I wasn’t near a computer much yesterday to post for Faithful Friday, so a late post will have to do. Yesterday, I rode along with a colleague of mine. One of his appointments was an assisted living center outside Oklahoma City. As my colleague finished up with the office manager, I wandered out to the lobby. It was full of residents visiting with each other, but one was sitting off to herself. There was an empty chair across from her. I asked if she was expecting anyone and she invited me to sit.
We had the most touching conversation. I never found out her name, but I know that one of her three daughters died two years ago. I know that she’s suffering from some memory loss due to her grieving, as it’s taking it’s toll. I know she’s 86 and a believer. I know that she has a lot of loving family members and friends that visit her often. She was a very strong and sweet lady, who is trying to get past her loss. I shared a story with her about me, and told her something that is just between she and I…but I will tell you that it made her and I both feel blessed to have made each other’s acquaintance.
The best thing was I got a huge hug before I left and it made my day…all day. My heart says her name is Mary…and although I don’t know her real name, I know Mary blessed my day and am thankful to God for her.
If any of you have ever just thought about visiting an assisted living center or nursing home, take a hard look at the joy you’d be bringing someone. If you find yourself driving while during errands or on your way home…if you’ve got a few minutes…and it crosses your heart, please listen to the holy spirit’s request and stop in. If only for 30 minutes, you could not only make someone’s day but get a huge blessing in just meeting someone new.
These men and women have so much history to share…so much love to give. Some are blessed to be in safe and comfortable centers, some are not. Some are in deplorable conditions. Thankfully my Mary was in a wonderfully safe and nurturing environment, but I’ve seen some that aren’t very pleasant. I’ve been in some that smell of urine and sound of cries for help when you walk in. These are signs of neglect…and if you do happen upon one of these it’s your duty to report it.
This is just something that was on my heart today and I felt led to share it. I hope at least a small handful of you will consider stopping in to make someone’s day….and your own.
I’m sitting here in shock after reading story on Heath Ledger’s death. Only 28 and in his prime, he was found dead at his Manhattan apartment. My husband heard he’d had trouble sleeping, which is why he’d maybe overdosed on sleeping pills. This story I’ve linked to above says they’re not sure if it’s a suicide.
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:
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.
To me, every day is mother’s day! Not that all us mother’s shouldn’t enjoy those around us reflecting on how wonderful we are…we should. But what a lot of people don’t get is how wonderful it is to be a mom! Most people think mother’s day just a day to pay homage to the woman to holds it all together….what they don’t know is that its also a reminder to us moms how good we’ve got it. We’re the lucky ones!
I wish all of you moms out there the best day today. I hope you bask in adoration. I hope you realize how much you’re cherished. For those of you that feel you don’t do enough as a mom, I hope you realize that everything you do is appreciated and recognized. You’re all great mom’s!
I wouldn’t be half the mom I was if I hadn’t had the best example to refer to. My mother is the most giving woman I’ve ever known. If I do half as good as she did, than I will consider myself a success in the mom department.
Here’s a letter I wrote to her in December of 1995. She was going through some rough times emotionally. She felt like a failure as a mom as a result of some things my sister and I were going through. She internalized our problems and it hit her pretty hard. I want to re-post this letter as a tribute to what a great mom I have:
You’ve brought us into this world, a place of dangerous possibilities, and nurtured and cared for us.
What makes you different is not only what you do but how you carry yourself.
You are a mother with dignity and grace.
Throughout life you may not have been rich, but your kids were your pride and wealth.
We always came first; putting yourself in last place.
When our knees were hurt, you kissed them and proceeded to doctor them with a a magical band-aid.
When our feelings were hurt, during those emotional times, you put your arms around us and told us how wonderful we were.
Later in life, when we really needed a shoulder…you gave both-200%!
During trouble..you gave us stern advice and then tried to mend the situation.
Your heart is bigger than any in existence.
Your arms are more comforting than a warm blanket on a rainy day.
You’re a strong woman to let us grow up and learn our own way in this world.
You’ve loved us, listened to our fears and doubts, protected us from as much as possible, and pushed us to be our own women.
Mom, my sister & I, because of you, are now strong beautiful women. We’re successful, kind hearted, and vivacious human beings, who owe everything we have to God and our parents.
So when you say you’re a failure, because you don’t know how to fix our hurts, you’re wrong…
You’re the most successful mother! We turn to you because we love and trust you with our hearts.
Be content in this…your daughters may have difficulties beyond your motherly realm, but we will always have your arms to fall into.
With all my love,
Growing up as we did, moving from place to place, wasn’t always easy. An officer in the military moving up the ranks, does well after he’s been in for some time…but starting out most families don’t have much. Thank the Lord for base housing and free medical care, but just extra living expenses like food for clothes and food went thin when we were young.
I’ll never forget moving from Hawaii to Virginia when I was between third and fourth grade. We’d been on the island of Oahu, for 4 years, where we had lived in mumu’s, shorts, and flip flops. The move to Virginia was a hard one, not just because the beauty of the islands we’d left behind…but because of the harsh cold weather we now faced. In Virginia, is where my parent’s bought our first family home. Going from base housing to a huge mortgage payment was another huge transition, that as kids, my sister and I were ignorant of.
A few years ago my dad was reminiscing about those days, and he mentioned how one whole paycheck went to the mortgage payment. It didn’t leave a lot left over for anything else. I don’t know how they did it. I remember my mom pouring over her check register each week. She figured a way to cut corners every way she could by budgeting every cent.
Her number one priority was making sure the family was fed and cared for. I think that’s the hardest challenge in any day, let alone when you don’t know how you’re going to get by. All she knew is that her kids needed winter clothes to stay warm. A winter that had snow blown up over every mailbox on our street. A winter that made your toes freeze just walking outside for a few minutes. A winter that she dressed in her Hawaiian mumu’s with no money for a winter coat. She sacrificed her basic needs so that her children could stay warm. I can’t imagine how cold she was, but her basic instint was to shelter her children no matter what…even at the expense of her own health.
Having a child of my own, has taught me a whole new appreciation for my mother. I obviously understand every sacrifice she’s ever made for me, but having my own child has cast her in a new light. She’s always inspired me as a daughter, but now she’s inspiring me as a mother. I am so blessed to have such a giving, passionate, God fearing mother. A woman, who would do anything for her children’s well being.
What’s funny are the little things that are coming back to me. Little things that she did with me as a young child, that I thought I didn’t have any recollection of…silly little songs or actions. For example, last week I was giving my son a bath. I’ve been trying to get him to wash his hair sitting up in the tub. He doesn’t like getting his hair or face wet. It’s really bothersome to him. So I thought I’d make a game out of it, because I was getting really tired of washing his hair at the sink. Bath time was a two part process and it’s tiring some nights!
I grabbed a wash cloth and squeezed water over head, and said, “Look it feels like I cracked an egg over your head! Ewwww! Gross!” He just laughed and laughed. Well now a week later, he’s grabbing cups full of water and throwing it over his head saying, “It’s like a cracked egg Mommy!”
Yeah, finally I get to wash his hair in the tub after a bath. One step process…done!
I told my mom of the cute little trick I made up to get my son to get past his water fear in the bath. She smiled with a twinkle in her eye and responded, “You remember when I used to to do that to you, don’t you?”
“No. I made that up.”
“No…I did that to you when you, were a toddler, to get you to wet your hair in the tub.”
I just shook my head in awe. It’s amazing what is stored in one’s brain, and how it gets recalled years later! I shouldn’t be suprised. She’s reminded me a few other times of things she would do with me, that I hadn’t remembered, that I thought I’d creatively made up to do with my son. All this being said–Mom’s have a huge impact on our lives and I’m so thankful I’ve got such a wonderful role model to learn from.
My challenge to all bloggers has gotten a lot of response. Even though I said to kick of 7 days of positivity or thanks on Sunday…I started one day early. We went to church tonight for Easter instead of Sunday, so I felt it fitting to start my blog a day early too.
Easter Sunday is usually the day we all dress up a little more than usual. We make sure it’s one of the Sunday’s we don’t miss. The reason we chose to attend church on Saturday is to let those, who only have the mind to go to church on Easter or other religious holidays, have ‘one extra’ parking space. Our pastor encouraged all the regular church goers to attend Saturday evening so there would be room for others, who maybe needed a church sermon more than those who already ‘get it’.
So it’s Saturday night and I’m listing what I’m overjoyed about.
MY SON is my number one blessing. He was so cute tonight at church. He grabbed an offering envelope and whispered to me, “Mommy, I want to give some money to Jesus!” I gave him as many coins as I had on me. We had already tithed for the month, and wasn’t prepared to give him any change. We only put a few dollars in the envelope, but God knows my son’s heart and that’s all that counts. He sealed it up, and wrote From: (his name) and below it, To: Jesus. He wrote every letter on his own. At four that’s not an easy feat. The J was backwards, but I think whoever get’s that in the church office will get the jist.
My little one has a big heart, and he knows whatever we tithe goes to those who need it more. Our church has a lot of missions, local and abroad. My son knows ‘Jesus’ uses the money to help other kids his age, who are sick and homeless in Oklahoma or elsewhere.
From there, he sat in my lap, and laughed at all the pastor’s jokes and continued to giggle when the jokes were over. His giggle is so infectious, that it’s hard not to laugh with him. The rows around us ended up giggling at the sermon, when the jokes were over, because my son continued to belt out with a belly laugh when the pastor was speaking. I gave him a look, and he gave me one back with a quick, “What mom? It’s funny.”
I am a happy mom of one. If I’m blessed with another, I will be twice as blessed. If that is not God’s will, I’m pleased that I get the honor of raising such a civic minded loving child. He’s spirited, strong, and smart. God gave me the honor of being his mom, and it is such a beautiful gift.
This is what I was destined for. We all wonder what we’re here for…..what our path is. Why were we put here? Growing up, I always wondered what God had in store for me. I continually questioned why I was put on earth? What was I supposed to do or be?
Once I had my son, I never asked that question again. Inside my heart filled and I knew that God gave me the most important job on this earth. I have the task of raising a Godly man from a strong willed child. I am blessed with giving my child the right tools and instructions to take on his own path in life. I have the obligation to guide him mentally, spiritually, and emotionally to make sure he will have what he needs to make the right choices in life.
Thank you for allowing me to be a mother to the most adorable gift in the whole universe. Even if I never do another good thing in life…I know I was successful because I am my son’s mother. My life is complete because I’ve been a happy daughter, sister, wife and now mother.
Signed, thankful and blessed