Friday, May 23, 2008

Hey, baby, let's go to Memphis!

Here we go!


Here are a few more pictures from Josh's graduation weekend that I am just getting to:The Seefeldt family after graduation! We are all dressed up and looking cute! Josh's grandparents were here for graduation too.
My dad and me looking at other students' architecture projects at UTA. There was a graduation reception and classwork displayed. Josh's stuff wasn't there, but there was some other cool stuff.With our friends, Clayton and Holly Chisum after dinner for graduation. They drove up from Cleburne to celebrate with us. Holly is due in mid-June! Yay! They are having a girl. Their son, Corban (the one from the crate picture) is almost 2 1/2.

This is Josh's cardboard chair that he made for a class. It usually sits in our dining room. It is made entirely of cardboard and is not glued together. The pieces all just slide together. Pretty cool!
Friday night at the Stockyards. On the left of the picture are Josh's brother and sister, Michael and Laurie, and on the right is my brother Matt and my mom.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Raising the Awareness, Part 2

Quotes from women about what worked to end the violence in their lives:

"Realize that it happens not to poor, retarded and uneducated people - but to your neighbor, your friends."

"The best advice I have for other battered women is to seek counseling. I sought counseling through the local mental health clinic after which I regained self-confidence and self-esteem. Prior to counseling, I believed it was my lot in life to accept the situation."

"My advice for battered women is "quit kidding yourself that the violence will stop." Seek legal counsel or a therapist who deals with battered women."

"My advice is to realize that you as a person have worth. Have faith in yourself and realize there is a better life for you somewhere - LEAVE! Promises are nice, but they rarely come true. There are sure to be people out there who love you and will help you in your new life."

(from Ending the Violence by Lee Bowker, 1998. pg 101.)

This book is based on research from the experiences of 1,000 battered wives the author surveyed. It talks about how women who are battered are not just beaten physically and sexually. They are also beaten psychologically, repeatedly told they are no good, that no one would love them, that they are lucky to have a husband or boyfriend. They are basically brainwashed into believing they deserve what they get, are less than a human, and have no hope for any other type of life. This is one of the reasons that leaving the abusive situation becomes difficult. Many women actually come to believe this is the life they deserve.

Just by being aware of this fact we can help women around us, even if we don't know they are being beaten. Be an encourager! Get to know the shy, reserved woman and tell her good things about herself. Be sincere and be consistent. She won't believe it at first. One of the videos I watched about escaping domestic violence was a vignette to demonstrate the stories of many women. In this story the woman had one friend (her husband kept her isolated) who continued to tell her how smart she was, how pretty she looked, how creative she was, and how many opportunities she could have for the future. This made her a safe person - a person who respected and valued the woman for who she was.

Let's be those kind of people for others around us.

And let's educate ourselves about the resources available - crisis phone numbers, shelter numbers - so that we can pass that on to someone in need.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Raising the Awareness

I've started my training at the women's shelter in Tarrant County, SafeHaven. Before I started reading and watching videos there, I did not know how prevalent domestic violence is. Here are some stats I got online:
  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • Intimate partner violence made up 20% of all nonfatal violent crime experienced by women in 2001.
  • In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
  • Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.
Under-reporting of Domestic Violence to Police
  • Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African-American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police.

  • The most common reasons for not reporting domestic violence to police are that victims view the incident as a personal or private matter, they fear retaliation from their abuser, and they do not believe that police will do anything about the incident.

  • Even with this dramatic under-reporting, domestic violence calls constitute approximately half of all violent crime calls to police departments. For example, 49% of the violent crime calls received by the DC Metropolitan Police Department in 2000 were for domestic violence incidents.
Amazing. Think about that last section about under-reporting. That means we don't know how many women are getting battered each year or month or day. But we do know that many go unreported.

So why don't they leave?

Well, that gets complicated. I'll explain more as I learn more. Often times the women do leave. The general stat is that a battered woman will leave 7 times before she actually breaks away for good. Something like 75% of women killed by their intimate partners were killed when they tried to leave.

What can we do?

Be aware! Understand that it could be anyone, any woman you know!
Understand that domestic violence is a crime!
There is a poster in the waiting room of our counseling office that says: "You wouldn't hesitate to call 911 if your neighbor's house was on fire."
The implication is: then why don't you call when you hear someone getting hurt?

Don't hide behind the excuse of "It's not my business what goes on in that house." If your daughter were getting beat up, you would want someone to call the police, right?

Teach our boys to be men who know how to handle their anger. Teach them to respect others, not control and dominate.

Teach our girls that no one can mistreat them. Teach them that love does not include manipulation, fear, and violence.

Develop churches and communities of genuine care for one other.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Whirlwind week

It has been one of those weeks that is over before you even realized you got started. Last weekend was fun and exciting - and busy. I crashed on Sunday afternoon on the couch for a couple of hours - and I rarely do that. Monday we hit the ground running. Joshua started back to work full-time and I began juggling my job at the church and two internships and all the other things I usually do - cooking, errands, cleaning (in theory).

Monday was long as I first had a client in the morning and then tried to finish planning for my church event Wednesday evening. Tuesday I had to go back into the office to try to finish everything (which did not happen) and then spent all afternoon seeing clients. When I got home that night I still have stuff to type and print for the Wednesday night event. Wednesday morning I went over to the women's shelter counseling center in the morning to start my long training process. It was a little overwhelming to see how much training I had to do before I could start seeing clients. Then I had to rush over to school for my supervision class there, only to be told how much work is expected of me for that class. I was already starting to feel the beginnings of a cold, so I was feeling wiped and overwhelmed. However I had gotten a couple of phone calls about my event that night that I had to scramble to figure out. I tried to take a quick nap when I got home to be refreshed for that night, only to be bombarded with phone calls. Wednesday night we didn't get home until 11pm after my event - which did go well by the way. Thursday I spent ALL day at the women's shelter counseling center trying to get this training done. Friday I woke up feeling sick and yet still needing to go back to the WSCC to work on that training.

Last night I couldn't sleep due to feeling sick and having so much on my mind. Today I have done pretty much nothing - I had to miss a friend's baby shower and lunch plans with other friends because I need to rest and really didn't feel like getting up. It's just a cold, but this cold has knocked me out. The worst is that I can't sleep very well. Grr. I hate being sick because it wastes time.

I read that cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which helps you sleep. So I might be getting some cherry juice for tonight.

Friday, May 16, 2008

He did it!

Joshua is officially a graduate - twice! He has now graduated with his Master in Architecture. I'm so proud of him! He did an amazing job getting this degree in two years while working for an architecture firm here in Arlington. He made great grades, completed all projects, missed very few classes, and got several job offers along the way. Joshua has a God-given ability in architecture and it shows in his work. He has also excelled at his job and has been given promotions (more responsibilities) several times over these two years. His bosses of course want him to stay and are trying to get him to commit for as long as they can keep him there.Here he is getting his hood, a recognition of being a graduate degree candidate.

Last Friday Joshua graduated from UT Arlington. Our families came up for the event. We had the graduation and then a celebration dinner all together. I think we had about 16 people at the restaurant! So fun! On Saturday morning I planned a graduation party for friends from our church to get to celebrate with us. A lady from our church hosted the party and made delicious waffles! It was fun getting to show everyone Josh's work and letting our families meet some of our friends.Here we are with Josh's parents.

Congratulations to Joshua!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Movie Pick

I wanted to recommend a movie rental for anyone interested. On Saturday night we watched "Dear Frankie." You can find it in the foreign section because it's a Scottish film (so fun accents). We really didn't know what to expect but loved the movie. I'm contemplating buying it - and I don't buy many movies (in fact, I think we own under 10 DVDs). It's a little taste of life that most of us know nothing about. There are no inappropriate nudity or sexual scenes or innuendos. I think there is only one scene with "colorful" language - and it is used to reveal the true character of one of the characters.

So two thumbs up!


I'm bummed. I broke one of our crystal pitchers we got for our wedding. I know it's just a "thing" and that it's not important in the long run. I know that the good news is no one got hurt. It's just frustrating, you know?

I had washed it and set it on the counter to dry. I knew it was a slightly precarious position, so I was planning on moving it. But then Joshua got home from renting a movie and I was trying to heat up the pasta sauce, get the veggies out of the skillet, drain the pasta, get everything on the plates, and get into the living room so our food wouldn't get cold before we could eat it. I totally forgot about the pitcher...until we heard the crash.

That's what's even more frustrating. It was out of stupidity. It didn't break because I was saving a child from touching a hot stove or putting out a kitchen fire or frantically binding a cut finger. Nope. I was just dumb. Grrr.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

He's almost graduating!

Since Josh graduates in less than a week, we decided to take his graduation robe and hood out of their packages today. We had many laughs, however, when he tried it on. The robes for Master's graduates are a little different - and weirder - than undergraduate robes. The sleeves have strange hanging down points. And for graduate degrees you also wear a hood. The hood is strange too and Joshua had trouble figuring it out.
Me: Honey, you know those don't go on your head, right?
Josh: But it could!

For those of you who have seen that black and white visual allusion picture in which you can see either a young woman looking away or an old woman with a big nose, doesn't Josh look eerily like the old woman? =)

This is the one that has kept me laughing. It is so funny! Josh's hands are in the weird pointy-hangy parts of the sleeves.

We'll just call it "Graduate victory dance."

It's been a pretty entertaining Saturday!

Don't worry - he will look very professional and distinguished next Friday at the graduation ceremony. (But we know the real Josh!) heehee!

Friday, May 02, 2008

It is moments like this that I wish I were not such a planner.

It would be nice to be an easy-going, take-it-as-it-comes kind of person. I try really hard to be like that sometimes, but it's not working right now. And I have to work hard at it. Planning has it's advantages - things get done, schedules get figured out, people get places.

However, at this moment I'm a bit overwhelmed. I'm doing two internships this summer. I've been trying to get my hours at each location and figure out when I'm doing what. And it's not easy. Probably I will have to figure it out completely once I start. But I would like to know more right now! One of my supervisors is hard to get in touch with and at the other location I already have clients with set times. So that means I have limited flexibility at one place and little information from the other. Not good for planning.

It takes much effort for me to remind myself to trust God in what He has planned for me. I do trust Him - but sometimes it takes all my strength. I just want everything set up and perfect. You would think I would have learned by now that it doesn't work that way!

So I'm trying not to stress. Trying to take one day at a time. Trying to be patient and wait until I can talk in person with people. And hoping that I don't let anyone down or overwhelm myself with too much work.

Not a restful time for an overachiever!