Tag Archive: support


nixrob

i miss my friend.

i know his wife Nicky misses him more.

And some of you probably don’t miss him at all.

And that’s okay. Continue reading

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[this is where this series started if you are needing to catchup to part i]

so part two of this focus on rape/violence towards women related to this interaction i had with a certain hashtag on the Twitter:

‘it revolved around the hash tag #SafetyTipsForLadies which someone that i followed tweeted and so i went to the link and read a bunch of them and was horrified by the way they seemed to be dealing with rape and violence to women in such a light-hearted and flippant manner… and so i commented on that…’

with the examples:

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb [who created the hashtag and got the ball rolling]
If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way #safetytipsforladies

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb
Do you have sensual long legs? Many rapists like sensual long legs. Consider chopping them off at the knees. #safetytipsforladies

Quirkythrope @jailawrites
If you’re raped, say “I’m a good girl!” Since “good girls” never get raped, the rapist will vanish in a puff of logic #safetytipsforladies

Let me hear you

so i shared my response to that and then peoples’ response to my response, but then we got some amazing commentary going in the comments section of the blog which i wanted to share and while there were a bunch of helpful comments i am going to specifically share the back and forth conversation i had with a woman called Claudine who i am most grateful for and to:

Claudine: First of all, I totally understand where you are coming from. Rape is not funny, and jokes about rape are offensive. Let’s agree on that.
What the women here are making fun of is NOT rape. The punch line to all of those safety-tips-for-ladies jokes is that they don’t work. Of course they don’t work. “100% of rapes occur in places or locations, so don’t be anywhere.” Is not a joke about the horror of rape, it’s a joke about the way women are told to protect themselves from rape— as if it’s our duty and responsibility to follow idiotic, impossible advice so that we aren’t raped. We are making fun of a culture that tells women “Don’t go out late at night, don’t park underground, hold your keys like this,” to protect ourselves. We’re making fun of the people who say “Don’t walk through dark alleys, don’t get drunk, watch your drink at bars” because we already knew that advice, we followed it as best we could, we held our keys like weapons and carried pepper spray and then we were raped anyway. We didn’t walk in dark alleys and were raped in our own living rooms. We didn’t get drunk and we were beaten and threatened and raped. We checked the back seat of our car and were raped by the “friend” sitting in the front. We didn’t give rides to hitchhikers and didn’t stay out past ten and didn’t let strangers near us, we didn’t accept drinks from people we didn’t trust… And we still got raped.

The joke isn’t making light of rape, it’s not trying to say that rape itself is funny. What we, women, are saying with this hashtag is that after a lifetime of being told how to “protect ourselves” we finally realized that it was never our responsibility. The only person who can stop rape is the person who makes the decision to not be a rapist.

So if you don’t think the hashtag is funny, that’s okay. You are allowed to be uncomfortable with the topic of rape. Hell, I personally would rather people be uncomfortable than not. There are many people, women included, who don’t find it funny. Just keep in mind we aren’t mocking rape survivors, we’re not making fun of rape. We are making fun of people who think its a woman’s responsibility to protect herself when it really, really isn’t.
It’s every person’s responsibility to decide not to be a rapist. Most women do this intrinsically, but it’s societies job to teach and educate men (and women) about consent, about what rape is and why it’s bad, and then ensure that they don’t become rapists.

We’re sick of being told it’s our fault.

Is this making light of a horrific situation? Maybe. Maybe humour is the only way women can point out flaws in society’s function and defense of rapist. Maybe when we stood up and said “this isn’t fair” we were told we were too “emotional” or “need to be more objective”. Perhaps the reason women are using humour is because every other medium of expression has been used to silence us or dismiss our concerns.

Do I think it is ever okay to joke about rape? Its not okay to make fun of the victims and survivors, but I feel no remorse mocking the rapists, the culture that supports them, and a society that blames me for being assaulted.

Would my response be different if you knew there was a rape victim in your direct audience? No. I am a rape survivor. Many of the women making these jokes are also survivors. I am not laughing at rape, and I feel that other survivors would be able to read the inherent “fuck you” to a society that tells us “you shouldn’t have been drunk” instead of telling a man (or group of men) not to rape me. “Don’t dress like a slut” is not advice to stop me from being raped. All that constant narrative is telling women that we should make sure he rapes the other girl– it’s not stopping rape, it’s just ensuring that the victims will be silenced, blamed, shamed for daring to want the freedom to accept a ride home from a coworker and not be sexually assaulted.

You are welcome to disagree. But if you want to make a difference, maybe you should research a little. There’s a reason that so many women were defensive or rude to you— we’re the ones who have been raped, and you, a male who hasn’t been assaulted, are telling us that its not okay for us to point out that it was never our fault.

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brettfish [that’s me!]: hey Claudine

firstly, thank you – i fully appreciate you taking so much time to respond and agree wholeheartedly with pretty much everything you’ve said excepting for the last line about me saying that it’s not okay to point out that it was never your fault – i am fully behind that part of this discussion and am not saying anything like that – part of my research into a topic i care greatly about was me posing the question which you and some others have excellently answered and so you are really adding my my knowledge and understanding and again i thank you for that…

it is completely not cool how this thing has been turned on it’s head and how to large extents the victim has become the accused and i am really sorry for that – hopefully that is something we can work on getting better at…

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Claudine: I apologise if my final comment seemed accusatory, that was not my intention. From your post, it was my understanding that you are extremely anti-rape and anti-rape culture. I was making an attempt to explain the sudden backlash when you tried to voice your concerns.

As women, we are constantly being told to protect ourselves. This isn’t just something we are warned about after puberty, it is a constant presence in the life of every woman no matter what age she is in. When we were born, our collective fathers began dreading the day our bodies would begin to develop, and that fear permeates every facet of our existence. We are taught to fear strangers, to fear people in power, to fear being molested by our male teachers, coaches, doctors. We were taught to find a woman with children if we are lost, because men might be “bad”. Its a culture we were raised in, knowing we are weak and vulnerable and that every man is a potential rapist. The only think standing between us and rape is for him– this potential rapist — to choose not to.

I am saying this because women, especially women who are feminists, are always being told what to do. Don’t wear short skirts, don’t wear tight clothes, don’t walk late at night— don’t make a scene don’t say no don’t cause a fuss. We are being ordered around not only by men but also by women who don’t see what the patriarchal structure is doing to us, and all of that is hurting us.

Do I think you are anti-feminist? No. But in order to see why women might be angry at you, look at both sides.

If you don’t find the tweets humourous, that’s a product of your own upbringing, a mere footnote in the complex array of ideas and values that make up your sense of humour. If it’s not funny, don’t laugh. If it makes you uncomfortable, speak up.

But look at the other side:
Women are joking. They’re making fun of rape culture. They’re saying “the advice you gave me is useless. It won’t stop rape. All it does is blame the victim.” They are pointing out that it is NEVER a victim’s fault that she was raped. Was it because she was wearing a skirt? Was it because she befriended the wrong person? No, it happened because the rapist was a rapist.

So no you don’t have to find it funny, but you also have no right to tell us to stop. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. It SHOULD make you uncomfortable. We WANT to make people, especially men, especially people who think rape is bad, feel uncomfortable. Because those people are the ones who help perpetuate rape culture in their ignorance. People who say “Don’t walk alone late at night” are accepting that rape is the status quo, that rape is inevitable, that there is nothing more to do than accept it. That is wrong. Rape is NOT the status quo. Most men are NOT rapists. But when people make an attempt to silence or shame survivors, that propagates rape culture and makes it that much more difficult to cure.

If you don’t find the joke funny, good. Why don’t you find it funny? Is it because the advice is difficult or impossible to follow? Is it because the advice is laughable it its obvious inability to stop rape, is it because half of the jokes infer that the only way to protect yourself from rape is to die first?

All the advice women get is like that. It’s not funny because that is what defines rape culture. And if rape culture isn’t funny to you, start fighting it.

If you tell women “don’t make jokes about rape culture”, you’re telling them not to make fun of a society that sympathises with rapists. You’re telling them that they, their bodies, and their safety doesn’t matter. And for some reason I feel like that’s not what you meant at all.

What you meant was, “Don’t make fun of the victims.” And you’re right! We should never make fun of a victim or survivor, or belittle what they’ve been through.

I don’t think that means we can’t talk or joke about difficult topics. We shouldn’t mock or shame victims because we SHOULD be mocking and shaming rapists, we SHOULD be blaming rapists and their sympathizers, it should be impossible to live with the shame of knowing that you’ve raped someone. We should be rejecting them from society, refusing to talk to them or house them or feed them. Rape is a serious crime that ruins lives.
We should be mocking rape culture, because the idea that men can’t control themselves around attractive women is ridiculous. The idea that a short skirt is an invitation to be brutalized is stupid. The idea that women are somehow responsible for whether or not they are raped and murdered is ludicrous.
So no, we shouldn’t joke about “rape”. But that is something people say when what they really mean is “Don’t talk about rape” “Don’t show me the flaws in our society” and “Don’t tell me I’m wrong.”

Don’t joke about VICTIMS. Don’t use the word “rape” when you mean “lost a basketball game”, don’t threaten women with rape, don’t tell someone they deserve to be raped, don’t act like the act of raping another human being is funny.

But society needs to realize that rape culture is a problem. Maybe we can start by standing up to those who try to blame the victim. But it is very important that we realize that the only way to prevent rape is by teaching rapists not to rape.

Not by wearing more/different clothes or only travelling at certain times of day with a can of pepper spray or having a friend with me. Those things don’t stop rape from happening. Those things just make it okay for rapists to say “she was asking for it” and “what did she expect? She shouldn’t have been drunk.”

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brettfish: Claudine, you make a WHOLE lot of sense – i don’t agree with everything you say [but i imagine that’s okay] but i really do agree with almost all of it – i like how you have defined things carefully and made a lot more sense of it showing where the joke is aimed and so on and i cheer loudly at a lot of your paragraphs [and appreciating the time you spent cos i imagine you do ‘get’ quite a lot of my heartand that i really am being genuine here and thankx for that!] – i definitely am not in the camp saying we should not talk about rape [if you saw the first post of which this was a part ii you will see i am calling people towards speaking about it and acting…] or ‘don’t show me the flaws in our society’ [too glaring! i’d have to dig my head DEEP in the sand to be able to do that] and ‘don’t tell me i’m wrong’ cos i imagine there are some areas where i’m wrong [hopefully not all of them – i do a lot of work with young people, specifically Christian young people or people in schools an try and create a lot of space for people to share openly about the kind of stuff they have gone through in life and we have seen some amazing moments of young women being able to name stuff for the first time simply because we gave it a space and being able to have them share their story with another women and start on the journey to healing]

your ‘Don’t joke about VICTIMS. Don’t use the word “rape” when you mean “lost a basketball game”, don’t threaten women with rape, don’t tell someone they deserve to be raped, don’t act like the act of raping another human being is funny.’ paragraph was one of the cheering ones – i get all up in peoples faces when they talk about being facebook status raped or in a game or by an exam and i guess this Twitter ‘rantage’ was me seeing it as a similar thing to some extent so hopefully you can see my good intention in taking something on that felt wrong and felt like it was potentially victimising rape victims [even if i may have been wrong on the specifics]

i am not saying the tweets are not funny in terms of in and of themself [i may have implied that but it’s not what i mean] – some of them are really funny and really clever but it was more questioning should we be doing this with the subject of rape and you’ve spoken quite a lot into that…

so yes, thanks again, and for trying to explain some of the reactions i have been getting – i would say those are a pity because my heart is right [or trying to be] and by engaging with me you have helped educate me and have another ally [altho i would say i was already one] whereas the people that jumped down my throat and got all belligerent were more likely to piss me off and have me less interested to be involved [but fortunately i have thick skin] and i understand i think where that comes too – from years of having the negative messages and the blame and so on, so i do get it but still hope that people who are wanting to learn and grow will come across someone more like you who will give them the benefit of the doubt and a chance to learn and grow and join in to help where it is possible…

so thank you once again. i hope people will benefit from following our conversation and engagement on here…

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Claudine: It seems to me that you’re making an effort, especially to understand where women are coming from on this issue. That, to me, means that it’s worth my time to explain my point of view.

One of the reasons that women were so quick to lash out in response is that 95% of the time, the men who want to respond to us are NOT trying to understand rape culture. They are NOT willing to see the other side of the argument. The vast majority of the time, if a man disagrees with a woman on a feminist issue, they aren’t willing to look at things from the other person’s perspective. As women and feminists, we are used to being silence. We’re used to being told to ‘get back in the kitchen’ and ‘go make me a sandwich’ and all sorts of insensitive idiotic things. Obviously, I don’t claim to know the mind of every woman who responded to you on twitter, but do try to keep this in mind. None of these women got up in the morning and decided to be mean to you– I think more likely, they saw one of your tweets and (while I’m sure you meant to be engaging in a polite discourse, or asking for an explanation) they perceived it as ONE MORE in a line of thousands of men who have told them to shut up and stop complaining. You may not have been the problem, but your tweets — criticism, no matter how well intentioned — is perceived as an attack.

The truth is, if you’re male, you can’t understand what it is to be female in a world like ours. You can’t imagine that any more than you could turn back time, it’s impossible. The life you lived is in no way similar to the lives lived of women. Maybe on the surface your life has the same milestones, but when it comes down to it, women are treated differently than men. Women are treated as less than men. And if we speak up or complain about it, we’re told that we’re making a big deal out of nothing, that we’re overly sensitive, we need to lighten up and get a sense of humour– regardless of what we do, we’re criticised for it. And if and when you join a feminist discourse, you need to realize that as a man, your point of view is skewed. You have never lived as a woman, you have never been raised as a woman, you have never dealt with ‘women’s issues’ whatever they may be. And that means that you need to stop talking and start listening (which you have done admirably well, I would like to point out.)

So, why am I saying this? Not because I want you to stop talking, but because I think that one of the best things a man can do to help stop rape culture is to talk to other men. You can try to explain what I’ve said. You can, hopefully, make a difference. I don’t know what I’ve said that you disagree with (as I don’t think you specified), but I don’t need you to agree with me, I only need you to acknowledge that there are more points of view other than yours, and those views are valid.

Most importantly, you may want to think about how your words are perceived. It’s difficult really do accurately, but especially important when talking politics and feminism. It’s not only what you’re saying– because what you’re saying is “I want to help.” However, that isn’t always being received that way. Sometimes, when you say “I want to help,” what we are hearing is “Because you aren’t doing a good enough job yourself.”

Sometimes, you are saying “I want this bad thing to stop.”

And what women hear is “Now that I, a man, am here, I can save you from this problem. Because you aren’t strong enough to save yourself.”

We don’t want, or need, a saviour. If you truly are an ally to our cause, then we will welcome you with open arms– but you need to realize that being an ally means being one of the background, unimportant characters in a novel about other people’s success and triumph.

I hope that makes sense.

It has been a pleasure talking to you.

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brettfish: hey Claudine

the pleasure has been mine too, thank you so much – and please hear that when i say there are some things i disagree [or don’t fully agree] with you on, they are really the minority of what you have said – for the absolute most part i have agreed and you have spoken a lot of wisdom and given great insight and been very generous and gentle with me while unwrapping a lot of the bigger picture story and i do feel like i have heard most of what you have said. really helpful to hear “when you say this” it might be “heard as this” and just the general vibe of what the women in this conversation are used to hearing – i hope to point people to this blog post more for this interaction between us in the comments section than the actual blog and with your permission it might be more helpful to cut and paste this whole conversation as a separate blog [for those who don’t make it through this blog – what think you?]

i guess the one thing i would ask of you, in the way you have requested or presented it to me, is to take a moment to put yourself in my shoes [as the man] and hear the messages of “you’re the bad guy” “your voice doesn’t count” and “you will never understand any of this” – i do understand the context for it and it may fall in line with what you said about being prepared to be a small part in a bigger story which is not about you and i can definitely see that happening, but also hope you will hear a glimpse of what it is to be the guy in this situation who is wanting to understand and be of help and be someone who is looking out for his wife and sister and daughter, to be told in essence, “sorry, no room for you” – that is a hard one to swallow and maybe we can head towards a time and a place where men and women will be able to meet as different but equal and fight together against a thing which we jointly see as evil and broken and messed up… but in the meantime i will definitely try to listen more and swoop in less [i’m not a great swooper, but i do tend to like fixing so same problem i guess]

you have made so much sense and you have taken the time

and for that i am hugely thankful

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Claudine: If you want to copy/paste our interaction into your blog, feel free to do so with my blessing.

I hear where you’re coming from– It’s not easy to be told “you’re the bad guy” or “sorry, no room for you here” but it’s really not meant to be exlusionary. You’re wanted! You’re needed! But you’re needed as SUPPORT. That’s what being an ally is. And I know it may not seem like a heroic duty, but we aren’t saying “be silent, your opinion doesn’t matter!” what we REALLY want to say is “be quiet, so that the loudest voices are the survivors”.
In any fight for justice or equality, the people who need to be heard the MOST are the people whose voices have been silenced.

The good news is, if you’re not being oppressed, you have a good idea of what we’re striving for, and you have the drive to ensure that equality and basic human dignity is there for the women in your life (as well as everyone else who needs it). But don’t expect to be one of the loudest voices– instead, find people who need your support, and give it to them. Find out who needs support, what kind of support they need, and do your best to provide that.

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brettfish: that whole thought i can fully support… if that is what everyone is saying, i’m in… certainly not a stage i’d want to be center on. well written!

Heather Moretz Martin

Heather Martin is the wife of Robert Anthony Martin, who i met at a protest in Philly that was against an outdoor feeding ban in 2012, and she has agreed to let me use this blog post that she made which deals really well with this aspect…

The No-No List by Heather Martin from her blog ‘Not Quite Right: Faith – Life – Common Sense’ which can be found here.

‘For those of you who don’t know me or are new to my blog, I embarked on the Breast Cancer Journey eight months ago, when I discovered a lump in my left breast. I have had a successful lumpectomy, and have completed eighteen weeks of chemotherapy, and began my radiation treatments this week, which will take me into May.

Those of you who do know me know that I have made it a point to approach this journey with a healthy amount of humor. It’s amazing how much better things seem when you can find something to laugh about.

Sometimes, the things I laugh about are people’s reactions to my cancer, and the things that they say. Probably my favorite comment, which I heard from numerous people during my chemotherapy, was, “You have great color!” I always wondered what color I was supposed to be, if my actual color was unexpected. Purple, perhaps, or a very becoming chartreuse. Over time, I realized that the comment was intended to refer to the fact that I had rosy cheeks despite my treatments, a realization that was cemented after my third treatment when I began suffering from terrible anemia. From that point on, we referred to it as “misplacing my melanin.”

I did a quick internet search this morning to see if there were any articles on “What Not to Say to Cancer Patients,” and I found several. However, I found them all lacking. For one thing, not one of them mentioned misplaced melanin and therefore were, in my book, incomplete. So I decided to make up my own “No-No” list, based on some of the things I have come across this year.

1. When you find out your friend has cancer, please do not relate horror stories. At all. Ever.

There is nothing worse for a cancer patient than hearing, “Oh, gosh! My mother’s father-in-law’s seventh grade gym teacher had a cancer completely unlike yours, and he grew two extra heads before his flesh melted off of his bones!” Listen, honey, my grandfather died of pneumonia, brought on by his compromised immune system from chemotherapy, and I am very well aware of Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts who ended up with secondary cancer after chemotherapy for breast cancer. I know the risks. I know the worst-case scenarios. If your story doesn’t have a happy ending, don’t go there.

2. Don’t question or criticize the cancer patient’s choices of treatment…

…particularly after the procedure is a fait accompli. Once the word Cancer is pasted to your forehead, life becomes a multiple choice test, and each answer has its own level of unpleasantness. There is no decision that does not contain some amount of risk, and there is so much information thrown at the patient that every day feels like finals week in college. So when the little black dots have already been filled in with the #2 pencil and the paper has been turned in, it’s not going to be very helpful to hear, “You know, I read a story last week that says that this procedure you had done two weeks ago is going to make your feet fall off, and turn your earwax fuscia.”

3. Unless you’ve gone through, literally, the same process, give advice at your own risk.

Please do not suggest to a woman undergoing chemotherapy that she should not eat chocolate. Ditto bacon. Double-ditto coffee. You do not want to go there. Trust me, it’s not pretty.

Also, this is a Really Bad Time to bring up obscure little-researched alternative and/or homeopathic treatments with absolutely no solid facts behind them. Now, you may be a firm believer in the healing power of powdered elk-antler. In fact, most people would probably be quite curious should you ask if they’ve heard of the miraculous healing powers of powdered elk-antler. But presenting a cancer patient with, “Only powdered elk-antlers have the power to cure cancer! Any other treatment is going to make your feet fall off, and turn your earwax fuscia!” will probably not end well for you.

4. Don’t ask if you don’t really want to know.

“How are you doing – really?” and “How are your treatments going?” are dangerous questions. You’re really opening yourself up to learning more about the body than you’d prefer to know. You might get a very safe answer about goats throwing themselves off the hills of Gilead (See Song of Solomon…), or a slightly more disturbing relation of fingernails randomly falling off, or… well, trust me, it gets worse. There is no procedure in the breast cancer journey that is not either embarrassing, painful, or gruesome. Or some combination of two of those. Or all three. And after a while, the patient loses all sense of shock, and may be… blunt. So, unless you really want to know, stick with something safe and vague. And don’t be afraid to say, “TMI!”

5. For the love of all that’s chocolate, enough with the Facebook Cancer Support Pictures already!

Now, I think most cancer patients will understand and appreciate the sentiment, knowing they’re being thought of by their facebook friends as they’re going through their treatments. But, speaking for myself, when my friends post every prayer, dove, flower, rainbow, candle, butterfly, and fluffy kitten picture “honoring someone who has fought or is fighting cancer”, all it does it make facebook one more place where I can’t escape the reality of my disease.

If you really want to honor those fighting cancer, if you really want to bless me, go out and do something tangible. Call your local cancer center and offer to put together some goodie bags for people starting on their chemo journey (I got one, and it blessed me enormously!). Grow your hair long, and then cut it for Locks of Love. Knit or crochet soft caps with fun yarns for women who are left with zombie hair. Volunteer to drive cancer patients to their treatments. These things will have so much more impact on the lives of cancer patients than a picture on your facebook wall.

6. Don’t assign your emotions to the cancer patient.

No, really. Do you have any idea how ridiculous it is to have an argument with someone who won’t believe that I’m not depressed? That I’m fatigued because of the medication, not because of emotional distress? There have been times where I’ve gotten a little hot under the collar trying to get someone to believe that, actually, I’m quite happy, and have a supernatural amount of joy and peace, goshdarnit!!!!!

Ahem.

7. Don’t wait for the cancer patient to initiate contact.

I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit of a recluse since I was diagnosed with cancer. Part of this is because I simply don’t have the energy to think past what I need to do. Good grief, I’ll sit here for half an hour thinking about something I need to do before I actually get up and do it.

Part of it can also be completely explained with the words Chemo Brain. This is for real, folks. Chemo completely messes with your brain. My trains of thought have been known to get lost on a straight track. They have derailed before pulling out of the station. It’s really sad.

So if you haven’t heard from me, it may be because I sat by the phone for half an hour thinking about calling you, but by the time I get around to picking up the receiver, I’ve forgotten what I was going to do.

Don’t be afraid to take the initiative of calling, thinking they need their rest, or want to be left alone. The chances are pretty good that a call from a friend would be just what the doctor ordered!

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I hope you have been able to read this article with the humor and humility with which it was written. I recognize that I have also said and done all the wrong things when I have come across someone going through tragedy or illness. So this was not written to be either critical or sarcastic. These are, honestly, things which have made me smile because I have seen how much my friends and my family care for me. This is not a journey I would have chosen, but I am so much stronger for it.’

[For other stories of Cancer-related journeys, click here]

so the next step in the brett fish & the beautiful Val next americaland journey has taken place… after three great official times [as well as many unofficial times comprising many drinks of coffee, milkshake and tea or variants thereof] of sitting down with people we love [and vice versa] and talking through some of what Relational Tithe/Common Change is about we put together an invitation email to gather a group of friends and family who want to be some part of our journey – from simply receiving our newsletter to committing to keep us in regular prayer to offering financial support through either a once off donation or else to be part of the roughly $1000 we need for monthly living costs for the eighteen months we have committed to being there [starting March]

we had an incredible gift from a friend which has enabled us to purchase the air tickets – where we are on that is trying to get Val’s in the next 24 hours so that she can leave on the 18th and make it to the Justice Conference that is happening in Philadelphia which looks to be incredible – and then she will stay in Philly for a few days, doing some scholarship stuff she is still working on for the Simple Way and then fly to Oakland, California and look into finding us a place to stay and starting to settle in it…

i will be holding off on buying my ticket til about ten days later and then we will assess the support we have had come in and, if close enough to what we are looking at needing, will buy my ticket and leave to get there around the beginning of March, flying straight to Oakland, California where we will be living and working.

we sent the email to those who have expressed interest and attended the meetings but if you are interested in receiving the initial one and deciding if you want to be in one of those areas of support of us then please email me at brettfish@hotmail.com and i can send it to you.

where we currently stand is close to 20% of the needed support and so a bit of a way to go but excited by the people who are showing interest and support in a variety of ways. we have been completely spoilt by so many people in terms of place to stay [Duncan and Megan Houston] and car [Duffields] and many meals and drinks and even tickets to the cricket [Muscle of John] and so incredibly thankful for the communities and networks we are part of. and for everyone we have got to connect with and catch up with… there are a lot of pretty amazing people in and around our lives and we appreciate you so much.

onwards and kingdomwards…

brett fish and tbV

commonchange

So yesterday i wrote a post sharing a deeper glimpse into the future life, work and ministry of the andersons over here – we will be joining a non-profit called Relational Tithe with a working platform called Common Change which, in a very big nutshell, gathers resources from a group of people and then uses them to meet advocated needs from people within the group.

It is a very exciting project and both Valerie and myself are super amped for it. Neither of us are huge fans of the whole asking people money in support thing [although i have less of a problem when it comes to spending other peoples’ money on something i really believe in, it’s just the asking that is generally awkward] but this looks like it is the way this thing has to go – we will be committing to an 18 month period and so it will be a closed ask [as opposed to “support us for the next ten or twenty years”] which makes us feel a little more comfortable as well.

I shared yesterday that Common Change is in line for a matching grant which means that if people pledge donations of up to $1000 then Giving of Life will match whatever is donated up to and including that $1000. Currently Common Change is sitting on $225 and so has $775 to go. The deal has just been sweetened for us by Common change committing to using the $1000 extra they get [if reached] towards our plane tickets and this is where you come in.

This is a way that you can make a donation towards a really great project [the money raised will go towards admin and site hosting costs to ensure that 100% of the tithed money from the groups continues to go towards the needs being met] and also contribute towards our flights back here [mid Feb] and the start of our next journey.

So if you are able to donate $5 or $10 or even $50 or $100, every little bit helps a lot and it will take a whole bunch of people donating a small amount to reach the $1000 pretty easily – if you would like to do that then head here and add your bit. If you don’t have money to donate [or even if you do] there is also a space on that page to vote and the top three receive some kind of bonus [if you sign up via Facebook and Twitter you get two extra votes which you can use – voting is free and i don’t think puts you on any spam lists]

thank you for your time and interest and possible donation or vote… every little bit counts…

[if you want to be more personally involved in our journey then drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and let me know how you would like to be involved]

another day, some more challenging and insightful advice on how to build a strong marriage relationship by my friend Lauren McGill:

I think the thing that makes my marriage more special than any other relationship in my life is the vulnerability.

I remember in our first few years of marriage, sharing something that had been eating away at me with j. I was so broken and ashamed, really believing after he had seen this ugliness he would walk away. When eventually I managed to look up at him, he was crying too. He was crying for my hurt.

Over the years time and again j has shown me he loves me in spite of all my (many!) flaws and he is always, always on my side. He never uses my vulnerability against me and always sticks up for me- even when I’m wrong (in private he will tell me off hehe). As a result I feel fully loved, fully known, fully supported. I’m accepted for just being plain old…me. I guess that, and, he makes me laugh- a lot 🙂

[married for 6 years]

to continue to the next part of this series click here…

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