Have a Punny Halloween!

Grammarly is an English teacher’s dream. And it’s perfect for the wickedly corny folks as well. And so, Happy Halloween!photo

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Bearing Witness, Declaring Support for Domestic Violence Awareness

10675623_302816956578972_2493514775744459775_nAttending a vigil is to be a witness. We listen, we nod, we speak names aloud, we stand in remembrance of those lost. Attending a vigil is to be an advocate. We show support, solidarity, unity with those who survive. Attending a vigil is to be an activist. We demand attention, action, change in honor of those who are suffering. A vigil is more than a memorial. It is an act of rebellion against the status quo.

Most importantly, especially when domestic violence is concerned, attending a vigil is to show vigilance and support for those suffering. With our presence, we tell those who may be close to losing hope and drive and the will to keep on that we know. We care. We are here and ready to bear witness. We are here and ready to be advocates. We are here and ready to activate change. Unified and connected, the web is ready to give support.

Domestic violence is affecting someone you know right now. Be vigilant. Be an advocate. Be there.

SOFIA was in Montclair’s Crane Park on Monday, October 27, 2014 for a Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil. See images of the event here: OUTlooks by OUTthere.

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Still in the Room

elephant in the room

Don’t worry. The anger takes between three to five minutes to recede, disappear. No matter how hateful or damaging the unspoken, seething subjects are, we can count on everyone else turning away, pretending all is well. Out of sight, out of mind.

Like micro stories like this one? Go check out the wicked fun challenges at yeah write!

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Glad I Saw It: Work

Dug and loaded by hand.

Work Detail.

Two kind, diligent, humble men have been working at my house for the last week. They started out jackhammering concrete, then loading and stacking concrete, then digging and digging and digging. Today they are loading and sorting concrete. Then they’ll dig some more. I bring them Cokes and Sprites, and yesterday blueberry scones pilfered from a meeting. And they are truly working harder than I’ve seen anyone work. Continue reading

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Empathy: You Have It In You

My daughter sobbed bitterlyBye Bye Butterfree at the end of a Pokemon episode called “Bye Bye Butterfree.” The butterfly (with poisoning abilities?) left Ash to, as my five-year-old explained it, “go and have babies.” She was crying because of the friendship lost and because the characters on the television were so, so sad. It happens often with her; she has deep empathy when she sees others in distress. Even low-quality cartoon others.

More of us could use some of that. A lot more of that. Continue reading

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Living Like Luna Lovegood

Luna LovegoodI have long loved the Harry Potter series. And thankfully, it’s a love that both of my children have absorbed and made their own. Of course I love Hermione and Ron and Harry for their wonderful personalities and growth and just plain awesomeness. But my favorite character (other than my deep appreciation for Snape) is Luna Lovegood.

I’ve been reminded, of late, of why I appreciate her character so much. And despite what my sisters and close friends might think, it’s not just her keen fashion sense. Continue reading

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Domestic Violence and the Power of the Purse Strings

PurplePurse imageI am a member of the #PurplePurse team for an Essex County-based group known as Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (SOFIA). We are fundraising to start a safe house for women and children leaving domestic violence situations. Please consider donating to the fundraiser through October 3rd, 2014.

A concussion. A black eye almost hidden by dark sunglasses. A broken finger. Bruises on the arm. These are some of the expected signs of physical abuse. What can be harder to grasp is the emotional abuse and grooming disguised as possessiveness and concern. Even less acknowledged is financial abuse. Those who have free access to a joint or exclusive bank account may be unable to empathize with the level of power one spouse can have over another when the purse strings are locked and controlled by an abuser. The recent questioning about why someone would choose to stay in an abusive relationship focused on supposed strength of character and fear rather than financial means. But money is of utmost importance, especially when children are involved.

The number one reason domestic violence survivors stay, leave or return to an abusive relationship is that they don’t have the financial resources to break free.

Continue reading

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Try, and then Try Again

This sign is stuck into the still green and pliable ground by the main sidewalk exit for East Orange Campus High School. It’s just as applicable to the teachers as to the students. And just as needed. tryOne of the students I’m supervising this semester used a similar motivational phrase about perseverance in a class yesterday, accompanied by the image at this link. Stick-to-it-tiveness is in the air.

At a time when we are used to instant access to information, videos, people, solutions — and at a time when too many people attempt to solve their problems with sudden, impatient, and often unproductive acts, we could use a little more belief in Try, and then Try Again. We could use a little more Perseverance. Because not only do good things come to those who wait, great things happen to those who stick-to-it after everyone else has given up.

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Support Organizations that Fight Domestic Violence in All Forms

unnamed

click to read

Let’s skip over my own teen years and go straight to the twelve years I spent with other people’s teen years. In my time with other parents’ teenagers, I was in awe of creativity, frustrated by attitude dripping from drawls, proud of accomplishments others might dismiss, and fearful for so many young lives.

I was fearful for some of my students because of the abusive relationships I saw developing. Girls jumped at text messages, desperate to answer them in time. Sometimes being denied a request to go to the restroom brought on nothing short of a rebellious strut out the door. Later, I’d find out she had to meet her boyfriend at a certain time and place. Continue reading

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Small or Large, you are Significant

Here’s a mental health pick-me-up on a Monday.

You know that after school special diddy “The most important person in the whole wide world is YOU, and you hardly even know you…”? It was incredibly comforting to me as although some were smart about explaining those weird adults. But I always looked forward to the song.

I think part of it was that I had a tough time in elementary school after moving from one elementary school to another — with one friend and the harsh stigma of being from “that other” school in town. For some reason, this comic strip reminded me of that song.

10622870_923045114383167_2380681343567147487_nFor more of these self-deprecating and oddly comforting comics, check out the Joy Reactor site tagged LunarBaboon here.

 

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