Covering Hate With Love

This is something that happened last year, but I came across these pictures and wanted to share it. I find it more timely than ever.

This is hateful graffiti that was left at my children’s elementary school.

Yes, I know the original origins and meaning behind this symbol, but I think it’s a safe bet that when you see it scrawled on public property, the intent is pretty clear.  It isn’t there in order to celebrate a sacred symbol. It’s there to express hate.

We contacted the school, but the kiddos were walking past it for weeks. You can see how it was right by the sidewalk. It really hurt my soul.

So one day after school, I gathered up my girls, some paint that I had on hand, and I painted it over with a heart. The girls were there, but didn’t touch it. I have strong feelings about respect and not touching property that isn’t your own, but I have stronger feelings about seeing a swastika every day on your way to school. That’s just ridiculous.

I covered it. We had some pretty in-depth discussion about emotions, respect, and how love is stronger than hate. This stayed up for a couple of weeks until the city eventually painted over it with a better, more permanent solution. It was a small thing, but it an important one. Love to you, friends!

 

February is Women in Horror Month!

wihm9-grrrllogotall-br-mI love Women in Horror Month. Although women work in horror all year long (surprise!), I think it’s nice to take time out to specifically search out diversity in our reading and viewing.

Michael Bailey wrote a pretty comprehensive list of some fantastic female writers. There’s something here for everyone, so why don’t you swing by and pick up something new to read? He was also gracious enough to include me, and it made my heart sing. While we, of course, write for ourselves, it’s really wonderful to feel validated by our peers.

Another important, often overlooked aspect of the month is the WiHM Blood Drive. It can be a little nerve-wracking to donate blood, but it’s so very important. I’ve signed up to donate next week, if they’ll accept me. I’ll have to see if the scorpion venom and the horse antibodies/antivenin stuff roaring around in my blood makes me ineligible. We’ll see. I’ll report back.

Happy Women in Horror Month!

Thank You, Delivery Workers! <3

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I saw this somewhere, and the idea touched my heart. I wanted to thank those who were working so hard during this holiday season to bring us our packages.

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Every time I go outside, find a package, and see a missing treat, it feels like Santa has taken a bite out the Christmas cookies we left for him! It’s a special kind of magic. Merry Christmas! May you all have a wonderful holiday with those you love. ❤

This Is What Love Looks Like

I’m under some pretty intense deadlines and other stresses. How do you eat an elephant? You unhinge your jaw and try to devour all of it at once. Naturally.

I came home from an unscheduled grocery store run (Arg, it ate up half an hour I didn’t intend to lose!) to this beautiful spread by Middlest.

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“You need to eat, Mom. You forgot all morning.”

This is what love looks like.

Merry Christmas in July!

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Pretty sure this will be my Christmas card this year.

It’s a family tradition we’ve had since I was a child, and I looked forward to it every year. We’d decorate the tree and have small gifts for each other.It’s something that I do with my kiddos now.

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This is Christmas week! We’re putting up the tree. We’re making snowflakes and taping them to the windows. It’s time for Christmas carols, holiday movies, and everything but hot chocolate. We’ll do chocolate ice cream instead, since it is about 110 degrees here.

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Gifts are small and handmade. Stockings are often made out of paper. It’s the simple, homespun Christmas most of us long for every December.

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Won’t you join us? If not for the entire Christmas in July shebang, perhaps you can have that holiday feeling in your heart. How about being extra kind this week, or perhaps write a letter to someone you love? Peace on earth, good will to men.

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Here’s a Chance to Help Sweet Wes With His Kidney Transplant

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Sweet Wes is very dear to me. He has Williams Syndrome like my son, and is in desperate need of a transplant. I applied to be a donor myself, but was unable to be considered because I’m diabetic. There were many, many bitter tears that night. However, they just found a match (YAY!) but need to raise some funds very quickly in order to help him. Any little bit helps. Also, would you mind sharing the link? Thank you so much!

You can read about Wes (his given name is Wade) and donate here.

Wade’s Story

Wade Edward Sparrowhawk Smith, known by family and friends as Wes, is a wonderful, happy little eight year old boy.  Wes was born in April 2007 with the genetic disorder Williams Syndrome and without his right hand.  At the age of three months, Wes had open heart surgery to enlarge his pulmonary arteries and repair a valve in his heart.   Over the years Wes has struggled with various developmental delays and did not walk until just before his fourth birthday.  Despite all of his challenges he has remained a shining light of joy to everyone who knows him.  His upbeat personality, ready smile and infectious laugh have captivated all who know him.

In November of 2011, after a weekend visiting friends and horseback riding during Thanksgiving break, Wes was struck down by sudden onset kidney disease—Focal Segmented Glomerular Nephritis (FSGS), collapsing form.  After seven months of treatments and despite repeated hospitalizations as well as outpatient treatments, Wes’ kidneys have all but stopped functioning. Now, Wes needs a live-saving kidney transplant. Research has found that with FSGS there is a better chance of survival if a transplant can be done before needing to start dialysis.  Wes must receive a transplant we hope that match can quickly be found!

UPDATE:  April 2015 – Wes was hospitalized March 30th and has gone into complete kidney failure.  After two surgeries, Wes was given a temporary hemodialysis port and a peritoneal dialysis port.  While waiting for the peritoneal dialysis port to heal, he was started on hemodialysis.  With the exception of one weekend break to home, Wes spent three weeks in the hospital transitioning from hemodialysis to peritoneal dialysis.  He is now home receiving daily peritoneal dialysis treatments.  Wade, our son Wes, cannot live without dialysis and without a kidney transplant, he may never have the opportunity to live a normal life, or to even live.

Even with insurance, Wes’ transplant and care is going to be extremely expensive. He has undergone the transplant evaluation at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Along with the travel and relocation to be near the transplant center, there are also co-pays, deductibles, doctor visits, and the costly anti-rejection medications he will have to take for the rest of his life. All of this presents a challenge we cannot meet without your help.

In order to ease the financial burden, a fundraising campaign in Wes’ honor has been established with HelpHOPELive (formerly NTAF), a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for nearly 30 years. All donations are tax deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Mid-Atlantic Liver Transplant Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only. Please consider making a contribution.Thank you for your generosity and support.

Sincerely,

Mel Charlton-Smith (Wes’ mom)

Hey, Get Swabbed!

To become a bone marrow donor, you guys.  I don’t know what YOU were thinking you should be swabbed for.

There are a zillion things wrong with a zillion people, and sometimes it doesn’t seem like there’s anything I can do to help.  But I have chosen to become a bone marrow donor if anybody can use me.  It was easy to register for the bone marrow donor database: go here, see if you qualify, answer the questions, and they’ll send you a little packet in the mail.  Swab your own cheeks! Pretend you’re a forensics expert chasing yourself down! And maybe save a life.

Have a good one!

What This Abused Man And My Son Have In Common

There’s a video going around. I won’t post it, but you know the one. A couple of teens beat up a mentally disabled man in Newark, Delaware. They knock him to the ground. Hurt him badly.

That man on the ground is Coran. He has Williams Syndrome, just like my son.

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Here is our story.

Here’s more information on Williams.

Of course I’m heartbroken and afraid. This is the kind of thing I worry about Every. Single. Day. My son was physically abused by a teacher when he was four years old. That changed our lives and opened my eyes to the world that we truly live in. It’s ugly, but we can make it beautiful.

I have a desire to be more proactive in comforting and soothing. To not only step in when there’s a crisis, but also to actively add something positive to my area of world. I have a project coming up called The Joy Rock Club. I’ll tell you more about it later, but it has to do with my idea that small things lead to great things. Minutes = Novels. Tiny acts of kindness can cheer somebody, who in turn can hopefully cheer somebody else. Let’s stand against the tide, my friends. Counteract what we can with our Care Bear Stare.

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If anybody would like to send a card or goodie box to Coran and his family, the Delaware police department said they would make sure he gets it.

Attention Det. Sendek
C/O Coran
3601 North Dupont Highway
New Castle, DE. 19720

Let’s stop bullying. Let’s not participate or merely stand by. Let’s be proactive in not only stopping the bad, but also equally active in spreading happiness.

You guys are awesome for that. 🙂

********UPDATE********

Two teens were arrested and one turned himself in. They were charged with misdemeanors and released to their parents. You can read about that here.

A misdemeanor? They’re videotaped attacking the same person TWICE, and if this isn’t a hate crime, I don’t know what is. Also, yesterday in the same town, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy was assaulted by teens while in his wheelchair. Let’s pray it’s the same group of kids because I’d hate to think there are more monsters running around.

I, along with others, am writing a letter to the governor of Delaware pointing out the severe medical problems that people with Williams Syndrome experience, and how seriously this beating could be affecting Coran’s health. I’m asking him to take a long, hard look at this case and stand up for those who need protecting.

If you’re interested in writing him, the contact link is here.

Also, here’s a link from The National Bullying Prevention Center about bullying people with disabilities. It’s wonderful to read and share. Now let’s go out there and be the front line between bullies and victims who can’t stand up for themselves. Because you know what? I can stand up for you, little guy. And I’m willing to do so.

Paying It Forward

You know how you get together with your buddies, or your church group, or your motorcycle gang, or whoever, and you make clothes/dolls/blankets/kits for sick kids in hospitals?

Yeah, I do those things.  And I have received these things.  Because hospitals and I, we’re like THIS, yo.  I know pretty much know where every Coke machine is in every hospital from here to Poughkeepsie. (Except that I don’t know where Poughkeepsie is.  Oh, thank you, Internet! It apparently has a flash flood warning at the moment.  Be safe, Poughkeepsie!)

I want to thank everybody who takes the time to do such awesome service projects.  We recently received a handmade blanket from a group of women back east.  It made it all the way to Vegas.  I emailed them to thank them, but I want to show you the darling little thing here.  It doesn’t take much to do something for somebody else, but it can really make a difference.  Let’s pay it forward!

*UPDATE*

I just received a reply to my thank you letter, and the building where these blankets were kept was lost in the fires.  They also lost the memory book of thank you letters that people have sent in.  They’re starting over completely from scratch, but the amazing thing is that they are indeed starting over.

Cute, Or Stalky? You Decide!

Random acts of kindness are some of the coolest things on earth. I so dig, believe me. But while I was looking through some ideas online, I came across one that made me double-take. It suggested that you pick up some inexpensive vases and flowers, pick a few names at random in the phonebook, and drop the flowers off early in the morning before the world awakes.

While flowers make the world go ’round, I couldn’t help but think that tracking down strangers at their homes is, well, a little creepy. Hiding in the bushes to watch them receive their surprise gifts is the natural next step, methinks. And that’s definitely creepy.

So is this a sweet idea, or is it stalky? I’m thinking it might be sweetly stalky, if such a thing exists. Then again, I live in Vegas, where sneaking onto somebody’s porch in the early morning hours is a good way to get yourself shot.