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Faithful Friday 10-26-07

I think my life is set on FAST FORWARD.  You ever see that movie with Jim Carrey, where he hits FF through his life?  That’s how I feel lately.  I’ve not stopped to take a lunch break for a week, and my devotions have slipped a little to the side.  Okay lets see…I’ve done devotions one night out of the last 4.  I’d say they’ve slipped majorly to the side.

Tonight I will set more time aside just for Him and our time, before bed time.  And I know God will warmly welcome me with open arms.  Although I don’t run off and binge into bad behavior, when I don’t have my alone time with God, I do forget to make Him a priority when I get busy.  Thankfully He is faithfully there waiting, to receive me when I snap back into reality.

You see the reality of this life is that most of us are just too busy to make time for a relationship with God.  But the sweet reality of Christ is that he loves us so much, he’ll wait until we come to him on bended knee in prayer.

If you’re spinning through life, like I have in the last 2 weeks, I hope you’ll make it a priority to take 5 minutes out of your day for God’s presence in your heart and life.  He’s faithfully waiting for you…Will you be faithful in your quest for Him?

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Long time no see

Okay so many of you have noticed that I haven’t blogged in over a week. It’s a first for me, but a necessary thing when you’ve been as busy as I have. And to be honest some of the days, when I may have had a spare minute, my brain wasn’t set for blog mode. It was set to cruise mode, or on empty…take your pick.

Life has been very busy as of late. My son’s soccer season ended last weekend, which means I can get back to my yoga classes on Saturday mornings. All the parents on his team bought pictures from me from the games this season.

Last night was their soccer awards banquet, and nothing was more fulfilling than watching all these children smile when they got their medals. But getting paid for a CD of pictures, tailored for each family, was a close second. I put my heart and soul into taking those shots.

I took the individual shots at the end of the season as well. I had my husband print them out at work and put them in a black folder, so each kid would have their own poster at their chair last night. I loved sharing my pictures with them, and hope the parents loved those pics as much as I did.

Love to you all…I will blog again soon. Please keep me in your prayers. I have a lot to decide on this month. Thanks!

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Faithful Fridays 10-12-7

In 1995, one huge tragic second in time tore thousands of lives apart amidst tons of steel, brick, and glass. Any Oklahoman, living here in 1995, can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when the blast went off. One second in time changed our state forever. The impact of that loaded Ryder truck hit much more than it’s target. It damaged building for miles around the federal building. My parents felt and heard the impact from 45 miles away. They were supposed to be at the federal building that morning, but at the last minute decided not to take the trek downtown. I’ll thank God my whole life for leading them to their last minute decision.

For weeks, millions of people were glued to their television sets, as we wondered who on earth could viciously attack in the middle of the heartland. Day by day, the focus was on the rescue of anyone who may still have survived the mess that lay in the middle of our downtown. Eventually as time went on, we sadly watched the clean up and recovery of any thing that could identify the victims.

Our nation not only awoke to the terror that can happen in our own back yard, but saw something bigger. They saw the heart of our people bonding together in efforts to prevail over any situation…at all costs. Volunteers came for miles…not just from Oklahoma…but from states across the nation. Pride began to swell seeing the love and care we all had for our own fellow man. The determination and the organization Oklahoma showed was bar none nothing less than impressive. We stood tall and said…we will not be defeated.

When our children were killed or injured, we decided to stand up and fight back. When our loved ones were lost, we were determined to fight for them harder than any homegrown or international terrorist ever imagined. Our continued efforts to keep moving forward said that Oklahoman’s…American’s….do not roll over! We stood together in numbers to make sure the whole world knew that we are survivors…and fighters.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is now erected in rememberance to those that were killed. It’s serves to educate, all that visit, about violence … on any level… and to inspire hope. Anyone that ever travels this way should definitely stop by to visit. It’s an amazingly spiritual place. You can almost feel the whisper of those lost, whirling around you, as you pay respects.

I’ve been so impressed by the heart of our people and how they came together during the bombing tragedy. Hundreds took off work to get down town to volunteer in any way they could. When water was in short supply, businesses would show up with truck loads of bottled water. Businesses shut down business as they knew it for one thing only…to give what they could to provide anything needed for the volunteers.

Because of instances like these, major businesses wanted to move to our great state. They wanted to support us and employ the people, that showed such heart. In the last 12 years, Oklahoma’s development has exploded…our down town renovation…our construction projects…our arts community…our sports community…and many many more things to come.

For example, according to the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Website, Oklahoma City is quickly becoming recognized for its growing rowing community and world-class racing venue. The city celebrated the opening of the new $3.5 million Chesapeake Boathouse in January 2006. Located on the banks of the Oklahoma River near downtown, the Chesapeake Boathouse has been hailed as a landmark presence along the river and is a destination worth visiting in itself.

Last night I sat and watched my husband row with his corporate team at the 2007 Oklahoma Centennial Regatta Festival. I was watching these teams from all over the world, who flocked to our state for this event. They’re now saying they’ll use our canal for Olympic qualifying races. I watched all these beautiful boats, and I was amazed at how far this city and state have come along. It was so bitter sweet! Although happy for the national attention in things that are moving into our state, I’ve always known what a wonderful state I’ve lived in. Part of me wonders if too much attention will ruin the secret wonders of this place. For now, it’s just good to live here and see the progression of our state.

Although the Bombing was horrible and irreversible tragedy, it set all these ripples in motion. It gave the rest of the world a view of our spirit, and made them realize what a wonderful people we really are here. They saw our sense of kinship, and realized that maybe they wanted some of what we had. So they all started coming…major companies, sports, and events….right to the heartland.

This faithful friday, although a day late, just take time to be thankful for what you have and how you got to exactly where you are. Bad things happen in life, and God never promised us an easy road. The second sin entered into the world, evil started on it’s path of destruction. But as we go on our own journey, it’s important to stand tall in our faith…in our kinship with Christ. He’ll support through our own trials with us, if we only ask. And one day, just like those living in Oklahoma, you can look back and see how far He’s carried you.

Here’s a pic of my husband’s race at the regatta.

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Boys Club in Corporate America

How many women can raise their hands in agreement that this is a real phenomenon? It’s not something imagined by the female work force. It’s something the male pack will try to sweep under the rug, while they hire the females out of EEO, and then go about recruiting more men into their elite club.

It’s noticed every time a man, who’s less skilled and been in a position shorter than his female co-workers, gets the coveted promotion. It’s especially noticed when it’s leaked that he got the notification of his new job over drinks the night before, the official announcement at the office the next day. A night prior, where no female co-workers were invited.

It’s noticed especially in this post where women are discriminated against because they’re the care takers of the family. So when the kids get sick, this mom (first) worker (second) takes off work to nurture them back to health.

Understandably, I don’t want to be a man! I’m not jealous of the testosterone raging through their system and what those hormones offer. I love being a woman, who knows her abilities, and can do anything I put my mind too. I just get tired of most men in this world using that against us.

I think next time a male co-worker gets special treatment….I’m going to scream. I propose, we women, come up with our ‘HEAR ME ROAR’ Women’s Club. I’m not sure what we’d do to counteract except network with all the wives of our male conter parts. We’d have to swear them into our club so that when one of these men does something blantant, in the name of their club, they’d promise to withhold certain wifely duties indefinitely.

Obviously the above scenario is not an option. Obviously not all women face this issue. To be honest, I used to a whole lot more at my previous employer’s place of business than I do now. It’s just sad that it never trully goes away. There’s never a true balanced playing field. And I don’t know if that’s because when it comes down to it, all men (whether they admit it or not) back track to their animal instincts and think, “Me man…I hunt and kill. You woman… you cook and clean.” I don’t know if it’s just easier to communicate with their own sex, so they prefer to promote and support their own kind. What ever the cause, it’s still a sad thing to see a woman working a lot harder to prove herself and her male co-worker sitting back enjoying the fruits of his minimal labor.

****I apologize in advance for any offense anyone may take to this article. I by no means suggest that all men are this way. I know some very giving generous men, who would never retreat to this behavior. So please if you’re one of those wonderfully kind men, who are reading this….take no offense.

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Faithful Fridays

Children are such a blessing. Those, with out kids, will never know the impact these children make on parent’s lives. It’s just not possible to understand until you live your life as a parent. One can come close….but it’s not the same when you don’t experience watching your own child thrive and grow…or feeling the hurt when they stumble and fall. It’s a whole new world being a parent, and my life will never be the same. I wouldn’t want it to.

That hard edge of my personality came crumbling down, the second I became a mom. It was no longer about me and my wants. It was about something bigger…my son’s essence of life and his future. I became fully responsible for an entirely different life and lifestyle. Most mom’s embrace this…but sadly some mom’s don’t. I know it takes all kinds of different people to run this world, so I do not judge those who don’t ‘get’ it. I’m just glad I’m one of those mom’s who ‘do’ get it.

My mother, thankfully, got it too. If not for her, I may not have made it in one piece. She always told me that I would have two hyper active boys, that I’d have to chase after constantly, to pay me back for how hyper I was. I was the kid with long hair, in braids, doing cart wheels down the grocery aisles. She’d find me by listening for the click-click-click, from my pony tails holders hitting the floor, when my braids would coming whirling around. I was the kid that would see something and blurt out my first thought like, “mom that woman sure is ugly”, which would send my mother taking the fastest corner she could take in our grocery cart to get away and hide. I was that kid…lots of energy, honesty, and creativity. All that in one bundle usually is a recipe for disaster. I landed in the ER with serious injuries 3 times in a 3 month period. Not because my mom wasn’t watching out for me…but just because I was every where all at once in full stride.

My son is all of this but thank goodness for me hasn’t had the urge to push his limits when it comes to dangerous activity. He’s not the dare devil I was so far. He’s the kid that will do anything to make you smile, but that has trouble expressing his anger. He’s aggressive but sweet. He’s the kid that will stop a waiter, who’s flustered, to ask him if he’s frustrated. He truly wants to know how a stranger feels and why. Of course this ends up making the once stressed kid, waiting tables and having an obvious bad day, smile and take extra care in how he works his day. My son’s the kid that makes other’s day by just being himself.

Today’s faithful fridays is a message of contentment. God’s ever faithfulness in giving me the family I have and blessing me with each new day with all of them. The blessings my mother bestowed to me, to learn what a good mom is, have helped me nurture this wonderfully creative child, who’s got the sweetest spirit about him. Each day I learn about my mom, by walking in her shoes. And each day I learn about myself, by seeing my son walk in mine. It’s an important role we have as mothers or parents, because our kids watch everything we do…whether we know it or not. We need to be careful what we pass on to them, for their heritage and lineage.

I thank God that He’s blessed me with my family, and how much I learn from them every minute of the day. If it weren’t for Him in the center of it all, we wouldn’t have survived thus far!

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Stripping Down to the Bare ….wall (what did you think I meant?)

More Home Improvement 101!

My house has had a dark hallway with wall paper, that I’m sure other’s would feel was very pretty but I haven’t been able to stand. It’s tasteful sure…but not my taste. The colors were beautiful, but too dark to give the first impression of my home as one of serenity. Instead when you walked in, you felt like you were in a cave.

About 4 years ago, I put one of those solar tubes in my roof to give it some light. I was hoping the mirror in this hallway would reflect the sun’s rays and give this hallway some light. It helped, but still felt depressing to me. So this year I’d had enough! I couldn’t wait to strip it all down! I thought it would be a simple job, but no no no! I should learn that nothing with me is easy.

My son, thankfully, loves to help. We scraped the paper, sprayed on the solution, and tried to scrape. Unfortunately, that magical solution which was supposed to loosen the paper was NOT working. Back up plan…I got out my shirt steamer and started to go inch by inch…steam and peel. Next, I found a lovely surprise underneath….80’s vintage baby blue flowers on pink paper that had been applied with industrial paste. The home builder had troweled on a super human paste that hermetically sealed the paper on it’s walls.

Finally, after 3 weeks of peeling two layers of nasty wall paper off, I got to take my trip to Lowes! My aunt gave me a gift certificate and it was just enough to pick my #61 Carmello Venetian plaster and all the tools I’d need! Yeah, I couldn’t wait to get home and start putting it on. One spatula swipe at time, I layered this awesome paint on my hallway walls. It went on fast….dried fast…and polished easy! This was well worth the hassle of stripping that crud off my walls!

Now I walk in and just stop and stare at my hallway. I’d be happy sitting in it for hours. In fact, I’m thinking of buying a small bench to set in the entry way. Not only does it look good, but by dumb luck I picked out a color that perfectly coordinates with the floor tile. I didn’t even think about the tile when I picked out my paint. I’m like that … I’ll see something and just sense it’ll work. I’m sure subconsciously my brain knew it would all work together.

I just had to put my pics up….I’m so content with my old..new home.

Round 1

Round 2

The finished product…ahhhh! I still have some touching up to do around the doorways and woodwork…but here’s how it looks so far!

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Our children’s survival

Each day, as a parent, one wonders how safe is it out there for our children. With the television/film industry glorifying crime on the screen, and pushing it’s limits of what’s allowed as general viewing…you have to wonder what effect it has on the American public. How can we as parent’s educate our children without scaring them to death? It’s a fine balance in giving your children the facts, and handing your children the means to live in fear.

As a rape survivor, I know too well how scary it can be for those of us out there that were ill informed. My mom always answered any question I had growing up. She gave me the stranger danger talk growing up, but I don’t ever remember a pro-active conversation about sexual predators and how that could effect me or anyone I knew.

I don’t blame my parent’s for not bridging that conversation…they didn’t know it would be needed. How do we as parent’s know what’s needed to protect our child, if we haven’t lived it personally or through someone else’s story? My parent’s never experienced this type of trauma, or knew anyone else that did. I’ve never sat and wondered what my life would be like if they had.

I am, who I am, because of my life’s circumstances, and am blessed to be exactly where I am. I have survived my past and forgiven my transgressor. It took a while, but I learned to have a healthy relationship. I thank God that He brought me through exactly to where and when He did, so that I’d meet my wonderful husband.

The reason I’m writing this??

To make sure you all are aware of HOW IMPORTANT it is to educate your children in the ways of the world. According to RAINN, every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. And that’s cases that are reported! I didn’t report my case…it makes me wonder how many women, men, or children do not report their cases.

To give you some hope, I have included a blog from a friend, who did educate her daughter. She taught her daughter the facts, which ended saving her life! Please read my friend, Sarvin’s, story. Please pass my blog on to others, so that they’re made aware on how taking 2 minutes to talk to your child can make such a huge impact on their lives! Her and her daughter’s story is below:

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While her father slept on the couch, his friend “Ben” lured my daughter into his bedroom under the guise of talking there, so that they didn’t disturb anyone. Of course, she went. My daughter had known Ben since she was a little girl and she trusted him.

In the bedroom he talked about common interests. Interests, that for the last couple of months he’d used to get closer to her, to advance her trust in him. I later discovered that this was a process called “grooming the victim”. The conversation moved on to questions about school, friends and then boyfriends. At 13, she didn’t have a boyfriend. He moved in closer. He hugged her. It was when he told her how pretty she was and then touched her face; the alarm bells began to ring inside her. She was looking for a way out. Perhaps he smelled her fear. Perhaps it even excited him. But it was then that he told her the things he wanted to do to her.

“If you don’t like it, we don’t have to tell anyone.”

But she said it was my voice she heard the loudest, “Get away! Tell someone!”

She told Ben to stop. She left the room, woke her sleeping father, and said she needed to leave. He took her away. She wouldn’t give details to her father, but when my ex-husband brought her home to me, details came pouring out amidst the tears and the vomiting that lasted two days. The crime was reported, as she knew there was no choice, because she said, “I don’t want to see this happen to Ben’s little daughter, or any other girls.”

That was a year ago and yet the trial just finished up last week. Twelve men and women believed her and Ben is guilty of a felony.

Ben is a man I had never met until the trial, but he was supposedly the best friend of the man I’d divorced ten years ago. Ben was trusted; he was not a stranger.

Ironically or perhaps by the grace of God, about two weeks before the incident, inspired by a TV show on sexual predators that we’d watched, my teenagers and I sat down and discussed the subject. I told my children these things:

1. A sexual predator is likely someone you trust; a family friend, a neighbor, or even a relative, like an uncle, a grandpa or even in some cases, a parent.
2. If there is someone you don’t feel comfortable with, for ANY reason, let me know. I will trust your instincts; maybe you just have a “feeling” about someone. I will NEVER ignore that. I will get you away from them. I will always believe you.
3. Your body is yours and NO ONE has the right to touch you. They might even try to make you feel good, but because you have the information and know about good and bad touching, you know what to do —
4. Get away and get help! The very words my daughter heard me saying in her head that night.

My daughter has lived and then survived the day-to-day fear that Ben would come and get her, then later the endless questions, the badgering of a defense attorney, and the worst thing— facing Ben in court. She is one of the lucky ones. So many children are violated horribly. That night she was able to stop what was going to happen to her.

She has urged me to get the word out saying, “Tell all the mommies to talk to their kids like you talked to me, so that they know what to do.”

She’s 14 now and I’m incredibly proud of this brave, young woman God has blessed me with. The results of that night are best described in her own words. The following is a document, requested by the courts, shown to the judge before sentencing, asking how the crime has affected her life. She addresses the letter to her perpetrator.

One night, changed my life. One night, I became a victim. But that was only for one night. I became a victor when I went to the police. I am not the girl I once was. In the video (taped police statement shown in court) you saw a little child who was scared and hurt. What you have seen in front of you on the witness stand is a powerful and strong young woman who has found hope and God again. I have gained a lot in the last year, more than what you took away, even though the loss was still great. Yet I am so much more thankful for my parents and friends. I can do anything now. I’m no longer afraid.

I even forgave you for changing my life. I forgave you for ending what little of normality I had. But I will never forget and my family will never forget either. So look at me, and remember the girl you tried to invade. For now, she is a woman who is much stronger than you’ll ever be.

At my daughter’s request, I urge you: TALK to your children. Today. Don’t wait.

—-

Sarvin and her daughter will be checking my blog to see your comments. Please leave them your thoughts and responses, to let her know how empowering her story is. She just got through with the trial, and needs to know you’ll not only pass this on…but want’s to know your thoughts.

A few minutes on a tough subject can mean our children’s survival!

Spiritlifter just told me of her blog that talked of this same issue…it’s important to get this out people. Please spread the word.