I Spent My Spring Break Soaking Up Family Time And Much Needed Relaxation

I Spent My Spring Break Soaking Up Family Time And Much Needed Relaxation

Just the tale of my spring break at home.
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Who doesn't look forward to Spring Break? A whole week you do not have to think of school and can just give your mind a break. Whether you are heading to the beach or back home, everyone looks forward to the week-long break. I know I was.

I was heading home for break and honestly, I was excited about it. Just a week of sleep in my own bed, cuddling with my dog and having zero responsibilities.

That excitement was matched with a touch of jealousy, only for a short while. Seeing how sunny it was and everyone enjoying the 80-degree weather while the snow falls in southern Indiana. That was the worst honestly, the snow was quite a Debbie Downer.

I wanted to keep myself busy over break so I made some goals. Number 1, clean out my closet because half those clothes I have not worn in over a year. Number 2, read at least one of the books from the stack in my room. And number 3, work out like crazy because summer is right around the corner.

Being home is somewhat boring only because my family is all at work or school and I'm just sitting at home staring at my dog.

Monday I spent the day sleeping in, running errands like going to the store and bank, going to the gym and tanning. for dinner, I was finally home to go to Bunco with my aunts. Bunco is this dinner we do once a month with all the women in my family. We go out to eat and then get coffee after. This is one of my favorite traditions in my family and I was so happy I got to attend.

Tuesday was quite a lazy day. I stayed in my pajamas all day. I finished painting our family travel map. So far we have nine more states to visit. I caught dinner with a few friends that were in town.

Wednesday I told myself I couldn't be lazy again even though I felt super sick. I slept in a little, went to the gym and bank again because my tax refund came (YAY). One perk of being home is getting to see my little sister's lacrosse games, which she had Wednesday.

Thursday was the day I was most looking forward to because my mom was taking the day off to spend the day with me! We spent the day going to our favorite coffee shop and shopping. She also took me to see a movie I have been dying to see, "The Greatest Showman." It was so good and we both loved it. I was so excited because I finally wasn't home by myself.

Friday was the day I had to run all the errands I had but off during the week. I got my nails done, went to the gym and went tanning. Later Friday night I went and hung out with some friends from high school.

Saturday I drove up to Indianapolis with my mom and some family friends to watch my sister play lacrosse. It was freezing cold, windy and even rained a little but I knew this was the last game I was going to see her play before summer league started. They won both games and are now undeafetted, 5-0! I even made it home in time to see my friends that came back from there spring break trips and got to hear all there stories before we left Sunday.

Being home for a week was honestly really nice. Of course, I do wish I would have been somewhere warmer or that it would have been warmer at home. It was relaxing to have no schedule and just doing things as I please. It was also nice to get to see a few of my sisters game while I was home because I will miss so many.

All in all, spring break 2018 maybe not as memorable as other but still relaxing and nice.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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Dear Elf On The Shelf, I Hate You. Love, Me

Love them or hate them, Elf on a Shelf is here to stay.

Janine
Janine
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Every year it's the same thing. Families stuff themselves on Thanksgiving and then the next day brings, no not sales, but…The Elf on a Shelf. I spent about seven blissful years not having to worry about the little red visitor (no, not THAT visitor) who invaded my home every Christmas season. But, once I remarried and had 2 additional sons, my sister in law just had to introduce them to that Elf. He (or she if you have daughters) watches your kids during the day and then returns to the North Pole every night to tattle, I mean, tell Santa how the kids are behaving. Of course, the elves need assistance getting around, so now, every night until Christmas Eve, my husband and I (and many other parents) are forced to move these little creatures around the house to make our children behave.

I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to move the elves (yes, we have been blessed with more than one. It seems my boys each want their own private surveillance). I would wearily climb all the way up to my bedroom and settle down as if for a long winter's nap, and it would hit me. It was back downstairs for me. Now it is after midnight and I am pacing around my house trying to find a new and innovative way to hide these little buggers. There are so many places that an elf can hide where it cannot be touched (did I forget to mention that touching them means certain death and some pissed off children?). But, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping in the morning than to realize that you have forgotten to move them, and your kids are stirring in their beds.

It reminds something one of my friends said, "I can't believe anybody would celebrate a holiday where a jolly prowler breaks into your house and leaves gifts." Ah, Squidward, if you think that's bad, try three tiny stalkers invading your home for a few weeks.

And just the other day, one of my sons made the most interesting observation: "Mommy, I saw a tag on the elf. How come he's a toy?" Now the real fun begins.

Janine
Janine

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