Grateful for Art.

And mindful reflection.

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Evanston Canal, by the hospital

And quiet.

And breath.

And tears.

And laughter.

And color.

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J and C in Chinatown

And sound.

And eyes that see.

And ears that hear.

And the willingness to work through what I cannot see or hear,

yet,

or maybe ever.

cagey
Safe doesn’t always mean pretty
Instagram post 11-13-18
Strength from all over the place. Some boundaries too.
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No such thing as trapped. Not really.

Grateful for all that has led me here, right now.

Grateful for you and others on my path who may have caused wounds,

And scabs.

And scars.

And joy.

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My busy head. I have learned to like my head and its committee.

And grateful for my voice and for yours.

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One scar, of many.

This is my heart.

And this is my art.

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When I couldn’t sleep last night, this happened.

And we all have stuff with which to make art.

So grateful.

 

Loving John After My Break Up with Peter

It’s always been you, John.

Most people know that yesterday was the 38th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination. If you know anything about me, you are aware that I am much more than just a lifelong fan of John Lennon and his music. I hoped to lose my virginity to John Lennon. Obviously, that didn’t work out as he was assassinated in 1980, but had he lived longer…. Continue reading “Loving John After My Break Up with Peter”

Directions on Escaping Your Private Hell

ESCAPE ROUTE: Make it less private.

Ask for help.

Tell the truth. Continue reading “Directions on Escaping Your Private Hell”

A Love Letter Redux to Juliette

The original letter I wrote to Juliette four years ago can be found here – “For Juliette: A Love Letter You’ll Hate (For Now)”. I write my daughters fairly often, but this one stands out and serves as a sort of unspoken grading tool for how I am doing as a mother. I give myself a “C” grade as a mother, but the important lesson here is that I don’t accept my own “C” grade. I trust the trustworthy people in my life instead. Continue reading “A Love Letter Redux to Juliette”

When Thanksgiving Sucks…

Hi.

So, I’ve been on social media today and everyone sounds super duper grateful. I’m pretty grateful today too, but not all Thanksgiving holidays have been filled with me skipping to my lou.

I just thought it important to tell anyone who feels like crap today, that I have felt like crap on Thanksgiving too. 1997 was a hideous Thanksgiving and the following year was one of my favorite Thanksgivings, ever.

The peer pressure can feel daunting. You might be thinking, “I can’t possibly show how crappy I feel right now.” Just don’t let anyone should on you or your authentic feelings. Don’t should on yourself either.

Your shit show of a day will pass. This, I promise.

And now, I am going to go to my Parent’s home with my daughters. There’s a good chance our dog will poop on my bed while we’re away.

I think we may all smell like skunk, due to the fact that our dog was skunked on the day before yesterday and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Still, just for today, I am pretty lighthearted and appreciative for having a roof over our head, food to eat and love to give.

My receiving of love could use a little work, but I’m grateful I see that in myself today.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. One thing I am fairly certain of, is that I’ll still sort of smell like skunk.

I wish you a meaningful Thanksgiving. If you feel awful and ungrateful, I so appreciate your authenticity. You are perfectly imperfect in this very moment.

Me too, P.U.

pepe le pew
Yep, I stink.

 

Taking Stock of Priorities & Tuesdays

One week from today, on November 27th, scores of nonprofits and other fund-seekers will bombard each of us with #GivingTuesday solicitations. I love the idea of the entire world participating in philanthropy, I’ve just questioned the implementation of the annual event. For me, it typically undercuts all that’s really beautiful about philanthropy – The building of relationships, the matchmaking between donor prospect and mission and the “what’s in it for me,” and of course, long range thoughtful planning regarding organizational sustainability.

I have been pretty cranky about the implementation of #GivingTuesday, since its launch in 2012. If you’re interested, feel free to revel in a few curmudgeonly #GivingTuesday articles:

Still, each year since the launch of #GivingTuesday, I have had to either create campaigns or at the very least, raise funds for them.

There’s no question that my most “favorite” #GivingTuesday concept is something that looks very different from the barrage of campaigns hitting us left and right. I like a campaign where an entire staff gives of themselves out in the community, as a literal, external-facing depiction of philanthropic behavior. I also like to focus on giving education about a nonprofit’s mission and vision and even adding a day of volunteerism where it’s tracked via social media streams throughout the day.

No matter how #GivingTuesday is marketed or pitched, I always have to find the love in a campaign or I won’t be able to succeed.

This year, I moaned and groaned quietly, about collaborating on mapping a #GivingTuesday campaign for ORT America. Then, I made an intentional decision to take a fresh approach. I started thinking about all of the Tuesdays that have passed since ORT’s founding in 1880. While my math isn’t great, I figured out that ORT has been GIVING access to education, thus changing lives, AROUND THE WORLD, for a minimum of 7200 Tuesdays.

7200+ Tuesdays.

The least I could do was learn everything I possibly could about the micro:bit. Our organizational goal is to get as many micro:bits into the hands of ORT students, so they can easily learn to code, think creatively and have a ton of fun diving into STEM education. (science, technology, education and math.) FYI, ORT is a global leader in STEM education, so to state I have buy-in to the mission and vision of ORT’s Global Education Network is a no brainer. I’m passionate as hell about it.

Raising funds for the micro:bit was a fantastic choice, because they aren’t particularly expensive, but their impact on each student (and teacher) is immense. I am grateful to my staff partners for choosing the micro:bit. It has been easy to embrace.microbit-front

Basically, kids find the micro:bit easy, fun and almost immediately understand that all kids can code. Right there, I see these kids succeeding and that’s all I need to know.

GT FB 2018I am also a super fan of ORT America’s new branding. #GivingTuesday is a good place to educate the public on ORT’s global impact and strengthen our public organizational face.

So this year, I am far less cranky about #GivingTuesday, but have also made a choice to implement this year’s campaign differently than we have in previous years. We aren’t going to bombard you on November 27th as we have other simultaneous fundraising ventures AND, we just don’t want to bombard you. We’d prefer to gracefully shepherd you into ORT.

I do ask you to consider how the micro:bit can change kids lives and their upcoming trajectories. How will this one hand-held computer impact their career path? Who will they be in the world?

Sure, maybe I think and feel too deeply and I take my job far too seriously. This is something I have tried to change but have been unsuccessful.

When I think about or meet ORT students, I see with clarity that there’s hope and optimism in our future leaders. This one thought, makes any day, even #GivingTuesday, more than a worthwhile investment.

If you want to get micro:bits in the hands of ORT students around the world, please support Team ORT Chicago!

Of course I appreciate every “bit” that comes into ORT and a micro:bit makes a macro impact.

You do too.

XOXO, Pam

Safe

How can we feel safe when no one is safe?

The past several weeks have been rough. Without going into detail on what’s happening in my little family, I’d rather focus on what this time period has evoked:

FEELINGS: FEAR. 

FACTS: SAFE.

Are we safe?


My daughters and I have openly discussed safety, identifying safe and unsafe scenarios and spaces, not compromising our safety, so that someone will like or accept us, and finally, how we practice self-soothing when we are afraid. Like any parent, my daughters’ safety and empowering them to know how to get/stay safe, are of the utmost importance.

While in the midst of walking through private issues over the past several weeks, epic mass shootings, scores of hate crimes and the disastrous fires in California, also plagued our country.

After the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, like so many of us, I was shocked. No matter how many times I hear about or experience anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, the shock value never, ever lessens.

My daughter and I discussed the Pittsburgh tragedy after a few days had passed. I couldn’t believe how matter of fact she was about it.

I fervently exclaimed,

I absolutely refuse to let this be the new normal!

She responded to me very calmly,

Mom, we’ve been having lockdown drills for as long as I can remember. At first, when I was little, they were really scary, but now, this IS our normal.

My mouth was agape. I felt like I couldn’t breathe…

I had the “aha” moment I have never wanted to have.

I went on to validate what she’d said to me. I told her that her response made me sad and then, she said,

It is sad, but it just is. Mom, we have to live with what is.

A part of me wanted to argue against what she was saying, but I didn’t. The truth is, I was in awe of my daughter’s composure and graceful example of how to live life on life’s terms.

Just this past week, I came home from work and as I prepped dinner, I shared with my daughters that ORT’s Kfar Silver Youth Village had to be evacuated because there weren’t enough (or close enough) shelters, for the kids to be safe.

Kfar Silver Youth Village is located just outside of Ashkelon, Israel. Hundreds of rockets were launched from Gaza and it was a terrifyingly unsafe situation for these kids and all who live there.

At dinner, my daughters were wide-eyed and glued to everything about Kfar Silver. They wanted to learn more about the “really cool” place the Kfar Silver Youth Village is.

My daughters asked so many questions:

How can these kids ever feel safe with rockets being launched nearby? How can they not have enough shelters? Do adults help them feel safe? Who helps the adults feel safe? How can the world be this scary?

And then, the same daughter who told me about needing to “live with what is” said,

WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

My (amazing) daughters just finished raising funds for ORT America, for its #GivingTuesday campaign. (Yep, they raised their funds well before #GivingTuesday!)

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Of course I’m proud of them!

Next, my eldest daughter has expressed interest in helping the kids at Kfar Silver Youth Village to get safe, feel safe and stay safe.

So, the moral of this story is,

we can live with what is, but we can must also take action.

We may feel afraid, but in this very moment, in the here and now,

we are safe.

Thou shalt not