Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving was low-key for us this year, especially because I had to go to work at 2:30 am on Friday.

Craig cooked up a storm (as usual) and we are STILL eating leftovers. Thank goodness tonight is the LAST night of leftovers - I don't want to see turkey until NEXT Thanksgiving. The menu was YUMMY though: fried turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, candied yams, cresent rolls, corn, homemade pumpkin pie & homemade peach cobbler.Yes - all that food and there was only 5 of us.

My sister spent the holiday with us. It was nice to spend time with her and I love watching her & Chelsea bond. Chelsea is SO much like Christa, sometimes its scary. But still, they are like 2 peas-in-a-pod and I love that family bond. I want my children to grow up with all their family in their life, not just immediate.

Anyway, the 5 of us chowed down! Justin munched on a turkey leg (I should have taken pictures) and Christa (aka Dita to the kids) munched on a wing. The rest of us just filled our plates (and our bellies) and had a blast.

The only thing that would have made this Thanksgiving better would have been to have the rest of my family here - and maybe even Craig's family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's been a while

It's been a while since you've heard from me. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, but I was having problems logging on to my own blog on Freewebs (trust me, I have a LOT to say). Oh well, I'm back to using this site & will be indefinately.

A lot has happened since you last heard from me. My assignment at LM ended and I suddenly found myself unemployed. That was ok with me. I had a plan. I was going to collect unemployment & start going back to school; study something like sonography. O fcourse, we prayed that God would provide for our family. He had a plan - which was TOTALLY different from mine.

I was unemployed for about a week when I got a call from my temp agency. They had a job assignment for me - in retail. UGH! I don't have anything against retail. I've done my tour in retail. I'm over it. Retail was supposed to be a VERY last resort. Yet it became my ONLY resort.

So, now I am working full time at the local outlet mall in a tool/vacuum store. Which is really funny since I do not use either tools OR vacuums. The hours kill me, so do the weekend shifts. Too much time away from the family - but it's a job.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Craig's favorite holiday! It's all about FOOD! Fried turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie & peach cobbler. YUMMY!!!! It's going to be low key this year. Just the 4 of us & my sister, Christa. A nice relaxing day - maybe even light a fire & just veg.

There is so much for us to be thankful for. Jobs, beautiful healthy children, loving families, outstanding friends, a home. God is SO faithful.

Many blessings to you & yours this Thanksgiving season.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Many blessings...

Our country is faced with the worst economic situation since the 1920's (Great Depression). People are losing their jobs, houses, everything. Even major corporations are going under.

Just a month ago, I was laid off. The job that I was working as a temp came to an end. It was bittersweet. Of course, we paniced - I lost a job & we need that income.

Craig & I prayed. We prayed that God would provide for us; that He would bring me a new job.

You know what? He did!!! He, once again, has proven that He is faithful. Within a week of losing my job, I was offered another one. This time it was retail - DEFINITELY not something I wanted. Yet it was 40 hours a week & the pay is good.

While my time with my family is awkward because of my schedule, God has provided me with an opportunity to work.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This is MY story

I start my story at around age 14. Sad, that I can’t remember the exact age, but maybe that’s just for the best.

I had begun attending a youth group in a nearby town. It started off small – maybe 5 kids & the youth pastor. We met in someone’s living room. But then it took off. Teens came from all over to be a part of this youth group. Eventually we grew out of that living room & started meeting in a local church. Our youth pastor was this amazing guy. Maybe 25 years old just got back from seminary in Seattle. At least that’s what I remember. We would meet every Tuesday night… Monday nights were set aside for Christian Skate Night at a local roller rink. Youth group opened my eyes up to life beyond my small little town. I wasn’t the only Christian teen. I heard new music and went on adventures.

B*, our youth pastor, was this really charismatic guy. The kind of guy you wanted to be around. We flocked to him. What you didn’t get at home, you could get from him – love & acceptance. B took us everywhere. If you needed a ride to skating or group, he would pick you up in a huge van.

For a while, I had an interest in writing. I was always writing poems, plays & short stories. Because our youth group was SO large (we got up to 80 teens at one point), I started a newspaper/newsletter. Just about the goings on of group – trips, activities, etc. A few of the other girls from group helped me with it….

I didn’t drive – so B would pick me up & bring me to the church to use their typewriter & copier. It was always a group of us, but this one night, I was the only one who could make it. After finishing the typing on the newsletter, I was cutting out some clip art (yes, actual clip art from a book) to use. I was sitting at the church secretary’s desk working; B came up behind me and started massaging my shoulders. No big deal – right? I was feeling really uncomfortable. I remember getting up & walking around because I was that uncomfortable. It wasn’t just massaging. He would move my bra straps & try to peer down my shirt – but it was all very ‘innocent’. But something in my brain screamed at me. After that, I tried to never be alone with him again.

This was the 80's - the decade of SPANDEX BIKE SHORTS. And yes, B would ALWAYS wear them. Of course, I was so naive to life that I never really noticed how indecent they were.

It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I figured out something was wrong. I knew that I was uncomfortable around B, but never really understood why.

I was walking home from work on Sunday evening. It was spring, so it wasn’t that dark out. I had worked at a local ice cream place. I stopped by my friend’s house on the way home, but she wasn’t there. So I continued the walk home. You’ve got to realize, my town was TINY!!! 1 square mile – or was it 1 mile square. Either way – it was small. I was about a block from my house. It was darker now. Maybe the street lights were on. I was walking and there was someone else walking to. I think he might have crossed the street and came on my side. I don’t remember that well because it has been so long, plus it all happened so fast. He reached out & grabbed my breast. He made a rude comment. I pulled away & ran home. Police were called & about a week later an arrest was made. That incident opened up my eyes to what was going on with B. He was molesting me & MANY other girls in the youth group.

During this whole old man situation (the attack on the street), I also told my parents about B. They did the biblical thing; approached B with my accusations. He vehemently denied them – of course. My parents believed me, so they took the next step. Talk to the elders of the church. Eventually, I was asked to leave the church. Youth group was disbanded & had to stop meeting at the church they were using and I was an outcast. My Christian family deserted me.

I’ll be honest… I hated God. I couldn’t believe that all of that happened to me and I was the one who got tossed. These were God’s people… and they left me when I was hurting the most. They rallied around B – he had a history of abuse which made it acceptable to be an abuser. The worst part – I KNEW I wasn’t the only one. There were about 15 other girls who he was doing this to, but no one would come forward. In fact, those girls made my life miserable. They all blamed me for trying to ruin B’s life.

I stopped attending church by then.. not just THAT church, but any church. I hated God. Just like that. Done.

I coasted through high school with a string of broken hearts. Graduated, went off to college, came back & went to community college. At 19, I was working at The Gap and having fun. I met up with an ex-boyfriend from high school and we went out. I had to go home because I needed to watch my foster sibling (I can’t remember which one we had at the time). I do remember it being toward the end of April. My parents were out & my Grandmother went home. It was just me & D*. A lot had changed at my house since we dated, so I showed him around. My room was moved up to the attic, so we went up there. We started kissing, groping. He told me that he knew that I had had sex with someone & was upset that I wouldn’t have sex with him when we were dating. He wanted to be my first. He said that it belonged to him. Right there in my room, he took off my pants & laid me on the bed. I cried. He sexually assaulted me. Then he left.

A few days later, watching ‘The Accused’ on TV, I started to realize what had happened that night. I had been sexually assaulted. Even though there wasn't penetration, it was still a sexual assault. Still just as damaging.

A year later, I was dating a guy named N*. He was a nice guy. I had been friends with him for a bit before dating and always had a great time. We were hanging out at his mother’s house with his friend, W*; just watching some TV in his room. His mom & brother were in the living room, right next door. At some point, N got up & put a weight in front of his bedroom door. I didn’t think anything of it. The next thing I remember is N & W taking turns raping me. Right now, you’re probably thinking – if N’s mom & brother were in the next room, why didn’t you scream? Trust me, I screamed as loud as I could. They also took turns holding a pillow over my face so I couldn’t be heard.

If I wasn’t angry with God before!! In the course of 6 years, I had been sexually attacked by 5 different guys. There must have been something wrong with me. God must have really hated me. I wouldn’t leave my room, I couldn’t sleep. Things got bad. I was drinking like a fish & having sex with just about any guy I knew; friends with benefits. If I was worthless, I might as well enjoy myself, right?

In 1993 (I was 20), I was looking at some old pictures. I came across a picture of me & The Mayor from when we dated years before (when we were 15). Something inside of me told me that he was who I was supposed to be with. I was going to call him, but chickened out. What if he didn’t remember me? What if he remembered me, but hated me? What if he was married? I did something that night – still not sure why – that I hadn’t done in years. I prayed. I prayed that if I ever had a 2nd chance with The Mayor, I would make it work.

A few days later, I was on the phone with a friend. Something happened & we got disconnected. I hung up the phone & it rang immediately. Figuring it was her calling back, I answered with some rude comment. But it wasn’t her. It was a guy on the other line….. guess who? THE MAYOR! He was on winter break from college and had been thinking about me. He finally got the courage up to call me & got in touch with my dad. My dad then gave him my number. As you could imagine, I was dumbfounded. I just sat there saying ‘Oh my God’ repeatedly.

We went out the next night. I told him all that had happened to me. He needed to know what he was getting himself into. The Mayor loved me IN SPITE of what happened – just like God loves us in spite of what we do!!!

We’ve been together ever since. What brought me back to God? An answered prayer. I’ve learned that God didn’t desert me through all of it…. He LOVED me. It broke his heart each time I was abused. Yet through my anger, He still loved me. That was the beginning of my road to becoming a SURVIVOR.

I am not a rape victim. I am a rape survivor. Those things that happened, yes, they initially broke me. But I am a MUCH stronger person for it. I don't wish any of it on my worst enemy, but I know how good can come out of something SO bad.

*these names have been omitted to 'protect' the identity of the accused.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Men having babies

As a parent, there are conversations you will eventually have with your children: lying, sex, drugs, dating, drinking, etc. Never in a million years did I think that I would have to explain to my children how a man gave birth to a baby.

From childhood, you learned the story of Adam & Eve. Because Eve dispbeyed God & ate from the tree of knowledge, she was given labor pains (I'm giving you the Cliff Notes). No where in the Bible or throughout history have you ever heard of a man bearing a child. Yet in today's wonderfu world of chaos, that has made headlines.

Many of you know the story - it's been in the news recently. A 'man' on the West Coast was pregnant & gave birth to a baby. How is this possible? Simple! Doctors are playing God!! This person was born a femail & was not comfortable living as a female. So, they decided to undergo hormone treatments & sex change operations so that they could live as a man. They look like a man, act like a man & even sound like a man. 'He' even got married. His wife couldn't bear children, so since 'he' still had his 'girl parts', the decided that HE should become impregnated. WHO THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA!?!?!?!

Somehow my children got wind of this story, so I gently explained to them how it happened. Not a conversation a parent ever thinks they are going to have with their children. I think I would have been more comfortable telling them about the birds & the bees.

Yet again, society has forced me to take away yet another link in my children's armor of innocence. Is it too late to get a house on the moon??

Many blessings,

Back to blogging

I'm back & badder than ever! Actually, I'm just back.

We finally got internet up & running at the house, which means I am back to blogging. So much has gone on the past few weeks and I've needed to get some stuff off my chest.

But before I do that, I have to explain why the new blog address.... for some reason, my original site is 'blocked' at home. I'm trying to figure out what went wrong (some of my best stuff is on there). Eventually, I'll import it to this site, but for now I'm moving forward.

Just wanted to give you an update.

Stay tuned!

Many blessings,