Perspectives from Black women: What to Do, Say and Learn during a time of Civil Unrest and Racial Divide.

posted on: June 11, 2020

I sit here at my laptop, hands trembling as I begin to finally write and share all the things I have learned over the last three weeks since George Floyd was murdered. This black man was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down in the street, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. When George Floyd called out to his mother, mothers everywhere answered.

Today, a black man, right now at this very moment is being arrested and held in handcuffs across the street from my home in the police station parking lot. I am watching as several people mill around and video him and the six police. What a day we live in. However, I choose to believe the pain of dealing with everything that is going on in our nation is a good sign. When our thinking is challenged we can grow and see other perspectives.

Push through the pain.

I always wondered what would I do during the time of slavery or the holocaust or the civil rights movement era. Now I know. I am doing it right now. 

Over a week ago, I began asking questions I did not have the answers to and recieved answers I was not prepared for. Things I have been taught all my life were illusions and lies.

I decided to do what comes easiest for me. Curiousity. Ask questions. Ask the hard questions. 

I began to think of the community of people that I have been so privileged to know and meet. I realized I had the right people in my large circles who would not be offended by me asking the hard questions to them. They would be strong enough and brave enough and tolerant enough to teach me. I ask nine women and one man the below questions. A few declined however, what I did not expect was how one black man and six beautiful women would go out of their way to provide education to me that for some reason I feel like I don’t deserve. I am holding a precious gift from this man and these six brave, beautiful women of color to whom I owe a great debt. I am forever grateful to you. Thank you from all of us. 

In the following posts you will read questions I asked and answers from multiple women who opened their hearts to me. One beautiful friend said the following:

Thank you for this opportunity. 
Though I am usually ready to give my perspective, I didn’t think only my perspective would give voice to the many questions you asked. So I got together with 3 other black women so you will find the replies saying ‘we’. All of our feelings are combined. We agreed almost 100% on the majority of things. Honestly it was a learning opportunity for each of us when we differed in our opinions. The black experience is a spectrum and hopefully this provided you with a wider one than me doing it alone would have. 
Much to my chagrin, she went on to say the following:
The comments provided are a compilation of thoughts and feelings of me and 3 other black women. We tried to respond as honestly as we could. Our willingness to engage in these discussions vary, but they were willing to diversify the feedback to you because I asked them to. I am not sure how you plan to use this information but these are feelings we feel safe with releasing.

Even after you read the information below, understand people still have not opened up fully. They have not discussed the hurt closest to their heart. They are angry, afraid, and cautious. There are still unthinkable and unspeakable things that have not been brought to the light. Trauma so terrible, they cannot be uttered. A kind of trauma no white person in America could fathom. 

Black Lives Matter

I don’t know if the following blog post will help anyone else other than myself however, I would like to believe somehow my words and their words of education would live long after I do and ring out through the coming generations to others so our future won’t make the same mistakes we are repeating today. 

  • What do you say Justice is?
    • The question almost implies that black people hold a different definition from others. Our ‘perspective’ on the word Justice is the same, it doesn’t matter because this definition already exists. Yes, it is both a behavior and a treatment. Justice in action looks like (not in any specific order):
      • Being aware of micro aggressions
      • Not letting black people to the all the work/ the only ones fighting
      • Reparations (goes back 400 years)
      • Representation in leadership in government/business etc., so the discussions continue.
      • Education of youth, stop the cycle.
    • Justice is seeking what’s right for a wrong that has been done. When I think of justice, I think of God. He is a just GOD and as men and women of God we should stand up against injustice in the natural but more so in the spirit as well. The word of God tells us to love our neighbor as ourself.
      • So if you were treated unfairly or unjustly, how would you want to be heard? How would you want to be treated?
      • I believe the greatest issue is we first need to love God with all of our mind, soul, heart, and strength. When we do these things, we will love what HE loves and hate what HE hates. Proverbs 28:5 says that evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. So seek ye first the kingdom of God and all its righteous, so that you may understand what is good and perfect in His sight.
      • He is the judge and He will judge all according to their deeds and actions. But in order to acquire the justice that the bible speaks of, we must submit and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. The word speaks clearly on how God views righteous judgement. Take time and really read:
        Ecclesiastes 3:17, Hebrews 10:30, Hosea 12:6, Job 12:22, Proverbs 21:15, Proverbs 24: 24-25, Matthew 5:38-39Isaiah 30:18-19Isaiah 61:8-9, Isaiah 1:17Psalm 106:3Zachariah 7:9Leviticus 19:15Psalm 33:5Isaiah 51: 4
    • I have two strikes against me. I am black and I am a woman.

 

  • What does BLM stand for? 
    • A human rights movement
    • Black Lives Matter
    • I am not black, I am not white but I am from a minority race. I am against violence and looting but I believe that without this riots there is no change. Riots have come and go thru the years and many involving police brutality but this one stand out because a whole state is coming out of quarantine of a pandemic that was killing black people faster than any other race. A quarantine where so many racial incidents were recorded on video; the insult is in your face.
    • BLM should not have to be a thing if it was understood by everyone that every life matters.
    • BLM is a cry, is a SCREAM to be seen and heard.
    • BLM is to me: people who look like me and who don’t look like me rally together to speak out against white supremacy and build power within the community.
    • It means that my life and the life of other African American’s matter.
  • What does “Black Lives Matter” mean? 
    • It means what every other human rights movement means, “the right to life and liberty…”
    • It means that we matter too.
    • For the most, whites, they still think they are worth more and elite. We are still n******, wetbacks, and such in their eyes regardless how far we come up or contribute. Piss them off and they will call you a racist slur.

 

  • How is BLM different than ALM (All lives matter)?
    • All lives matter was reactionary to a community self-advocating (with allies) and pointing out that black lives were seen as less than.
      We liked this analogy using a Christian lens:
      BLM= “blessed are the poor in spirit”
      ALM= “no Jesus, blessed are all people”
    • Imagine your kid being in a classroom where the teacher says, you all matter. But because your child is different from the rest, they are treated differently. Everyday they come in the class and the teachers say’s you all matter but your kid is being treated as if he/she doesn’t matter. Eventually they will speak up and say, hey I matter too!!! How would that make you feel as a mother? Would you not say my child matters too or would you tell your hurting child that all the kids matter?
    • BLM is different than ALM because it takes the focus off what is truly happening. Everyone is given one life, and to think that your privilege affords you to feel or not feel in a certain way on the lives of black people while we are mistreated. As we die in our homes, the streets, wherever, our tears could mean the difference between life and death.
    • All lives matter is 100% facts! The only thing is we see to some people (unfortunately those also being some in power) show us in a discriminatory way that the statement “all lives matter rings untrue”. So I say yes, all lives should matter, but can not and will not be that a true and valid statement until we see black lives matter. That’s the difference.

 

  • What do white women need to know?
    • Stop tokenizing friendships with POC (i.e. I am not racist because I have a black friend).
      • Educate yourselves, for mothers educate your children.
      • If you have no POC in your immediate community/network/friendships, think about why. And through self-reflection look to see if you are a part of the reason or part of communities of people who are.
      • Outside of legitimate reason such as proximity, read black literature, watch films/documentaries, research, expand your family’s perspectives through education, activities, and build/keep a humble curiosity. And, do all this even without POC around.
    • As a woman in general you should know what it feels like to be discriminated because of your gender. You know what it feels like to not be taken seriously or to go unheard because of your gender. To be treated unfairly or unjustly. Most woman of any race knows what its like to experience this. So just dig deep and see if you remember a time this may have happen to you.
      • How did it make you feel?
      • What did you want to say?
      • Woman matter too, right?
    • A white woman’s tears could shut a city down, charge a innocent man with murder, and have a man hung from a tree. Sadly the things I have listed has been hidden from our history books and told as bedtime nightmares.
    • We seen how powerful our voices are! I witnessed it with the “Me too movement”. Don’t let the difference in skin and injustice silence your voice for your allies. We are sisters. And right now we need to send a united message as we have before.

 

  • How do we need to listen to our friends that are POC (People of Color)?
    • Don’t speak first, don’t just hear, listen, empathize.
    • Don’t generalize, and don’t let your opinions/preconceptions supersede our experiences.
    • If you don’t already understand the POC perspectives, don’t try to fit their experiences into your conceptualizations.
    • You listen the same way you would listen to a white person who is hurting. We are no different we just want to be heard. Being sympathetic to someone else pain and suffering shows you are compassionate and that you care.
    • If you are comfortable, you are not growing. I appreciate you for allowing me to give my thoughts freely.
    • Ask questions, get uncomfortable, put your pride aside, and listen. We have to start somewhere.

 

  • “Black lives are more important than white feelings.” “Black lives take precedence over white tears and fragility.” Do you agree or disagree with these quotes? 
    • YES! When did someone’s hurt feelings matter more than someone having breath in their body, or access to education, or civil liberties?
    • To be frank, we don’t care about white tears or fragility. Black tears built this country and revolutions take place it is because we are tired of crying.
    • If you take the words black and white out then it will read: lives are more important than feelings. Lives take precedence over tears and fragility. A feeling can be fixed and cared for. Tears can be wiped away, and fragile can be made strong again. But a life that has been taken can never be replaced.
    • I’ve dealt with being called a n***** by my teacher, spit on and having to fight. I have been jumped on by 2 teachers and being kicked out for protecting myself while the whole class reported that it wasn’t my fault. I was told by the police not to walk in certain neighborhoods, stay on my side where I belong and more but it comes to a point where walking away or turning a cheek makes your self-worth as a person and your spirit to be broken down or diminished. I’ve never let anyone diminish me but they have tried and weapons were and are formed to try. This applies to all miniorities. We deal with a lot on our jobs.
    • Yes. Its time to admit that white privilege is a real thing and being on the wrong end of the stick of it can be deadly. We have to acknowledge a problem before we can fix it instead of dancing around it.

 

  • How do People of Color let white people in to understand what is going on?
    • This question’s structure is part of the problem. It is phrased in a way that puts the blame on black people. “Let us in” implies that POC have kept white people out of understanding something. At no point were black people not receptive to white understanding our plight. The problem is because white people don’t have to deal with these issues on a daily basis, they have the privilege to ignore what has always been there.
    • To let anyone in they must be trusted. Meaning I’m not going to let you in if you don’t care about my pain. I really don’t understand this question.
    • No one needs to read books or watch a movie or be educated on racism, just treat your neighbor like you would like to be treated. If you see injustice, get involved, report it, don’t stay silence. It’s not right.
    • By opening up and speaking on their realities and experiences. We’re all in the same boat, some just have a better seat or view. Use your voice to bring awareness.

 

  • Where and how do we find a place to listen and to hear People of Color?
    • I don’t believe there is a special place, more of a concern. If you have someone in your life who is of color then talk to them. Stop being afraid. If they were your friend before then there shouldn’t be a problem with sitting down and having a talk if you are truly sincere about what’s going on in their lives. What’s their struggles?
    • You can read some books, a blog, facebook, or watch a movie. You can even listen to a song. Its been out there you just have to open your eyes and ears to hear.
    • “place?” There is no specific place, it is in every moment of life. The conversations don’t need a specific place, they just need to happen with or without POC present all the time. “There is no wrong time to do the right thing.”

 

  • How do white people/women help, grow and change? Do we need to change? Give us direction.
    • I don’t feel like this is a question that needs to be asked, given all the above. But if white people don’t think Justice should prevail, then do nothing. That is why we are quoting “Not being racist is not enough, you have to actively anti-racist.”
    • It all starts with the renewal of the mind. Renewing your mind to the word of God and erasing generational mindsets that have been passed down through your blood line. I believe this is all learned behavior. It starts in the mind but the mind can be changed. We all have mindsets that need to be torn down and then rebuild. So in turn it starts in the home. What you teach and show your children matters. What are you teaching/modeling to your kids about other races? Transform how you think and your actions will follow.
    • Phone a friend, text, or log on to social media, ask and inquire! Reach out and let someone know, “Hey! I’m here and I want to help.”

 

  • Recently, it has been said repeatedly that it is not the People of Color’s responsibility or job to educate white people about the matter of BLM or racism.
    • This question is often infuriating because it seems like people, in general, put in the energy to learn the things they care about. How have others learned that billions of people don’t have access to clean water, or that being poor leads to increased likelihood of negative health outcomes? Curiosity, research, education, and training. All of this is available when it comes to the BLM and fighting against racism.
    • White people can attend seminars, reading books, attend town halls, joining community initiatives, and do the work to understand a problem.
    • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In many of these spaces you may be the only white person sitting in the room. That in its self is a powerful way to increase empathy for the black experience. So at the end of the day educating yourself and being aware is the first step. You don’t need to protest or be at the frontlines to part of the change. There are multiple venues to make impact.
    • If you are aware of the injustices of black lives and you want to help and grow and cause change, then half the work is already done! Now be about it! Practice that in your day to day. Treat those the way you would want to be treated and fight for those as you would want for some one to fight for you. Step in and show up, everyday.

 

  • I don’t want any more families to be hurt. I don’t want any more people to be killed because of the color of their skin. It is scary and sad. What a sad day it is in America. Is it possible for all of us to live in a safe space and not be afraid of offending anyone because of the color of our skin?
    • Offense is different than actively using racism to marginalize and brutalize people. If all the black community felt was offended, we don’t think we would be where we are today. This is past offensive, it is again connected to human rights.
    • Sadly, we don’t think there is one solution and if it will happen in our generation but we do think it can and will be much better in the next coming years.
    • That’s a fantasy. The bible says in Luke 17:1 that it is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. There are evil spirits who are always on the prow seeking who they can use to do what they came to do and that is to steal, kill, and destroy. So it’s up to you if you choose to be a vessel who offends.

 

  • Would reading certain books help us understand racism? Are there any suggestions you would make for blogs and books to read so we can understand? Please list the title and author here.
    • Yes, there are blogs, social media pages, and bookstores that have list of reads. From historical reads to narratives. Use them all to gain knowledge of the spectrum of the black experience in America.
    • Read the Bible. Read about Azusa St. by Frank Bartleman, How to Kill a mocking bird. Harriet Tubman: The Road to freedom. Ask God to lead you to the ones that will best open up your understanding to all of this.
    • If reading is your thing then yes. I personally would recommend Maya Angelo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and The lyrics and poems of Tupac.

 

  • It has been said that “Colorblind” white children grow up to be racially dismissive and violent.” Do you agree or disagree with that opinion? Why?
    • Yes, because the whole concept is teaching them to not acknowledge and respect differences in perspectives, lifestyle, cultures, and religions. The only time color blind should be mentioned is when it is a diagnosis from a physician.
    • Agree, I think “colorblind” is just a nice way of saying “I’ll turn a blind eye if and when a situation or problem comes up related/ associated with your color.”

 

  • There have been photos of People of color and police or People of Color and white people hugging to show kindness in the world. Some say this image perpetuates a false narrative and unity looks like focusing on kindness instead of equity. Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. What do you believe? 
    • We agree, though it seems nice at first glance, it is giving a false narrative. One because this march wasn’t about the ‘good cops’, it is about the culture inside of the profession that has allowed for injustices to occur. The media is almost using those images to distract from the deeply rooted hurt in the black community.
    • I am a woman of God so when I see this, I see God working and moving. I see God’s goodness. But this statement is not dismissing the kindness shown in these pictures. They are saying they want more than just a hug and a pat on the back. They want action as well.
    • It just depends on someone’s intentions and perspective. I happen to like those photos. For me, it helps me visualize a future I want to see for my little brothers’ future, but I do understand how they can be used to make it look as though there isn’t much progress that has to be made or things aren’t that bad to try and glaze things over. Times are crazy and confusing. Just do your part and don’t get distracted by white noise. I stray away from people that just want to argue about anything and everything, and find a group of people that want to cause change instead of just talking about it.

 

  • “Compassion without accountability is manipulation.” Do you agree or disagree?
    • We were not completely sure what this was getting to. However, we will say, feeling sorry for someone eventually fades if you don’t see how it affects your life. The major reason why we see what we see today through riots is because there are a lot of people who are not overtly racist but they said nothing or committed to nothing to make it stop. After a while, the silence of people who see injustice becomes just as hurtful as the people who did the direct harm. If people are not part of the solution in some way (we listed ways that people can be part of the solution above) then they are part of the problem.
    • It all depends on the person’s motive behind it. If a person is only being compassionate so that you shut up and forget about the situation then yes it is. Basically, if your compassion has a hidden agenda then yes it’s manipulation at its core. A man judges the outer appearance but God judges the heart. Just because you see with your eyes that this person is being compassionate doesn’t mean their heart is right. A spirit filled person with discernment will understand this more than anybody else.

 

  • “Racism isn’t cured by ignorance, apathy or kindness.” Do you agree or disagree?
    • Agree. Systemic problems can only be solved by systemic solutions. Racism systemic. Look at the system, see the history of brokenness, and start to see what part you can play to repair and reconcile.
    • I agree. Action must be taken. Faith without works is dead. When has ignorance ever helped any situation? Even the bible says get wisdom and with all of your getting get knowledge and with all of your knowledge get understanding.
      Apathy, if you got wounded and chose to have lack of interest or concern about it the wound, does that make the wound go away? No, it doesn’t as a matter of fact, because you chose to ignore it will now become infected and worse than it was before. So, when I see a white person who never experienced racism be apatheic to racism that shows me that you don’t care and it’s not your problem. You don’t have to deal with that at all, so why care?
      Kindness shows that you are sympathetic but your actions enforces it. What are you willing to do as an individual to see a change in this world? Being kind is not implementing change but it is a start. Never stop being kind but action must be taken with it.

 

Lives are in danger and it is up to us to shed light on that, rather than focus on exceptions to the rule.

 

Pray for the loss of this nation.

Educate your family. 

Listen. Silence can reinforce racism so begin hard conversations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Has this article benefited you in any way? Let me know in the comment section below. Share to spread awareness.

 

May God bless America.

 

Astonishingly Honest #WhyIStayed graphics & shocking Domestic Violence statistics

posted on: October 9, 2018

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the focus is on making America aware of this nightmare. Awareness plus Action creates change so I am willing to do my part, however small that might be. Please contact me via lauraaranda@owlofhope.com to come to your school, church, book club and host a workshop concerning human trafficking in America and how it affects our American runaways.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. 

A woman is beaten every nine seconds in America.

 

#WhyIStayed

 

10,000,000

That is the number of minor children exposed to domestic violence every single year. Just let that heartbreaking number sink in for a moment. These are your Sunday school kids, your classroom students, your neighborhood kids playing in the streets. We have to do something! 

 

 

Need help?

In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN.

https://hotline.rainn.org/online/

For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website. https://www.nsvrc.org

 

 

Between 55 percent and 98 percent of child sex-trafficking cases involved children who had prior involvement in the child welfare system.

Runaway and homeless youth are at particularly high risk for exploitation
by traffickers: A survey of youth in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah, found that 50 percent of homeless youth reported having been solicited for sex by an adult.

Reports have also indicated that one out of every three runaways will be “lured toward” prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we may not know exactly how many young people are being sexually exploited and abused by traffickers in the United States, it is clear that the sex trafficking of children and teenagers is a significant problem that deserves concerted attention. The challenges presented by these cases are not insurmountable, and there is a growing coalition of lawmakers from both parties who are committed to strengthening state and federal laws to better protect young people from this devastating form of abuse. There is also a strong community of anti-trafficking advocates committed to raising awareness about sex trafficking of minors and developing policy proposals and best practices for identifying and apprehending traffickers and providing supportive services to victims.

 

above notes taken from:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/HumanTrafficking-brief.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one thing you can do to improve all areas of your life at the same time – invest in yourself. The most famous investor of all time, Warren Buffett, says: “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” Go do something, become proud of yourself, get a career, go back to school, pick up a hobby, gain self confidence so you do not have to be subject to the opinions of another partner. 

 

 

🌟 Laura’s Daily Intention🌟

An *accountability partner* is great to have when we’re tackling big goals. Today, think about someone you can have in your corner as your work to get productive.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

posted on: July 27, 2018

I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way on this journey including the SWLA Abolitionists group, and other authors doing their part in spreading awareness. 

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

The United Nations has declared July 30th to be World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Use this Day to spread awareness in your area. Do podcasts, youtube videos or social media posts. I’d love to help! lauraaranda@owlofhope.com 

#HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking #pushingbackthedarkness

If you need someone to speak to your homeschool group, church or book club contact me! lauraaranda@owlofhope.com

 

Share our hashtags and create those difficult conversations this month so others can be aware. 

 

 

America, What Nicaragua needs you to know and share

posted on: May 31, 2018

The below interview is from a man we met while in Nicaragua. His name has been excluded as well as the church he attends. I created this interview with him in a desperate attempt to get America’s attention.

Though he primarily speaks Spanish and responded to me in Spanish, all of his answers will be translated into English for our readers.

The strong Nicaraguan people are resilient but as they march on their Mother’s Day holiday this year they did not celebrate. The people declared it a day of mourning for the fallen as the death toll as reached over 80 people. Right now they are in what they call, “The Mother of all Marches”! This is a march for their freedom, for their liberties and for the future generations who don’t have a clue what terror Communism brings. You will see real photos here, however, I chose not to share some of the more graphic pictures he sent over. They were gruesome and worse than anything movies could portray. This is real. 

READ the interview and SHARE SHARE SHARE the interview to get the news out. These are real time events. Most importantly, PRAY!

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of

Tennyson

 

 

¿Dónde vives en Nicaragua?

Where do you live in Nicaragua? 

In a Managua neighborhood in an old mansion

 

¿Puedes decirle a América la línea de tiempo de los eventos nicaragüenses?

Can you tell America the timeline of the Nicaraguan events?

There has been up to three marches per week due to suspension of the dialogue.

 

¿Alguno de su familia ha estado involucrado?

Has any of your family been involved? 

Two of my innocent cousins were hurt just for the pleasure. On Wednesday, they took them and my aunt to the place where they are tortured and forced to beg them not to kill them. The police are murderous and corrupt.

¿Hay ‘chicos buenos’ y ‘chicos malos’ en Nicargua?

Are there ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in Nicargua? 

The ‘good ones’ are the students and the ‘bad ones’ are the JS: Sandinista youth.

 

*Laura: The aggressive Sandinista Youth run about armed with iron pipes into the crowds of protestors with police protection. Vicious and cruel. 

 

¿Qué debe cambiar?

What needs to change? 

The government because it is very corrupt.

 

¿Qué debe suceder para que Nicargua sea pacífico?

What needs to happen to make Nicargua peaceful? 

Nicaragua has been peaceful, but because of the situation the country has worsened and there are many armed people.

 

¿Qué quieres que América sepa?

What do you want America to know? 

Let him know that we want a new change of government.

 

¿Cómo puede ayudar América?

How can America help? 

America can help if they will intervene in removing the corrupt from power.

 

¿Hay algo que Estados Unidos pueda hacer para ayudar a Nicaragua?

Is there anything America can do to help Nicaragua? 

Removing the corrupt from power helps the country improve the situation of Nicaragua since the president refuses to resign.

 

Comparta cualquier historia que desee que América sepa sobre Nicaragua.

Gracias.

¡Mantenerse a salvo! Que Dios bendiga a tu familia.

Share any story you want America to know about Nicaragua. 

Thank you. 

Stay safe! God bless your family. 

 

The story that needs to be told is that Nicaragua is repeating the same story for the second time when it is in shambles.

 

There is so much more I could add. There is constantly new information coming out but I just wanted to send out this plea from a citizen there. PRAY for them! Share this blog post and interview so it can open people’s eyes to the devastation going on right now. Find me on Facebook:

You should be able to see the album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155839692111185.1073742148.734416184&type=1&l=eb5c2edc49

and you can see an album full of more pictures of Nicaragua and our trip there recently.

 

 

 

America, this is what the beautiful people of Nicaragua need you to know.

According to Wikipedia: On 18 April 2018, demonstrators in several cities of Nicaragua began protests against President Daniel Ortega‘s decree of social security reforms that increased taxes and decreased benefits. After five days of unrest in which nearly 30 people were killed, Ortega announced the cancellation of the reforms. However, the opposition has grown to denounce Ortega and demand his resignation, becoming one of the largest protests in his government’s history and the deadliest civil conflict since the end of the Nicaraguan Revolution.

Amazon.com: Pushing Back the Darkness eBook:Laura Aranda: Kindle Store.99

posted on: March 23, 2018

Amazon.com: Pushing Back the Darkness eBook: Laura Aranda: Kindle Store
— Read on www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B071146W2D/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

 

 

My book is.99 download today. I’m busy gardening. Enjoy your weekend with my book! Please don’t forget to leave an Amazon review!!

 

 


 

Interview with Abigail Howard, CEO of Project Micah 6:8

posted on: February 27, 2018

Micah 6:8 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

23798866_1387461181362876_1851329248_o   Abigail Howard is currently a college student attending Florida Atlantic University. She agreed to do an interview with me.

I love highlighting women who are out to help change the world and impact their community in positive ways. She is so awesome!

Abigail is the CEO of a 501 © (3) organization called Project Micah 6:8 that works with safe houses for human trafficking victims. 

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What do you study?

I am studying criminal justice in order to join the FBI.

 

What are your greatest professional strengths?

My greatest strengths are determination, drive, passion, and diligence.

Greatest Weaknesses?

Never giving up.

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

I am the CEO of a 501 © (3) organization called Project Micah 6:8 that works with safe houses and human sex trafficking survivors all while spreading awareness of this dilemma.

What do you think you overcome to be who you are today?

I had to overcome finding my place in this world and listening to God’s still small voice.

What is the last book that has made you cry?

The last book that I read that made me cry was Stolen by Katariina Rosenblatt. This was her story in how she escaped human sex trafficking and how she found God through it.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job would be working with the FBI in fighting the horrific crimes of human sex trafficking.

What is your definition of success?

Success to me can be anything you put your mind to. But most importantly, you are following God’s plan for your life.

Would you say you are successful and in what ways?

I am successful because I have God on my side. Without Him, this organization would not be possible.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

My greatest professional achievement would be creating a nonprofit organization at the age of 18. I had multiple opinions of how I should run my own life, but I defied those opinions and continued on God’s path.

Do you have long-term goals that you can share with the readers?

Looking into the future for Project Micah 6:8, God put in my heart to be able to fund even more safe houses around the world that rescue and care for each survivor.

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If a young person walked up asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

I would tell them to live in the moment.

Life goes by so fast and most of us just wish for tomorrow to come.

All it takes is to look down and see where your feet are planted, because there is a reason why you are there so just embrace it.

I created my first vision board this year. It hangs by my bed. Have you ever created a vision board?

I live by my vision board! I look forward to what God will do with it, and love when I cross out things that were accomplished!

Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

Be Kind. Because you never know how much a simple hello can mean to somebody.

Micah 6-8

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you?

I would love to answer any questions that comes to someone’s mind!

You can email be at projectmicahsixeight@gmail.com

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/projectmicah68

 

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Craft a Community, Interview with Kate Guerrero

posted on: February 22, 2018

Kate Guerrero is one of those people we all need in our life. We busy ourselves with stuff and lose out of valuable friendship and relationship building moments. She is working to solve that problem. Check out her interview and think about reaching out to her to help your circle of influence as well. 

A poem on her Facebook Page couldn’t be passed up. I wanted to share that here as well:

“With one invitation, we can take someone
From outsider to insider
From outcast to beloved member
From unknown neighbor to coffee companion
From wallflower to life-of-the-party
From shortened life expectancy to 80 years of joy.”

We know we need more connection and community, but we can’t worry about that right now, because all the other work of parenting is just so exhausting.

Kate decided to fix that.

What is your passion?

I am passionate about helping women connect and build real, life-giving relationships.

You mentioned one of your passions is helping women connect and develop real relationships. Can you explain that more? 

In my experience, women (particularly mothers) are often incredibly isolated and lonely. I believe that so much of what we face as women requires support! In a time when we’ve build high walls around our lives, we need in-person connection more than ever. Though online relationships with other women can be great and supportive, we need women who are physically in our lives to go with us to that funeral, make us lasagna after we have a baby, and encourage us as we take that new job.


What does a real Friendship/relationship look like?

It’s being able to talk honestly and openly without judgement, being able to see one another regularly, sharing the burden of work and family in practical ways, and offering support to each other in practical ways. How often do we assume things about the women around us, and then “filter” them out as a result? Have you ever sensed people making assumptions about you?? Are they true? Think about that a moment. 

Explain your craft kits. 

My kits are a reason to gather and make friends on purpose! I send a complete set of all supplies to create something pretty – no artistic ability required! You gather the women, order the kit, and I’ll send you the rest! The kit for January was Painted Rocks – super simple, super gorgeous, and a great invitation to bring women together. I’m so excited to present the craft for February! It’s super simple, super gorgeous, and easy enough for literally ANYONE  Perfect for gathering a few friends or neighbors, a mom’s night out, a MOPS table get-together, a book club activity, or the kick-off for your very own Craft Group! (Heart Magnets)

What gave you the idea to do this?
I taught some art classes in my house and was amazing at how quickly and easily the women started connecting – even though some had just met for the first time. Having something to do with your hands makes the small talk process SO much easier and less awkward. Also – I’m personally always looking for reasons to invite women to gather – and this seemed like a natural fit!

“As women, particularly if we’re moms, the effort required to plan an activity, schedule it in, and then coordinate it with other people just seems…insane. Never gonna happen. I know that sinking feeling you get when you see those cutie posts with smiling women, arms wrapped around each other, going on about how they ‘are so grateful for their sisterhood.’ It seems like a mountain you’ll just never get the energy to climb.”

 

26731636_166031010692722_7017530381522567872_nWhat action step would you suggest  to begin TODAY that would help a woman start on her Journey to create a life time Friendship?

Choose one woman in your life and schedule a time to see her in the next week. Think of some questions before you see her that will help deepen your connection – I love these: “How did you meet your SO?”

“Where are you from?”

“Do you think you’ll stay doing your job (or staying home) forever? Why?”

Building relationships takes time and patience, but the process is beautiful.

Can you explain what made you decide to follow your career path?

I started out as a middle and high school English teacher! Though I love teaching, managing a classroom of adolescents was not my best thing – and completely drained me. When I realized that parent/teacher conferences were my favorite part of the year, I realized that working with adults was much more my strength! When I became a mom, I came home to be with my kids most of the time, and I’ve become increasingly aware of how isolated, lonely, and anxious so many of the women around me seemed. I started praying and thinking about my next step at that point.

What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?

I think whatever difficulties we go through can be used to connect us to those who face the same – and teach us empathy for the struggles that everyone goes through! Your pain can become your path to fulfillment if you learn through it and find a way to help others who are in the same spot.

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

Working on this business has me out of my comfort zone every day! I am used to being hired or recruited for jobs – and having a boss who guided, directed, and validated what I’m doing. This time, it’s just me! No one asked me to do this; it’s scary to stand up and declare that I have something to say!

What is your favorite quote or mantra?

You don’t find your village – you make it!

 

If you could change one thing in your business, what would it be and why?

I’d love to skip some of the initial stages of building my business and hop right to the part where I’m speaking, writing, and creating and making a living from it!

What advice would you give someone concerning Who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?

First – determine if this is actually what you’re called to do, or if it’s just a wish/dream/goal that you’ve been told is “right.” Then, take steps to move forward while you’re still scared!

When do you feel like your true self?

When I’m speaking, teaching, writing, creating, and connecting with other women.

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

I’d be speaking out on what I believe without fear of what others think! So often I’m held back by the fear that I am too intense, too forceful, or too loud.

What is keeping people from living their best life?

A lack of clarity on what that “best life” is. I think we’re handed a playbook – particularly in America – that outlines what a “best life” includes, and we often start to pursue these things without actually evaluating if we share these values. I think this often includes an amount of money, amount of material possessions, level of career success, or level of fame – all of which are more or less valuable to different people. Don’t pick someone else’s best life – go after your own!

 

How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?

First – figure out what your values are! Then, regularly run your “goals” past these values to make sure they’re still making sense. I find that having a close friend talk through this with you is super helpful.

How do we make our values a reality?

Make big long term goals, but then make small, daily action steps. Lots of women love the idea of having a sisterhood of women around them, but they don’t take the small, important steps along the way. Send a text to check in, set up a “standing date,” order pizza for her when she’s had a hard week, remember to ask about how the important meeting went.

What are a few of your new year goals? 

This year, I have a goal to help at least 10 women start ongoing craft groups designed to gather and connect women in life-giving community.  

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? 

I support Fellowship Housing – a nonprofit in my neighborhood that supports and empowers single moms on the brink of homelessness. They are an INCREDIBLE organization, and I love that they are local to me!

How can people know more about that nonprofit? 

Check out their website! https://www.fhcmoms.org/

I know current and former staff members personally, so it’s fully vetted.

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???

Facebook: Craft a Community

Instagram: @CraftACommunity

Email: craftacommunity@gmail.com

Website: www.craftacommunity.com

 

 

Thank you so much!!! 

 

 

Interview with Tom Schutle, Author of Spiritual Ambitions, Public Speaker & Red Cross Volunteer

posted on: February 20, 2018

SPIRITUAL AMBITIONS

Our ambitions determine the kind of person we become, and the kind of person we become determines what we will do in life. And since what we do in life can have lasting—even eternal—results, it’s no surprise that many of us strive to reach our ambitions. Yet while we can be consumed with pursuing worldly, secular ambitions for career and family, our spiritual ambitions are too often left to chance as we drift through life.

Tom agreed to an interview. Enjoy! Let’s begin. Please tell the readers a little about yourself. 

My name is Tom Schutle. People have told me I am a deep thinker over a wide range of topics, and an observer.

You are an author. When did you publish your first work?  

What is the Title?

Spiritual Ambitions, (How rich Do You Want to be in Eternity) is my first book, published in January of 2018.

 

What do you do? 

 I was the environmental steward for an incinerator. I am currently retired, spending my time volunteering for the Red Cross, working in a jail and prison ministry, and writing.

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 Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences.

I am absolutely not athletic, but  rode in the BP MS-150 bicycle ride, and successfully rode from Houston to Austin (172 miles).

I also won the District 68 toastmaster evaluation contest in 2016

 What are your greatest professional strengths?

I bring a creative focus to every problem, looking to the basis to resolve them. I am also very eclectic, being well read in my field, and able to bring greatly different subjects to solve seemingly unrelated problems. I also have a high level of integrity, which has put me in interesting situations.

 

Greatest Weaknesses?

I get so focused on what I am working on that I tend to come across as aloof and intimidating.

 

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

The organization I support the most is the Gideons International, because their mission is to put the Word of God in as many places as possible where people are hungry.

 

What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?

Tough question. I grew up in a place where I had to work fields all day. As a result, I have trouble socializing at most levels.

 

What is the last book that has made you cry? 

If a fictional book is such that I would cry, I generally put it down. I am touched by true stories of people who gain success in spite of terrible circumstances and the huge cost they incur.

I just finished “Hope for the Caregiver” by Peter Rosenberger, published by Worthy Inspired. I recommend it for those that are either a primary caregiver, or soon will be.

I’m working through a book by Donald Frazier, “Greek Nuggets” published by Tate publishing.

 

What’s your dream job? 

Since I am retired, I can choose my job without worrying about hours or pay. I am getting close to living my dream job, with my efforts in prisons, and writing.

 

What is your definition of success?  

After I die, hearing Jesus say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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Would you say, while on earth now, you are successful and if so, in what ways? 

 I can never say I am 100% aligned with my definition of success. But, I am more so today than yesterday, and plan on being less today than tomorrow.

 

What are a few of your greatest professional achievements?

I have a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve, and a Masters in Engineering from the University of Louisville. More important than my degrees is the life-long attitude of continually learning. I have completed the creative writing specialization – Wesleyan University, through Coursera. As an engineer, I was once the president of an associated trade association. My writing will far eclipse that, and hopefully, will be more impactful.

 

Thank you for that! Do you have long-term goals that you can share with the readers?

Spiritual ambitions really are goals that are moving targets. No matter how close you come, the target is always just out of reach and still a viable goal. 

In many ways, Spiritual Ambitions describe my overarching life goals. I believe that our spirituality determines almost the rest of our life. Because of this, concentrating on my relationship with Jesus will positively impact the lessor parts of my life.

In a more specific sense, A second book, The Last Leaf, will be released in two months.

I have four more projects scheduled for 2018, which are:

  • “The fire in my belly,” about the journey of an immigrant family told from the perspective of his furnace, which is in polish edit
  • “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar,” discussing why we don’t see more changed lives after salvation and what we should, individually, do about it, is about half-finished
  • “Examples of Sin,” This tentative title addresses examples of sin from scripture, with the objective of putting a mirror to ourselves, is about a quarter finished
  • “Why doesn’t God hear me?” This tentative tile addresses, scriptural, reasons why God doesn’t answer prayer, is in outline form

In 2019, I’m planning another book, “The Lazy Man’s Way to a Successful Marriage,” which is at the conceptual stage.

I work best by working on the first one, then, when stuck, switching to the second, and so forth.

I have other goals (the typical lose weight, exercise, blah blah), along with reading the Bible through, participate in two exhaustive Bible studies.

 

 That’s very good! So, if a youth walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

 God has created you for a purpose that only you can accomplish. If you don’t, that purpose won’t get done. No one else can take your place. Your challenge is to discover that purpose, which starts with a practical relationship with Jesus. After that, He will guide in that purpose.  I have observed many situations where people have a good concept, but somewhere, fall down in the execution. If it really is a good goal then one should research that goal, asking for advice from those that have done the same thing or similar. 

Typically, people don’t seem to reach their goals because they haven’t “counted the cost” or in other  words, have not determined the resources (time, skills, and money) to accomplish the goal.

Using my book as an example, I soon found out I don’t have a lot of the needed skills to bring it to market. I could have learned the skill, settled for a lessor goal, or hire the work. I don’t want to learn the skill nor settle for an inferior product, so I chose the third option. My belief is these decisions will give me the best chance for my goal to be successful.

It is very hard to create. I am unable to do more than about two hours of creative thinking at one time. Much of the writing effort is “grunt” type work, such as reviewing for grammar, sentence flow, etc.

I am currently frustrated by how the seasons flow in “the Fire in my Belly.” It is important that certain things happen when there is snow, and others in summer, yet the way people age makes this extremely difficult to get correct. The difference is minor to the reader, most might not notice the issue, but I am striving to do the best I can and I know when it isn’t my best.

Finally, be very careful whom you admire. You begin to become like those you admire.

How do you go about reaching goals?

We make time for those things important to us. The key is to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. I personally like the acronym SMART when setting Goals

S – Specific

M- Measureable

A – Attainable

R- Reasonable

T- Time goal will be accomplished.

It sounds like I am very organized, but I am not. Reaching goals is a major struggle for me, which was one of the reasons behind developing “Spiritual Ambitions.”

I want to point out that I have written a detailed, twelve-page plan for “Spiritual Ambitions.” As I move through the process and learn more, I continually revise this plan.

A quote I like is “Plans are worthless, planning is invaluable.”

It is important to write goals down, and then look at them. Goals that you don’t keep and set before you to see are monuments for good thinking, not practical living.

Monuments belong in cemeteries. 

I have learned one major fact from my writing effort. The amount of resources – my time, energy, cost, and the time to bring the book to market – is far, far more than I anticipated.

 

Have you ever created a vision board? 

No. However, I use other  tools which accomplish similar objectives, such as mind maps, etc.

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I love quotes! Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

I have two

1)      Seek first the kingdom of God

2)      If everyone agrees with you, you are probably wrong.

By the way, the kingdom of God is His complete governing rule in my life.

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If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???

 

The book’s web site is www.ThomasVictorSchutle.com

Through email –daydreamsfromthelastpew@gmail.com

Impactjunkie Pitch notes at The Worklodge.

posted on: February 15, 2018

There are over 20 million people trafficked globally and this crime not including the porn industry profits an estimated $150 billion dollars a year.

Let me begin by sharing a true story of an average American family. We were raising a family. Buying a house. Working. My husband is a union crane operator working here in Houston. We were driving along the hwy in November 2014 when we came across a museum where I learned about the history and current problems of human trafficking and how relevant this is to today’s society.
That day changed the way I saw the world paround me. It was just the beginning for me. I went home realizing I wasn’t hearing enough about human trafficking.

Human trafficking is old bondage of people selling people for a profit, predators preying on vulnerabilities of the weak.

I began to study and According to the National center for missing and exploited children an estimated 2 million American kids runaway from home every year. Within 48 to 72 hours on the streets, one third fall into the hands of pornagraphy and prostitution.

I published a fiction novel In April of last year titled Pushing Back the Darkness and have sold hundreds of copies. I’m working with a team of eight writers and we are in the second phase of editing a curriculum now titled Called Out: A 16 session emotional healing and restoration curriculum for survivors of sexual abuse. Our goal is to have this published In July of this year.

I have been invited to teach and bring awareness to over thirty different settings and speaking engagements at churches, schools and libraries , but I want to scale these workshops and replicate them across America. Research your city and community. Human trafficking affects all of us.

My goal is to launch this program engaged in the fight to end modern-day slavery & help with aftercare of survivors. Through education and awareness we can bring Hope to those who have none. We can change the very communities we live in by making meaningful impact in a place of need. We have identified the problem and now we offer a solution. Thank you.

Those were my notes from the IMPACTJUNKIE meeting at the Worklodge which was an incredible place!!

The original Temple of #Solomon was built with cedars from #Lebanon. When the foundation of the new temple was laid, the description of simultaneous joy and weeping is noted in #Ezra chapter 3 :10-13. The older community remembered the former temple and the new generation was celebrating.

You will not find recorded here the grumbling, murmurs or complaints of the older crowd. One reads the sound was heard a far off and people couldn’t discern the noise of joy from the noise of grief and weeping. They did it together. Unity. The old hand in hand with the new.

There was no thought of “if it’s not done my way then we cannot work together”

The glorious praise was shouted when the expectation of the temple #foundation was laid and the first steps completed. They had a long journey a head of them but the work could not be done alone. The people had to work together in unity.

There was mourning for the loss and rememberance of the #destruction of the original temple but the glory of the New Temple would surpass that of the first.

How does that apply to Impactjunkie.co?????

What does that have to do with Tribes!?

Well, I believe that We must all work together and not have a “my way” mindset.

Or a hindsight viewpoint of constantly remembering the old ways and not putting our hand to the plow and helping with what’s going on today and now.

Today and #Tomorrow is a better day. We are headed to a bright future of the church if we work together to bring in the harvest and labor for souls #together.

Help your brother with his dream. Help your sister with her vision. Work together for the kingdom of God.

Impactjunkie.co may be a New thing but it is out there helping others and using the tools we have in our hands. Using our time

Talent and treasures today….get involved!

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