If Javascript is disabled in your browser, to place orders please visit the page where I sell my photos, powered by Fotomoto.

 Grab a Button:

Vision and Verb

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.visionandverb.com" title="Vision and Verb"><img src="http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag46/visionandverb/VVBUTTONcopy.jpg" alt="Vision and Verb" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


Featuring a sampling of our personal favorites in our latest gallery...

A reminder that ALL proceeds go to fund KIVA loans!

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe by RSS


Kiva - loans that change lives

Vision and Verb KIVA Loans:

6/6/2012 -   Kalinisa, Kenesh Village, Kyrgyzstan 99% REPAID (currency exchange loss)

6/6/2012 -   Lama, Jordan LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/12/2012 - Mujeres de Xeconjom Group, Guatemala LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/12/2012 - Nuevo Horizonte Group, Mexico LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/18/2012 - Miriam, Negev, Israel LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/18/2012 - Noem, Ang Snoul, Cambodia  LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/20/2012 - Phally, Takeo Province, Cambodia LOAN REPAID IN FULL

7/10/2012 - Carmel, Cadiz, Philippines LOAN REPAID IN FULL 

8/4/2012 -   Julia, Boane, Maputo, Mozambique LOAN REPAID IN FULL

8/4/2012 -   Khishigjargal, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

8/11/2012 - Miladys Dayana, Barranquilla, Colombia

9/23/2012 - Dugarmaa, Arhangai, Mongolia LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/29/2012 - Divino Niño Jesus Group, Caaguazú, Paraguay LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/29/2012 - Armando, Tonala, Mexico   LOAN REPAID IN FULL

10/17/2012 - Doraliza, Ica, Peru LOAN REPAID IN FULL

10/27/2012 - Sola, Bilasuvar, Azerbaijan LOAN REPAID IN FULL

11/27/2012 - Sergio, Huatusco, Mexico LOAN REPAID IN FULL

11/28/2012 - Sophie, Yaoundé, Cameroon LOAN REPAID IN FULL

12/29/2012 - Paradi De Dolval Group, Trou-du-Nord, Haiti

12/29/2012 - Makieu Andrew's Group, Kenema, Sierra Leone LOAN REPAID IN FULL

12/30/2012 - Alia, Wihdat, Jordan

1/1/2013 -     Prudence 3 Group, Brazzaville, Congo LOAN REPAID IN FULL

1/8/2013 -    Marcia De Jesús, El Sauce, Nicaragua

1/21/2013 -  Caroline, Toluca Lake, United States

2/5/2013 -    Diana Cecilia, Huaraz, Peru 99% REPAID (currency exchange loss)

2/20/2013 -  Lorna, Poblacion 3, Clarin, Misamis Occidental, Phillipines LOAN REPAID IN FULL

2/20/2013 - Kwamboka, Nyamira, Kenya

3/15/2013 - Halima, Malindi, Kenya LOAN REPAID IN FULL

3/15/2013 - Mwanaisha, Malindi, Kenya LOAN REPAID IN FULL

4/25/2013 - Leda Del Rosario, Managua, Nicaragu LOAN REPAID IN FULL

4/25/2013 - Seda, Ujanis village, Syuniq region, Armenia

5/15/2013 - Vilma, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines LOAN REPAID IN FULL

5/19/2013 - Teimuraz, Kutaisi, Georgia LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/20/2013 - Leonora, Bogo, Cebu, Philippines

6/20/2013 - Sherry, Knoxville TN, United States

6/28/2013 - Zahava, Kiryat Ono, Israel

6/28/2013 - Ilkin, Azerbaijan

7/25/2013 - Sine, Albania

7/25/2013 - Luzdina, Pucallpa, Peru

7/25/2013 - Wossidji Iv Group, Warinibougou, Mali LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/5/2013 -  Norma Carolina, Managua, Nicaragua

9/2/2013 -  Nubia Teresa, Montería, Colombia

9/22/2013 - Salina, Kapsabet, Kenya

9/29/2013 - Purevsuren, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

9/29/2013 - Sambath, Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia LOAN REPAID IN FULL 

10/1/2013 - Rinat, Beit Shemesh, Israel

11/3/2013 - Asiya, Ibanda, Uganda

11/3/2013 - Nafisakham, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

11/13/2013 - Harriet, Bombo Road, Uganda LOAN REPAID IN FULL

11/13/2013 - Elizabeth, Naivasha, Kenya

11/14/2013 - Sonia Antonieta, La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras

11/26/2013 - Lidia, Cochabamba, Bolivia

12/11/2013 - Teresa Aracely, Osicala, El Salvador

1/4/2014 - Queren Yined, Bogota, Columbia

1/4/2014 - Jorge Carlos, Cochabamba, Bolivia

1/9/2014 - Esther, Sanniquellie, Liberia

1/19/2014 - Sarim, Siem Reap, Cambodia

1/20/2014 - Betty, Kampala, Uganda LOAN REPAID IN FULL

3/4/2014 - Hulkarkhon, Khujand, Tajikistan

3/4/2014 - Fenehas Jason, Hoima, Uganda

3/6/2014 - Maa Bastaren Group, MURIBAHAL, BALANGIR, ODISHA, India

4/10/2014 - Karine, Vanadzor, Armenia

4/10/2014 - Mona, Araara, Israel

4/10/2014 - Nermin, Kosova LOAN REPAID IN FULL

4/10/2014 - Juana Patricia, El Salvador

4/17/2014 - Mentari Group, CILACAP, Indonesia

4/17/2014 - Analiza, Segatic Daku Misamis Occidental, Philippines

4/17/2014 - Shahnoz, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

4/17/2014 - Susana Del Rosario - El Salvador

5/25/2014 - Violet, Kasse, Uganda

5/25/2014 - Alba Del Socorro, Somotillo, Nicaragua

7/13/2014 - Parbati Shg Group, Junagarh, Odisha, India

7/14/2014 - Trinity, Hurungwe, Zimbabwe

7/14/2014 - Madina Khaitsa, Nakaloke, Uganda

7/18/2014 - Alicia Afua, Mallam, Accra, Ghana

7/18/2014 - Alicia Afua, Mallam, Accra, Ghana

7/18/2014 - Alicia Afua, Mallam, Accra, Ghana



Contact Us
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « We Write | Main | Blues »

    The tragedy among us


    When the weekend rolls around I tend to be like an ostrich (or cow) and bury my head in the sand.  I don’t read or watch any news.  I catch up on Mondays.  This past Monday I read about the shooting in Arizona, which took the lives of six people, critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the intended target, and also wounded thirteen other innocent people.   I wanted to be an ostrich again.

    The question is, “why would somebody in their right mind do something like this?”  The answer is, “they wouldn’t.”  That then begs the questions as to whether or not Jared Loughner suffered from some form of mental illness, and if so, was it ever diagnosed and was he being treated?

    I don’t know the answers to those questions, although from what I’ve read, it certainly sounded like Loughner suffers from mental illness.  My real question, though, is why is it such a big deal in our society to admit to, discuss, seek treatment for, or suggest someone might have a mental illness?  Mental illness is still a medical illness and nothing to be ashamed of.  Is the brain not also a part of the body?  The shame is when someone feels there is a stigma and doesn’t seek treatment for themselves or for a loved one, thereby going without medication or therapy and running the risk of creating all sorts of havoc.

    I was reading the ever popular blog, Dooce, wherein she opened up the discussion about Loughner and mental illness, asking much the same questions as I did above.  Heather Armstrong (aka Dooce) is very open about her struggle with depression and attributes her readers with saving her life, because of her openness and their caring and encouragement to seek treatment.  In the comments of her post, someone suggested that a clinic modeled after Planned Parenthood, but specifically for the treatment of mental illness, would be a step in the right direction and I couldn’t agree more.  Easy access to mental health treatment is a must.

    A friend’s daughter, while in high school, was going through a period of undiagnosed depression.  She was sleeping all the time and didn’t want to go to school or hang out with her friends – and this was a social butterfly, not a wall flower.  Several of our group of friends encouraged her to take her daughter to the doctor, where she was evaluated and prescribed medication.  It took a period of time adjusting her medication, but she got through it and is leading a productive, successful and happy life.  It’s time in our society where we let go of the stigma and just talk to each other.

    You know, this post is the last post in our first year of Vision and Verb.  I didn’t want to write a post with such a heavy topic, but I just couldn’t ignore this and I honestly wouldn’t have known what else to write since this has been in the forefront of my thoughts this week, as I'm sure it has been yours.  If you wanted something light and uplifting, you certainly didn't get it here today and I apologize for that.  Just in case you didn’t have the opportunity to watch President Obama address the nation about the tragedy, you can listen to his speech here.  Make sure you have a box of tissues close by.

    “If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure its worthy of those we have lost.  Let’s make sure it isn’t on the usual plane of politics, point scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle.” - President Obama

    Join me, if you will, in a moment of silence, before you go on with your day, with thoughts or prayers for those who lost their lives and for those wounded last weekend.  Include in your thoughts anyone you know that is or might be suffering from some form of mental illness.  I’ll be thinking of my other friend, Irwin.  When you're done, give somebody a hug. ♥

    Reader Comments (17)

    Your photo is great, colour wise I am really attracted to it... with the silouettes in it.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

    Slowly, slowly, the silence and stigma that has kept mental illness under wraps is being stripped away. There is more information in the media, and more discussion of this critical topic than there has ever been, although we are a long way from accepting mental illness as a 'no fault' condition. It's so hard to understand and affects the very essence of a person.
    There is improvement, and the more we talk, the better things will be. Thank you for doing your part today, Toni.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

    Part of what makes Vision and Verb a meaningful blog is a willingness to address difficult topics such as this, Toni. Thank you.

    Our family has experienced first hand the challenges mental illness can bring -- both to the individual and to those family members providing care. Proper medical treatment and medication is critical. An extra large dose of love, understanding, and patience is a necessity. Often, support and counseling must be on-going for years.

    I join you today in lifting up those affected in the Arizona tragedy as well as those who experience any form of mental illness.

    Beautiful image.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSue

    I - too - know firsthand the effects not only for the person struggling with mental illness but also on the entire family. It's an 'invisible' illness...and one that is often difficult to address and treat.

    What happened in Arizona is tragic - both for the victims..the perpetrator and all of their families.

    I join you today in a moment of remembrance.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie

    thank you for shining a light. this was the perfect way to mark "a year." i am new to your group, but it does seem to me that this blog intends to post the wide range of who we are, what we see, and what matters. it isn't a contest; it is a forum for thought, growth, and inspiration.

    today, my morning coffee was sipped with the silent gratitude that a social worker has for anyone who gives voice to the invisible, raises a hand for the frightened, and ends with a hug. thank you, toni. very much. and for all those who walk among us who are "invisible heroes," i tip my hat.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHoney

    I too join you today in a moment of remembrance.

    Beautiful colours in this lovely image.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPOBSB

    Dear Toni, I am really touched by your post and all I can say is that I truly wished my family was as warm as the colours of your beautiful picture, after my dad was send to a mental institution.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

    As you see, Toni, you have nothing for which to apologize. If we can't close our first year on V&V with this kind of solemnity, who can?! I am so glad to read the support of the others who have already commented...and surely those yet to come.

    What Astrid did not mention, but has given me permission to add...her father was in a "mental institute" (I hate the way that sounds, don't you?!) for 10 years and died there when she was 27. Their pastor and fellow parishioners did NOT attend the funeral or have further contact with them from that point on. It was as though Astrid's nuclear family had a contagious diease. Needless to say, that was when Astrid stopped going to church. She has a very large extended family here in Holland. In fact, everyone with her last name is related to her but no one has contact with her anymore. Right now her only family is her son here in our city and her older brother who lives in Canada. It's very sad.

    On my own personal level, I have a 35-yr-old son now in his fourth year on Social Security Disability because of depression. It's a long story that also includes attempted suicide. It's not fun at all. But I get through it because I know in the end he's the only one who can work through his own demons...with the help, finally, of a good therapist. I believe there's hope for him if he's willing for it himself. This is when I, as an outsider, believe all things and trust the Universe to work it's miracles.

    This place called V&V has become a safe haven, dear Toni. It's taken a year to see it...and in that regard, I can't think of a better post to close this journey. Thank you.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGinnie

    Hey Toni, you are so right, there can not be enough light shed on such a sad topic and event, you should use your voice and space here for more discussion and a shared moment of remembrance. You are also smart to take the weekends "off". I'm happy that you added such a beautiful, calm image.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

    I agree. Thanks for taking the time to air out your thoughts.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMy Courageous Life

    Toni: Someone just posted this on Facebook. I watched it and then read your email and realized it reminded me of your post. http://birdsthatflyfree.tumblr.com/post/2565591657/secretsvideo

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMy Courageous Life

    Toni, thank you for this, all last week I struggled with all the questions and the lack of answers and what we can do as a society. I thought, seriously about writing about it myself last week, but I couldn't frame the words properly. I still can't. But I will join you in a moment of silence. As a society, there has to be a better way. Maybe together we can begin to find it.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly

    I agree with you Toni, there is such a stigma surrounding mental illness. It needs to be addressed in a proper way. Here I think it's a lack of resources and fundings. Many of them who have committed crimes and had asked for help several times before and didn't get any help.

    January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrida

    It's hard to know isn't it? It's hard to take that action. The stigma is still there but the fear is as well. I hear everyone in his life was fearful of him. I pray for the victims.

    January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPuna

    such a terrible thing to happen, and sadly all too common in our lives. i hope that the more people talk about mental illness, in all its forms, the more the stigma will get lifted. it all comes with understanding and appreciation - not just turning ones back. makes me think about it here, where depression is not a known thing; is it called something, or do people just get on with their lives and don't seek help.

    January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEliza

    There are so many people silently suffering from depression or other mental illnesses and often they're left alone by their own families and friends who feel some sort of guilt and shame.
    Thanks for sharing this, Toni.

    January 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersil

    Toni, thank you for this compassionate and thoughtful post. In the first week of this year we lost a young friend who was killed by an obviously mentally ill relative of her finace in Puerto Rico. Therefore, your words hit home. I'm still too upset to adequately express myself. I wonder - would this have happened if he had been diagnosed and treated accordingly?

    January 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarola Bartz

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>