Author Archive: Mattie Miles

Muslim youths clean up national parks trashed during government shutdown | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Members of a Muslim youth group spent the weekend collecting trash and otherwise cleaning up national parks around the country — helping out in the midst of the government shutdown.

Volunteers with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) emptied overflowing trash cans, picked up piles of litter and swept the streets in Everglades National Park in Florida, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Members of the group were joined by additional volunteers. At least 70 volunteers — both Muslims and non-Muslims — took part in the weekend cleanup, group spokesperson Salaam Bhatti, tells MNN.

“Service to our nation and cleanliness are important parts of Islam,” said Dr. Madeel Abdullah, president of the group, in a press release. “We could not sit idly by as our national parks collected trash. We will lead by example and dispose of this garbage appropriately and invite all Americans to join us in these parks and others across the nation.”

More than a dozen young men worked in the pouring rain to clean up Independence Mall in Philadelphia, according to The Inquirer.

“We just came out here because we thought it’s our responsibility as a Muslim community to help the neighborhood and help the community,” Zubair Abaidullah, 17, told the paper, while he scooped up litter, including cigarette butts and plastic bags.

Litter overflows in a D.C. park during the government shutdown. (Photo: Muslim Youth NVA)

The group has 70 chapters across the country with more than 5,000 members — boys and men ages 7 to 40.

“We are tentatively planning for more park cleanups,” Bhatti says. “We have also heard that the government shutdown is going to affect a lot of other things, for example SNAP benefits being cut in February. So we are looking into food support. On Martin Luther King Day, our chapter in Manassas, Virginia, is working with a few other groups to pack 25,000 meals for the hungry.”

(SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, which provides 19 million households with nutrition assistance.)

Says Bhatti, “We’re doing this because service to our fellow people is part of our faith.”

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

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Muslim youths clean up national parks trashed during government shutdown
Muslim youth volunteers help clean up national parks because it’s ‘part of our faith.’

Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City

Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City

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Migrant children at a detention facility in Tornillo, Tex.CreditCreditMike Blake/Reuters

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.

Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room. They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their immigration cases.

But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school: The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. Access to legal services is limited.

These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find room for more than 13,000 detained migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.

tried to flee.

The children wore belts etched in pen with phone numbers for their emergency contacts. One young boy asked the shelter worker if he would be taken care of in Texas. The shelter worker replied that he would, and told him that by moving, he was making space for other children like him who were stuck at the border and needed a place to live.

testified before Congress that the agency had arrested dozens of people who applied to sponsor unaccompanied minors. The agency later confirmed that 70 percent of those arrested did not have prior criminal records.

“Close to 80 percent of the individuals that are either sponsors or household members of sponsors are here in the country illegally, and a large chunk of those are criminal aliens. So we are continuing to pursue those individuals,” Mr. Albence said.

Seeking to process the children more quickly, officials introduced new rules that will require some of them to appear in court within a month of being detained, rather than after 60 days, which was the previous standard, according to shelter workers. Many will appear via video conference call, rather than in person, to plead their case for legal status to an immigration judge. Those who are deemed ineligible for relief will be swiftly deported.

The longer that children remain in custody, the more likely they are to become anxious or depressed, which can lead to violent outbursts or escape attempts, according to shelter workers and reports that have emerged from the system in recent months.

Advocates said those concerns are heightened at a larger facility like Tornillo, where signs that a child is struggling are more likely to be overlooked, because of its size. They added that moving children to the tent city without providing enough time to prepare them emotionally or to say goodbye to friends could compound trauma that many are already struggling with.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Migrant Children Are Moved in Darkness to Tent City in Texas

What it’s like to be a mother of only boys

When I’m introduced to another mother of only boys, there are a few seconds of expectation. As if maybe we are going to have a secret handshake. Or maybe we are going to say, “Hey, are there black handprint marks all over your walls? Me too!”

Instead, we just nod our heads and exchange a little smile, knowing we are kindred spirits. Having boys leads to a set of personality traits, namely that you’re not fussy and that you roll with the (actual) punches. If you have a bunch of boys, you’ve probably seen a femur up close. You can get blood out of anything.

Mothers of boys are strangely laid back about property damage. In fact, property damage is to boy moms what frequent costume changes are to girl moms. A golf club through the drywall, a child through the drywall, and a basketball game ending triumphantly with glass showering down from the ceiling lights. That’s just what being a boy mom is. It’s knowing the number of the window repair company by heart, and not having to tell them your address when you call.

Boy moms buy eggs four dozen at a time. We’re why they package 32 English muffins together at Costco. An English muffin with peanut butter on it will sate our starving boys for up to 25 minutes, enough time to boil up some macaroni and cheese or order a pizza. We are slightly afraid of our growing and starving brood, because their collective hunger comes at us with such force and frequency. I’ve been known to throw down a plate of bacon and run out of the room like a lion trainer fleeing the cage.

We have time for all this food shopping and prep because we do not shop for clothes. We do not meander through the mall, browsing the new spring fashions. We buy socks like we buy eggs, dozens at a time. When we need to buy clothes for our children, our shopping list reads “everything, the next size up.” And that usually works out fine. We shop for ourselves, of course, though we don’t really need to. Not one person in my house knows what kind of jeans I should be wearing this season. For this, I am particularly grateful.

The other, unspoken thing that bonds us boy moms is what we don’t have: a daughter. Sometimes the fact that I don’t have a daughter surprises me so much that I check myself like I’m patting my pockets for my keys. She’s got to be around here somewhere, I have so much to tell her! All these hard-earned girl lessons just roll around my head, waiting for eager ears. She’d probably just roll her eyes anyway. Really, Mom? What do you know about boys?

Without a daughter, I wonder about the future of my stuff. Every year on Thanksgiving I try to get one of my sons excited about my mom’s gravy boat. Every year someone asks if it wouldn’t just be easier to serve the gravy out of the roasting pan on the stove. Easier? It would have been easier to just order a pizza, but that’s not the point. It is my greatest hope that someday they’ll sit down to dinner with their own families (just having repaired their own drywall), see that gravy boat, and get the point.

We boy moms won’t go prom dress shopping. We won’t pick the wedding venue. We won’t be in the delivery room. We won’t ever, ever sit on a toilet before thoroughly inspecting it first. But we will strive to raise kind, conscious, able young men. All of this is acknowledged when boy moms meet and exchange a little nod and a smile. The nod is for the food prep and the property damage. The smile is for all the rest: the sweetness of a little boy, and the way he grabs your heart with his dirty hands and never lets go.

The Death of a Parent Affects Even Grown Children Psychologically and Physically

of a parent may be one of the most universally . But just because it happens to almost everyone doesn’t make it any less painful or . Under most circumstances, death of a mother and father informs and changes their children’s lives forever. Not only does it alter their day to day, it alters them biologically and psychologically, and can make them sick.

“In the best-case scenario, the death of a parent is anticipated and there is time for families to prepare for the loss, say their goodbyes, and surround themselves with support,” psychiatrist Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi told Fatherly. “In cases where a death is unexpected, such as with an acute illness or traumatic accident, adult children may remain in the denial and anger phases of the loss for extended periods of time…[leading to] diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder or even PTSD, if trauma is involved.”

There’s no amount of psychological studies or brain imaging data that can capture how uniquely painful this distinct grief is. That said, there are a number of studies that demonstrate the significance of this loss. the posterior cingulate cortex, frontal cortex, and cerebellum brain regions in grief processing. These regions are involved in retrieving memories and dwelling on the past — but, in a cruel twist of neuroanatomy, they’re also involved in regulating sleep and appetite.

“This might provide some explanation for the different and unique responses to grief and loss,” Jumoke Omojola, a clinical social worker in Omaha, Nebraska, told Fatherly. “Physiological changes might include headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, tightness in the chest too much sleep, too little sleep, overeating, or lack of appetite.”

In the short term, neurology assures us that loss will trigger physical distress. In the long-term, grief puts the entire body at risk. have found links between unresolved grief and hypertension, cardiac events, immune disorders, and even cancer. It is unclear why grief would trigger such dire physical conditions, but one theory is that a perpetually activated sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) . These changes — less pre-programmed cell death, dampened immune responses — may be ideal when a bear is chasing you through the forest and you need all the healthy cells you can get. But this sort of cellular dysregulation is also how cancerous cells metastasize, unchecked.  

While the physical symptoms are relatively consistent, the psychological impacts are all but unpredictable. In the twelve months following the loss of a parent, the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders considers it healthy for adults who have lost their parents to experience a range of contradictory emotions, including sadness, anger, rage, anxiety, numbness, emptiness, guilt, remorse, and regret. It is normal to withdraw from friends and activities; it is normal to throw oneself into work.

As ever, context matters. Sudden, violent death puts survivors at higher risk of developing a grief disorder, and when an adult child has a fractured relationship with a parent, the death can be doubly painful — even if the bereaved shuts down and pretends not to feel the loss. “Coping is less stressful when adult children have time to anticipate parental death,” Omojola says. “Not been able to say goodbye contributes to feeling depressed and angry.” This may explain why that young adults are more affected by parental loss than middle-aged adults. Presumably, their parents died unexpectedly, or at least earlier than average.

Gender, of both the parent and child, can especially influence the contours of the grief response.

Studies suggest that , but men who lose their parents may be slower to move on. “Males tend to show emotions less and compartmentalize more,” Carla Marie Manly, , told Fatherly.

“These factors do affect the ability to accept and process grief.” that loss of a father is more associated with the loss of personal mastery — purpose, vision, belief, commitment, and knowing oneself. Losing a mother, on the other hand, elicits a more raw response. “Many people report feeling a greater sense of loss when a mother dies,” Manly says. “This can be attributed to the often close, nurturing nature of the mother-child relationship.”

At the same time, the differences between losing a father and a mother represent relatively weak trends. “Complicated bereavement can exist no matter which parent is lost,” Benders-Hadi says.

Grief becomes pathological, , when the bereaved are so overcome that they are unable to carry on with their lives. this occurs in about 1 percent of the healthy population, and about 10 percent of the population that had previously been diagnosed with a stress disorder. “A diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder is made within three months of the death if there is a ‘persistence of grief reactions’ exceeding what’s normal for the culture and the religion,” Omojola says. “In this situation, the grieving adult has severe challenges meeting social, occupational, and other expected, important life functions.” Even adults who are able to go to work and put on a brave face may be suffering a clinical condition if they remain preoccupied with the death, deny that their parent has died, or actively avoid reminders of their parents, indefinitely. This condition, known as Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder, is a trickier diagnosis to pin down (the DSM labeled it a “condition for further study”).

Elisabeth Goldberg works with grieving adults as a relationship therapist in New York City, and she has seen the toll that long-term grieving can take on a marriage. Specifically, Goldberg suggests a (somewhat Freudian) link between losing a parent and cheating on a spouse. “I see many affairs as manifestations of unresolved grief about losing a parent,” Goldberg says. “The adult child stays in a state of disbelief, and rejects reality in many ways in order to feed the delusion that the parent is still alive. The grieving child needs a new attachment figure, that’s the psyche trying to reconcile the denial and grief. So rather than say, ‘my mother died,’ the grieving child can say, ‘while mommy’s away, I will play with someone other than my  spouse.’”

In more concrete — and dire — terms, unresolved grief can spiral into anxiety and depression. This is especially true when the parent dies by suicide, according to Lyn Morris, a licensed therapist and VP at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. “Adults who lose a parent to suicide often struggle with complex emotions such as guilt, anger, and feelings of abandonment and vulnerability,” she told Fatherly. Indeed confirmed that losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves.

How to cope in a healthy way remains an active area of scientific inquiry. Ross Grossman, a licensed therapist who specializes in adult grief, has identified several “main distorted thoughts” that infect our minds when we face adversity. Two of the most prominent are “I should be perfect” and “they should have treated me better” — and they tug in opposite directions. “These distorted thoughts can easily arise in the wake of a loved one’s death,” Grossman says.

When a son or daughter reflects on how he or she should have treated a deceased parent, “I should be perfect” thoughts tend to rise to the surface. Grossman’s patients often feel that they should have done more and, “because they didn’t do any or all these things, they are low-down, dirty, awful, terrible human beings,” he says. “These kinds of thoughts, if left undisputed, usually result in a feeling of low self-worth, low self-esteem, shame, self-judgment, self-condemnation.”

On the opposite extreme, patients sometimes blame their deceased parents for not treating them properly, and never making amends. This is similarly unhealthy. “The usual result of this is deep resentment, anger, rage,” Grossman says. “They may have genuine, legitimate reasons to feel mistreated or abused. In these situations, it’s not always the death of the parent but the death of the possibility of reconciliation, of rapprochement and apology from the offending parent.”

“The possibility has died along with the person.”

In extreme cases, therapy may be the only way to get a grieving son or daughter back on his or her feet. But time, and an understanding spouse, can go a long way toward helping adults get through this unpleasant, yet ubiquitous, chapter in their lives. “Husbands can best support their wives by listening,” Manly says. “Men often feel helpless in the face of their wives’ emotions, and they want to fix the situation. A husband can do far more good by sitting with his wife, listening to her, holding her hand, taking her for walks, and — if she desires — visiting the burial site.”

The post The Death of a Parent Affects Even Grown Children Psychologically and Physically appeared first on Fatherly.

Diddy’s Ex-Girlfriend, Mother of His Kids, Kim Porter Found Dead at Home at 47

7:00 PM PT — Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, Kim went to bed early last night, because she wasn’t feeling well and when family members went to wake her Thursday she was non-responsive. Paramedics pronounced Kim dead at her home.

As for the cause … we’re told she was battling an illness — either the flu or pneumonia — over the last few days and was being treated with Saline and vitamins. Authorities are also looking at a recent trip Kim took to Africa, to determine if she contracted a disease. 

No illegal drugs were found. 

The coroner will perform an autopsy and perform toxicology tests.   

5:02 PM PT — The coroner’s van just left Porter’s home.

, the model and actress who dated for 13 years, was found dead Thursday at her L.A. area home … TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us they got a call to Porter’s Toluca Lake home around noon. Police are still on the scene right now.

According to emergency dispatch audio the call came in as a patient in cardiac arrest. 

A source connected to Kim tells us she’d been suffering flu-like symptoms, and possibly pneumonia, for several weeks, but it’s still unclear what exactly caused her death. Another source says Kim had contacted her doctor just yesterday complaining she wasn’t feeling any better.

Diddy and Kim’s relationship spanned more than a decade with several breakups and makeups. They started dating in 1994 and broke up, for the last time, in 2007.

They have 3 children together — twin girls Jessie James and D’Lila were born in 2006, and she had their son, Christian, in 1998. She also has a son, Quincy Brown, from her previous relationship with Al B. Sure!.

The whole family was last together, in public, supporting Quincy at last month’s premiere for his movie, “The Holiday Calendar.”

Kim worked as both a model and an actress, and she made appearances on Diddy’s show, “I Want to Work for Diddy.”

Diddy’s rep Cindi Berger tells us, “Sadly, I can confirm the passing of Kim Porter. I ask that you give the families privacy at this time.” 

Kim Porter

Diddy’s Ex Found Dead at 47