Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Twenty-One

Only a few Dressember Days to go!!

It’s been a good day overall. I am feeling tired, though, and a wee bit sad, but I haven’t had time to let myself go there yet. Days like this are the days I most need to remember all I have to be grateful for.

It also helps to have reminders that I have a Higher Purpose than I realize. Maybe, just maybe that is part of my mission here. Along with my @Dressember Sunflowers and Snow Teammates, I am finishing out a month of wearing dresses to help raise awareness for slavery. Think it doesn’t exist? Think again, and know that it is happening in our area!!

According to a 2011 report released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, out of the runaways actually reported each year in Tennessee, about 1000 are trafficked. Virtually all trafficked youth have been abused and /or traumatized prior to their trafficking.

This 2011 study determined that minors who are trafficking victims are sold 10 to 15 times a day, six days a week.

THAT MEANS THAT EACH VICTIM IS “USED” 9,360 to 14,040 TIMES A YEAR!! I cannot  imagine the level of  trauma that would produce in a child?

End Slavery Tennessee, best sums up that 2011 study…

85 Tennessee counties: Reported at least one case of human trafficking

4 counties:  Reported 100+ cases (a  case usually involves multiple victims)

94: Number of children trafficked in Tennessee every MONTH.

**Sixty-eight counties in the state reported at least one case of minor human sex trafficking. The following four counties reported more than 100 cases a) Shelby, b) Davidson, c) Coffee, and d) Knox.

Have I mentioned that Knoxville ranks 4th…did you hear me? FOURTH!! in the heaviest sex trafficking market? I am not ok with that!!

Thank you @A21 and and @IJM for this eye-opening opportunity for me to learn more about modern day slavery!!

It’s not too late! If you haven’t yet, would like to be part of this team effort, Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hildek, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join Sunflowers and Snow.

Donate here to help raise funds that go toward rescuing human trafficking victims and  their aftercare.

Or simply keep on with your “Likes” and Shares!

Namaste,

Nikki

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Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Twenty

Today’s Dressember Day…

A day of yoga devoted to ME!

With kids, work, Christmas, Dressember, planning yoga classes, etc, etc, I was desperately in need! I am exhausted. I know you all know what I mean!!

Not only am I tired physically, I’m tired on emotional and spiritual levels as well. It has not been easy to remain  committed to human trafficking awareness. To walk away, would have saved time, energy, and heartbreak. To post a picture of myself every day has put me in a place of discomfort. I have had to overcome some major fear and trust that something bigger than me is truly at work.

From my morning morning coffee to sweet goodbye kisses from my babies to Yoga with Melissa West’s December At-Home Retreat to our community’s meditation meetup this evening…this day has been just what I needed.

My practices today have focused on restoring balance in the bladder and kidney meridians, grounding and balancing through the lower chakras, recognizing fears, and restoring energy and health. How sweet it is to connect with the Divine, when I come to my mat with no expectations and not attachment to the outcome of my practice.

Posting today’s pictures just might be the toughest yet, but I feel led to let them come from True Source. So, with my hair pulled back, in the shortest dress I own (which also isn’t very comfortable), and in my living room with all it’s imperfections I spent the day in prayer, meditation, and asana. The pictures aren’t pretty, but they are real.

Just like slavery. It is still very alive.

Currently in the State of Tennessee we have 3 missing children reported at The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

  1. Gregory Knowles from Nashville, 17 years old. Missing Since Nov 24, 2016
  2. Enfinity Brook from Cordova, 17 years old. Missing since Nov 26, 2016
  3. Alysa Bishop from Franklin, 17 years old. Missing since Nov 29, 2016

These kids were not with their families on Christmas. Obviously, they are greatly missed! I am certain Merry Times were non-existent at their houses! All three of these kids are still minors. That makes them prime targets for human traffickers, who prey on youngsters’ vulnerabilities to lure them into traps where they will then be used to raise big money. Crimes involving Sex Sells and Labor of Goods are just a tad bit behind drug crimes all over the world. If the ones that are enslaved do not cooperate, the are not only abused, they are tortured until they either do or die.

My daughter is the same age as all three kids mentioned above. That’s why I’m taking a stand to help end slavery. Will you help?

Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hildek, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join Sunflowers and Snow! Also, feel free to Donate to help raise funds that go toward rescuing human trafficking victims and their aftercare. A21 and IJM are doing a wonderful job!! Or simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

Namaste!!15747854_10211163515584806_4950622285889913699_n

Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Nineteen

A Dressember Christmas Day THANK YOU!!

I’m fortunate enough to have most of my immediate family close by, and we are a close-knit bunch. I try not to take it for granted, but I know I’m guilty. Over the past two days, while spending time with my family, I have been carrying all those who are hurting or broken in my heart. No matter what the reason, there is a special place for them all there.

Every year around the holiday season, my heart hurts for all people who spend what should be a joyous time of year lonely, sad or depressed. There are so many reasons it happens, from a loved one’s death, to estranged relationships, to military sacrifices. There are addictions and arguments and resentments. There are illnesses and distances and financial obstacles. There are elderly folks whose families are too busy to visit them. Sometimes, it’s merely work that keeps people away from loved ones.

Right now I especially can’t imagine how families feel who have lost a child, or any family member to the evils of human trafficking.

THANK YOU to everyone who has helped our team Sunflowers and Snow raise awareness of how real, and how close to home human trafficking is! You have helped us raise over $2,000!!

All funds go toward the efforts of IJM and A21 to rescue human trafficking victims and to make sure they are provided the best possible resources to deal with their trauma afterward.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Thank you for your donations. Your support. Your encouragement. Your “Likes”, Shares, and Comments!!

It’s not too late! If you haven’t yet, but would like to be part of this team effort, Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hildek, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join team Sunflowers and SnowDonate to help raise funds that go toward rescuing human trafficking victims and  their aftercare. Or simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

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Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Eighteen

 

Merry Christmas Eve Dressember Style!

I’m trying to be Merry, but It’s been a rough day.

Tears and migraine and now more tears.

Sometimes, I guess, they just have to flow.

Parenthood isn’t an easy thing. Tough decisions go along with the title.

It’s tough being the only parent to make and enforce those decisions.

I try to hold it all together. Really, I do.

There is just so much to do.

All the time.

I love my kids more than ANYTHING.

Sometimes, though, I want to run away!!

I cannot imagine what a child must feel that makes him/her want to run away from home.

What are they experiencing that makes them need to get away so badly?

I’ve had a tough day here today, but I pray with everything inside me that no matter how mad I get, my kids never doubt that they are my world.

Dressember Daily Fact:

In 2014, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims.

“NCMEC knows that child sex trafficking most often begins with a missing child, particularly the nation’s most vulnerable children. In 2014, one in six endangered runaways reported to NCMEC was likely a child sex trafficking victim. So far in 2015, more than 1,800 missing child cases that involve suspected or confirmed child sex trafficking have been reported to NCMEC.”

Want to help raise awareness?

Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hildek, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join Sunflowers and Snow!

Feel free to Donate to help raise funds that go toward rescuing human trafficking victims and  their aftercare!

Or simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

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Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Fifteen

Today’s Dressember Experience.

Well. I had a plan. I knew what I wanted to say tonight.

But I sit here, now, not knowing…

So whatever is coming, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

No gripes. No complaints.

Some confusion. Some fear.

Some happiness. Some excitement.

A more open heart than I’m use to.

New friends. New connections with old friends.

A newfound willingness to reach out.

Thankful heart. Grateful mind.

Strong determination.

Uncertainty.

Concern.

A hurting heart.

Tragedy struck today.

In my own way I hope I made a slight difference to somebody, somehow.

I tried, the only way I knew how. Not according to my plan.

But when is it ever, really?

Human Trafficking.

Juveniles being bought, sold, and traded for financial gains. I am most certain that is not part of any child’s plan.

Help me Help them?

Here is more about Davidson County, with the largest human trafficking stats in TN, according to TBI NEWSROOM  – 

NASHVILLE  – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for three individuals in connection to an ongoing juvenile human trafficking investigation. Eight counts each of Trafficking for Commercial Sex Acts and two counts each of Money Laundering, and another indictment with one count of Trafficking for Commercial Sex Acts. Today, authorities notified all three individuals of their new charges at two local jails, where they remain incarcerated on unrelated charges. All will subsequently be booked at the Montgomery County Jail at a later date.

NASHVILLE – Special Agents in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, assisted by Drug Investigation Division Agents and the Clarksville Police Department, have arrested and charged a Clarksville man accused of trafficking a juvenile for the purpose of sex.

NASHVILLE   – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained ADDITIONAL indictments for two individuals ALREADY facing charges in connection to an ongoing TBI juvenile human sex trafficking investigation.

Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hildek, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join Sunflowers and SnowDonateOr simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

Namaste,

Nikki

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Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Fourteen

Keep scrolling if you can’t handle it. I’m gettin’ real here.

Can you imagine your daughter or son, or your next door neighbor’s child being the victim of sexual abuse?

What if it happened over and over and over and over again?

What if it happened over and over and over again and you did nothing about it?

What if nobody ever did anything about it?!

I’m wearing a dress the rest of the month to help raise awareness of human trafficking. Kids are sex slaves. Are you aware?

It is Dressember!

With my heart breaking, I’ll share straight from the TBI Newsroom  —

Davidson County has the largest numbers of human trafficking in Tennessee. Here, a couple of reports involving children.

NASHVILLE  – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has obtained indictments for two Georgia men, accused of statutory rape in an ongoing TBI human trafficking investigation.

NASHVILLE   – The Rutherford County Grand Jury returned indictments, charging with one count of Trafficking for Sexual Servitude, one count of Conspiracy to Commit Trafficking for Sexual Servitude, one count of Rape, and one count of Aggravated Statutory Rape. TBI’s casework into this specific operation has led to charges for an additional six individuals.

Care to help raise my team raise awareness of Human Trafficking?

Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hilde Sicinski, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join Sunflowers and SnowDonateOr simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

Namaste,

Nikki

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Dressember 2016: Welcome To My Day Thirteen

MONDAY!! Whoa?! Who said that?! Surely it wasn’t me?! I don’t like Mondays!!

Today has been ok though. Hugs and kisses from my Grandson who is spending some time with his daddy. Unfortunately, we had to meet at the doctor because he isn’t feeling well, so prayers and healing energy very much appreciated!!

Work was pretty smooth sailing today, with most people I interacted with in happy moods. I got an unexpected text that made me smile. I had a realization that I am starting to reach out to people, not out of desperation or obligation, but because I want to! Anybody who knows me well, knows I am terribly afraid of inconveniencing people, so I am pleased to know that I don’t always! 🙂

I hate going grocery shopping. Absolutely dread it. Any kind of shopping, really, but bare cupboards and hungry kids aren’t a good match. So off I go. Right after work. I pulled into the busy, crowded parking lot and thought not so nice thoughts. I forced my anxiety away so I could go inside, and found myself chit chatting with a stranger and her little girl in the produce. On my way to the health food section, I was stopped by a lovely momma friend for a quick “gripe” about how fast all the kids are growing. I found almost everything on my list in one store. The rest could be substituted or could wait. I was headed to check out so I could go pick up my son from his friend’s where he’d already been for 24 hours, when I was approached by a grandad/dad of whom I have great admiration. I loved catching up with him about our girls.

Speaking of kids…My heart is hurting…terribly…these numbers keep growing…

Take a look at these Dressember Facts from End Slavery Tennessee : 

Worldwide:

  • Commercial sex trafficking of minors: Fastest growing sex crime
  • 50% of victims of 27 million: Slaves in the world are children
  • 2 children are trafficked every minute

In the U.S:

  • 8,000 to 20,000: People trafficked across US borders annually
  • 12-14 years: Average age of entry into sex trafficking for girls; for boys, 11-13
  • 33%: Percent of all runaways who will be sexually exploited within 48 hours
  • 90%: Percent of runaways who ultimately end up in the commercial sex trade

In Tennessee:

  • 94: Number of children trafficked in Tennessee every MONTH.

My apologies. I cannot bring myself to look at the numbers closer to home yet.

Care to help me and my team as we wear dresses for the rest of the month for Dressember? We are raising awareness of modern-day slavery, rescuing victims from all over the world, and helping to provide after care.

We are Sunflowers and Snow. Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hilde Sicinski, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you our team: Sunflowers and Snow!

Would you consider making a donation?

Simply taking the time to read this is a huge help in helping raise awareness of human trafficking!

Namaste,

Nikki

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Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Twelve

Ok…so this is kinda mean…When someone comes to your door and he isn’t accustomed to you being “dressed” and it has happened two weeks in a row and you can tell he is wondering but won’t ask…and you let him wonder…

THAT and earrings today were my highlights! I haven’t worn earrings in so long I was sure I would need to re-pierce!

Then there was watching My Little Man try out for basketball. Man, that kid had some moves out there! I’m proud of him, for putting forth some good effort, regardless of the outcome! I make him nervous when watch too much, so I worked on a Yoga-To-Teach-List while there. If you have any ideas that you would like to see in a local yoga class or taught in a private/semi-private setting, let me know! I’m taking suggestions!

Even my dreaded stop at the store to buy a birthday gift for an awesome boy wasn’t so bad. I was especially delighted when said person from above had to meet up with me again and gave me money to put toward the gift. Um. Huh? What just happened? Thank you!

Off to Dinner Date with My Girl and My Little Man, where I awkwardly stood to have my picture taken, took advice from my littles to throw up gang signs, and realized the only signs I know signal “I love you!” Yes, though, LOVE is the message I would prefer to share!

Day ended by dropping My Little Man at a sleepover, and hanging with My Girl vegging in front of the television where I looked up some human trafficking facts for the Knoxville area.

Remember this from WATE.COM back in the summer?!

“32 arrested in human trafficking sting operation, 2 pastors charged with trafficking

A children’s pastor at Grace Baptist Church and a volunteer creative pastor at Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge were charged with trafficking

WATE 6 On Your Side Staff Published: May 20, 2016, 9:11 am  Updated: May 23, 2016, 4:31 am” Read more here.

KIDS!!! IN CHURCHES!! WERE AROUND THESE MEN! WEEKLY!!

Human trafficking is happening in our own backyard. It is much, much easier to look the other way when I think of it happening globally. Yet, I’m bringing it home. THIS is where I live! THIS is where my kids live.

Care to help me and my team as we wear dresses for the rest of the month for Dressember? We are raising awareness of modern-day slavery, rescuing victims from all over the world, and helping to provide after care.

We are Sunflowers and Snow. Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hilde Sicinski, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join us: Sunflowers and SnowDonate, or simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

Namaste, Nikki

Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Eleven

At first glance, it appears that I’ve accomplished nothing today. Not much on my normal Saturday To-Do List has been marked off.

Now that I spend time in reflection, however, I believe differently. I no longer feel I’ve lost my day to nothingness.

I slept this morning until 11:00. Out-of-it kind of sleep, not just my typical being lazy not want to do chores lying around.

This sleep deprived momma got some much needed restorative rest.

I chose to focus on yoga and yoga related causes because that’s healing for me, and it’s what I love. With my migraine, that’s what I needed instead of forcing myself to get everything done that I felt like SHOULD be done. I had a video to shoot for Melissa West’s membership community, and I hit record over and over again. I let go of “perfect” eventually and realized I was causing myself unnecessary stress. There’s no such thing as “Perfect” anyway!!

During an argument over recurring issues, I found courage to speak what was on my heart and set some strong boundaries, which I fully intend to hold firmly in place regardless of another’s reaction. I decided I deserve to be treated better, and I’ll make changes if others won’t.

Speaking of making changes, I had to have pictures for Dressember! Christopher, my oldest came home from college, so I took some time catching up with him, and he graciously accepted the offer to be my photographer for the day.

Modern-day slavery is prejudice to NONE and any place can be a trap!

From Polaris:

Victims of sex trafficking can be U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, women, men, children, and LGBTQ individuals. Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, or social discrimination.

Sex trafficking occurs in a range of venues including fake massage businesses, via online ads or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or at hotels and motels.

Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris, has received reports of 14,588 sex trafficking cases inside the United States.

Care to help raise awareness of Human Trafficking?

Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hilde Sicinski, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join us: Sunflowers and Snow!

Perhaps you would be willing to make a Donation?

At least, wouls you simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see?!

Namaste,

Nikki

Dressember 2016: Welcome To My Day Ten

Migraine, Migraine go away. I don’t have time for you today.

I must go to work. I want to see my boy play. So, please go on your merry way.

That Number Two, he sure is cute. I absolutely love to watch him shoot.

I will fight you. Again and again. Not to try would be a sin.

Your chronic fatigue can go, too. My life’s busy,  chaotic, like a zoo.

No matter what you choose, I say today,

I’m not going to lose,

This opportunity for Dressember Day.

You want to know why? Well I’m glad you asked.

Let me give you some facts and stats.

From Polaris:

Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will.
The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary dramatically. Many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces or manipulates them into prostitution. Others are lured in with false promises of a job, such as modeling or dancing. Some are forced to sell sex by their parents or other family members. They may be involved in a trafficking situation for a few days or weeks, or may remain in the same trafficking situation for years.

Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
In a 2014 report, the Urban Institute estimated that the underground sex economy ranged from $39.9 million in Denver, Colorado, to $290 million in Atlanta, Georgia.

As a mom, this greatly saddens me.

Will you please take a stand with me?

Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hilde Sicinski, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer and I would love to have you join us by being part of our team Sunflowers and Snow, or you can Donate, or simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

*Logan, thank you for your continued support by faithfully taking my photo each day this week. Thank you for enouraging me when I didn’t really feel it!!

Much Love,

Nikki

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