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Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Never Forget, It Just Gets Easier to Not Remember

Every year around this time I am reminded of how lucky I am to be alive.

In April 2009, my best friend and I were attacked by my ex-husband. He and I had separated following the death of our son and a long history of abuse. While none of my injuries were severe, to this day I still deal with frequent headaches and backaches from being slammed into walls, doors and furniture. Without my best friend, I would not be alive. I have no doubt that if I had been alone, my ex-husband would have killed me, he had every intent to do me severe harm.

Many of my family and friends have never heard about what my marriage was like, nor do they know the reason I finally left.

In July 2008 my ex-husband and I had an argument regarding his relationship with one of my friends and his lack of being home. During this argument, he shoved me and I fell into a wall. I was holding our 5 month old son at the time, his little head hit the wall. I had finally had enough and packed his things (and a few of mine) to send to his mother's house. I honestly don't know if he stayed there during the next few weeks, but on August 26th he stayed with us and the next morning our son was dead.

Abuse is something you rarely see happen, but often you see the repercussions. Very few people ever saw my bruises, but many saw me withdrawing and isolating. If you ever think that someone you know is being abused, or if you are being abused yourself, tell someone. Get help. Because it's not an "if something bad happens" its a "when something bad happens" kind of situation. Abuse always ends badly, and unfortunately it's generally bad for the victim.

In Virginia we have a "3 strikes" kind of law. If you are caught being abusive once, you must go to classes and complete 6 months probation. It's almost impossible for the victim to get a protective order even for a few weeks. If the abuser then moves on to another girl and is charged with abusing her, it's his first strike again. Generally, the abuser creates a string of 3, 4, or 5 victims before the state finally says "Enough!". Virginia is not the only state like this.

In the news today was this story. This woman was lucky enough to escape, but how many other women are living this same story today? How many of them will die before our country steps up and finally says "We will not tolerate abuse!"? Please, help break the cycle...change a woman's, child's, man's life today.

In love, light and honor,

Audrey

PS. I just wanted to note that the man in the story I posted was released on bail. His original $750,000 bail was reduced to $100,000. He is out and wandering the streets today. This happens all too often...it's almost no wonder that we have repeat offenders and that so many women go back to these men. Even the police can't or won't protect abuse victims. And by the way, did anyone see the story about the young man that tried to give his ex-girlfriend an abortion by jumping on her stomach? I don't know if he was released on bail as well, but men like this are out there. And just in case you think I'm being sexist, a woman in Texas recently scalded her newborn until his skin was "bubbling" and another woman recently killed her husband claiming he had been abusive (although it was later found that she had been having an affair). Abuse spans all race and gender lines, and we can do something to stop it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Young Rarely Do As They Are Told

One of our family's favorite television shows is Stargate.  After watching an episode the other night I started thinking about the way the United States, and the world in general, reacts to the unknown, the scary or the "undesired".

In Stargate there is a race known as the Nox. They are complete pacifists, using illusion as their defense. In many episodes, they (along with other advanced aliens) can be seen reprimanding the US Airforce for being "young" and having a "shoot first ask questions later" first reaction.

This past week, North Korea launched a test missile. It supposedly was not a weapon, only a satellite. Prior to this launch, the United States and North Korea had been discussing food and medical aid that the North Koreans desperately need. Since the missile launch, all talks have stopped. 

Now, before I go on a rant about how the people and the government officials are two different entities and that the people should not be punished for the North Korean officials decisions, I will first say I hope the United States reconsiders their decision and that the North Korean government will in the future put their people first.

That being said, I am a pacifist at heart which is probably the reason I love the Nox. I can't help but wonder what will happen to the United States if we continue to have the reaction to invade first, get information later. What happens when we step on the wrong country's toes? What happens when we no longer have the funds or the resources to support invasion? 

If we look back into history, all world powers come to an end. In general, those that support their power through invasion tend to fall harder and faster. 

Let's go back to the North Korea situation for a moment. When North Korea announced they were going to be testing a missile, before the United Nations even knew what it was, several countries (including the US) announced they would end relations with North Korea if they launched the missile. I understand that relations with North Korea have been volatile for years, however, if the United States had known that the missile was a satellite (and failed by the way) maybe they wouldn't have taken away the much needed food and medical aid from the North Korean people. A small example of how an "ask questions later" knee jerk reaction can have bigger and unsavory consequences.

Just something to think about...

In love and light,
Audrey

PS. If  we quickly think back to the Nox, they feel responsible to teach the United States because as a nation and world we are "young". They do so gently and with humor.  As an older and more experienced nation, isn't it our duty to treat North Korea and other nations with the same respect? And on a side note...how about how we treat our children? Think about it and please feel free to leave a comment...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Snippets of Spring

These are some pictures from out Spring celebration so far :)


Our Holiday Tree (We started this tradition this year. Each first day of the season I redo all the decorations and the tree is added to over the season)


Some beautiful cupcakes from a local organic bakery


Our Spring tablecloth is actually a scarf that Cameron gave me

Some scenes from dying eggs




And what would a celebration be without a sweet gift?


In love and light,

Audrey

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Equinox

*This is a rewrite of a post I originally deleted. Pictures will follow soon...my smartphone is being rather stupid at the moment ;)

Cameron and I have decided to not celebrate traditional holidays in our home.

Yes this will ruffle some feathers, but we're not having Christmas at out house, nor Halloween or Easter.

We are, however, celebrating the beginnings of each season, birthdays, Independence Day and a few other events here and there.

After watching all the commercials for Christmas this past year (did anyone else notice that they started advertising in September???), followed by commercials for sales for New Year's, Valentine's day, Saint Patrick's day and now Easter, we felt overwhelmed by the commercialism of it all. How have the holidays gotten so far away from what the original point was? When did gifts become so important?

Growing up, I remember that Santa brought presents for the stockings (which were always practical things like socks and underwear) and maybe 3 gifts for under the tree. We got usually one present from each family member with gifts from our parents always being a new outfit. Easter we got one practical gift, a book or game that tied into school. When did it become normal for parents to max out not one, but 3 credit cards for just Christmas?

We are in a transition season, of course this will take time. Another reason we have decided to do this is that our nuclear family celebration will always be on a different day than that of our extended family and the masses. There will never be any scheduling conflicts. Six events throughout the year will be gift giving: two equinoxes, two solstices, birthdays and anniversaries. All gifts will either be bought second hand, on extreme sale or made (actually we're trying to make this a rule for daily life as well).

As we grow together and children are introduced, we hope that the holidays will be a time for reflection, thanksgiving and love. We want our future children to remember that Spring is a time of rebirth, of Christ and the world around us. It is a time for second chances, to begin anew with a clean slate. So while at home, we will not be participating in Santa or the Easter Bunny, we will certainly not keep our children away from these concepts when with extended family. We will still participate in the Christmas Eve dinners, egg hunts and the general excitement that comes from holidays with large families. And don't worry, while Santa may not visit our house, King Winter (popular in old stories and the Waldorf schools) will. To us, it is the simplicity  that matters. And to paraphrase a letter to a little girl named Virginia, "Yes Virginia, Santa does exist. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion abound..."

In love and light,
Audrey

In case you would like to read the whole letter written to one 8 year old Virginia O'Hanlon:
http://www.newseum.org/yesvirginia/

Irrational Fears

Last night, Cameron and I watched a documentary on mental disorders in children.

Traumatizing.

These poor children have no control over what they see, what they do, and often have no control over what they say. I can hardly imagine the nightmare that daily life can present for them.

But it got me thinking about a blog post a I wrote last week. I deleted it.

Why?

Because someone I know may read it, or one of my parents friends may see and then what would they think of me?

What an irrational fear.

First, it's unlikely that any of my friends or parents friends are reading this, and if they are, they likely already know I'm a little odd, and they probably don't care. And second, why should I care what they think? I am certainly entitled to my opinion, even if it doesn't mesh with what my parents think, my friends think or even what Cameron thinks.

I am, after all, my own person :)

In love and light,
Audrey