I Will Never Forget

911Thirteen years ago, I woke up just as I usually did… To my sister’s alarm. Emily has always been a deep sleeper and it was a miracle if she woke up on her own. Every day, I would listen to that annoying BEEP BEEP BEEP, I considered myself lucky if she just hit snooze. On September 11, 2001 she slept through her alarm. So I made my way through the Jack and Jill bathroom we shared and turned her alarm off. Well I thought I had. It switched to the radio and I could tell something was different. The announcer didn’t sound like her preppy self, but had more of a reverence to her. She had broke the news to me, the first tower had gone down. At that moment I had NO idea what was going on. I was eleven years old. I was in sixth grade, for heavens sake I had just gotten my first training bra, I had no idea what war or terrorism was. I ran downstairs to tell my mom who had just gotten back from running, she turned the television on and we watched. I continued getting ready for school and made it to Pierce Park to sit in Mrs. Hiesler’s class. That is where I learned the second tower had gone down. I still didn’t know what was going on. As I look back I feel bad for my teacher that day. We all had questions, and she didn’t really know how to answer them. I remember walking home from school that day, constantly looking over my head to check and see if a plane was coming towards me. Irrational I know, but I was terrified. The rest of the night I watched the news. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what was happening. Later the news broke that we, the United States were at war. I used my knowledge of war, I thought back to the episode of Boy Meets World when they flashed back to the Cold War. I wondered if I would be doing drills of diving under my desk at school just in case Idaho was attacked. I thought about World Ward II and the concentration camps I had recently visited while in Germany. I thought to myself, would we be put into those? I feel asleep that night dreaming of planes…crashing. 9112

It has now been 13 years since that day and we are still fighting this battle. Almost half of my life has been lived during a war. This war hasn’t touched me physically, but I have seen it alter lives around me. I think about the people who were on those planes and in the buildings that died that day and pray for your families. My heart goes out to the police, fireman, and medical personal who died that day trying to save lives. I will forever be indebted to those who serve our country. I just want to thank you men and women who put your lives on the line so that my family can sleep soundly at night. I know what a blessing this is for me and a sacrifice it is for you and your families. I just want you to know I will never forget.

Advertisements

Is it Child Porn?

stopYesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted a status claiming she was upset because someone had reported her picture she had posted that morning. The picture included her son who was about 5/6. He was playing in the bathtub with his toys. The picture was not necessarily super graphic, it hid his “private parts,” but he was still naked. As I thought about this, I researched Facebook’s guidelines on “nudity” It states:

Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

I was happy to see that Facebook is cracking down on nudity, especially in minors. As Facebook’s community continues to grow the activity will as well. I am part of the generation that posts pretty much anything, from what I am eating, to what I am reading, and who I am in love with (duh, my husband). This is great for keeping a”journal” but it poses a lot of security questions. In college I took a Cyber Security class, and learned that if it makes it on the internet it is on there to stay, even it you try to delete it. Bringing it back to the picture containing “nudity,” I would like to point out who can be looking at your pictures.

me ME: I think of myself as a normal person. I have a college degree, a husband, and a job. I work every day, do crafts, cook dinner, and watch shows. I work on Facebook so I often see pictures of your new-born babies, engagements, your vegan food, and even those dreadful #selfies…just kidding I still take them. What I am getting at is, I look at your pictures. I am a pretty safe and innocent person, and I know most of you are comfortable with me looking at your life.

 


deltonStephen M. Parsons: He is a 25-year-old man, a resident of Felton, Delaware. He spent his days on Facebook liking his friends post’s, posting, and was just a regular guy. On March 21, 2014 a search warrant was presented and his home was searched. After a forensic examination of his laptop, they found more than 25 video files containing pornography. He was charged with 25 separate counts of dealing in child pornography.

sebSebastian Crump: He is a 39-year-old man who was a former cabinet office digital expert. He is now facing a long time in jail after 400 child porn images were found on is computer. He used both his work and home computer to access these images. He also plead guilty for making and distributing indecent images of children. In court he insisted he was not a pedophile, he was just a regular guy.

Those are a just THREE examples of people who are looking at your Facebook pictures. Two of them were looking at more… You don’t wake up one morning and think ” I am going to become a child porn addict.” It is something that builds up over time. It could start with simply looking at a picture of a young child in the bath and then escalating to full nudity.
Your children don’t have a choice or a say in what YOU put on the internet. Don’t allow them to be harmed. Don’t let their picture float around the internet. Remember whatever you put on the internet, even with the safety measures you take, your picture can be saved or shared. All I ask is, be careful in what you post!
(C)LVB-2014

Close to Home

Three-Dead-Logan-4We never know when a tragedy will hit. None of us were prepared for 9/11, the Boston Massacre, or Sandy Hook. Yesterday there was a tragedy that occurred in a place I used to call home, Logan, Utah. I didn’t know any of the victims, but I remember the places.  I went to one of my very first college dance parties at the building where the shootings took place. I can’t imagine the fear that passed through Mackenzie and Jonathan’s head’s prior to their murder. The public doesn’t know any of the back story from the “text messages” but what I am guessing is neither Mackenzie or Jonathan had any inclination that their lives would be cut short that night. What has been said about both is that they had bright futures ahead of them, there were going to go places. That all ended with a few gun shots. As I learned of who the shooter was and saw his picture, I saw a regular USU student, one I would talk to at a party, or sit next to at a class… Not a murderer. But, that is exactly what he became. In his suicide note he stated what he was about to do was “selfish.” I have no idea what he was going through or the challenges he faced. It has been stated that Jared and Mackenzie had had a romantic relationship, but she wanted to date other people.  From what I have heard he was a wonderful and trust worthy friend. He was patient and kind. My question is how does someone like that become a murderer? How does someone kick down the door and kill two innocent people and then seek a third? It is hard to comprehend and with-hold judgement because of the lives he took. Nothing if anything that Mackenzie or Jonathan had done to Jared was worth the punishment they received.

I am not claiming that I am an expert, and I have no idea what was really going on in the minds of those involved.When I was in Junior High I was selected to be a peer mediator. At the time it what a great honor because I got to skip some classes and be trained on how to help others solve conflict. I remember thinking how silly some of the examples that were given and how the people in the discussion couldn’t resolve the problem with their words. As I have grown into adulthood, I have realized how unrealistic and uncommon it is for people to “solve their problems” without violence, passive aggressiveness, or plain hate.  At Utah State I took Jennifer Peeples class “Communication and Conflict” and each class period was used to learn how to solve conflicts with communication. In our examples we found that many times there were misunderstandings because of someones perception, miscommunication, or lack of listening. As we slowed down the “conflict” it was easier to hear and understand both sides arguments and needs. When this happened it was more likely for a conflict to be resolved without a lot of lasting animosity. While studying Communication at Utah State, I learned the importance of it. It could be the determiner of a job you wanted, a potential partner to marry, or in this example, your life.

Again, I want to reiterate that I have no idea what really went on in this tragedy. I don’t know what the families of the victim’s or the shooter are feeling right now. What I do know is, it is time use our words. More and more weapons are becoming the brunt of the conversation. I don’t know if it is because the increase of violent media, the training the shooter had in the military, or a mental imbalance. What I do know is that each life has meaning and purpose. There is no reason to cut it short.

Think before you act. Use your words. Seek Help. You are not alone.

(C)LVB2014

Jury Duty

IMG_4058I have a somewhat twisted mind. I will admit it. This doesn’t mean I am going to be the next Ted Bundy though… I just enjoy Law and Order (SVU),  hearing about crimes and murder on the news, and last but not least unsolved mysteries… I don’t know what it is about them, but I am attracted to it. I want to solve them and be involved in the “drama” that television has portrayed. About a month and half a go I got a life changing letter in the mail. My Jury Summons. I ripped open the letter to see I would be “on call” for the week of April 14, 2014. It was my first jury summons and I was elated. I did what most people do, I studied up. I watched Runaway Jury, Legally Blonde, and read through some of my old debate notes. I wanted to be ready just in case the lawyer needed me to step in and help (that didn’t happen unfortunately). My reporting number was 391. I called in religiously to see when they needed me. It was on Thursday morning that I called in and was picked. Thrilled to be part of something new, I left work and entered the Idaho, Ada County, Court House. I went through security, and felt like I was getting on a plane… Instead I entered the elevator and headed up the fourth floor. I found the jury assembly hall, entered and received instruction. We sat and watched a movie about how grateful the government and people of Idaho were that we were fulfilling our civic duty. As I looked around you could see many were not too excited about being there. The video finished and they started to call out names and assign us a number. I was lucky 13. We formed a line straighter than the ones in elementary school and filed down to the court room. That sat on the hard “church like” benches and began to tell us what the case was about. It was a criminal case (SCORE). The offense was a misdemeanor injury to child. Now, this was a sad subject and it was very apparent on the jurors faces. As we sat there waiting to be asked questions, I looked at the defendant (the guy who MIGHT have committed the crime) and began to judge him. I realized how prone we are to deciding who someone is or what they have done before hearing them out. At that point I pushed all of that aside, and gave him a blank slate in my mind. The lawyers started to ask questions, they included things like this:

Have you ever been spanked?

Do you think it is okay if you use more than spanking?

Do you hate policeman, the court system, or the government?

Who does not want to be here today?

Those were a few of the questions the lawyers asked. The one person who was excused immediately was a young woman who was due on Friday and was having contractions, her excuse was worthy the judge said. After some deliberation, the jury was selected. I was now number 4. I had made it onto the jury, and I was excited to cross this off of my bucket list. With that I got to keep my  “juror” badge, that I was extremely proud of, and the trial began. What people don’t tell you about jury duty is that there is A LOT of down time. Luckily I had brought my iPad and I could still get some work done. You would go into court for about an hour and then you would have a “recess” very similar to elementary school once again. There were witnesses that would come to the stand, be sworn in and then give their testimonies. The testimonies that were the most depressing and hardest to listen to were of the two kids. One was 11 and one was 7. The father had admitted to hitting the son across the face, he kept using the word “pop” which was defined as a slap. The father continued to say that the hit was justified and beneficial to his son because of how he was behaving (which is in accordance with the law). A doctor came and testified that there was a bruise on the child’s head but could not be identified as abuse. The bruise was not in the area that the child, defendant, and mother had testified him being hit. The State (who took him to court) did not do enough research. It was a horribly thought out case with too many holes. The defendant wasn’t much better either…

The Trial went into 2 days. We were to hear from 6 more witnesses that day. After making it through two the defendant’s lawyer said he rested his case. We were shocked that he had skipped his witnesses. They said we would break for about 15 minutes and then come back for closing arguments… TWO hours later and a delicious Good Wood BBQ lunch (super normal p.s.) we were called back in. After the closing arguments we started deliberation. The Marshal takes all electronics and lock them up and you are locked into a tiny room with the other jurors. At this point no one can leave until you have made a decision. It took about an hour, and grudgingly we found him not guilty. There was not enough information to prove the burden of proof, or that he was truly guilty. It was a lost case. After we handed in the verdict, we were enlightened on the behind the scenes. The defendant was arrested the night before for intimidating a witness and was held on bond for $150,000. He had tampered with the two children’s testimonies. This had slipped up when they were giving their testimonies.

When it was all said and done it was painful to say goodbye to the other jurors. In those short two days we had become friends. We had been locked in a room together for long hours. We made a decision together that would alter the course of people’s lives. I don’t know why people don’t want jury duty… I hope everyone gets the chance to sit on a jury. I learned more about the court system, I became more grateful for the life I have, and met people I had nothing in common with but left as friends. That was my jury duty. In case you were wondering, you can not become a career juror… I already asked…. There is always Federal Court though 🙂

(C)LV-B2014

The Ag-Gag Selfie

It is a well-known fact amongst my friends that I am not an animal lover in any way. I would literally have two sets of quints before letting a dog or cat (and maybe a fish) into my house. I don’t judge others who do, it is just a love I never developed. The closest I get to animals is Pinterest, and yet I sit here, questioning YOU Idaho… This congressional session was a waste of time. You literally passed the “Ag-gag” bill. The Huffington Post perfectly summed up Bill SR 1337. This bill “would make it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, to simply photograph or videotape abusive, unsanitary or otherwise unethical activity on a farm. Even employees and journalists who take photos or video to document misconduct on farms — whether it’s mistreatment of animals, food safety hazards, worker safety violations, sexual harassment, financial embezzlement, or environmental crimes — could face criminal prosecution if the bill is passed.”

I decided to write the world a letter… from Elle Wood’s Perspective

cow selfieDear Mr. Law Writer:

I recently took a tour of a dairy farm, and I was preparing to post it all over my Social Media when I got a tweet that said the “Ag-gag” bill had passed. First I was like AS IF! How could they do this to me right now? I needed this to up my Klout Score. I just want you to know Mr. Law Writer by passing this law you are totally infringing on my freedom of speech and the press, and cramping my lifestyle. Honestly,  in MY life, I document everything. When I took a tour of dairy I knew I would definitely be Instagramming it. If I didn’t Instagram it, I would run the risk of it “never really happening” because I did not document it to my followers. That is like SOCIAL SUICIDE. As I was walking through the dairy, I was totally trying to capture some good selfies, I was so upset though. Every time I went to capture this moment some cow would photobomb it. Not only the cow, but it’s owner with a cane hitting him! Ugh it’s called a selfie for a reason. At first I didn’t let this bother me, because I just kept thinking I would have another chance to get the perfect profile picture for Facebook. At the next stop, I went to take my soon to be viral picture, and it was photobombed again! This time it was a one of the workers jumping up and down on the cows back while blindfolding them. Seriously?  Can’t we make a law that bans people from photobombing? That would be much more beneficial. I tried like 5 more times and was never successful, I couldn’t even believe that these people would dare to ruin my pictures. It was super stressful, but I decided I just wouldn’t let it bother me… I would just let the world see and hope they only focused only on me! Obvi, no one cares about the cows it’s about the meat and milk. So driving home I started to Instagram my day. Ugh to my distress, people started texting me and calling me and told me that I can’t post things like that. I was like WTFREAK? I am just posting what I saw on my tour and I am being punished… I decided that ORANGE was not my color (and the prison thing scares me, I’ve seen Shawshank…) and so I deleted my pictures. Devastated that a WHOLE day had been wasted, I sat down to write you this letter. So Mr. Law Writer, I just want you to know if you see any of my pictures, I am sorry… I didn’t even mean to, I had no idea what was going on in the background of my selfies (seriously let’s talk on that photobomb law).

#love

Your Super Concerned Citizen

Okay, that was a satirical approach, a joke, sarcasm… But seriously? This law is a joke. The problem here is not the people filming, it is the ABUSE that is happening. Shame on you for trying to cover it up. I deserve to know what happens to the animals I am potentially going to eat (sorry PETA, my Dr. says I need to gain weight). You as our Government have power (or so you think) use it for good! I mentioned some real things in my fake letter, why are we not upping the punishment for animal abuse or texting and driving. I know I don’t know everything about this law, but what I do know… Is it is not humane… I hope that the next time I am taking a selfie, that none of these animals being abused show up in it and I end up being punished for capturing the moment….

(C)LV-B2014

5 Tips for Professional Communication

“Communication- the human connection- is the key to personal and career success.”

-Paul J. Meyer

clare_5x5(1)Like Paul J. Meyer stated, communication is the key to success.  Communication happens around us daily even when we are not completely aware of it. It can happen through facial expressions, body language, and through a lack of listening (bored, uninterested, ect.). The word communication is interchangeable with information. It is through communication that we convey our message to a friend, colleague or client.  In a work place setting, it is vital to convey your message in a positive, professional, and concise manner.  When you communicate it does not only reflect who you are but also the business and its values. Having the ability to communicate professionally will allow you to find more opportunities for doing business. When a client or customer leaves a conversation feeling like they were heard, their time was not wasted, and they were treated like an equal they are more likely to recommend you amongst their own network. When a negative interaction occurs, it can be damaging to your reputation as well as your company’s.  Here are four concepts to be aware of during a conversation in a workplace setting.

1. Know the Person/Situation- It is very important to understand who you are talking to. Take into consideration their perception and their values so you can align your thought process. This is important so the conversation can have the same context for each participant. The situation is also important. Entering into a conversation claiming “you know everything” is the worst thing you can do. When that message is given, it becomes a competition not a conversation. It does not allow for a positive channel of communication and creates a hostile environment. Always enter a conversation with an open mind and a listening ear.

2. Pitch and Tone- If I was to come into the office YELLING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, one might assume that I am upset. When I think of pitch and tone, I think of mothers. You can always tell by the tone of your mother’s voice if she is happy or mad. A lot of our feelings are revealed through our voice. Sometimes we can get carried away in the midst of a conversation and our voice begins to increase in volume. It is important to continually do a mental check of your pitch and tone throughout the entire interaction.

3. Verify- Communication is a way to deliver information, how the information is received is up to the listener. What they take from the conversation will be based upon their frame of reference. That is why it is important to make sure you both have a similar understanding.  There is a fine line between verifying and being condescending. If you continually ask if they understand you run the risk of making the person feel inferior or less educated. If in doubt, it is okay to ask, but once they say they understand trust them that they do.

4. Listen- When a conversation is one-sided it resembles a monologue rather than a dialogue. It is easy to get carried away and dominate a conversation. I feel that this habit is hardest to break. If you are a conversation hog, my encouragement for you would be simple. Just listen, don’t interrupt, and wait your turn. That way each party has the opportunity to present relevant facts or ideas to the conversation.

5. Be Confident- Confidence in your communication skills is very important and can make or break a conversation. If you don’t know an answer, say you don’t! If you are knowledgeable about the subject, it is okay to share some of it.  The balancing act here is that your confidence should come as knowledgeable, not arrogant.

 

This was also posted at www.echelongroup.com

 

 

The R-Word

End the R-WordI want to speak about a somewhat taboo topic, disabilities and mental handicaps. I want to introduce you to someone who I love dearly and consider my good “pal” as he would say it. His name is Uncle Bret. He is my Uncle, and everyone I have introduced him to consider him to be their own Uncle Bret. He was born in Germany while my grandpa was in the Air Force. When Uncle Bret was born, he was different, he had Down Syndrome.

Down syn·drome

noun: Down’s syndrome; noun: Down syndrome; plural noun: Down syndromes
  1. a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities including short stature and a broad facial profile. It arises from a defect involving chromosome 21, usually an extra copy (trisomy-21).

End the R-WordI remember when I was little and my grandparents would drive from Logan to visit us in Boise. I would get very excited, it meant Uncle Bret was coming. At the time, much of my excitement came from the fact that my mom stocked the house with chocolate milk for him (one of the few things he likes to drink), but now it has become much more. On one of my grandparents visits, I remember going to Albertson’s with my dad and Uncle Bret. At first I was afraid of what people would think of us because Uncle Bret looked different from the people staring at him. I didn’t know if people were curious or were looking down upon him. It was when a son and father had walked by and the son kept staring, the dad grabbed him by the arm and said “stop staring at that retard.” I am pretty sure I was the only one to hear it. My.heart.broke. I was so little, but I knew we never ever used that word, because it wasn’t kind. I wasn’t always clear on why my mother told us not to use it, but that day I learned exactly why. As years have passed I have heard many stories of how my mom and her two sisters protected Uncle Bret. It is hard to think that we ever have to protect him, that there are still people out there who will tease him for who he is and what he looks like. People with disabilities have a unique and special spirit and the kindest hearts. They have talents that many of us don’t have.

uncle b 4Uncle Bret and I have spent a lot of time together. I went to college in Logan and would see him 2 to 3 times a week. I consider it to be one of my favorite blessings. I have learned so much from him. He has taught me kindness, love, patience, true happiness, and has been a tender mercy to so many around him. I have learned that we have some similarities… We both like shows, and we both like to watch them over and over again. We can quote them, and we never get sick of them. We both love  a good routine, there is nothing better than a regular schedule and sticking to it. We both enjoy teasing each other. Usually we have fake arguments that end with him saying “Clare Cry” and him giving me a hug and saying ”back better.” Even though we are different in appearance, we still have similarities.

I consider myself lucky. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that not everyone grows up knowing someone who has disabilities and I have been blessed by a love that is rare. When we come across something unfamiliar we are not always comfortable.  Sometimes when we meet someone who is “different” from us, we tend to stare, or feel uncomfortable because it is new to us. When we are unsure on how to do something, or feel uncomfortable, the only way to overcome that is to try it out, get to know them, find out what they like to do, spend time with them, I can promise you that you will have a lasting friendship. The reason I wanted to write on this was because it is end the R-WORD week. If you are someone who uses the word, just stop. If you use it as a describing word of something you find “stupid, uncool, or dumb” I want you to reconsider.  God made all of us and he loves all of us, we should follow his example and never show unkindness towards someone who is different.

(C)LV-B2014

Featured in Perspectives

Today, I am flattered. I was looking through some old Utah State things and found this gem. I had no idea it had been published. They had approached me during my Senior year of college about featuring me in the magazine, but I didn’t know it really happened. The Perspectives Magazine happens once a semester and I was featured in Fall 2013 on page 17. It is a true honor!

While reading through it, it reminded me of some of the goals that I am aspiring to accomplish. I really do have a passion for equal rights. Some of my of my feeling inferior came from studying computer science, the field is predominantly male. If I ever made a mistake it was because I was a woman, I even was asked if I was taking the classes to find a rich husband… The reason  I wanted to work towards this degree was because of a female professor who had inspired me. Professor Duhadway. She was a female programmer, she taught me the history of the subject and the basics of computer programing. I was always impressed by her and wanted to have her talent. Once I started taking the upper division classes, those dreams slowly diminished as the only female in the class, with know one willing to actually teach me. It was very frustrating, and after an internal battle with myself wanting to prove myself and being successful, I dropped out. I decided to take another route, I would pioneer my own way into the cyber world. I would take on Social Media. I finished my degree in Communications and have gone on to work a full-time job as a Social Media Consultant. It has been a roller coaster that I have enjoyed. I am so glad that my education helped prepare me for the real world. Can’t wait until some of these goals become a reality!Perspectives

Dear Mrs. Goldin- What My Mom Taught Me by Not Working

Kara HintToday I read a disturbing article that I found on LinkedIn. It was titled What Would it Teach my Kids if I Stopped Working. The article was written by Kara Goldin who is the Founder and CEO of Hint (flavored water). She tells the tale of how she decided to make flavored water (not original btw, propel ect.) and make a business of it. In the midst of her brilliant idea she had found out she was once again pregnant, with her fourth child… There must be something in that “special flavored water” of hers… I would question that, I think the warning label says “May cause pregnancy, and rash stereotypes.”

Now before I begin my “rant” I want to point this out, in 2013 Taylor Swift was at the brunt of some of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s jokes for finding a new boy to date. Lets be honest Taylor you find a new one as often as there is a sale at Khols. Taylor replies to the dream team with this: “You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’” Taylor what I want to point out here is by dating all these men, maybe you are not necessarily helping women out either. All I am saying is, there will always be a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong.

IPHONE JULY 2013 116Well Mrs. Goldin, I think you are wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom and there is nothing wrong with being a working mother. There will be obvious differences in a child who has a parent in the home at all times and a child with two working parents. Depending on who your deciding audience is the outcomes maybe positive or negative. You stated some very harsh stereotypes:

 

“The most difficult men I have managed: 1) had a mom that stayed home, 2) had lost their mom as a young child or 3) grew up with a father who spoke negatively about his mother. It’s sometimes hard for them to accept a woman in the work force much less as their boss. -Mrs. Goldin”

I would like to ask what method you used to obtaining this data? I had a stay at home mother, I have three brothers, none of whom fit your stereotypes of men being managed. One of my brother’s has his PhD in Family Sciences and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and works mainly side by side and under the direction of females, I have done research with him under the supervision of his advisors, and have seen him interact both in a workplace setting and the behind the scenes. Never has he shown signs of difficulty, hatred, or spoken negatively of his female bosses. Again this is a bias view, but if you asked anyone who knew him, they would say the same (ask for references). Your stereotypes might be true of some men, but I don’t think that having a stay at home mom was the contributing factor. Perhaps I will do my thesis on it one day…

IPHONE JULY 2013 117Mrs. Goldin how dare you belittle what my mother has done for me and my 5 brothers and sisters. As hard as it is for you to leave your kids and go to work, it was hard for my mom to give up the nursing career she dreamed of, so that she could give us her best. I applaud you for working and raising a family, I hope to one day balance my life so I can do both. However, if I am fortunate enough to be able to spend all of my time with my kids, I will consider myself lucky. What my mom taught me about staying home is that the person is more important than the money. That I was wanted and needed in this world. My mother taught me that life needs a balance between work and play. She spent countless hours reading books to me, playing blocks, and making me lunch. She got up every morning and poured me orange juice to show she cared. I have learned to love people because of her. She stayed home and helped me with my homework that prepared me to get scholarships in college, and to obtain a degree. I never went a night with out a home cooked meal surrounded by family. The house was always clean, and I had clothes on my back. She stayed home to be my best friend when I didn’t have any other friends, she was always there for me, she provided a stable home for me to be raised in. My life would be different if she worked I am sure, I can’t say if it would be better or worse. What I do know is that she stayed home and taught me to respect others decisions, and to be what I want to be and stick up for what I believe in.

Rant. Over.IPHONE JULY 2013 174
(C)LV-B2014

Valentine’s Day…No Love? It’s Okay, You Still Have a Love Language!

Psycho ValentineIt’s Valentine’s Day. We all know what that means. There are those who post the picture of the Valentine’s flowers and chocolates they received from their spouse/gf/bf and there are those who post the uncomfortable “I’m single… my life is so hard” Facebook status. To the first I say I am glad you are enjoying your relationships, and making them work. To those who are celebrating S.A.D than I say, even with a fiance Valentine’s Day isn’t my favorite. To me it is a commercialized holiday that makes money, I can show my love any day of the year. I actually feel more love for people on Halloween or Fourth of July, who knows why (rhetorical question)? I am in LOVE and I am happy, but that is every day of my life (now that I finally found the right person). For Valentine’s Day I enjoy a creepy card or a good movie. This card to the left had me laughing for a good few minutes… Please send me your favorites!

In the beginning of #Clott we talked about our “Love Languages” and how we like we knew someone loved us. This was the first time I had ever talked about it with someone. At first I thought mine were definitely Words of AffirmationWho doesn’t like to be constantly reaffirmed through words that they are loved and cared for!  I would recommend this quiz for anyone, married, single, or in the awkward “kind of dating” stage. Do it for a fun date or take yourself on a hot date and take this quiz in front of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with your Nutella, Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream, and you animal print leggings.

I took the test and it went fast, only 30 questions. The results were surprising and not what I had anticipated for my Love Languages. My highest scored language was actually Physical Touch. Now this doesn’t mean that I am over touchy, it just means that it gives me a sense of security. When someone I love gives me a hug or pats me on the back it makes me feel secure in my relationship. I have realized this is with a dating relationship and not necessarily a brother/sister/friend scenario. In those relationships it is different, I enjoy Quality Time and Acts of Service. I think it is possible to have different love languages with different types of relationships. My second highest score was Acts of Service. This one made perfect sense. I love when I see kindness! When I see an act of kindness my heart grows bigger, it is similar to what the Grinch went through on Christmas. It just makes me feel like a better person. In this scenario, I can tell you that when I see Mr. Bird do an Act of Service, I fall even more in love with him. I don’t know if that is how the love language is supposed to work, but whatever, that is how I am going to interpret it.

So on this Valentine’s Day, be bitter or be happy…whatever, it’s cool with me. But take some time and learn about what your love language is. When you learn how to better communicate the things you need to be happy, the healthier your relationship will be. Communication includes both the verbal and non-verbal things you do for the person you have a crush on, remember that, it is important… I wish all of my friends and family a happy V-DAY! I am hoping #clott does something romantic, like sneak into a graveyard…. #perfectdate

5 Love Languages Infograph