Sex Trafficking:

Sex trafficking.  It’s sad. It’s ugly. It’s real and it’s closer to you then you may realize.  For so long this horrific exploitation of children and women has been swept under the rug in an attempt to be ignored and forgotten.  We as a society tend to think that it only affects marginalized populations AND there is definitely the stereotype of the trafficker or pimp as a young black man driving around in a fancy car.  It’s true, children with a history of sexual abuse, physical abuse, involved with the child welfare system are more susceptible but the reality is children from all walks of life are vulnerable to sex trafficking.  It should also be known that traffickers are not just young black men portrayed in the media, but traffickers also come from every ethnic background.

Sex trafficking is a complex issue.  How does a child or young person get pulled into sex trafficking? How do you know if a child is being trafficked? What are the signs? Several years ago I wrote a resource guide to answer these questions. The guide is specific to Portland, Oregon ( for years known as the “hub” for trafficking on the west coast) but the information pertains to everyone.  There are pictures of tattoos that indicate trafficking both on victims and pimps.  There is also a letter from a victim to a pimp describing how she got involved in trafficking and basically asking the pimp if she can work for him.  Educate yourself and others, we need to be aware of the issue in order to eradicate it.

Please click on the link below to view the guide.

The CSEC Reference Guide-Mult (1)

Bryant, Erica 011812 001    Bryant, Erica 011812 002

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Motherhood: A Conversation

Image result for a mother and child

A conversation between friends…

We are sitting at lunch when my friend casually mentions that she and her

husband are thinking of “starting a family” “We are taking a survey,” she

says, half-joking. “Do you think we should have a baby?”

“It will change you life.” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

“I know” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends no more spontaneous

vacations..”

But that is not what I meant at all.

I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know

what she will learn in childbirth classes, I want to tell her that the

physical wounds of child bearing will  heal, but that becoming a mother will

leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking “what

if that was MY child?” that every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when

she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than

watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no

matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to

the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “mom!”

will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moment’s

hesitation.  I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in

her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.

She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an

important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to

use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home,

just to make sure her baby is alright.

I want my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be

routine-that a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather

than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right

there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of

independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a

child molester may be lurking in that restroom. However decisive she may be

at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she

will shed pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about

herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once

she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also

begin to hope for more years-not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child

accomplish theirs. I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will

become badges of honor My friend’s relationship with her husband will change, but not

in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man

who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitate to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons  she would

now find very unromantic. I wish my friend sense the bond she will feel with women

throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she

understands why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily

insane when I discuss the threats of nuclear war to my children’s future. I want to

describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to

capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for

the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

My friend’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.

“You’ll never regret it.” I finally say. Then I reach across the table, and squeeze my

friend’s hand and off her silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal

women who stumble their way into this most wonderful callings-the blessed gift of God

and that of being a mother.

Please share this with a Mom that you know or a future Mom you know.

“Author Unknown”

Mindful Living …

I read this post from Our Beautiful Chaos and wanted to continue to share this wonderful message.

our beautiful chaos

If you knew you had days to live, would you have regrets? Would the memories of the life that flashes before you include only the big events? Or would the little things end up being the most important?
Personally, I know when I think about my happiest moments and memories they include the normal days, watching my boys play, having some time with my husband, family days with the people I love most … I have experienced massive highs and heart-breaking lows in my life, but when I think of being truly happy it’s the days in between that I remember.
We are all guilty of not living in the moment, I know I certainly am. Living for the weekend, living for holidays … thinking life will begin when you have lost a few stone, when you’ve grown your hair, when you move house, when you make more money ……

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Money Comes To Me and Through Me

Ok. So, it’s been awhile since I have written anything for my blog. For some reason nothing was inspiring me and it was a little frustrating. But here I am back at it and it feels good.

I am not a mystical or mythical person or someone that reads the stars (although horoscopes are fun) but several years ago a woman I worked with told me about visualizing for what you want.  Her example was with bringing in money!!  As a single mom with a mortgage and two sons that were eating me out of house of home, I liked the sound of that.  She said  several times a day or whenever you can remember visualize money coming down on you and say, “Money comes to me and through me.”  Why through me you might ask? Because if it doesn’t go through you then it is going to get stuck, clogged up and you won’t be able to accept anymore.  Interesting.  So  I taped to my bathroom mirror how much money I wanted to bring in that year and of course literally visualized and said to myself, “Money comes to me and through me.”  I did this at night before I went to sleep and during the day whenever I remembered.  It was crazy.  That year I exceeded the number I had on my bathroom mirror.  Money came in for a variety of reasons;  I received more back in taxes then I expected, I ended up working in a classification one step higher so earned just a slightly higher hourly wage, I think that was the year that we received money from the lawsuit with my neighbor’s insurance company and to be honest I can’t even remember  all of the other little things that came my way.  What I do remember was how surprised I was that I exceeded my goal.

Then for some reason after that year I stopped visualizing.  Not sure why.  So now its several years later and it is my goal again to bring in more money.  I started visualizing money coming down on my head and again, stating, “Money comes to me and through me,” but for some reason this time the visualization part of it wasn’t sticking.  What I mean is, something wasn’t right, I would get so easily distracted and would lose the visualization before I finished the sentence. So I changed up my visual, now I visualize myself laying down and dollar bills sprinkling down on me.  Kinda corny but it is what works for me.

And again, it has not failed me.  It’s the small things; I received a refund from Amazon I wasn’t expecting, sold things on OfferUp that I wasn’t able to sell before,  a retro check from work for the COLA increase, my boss was able to get my employer to reimburse me for the classes I am taking at the community college and I received a somewhat I higher tax refund this year then last year. These are just to name a few.  Again, you have to take it where you can get it and accept it as it comes.

Bottom line: Put out there what you want, visualize having it and it will come if you are open to it.

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Side Note: I also did this with my significant other. Before we started dating, I saw him at work and referred to him (unbeknownst to him) as, “My boyfriend that doesn’t know he is my boyfriend yet.”  And guess what, we are now going on eight years and he is the best!heart-ngsversion-1396531395268

Second Side Note: As I finished writing this post I just sold another item off of OfferUP.emoticons-01-512

 

GOOD LUCK!!!!!