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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tips for Family Violence


Violence in relationships are a common scenario and sky rocketing in this tough economy. I teach and train women in the community on violence and how to name abuse and how to get help. Men as well as women are abused, but we know more women go seek help. There are many forms of violence. Let me name a few:



Sexual Violence



Emotional Violence



Psychological Violence



Verbal Abuse



Financial Abuse



Physical Abuse



Social Abuse



Violence toward Property or Pets



Many of us do not realize that abuse is not ONLY physical. Researchers state that men and women that are in abusive relationships say that they would rather have the physical abuse occur because physical abuse heals. The wounds from verbal, psychological, or emotional can stay with us for years to come. One must seek counsel in some form or another to heal the trauma.



I teach the women that I train on violence, there is hope to end this cycle of abuse. In order for the cycle to continue, there are two main fuels to keep it going.



•Power

•Control

Please see the violence wheel above. You will see that in the middle, what keeps the cycle going, is power and control. At the outside of the wheel is the different forms of abuse. Inside, are the dynamics and how they play out in the relationship. For example: One of the triangles talks about isolation. Many women in abusive relationships are kept away from their loved ones. Many times women as well as men, will keep this a secret because of the shame and guilt they feel.



There are some red flags that can help you identify if you are in a abusive relationship.





•Is your partner telling you what you can and cannot wear?

•Is your partner jealous or asking where you are often?

•Are you financially equal in your relationship- Example: Do you have to ask for money, even if your the bread winner? Is your partner controlling the money?

•Are you able to voice your opinion on issues- A healthy relationship is based on equality.

•Are you getting texted, emailed, called, via phone where you feel uncomfortable?

•Are you able to work and/ or follow your bliss, or does your partner feel insecure and escalate when your doing what you enjoy?

•Is your partner telling you who you can be with and even telling you what to say to your family and friends?

•Are you able to be with people you love without scorn from your partner?

It takes only six months to see the cycle of violence occur in your relationship.



Do not ignore the signs or red flags of abuse, it could cost you your life. We give women safety plans that help keep them safe.



Statistics



The Boston Bar Journal states that battered women are often severely injured.-( 22-35% of women) who visit medical emergency rooms are there for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse.



Women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay as stated by the National Coalition against domestic violence.



Two out of three female victims of violence knew their attacker and a woman is beaten every 15 seconds according to the bureau of justice.



Articles in battered womens journals, indicate that women of all cultures,races, occupations,income levels and ages are battered.



I just facilitated a training in my community on Wednesday. I trained for one hour, gave the women a break, and by the time we came back for one more hour, I learned one of the women had been beaten when she went to pick up her things from her abuser. She did everything right. She took an advocate and staff member with her, from a nonprofit, that helps support women in abuse. She was pulled in her old apartment by her ex- boyfriend. The moment her ex- boy friend saw her, he pulled her in, locked the door and brutally beat her. The police were called and she is now unrecognizable to her friends and family.



" To have one's individuality completely ignored is like being pushed quite out of life. Like being blown out as one blows out a light." Evelyn Scott



I have trained for fifteen years in the area of violence/perpetration and hope. I would not take this heavy issue or cause on, if I did not believe there is hope. My hope is that you will befriend those that share with you their secret of abuse . Let them know every community has a crisis line and they can receive support.



Please commit your lives to nonviolence, as violence starts within each of us if we choose to let it. Please choose peace. Go out in the world and exude peace. May peace be with each of you. Know that no one deserves to be put down, hurt physically, or emotionally. Know you did not cause the abuse. One chooses to abuse and one can choose to stay or leave an abusive relationship.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Golf Fundraiser- Volunteerism and The Human Spirit

I am a director of volunteers at a human service agency. I am so proud of the fact that in my position, I see each and every day, in the people I interview, human beings that want to help better the world, themselves and our at risk families.




I research and network with many different volunteer management organizations. I have learned that the state of Minnesota is highly ranked for community and volunteering. I am proud of this and am proud as I read that most states are very knowledgeable about the fact that giving back helps all of us. I believe we are all connected whether we live in different states, have different religious backgrounds, come from different races. I love diversity. Diversity is what makes us learn who we are and see their are different perspectives.



We did a golf fundraiser last week for our at risk families. It is the fourth one our agency has put on. Talk about a fun day and great cause to see all these golfers out there on the holes to help the homeless.



I can honestly say that I have seen a part of the human spirit that has touched me as a director of volunteers and as a person. You must see the link here on volunteering.



I hope that my simple hub has helped you feel better about the human heart as well as encourage you to volunteer.



"Volunteers make the world go round"



Laura Arne



Perspectives Inc



www.volunteeringinamerica.gov

Blogging & Writing- Feeling Grateful

I am writing this story to share my gratitude to my followers.  I have not been blogging for very long, but I feel as if it is part of me. The community, the caring, the great online relationships, the fantastic support. Do any of you feel like I do, like writing and the support of followers has breathed life into you? I feel grateful that this opportunity exists here for me.



I have always loved to write, but after many crisis' in life which is just part of the design, It was hard for me to just sit down and write. There was a part of me, that creative part that had been stagnant for too long. I see now that no matter what is happening in my life I need to write as it is my healing.



You have all made me feel so confident here about my writing and gave me support when I felt that my blog was not good enough. I have learned the do's and don'ts of blogging of which I learned from all of you. You have enlightened me in many ways here.



A friend of mine yesterday shared a story with me about the value of writing and how we need to keep our creative juices flowing to survive. Her friend is a young woman around 43 with two kids and a husband. She came to my buddy telling her that the only reason she was not going to take her life, which she felt was useless, was because she is so stubborn.



My friend told her about the power of writing and how healing it would be for her. Now this woman just laughed and said something to the effect of " Ya, right, like writing could save my life".



Well, my buddy knew she needed a solid plan so her friend could see through the blackness and the pain that was telling her to take her life. She had been reading a book that she could not put down called " The Artists Way". I am sure many of you know the book. It not only is a great read but has you participating in writing activities to inspire healing.



The link is http://www.theartistsway.com/ I am no expert on this book believe me since I have only looked at it bits at a time online. My point is, that writing is an incredible experience, a process that opens up our energy in ways we cannot fathom.



I know your all wondering what happened to my buddies friend. She said this book, the process of writing has cleared her head again and she has hope. Yes, you heard me right fellow writers. She is so happy again and her family has witnessed the light back in her eyes, the excitement of life, the product of the creative process.



I guess I just wanted you all know that I am grateful too. I have a different perception of my life now that I am writing everyday. Yes, my kids wish I wasn't writing everyday, but I know it role models to them that mom has her own passions too. Writing has been so healing for me and speaking as a psychotherapist in trade I can say, yes, there are many forms of healing, not just counseling and talk therapy. Ha.



I hope my blog has you feeling grateful too for this gift, the alchemist process that writing is. I hope you have a great day and feel the gratitude that comes from writing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Values- What Values do You Hold Dear?- Are you judgemental-Find Out Now


I am fascinated by values. Values we all hold dear to us. If we were to prioritize our top three values what would yours be? Do you hold these values but not live them? Try to sit down with pen and paper. Write down your top three values in your life. Do your values show up in your real life?




How long will it take you? For some of us, we can jot it down quickly, but some of us are very frustrated by this excersize. Ask your self why it was easy or hard. That is where I want your heart right now.



Why is it important to look at our values?



Let me give an example here of values and what we think of others or how we judge.



Lets say your in line at a grocery store. It is an upper end grocery store. You see in front of you a woman with a child, a small child. This woman is dressed in very fine clothes. The child is dressed very nice. The woman puts her food down on the grocery counter. You notice she has nice steaks, lobster, fruits, vegetables, and candy and donuts. She looks up at the cashier and pays him with food stamps.



I am asking you to be very honest with yourself here. First of all, was it hard to write down three of your most top values? Perhaps it was easy for you. Why?



Let us be brutally honest with ourselves. How do we judge or put value judgements on this woman at the grocery counter? Maybe you thought it was good that she had some quality food such as steak and lobster, or you felt pangs of envy that she could afford them, or you judged her for buying such food.



What did you think or value on the clothes she and the child wore as you noticed they were on welfare? This is where I want your mind to go. What do you really think of this scenario.



I put on a training this past weekend for our new clinical interns that will be working with our homeless families. I had these students really dig deep into their hearts to find out how they put values or judgements on others. I showed these students pictures of certain people and had them rate them on how they looked. I had one picture of a woman and a baby dressed very nice and sitting on a bench. I told the students that this woman was a homeless woman who lived on the streets.



It is important that we look at how we percieve others. We may be assuming they are something that they are not. Lets us not judge others by what they wear, how they look, perhaps you would feel different if you knew their story.



I showed another picture of a man in jeans in my power point. Most of the students rated him low. I told all of them that this man was a billionaire and very generous with his money. He had a generous heart. Does it matter if he has a lot of money. How do you value money. Perhaps it is the human heart you value. I encourage you to critically think about this question.



I hope this hub can help you look at your self and the people who you deal with in your life and ask yourself if your judging a book by its cover. "To err is human" But to look within is Wise"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blue Jean Clouds- Come Blog with me


I fly in and out of my washed out blue Jean clouds

Blogger pages flys with me

We glide so free, Come on bloggers fly with me

My blog pages world makes my tummy tickle

I feel supported by creative blog page friends

They do not mind if my blogs are fickle

We learn to let go and feel so at ease

The happiness from writing, it's a good disease

The world becomes a rainbow of ideas in mind

A buffet of storys, poems, and images float on this line

The smorgasboard of life so tasty indeed

We all realize its a blessing and we need to take heed

What variety of dishes on your table will thee serve?

Writings' inspiration, a blessing, accolades and healing we deserve

Keep on writing in bloggland for all to see

Head in the clouds, pot of gold sets you free

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guitar Man-The Brother I Loved

Dave is pictured on the bottom row in the middle, making a funny face

Back several years ago, my father was dating a very nice woman named Audrey. My mother had passed years earlier and dad met this kind- hearted nurse in the hospital. The relationship did not last long since my father was an alcoholic, but I will never forget her. Thoughtfully, she invited my sister and I over for a slumber party to get to know us better. And so the story goes.......


Audrey knew I was eyeing her beautiful, wooden,folk guitar. She was right, It seemed to call my name. She picked up the guitar and soon we were all singing along. I knew the guitar was something I should try since music runs in my family. It was such a touching moment as Audrey handed off her precious guitar into my arms.

The morning I returned home from the slumber party I started practicing the guitar. It became evident to me right away that this was not a gift I possessed. I can sing and write quite well, but the folk guitar had a different suiter in mind. God had always meant this to be in the hands of my brother David.

Wow, talk about raw talent. My older brother David is one year older than my twin sister and I. One day, David asked me if he could play around with the guitar and jam on it. I of course thought, why not? In just days, he could play almost anything. David was what I like to call a "musical genius ." Talk about humility on my end.

No matter instrument, voice, charm, or the comic in him, Dave is a prize. He has played bongos, drums, piano, ukulele, been lead singer and guitarist in bands, I think you have an idea of the God given talent he was blessed with.

When David was in the room, there was nothing else. He pulled you in with his charm, wit and talent. Every time my twin sister and I would bring a date home in our early twenties, Dave would have them totally transfixed & laughing at his jokes. Linda and I would not see our boy friends for hours. Dave would then become their buddy and they were forever friends. This was a frustratiion for us, especially when we would bring our girl pals over. Guess what, they usually ended up hanging out with him and not us. Eventually, he would end up dating them. Uggggh!!!

Dave and his guitar were eternally bonded. Our entire family used to joke around that the guitar was just another appendage on David's body. Whether Dave was sad, happy or just looking for love, he'd just pick up his old friend, the guitar.

Family and friends would tell you that David, Linda and I looked and acted the most alike in our family of five. It was pretty commonplace to see Dave, Linda, and I, singing for fundraisers, weddings and funerals. David would often invite his two younger sisters up to the stage to sing harmony with him and the band.

On this December day, as I decorated my foyer with fresh Pine branches for the Christmas holiday, I turned my attention to the breaking news story. My then husband, screamed for me to come see what was on the tv set. I knew from the serious tone in his voice, this was not good.

It is still very difficult to talk about and even harder to write.If I write this story,then it must be true, right? There he was, my beautiful brother on the nine o'clock news. The headline went like this:
" Local Northwest airlines baggage employee, caught stealing luggage."
"Oh my God, I exclaimed!" What more suffering can alcohol cause in this family."  Understand, I was not saying this because of feelings of shame seeing Dave on the news, I was saying it because addiction had already wreaked havoc to too many of those I loved. I also saw death in my dear brothers eyes.
As I looked at my brothers' haggard image on the tv screen, looking back at me, I had a feeling of foreboading. I could sense that he was at the end stages of alcoholism. I just sobbed. Then the dreams....

I remember one dream I had soon after the news story aired. This dream was so vivid, I believed it to be real upon wakening. I dreamdt my brother was in the ground grabbing and clawing at the soil and reaching out for me. He was caged in a dark like tomb, and could see me, but couldn't get out. I surmised that this dream was symbolic of David's dark disease of alcoholism. David was having a very difficult time breaking the shackles of addiction. This same disease took our mother from us twenty nine years earlier. David was struggling with the shackles , that was his addiction. David tried to crawl out of that dark tomb of addiction and went throught treatment several times, unfortunately the power of his addiciton was too strong.

Sadly, the addiction to drugs and alcohol, killed my beautiful brother in 2002. He was found dead in his apartment. They called it an accidental death. They had found large amounts of pain killers and alcohol in his body, which shut down his respiritory system.

Please, if there is anything my family has learned through this, it is that there is hope and help for anyone struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. Noone has to die from this debilitating disease. Let the senseless loss of our brother, help others, so David's death is not in vain.  My brother died way too young.  He died at the same age my mom died from her alcoholism. They both died at the young age of 39.  I hope my story can help someone out there you know, fighting for their life over this disease.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spinach dip to live for


Food has and always has been a great connection for families. I know it has for my family. Every big holiday we just have to make our infamous recipe of spinach dip with veggies. Food and the social aspect of food is so dynamic. Researchers state that food, cooking and eating brings people together. Their is so much exciting research on food and how we all talk more and much more comfortably at the dinner table. We relax around food and it helpful for social interaction.




I teach at-risk kids at my place of work how to BE around food. How to talk about food, manners, how to prep and clean up food. I have always loved food. I am a foodie and belong to a foodie network organization where I learn so much about food, the prep, and all that goes with it.



In my state of Minnesota, Sue Zelickson a local food critic from WCCO radio is one of the founders of our kids cafe'. She and I bring on many guest chefs who cook and teach our kids how to cook. They also teach our kids how to handle food safety and prep as well as clean up. Sue is a food celebrity in Minnesota and we are so lucky to have her help us teach others how to cook, how to celebrate food in a way that even at risk kids can succumb to the love of it. We have kids who have graduated and then on to a culinary school. Gives you goosebumps doesn't it? I love my career. To see these darling kids who have had so much trauma and then to see them in the kitchen and excel in it is divine.



I want to give you a recipe that I hope my children's children can make for their families and so on since it brings family together. When I bring or have the party, the one thing I can count on is the spinach dip being gone by the end of the family celebration.



Ingredients



Sour Dough or Rustic Italian bread bowl



2- 32 ounces of sour cream



3 frozen chopped spinach dip boxes-less if not a huge fan of spinach, it is up to you



3 bags of Knorr Swiss vegetable soup mix without the hard veggies- I do not like the texture with the veggies in it, but if you like hard veggies in your dip then go for it.



You can double, triple this recipe depending on how many you will be serving.



Instructions



Sift the Knorr swiss veggie soup mix into a large bowl from the dried veggies- Keep the soup mix and save the veggies for the next time you make a homeade soup.



add the soup mix, sour cream and spinach and mix



Once you have mixed the dip, know that your in for quite a treat. Easy to make, delicious and kid friendly. You heard me right. My kids who don't even like veggies and dips love this and beg for it.



Prep and cut whatever veggies of your desire



Put dip in bread bowl with veggies around it



Presentation is everything, remember to keep your veggies on a plate mixed in color around the plate for color and beauty.



Knorr swiss is the best soup mix for this easy to make spinach dip, trust me as I have made all of them and none is as taste quality as Knorr Swiss



I hope you and yours will try this recipe since it is easy and soooo delicious. Like I said, it is a family tradition at my house for celebrations.



From my family to yours, enjoy

Snack of the Year


My daughter and I have a favorite snack that takes just minutes, cream cheese wontons. All you need are wonton wraps, cream cheese, a little bit of butter, and a nack for a good snack!




Ingredients:



•Wonton wraps

•Cream cheese

•Table spoon butter

•Olive oil

You can find wonton wraps at any grocer's Deli.



Instructions:



First heat 3 cups oil in a wok, keep tempurature at 5.



Take a tsp of cream cheese and place in the middle of wonton wrap.



Put a dab of butter on one of the sides of the wrap. (the butter holds the wonton together)



Now were going to do some oragami! Fold the square in a triangle keeping the cream cheese in the middle.



Add another dab of butter on each of the three ends.



Fold the two side ends inward.



Lastly, if you choose, fold the last end down.



(It's easier than it sounds)



Now the oil should be hot and you're ready to cook your wontons!



(keep children away from stove because hot oil can spit and burn)



Carefully place wontons in wok. (it is easier to do one at a time but you can do up to ten)



Wontons will quickly turn brown so keep turning them.



When wontons are brown and crispy, use a spatula to remove from wok.



Dab wontons with paper towel to remove all oil.



Now your ready to eat your wontons.Enjoy and remember that wontons are perfect for a snack and a meal. My daughter and I love them with a stir fry.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Ode to Mom & Dick

Let me share with you a story of love and hope. We were blessed early in our life to meet Lisa.  Lisa is and has been a special and true friend since  my twin sister and I  were in fourth grade. The cute story goes like this: 
My brother David knew he needed to introduce Linda and I to Lisa.  He knew we would be kindred spirits.  Lisa met my  darling and most charming brother David.  She was asked to come over, off the bus by him one day when she was in seventh grade.  He had such a crush on her.  Once Lisa came over off the school bus to be with our brother David, she met me and my twin Linda.  They never made it as a young couple. Lisa, Linda and I were never the same.  We girls never stopped talking and the rest  was history.  Tonight, Linda, Lisa,  her mom & step dad Dick met out at the Fletchers Wharf where we had been many times in our lives.  Lisa's parents,  mom and step dad Dick as you will see are our second set of parents.
My twin sister Linda and I lost our mom at age 9.  It was this very year that our brother brought over a gal off the bus that he believed would get along well. He was right we ended up being kindred spirits and love eachother so deeply in this life.  
Linda and I today brought this poem to Lisa's mom and step dad Dick to let them know how much they mean to us and have since we knew them since we  were in fourth grade.  Today our brother David has since passed.


ODE TO MOM & DICK--------------------------------------------------

You were always there for us when twinners needed you
Your our special adopted mom & dad and dad Dick threw our shoes

Isn't it funny how life tends to go,when our kids are naughty, their shoes we throw

We always knew you both had our backs
Whether our day was bright or our world was black

You helped us get through good days and pain
You loved us through struggles, it was never in vain

You mean more to us than you'll ever know

You showed us Christs' love and helped us to grow

Through fires, houseboat, Dugells and more, our memories stay with us, especially of Lore.
With much Love
                                                           Laura and Linda