"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." (Aldo Leopold) Apparently, I cannot.


4 Comments

Shining a Light on Domestic Violence: In Memory of Chris Keith and Her Son Isaac

Today’s post was written by the lovely Lea Grover (Becoming SuperMommy) in memory of  Chris Keith of Adventures of a Thrifty Mama and her son, Isaac. Chris and Isaac were killed 1 week ago by her husband, who’s abuse she had been trying to escape for the last several years. To honor Chris and Isaac, and to shine an extremely bright light on the horrendous problem that is domestic violence, bloggers from all over are sharing this post today or writing about their own experiences with domestic violence. I urge you to take a few minutes to read this and pass it along in the hopes that it can help even just one person. Thank you so much for your support and for helping us honor Chris and Isaac’s memories. 

Every day in the United States, three women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends.

It seems like an improbable number. Like it could never happen to you, to somebody you know.

But it has.

Christine Keith, aka Adventures of a Thrifty Mama

Last week, the blogging community lost one of its own. Chris Keith blogged about healthy living, organic eating, homeschooling… the same thing that so many mommy bloggers do. And she was good at it. She had to be. Chris was supporting four kids on her own, on a subsistence income after separating from her abusive husband.

But one week ago, her estranged husband went to her house, and killed her. He killed her oldest son, Isaac. And then he killed himself. The three youngest children had gone to their grandparents’ house for the night — fortunately out of harm’s way.

Chris taught Zumba. She gardened. She went on her local news channel to talk about food stamps, and how to eat healthy meals with a minimal budget. She was a good person, and a good mother. And now she’s gone.

Now she’s one of three women who died at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends that day.

There are things you can do to help her and her children. Her church has taken up a memorial fund — you can donate there to help provide for her children — sons aged 4 and 8, and a 6-year-old daughter.

You can send clothes and toys. They have not been allowed back in their home, a crime scene, and it may be a long time before they are. They have nothing but what they took to Grandma’s house the night their mother and brother were taken from them. You can send these gifts here:

Keith Children
Care of Ann Merrifield
1504 Wintercrest
East Lansing, MI 48823

And you can help more than that. You can spread the word that domestic violence, as endemic as it is, should not and must not be tolerated. That there are places those who are suffering can go, that there are resources available to them. That there is help out there.

There’s the National Domestic Violence Hotline, where trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially.

There’s Safe Horizon, which helps connect victims to shelters.

There’s the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, which provides access to information, and opportunities for training and education for those who want to work to end domestic violence, or intervene on behalf of somebody in their life.

Don’t remain silent. Don’t close your eyes to the suffering all around you. Don’t make excuses, or insist it takes two to quarrel. Just listen, offer a hand, and stand strong.

And maybe, if we all shine a light on this issue, into the darkness of abuse, maybe today nobody has to die.


9 Comments

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: I’m Back, Sort of

Although I’ve known I’d be writing this post for some time now, I’ve actually dreaded writing it. Not because I’m not 100% behind my decision, but because I kind of feel like I’ve failed in some way.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning. When I first started blogging last February, I did so with the goal of sharing funny stories about my kiddos and lessons learned from the craziness raising kids brings to life. I didn’t do it to become a professional writer or to have any piece of my writing go viral. But I quickly got sucked into what I’ll call blog-mania.

I started a Facebook page for my blog. I started Twitter and Pinterest accounts. I started scouring the interwebs to see what online sites I could submit my writing to for more exposure. I started participating in blog hops and mixers. I started guest posting on other people’s blogs. I was invited to post on Scary Mommy (which I still can’t believe). I even managed to get my own space on HuffPost Parents. All in the name of getting my writing read.

I won’t go so far to say that I was spending more time writing about and getting people to read about my family than actually spending time with them, but I did become consumed with building an online presence for my writing. And this was on top of my responsibilities to my family and my freelance editing job.

In essence, I very quickly burned out. Writing posts for my blog became more of a chore (“Uggh, I have to write something tonight”) than the fun, lighthearted writing I was doing at the beginning. I looked at everything with an eye toward how I’d turn it into a blog post — what lesson could I share with others? What funny twist could I put on it? How could I write about it differently than the eleventy thousand other people who had already written about it?

And then a few months ago, I snapped out of it. I was forced to take a writing hiatus when my freelance work piled up on me and life got crazy busy (did you miss my announcement that Wild Thing #4 is on the way? lol). I barely had enough time in a day to take care of my family and work, let alone sit down for any meaningful writing. And you know what? I felt relieved.

Relieved that when I was finally able to sit down and breathe at the end of a long day I didn’t have to rack my brain for something to write about for the sake of publishing something, anything, because I didn’t publish something the day before. Or even the day before that. Relieved that I stopped trying so hard to see the blog post possibilities in everyday situations. Relieved that I wasn’t concerned with how many people were reading my post or, if the gods were smiling down on me that day, sharing it with others.

And I realized that these were all pressure that I put on myself. Nobody asked me to write a blog or start a Facebook page or Twitter account. No one pressured me into trying so hard to get people to read my posts. And certainly no one was keeping me tied to writing three of four posts a week. So why was I working so hard to add more pressure to my life?

And so, I have come to a decision to let my writing take a (rightful) back seat to my family and real life. I am not going to stop writing completely, but I am not going to impose any strict schedule for when I write. I’ll write when the mood strikes or when inspiration hits. Not simply for the sake of writing.

changes

With this new focus, I’ll be making some other changes as well. I am no longer going to be doing my weekly Too Tired to Try Tuesday posts (although fun, they took a lot of time to figure out and put together). Similarly, I won’t be doing regular “That’s What She/He Said” interviews. I will, however, keep doing my Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday posts, but instead of doing them every week, I’m going to run them once a month. (And because I cannot stand the thought of deleting any of my writing, I’ve created a page on on the blog — Things I Used to Do (and Sometimes Still Do) — where everything will be kept safe and sound!)

And in terms of social media, I am going to keep my Facebook page, but I’m ditching my Pinterest account (which I never used anyway), and maybe even my Twitter account. It’s just too much to keep up with.

Part of me feels like a failure by making these changes — not a failure as a writer, but a failure at sticking with it. But then I look at the life around me, and I realize that participating in it is the real success.

So a huge thank you to those of you who have stuck with me and will continue to hang around. I truly appreciate the love and support!