I am the mother I am today because I chose an abortion at 19

I wrote this for Mother’s Day because of how the leak happened just days before the holiday. As we anticipate the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe vs. Wade and severely limiting abortion access, I want to share it here and hope you will all read and share my abortion story.

For a pregnant person without financial means, abortion costs are already a hardship. My father threw me out of the house shortly after my high school graduation. It was 1993, and I lived in a northern Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati. 

I’m the mom I am today because I chose an abortion at 19 | Opinion

It’s peculiar timing that a few days before Mother’s Day, the draft opinion of a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade gets leaked. But perhaps that was intentional considering that the ruling would force motherhood on women who would otherwise not have chosen it.

Learn more about Bonnie Jean HERE

Finding Gratitude in the Little Gifts of Online Learning

I hope you’ll read the full column linked below. But here’s an excerpt:

“Remote learning is a gift beyond keeping kids safe. It’s a gift to the children to do something out of the ordinary. My son doesn’t have to wear his uniform shirt and he can see the big smiles of his teacher and his classmates since masks aren’t needed. It’s definitely a gift for me to be able to witness some of my child’s learning. The pandemic has prevented me from volunteering in his classroom and meeting his school friends.”

Read more from Bonnie HERE and HERE

Let’s Talk About Bruno – Lessons From Disney’s ‘Encanto’

“Another thing the movie does well is demonstrate how as a culture we struggle to show up for mental health issues. The main character, Mirabel, is the one person in the family who does not have a magical gift when even the house she lives in is magical (warning, spoiler alerts ahead).”

Read the column linked below

Read more of Bonnie Jean’s columns HERE

That One Night When My Nashville Dreams Came True

It’s a new year with so many fresh intentions, resolutions and goals being set so for this week’s column I decided to write about dreams come true. This memory makes me smile and I think we could all use a smile right about now. And yes, they used a photo of me from that night. Red eyes and all.

“Mine was an unoriginal dream for Nashville. Just ask the souvenir shopkeeper, and yep, she’s a songwriter, too. I arrived by myself, collecting phone numbers, CDs and quite possibly a contact high along the way. I left with a feeling of camaraderie with other dream-seekers who expressed themselves through words and music.”

Read the full column at the link below and then keep scrolling to listen to the two cheesy originals I performed while I was there.

The songs I played and recorded while in Nashville

Foster Kindness, Identify Solutions and Spread Joy in 2022

“One of the perks of being a columnist and working as an opinion editor is the email I get. I receive direct responses to what I’ve written as well as letters to the editor about issues of the day and op-eds from the community at large. I say this is a perk because I do not exist in an echo chamber or some sort of political vacuum. Because of this, I read kindness from all sides and perspectives. I also see meanness from all sides. It’s difficult to maintain an us-versus-them attitude when I have the opportunity to witness a melting pot of humanity right here in my inbox.”

I hope you’ll read the full column in the link below.

if you missed my column about why we shouldn’t give Santa so much credit for gifts I hope you’ll read below.

Family, and Country, Divided

This was a hard column to write

This week’s column was really hard to write which means I had to do it. Plus, I’m fairly certain, I’m not alone. I hope you’ll read this one.

“That’s the hardest part. When it comes to hashing it out so we can be siblings again, I’m just not worth it to him. Cutting me out of his life and moving forward was his better option. I don’t think he likes the person I grew up to become and perhaps he prefers the echo chamber that like-minded people can provide.”

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

Why gratitude and service go hand in hand

As we head into the season on gratitude and giving, I wanted to focus my columns on what it meant for our community and for ourselves. I hope you enjoy reading this four-part series and reflecting on what this means for you. All four columns linked below.

Be the Helper You Need To See in the World

Whether it’s in friendship or community, it’s hard, satisfying work for which nothing is owed and no one has to earn. It’s our humanity. This season of gratitude and joy let’s say “yes” to the work that needs doing and discover the helper within. Read the column HERE.

Volunteering Helps Both the Community and the Volunteer

There’s also some science to the idea of helping oneself by helping others. Snyder’s research showed that those who volunteer long-term don’t stay for altruistic reasons alone; they keep going back because they see the benefits in their own lives. Read the column HERE.

How Cultivating Your Purpose Begins With Knowing Yourself

How we react, overcome and persevere is intrinsically tied to our sense of purpose and it turns out that purpose is tied to how well we know ourselves. Burrow says it this way: “We might start to think of identity as sort of a foundational layer of self-understanding that when you are equipped with a sense of identity, you might stand a chance at figuring out and cultivating your sense of purpose.”

Purpose is a life aim, something that’s always in front of you and never quite finished. It’s different from a goal. Purpose is connected to our well-being and provides stability. Read the column HERE.

It’s OK to gush with gratitude, so let the love flow

The more thank-you cards I wrote the easier it became, and I noticed a shift. Something was happening internally. I stopped using a script and I started just writing in real-time. It shifted from a practice to sending something truly heartfelt. I could feel the gratitude radiating from me as I wrote. A big smile would form on my face, and sometimes I would well up with tears. My gratitude was deep and real, and though I had felt gratitude before, writing it out by hand for my intended recipient helped me feel it in full. Read the whole column HERE

How Cemeteries Get Creative to Survive in Their Role of Caring for the Dead

“As a teenager, I frequently walked to St. Stephen Cemetery after school to sit by my mom’s headstone. She died in a car accident when I was seven and I didn’t confront what that meant for me until adolescence.

“A local cemetery frequently hosts events and entertainment in their space, and it didn’t sit with me well at first. It seemed flip. Disrespectful at the least. An exploitation of death at worst. It bothered me and I had questions. Luckily, I knew just who to ask.

Cole Imperi is not only a friend but a leader in the death community. She’s a thanatologist, an expert on death and dying, and she is the president of the Board of Overseers for Historic Linden Grove Cemetery & Arboretum in Covington, Kentucky. Imperi helped me understand what I was missing. When a historic cemetery can no longer perform burials because they are full, how does the cemetery afford the maintenance and management of an expansive graveyard that’s over 175 years old?”

Read the whole column at the link below:

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

How being a lazy gardener makes life a little sweeter for pollinators. Let industrious squirrels pick up the slack in the fall

These three columns focus on nature in the fall. How squirrels play an important roll in planting oak trees, how lazy gardeners are good for mother nature and why goldenrod doesn’t deserve its bad rap. Help pollinators overwinter by putting down your rakes and letting your garden look like a bit of a mess.

Fall nature series:

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

Where Are the Hispanic Executives? Why Representation and Mentoring Matter

for Hispanic Heritage Month I wanted to shine a light in a dark spot and I’m grateful that my husband let me write his story to help do that. I hope you’ll read and share.

“My husband, who is also Hispanic, has worked in manufacturing for over 25 years. He started in accounts receivable and then moved to operations, working first on a manufacturing line. He’s encountered bigotry and racism while forging his own path to upper management. One of his early supervisors thought it was cute to call him “spicktacular,” and she honestly believed she was paying him a compliment. Another manager questioned my husband’s motives when he helped a Spanish-speaking hourly worker write an incident report in English for human resources.

“Now my husband is the plant manager of a local auto manufacturing plant. He is also the only nonwhite manager at his factory. Recently, my husband came home from work with quite a different story. A Hispanic hourly worker approached him to say that because of him, she has an example for her teenage son. She tells her son, “No nomas somos trabajadores.” Which means, “We are not just workers.”

“Workplace representation matters. It not only matters for aspirational employees, but a study from McKinsey and Co. also found that diverse businesses enjoy increased profits as well as better employee engagement, access to talent and consumer insight.”

Read the full column below.

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.