Hot Topic #30: Thoughts on The Murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, White Privilege, and Being An Ally

George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020.

Black Lives Matter.

If there’s one thing that I understand completely, it’s that I have white privilege.

I’m committed to being a better ally.


Over the last week and a half, I’ve asked a lot of questions. Shout-out to my wonderful husband for being my main sounding board!

Here are a few snapshots of my recent thoughts.

At the end of this post, I’ve included a long list of resources, ways you can help, ways you can educate yourself and others, and other sources that I’ve found helpful.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, June 1st

I’m having trouble concentrating. I’m so angry about so many things. I’m personally not brave enough to join any of the Black Lives Matter protests, but I am committed to listening. I’ve been carefully observing my friends’ interactions on Facebook, which is my primary social media platform. I don’t have Instagram, and my Twitter is long out of date. I haven’t deleted or blocked anyone, but I have unfollowed a few since Friday. And I think that number may go up.

I deleted the CNN app from my phone, and removed the website bookmark from Google Chrome. I immediately felt better after that.

I have several friends that have participated in protests already, and I pray for all of them. I’ve tried really hard to limit my overall news and social media consumption since George Floyd was murdered one week ago, but it’s so hard to do so.


Tuesday, June 2nd

Today, I felt compelled to go through all my yearbooks – Elementary, middle, and high school. Part of it was nostalgia, but part of it was to study my classmates.

I’m from an upper-middle class, all-white family. Where I live in Virginia is largely “well off,” but each city has its own issues. I was raised in an affluent part of Chesapeake. I was educated in good schools, with excellent teachers and decent administrators. In eighth grade, I applied and was accepted to the second class of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Oscar F. Smith High School. I was thrilled, but I recognize now how nervous and apprehensive my parents were.

Why? Oscar Smith is one of the high schools that has some of the poorest students in Chesapeake. And many of them are black.

I attended OSHS from 2003 through 2007. Were there problems? Sure. There were regular fights. The biggest news story, aside from our championship football team, was a fellow senior getting arrested just two weeks before graduation in the spring of 2007. I drove home from school, and saw a reporter in front of the school sign at the top of the 5:00 news. He’d had a loaded gun in his locker, and there were reports of buried marijuana on the football field.

But, in a way, I was shielded from a lot of the problems and issues. I was part of the “smart kids.” My IB class was fairly diverse – We had, what I think, anyway, a good mix of white, black, Filipino, Mexican, and Asian students. But, we were only 41 students of more than 2,000 students at the school. The only times I truly interacted with students other than IB kids were in P.E., driver’s ed, and orchestra.

The staggering observation I made is that I’m still friends with mainly white people from my early school years. The black, Filipino, Mexican, and Asian people I’m friends with are all wonderful people. My issue? I met them either in college or after that.

I think this is bothering me so much because I’m pretty sure, unconsciously, I valued my friendships with white classmates and acquaintances higher than others. And I hate that!

But, at least I’m recognizing that now, right?

Before we went to bed, Al and I watched the first 20 minutes of the ABC News special titled America In Pain: What Comes Next. I nearly cried three times in those 20 minutes. And I felt so much shame.


Wednesday, June 3rd

I made the following comment to a post on Facebook: “I’ve been coming to terms with a lot of things in my life since George Floyd was murdered. I’ve asked a lot of questions, and I’m learning every day. I’m committed to being a better ally. I know now that I haven’t been the best ally, even though I was blindly confident that I was a good one … I’m currently listening, but I’m going to use my voice on my blog soon about this. Thank you!”

I took the opportunity to participate in a landmark “Safe Space Discussion” through my work today, from 11:00 to 12:30. I was so moved that afterward, I wrote an email to the Chief Diversity Officer, expressing my appreciation for the work that was done on the presentation, as well as fully admitting that I’m not a good ally. She replied about 30 minutes later, saying how appreciative she was, and offered her assistance in helping me to be better.

I remarked to Al how my mom, years ago, had told me the story of the riot at her high school, Miami Killian High School, when she was a student. I want to sit down with her, when it’s safe again, and record that story. I want to learn more. So far, I haven’t found any evidence of it through various Google searches. I wonder if it was covered in the news at all.

A bit of good news came in the afternoon: The murder charge against Derek Chauvin was upgraded to second-degree. The other three officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. I was happy to see people celebrating at the memorial for George Floyd, but I’m still apprehensive about a lot of things. Only time will tell.


Thursday, June 4th

I felt less angry this morning when I woke up, but still nervous, apprehensive, anxious. Over the last several days, it dawned on me: This is a watershed moment in American history. And I hope true change is made.

A friend shared an article from The Washington Post on Facebook this morning: Perspective | White parents teach their children to be colorblind. Here’s why that’s bad for everyone.

It was published in October 2018, but this article absolutely hit home.

“White parents often refrain from speaking with their children about race, racism, and racial inequality.”

“This silence reflects society’s view that white people ‘don’t have race’ — that race refers exclusively to people of color.”

“Without fail, parents responded with an expression of shocked dismay, and then emphatically stated, ‘No. What is there to say?'”

“Among the white parents I interviewed, the majority of whom were middle class, parents expressed a desire to raise non-racist white children. Most felt the best way to achieve that goal was to avoid speaking with their children about race, racism and racial inequality – past or present.”

“They also remained silent about the topic of police violence toward African Americans. When I asked parents why, many said they didn’t want to ‘upset’ their children. Others noted that the subject didn’t ‘relate’ to their (white) family’s life.”

“Most white parents who speak with their children about race adopt a colorblind rhetoric, telling their children that people may ‘look different’ but that ‘everyone is the same.'”

“As sociologist Margaret Hagerman argues in her new book, ‘White Kids,’ white parents’ decision about the best neighborhood to raise a family or enroll their children in school shapes the social context in which white children develop an understanding about members of their own racial group and members of outside racial groups.”

“As research demonstrates, identity development is relational. That means people develop an awareness of themselves as a member of a particular group when they spend time around people whom they perceive as being different from them.”

“White people aren’t ‘outside’ of race – they’re at the top of the racial hierarchy.”

——-

All those quotes to say – This is EXACTLY how I was raised. And it makes me sad.

I’m angry that it’s taken me to the age 31 to have my eyes opened. But, at the same time, I remember being afraid, hesitant, ashamed to ask “hard” questions of my parents. It wasn’t until I was in college that there were several late-night instances of discussing life and the world with my dad, long after my mom went to bed. But we didn’t talk about race.

There were glimmers of differences in my childhood and adolescence, but not many. I felt a lot of pity.

Example #1: One of my classmates, D., and his family were recipients of Angel Tree gifts from our church because his dad was in prison. D. is black, and his mom managed to hold the family together in one of the lower-income neighborhoods down the street from our middle school. I certainly didn’t know the whole story, and, at the time, I didn’t think I needed to know. One thing that was clear, crystal clear, was D. was an angry kid. He was always getting into trouble at school. And, now, as an adult, I think part of the reason was because his dad was in prison. I wish I’d reached out to him, offered to help him with his work. But, I knew, even at age 12, it would be frowned upon by my parents.

Example #2: My parents were not shy about their feelings with us buying a house in Portsmouth. Portsmouth is one of the cities in our region that has lower incomes, higher crime rates, and so-so schools. The main reason we chose Portsmouth is because we couldn’t afford the house we wanted/needed where we grew up in Chesapeake, or in northern Suffolk – We needed a house that split the distance between our jobs and commutes. We like our neighborhood, and it’s one of the safer, more affluent neighborhoods. I personally don’t want to think about moving anywhere else until after we have our first child. We have a lot of time to make that big of a decision – We’re not ready to have kids. And when we do, we have at least five more years to consider the schools. However, my parents have made snide comments to me about moving, the schools, and coming back to where Al and I grew up in Chesapeake. It’s frustrating. The other thing I noticed in the last two weeks – We have more white people in our neighborhood than I originally realized. We do have black, Latino, and Asian people. But, our street in particular is all white.

———

The other thing I’ve realized is my perception of the police has changed. I have a few friends who are law enforcement officers (LEOs), but not many. I know, as a white woman, I don’t have to have to worry getting shot when I get pulled over. And that’s just one of multiple instances of white privilege.

However, there has been too much police brutality. It has to stop. The “brotherhood” mentality needs to give way to full accountability. If you stop protecting the people to protect yourself, then you’re automatically biased. If you stop protecting the people to protect your brother or sister in blue, then you’re automatically biased. If you turn off or hide your body camera, you are biased and doing something shady.

There are so many things that need to change. I’ve posted a link to Senator Bernie Sanders’ recent letter to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer below. I agree with all of Sanders’ points, and I’m sure there’s a few more.

One of the biggest issues that currently exist is qualified immunity. I’ve posted links about that below.

So much needs to change.


What I’m Doing

I’m speaking out. I will no longer be silent. I have been afraid to use my voice. No more.

I am committed to supporting more black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) businesses, restaurants, authors, journalists, and elected officials.

I was already a registered voter, but I am fully researching every candidate that will be on my November ballot. I will be voting!

I’m examining the authors I read, and the subject matter of books. I want to read far more books, essays, short stories, and poetry by BIPOC authors. Just Mercy is next on my TBR. I’ve already ordered White Fragility, and The Nickel Boys. I’ve been researching books by Elizabeth Acevedo, Celeste Ng, Julia Alvarez, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.

I’ve prayed multiple times a day for many people and many things: Black Lives Matter, POC, our country, our LEOs, our military, and our world.


Resources

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide – Southern Poverty Law Center

The BIPOC Project

Black Lives Matter

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Stand with Standing Rock

Sanders Calls for Sweeping Reforms in Senate Democrats’ Policy Response to Police Violence (Press Release)

Legal immunity for police misconduct, under attack from left and right, may get Supreme Court review – USA Today

Qualified immunity – Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School

Best Books Written by BIPOC Authors – Goodreads

7 Books to Read Right Now to Help Support BIPOC in Your Community and Beyond

A Resource Guide for Anti-Racism + Being An Educated Ally for BIPOC

DiverseBookFinder – Multicultural picture books

Police brutality must stop – American Medical Association (AMA)

Solutions – Campaign Zero

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual (ACLU)

How to Register to Vote – United States


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #182: Reflections on September 11th, 18 Years Later

September 11th Tribute in Lights

Image Credit: CNN

Content warning: Some images and descriptions shared in this post may be disturbing.


Today marks 18 years since the horrific terror attacks on the United States. Two planes crashed into the “Twin Towers” of the World Trade Center in New York City, another crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth went down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Where were you?

I’ll never forget.

I had just started seventh grade at Jolliff Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia. That Tuesday was absolutely gorgeous – Not a cloud in the sky. We had been in school for a week.

I have to give props to the administration and staff. The students had no idea what was going on, and they held their emotions in check the entire day. By the time I learned about it, it was near the end of the school day. I was heading into Mrs. Owen’s history class, and our principal, Mr. Glisson, was standing nearby.

I can’t remember if he was outside the seventh grade hallway, or outside our classroom door. I just knew something was wrong; it was highly unusual for him to be away from his office or the front of the school. He gave every student a quartered piece of paper, that read, in part, “Due to today’s events, we are cancelling the PTA meeting and all after-school activities. Please spend tonight with your families. Thank you for your support of our school.”

Immediate confusion came over my face, and I walked into Mrs. Owen’s class dumbfounded. I turned to my best friend, Melissa, and asked her what “today’s events” meant.

“Didn’t you hear? Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, and another crashed into the Pentagon.”

Tears sprang to my eyes. I was born in Manhattan. I had walked by the Twin Towers many times. I had flown over the Pentagon. All my memories of New York flooded my brain, and I immediately felt overwhelmed and sad. I wanted to go home right then, but I said a prayer for everyone on those planes and their families.

I definitely don’t remember what was discussed in history class that day. For the first time, I felt like a zombie when school dismissed. Thankfully, Tuesdays were the after-school day for the youth at church, and I figured that was the best place we could be at that point.

Mrs. Rouquie picked us up in her gold Dodge Caravan, and I felt fresh tears when I spotted the magnetic American flag on her van door. We sat in absolute silence the whole ride from school to church.

There was a portable TV in the youth lounge. Dawn-Marie, our associate pastor, and Courtney B., were glued to the TV. Local reporter Andy Fox was reporting live from the Pentagon, and we saw the collapsed side of the building, still smoldering.

The next few days were a complete blur. Our local paper, The Virginian-Pilot, had “HORROR” in blood-red letters on the front page the next day.

Image result for 9/11 the virginian pilot

The front page of the paper, dated September 12, 2001. Image Credit: pilotonline.com – Found on Google Images

The coverage by the media was staggering. It felt like it was never-ending.

And, in a way, it is never-ending. Here we are, 18 years later, and there are still troops from multiple nations fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The babies who were born on September 11, 2001 are now old enough to vote, and old enough to fight in those wars.

It’s never-ending for the families of the 2,977 victims who died that day on American soil. More than 6,000 people were injured. Others have died from related cancer and respiratory diseases.

But, in spite of all the tragedy, the U.S. came together as a country. We came together, back then, at least.

I won’t get into politics here. Right now, I’m sitting in my kitchen, thinking of the victims and their families.

God Bless America.

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The flag raising at Ground Zero. Image Credit: CNN

The World Trade Center cross. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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The reflecting pools, part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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The Pentagon Memorial. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Flight 93 Memorial. Image Credit: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #88: “Make Your Own MAGIC and Manifest Your DREAM LIFE”

The quoted words in the title of this blog post comes from a relatively recent episode of the That Smart Hustle podcast by author Kristen Martin. I haven’t read any of her books yet, though I plan to change that sooner rather than later. I discovered her Facebook page, and then stumbled upon to her podcast. I subscribed, went all the way back to Episode 1, and just fell in love.

That Smart Hustle - Soundcloud

Image Credit: Soundcloud

I love her voice, her style, and her podcast format. They’re short, sweet, and simple.

Granted, she does things very differently than I do. But, what she shares in her podcast episodes are always encouraging and inspiring to me.

I’m not “into” or “practice” certain things such as the phases of the moon, crystals, tarot, and so on. I know people who do a combination of things like this, and I’m not arguing against any of it. As a Christian, I pray. However, I really like the idea of manifestation. And, I think I’m already doing it, and didn’t even realize it.

In this episode, Kristen expands upon manifesting, and how she does it in her life. It’s based on the law of attraction. Focus on something to bring it into your reality. There are several ways to accomplish this: Meditation, visualization, or using your conscious and subconsicous to focus on this thing, or goal, or whatever it may be.

Once you’ve pick the thing or goal to manifest, then you have to take action. As an example, if you want to get a new job or a promotion, then you focus on that job or promotion, visualize it, and then clean up your resume, submit the applications, or climb the ladder toward that promotion. It takes effort, and hard work, but it pays off.

For me, I “accidentally” manifested the completion of the first draft of my first novel. I was tired of struggling with the ending of the book, and I decided I just needed to finish it, no matter what it took. When I saved the draft on March 30th, the feelings of elation, pride, and joy I had were remarkable. I practically jumped up and down in my living room. I posted about it on Facebook, and the response and feedback I received was absolutely incredible. I realized how many people were cheering for me, how proud they were, and how many are looking forward to the book when it’s ready to be published. I’m still blown away by it all, and here we are nearly three weeks after I finished it.

Am I manifesting anything new, you may ask?

Yes, I am!

  1. Being debt-free
  2. Completing the first draft of my second novel

These two things are huge in my universe right now. I just took major action on #1 today, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction after a lot of negative thoughts, and a huge emotional breakdown between yesterday and this morning.

I’ve been actively participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month for #2, and I feel so good with the progress I’ve made thus far. And we’re only 11 days into the month!

As I write this post, I just realized the Monthly Goals posts I make here on the blog are also forms of manifestation. I set those goals, and having them in writing on the first day of every month allows me to take action on them immediately, or work on them throughout that month. And, I’m able to look back on them whenever I want, to remind myself of the goals, and invest more time, energy, or whatever it is to accomplish those goals.

Now, why is “dream life” capitalized in the title?

Well, Kristen says in the podcast that you can use manifestation to help you build your actual dream life. I love this idea. She talks about making a list of everything you dream about that you want in life: What job do you have, what car are you driving, what are you wearing, what house do you live in, what state or country do you live in, and so on.

I will be working on this in my personal journal, and I’m pretty stinking excited about it already. If you’re interested in doing this yourself, think of it as your “vision board,” but those visions are achievable. Making this list, using techniques like this, will help me make those dreams a reality.

All that said, I still pray to God. As a Christian, that’s a given for me every day. That won’t change a bit.

And something special has been happening at my church that I haven’t talked about very much. As a congregation, we have a Breakthrough Prayer we are challenged to pray every day at either 5:17 a.m. or 5:17 p.m. The reason 5:17 is significant is that’s our Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, for the Next Level Innovations (NLI) process we are embarking upon for the next three years.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

How fitting that our church is New Creation United Methodist Church.

In a way, NLI is another form of manifestation. The three-year process has a series of goals and visualizations, and it takes effort and action from everyone involved to make it successful. I love the mantra: Going from good to GREAT.

I know, for me, since we started this process, I’ve already experienced a few breakthroughs, and I can only imagine there are many more to come.

Here’s the Breakthrough Prayer:

Almighty God, today breakthrough in our lives and in our church. Make us a new creation. Transform us by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit. Show us how to make a difference in our community and the world. Give us boldness to follow where You lead. Amen.


Resources


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #84: The Wanderlust Tag

The Wanderlust Tag

Thanks, Sara, for tagging me!

Here’s the link to Sara’s post, where I was tagged:


The Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

Secrets and Lies | A book set in a sleepy small town

Bonfire

Bonfire, Krysten Ritter

I felt as if I was dropped head-first into Barrens, Indiana, and experiencing everything in this small town with the main character.

Salt and Sand | A book with a beachside community

The Runaway Maryellen

The Runaway: A Maryellen MysteryAlison Hart

Maryellen’s world is set in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Here There Be Dragons | A book with a voyage on the high seas

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Amazon

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

This book is primarily set on an inaugural voyage, so this one definitely qualifies.

Tread Lightly | A book set down in a murky river or a jungle

4900

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

I was assigned to read this in my senior year of high school. This was one book that creeped me out for a good while, long after I finished reading it.

Frozen Wastes | A book with a frostbitten atmosphere

319498

Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932, Kathryn Lasky

Reading the fictional account of Minnie and her family during The Great Depression in 1932 made me shiver, in more ways than one.

The Boonies | A book with rough or isolated terrain

hunger-games-cover

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

District 12 is definitely rough and isolated. So are many other places in Panem.

Hinterlands and Cowboys | A book with a Western-esque setting

Image result for brokeback mountain book

Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx

Set in the Wyoming mountains, this is one of a handful of books I think of when I imagine the American West.

Look Lively | A book across sweeping desert sands

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Under a Painted Sky, Stacey Lee

I haven’t read this book, but I really want to.

Wild and Untamed | A book set in the heart of the woods

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Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson

If you haven’t read this book, it’s a good one. It’s an emotional coming-of-age story, but this book made my imagination run wild. I turned the city park behind my house into my own Terabithia for years afterward, creating stories in my notebooks.

Wildest Dreams | A whimsical book shrouded in magic

Fallible Justice, Laura Laakso

I received this book as an ARC (My first-ever ARC!) from the publisher last year. This book is a fresh perspective on magic, the paranormal, and mystery. I’m so excited this book is part of a paranormal investigation series!


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #53: “12 Things You Only Understand If You Grew Up Going To Church Camp”

Pinterest 2

Image Credit: Pinterest

My friend Cara shared this article a few days ago on Facebook. Just reading the title sent me back into nostalgia. Almost every summer, from fourth grade through college, and a few as an adult, I was at some sort of church camp!

Here’s the link to the original post:


I wish I had more photos to share!

Since a lot of my church camp experiences happened before I entered the world of Facebook, a lot of them are in traditional photo albums at my parents’ house, etc.

However, I did manage to find a few!

CCC 2012 (2)

CCC 2012, Albemarle, North Carolina – This was our finished wheelchair ramp!

CCC 2012

CCC 2012, Albemarle, North Carolina – We worked hard, but we also made time for fun, like ice cream!

Bandannas – Need I say more?

  • I’m not wearing bandannas in these photos, but for years, I did! They were fashion accessories – The girls traded them back and forth! We also went to the Dollar Tree before the trip to find new colors!

You probably dressed up in some interesting outfits.

  • Maybe? I remember the staff at Carolina Cross Connection (CCC) many a summer decked out in costumes, overalls, tights, tutus, and more!

Camp games were the best games!

  • Absolutely! I learned to play nine square at the camp in Florida with Daniel, Aime, and Loren (and quickly realized how competitive it was!)
  • At CCC, the icebreaker games were hilarious! Every summer was different, and it was great watching the adults!

Everyone had a camp crush they will always remember!

  • Oh, yes – No names mentioned here, but this was a definite.
  • I do know several people who met their true loves at CCC. Matt and Alex got married at a CCC camp!

You made friends that will last a lifetime.

  • Yes – I still have letters, cards, and photos from camp friends!
  • A lot of us have kept in touch through Facebook now.

You master taking 5 minute or less showers!

  • This is so true – Although the cooler water felt amazing after long days in the sun!
  • It was really hard to juggle everything carefully – Shower caddies would have been an amazing investment back then!
  • Most camps do this, but I highly recommend wearing Old Navy-style flip-flops or some type of sandal that can get wet in the shower! Camp showers are NOTHING  like your bathroom at home.

You were a master at coming up with skits and chants for your team!

  • I certainly tried. I enjoyed the group effort!
  • I definitely didn’t have much of a voice when I came home.

Every worship song seems to be 10 times better at camp!

  • This is probably the most true statement of them all!
  • CCC camps usually have some sort of “hill” or “mountain” on the property, and those experiences were always amazing!
  • I’ll always remember the girls on CCC staff standing on chairs to hold the handwritten song lyrics, with a lot of us holding flashlights!

You had a crush on someone in the band.

  • For me, this wasn’t necessarily summer camp, but mainly the Blackstone retreats!
  • I still have a few of my shirts signed by all the band members!

You always packed way more than you needed.

  • I was one of those people who followed the list of items to the letter!
  • It was so much fun packing for the trip, but such a drag packing to go home! Nothing seemed to fit properly.
  • Sometimes, I borrowed the big black garbage bags for my dirty laundry – Yuck!

You can try to tell someone about camp but no one else will understand.

  • Exactly! I wore my camp shirts to school a lot, and I enjoyed telling my friends when they asked.

You start your countdown for camp next year the day you leave.

  • This was especially true in high school, since I went to CCC nearly every summer!
  • I also did this in 2011 and 2013, because I knew I was going to be taking a whole week off work to go to CCC in 2012 and 2014! I felt very adult then, haha.

Did you go to church camp?

What were some of your favorite memories?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #51: “Woman Moves into Old Mall after Shops are Converted into 48 Tiny Homes, Could You Live Like This?”

landscape-1427471032-the-arcade-providence-view-from-second-floor-photo-credit-ben-jacobsen

Image Credit: Country Living

I saw this post on Facebook last week, almost randomly. It made me stop and think.

Here’s the original post:


When I shared it on Facebook, several of my friends commented on it. The discussions we had were fascinating.

One of my friends from college lives in a tiny house now, and absolutely loves it! She’s steps away from the ocean in Virginia Beach.

I also thought back to last fall, when Al and I were visiting his parents’ farm for the weekend. We were watching the show “Tiny House Nation.” I remember being in awe of these renovations. Granted, it’s a reality show, but the concept is really cool.

Back to the shopping mall – The smallest units in the renovated mall go for $550 per month, which is definitely affordable in Providence, Rhode Island.


Returning to the present, I went to trusty old Google to find out more.

This is part of what I found:

TinyHouses-Infographic-1000wlogo

Image Credit: The Tiny Life

To answer the question posed in this post’s title, I don’t think I could swing it with just 225 square feet of living space. If I were single, then maybe. But, being married and starting to plan for our own family, it would certainly be a tight fit. I don’t do well in super-cramped spaces, anyway. However, I give props to people who can hack it, and I also know people that enjoy it.

With the Facebook discussion, I started thinking about the struggling mall across the street from my parents’ neighborhood. To me, it either needs to be torn down completely, or renovated somehow. It would be cool to see something different, since brick-and-mortar stores are slowly fading away (Consider the recent news about Sears, Kmart, JCPenney, Staples, etc.). There’s so much potential with the space.


To learn more about tiny houses and other alternative housing methods, here’s a few more links:


What do you think about tiny houses?

Do you think tiny houses could/would work in old shopping malls, or other abandoned buildings?

Do you know anyone who has a tiny house?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #48: “Reasons Not To Be An Organ Donor”

organ-donation-nerdy-info

Image Credit: nerdyinfo.com

I first found this link on my good friend Megan’s amazing blog, Freckled Italian!

Here’s where I found the link:


Ready? Here we go!

Here’s the link to the original post:

For me, I didn’t even hesitate when I was asked if I wanted to be an organ donor. I said yes, absolutely.

So, I completely agree with the author’s position – There are no reasons not to be an organ donor!

Regardless, her piece was well-researched, and bit of humor, too!

For me, I greatly appreciated the statistics she included. Statistics always make articles more compelling for me.

There’s a known shortage of organs. The transplant lists are (or they feel like it, anyway) miles long. People die every single day waiting for kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, and others. It’s so sad!

As an example: With blood donations, one pint from you can save up to three lives. With organ donation, you can potentially save many, many more. It’s an awesome concept!

organ-donation

Image Credit: UFMC Pueblo


I wanted to include some more links, in case anyone is interested in learning more:


Are you an organ donor?

Do you know someone who has received an organ?

Do you know someone on a transplant list?

Do you want to become an organ donor?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #9: Back From My Hiatus

Image Credit: inkmonster.net

Image Credit: inkmonster.net

In the beginning of April, I felt like I’d hit a brick wall at a high rate of speed. I didn’t feel inspired. I was struggling with a few things.

The blog was one of the first things to drop off my radar. I didn’t like it though. I hated that I wasn’t posting new things.

But everything that I normally feel with blogging – Energy, excitement, happiness, positivity, the sense of accomplishment, pride – just wasn’t there.


Every once in a while, we need to make the “time out” sign.

Take a breath.

Take a break.

And that’s exactly what I needed.


Over the course of the past two weeks (although it’s felt much longer than that!), I’ve been thinking a lot.

There’s been so much going on. 2015 has been a big year so far! And it’s almost May!! Time is flying by. It gets faster every single year.

Two weeks ago, everything just caught up with me, very suddenly – Hence the slamming into a brick wall, going from full speed to a complete screeching halt/standstill feeling. I’ve been overwhelmed a lot. Stressed. Nervous. Adding things up, both in my head and on paper. I was beginning to drive myself crazy. I knew I needed to pull myself out, one way or another, but at the right time.

I received answers along the way. Confirmations, waves of relief, assurances, lots of hugs, promises of good thoughts and prayers. Lots of people have said, without having a clue about what I have been experiencing internally, “Everything is going to be okay.”

I started praying again. I took a hard look at my spiritual life and my involvement with my church. Because of that, I was humbled. I was overcome. I felt something ignite inside me again. I felt confident. I felt restored. I felt at peace.

Yesterday was my first day back in the gym after being on the DL for almost three weeks, due to six stitches in my back. Skin cancer runs in my family, and this was the second time in several years that the dermatologist found a pre-cancerous mole on my back. I won’t lie, sleeping in on the weekdays was nice for a change, but having established the consistent gym routine and then breaking that pattern for a bit threw a lot of my internal workings out of whack, more than I realized.

So, even though it was absolutely pouring rain at 4:30 a.m. yesterday, I got up, put on my workout clothes and raincoat, and drove over there. I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes and cranked out 2 miles.

It felt so good, that I did it again today!


Now – I want to write again.

I’m ready to write again.

I feel inspired again.

I feel excited again.

I feel refreshed.

I feel calmer, more at ease with everything going on.


I love this quote from Walt Disney:

Image Credit: livefitandsore.com

Image Credit: livefitandsore.com


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂