Let’s Walk for Freedom

Who’s ready to help fight human trafficking? It’s everywhere. It can feel unstoppable.

So what do we do?

I need you to walk with me next month. I’m joining Step Into Their Shoes, a campaign to raise $50,000 for Thistle Farms by walking 50,000 steps each week in October.

Here are the details:

1. How much does it cost? Nothing! Just sign up here. You can use your phone, a fitness tracker, or a simple pedometer to track your steps.

2. Do I need to be in Nashville? Not at all! You can walk anywhere in the world! We complete our steps individually, even as we work together to end trafficking.

3. Why walking? For most people, walking doesn’t require special equipment. It’s open to any gender and can be done almost any place. (If you are in a wheelchair and want to join as a rolling member of the team, or have other limitations and want to set an adapted goal, I would LOVE to have you join us!) Walking also serves as a reminder of how many trafficking victims once walked the streets to survive.

4. Why should I do this? Because you can make a difference! Because it’s healthy! And because teams are cool.

Join the Beyond the Fried team and walk with us next month, or cheer us on and share the story with your friends.

 

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Good Things to Read

This post includes affiliate links to support this site. 

Photo by Paul Nicholson

Hey, gang! Hope you all are having a good week with no hurricanes, traffic, or unexpected bills. Here’s some good stuff I found to share with you today:

You guys know I’m all about imperfection. No matter how much I seek to live an ethical lifestyle, I can never check all the boxes. Leah from StyleWise shares the quandary of the ethical consumer and examines whether more flexible standards can make a bigger difference in the world in “Why I Quit Being an Ethical Purist.

One of my favorite fair trade brands, PACT Apparel, has expanded their range to include more apparel for men, women, and children. Their kids’ clothing is now available in sizes up to 5T and includes pajamas, undies, and leggings. New arrivals for adults include Henley t-shirts, cardigans, and jogging pants.

I recently learned about The Lighthouse for the Blind from the newsletter for the  Social Enterprise Alliance. The Lighthouse operates manufacturing facilities for aerospace parts, office supplies, and plastic injection molding, providing employment, training, and support for blind and DeafBlind members of the community. I love finding social enterprises that go beyond handcrafted gifts and provide essential products for industrial and everyday use.

Have you guys been following Walk Sew Good? These adventurers walked across Asia to find positive stories in the fashion industry. You can see their research and videos at the Walk Sew Good site and follow their current activities on Instagram.

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Pilgrimage to the Home of Country Music

I hate country music. As a Nashville native, it’s my duty. Somebody has to keep the balance around here.

So you can imagine my surprise when, during my recent trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, I found myself in tears.

The kids and I started our visit with the Nashville Public Library’s String City production. It was an excellent precursor to touring the museum, since I — hating country music — had neglected their education in this area. The kids enjoyed the show, which alternated between straight-forward songs and hilarious skits. I, however, found myself entranced as memories of my childhood came flooding back.

I grew up in the shadow of the WSM tower, watching The Mandrell Sisters with my parents and listening to the Oak Ridge Boys as we ran errands. That was “real country,” my parents would tell you, not the pop music of today. And, of course, there was Dolly.

Dolly was right there in the puppet show, too, singing “Coat of Many Colors” and “I Will Always Love You” with a costume change at the end. And right then, as puppet Dolly brought all the intensity and beauty to the song, I burst into tears. At a children’s puppet show.

My boys, who were not particularly surprised to see their mom doing something weird, were eager to get on through the museum. They had things to see. Namely, Elvis’s Gold Cadillac, featuring 24K gold details and a TV in the backseat.

We picked up a scavenger hunt in the Taylor Swift Education Center. My little guy loved matching the memorabilia to the artist, and it helped him stay engaged. My oldest, however, wanted to breeze through the museum and get straight to the Hall of Fame.

What started with a plan to quickly tour the museum turned into a four-hour trip as my boys discovered interactive touchscreens with details on costumes and listening booths with clips from hit songs. The kids were fascinated by the old gramophones and guitars as well as Webb Pierce’s gun-festooned car, while I loved seeing displays from the artists I had watched as a child. As our time grew short, we ended up racing through the second floor to the Hall of Fame Rotunda, assuring ourselves that we would return for another visit soon.

So here’s the cool part about visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame — for families in Davidson County, and students in the surrounding area, the CMHOF is now FREE thanks to the Community Counts program. Students 18 and under can receive free admission when they bring proof of residence such as a library card, report card, or school t-shirt. Adults can check out a passport offering free museum admission for up to two adults at any Nashville Public Library branch; the number of passports is limited, so I recommend calling ahead to see if any passports are available. Additionally, families in Davidson and surrounding counties who receive SNAP benefits are eligible for $5 family memberships to the museum.

Things to Know:

  • Plan parking ahead of time. I’m still not used to Nashville’s It City status and figured I could park in a nearby lot for $15 or $20, tops. Imagine my surprise in finding I had to pay $30 when we left. A little planning would have saved me a lot of money.
  • Pack a lunch. Since we stayed at the museum longer than I anticipated, we were all hungry and grumpy after only seeing half of the exhibits. We grabbed food at the museum’s way-overpriced snack bar, spending about $40 for lunch. Since museum tickets are good for re-entry all day, next time I’ll pack a picnic lunch and take a midday break in Walk of Fame park across the street. There also are two sit-down restaurants at the museum, but I would recommend them for kid-free outings.
  • Study up. If your family isn’t familiar with country music, a little prep work will make the visit more meaningful. Try to catch the String City puppet show or create a playlist of some of the featured artists.
  • If you have Taylor Swift fans in your family, yes, the sparkly silver guitar is there as well as some lovely dresses.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum reminded me of my heritage as a native Nashvillian, but their inclusive Community Counts program makes me proud to live in Music City today. Visit this Nashville treasure, and spread the word about the affordable programs that make the museum open to all Nashville families.

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