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Friday, March 29, 2013

But for the Grace of God Go I

I am a Trial Junkie. It's a good thing we don't have a legal or trial channel on our TV, because I would never get anything done and I'd have a rant for this and a rant for that. Hopefully, my rants would be a little more broad minded than Nancy Grace, but I can't guarantee it. Her judgement seems so skewed, I take the opposing view simply because she can't shut me up like she does the guest on her show. The only time I watch her is when there is a trial worthy of being sensationalized going on... And because she is on the only channel that covers the trial. The thing I enjoy about watching trials, is I purposely try to stay as neutral as possible, until everything is said and done. During my many hours (said in true Nancy Grace style) of listening to the most recent sensationalized trial, I have some concerns with how the "Talking Heads (Nancy Grace and others) and the prosecution have approached this DEATH PENALTY case. Here are the sticking points for me.


1. It's not your job to make a trial as entertaining as possible... It's your job to report the facts, then let the public skew them as they may (imagine I'm saying the above really slow, like I'm speaking to someone who doesn't speak my language, or a three year old who I'm trying to convince it's not a good idea to lick the scissors). I find it a horrible injustice to our justice system to have such bias coverage.
2. Please use your inside voices when reporting. Screaming at the camera (the viewer) and humiliating the guest that disagree with you, isn't attractive.
3. Things that may seem quirky in small doses, can be downright scary in large doses. It doesn't take any more effort to look through a wide angle lens than it does to look through a narrow scope. It's unrealistic to put any one human under a microscope and expect them to stand up without blemish. It's also unrealistic to expect any one human to react to stress, grief or abuse in one specific way. Last week the "BOMBSHELL" was a video tape of the defendant during interrogation. During a break in the questioning, she was left in the room by herself. The edited version of this break was shown with her looking through the trash, playing with her hair, stretching, and yes even doing a headstand. A BIG deal was made about the headstand (for goodness sake). All the reporters and talking heads thought that was so odd. Maybe it's because I'm an odd duck myself, but I didn't find it odd at all (scary right?). What the video tape didn't show was the time and how long she was in the room. I'm sure  she had undergone hours of interrogation. When you've been sitting for a long period of time and you're under a lot of stress, I can totally see the need for a good stretch, a headstand (if you could do one,) and yeah, maybe even a peruse through the trash to break the boredom (and if you have ADHD). Even people who commit crimes get bored and need to stretch and increase blood flow. Give me a break!
4. Being a self-absorbed, shallow, shell of a woman myself, if I'm going to have my picture taken for any reason at all (including a mug shot for murder), I dang sure want my make-up done and every hair in place.  (I'm just wondering how many hours Nancy sits in the make-up chair before going on air?) I know, that was a little snotty, but she brings out the worst in me.

The State:

1. Is screaming at the witness terribly effective? It's a little off putting to me... Maybe I'm just weird like that.
2.  Why is it necessary to blatantly alter the answer to a question? If I'm on trial in a death penalty case, and you ask me if it's "Tomato" and I say it is "Tomato" and then you repeat back to me that I said it was "Tomatho".... Yeah, I'm going to be squirmy and not let you slide on that little misrepresentation. From the perspective of a neutral observer.... If I see you trying to twist the words of a witness, I'll assume it's because you can't prove your point with the facts. When you have a confession to the crime and are trying to prove premeditation.... I'm going to assume it's because you can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt without twisting the testimony.  If that's the case, maybe 1st degree with no chance of parole it a better option.
3. Not everyone writes everything in their journal. Shocking right!? Personally, I may go into great detail on something insignificant, yet never mention something very painful. There are no rules in journaling. The lack of mention in a journal doesn't prove or disprove anything. Period!
4.  It's not unusual for women who have been abused, not to tell anyone about the abuse.  It's also not unusual for a woman who has been abused to want to protect her abuser. Ask any law enforcement officer. The most dangerous calls are domestic abuse calls, because the victim will often turn on the ones who show up to protect her.  The fact that no one knew of the abuse, again does not prove or disprove anything.
5.  Not everyone is who they seem to be. The fact that the victim was a well-loved religious person means absolutely nothing. A good friend of mine knows a man who is labeled  "homicidal".  He is a mild mannered, articulate, highly educated man who works for a large corporation. He has never committed a crime, but since undergoing medical treatment for a serious illness,  has cannibalistic fantasies. He feels terrible for these thoughts so he committed himself for treatment..... Outpatient treatment.  My friend thinks the world of him, even goes to lunch with him, but no one in his immediate circle knows about his dark side.  Is it possible to have 100 witnesses to some one's personablilty without them knowing the darkness within??? Absolutely!
6.  Being likable or unlikeable doesn't make the crime in question more atrocious.
7.  This one is just a personal opinion.... People snap. Sometimes people just snap. Is it because of abuse, stress, selfishness, ego, mental problems, health problems, or all of the above? We'll actually never know until we stand on the other side and have life as a whole unveiled to us by our creator.

Just in general:

1. If I'm getting it right (IF), the prosecution is trying to prove premeditation by pointing out her grandparents had a gun stolen a week before the killing. They imply she staged the robbery and used the gun on the victim. The actual murder was done with a knife.... 29 times to be exact. A knife fight is a lot different than a gun fight. A knife attack is up close and personal and if I was going to kill someone, especially a big guy that scared me, I would rather do it at a short distance rather than in his face where he could pick me up like a rag doll and through me across the room. I can see OJ Simpson having a manic fit and stabbing two people in an anger rage. But this is a whole different scenario and the crime scene looks a little haphazard for a carefully premeditated murder. But then again, that's just me.  

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the silence of abuse;postID=5275124726812661992. I worked on that post for months before I published it and way before this trial started. The experience I had as a teenager is one of the things that caused my attention to be captured by this trial.  I had not endured years of abuse, and I hadn't endured severe abuse, but it was abuse none the less. As vivid as it were yesterday, I remember trying to get away from my tormentor as he blocked my car. In the blink of an eye, the thought of putting him out of my misery crossed my mind.I didn't snap, but I could have. I remained silent until long after the experience. But that nanosecond in time, left a lifetime of awareness that as a faulty human being, I am  capable of an array of hideous acts....  And so are you. It only takes a flash, the straw that broke the camels back, barely a sign and it's done.... We are forever changed. Maybe it's for that reason alone, I stop and think..... "But for the grace of God go I."

The Silence of Abuse

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

The other day, during our afternoon break, several of us were sitting around chatting. I'm not sure how it came up, but we were talking about something and I asked one of the girls.... "Well didn't you read my blog about the Super Glue?" She kinda shook her head indicating she hadn't read it.... (She didn't read my blog?!?!) I can't even imagine, it's full of so much useful information :-), JK, it's silly and I know it. I told them about my accidental discovery about Super Gluing my pumps to my feet. After the initial eruption of laughter, it got seriously quiet and the co-worker sitting next to me was staring at me like I was a two headed Catfish in a Japanese Koi pond... "What?!?" I asked.... "Why are you looking at me like that?!?" She shook her head and said... "I just have no words... I got nothing." We all laughed because, well, I totally understood. One of them thought it wouldn't be very comfortable when I ended up in the emergency room with all the skin ripped off the bottom of my feet when I tried to remove my shoes. Hello???? People who wear 5 inch heels aren't actually concerned about comfort. Anyway, I had put a pair of my shoes for sale on Buy Sale Trade because they were impossible to wear. I took them off  the website after my glue discovery and today is my first all day trial run at wearing them glued to my feet... Without pantyhose. I'm not worried about it because it's still early in the day. Right now I'm wearing cute shoes and they aren't slipping when I walk. I'll sweat the small stuff when it's absolutely necessary.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Child of The King, A Life of a Princess

A few months ago, my daughter asked me.... "Mom do you ever wonder why some people are dealt the hand of cards they are dealt?" I instantly knew what she was talking about. We had both ran into a mutual friend who is an amazing woman. In spite of living her life by biblical guidelines, she has endured more than her share of life struggles. In fact, as we visited with her, my daughter and I were both amazed that the years of struggle and pain, hadn't drained her of her witty personality and amazing good humor. I'm sure she has had days where she has wallowed in self pity, but you sure couldn't tell it from our side of the table.  Unfortunately, I had no answer for the question my daughter asked.  As I was running out of the house one morning this week, my phone rang. Instantly a smile erupted on my face as I answered the phone, knowing one of my favorite people on earth was at the other end. I could tell by the sound of her voice, that she was struggling to keep it together as she headed to work. Like many people, she seems to have dealt with more than her share of tragedy. In the last 10 years she has lost both parents, as well as other key members of her 
family.  The day before, she had attended yet another funeral for a family member in his 20's. Such a tragic death at such a young age. This crisis left her with a dreadful fear that her family was living under some type of family curse. She wasn't alone in her fears, as other family members had expressed the same fears. I'll even admit that over the years I have wondered why this such a wonderful person has had to face such deep heartache.  I've always wished I were more like her because she is beautiful inside and out, doesn't have an enemy to her name. She is just a BEAUTIFUL person!  She lost her mother several years ago and that was a loss that nearly killed her. I've seen her struggle, cry, question and struggle not to be bitter at God for the loss of the one she loved. The journey back has been a long road for her, and just recently it looked like she was dealing with the loss in more of a positive way.  Yet again, she came to me with questions for which I have no answers. I could sense the dark claws of the enemy, doubt, fear, anger, reaching out of the darkness to pull her back into the hole she had just emerged.  It's times like this that we have to keep in mind, that although the Bible says Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." We also have to understand that the Bible also says 1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  The enemy will use each and every opportunity to clasp the talons of doubt, fear and anger into our hearts. He does so in hope that we will lose sight of the fact that we are indeed a Princess of The Almighty God who reigns over heaven and earth, as well as every tiny detail of our lives whether it is tragedy or victory. As a Princess of The Almighty God, we dwell under the shelter of his wing.   The winds WILL blow, storms WILL rage and there WILL be times when we feel the waves will drown our cries to him. Regardless of how it seems, or what the enemy would have us believe, we are held in the hand of an almighty God. My friend may not see it, but in the years since her mother's death, in spite of her struggles, I've seen her grow. She is stronger than she believes because for a second, she has taken her eyes off of His strength and is only looking at hers.  She feels like she is being stalked by darkness. But, because she is a Princess of the Almighty and lives under the power of The King, all the enemy can do is stalk... hover... intimidate... And attempt to steal her peace of mind. My job this morning, wasn't to answer her questions, it was just to remind her of who she is and to whom she belongs. As long as she keeps that fact front and foremost in her mind, the darkness must keep it's distance because she has a force field of grace surrounding her as she live the life of a Princess..... Child of The King.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Super Glue Solution

You may not know this, but I love high heels.  In fact it's almost an obsession. A friend of mine says that I have a shoegazm when I walk into a shoe store  That's about as close to a description as I've ever heard to explain the  hyperventilating,  gasps and squeals that spontaneously erupts from me when I go shoe shopping .  She has actually had to lead me out of a store by my hand , so I could regain control of myself.... Not kidding! I have several pairs of pumps that are designed so they make it almost impossible to keep them from sliding off my heel as I walk. They have no contour at the toe of the platform. The easiest solution would be to thoroughly test out the shoes before I purchase them, but let's face it, I do everything on impulse and exclusively on if they;re too cute to pass up.  I've tried  the pads, the inserts and other remedies to this problem, without much luck. I accidentally found a solution this weekend. I was getting ready for church, knowing the shoes I was going to wear would create problems if I did much walking. The heel pad that I had inserted into the shoe had lost it's adhesiveness so I decided to super glue the insert to the heel. Quite by accident, I squirted more super glue on the insert than needed and it went all over my hands with plenty of excess elsewhere, including the inside of my shoe. Trying to make the most of a bad situation, I slipped my foot into the shoe. The super glue glued the shoe to the bottom of my foot in a very secure manner. I hobbled around the room for a while then decided I would intentionally put it in my other shoe and see how it
worked. Remarkably there was no slip/sliding around, I was held firmly in my shoe.... No coming off anytime soon. By George I think I've found the solution. Sure enough I walked around church, up and down stairs with no problems whatsoever.  The down side  (there's a down side to just about everything) was.... When I took my shoe off (yes it did come off),  it tore a big hole in my pantyhose, which isn't a big deal as long as you have extra hose laying around. Also, unlike what you might expect, it didn't leave glue on the bottom of my foot. So, the next time someone asks me how I keep my pumps on without them slipping on the heel, I can give them  my Super Glue Solution. There I go again, thinking outside the box.... Or is it a nice tidy white padded cell? You be the judge.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Armed and Dangerous or Maybe Just Dangerous

The mass hysteria about gun control has invaded our humble abode. Around Christmas, my husband came home and declared in probably the most authoritative voice I've ever heard come out of his mouth, that we were getting a gun and we were both getting conceal and carry permits. Hey, no complaints from this blond secret agent wanna be. To my sad dismay, the gun I got wasn't pink or even girlie, but he promised after I got used to shooting, he would get me a real pink gun. Big smiles all around. This weekend was our class. Let me just say that I'm more of a doer, than a listener, because of my ADHD. Give me a few hours to sit and listen to anything, and I tend to squirrel off into fantasy daydream. But considering the fact that I am a wanna be secret agent, I stayed pretty focused, didn't fidget as much as normal and my husband only had to tell me to put my cell phone away ( I was playing bejeweled), once. He just doesn't understand that it's easier for me to listen if I have something to do while listening.  Being the ever submissive wife, I put my game away and focused all my attention to the front of the class.... Oh, if anyone new how much effort and energy that takes.  When we got to the shooting part (which was really what I came for) I did really well. Everyone of my shots were within the kill range. The closest I came to getting out of the kill range was when I hit my target in the jugular. In a real situation that would be messy but really quick so I really think I should have gotten more points for that shot. And the really scary realization is that I am now a lethal weapon... Actually it's probably more like armed and dangerous.... or just dangerous, but lethal weapon seems more secret agent- like.  Considered yourself warned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thinking Outside the Box

This week I've been freakishly focused. Maybe it's because I've got so much to block out right now that I've left my puny ADHD brain no where else to squirrel off to. Last night I got on a cleaning kick. I rarely get in a honest to God cleaning kick and when I do, it's certainly not in the middle of the week. Maybe it's the spring like weather... Maybe it's the moon.... I don't know what it is, but I hope it keeps going for a while. But, like everything else, this focus thing has it's price. I went to bed, drifted off and then woke wide eyed and bushy tailed at 2:00 a.m.! I laid there and didn't go back to sleep until after 4:30.  In those couple of hours, I had decided I needed to tear the wallpaper out of my bathroom and repaint using damask stencils. I woke up this morning with the same freakishly bizarre energy and can't wait to dig my fingernails into the wallpaper tonight. Okay.... This is were I start having problems. The last time I did this manic mania... It ended with a sledge hammer. I was getting ready for the pumpkin carving party we used to have in the fall and knew the bathroom was just pitiful. Not too many years prior, we ripped out plaster, cabinets and moved load bearing walls in a remodel of my 1927 style kitchen. That little project took close to 3 years. Yes sirree, we did it ourselves.... We're the home makeover people. Having my kitchen sink sitting in plywood held up by bar stools few years (FYI, more than 2 is a few), and being able to see into the basement through the hardwood floors, I had lost my whole "This Old House" vibe. I didn't want to hang a picture or anything!  Even though the kitchen took a while, it was worth the wait but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a crappy bathroom. Knowing I had no time for a bathroom make-over, I decided if I couldn't do a bathroom make-over... I'd make it look like I was in the middle of one. So, I grabbed a sledge hammer
and took to the walls of my bathroom. I wasn't knocking actual holes in the wall, just knocking off the drywall that was cracked from where someone had attempted to cover the cracks in the plaster. My husband came home from work just as the dust of destruction was beginning to settle. "We're having a party this weekend!!! Are you crazy??" he asked me as I drag a ladder into the hallway and placed paint buckets randomly in the hall.... "You've completely ripped up the bathroom!!!" So I had to take a break to explain to him the theory, that since I couldn't fix things up, I'd make it look like I was in the process of fixing things up and people would understand instead of thinking... "Oh my gosh.... Why don't they do something with that bathroom?".  Then after the party, we really would do something to the bathroom. He didn't exactly agree with my logic and let's face it, I'd be worried about him if he did. It's not something most people would do and that's what make me unique (not crazy) and probably a big reason my children may need therapy... But by gosh, I'm not afraid to think outside the box (BOOM!). Sadly, after the party was over, my freakishly spring fever broke and the bathroom stayed dormant (with busted walls and peeling paint) for... Oh, I don't know, three years or so. Now you understand why I'm a little hesitant to start ripping the wallpaper off this weekend. What if my manic energy settles before the dust does?  I'm not sure I want to take that chance of living with wallpaper that has been 1/2 ripped down, but I also don't want to miss the opportunity to do something creative with the energy surge spring has sprung on me. If I do jump on the opportunity but fail to finish it, at least the next time I have the urge to re-do, I'll already be halfway finished with the whole thing.... It's like a win, win situation with a few years spread in between. That's what I call thinking outside the box... I totally understand if you chose not to think this way... It's probably better for you if you don't.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Petals of Hope

In May, we will have lived in our home for 18 years. That's just a drop in the bucket compared to the 50 years the lady before us had lived in it. I was scouring through the basement last night looking for a little treasure I had packed away, when I came across the cross. It's a crudely pieced together cross, probably made by one of the children raised in the home. It sat on some selves in the basement since before we bought the house. It held a special meaning for our family, so I dusted it off and sat it on the piano with a little petal of hope underneath it.

 When our house came up for sale, we weren't looking for a home. We had bought a home shortly after we married and had finally made it our own with a portico my husband built and some gingerbread trim outside. It looked like a little dollhouse and we both loved it. It was a couple decades younger than the one we live in today. We brought all three babies home to that house and we were happy and content
there. That being said, my husband and I still loved to look at homes. On Saturdays, we would drive through new neighborhoods and get out and walk through homes that were being built. We loved going on historic home tours and always dreamed we would live in an old Victorian. Until an old Victorian came available, we were happy where we were. One night at a Tupperware party we heard some friends of ours who were looking to move, discussing a house they had looked at. It was a few block from where we currently lived and right around the corner from my parents house. Knowing how much we loved old homes, my friend said.... "Jac, you guys should go look at it. You will love it, it's very interesting." That weekend my husband and I drove by the house. We laughed because it's the house we would walk by on our regular walks and always wished the owner would happen to be out so we could get some history on the home. We always called it the Castle House, simply because it reminded me of a castle. As we drove by we jotted the Real Estate agent's number down and gave her a call. We made an appointment to look at the house the next day after church. It was a drizzly Sunday afternoon as we waited in the driveway for the agent. Finally a car parked behind us and a 60ish aged woman stepped out to greet us. She introduced herself as Shirley Black and apologized for being late.  The agent with whom we had made the appointment, wasn't able to make it so she had called to see if Shirley would show us the home. Shirley admitted she had just started in the real estate business and this was one of the first homes she had shown. She told us it had been on the market for over a year and
since it first became available, it was the most shown house in Duncan. Most of the people who viewed the home had done so out of curiosity rather than intent to buy, so that's why the experienced agents had started pushing their appointments off on newer agents.... They felt it was just a waste of time giving people tours of a home they had no intention on buying. My husband and I hung our heads as she told us this, because that's exactly what we were doing. We felt bad for getting Shirley out on a drizzly Sunday, just to give us a tour. Shirley went to the basement door and told us she would go in and let us in through the front door. So we walked around and climbed the steps to the house. Two giant cedar trees sat on each side of the steps. They were so overgrown, you couldn't see the front door. We pushed our was through the cedars and stood at the arched wooden door. The front door squeaked with age as Shirley opened it to let us in. Wow! This home was seriously old, and looked it's age which is great for people who love old homes, not so much for people who like things pristine. The living room was very large with an arched doorway leading to the dining room and one leading to the 1/2 staircase. We both laughed when we saw the fireplace. It took up almost an entire wall. The blond brick matched the outside. The firebox was arched and was flanked by two turrets each about 6 ft tall with windows wrapping around each on. A light switch on the side, lit up the inside of the turrets making the colored windows glow an amber color. It was so
unusual. Virtually nothing had been done to the house in 50 years. The entire house from the hardwood floors with mahogany borders to the Art Deco styled sconces and light fixtures we all original and in excellent shape. As we walked through the house, I saw it, not as it was, but rather what it could become. Obviously, not everyone who had come through could look past the cracks in the plaster and the peeling paint on the ceiling, because a large stack of real estate cards lay on the kitchen cabinet. My husband and I went home chattering all the way about the unique features of the home and how beautiful we thought it was. It didn't take too long for us to decide, why not try to buy it. It's not Victorian, but it's old and it's everything we ever wanted in an old home.... Lots of work. Murphy's Law was just as prevalent with us then, as it is now and someone else put a bid on the home at the same time we did. We were just sick. We offered and counter-offered until finally we were above the asking price. We had prayed and prayed and prayed God would make a way for us to get the house and both of us felt it really was meant for us. The real estate agent called us to the office one day to talk to her boss. She encouraged us to make a higher bid and to take the contingency clause out of the offer which would mean we could possibly be left with two house payments until our house sold. We had put it in God's hands and told the agent to congratulate the new owners of the house. We had just had our third child and that wasn't a risk we could afford at the time. I'll never forget
the look on her face when my husband told her we were happy for whoever got the house and maybe someday it would be ours. We went home with heavy hearts, but also the knowledge that our God works in mysterious ways and maybe the house would be ours some day. That weekend we told our older kids that we didn't get the house, but it was still in God's hands. Then we had them write the word "faith" on scrapes of paper and we drove to the house. We all got out of the van and with our pledges of faith, we walked all around the house putting the scrapes of paper under rocks, between bricks, any little nook or cranny we could find. We walked back to the van leaving little petals of hope all over, in between and under the house we hoped to own. A couple of weeks later our agent called us and said.... "Jackie, the other buyer has backed out of their contract and the house can be yours if you still want it." The day we moved in, we went in search of our petals of hope. When we found them, we placed them under the cross in basement to remind us, God does care about the little things in our lives, and that God still answers prayers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Secretly Jumping for Joy

My third little robin will be graduating soon. When I say, my three kiddos couldn't be more different, it's not an exaggeration. There is such an age gap between the first two and the third, it's like having two different families. Basically he's been an only child, which I feel bad about. But hey, I needed that much time to recoup from having the first two before I ventured into pregnancy again. His demeanor makes for a good third child, in fact maybe too good. I don't think I've had to be on my toes as much with him as the first two. A few years ago he wanted to grow his hair long. We went through this with robin #2, but it worked out really well. When his hair grew out it grew in perfectly formed black ringlets. It was totally unfair a boy should have such hair and my daughter and I were just a tad jealous because of it. Unfortunately, although robin #3 has an overload of the Patterson gene, he didn't get the curl gene so his hair grew straight. To top it off, he wanted to dye it black. So this is my parenting view.... If growing his hair long and dying it black is the worst thing he does as a teenager, I still
have it made in the shade with a big glass of lemonade. I haven't hassled him about his hair, but make no mistake he was well aware of my... Not as thrilled as I could be about it, but for the most part I kept my lips zipped and rolled my eyes a lot when he wasn't looking. I don't have anything against long hair as long as the long hair has a style. He refused to let my hairdresser cut it into some sort of style besides the "Long just because I can grow it long" style. 99.9% of the time you can't even see he has hair because he wears a toboggan 24/7.... And I mean 24/7 as in all winter.... All summer even if it's 116 degrees outside he has a knit toboggan on... Well, let me just say, now I understand why my Mom hated the baseball caps and cowboy hats my brother always wore. The hair thing/toboggan thing didn't phase his dad. I swear if I have to hear the story one more time about how much longer his hair was back in the 70's, I'll puke up my toenails up through my nose. Apples and oranges, I told him, apples and oranges, this isn't the 70's and I'm not your mother. Every time the subject would come up, his lips would be moving but all I could hear was blah, blah, blah. Robin #3 spent the night with a friend Friday and Saturday morning when I got up I had a text from him he had sent late Friday night... "Would you be mad if I cut my hair off tonight." Seriously? He ask me now.... After wedding pictures, family pictures, senior pictures have all been forever frozen in photographic history? When he got home Saturday I poked my head in his room. He was sitting on his bed with his tobaggan on his head. He reached up and pulled the toboggan off  and smiled. There he was... My little robin #3, just as cute as he was when he was 3... His feathers neatly cut. I had to shut the door really fast before a smile ruined my.... "I couldn't care less look" Outside in the hallway I was doing the Gangnam style/Harlem Shake all rolled into one happy mamma dance. He has eyes... Thank God, he has eyes. And a smile... I saw him smile.... Maybe, just maybe, I'm not a parenting failure at all!!!  On the outside I was cool as a cucumber as I skipped (yes skipped) down the stairs, but on the inside I was secretly jumping for joy.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Naked Feet

I really should start watching the weather in the morning while getting ready for work instead of the cat fights shown on Real Housewives of This or That county. Yesterday was a beautiful, almost spring day in Oklahoma. I sat at my desk buried under a mountain of paper and didn't wonder out of the office until well in the afternoon. It was gorgeous. The kind of weather that makes me want to dig in the dirt and plant flowers I know won't make it through the summer if I'm the primary caregiver.... It's a wonder my children all made it to adulthood. Today I woke up all hung over from the spring madness of yesterday and since it's Casual Friday, I thought I'd wear jeans and my Croc sandals."We move our clocks up this weekend" I thought to myself as I backed out of the driveway while putting on my sunglasses. Yes, a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I had been at work maybe 30 minutes when I reached down to pull my little space heater closer to my toes... They were a bit chilly. I looked out the office window and it wasn't sunny anymore, it was cloudy. I picked up a stack of papers that needed delivering and took the sidewalk around the building. It was cloudy and cool. When I got back to my office I thought.... "Hey, I'll pull up the weather forecast." it read...
"A 50 percent chance of light rain. Cloudy, with a high near 61. South southeast wind 16 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph." Not a great day to have naked feet. I should have put some toe socks on with my Crocs. Isn't that the proper way to wear them? Oh well, it's no biggie I dressed for yesterday a day late. Beside, with Oklahoma weather there's a 50% chance the forecast is 100% wrong.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is It Love?

When in doubt as to whether an act is done out of love, this is  the perfect yardstick.
I Corinthians 13:1-7
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long
and is kind;
Love does not envy;
Love does not parade itself,
Is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked, 
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity,
but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, 
believes all things, 
hopes all things,
endures all things. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Silence of Abuse

The room was dark. Moonlight filtered through the window panes and a summer breeze made the curtains flutter in the dim light. The hallway was a maze of twist and turns and my legs felt like rubber. Regardless of how hard my heart pounded inside my chest, I could barely make my legs move. Sweat poured down my face. My hair stuck to my cheek obstructing the view when I quickly glanced over my shoulder. I could feel him, I knew he was there, I knew he was close, but where. If he reached me.... Dear God I couldn't let him reach me. I whipped my head back around and continued to run just as a hand reached out to grab my wrist.... My wrist, it was always my wrist... Like a rag doll he threw me over his shoulder and said...."I will take you someplace no one will ever find you."

Slowly I opened my eyes from the nightmare I'd been having for weeks. The sunlight peeking through the blinds would have been cheerful if I wasn't in such a dark place emotionally. The temptation to roll over and cover my head with the blanket seemed so much better than getting dressed only to spend the entire day looking over my shoulder and trying to avoid being caught off guard and alone. The battle began at 8 a.m. and would last until I could finally close my eyes only to have the nightmares return, deepening the fear and repeating the loneliness I felt during the day. How had I become so entangled in such a mess? I didn't have time to figure it out. My first priority had to be  getting out of the mess... I could analyze it later. As I got dressed I noticed the bruises from earlier in the week had began to fade. The stress of the last few weeks had not only eaten away my self-esteem, but also my appetite. I had lost a lot of weight, my parents were starting to notice, even my teachers had questioned me, but humiliation kept me silent.

The day sped by without incidence. Now, if I could only make it to my car without being caught. My best option was to duck my head and make a run for it, so I started down the steps to the sidewalk and.... There he was. I had nothing to say, my focus was on keeping as much distance between us as possible... I didn't want any more bruises. We had been going through this routine for days, and it was wearing on me. I just wanted him to keep his hands off of me and leave me alone. He pleaded, he begged, then he would get angry and threaten, if possible he would reach out and grab me again. I had to keep the distance or put something between us. His words were vile and full of hatred, his actions desperate. "No one will ever love you,".... "You don't have any friends.".... "You'll be sorry for leaving.".... I got to my car and opened the door before he could grab and yank it out of my hand. My hands were trembling as I locked the door and prayed the car would start. He stood outside the window, pleading, pounding, then blocking so I couldn't pull out. I looked down at the steering wheel and for a split second I thought... "Just run over him.... It would end this."  The  thought scared me to death... I was obviously at the brink, something had to give. I Wasn't going to be his victim any longer. Finally, he stalked back toward campus and I drove home wishing I had someone to talk to. Strangely it wasn't the bruises that woke me to the realization that this was not a healthy relationship... It was the isolation. I used to have friends.... Before him.... But, he would get so mad when he saw me talking to someone I had isolated myself to prevent his outburst. Now.... I felt very alone. Fearing no one would believe me anyway, I vowed to win this battle on my own, in silence.

It was the end to a long week. I felt like Pac Man, constantly running through a maze, trying to avoid the ghost that would gobble me up.  Earlier in the week, he caught me in the library doing research for the school newspaper. I looked up and he was sitting beside me. The pleasantries didn't last long when he reached out to grab my elbow. I dug my fingernails into the skin on his forearm as deeply as I could and raked them all the way down... "You're not going to hurt me again" I told him as I gathered my books and walked out. That was the first time I fought back. When it first began, I was so shocked, I didn't do anything. It had progressively gotten worse and became more frequent. Abuse wasn't something I was familiar with, I couldn't  fathom my dad raising a hand to my mom. When I looked in the mirror and saw bruises on my arm, I was humiliated and embarrassed. This was not the life I wanted to live. Like a fly caught in the web of a spider,it wasn't until I began to remove myself, that I found just how tightly I had been ensnared. It felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders as I headed up the empty staircase to class. My restless nights made it difficult to get up in the morning and I was running late. I looked up just as he rounded the corner of the landing. I tried to keep distance between us as we passed, but he reached out to grab me. When he swung me around to face him, I doubled my fist and slammed it into his jaw. God how I wished I hadn't hit like a girl, but sadly I'm afraid I didn't pack much of a punch... Still, he stared at me in shock for a second, then told me to go to hell....I looked him dead in the eyes and said.... "If that's where I have to go to get away from you, I'd be more than happy to go there." He dropped my arm and I continued up the stairs in stunned silence.... He never touched me again.

Rome wasn't built in a day and the architecture of an abusive relationship is one that is craftily built with slow precision and deliberate intent. Like myself, humiliation and shock kept me silent as well as the belief that no one would believe the fun-loving guy on campus, could be abusive and destructive when no one was around. If you are a young woman in a abusive dating relationship, seek help, don't stay silent. 
  • For more information on this subject of dating abuse, try the following links

I'd like to thank the artist of the amazing sketch, Sarah Renee Torres. When I told her I wanted something original for this post, she was excited to jump on board. We also discussed the content of the blog. I asked her if she knew anyone who had a similar experience. She said she did, and like myself, it wasn't something they talked about, it was just something you noticed as it evolved. She encouraged me to publish the post, hoping to encourage young teens to stay alert to signs they may be in a unhealthy relationship.