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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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A little something

Here’s something I wrote when I was in college, after waking up to God’s call in my life:

She’s a good girl they say, but she’s done her time.
She’s walked down that road and crossed a fine line.
Now she’s watching the sky and walking into the fiery burn.
It’s starting to dawn. She’s finally starting to learn.
Come to me, my child, and I’ll pull you through.
I’ve got a plan destined just for you.
Keep moving forward. Don’t look back.
Focus on the good in your life-not on when you lost track.
Youth and Innocence are not lost. Your life has just begun.
All regret into the wind is tossed. Toward the dawning she runs.

What does it make you think about? And does it remind you of any time in your life?

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Fridays are Full of Blessings 3-28-08

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Today is an amazing day! God is so faithful in all He promises and delivers. Even when it’s not when I want it…as in now, when He brings it home it comes in with a bang and it’s perfect.

This week again has been full of life, in all it’s glory and drama. I some days just have to shake my head at how many things could be used as stumbling blocks, if I let them.

How was I blessed this week:

*Although my sister totaled her car, in a pretty bad wreck, she came out only stiff and soar. Nothing was broken and she thankfully had her seatbelt on, as sometimes she doesn’t. She could have been seriously injured but God spared her.

*Something that I can’t get too specific on, but something that I desperately needed and have been praying over came through yesterday. It was a miracle in itself that it worked out the way it did. God blessed me immensely with this gift.

*I got a phone call from a client today, that I thought was a lost cause. He apologized for not getting with me sooner this month, but assured me we’d meet next week to sign paperwork. This means that I will bring home enough to pay off some big bills, and get out of the red. I will finally be ahead for the first time, financially, in over a year. HALLELUJAH!

*My husband has been asked to play the drums on Sunday. He usually just plays for the kids on Wednesday nights. BUT this Sunday in the Kids Group, he’ll be able to play his heart out. He’s so excited, and I’m so thankful as he needed a boost. Please pray for him, as he’s dealing with a lot right now and needs every prayer he can get.

*My CAR is ready to pick up! YaY! I get to dump my rental car, and get my Passat back. Although I will miss the Satellite radio in my cool Dodge Nitro rental, I am ready to get my car back in pristine condition, like it was pre-accident.

On a side note, ten years ago my sister and I had car accidents within one month of one another. It happened again…my car accident was Feb 28th and hers was March 26th. **Blessings: Neither of us had any major physical damage, that an anti-flamatory and muscle relaxer can’t fix.

*Next week I start a cool new blog with two amazing ladies. It will be a blessing in itself to work with them, let alone use that tool to hopefully reach out to others.

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Faithful Friday 2-8-08

Can Christians Drink????

I know that Catholics partake in a few now and then. I know that a lot of Protestants do as well. How much is too much and what example is set for non believers?

I think there is a difference between all out drunkeness and have a few glasses of wine. I’m a prime example of both. In my wilder days, I used to imbibe to just let go of the pain of certain things in life. I had what some would call a problem. Before I finally looked in the mirror, and asked God for help in re-directing my life, I was drunk or tipsy 2-3 weekends a month. This resulted in bad behavior, mind altering issues, and in essence more pain.

Now I may have a few glasses of wine or a margarita once or twice a year. Last night for example at my husband’s swanky dinner, I had a few glasses of a white chardonay. I was getting over the stomach bug, and it was the only thing that settled my somewhat queezy tummy. It was a great glass of wine that went well with my dinner. I didn’t get tipsy nor alter my behavior.

They say a glass of wine a day is good for your heart. But how many people use that as an excuse to partake in a few too many? Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding celebration. But who uses this as a crutch to excuse their behavior and have another?

Question for you today on Faithful Friday:

Can Christians still have a glass of wine and still hold to their faith? How much is too much?

I personally think it’s what God is calling for you in your own life. When I hit rock bottom in college, I needed to let go of my behavior and the desire to drink. God took the urge from me completely and I stayed away from people I had once circulated with to ensure my walk stayed on His path. I know it was something He wanted me to cut from my life completely at that time.

I don’t think He condemns me for a glass or two of wine when I’m out for my anniversary or birthday, as this is once or twice a year in celebration. Not only because I don’t get drunk, which the Bible clearly states in wrong, but because I’m not in a situation that would expose me to danger. I’m not bar hoppin’ with the girls…I’m with my husband who would watch out for me.

Let me know what you think….

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To ash or not to ash…that is the question

When I was in Kindergarten I came home with ashes on my forehead and my mom thought it was a smudge of dirt. We are protestant, but I went to a Catholic school due the poor public school conditions where I lived. My mother was not prepared for my eagerness to learn Catholic tradition. When she licked her finger to remove my ‘smudge’, I held her off saying, “No, it’s Ash Wednesday…you can’t take it off!”

Not that my mom was concerned or had a problem with this…she didn’t. She just wasn’t educated on Catholicism or it’s traditions, at least not at that point in her life.

Now that her kids are older, she and my oldest sister participate in Lent every year, by giving something up. GritsnGrace posted today on Lent and asked, ‘what are you giving up or taking on this Lenten season?’ My sister usually gives up caffiene. My mom usually gives up chocolate. These are things that are staples to them, that would be a struggle to let go.

Here I am this child, who originally freaked out because someone was trying to wash off my forehead, and I’ve never participated in giving something up. I commented to Grits N’ Graces’ blog with this answer:

I’ve thought of taking something on rather than giving up as well. My whole life has been about giving up my sinful spirit, in hopes of gaining more spiritual wisdom. I’m far from perfect…but the idea of taking on something to make me better is more appealing to me. Like finally getting off my hiney and making myself work out. Thats my season of change.

I know Lent is supposed to be about giving something up to gain a closer relationship with Christ. Is it okay to take something on instead?

What do you think???

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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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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.

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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.