Adult Non-Fiction ~ Slave Stealers

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today my Facebook and Instagram feeds have been full of quotes by the amazing man which are unfortunately still more than relevant decades after his death. I’d like to think we’ve made some progress as a society but watching the news it’s hard to imagine that we’ve taken any steps forward at all. But I have to take comfort in the fact that his words are still alive and well, that people believe them enough to share them, and hopefully that means they are living them as well. “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” There are few better examples of standing up for what’s right than those laid out in this book.

I honestly don’t remember when I first heard about Operation Underground Railroad but it’s been on my radar for the last couple of years and it’s become a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Over 27 million people (including at least 13 million children) are victims of modern-day slavery (slave labor, sex trade, etc.), with over 100,000 of those children living here in the United States. OUR goes around the world breaking up human trafficking rings and rescuing and rehabilitating the victims. They’ve arrested countless traffickers and rescued hundreds of victims.

Some books are so powerful they punch you in the solar plexus and leave you gasping for breath for days or longer. This book is one of those. It details a bit of the founding of the organization, touches on a few of the rescue operations they’ve undergone, and talks about how the name Operation Underground Railroad came about by profiling a slave named Harriet Jacobs. Born into slavery she continually rebuffs the advances of her master and he retaliates by selling her children. After years of searching and fighting for them they are finally reunited and she spends the rest of her life working and fighting to abolish slavery. She’s an amazing woman I’d never heard of before, and just one example of many who risked and gave their lives to ensure others wouldn’t have to suffer in the same way.

It’s a fascinating look at slavery as we commonly think of it (around the time of the Civil War) as well as the atrocities that continue today. Be warned, I cried with nearly every page turn. Sometimes ugly, hiccuping sobs. It’s brutal. And that’s all the more reason why I think you should read it.

There’s also a phenomenal documentary on Amazon Prime right now about one of their rescue missions in Haiti that is discussed in the book. Check out Operation Toussaint, it’s a tough subject that everyone needs to be made aware of so spread the word and let’s make sure another child doesn’t have to experience the horrors of human trafficking. And if you’re so inclined, you can become an abolitionist or supporter by donating time or resources for the cause. Head over to their website for more details and find some happiness for yourself by seeking happiness for others.

Slave Stealers book review

Slave Stealers

Written by: Tim Ballard

Number of Pages: 256

Publisher: Shadow Mountain, 2018

Age Range: Adult

Rating: 5/5

Happy New Year 2019

One day or day one

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year when we all focus our attention on improving ourselves. Gym parking lots are full. Spinach sales are up. Self-help books are flying off the shelves and alarms go off earlier than usual. (I have no idea if any of those statements are actual fact aside from the gym one, but I feel pretty confident that they are.) Each year we set goals and resolutions that last maybe a week or two and then fall by the wayside until the following January when we dust them off and swear that we’ll be true to them this time. And I am no exception.  I’ve always been a goal maker and I believe that is what has helped me to accomplish so much of what I have throughout my life. But I’ve definitely failed at more goals than I’ve reached. And it seems as if each year I’m making some of the same resolutions over again. (Though I did have some awesome accomplishments last year too—50 hikes on the record, over 250 books read, another stamp in my passport, and several household projects done!)

I’ve even read a ton of books on how to make and keep goals, the science behind our habits and how to make lasting changes (only a few of those teachings have stuck, apparently!) But I continue to make them and I continue to make steps, even baby ones, towards the end goal. And I’ve found that the smaller steps and changes tend to last.  Many have started choosing intentions or words of the year to focus on and I love this idea. Using an overriding thought to influence your actions in all areas of life can be a powerful way to enact change.

This year I tried to simplify a bit. I still have my list of things I’d like to accomplish, from daily habits to bucket-list type events, but I boiled them all down to 2 basic overriding themes. One, I want to get up with my alarm and stick to my daily schedule. And two, within that schedule I’ve allotted specific writing times to work on finally finishing a book. (Yeah, anyone who knows me will know I’ve set both those goals before…but this just might be the year!) My mantra/thought/intention to follow along with those is: “Never miss twice.” Obviously, the goal is to hit 100% every day but this way when life gets out of control and things fall apart it will hopefully be a little easier to get myself back on track and start again. Even if I routinely miss every other day, I’ll still make some great progress.

What goals or resolutions have you set for 2019? Or do you set them at all? What’s your method of inspiring yourself and staying motivated? How have you found the most success? What success did you see in 2018? Tell me all about them in the comments and good luck in your endeavors. You’ve got this!