Thursday, August 1, 2013

I have ideas...

Strange ideas....generally related to book ideas.  Because one day I might write something great.  Not like that really presents itself on this blog, but greatness comes from practice;o)

Here are some random ideas:

1) A book titled something like, "Empowering Women:  An Effective Model for Big Cities."  If we know that empowering women creates stronger communities in developing countries, then why can't a similar model be used in large urban cities?  Time and time again I see that ONE organization in a developing country is making a difference, yet we have hundreds of organizations (churches, outreach groups, government aid, etc.) in big cities and we see very little change.  The book (or maybe large thesis) would revolve around researching 3-5 of the largest cities in America, meeting with focus groups of women who are suffering from low socio-economic status, meeting with all those organizations that are trying to improve the cities, and coming up with a plan or model that can be effective in making a difference.

2) A series of 3 illustrated 5x5 coffee table books of humor, titled: "Pregnancy", "Birth," & "Breastfeeding."  They would be humorous.  Written by my husband (mostly his ideas) and a few of mine.  On one page would be one his infamous phrases (ie: "Lunch-line!") and on the other side would be an illustration to match the phrase (ie: a cartoon of woman's breast area distorted to look like a cafeteria lunch line).  Other one-liners I can remember off the top of my head, "Titty-time" & "Dairy Queen."  Note:  My husband wholly supports breastfeeding & is very empowering of my ability to do so, so his comments are not meant to be insulting - if you take offense, then just ignore this paragraph:o) 

3) A proposal to improve national education by doing an honest and legit comparison to other countries.  The research would be done by teachers.  I've kind of started some work on the proposal plan, but it needs a lot to finish and probably a LOT of editing.

And the only way I see me ever having time to thoroughly complete any of these projects is when I won't have to work because I'll have an investor who believes in one of my crazy ideas & provides my income while I complete a project.  And when my project is complete I will be an awesome (but humble and modest)  success and I will have more ideas, more investors, & my own money to persue new, cool projects.

So, any crazy takers?  LOL!

Never far from my mind...

I haven't posted in ages, but the last few weeks of my pregnancy were just tough, then I gave birth, & now it's been nearly a month & I feel like we're finally getting adjusted in the house.  Blogging wasn't the first thing on my mind.  However, that doesn't mean that the blog or my fundraiser has been on my mind.

So far my Heifer International fundraiser has raised $120.  I recently received donations from some awesome friends of mine.  I'm nearly half way there and I have just a little less than 3 weeks to get there to reach my goal of $250 by August 19th - World Humanitarian Day!

Prior to Maggie being born I had the chance to DVR "Keep A Child Alive."  It is a documentary special with Alicia Keys who took five individuals with her to South Africa to learn about the AIDS epidemic & its impact on the communities.  It was a very good documentary and I highly recommend it.  For more info click here.  I admire anyone who uses their status to make others aware of important issues, but I thought it was very awesome the way she brought along fans who were also truly interested in the issue and want to make a difference in their communities.  I would like to think, given the chance, that I would take the opportunity to travel and learn more about the global issues that raise my curiosity.  I consider how much I want to do already & how much more impacted I would be seeing the issues face to face - how does that truly change a person & what does one do with that new mindset?

I also had the opportunity (just last night) to FINALLY watch "Half the Sky."  I had it recorded forever and had a quiet afternoon and some evening time to get through the movie.  I really enjoyed this documentary as well.  It was not loaded down with number and statistics.  Diane Lane had me cracking up at one point, "Now I'm starting to get pissed, so you better start talking..."  The segment on maternal mortality really spoke to me, probably because I just gave birth less than a month ago, but it also reminded me of my first pregnancy as well.  I was determined to give birth naturally & that required a lot of mental preperation.  My husband used to say to others (who were doubtful that I could/should go without drugs), "Women have been having babies in rivers and huts for hundreds of years without anything."  This is true.  Women did not always have the epidural!  And while that thought was encouraging I naively took my thinking one step further; I thought to myself, "When I give birth, somewhere in the world there will be another woman just like me going through the same thing....and like all the other women who came before us and will come after us, we'll be a shining example of what God created & how awesome he made our bodies & it will be beautiful" & puppies & rainbows and all sorts of other happy thoughts.

The issue of maternal mortality kind of ruined that thought.  Not that parts of it aren't true, but the fact is that there are a lot of women who give birth in developing countries who don't come to terms with giving birth like we do in the US.  They don't have access to birth control to prevent pregnancy at a young age or to space children apart.  They suffer from lack of prenatal care, anemia, and malnutrition.  They may not be pregnant by choice.  They may not have access to a midwife, doctor or hospital and DO give birth in huts that are unsanitary & put them and their babies at risk for infection.  They may be seen as expendable and; therefore, do not get emergency assistance needed during birth to get a c-section and suffer from obstructed birth and other complications.  And they most certainly do not have access to an epidural - but that's the least of their concerns.  Giving birth naturally isn't a choice, but it's also not a worry compared to everything else they must endure.

Women die.  Not because of child birth.  Because of lack of proper health care.  Edna Adan, owner of her own hospital in Somaliland, mentioned in the documentary that women who die in her hospital shouldn't because every one of their cases have preventable treatments.  Women in developed countries like the US don't have to be concerned about these issues the same ways that other women around the world have to worry.  We value women and children; therefore, as a community we do our best to make sure we get as much care as possible to women and children.

I should feel relieved and thankful.  I feel disappointed and sad.

The rest of the movie was also really good.  I think the actresses, America Ferrera & Olivia Wilde, were very genuine.  The idea of micro-financing is very similar to Heifer International.  The idea is not a "hand out" but a "hand up," providing ways for families (especially women) to support themselves independently.  I've chosen to support Heifer because I prefer the idea of providing education, animals, seeds & equipment versus handing someone money.  Even though organizations are setup to try to minimize those who would squander the money, I feel like it is much easier to follow through with a plan when you're already given the materials rather than having to go buy them yourself.  If you have might as well plant them, right?  And, rather than worry about paying back a loan, families who are donated to are only asked to pass on a gift in the form of an animal or equipment (like they received from Heifer) to another family in need - this doesn't take nearly the same financial toll as paying out cash.   

Alright, I'm going to try to either go back to sleep & if that doesn't work I might as well stay up and do some teacher prep.