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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAM-with-Purple-Ribbon

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. I personally wanted to bring awareness to this ugly tragedy. So here are some facts, and information on domestic violence, to keep you in the “know”.
FACTS

  • #1 FACT: Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.
  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
  • Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors.
  • Women and men can be victims of domestic violence.`
  • More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home
  • Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families
  • Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
  • More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners.
  • In 2 out of 3 female homicide cases, females are killed by a family member or intimate partner.

Here are some possible warning signs that a partner is abusive or could become abusive from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Monitors what you’re doing all the time, checks your phone, texts, calls or email
  • Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
  • Isolates you from friends and family
  • Humiliates you in front of others
  • Controls how you spend your money
  • Downplays your feelings or your fears, calls you “crazy” or “overly-dramatic”
  • Forces you to have sex against your will
  • Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
  • Threatens to hurt you, your children, or pets
  • Hurts you (by hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting)

Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: A confidential, free, 24-hour hotline for victims
LoveIsRespect: A confidential, free, 24-hour hotline to help teens
The U.S. Office for Victims of Crime: Offers a state-by-state breakdown of available legal and financial assistance for victims of crimes
WomensLaw.org: Offers a tool to find shelters and/or legal help in your area

http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html

What Are Essential Oils?

Ess oils

I have a new category in my blog: Essential Oils. Read my Essential Oils page to find out more about my new interest.

An essential oil is the “oil of” the plant from which they were extracted. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance–the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. Essential oils contain the natural substance of the plant, and are used for therapeutic benefits. (Wikipedia)

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. Many oils are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products. Many times these oils have byproducts, and artificial substances added to them. Essential oils are not the same as perfumed or fragrant oils.

When using essential oils for health and wellness, it’s important to use therapeutic grade oils that are not adulterated. Adulterated oils contain synthetic chemicals or compounds. Adulterated oils may actually be harmful to our body, that’s why it’s important that when you buy essential oils, you purchase them from a known and trusted source. Buying essential oils on “Amazon” is not recommended. Amazon.com does not regulate the source of essential oils.

What is Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil?

I have done some research on this, and from what I’ve read, there is no official grading system to essential oils. Therapeutic grade just refers to the oils processing, meaning they have not been processed, diluted or manipulated in any way with solvents or other additives. They can also be used safely because they are in their natural form, free of fillers or artificial contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.

What to look for in a quality Essential Oil?

Keep this in mind when looking for good quality essential oils: If the product’s fragrance is overbearing, it may contain synthetic chemical substitutes. A pure therapeutic-grade essential oil should have a balanced, broad fragrance profile and should smell clean., not potent.  A pure essential oil should not feel slick, thick or oily but rather absorb cleanly and completely into your skin. It should not leave an oily residue.

I’m excited about this new journey, and want to share with you what I find. I will be posting more about Essential Oils and their specific uses in heath and wellness, and how I use them each day, so check back.

 

 

 

November is National Adoption Month

One evening I received a call from my son’s chorus director. I had been doing quite a bit of graphic work for the chorus and it dawned on him that I might be able to help him out. He asked me if I would spoof up the brochure that he and his wife were working on. They were in the process of adopting a child, and needed to get the word out to birth mothers that they were interested in adopting a newborn. They had been in the process for almost a year.

I jumped at the chance to help them out. I designed an 11 x 17, 2 page brochure for them with photos, telling the story of their family, and how they yearned to add another child to their lives. The brochures were printed and sent out through their adoption agency to birth mothers all over the country. A few weeks later they received a call that a birth mother was interested in them. Within a few months, their new bundle of joy was part of their family.

That was 8 years ago. What a joy to witness their miracle, and see their son grow through the years. My son graduated from the chorus, but we keep in touch via Facebook.

So glad you are still doing this…and we’re still on your website, we’re honored!! The letters still make me cry!!! It brings back so many memories!! Our son, nearly 5 years, is still bringing us so much joy!! In fact it is almost exactly 5 years ago you were helping us with our letter!! It’s a special thing you are doing!! It literally changes lives!!           – Sue

Since that call I have been creating adoption brochures for families all across the country. I work with 2 adoption agencies that refer me. All of the families that I have done brochures for see results within a few months. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the big picture, and it is my goal to contribute to hundreds of adoptions.

IMG_1202_smFoster Care is a vital step to many adoptions for older children. Alena Strickland has spent the last 25 years caring for critically ill and developmentally delayed children from the foster care system. She believes she was called by God based on James 1:27 that states, “Religion that God accepts as faultless is to take care of widows and orphans in their need.” Alena lives this verse. Alena has fostered over 170 children.

This year Alena received a $50,000 award from “5-hour ENERGY Helps Amazing People.” Alena plans to use the money to start an elementary school at the Dream Center in Los Angeles for homeless children in the area. She was also chosen for the “Mom of the Year” title by talk show host Steve Harvey, who sponsored a nationwide contest in honor of Mother’s Day. Alena received $10,000 and well deserved five-day trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

I have had the great pleasure of knowing Alena and her family for many years. She is truly blessed with a gift and calling from God. Read more about Alena’s story at Intheirdefense.com.

November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for babies, children and youth in foster care. This year, the Children’s Bureau’s goal for this initiative has a new focus: Help States harness the power of social media to recruit and retain parents for the over 104,000* children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families.

Please explore this National Adoption Month website and the AdoptUSKids website to find resources for professionals, prospective adoptive parents, and youth. How can you make a difference to a child today?

California Seasons

Photo Jul 06, 8 01 26 PM

After living here in Southern California for over 20 years, I think I finally got the seasons down.

Most people don’t think we have seasons, but we do, they’re just very subtle, but there are some definite signs that I look for as the seasons change.

Our traditional summer really begins in August. It becomes very hot, sometimes reaching over 100 degrees during the day. We are fortunate that it cools off to at least the 70s in the evening. We’ve got that desert thing going on (desert climate is scorching during the day, but freezing at night) so it’s bearable at night! It stays pretty warm through September, and sometimes October.

Although the days stay hot in October, the temperature begins to drop more at night, those little arachnids build their webs in the trees at dusk, and the leaves begin to change color, a sign for me that Fall is fast approaching. By the time we change the clocks back in November, the leaves have begun to show their red and yellow. Yes leaves do change color in California.

As the days grow shorter in November, the day temperature and evening temperatures become closer, and the leaves begin to fall. Mornings are now easily 40 degrees, and crisp, but never a sign of snow in the forecast.

The trees are bare in December, and the rainy season begins in January, but it rarely rains during the day here. The clouds role in at dusk, bringing breathtaking sunsets, and while we sleep, it rains. We wake to wet concrete,and damp air in the morning that quickly dries with the day temperature reaching at lease 68 most days.

Spring brings the fog in the morning, rain has ceased if there was any, and the day and night temperatures become close again. The buds on the trees begin to show, and jasmine fills the air. You haven’t experienced Spring until you smell fresh Jasmine, it’s a glorious smell.

Fog has completely enveloped the morning skies by June, not getting sunny sometimes until late afternoon. I used to hate not seeing the sun right away, but it keeps the day cooler, and I now look forward to coolness of June mornings.

The fog burns off earlier and earlier as July approaches, and those sunny southern California days and manageable nights are back again.

The seasons are vague here, and if you let life get too busy, they can pass you by. So I tune my body to feel the warmth, and the coolness and the moisture, and the dryness, and I never miss the opportunity to breathe in the sweet jasmine of Spring.

I love Cali, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Summer Cold Blues

summer cold

I guess there really is such thing as a “Summer Cold.” Whether summer or winter, it sucks!

Summer colds are actually a different virus than winter colds, and are exasperated by walking in and out of air- conditioning. The sudden chilling lowers the defenses in the nose and throat by causing constriction of the blood vessels. The immune system is drastically reduced when this happens. We just got back from vacation and  between the freezing cold temperatures in the airplane, and the hotel and 100 degree weather in Southern California, it’s no wonder I caught a cold!

Summer colds only occur about 25% as often as the winter colds, but summer colds can have more severe, flu-like symptoms. This time I have a slight headache, and my skin feels a little sore to touch.

In any case, just trying to get through this thing quickly, and keep those around me healthy!

 

Here are 6 things that help avoid a summer cold:

1. Wash your hands contently

2. Avoid sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Move around. Sitting can slow your metabolic rate

3. Avoid smog and pollution. Dirty air suppresses T cells

4. Don’t eat alot of junk food. It effects your immune system.

5. Get plenty of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t make enough white blood cells to fend off bacteria and repair your body

6. Avoid going in and out of air-conditioning to sweltering heat.

 

How do you avoid a summer cold?

Text Book Trade In

 

AmazonStudentApp

It’s that time of year again! Well, I guess it’s kind of early, but my son goes back to school in the beginning of August this year!!!

This is for all you parent’s out there immersed in Text book ordering for your high school and college students. Amazon is a great source for ordering used textbooks, rented textbooks, and trading them in when you’re done using them. It actually saves alot of money, and the process is so easy.

Once you know the textbooks you need to order, go to the textbook department on Amazon.com. Type in the book name. You can verify it’s the correct book by the ISBN #. You will have a choice of purchasing new, or used, and sometimes a choice to rent the book. I am a Prime member, so many times a new book shipped free is cheaper or the same price as a used book.

At the end of the semester I trade all the books back in using the Amazon iphone App. Just scan in the ISBN Bar Code #. If the book can be traded back hit the trade button. When you’re done Amazon sends you an email with the list of trade-in books and the amount due back to you, along with a printable (free) return label. Box up the books, put the merchant list in the box, and tape the label on the box, and bring it to UPS! A few weeks later you get an Amazon gift card with your trade-in amount. I use this gift card for the next order of textbooks!

 

Hug Your Teen

father-son-hugWhere are you going, who else is going, when will you be back, is your homework done? 4 commonly asked questions to your teenager. But do we proceed that with a hug?

We’ve learned that babies won’t thrive without the touch of another human’s holding and affection, yet knowing this, it is not uncommon for parents to stop hugging their kids as they reach puberty. Medical studies also confirm that the health benefits of physical touch extend as we age.

Adolescents can be an extremely difficult period of life, for both young adults, teens and parents. Young adults and teens are spreading their wings, and attempting to make good decisions. Many times acceptance of peers becomes a major source of stress, and low self-esteem. Making sure that your young adult is accepted in the home can relieve some of this stress, and build a stronger bond. Hugs are a great way to help ease this stress, and provide a safe and secure environment for your teen.

Daughter’s don’t seem to lose their affection with parents like sons do. A son’s relationship with his parents is a prototype for how he’ll relate to his family one day. Many times fathers and sons lose those hugs as a boy gets older. Father’s feel the need to teach their sons to be “men”, and somewhere in that transition they become less affectionate.

But don’t lose hope. Hugs are the ultimate, but touching is important too, even if it’s a pat on the back, a tussle of the hair, or even a knuckle punch once in a while. Once your teen becomes comfortable with these playful forms of affection, hugs are just around the corner.

So relieve your stress, lower your blood pressure, and increase your heart beat. . . . go hug your teen!