A Story for the Ages

Did you ever come across a person who touched your soul…..who you just KNEW was one of the people God puts here on Earth to make the journey of troubled souls just a little bit easier….. but never even met them in person? Well I have. And that person is Rara. Here is a story by one of her myriad fans. Her tale truly is a story that must not die.

Stories that Must Not Die

Rarasaur - Founder Rarasaur – Founder

When I first met Rara from Rarasaur.wordpress.com, I was so jealous.

Here was a blogger who just started blogging before I did, and she was already Freshly Pressed with a truck load of active followers. Then whenever I toured the blogosphere, her icon appeared everywhere–in the comment sections, in guest-posts, in awards of every shape and color, and in “favorite blogger” posts. Who was this person?

Then I met Rara. First, I participated in her International Label Day. She emailed me and we started a conversation. This lead to an interview with her. Then she designed the logo for Bloggers for Peace for FREE. Then she made peace cat images for FREE. Then she helped edit an ebook that I was working on for FREE.

peace cat Peace Cat Rara did for FREE

You get the picture. Rara is one generous, loving, compassionate person. I love her, her family…

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My Six Word Memoir

Passionate                                                                                                                                           

Damaged

Grandmom                                                                                                    

Empathic                                                                                                        

Survivor

Advocate                                

                                                                                                                 

Make Your Voice Heard

Make Your Voice Heard: Guidelines for Effective Advocacyadvocacy

One crucial part of my mental health recovery journey is  reaching out to help others in need. I do this in a variety of ways. One area that is truly a life saver for me is the volunteer work I do assisting people seeking Protection From Abuse orders, or PFA’s for short. Another area I concentrate on is acting as an advocate for people who are struggling because of their involvement in a system. I offer free help to those encountering issues with the legal system, medical system, tax system, benefits system, and school system the most often, although there are other systems I have tried to help untangle as well. I am learning through these experiences with individuals about the type of advocacy work that is done on a larger scale for whole groups.

Advocates for individual groups often meet unfair policies and practices that hinder rather than help their clients. Changes to such policies in the form of rules, regulations and laws, often require the support and commitment of legislators, political leaders and other policy makers. The following are some guidelines on how to be an effective advocate and communicate your message. Remember that efficiency requires education, both your own and your audiences, as well as reliability, accessibility and persistency.

Identify Your Goal

  • What do you want to accomplish? For example, decide if you want to introduce legislation to change a discriminatory employment practice like lifting a particular occupational bar or licensing restriction for people with criminal records.

Develop Your Strategy for Accomplishing Your Goal

  • Who has the power to effect your desired change? What is the process for the policy or regulatory change that you want to make and who has the power to make it. It could be legislators on the local, state or federal level, or perhaps, appointed commissioners on the state level who are responsible for promulgating the particular rule or regulation.
  • Who are your partners? Identify organizations and individuals that may share your goal and who can help you communicate your message. These may be local or statewide residents, coalitions of individuals and/or groups, as well as community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and other advocacy groups.
  • What is the timeline for your goal? Be aware of legislative timelines, such as when the legislature is in session. Be patient, understand that achieving your goal could take a considerable amount of time.

Create Documents that Will Help You Communicate Your Message

  • Are your documents clear and concise? Politicians, policy makers and other officials, and their staff, are busy and often do not have time to read a lot of information. However, supplying them with written information that includes data and research on your issue may support your position. Therefore, make sure that the written materials that you provide them with are specific to the issue and the area that they represent.

Helpful Tips for Conducting a Meeting

  • When introducing yourself make sure that you identify yourself as a constituent or as someone who represents constituents.
  • State the point of the meeting at the beginning.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Listen as well as talk during the meeting, as well as take notes on questions or concerns that come up during the meeting.
  • Be honest. Acknowledge the positive and negative aspects of the issue.
  • Share written materials during the meeting, if it is appropriate, and leave them behind for the leader of the staff that you are meeting with to read.

Cultivate a Champion

  • Who can represent and advocate for your issue publicly and champion your goal? It can be incredibly beneficial to have a public figure, such as a famous person or politically powerful person, to help you with your advocacy and to deliver the message you need to achieve your goal. Regardless of who it is they need to be persistent, charismatic and effective.

Most importantly, don’t burn any bridges, whether you achieve your goal or not. You never know who you may need to work with again. Be a gracious winner or loser.

This Feels Like Grace

“Magic words to tell everyone around you

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 10.56.26 AM

I heard these magic words on February 13, 2013: “Karen, don’t let the fact that others may go through harder things allow you to make light of your pain. It’s never ‘just’ anything when it comes to hardship. You have just as much a right to the compassion and empathy of your brothers and sisters in Christ as anyone else with problems. Really, no matter what one is going through there’s always someone worse off, you can’t let that invalidate your suffering.”   “

http://karenwriteshere.com/2014/01/17/magic-words-to-tell-everyone-around-you/

I happened upon this post by a fabulous fellow blogger tonight. I was struck immediately by the full weight of these words, feeling lifted up to heaven itself. Good thing too because the next post I read struck me with an equally heavy blow. A heart wrenching tale, finally spoken, by another fellow blogger.

“And I did not break

The last two weeks, I have felt a pressure inside so great, it seemed like I would break. I think now it was the literal feeling of the body’s fragility. I think it was the sensation of a body breaking.

The rest of the memory came to me today. In my mind, I saw again how Natalya died.

They dragged her down the stairs, partly by the hair, partly shoving her, partly pulling. Three men. I don’t really know who these men were. They might have been men I knew. One of them could have been my father. Somehow, who it was didn’t seem important. Only what they were doing. What they were going to do.

She was screaming in Russian.

In the parking lot, they began to beat her. First, with fists, and then with something else. Pipes maybe. I don’t know. It was getting dark then. I couldn’t see. Her teeth began to scatter over the ground.

When she fell, they went on kicking her.”

The story continues, and I will not reblog the entirety of it here, but please read it on your own. I felt a surge of electricity course through my body. My heart still beating started to heat up and then slowly,brilliantly expanded. Larger and larger, my heart grew and grew filling my form completely and then expanding to fill every inch of space surrounding me. I wept and even as I wept I could feel the total and complete sense of peace overtake me. A bright light encompassing the room, seemingly coming from the stars above and shining down through and into the top of my head. Grace. This feels like grace. Is it…..grace? Grace? Yes. Grace…..and Beauty…..and Love. My heart space opens. May all beings feel truly loved and beloved. May all beings be free from suffering. Namaste.