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Gender Equality/ Give Back

3 Tips for Effective Political Activism

American flag waving off front porch

It’s an exciting time to be an American.

Many of the cultural norm dinosaurs that generations have accepted (sexual assault, anyone?) are coming under the gun. Citizens that have spent their entire life as armchair political commentators are taking action, filing to run for office, starting nonprofits, and showing up to protests, petitions, and other policy-changing initiatives.

Even the most apathetic, apolitical individual is finding their community and their values at risk of powerful players championing status quo or radical evolution. The challenging American political climate is impacting everyone, from all walks of life, and inspiring many to become more active than they ever thought was possible.

Having a society of community-invested citizens is a great thing; however, being an effective activist can be kinda complicated in our super information-saturated world. As many of my (and probably your) Facebook friends continue to demonstrate, posting 400 mocking, politically charged memes into their social media-facilitated echo chamber of cloned colleagues doesn’t exactly translate into making our world a better place.

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Money Matters/ Tiny House

Tiny Living: Rethinking the Dream House

small white house in the city

Houses have never really meant that much to me.

Maybe it’s because I lived in over fourteen different ones before turning 18.

Maybe it’s because I ended up upside down on my very first house purchase, thanks to the mortgage crash of 2008.

Maybe it’s because all my most treasured memories take place outside my house – on a desolate beach at dawn, breathing in the 14,000 ft view that inspired the authorship of “America the Beautiful”, or snuggled up to my soldier post-deployment in temporary military housing.

Houses – big or small – don’t seem to make much of a difference to the inhabitants regarding the quality of life. I’ve known many a miserable person to live a 7,000 customized square feet, and met many a happy individual to have little more than a tent to call their “home”.

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Career Advice/ Veteran/Military

The Military Spouse Career Crisis

soldier with dogtags

This post was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse in 2015. Unfortunately, many of the employment challenges discussed have yet to be effectively alleviated within the military community. It’s my hope that through continued advocacy and awareness, military spouses and caregivers will be economically valued and no longer discriminated against in the competitive job market.

Did you know that a sector of the military community is 90% jobless or underemployed?

Did you know this sector earns 38% less than their civilian counterparts?

Did you know that even those with doctorate experience unemployment of 15.56%?

Meet the Military Spouse: a dedicated individual that pledges loyalty and devotion to the brave men and women in uniform. The military spouse commits to frequent relocation, spouse absence for months to years at a time, foregoing professional opportunities that conflict with service demands, and is often left to pick up the pieces where subpar government programs leave off.

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Entrepreneurship/ Money Matters

5 Student Loan Strategies for Millennial Entrepreneurs

jar of coins

Student debt is a big deal for many millennials.

That “educational investment” yield a lower ROI than expected?

Over 40 million Americans currently struggle with student loans, with the national burden of federal student debt rising over $1 trillion

Yowsers!

The average student debt load for today’s millennials recently registered at over $35,000 – a financial obligation that can put the “no-go” on many costly life events, such as getting married, having kids, and buying a home. A 2015 survey by Bankrate indicated that 56 percent of people ages18 to 29 have put off major life events – even purchasing a car and saving for retirement – because of student debt.

Many of you may be thinking, “Yep – that’s me!”

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Ranch Living/ Travel Notes

Exploring Dodge City, Fort Larned, and Spearville, Kansas

cowboy and pack horse riding in sunset

As described in the Willie Nelson song “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, I’ve had “things” for all-things ranching since an early age.

While other girls were playing with Barbies and wearing tutus, I spent my time tending a Breyer horse herd and clambering around in fringed cowboy boots. There was always only one thing I wanted to grow up to be: a cowgirl. Not a poufy hair rodeo queen cowgirl (I ended up doing that briefly, due to my need for scholarships), but a real-life, cowpoke with land, cattle, and horses to her name.

Hence, one of the first places I’d longed to see since we received orders to move to Kansas was the legendary Wild West town of Dodge City.

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Ranch Living/ Tiny House

Becoming Kansan

abandoned Kansas farmhouse

If you’ve ever met me in person, it’s no secret that I’m not a native Kansan.

I drop way too many “y’all’s”, own way too many sundresses, and spend too much time researching the ultimate fried chicken recipes to be considered a natural born child of the Sunflower State.

So how’d I end up living on a recently revived homestead nestled in the Flint Hills? By quite the circuitous route.

It all started in Memphis, TN – our nation’s most dangerous city. I was raised in the shadow of Elvis, half a dozen Evangelical (or Fundamentalist, depending on your political leanings) cult leaders, and the ultimate sweet sauce BBQ. Continue Reading…

Ranch Living/ Travel Notes

An Old Fashioned Chase County, Kansas Christmas

Spring Hill Ranch house decorated for Christmas

Chase County, Kansas is one of my favorite places on earth.

It tops the list of places I’d like to live.

While it may not look like much according to its Census Bureau stats (less than 3,000 people, miles away from the closest grocery store, terrible cell reception, almost no infrastructure), Chase County is a community with a whole lot of heart.

Hailed as one of the crown jewels of the picturesque Flint Hills, Chase County’s strategically situated as a quiet hamlet along the Flint Hills Scenic Byway (K-177), nestled up against the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and its impressive buffalo herds. Chase County has a ton of history, a gorgeous Courthouse, and lots of unique cultural events (ever heard of the Symphony in the Flint Hills? It’s amazing.).

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Give Back/ Technology

5 Ways to Use Coding Skills for Good

HTML code on laptop screen

Coding is a powerful skill.

It lets you create web pages, develop new sites, and even build apps.

Knowing how to write code in HTML/CSS, Python, Javascript, etc. is often hailed as one of the most in-demand skills of the 21st century. Whatever industry or career stage you’re in, the ability to code can catapult your professional path into a totally amazing dream work orbit.

So learning to code can give you the hook-up on amazing, Recession-proof job opportunities, increased income potential, and legit entrepreneurial opportunities that have the potential to land you the coveted titled of tech’s Next Big Thing.

But, know what else coding offers? The opportunity to give back.

Regardless of your coding skill level – super beginner to programming pro – there are multiple ways to give back through your coding experience, paving the way for new tech talent and opening doors for mission-focused organizations.

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Millennials/ Money Matters

A Millennial’s Take on the Great Recession

Abandoned house

My grandmother was born in 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression.

Her father died when she was four or five years old, leaving a young and vulnerable family with no resources. My grandmother, along with her siblings were sent to live with relatives and neighbors. The only memories my grandmother has shared regarding this particularly challenging time in her early life are a few anecdotes regarding working on the host farms in which she lived.

As our country surged through World War II and the economy began to recover, my grandmother’s life improved considerably. She became a beautician, opened her own beauty salon, traveled to NYC and Hawaii, and eventually, married a  veterinarian. All the material comforts and basics securities she missed out on as a Depression era baby, she realized through the remaining 70 years of her adult life.

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Give Back/ Ranch Living

Spread some Llama Love on Giving Tuesday

Hannah Becker holding a llama for Heifer INnternational Giving Tuesday

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday – let’s talk Giving Tuesday.

A relatively new campaign, Giving Tuesday was introduced by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to holiday themes of non-stop consumerism.

By shifting the focus from buying stuff to  helping others, Giving Tuesday provides an awesome opportunity for people just like you and me to donate resources (time, money, food) to organizations dedicated to making our world a better place.

I’ve sworn off the post-Thanksgiving shopping activities for the past five years. Instead of standing in line for more stuff, I’ve made it a priority to support at least one organization on Giving Tuesday.

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