10:30pm I will roll over to 29 years. I can hardly believe it. The last year of my twenties. Feels kind of surreal, honestly. My newest favorite part about my birthday is that I get to share it with this {little} angel.

Isn't he great? He was the best present my sister ever could have given to me. And, just like me, the boy knows how to arrive in style, rolling in at 9:30pm on a Friday night. We are destined to be kindred spirits.

When I see his smiling face I am reminded that every mother who has ever looked at her baby boy like this has never imagined that someday he will disrespect and violate a woman. Never that he will brutalize and do unspeakable things to girls. No mother ever starts out that way. No baby boy does either. They start like this, innocent, pure, filled with genuine joy at the smallest things, and brimming with potential.

So what happens? How do our beautiful baby boys grow up to be rapists and abusers? Honestly, I don't know. But it sickens me. It sickens me to my very core. Many women who have daughters worry about their futures--how women are portrayed in media, the stress that is put on girls to be perfect, and the possibility of being violated. Just as much as I worry for my nieces, I fear for the world that my nephews are growing up in, too.

Rather than stand on my soap box against victim blaming (because I have one, and it's big, and my rant speech is LONG) or be angry, I want to try to do as Ghandi said, and be the change I want to see in the world. Not too long ago, I was sitting in one of my Sociology classes and I just couldn't take the pitting of men against women anymore. And I may have blown up. I blew up about how tired I am of the culture of fear that is being perpetrated on women as a guise to "protect" them (more about that later). I want, instead, to see real change.

Today's organization is one I have supported from a distance for a long time, but this year I became personally involved. Because this year, learning about another woman who was raped while on the campus of her university, was the last straw. I had to DO something. Eve Ensler, the founder of this organization, has been doing something for years. Today's organization is VDAY.

Their largest campaign, in honor of the 15th anniversary of V-DAY this past February, is One Billion Rising. The name comes from the fact that, statistically, 1 in 3 women will be the victim of violence, meaning ONE BILLION women will be affected. ONE BILLION. The organization not only fights to end violence against women and girls, it does so through education with programs such as V-Girls and V-Men, which are found on their Take Action page.

Maybe you aren't prepared to perform in the Vagina Monologues, or perhaps you feel this agenda is too out-spoken and are not ready to donate. I implore you, do something. Speak up when people joke about rape. Speak up when people mock abusive relationships. Stand up for women. Not only that, stand up for men. Don't allow them to be side-barred or minimized in this fight. Their role in the ending of violence against women and girls is immense and immeasurable. Educate your sons and your daughters. Be the voice amongst your peers who will not tolerate the mistreatment of women or the minimization of the role of men in doing so. It's time to change the tide of this hate and to rinse our world free of its toxic influence. Take a stand. Be the change you wish to see. Celebrate the end of this birthweek by making the world a better place for having you in it.

Birthweek: Day Six

One of the three jobs I have right now deals with the disease of addiction. It is destructive, it can be terminal, and it is no respecter of persons. An addiction that is running rampant and unchecked is Pornography Addiction. One non-profit organization is doing their best to fight against this multibillion conglomerate. It's called Fight The New Drug

They work to educate youth and adults against the harmful effects of pornography as well as help rehabilitate those who are addicted to pornography. Best of all, they have a variety of ways to get involved, and they're all listed on their Get Involved Page. Not only that, they have a great Store, which features items you can buy to also support them including Fighter bands, t-shirts, and their Fortify literature.

If fighting against the harmful effects of pornography isn't something you can get behind, then I encourage you to support a cause which is fighting against something you find harmful to our society. And, as always, let me know how it goes!

Birthweek: Day Five

It's been an amazing four days, and things are just going UP from here! Yesterday was all abut literacy, which is fundamental. However, it's not going to do the future any good to be able to read if there isn't anything worth reading.

It's true, as an English major I'm more or less a Grammar Goddess-in-training, but even if I wasn't I still believe that the things being trotted out as readable material would drive me nuts. Maybe that's the Grammar Goddess-in-training speaking.

At any rate, that's one of the reasons I want to support 826 National.

Here is their informational video.

The power of community that comes together to support the local chapters of this program astonishes me. I would love to have something like this where I live. As there isn't anything, and my time here is limited, I'm supportive of 826 National and what they are doing to improve the writing, publishing, and tutoring of children ages 6-18. Want to help out? Donate today!

If you aren't prepared to donate, I want you to let me know how you are going to help make a difference with tutoring children with the goal of helping them improve and publish their writing.

Birthweek: Day Four

My entire life is defined by books. The first book I "read" was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss (I say "read" because really I had made my sister read it to me so many times I had it memorized). My reading skills were actually subpar in school. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Jensen, actually sent home one of her Cabbage Patch dolls with me so I could practice my reading. It wasn't until third and fourth grade that books actually came alive for me. They opened my world beyond Cedar City, UT, and--for the first time--I could see what other people saw. The world was bright and fresh and new, I wanted to drink it all in. Books allowed me to travel to far away places, to see past my prejudices, to experience complex emotions I could not even begin to fathom.

That is why I wholeheartedly embrace First Book.

Their approach is multidimensional. You can get involved by providing monetary donations, and volunteering, participating in virtual book drives. They also have a program called Authors in Action or you can choose to participate in their monthly book club.

If you aren't familiar with this program, they provide books to children who do not own books. A $10 donation can buy four books. Don't believe illiteracy is a problem in North America? First Book has put together some statistics on just that.

Today's challenge: help put an end to illiteracy today. Whether that's through First Book or by volunteering at a local elementary school, begin to make a difference today.

Birthweek: Day Three

Isn't this fun? I feel like it's the first day of school, all giddy and anxious. This is the same feeling I get every time I help someone else. It may be fair to say I'm in love with this feeling. And today the love continues.

I featured this organization last year, and am just as enthused to have them on the list again today. Yup it's The Shine Project.

 This organization believes in helping others and promotes, "Shine where you are." Additionally, they work with inner-city youth to help them attend college (you can read about the project here). The youth are paid to work where they make these amazing bracelets.

 You can always choose to donate monetarily at The Shine Project (funds go toward scholarships for students from Cesar Chavez High School), or you can get something pretty from Threads AND employ these students (I'm getting the Jahlil this year--Eee! it's so great).

People say all the time that the youth are the future, but it isn't very often that we see people doing something about it. So today, do something that will help youth in some way. Help the youth and fall in love with this amazing feeling.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Birthweek: Day Two

The organizations for today are near and dear to my heart.


Seriously, how could you not love that face? And those ears! Oh those ears...

The organizations (yes, two, because I couldn't pick just one) for today are Friends of Festival Country K9s and BAM (Because Animals Matter). The former is an organization local to Cedar City which is working to educate the community on pet ownership/responsibility as well as establish a local dog park. If you know Joë, you know she LOVES to run and play. We could really use a dog park. You can help move their cause forward by donating today! The really nifty thing about their site is their donation page also lists other local shelters who are in need of assistance (including Dust Devil Ranch Horse Sanctuary if horses are more your speed).

BAM is the organization that rescued Joë, who was originally Brownie, then Fiona, but when I saw her picture on PetFinder I cried out, "She looks like a baby kangaroo!" Thus she became Joë. One of the things that I love most about BAM, beside their no-kill policy, is that all of the animals they rescue are placed into foster homes to be socialized with people and other animals. In addition, they update vaccinations and require spay/neuter before permanent home placement. The group of volunteers that work together to make it all function are truly remarkable.

There are a variety of ways you can become involved with BAM, including donating, volunteering, fostering, assisting with their Kibbles on Wheels program, or helping out at one of their many community events.

Once again, the theme of today is LOCAL. If you aren't from the Iron County/Washington County area, you may want to look into how you can help out closer to your own home. As a pet lover, you can help ensure that these little fur babies find loving homes. If you aren't a pet lover, you can also help ensure that more unwanted pets aren't produced by supporting spay and neuter programs. Let's celebrate today by helping those who can't help themselves!


I want to see what you're up to! Make sure to leave comments about how you are celebrating with me wherever you are.

Birthweek: Day One

Happy birthday to me! Ok, so it's not the day just yet, but the week is here. Thus, the celebrating commences!

This year I decided to change up the order of things. I want to start by doing something local first. I think trying to make a difference in the community where you live is crucial. One, because we ought to help those around us to improve the culture of community where we live. Two, because reaching out on a local level helps you see the difference you are making.

First on my list of organizations I can stand behind is the Iron County Care and Share.

The facility provides a variety of services, including sack lunches, temporary housing, rent assistance, clothing and gas vouchers, etc. You can read about their list of services here. If you would like to be of assistance, but aren't able to provide a monetary donation, you can also visit this link to see how you can become involved as a volunteer. Of course, you can also donate. Aside from financial contributions, the Iron County Care and Share also participates in a "Grocery Rescue" program with local grocers. They also accept food donations from individuals. Information for all types of donations can be found on the donation page.

Like I said at the beginning, I want this support to be local. If you aren't from Cedar City/Iron County, I urge you to find the nearest food bank/emergency shelter in your area and see what you can do to reach out and give a hand up to those members of your community who may not be able to help themselves.


I want to hear about it! The point of celebrating birthweek is to spread good by being alive. I want to know what differences you are making this week, so leave a comment and let me know how you choose to help me celebrate this wonderful adventure we call life.