Tuesday, September 30, 2014

friend advice/ Post Secret

Aug. 12 Friend advice: Does anyone remember my blog post “friend advice/ self-esteem study”?  It’s about a coffee group, and one person hogs the conversation:

My friend Sherry emailed me back and I thought what she wrote was so beautifully written, I asked to put it up on my blog and she said yes.  Here it is:  

Having had periods of low self esteem in my life, and having had friends that are dealing
with it, I find that often other people seem to be willing to ignore what gets you down, and inform you that you should change it because they say so. They cannot tell you exactly how to do it, so you are expected to just suddenly smile and have your whole world change. Sadly, it is not that easy. I have found that people who are able to look at the world through your eyes, and help you find steps you can understand from where you presently are can help you find for yourself a new 'space'. Yes it takes time, but low self esteem is very often based on long term experiences that have developed an entire way of thinking, reacting, and responding and if you ignore the foundations of what has created it you ignore building foundations that will help that person feel higher self esteem and build on.

I have seen a person expect someone who was abused their entire life and learn an entirely different 'culture' to overnight think positive thoughts and learn an entirely new 'culture' just by saying the world is a great place, even though because of the behavior and response patterns that person has learned people around them will still find it too easy to treat them negatively, because no-one has taught them the nuances they never
learned in the first place. If someone their entire life has been taught to have a certain tone of voice, they don't even know how to have another. 

If someone subconsciously learns to always walk without making noise, they can't just wake up one morning and understand how to be reasonably noisy. It's like they learned a different language, and without being able to observe objectively, from a distance, with input on exactly what it is they are observing they may never learn to see the world a different way because they have no comprehension of that 'way'.

If I seemed to be talking in circles it is because this can be hard to describe. An example that comes to my mind might help, though. We are taught from primary school on that when someone is giving you orders you re supposed to look at them, and if you look away you are being disrespectful. We were also taught that we have our own voices, and we are expected to ask for something if we want it or we are not communicating properly. 

When I was working on the reservation of a specific native group, I noticed the children would never look at me. They would also constantly be coming up to me and saying their friend wanted something, but would never speak up for themselves. At first I thought they were sullen and smartass, but I asked a co-worker who had been there for a few years. With this specific group, if you respect someone you avert your eyes to show you are not defying them when they speak to you.

If *you* ask for things you are being selfish, but if you let your friends know your needs and they ask for you, they and you both are being unselfish and looking after each other. Until I asked about it, my students and I had troubles communicating, but once I knew it made all the difference in the world, and I was even able to talk to them about how white men communicate in other ways, and make lessons out of it. If I had not asked, i would have assumed they were sullen and trying to make trouble by purposely not listening. Learning to understand where someone is coming from is always the first step in teaching them how to see the world a different way, because you can learn how to communicate with them in ways they understand.

Aug. 17 Post Secret: I found this on Post Secret today: 

Dear Frank,

This is my true secret.

Ever since my Step-Mother lost her job, financially my family has been rocky which is what I expected. What I didn’t expect was the screaming matches between my Father and my Step-Mother. All day and all night, it never stopped, my only sanctuary was school. But then my Father said the only words that I will remember him for

“I wish you were never born!”

These words were a definite blow to my psyche and just a couple months earlier my Step-Mother had said to me “The only reason your here is because no one else in your family wanted you.” But the worst part is I’ve tried to stay optimistic through it all and now the house is getting foreclosed upon and there’s nothing I can do about it. Now that you’ve heard part of the story, here’s the actual secret:

I’m planning on killing myself on my 16th birthday in a place where no one can find the body.

P.S. Thank you so much for creating PostSecret


Dear X-

Give your independent 21 year-old self a chance to change your mind.

At 25 you may have found the nurturing friendships that become the family you make for yourself.

At 30 you might be doing important work saving others who will feel the pain you feel right now.

At 40 you might meet and marry the person who would be destroyed if you took your life at 16.

Someday you may have a teenage daughter or son who will be so lucky to have a mother who earned a loving family.

Please don’t try to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution.

Be well,


PS If you give me a mailing address, I’d like to send you a book.

Dear Frank,

I can’t trust a stranger who’s email address I found on the internet. Can you prove to me publicly who you are, I don’t care what you do. I want to accept your kindness, so please prove to me who you are.

Dear X-

I just edited our emails and posted them on the PostSecret facebook page. Over 1,500 have sent hopeful messages your way! I’m glad you’ll have a chance to see you are not alone.

PS I’m still happy to send you a book. I just need a mailing address.

Dear Frank,

Thank you to the marvelous, people of the PostSecret community who have given me hope for the future that I WILL live! Even if I am to have these thoughts ever again at some point when life is going terribly once more, I will read not only your emails but the comments of so many that want me to live and overcome.

With love and a firmly planted reason to live.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Inn at Cuckold's Lighthouse

I got this email earlier this month: 

Good Morning, Tracy,

At the moment, I have a destination that may be up to your alley to write about for Tracy's Blog. It¹s an interesting angle for your writing blog: The Inn at Cuckold's Lighthouse is a bed and breakfast on a private island off the coast of Maine. It is a cool story because the lighthouse itself was built in the late 1800s, but in early 2000 was threatened with destruction because the Coast Guard had no use for it anymore. The Maine locals got together to save the lighthouse and, in 2006, succeeded. Since then, volunteer-led efforts have been the driving force to restore the historic light station. Local businesses have donated building materials, design expertise, and other resources to bring the project to fruition. The Inn at Cuckold's Lighthouse launched last June.

We¹re positioning the bed and breakfast as a perfect place for writers to have moments of solace in order to write, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic. Additionally, we are currently hosting a competition for bloggers who mention the inn on their blogs. Everyone who mentions the bed and breakfast is entered into a competition to win two free nights at The Inn at Cuckold¹s Lighthouse, plus airfare covered up to $400. You can also offer this prize to your readers to generate more participation on your blog.

If you are interested, I will send over the media kit and several hi-res images. Eager to hear your thoughts!

Thanks X,
Eva Fedderly

What happened to the Nigeria schoolgirls?

What happened to the Nigerian schoolgirls?    

 Last March, Amnesty International released a report on the escalation of violence in northeastern Nigeria, and the systematic pattern of human rights abuses by the Nigerian government and by a little-known group of fighters known as Boko Haram.

A month later Boko Haram kidnapped 270 school girls and a worldwide campaign was launched to protect them.

Then silence.

Read why the girls are still missing
 Amnesty International Canada

Match increased: Tracy, are you in?

Dear Tracy,

Great news! A group of donors was so inspired by the outpouring of support in this year's September Membership Drive, they pledged another $50,000 in matching funds.

Will you help us hit that increased goal?

In solidarity,

Steven Hawkins


Only 6 days left: Join 5,000 other human rights champions

Dear Tracy,

Amnesty's Annual September Membership Drive ends in just six days.

A group of donors was so inspired by the outpouring of support in this year's September Membership Drive, they pledged another $50,000 in matching funds increasing our goal to $350,000.

Donate now and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar through Tuesday at midnight.

Here are three reasons why your donation is needed now.
  • Amnesty is sending research teams into war zones in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic to investigate possible war crimes so that our members can demand that that those responsible be stopped and held accountable.
  • After unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead last month by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Amnesty sent a human rights delegation to Ferguson. Delegation members included observers who monitored police and protester activity and field organizers who conducted trainings in non-violent methods of protest and offered support to the community. Amnesty will continue to respond to events on the ground as they unfold.
  • Amnesty is speaking out for human rights defenders like Rebiya Kadeer. Her son Ablikim Abdiriyim is serving nine years in prison. Amnesty is concerned that the imprisonment is retaliation against Rebiya Kadeer for her work defending the rights of Uighurs, an ethnic minority group in China. There are reports that Ablikim has been tortured. Amnesty fears for his life and is demanding his urgent release.
Don't stand on the sidelines. Do one thing right now to make our movement more powerful, effective and nimble. Donate to Amnesty. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar through September 30.

This opportunity ends in just 6 days!

Thanks in advance for your partnership.

Steven HawkinsSincerely,
Steven Hawkins
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

P.S. We are so close to meeting our goal of 10,000 new and returning members. Donate before midnight on Tuesday and your contribution will go twice as far.

Canada: live up to your commitment sign the treaty to stop torture

Your signature can Stop Torture

Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death in Iran's Evin prison in 2003. Why isn’t Canada making sure this never happens again?
If you ever found yourself in trouble while traveling or working abroad, wouldn’t you want your government to be there for you?

Of course you would.

Canada, unfortunately, has weakened its influence in defending you or any other Canadian who might have the misfortune of being arbitrarily detained because it hasn’t signed a key treaty to prevent torture.
It said it would. But it hasn’t.  And this is no small matter.

Please use your voice to ask Canada to do the right thing and sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture

It’s important to you and every human that Canada signs because there are two truths we can share after 50 years of defending human rights:

1. People get detained overseas for all sorts of unjust or invalid reasons
2. Many people who are detained overseas are tortured

As an Amnesty International supporter, you probably know that people get detained in some countries for what you and I consider our basic freedoms:
  • writing an article that criticizes the government
  • promoting the rights of women
  • poking fun at religion on facebook
  • belonging to the “wrong” religious faith
  • being gay or speaking out to protect the rights of the gay population
  • supporting a political party that opposes the ruling party, even 
  • mistaken identity

At Amnesty International, we’re working right now to defend people detained for every one of these unjust, arbitrary reasons. 
Zara Kazemi was arrested when simply taking photos of people who were inquiring after family members who had been detained.
On the more disturbing issue of torture, we know that in spite its near universal illegality, torture has happened in 141 countries in every region of the world in the last 5 years
Amnesty International believes with 100% conviction that torture is inhumane and can never be justified, and must be abolished in all circumstances. Yet governments everywhere are increasingly turning a blind eye to torture.

Torture happens behind closed doors. The Optional Protocol will open the doors to independent monitoring of detention centres. No one was watching when Kazemi was tortured to death in detention in 2003.
10 years after this tragic loss of Zahra Kazemi's life, it's time for Canada to strengthen its voice by being a part of this important global treaty.  

Urge Canada to put its signature on this key treaty to Stop Torture.


Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada 

P.S. 73 countries, including many of Canada’s closest allies, have signed on to the treaty. With the use of torture so prevalent around the world, Canada should be pushing other countries to become parties to the Optional Protocol as part of a wider effort to eradicate torture around the world. But how can that happen if Canada itself has not ratified? Urge Canada to Sign

It's Susan. And this is your last call.


Last call: Check this off your September to-do list

Dear Tracy,

All this month, artists and human rights activists have proudly raised our voices to defend human rights with Amnesty International.

Now, it's your turn.

Join me as a member of Amnesty International - donate now.

There are only two days left to have your donation matched dollar for dollar as part of Amnesty's Annual September Membership Drive.

Your gift is powerful - it frees Prisoners of Conscience, stops torture and helps civilians survive conflict.
"I don't regret a single moment. I celebrate the work that I do and the people I work with...We are in it together."
That's Jenni Williams, the inspiring co-founder of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise. She's been arrested over 50 times for defending human rights in her country. Jenni credits Amnesty International members with saving her life multiple times.

Jenni is right- we're in this together.

Amnesty is responding to unprecedented assaults on human rights around the world.

Your membership with Amnesty will help us rise to these urgent human rights challenges. Join us and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar until tomorrow at midnight.

Amnesty has my support. Will you give yours?
Susan SarandonSincerely,
Susan Sarandon
Actress & Human Rights Defender

P.S. A group of donors was so inspired by the outpouring of support in this year's September Membership Drive, they pledged another $50,000 in matching funds. Now your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $350,000. But only through tomorrow at midnight.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Paying for College/ College Funding

Sept. 3 Paying for College: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article.  It’s for parents who are saving for retirement, and at the same time paying for their child’s college education.  John McDonough wrote this article.  “He is the managing member at Studemont Group, which is primarily focused on helping retirees gain peace of mind with unique market rescue and recovery programs. He is also founder, president and CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions”:

“Families feel they’re faced with conflicting goals, but there are numerous ways to pay for college while investing in your future retirement,” says McDonough, who offers insights for parents to keep in mind while planning for their child’s education:

• The ROI of a college education: At a time when so many American families are financially strapped, college is an especially stressful topic because parents know higher learning will help their kids succeed. College graduates earn 84 percent than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Here is how earning breaks down over one’s life time, based on education: a doctoral degree-holder will earn $3.3 million over a lifetime; $2.3 million is estimated for a college graduate; those with only a high school diploma can expect $1.3 million.

• Move retirement assets to qualify for grants: Most parents know about the 529 savings account, but that’s not necessarily the best or only option. Reallocating your retirement assets, such as 401(k)s, can better position a child to qualify for grants and scholarships. This legal and ethical maneuvering may be the single most important factor when considering how to pay for college.

• Know your student’s strengths and weaknesses: Consider independent and objective analysis of your future college student. Assessment might include a personality profile and a detailed search for a future career. Also think about a more nuts-and-bolts approach, including scholarship eligibility, SAT and ACT prep courses, review of admissions essays and an in-depth analysis of chances for enrollment in a student’s top four choices of colleges.

• Make a checklist of financial aid forms: In order to maximize a fair price of higher education, remember there is plenty of data to review. McDonough recommends a checklist with a timeline and notable deadlines. Be ready to troubleshoot the “alphabet soup” of data forms: FAFSA – Free Application For Federal Student Aid; CSS profile – College Scholarship Service; SAR – Student Aid Report; and more. Think about this process as a second job, or find professional help you can trust. 


College Funding: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article. John McDonough wrote this article too:   

The net worth of today’s 30-somethings: Adults in their 30s have 21 percent less net worth than 30-somethings 30 years ago, according to a new Urban Institute report. Why? Much of it has to do with high-interest student loans and credit card debt. The return on investment of a college education is excellent – college grads earn 84 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. But paying off that investment without outside help is exceedingly burdensome for a graduate.

• Student loan debt is even greater than credit card debt: That’s right – topping all Americans who have made poor decisions with their credit cards are ambitious high school graduates, whose collective student load debt shoots past $1 trillion! More important than this being a crucial social epidemic, it’s potentially a very real problem for your child. President Obama scored some political points in identifying with most Americans when he said his student load debt was paid off only after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Two-thirds of students leave college with some form of debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.

• Fluctuating interest rates: Recent controversy over federal Stafford loans interest rates adds to the insecurity of borrowing as a college financing strategy. Given the unpredictability of Congress, which allowed the U.S, credit rating to drop while standing on political principles, one can’t reliably predict whether interest rates will rise or fall.

• Your children cannot refinance their loans: While a borrower who has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in gambling debt can refinance their payments, student loans remain at fixed rates. In collecting money on student loans, there is no statute of limitation, and today it’s very common – the norm, actually – for student loan holders to take nearly two decades to pay off their debt. With the annual average cost of public universities exceeding $22,000 per year, and the same often surpassing $50,000 at private universities, it’s no surprise.

My opinion: Both articles are good, but it’s really for parents paying for their college education.  It’s not really relevant to me or any of my friends at the moment.  It’s also more related to the US where college is more expensive.

Working while in College: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article.  It turns out it’s not about working part-time at a job while in college, it’s about starting your own business while in college.  It’s written by Matt Stewart: 

These days, it seems as though Americans are spending more for college while getting less value in return – a trend research validates, says entrepreneur Matt Stewart.

“The average cost for an in-state public college is $22,261, and a moderate budget for a private college averaged $43,289 for the 2012–2013 academic year; for elite schools, we’re talking about three times the cost of your local state school,” says Stewart, a spokesperson for College Works Painting,
(www.collegeworks.com), which provides practical and life-changing business experience for college students who have shown potential for success. Interns operate their own house-painting business with hands-on guidance from mentors.

Making matters worse, adults in their 30s have 21 percent less net worth than 30-somethings 30 years ago, according to a new Urban Institute report.

“More students are being saddled with long-term debt while getting less value for their education,” Stewart says. “Because of the difficulty recent college grads are having finding jobs in today’s tough economy; today’s students may have even less worth in their 30s than 30-somethings today.”

To add value to their professional career, Stewart encourages students to seek outside-the-box avenues for increasing their career stock while in college. Running a business is a great way to do that; he explains why.

• Employers love ambition. A college degree is the minimum qualification employers are seeking. What hiring managers are looking for is that something extra when reviewing a stack of qualified resumes. At the heart of the economy is innovation; it’s the difference between simply existing in a market, and thriving in one. Employers know they need people with creativity and gumption for innovation.

• Real-world management of time and money. College is a time when young adults learn to live autonomously. It’s the rare student, however, who learns to manage his or her own affairs and  the most precious resources in the business world – time and money. Managing employees, driving sales, developing specific skills for a real market and building strong customer relationships are best learned with hands-on experience.

• Learn where they need help. What do you do well and where do you need help? The best way to know with any certainty is through experience. Running a business while attending college allows students to circle back to their education and focus on their trouble areas by adjusting their curriculum in future semester. 

• Develop meaningful bonds. One of the most meaningful aspects of the college experience is the relationships students develop with each other, which often have professional consequences after college. Enlisting the help of fellow students for a common business purpose tends to have a powerful bonding effect.
• Immediate ROI – finding phenomenal success. Most students who run a business during college will not prove to be the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg or David Geffen, which is precisely why students should not drop out of college like those pioneers did. However, a student doesn’t have to be the next Zuckerburg to experience amazing success as an entrepreneur. College Hunks Moving Junk is just one recent example that began in an entrepreneurial student mind.   

My opinion: It’s a good article to create your own business.  However, I don’t really have an idea to create my own business.  When I was in Professional Writing full-time, I was take 4 or 5 classes a semester and didn’t have a part-time job.  I did a lot of school work.  My free-time was TV and writing my weekly emails.