Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In the wake of recent attacks on St. Louis Jews

My heart is with all the Jewish families in St. Louis. I used to live right by the cemetery that was attacked and ran past it 4-5 times/week. I made my route in such a way in order to pass it twice. Passing it always made me feel connected and I often stopped there to stretch. I didn't mean to trivialize a sacred place by stretching there but to be present with so many lives that had passed, thinking of what they'd done. I was keenly aware that many of those stones likely represented holocaust survivors. And some were older and there's something comforting about things that have been in one place for a long time.

Running for me is where I use my body to slow my mind and think more clearly. It was vital to my overcoming seizures in my early twenties when I lived in U City. Each day, I had a goal to run and I did and I felt control over my body and my mind, when I was struggling to have control over either. I was in college and needed to get through a lot of academic material. I used running to process and brainstorm. I gained writing habits and routines that I use to this day, running there. I'm heartbroken and this was my minimal connection to the 170 gravestones that were maliciously knocked over. I can only imagine the feelings of those with loved ones there. And this on the heels of bomb threats to the J the week before. It's just too much.

Our loved ones we've lain to rest are sacred in our minds. This broke into a mental space and a physical one. It cracked into something sacred and that's unacceptable.

I remember when a high school friend was the victim of anti-semitism early on in college. She had gone away to school to a rural section of the state, outside of what I then thought of as the safe-haven of St. Louis. I was completely floored and incredulous that someone would target someone for being Jewish. I knew so many Jewish kids. They were in my honors classes, arguing their points about literature. Jewish holidays at school meant classrooms were emptied. It was noteworthy and taught me a lot about considering other people. Even now if I try to tease out all the people I know who are Jewish, I can't because they are so many and so large in my life.

I remember going to a Jewish cemetery in Prague and sitting down with the prayers all around, the mossy headstones stacked nearly atop one another, weighty with WWII even 50 years later. I remember touring a concentration camp and how embarrassed I was at the emotions that flooded me and that it took everything I had at 20 to hold back my tears and horror. I hid my tears but I could not hold them in, even when I was younger and "tougher."

I remember walking through the Anne Frank house and wanting to sit on the floor alone for hours. I remember late night talks with another high school friend about her trip to Israel where she was selected to go as a religious community leader. I remember my high school boyfriend going to Israel to serve in the army. I remember so many connections to this community.

I'm so, so grateful to have grown up parallel to such a vibrant Jewish community. To the Jewish community, I hope you feel the support of all of us who sat next to you and took prom pictures with you. I'm incredibly sorry to hear that anti-semitism is alive and exists at this level of powerful.

I know you though. I grew up with you. Together we are more powerful than they are. My thoughts, heart, tears, and prayers are with you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stop Licking That, my new novel, FREE on Amazon today. Happy Valentine's Day!

Stop Licking That, my new memoir is FREE today on Amazon. Get your copy ASAP!

If you prefer paperback, you can order one below. It's not quite up on Amazon yet but soon...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kindle Version of Stop Licking That Out Today!

Stop Licking That came out today. Get your Kindle Version here.

Download a copy and help me get a fancy best-seller button, please!!

My friend sent me a yelling text where she was mad because she accidentally started reading it when she was supposed to be studying medical terminology. HA!

Praise for Stop Licking That (which is funny to type)

There were so many moments when I thought “yep, exactly. Written by a real mom and a damn funny person. I appreciated that “Stop Licking That” got serious too. Because those moments are important and deserve attention.
-Ruth Hendricks, Early Childhood Professional and mother of 2

As a Mom and Psychotherapist, “Stop Licking That!” is a must have.  Karin Mitchell tells the ridiculous and rash parts of parenting that are both hilariously honest and heart-wrenchingly truthful.  She tells the stories that every parent can relate to without feeling an ounce of shame. It’s refreshing to read about the same triumphs and disastrous fails we have all experienced on our adventure as parents. “Stop Licking That!” will absolutely be added to my shelf of must-have books!
-Sammy Charytoniuk, Licensed Professional Counselor and parent

“Karin has such a way with words. Reading this brought back that my friends and I, in High School, had licking contests. The essence of the game was to lick something your competitor was not willing to lick, like the game chickin, but with bacteria, disease, and filth being the epicenter. It was pretty foul, and hilarious. Also probably an explanation for why were often ill in high school.”
-Drew Mikita (AKA Chicken Licken), Associate Professor Psychology and doggy daddy

“I laughed out loud so hard my husband came up to ask me what was the matter.”
-Michelle Woods Pennisi, childbirth educator and doula and mother of 2

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

In response to Betsy Devos's Embarassing Purchase of Education and our Government

I sent the following letter the principal of the elementary school where my children go today.
Dear Educators at __________ Elementary School,

In my opinion, our senate did not demonstrate that they value what you have gone to school for, what you have studied, and what you know today by its sanctioning of Betsy Devos. My initial reaction was to want to pull my kids out of school and protest tomorrow. I wanted to drag my kids somewhere and post signs about what an embarrassment for us.

But upon further reflection, I believe a better idea is to tell you how much I value you and to continue to trust you with my children and their education.

The truth is, there are 8000 skills you've developed in the work you do. From teaching how to get 25 kids to put on their coats, boots, snowpants, mittens, and hats on, plus packing their back packs, to teaching them to resolve conflicts. You've taught kids how to decode a word for the first time and how to divine the author's intention in an entire selection. You teach them to create and play and kick a ball. You teach them manners. You teach them morals. You teach them to code and be aware of their thinking process as they solve problems. You have classroom management skills and interpersonal skills to deal with us, the parents.

All of you who put IDEA into action, hold a special place in my heart. For this law has truly made America better. Seeing a whole cross section of our society improve their outcomes has been the greatest gift of my professional life. Remember before IDEA? I don't. But I remember studying the institutionalization of children with disabilities and how parents were told that their children couldn't learn before the federal government required a Free Appropriate Public Education for ALL children. Seeing these kids who started with you, move on to's the right thing to move us forward as a nation. I don't care so much about how we score on standardized measures as I care how we treat those who needed our help. Did they get it?

I feel like at this school, they did. You implement this law on an ongoing basis and make our country better.

Our kiddos, you care for them and push rigor and expect things of them. You nurture the best parts of kids. ALL kids. What you do is the most important work there is. You raise the next generation.

Getting the required degrees impacts your ability to do this great task. I know how meaningful my degree continues to be 15 years after graduating with my undergraduate degree. What you choose to study and pursue and do, it impacts how you proceed through the world. And our district pushes teachers to pursue excellence. You tirelessly study how to be better at teaching and I value that. You attend ongoing teacher in services and earn master's degrees and participate in team coaching. These things matter.

It is important to me to try to do something additive after seeing this vote today. So I thought of who has touched my life most in the field of education and it is absolutely this school. So tomorrow, I'll send my kids there. Because I know teaching degrees matter. Public Education matters. Experience and expertise matter. And you have it.

Thank you. I value you.

And know if you need to commit to any sort of direct action in the future, that this parent will have your back.

With warmest respect,
Karin Mitchell