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Archive for February, 2016

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Sunday, February 28, 2016.  My daughter invited me along with her to a book hunt yesterday.  A $5 bag sale at a local library.  Such a delight in all ways!  There is something accidental by design in studying tables and tables full of thousands of books, looking for those perfect ones among throngs of other people doing the same thing – everyone delightfully finding entirely different kinds of books!

Every one of us there were simply bent on pursuing our personal bent!

The first book that caught my eye as I walked into the room was one on decoupage.  I found another on collage, another one on one-stroke painting.  I found beautifully illustrated books full of children’s music, books describing cooperative group games for all ages, the history of Abraham and his family (4,000 years ago), the history of the spread of Islam throughout Africa, one on the history of the periodic table, how to write and sell greeting cards, and books full of glorious photographs of flowers to cut up for my art work, including one presenting “100 Orchids for the American Gardener.”  (And many more!)

Yesterday was a gloriously sunny, unseasonably warm North Dakota day.  After hunting books my daughter and I found our way to our favorite local coffee spot, hauled two chairs out from shade into sunshine, and showed one another the collection of books we had each found.  Now, today has dawned the usual chilly, overcast and cool windy day.  But within my little apartment I now have new seeds of thought and delight that were not here with me 24 hours ago!

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Among these books I am very delighted to discover the wisdom and simple clarity of this one – which I am highly recommending to anyone who would like to have a simple positive book to use as a kind of compass to moving over to “the positive side” of their inner Mobius Strip!

Thoughts Are Things, by Prentice Mulford.  What an unassuming Barnes and Noble little book this is!  I am impressed, and quite accidentally so!

Mulford wrote these thoughts down in 1889, yet 127 years later within the delightful cadence of his “archaic” sentence presentations I am finding ideas to inspire and sooth me.

The book is listed as New Age, which I find interesting in itself.  There is no DOCTRINE or specific religious theology behind the so-practical and simple descriptions of human processes that involve living as a species with a MIND.  Who would DARE (perhaps) to present “spiritual” concepts and practices WITHOUT tying them to an existing “religion?”

Must have been a New Ager!

Makes me smile.

YET!!

The honest solidity and flexibility with such practical applications of Mulford’s ideas seems to me in my personal life to be a much welcomed gift!  I did not begin at the front of the book.  Nope!  Not on these cooped-up, apartment floor-pacing winter days!  I always open a book to its center and jump right in – to see if the water is warm.

Yes.  It is….

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At the end of Mulford’s short chapter, “One way to cultivate courage,” I peacefully read –

If in reading this you feel convinced that there is “something in it,” and feel also a conviction that some portion of it suits your own case, your cure has then commenced.  Real conviction, the conviction that comes from within, never leaves one or stops working….  It may seem buried and forgotten for seasons, and our erroneous habits may seem growing stronger than ever.  That is not so.  But as convictions take root we are seeing our errors more and more clearly.  We forget that at one time we were blind and did not see them at all.

If this book brings to you a conviction of a long established error it is not I individually who bring or convince.  It is only that I put out more or less of a truth, which takes hold of you and the chord of truth in you senses it.  If I apply the torch to the gas-jet and light it, it does not follow that I make either the fire or the gas.  I am only a means or agent for lighting that gas.  No man makes or invents a truth.  Truth is as general and widely spread and belongs to every individual as much as the air we breathe, and there is pleasure enough in being its torchbearer without presuming to claim the power of its Creator.”  P. 45

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My personal interpretation of Mulford’s chapter is that we can, no matter how our nervous system-brain and body have been physiologically altered in our earliest development by incomprehensible trauma, learn to begin to take charge of (1) our own life force, and (2) our power to choose what we do with it!

Even as the simple examples in this chapter unfolded to my eyes I recognized the same patterns being described as being the same states of being I lived within – within my own self – as I endured and survived the extremely abusive traumas of the first 18 years of my life.

I thought, “Hey!  I already know how to do this!!”  This book is REMINDING me of that fact!  That my anxieties escalate TODAY, and that my mind often carries itself away in directions that are not focused on what I am living through as each present moment carries me through my life (except usually as I am involved in artwork), might be a correctable process in simple ways that I have never thought about!

Why not?

Essentially because they are so clear, reasonable, “right” and natural that only a CHILD would know how to do them!  At the same time it’s too easy for adulthood to snatch from us this inner knowledge and practice – which, evidently, remains within us exactly where we left the knowledge and practice of these processes – the last time WE USED THEM!

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I think it is easy to forget to remember that no matter how horrifically awful the earliest times of our life were that we WERE children during those times.  There are gifts to being children that can get left behind – not because they HAVE TO – but because we simply forget that the glorious person we have been since the start of our life is STILL the person we are today!

This book?  It is a delightful find and an absolute keeper!  This is a soothing read, and for those of us with trauma-altered development anything that creates that soothing feeling within is a true gift.

Adding to this delight is my knowledge that NOW I have a simple, non-demanding resource I can reliably use to help restore myself to states of well-being that I struggle to maintain as a trauma survivor.  Reading even short segments of this book makes me feel as though I am sitting upon a knee being told stories by a most wise, loving and trustable grandparent whose words are both 127 years old – and timeless!

Yeah.  I want more of this….

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase–

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.

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Leave a Comment »

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Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

 

 

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Saturday, February 27, 2016.  I am back recently to making things with my hands out of paper.  If I were a wizardess with technology I could post come pictures here of my rather hodge-podge-selection-of-imagery which is growing, I suppose, into yet another branch of my craft show and farmers’ market sales inventory (when my life gets me back to these venues).

Shortly, in description, I have figured out how to cut shapes from light cardboard (cracker boxes, cereal boxes) that I soak in water until softened and shape around forms into circles, ovals, and round-edged rectangles that can be held in place while drying so that the finished “canvas” has about a one inch border that curves out from my image surface.

Brilliant variety of tissue paper collaged (modge-podge, satin or gloss poly) over these shapes (which have been hardened by my painting many layers of white glue upon followed by white primer) give me a universe to play upon with images that strike me from printed media.  I just follow my inspiration, like creating doodles, that lead to an array of “thoughts” that are not in any way logically connected together – except by the fact that I made them during these “quarantined” days in this dark, small North Dakota city apartment passing through the final stages of my 3rd – and final – winter here.

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A rather stilted, formal, rigid, hard-edged gold shadow of a small angel on gold, with peach/gray flowers – flanking.  A tribute to my “left brain” by my “right brain” who snickers while frolicking away into some phasmataniaological display of

Restored very old carousal horses with their too-bulky bodies and their too-short legs wearing lavender and light blue with gold carved images of everything Neptunian.  Orange, peach and lavender.  Too me a jolting, unsettling, and on some levels repulsive juxtapositioning of almost like, almost not.  Limbo twilight “make up your mind!”  One of the horses with an ink blue and black background, making its statement, “I am still here!”  Dashes of my own paint in and out on and around these images – continues –

The oval set to display a massive sunflower display for sky behind horizon of seeds, house befriended, surrounded by more sunflowers – a glorious one

A stunning hummingbird.  An orange and wine-purple jewelry butterfly with flowers.  A kind kind of pale pink watercolor rose surrounded by value-laden intimations of gold – a rose from a very old greeting card I found – unsent – at my favorite thrift store – Fargo’s oldest.

And the bronze-ish image of bulky statue of woman sitting, against dark purples, deep green purple dark flowers with again a blazon orange-red orb at the sky – set over with cut paper spirals – black and deep rust.

And the blue colored penciled butterfly set as a giant in the sky being heralded and chased by three children – at an angle – mis-set – with tiny blue flowers.  Childhood.  A universe of its own does not contain those boundaries and orientations – those set-in-stone requirements set into stone – by grownups.

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Paper.  There was always some kind of paper in the home of my childhood.  If nothing else could be found – lined notebook paper.  Crayons.  Scissors.  White stinky paste in a jar with a brush.  Whatever I could find – in that insane abuse madhouse – I made my own by making my own – a world out of paper.

Like this one.  If ANYONE had shown me one of these when I was a child!!  Oh my imagination would have traveled – around and around – in that disoriented universe of Mother’s madness –

Mathematics of the Mobius Band

No Magic at ALL – The Mobius Strip

I have been thinking of this often of late – how life for anyone – and certainly life for survivors of early severe abusive trauma – have a dark side of memory and a light side.  How to travel within myself when I feel the darkness present – over to the OTHER side where goodness, light and love reside?

Partly – I endure by making things.  Always.

Which reminds me – if you can get to facebook – this right brain-left brain test is very interesting – I recommend it!

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Btw, the noisy stomping family members have returned from Albuquerque to stomp and romp above me once again….

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase–

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.

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Leave a Comment »

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Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

 

 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016.  I am highlighting  here some of UNICEF’s important reports related to well-being of our specie’s children.  What impacts ONE of us impacts ALL of us!

UNICEF – just released – Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 (Overview)

“In 2015, millions of children and families were forced from their homes to flee violence, persecution, and hardship. This report shows some of our joint efforts and the results achieved and what we will be working towards in 2016.”  GO TO FULL PUBLICATION HERE

UNICEF FLAGSHIP PUBLICATION – The State of the World’s Children 2015: Reimagine the Future

“To mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, this edition of The State of the World’s Children calls for innovation – emerging out of the experiences and insights of people who are actively working to make the world better for every child.”  GO TO FULL PUBLICATION HERE

UNICEF ANNUAL REPORT (the latest) – UNICEF Annual Report 2014

This report “outlines UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to realize the rights of every child, especially the most disadvantaged, and break the intergenerational cycle of inequity and poverty.” GO TO FULL PUBLICATION HERE

UNICEF – FOR SPECIALIZED AUDIENCES

“Unless we act now: The impact of climate change on children outlines the ways in which children – especially the most vulnerable – will suffer disproportionately from climate change and environmental disasters.” GO TO FULL PUBLICATION HERE

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There are also many informative links now available on the United Nations World Health Organization work that can be accessed with an online search of these terms “united nations world health organization ace trauma.”

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase–

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.

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Leave a Comment »

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Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

 

 

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Roadmap to Resilience – 23 step flow chart

http://janeellenstevens.com/ACEsRoadmaptoResilience.html

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Monday, February 15, 2016.  Good news!  There is an educational version of Paper Tigers coming available March 15th for purchase!  (See below)

On my side of the snow bank I am asking….  What is Social Justice – and what does it have to do with “The Big Aces Movement?”

I asked my daughter about this today because she works “in the field.”  She replied to me with this:

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Laura Porter draws on the term without exactly defining it; I think that this is a fine broad definition, but doesn’t immediately seem obvious why it applies to ACEs even though intuitively I know it does.

The NEAR@Home Toolkit for home visitors includes this information on pgs 9-10:

SOCIAL JUSTICE – PARENTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW THE MOST POWERFUL DETERMINANT OF THEIR CHILDREN’S FUTURE HEALTH, SAFETY AND PRODUCTIVITY.

The most powerful people for reducing ACE scores in the next generation are parenting adults.  Parents have the most opportunity and the most potential for changing the trajectory of the public’s health for generations. But parents must actually know about ACEs and their effects in order to realize this potential.

We used to think that a person who experienced one type of adversity – for example, physical abuse – as a child was more likely to pass that type of adversity on to their children. In other words, more likely to physically abuse their children. But, data about ACEs shows that intergenerational transmission is not that simple. Normal responses to experiencing maltreatment during development can, for example, include depression, risk for alcohol dependence, and difficulty with emotional regulation that can lead to relationship problems. These risks, when manifested, become ACEs for the next generation. Parents can do a great job protecting their children from physical abuse, and if they don’t know the importance of also protecting their children from other experiences that generate childhood toxic stress, they don’t have the opportunity to protect their children from the effects of that stress.

Because ACEs can affect emotional state, behavior, and illness, adult history of ACEs can affect the climate inside a family or household. Parenting adults may affect this climate through over-disclosure or through avoidance (including numbing of emotions and avoiding reminders of past experience) or through a chronic illness that can make it difficult to actively engage with children.

Parents who know the impact of ACEs and have a chance to reconstruct personal narrative about their lives can make meaning from their experiences and intentionally choose a more protected developmental path for their children. They also report feeling more self-worth and fulfillment in their lives.

One, parent, after learning about ACEs and having a chance to talk with other parents about her experience reports:  “The ACE Study gave me my humanity – my mind and body adapted to the experience I had as a child just like everyone else’s did. I just had more adversity.”

Another parent reports: “I feel human now. When I want something for my children, people know it’s because I want something better for them than I had for myself.”

When we avoid talking about ACEs, we may inadvertently be sending a message that people should be ashamed of their childhood experiences. Shame can increase risk of intergenerational transmission because it reinforces one of the pathways for transmission: avoidance. A parent may re-create the emotional conditions of past adversity without consciously choosing this path for her children. People need to have an opportunity to appropriately and voluntarily share information about their personal histories as a part of a healing process.

Home visiting professionals have relationships with clients over the course of many years. They are highly skilled in building trust and creating safe spaces for meaningful conversations, and they are practiced in the art of family support. Adopting a protocol of asking, listening, affirming and remembering the life experience of each parent, including her ACE history, can be an important part of strengthening each family.

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And this

This site seems to have good info; maybe this would fall in the realm of unequal access to health care:

Pachamama Alliance | Protecting the source, inspiring the future

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And this

This is a decent place for an intro to social determinants of health:

Social Determinants of Health | Healthy People 2020

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Using these terms for a Google search brings up many related pages – “aces laura porter prisons” and “aces laura porter social justice.”

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Here is the info on educational purchase of Paper Tigers

KPJR Films is proud to present the highly anticipated, educational version of the ACEs documentary Paper Tigers.

Directed by James Redford (The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, Resilience), Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.

The educational version will feature the original, 102-minute version of the Paper Tigers feature film on DVD with Spanish subtitles and SDH captions; a video toolkit of 5 unique and educational segments including:  “What is ACEs;” “How To Connect With Students;”  “Lighthouse Parenting;” and “The Biology of Toxic Stress.”  In addition, the Paper Tigers facilitation discussion guide developed by Prevent Child Abuse America is available for downloading.

Plus, you can get a sneak peak at “Resilience”, the yet to be released KPJR Film. (www.resiliencemovie.com)

Add the Paper Tigers educational version to your library and utilize it for ongoing educational, individual and public screening use for years to come!

DVD Pricing

K-12 / Public Library: $75
University / Non-Profit: $350

Also Available on Streaming for Your School!

  • Use Tugg’s Educational Streaming (EVOD) platform to make Paper Tigers available to all your students, faculty, and staff via our streaming platform.
  • Gain access to educator tools – clipping, annotating, playlists, searchable transcripts, and more!
  • The Educational Purchase License of Paper Tigers will be available to ship starting on March 15th, 2016 for K-12, University, and Public Library institutions. This license will allow your institution to keep Paper Tigers and host multiple screenings of it in the future.
  • Interested in learning more? Contact Tugg Inc. at edu@tugginc.com for a demo.
  • http://licenses.tugg.com/products/paper-tigers

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase–

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.

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Leave a Comment »

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Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

 

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Friday, February 5, 2016.   It seems I have found what I was looking for on the day in April 2009 I listened to the encouragement of my sister and began this Stop the Storm blog!  Read on….

Please take a look at the website information below if you are interested in partnering with others to form a grassroots community network to affect trauma healing WHERE YOU LIVE.

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Resilience Trumps Aces

I sent a note this week via the contact email at the Paper Tigers Movie website inquiring about the existence of a community healing trauma group in Walla Walla, WA where this movie was created and impressively received a response providing me with their Resilience Trumps Aces website link (below) within 24 hours.

On their website pages you will find information on healing community through information generated from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, such as is presented in this video:

How Does a Community Become Trauma Informed?

This page describes The Ten ACEs

This page on Resilience lists two links:  Protective Factors and 42 ways to build resilience — All Roads Lead to Resilience

Moving on along the listing at the top of their website you will find headings such as

+ We are CRI — Children’s Resilience Initiative:

The Children’s Resilience Initiative™ (CRI) is working to increase the positive, resilience-building experiences in the lives of the children, parents and families in our community.

Empowering community understanding of the forces that shape us and our children.

+ Mission & Vision

Vision: “All young people thrive and parents raise their children with consistency and nurturance to develop lasting resilience in the community as a whole.”

Mission:  “Mobilizing the community through dialogue to radically reduce the number of adverse childhood experiences while building resilience and a more effective service delivery system.”

This page includes —

What’s New?  New Course Offering!  – Emotional Mastery — Builds on the neuroscience of brain plasticity!”

+ Their services, including PresentationsOther Services including Technical Assistance and Telephone Consultations

+ Webinars — Webinars cover brain development, ACE research, resilience and community response and action steps.

Webinars provide an overview of the ACE study, brain development, and Resilience models, with examples of how Initiative partners have embedded the principles into organizational practice.

Contact Teri Barila at (509) 301-2488

+ Resources – including websites, powerpoints, research, and many other links to vital information related to community trauma healing, vitality and health

+ On this page you will find their research report and the following statement — Resilience in Action

We are dedicated to bringing resilience strategies into our community and our schools. This page illustrates our partnership with Lincoln High School and The Health Center. Please go back up to “Resilience in Action” on the menu bar to check out our new partnership with our local elementary schools and Head Start Program.”

+ They also have a great healing trauma – healthy community —  Resilience Store (You might wish to open this in a separate tab/window as it does not seem to include a link back to their main webpage – or just hit your ‘back’ button.)

+ And, of course — Contact Resilience Trumps ACEs page!

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I just telephone Teri at the listed contact number with some of my own questions – trying to get a few of my own ACEs info ducks in a row.

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If you search on YouTube you can find a host of excellent videos on ACEs in Washington along with other talks related to the work In the state of Washington being done by Laura Porter (who resides in Olympia, WA).  Teri just told me that 2 years ago the state of Washington removed all funding for the work being done in that state’s 39 counties along these lines.  Prior to this withdrawal of funding Teri worked with Laura Porter for 18 years.  (It was $2 million that funded the ACE work in Washington state’s 39 counties.  Note there are more millionaires per capita in Seattle than in any other city in our nation….)

This is the link to Laura’s website – Ace Interface – Building Self Healing Communities

Included in Laura Porter’s work is the Ace Interface Master Trainer Education

and the ACE Fitness.org site

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Jane Steven’s website – Aces Too High – is another critically important source as her work connects the nation along these lines

This is the website where Robert Redford discovered ACE education and healing work that led to the creation of the Paper Tigers movie – about the work with students at Lincoln Alternative High School in Walla Walla!

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Well, yes, I seem to have come around full circle – and now sufficiently dizzy enough to end this post!!

ANYONE in ANY community who wants to bring together a community to begin to talk about high ACE scores and what that means – along with resiliency and what THAT means – within a community will find all the related links right here in this post!!

NOBODY needs to set off of their own to rediscover the proverbial wheel!!  I would suggest a beginning be made in any community with the organization of a screening of the Paper Tigers movie!  All the information needed to make that happen is at this link!!

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As for myself and my future, I am very seriously considering a relocation to Walla Walla this coming September.  I can’t really comprehend what it will take for me to actually MOVE there – but “Where there’s a will there’s a way!”

I want to learn from the best – and as far as I can tell that BEST is not only out there in the state of Washington, but is firmly established in Walla Walla itself.

Time – certainly – will tell.  If I make it out there to Walla Walla, I will be content to simply join their community team, begin learning, and go to work on anything they might have for me to do to help with their amazing work!

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NOW AVAILABLE!!  IMPORTANT!

Here is the info on educational purchase of Paper Tigers

KPJR Films is proud to present the highly anticipated, educational version of the ACEs documentary Paper Tigers.

Directed by James Redford (The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, Resilience), Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.

The educational version will feature the original, 102-minute version of the Paper Tigers feature film on DVD with Spanish subtitles and SDH captions; a video toolkit of 5 unique and educational segments including:  “What is ACEs;” “How To Connect With Students;”  “Lighthouse Parenting;” and “The Biology of Toxic Stress.”  In addition, the Paper Tigers facilitation discussion guide developed by Prevent Child Abuse America is available for downloading.

Plus, you can get a sneak peak at “Resilience”, the yet to be released KPJR Film. (www.resiliencemovie.com)

Add the Paper Tigers educational version to your library and utilize it for ongoing educational, individual and public screening use for years to come!

DVD Pricing

K-12 / Public Library: $75
University / Non-Profit: $350

Also Available on Streaming for Your School!

  • Use Tugg’s Educational Streaming (EVOD) platform to make Paper Tigers available to all your students, faculty, and staff via our streaming platform.
  • Gain access to educator tools – clipping, annotating, playlists, searchable transcripts, and more!
  • The Educational Purchase License of Paper Tigers will be available to ship starting on March 15th, 2016 for K-12, University, and Public Library institutions. This license will allow your institution to keep Paper Tigers and host multiple screenings of it in the future.
  • Interested in learning more? Contact Tugg Inc. at edu@tugginc.com for a demo.

++++

Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase–

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.

++++

Leave a Comment »

++++

Tags: adult attachment disordersadult reactive attachment disorderanxiety disorders,borderline motherborderline personality disorderbrain developmentchild abuse,depression,derealizationdisorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorderempathyinfant abusePosttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factorsPTSDresiliencyresiliency factorsrisk factorsshame

 

 

Read Full Post »

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Thursday, February 4, 2016. Ah, time.  Ah, love.  Ah, life.  We tough and fragile beings.  We of a social species so often, it seems, broken off from wider family connections and community in so many ways and for so many complicated reasons.

On Monday afternoon it happened again.  The pounding, racing, thumping booms of wild young children in the apartment above me became more than I could bear after three long and very noisy hours.

I was faced again with a decision about how I was going to react.  Call management again?  This would be the 4th time apartment personnel would have visited that family above me.  Call the police with a 3rd noise complaint?

I knew that if I chose either one of those two options that family would probably be evicted – this time.  My 3rd option?  Drag myself up the stairs and knock on their door.

I chose this option.

I REALLY have believed for these awful months that my own anxiety (disability) would prevent me from being able to be calm, friendly, reasonable should I ever go confront the family on my own.  I COULD not NOT go talk to them this time.

Up I went.

Knock, Knock.

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King James Bible
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”

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I could fault myself, shame myself, for taking the other steps I have taken up to this point.  But I don’t.  I won’t.  Somehow I strongly sensed all along that the process in motion in this continuing situation had its own timing.

Two young women answered the door.  One beautiful young woman with her 3-year-old son beside her and her precious 4-week-old infant in her arms.  She is married to the cousin of the husband of the other slightly older woman standing beside her (who lives in an apartment across the street and was visiting) with her 3 1/2 –year old daughter and son who turned 5 last Thanksgiving.

Scary.

This was one of those times where there is nowhere to go but forward, so forward we went in spite of anything else – and in fact – because of everything else.  I stood just inside the open door of the upper neighbor’s apartment for two hours talking to the women and to the wonderful little children.

Both of these women came up to Fargo to join their husbands who had come several months earlier to get sheet rocking jobs.  The mother of the infant is from Albuquerque.  The other woman from Las Vegas, Nevada.  They only know one another.

The truth (just as I had sensed it) really has been that the mother of the newborn misses her huge family down south terribly.  She is very sad here.  Very lonely.  And after having just spent 14 years living on the Mexican-American borderline I know how close those families are!!  NO new mother should be without her family where the relationships are strong and happy and full of love.

And that baby, and his little brother, need to be in the arms of grandmas and grandpas and aunties and uncles — as does their mother.

So this woman, even as she admitted it to me, had WANTED to be evicted.  She WANTS to leave and GO HOME to her family, to the sunshine.  There are no jobs down there, and this woman has known she could not ask her husband to give up his job to leave with her.  So I was SUPPOSED to get them thrown out!!

Either way, evicted or walking away from the lease, she told me that they would have had to pay every month’s rent until the lease ran out and lose another $300.  (They found another alternative, it seems!)

Once this became very clear, in the words of the young mother, I could look her straight in her eyes and say, “Well, dear!  It looks as though we are BOTH stuck here so we better figure this out together.”

And we have.  By the time those two hours had gone by the 2nd woman and the three children were down in my apartment checking out my grandsons’ collection of toys.  The next day I found the church in town that has a Spanish mass and an outreach nun named Sister Lucy who I have heard is an ANGEL with people.

Yesterday I went upstairs to give the young mom that info.  As I was leaving I told her I would be back soon to bring her flowers.  I told her that because of her precious newborn she CANNOT be sad.  She HAS to be happy!

It has been very quiet and peaceful up there.  But even then the mother hen part of me worries that perhaps that momma is TOO SAD trapped in this place.  I KNOW what that’s like – but her case is so much more important – in the bigger picture of ongoing life – than mine is.  She is the mother of a newborn.

In my simple way of seeing things, there is really very little more harmful to a newborn than to have an anxious/depressed mother.  According to “developmental neuroscientist” Dr. Alan N. Schore, among the incredibly important and very rapid key brain growth processes birth to age one is the development of the left brain “happiness center.”

The neurons that WOULD be marshaled to build that brain region in an infant’s brain will either DIE or be recruited in other brain areas during that year – IF!!!!!!  Depression prevents a newborn’s mother from even being able to SEE the “bulk” of the joy in her infant’s face and actions.  She will therefore be unable to respond to her infant’s joy as needed to build that happiness center in the best way possible.

The building of that center happens during one of those “critical window” of development.  Once that stage has passed, that’s that.

Hence – my bringing her flowers.  Hence – evidently – the timing of this odd intervention of mine.  Today the young mother invited me in.  I stayed a short time, long enough for her to tell me that her husband “is not really that happy with the way things are working out with his job.”  In two weeks, she told me, they will be returning to New Mexico – perhaps not to come back up here.

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Joy won.  Sometimes the pathways through our lives are not all laid out from our point of view.  In God’s world?  Oh, yes, they are!

I was able to tell the momma today something that has been “in my heart” to say to her.  Beautiful, absolutely beautiful perfect young mother that she is.

I told her that someday she will be the matriarch of her family.  We never know what life is going to bring us.  Sometimes times get hard.  Really really hard.  And we need to be really really strong.

I told her that it was, to me, a very good and courageous thing for her to come up to this place with her husband.  I told her that by being here she is getting stronger, and she is finding out more about how strong she really is.  She smiled and nodded her head.  She agreed.  I also told her that there is nobody on God’s glorious earth more important that mothers!

Oh, and Walmart had small herb plants in their fresh vegetable section!  I bought a small mint which I now have repotted and sitting under its own desk lamp bright light.  Then I found a little plastic applesauce cup (I save all such things.  Being a crafter there is always something I can use anything and everything for!), put a little cold water into the cup, snipped off the newest leaf tips from the mint, put them in the water and brought them to momma.

“Here!  You can just squish a little of these leaves and smell them if you want to!  They smell just like summer!”

Yup.  We are both smiling.  And I betcha anything that lovely little family – is going home!

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There is another man of the family living up there who will continue to work in Fargo and will stay in the apartment.  Perhaps others they know down south will join him in the future.  There are LOTS of jobs in this harsh place.  I now call the people who come here to fill them from American places “economic refugees.”  There are also LOTS of international refugees and immigrants coming here.  All of them, I have no doubt, with HORRIFIC trauma histories.

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  Click here to view or purchase–

Story Without Words:  How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.

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