Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saudi Arabian Women Allowed to Vote in 2015

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook has been instrumental in bringing about the "Arab Spring" which has seen governments topple in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and now it seems that it has helped bring some change to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week King Abdullah announced that women will would be given the right to run for election and to vote beginning with the 2015 elections. Unfortunately that is 4 years from now, so they cannot vote in the elections that are being held today. Hopefully they will also be given the right to drive themselves to the polling station!

 Can you imagine not having the ability to vote? Women fought long and hard for this right, let us all remember that this is a great right and we should not squander our vote or complain that there is no change if we do not get out and vote.

" Be the Change you wish to see in the World"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thin is In?

I do not understand how people think the skeletal thin look is attractive? Or healthy? I have been to Paris, NY, London, Milan, and many other fashionable cities, I have seen healthy, attractive women and they do not look like this. Why don't women and by that I mean all women, not demand a change. Yes, I have heard the arguments, fashion looks better on women with no curves, size 0, skeletal frames. The argument that this is what people want to see when they see a fashion show. Frankly, I think fashion can be beautiful, a work of art, frightening, and downright ugly. But I can tell you that I have never purchased an article of clothing because it was shown on a frame like this.

This is why girls as young as five, yes five, are ending up in eating disorder clinics. This is why the fastest growing population of women in eating disorder clinics are middle age women. We continue to perpetuate the idea that if you are skinny, thin and look like this you look beautiful.

For the record, I am a sometimes a size 6 and  sometimes a size 8; I have also lived on less than 600 calories a day to maintain a size 4. This post is not some jealous rant. I love fashion, love clothes and shoes and handbags, etc. I can appreciate the fabric, the drape, the vision and all of the rest. But I do not want find skeletons walking down a runway even remotely attractive, frankly if I was at a fashion show and this is what come down the runway it would be all I could look at.  I want to see women in a magazine that look beautiful in their clothes but that are not skeletal and in a perfect world I would love to see a magazine that actually put real women on the pages. Just saying....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tips for a Mindful Home

10 Tips for a Mindful Home

Wake with the sun
There is no purer light than what we see when we open our eyes first thing in the morning.

Mindfulness without meditation is just a word.

Make your bed
The state of your bed is the state of your head. Enfold your day in dignity.

Empty the hampers
Do the laundry without resentment or commentary and have an intimate encounter with the very fabric of life.

Wash your bowl
Rinse away self-importance and clean up your own mess. If you leave it undone, it will get sticky.

Set a timer
If you're distracted by the weight of what's undone, set a kitchen timer and, like a monk in a monastery, devote yourself wholeheartedly to the task at hand before the bell rings.

Rake the leaves
Rake, weed, or sweep. You'll never finish for good, but you'll learn the point of pointlessness.

Eat when hungry
Align your inexhaustible desires with the one true appetite.

Let the darkness come
Set a curfew on the internet and TV and discover the natural balance between daylight and darkness, work and rest.

Sleep when tired
Nothing more to it.

via me

—Karen Maezen Miller

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why are we so mean? The Bully Project

I remember when I was young, there was one mean kid in the school, you know a bully. I attended private schools my entire life, and I loved them. I am shy, or at least I am until I get to know you, (then I will talk your ears off) in any case I liked the insular feeling of the little schools I went to. We moved around a lot when I was young because of my dads work and I really liked the familiarity of little schools where I would always be with my two sisters and brother. In fact I was afraid of public schools because someone at my school said that at public schools kids would hit each other with 2 by 4's. Obviously that was not true but when you are 7 years old and someone bigger than you tells you that, well you believe them. Did I mention that I led a sheltered life?

When I went to high school I attended an all girls school, and I hated it, it was huge. I think it had 400 girls, and I had come from a school with about 75 kids in 8 grades and I do not think that I spoke a word my entire freshman year. My biology teacher told my mother that he never actually heard me speak until sophomore year, and you know what, no one teased me, no one did anything, no one bullied me, they tried to help me feel more comfortable.

There were incidents in my life where I was a victim of a bully, when I was in the 3rd grade a boy from my class who I would not let copy my test followed me home and beat me up. Sister Evelyn stood him in front of the class and slapped him across the face when she found out and told him it was a sin to hit girls, I think he learned his lesson.

Another time in high school I was supposed to take a bus with my sister to my grandmothers because my mom could not pick me up. I was 16 and I had never been on a bus, in fact I had never been anywhere alone! I did not even know what to do, where to pay, or where to get off. Unfortunately for me, my sister got on another bus and I was left on my own. That was the day three girls from the inner city got on the bus and threatened to beat me up and kill me because I was wearing a plaid skirt, a white shirt and Sperry Topsiders. Thank God for the bus driver. She told me to get my butt to the front of the bus and sit next to her, eventually the mean girls got off. But not before taunting me a little more.

That it is it for my sheltered life. I think back now and they were small isolated incidents, traumatic then, but not life altering.  I was never ridiculed, or beat up on a daily basis. I cannot imagine such a horrible way to go through life. Unfortunately, with the advent of Twitter, My Space, Facebook, the Internet, and so many other social networking sites,  mean people  know where you live, what you ate for breakfast, who your friends are, if you are a gay or lesbian, if you have a girlfriend, if you are fat, or skinny or ugly or cute or whatever and these mean bullies use these tools to their advantage to torture you, day in and day out.

Bullying, it is not just confined to children, there is an incident in court right now where a college roommate streamed live on the Internet a date his gay roommate was having, These people are 20 years old, wouldn't you think you would be more mature and not so cruel? I guess once a bully always a bully? I hope not.

Just a few days ago, a 14 year old, young man committed suicide because he said he could not take it anymore, the daily torture and turmoil in his life for being gay. I can not even imagine how horrible this must have been for this poor young man that the alternative was to kill himself to make it stop.

Yesterday on the blog  The Enchanted Home Tina wrote the following:

A TRULY NOBLE CAUSE, THE BULLY PROJECT. I am proud to say I have donated and supported the making of this courageous and long overdue documentary about bullying. Lee Hirsch was the champion behind this project and I cannot sing his praises highly enough. While its such fun to blog about beautiful homes and rooms and fun decor and entertaining ideas,  the sobering reality is bullying is practically an epidemic that we as a society must have ZERO tolerance for. I have been blessed to not have had this personally affect me or my sons,  but my heart truly breaks for any child who has experienced the loneliness and isolation of being bullied. There was another suicide this past Sunday by a 14 year old teenager, who took his life after being bullied. That is why this project is so incredible. PLEASE all I ask is that you click on this link, and take a look at the trailer. If it prompts just  ONE conversation between a mother and her child ( as it did me and my son) I will feel like I did my small part to help raise awareness. Ideally, it will motivate all of you to talk to your children, grandchildren or a child you feel close to. Knowledge is power and just because this might not be affecting us personally does not mean we shouldn't take an active role and stand. Please click here to visit the site and see the short but unbelievably powerful trailer. I PROMISE you will not regret taking less than 2 minutes out of your day to watch a film that might prompt a conversation and ultimately change the fate for a young child. THANK YOU!"

I went to the The Bully Project link and I can tell you that this short clip is so powerful it will bring tears to your eyes, and you will wonder how people could be so cruel! According to the project site 18 million, yes 18 million people are bullied a year! Please go and watch this video, donate money, or at least spread the word so that we can try to eliminate bullies! You can spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or even email. They provide the letter below so that you can send it to all of your email list. Act today before another young man or your woman gets killed or kills themselves to escape the cruelty.

Dear Friend,
The Bully Project is a new movement and film empowering all of us – kids, parents, educators to build a world where empathy and respect rule – not the bullies. Will you join me and demand an end to school bullying?
The Bully Project film follows young Americans across the US as they battle their way through the confusing terrain of the American school system. The powerful film gives voice to the 5 million kids who are bullied each year.
I’m going to see the film when it comes out and do everything I can to fight the bullies. Will you join me? Check out the website, watch the trailer, join the movement, and together we can make our schools safer, kinder, and stronger.

Thank you Tina, and thank you for doing everything that you can do to help someone who is being bullied! Please use your blogs, your links and your email to get the word out about this important project. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fasting and Feasting

Fast from judging others: feast on the Christ dwelling in them,
Fast from emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of life.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on the phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on the affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures: feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility: feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; fast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy;feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast in promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.

From a Benedictine Communities website

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words may never hurt me?

That is the single most stupid thing I have ever heard. Are you kidding me? Words have the power to wound you so badly that the scars never leave you, you can hear the words, or the taunts in the back of your mind 30 years later.

I was not bullied or anything like that, but I believe that words have defined my body image for the last 30 years. Oddly the person that said them was some insignificant boy that liked my sister in 8th grade and I was in 7th.  When a girl is young and impressionable words mean a lot.

If I close my eyes I can see myself outside of my mothers house, my sister was there with said boy and we were talking and for whatever reason I walked away, and as I did, I heard him say..."your sisters butt is so big, she waddles like a duck." Let me reiterate, I was in the 7th grade, I cannot remember how old I was, but I was a tween, hardly finished growing and when I see photos from that time I was not fat, did not have a big butt or anything like that.

Now maybe that doesn't sound bad to you but my young impressionable mind could not believe my ears, I had a big ass! From that day forward until just recently every single time I have tried on an article of clothing I heard this as I looked in the mirror. I do not like to wear jeans or pants because of it. Needless to say I have not embraced my inner Kardashian, but as I age I have accepted myself for what I am and I do not let it affect me as I use too, but I will not lie, I still hear it in my mind, 30 years later.

Is there an incident in your life that has affected you to the point where years later it still haunts you? Were you bullied? Did you bully someone and wonder later in life how it affected them?

Look in the mirror, really look and see all of the wonder and beauty that God has created in you!

Whatever your inner taunts and demons are, remember you are the fairest of them all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Challenges, we all have them

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, NEVER GIVE UP THEN, for that is just the place and the time that the tide will turn."

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RIF, Reading is Fundamental!

I love reading! I could read all day and everyday! I thirst for adventure and knowledge. I love the idea of being transported across time to experience if only in my imagination a part of history, a beautiful country or absorb a beautiful cookbook and then following up by trying my hand at some of the recipes(usually the baking and anything with chocolate).

Women do not take care of themselves and afford themselves the same care they give to their families and I do not just mean mothers, I mean all women. I do not have children of my own and I have to tell you that in my family of three, husband, me and pup I am last. Always and that is a choice I make. I wish I could say it was not true but it is.  That being said, my form or relaxation and me time is reading, I do not watch TV very often so books are my passion.

So ladies, do your self a favor, pick up a book, or a magazine and enjoy! Even if it is only for 5 minutes waiting in the school line or outside the airport at waiting for a dentist appointment.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Body Image and Healthy Diet

This cover and image in Vogue Italy were shot using plus size models. What do you think about that? Personally, I think it is great! I am not a twenty something and I am not the size of Kate Moss. I am a forty something and I am a size 6. Healthy and happy with my size, finally. The ironic thing is that recently I came across a photo of me in a bikini 13 years ago and I remember thinking then that I needed to lose weight, I weighed less then than I do now.

I think there is way, to much emphasis put on weight. I read yesterday where there are clinics that treat anorexia and they have patients as young as...5! Yes, 5! That is shocking, what are we teaching these kids? We need to teach our children, especially our girls that being healthy is the most important thing, we need to lead by example and steer them in the right direction. I guess that means even though we may want to have pizza, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and hot chocolate on a rotating basis we need to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and more balanced meals into our plans. Now, this does not mean we cut out the other stuff, there is nothing bad, there are just things that are better choices and the other items we eat only occasionally.

As for regular sized women in magazines...I say bring it on. What is wrong with featuring women of all sizes? Guess what, the last time I looked women came in every size!

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