Court and Overnight Stays

A few years ago it took us several months to agree on the custody arrangement for our kids, and several more months to agree on child support… Mostly it took him a long time to bother paying anything. He just kept putting it off. He’d wait for the court to force him. He’d do anything in his power to ignore his subpoenas for information. It was frustrating. Grueling. Annoying. I could barely pay the bills and I often had to choose to let something go unpaid or buy electricity or water for the house. I’d have to choose between paying the mortgage or buying clothes and food for the kids. It sucked. That man did his best to suck the life right out of me and he nearly did.

Now skip forward a few years…

This morning I had to deal with the ex. Honestly, I don’t know why it still upsets me. (But I don’t give myself credit when I say that.) It still upsets me. He sued me back in October to change the child support payments because I am finally employed (Yay!) I didn’t mind, sure, we can change things around. No problem. But then court was delayed, mostly because of him ever since. Today (Thank God!) we finally were able to get everything done. It’s laughable though! There’s always just one more thing that really doesn’t make sense. He made a proposal that if you added it all up was acceptable, but then added on that “he wants to be able to have overnight guests at the house”… (this means he wants his girlfriend to be able to stay the night when my 11 yo daughter is there.) Ummm… NO. Not going to happen. Sorry. She’s eleven, that’s ELEVEN. If you want to go ahead and get married, no problem. If that wasn’t laughable enough, he’s the one who insisted that provision be in the child custody plan in the first place. He was thinking he was stopping me from bringing in another man. (I don’t have another man, don’t want another man, and am not looking for another man. I don’t want any man.) And now he wants to change it up. Funny how that particular line has come back to bite him instead of me. I’ve already decided I would never bring another man into my house so long as my kids are young. I’m not saying no to dating, nor even having a relationship. I’m saying no to exposing my children to that.

God has made me their mother and I will do my best to be the best example I can for them. Since leaving my husband, I have found friends, fun and an entirely wonderful life. Why would I want to risk that? I used to be lonely when I was with him. I used to hate life, hate going home, hate everything about who I was. That no longer happens. Now I love who I am and who I am becoming.

What’s going on? I have no idea. Sure, I could make up a story or something but it doesn’t really matter to me why he wants to let another person stay overnight with my child there. And yes, when he wanted that added in it explicitly meant a lover. My youngest had said that her father had talked of them moving in this spring, which instantly translated to marrying her. If that’s the case, no worries. Marriage changes the conversation. Until then, though, I will do all that I can to protect my daughter and to raise her as I see best. At least one of her parents cares enough to fight for her.

thank you for reading my rant,



Would You Stand?

I have a question.

If you were in the midst of uncountable numbers and someone asked you to stand up if you had ever been abused (taking in all possible kinds), would you stand if your answer was yes? Would you be willing to be the first person to stand? Would you stand if thousands stood at the same time as you? Do you have the kind of courage to stand so that others are willing?

I often think that abuse is prevalent because the first person will not stand.

Imagine you are in church and the pastor asks for you to stand if you have ever been hit, touched inappropriately, ridiculed, or otherwise bullied? Then would you stand? Would you be willing to stand if the person who did that to you was your father? Brother? Sister? Mother? Wife? Husband? Or would you remain in your seat?

Is it easier to stand and say yes, I have been bullied than it is to say yes, my boyfriend raped me? I imagine it is a thousand times easier to admit to being bullied than it is to admit to being raped. Why?

What are we afraid of? Bullying is so vague, rape, though? Wow. Rape is intimate, private, a secret. What if you were raped by a relative? How much more private is that? Why hide? What are we afraid of? Rape, by definition, is an assault or unwanted sexual encounter, that is really a form of control… ie. it is not our fault. Why would a person who has been abused or raped not stand and yet one who was bullied is much more likely to?

Being bullied is okay, being raped is not? In both cases the victim was a victim, he or she did not want it done, did not like it, and has probably suffered immeasurably because of it. Why must one remain a secret and the other not?

I’m not discounting bullying. I know of many who have ended their own lives because of it. What I am wondering is why are we so afraid to admitting that we have been raped? Why do we feel soiled, unclean, defiled, unworthy, by it? It was not in our plan, it was not asked for. Why is the victim made lesser because of something he or she was unable to stop?

Now the question, again. If someone were to ask you to stand, would you? Imagine if we all stood up. How many in that congregation would stand with us? We live in a broken world because of secrets. If the rape victim could stand as easily as the one who was bullied and survived, then I would guess that I would be one of many who stood.

I would also guess that things would change. The more people speak the more others realize there is a problem. If it were in church and if your abuser were there, and if you were able to name him or her, then would that church rally behind you and help? That is my hope. My hope is that people are good, yet my knowledge is that secrets kill. It is a very dangerous place to be.

Would there be ridicule? or would there be mercy? Both? I don’t know the answer, I only hope for the one, though. Mercy. Mercy for the victim and correction for the perpetrator. Peace in the understanding. Knowledge in the acceptance. And most of all I hope for change. I yearn for the day I can speak freely so that others may find their strength so that they can speak their truths as well.

Join me. Let us be willing to be the first to stand.

thank you for reading,

What is the definition of Life? (Does Time Heal?)

The definition of life has been up for debate ever since we’ve tried to define it. Is a fire alive? Does it reproduce? What about a virus? Both are not considered alive by the definitions. They do reproduce, though.

From a quick Google search, the definition of life – “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”

Fires and virus both seem to fit this definition and yet the consensus is they are not alive.

Wikipedia says – “The current definition is that organisms are open systems that maintain homeostasis, are composed of cells, have a life cycle, undergo metabolism, can grow, adapt to their environment, respond to stimuli, reproduce and evolve.”

From this definition – fires are definitely not living, and viruses are not cellular.

Really, though, my question today is are ‘fetuses’ alive? At what point in the development of a human being is there no cells? No metabolism? No life cycle? No adaptation? No response to stimuli? No reproduction?

The argument continues everywhere. Is something not alive until the brain waves can be read? Is something not alive until the heart begins to beat?

From this side of the argument, it is difficult for me to think that a ‘fetus’ is not alive. Even at the very beginning the cells are very much alive and do grow, metabolize, reproduce, respond to stimuli, and adapt to their environment. But then the argument continues and is ultimately whose life is more important? The mother who has already been alive for a number of years or the child who is merely days or weeks old? Which human has more potential? Which human is more loved? Which human is more important? Which is it? The mother or the child?

Now put yourself in the shoes of the mother. Pretend you are just a child yourself of 13, 14, 15 or 16. Are you ready? Able? to give birth to another child? Now consider whose life is more important? How do you reconcile which child to rescue? How do you protect the innocent when they are both innocent? It could have been a mistake, or it could have been a rape, but the outcome is still two lives that now need to be reconciled.

So many say, protect the mother in this case. Protect her from having to deal with a child when she isn’t grown yet. Protect her because her body is too young to fully bring a child to term. Protect her. (Let us ignore that we have not protected her up to this point, and that is why she is in this position in the first place.) Then? Do we kill the living being inside her so that she may have a chance to live her life fully? Do we allow for abortion under this circumstance? Or do we bring the child to term and allow a cesarean delivery to minimize the damage done to our young mother? Is it possible to think about delivering the baby early? I know a man whose child was born at 27 weeks and is currently at 9 months doing extremely well. Has anyone considered this alternative?

The problem here is that there is no real right answer. You just can’t be unpregnant once you are pregnant. I have no doubt that a ‘fetus’ is alive. I do know, though, that regardless of the choice made, the young mother in this example will never forget. She will not forget that she was pregnant and now has no child. She will not forget that she either killed the child or gave it away. She will not forget the chaos that ensued when she learned of her pregnancy. If she is able to keep her child, this will cause difficulties for both of them. Poverty will be knocking at her door and it is a very loud knock.

Will time heal her wounds? Will she be whole again? Will she be able to forgive herself, forgive others? Will she be able to move forward and have an amazing life, put the past behind her? Maybe. No one can guarantee this. To think there is nothing necessary for her healing is naive. Time is a wonderful thing, yes. However, time does not heal. Time dulls the pain, it allows you to forget a little, to put things aside. But healing, true healing, requires facing your fears and facing the past. It requires allowing yourself to feel and to think and to grieve. Time? It’s meaningless.

thank you for reading,


Renewing my belief

Sometimes a person just needs a reminder. People are good. Even the bad ones were good once, or at least aren’t all bad. People are good. They really are. When you give someone a chance to excel, when you believe in them when they don’t, when you are in a time of need, people are good.

Last night one of my friends, a previous coworker, lost his house. While he was away with work, his wife and two young kids had to flee their burning home. Everyone is okay, no lives taken. Thank God. But I decided to say something, to step in where I wasn’t sure I belonged, and to help. I can’t make the fire go away, but I can at least help another human being in a time of need. Alone, I can only do so much. However, I learned a long time ago that people like to be able to help. People are good. I put out a plea for help for my friend. Others, many I do not even know, have stepped forward with anything and everything. My friend’s house was a complete loss, but maybe this is God’s time of giving them something better.

People are good. Sometimes I begin to doubt but then something happens and a human arises to help. I know how easy it is to lose focus. It’s easy to get frustrated. It’s easy to forget that people are good. When you’ve had a long and tiring day, and then accidentally (or even on purpose) snap at someone, then that person gets frustrated and on and on it goes. It’s good to stop, take a deep breath and pass on a blessing instead of a curse. A blessing passed forward may then pass forward again causing a much better spiral of events. Remembering that someone’s mood might be for a good reason helps me. When someone is upset or driving recklessly or impatient or whatever, I remind myself that people are good. I do not know what horrors they have faced, I do not know the challenges that have come forward, I do not know them well enough to judge them and so I will continue to assume that people are good.

Even those who do terrible things. They have good in them as well. I do not know their story and I will not judge. People are good. God made them and he does not, nor has he ever, made junk. If we only stop and look for that good we will find it. A person’s actions do not always match ‘good’ and they may not be. But think. Is there anyone who has not done something they regret? Is there one who has done something wrong that they don’t regret? Yes. Life is hard. Some things are not easy to do. Some times you’re just too tired to do the right thing. Separate this from the person, though. No matter what you have done, you are good. Maybe not what you did, but that is not you. You, you are God’s design. No matter your past, no matter your now nor your future. You are good because you are human.

People are good, including you, I believe this and I will not be swayed.

thank you for reading,


Reading and remembering

I wrote the other day about keeping my book to myself. It’s difficult letting it go. There are so many things in the book that I grudgingly place in to the hands of the public. My history, my story, is mine. I know others have theirs and I want to be a light to others, helping them to see their way to a better life. I want people to be able to read through my book so they can see how I managed to make my way out of chaos. I want my book to be something that gives others hope, peace knowing they are not alone, and courage to act.

Action requires courage, if you weren’t courageous you wouldn’t act when you are scared. Being courageous is not a feeling. It’s an action despite (or because) of fear. My book shows how I acted in the face of all that was going on. No matter what I felt, I kept on moving. I was reminded of the Psalm, though I walk ‘THROUGH’ the shadow of death. This requires moving, walking, acting even in the face of fear.

As I reread my book, I’m finding small typos, and less than optimal wording at times. The purpose of reading it was to fix it and make it better. It’ll never be perfect but that’s not the goal. The goal is that people don’t stop reading because they get tired of something I say. I want them to make it to the end so that they know that I made it.

Well, I’m reading it again, for better or worse. It brings things back to me, flashbacks I suppose. It makes me cringe, cry, and be angry all over again. But mostly, I am reminded of my journey. I am reminded to take care of myself, and to be kind to myself.

New fears arise while reading as well. I wonder how certain people will take it. I wonder if it will get into the wrong hands somehow… I wonder if there are wrong hands. I worry about being judged and about what others think and say. I worry that I will be challenged. And if so, if I can handle it. I may lose friends or family because of some of the things I wrote. But is it my fault that they may take it wrong? It is my story, not theirs.

In the midst of my worries, I remind myself: be kind to yourself, remember to eat, remember to read, remember to write… take care of me, be gentle, sleep enough, drink my water, exercise… In short – I must practice self-care and I must practice it consistently.

Back to the book, I’m in the midst of the most climactic part. I feel vulnerable, yet still I keep moving. Reading it over is difficult, but worth it.

thank you for reading,


Empowering Women to Trust Their Hearts

I want to empower women to trust their hearts. I want to be a shoulder to lean on, a person to speak the truth. Recently I wrote a book. More like, I allowed a book to be written through my hands. Once I allowed the words to flow, they poured out of me. I was honest, brutally honest. I allowed myself to write without regard to what others would think. I allowed myself to be vulnerable, and I can feel it. I remain hesitant to tell the world of my book because of that vulnerability. It is difficult for me to trust and yet I continue. The book is not perfect, it never will be. I worry about certain people seeing it and so I hesitate.

But why should I worry? Why shouldn’t I speak my own truth? If someone does not like what I say, let them write their own rebuttal. Let them pick up pen and paper and write their own story. My story is multifold. I speak of my marriage, my divorce, my school, my friends and family; I speak of my past and how it shaped me. I hold nothing back, I tell all the secrets. So why do I still hide?

I published the book so that others like me could know they are not alone, and yet I withhold it by not letting them know it is there. This book is my dark closet. It is the diary of a beaten and raped woman. It is a part of who I am, who I will always be. Can I stand tall and allow myself to be questioned? Or will I stand tall and not allow others the freedom my story provides? I write what many are scared to write.

This book is my gift to the woman who is lost, the mother who doesn’t have a way out, the teenage girl who faces a new hell… this book is what I went through before I finally decided to believe in myself. It is my story. Parts of it may be yours, parts may not. But my story is not going to change whether I hold it close to my chest or on open palms for others to see. It’s mine. I should not be ashamed of my past, and neither should you. It is today that matters most after all.

thank you for reading,


ps. Conversations with my Therapist is the book.


I was challenged the other day to try to describe the color red in such a way that a person who has never seen color would understand it. At that moment a picture formed in my mind and so this is where it has led: 

An Essay on the Color Red

Red is a color, everyone knows it’s a color, even people who cannot see know there is a color called ‘red’. There are countless things that are red in this world: stop signs, cardinals, robins, and worms; blood, roses, carnations, cinnamon, and peppermint. Different candies are red, so are muscles, cheeks, lips and tomatoes. If you look for red, and can see, you will find it everywhere.

How do you tell someone about the color red? How do you explain what red is? Is it wavelengths of light? What if they don’t see light? Is it a sound, a touch, a feeling, a taste? Yes. But what is red? Red can be fierce like a lion’s roar, but a lion isn’t red. Red can also be anger or love. How about those? 

Have you ever been so mad, so absolutely speechless and angry that you couldn’t think straight? That your head hurt? Your forehead crinkled? You felt so pent up inside, wanting to scream? If you try screaming nothing comes out because you don’t even have words to say, or you have too many words to spit out at once? Have you been so livid that everything in your body tenses, your heart races, your ears hear a rushing sound as blood races by them? If you could release it all in one giant jolt, something or someone would die? That kind of anger is red.

Have you ever felt so in love that your heart was about to burst? You couldn’t think of a single negative thing no matter what? If someone were to make you trip and fall you would just hop back up on your feet, brush yourself off and keep on going? You keep a smile on your face knowing that life has so much to live for. There’s something magical going on in your life and you have someone to share it with you. Have you ever felt your cheeks get warm after the brush of your lover’s lips on yours? Felt the extra beat in your chest as your heart jumps with excitement? That’s red also.

But how does it feel? Can you touch red and know it? I’m certain you already have. Have you ever skinned your knee when you were playing as a child just to have your hand brush against it and come back wet and warm? Blood. Blood is also red. Blood is what rushes to your face to make you blush, making your cheeks warm with love. Blushing also comes from being embarrassed. Blood provides life to you and so here red is life.

Have you ever smelled a rose, touched it’s silky petals and then grasp its stem too hard? The thorns force blood to pour from your palm. A gentle touch of the petals, though, is like a butterfly caressing your cheek? Red. Roses are sometimes red.

Sound though? Can you hear red? Listen to a child cry, feel her hot breath on your face. Listen to her screaming bloody murder because she didn’t get what she wanted, or stubbed her toe. Maybe somebody pinched her or there’s something wrong and she doesn’t know what to say. Hot and sweaty from screaming. She’s red. Red with anger and discomfort. Her mouth is red, cheeks are red, lips are red. That’s red. What about the hot, angry child that can’t have his way? The temper tantrum in the middle of the store? He can’t have his candy? That’s red too.

Red is like Christmas sometimes, only sometimes. It’s not the smell of the pines. It’s the smell of the candy canes, the peppermint or cinnamon hanging on the tree. That’s red. It’s mixed with other colors sometimes. But red is definitely cinnamony and pepperminty too, like a hot chocolate with a candy swirled in the middle. The chocolate, that’s not red, but the candy is. 

Red. How do I describe red when it changes so much? The truth is colors change too. There’s different kinds of red. There’s different meanings for red, and different colors of red too. I can’t explain it all, I can only share with you some of the things that are red. Like the railway arms blocking cars from crossing a train track, they’re red. If you are in the car, and the car comes to a screeching halt, stops in the middle of the road and you don’t know why. Sometimes that’s red, because red is what we use for danger. It’s also what we put on stop signs. It is used as a warning meaning be careful. No, not careful, it means danger. Yellow means be careful, but this isn’t about yellow, this is about red. 

What is red? It’s what you make it. Even those who see red, see it differently. Sometimes, even if we can see red, we argue. Is it this kind of red? Or is it that kind of red? If you want to argue over which kind of red it is you’re welcome to do that too. Because sometimes red has other colors mixed in and it’s not quite so red anymore, but it still looks red. 

Red can be spicy like a chili pepper, or itchy like a rash. It can squish between your teeth like a tomato or crunch like an apple. It can signal danger, anger, and love all at the same time. It can feel like a caress or a stab from the same rose. It is both good and bad, hot and cold, sweet and spicy, noisy and quiet. It is what ever you choose to make of it. 

I’ve done a particularly awful job of describing a color to someone who has no color in their life. But hopefully, it helps, just a little.

thank you for reading,