Hell with Harvey

Only minutes later, my flight was officially cancelled, re-routed to Dallas and our family reunion plans were set in place.

Landing in Dallas late Friday night was bittersweet. It was wonderful to see my family, to be safe and “enjoying” a weekend away. It was terrifying to know that a category 5 Hurricane was approaching the Texas Coast.

We were glued to the weather channel.

Harvey made landfall for the first time near Rockport and Fulton, TX and proceeded to stall over southern Texas bringing record-breaking rainfall (up to 52 inches of rain) and flooding waterways to 500 year levels. My husband and I watched multiple on-line weather tracking graphs noting every inch of change in the rivers and bayous by our home with hour-to-hour updates. Our home was spared after this initial landfall and Saturday afternoon was eerily calm. We considered returning to Houston and several times discussed packing up and checking out of our Dallas hotel.

The rainfall continued, water elevations climbed, the death toll rose and we watched with bated breath as our street became a flowing river.

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Road Trips, Royalty and Reflections

Things started to get very exciting when we were led to a surprise seating behind Royalty, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Her Highness Duchess of Cornwall at the Canada Day celebration in Ottawa. Followed by the incredible announcement of 2 new Canadian Astronauts by one of my favorite singers, Shania Twain. And topped off with an honorable mention by our Prime Minister addressing my inspiring husband, Jeremy Hansen, during his powerful speech from the Hill.

All seemed a little surreal.

And it made me think about what is "special"? What makes a person "special" or more important than another person?

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What if this were your daughter?

Today I want us to imagine a young girl, with natural insecurities about her changing body. Imagine her response as people start to see her differently. She's no longer cute, instead she smells funny. She has emotions she doesn't understand and feels alone a lot of the time. No one understands her and she is scared. Daddy stops hugging her the same way and Mommy starts warning her of dangers she can't even imagine. She'd rather be playing in the sandbox than learning how to hide her shame.

But the shame is overwhelming.

She has started her period and she has no idea what to do. Her mother is terrified for her safety after this sign of womanhood arrives, knowing men in her community will see it as a sign of maturity and permission to use her young body. Her father grieves the loss of his little girl and she can't figure out what she did wrong. Her sister is busy with boys and her brother doesn't want to play with her anymore.

Sadly, this is reality for many, many young girls in the developing world. And this reality is the impetus behind the creation of Days For Girls. https://www.daysforgirls.org/

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Hit the Pause Button

If I offered you a week of paid vacation, would you take it?

If I offered you hundreds of dollars of cash, no strings attached, would you thank me and run the other direction?

If you are like me, you are screaming, “hell, yes!” to both of those questions.

However, the truth is that while almost three quarters of Americans get paid vacation time, over half leave 7 days or more unused every year, essentially, kissing away the cash. Texans and other southerners are less likely to take a trip than our northern counterparts and Generation X (that’s me!) are the least likely of any other age-cohort to embrace fun in the sun!

While handing over money to employers is unsettling, the bigger tragedy is the loss of quality time with loved ones.

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