Saturday, April 11, 2015

Week 12 Post - This I Believe

I believe that all men, women, children, and everyone in-between are created equal, and should be treated as such. 

We can look throughout history and see that of course humans have not and do not treat each other as equals very often, but our country is built on the idea that everyone is equal, that they have these rights that can not be taken from them, that they are a part of them. We know that Jefferson wrote these words the Declaration of Independence, the document that first began to shape the United States’ ideals, values. So I ask why are these principles not carried through today? So many minority groups, including the LGBTIA community, do not have the same rights and equal standing as others. If we wanted to live up to our founding father’s vision, then everyone would be able to marry whomever they want, and these people would not have the fear of being fired from their jobs for it. Where I live, Michigan, is just one example of a state where I am not protected by laws, and the same opportunities and inherent rights are not offered to me. I can get fired from a job for being gay, I can not be hired because I am gay, and I can not marry the man I love in this state. I pay taxes, I am a fine upstanding citizen who contributes to my community, but I am not equal to them. But all men are created equal, right? Not according to the laws that hold our country together. 

Imagine that you could not marry the person you love. Not because of money, or distance, or controllable circumstance, but because the law prevents it. How is that even possible? How would you feel? Let me tell you, it feels hopeless. Like you are lesser than straight people because you are not the norm. Children who have two same sex parents can not have a normal children because their family is legally banned from being officially together. This is not just affecting adults, but children too. Children in states like mine are scared to be who they are because they know that so much of society rejects them, that their government does not support or protect them. 

On the other hand, is simply makes sense economically for the country to support same sex marriage. States that legally accept and support same sex marriage have found their economies boosting because people buy presents for the couples, the couples support their local economy by renting spaces, buying flowers, buying cakes, and spending money on all the things that are required for a wedding. If people were not discriminated against because of their sexual orientation then they could get better jobs, or even a job instead of being unemployed or underemployed. This is the reason that I am moving to Illinois as soon as possible. There, I am not marginalized and can support my state. It makes sense economically for everyone to have the same rights and for everyone to be treated equally. 

This is what I believe, and I urge you to give your views more thought. Do you agree that everyone is equal? Do you want your economy to improve? Do you want children to grow up scared? I don’t. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Post #7: Food for Thought

I believe in food.
I believe food heals.
I believe the power of food is greatly underestimated.

For, food is what every living being wakes up for. It's what they work for. Often, it's what they go to bed at night, wondering where its source will come from (for many humans, this is still the case.)

Tonight, my husband and I cooked a meal. Shrimp stir fry.

 He cut the tails off of the shrimp, while I prepped the veggies and other ingredients. During this time, we discussed our day. We decided what should happen with our youngest daughter. We even lightly touched base about opening our own business someday.

I had waited all day to see him, and he, I.

And this meal was our couples therapy. It was the mediator of our conversation.

"Can you hand me that cup?" One would ask, as if it were the punctuation of our sentences...

Food heals.
For us tonight, it brought two people, who each had separate days, living near separate lives, together.

I love food.
I could have never declared that 10 years ago.
Oh, the shame for a 20 year old girl to say she loves food. Especially, the chocolate I would eat in secrecy. The fast food. The foods whose big, shiny advertisements brought me to the local grocer like a zombie looking for a brain.

Must have Oreos.

But that's not food.
I understand that now.
Oreos and other substances that deem themselves "food" are addictive and deadly. They are not what I love.

Food heals.
Things with shiny, advertisements often do not heal.

Our skin should glow! Our hearts should fill with vigor! Our veins should coarse with energy.

Not diabetes.

You can't have the conversation we had, when you're eating a bag of cookies in the dark. You can't eat this meal that was made with love and feel its nutrients making you stronger, when even the ants will not consume it.

When did food become devalued in our world? What kind of organism purposely poisons themselves? What other mammal on God's green earth does not spend their time looking for sustenance.

Because in our world, sustenance of food is also sustenance of soul.

Community Blog Post #7: Waste Management

The other day I was in the grocery store perusing cleaning items when it dawned on me that I should pick up toilet paper. I’m under the impression that one can never have enough toilet paper. As I found my desired brand I noticed that they had flushable wet wipes on sale. Why not? I thought to myself. Those could be beneficial and they’re flushable. And they seemed more hygienic. 

So I know that I’m writing a blog post about the bathroom but let’s just all acknowledge the fact that we all use the bathroom. Everybody poops. Me, you, celebrities, even the President. I’m sorry if you just got a visual. And sometimes, it can get pretty bad. That’s all I’ll say about the number twos. So my thrifty self decided that these flushable wipes (did I mention they were on sale?) might be a good option to have, you know for guests and what not.

But then in an instant, I realized that these wipes were not so “flushable.” And before you envision some gross sewage backup that I faced, know that it was a quick story on NPR radio that opened up my eyes to the world of moist towelette marketing. Apparently, these moist towelettes are not so flushable in the sense that while you can physically flush them, we really shouldn’t. Craig Rance, campaign communication executive of Thames River discussed that you can flush a golf ball too but it doesn’t mean you should. “The word ‘flushable’ means it won’t clog your toilet or your house, but when it gets to a sewage treatment plant, the wipes wrap around the equipment, shuts it down, and then the treatment plant workers go and manually pull these wipes down,” as states to ABC news from New York Deputy Commissioner.

Now you may be sitting there reading this post thinking “I don’t use flushable wipes, what’s it to me?” Well I’ll tell you why we should all care, regardless if we use these products or not. Our sewer systems are like arteries that can’t have any blockages. The manual labor of removing these sewer system blockages, deemed fatbergs, means more manpower, as well as more repairing and replacing sewer system equipment.

This is where the average citizen gets involved. At the rate we are going, waste management companies will need to raise water rates in order to combat these added expenses. The city of New York has spent over 18 million dollars on equipment damage expenses within the past five years (nytimes).

The time is now people. We need to educate the masses about proper waste management of moist towelettes. We need to stress the importance of not flushing them even though there is false marketing, complete with a toilet on the packaging. If you want to go a step further, you can contact your city officials in an effort to hold these companies to a more stringent guideline when it comes to advertising. But if that is too much commitment, I understand. I haven’t done that either. What I have done is educate others around me. Moist towelettes come in other forms such as baby wipes and makeup removers too. At times, word of mouth can travel faster than legislation. If we all choose to educate one person, we can make a huge difference, and save our planet, or at least, our pocketbooks.

Check out these news stories for more information:

Week 12 Community Post 7: Lets control the pet population!

My neighborhood is home to the Kitty Patrol. That's the nickname that my boyfriend and I gave to the gang of stray and feral cats roaming my neighborhood. And while I do enjoy seeing Mittens and McGruff on the prowl, I also feel really bad that they aren't being cared for they way they should be. McGruff is even missing most of his tail, and none of the neighborhood cats look healthy. I never thought too much about spaying and neutering before moving to Las Vegas, but the streets here are literally overrun with stay cats and dogs. And I thought this was sad enough, cats and small dogs (almost exclusively chihuahuas) darting in and out of traffic, without homes, companionship, or basic food and water. It broke my heart. But then I realized the truly sinister thing about it. Now, at least once a week, we are awoken in the night by the sound of cats procreating. I don't know if you've ever heard it, but it sounds like cat murder. Not only are theses poor cats homeless, but they're actively making EVEN MORE homeless pets as we speak!

The problem is exponential. The more pets there are, the more pets will be homeless. When pets aren't spayed or neutered, they will keep making more pets. In seven short years, one cat and her babies can produce 370,000 new kitties. For a minute that sounds great because I love cats, but where are they going to live? The answer is, they aren't. 2.4 MILLION healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are put down every year in shelters in the United States. Thats one every 13 seconds! There simply aren't enough homes for them. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can make sure that you aren't contributing to the problem. And by adopting a pet, you are ensuring that one more cuddly buddy doesn't end up on the street or get euthanized.

My message is simple. Be responsible. Pets are a responsibility. At the very least, you should do your part by not contributing to an already unsustainable homeless pet population. Adopt. Spay and neuter. Be decent. You owe it to your pets.

This I Believe...

I never thought my uncle who I looked up to could possibly let me down in such an enormous way. 21 years passed and nothing had changed. I went from playing baseball with him, to him taking me to see R-rated movies, to me standing up in his wedding. My uncle is only 12 years older than me, and splits the difference between my dad and I. All that basically means is that he and I are more like brothers than uncle and nephew.

This bond we had was always something I could rely on. If I needed advice I could always go to my uncle. But in October of last year, he came to me for the advice. I received a phone call in which my uncle confessed to me that he had developed a drinking problem. He spent about half an hour on the phone with me in tears referencing the complications that had already occurred due to his addiction. I hung up the phone after professing my support for him, but I felt odd. I couldn't help but feel mad at him for faltering. I had always looked upon him with the utmost respect and that had now been tainted.

Regardless of my feelings I continued to show my support in him getting help. He ended up entering rehab about a week after the initial phone call and spent 30 days there where he went through a detox program as well as intensive personal and group therapy.After the end of the program , things were seemingly back to normal. However, three months later the slip up happened. My uncle took a drastic turn back to booze and wound up getting kicked out of his house by his wife and moving back in with his mom (my grandmother).

My anger after his relapse was much greater than before. I had finally lost my role model. I spent many weeks ignoring phone calls and avoiding conversations even after he went through rehab again. But one day I decided to give a conversation a chance. After a long talk I began to understand that addiction is by no means a choice. The person loses all semblance of rational thinking and the choice by many loved ones to distance themselves from the situation is anything but helpful. My uncle explained how alone he felt and how not having people to talk to made it that much harder to stay sober.

I think as a society we still think of addiction as a taboo topic. The problem with that is the lack of conversation and knowledge we have and acquire. People suffering from addiction need unconditional love and support regardless of your personal feelings. Without it successful rehab is much more difficult.  

Post #7 "This I believe..."

I believe that a person's family dynamic helps shape who they become. Growing up female by a single parent mom I saw how often times women take on the roles of men. By my father not being in my life I had to rely on my mother or other women in my family to take place in his absence. I have always had strong women in my life that have raised me. Not having a father or any male role model in my life for that matter impacted me negatively and positively as a young girl. Often times it was hard for me to build relationships with men. Even though there was a not huge presence of males in my life there were women who taught me things I needed to know, and to be a strong woman.

Seeing a single mother work to raise us without a father it began to shape my idea of males as a whole. Whenever I would see a family on television it was always the father, mother, and children. As a young girl this would make me feel sad. I felt that I was missing out on valuable moments with my father. Knowing that my family was not what society would consider the norm made me feel different. By my father not being in my life it manifested in my life in more ways than one.
I think in order for children to have the opportunity it experience a family experience people should wait a little longer to have kids. In this generation it seems that parents are becoming younger and younger. By choosing to have a child early you miss out on the opportunity  mature. You may end up having a child with someone who is not mature enough to handle it weather it be a man or a woman.
Think by having a child grow up in a two parent house hold they struggle less when they get older. Having both a mother and father puts less responsibility on older siblings. Sometimes in single parent households older children are seen as the second parent. The responsibilities place on them are that of the missing parents. Also , having two parents in the household gives children an opportunity to see how man and woman should interact with one another and crave out gender roles. Most importantly can create a lot of emotional issues.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week 12: Fashion is worth it

Yes, I know I should talk about bigger problems, things that will make this world a better one. Well guess what? Fashion is a problem.
Fashion has been around since I can remember, The Victorian era had great dresses and corsets. Men wore heels and to be honest it was one of the most beautiful era if you ask me, fashion wise. Everything back then was very detailed. From the hat to the shoes. Most of them were hand made because technology was not advanced. Everything was beautiful. People dress to impress and express because social statues played a big part on who they were.
Now we just don't care, at least most of us don't. We don't see the point in putting an effort to get to class, or got to social functions. Most people would rather spend all day and if possible life in a pajama. As comfortable as that sound, I wouldn't waste good texture, pattern and sewing on that.
Fashion should matter, just a little bit. Think about it, If you go to an interview and your pants are two size bigger or smaller because you didn't think about it. But your employers, as the big fashion connoisseur that they are, they notice and bam, your first impression is out of the window. Sure you don't think about it now, you're probably laughing as you read this and calling it nonsense but it's true.
I know this because I have been there. At my first interview, he told me, "Next time come dress like you want this job" I went to an interview one summer in a blue short and green shirt once. Yeah, rookie mistake. I seriously didn't give it much thought since it was "just a retail job". The next day I applied again and got call in for an interview. And the same guy who interview me did it again. Anyway, I got the job but I was humiliated that I couldn't put much effort into something so simple and effortless.
We should put in just enough effort to the different social settings we are attending. By enough I mean a lot. Dress like you mean it. "You can never be overdressed and overeducated"-Oscar Wilde.
I just want the world not to go out in their pajamas all the time, I believe in being comfortable with a little effort.
Fashion is about expressing yourself. Who wouldn't want to do that. It is a beautiful thing, we should learn to appreciate it. We should all be encourage to at least pick as day or two a week to prove that fashion matter. Let's change the world one well dressed person at the time.

Week 12: Paid for "Experience"

Ah, the good old internship. For many, just hearing the word brings up images of a college student doing the dullest jobs: going on a coffee run, making endless stacks of copies—need I say more? Some programs actually require an internship to graduate, which I think is worthwhile. Getting experience in a real-life work situation is invaluable; however, the student providing the work often isn’t valuable enough to the employer, creating the dreaded unpaid internship. A lot of the time, you either work 20+ hours a week and get paid for it, or work a measly 10-12 hours a week and get “paid” in college credit or, even better, experience. That’s not always the case though.

Doing a quick search of unpaid internships on CareerLink, I found this listing:

Now, the internship itself is pretty interesting for anyone who wants to get into the event planning side of marketing/public relations. One major red flag? Working 30-40 hours a week without pay (plus the amount of travel that needs to be done). Later in the listing, the company writes, “While the internship is unpaid, there are many paid opportunities within the events.” How can a college student work a full-time internship, go to school, and work a part-time job to pay their bills? As the price of living goes up, this has become increasingly difficult. An unpaid internship just adds to the stress that college students don’t need.

Any internship director (scratch that—anyone with a decent amount of sense) will tell you that you shouldn’t take a full-time unpaid internship. Many internship directors say that an internship will lead to a job offer. However, this study done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) proves otherwise:

An unpaid internship is more than just three months of unpaid labor. It hurts when you’re pretty much in the same pool as another student who never even completed an internship.

Companies are exploiting college-aged students who are hungry for experience. I’m not writing this to short sell unpaid internships. I’ve been on both sides of this argument; once with an amazing unpaid internship, another time with a not-so-hot paid one. The importance of internships grows every year, especially in a tough job market, as they can give you the slight upper hand over students without internship experience.

Something needs to be done about unpaid internships. The sad truth is that they aren’t going away any time soon. It’s ultimately up to us, the students, to figure out which internships are garbage and which ones are worthy of our time—especially if we aren’t getting paid for it.

Blog for a Cause

Swing for Autism Helps Give Voice

The Swing for Autism event began in 2004 as the CCFA Golf Classic, helping those with Crohn’s and Colitis.  My husband was diagnosed with Colitis and then pre-cancerous cells that began this fight.  In 2011 our son was diagnosed with autism which changed our efforts for his needs and the needs of all kids and families affected. 

We fight to protect, we fight to give, we fight to educate, we fight for life, we fight for inclusion.

Support Autism awareness through the Swing for Autism Charity Golf Classic.  This event provides many ways in which people can show their support.  You can golf, volunteer in several capacities, participate in the dinner, silent auction, buy raffle tickets, donate raffle giveaways, hand out flyers, pass the word any which way you like.  Money is not needed to support, simply talking about it or re-tweeting the information is more than appreciated.

The Swing for Autism event supports a local school district build sensory rooms.  These sensory rooms may be needed for children with autism as breaks to refocus, almost like pushing a reset button, but all children have days when they feel overwhelmed and need a quiet soothing location to go for calming or to exert all their extra energy.  Sensory breaks are needed for children with autism to have successful days in school.

Swing for Autism supports the Autism Alliance of Michigan.  They provide amazing support to improve the lives of those who are living with autism.  Through anti-bullying campaigns, advocacy to aide in the education all of our kids have the right to, pairing up with community businesses to help adults with autism gain employment, providing awareness and education on autism and the safety needs to the community as well as the police, fire departments and EMS.

The 2013-2014 Relentless Tour: Ianni Project is a first of its kind initiative designed to help eradicate bullying across the state of Michigan.

You may be wondering why all these things are needed.  Therapy for Autism was not a covered benefit until 2012.  For the fastest growing disability it is widely misunderstood.  Children with autism frequently wander; some have died by car accidents because of this. Children have died in schools by the seclusion and restraints the teachers have placed upon them and it’s still currently happening today.  

Mother of student restrained at Pueblo school awarded $2.2M

5:09 AM, Mar 27, 2015

Businesses are afraid to opt in to the autism benefit because the state hasn’t made it clear it’s of no extra cost to them.  Autism Alliance of Michigan fights the good fight to educate employers and government officials to keep bettering the laws.

Imagine having no voice or a partial one, someone speaking for you, unsure as to what is being asked of you and incapable of letting people know you want to rest simply because you don’t feel well.  It’s no wonder these children are frustrated.

Swing for Autism supports The Center for Therapeutic Learning and Communication, a local pediatric therapy location.  Funds help provide scholarships to local children who do not have insurance or otherwise cannot afford the care they need.

Swing for Autism supports Friends of Jacob.  This foundation provides financial assistance to families affected by autism.  This is done through the means of equipment, respite care and medical bills but they have long term goals as well.  They want to build a community for adults with autism.

Swing for Autism supports YMCA Camp Copneconic.  In the beginning the provided support helped build a medical center to aide in all medical needs for any illness or disability a child has while participating in all camp events including autism.  After the ground breaking event we continued the support to help children who otherwise could not participate.  

No one wants their voice to be spoken for them.  We have a lot of work to do in making sure our kids can find ways to speak for themselves.  One day they will be adults and having the best quality of life is important.  Helping the Swing for Autism Charity Golf Classic in any way that you can, helps provide that voice.

Community Blog Post #7 Adopting Pets

I believe that people who are looking to add a furry friend to their family should adopt instead of purchasing pets from a breeder or pet store. Within the last few years puppy mills have been increasingly popular. Many states actually have laws against puppy mills, Michigan does not. The midwest is known for the lack of laws that protect the large breeding of animals. Puppy mills are places where animals are genetically misbread and are living in deplorable conditions. Sadly, a lot of these animals are disease ridden and some don't have the opportunity to live long lives. Many pet stores acquire their animals this way.

Animal shelters and sites like have thousands of animals up for adoption. The animals are healthy and ready for a new forever home. Fostering is also a great aspect of adoption. I personally know a foster family for dogs. They rehabilitate animals and often train them so that they can go to a forever home.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Don't wait to DONATE your organs!

In the summer of 2010, I suffered through what I thought was the worst crisis of my life. My life as I knew it had exploded; my husband's two companies collapsed, we were forced to leave our home, and we had to sell off most of our possessions in order to start over again. I was gutted to the core; I lost eighteen pounds through worry and stress, wore dark glasses to avoid the neighbors, and became a hermit, turning down any and all invitations to concerts and weddings and campfires that summer.

The worst, however, was yet to come. 

In late August, my mom called me to tell me that my 29 year cousin Cassie had died unexpectedly of kidney failure. Already shattered, this news brought me to my knees. 

Though Cassie and I were not the closest of cousins, the news of her death was a shocking blow. When she was very young, Cassie had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes. Every mouthful of food she ate, every drink she consumed was carefully monitored by her parents. Nothing was safe; a cake at a birthday party, a glass of Kool-Aid on a hot summer day - all of her food and drink intake had to be scrutinized and measured against her blood sugar levels three or more times a day. I had no idea that her diabetes complications had worsened with age or that her kidneys had begun to fail. I was so wrapped up in my own apocalypse, I had failed to pay attention to the family around me. 

In the aftermath of her tragic death, I uncovered some startling facts about type 1 diabetes. Most diabetes cases in the U.S. are the result of our staggering obesity crisis: type 1 diabetics make up only 5% of the population.

Type 1 diabetes

The American Diabetes Association reports: "In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives."

Why, then, had Cassie succumbed to her disease at such a young age?

The American Diabetes Association explains: 
When our bodies digest the protein we eat, the process creates waste products. In the kidneys, millions of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) with even tinier holes in them act as filters. As blood flows through the blood vessels, small molecules such as waste products squeeze through the holes. These waste products become part of the urine. Useful substances, such as protein and red blood cells, are too big to pass through the holes in the filter and stay in the blood.

Diabetes can damage this system. High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys filter too much blood. All this extra work is hard on the filters. After many years, they start to leak and useful protein is lost in the urine. Having small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria.

When kidney disease is diagnosed early, during microalbuminuria, several treatments may keep kidney disease from getting worse. Having larger amounts of protein in the urine is called macroalbuminuria. When kidney disease is caught later during macroalbuminuria, end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, usually follows.

In time, the stress of overwork causes the kidneys to lose their filtering ability. Waste products then start to build up in the blood. Finally, the kidneys fail. This failure, ESRD, is very serious. A person with ESRD needs to have a kidney transplant or to have the blood filtered by machine (dialysis).

I did not know until the funeral that Cassie had been searching for a kidney donor; I had no idea that her health had deteriorated so quickly. I had just seen her eight months before at a baby shower for her nephew; how could I have been so blind? I would have volunteered to be tested, had I known. 

What I do know is that Cassie went to sleep one night and never woke up.

There is no way for me to express the pain and heartbreak that her parents and brothers continue to suffer; how unnatural it was to see her grandparents grieving for their granddaughter; how stunned and heartbroken we were as a family to have one of our own snatched from us far too soon.

In the wake of Cassie's death, I vowed to share her story with my friends and students, hoping that by doing so, I would convince at least some of them to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry through their local Secretary of State Office.

Gift of Life Michigan reports that as of April 1, 2015, 3,478 Michigan residents are waiting for an organ transplant. 2,791of these patients are waiting for a kidney. See for a list of needed organ donations in Michigan.

What many people do not know is that kidney donations can be made by a living donor. That's right, you can change someone's life RIGHT NOW by registering to be a living donor for a family member, friend, co-worker, or someone in your community.

What can you do to help?

1. Sign up to be on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry:
It is a database of residents who wish to be organ and tissue donors that is maintained by the Department of State. The registry is confidential and can only be accessed by Gift of Life Michigan to assist hospitals in the recovery and transplantation of organs and tissue.

Besides signing up online, you can add your name to the Organ Donor Registry when you:
  • Renew or replace your standard driver's license or state ID card online at
  • Visit a Secretary of State office and simply let the clerk know you want your name added to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
  • Renew your state ID card by mail by checking the organ donor box and your name will be placed on the donor registry.
All you need is your driver's license and a computer to sign up online. It's also a good idea to talk to your family about your wishes if something were to happen to you unexpectedly.

2. Sign up to be a living donor. The University of Michigan offers some important information on why this kind of donation is needed:

Due to the length of the kidney waiting list and the short supply of deceased donor organs, the waiting period for a deceased donor kidney can be several years. Therefore, if you are waiting for a kidney, having a live donor can decrease your waiting time for a kidney transplant. Your parents, children, siblings, other relatives, in-laws, and close friends can all be considered for living kidney donation. Some people do not have a designated recipient and end up donating a kidney to someone they do not know. Our transplant team is always available to ensure all your questions are answered thoroughly, whether you are a patient or potential donor, and to arrange any additional counseling necessary to help you make the decision.

See for more information as well as a Kidney Transplant Donor Form.

In the summer of 2010, I thought that my family's financial ruin was the worst crisis that we could have faced. I am sorry to say that it took Cassie's death for me to see my life and my good fortune more clearly. We weathered our ruin; Cassie is gone forever.

Please join me on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry TODAY. It only takes a minute, and your gift could give a suffering or terminally ill patient a new chance at life.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Technology is Taking Over

Why is the world being taken over by technology? That is a question I continue to ask myself daily because when I look around everyone is either on his or her phone or on his or her computers. Conversations have become meaningless and face-to-face interactions rarely occur. Things have gotten so bad that children are even receiving cell phones way before they need them. Where has the time gone and why has things changed drastically? Is this new era of technology a good or bad thing for us? All these are the questions I wonder and often ask myself.

Remember the time when eating dinner at the table with your family consist of conversing about how your day went? Well in today’s world as you sit and eat dinner, no one is asking about how the day went but instead texting or playing games on their phone. To be honest many of those things happen in my household. I can recall a time when I had just prepared a nice dinner for my family and as we were sitting at the table both my children were busy playing games on their phones instead of eating. I glanced over at them both and instantly got upset and made them both put their phones up. My children were so use to their phones that they even had the nerve to bring them inside of church and that is when I sit down with my husband and made the decision that things had to change.

It had been said,” that couples are so drawn to instagram, facebook and just their phones period that when out on a date they spend the majority of their time on their phones, instead focusing on each other. With that being said,” what can we do to get back our rightful communication among one another, where no phones are involved? In an article I read by Aleisha Fetters titled “You Won’t Believe How Many Hours You Spend on Your Phone Each Day” which was published on September 2, 2014 stated that:

  • 94.6 Minutes on Texting
  • 48.5 Minutes Emailing
  • 38.6 Minutes Facebooking
  • 34.4 Minutes Browsing the Net
  • 26.9 Minutes listening to Music

That is a total of 243 minutes, which totals out to be 4 hours a day spent using your phone or surfing the internet. Then if you are working 8 hours, a day those hours plus 4 hours equates to 12 hours of your day that is gone and now how much time minus sleeping do you have to spend with family? We all need to re-evaluate where we spend our time and what we spend our time doing. Technology cannot consume our lives if we chose to not allow it to, we need to find a way to bring face to face communication back and stay off our phones before we deteriorate the relationships we have among another.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Week Twelve: The Invisible Illnesses


I've told this story before, but when I was in ninth grade, one of my best friends revealed a dark secret that changed my life more than I knew was possible. She told me that she had tried to kill herself. The reason? Depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of  sadness. It's a mental illness that affects a person and the people around them. Mental illnesses are something that affect 1 in 5 adults in any given year. And they're something that people fail to understand.

A mental illness isn't something one can see just by looking at a person-- it's deeper than that, it's embedded in someone's mind. Some people think that just because you can't see it, it's not there. They don't understand it, so it gets ignored and it becomes invisible.

I suffer from anxiety. It's not extremely severe for me, but it's still a mental illness. I have a hard time on any given day just getting out of bed and starting my day for fear of failure or embarrassment or of something going terribly wrong. I live with a persistent sinking feeling in my stomach. I'm anxious all the time and all people even do is just to tell me to "get over it" and "calm down."

But, I can't calm down and I can't get over it. Mental illness isn't a problem that can be solved by simply willing it away. That's what we need to make people understand. Mental illness is severe and those with it need support and awareness.

NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, is an organization that supports those dealing with mental illnesses. According to their statistics, suicide as a result of mental illness is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. If people start treating mental illness with the awareness that it deserves, instead of the "get over it" attitude, that statistics of suicide may change. And if that changes, maybe other ninth graders won't have to hear that their best friend tried to kill themselves, like I heard all those years ago.

Post #7: Abortion

Abortion has been a major debate for years now and it is only becoming a bigger topic. The rate of abortions if constantly increasing and clinics are steady opening. There are circumstances and everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the topic but it is not right. No child ask to be born at the end of the day. There are consequences behind having sex and that is POSSIBLY one of them. There are ways to reduce the chances of a female getting pregnant but if you are need willing to take them steps then you know the risk. The only time I feel it is acceptable to get an abortion is if rape was involved. The pathos of this topic is focused on an individual's belief or religion. Of course, everybody has their own opinion on the topic but when you believe in certain things, there is one choice left for you. Most religions find abortion just unacceptable and I agree. For every action there is a consequence and possible outcomes shall be discussed prior. Once having a baby, there are other options as well. Every child deserves a chance to live but if the mom and dad can not or do not want to raise the baby, adoption is an option. The logos of the situation is about a person knowing how you can get pregnant and the possible outcome if a situation. If you do not want a baby, remain abstinent, use a condom, and there are other options still available.

Week 12, Post 7

            Doctors throughout American need to stop prescribing pain medication as if it were candy with no consequences. I have lost too many people to prescription drug overdose and it is still a rising problem in America. I lost my first friend at the age of 15 to methadone: a drug that is supposed to be used to aid heroin addicts through their withdrawals, as they get sober. This was my freshman year of high school and we were able to get our hands on dozens of different prescription medications as easily as buying candy at the local store. My close friend at the time was doing methadone with his best friend. One day, he gave him methadone to take at home. His friend took it, fell asleep, aspirated, and died. The parents blamed his death on my best friend and he never forgave himself. This was the start of his down spiral into harder drugs. He died this February, almost exactly ten years later, to a heroin overdoes.
            When I was 17 I had a procedure done to help the pain caused my interstitial cystitis, a bladder disorder that makes you feel like you have a constant bladder infection. I was put under so they could put a balloon in my bladder and inflate it in hopes of expanding my bladder to relieve some of the pain I experienced from pain day to day. After the surgery I was prescribed 40 Vicoden tablets. The instructions were to take 1 tablet every 8 hours as needed for pain. This was enough for a 14-day supply. The pain I was in after the procedure called for Motrin 800, not a narcotic medication.  I was 17, and I was prescribed the medication, so of course I took it, it made me feel great. Luckily, I was not one of the many who get addicted to prescription medication because of situations exactly like this.
            In 2013 I lost a very close friend to another prescription medication overdose. McKenzie was not a drug addict. She smoked some pot and took a prescription pills recreational once in awhile. She stopped partying for a few months in order to apply for jobs. In October she decided to take some Morphine. She was with her friends and they all took it too. She was the only person not to wake up the morning of October 26. She was only 20 years old. She had so much life left in her.
            I tell anyone that I meet that uses prescription drugs recreationally, “Taking these drugs, it’s the same as Russian roulette, there is no rhyme or reason as to who will die and when.”
            Why is it so easy to get prescription drugs off of the street? I work in a pharmacy and every day I see at least 20 very strong narcotic drug prescriptions written for patients. They are written for migraines, arthritis, cramps, any ache or pain under the son.  Most of these prescriptions are written by one of two doctors. These doctors are not pain management doctors they are general physicians. Every day I wonder why they are not being investigated by the DEA. How can you prescribe narcotics of hundreds of patients that do not need them? Are their patients paying them? Are they getting some of the drugs brought back to them for personal use? Are they just naïve the addictions they are creating? The deaths they could potentially indirectly cause?
            What can we do to stop the distribution of narcotic medication to patients that do not need them? If there are less prescriptions written there will be less of them on the streets and then it will be harder for the general public to buy and consume. If it’s harder for the general public to buy there will be a decrease of addiction and death.  We need to stop this down spiral. What can we do? We need to raise awareness. There has been a huge increase in heroin use and overdoes in the past decade. Why? Because once painkillers (opioids) become too costly the user can turn to a much cheaper alternative… heroin.  American citizens need to come together, sign petitions, talk to doctors, create communities where these issue can be discussed. You don’t think this affects you, until it does.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Community Post #7: Lets keep it clean guys.

The earth is decaying, and we are responsible to its deterioration. Although there have been strives for creating a cleaner healthier earth, we are still polluting. This planet is our home and there other earth-like planets out there; however, the reality is that they are light years away. Humanity simply does not have the technology for us to reach those other planets. Mother-nature has provided a home to us live on, and it is our responsibility to take care of it.

As a whole, we go through a tremendous amount of resources. According to news article written by The Independent the average American has an ecological foot print of seven-teen football fields. Here is a link to a quiz to tell you how many earths it would take to support your life style. I received a score of 4.2 earths, not as bad as the average American, but I can do better and so can we all. The earth has become limited on the amount of resources it can produce. If we do not ration, or work towards creating a greener society, it will not be too long before we are fighting for resources. Let us take a look at the great lakes of Michigan. With fresh water slowly being depleted many other states are looking for a way to get Michigan’s fresh water.

 While our resources are becoming less abundant, I noticed while walking around town that people are littering, and being wasteful to our environment. I know it is easier to rid ourselves of trash by simply tossing it, but multiple retailers such as: Target and Best Buy make it very continent for disposing our useless plastics and electronics. Some people see this as harmless, but it certainly affects other beings around them like plants and animals. Polluting our oceans with harmful chemicals and plastics affects the aquatic animals; many of which are getting trapped in netting, six-pack plastic rings, and various other materials. This throws the circle of life off and causes animals to be at greater risk of extinction.  
We too are affected by pollution. According to an article written by Greg Langley air pollution is the number one killer of the environment. On average air pollution causes 3.5 million premature deaths worldwide each year. Most of this is caused though transportation. It is possible to lower this number simply by using public transport. It may not solve the problem completely, but it will begin to help. If we continue with the use of personal transport this number will only rise, and more premature deaths will occur.

Even though one slip of paper lying on the ground does not do much, it adds up fast; and it hurts life as a whole. It may take a while, but together, we can help save this planet and all the life forms here on earth!

Post 7: Is horse racing really the "Sport of Kings"? A discussion about horse racing and corruption within the sports community

It’s April 1st, one month away from one of horse racing’s most esteemed races: The Kentucky Derby.
From the outside, the Kentucky Derby  seems a pretty picture of frou-frou hats and mint juleps. The energy is electrifying as people place bets on which horse they foresee winning the race. Jockeys sport colorful “silks,” representing their farm . Horse’s coats gleam in the sunlight .

However, behind this frothy veil of innocence lies a world shrouded in darkness and dispute. A world accredited as cruel and inhumane. A realm where jockey’s starve themselves to meet weight limits and where horses receive injections of steroids and other supplements; where crops or “whips” are used on horses to increase speed.

Does this sound like “the sport of kings” to you?

While I will not pretend that the world of horse racing is all sunshine and daisies, I will stick up for it, in the sense that if horseracing is inhumane, then so too, is nearly every other sport in the world.
As mentioned earlier, horse racing goes hand-in-hand with the slogan, “the need for speed.” With this notion comes the discussion on weight limits, the use of crops and other muscle or energy enhancing supplements.

Maintaining low weight is one of the many challenges that jockey’s face in the sport. The thought process behind this is that the less weight the horse has to carry, the faster it will run. In an effort to keep weight down, many jockeys resort to skipping meals, going to sauna’s and even vomiting. In fact, many race tracks used to have “flip bowls” in which jockeys would vomit before a race.
Now, I would venture to guess, that this sounds unappealing and downright dangerous to most of us. However, I argue, that while it’s fair to have that belief, it doesn't necessarily make this aspect of the sport inhumane. Weight maintenance is not  new to the sport, and athletes are aware of this when they choose to become a jockey. In other words, it is their choice; No one is forcing them to partake in these activities. Therefore, the question of whether it is right or wrong is mute.

The use of steroids and other illegal performance enhancers is another aspect associated with horse racing. Now don’t go all crazy thinking that I am going to promote the use of these substances; I like a fair game as much as the next person, not to mention the health that is jeopardized of whoever or whatever is using these substances. Yet while I disagree with the use of them, the use of steroid and performance enhancers is not unique to horse racing. These substances run through the vast expanse of sports from running to biking to swimming, etc. Perhaps you’ve heard of Gu? Gu is an energy enhancer that comes in a gel-like form so that it can  be easily consumed. Never heard of Gu? What about music (this is not a trick question)? Studies show that music has the ability to increase heart rate and create emotional responses, which in turn, have an effect on performance output. With that begin said, people are so against horse racing because of the “rampant’ use of performance enhancers, which is fine, but if you’re going to call the sport inhumane because of that reason, the same thing  needs to be said of all of the other sports where substance use or performance enhancers such as music or GU are prevalent.

The use of the crop is another hotly debated topic in horse racing. The crop is a handheld tool that jockeys use to tap the horse in an effort to increase speed. While some argue that the crop does not hurt horses if it is used correctly, other studies s show that horses skin is thinner than originally thought, and that it becomes raised when hit with a crop.  In all honesty, I’m not sure how I feel about the tool. I’m not a horse,  and so I can’t tell you if it actually hurts to  be smacked with a crop. I can imagine there are more comfortable thing s in the world. However, it’s not as if the jockey’s are using it maliciously; If it really hurt the horse that badly, I can imagine that it would react much differently than it does. On the same hand, similar to the observation used with performance enhancers, while coaches don’t necessarily hit their athletes, I’ve heard many of them yell at their team before, to the point where it became unnecessary. I’ve seen parents at the pool with their little kids, pushing them beyond what seems to be their limits. While these notions don’t hurt the athlete physically, I can imagine that they are mentally degrading. Is that not, in a sense, the same thing as physically hurting something?

I’m not sure that I’ve made a convincing argument here. In fact, I’m not necessarily arguing that horseracing is inhumane or humane. However, what I am trying to point out, is that the sports world in general is corrupt. So, while you can call horse racing inhumane for the above reasons, then the way that I see it, is that all sports then are on some level, inhumane, because the above issues are present in most sports, regardless of the steps taken to ensure that this is not the case.