Let’s Help Educate Some Students in Africa!

While I have been pursuing my degree at Old Dominion University I have had the great pleasure of meeting some wonderful people.  One of those people is Skylar.  She is incredibly talented and intelligent and she is currently working on a project to raise money to purchase some books and help the library.  Here are Skylar’s words about her project:

I constructed an acronym out of my mother’s name to symbolize my drive for this project, which is to provide Awareness, Nurture, Networking, Encouragement, Teamwork, Teaching, and Equality (Annette). This project is inspired by her, my research on the educational experience of South African girls, and my experience studying abroad. In May 2014, I participated in an independent study in Cape Town, South Africa for two and a half weeks documenting social development and human rights issues. While there, I focused on the education system in South Africa, specifically in primary and secondary schools. I spent some time in a school located in the Guguletu Township, Fezeka Secondary School. As a result, I discovered that Fezeka lacked the resources to provide their students with the certain amenities such as a fully stocked library or a computer lab. These resources are essential to the success of the students  in regards to preparing them for achieving a higher level of education. The primary goal of my service-learning project is to complete the library in Fezeka by raising money for their library and other supplies.

Please help Skylar exceed her goal by donating here:  http://www.gofundme.com/n6d1fk

These are some pictures from Skylar’s Go Fund Me Page from her trip to Africa.

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Please help her exceed her goal!!

 

 

Women should be in control of their own bodies!

I have always been an advocate of reproductive rights for women. Every woman should have the right to decide for herself when and if she wants to have children. This decision is a very personal one, and each woman should have the right to make it for herself. Without interference from parents, siblings, spouses, and especially from the government. There are two points I would like to make. The first is that I am deeply offended by the anti abortion people using the phrase “right to life” as their catch phrase. As if being pro-abortion rights makes you somehow “against” life. That the only group that values life is the people who are against a LEGAL medical procedure. That is the bottom line for me. An abortion is a medical procedure. A LEGAL medical procedure. If people looked at it that way would it remove some of the volatility? Could we look at a heart transplant, or an appendectomy, or tonsillectomy through the same lens? NO, you can’t remove that organ because it was given to you at birth and since you are a GOD created being, it is God’s appendix, so you MUST keep it, even if it kills you….  Women should be in control of their own bodies!

reproductive rights

Think about it. The argument against abortion usually stems from a religious basis. That it is against God’s law to “take” a life. Well, what if that “life” threatens the mother’s life because of where the cells chose to implant themselves, or what if the “life” was created from a violent act of rape or incest? At what point does the woman within whom these cells are growing get to have agency over her own body? Why does her agency stop due to religion?

Religion removes a woman’s agency over her own body in more ways than just the abortion argument. What does the religious right say about contraception? Or about her right NOT to have children? In many cases a woman’s ONLY value is about bringing babies into the world and being her husband’s “helpmate”. And before anyone argues that I may not understand, I wish to let you know that I was married to a man for 9 years and we belonged to the fundamental Church of Christ church. While I was a member of that church I was not allowed to speak during services, not allowed to teach men (because MEN are the head), not allowed to hold a leadership position in the church, and was taught to be quiet, meek and subservient to my husband. Those of you who know me in real life might understand how these directives affected me. For those of you who have never met me, you need to know that I am a strong, opinionated, passionate, intelligent woman. Having to squash all of that in order to “serve God and my husband” was a heavy chain around my heart and soul. The yoke of religion can be a burden women have to bear, not the spiritual uplifting I think a truly loving, kind and just God would want for us.

However, getting back to reproductive rights, I am ALL for them. There was a time in my life when I was 18 and dating a very sweet young man named Ron. We were both in Hospital Corps School, and were just about to embark on our Navy career. I got pregnant. I was completely distraught. I knew if I continued with the pregnancy I would not be able to continue my Navy schooling, and it would change my career and educational aspirations. I was only 18. I was not ready to be a parent. Ron wasn’t ready to be a parent. We decided to terminate the pregnancy. My mother agreed and I flew home to Connecticut from Chicago, and she took me to a clinic to have a LEGAL abortion. This was in 1984.  As we neared the clinic I noticed there was a chain link fence around the entire building. The fence was there to keep protesters away from the front door of the building. As I neared the fence there was a throng of people standing by the gate holding signs and shouting at me. They told me I was evil, and sinful, and that what I was doing was murder and I was going to hell. My mother grabbed hold of my arm tightly and just steered me through those people. To be honest I was afraid of them. They seemed so angry and so incredibly judgmental.

protestors outside a clinic

I think about that day sometimes, even now. Less now than I did when I was younger. I think about the fact that I could have a 31-year-old child. I think about the fact that I would probably not have married my ex-husband if I had chosen to have that child. Then I wouldn’t have my two amazing beautiful boys my ex and I created together. My life would have been so different. I can’t say that it would have been better or worse. I may have still married, I may have had more children, it my have been a beautiful life, but it wouldn’t be the life I have now. We can only theorize about “what if’s” so much. To dwell on them would make me crazy, so I choose not to do that.

What I do know is that I love my life, and I am incredibly blessed. I do mourn that child, and it still makes me sad, but that is what I believed was the right thing to do for myself at that time in my life, and I am INCREDIBLY thankful that I was legally able to obtain an abortion. Thankful that my parents supported my decision. Thankful that I had access to a safe clinic. Thankful that I had access to medical care from qualified people. Thankful that I was able to decide for myself what I wanted to do with my body. Thankful that I had reproductive rights.

I think EVERY woman should have those same opportunities, same access, and same ability to choose for themselves. Until this happens, we are not truly free as human beings. And Women should be in control of their own bodies!

#womenslives

Daydreamer Award: My dream animal…..

Thank you to “S” over at Doorknobs That Lock for nominating this blog for the Daydreamer Award! I’ve enjoyed her blog for years!  We have TONS in common: two mom family who became a family with a school aged child, teenaged son, son is a Boy Scout, and a love for blogging.  :-)  I really love her photos too, she is really able to capture the essence of her subjects in her photos.  They truly are beautiful!! Please check her out!!

The rules for the Daydreamer Award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)

4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

(Please include the rules in your post)

So my challenge from S is: Describe your dream pet(s) — what animals would you share your life with if you could?

This is a great question because I already have more animals than I should…lol  In fact, someone once told me that a person qualifies as a “cat lady” when the number of cats you have exceeds the number of people in your household.  When we had 4 kids living at home the ratio was perfect since we had 3 cats.  Then i saw this adorable tabby at the ASPCA, and he just practically threw himself at me……how could I refuse those big green eyes?????  So now we have 4 cats.  We would have still been okay, but then (as they do) the kids started growing up and moving out.  The oldest two moved out, but technically we are still okay because we have 4 people who live here with 4 cats……that means we are still one person/cat ratio away from being “cat ladies”.  The bad news is one of the kids graduates in a couple of months. Luckily he will not be moving out right away….as he is planning on living at home for a couple of years and going to Community College. Also we have one very old cat….

But those really aren’t my dream animals….. If I could have an animal that I could really build a relationship with, it would be a horse.  Not just any old horse, but the horses I had the privilege of seeing while I was visiting my friend Gail in South Dakota.  She is a Cheyenne Indian and is married to Alex Richard who is the great grandson of Chief Red Cloud, the famous Lakota Chief who treated with the US Government in the 1800s.  Gail and Alex have some beautiful land, and their neighbors in Lonesome Valley are members of the White Plume tiospaye (family).  These family members have horses and buffalo, and many other majestic creatures on their land.  The horses that Percy White Plume has on his land are beautiful, domestic and strong!

They were majestic creatures with just the right mix of domestic and wild.  Domestic enough to be sweet and safe, but wild enough to be true to their Great Plains spirits.  Here are some pictures of them:

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The horse that caught my eye was the Paint (brown and white) horse in the third picture.  He is the leader of this group and he is magnificent.  This group of horses walked right up to my car, and put their heads in the window, as if they were looking for a treat.

So although I do love my cats and my dog, my dream pet would be one of these horses.  But I guess they wouldn’t really technically be a “pet”, but instead a companion because I would never want to break their free spirit…..

I would like to nominate Robyn over at Breastfeeding in Combat Boots for the Daydreamer award and my challenge to her is: to tell us about her Dream gig.  She is an author and motivational speaker so I would like to know where is the dream place for her to talk about breastfeeding and why?