Archive | November, 2013

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

25 Nov

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving.

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A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

25 Nov

Not long ago an acquaintance of mine e-mailed me a link to story about her family. I’ve known this family almost since the time they arrived in the United States in 2003. We weren’t good friends, but we were friendly. We live in an area of great diversity with many families like The D’Souzas, immigrants from India who kind of keep to themselves. Until I read the article they sent to me, I had no idea the ordeal they were living through in my quiet, affluent, middle-class neighborhood because I had no idea this kind of thing even happened in my kind of neighborhood. Their story broke my heart yet touched it deeply. It’s a very long story and one I decided needed to be told to even more people, which is why I wrote an article for The Examiner online newspaper that I write for. To get more of the story, you can click on the following link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/from-slavery-to-freedom-a-different-kind-of-thanksgiving

There’s so many things that I take away from the D’Souza’s story. The first is that this truly can happen anywhere and is probably happening everywhere. Second is that we need to keep our eyes and ears open, especially when were in an establishment that has a large immigrant population working in menial jobs. Third is that we need to be willing to take action. For me that means writing this blog post and the article in The Examiner. It also means discussing what happened to the D’Souzas on my Blog Talk Radio show, Better Living Daily, especially in conjunction with Thanksgiving. This is a family that’s been through more than most of us can even imagine and yet they’ve come out on the other side grateful and happy. It hasn’t been easy, and it isn’t over yet, but they’re filled with joy and hope and gratitude for every freedom that their life in America provides them.

I could go on and on about how I feel regarding the D’Souza’s situation. It makes me angry and sad to know people in my country are being treated the way they were treated. It makes me feel stupid to know it was going on in my own neighborhood and I didn’t have a clue. It makes me proud that the few people who did know did all the right things and helped a family escape from something so horrific. Most of all, it makes me grateful for freedom and the fact that the D’Souza family now truly understands those freedoms as well.

The only thing that the decision family asked when I interviewed them was to share the resources that brought them from human trafficking to freedom. For the privilege of sharing their story, I feel like it’s the least I can do.
Here are those resources:

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888

If you suspect human trafficking you can also contact the FBI in the following ways:
Report Human Trafficking/Get Help
– Call 1-888-373-7888
– Contact Your Local FBI Office
– Submit Information Electronically
– FBI Office for Victim Assistance
– Help for Victims Brochure

When you realize that you’ve been raised in a country that values freedom above all else and there are those living so close to you that have no idea what that freedom really is you have to step back and take a breath. You realize to privileged you really are, at least in my case you use what resources you have to spread the word and do what you can to end slavery everywhere and for always. Please take the time to read the article. It’s eye-opening and life-changing, and please, if you suspect this is going on anywhere, contact the authorities because sometimes the people who need the most help are the most afraid to help themselves. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

8 Nov

Getting Back in the Swing of Things.

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

8 Nov

Hello friends. I know it has been a while, and I’ve really missed sharing with you. I’ve been working on several books and have my first one almost ready for final approval for publishing. I have ideas for at least half a dozen other books, and hopefully within a few weeks I’ll be launching a weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio. It’s been an interesting journey with lots of hills and valleys, a few curves and even a sharp turn or two. The sharpest turn came not long ago when we attended the funeral of a 19-year-old boy. This young man was the son of a friend and colleague of my husband. The parents have been married about the same number of years my husband and I have. Each of their three boys is within a year or so of our boys’ ages. As we waited in line at the visitation, and I looked at the pictures and videos around the room, all I could think of was the phrase, “there but for the grace of God.” Their son played every sport that our oldest son played. As a matter of fact, they played against each other all through high school on the soccer pitch. Both of our sons played basketball, baseball and a year of high school tennis. Both were in college and on their way to a bright future. One night and one decision changed everything for their son and their family. I could not help but be touched to my core by their loss. Not a day has passed since then that I haven’t prayed for them all, especially for the mother whose heart feels so connected to my own.

I began to question everything that I aspired to be as a writer because my first allegiance had always been to my family. Who was I to take time away from my family to write books? Didn’t I understand how little time I had left to be the mom I’ve always been? How could I be so selfish? For a few weeks, I didn’t write anything. I spend huge amounts of time trying to figure out exactly who I was, who I’m supposed to be and what to do next. What I figured out is that my family is still my number one priority. In five years my youngest child will be in college and until that moment, my family will come first. As they’ve grown, though, my children need me less and less as they become more independent. By the time my youngest child gets his driver’s license in a few years, I will probably have at least eight hours a day to myself. Even now I have several hours a week to fill after doing housework, laundry, volunteer work and cooking. My days are mine to plan and my evenings are filled with family. Life is good and getting better, and I realized something more. I realized that in my two decades of being a wife and mother, I’ve learned a lot from my own experience. I’ve learned even more from other great parents I know and even from some not so great parents that I know. There’s so much wisdom to share with the next generation, and I feel compelled and called to do that. I believe with every fiber of my being that anyone in any situation who is able to read this blog post can live just a little better each day if they want to, and if they do want to, I want to help them get to where they want to go.

For the past three days I’ve been involved with an online webinar about accelerating the marketing of the book I’m about to publish. There has been incredible camaraderie, support and information, but for me personally, there have also been some enormous revelations. At one point, the woman conducting a webinar talked about grabbing her smart phone and checking her e-mail before she even rolled out of bed. She asked if anyone else did the same thing, and several people answered yes. It made me laugh for several reasons. First, I don’t even own a smart phone, although I know the day is coming when I’ll need one, but for now my phone is about as dumb as they come. Second, as much as I love the idea of owning my own business again, I never want it to be so important that the first thing I do in the morning is check my e-mail. If that means less financial success in the marketing world then so be it. Third, it made me think about what a different world I want to live in than so many of the other people in the webinar, not that my way to live is any better. It just suits me better. So while I’m excited to write books, start my radio show and see where that all takes me, for the time being I will also stay closely connected to those I love most so that I can make my family healthy dinners they can complain about, wash their stinky clothes and keep a clean home they may never thank me for, and any time I feel like my kids are complaining too much, listening too little, or taking me for granted, I’ll do my best to remember a mother who would give anything to have her son back to do any one of these things. It keeps me in perspective. It keeps me humble, and it keeps me focused on doing what I can to live a little better each day. It’s good to be back, and I’ll be sharing more regularly, especially as the book publication process and radio show move forward. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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