How To Help Families After the Napa Fires

The recent fires in Northern California have really hit home for me. Having just moved away from the San Francisco Bay Area this time last year, I have so many great memories and friends there. Notably, look at little Jeffy visiting his first Sonoma Vineyard at a mere 6 weeks old:

 
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Interestingly enough, he wasn't the only baby there. That's one of my favorite parts of the California lifestyle, people are so overtly kind and laid back--parents can easily go out to a brewery or winery and bring their baby. Now that's the way to live!

Having so many memories in Napa and Sonoma it is devastating to read the news and see the spread of the fires. Knowing the location of the fires and actually checking with friends to make sure their friends and family were safe was an eerie feeling. When disasters happen it can be hard to feel the impact of it, we are quick to feel sorry for what has happened, but often just as quick to go back to our everyday lives. This one felt so real for me, perhaps more upsetting to me than hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico, even though their devastation may have been worse (it was).

It's upsetting enough to think so many people lost their homes, but it's worse to consider 23 people lost their lives. A friend of mine recounted that one of the strangest things about visiting Napa after the fires was to see entire neighborhoods burnt down, with only washing machines and dryers remaining as evidence of the homes that were once there. 

For more pictures of the aftermath of the fires click  h   ere

For more pictures of the aftermath of the fires click here

This was a neighboring place for me, a place I went when friends were in town visiting, a place people escape to for Honeymoons and Anniversaries, a place where families live. During my time in the Bay Area I was part of a mother's club and sought both information and friendship through this club as I began my journey of motherhood. The Petaluma Mother's Club taught me so many things about motherhood, I loved their holistic and crunchy take on motherhood. They are collecting donations of gift cards to distribute to displaced families through the end of 2017. This is one way to give to local families, even from afar! 

The Petaluma Mother's Club is accepting donations of gift cards to help with local families who have been evacuated or affected in some way from the recent fires. Click here to access more information on their website or send gift cards electronically to service@petalumamothersclub.org 

Please consider helping these families as they regroup after a difficult time. 

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Reflecting on Las Vegas: How Can We Instill Kindess In Our Children

When I first heard the news about the Las Vegas shooting I initially tried to ignore it. It seems as though something awful and impactful occurs regularly now, and it's really starting to become overwhelming emotionally. It's as if I thought that maybe if I just pretended I didn't know about it, maybe it wouldn't have happened. But upon returning home from work, I sat down to read the news. I felt so sad for the families affected, sorry for our culture that hate and violence have continued to occur, and afraid for the world our children are growing up in. I have so many questions on my mind: Who has this much hate in their heart? Why is anyone allowed to own that many guns? Why are these bump stock devices legal and allowed on rifles anyway?  What kind of world are we bringing our children into? and will it ever get better? 

What's happened in Las Vegas doesn't seem like it could be real life. To hurt more than 500 people and murder 58 all in the span of 15 minutes seems inconceivable and so very terrifying. There are so many things that concern me regarding this shooting, amongst the many others we've had in the U.S in recent years, but the biggest question that I think needs addressing is why do these events continue to occur? It's not all about the guns (don't worry I know the guns are a big part of the problem, I'm just saying something else is off producing people who stockpile guns and ammo and pull the trigger.)

 
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So what can we do to make the World a better place? We can continue to love our children, teach them how to be respectful humans who value the life of other people and show that same love and kindness towards others. When I was a child there was a song in Sunday School that always confused me. It was titled "JOY" and stood for "Jesus, Others, You". As a child I thought it was strange to put many people ahead of myself, it was almost as if my childlike mind couldn't understand the concept. But as an adult I can see the value in that lesson, that although we are naturally inclined to be selfish and think about our own desires, it is important to consider others to create a more peaceful and loving world. 

It doesn't happen on it's own and it doesn't happen at school. Raising a respectful human being begins at home. How do we show our children a love so great that they are able to go out into the world and share it? It takes selfless and dedicated parents to raise respectful children and foster an attitude of caring and helpfulness. It stems out of considering others before ourselves. We have to put aside some of our own selfish ideals in order to consider our children first. Maybe we want to watch a movie or go on our phone when we could be reading stories to our children. Maybe we'd rather eat dinner in front of the television instead of sitting at the table and communicating with our kids. But we need to lay down our selfish ambitions along with our phone from time to time and just be with our children. Watch them play, listen to their mumblings. It takes a great amount of patience, consideration and above all, time. But listen to your children, treat them with dignity and respect, and demonstrate what it is to be kind. 

Children copy what they see, and develop in how they are treated. We don't need to offer them the world, rather we should show them how to function properly and successfully in the world. Kindness and respect are far more important of a gift to our children than the newest scooter or coolest toy. How we treat others and how we work to develop care and consideration in our family culture has a lot to do with creating a better and happier culture. If we consider kindness, maybe we will be able to reach those who are hurting, and help to make these tragic events fewer and further between. And maybe I'm just a dreamer thinking this could help, but it's worth a shot and I'm willing to try. 

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