Monday, February 21, 2011

i am concerned

as anyone who has a tv, computer or ears that can hear knows, the proposed texas state budget is a matter of conflict, debate, and fear. the proposed budgets are set to cut unbelievable amounts of money to public education, higher education, student loans, medicaid and medical services for the underserved, child protective services, domestic violence victims, legal aid, arts and historical get the idea. the budget proposed by the texas house of representatives suggests cutting the current budget by 31.1 billion dollars. $31.1 billion.

the cut for me that hits the closest to home is the proposed cuts to the department of family and protective services, more specifically, the prevention and early intervention division (pei). pei is the department that my agency contracts with to provide child abuse and juvenile delinquency prevention programs in 16 counties in west texas. my position along with the positions of 15 people that i supervise are fully funded with these dollars, along with several others who work partially on these programs. 1 of our programs is funded by a line item called "tfts" (texas families together and safe). the additional 4 contracts are funded by a line item called "other prevention programs". this is the comparison between the current budget and the proposed house budget (hb1) for the line items that fund our contracts and many others across the state:

TFTS - current: $4,121,878 proposed: $2,610,039
Other Prevention Programs - current: $8,955,910 proposed: $0

that is not a typo, it says $0.

this is where my concern comes in. i completely understand that we have to cut costs and that all government programs are going to suffer. i get it and am willing to take a cut. but the greater question is: how will we recover from this? how will we be able to put all of this back together again? if we cut 10's of thousands of jobs across the state, what will all of these people do? where will all of these teachers, social workers, state employees, etc. be employed and how will they provide for their families? and if we are also cutting the programs that will help these people survive until there are jobs again, aren't we just getting ourselves into a bigger mess than we started with? if we raise class sizes and cut costs to schools (many who are already struggling), aren't we doing a disservice to our future and the uneducated children that we will be producing? if we cut prevention programs, we stop preventing, but we are also cutting the interventions. how does this work? we just stop providing services to people all together? for anyone out there who thinks that this is not your concern as long as taxes aren't raised, you are a fool to think that this will not have long term, far reaching effects on every person and community in texas.

i do not have a solution. i am just one of many, advocating for the underserved children and families, shouting my complaints and unhappiness, hoping to keep funding for jobs and valuable programs at my agency, trying to make sense of this situation, pleading with legislators to listen to my argument and the stories of my clients, praying that my voice is loud enough and that someone will hear and take notice.

i am concerned. you should be too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day loves!

this sweet valentine was designed by the rockstar over at ruby june celebrates
(i love it)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

blessed with the best

love this. found here.
a few years ago, my friends and i read an article in real simple magazine about this group of girlfriends who take a trip together every year. the cool thing about their trips is that they are a mystery to everyone except the person planning the trip each year. basically, they pay a set amount of money and pick a date. the rest is a surprise.
we stole the idea fair and square.
last year was our first annual girls' mystery trip and it was fantastic. robin, the planner of the shindig, gathered our money last february and come june we were all in a tizzy trying to figure out where we were going and what we were doing. it was perfect. we met at robin's house friday afternoon and headed to her family lakehouse. we laid on the deck, had margaritas and fajitas, stayed up late, slept in, went boating, laid on an island, shared a fancy meal, did a little gambling, rode around in a limo, danced for hours, and, most importantly, spent a whole weekend laughing, relaxing, and enjoying each other's company.

so, year 2 is upon us and this year's trip is being planned by yours truly. i have big shoes to fill. i am currently in the process of picking a location and it is hard because i want it to be amazing but also have to be very practical (we are on a budget here people). i have some ideas in mind and hope to have something chosen soon. once i have a location pinned down, the really hard part will begin. if you know anything about me, you know i have a hard time keeping a secret :)

i am blessed to have such an awesome group of women to share these traditions with. here's to the 2nd annual girls' mystery trip being as great as the first. cheers!

Friday, February 11, 2011

looking for an open door


trying to remember this as i frequently stare at closed or closing doors. the problem is that when this happens, it seems that i then just stand in the dark, confused and feeling sorry for myself, instead of looking for a solution or new path. my major struggle is seeing the doors that have supposeedly been opened. i could use an open door right now so if someone is on the other side, could you please turn on the light so i can find my way through?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

she makes it look so easy

my sister suprised me this year with an amazing handmade christmas gift. this magnetic calendar has hand painted wooden plates for each month and date tiles that can be moved around depending on where the days of the month fall. she started with some wood and metal and magnets and i came away with this:

about 4 months before christmas, my mom, sister and i took a road trip to red river for a relaxing weekend of fishing, shopping, and hanging out. while there, we visited the local art gallery where we spotted some magnetic calendars. i thought it was a great concept and was considering purchasing one. anna told me to not buy one because "we can totally make that ourselves". how many times have we said this before? i didn't buy the calendar but i also walked away knowing that we would probably never make one ourselves. well, of course, she remembered. she made this for me. so, beyond being wildly talented and creative, my sister is also kind and thoughtful (and hilarious and laid back and super fun and insanely patient and i could go on and on). thank you sister for the awesome gift. i love you.

to check out some of anna's other amazing talents, see her stationery line ruby june celebrates at