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Trust Conference (American Forum) 2017: Highlights

Trust Conference (American Forum) 2017: Highlights

This week, I had the fabulous opportunity to attend the Trust Conference: American Forum (representing myself as a writer). I’ve attended the full conferences in 2014 and 2016, and they are truly life changing. This conference was a smaller, shorter affair, but still very insightful.

The Trust Conference brings together activists and experts from around the world to talk about the latest in human trafficking (and prevention), slavery in the supply chain, and other worldwide humanitarian issues.

If you want to see the panels for yourself, you can check out Thomas Reuters Foundation’s Trust Women video album on Facebook, which includes: Security vs. Privacy panel, Stories of Survival, and Continue Reading

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In Standard

Writing Through Trauma

Writing Through Trauma

Writing Through TraumaOn the WriteOnCon forums this year, an interesting topic came up: How do you write when you have personal trauma(s)? Do you use them, or avoid them?

I only have my own experience to draw from, and everyone is unique. Our wounds are different and the ways we carry them are different. So please take this with a grain of salt.

In my young life, I’ve already had to carry a few traumas. Mine (like most) rise from situations where I (or a loved one) were incredibly unsafe, and afterward my life was entirely changed. That how my counselor defines…Continue Reading

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In Standard

7 Days of Nature Photography

7 Days of Nature Photography

Earlier in the year, my brother Jason Koons tagged me in a challenge to do 7 days of nature photography on Facebook. I always meant to share here, but never got around to it. So, several months late, here we go!

 

Day 1

Day 1: Nature Photography

It was raining today, which put me in mind of this picture from Berry College in 2009. I love the way leaves look in the rain–each drop like a small galaxy.

 

Day 2

Day 2: Nature Photography

When we…Continue Reading

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In Standard

2016: In Review

2016: In Review

I am not sure how to do a year in review this time around. A lot of people have many things to say about 2016, and much of it isn’t encouraging. But what has been black for many has been more complex for me.

Here are some moments from 2016:

January

I dance the night away with my nieces at one cousin’s wedding. Megan and Hana think I’ve got the moves, and I let ’em believe it.

New diagnosis: Gastroparesis. It is the third autoimmune attack in under a year, and takes my diet from “gluten free levels of inconvenient” to “ask me…Continue Reading

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In Standard

Trust Women 2016: Highlights

Trust Women 2016: Highlights

Earlier this month, I had the fabulous opportunity to attend the conference Trust Women (representing myself as a writer and also Childbirth PATHS International, a great new NGO). I attended the conference in 2014 and found it truly life changing — and I don’t say that in a light, off-the-cuff sort of way. I’ve been to many, many conferences in my time, and there’s nothing like this two-day event.

Trust Women brings together activists and experts from around the world to talk about the latest in human trafficking (and prevention), slavery in the supply chain, women’s rights, and other worldwide humanitarian issues. But it’s not just about information. As I’ve told several people…Continue Reading

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In Standard

Dear Past!Self: Some Advice

Dear Past!Self: Some Advice

Dear 24-Going-25!Self,

Hey, kid. It’s me, 25-going-26!Self. How you doing? I know the answer, but I thought I’d ask to be polite.

If your math skills aren’t working (it happens, I get you), I’ll just clarify: I’m writing from the end of your 25th year on earth. Kind of crazy. There are a few things I’d like to tell you, things that might make this coming orbit of the sun a little better. Maybe.

This year’s going to be nuts. You thought 24 was a ride, but this is a whole new level. You’re going to have amazing highs. You’ll sign with a literary agent, finally, about two months into 25. Your dear friend is going to get an…Continue Reading

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24 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

24 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

Last week, I shared my mid-year report on my SMART Goals. As I reflected on what I thought this year would look like and what it has become, I started mentally compiling the things I’ve been learning. I know a lot of people (especially my age) are struggling with the darkness of this year. To us younglings, in many ways 2016 feels like the wider-scale darkest time in our lives.

Hopefully these 24 confessions will bring hope, or at least an honest voice to the craziness.

24 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

  1. There’s always something you can do. Last year, I started obsessing with the refugee crisis. If I had not landed my job with Christopher Newport University, I…Continue Reading
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