Excuse Me, are you listening? 13-18

 Dear Readers,

It is that time of year when I begin to clean up my life.  I begin the process of getting ready for winter.  I prefer to do things without the hindrance of snow and a coat on.  It takes so much longer to do things when it is snowing.  
I was going to write when the weather is bad but is the weather really bad?  I mean we live in Michigan, the northern part of the United States, of course it is going to snow.
I think I have one more button to sew on that fell off last year.  It seemed like the snow went on forever last year.  You hardly had enough strength to shovel let alone check for loose buttons.  
This year I got an early start.  Remember the new New Year.  I will refresh your memory.  
For some reason, I never felt quite prepared as the ball dropped in New York City ringing in the New Year.  It was always cold and snow was piled up somewhere.  Anyone with real intentions of making a resolution is bound to fail, at least in my opinion.  Working out means that you may have to go to the gym in a parka and boots.  You will have to bring your clothes to change in which are usually really heavy because you have to dress warm.  Even the idea of getting out of work, cleaning your car off, going to the gym, lugging all of your new workout clothes and sneakers to a strange gym that you may not have been to before is frightening.  Then after you sweat, you have to go back to your car and clean the snow off again?  My goodness.  Who wants to keep a resolution to workout or get fit?  
So a few years ago I decided to make my new year on October 1st.  It is great because I have the extra benefit of making my winter prep list like I would do while getting ready for the holidays.  I think they have so many holidays back to back just for the folks who have snow and nasty weather.  We have to get excited about something.
So starting in September, I start the process of donating clothes and household items that I no longer use or want.  It is so much easier to do that without the snow.  I am sure you agree.
I have already sent my coats to the cleaners, checked for fraying spots and loose buttons. That one coat left to sew a button,  I am going to need to get a thimble for that one.  
Use the skills that you have instead of rushing.  If you know how to sew, take your time and sew the button back on.  There is nothing like loosing a button and not remembering what you did with the replacement button.  This applies to both males and females.  Men should be able to sew as well.
Get your vehicle in order as well too.  Getting an oil change is the best thing that you can do to prepare for the winter.  The next thing is to get new wipers and tools to clean the ice off of your windows.  
I even start looking around for salt for the winter early.  Last year, the stores ran out mid winter.  Get your shovels ready and everything else you will need to keep things moving smoothly.
On another note, I think that football season started early.  I do not watch football but I have been watching the coverage about Janay Rice and Ray Rice, who was recently suspended from the Baltimore Ravens for domestic violence.
I am responding to the situation as a survivor of domestic violence and also as media.  I am praying for Janay as I am for every woman in a domestic violence situation. I have myself in the past gone back to someone who physically abused me.  It is a cycle.  I still see people who have not been able to break the cycle.  This goes for both men and women.  Yes, men can be victims of domestic violence as well.  
Ray Rice has lost a lot from his actions.  The video in my opinion should not have been released to the public.  As a victim, Janay should have the right to privacy.  The tape was played over and over again in the media as if it were the news of the year. 
Janay took to Instagram, which is a form of social media to express her concerns.  Unfortunately, Janay did not “control the narrative” by fully expressing herself in my humble opinion.  She is a woman who is in turmoil.  Ray is a man who should have been thinking about the ramifications of what hitting Janay would bring.  Janay in her Instagram message said, “To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.” I agree with her. However, I would ask her about herself.  I believe people were more upset about the way he dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator and left her feet dangling between the elevator doors.  That was pretty horrific.
Janay is standing by  her man.  I am hoping unlike so many others, they actually get counseling and work out their problems.  I pray that behind closed doors he is not blaming her for losing contracts, fans and or his position on the Ravens.  Janay just know that we will continue to pray for you and the “happiness” that you seek.  I hope that continuing “to grow & show the world what real love is!” is something that both you and Ray can actually accomplish.  Everyone deserves a second chance and so does Janay.  I wonder what would have happened if his blow was fatal or her response to his punch was to retaliate with violence.  
It  has been difficult for abused women in my town recently.  Never forget those who are abused.  A woman and her son murdered.  A doctor murdered.  What would have been the response if they would have struck back in self defense?  What would have been yours?  Again, I am praying for all who are in abusive relationships and also for those who survive them.
Love people,
Rina Risper
This column was printed in the September 21, 2014 – October 4, 2014