All the Things: February 2017

img_8906

 

Just a few little things that…
lighten my load
make me laugh
stir my heart
make me think
bring me joy….

I think you might like them, too.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids
Kristen A. Jensen, MA and Gail Poyner, PhD

Porn.
Go ahead. Roll it around in your mouth like a poo sandwich. Make the face that goes along with that and come to rest after a violent shudder.
Good. Now that’s out of the way and we can talk like grown up adults do. Know why we have to do this? Because porn is not a quiet stack of books or videos shoved under a good hiding place for the casual viewing pleasure anymore: it’s a 24/7 no-rules, all-out assault of the enemy against the foundations of good love and healthy marriage and is as addictive as crack and has the capacity to destroy your child’s heart.
So there’s that.
Did you know the average age of porn exposure is now 8 and that there is a 100% chance of your child being exposed to online pornography by 8th grade? Did you know there are 70% of adult men and 30% of adult women who are currently addicted to and view porn regularly?
Porn came rapping on my front porch window one night by a text link from an eleven year old boy already sick with, and bent on spreading, the virus. I called my family in and they watched while I lit it on fire, kicked it in the nuggets and sent it sailing back into the black night. As aggressive as it is, that doesn’t mean pornography won’t darken our doorstep ever again: it just made a Mama Bear-style splash in their memories and has opened us up for talking about it.
Then this book came along by these smart schooled folks and backed up what I didn’t all know how to say: definitions, how your brain is made to crave, and proper advice when exposed (all in storyline) and it was a gift straight from the fairies at Amazon Prime.

fullsizerender
How do you know if you need this book in your life?
1) Do you have a kid?
2) Is that kid online?
If you answered yes to any of these, because you love that baby, get this book.
Let me know if you have any questions? You know I’ll talk all day.

Some links and resources:

Good Pictures Bad Pictures (order on Amazon)

Fight the New Drug

Previous personal articles:
This Means War: A Mad Mama’s Thoughts on Pornography

How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography

A Letter: To the Next Generation…on Pornography

 

TED talk: Monica Lewinsky, The Price of Shame

(click above to listen)

Because I have three babies, a dog, and a razor-thin capacity for crap in my life, I don’t spend time watching things online. Even less than watching do I bother others with a link unless it’s thought food or busted-gut hilarious. This one is not funny…and I listened to it’s 22 minute and 26 second entirety twice.
I’m for real ashamed to admit when I saw Monica Lewinsky’s name next to a TED talk, some of my first thoughts were of all the blue dress and beret jokes I don’t remember taking part in but know I surely must have.
And then I listened.
And I heard, and recognized from the mirror, a woman broken over and over from the can’t-catch-your-breath waves of shame from an ocean of stupid-human mistakes.

‘I lost almost everything, and I almost lost my life. [It was] reliving a time when both of my parents feared that I would be humiliated to death, literally.’

Now Monica is finally (and eloquently and cutting smart, y’all) speaking up about the mistake she regrets every day of her living life by and has become an advocate for a safer and more compassionate social media environment by tackling the online culture of humiliation.
Online culture of humiliation.
(sorry…some things bear up under the repeating)

img_8903
Also? I’d put it on in the car on the way home from school with every single online girl and boy you know.
Just sayin.
Beljoy clay bead necklace, $13
I’ll keep this short and simple like my new favorite necklace I like to wear every day:

fullsizerender

Bam.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with 80% of its citizens living below the poverty threshold. Beljoy offers women in Haiti the opportunity to earn a dignified and consistent wage through the art of jewelry making for an opportunity to rise out of systemic poverty. They also give you the opportunity to be a bangin’ gift giver. If you live in Fayetteville, grab yours at The Rustic Mule like I did when I was trying to be good and get just the one sweater and this sweet neck candy was winking at me from the counter by the register.

fullsizerender

Go ahead and do your neck a favor and click this Beljoy link.
Wells of Joy Ministries

In America, it is against the laws of the states to prevent school-aged children from obtaining an education. Unless opted out of for parents for private, there is always a free choice. To us this seems like a right given to shaping a good future for humans as basic as food or oxygen, one that is hard-fought for and governed closely. When I was in Jinja, Uganda with Sole Hope, I began to understand that the families are responsible for paying for schooling when I met Dan. Dan was a twelve year old soccer hound who loves playing jokes and has a big wide grin who hung out with us most of the day because he had nowhere to be. Nowhere to be like school because he didn’t have a family who could pay for it and he obviously couldn’t afford it. That’s about the time it hit home for me that none of these pictures we ever see are just stories: they’re babies exactly like mine.

fullsizerender
Then my cutest friend Amy Barclay went to Kenya last July with Wells of Joy to find out what God was doing in the slums of Lunga Lunga and how she could help.

fullsizerender

(she’s the one with the blonde hair and hearty eyes and that big arrow pointing up at her)
Did you know that God lives in Lunga Lunga? I know He does because I heard Amy’s stories. These kiddos sometimes have little support at home because the cost of survival in the slums is high and there’s food on the table for doing things on the streets like stealing goods for selling or getting caught up in the sex-slave industry.

fullsizerender

I know what you might be tempted to think:
Is this really our problem? Don’t we have enough poor in America? Can’t Africa help itself?
Oh goodness. These are great questions.
And the answers are:
Yes.
Yes.
And no.
America needs her share of help and so does Africa in some different ways. And not one necessarily steps over the other but I would at least like to propose the thought that in America we have all the tools we need to fix our problems while Africa does not.
Wells of Joy is a boarding school providing food, shelter, and every facet of educational support looking for sponsors for each child’s education to the tune of $18 a month. That includes books and supplies, uniforms, and schooling.The other, most beautiful thing about sponsoring one baby’s future? We are no longer band-aiding Africa to bleeding death. These littles grow strong, educated roots to begin pulling their own beautiful homeland out of her need. Wells of Joy will gratefully accept your monthly or one-time donation for books or uniforms only. Check out and follow Wells of Joy on Facebook and Instagram and consider sponsoring as a family, church, or in honor of someone you love by clicking here.
Married Letters

img_8913

If my house were on fire and I could only grab one thing, this is it. On the outside it looks like an ordinary beautiful book. But on the inside lies seventeen years of priceless treasures. My boy, in a calculated stroke of wife-genius, gifted me with a letter written in this journal on our first anniversary. Since then every anniversary, birthday, baby, move, baby, move, birthday, the mother’s and the father’s days and even ordinary Tuesdays, we write back and forth. Our kids know about this book and are visibly disgusted by the things we talk about writing to each other. But I know that when their parents are just sweet memories, they will finally understand how very loved and hilarious we really were. Because it has meant so much to us, this is also my favorite thing to gift newlyweds.
You’re welcome for all the points you’ll get for this one, bro.

 

****

fullsizerender

fullsizerender

fullsizerender

4 COMMENTS

  1. Holly | 15th Feb 17

    I wanted you to know that I ordered a necklace because you told me to! 🙂 And, because I’m back working at the Athletic Department and we are sending some athletes to Haiti, I thought it was perfect! Thanks! And, I miss your face. Like, a lot!

    • Melissa Blair | 21st Feb 17

      This necklace is very Holly. I think you might love it so much. Miss you, too, friend. A lot today. Would love a catch up soon.

  2. erika | 15th Feb 17

    Love this: “America needs her share of help and so does Africa in some different ways.”

    also I want to copy the married letters idea.

    • Melissa Blair | 21st Feb 17

      Married letters are a favorite. I know you’ll get this because it’s a slow, sweet and fun savor…like handing out anonymous Valentine’s at a weird gas station-pub-ice cream shop. Love love love you, friend. It never fails to light my heart to hear from you. Never. Voxing you so hard later today.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *