I know I sleep well when I feel safe, secure, and loved. I am thankful that I live in a beautiful low-crime neighborhood where neighbors look out for each other. Even in the safest neighborhoods, however, are we really 100% safe?
Due to recent horrific events such as the Aurora, Colorado theater shootings and the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, this question is asked a lot these days.
To keep myself centered and at peace, I tend to limit my media exposure and not dwell on negative news events. As a parent and elementary classroom teacher, however, I recognize I have a responsibility to engage and not completely bury my head under the sand about this issue.
The bottom line for us here at The Warm Milk Journal is:
1. We want our kids to be safe.
2. We want our communities to be safe places to live, work, and go to school…
3. We want to sleep well at night!
Politics aside, it is important to have a civic conversation as a community about how we best go about keeping us all safe (and sleeping restfully at night).
I have had the good fortune to get to know Jesse Csincsak this past year. You may remember him as The Bachelorette season 4 winner, a professional snowboarder, or as an Olympic TV host.
Through the course of several conversations I have gotten to know Jesse best as a husband and father. The issues of violence, gun control, and the ability to protect his family are very dear to him.
Jesse would like to get the word out about a film, Assaulted Civil Rights Under Fire, that invites conversation about this controversial issue.
Here’s an excerpt of my February 4th conversation with Jesse two days ago…
Debra: Hello Jesse!
Jesse: Hi Debra.
Debra: How are you?
Jesse: I am great, just helping Ann with our new Clothing store in Vail Colorado www.CashmereAndCoco.com.
Debra: That sounds fun and exciting!
Jesse: Yes, we are having a lot of fun with it.
Debra: Best of luck and much success to her!
Jesse: Thank you, I will pass that on to Ann.
Debra: Please tell me a little bit about this film, Assaulted, Civil Rights Under Fire?
Jesse: Assaulted is a project I’m very passionate about. The film will look deep into the history of gun control in America through interviews with over 60 experts in all aspects of the debate. The goal is to present audiences with a balanced look at the realities of gun control in America without the misinformation often included in gun control pieces in the media today.
Debra: What is your involvement with this film?
Jesse: The film was brought to my attention about a month ago by one of the producers when I was asked if I would be interested in being interviewed for the film. I was immediately drawn to the subject matter and was happy to help. We are now discussing the possibility of me hosting the project. I believe this is one of the most important debates in America today, and anything I can do to help educate Americans on this topic is time well spent.
Debra: Why is this issue, the 2nd amendment so important to you?
Jesse: The 2nd amendment is important to me for the simple fact that it gives me the right to PROTECT MY FAMILY. The bottom line is that criminals won’t turn in their assault weapons, so I find it silly that the government is going to ask me to turn in mine and deny me the right to defend my family.
Debra: How do you feel about automatic assault weapons?
Jesse: This is the big misunderstanding. AR 15s and AR 10s are not Automatic weapons they are semi automatic weapons just like every hand gun on the planet. The only difference is the capacity of the magazines in which they hold… Any weapon including a normal handgun like a 1911 pistol can be gun smithed into an Automatic weapon but you need a special class 3 gun permit to be in possession of one…
Debra: I have much to learn. When and where will this film be available?
Jesse: The goal is to release the film in March. You can get updates about the film on DeadPatriotfilms.com.
Debra: Will do! I will be honest with you, Jesse. I am a bit of a “girly girl” and guns have always frightened me. I know my husband shares your point of view and I will check out this film when it is released and keep an open mind…
Jesse: That is all anyone can ask, Debra. We just want to get the discussion going.
Debra: Well, we can certainly do that. I will invite my readers to engage in this conversation as well.
Jesse: You’re the best!
Debra: I think you are pretty great too. Stay in touch. I wish you and Ann and little Noah well.
Jesse: Thank you.
Debra: Thank YOU.
Friends, I invite your comments!
Please share how this issue of violence and gun control affects your sense of security and getting a good night sleep. We have a global readership here at The Warm Milk Journal and we would be very interested to hear from citizens from different countries who have different gun control laws than we have here in the United States.
In my childhood home, Hawaii, we would use the term “talk story” to mean anytime we chatted with one another, shared something with each other, or made small talk with strangers.
What stories are we telling people? What are we sharing about ourselves and our lives?
I have caught myself lately while talking with my husband, daughter, and close friends… some of my “stories” are not really want I want to affirm for myself. In this past year, for example, I’ve started to talk about my 46 year old body in terms of “getting softer”. When my 15 year old daughter wants or needs something, I am in the habit of telling her how I can’t afford these things because I am on a teacher’s salary…
Are these the kinds of stories I want to put out for myself and my life? I think not! I greatly prefer talking about how strong my body is getting from regular workouts at our gorgeous new gym and how I am working towards providing a life that can afford many wonderful things for my daughter, my husband, myself, and our community…
What stories are you in the habit of telling? Some of these tales may be very old , with their beginnings sowed back in early childhood. Are they still what you want to identify with and affirm for your present life? If not, The good news is that we can change our stories anytime we want.
This day, New Years Day, I invite you to consider the story of your life. How do you want to think of yourself, your work, your marriage, your aspirations? If you have some good old stories rattling around that are still serving you well, then that is great. You also may choose to edit and tweak some stories, or perhaps write a new draft all together….
Today during my journal writing time I am going to write down my story for 2013 and beyond. In so many ways, this is a fresh new start.
Each time we focus, we create a new beginning.
I just can’t wait in the coming days, weeks, and months of this new year to get together with folks, and “talk story“!
To all the wonderful storytellers out there, the stories that need to be told, and the ones who care enough to listen…
Sean Ramey is my kind of guy: he is handsome,easy to talk to, loves his family, and cares about people. One of his big passions is teaching people of all ages self defense. Sean has been a martial arts instructor for many years and has his own Martial Arts school in Crestwood, Kentucky.
I recently had the good fortune to chat with Sean again on the phone….
Hello Sean! How are you?
I am well, Debra, thank you!
I know you are newly married and enjoying the family life?…
Absolutely, life is really good.
Well, congratulations again. I am very happy for you.
Sean, last time we spoke we chatted about your martial arts school and the importance of not being “too nice” and knowing how to defend ourselves. I would like to follow up with you about your self defense programs and the book you have been working on…
Sure thing. At our school, Kentucky Tae Kwon and Fitness Academy, Inc., we have our D.E.F.E.N.D self defense seminars. D.E.F.E.N.D. is a self defense course designed to teach individuals how to defend themselves FAST. No experience necessary! D.E.F.E.N.D. is an acronymn for Defending Effectively and Fighting Efficiently with No Delay.
We understand that weekly martial arts training and instruction is not for everyone, however, basic self defense principles should be learned and practiced by everyone. We have offered these seminars to many organizations from corporate groups such as Humana, Inc., and L.N.O. Credit Union to the Girl Scouts of America and church groups!
Well, now you have my attention. I used to be a Girl scout leader!
Yes, Debra, we work with kids and people of all ages.
Many of us who have a hard time sleeping at night are challenged from anxiety. I know (from my own experience) that anxiety stems from fear of some kind…
Fear can certainly steal one’s sense of security and I can see how that would lead to not being able to sleep very soundly at night.
For those of us who are challenged with feeling afraid, what can we do, Sean?
That’s a good question. I think it is real important to feel confident in yourself. The more confidence you have, the greater your peace of mind will be.
What can we do to get that confidence?
For starters, it is important to know that you can handle yourself in any situation. Learning self defense is something I obviously highly recommend.
My husband is a martial arts instructor as well. He speaks often about the importance of cultivating our awareness…
Awareness is so important. We need to be aware of our surroundings, ourselves, and the people around us.
That sounds like a lot of work.
With training, awareness becomes a part of you.
Sean, not all of us have the time or even the interest to train at a dojo and become martial artists. What can we do?
Debra, there are self defense seminars such as ours in Kentucky, and I do have a book coming out soon.
It is my understanding that 20% of the proceeds of your book will go to The Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund?
Yes, that’s right. We are committed to donating 20% for the life of the book.
That’s really nice, Sean. I’m so glad I got to talk with you again.
Same here, Debra.
When you are not busy teaching martial arts, self defense, and writing books, how do you like to spend your time?
That’s easy. Spending time with my family. There is just nothing better.
Thank you, Debra
We often write about being “too nice” here at The Warm Milk Journal. Did you know that being too nice could put you in danger? I found this out when I had the good fortune to chat with Sean Ramey!
Sean Ramey has been studying martial arts for over 28 years. He is currently a 6th Degree Black Belt and has appeared in numerous commercials and movies such as, Winner Takes All and Extreme Force. Most recently he appeared in the fourth season of ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelorette”. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He owns Kentucky Tae Kwon Do & Fitness Academy, Inc., one of the largest and fastest growing martial arts studios in the US, as stated by United Professionals, one of North Americas largest martial arts consulting companies. He is in the process of releasing a couple books to the public, “D.E.F.E.N.D. A Basic Guide on Self-Defense” and another on Bully Defense for children, both of which will donate 20% of all revenues to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund He and his wife and daughter live in the suburbs outside of Louisville, Ky.
I am so glad to have a chance to chat with you.
We all need to get a good night sleep. A big part of getting a good night sleep is feeling safe and secure. I understand you have a martial arts school?
Yes, Debra, I founded Kentucky Tae Kwon Do & Fitness Academy, Inc in 1998, and it has grown to over 350 families that are actively involved. We offer classes for students as young as 4 and have students as young as 70 years of age! The Academy is a world class facility with over 5,000 square feet, complete with dressing rooms, viewing mezzanine for families, and a kids play room. The Academy was rated as one of the fastest growing martial arts schools and in the TOP 50 Martial Arts Schools, by United Professionals,one of North America’s largest martial arts consulting firms.
That sounds great! My husband is a martial arts instructor too and I really respect what you guys are about…
Yes, it’s a way of life…
Here at The Warm Milk Journal, we deal with anxiety issues and getting a good night sleep. Some of my readers have been victims of abusive spouses or victims of violent crime. What can women do to protect themselves?
Abuse and bullying is truly an epidemic in today’s society, and has been for quite sometime. My best advice for women is to quit being so sympathetic. I always give the example of Ted Bundy, who preyed upon women’s sympathies. I always inform women that their best weapon is awareness. Being Aware alone, can save more lives than any choke hold, punch or kick….combined.
That’s an eye opener for me, Sean. Ted Bundy was a charmer. I could see myself going along and helping him…. So scary! (don’t really want to think about it)! I hope my friends out there are paying attention to this too! We need to get over this too-nice syndrome, don’t we?
Many of my readers are women in their 40s or older. Can older people learn martial arts for the first time?
It is never too late to start learning how to protect yourself and your loved ones! We all stress the importance of reading, writing, and arithmetic but forget to express the importance of life’s most important life skill….Survival.
I am a mom and fifth grade school teacher. At school I use The Second Step violence prevention program and teach lessons from The Bully Free Classroom by Allan Beane. Are you familiar with these programs?
It is wonderful to see schools implementing Bully Free Zones, Bully Buster Programs, etc.. I believe we would all see violence in our schools drop now and in the future, from halting bullying and the effects it has on its victims. It’s a fact that many of these horrific attacks we see at schools have been carried out be those who were bullied at sometime or another.
I hear you have written some books?
Yes. D.E.F.E.N.D. A Basic Guide on Self-Defense will be in bookstores and available in ebook format before Christmas. At Kentucky Tae Kwon Do and Fitness Academy, Inc., I have the wonderful pleasure of touching hundreds of people’s lives by teaching them the self confidence and skills to protect themselves. However, with this book, I have the possibility of touching thousands (and maybe millions) of people in the same way.
Also, 20% of all proceeds from the book will go towards the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. The brave men and women of our armed services are the true heroes; they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and freedom. The least that we can do is ensure that their children are taken care of, if they don’t make it back.
These both sound great. I can’t wait to get a copy of each…
Thank you, Debra, for allowing me to talk about this project to your readers.
My pleasure, Sean. We all want to be safe, secure, and sleep well. Thank YOU!
Here’s to being safe, taking care of ourselves, and getting a good night sleep tonight and every night. Much thanks to Sean Ramey and all of you!
This week at The Warm Milk Journal we have been “tooting our horns“! That is, we have been focusing on our accomplishments, things we are proud of, and then taking the additional step of sharing our achievements with others.
Today I want to introduce you to a young woman who is going for her dreams and is asking for your support!
Her name is Kaya Turski. Kaya is the most dominant female in ski slopestyle’s young history. She successfully defended her 2011 golds at both Winter X 2012 and Winter X Tignes 2012, giving her three-peats in the two events. She also won both Dew Tour women’s ski slope style competitions, claiming the overall Dew Tour slopestyle crown.
I had the chance to talk to Kaya this week about her skiing and other things…
Hello Kaya! How are you?
I’m great, thanks!
I was just watching some video footage of you skiing. That is amazing! How do you do that?
I guess it’s a mix of lots of work, dedication and a bit of craziness.
How does it feel to be going so fast and doing all those stunts high up in the air?
It feels great! It’s where I’m most comfortable.
Here at The Warm Milk Journal our mission is to live the life of our dreams by day and sleep
restfully at night. Can you tell us a little about the dreams you are pursuing in your life?
I’m just trying to do what I love and stay happy. It’s important to appreciate the little things and open my eyes to the amazing opportunities that I have. My dream is to inspire the younger generation to believe that they can do whatever they put their mind to.
That’s great! I’m sure many young people are inspired watching you…
I hope so!
Kaya, what do you do to get a good night sleep?
I make sure I’m in bed by a decent hour to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
What do you do for fun when you are not skiing?
Hang out with friends I don’t get to see often because of my travels, hang out at the beach, shop, trampoline, snowboard.
This week we have been talking about breaking out of our comfort zones(many of us are introverts or have issues of social anxiety) to focus on our achievements, what we are proud of, and then actually taking the courageous step of sharing the good news with others (toot our horns so to speak)….
Is it ever hard for you to be in the limelight?
Yea, sometimes I like to keep to myself, but at the end of the day it’s great to have the support and fans that I do and appreciate that people are interested in getting to know my story.
How do you overcome any fears you may have or adversity?
Reason with myself.
I have heard that you are up for the Best Female Action Sports Athlete in this year’s 2012 ESPN ESPYs!
So Kaya, we are going to give you a chance to “toot your horn”….
Why should our readers vote for you on the ESPYs?
It really is an honor to be nominated among such talented and inspirational women! They are all amazing at what they do and with what they’ve accomplished and every one of them deserves to be there.
I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am today and am so proud of what I’ve achieved! This past season has been my best so far, I 3-peated at the X-Games in women’s slopestyle and landed the first ever switch 1080 by a female in competition. That was an amazing moment for me! I was also named the X-Games female athlete of the year which was a big honor!
I wish you the best of luck!
You can learn more about Kaya here at her website (you have to watch some of those videos)!.
You can vote for Kaya by clicking on the ESPYs link below:
As a mom to a teenaged daughter, school teacher, and former Girl Scout leader, the lives of young women in our society is something I care deeply about. It always does my heart a lot of good to see girls grow up to be strong and confident.
I had the good fortune of chatting with her a bit the other day. An excerpt…
You are such a lovely young woman, Paige. I have a daughter, Aimee, who is 14. She means the world to me. What can teenaged girls such as you and Aimee do to stay safe in this great big world?
Listen to your parents! All teens think they know everything, including myself, but I know better than to ignore their guidance.
Good advice! Our site here at The Warm Milk Journal is all about getting a good night sleep. What keeps you awake at night?
Being excited about things, when I’m excited about something it’s all I can think about!
I think a lot of us can relate to that. What helps you sleep like a baby?
A long day in the sun! On the lake, at the beach, or by the pool. I’ll be passed out by the time the sun goes out.
What do you do that’s just for fun?
I love going on little adventures, just taking drives to the mountains, or trying to find new places to hang out, or finding new places to walk Malibu.
What would you say to girls who have never been near a gun in their lives (and just the thought of guns frightens them immensely)?
That it’s just a tool! Like a curling iron, you use it all the time safely, and there is a risk you could burn yourself. But if you know how to use it, you’ll be fine!
Thank you so much, Paige!
You’re welcome, Debra
Oh, before I forget… I have a cat, Mew, who loves to “write” Mew Way posts for us here once in a while. Would it be alright if Mew “interviews” your dog, Malibu?
Lol. That sounds fun. I think that could be arranged. I’ll go fetch Malibu…
An exclusive Mew Way interview between my cat Mew and Paige Wyatt’s favorite canine companion, Malibu.
Although Mother’s Day is a week away yet, for many reasons my mind is thinking about motherhood.
Ten lessons I have learned about motherhood:
1. When you hold that baby in your arms for the first time there is no more awe-some, magical, overwhelming experience in the world. This new life came from you and your beloved and now you are in charge of caring for him/her. Incredible.
2. Even though I am in my forties now I still need my mom.
3. We can grow up and hold anger in about the way our parents raised us. In the end, they did their best and we as parents are now doing the best we can.
4. Stepchildren do grow up.
5. Teenaged daughters are just being teenagers. The less reactive and more centered we can be, the more we will have to give (with sanity somewhat preserved in the process).
6. I am so thankful that my mom: was always there when we were little, has a sweet easy going nature, and is still there! (we are taking a cruise together next December)!
7. No matter their parenting style, moms are the anchor of our ships.
8. It’s amazing when you become a parent yourself you realize all the stuff our moms put up with.
9. Who else can I text anytime with any crazy thing other than my mom?
10. What our moms did well we can aspire to (in our own parenting). What they did not, we can still learn, forgive, and love them always for if not for them, we would not be here.
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
*This post is dedicated to my mother in law who passed away this morning (out of respect for the family’s privacy I will not mention her name at this time). She was always a mom to me (so much more than a “mother in law”).
A call to action:
If your mom is still around, let her know you love her. Hug her. Love her!
Valentines Day is over, but every day can be a day centered with love.
If love is our guiding compass…
may we be gentle,
keep our sense of humor throughout the years,
and never forget
what a gift
I do believe in you. As a mother and teacher in my community I happen to know that a lot of young (and even not so young) children still believe (or certainly want to) believe in you.
You’ve enjoyed an incredible and magical 200 year run but I have to say, Santa, you’ve got competition nowadays.
Kids have incredible technology now at their disposal. They have things called IPads and apps with instant this and instant that… What do they need to wait 364 days for you and your reindeer and sleigh of gifts for?
Santa, with all my heart I believe our kids in this day and age still need you, but you are going to have to do a few things or else you may end up discarded along with the typewriters, VHS cassettes, and phonograph records…
My advice is simple:
Downplay your internet presence. Yes, today’s conventional wisdom is that you need to market yourself on the internet and use social media. Santa, please don’t create a Facebook page or open a Twitter account. Don’t worry about your status on Klout.
Instead, use your magic to make the stars just a little brighter on Christmas Eve, so that maybe children will turn off their TVs, computers, and phones and look out their windows and up to the night sky and search for you in wonder, awe, and anticipation…
Continue to bring gifts to children with lasting value such as books that will inspire youthful minds and dolls that will be good listeners when a lonely child needs a friend.
Please continue to do all the good work that you do each year. Do not be discouraged. You are appreciated and needed now more than ever.
Give a hug to Mrs. Santa for me and a “hey!” and thanks to all of your hard working elves.
What kind of cookies would you like this year?
Love from your friend,
Debra Di Pietro
Atlantic Beach, FL USA
Friendship, the Mew Way:
1. Just being there is all important
2. A soft, kind look without saying anything goes a long way
4. Unconditional love and support
6. Assistance with most daily activities: blogging on the computer, paying the bills, cleaning the house, grading papers, cooking dinner.
7. making sure no lap goes cold while watching a movie on the couch
8. In the afternoons, makes the term “cat nap” a valid and authentic one
Thank you, Mew, for showing me friendship, The Mew Way