I wrote a piece back in July of 2012 “Selling and Idea to Give Hope”
with good response. It wasn't a response so much I was looking for (though I would like to see more public action) as much as raising public awareness. We need more public awareness to all situations that create in people a loss of hope, love and support. Aware Bears
were created in my time of loss of hope; they are a labor of love and with each bear I make, my own sense of hope is renewed.
Recently, I was contacted by a member of an organization working with persons who suffer from IC – Interstitial Cystitis. I had never heard about this painful disorder or the high rate of suicide as a result of emotional and physical pain this disorder creates. http://www.ichelp.org/ Together, we have worked on creating a new Aware Bear
to represent IC. I was not surprised that collaboration with others brings forth good things; rather I was surprised that my sense of purpose was renewed through witnessing an increase in awareness through the actions of myself and others.
First Aware Bear Made - Mental Health Awareness. The original went to Nebraska Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.
PTSD Aware Bear. For Information on how your organization can be a part of Aware Bears email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The statement above is what Aware Bears are about.
Raising awareness, giving support, hope and love.
Aware Bears are support that is visible.
Aware Bears give the message of unconditional love.
Aware Bears are hope that can be held.
It’s a new year and for many this means a time of new resolutions. I challenge you to make a new resolution to give thought, and then take action for a cause you are passionate about or touched your life. Raise the bar on the level of awareness.
Make a point to reach out to the organization representing your cause. Ask how you can help. Give someone hope to hold onto. I look forward to your sharing how reaching out raised the bar on awareness to your cause. Wishing you success and inspiration on this day and always,
I love the burst of excitement and passion when, without warning, I see a picture or a phrase that allows for just a brief time the window of inspiration to open. The ideas of plans, missions and designs that were building in my mind spill out onto the pages of my journal, images appearing in the form of frantically scribbled words and crude attempts to draw. It does not matter to me what anyone else may see on the pages of my journal. It only matters that I can see my idea on paper as clearly as it was in my mind - selling an idea to give hope.
Buying and Giving a Concept
The people who firmly believe they can buy anything do exist. They believe they can buy happiness and have bought more money, bought, sold and traded people, and some have paid for life. I suppose if you have enough money you could try to buy anything including faith, but can money buy a person hope?
Hope is faith and faith is intangible. What we believe in and cannot see is done with faith (a concept). Hope does not fit into any of the physical senses, so how it it be bought or sold? You may answer through products or tangible items we give to people which is a valid argument, but, it's still not giving hope; it's giving a concept.
Many times we as adults forget a child or an adult in crisis may experience a temporary lack of ability to process concepts. They are in black and white (concrete) thinking mode for survival and protection of their emotions; however, they will process something tangible that represents the promise of hope. Something physical to remind them of a special memory, moment or of their home.
In the right form, yarn and other materials can bring the promise of hope and happiness.
Windows of Hope Quilt
A Promise of Hope
The impact of a child being removed from their homes to a strange place is beyond my ability to express. They experience fear, self-blame, shame and some continue to experience these emotions for many more years. The same impact exists for teens and adults when they are removed or forced to flee their homes for their safety and safety of their children. Shame and fear grip a person so tightly it becomes almost too much to move, think, speak or plan. Trauma becomes their world.
Fortunately, research has moved administrators, advocates, and those in the medical and mental health professions forward enough to understand the impact of trauma on children and adults. Some studies have found the trauma may be reduced when a person has a form of the promise of hope.
I have seen the difference a bear, a blanket, a doll or other special item given to a child when they are placed out of home can make. I have experienced personally the joy of giving and receiving items some of you may take for granted: nice clothing, body sprays, special jewelry, a music cd, books to read or cosmetics. Each person reacts differently to the gifts, but most will recognize these gifts as a promise to them - that hope is theirs. If they have nothing else, they have the promise of hope to hold onto and wrap around themselves when they feel lonely, lost and afraid. An invisible message is given with the items, "Have faith, keep hoping. WE will get through this."
In the right form, yarn or other materials can create something tangible that brings the promise of hope and happiness. I created Aware Bears in the efforts of providing the promise of hope to others, and more recently, the Windows of Hope Quilt. Did you know from each Aware Bear sold I donate $2.00 to the cause the bear represents? The thought crossed my mind I can be giving more, doing more with this concept. This is where selling an idea to give hope becomes my dream. While designing the quilt, I was able to place the pieces of my dream together beyond images and create a plan.
My Dream is to Give Custom & Repurposed Clothing, Quilts & Other Items to Persons
Placed in Care Out of Their Homes
or Residing in Shelters For Safety.
| |Please email if you are interested in learning more about how you can help with Promises of Hope. email@example.com | |Wanted: Many Hands, Hearts & Minds
Taking action is what will turn this dream into a reality with help from volunteers and donations of their time and skills. Can I do this alone? No.
A project of this size needs many hands, hearts and minds. A project of this size will need a lot of fabric and donated clothing to make Promises of Hope happen. It will take a little time, planning and most of all people working together.
My dream begins with you in your community. This is a call to action. I am not seeking money - I am asking for:
- Donating clothing: coats, suits, dresses, jeans & shirts in all sizes;
- Requesting donations of the materials needed (yarn, fabric, etc.)
- Accessories for Work Attire
A favorite song of mine, "One Voice" ,
comes to mind as I make my bold public request for volunteers. I am one voice reaching out to the large communities of crafters, organizers, philanthropists, businesses and others asking for your time and skills to be applied in a nationwide collaborative effort. Selling an idea that can't be seen is not easy, but together we can give what can't be seen - hope.
I wish you much inspiration, today and always.
Essential Oils are merely the "oil of" the plant from which it was extracted. A little known fact: the first method for extraction and use of Essential Oil was in 1188! In all those years you can imagine there would be more than 20 uses for these exotic oils; however I will only share 20 I find are most helpful to me personally. If you have other uses, please share them with the readers! One of the ways Essential Oils have been used is medicinally throughout the centuries; however, in recent years the practice of aromatherapy - a branch of alternative medicine - has taken it's place. A disclaimer here: I do not encourage the practice of internally ingesting any essential oil. The following 20 uses are external applications only. Moving on to 20 Uses for Essential Oils . . .
1. Save $ and make your own Reed Diffuser. Using a dark colored bottle (lengthens the life of the EO), place 2 drops of EO in the bottle, fill half-way with a carrier oil, insert reeds and you are done! You can refill the reeds and oil at a fraction of the cost of store purchased diffusers.
2. Oil Burners can be purchased in many places online or in stores. They can fragrance a room or two in minutes, creating a lasting relaxing environment.
3. Place warmth or cold on the area where stress is affecting you most with a warming bag. Place on your neck, forehead, chest, lower back, etc. Apply one - two drops of EO to the bag, heat in microwave (if you desire) apply and relax!
4. To fragrance your environment, place 1-2 drops of EO on a cotton ball and tuck behind any item (canister, dresser drawers, etc.).
5. Add an exotic fragrance personal to your Soap Making.
6. Make your own Effusion Oil for your lamps. 2 C Alcohol, 2 drops of EO and 2 Tbsp of distilled water. Mix well and you have your own favorite lamp oil!
7. Adding a drop or two on a padded hangar for your closet will fill your wardrobe with freshness. Great as a gift idea!
8. Adding a drop or two of EO to your rinse water while cleaning will enhance the freshness. Lemon, Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Grapefruit and Lime are wonderful to freshen kitchen and bathroom.
9. Add a drop or two of Eucalyptus EO to your bath water in summer for refreshing the skin and senses and in the winter to reduce dryness.
10. Fragrance your home for the holiday seasons by tucking cotton balls with Cinnamon, Thyme, Mint EO applied. Simmer a few of these in a small kettle as well.
11. Create a unique perfume with your favorite EO. Nag Champa is a perfect place to start.
12. Create a peaceful and calm working environment with Grapefruit and Lavender EO blended. Great for Reed Diffusers, application to cotton balls, etc. It will enhance the moods, lift spirits and stimulate senses.
13. Add a drop or two while making candles or add one drop to the melted wax for extra fragrance from your candles.
14. Add a drop or two of lavender to your wash cycle before hanging out to dry. The results are amazing!
15. Make your own after shower body oil. Mix 1 cup carrier oil with 30-60 drops essential oil.
16. As a cleaner add several drops of your favorite EO to 1 C Baking Soda and sprinkle over mattress, couch, chairs, carpet.
17. Keep our Environment clean by re-using an old container or spray bottle, fill with distilled water and add several drops of EO to your preference to make a fragrant room spray. Lavender is wonderful on linens for relaxing bedtime!
18. One part Vinegar, one part water and a few drops of your favorite EO make a great disenfectant.
19. Add your favorite EO to your meditation practices, whether in the candles, oil burner, diffusers or your warming bag.
20. Add several drops of EO to your foot bath (Eucalyptus, Lemon, Lavender) for an amazing, relaxing soak.
I hope you find these as invigorating, helpful and money saving as I have over the years. I can't pick a favorite, but if I had to, it would be using the oils as an after bath moisturizing oil. My favorite is the Nag Champa & Patchouli blend. I wish for you a passionate, successful and inspirational day!
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May 9, 2012
Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
May is just days away and not only is it filled with our own family birthdays and Mother's Day, it is a special month of the year dedicated for Children's Mental Health Awareness
. Family Organizations everywhere will be actively promoting statistics, events and awareness raising activities regarding children's mental health and/or behavioral disorders. This year the focus is not only on awareness of children's mental health but a strong focus is putting an end to bullying. Click HERE
for more information on the bullying prevention focus.
I have long been an advocate for children tapping into their creative abilities so today I thought I would share with you a few ways children can create something positive and meaningful; these projects are for children of all ages in groups, communities, within their families or with their BFF's. What do crafts have to do with bullying and/or mental health awareness? Children want and need to feel creative and see the products of their work and imagination. They want and need to express themselves and through the simple application of art (and it can be Green Art) they can express several feelings at once. They want and need approval of those in their lives; the simple act of making something with a child can help with 1) Self - Esteem 2) Self - Worth 3) Achievement 4) Accomplishment 5) Validation 6)Sharing time with others and more. It's easy to start a conversation on how to stop bullying or find out if your child is being bullied by working with a child on any of the crafts. It's a good time for talking and sharing. Approach the topic of bullying and see how much they share with you...perhaps more than you were aware of. It's also a good way to get groups of youth together and start the conversation of bullying and how to stop it. Action begins with sharing and talking about a topic that you want to see action taken with. Take 30 minutes from your day to take action!
| |Develop free thinkers and open minds.
Make time to be creative with your kids.Take time to talk. Help them with Facts About Bullying
Learn to make your own recycled (seed) paper. Click the picture for instructions.
Links to Crafts for Kids (with a nod from me for being Green & Creative!)
The Learning Channel - 16 Top Green Crafts to Do With Your Kids
A fun link to navigate to as it offers some great ideas including how to see what Earth Worms do for us!
Family Fun - Recycled Crafts for Kids to Do
My favorite on this page is the Pin Ball Machine! A little dangerous perhaps, but still fun!
The Zoo is Getting Crafty!
What a fabulous idea for Mother's Day or Father's Day! A bird feeder made from recyclables!
20 Crafty Ways to Re-Use Plastic Bottles
You will be glad you navigated to this link! The Monster container is a must do :)
You get the idea from the links I shared. Any time is valuable time with your children or children in the community. Get the talk started; get the bullying stopped. A little time makes all the difference in their lives.
Wishing you heaps of inspiration!
Nebraska has been in the spotlight in the past several years regarding the care and treatment of youth and children who have behavioral or mental health disorders. Many passionate people who are true champions of children, youth and Adults with mental health/ behavior disorders work tirelessly to find sustainable solutions to the problems Nebraska families and individuals face. There is a small but effective group, I see as Invisible Soldiers. They are sharing their ideas and voices directly with the children, families and youth, working silently in the background in an effort to bring a bit of joy, distraction, and daily tools to aid others in learning to live with Depression, OCD, ADD/ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder and more.
These Invisible Soldiers spend countless hours as champions of youth and their families and many are family members (Parents of children diagnosed or suspected of having a diagnosis) themselves. While raising my children I kept an open mind to new tips, tricks, methods, crafts and other ways to help my children work through the challenges they faced daily. Some activities were too much of a challenge or were not what my children needed; others proved to be helpful as a tool to be counted on. All my years of research for activities and resources has created a wealth of information to share with you today and in future posts.
* A note here to readers, other Bloggers/Craftsman and Advocates: If you would like to share your ideas and/or what has worked for you and your family, please feel free to post comments. I am always open to hosting Guest Bloggers/Crafters and Parents!
I’m going to make an assumption here that by reading this post, you have access to the Internet. I encourage you to bookmark the tools and share the resources with other Invisible Soldiers.
About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Around 20% of the world's children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems, with similar types of disorders being reported across cultures. Yet, regions of the world with the highest percentage of population under the age of 19 have the poorest level of mental health resources. Most low- and middle-income countries have only one child psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
World Health Organization
Is Something Wrong With Me?
Stigma is the worst enemy of the Invisible Soldier or Advocate; however, education is the best weapon in the fight against stigma and the fear it generates. Frequently, fear of the stigma surrounding mental illness or a behavioral disorder prevents Family Members from gaining the knowledge to pass on to their children or youth. So many youth are convinced there is something "wrong with them". Teach your youth or your young child there is nothing wrong with them through conversation, activities and unconditional love. A Parent knows their child or youth best; so following this logic, when you know your child or youth best you will be better prepared to select the activities which may work the best and teach them through activities there is nothing wrong with them – it’s an illness or disorder (which by the way, 1:5 people are affected!)
| || | Teach Yourself - Teach Your Children
- National Federation for Families of Children’s Mental Health,www.ffcmh.org
- Search Institute, www.search-institute.org
- The National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), www.nami.org
- Mental Health Association, www.nmha.org
- Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance, www.dbsalliance.org
- What a Difference a Friend Makes, www.whatadifference.org
- Nebraska Resources: Contact Nebraska Federation for Families of Children’s Mental Health for your community resources www.nefamilies4kids.org
Take the Edge Off
Far too often we become too busy in our daily lives to recognize when a crisis may be building. Here are a few healthy, mind calming, muscle building activities for you and your child or youth to participate in together. Best of all, they’re FREE!
1. Outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, exploring are free, and use large muscle groups and are terrific distracters from anger, depression, and may stimulate multi-tasking.
2. Dance! It’s free, works large muscle groups, takes the edge off, and is simple fun!
3. Make “telephones” from empty cans and string. Once you have your phones made, place calls to each other in from your “Forts” (made of blankets, sheets, etc.). This activity sparks imagination and has the potential of generating some great stories!
4. Make your own Playdough (Play-doh). Not much expense and you have a silly and fun way to spend talk time and creative time with your child.
5. Make your own sidewalk chalk. This is an activity where the end product could be turned into a fun game of Hopscotch or Four-Square. Besides, what child doesn’t like to display their wonderful works of art for all to see? The sunshine and fresh air will do everyone good! http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/craftsupplies/ht/SidewalkChalk.htm
Planting seeds is a wonderful and calming activity for many.
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Fishing! It doesn't take much.
Indoor Forts are the best!
These are only a few of the hundreds of activities you can do with your child or youth to continue to build communication and bonding with him or her. Please! Keep in mind these activities are NOT intended to have your child do alone and are NOT guaranteed they are what your child or youth needs. These are only suggestions for free and fun family activities.
Wishing you a happy and fun filled day. I’m off to work on one of my favorite projects – coloring my thoughts and ideas in my journal.
Looking forward to reading your posts in the "Comments".