Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dia Internacional De La Mujer

"I had to find a cobbler to make my shoes with no heel to get caught in the bricks of the street. They did not make shoes for women who worked: only heels or leather sandals. That was all you could have."

"There was a special tailor, he would make pockets inside my dresses because the stores only sold dresses for women. Nothing for women who worked. He made me small jackets to wear over my dresses, and in them, I could have my pockets."

"A woman could not go alone into a café. I made my own money, for food for my family, but I could not go in to sit to have a coffee on my way home after work."

"I learned to give the little boys in the street five cents, ten cents, to ride with me in the taxi cab. Women could not drive alone with a man, but with a child with me, I would go where I needed to go and the child with me was able to come to town. The children would line up and wait for me in the morning, knowing I would need one of them with me to ride."
"When credit cards first began, a woman without a husband could not have one. A woman needed her husband to open her line of credit for her. I went to the Vice President of the bank, and told him I had been working three jobs in support of six children, and that with his signature, I could get a card. I promised him I would sign anything he wanted to show that I would pay this bill first. He signed for me, and I was given my own card."
These are my mother's stories. I share them today for her and for all that women before me have endured with lack of freedom and independence, being treated as less than a man and stopped from doing what a man could do without thought. For my mother, who would get up every morning and once again make her way through the inequality and injustice of life as a woman. For her, for her mother, and her mother's mother, I honor them and thank them for their example of perseverance, fight, and pride, in being a woman.
These are my mother's stories, and I am in accordance with her.
Women find a way to do what they need to do and keep on improvising, devising, inventing, and making it happen until the world catches up to them.
One day, may our world evolve enough to open space for us to be where we ought to be. But until then, I celebrate my mother, and the women of the world, on this day set aside for recognition of the women of the world, International Women's Day.  
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Only Love Today: Release Day!

“Sometimes your children just need you to listen, validate, support and to just be yourself around them. Simply be the kid in them, the kid you so dearly love.”

Last month, we had a string of grey, misty, sunless days.

Then on Friday, the clouds broke.

I had been sitting in my kitchen when I felt the sun warm my back and went to open the front door and looked up to see a clear blue sky. I stood and took in the view. It was much more than a break in the weather, the sun that day served as a reminder that under the cloud-filled skies, the sun was still there.

I had forgotten that the last ten days. Just like on the days that seem filled with failures, my failures, the sunshine of all the good that is in me is still there. I need to remember that I can draw it out and that it's never too late to reset the day no matter the start.

I do this a lot, slide back, inch out a little, then slide back again. Doing the work on my own with my short memory made it even shorter because of negative self talk, is truthfully lost on too many days.

Today I celebrate and am grateful for the release of "Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love," by Rachel Macy Stafford, the bestselling author of "Hands Free Mama" and "Hands Free Life." 

I met Rachel years ago and I have turned to her many times in my personal life because she helps me remember that all of us are better than the criticism we too frequently heap on our own broken backs.

We are good, even when impatient, we are loving, even when frustrated, we seek to do better, even when we fall short.

We can be both at the same time and remembering that is what will save us from giving up hope on what we want for our families, ourselves, our lives.

If you go to Target today (go ahead, you can find a reason) you will see Rachel featured on Target's big screen today. Today is the release day of her work of heart, "Only Love Today."

Pick up a copy and see for yourself why I am writing about her book today. On the simplest level, I believe in her words because we all know that our days are anything but smooth sailing. We need a friend who is always there, we needs words of truth and encouragement and sometimes we need them quick and fast, and pretty much every 24 hrs.

I want the best for my children, in their happiness and in their discovery of who they are, but I don't want to lose my mind over it. I want my family to have happy memories from their life with me, but I don't want to forget myself in the process.

“Only Love Today” can be a go-to inspiration, so keep it close by, in your bag, your purse, your night stand, your glove compartment, your coffee table, like I do. Keep it close to help you when have that feeling of being alone without anyone understanding or appreciating the work you do to find a center in your home.

If a quiet gentle reminder to live undistracted, heart led, is what you seek, pick up "Only Love Today." If you want to learn how to take an ordinary moment, and breathing magic into it with intent, you'll find it in "Only Love Today."

Only Love Today -----  is clarity when you're conflicted.

Only Love Today ----  is unity when you're divided.

Only Love Today ----- is faith when you're uncertain.
Only Love Today ---- is a reset button directing you back to what matters most.
Thank you, Rachel, for "Only Love Today." We can do what we hope, when we have friends to walk with us along the way.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

No President's Day For You!

No President's Day for You. Because you're not nice.

You know who else wasn't nice? Your inspiration, P7. He called himself the “direct representative of the common man” too.

He was not 70 years old like you, but instead 67. He packed double pistols, and toted them. I'll even let you call him a double pistol packing insane dude who could almost be standing right in front of you today.

Are we talking about P45 or P7? I forget, one seems to be the tarnation reincarnation of one of the worst presidents our country has ever known.

Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson was the 7th president of the United States. He was called Old Hickory not for his craggly face as one would think, but because he'd beat you about the face and chest with his hickory cane, getting a good blow in on your spine too if you ever disagreed with him or he set a not- a- likin' to you.

Here's where else the similarities between these two get goose-bumpy: they were both - gasp- 6’2″. Though our modern recreation of Old Hickory states that his “doctor” using the quotes that our current POTUS likes so much, puts him at "236" pounds, the original Old Hickory was a frightening 140 pounds.

140 pounds of chihuahua weight frenzy.

P7's I- don’t- give- a- shit life began at age 12, when he joined a local militia and quickly became a prisoner of war for the British. When ordered to polish a British General’s boots, he told the requesting officer that he’d shine his boots the day the officer got to know a donkey biblically. The Brit General slashed an X on the young Jackson’s face with his sword, and Jackson again issued the invitation, “Go to your beast, sir.”

Hoooooooooooooly crap, what a mouth.

His mother and father were both dead by the time he was 14, and being an orphan meant he was dirt poor–and yet he grew up to be the 7th president of the United States. He often bragged about how he was a self made man, no help from others, with only himself to count on. He taught himself country lawyerin’ Matlock style, and thus began his political career.

The very first assassination attempt on a U.S. President was against Jackson, when an unemployed painter aimed a pistol at Jackson and misfired. Jackson whipped out his hickory cane and proceeded to beat the poor idiot of a man about the head so severely that members of congress had to pull Jackson off.

No gentrified country leader, Andrew “The Mob” Jackson had many organizational “ties.” He set a group of his “friends” (actually PIRATES) to defend New Orleans. The British attackers totally freaked at the undiplomacy of it all that they ran yelping away with their tails between their legs, not knowing what to do without the customary honor and decorum of a political leader.

Jackson was in over 103 duels in his life, fighting with someone almost DAILY.

The most famous run-in was for shooting a man who looked at his wife, Rachel. Oh, and Rachel? Whoo boy, he married her while she was still married to another man. I don't want to be sued since I know bloggers get sued so I won't say something about what I heard about someone being still married while getting married, I just won't say it. Even if many people are...

Old Hickory held his Presidential ball on the White House lawn, and invited the entire nation– because remember? He called himself “the president of the people.” His wife wasn't there, she stayed in a hotel away from the White House instead. Are these deja vus only freaking me out?? The White House was trashed inside and out, and Mrs. Jackson was nowhere in sight.

Jackson was the only President to leave office with the country in the black and the entire national debt paid off by strong arming other countries into paying back every cent they had ever borrowed from the US and for saying the US would be made a fool of NO MORE.

Like I said, it's not just me who sees the similarities between P7 and P45. P45 has chosen Jackson as his idol/inspiration. It is Jackson's portrait that he's chosen to hang square in front of his line of vision in the oval office.

To guide, inspire, and sing to while he looks up, We did it ourrrrrrrrrrrrr waaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

We All Just Want To Be Seen

photo Carrie Stuckmann
We tell our stories to find out who we are.
We tell our stories to remember who we've been.
We tell our stories to say we are here.
This past Saturday, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee gathered for the first time to meet as the 2017 cast of this year's show. 11 of us heard our stories for the first time, and we took in how our stories work together.
Our stories work together: as we sat around the meeting room table, an incredible serendipity began to rise. Every one of the 11 people in the room was a stranger. How is it that these 11 lives of people who do not know each other, so different and apart, make sense enough to fit in with the 10 stories shared before and the ones that came after?
It's because we are together in this life.

As hard as it is to believe right now, with the heartbreaking divide in this country that doesn't look like it can heal, what LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee created yesterday, was evidence.
Proof and evidence, that was seen, felt, and heard, on the way we have the capacity to hold each other in our lives. We join our experiences and even though we don't know each other, we feel that we do because of our stories.
We share our stories and we see the cracked couch where you nursed your baby who is now leaving for college. We see you as you were when you were four years old and you hear that your mother has fallen. Tell us how you as a mother of five, work to find 28 hours in a day that has only 24, and we are breathless right along with you.
We are there, alongside you, and we are alive. What we crave when we share our stories, is to be seen. To not disappear without someone knowing that we were here, and this sense of presence is what we need when we sit down and write our stories.
We want to be seen, and we are seen when we speak, and we are seen when we are in the audience and hear someone at the podium speak a story where we finally feel understood. Our lives don't feel so separate and alone anymore. Stories connect us and have us looking to each other: when we listen and when we know you when you know us.
Please come to our LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show on Sunday, May 7, at Alverno College's Wehr Theatre.
Come take in the stories that are a hand held out to you and you, taking that hand and saying that we see each other.
No one is invisible when they are seen through someone else's story and when they are heard with the words they share.
I have a long list why I need you to be there on May 7, but let's say this:
I don't want to forget that the love we have for each other as human beings is something that will appear, when we do.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'm Sorry, I Thought ALL Children Had a Right

Due to realistic word counts, I could only cover one reason why Betsy DeVos cannot be confirmed as Trump's choice for Secretary of Education.

How's that for bluntness?

But it's one reason that comes with an unacceptable cost to our children with special needs/disabilities. It's her incredible stance on educational opportunity and resources for ALL children, which is this: "Eh. Let the schools decide who they want to take. Or not."

Do you know how frightening this is for families who have fought for education's necessity and place for their special needs children since their lives began?? It's pretty damn breakdown close to tears scared.

Thank you, Scary Mommy for taking the bold step of not hiding behind silence, and allowing me to speak out on what is at stake to all of our country's children, if Betsy DeVos is confirmed into Trump's cabinet.

"My husband tells me I'm going to give myself a heart attack. But I can't help it. I'm breathing hard, I'm sweating and my heart IS pounding. I'm scared... [read more here]"
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