Wednesday, May 29, 2013

That 1%

Abandonment. It's such a heavy word. It's almost as if you can feel the air today. Heavy and damp. Always hanging over you just reminding you of how depressing the whole situation is. A girl adopted from China once said "99% of me believes I was placed I think somehow I can't get rid of that 1%. I think there is apart of me that wishes I had never heard the word abandonment." She struggles with needing to be perfect. She over compensates for the feelings that she was not enough for her birth parents. This can lead to so many things and in her case an eating disorder...

So many of us deal with different issues. We know that there is the 99% of us that wants to be healthy. That part of us that wants to keep fighting. We know who we are. Yet it's hard to get rid of that 1% and it seems like it has a stronger hold than the majority. But why? It's such a small part of what we once were and yet the gnarled hands of the past won't let go...

"You're worthless"
"You're ugly."
"You're dumb."
"You're unwanted."
"You're FAT."

You are hit with it time and time again. How does such a small percentage have such a strong hold? Is it the fact that we turn out backs on it and try to forget about it? We try to ignore the past and pretend it's not there..that is never happened. We constantly ignore the tapping of the finger on the desk. Not wanting to give it any acknowledgement.

"You are not apart of me!"

But does that help? Does ignoring the facts help? Don't take the statements and make them fact. Take the fact that they once were who you thought you were and reminder yourself of how far you have come. I once felt all those things. It's hard to remember. But in ignoring the facts of my past I can't find healing in my future. Ignoring the past only leaves it room to come back and haunt me with even more darkness.

This girl took the fears of abandonment and faced them head on. Posting flyers in the village she was abandoned in. She didn't want her past to rule how her future made her feel. She wanted to grow from it and heal from it. Looking for her birth parents was part of her journey to finding peace and healing.

What has been on your path? Perhaps confronting someone who abused you? Confronting those who called you names? Maybe it's just laying it all in the hands of God?

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Black Hole

I've seen the black hole before. I've seen it in the eyes of young one and some as they have grown older show the darkness of the pain they have been through. It's like a deadness in the eyes with a sparkle that is behind it just struggling to stay. Wanting to shine, yet it can't get through the deep muckiness to let the light show. It's often a silent pain. They have been told to keep the secret. Why would anyone believe them? No one will understand. Sexual abuse is not something we talk about often. We would rather pretend it didn't happen.

I wonder if we could step back for a second? Do we realize that our silence is only hurting? Sadly it's only hurting those who are too young to really understand what is happening. They often don't have a voice loud enough to speak out. Perhaps it's my little ones that I have such a soft spot for those whose voices at times can barely speak louder than a whisper. The most innocent sometimes need us to be loud for them.

My heart cries when I read the statistics. 1 in 6 American women have been a victim of sexual assault in her lifetime. Honestly you could just look around you and see more than one everywhere you go. I wonder why we continue to let it go and let the numbers continue to climb.

When it comes to children I see the numbers turn into small faces for me. I see their big eyes silently screaming for help from us...
44% are under the age of 18
29% are age 12-17
15% are under age 12
I suppose the hardest for me to hear is that 93%of children who are victims of sexual assault know their attacker. We wonder why it's so hard for them to say something? A person you trust and someone who should never hurt's easy to believe that no one would believe you.

It's easy for me to see the connection between eating disorders and sexual abuse. One causes you to feel as if you are losing control while the other one gives you a false sense of control. It seems that with our young ones being so vulnerable and so innocent it's so important for us to know the details and understand what we can do.

As always my biggest encouragement is to be there. Don't ignore something if you think it doesn't look right. Ask your daughters questions. Make sure they know that they are able to tell you anything, and that it's not ok for someone to tell them to keep a secret from you. Keep an eye out for drastic changes in their behavior and talk. Also remember that their are other children who are hurting that may not have the same kind of support that you give your children. Be there. Sometimes all it takes is an ear to listen...and healing can start for them.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Finding Good in an Evil World

Stuff like that just doesn't happen here...How often have you heard that? So we continue to let our children run around without knowing what they are doing or where they are. We put our faith in friends, family and strangers...believing that we live in a safe community. All the while evil is lurking around the corner. In one moment our bubble of believing those kinds of things only happen in the big cities is popped. We arrive at reality where there are sex offenders taking children from the street corners.

For years I have heard people speak so naively about living in a small town or a close knit community. There is a sense of security and sadly it's a false one. I for one struggle with keeping a balance of sheltering my kids yet letting them live a care-free childhood. I continue to educate them on the real world...and it's tricky. You want them to know that not everyone can be trusted, yet you don't want them to never trust anyone. You want them to know that bad things happen, but want to spare them the details. As a mom I find that I continue to take their burden's and let myself be the one to worry about evil.

I keep myself educated. I check the sexual offenders registry often and know of who is living in my neighborhood and town. I also make sure that I know where and who my children are with. It's very important to me that adults are always around, but that they are never put into a dangerous situation with an adult. I also educate my children on personal space and welcome/unwelcome touches. I work to make sure that my children keep their tender hearts, but keep in mind that these things do happen. As parents we can be so vigil, but there are times when we can't always be there. We can't always protect them.

I also try to keep in mind that these people who harm children are just that...people. We live in an evil world where people do evil things. It's hard for me not to judge and then I think about myself. I think about the grace and mercy that God has shown me and I wonder how I can show that to those who are truly remorseful and repentive. In my life I have met a few like this. Unable to come to grips with what they have done. Haunted by a past of abuse themselves. Forever marred by their society.

The sad thing about abuse is that it's an evil horrible cycle. Victims continually become abusers, unless they are able to get help and break the cycle. My heartaches for this world. My heartaches for those who live in abusive homes. Those who are not watched carefully and continually put into harmful situations. Those who are watched carefully and their abusers are those they know well. My heartaches for those victimized and unable to tell. Feeling trapped. Feeling like no one will understand. I pray that they will find someone to reach out to. I pray that healing comes to those who want to stop the cycle of abuse.

Thee is no agony like an untold story inside of you

~After hearing about the abduction of 15 year old Kthlynn Shepard and another 12 year old girl by a sex offender my heart wanted to bring out my feelings about this topic. Please pray for Kathlynn's family she is still missing. The 12 year old was able to escape, but Kthlynn has been missing from her small town in Iowa since Monday. Friday I plan on connecting the issue of sexual abuse with eating disorders.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reaching Out With Your Art...

I recently received a book talking about outreach and arts. If you haven't been able to tell I am a huge fan of the arts. I think as Christians we have put art on the back burner and found it to be unimportant. I think in away this is a huge mistake. We live in a world where art is all around us, and we were made by the greatest artist of them all. So why have we gone so far away from it? Why does it seem to scare us? Sometimes I just sit and wonder if we can fully understand that.

I want to use my art more and more to reach out to people. Use it as away to show them the love of Christ, but also bring healing into their lives. One way I am trying to do this is blessing girls with a photo shoot and talking to them about who they are. Where they have been. What their dreams are for life. Really using my main form of art to speak into the hearts of young girls and helping them see the hope the future has.

My first girl is one of my own. She has been working so hard this I blessed her with a small surprise...

She loves it when I take her picture. She loves to pick out hairstyles and have me attempt them. So when I asked if she wanted a photo-shoot she dashed to the computer to pick out a hairstyle. She picked the rocker look, and when we were done....she was smiling ear to ear. 

This girl blesses me everyday. We weren't expecting to be expecting just two months after we got married...but we were. And I don't regret a minute of time I have spent with her. She's traveled more in her short life than many much older than her have. She's live in foreign countries. Walked on ancient walls. She lived in big cities and experienced the life of a country girl. 

She has dreams of working in politics. Working in our state capitol. She loves to learn. And desires to know the answer. She spends most of her day reading. Soaking up more knowledge with each word she reads. She's compassionate. Soft hearted. Loved by those who meet her. She's my angel. My first born. Life would be dull without her. 

Take a few moments to think of how you can bless those around you with your art. What is your passion? How can you use it to bless someone today? 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Swirling in a Stick Straight World

I feel like I can never fall in line. It's not what I was made to do, so why would I try to? Yet I feel so often that I continue to try and fall in line with this strange foreign land. It's this need to fit in and always feel accepted by people, yet why do I care? If people don't accept me for who I am why would I care?

Yet isn't that our continuous struggle. Always wanting to be accept for who we are, and when we are not...we try to change it. How do we put an end to this horrible cycle? How do we change it all in time to save our children from the same struggle in life?

As grown-ups we need to put the ugly words away. We need to stop criticizing others. We need to stop trying to change ourselves to fit in. Stop thinking that the next diet is going to make it right. Perhaps new makeup will help. A new "in" outfit. It all leads to a horrible place of still never fitting "in" and being unhappy with ourselves and our lives.

There is only one person I seek the approval of...God. He's the only one who's opinion is going to matter to me in the end. But I also know that I am human and so often I long for the approval of man. It just seems to be in my nature. I fight it everyday, because I don't want to live my life trying to please men. I tell my older girls to remember that they are examples to their younger sisters...yet in saying that am I being a good example to them?

I feel like I am constantly swirling around trying to fit in...but I never can fall in line. I never make it. And that is O.K. with me. It has to be...because if it's not I will constantly be teaching my kids that if we are not accepted by men that we will live unfulfilled lives that are worthless and unhappy. Truth being I want them to live a life worthy of what God has called us. Full of life because of the one who gave us life. Happy not because others accept us, but because we are happy with how He made us.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Handwritten Letters

I've always enjoyed a nice handwritten letter, however they don't come all that often. I have a few friends who at times will send a letter, but with Facebook and e-mail those times are becoming fewer and fewer. I love handwritten letters so much that I will write ones to my girls and place them in the mailbox. They love it!

So really I think the impact that a handwritten letter can have on someone is quiet large. Even our pastor hit on it for a few Sundays. Writing a letter with pen and paper gives the idea that you have put more thought into what you are means you are a bit more intentional. Being intentional is important if we what to make an impact on our world.

I could sit here and talk until my face turned blue about people who are making society worse. I could give you names of companies that don't seem to give a thought to the things they do. Actors, singers and models who are huge influences to our young kids...yet they just don't seem to get it. What good would that do? My face would be blue, my thoughts would be tired and I would be disheartened by the fact that nothing seemed to be changing. You are right it would bring awareness to you my readers, but I want to make a bigger dent in things too...

So here is my letter. A letter of influence...helping remind people of the influence they have on our kids. What a huge responsibility it is. They are in the spotlight and the things they do and say are seen...and sometimes imitated by even the youngest of kids. My letter is just a small sweet reminder of who our next generation is and how we are in the drivers seat to make it better. My first letter also reached out to the recipient letting him know I didn't blame him for his words, but was only saddened wondering what words had once been said to him. JJ, my oldest, came up with the idea of the bracelet. I thought it was perfect!

Challenge: Know someone who needs a little encouragement to be a positive role model? Send them a letter! Let me know about it!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Identity Crisis...of the Blog

This morning I've been really struggling with something. It's almost like I have been having an identity crisis, but more over my blog. What am I about? What should I talk about? Is all of this important? I can't say that I have come up with any great answers, but bear with me as this post is mostly a collection of my deep crazy thoughts.

I have never been one to out people on my blog. I never name celebrities by name when I talk about them and I have never mentioned companies by name...if I have a problem with them. I have however named companies that I enjoy and love. Today I almost stepped over this line and went off on a company that has made headlines the last couple of days.

I think honestly this man said some hurtful things and they hit me in a bad spot. I was once one of those kids that he would place in the "uncool" group. All of my friends were. We lived with this label through most of school and honestly it doesn't help when grown ups put a divided saying that every school has the "cool" kids and the "not-so-cool" kids. I guess what really gets me frustrated is that as a grown man he should know better than to say hurtful words like this that are either only going to make a bully situation worse because now he has put power in the "cool" kids hands - or - it's going to make the "not-so-cool" kid sink down further into their slump. Shame on him for his words...

But shame on me for wanting to muddy up his name even more. My daughter said something very wise today...
"It's said because as a bully he was probably bullied too. He should know how it feels."
I asked her what she would say if she could talk to him. And this was her answer...
"I would tell him that he should really stop. That it only hurts people and it's only going to hurt him. Then I would show him love." She would probably give him a huge hug.

She's right. What good are my words against him going to do? Bullying often only leads to more and what kind of an example would I be if I sat here and told you how terrible of a person he is and how we should all stop shopping at the store. Not that I shop there anyway, but you get my point right? Is he a terrible person or has life's events caused him to come to horrible conclusions?

What makes me sad is that society is full of people like this. Actors, singers, authors and CEOs of companies. All thinking that they can do whatever they want to sell their product. Their ideas and words pass down to the younger generation and more and more become just the same. Doing whatever it takes to sell something. It was bad when I was's just hard to imagine what it's going to be like when my girls are teens. I wish that people who are in those high profile areas of our society could stand up for what is good and what is right...and be better role models for our young people.

As a parents we can do what we can. Help steer our children the right way and help them understand what things are good and right. Yet...society is still a big issue. It's still there no matter what we do. So how do we touch the hearts of those who are in the spotlight of society? How do we make a difference in something that is so much larger than us? I don't think it's about boycotting and bad mouthing, although I am guilty of both of those. I think we should take the advice of my 8 year old - Show them love! Every week my girls and I are going to start showing them love. Sending letters and hand drawn pictures. In showing love perhaps things can change...little by little.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My SITS Day!

I am so excited today to be the featured blogger over at The SITS Girls! If you don't know what this is or means I highly suggest that you head over there and check out the site. It's a great place to meet lots of great bloggers. If you have a blog it's a great place to get connected. Welcome all you SITS girls!

Tonight I went to a recovery group at church. I love my church it's full of great people who are a family to us. I have wanted to go to this meeting for sometime now, but with my husband's work schedule and kid's martial arts it just hadn't been possible. Tonight it was and I am so glad I went.

It was all about denial and how we try to pass off beautiful lies. Lie to ourselves. Lie to our family. Lie to our friends. We even try to pass off lies to God. I sat and listened and one thing was said that hit me hard...

"Truth is like surgery. It hurts for awhile, but it heals."

Perhaps it's because my surgery wasn't that long ago that I really understand this. Even though my surgery was painful and talking was difficult for sometime afterwards it was all worth it because it helped heal my body. I feel better now than I have for a few years. Surgery was scary, but I didn't want to put it off because I knew that it was going to help me in the end. It was a temporary hurt that would bring long term healing.

So why can't we look at truth in the same way? Why is it so hard for us to see that truth and honesty are going to bring us healing. We need to stop being in denial of the fact that we are hurting ourselves or others with our actions. We have to be truthful and bring on healing. I still struggle. That's the truth and in being honest I can start to bring even more healing into my life.

I look inside my heart and I see so many other things that I could be honest about, and I believe that God will bring these things around. I want to share them. I want to be honest. I want to shine truth into that area of my life. I suppose the good thing is that I am not in denial that they are there. I am not living a lie and thinking that they don't exist. They do and healing has slowly come to that area in my life. So I know that God will bring more healing and truth into that area.

What are you not being truthful about? Where do you need healing?

PICTURES! These aren't the greatest pictures, because I couldn't get to my actual camera today and that would have been helpful since my bedroom doesn't have great lighting. I have a new lamp. One I can turn on and read in bed and I don't have to get out of bed to turn it off when I get tired! LOVE!

I have a few things to work out with it, but it's a great first try! I will be making one for my girls' rooms! So excited! I worked so long on this and my fingers hurt so bad...and it was after I finished that my husband reminded me that the lamp shade I was using as my pattern was the one we were throwing out because it was bent. now it's a little crooked! But I still love it!


Monday, May 6, 2013

To Blame or Not to Blame

Barbie. She's the doll that gets all the blame for every girl having a bad body image. Seems like every week or so there is another person doing another project to show us just how horrible Barbie is. Her measurements are out of whack and how all girls are trying to look like her. Of course this doll must be the problem. We should really try to make Mattel change Barbie so she is more realistic...

Time out! Can I remind everyone that Barbie is just a doll. Just like the Bratz dolls, yet we don't go around worrying that our daughters are going to strive to have an unusually large head. So why do we always put off such a bad light on Barbie. Yes part of it has to do with the fact that she is a more "realistic" looking doll, but honestly the truth is she is still a doll. I wonder if really girls are having a hard time with their self-image because of a doll or if we as grown-ups want something to blame that isn't ourselves.

I read another blog that the mom had found a diet plan in her 8 year old's room. Who did she blame? Barbie and her unrealistic goals she was putting off on her daughter. Does it make us feel better to blame a doll? Then we don't have to take any personal responsibility for our daughter's having a bad body image. If we have to blame a doll I start to wonder what is wrong with our culture and society.

Do we as mothers ever stop to look at what we are teaching our own daughters? I know that if we can pass off the blame to someone or something else the burden we feel on our heart is much lighter, but in actuality that heaviness is still there...we have just covered it up. I asked myself the other day what I was teaching my girls....

My oldest came up to me and said "Mom I weight 65...that's a lot!" For me to hear those words out of my daughter's mouth was a huge punch to the gut. I am the only one to blame right now. She watches me. She sees when I climb on that scale and she hears the words that come out of my mouth. I have to be honest. I use to keep myself to once a month weigh ins, but lately it's been multiple times a day. So when she has a negative view on weight...I have to point the finger at myself.

Society gets blamed a lot. How can it not? I mean  there are so many things in our world that are pushed in our faces. Skinny models, skimpy clothes and the pressure to fit in. But instead of standing up and taking responsibility that we are giving young girls a bad example. We are the ones showing them that a stick skinning model is what's the norm. We are the ones showing them how to obsess over food. We are the ones giving them a bad body image with all the covers of the magazines...but at the end of the day. It's just easier to pass it off on a doll. And instead of taking responsibility and changing something real in the world...we want to change a doll.

(No photo due to blogger not allowing me to upload...really need to figure this out!)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Missing Posts

I deal with stereo-types everyday. Living in a small town it’s hard not to. I often see myself being put into a stereo-type, but I don’t let it bother me, because I love to break stereo-types. Just last week a lady came up to me after the awards ceremony for our kids at church.

“I misjudged you. I thought you were irresponsible and neglectful. I judged you mainly on your style and the large number of kids you have. The truth is you are so involved in your kids and other’s kids. You make a difference in so many lives and are a great role model.”

I was humbled by her words. I know that most people put me into that category. I allow them to, because I live my life to please God and not others. I can’t help it if they put me into a box. If they feel that everyone with purple/black hair is irresponsible. If they feel that everyone with 5 kids is neglectful. I can’t change that…unless they get to know me and I can shatter their stereo-type.

I have to admit I kept something from a lot of people this last week because I felt like it put me right back into that stereo-type. I began to worry what people would think of me. How they would judge me. About three weeks ago we found out one of our daughters has lead poisoning…

We largely kept it to ourselves and asked a few close friends and family to pray for her. Why? Because I was worried that everyone would think I was a bad mother…and isn't that failure every mothers worst nightmare? Here I am a person who loves to shatter stereo-types yet worried about what everyone is going to think of me if they find out. I was stuck in my box of caring about what others are going to think. Stuck…because I wasn't able to express myself in words…because I might let something slip.

Sunday the pastor said something that really hit home. I missed some of what he said because I was in and out with one of the girls, but I think I heard what God really wanted me to hear. 

“Care about what God thinks of you.”

I've thought about this often. It’s something I keep telling myself, but at times I have a hard time really grasping what God thinks of me. Yet it was exactly what I needed to dwell on. When I deal with the harsh things people say about me or I think they say about me I often think of Romans 8:31

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

And then I often make a list…
You are his child…

You are his friend…

You are blessed…

You are chosen…

You are blameless…

You are adopted…

You are redeemed…

You are a new creation…

You are alive…

You are free…

You are loved…

I am thankful for Christ in my life. Thankful that I don’t have to go around worried about what others might think. Thankful that I can go to God with my worries and He gives me peace. Thankful that I can feel freedom to reach out for support and prayers. When we take our focus off of what really matters and worry about being put into a box we allow our deepest struggles to make their way out again.

Today I challenge you to step out of what others might think of you and really grab onto what God thinks of you.

~Not sure why, but I am still unable to get a picture to post!