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Drinking Haze

When I was 16-18, I lived in Japan, where the legal age to drink was 18. Of course so was driving, so we could do two for the age of one. However, girls, as long they were American, could drink pretty much at any age. I remember a lot of 13 year olds having access to liquor. As long as they looked old enough, they could gain access.

Binge drinking in today’s society is worse than it’s ever been. I’m not saying I’m a saint, because I’ve had my day where I sowed my seeds. I think that’s why this subject is one close to my heart….b/c I had a serious under aged drinking problem, and point blank— the underage drinking on and off campuses is very much out of control today.

Tara, at If Mom says It’s Okay, posts on this very issue today at her blog. She raises some very good points, and I’d like to have your input. The Amethyst Initiative is trying to get the legal age of 21 lowered to 18 in efforts to curb underage drinking. I guess some may say this is a great idea, or a great effort to help solve a very dangerous problem….but won’t it just open the door for more under age drinking? Won’t it crack the door and widen the gap to those who are 14+ that can pass for 18?

Now I know most will say…’You have to have an ID to get liquor’….but come on people. You know girls and guys alike can get alcohol without ID in many many places. So is lowering the age limit a good idea?

Or should we put more educational programs out there?
…..enforce more laws?….
and crack down a little harder on schools, who don’t monitor this problem and punish their students….but instead offer to lower the age to 18?

I’d like to see what we can do to stop the problem or curb it at least without letting the door open to more underage legal drinking. That means more underage driving on the roads for those 16+ drivers…That means more friends influencing their peers to drink…because it’s ‘legal’ for them at 18 now….that means in essence more alcohol related deaths.

Haven’t we had enough of that already?

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Woke up

After these all night and morning,

we woke up to a few surprises.
Surprise # 1:

but I chose to focus on Surprise # 2:

Then I called the cops…
This is what I get for living near Hud housing with kids that are out for the summer, roaming neighborhoods looking for trouble.

Our neighborhood gets vandalized weekly and the police are so understaffed that they can’t do anything. So my husband and I have decided to get a infrared camera to post under the eaves of our home, to catch the little buggars who feel they can egg our cars, write bad words or obscene gestures on our driveways, race down our streets/through our yards, and bash and uproot our mailboxes. Maybe then the police can do something.

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Child Prostitution Ring Brought Down

I have to say a big PRAISE GOD for this weeks big story in the news. You can go to Yahoo for their updated story on an entire ring of Child Traffickers that were caught and prosecuted.

Nothing makes me more ill than the thought of someone being so vile, as to turn an innocent child into a sex pawn for their own gain. What kind of person wants not just to hurt another person, but to ruin the moral fiber down to their core? What kind of monster would break a child? It makes my skin crawl to know that there are those out their profiting off of this type of activity.

The Justice Department’s sting focused on the following cities: Atlanta; Boston; Dallas; Detroit; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Md.; Oakland, Calif.; Phoenix; Reno, Nev.; Sacramento, Calif.; Tampa; Toledo, Ohio and Washington. Now I hope they broaden their scope and continue on with their persecution of these vile human beings and rescue more children, who’ve either run away or been thrown out by their families. No child, no matter what problems they’ve caused or dealt with, deserves this.

I read in People Magazine today at the salon about Elizabeth Smart and was so happy to read she has a happy ending. Most kids don’t have a moderately semi happy ending, and she’s in the minority. She’s now trying to help those in her shoes, those abductees that are brought back home trying to find some normalcy in life. Thank the Lord for her miraculous survival skills and will to press forward.

In reading this I ask you for two things: Pray for the runaways and throw away children and teens in America and abroad…because some are shipped to other countries. And pray for the F.B.I and any government organization in their efforts to infiltrate these types of cells.

One of my good friends here in OKC, is traveling to Cambodia in July on a rescue mission for children sold and trapped into sex slavery. Please pray for her traveling mercies, and the children she comes in contact with. Pray for her safety even though she assures me she’s only dealing with the children, who are already rescued and need to be cared for.

She’s involved in the operation that will care take these children to help them learn what true Christian unconditional love is – an innocent, clean, releasing love that isn’t anyway dirty…sexual….or evil. She’s basically going to be deprogramming these children, who are forced into the sex trade as early as infants, to show them a motherly love vs. sexual abuse.

—What a mission she’s going on. I’m going to ask her to be a guest blogger when she gets back from her mission trip on Reality Chicks.

—My heart breaks for all of today’s lost children!

I also have to give kudos to Our Crooked Tree for giving me a link to a non profit org that works to save these children. Please go check them out.

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40+ kids

So we had another day at children’s church with 40 kids. With all the sickness circulating, the other couple that teaches called in sick. Hence…we combined the both groups and my husband and I had to be really creative in captivating their attention.

I have to give my husband a huge KUDOS. After the lesson is taught, and we pray thanks for our snack and our fellowship, it’s time to entertain to keep their little minds and bodies from going crazy. That’s a really hard thing to do and it could be overwhelming for most people. It used to be to me…now it’s nothing. Especially when we promise even the simplest of rewards, like a hand stamp, for being good during our time together.

Toward the end of class, once the coloring projects were done and the kids got even more restless…my husband called them all over to line up at the wall for a game of heads up 7-up. I so did not remember this game, since I hadn’t played it since Kindergarten, but my husband has excellent recall and had all the kids captivated.

I only had to give one child a time out…for banging paper rolls over the heads of other kids. He sat quietly and peacefully and didn’t act up one time afterward. So he too, got a stamp on his hand for choosing good behavior once he was disciplined.

It’s been a great day. Other than children’s church we’ve:

**Played outside..as the weather has been beautiful this weekend. It’s been in the 60’s and 70’s this weekend. We’re under a tornado watch right now…but it is that time of year.

**We re-arranged my son’s room so that he has more play space and floor room.

**Played UNO.

**My son and husband are currently watching Nascaar…my son’s favorite new passion.

Now the evening’s winding down, and the weather’s cooling off (we’re expecting snow tomorrow). I hope your weekend has been as relaxing as mine and I wish you a great start to your work week tomorrow.

Happy March! YaY! Spring’s almost here!!!

POST NOTE….did I say Yay earlier?  This must have been before being glued to the television waiting to see if we were going to get mowed down by the multiple tornado threats.

Dear Lord, can we please skip all the tornadoes this season and get straight to warm spring weather?  Thank you.

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Time out—Penalty!!

So it was my rotation this Sunday again to teach the little ones at Children’s Church. I’m now teaching 5 and 6 year olds, who are lot more aggressive and active. Undoubtably there is one child who is the instigator and the aggressor…Cameron. Every time I see him I groan internally.

When I was just a teacher’s aide, Cameron is the child I would sit next to in order to make sure he knew he couldn’t get away with bad behavior. He even threatened to bite a teacher one morning when I was helping. It was then that I picked a spot by him each morning.

Now that I teach, there aren’t many helpers to aide in class…and I have Cameron to deal with and the other kids he riles up. So far in the last few months, he’s either been tame or not attended. BUT Sunday was another story. There were 3 trouble makers at one table making the most irritating noises, which left it unable to get a teaching environment going.

I separated the problem children, but Cameron enlisted the boy next to him into his aggressive behavior. Most of the class, I got him involved so it wasn’t an issue…but after 35 minutes he got really anxious. He started jumping on his chair and flying off onto the ground. I put him in a ‘time-out’ in the corner. This is something I’ve never had to do in the year I’ve been volunteering, and I felt bad doing so…but his behavior wasn’t going to fly with me.

Cameron quietly read for a good 5 minutes. It seemed to be the only thing he did respond too, so I’m thinking I’ll put him there from now on! The only bad part is when I let him go back to his seat, he ended up hurting another child. The little boy that was sitting next to him tripped over Cameron, who stuck out his chair to jam into his friend. It hurt him bad enough that he cried. I was consoling this little boy, Tyler, when all the parents started lining up to come claim their children.

I told Tyler the only thing I could without crossing any lines. First I told him how sorry I was that he was hurt and upset. I put my arm around him to give him a small hug. The lesson this Sunday was over ‘peace’, so I asked him if he remembered how to keep peace in his life. He tearfully nodded…and I went on to tell him that another way to have peace in his life is to make wise choices about who our friends are in life. Some friends will bring us peace, and some will bring us stress. I told him next time to sit next to someone who wouldn’t hurt him.

Cameron was out in the hall. Tyler proceeded to march out side in the hall, leaving me and his dad in the class room. He stood there and stared angrily at Cameron. I did the only thing I could do without offending Cameron’s dad. I quietly walked outside in the hall, squatted in front of Cameron, and asked him if he thought he should apologize to Tyler. Cameron looked at his feet and nodded his head yes. He then walked across the hall and apologized. I was very proud of Cameron and Tyler for confronting how they felt.

I think all in all they both ended up okay, but Cameron’s dad was clueless to this whole situation which makes me wonder what kind of discipline he receives at home.  I just pray that I’m able to come up with a positive way to handle this child in the future.  Any teachers or counselors out there that have any pointers???

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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:

———-

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.

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A long road…A new dawning


Being on here awhile now, I get the fun task of listing certain things that are in response to being tagged. Most are quite fun! However this last one is a little brain boggling. My task is to list what obsessive thoughts plague me. I don’t normally focus on these sorts of things…I push any tiny nagging negative to the back of my brain because I like to always think about the upside of life.

However, I never back down from a challenge…at least a reasonable one. So Carolsplaceforpeace…this one’s for you. You gave me this task and I will follow through.

When I was younger, before having a good life, I faced a lot of trauma. Too much trauma for someone that had only lived 20 or so years on the earth. I suffered a lot of pain and mental stress. Through a lot of prayer and hard work on my part, I overcame and survived! I moved on to a healthier me, who didn’t want to focus on the past but move forward. However the past is what made me who I am today.

So I can say, I used to suffer obsessive thoughts on a daily basis. In my teens I obsessed on when I would die. I didn’t think I’d make it past 18. Then once my 18th birthday came and went, God tapped me on the heart and whispered, “See I told you…you’re going to make it. Keep going!”

Once in college, I obsessed over how I was going to make it day to day. The person that caused me a lot of trauma attended the same university I did. He harassed me daily, so I turned to alcohol to get past the pain. I obsessed over how dirty I felt, from the person’s behavior toward me. Again God stayed with me and whispered, “You’re my creation. You’re strong and healthy. You’re perfect and chaste. Keep going…I’m with you…..YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT!”

Long story short, I found a great family therapist that helped me peel back the layers of my experiences in life to help me find my core. She helped me remember who I was. God used her in such a way that I knew I was exactly all those things God kept telling me I was. I am a survivor, who doesn’t like to focus on anything but making it happen for me and my family. I will not cow to negative thoughts or anything that wouldn’t give praise to my Lord.

However, at 2 a.m. when I’m groggy or not fully alert….a few of those old thoughts may be triggered from a dream. I have to wake myself up and pray THANKS TO GOD for making me who I am, was, and will be. Thanks to HIM for who He is, was, and will always be.

I probably won’t tag anyone with this, because I would never encourage anyone to focus on anything that wouldn’t be positive. Hey we all know negative or bad things happen…let’s do what we can to overcome them!

I posted this on my other site, but felt it important enought to post here too. Pardon the redundancy for those of you who read both.