Category Archives: Self Savvy

Family Secrets

What if you learned that your family’s most cherished stories are a pack of revisionist lies used to cover up shocking crimes?  At the age of 38, Jennifer Teege was doing some research at the library when she found a book that was a biography of her biological mother.  From the book, Jennifer learned that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, SS commandant of the Plaszow labor camp.

Her beloved grandmother, Ruth Irene lived with Goeth at Plaszow.  (In Schindler’s List, Ruth Irene buries her head under the pillows while he stands on the balcony shooting Jews.)  Ruth Irene kept Goeth’s photo by her bed for the rest of her life.  She told Jennifer that Goeth was a kind and gentle man who never killed anyone. 

When Jennifer revealed her secret past to her adopted family, it almost destroyed them.  Her adopted father became obsessed with studying the Holocaust.  Before dying, he revealed that his obsession arose from fear of not knowing what his father did during the war.  What if his father committed crimes while serving in the German Army? The German Army was used to commit war crimes on the Eastern Front in Russia.

He never learned the truth about what his father did during the war.  German soldiers were discouraged from keeping diaries or journals and their letters were censored.  The Nazis wanted to control all the information so that their propaganda was the only narrative available. (Today Putin’s Russia and Chairman Xi’s China use internet firewalls to control the narrative and cover up probable crimes against humanity in Ukraine and Xinjiang.)   

Jennifer and her adopted father struggled with the ethical dilemma of what responsibility, if any, they should bear for the actions of their family members.  Americans may discover a similar dilemma when they log on to Ancestry.com and similar sites looking to build their family trees.  The U.S. has plenty of its own horrors. 

What if you learned that during Jim Crow days your kindly grandfather and his buddies used to drive along country roads at night looking for black people to terrorize?  Hurling watermelons out car windows was a popular “sport”.   What if your grandparents show up in an old photograph screaming and hitting black college students who were attempting to desegregate the lunch counter?

Or maybe one of your ancestors served with Arthur MacArthur (Douglas’ dad) during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902) when the U.S. used dum dum bullets to suppress a Filipino independence movement.  Dum dums were banned as too inhumane by a treaty signed in the Hague, but the Americans negotiated an exemption covering their use in the Philippines.

What if you found a book that proves your great-great-granddad was one of Chivington’s 100-day militia? In 1864, Chivington’s militia attacked Black Kettle’s encampment at Sand Creek, Colorado without provocation and massacred the inhabitants who were mostly the old and sick, or women and children. They didn’t have a camera crew with them, but they bragged to the local papers about their manly deeds against noncombatants. Both the federal and Colorado governments insisted they lacked jurisdiction to prosecute their crimes.

What if you discover that your God-fearing grandfather is one of the men implicated in the Southern Baptist’s sex scandal?  The denomination recently released a report revealing decades of sex crimes (rape and molestation) committed by church leaders and covered up by the church hierarchy.   The denomination still seems to be more interested in protecting the perpetrators than in apologizing to and comforting the victims.  

Like Jennifer and her adopted father, we may struggle to assimilate the awful truth about our families.  The closer we are in time to the perpetrators, the more difficult the emotional distress.  Jennifer Teege descended into a deep depression that required intensive psychotherapy before she could reconcile herself with her new knowledge.  However, she eventually found peace in knowing the truth.  Knowing the truth is always better than living a lie.

About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps small employers to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy. 

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The Other Side of the Couch – Tomorrow

Sunrise

I have always enjoyed reading the morning paper.  Having breakfast, sipping coffee and catching up on the news has been a pleasant ritual – well, sometimes not so pleasant, but at least a ritual – for many years.  I especially enjoy the “Funnies”, as my dad used to call them. I can remember in younger years being intrigued by the glamourous “Brenda Starr”, confused by “Little Orphan Annie” and her sidekicks, Punjab and the Asp, and entertained by the antics of Beetle Bailey and Lil Abner and Pogo.

I still enjoy the Funnies, having followed Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” with relish since the 60s.  New entries into the art of creating an “aha” moment are “Breaking Cat News” by Georgia Dunn (commentary on the foibles of humans from the cat viewpoint), “Prickly City” by Scott Stantis, perhaps created as an antidote to Doonesbury, and the amazing “Pearls Before Swine” by Stephen Pastis.

Pastis is the master of the pun, and one often comes away from his morning minute with the groans that good puns elicit.  However, he also has remarkable insight into the sweep of history compacted into four panels – or six on Sundays.  It seems strange to write about all of these wonderful writers without including examples of their work, but because all is licensed and costly, none of it can appear in this writer’s blog.  Instead, I will summarize the panels that appeared in Sunday’s edition.

Panel 1 – 1987 – FCC – Do we really need a fairness doctrine to ensure the media will be fair?  We don’t.

Panel 2 – 2000 – School Board – Do we really need civics classes for these kids?  We don’t.

Panel 3 – 2005 – Senate Committee – Do we really need to be regulating social media companies like publishers?  We don’t.

Panel 4 – 2010 – Daily Tribune – Do we really need this many reporters covering government?  We don’t.

Panel 5 – 2015 – County Supervisors – Do we really need mental health funding?  We don’t.

Panel 6 – 2022 – Pig: Do we really need this much barbed wire around government buildings?  Goat:  We do.  Rat ( throwing a rock at said building) And that’s for faking the moon landing.

Here is the link to this amazing cartoon:

https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2022/05/22

It is well worth seeing!

Mr. Pastis takes us step by step down the path that has landed us in this unimaginable place.  It’s just like the frogs that, when placed in a pot of cold water that is slowly heated, will not realize that they should jump out and as a result die.  We are the frogs, and the water has been heating for a long time. We no longer have agreement on basic truth; we no longer trust our institutions.  And our country is awash with guns.

The future is uncertain.  I do believe that the “the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice” – MLK.  I wish that arc were not quite so long, and that I were more sure of where we are in that path.  Sometimes I hear the last gasps of a frantic and frightened group of people who can’t see beyond their fear of differences.   Sometimes I see a retreat into an imagined past that never existed but is somehow believed to be better than it ever was.  Sometimes it seems like the end of all that we have known.  At other times, more hopeful times, I look at the young people who are fighting for the planet, for the acceptance of different kinds of life styles and of different kinds of people, and I do see a possible future that is different from the one we are living.

So I will sing with Orphan Annie and Alicia Morton –

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There’ll be sun

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away”

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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Futility Defined

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

We’ve been here before. This time will end like the last time and the time before that.  Since our country was founded, we have fought futile culture wars that delay but never stop the inevitable changes to our society.  

“Pray, do not forget the ladies”, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, as he sat at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  Abigail wanted women to have property and voting rights.  John and the other men ignored her plea as they drafted the Constitution.  Women got the vote in 1920 but continue the struggle for equality. 

About half the delegates at the Constitutional Convention owned slaves.  They threatened to torpedo the entire project unless they were allowed to keep their “peculiar institution”.   Slavery ended with the Civil War but was followed by decades of domestic terrorism as white supremacists tried to reverse the laws granting equality to former slaves.   Racial inequality is still the most divisive topic we face as a nation and domestic terrorism attacks continue, most recently in Buffalo, N.Y.

We’re a nation of immigrants yet after the U.S. expanded from sea to shining sea, immigration suddenly became a threat.  Earlier immigrants, who now saw themselves as red-blooded Americans, tried to block later waves of immigrants.  They argued that the new guys would undermine American jobs and wages and our culture, ignoring their own successful assimilation.  

The latest culture war is the same stale mix of fear and hysteria.  In the 2020 census Americans could choose more than one ethnicity; many did so.  That change highlighted the fact that the percentage of white Americans is declining.   

Hoping to reverse demographic trends, white supremacists are joining the anti-abortion crowd.  The latest laws would ban abortions even when it would save the mother’s life or when the females (including VERY young girls) have been violated by rape or incest.  Other forms of birth control are also being banned.

None of the anti-abortionists have ever suggested that male persons should learn to use condoms, get a vasectomy, not rape children, and respect a woman when she says “no”.  They never will because that’s not the point of these laws.  These laws are intended to oppress all women while simultaneously forcing more white women to have babies. 

Closely aligned with the anti-abortion crowd are the Protestants demanding “religious freedom” laws which allow them to discriminate against people who are of other faiths, female, LGBTQ, or living any lifestyle which offends these self-appointed protectors of “Christian America”.  It’s also the most recent effort to entrench Protestantism as a state religion based on hysterical fear of Islam, replacing hysterical fear of Catholicism.  It won’t stop church pews continuing to empty. 

The most short-sighted culture warriors are the anti-immigrants. They are taking an enormous gamble that they’ll never end up old and sick.  Medicare already eats up a huge chunk of the federal budget and America’s working age population is shrinking.  Without immigrants to fill jobs and pay taxes, there won’t be enough money to fund Medicare in its current generous form.  

Culture wars ruin lives. Targeted people are terrorized with death threats (women are also threatened with rape).  People die violently.  But in the end, this war will end like all the previous culture wars.  

It’s time for the culture warriors to go through the seven stages of grief and learn to accept the things they cannot change.

  About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).

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The Other side of the Couch – Ukraine

 

sunflower

I sit here today, safe, in my own warm house with my own possessions around me.  I can use my cell phone to call anyone I want to call.  I can walk outside without worrying.  I can speak my mind to my neighbors, and while we may disagree, I am not afraid that I will be turned in to the police for something I have said or done. I have money to buy food, and if I need cash I can go to the bank and access my checking account to get more cash.  My family is safe, and I know that I can see them whenever I want to do so.

And as I sit here, safe, warm, with choices and a future, I am thinking of the people of Ukraine, who have none of these certainties.  I am thinking of the women and children who are saying goodbye to their husbands and fathers; I am thinking of the young men and women who are choosing to fight for their country at the risk of losing everything, because if they do not they have already lost everything worth living for.  I am thinking of the maternity hospital, bombed by the Russians.  I am thinking of the waves of refugees pouring across the borders into the West.

And I am thinking of the soldiers from both countries, soldiers who are fighting in a war that they neither chose nor believed would happen.  These young men – and women – will die because of the twisted mind of a man whose greed and vanity and ego have released the scourge of war once again on an innocent people.

The Russian people are suffering as well – pulled into a war they, too, did not choose and blinded by the limited access to other perspectives than that which is fed to them by the state-run media.

Here in Fortress America, far away from the realities of war on the European continent, it may be too easy to say to ourselves that this war has nothing to do with us – it is over there, far away.  I know that there are some who are saying exactly that, although their voices have been muted by the extraordinary courage and resilience of the Ukranian people’s fight against Putin.  This is exactly what was said in the 30s and 40s in the runup to WWII by many – until we were attacked at Pearl Harbor.  Let it not come to that – let it not be that our political will to fight Putin and his war machine has to depend on our own country being attacked in order to muster the will to crush him.

I am grateful that the leaders of the European Union have stepped up and that the careful diplomacy of the Biden administration has created a unified response to an unprovoked attack on all democracies.  May it hold firm in the difficult days ahead.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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The Other Side of the Couch – A Balanced Life

Bird Feeder

Today is the last day of the Great Back Yard Bird Count for 2022.  Sitting today at the computer I have a view of our bird feeders less than six feet away, and I have loved counting the familiar birds that appear.  Today house finches and mockingbirds have been the most frequent visitors, although an occasional pair of mourning doves have also consistently searched for spilled seed on the ground.  The mockingbird puffs up and acts like the king of the feeder, but the smaller house finches are fierce in their determination to reach the seeds despite his aggressive posturing.  Just now a Carolina wren has appeared – lovely rich brown with a yellow belly – so cheeky, and in love with the dried mealy worms.  The squirrels are in the mix as well, for though we have squirrel-proof feeders, those amazing acrobats have found several ways to defeat the trapping mechanism.  Oh well.  Squirrels must live, too.

The birds of the air live their lives according to the urges and instincts of their species, knowing when to eat, drink, find a mate, build a nest, raise a family, migrate or not.  I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a creature driven by instinct rather than by plan or intention.  I do not think birds plan, exactly, where to find seed or find a mate.  For them it is not “tomorrow morning I will check out the feeders at the Whites – if they are empty, I will go across the green space to the people on the other side.”  They just go.

I do not know a great deal about bird physiology, but I do not imagine that they experience stress in the way that humans do.

What do I know about managing stress?  I know that rest is essential.  I know that being present in the moment is helpful.  Any kind of creativity – drawing, painting, writing, playing the piano – all of these are calming.  Meditating, quiet music, warm baths, cuddly blankets – all help.  Anything that helps the body move out of fight or flight (the activation of the autonomic nervous system) and into calm (the activation of the para-sympathetic nervous system) helps the body calm down.  An essential tool in this process is breathing.  A breath in – a longer breath out – repeated at least three times – signals that vagal nerve system to move into PSN – and the body responds with letting go and calming down.

What I am recognizing about myself, however, is that I am not always aware of stress.  I live my life, I think, in such a way as to be always ready for and thinking ahead into the next thing.  For example, cleaning up the breakfast dishes – group tasks so that all is done most efficiently with least effort. Going to the bedroom?  Find objects that are out of place and need to be picked up on that trip. Errands to run? List the stops and plan the most productive route.  I accomplish a great deal by living this way.  My question to myself, however, is whether leaning into the future is creating a problem with balance in my life.

I do not plan time to stop.  I do not plan time to rest.  I seem to be almost driven to do.  And so, I ask myself, what am I driving toward or pushing away from?  If I stop and rest, if I let myself meander a bit, if I take the longer way to go just because I want to see what is there – if I stay in the present moment and take those breaths – what could happen?

As I pause here to feel into those questions, the answer that surfaces is not a surprise.  I will grieve.  I will experience the losses of these past years yet again.

So, to find my balance I need to re-balance – a time of experiencing being in the moment that will include more tears, and more journaling, and more just being quiet with the memories.  No “to-do” list on grief.  It takes the time it takes and follows its own song.

If you find yourself caught in the cycle of never-ending doing, perhaps watching birds as they live in the moment could be a reminder of the power of now.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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The Other Side of the Couch – Patience Rewarded

Kara 2022

20131206_213818

When a feline companion of eighteen years left us last May, I knew that at some point I would want to adopt another cat.  Our resident cat, Jasmine, now ten years old, came to us at age two when her first family moved to New Zealand.  She and Oscar became friends – he was ten at the time – and although they were never buddies, they did tolerate each other to the extent that they sometimes even sat on the bed together.

Jasmine adapted well to being on her on, especially because the pandemic has resulted in my being home almost all the time.  However, as things began to open, it became apparent that she would be home alone for some stretches of time, and I was worried about that for her.  She had always been with other animals.

We decided to adopt a younger cat in hopes that they would become playmates.  Alas – best-laid plans – when we went to the cat rescue to choose a cat, we were chosen – by a nine-year-old female named Kara.  She was a greeter – she was seated in a small box on a table right next to the door as we came in, and she was friendly right away.  We looked around, and we spent time with several of the younger cats (there were twenty-five cats roaming around) – but the one we thought we had come for turned out to be “playful” in a bit of a rough way.  My husband wanted none of that – and Kara was our choice.

In adopting an older, female cat and attempting to integrate her into our home with an even-older female cat, we were embarking of a journey that would require patience!

So began the Saga of Jasmine and Kara, a continuing story told in weekly installments to an avid audience of friends.  Following the instructions gleaned from our cat whisperer friend and from Jackson Galaxy YouTube videos, we began by not even allowing the two cats to see each other.  Kara was whisked into the house and placed in a secure room with her own box, food bowls, toys and water. This happened to be the room in which we watch TV, so she would be sure of company in the evening.  The next steps were to exchange scents – rub old socks or t-shirts on each cat and put those objects in the other cat’s areas.  Next we moved Kara into another room for a bit and let Jasmine into the TV room to sniff around.  We did this repeatedly.

The next step was crucial – we put up baby gates at one of the entrances to the TV room and began to crack the door open when both cats were eating – thus creating an association with “seeing other cat equals getting food”.  We quickly learned that Kara is an agile escape artist who could climb right over those gates!  However, they did serve the purpose of allowing visual contact if they were monitored.  I also learned that as soon as Jasmine saw Kara that I needed to pet her (the resident cat!), reassure her that this interloper did not mean she had lost us, and play with her using her favorite toy, a fishing pole with feathers attached.

This journey began in September.  We are now at the point at which both Jasmine and Kara are out and about in the house during the day.  Jasmine is the dominant cat – a Maine Coon mix weighing in at twelve pounds; however, Kara, a long-haired black tabby with Maine Coon features as well, and weighing about eight pounds, is a little acrobat and very interested in joining with and playing with Jasmine.

This has not yet occurred, but I would say that the possibility exists that they could end up on a bed together. It has taken patience, time, and determination – some would say why work so hard?  In part it is because we were chosen – but also it is within our ability to provide a safe and loving home to an older cat – and the rewards of that choice are many.  We love them both, quirks and all, and I have hope that the patience we are all displaying will be rewarded.  

Patience is an old-fashioned virtue – in our fast-paced and throw-away society, we are not used to delaying gratification or waiting for things to unfold.  Jasmine and Kara are teaching us time-honored truths by showing us that it takes time to adapt, to trust, and to create new connections.  It will not be rushed – it takes the time it takes – a timely reminder that even fear and conflict can be mitigated by patience and a good meal!

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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The Other Side of the Couch – Goodbye and Hello

Sunset

The turning of the year is for many a time of reflection – what has this last year brought to us; what are we leaving behind; what are we welcoming in the year ahead.  As I write this post, we are experiencing yet another wave of COVID-19 distress as the Omicron variant has become the dominant disease vector; we do not yet know enough about this variant to predict much about it other than that it is more contagious than the two prior variants – we hope it is less lethal.

This year for me has been a year of facing loss and mortality.  My brother, brother-in-law, sister and aunt all died of cancer this year – I am the oldest of five siblings, and these losses have really brought into focus the essential question that life presents to all of us.  Our time here is limited.  What do we choose to do with that precious time?

COVID prevented me from spending the time I would have wished with my brother and sister.  We were barely able to see Glenn a few weeks before his death – he was fighting hard to get to another clinical trial that held out so much promise, but his cancer was too far advanced.  My daughter and I flew to San Francisco and spent two precious days with him – just being together, talking, remembering.  When we left, we still were hoping for more time – but it was not to be.

Lindsay’s situation turned so quickly.  She was diagnosed in November of 2020, had surgery, and the extensive tumor was identified and removed.  She joined a clinical trial that worked so well until suddenly it didn’t.  In early June of 2021 she was hospitalized, and scans finally revealed that the cancer was back in all her internal organs.

Because Hawaii was so strict regarding COVID, when we learned that her time was short, we still had to have COVID tests within 72 hours of travel.  The only place in Nashville that gave the tests approved by the Hawaiian government was finally identified, and we flew on July 3.  Arriving at 2 in the afternoon, Lindsay, by this time in hospice at home, recognized us, welcomed us, but was not able to converse.  We were just together. During the night she became unable to respond, and in the early morning hours I talked to her, sang to her, told her it was ok to go.  She left us at 8:45 on July 4.

Three weeks later we said hello to a beautiful new granddaughter – Cora Lindsay.   Named after my sister, her great-aunt, this child carries hope into the world as a legacy of love.

The thread that binds all these experiences together is that legacy.  I am a fortunate person in that I grew up in a family that was and is bound together by love.  Although we have certainly had our struggles – no families in my experience do not have struggles – we got along (for the most part) and valued kindness.  Whatever I can say about my time on this earth, I can at least say that I gave and received love.  That is no small thing.

May you find ways in your own life to love.  The gift will return to you a thousand-fold.

Happy New Year.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please….. Give HerSavvy credit!

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Hope at a Time of Despair

We’re a few days away from Christmas and it’s difficult to see signs of hope. 

We’re heading into another covid winter as infections and deaths again rise.  More than 800,000 Americans have already died from the covid virus.  Vaccines are widely available and medical evidence indicates that the unvaccinated are the ones dying now.  But too many people claim they have a Constitutional right to their “freedom” to refuse the vaccination. 

This argument distorts the Constitution.  Constitutional freedoms extend only to the point where one person’s rights infringe on the freedoms of others.  By claiming a right to reject the vaccine, anti-vaxxers increase the risk of infecting others, thus infringing on the Constitutional rights of others to live virus-free.  Anti-vaxxers also increase the likelihood that we will never reach herd immunity and that the virus will mutate into a form that is vaccine resistant.  

Unfortunately, the political and social disputes about covid and the vaccine are just the latest symptom of the twin diseases of political intolerance and violence.  Our country has a violent history. Therefore, it is disturbing to learn from recent surveys that around a quarter of Republican Party supporters believe it is acceptable to use violence to win political disagreements.   Meanwhile, the leftist fringe infecting the Democratic Party screams a message of tolerance through an intolerant program of “wokeness”.  Significantly, these pampered pooches haven’t agreed to give up one iota of their privileged, coastal-elite existence to bring their utopia to fruition.

Since no one is listening to each other and the few voices of reason have been drowned out by a sea of intolerance, there is a mad scramble to impose intolerance through the capture of the political process.  Too many states are passing “secure voting” laws that are designed solely to suppress the votes of people who are deemed politically and socially undesirable and inferior.  Virtually all the states are racing to create gerrymandered districts that will distort the outcome of elections over the next ten years.  Our Constitution stands in grave danger of becoming more useful as toilet paper.

So where do we find hope in this time of despair? History teaches us that intolerance eventually burns itself out due to its own excesses.  The Inquisition eventually ran out of victims to torture and murder in the name of God.  The American Civil War ended when the “secesh” states ran out of people to fight and die on the battlefield.  The covid pandemic will end when the virus runs out of people to kill.

My hope is that our country will reject intolerance sooner rather than later. My despair is that we value our lives and the lives of others so cheaply that we are willing to watch so many people die before our intolerance finally burns out.  

About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps small businesses create human resources policies and risk mitigation programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please….. Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

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The Other Side of the Couch – Are We There Yet?

Here & Now

Are We There YET?

I remember as a child taking car trips with my family – I was often buried in a book, but I know I must have asked that dreaded question many times – and I am equally sure that my younger siblings often did the same. Time passes differently in childhood. Days are endless; summers last forever, and it seems that Christmas will never come.

Time moves differently as we age. The rushing river of Time of which we are never outside becomes ever faster. The meandering pace of childhood picks up speed, and time passes in minutes as we grow older.

And yet that question remains – are we there yet? Have we reached our destination? The “there” changes over time, and yet it is still somewhere out there in the far distance. We are moving toward a horizon that always is just out of reach.

Have you considered what “there” is for you, and whether the possibility exists that you are already “there”? If we as humans are constantly focused on the next thing, that which is to come, we miss so much of what is here now.

If I have learned anything from these months of pandemic isolation, it is that now is what we have. The opportunity to slow down, pay attention, spend time with people I love has never been more present and essential, especially given that these months included the loss of beloved family members (my brother, sister, brother-in-law, and aunt – none to COVID, but gone nonetheless) – and the loss of a feline friend who gave us eighteen years of loving presence. We also received the gift of another precious granddaughter and the adoption of another feline friend.

Friends, “there” is a mirage – a desert oasis calling us away from the actual present. I hope that you can find ways to stay fully present with your life today. It really is a gift, and it is all that we have.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 30+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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All I Wanted Was to Play the Sport I Loved

In 1972, women celebrated the enactment of Title IX which prohibits gender discrimination in any school or educational program receiving federal funds.  Suddenly, schools and universities were required to invest in sports programs for girls and young women.  Title IX opened the door for female athletes.

Because of Title IX, Pat Summitt led her teams to 1,098 wins, more wins than any other college basketball coach.  Many of her student-athletes turned pro after graduating and became stars in the brand-new WNBA.  

Because of Title IX, there were school programs that trained our gymnasts who went on to win dozens of Olympic medals. 

Because of Title IX, our colleges continue training soccer players who join our national women’s soccer team. The USWNT has won 4 World Cups, 4 Olympic gold medals, and 8 CONCACAF Gold Cups.  They are the world standard in women’s soccer.

Title IX isn’t perfect.  Women’s college sports still receive fewer resources than the men’s programs.  Women are still forced to wear obscenely sexist uniforms.  At the recent Olympics, a women’s volleyball team was fined for wearing shorts instead of the official uniform which looks like a g-string and pasties outfit for strippers.

Our national Olympic committee doesn’t appear to have noticed the shorts scandal, which isn’t surprising considering how they’ve handled the whole Dr. Nasser pedophile mess. Our Olympic committee spent years ignoring or discrediting the teen-aged gymnasts who reported Dr. Nasser’s sexual abuse of them. 

Now a similar scandal has erupted in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).  A handful of players allege sexual improprieties against a widely respected coach. The players also allege that team owners and the sport’s governing authorities either ignored their allegations or leaned on them to keep their mouths shut for the good of the league and their careers. 

Why were these girls and young women ignored and discredited for years? Institutionalized sexism, reinforced with conservative religious teachings, assumes that females are always to blame because they “must have been asking for it” or they lured a hapless male into becoming a sex offender. Never mind that the male offender is often an authority figure who is violating his fiduciary and legal responsibilities, as well as common decency. 

Title IX was intended to bring an end to unequal treatment of girls and women in sports.  Almost 50 years later, that hasn’t happened but at least they are finally being heard.  Let’s hope this means the future is brighter because girls and young women deserve better when all they ever wanted was to compete in the sport they loved.  

About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps small businesses create human resources policies and risk mitigation programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).

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