After a three year absence, does a person start all over? Does a person explain to the world who they are all over again? Is the author even the same person anymore? After all, it has been three years.
Writing is a part of me. It has been an outlet for me and one that I miss a great deal. So, I am getting started… again.
Sometimes it will be funny. Sometimes it will be full of pain. Sometimes it may just be me shooting the shit.
One thing you will find here for certain, is me. Authentic, raw and real. Me. Just the Way I Live.
Well, it is official, I am adding another soapbox to my topic list.
Let me first say this, when people describe me, they often use the word caring. And lately, I am sure they don’t mean about ‘others’ and my kids. Because quite frankly, I have been quite moody and bitchy lately. So, I think what they mean when they reference my character as caring, they must be talking about my heart holding a special place for different charities, organizations, causes, and issues.
I am about to jump onto a new soapbox and this is the first time addressing this topic so and I am in new territory. There is much to learn and I was asked today, “Why do I care?” “Like, why is this such a big deal to you?”
And, the reason is simple. I have young girls being raised in my home and it scares me.
The new soapbox… human trafficking and in my mind and in particular human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
I would probably be turning a blind eye to this topic if it were not for a presentation I saw in Bismarck when I was with the FCCLA students from Bowman County. A presentation was done by an organization called Say Something Assembly that opened my eyes to what is happening in our state. For those of you who don’t know, I live in North Dakota and we have been in a strange economy on the west side of the state due to the oil boom in the Bakken field. This means people in the horrible economies all around the US were moving in droves to work in the Bakken. Many making big money and spending time great distances from their families. Because of this boom in our area, sex trafficking has become a major area of concern.
So what Robin, why do you care? Why post this message? Why blog about it?
Because I saw a presentation that moved my heart, made my eyes cry tears of sorrow for people I have never met, because every single person deserves a decent life and because I promised I would SAY SOMETHING!
During the assembly, the speakers talked about students who were doing great in school, had friends, were well rounded going from being on top of the world, to being in a motel room, lost and alone and someone’s next victim.
They talked about signs that we should watch for in students. Changes in eating behaviors, changes in schedules, changes in the activities they enjoy. Drastic changes could indicate something is wrong and they need to open up and share something but could be too scared to ask for help.
They talked about the number one biggest day of the year for sex trafficking and their quest to find missing persons every year the weekend of the Super Bowl.
The talked about finding one of the missing people on the poster and being unable to help her because she disappeared into the darkness.
These stories reached into my soul and frightened me a bit more than I expected. The stories made me realize this is happening.
A young woman who is no longer a part of the industry spoke about her experience and she talked about what is happening right here in North Dakota. She is online everyday searching and trying to find missing people and has connections and information about what is happening in the Bakken and beyond.
I am trying super hard to add a video link from Vimeo and struggling big time. So… I will type in the URL and hope that you all can follow it.
I was hoping to link that with an image, but no such luck. Please watch the trailer for the video Boom.
It boggled my mind that the taxi driver just flat out said, there are prostitutes in every motel in town. He gives information on how to find them. Right here in North Dakota. I know I sound naive and that I live in the sticks, but it crushes me to think this is my home state and it has been infected with this ugly behavior.
Just a short time ago I received an invitation to an event at a local establishment that is promoting the terminology of the industry. The words used in the event invite were “Pimps” and “Hos”. The following information was taken from the event page on Facebook.
Ok guys! Our friend “Name Withheld” and his lovely lady “Name Withheld” are missing us! They were wondering if it was OK if they came back to Bowman and helped us party a little bit? Come dressed in your favorite pimp/ho outfit and let’s make it interesting. I’m gonna show “Name Withheld” who is boss and I think “Name Withheld” would like to make “Name Withheld” her bitch! Come on down and join us for a night of dancing and kick ass tunes. Maybe we will have fun too:)
I was taken so far off course by the invite that I had to sit back for a minute and decide if I was going to just hit “Decline” and move on with my life or if I needed to do something more. Because I was so outraged by the whole thing, I decided to post on the page. I basically wrote that having a party theme based on something that is causing people to lose their children, families are destroyed and people die because of the industry is not a wise decision.
My post was deleted! Shocker I realize.
What is difficult for me to understand, is the person putting the event on has a young daughter and a young son. What if… What if… What if… that is all I can think. What if either of them were abducted and taken north of here to be used in the sex trafficking industry? What if they were to become depressed and decide to run away and upon running away found someone who really ‘understood’ them and that person was a real life pimp looking for runaways to get into the industry? What if… What if…
I was speaking with a friend today and mentioned my bewilderment regarding the situation. I was telling her I wasn’t sure what a person should do. That I am not sure where the line in ‘minding my own business’ and doing something about it is. She mentioned my blog and I knew in my heart I needed to “Say Something”.
Because I have daughters. Because my sister has young kids, because my nephews are teens and you just never know what could happen. Because I promised I would “Say Something” when I had a chance.
To any of my local friends and family who may or may not have been Facebook invited to the event I am referring to, I ask that you please consider another activity for that particular Saturday night. No good can come of an event where people are encouraged to dress like pimps and hos.
If you have questions about the Say Anything Assembly I was able to see, let me know. It was amazing! If you have questions about my new found quest to bring more awareness to this taboo topic, let me know. I would be happy to answer them.
More information and possibly some posts with missing persons information will be coming in future blog posts. Thanks for sticking with me on this one. It’s not a fun topic and there isn’t anything really lighthearted about it.
And as my son asked me earlier… Why Mom, what makes this such a big deal to you?
Because I promised I would do something and my caring heart needs to Say Something today.
Once upon a time there was a little girl living just three and a half miles south of a small town. She dreamed big dreams and had grand plans. One day, she would be a drummer in a rock band or maybe a trucker.
She grew up just a short distance from her friends. She played in tree rows, she rode her bike along the road to eat ice cream and share her dreams with her friends.
She and those very same friends went to school in that small town. It was in that small school where something was growing inside each of them that would stay with them forever. Pirate Pride and a sense of community.
This young girl learned what it was like to do something for others. She learned what it was like to have others do things for you.
She walked down the street in the snow with her friends as they said farewell to one boy’s older brother. The snow was falling, it was cold, but that day they were together on main street in that small town. Growing.
This girl, and her friends rode their bikes short distances for fun and greater distances to make a difference. It was in this small town, this community, that they joined a bike-a-thon and rode their bikes 6 miles out and back to raise money for kids in hospitals and for research to end a disease. Growing.
She participated in the St. Jude’s Math-a-thon in her classroom among her friends and peers with the support of her teachers to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancers. Growing.
She collected coins in a small box as a part of an effort at church to end hunger. Growing.
Did it seem like a big deal to her? Did she think she was changing the world? At the time, not really. She was just being a kid and growing up in a small town where people reach out and do what they need to do to make a difference.
This community she grew up in, this small town with all its charm, helped mold her into the person she is today. The Pirate Pride that was growing inside of her is something that will never fade away. In fact, as time passes, the pride seems to grow.
She now lives in a small town just down the road a bit from her ‘small town’ home. Knowing she came from a time and place where people mattered and doing what we can to make even the smallest bit of difference is what pushes her to instill that same pride in her children.
A sense of giving and doing and trying to matter in this world is what makes the heart grow and the pride in a community even greater. At times, it may seem this bigger town isn’t quite sure they can make a difference. They people are not sure they have enough time, energy, or resources to give. This is a struggle for that small town girl to see. Why not just do small things? Why not just try a little bit.
But then, she thinks back and knows in her heart that she lives in a community that does give, that does care, and that does know how to make a difference and that people, no matter where they are from or who they are, MATTER. She lives in a town that sometimes needs a little nudge but once they are moving forward, they give it all they’ve got!
A community where kids have lemonade stands on their birthdays. They raise money for family’s who have nothing after a fire and to support the Relay For Life instead of for themselves.
A community where people gather in the streets to eat pancakes and sausage while raising money for a fire fighter fighting cancer.
A community where wishes are granted for a student needing a new kidney and welcoming him and his family within a short time of living there.
A community with graduates who are making a huge difference and granting more wishes than we could ever imagine.
For children so small all they dream of is petting the animals.
A community where something as small as wearing a certain color can show how much love and support you have for someone!
And buying a bracelet shows kids that little kids get sick and fight back too.
Where stopping your day to ride a bike a few miles with another amazing graduate (from years gone by) can make a difference to children in Uganda.
A community where a small blue bracelet tells someone who moved here from a bigger town that we are praying so hard for a miracle.
Where children brave the cold weather to tell of the birth of the biggest Giver of all!
Where people come running to support kids going abroad to sing and play instruments.
Where the simple act of tying a ribbon on your neighbor’s tree let’s them know their loved one will never be forgotten.
A community that rallies around a family down the road a short distance…
This girl has avoided the camera for as long as I will let her!
I was looking for pictures of her on my Instagram account the other day and there are so few.
Here she is at her first track meet. The fourth through sixth grade students could sign up to attend a few practices and the last day of school was a track meet. Not exactly the same as the “Play Days” of days gone by, but still fun for the kids.
She tried the high jump. Gotta love a girl with heart! She tried her best and the winner of the boys’ high jump could have jumped over Emma if she were standing under the bar.
A little foot race for her. It was the 50 meter dash.
Papa and Nana were there. He was supposed to be farming, but whenever the kids have things going on, he does his level best (as does Nana) to be there.
And, while I know this post is about Emma Rae… here is Olivia in her usual position… UPSIDE DOWN… doing a cartwheel. This time attached to a friend.
And they all did the long jump. So one after another the kids ran and jumped into a pit of sand.
The kids each received a t-shirt, a popsicle, and ribbons in their events. You can see, Miss Emma is not the tallest in her class…
And, Mother of the Year goes to… ME! I didn’t put sunscreen on her so she was FRIED to a crisp. It was the first nice day of the year and she was in the sun from 12:30 to 3:30.
Needless to say, her shoulders were toast for the TKD testing that took place the following day. That photo post will be next.
I want to make a couple of notes regarding life in general too… I decided that we would have a fire after school on the last day… so we did. I am not waiting to live my life for a perfect time or another day. We just did it!
And… I am working on printing pics. Yep… hundreds and THOUSANDS… I am not kidding… images and guess who has zero pictures to show for it? Me!
The theme of this year’s ND State Family, Career and Community Leaders of America was Together We Are…
For me the last three days renewed my spirit and hope for our future because I spent those days with our future.
I was asked by the Bowman County FCCLA Advisor, Sara Kordovsky, to help her chaperone a group of young ladies (our local chapter does not have male members at this time) at this year’s state convention in Bismarck.
Here they are… dressed in red… I LOVE RED (It’s the Pirate and former FHA state officer in me).
Sometimes… Girls just wanna have fun!
These two young ladies had an amazing couple of days. They competed in STAR Events and…
QUALIFIED for the National Convention. They were the best in the state in their category!
Here they are just moments after crossing the stage!
I need to insert a note here… A heartbreaking part of this story in my opinion. These girls and any other students who earn their right to compete at the National Convention in FCCLA do not get to attend. It is a school policy that was put in place a few years ago. I could share some of the reasons why with you now, but will save the rant that I want to carry on for another day. Today, I want to share the news that these kids did a great job and deserve high fives, congratulations and a victory party at the very least for their hard work!
Even I had some red to wear!
A STAR Event participant earning a Silver. Great work!
As this young lady crossed the stage we heard the words yet again… And Qualifying for Nationals From Bowman County Public Schools…
And another Gold Star!
And yet another Gold Star!
A couple super great girls!
Side note… It was FREEZING cold so sweatshirts were allowed and it was DARK so my camera was very confused!
One of these two is super quiet… I won’t give it away by saying the one in the red shirt 🙂
And a few more crazy girls waiting to hear from one of the amazing speakers. I forget how much I miss being inspired by motivational speakers. Man, they can make a person laugh and they can bring me to tears. Both happened to me during many of the sessions.
And… While we were away… Mrs. K. and I had to do some childcare re-arranging since both of us have husbands on the local fire department. Finding someone to take our kids seems like a small matter compared to what the Longland/Slagle family faced. They lost their home to a fire that our guys could not defeat. Sometimes it happens. The guys did all they could but the fire was too much for them by the time they arrived. So incredibly sad for their loss but grateful no one was injured in the blaze.
The family has a GoFundMe account set up. If you happened to have a minute and a few extra dollars to spare, it would be super awesome if you could donate to their family. They lost everything. Imagine not having your toothbrush, phone charger, family photos from Christmas last year, baby photos of your grandchildren, and more underwear than the pair you have on.
I want to thank each and every one of these young ladies for an incredible weekend. I tried and tried to talk myself out of going, but am so glad I did. I forget sometimes that I enjoy young people and sort of miss being around them. They made being a chaperone super easy!
Thanks also to Mrs. K. for inviting me along and for the great shirt. Can’t go wrong with red!
Well, some quick pics of what has been going on lately at The Welch House.
First part of March we did something a whole lot of crazy…
Kat – Our Goldendoodle came to live with us March 4th. She is a puppy and to be honest, I am not ready for puppy. Good old Zada was calm and well trained. Did you know a person forgets how much work a puppy is after 12 years of ‘living the life’ with a great old dog?
Sophia’s new best friend was born. Baby Audra came into the world and is a blessing to all of us.
Olivia turned 8 on the 8th!
And because it was Make A Wish weekend we had the chance to swim with Reagen.
Olivia had a gymnastics cake for her friend party.
And a slumber party with a bunch of girls… three twin mattresses on the floor.
Chad and I took a weekend away to watch the State Class B Basketball tournament. Great time!
I had a hair do… It’s a big deal! My hair is growing like crazy these days. Ask me why if you dare!
My feet have been a total pain in the ass lately. Plantar fasciitis is in full effect. Hate it… life long problems!
And… Watched my dad do what he loves. End of March marks the Lund’s B-Bar Angus Bull Sale. This is his biggest day of the year and we love to watch him each and every year if we can.
Once upon a time, I knew a girl named Keri only as an online acquaintance… Now, Keri is my friend, and her brother is my hero.
I met Keri Doolittle as part of an online photography group gathering when Sophia was just a baby. It was September (my birthday weekend) and an amazing weekend is an understatement to say the least. While I learned much and met new friends, the most important thing that happened to me that weekend was learning about a guy named Steve. Keri’s step-brother is Steve Gleason, #37 for the Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints in 2009. While that may be just a small factoid in the sports world to some, what is more important is Steve Gleason is fighting against a relentless disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and doing all he can to make sure others who are touched by this terrible disease can do it with the technological advances they need, seeking a cure, spreading awareness and the coolest of all things… raising his son, Rivers and living out his life with his wife, Michel.
Great story Robin… get to the point…
Each year since meeting Keri, I have participated in at least one event to raise awareness and funds to help Team Gleason. One year I went to a golf tournament, and years following I have participated in an event called the Team Gleason Virtual Race. This year, the race name has changed to Team Gleason Virtual CHALLENGE. What does that mean? Well, not everyone is a runner or walker. The main idea is to get people out MOVING… DOING… ACTIVE… because one thing ALS takes from so many is the ability to MOVE, DO, and be ACTIVE without the assistance of others.
How can you be involved? Well… there will be a LOCAL gathering in Bowman, ND at James’ Field around the walking path and at the baseball field so people can do whatever activity they wish!
Below is a screenshot of the website telling about the event. And… showing Jodi, Amanda, and Aunt Tonya from a previous year. They have supported Team Gleason each year and I love them all for it!
I have decided to be a local volunteer and am putting the local event together for Southwest ND area. I am super excited and hope everyone spreads the word and decides to come hang out and have some fun as a community in support of Team Gleason.
It has been 285 days since my last post. Really??? 285 day…
That is crazy insane and I have no real reason for letting my blog slip through my fingers.
It’s just life… my life. The way I live… Get it. Domain name… and my basic motto for life. It’s just the way I live.
So, why today. Why am I posting here today of all days and what is this all about.
Well, I was getting my hair all schnazzy and one of the stylists asked why I don’t blog anymore. I really didn’t have an answer. In fact, I didn’t answer her and changed the subject. The conversation sparked because of an IG post I had made. One of my favorites.
So, the blog has been on my mind and I have been trying to figure out if it is important to me and if I should be doing it. Blah blah blah… So… I click on a link today to see some great info from an incredible team leader in the world of essential oils and realized I needed to get my blog moving again. I needed to share my family’s stories. I needed to document our life. I needed to share my lack of enthusiasm towards life lately and make sure the world full of people who are down in the dumps also know they are not alone.
How did I happen to find this link and team leader I speak of… Well, I happened along this new team concept through my friend, Brianne Brose (check out her blog here… www.littledropsoflove.com). She was talking and sharing her love of oils and even though I had been introduced and an oiler kind of girl before, I had fallen off the ‘train’ so to speak and lost my passion and desire to learn more regarding the use and benefits of oils. So… watching and hearing what a difference they made for Brianne’s family I started asking questions again and was pointed in the Lemondrop direction. The more Brianne and I chatted, the more I realized I wanted back into the world of oils and wanted to make a difference in my home and my family with the oils.
So, I am minding my own business getting my hair done and someone asks… “Why aren’t you blogging?”
I am minding my own business and keeping to myself when I watch a video and hear of a challenge by Lindsay the leader and co-creater of The Lemondroppers… And she says, Share share share this video on some social media or a blog. Let the world know what it is all about. Watch it and realize and know you are a part of something amazing.
So… (That’s my word for the day… and I love incorrectly using eclipses).
So… That is what I am doing. Sharing this amazing video.
And telling you why I am a Lemondropper. I am a Lemondropper because I don’t want to sell another product, but I want to share something that can change the way your family lives. I am a Lemondropper because it fits me. I am a Lemondropper because someone asked me to join them and be a part of something quite amazing.
And… because it was National Puppy Day earlier this week…
Here is #ourdognamedKat who will need some of my recently acquired T-Away from the Animal Scents collection. She was rushed to the vet today because a door fell on her. Poor girl cried and cried. She is fine and all is well for her. Thank goodness.
This one… will be very little jibberish and just focus on what’s up with my kids…
The Light of my World…
This boy turned 21…. FINALLY!!! It was a long road but he finally hit the magic 21 years. This was taken as he was departing for Las Vegas to be part of a celebration with his buddies. Two for one weekend. He turned 21 in Vegas and Dusty had his bachelor party. Talk about a Hang Over movie sequel waiting to happen. 8 North Dakota boys in Vegas.
The girls during Homecoming week back in October. I know it is an older one, but I just love it.
Zada and Sophia… another old one and HORRIBLE color… but I just love when they hang out together. Zader-Beans is getting old on us. We had to build her a ramp to get up the two (yes 2) steps on the deck. She is quite the girl We love her and I worry about her so very much.
This girl turned 9. Here she is the last night at age 8. Being a bit silly for the camera.
This lovely lady melts my heart. Here she is at the spring concert. We decided to cut her hair a few days after this. Now I see how pretty it was that night and maybe regret it a bit… but her hair grows super fast so we should be okay.
My SOUL daughter is getting married. Her she is (on the left) with her Aunty Tonya and her mom, Jodi. She had a beautiful bridal shower and is finding out quickly how many people love her and how much… and it is making this special young lady a bit teary eyed.
And… it rained the other day (and many other days)… But it was super nice and warm out so the girls went out and played in the water. This little peanut makes my family with “too many kids” complete. Chad and I joke often about having “too many kids” because quite frankly… they make us tired sometimes. And while I may have been a bit moody before she arrived… I wouldn’t trade her in for anything in the world. Love this little girl. She is my Snuggle Bear.
And here they are… playing in the rain. Seriously, it was so warm, Emma could sit in the “Pooh Stick Stream” and not freeze. Olivia quickly learned that there wasn’t enough water for the floater.
So… there you have it. A bit of fun and no major ‘life lessons’ or reasons for the post. Just me sharing my kids with you.
As I type, Little Miss Sophia has decided to wake up at 4:30AM and said she wants to come ‘snuggle’ with me.
This post is a collection of thoughts that have come to me lately and I wanted to share them to see what others think on the topic of
Reasons vs. Excuses
First of all, are they the same thing? I am going to argue absolutely… NOT.
I have come up against a few people in my life who feel every answer you give them when asked how or why something was completed in a certain way (generally in unsatisfactory ways)… that the answer is an excuse.
Truth be told there are sometimes reasons and sometimes excuses. Reasons I can handle… Excuses (and sometimes blaming) makes me wonder or something. I am not sure what it does… but I am learning that I use both and it is my intention to use excuses less and hopefully reasons less as well.
Let me give you some examples of MY ideas when it comes to reasons vs. excuses.
Why didn’t you work out this morning?
Reason: My daughter was throwing up and had a fever of 102 degrees.
Excuse: I only had two hours of sleep and couldn’t make myself get up to go.
Why is your homework not done?
Reason: I came home from school and threw up.
Excuse: I didn’t have time.
Why didn’t you call your Mom on her birthday?
Reason: I was in the middle of the Indian Ocean with no cell service.
Excuse: My cell phone was not charged.
As I make my way through many changes in my life over the coming year (or two) I am hoping to deal with fewer reasons and make fewer excuses because I just want to do and be the best I can. I want to get it right as often as I can. Will I falter? Of course, but when asked, why didn’t you succeed at making your home a better place to live and take better care of your heart, mind, body and soul… the answer won’t be a reason or an excuse… but will rather be I’m still working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and change takes time.
And because I try not to leave you without a visual stimulus of some sort…
A picture of me (age 40) and my soul daughter (age 25) at our joint birthday celebration last fall.