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Saturday, December 25, 2010


My mother claimed AM as her best friend. She had a daughter (R), four months younger than me. R did everything first, before me. And I think most everything I did (softball, gymnastics, tap & ballet, Girl Scouts…), I did because R was doing it. I had a rough time with jealousy over the talented and able and beautiful younger "sister", that wasn't my sister. We were friends by circumstance more than choice… and my mother was constantly referring to us as being "like sisters: playing happily one moment, fighting the next and ready to take on anyone who offends the other…" true or not, I believed it :)
AM was like a second mom or favored aunt to me. She was kind and caring, but with standards and expectations, I think, higher than my mother's.
She tricked me into eating mushrooms one night. I don't know how she was motivated to dice those things so small, but she had the victory when she told me I had eaten them in my spaghetti and liked it never knowing what those little black things were. I still don't like mushrooms, but I know I can have the good manners to gag them down if I have to (I can cut them as small as I need to to not detect that mushy squshyness). lol. I know that just because I don't like something, doesn't give me the right to offend someone and their work… if it won't kill me, there is a way to accept it… graciously.
I thought AM was Supermom! I had it in my head she could do everything in seconds. She got off work at six, the nights she picked me up from school, she arrived at six, and she always served dinner at six! Not sure how she did it, but she did!! She was where she said and did what she said, when she said she would.
It's amazing of all I remember, how much more I don't remember. But I know there was comfort and safety with her. I knew she was there and I didn't have to worry when I was with her.
As a little girl, I always assumed she would be part of my world…
It's amazing how deceived we can be. In those darkest days. I know I could have come to her, but then, at that time, I was convinced that she and R were like everybody else I had known and walked away from me. It had been presented to me that A simply didn't like my stepfather and so she dropped a friendship that was very close, like it was no big deal. I was led to believe that since my mother wouldn't listen A wanted nothing more to do with us… well, I know now there was more to it than that. There were many details that were not shared with me until I found A and reconnected with her in 1999. She is a careful and discerning person who trusted her instincts and protected her child… the way my mother should have. When I got her side of things, everything made sense… so much was left unanswered, A gave me the answers… and she was right.
We have to make careful choices, right choices even when it's hard, even when it requires letting go of dear friends. What's right is right. Sometimes that can sound cold and unloving… but it's not. It's wise.
I respect her greatly for making the right choices.
She has had an amazing testimony over the last several years as she has dealt with(I think) four different types of cancer, been a foster parent and dealt with jobs coming and going, but God has been good to provide and care for her as she trusts Him. He is so good! She has remained constant and steady following His lead… an example worth following because it's a life that points to Christ.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My widow ladies…

I had a small collection of widow ladies, who were wonderful.
Faithful to the Lord, served wherever and however they could.
I already mentioned GA, but there was DB, EW, MB, & FS.
There was one, WP, who I never got to know at all. But she was the one who stood out my first day at CBC (besides Grandma Lady). I don't think I'll ever forget the welcoming smile on her face and the hug she gave me that day. It truly felt like she thought I was some long lost granddaughter who had returned home. After I moved away, I continued to send birthday cards to many of the people there, and after I sent her a card, she wrote me a note asking me to keep in touch, which I did until she passed away.
That one small act of kindness spoke volumes. When I think about it… though I wasn't one of hers, I was a child (of the King) who had wandered far away… and I was welcomed back warmly, with love, God just used her to demonstrate that love to me. He is so awesome.
DB, was a dear sweet lady. Convinced of her ideals and willing to encourage others to follow the same guidelines. I learned to listen respectfully, consider her opinions, and choose what I wanted to agree with. She was sweet and had a good spirit with those of us who didn't agree with her opinions. That too, was a great lesson to learn.
EW & MB were a pair that seemed to never be apart, to most people anyway. They were definitely best friends…
At first they were a little intimidating. But somewhere J and I got the courage to get to know them. EW had a fantastic sense of humor. The things most people though would offend her, really made her laugh. I don't really know that she was very easily offended. She had standards and expectations and was disappointed to a degree when those weren't met, but she had learned- what others do results in their problems more often than mine.
Mrs. B. was one of my favorites. She and Mrs. W. often had disagreements, bit they always worked them out. Mrs. B. was a bit more active in my live than. Mrs. W. Mrs. B., I think really appreciated the fact that J and I called her (I thunk I did more than J did), and she did more with me/us. One Christmas she took us to Walmart. And everything we liked she threw in the cart and bought for us! We were shocked! Amazed! Who ever does that? Mrs. B. had us over several times to help with springtime yard work. And she had me over more than once to help with indoor spring cleaning… took hours to dust one room, her house was like a museum with all the nicknacks and pretties she had. I don't know how many times she had me over to "work" the VCR. She said she didn't know how to make it work :), but she didn't seem to care what we watched, and she insisted on paying me for my time :). When I told her she didn't need to pay me for helping her, her response was,"Oh. No. I would never have you over here without paying you." I think she knew that would make it harder for my stepfather to complain about the amount of time I spent with her and impossible for him to refuse to let me go with her :)
I think she knew a lot more about my situation than she let on. She gave me multiple opportunities to tell her what was going on, but I was too scared to open up. The day before I left for Indiana, I spent the whole day with her. She had me promise when I got back I would help her with her living will and other things. But the last thing I remember, we were sitting in her car in front of my house and she asked me if my stepfather abused me… I was terrified by that question! I asked her,"How?". We went back and forth a few times until she finally asked if he hit me. I could honestly answer that he'd only done that once years before. She didn't ask anything more specific, accepted my answer with a bit of annoyance in her voice… I am convinced she knew what was wrong, but I wouldn't give her what she needed to help…
When I didn't return to YV, I think she was disappointed, but she seemed to enjoy keeping up with what was going on with me. When I finally had the courage to speak up about my stepfather, she definitely was not surprised, but something changed. She wasn't as friendly and forthcoming with herself as she had been. I found out when we went to YV to move my mother, that Mrs. B. had quit church and had been lying to me about it for months. I was mad and hurt. I wrote her a letter scolding her for lying to me… not even considering the reality that I had lied to her for a lot longer time. I have since apologized, but she hasn't had a thing to do with me since… I still miss her, my friend.
Mrs. S., later became Mrs. O., that was confusing so we called her Mrs. F. :). Mrs. F. was always smiling. So sweet. When she would go on vacation, she always gave me the address where she would be, and always took the time to write me back when I wrote to her while she was away. Wow! How amazing, to take time out from visiting her kids and grandkids to write to me… wow. She laughed and joked and teased with me in choir (we sat beside each other, her on one side of me and Mrs. A. in the other), I think she might have been another one we called pretty regularly, and she always had the time to spend on us.

Oh I love and miss MY widow ladies. I so enjoyed their sweet, caring spirits. They gave me opportunity to do and help. They respected and cared about me. They all encouraged me in the things of the Lord. They shared their lifetimes of memories, their blessings and regrets, good choices and bad… oh how I prayed (at times) to learn from their mistakes, so I wouldn't have to endure similar heartaches!
I know they don't/didn't think they did much for me, but the "little" things they did made a huge difference for me. And the kind of people they were/are gave me a desire to draw closer to Christ to be more like them, was to be more like Him, for it was Him living in and through them that made them love me and me them…

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The third Mrs. G…

My Third Mrs. G.
My first impression of her was not as warm and welcoming as some… perhaps more along the line of intimidating :). I'm not sure if it was that was because I sensed something or sensed something that wasn't there :). I was a teen with an attitude toward Baptists, getting ready to visit a Baptist church… she may have not been too excited to be giving me a ride to church for a number of reasons. Like she worked with teens and could spot an attitude a mile away, and she didn't care to deal with attitude-even when she had to lol. Or maybe she hadn't been informed that the lady we were invited by was bringing two extra people with her that morning. And maybe, just maybe I took her quietness personally and she was glad to see visitors, but just didn't talk much. Or maybe a combination of all three, or maybe something totally different…
I don't think it took long for me to see someone I liked in Mrs. G. She was obviously real-she was what she was and if you didn't like it, sorry, but not changing to please you :), she was no-nonsense… and it wasn't long before I noticed she was friendly, smiled often and even seemed glad to see us at church…
The more I got to know her the more convinced I was I wanted to grow-up to be her lol.
She was faithful to be at church all the time, she was in the choir (and joined two or three others in encouraging me to be in the choir too), and at every everything that the church had she was behind the scenes helping.
I spent many hours on the phone with her, too. Nearly everyday for quite a while. JT and I would "pester and annoy" her to the best of our ability every time we were at church. We even went to their house many times for the same reason :). Mr. G taught me how to argue nothing… "if you can't convince them, confuse them" is an art to learn, and a skill that comes in handy from time to time :)
J and I teased Mrs. G a lot. We teased her for marrying a man 10 years older than she is. She told us,"if you marry a man ten or more years older than yourself, then you'll never be old."- makes sense. We followed that advice :)
I couldn't understand how it was possible to live without a TV, but they did, quite happily. After tasting the bliss of TV-free silence, I completely understand and have that desire for our home too.
She was always getting Mr. G a cup of hot tea, another thing we thought was silly… he is a full-grown able-bodied man, let him get his own tea! (that's what I was taught to think anyway)… I understand better now :)
When I decided to not return to YV and had written to tell them (like everybody else) that I wouldn't be returning as I had planned, she wrote me back (she had the IN address) and encouraged me to return home. She knew home was bad and I needed/wanted out, but she also knew the business I was working for in IN had bounced two if my paychecks (in less than 8 weeks), and she didn't see the wisdom in staying… I had no job, no church, no place to live…
So, I called her and let her know where I was going and how things had unfolded… by the time we finished she was supportive… perhaps concerned, but she understood…
After I got to Oregon, I kept in touch with Mr. & Mrs. G. When I called and told them about my stepfather, she said she wasn't surprised…
When Brad and I got married Mrs. G, was my matron of honor. I was so excited, and amazed that they would come all the way here for me and my wedding!
When we helped my mother move, Mr. & Mrs. G let us stay with them and he even came over and helped us pack and clean the house (he later told Mrs. G. he thought we were exaggerating about the mess, but we weren't!). They also strongly urged me to not stay with my mother and grandmother over my first wedding anniversary and let my husband go home without me…
I already shared the adventure with my grandmother that was sort if a "lightbulb moment". After that experience (and even more so now), I was able to see how much of a mom-type role she had played in my life.
She demonstrated to me faithfulness to God and loyalty to friends. I have seen her love her husband and have learned from her that it's the little things everyday that matter. She is teaching me to love my kids (I get her opinions and advice every week). I have watched (and experienced) her be a faithful and compassionate friend.
She has lived Titus 2:3-5 before me for over 17 years! Perfectly? No, but I can see Christ in her working through her, teaching her and me and others around her. She is not my mom, but I call her my mom-type-person, because she is the example God has placed in my life, in that role, for me to follow, and I believe that to be a testimony to His goodness and grace.
She loves me. She loves my husband and our children. And we are so blessed to have her…
I guess we can't always trust our first impressions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This Mrs. G is a sweet and dear lady. My friend JT and I spent many hours on the phone with her. She always had time to talk or listen when we called and often invited me to sit with her in church. We were in the choir together and it seems we may have worked at the school together.
Mrs. G. was, like many of "My People", sort of a grandma figure… though I wouldn't think she is old enough to be my grandma… maybe more like an aunt lol.
She was so classy and kind and quiet… I wanted to be like that :). For some reason she chose to invest her time and energy in me. Mostly in the ways listed above.
She made my 21st birthday memorable in a pleasant way. She (and Mr. G.) had JT and me over for dinner for our birthdays (because our bdays are 16 days apart). I had never had anyone invite me over to their house for dinner before! How special!
She and her Mr. had lots of stories about their past, before and shortly after their salvation. Stories that I took to heart, heeding the choices they made and hoping to remember so that I might avoid some of the heartache they endured.
She was/is a great example of faithfulness. I always knew they would be at church every time the doors were open. She worked wherever and whenever needed, doing whatever she could. I know they pray for me and my family and that they have for all of the 17+ years I have known them.
The story from when she came to the Lord and the time until he did too, is an amazing testimony of God's goodness and grace… His faithfulness to His own.
She is one that I enjoy seeing every chance I get and am excited to give my children the opportunity to get to know.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The first of at least three I claim as "MY Mrs. G."

I first met her in Kindergarten. I had been held back a year in preschool because of going off medication. The preschool teacher was the wife of the principal at the elementary school (how small town… but it was L.A.!), and she took the time to teach me what I would need to know to go straight into first grade.

Mrs. G. Had the "joy" of testing me for three days to see if I was really ready for first grade. I was :). I remember she had to keep pulling me back into focus, because I was not interested in the testing, I wanted to be at recess with the other kids!

After moving on to first grade, I still saw Mrs. G. everyday because she was the teacher that worked in the cafeteria before school and at lunch. She used to get so frustrated with me because I was always the last child eating.

Not sure how it happened that my mother got her to babysit me in the second grade, when mother was making too much money for the state to cover the cost of after school care for me. But she watched me until her younger daughter got home from school to babysit :). Everyday I got a full column of Ritz crackers and a glass of kool-aid for my snack. I was allowed to watch tv for, I think, one episode if Scooby Doo, then I had to do my homework before I could do anything else… a lesson in time management and priorities.

During that year I learned she had a first name! And what it was!! When I started calling her by her first name at home, she didn't mind, but at school it was not OK. She explained it was a matter of respect. "What's respect?", I asked

"Showing me respect is how you let other people know you like me."

Pretty basic explanation, but it made enough sense to me, that I still can't bring myself to call her by her first name.

I always felt (and still feel) welcome and at home in their home. I know I felt respected, my opinion mattered… she let me decide every night if I wanted to have dinner with them, or wait for my mother. If it was chili I ALWAYS ate with them, other nights it depended on what the options were :). My mother gave her permission to spank me at home or school, wherever needed whenever needed (IF needed)… she told me once she wouldn't spank me, I never (that I remember) tested her on that. I know if I had been rebellious enough against her to get discipline, it would have broke my heart. She gained my love and respect in such a great way, I was eager to please her.

I remember being six or seven imagining my life being different … she had told me two things 1) she wanted to be done having her own children by age 30, and 2) aside from me she didn't like any kids younger than me (I am certain that changed when she became a grandma lol). Well, she was 33 years older than me. I had recently heard the story of Moses in Sunday School… so I imagined in my mind how it might be possible, that Mrs. G. really was my mom, but since I was born three years later than when she wanted kids, they gave me up for adoption, with the condition that the mother stay near by and allow them to be my caregivers when she needed one…

A far out story from the active imagination of a child who knew love when she experienced it. I think my mother loved me as best she knew how, I'm just not sure she really knew how…

Some of my favorite memories of Mrs. G. are the times she would reminisce about her childhood… the look on her face, in her eye… she was there describing what she saw like it was happening right before her eyes… the joy those memories brought to her made her beautiful, radiant…

After we moved to the other end of town and back, one of the first things I did was reconnect with My G's. I spent a lot of time hanging out at their house, a safe place in my miserable life… when the schools in our area went year-round, she encouraged me to volunteer as her helper when I was "off track". I was glad to do it! Not only was is more time with her, but the kids were fun (except for the one that bit me!) and it was an excuse my stepfather would allow for me to not be at home…

Just before we moved to YV Mrs. G. took me out for a day… a memory maker. We went to the mall and just spent the day together. It was a great memory, made me feel loved, like I would be missed :)

Mrs. G. taught me lots about letting kids know they are loved, the importance of showing respect and how wonderful it is to know "the door is always open"… to know what it's like to always be welcome in a place…

I want to have that kind of spirit… a welcoming, loving-ness to my home that gives others that confidence- that they are welcome

Thursday, December 16, 2010


One of the sweetest memories I have of my childhood is the beautiful RA. She had the prettiest silvery white hair I have ever seen, and a smile to match.
RA and her husband gave my mother and me a ride home from church ever service. She worked in the nursery at least every Sunday morning. They babysat me overnight more than once (one of those times they told me I wore out their TV. Apparently, after I left it died, she said "it wasn't used to being watched so much." lol. I did watch A LOT of TV, a great escape)… She made the best Strawberry Shortcake! They took us under their wing, like family they didn't have… most importantly… I know she loved me!
RA always had a smile and a silly poem about me for me every time I saw her (probably not too hard… May is easy to rhyme…. ). I still have my purple and white doll she gave me, my kids play with it now…
Most of what I learned from her/them was from watching them live the life of a Christian… loving people, meeting needs if they could-by doing/helping not necessarily by giving money. They were faithful to the Lord in their attendance to church and they're service at church and to the people in the church. In the dozen years that I knew them, she was one of the few who always followed through with promises made. When she got sick with leukemia the summer before I was 13, she promised she would get better and then we would go out to lunch just the two of us… that was the hardest part of her not getting better. That was the only promise she didn't keep…
I remember thinking she couldn't have died, she made me a promise and she never broke her promises. But that wasn't in her control… and her time in my life was over. I miss her, but the memory of her sweet spirit lives on… and I pray that one day, I can have as sweet a spirit as she did.
It is also my desire to follow her example in being a keeper of promises… one that is known and can be believed and trusted to keep any promise they make. I know sometimes things happen and no matter how hard one tries a promise gets broken, but I want to strive for the reputation that proves broken promises to be a rarity… especially with my kids :)
W & R A probably did a lot more for me and my mother than I'll ever know, but I know they set a godly example of Christ's love for others to see and follow, for me to see and follow…
"…May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live
Inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful…"
I want to follow those footprints, too…

Monday, December 13, 2010


She is my friend. I miss her smile her laugh…
She told me once she didn't understand what she ever did to acquire me as a friend. She really didn't do anything, but be a friend to me. She always had a smile and a hug. She had a listening ear and more than that she shared herself, stories of her life, experiences… thankful reminiscences of the way life happened and how God always provided and guided her way…
She invited me to sit with her sometimes in church. And was glad to have me join the 60+ class on outings and ride with her…
She didn't necessarily agree with the strict standards of conformity that some in our church held to, yet and had the ability to laugh off the differences and still accept and love others even if they didn't agree with her…
I saw a realness. She was who she was, comfortable with herself, and wasn't about to change simply to please those around her.
What an amazing thing! To be so confident in Lord, to be so sure of who He wants you to be and do that you're not worried about what others think…
She was (is) beautiful, and full of class…so much better than me, but so much the kind of person I wanted to be like (a thought you will hear me say about many!)…sweet, caring, confident, not afraid to do what needed to be done, willing to follow the Lords direction… willing to befriend a confused, hurting, misguided teenager…
There weren't as many hours outside of church or church activities invested in my life as some, but there were many hours spent visiting on telephone, and she always appreciated a letter whenever I was out of town… like she missed me when I wasn't there.
Every time I returned to YV after leaving home one of my highest priorities was a visit to MY Mrs. A…
She rejoiced in every good thing the Lord gave me. I am convinced she not only loves me, but she prayed for me always. The last time I visited her was truly a blessing… my T woke up sick that morning, so Brad and the kids stayed home with the Parent-type-people, and I went to see her alone. We sat and visited for three and a half hours, it passed like minutes! We talked about everything remembering good times, sharing about hard times, considering things to come… was a beautiful memory all it's own…
Just (I think) a week later she had a pretty significant stroke and is now living with her son… I know I will probably never see her again this side of Heaven… but I will see her again!
God is SO good… He blessed me with the privilege of knowing such a dear, sweet, godly lady and he gave me an awesome last memory to carry with me until we meet again…
I am not really sure how to do what I want to do here… I want to recognize God's use of people in my life with the understanding it is Him in and through them (even if they are not "His"- He can and does use the unsaved for His purposes too), not so much them and who or what or how great they are. I learned long ago even our heroes can fall from their pedestals, only God is great and mighty and He does great things through the inadequate and weak. I was thinking about trying to do this in a chronological order, but too many over lap and is difficult then to sort it all out, so I have decided to start with the one who is on my heart today… and let God lead me through the many others in the same way…All of "my people" pass through my heart and mind almost daily… I am so thankful for them all! So many have gone to be with the Lord, many are still here and though I don't write or call like I should, I see most of them on Facebook, and I pray for them all regularly. I miss those who live in different states and towns, and I grab and enjoy every opportunity I have to spend time with them. There are some reading who may not realize they fall into this category… if you recognize yourself in a "story" praise God for 1) being such a blessing and 2) for getting to find out… we don't always get to know we have such a great impact on a life…
It is important to realize (preaching to myself) how we live our life from day to day speaks volumes to those we encounter even if we don't know it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Well, I've been thinking and praying about what to do now. The story has pretty much caught up to life… well two years behind right now…
There are some other cool things that have happened like reconnections made with people…
But I am thinking… maybe I will take a while and share about different people that have been used by God in my life. I have shared some big things that people have done, but there are a lot of little things… influences and impressions made that helped me choose the direction I took… the little things that people do without realizing how big a difference they make…
Still praying about it… about if and who and how-in a particular order or just random as things come to mind… so if you are a committed reader who want more to read… pray with me for guidance, because I want the focus of this to be on God and His work in the lives of people. Thanks…

Friday, December 10, 2010

Brad was able to take a week off with the arrival of each of our children. Which was nice…gave me the ability to rest as much as possible and gave him more opportunity to bond with them.
Brad's project when he returned to work after BK was born was to build a utility trailer for the church. A nice thing because he was building at the house, so even though he was back at work, he was still at home.
On his first day officially back at work Brad was in the garage working, the kids were sleeping and I decided it was a good time to shower and dress so I went into the bedroom. I heard the drill Brad was using stop suddenly and he made a noise… couldn't tell what it was, maybe he made a mistake or something and was upset, or maybe he forgot something… but whatever I didn't think much of it. A few minutes later the doorbell rang. "Grumble, grumble, grumble… couldn't Brad have talked to whoever it is?". It was Brad,"I need to take myself to the ER." he said as he showed me a very crooked finger, bent totally in a way fingers are not supposed to bend!
He went and found out that he broke it through the knuckle and the tiny "piece" that was broken off was broken into FIVE pieces!! Surgery had to be done to fix it and the closest doctor able to fix it was in Ashland, an hour south of here...
It took two surgeries and nine months of physical therapy to fix it as good as it is going to get.
Brad's injury made things a little more difficult, because I had no help… postpartum fatigue and hormone fluctuations… life was an adventure…

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

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."

I was in Sunday School a few weeks ago, it was just me and the teacher that morning, and this verse came up… a memory was sparked, I can't remember if I shared it or not… I think it would be good to share… as a testimony to God's ability and trustworthiness.

I remember sharing how the sermon on 1 Samuel 16, clearly spoke to me about it being time to leave home. Every answer I had the preacher brought up and answered… but my reality was that even though I was willing to go and wanted out, I had no way to leave… I had to wait for God to open the door before I could run through it.
Well, shortly after that message came one on Romans 8:28. This time I wasn't "arguing" the same way. I knew God could work anything out the way He wanted, but I still needed to believe it in my heart of hearts. The things the preacher was saying with this message weren't like he was reading my mind, yet I could completely identify with the ideas he was presenting. Not could He, but WOULD He? I loved God, and was doing what He wanted me to, but how could He work my life for my good and His glory?? I mean, really! My reality was pretty bad!!
As I pondered this sermon while enduring another invasion of my person, and crying to God because it was wrong, this man was supposed to be my father-figure and what was happening… being allowed… but that verse, that promise kept coming back. So I claimed it! "OK, God. I believe it. I don't see how You could possibly use this for my good or how You could be glorified by it, but I pray You can and will, and I know You will if you can and I thank you for it."
The moment I prayed those words, my stepfather got off of me, out of my bed, left my room (as if by something other than his own control), and never returned or touches me again!
God is good! He is able! He is worthy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I am noxious?

She told me once, many years ago…probably 15 or 16 years ago (OK, I understand to some that may not be "many", but that IS almost 1/2 my life ago!)… she said, "You are noxious, not obnoxious, just… noxious.". That left me pondering off and on ever since…. The thought crosses my mind, I think about it, and leave puzzled to return to the idea again later… until tonight, I think I may have figured it out… OK, I am slow, I have excuses why my brain doesn't work so well :)

Noxious… something that is noxious (like fumes) is noticed by everyone in the room, it fills the space and cannot be ignored. It may offend some and send them away. But it cannot be ignored and is hard to forget… and even if it is unseen everyone knows it's there… because noxious is strong and bold, perhaps intimidating?

Sort of blows my attempt at invisibility out of the water… though I will still work at it :)

Noxious am I?

I have wondered for so long, compliment or not? I have officially decided it's a compliment, even though noxious things may not be the most pleasant… noxious is what it is, it cannot hide itself…

Yes, I think I like that label… I think I can wear it proudly, I just hope the noxious fragrance I emit will be the scent of Christ… something bold and strong and sweet and pleasant…
When BK was born…
I had been having a lot of pre-labor and we were assured that the real thing wouldn't start at 5 minutes apart. Well, I woke at 6:00 Monday June 9 with contractions 5 minutes apart, but I had been dreaming that I was in labor. I woke Brad and told him what was going on… he said,"let's wait and see. Get up andover around a little and see if it stops". Well, that made things worse. Brad still didn't believe me and was sure they were going to stop. Around 9:30 he decided maybe it could be the real thing. Contractions were to about 3 minutes apart at 10:30 and he decided maybe we should call the sitter and go on over to the hospital… so he went and took a shower! He called the sitter first, she arrived as he was getting out of the shower and we finally left the house about 11:30. We got to the hospital at 12 noon. The nurses said I was too calm :). They sent me to my room and after 10 or 15 minutes with no nurse, Brad called for one, who calmly said she was going to check me, but she figured it would be a while.
When she checked her eyes about popped out of her head! She called for reinforcements, and called the doctor… at 12:25 we were holding our sweet little girl! The doctor's lunch didn't even have time to get cold! LOL. And the nurses spent the rest of our stay trying to get caught up on our paperwork.
I did have a little trouble with high blood pressure and bleeding after delivery. I was told I was almost bad enough to be hemorrhaging, but they got the bleeding stopped… I think once they calmed down so did I and my bp came back down too. By the next morning we were bored and the nurses didn't need to help with anything and I couldn't get comfortable anywhere, so we decided to go home.
T was excited to see us. He wanted to hold the baby, but we thought he wanted me to hold him, so we traded… he was heartbroken! He cried and cried… and cried! He was sweet and loving to his sister from the very first moment he met her… and has been (mostly) good to her ever since.
Blessed with two precious children after being told we'd have none! God is SO good!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

As soon as I knew baby #2 was going to be a girl I knew exactly what I wanted her name to be! BK… B- for Grandma Lady, and K-for the Mom-Type-Person. Now I know some of you know Mom Lady's name to be SG, but S is her middle name :)
Brad was all for K as the middle name but it took some talking (and a heart-sharing e-mail) to convince him to go with B for the first name.
When we told Grandpa Man what we wanted to name BK… I never saw him so close to tears.
Mom lady was, surprised that we wanted to pass her name to our child, and even promised to not be offended if we changed our minds.
I did also choose to add my middle name to the baby's name, giving her two middle names, and making her the sixth generation May (through the mothers). That is kind of cool, not something I was sure I wanted to break.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The day before my family arrived for their visit, we found out baby #2 was on the way. I really didn't want to know for sure until after they left, but Brad wanted to know. So, I took the hpt, and went and got the blood test… he was right, that explained the sudden loss of my energy.
On that Wednesday night after church, we took my mother with us to McDonald's as that was part of our usual routine. Brad's mother was with us, too, so we decided to tell our mothers together. My mother instead of being happy for us responded with," How did your grandmother know already?" that was surprising to us since we only had confirmation that morning.
Instead of making a church wide announcement, this time we decided to share with a few an see how long it took for news to spread. I was given a baby shower gift of 30 homemade dinners (lasted us 3 months!) when I had T, and the two ladies who made the meals said they would do it again if I had another baby. So, went to one of the ladies and whispered in her ear,"you better get cooking again.". She got the hint, hugged me and screamed with joy and excitement. By the time Sunday evening service started we knew pretty much everyone except Pastor knew. One of the ladies in the church walked by Pastor and told him,"Ask Brad what's going on.". He gave her a questioning look and dismissed it. Once service started Brad posted a note on the screen "He still doesn't know", everyone laughed, and the note was gone before Pastor turned to see what was so funny. Then Brad posted it again. Suddenly Pastor remembered what V.D. had said and asked Brad what was going on. Brad played dumb and someone told him our news. He got excited and grabbed his cell phone to call his wife, who was home sick… but his daughter stopped him saying,"she already knows, we told her this afternoon!". What fun :). Our Pastor is great, and great to tease :)
We also found out that the chronic eczema that T had as an infant was probably caused by a reaction to peanut butter in my diet coming to him through breast milk. I lived on PB&J when nursing him… yummy! I still miss peanut butter :(
We were told he would probably outgrow the milk and soy allergies by the time he was two (which he did), the peanut allergy was only a 10% chance of being outgrown, but because he did not have the respiratory reaction he had a higher chance of being part of that 10%.
We have discovered some good substitutes, but we miss peanut butter!

When T was about 11 months old, my mother, uncle and grandmother came to visit. My grandmother decided to announce she was coming to see her great-grandson, and she was bringing her daughter to see her first grandchild because if "I don't see to it, it will never happen!"… she is probably right, but that was hardly her sole motivation.
My mother and I (&Brad) got along fine (she stayed at our house and we had mo problem, we avoided ONE certain issue, but had no problems)… when grandma was around, she was loud and rude, obnoxious.
She insisted on taking us to dinner on Wednesday night before church. Grandma asked my uncle to share a story about his ancestor (an interesting story…), but less than half way through, she started interrupting and yelling at him that we didn't need to hear the whole story after all. Then a couple from our church stopped by the table and said hi to everyone, but spent the most time playing with T. Grandma's reaction," children who get too much attention end up spoiled". When we left the restaurant, Brad left me my mother and grandmother alone in the van while he went back inside to talk to my uncle. As soon as he was out of sight grandma started in yelling at me and my mother, with Thomas in the vehicle looking confused. I wasn't going to take any more, especially when I didn't know what or for how long T would remember. So, I went in to the restaurant and told Brad to do something. So he had my uncle take grandma with him and the rest of us went to church (which might have been grandma's goal-to not go to church).
Then the next night they all joined us for dinner at our house. The meal was OK, then came the visiting time. Grandma sat at the head of our dining room table and started in. She belittled and insulted everyone in the room (except Brad), to the point Brad asked her to stop her form of conversation or leave. Yes, Brad kicked my grandma out of our house. It made me thankful that he could/would stand up to her on my behalf-no one else ever dared to do that!

T's Allergies

Before the ice cream cake and hives incident, if T was eating yogurt and it touched his skin he would get a little blotchy… that would also happen if he ate crackers or cheerios. No big deal, it went away when we washed him off, I just assumed he had sensitive skin.
Well shortly after the ice cream cake incident, I gave him two Ritz crackers with peanut butter on them… a snack to occupy him while I fixed dinner. A few moments after I gave it to him I looked of at him and he was rubbing his eyes and face and he was red and splotchy, but the splotches were bumpy like they had been after the ice cream cake. I still didn't think too much of it, I washed him off and took the peanut butter away… but it kept getting worse. So I called Brad. He came home and called T's doctor in the way. When Brad got home we scooped T up and took him to the doctor we were half way there before the nurse called back.
They gave T benedryl, then gave him an injection of benedryl and gave us several different medications for him to take for several days. By the time we got to the doctor's office I could tell T was finally starting to improve, so I resisted being sent to the ER, fortunately they listened to me…
T was referred to an allergist, after a blood test we discovered he was allergic to milk, soy and peanuts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grandma Lady…

Probably the hardest thing about T's birth was the passing of my Grandma Lady four months before…
She was so excited to know he was coming, and would have been so excited to see him. But the Lord knows best, even when we don't understand.

We went to visit Grandma & Grandpa K not long before they left for the last trip they took to Indiana together… the most memorable part if that visit… she told me they were proud of me… of ME!! I smiled and said something dumb like, "I know". But I still have a hard time believing it! Proud of me?!? For what? I haven't done anything but follow God's lead as best as I could, one step, one day at a time… I have only come as far as I have because of what God has chosen to do with me.

Anyway. They went to Indiana to visit their daughter. They went camping IN A TENT! They went and did some other things she had been wanting to do… she was so excited and enjoying herself so much, but she was having trouble with losing her breath and low energy levels. At first they thought it was asthma, but later it was decided the problem was her heart. The doctor said have surgery and maybe die, or don't have surgery and die… so she opted for surgery… the day or two before her 80th birthday, and Jesus took her home a few days later, the day before Grandpa Man's birthday. It was a shock! She had been doing better… And I was here… Brad was gone to camp along with most of the friends I might have called on to be a shoulder to cry on in his absence… but once again God proved to be enough… my comfort and my strength.

I got the call about her death on Sunday morning… the last place I wanted to be THAT morning was church, but I had no "good" excuse. So on the way I told the Lord,"I really do not want to go to church today, but I am going because I know You want me there. If You don't want me there feel free to cancel it." knowing full well I was going to have a terrible day of public tears and probably uncontrollable emotion. :) God is SO good. When I got to church L.S. Was trying to figure out why there was no water working… no water=no church!! It turned out to be a broken pipe and was fixed by Wednesday. I was SO thankful, God let me go home before I saw hardly anybody… another prayer for the impossible to happen, was answered.

I still think of her everyday, and to say I miss her seems like an understatement, but I know I will see her again, hear her laugh, see her smile and feel her hug one day because she is safe and healthy in the presence of the Lord and I will be there one day, too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

After T was born it took me a while still to believe it was really real that WE had a baby! He was two weeks old and it all of a sudden hit me…" he needs me for everything". Whoa. What a responsibility! How did I of all people earn such a privilege? And how was I going to meet the challenge?? God in His goodness quickly reminded me "For with Christ nothing shall be impossible" (interestingly that was the first Bible verse he memorized in Sunday school!)
Our church family was a blessing, the first five days after T was born, different ladies brought us dinner. After that I still didn't have to cook for close to three months! Two of the ladies in our church, for a baby shower gift, gave us 30 frozen meals. Most of those meals actually gave us two dinners and me a lunch, plus Brad cooked pretty regularly on his day off… this person who really doesn't care to cook got very spoiled :)
Those same two ladies also took it upon themselves to insist on helping me with my housework. They came once a week for several months and dusted and vacuumed and mopped my floors. Was very nice!
We did really good keeping T from having much sugar his first year, but…
His first taste of ice cream was DQ ice cream cake at a church function. It was fed to him by his uncle who returned T to me then left for home. T had had some slight reactions to dairy products when they touched his skin. We were told to not worry about it, just wash it off. Well he started to breakout after his uncle and family left. The outbreak looked different than before, but I didn't think a whole lot about it at first, I took him to the nursery and washed his face, but it kept getting worse! That was not normal! So I went back to the kitchen and flagged down Brad and showed him the baby. We hurried to the church office (when Brad hurries, I start to worry lol), where he called the doctor. They said since it seemed to be calming down, to keep an eye on him and they were going to give us a prescription for benedryl and a steroid for T to take for a few days. It was DQ ice cream cake! We assumed he was allergic to milk… we were wrong :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

He found a picture of a baby asleep on or near an open Bible and a lullaby CD. He had me sit with him at the sound-booth and told me to push the play button on the CD player when Pastor was ready to sing the first song (he knew that would get Pastor's attention lol), and instead of putting the words to the song up he displayed the picture with the words "Arriving November 2006". No name or other identifying information :). It worked great. One of the missionary wives was expecting a baby in May, so Pastor said," NO Brad! You got it wrong!" lol. Brad said,"No, I don't, believe me,". "Well, who is it then?" we just sat and smiled. Our few informed people kept their mouths closed with big smiles, and finally one of the deacons guessed that it might be us. Pastor said,"NOWAY!", Brad replied,"yeah-way!" and the room erupted in excitement. One lady (who calls herself grandma to our kids) stood on her pew and gave us two thumbs up!! And another came running from the front row just to give me a hug! Somehow we managed to restore order and go in with the service… but it was a great way to let everyone be among the first to find out :)
Then I went for my first doctor appointment and was advised to not tell anyone until after the first trimester was over…"oops! Too late!" =)
I never took any prenatal vitamins, I stayed with the Mannatech and added calcium. I had a perfect uneventful pregnancy… and my doctor laughed to himself in amazement at every appointment I had :). What an awesome God I have!!
First we had to tell Brad's family. We went to the store and bought his mother a little photo album that said "Grandma's Brag Book" on it. It took her a few minutes to realize the "hint", probably because she had already been a grandma for several years… lol. She was very excited, of course once she figured out what was going on. Then we went over and told Brad's brother Nd family. After that we had two other visits to make. The first stop was Grandma Lady and Grandpa Man. Then on the way to the last stop we called Brad's sister (She was living in Missouri). When she answered the phone, she guessed why we were calling, but refused to believe us when we told her she was right. :) then weasel our fourth stop. A couple we KNEW had been praying diligently for eight years! She was so excited when we told her she literally jumped off of the couch and across the room to hug me in a single bound!! LOL. Scary kinda to a excitable creature like myself =]. We told all these people our plan… so they couldn't tell anybody our news… and HG (the excited one!), had to bring her camera to church that Wednesday night!
It was missions conference week, and we had meetings in homes every night except Wednesday, we did "church as usual" that night. So Brad, being in charge of the sound booth and video projector, had an idea…

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Well, I got to three weeks late… and feeling blah, worse than usual (or at least the "new usual"). So I snuck off to the far side of town, to a store we rarely went to and where we never saw anybody we knew… and bought a pregnancy test. I waited until Brad left for work, and took the test. I didn't have to wait at all the result was clear immediately. I literally jumped in surprise, shock, fear… not joy! The first thought…"it's gotta come out!! Yikes!" (I know I am strange. lol). Just as I was absorbing this new reality, I heard The garage door open, and Brad talking to somebody. So I went to the garage and called him in. When he finished, he came in and I showed him the hpt. His first response,"I want a blood test.". He refused to believe it could be true until we had the blood test confirm it.
So I called the doctor's office on and they said,"the hpt is so accurate it can be believed, if it says you are, then you are". They agreed to fax a blood work order to the hospital on Monday. The doctor's office called as soon as they got the results back. I was seven weeks along!!! They set an appointment for the next week… we were in shock!
How would we tell everybody?
The products were an incredible blessing! I was suddenly able to live without pushing myself every step of the way. It didn't hurt to get hugs… it didn't hurt to wear my clothes! I actually could honestly say "great!" when asked "how are you?"… I can still remember how surprised I was the day I realized I didn't hurt anywhere, even my head was pain free! How exciting!!
My monthly cycles continued at a perfect 28 days. I was taking comfort in the predictability of them. Our marriage had reached that crutial moment at seven years… and Brad's mother was vying hard for more and more of his attention. I was pretty sure I was glad we didn't have kids at the moment, and even though I wasn't on any kind of birth control.
God had different plans…
After nine months of perfect, predictable cycles, I was late. I didn't think a whole lot of it at first. I was a little confused, but I figured there wasn't much to get hopeful about. I was having PMS as usual, maybe a little more extreme, but that was normal when I was late… then one day, I noticed the PMS acne was mostly in one place on my face and I flashed to a memory of a friend who had the same patch of acne in the same part of her face… when she was pregnant! So I mentioned to Brad that I thought we should get an HPT. He said no, I was only a week late and we didn't need to go thru all that again so…

Friday, November 19, 2010

I took the products. In four days my fibro fog lifted… I don't really know how to describe it, but the haze was gone. I have not had a headache out me in bed since (five and a half years!!), but it did more than fix my headaches and my pain and fatigue and all the fibro symptoms… it took away the PCOS symptoms! My cycles that would fluctuate from 4-12 weeks, suddenly, instantly snapped into a perfect, predictable 28 days. Whoa. No hopes! God seemed to make it clear, no kids!
Brad noticed a change ine right away, too. I had energy. I was able to get and keep the house clean. The headaches were less, and I was more cheery. Feeling like I had been is very discouraging. When I came to the end of the products I was afraid to quit them, so I had to tell Brad. He said he thought it was just the arrival of warmer weather. LOL. But he was willing to figure out a way to afford to keep me on this stuff.
The following March the Parent-type-people came for a visit and Mom-Lady went to a ladies Bible conference with our church in Portland. We went to the mall while we were there and found two really great deals on jumpers with matching tops, of course we bought them… we dressed alike both days, and of course were teased a little for it (in good fun, nothing mean), then the Gs went on to Washington to visit her brother. When they came back thru and went to church with us… she was told they didn't recognize her because we were not dressed the same! LOL. Anyway. During that visit Mom G. Shared about this nutritional product that she had heard about. It sounded too good to be true. It had helped fix any and every problem from Alzheimers to wrinkles… a glyconutrient?? When she told us about it, she hadn't tried it yet, but was going to start on it as soon as they got home. Brad was convinced it was a scam, but I was courious… if it could help with the fibromyalgia just a little, maybe I could do more than barely exist.

We went down to YV for Mother's Day… it had been six weeks since we saw them the time before. I could not believe my eyes! This lady who moved as slow as I did six weeks ago was leaving me behind in her dust!! She was doing things I never saw her do before (because she couldn't!), I was in awe! She said it was the Mannatech… I was sold! But selling Brad would be a whole other issue, he didn't really notice much difference. So she gave me a months supply of the stuff…
S.G. Amazed me! She sent me to her bed during the day, so I could lock my grandmother out. I didn't feel comfortable doing that at first, but grandma got a chance and came to my bedside and started screaming in my face… whispers hurt when migraine attacks, she had me in tears! So I started locking the door. When my grandmother realized the door was locked, she started calling my friends names, for locking me up so she couldn't see me… I'd laugh, but it is so sad. Grandma managed to get herself kicked out of my friends' home. And she decided to take the greyhound bus to visit her friends in L.A. Then she had another friend come from BHC to pick up her van and go get her and take her home. My friends were going to take me to catch my plane in Havasu, but then we thought we'd get it changed to P.S., but the headache wouldn't break (after 300 dollars in meds), so the "Mom" called Brad and told him he HAD to come get me. It took some convincing, but he came for me. That headache lasted six weeks! Most of that time was spent in bed.

I was so embarrassed by my grandmothers behavior. I was so blessed by my friends… I did some thinking and some praying and decided, if she was going to be that great to me and still loved me inspite of my grandmother's behavior… well, she called me the " daughter of her heart"! I decided she earned the the title "Mom-type-person"… who-da thunk it that day we met, when she gave us a ride to church… God is SO good!!
I begged Brad to come with us… he refused.

When Grandma and I got to Buttonwillow, CA. She called her friend in L.A., who we were supposed to visit next, and she wasn't expecting us for another week! She was not going to pay to stay in a hotel for a week. She had nowhere else to go, but home. I wasn't going to BHC for a week and then drive back to L.A., and then back to BHC! But I had some WONDERFUL friends in YV. They had given me a key to their home because Brad's sister and I had been there so much, and I knew they would welcome us, even if they were not expecting us. So I called S&B.G.

I don't think my grandmother could believe I had friends that were that available to me. Then S.G. made the "mistake" of complimenting me by saying I was "the daughter of their heart", that was probably the sweetest thing anybody had ever said about me… but I cringed, because I knew she said it to the WRONG person. My mistake was going someplace I felt so at home. I began to relax… migraine attacked. I still managed for about two days to wait on grandma hand and foot, by the third day I was caught (by SG) crawling to the kitchen to get something to take with my migraine medicine. That particular drug they don't like you take more than six in a month (though you can have two in 24 hours), I had taken all six in three days and the headache was still going strong. When my grandmother spoke to me, she yelled… she claimed the headache was a tool of manipulation. S.G., went into full "mom"-mode.
By the time we had been in our new house a few months. I was miserable! Physically, which lead to mentally. I have fibromyalgia, for those who don't know imagine full body aching, the feel of your clothes either makes your skin sting or they feel so heavy it is hard to carry the weight of wearing them. To that add migraines, hypoglycemia, IBS, RLS, chronic fatigue, recurring UTIs, a fogginess that makes it difficult to think, or process information… naturally feeling like this leads to discouragement, and depression (though not anything like I had had in the past!)… though I did wonder what the point was. I was 29 and ladies in my church 40 years older were running circles around me… that is depressing too!!
I would sleep until 10am. Eat breakfast. Rest. Psych my self up to go empty the dishwasher, have a snack for lunch and go take a nap in order to have the energy to fix dinner.
And then my grandmother decided she wanted to come for a visit. We thought that would be OK. She wanted to visit all her friends in CA and show off her new van, so I had to fly down to get her and drive her here then back and then fly home…
I am always up for a road trip!! But it turned out to be a bad idea. I did all I could to male it a pleasant trip for her. She got breakfast in bed every day, we saw all of her friends (the ones that were available). We got here and kept her, I think for a week. The day before we were to leave I had had all the insults to me and to Brad I could handle. She was very careful to be kind in Brad's presence… which made it worse for me. I begged Brad (with tears) to take time off and make the trip with us to take her home, because I couldn't do anymore…
We had excepted the fact that it was going to be us and the dog. Maybe God had a plan, a ministry that would be better for us to not have kids? I had heard of a ministry to missionary "kids" that I thought was way cool, and when I told Brad about it, he really liked the idea, too. The idea is a lot of these kids grow up in other countries, with different customs and then they turn 18 and head to America for college and the rest of life… and some of them really struggle with culture shock. Our idea (stolen from a missionary I heard on a deputation trip with Brad's sister), was to offer our missionaries' (the ones our church supports) kids a home to come to, to help them adjust. Give them some guidance as they adjust to new customs and ideals of this unique (and wonderful!) country. But instead all our missionaries started taking a year furlough to help their own kids adjust-a better idea…
So we decided well, it must be just us and the dog.
Then the dog died! So we rushed out and got a puppy. My dog had been perfect! The puppy was cute, but OH SO FAR from perfect!!!
Anyway, after over seven months (I did at one time know exactly how many months, weeks & days… but that has faded a little) in a 30' camp trailer with a puppy (that was NOT perfect!), we finally moved into our new home. It had not met my expectations in a few spots, but with the things we were able to add ourselves, we were blessed once again by a very generous God, and we knew it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The trailer wasn't ours, we were on the church's property… not exactly a stable environment for a homestudy. So that got put on hold. We expected to be in the trailer for about 12 weeks, but there were complications. The lot wouldn't fit the house plan the builder agreed to build on it. So we agreed to go two story. Still the house wouldn't fit. He told is the problem was an electrical box (for the whole neighborhood) we could either unsigned the contract and resign for a different house in a different location, or we could wait three more months for our house (that was three months in waiting and ground still hadn't been broken. When I discovered he was trying to get us to get a smaller house than we originally agreed to for the same money, I decided I could wait indefinitely. He didn't want to have to pay the electric company to move that box, so he made another offer for a house in another subdivision. These houses were compare-able in size to the one he agreed to build originally, but the housing market had boomed, so they were more than we had agreed to pay, but our price had been set five months before. At first there weren't any houses I liked… I have a mirror and a piano that need a wall big enough fir them and I need a wall for my hutch in the dining room… and I want my living room facing the street, so I can watch the neighbors and put my Christmas tree in the window for everyone to enjoy :). Nothing we saw fit my requirements… I am not picky, just spoiled! Then Brad noticed he missed a house on the list. He talked me onto going (reluctantly) to see it. With a few minor modifications I decided it could work.
We went through the emotional roller coaster that came with the fertility drugs two more times (Brad said they turned me into Dracula… LOL). Each time waiting longer than the time before, before getting a home test and calling the doctor because the hpt was negative… the last time I was 12 weeks late, sick, sore and feeling exactly like my pregnant friend was complaining about feeling. When I got to the dr office the nurse seemed as hopeful as I felt… and I knew by the look on her face what the result was. The doctor called in a perscrpiton for a drug to start my cycle (I don't think I ever used them, all it ever took was a visit to the doctor), and I went home. I was OK until Brad got home, then I fell apart. It felt like someone had reached in and pulled my stomach straight out of my body. I was devastated. I told Brad I couldn't do it anymore. I was done.
We went back to the doctor at my usual annual exam and he said,"If you aren't interested in the next step, then it's not going to happen. Might as well adopt". As unpleasant as that was to hear we were willing to look in to it
Didn't take long for us to discover we can't afford that option either. So we opted to give foster to adopt a try. We went through all the classes to get certified, did all the paperwork, and then sold our house. We moved into a camp trailer in our church parking lot at the time we would have been ready for our home study. LOL.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That summer Brad spent his time doing camps and fireworks, but after VBS I spent my summer on the road with his sister. Much more enjoyable than sitting at home alone for four weeks of summer. We met some great people and had some memorable experiences… like turtles under our bed, teaching cats to fly… and a few other things that might fall under TMI. LOL.
By the end of the year, my cycles had still not regulated off of the bc pills, so the doctor recommended fertility drugs. I can honestly say I was not really at peace with the idea, but Brad seemed OK with it, so we went for it. The doctor called in the prescription on, I think, Christmas eve and I was supposed to start on the meds the next day (& the pharmacy would be closed), so we had to wait at the pharmacy until they got all their communications figured out between themselves and the doctor and the insurance company… which made us late to meet with Brad's family that evening. I HATE to be late! And somebody made a smart remark about us being late… we weren't interested in telling anybody about our current struggle, so my ever so sweet response was a not so friendly, silent glare.
The medicine the doctor gave me worked backwards for me. It stopped my cycles, and gave me every symptom I could imagine would come with pregnancy, except the baby of course. We were disappointed, but we would keep waiting and see what God would do.
Even though I went home with Brad, I still heard plenty from my grandmother. Not only was I supposed to "deal with it" because what happened to me was "no big deal" and "it happens to everyone", but it was my fault my mother married him because she just wanted me to have a daddy, and the radio station didn't have to announce his arrest all day long… and I am sure she holds me personally responsible for whoever it was that egged my mother's mailbox after the news report of his arrest.
I refused to accept any of those lies. That just made grandma more angry… oh well. :)
In the fall Brad's sister was called into full time missions, and needed a travel buddy. I was excited to go! I didn't go on all the trips, but I took dibbs on the southwest… my favorites:California, Arizona, and other places I really wanted to see…
Plus, if we did go to AZ, we could stop and say hi to my mother and grandmother while passing thru…
Brad and I also decided at the end of year would be a good time to stop the bc pills and see what happened. We weren't hoping or expecting anything to happen right away, but there is always the hope I guess…
In March I helped a friend move to AZ. We stopped and saw my grandmother and mother for lunch on our way. My grandmother was unhappy because it was for just a couple hours, but it was enough.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Before we left to help my mother move, I told Grandma Lady our plan… she advised against staying. She knew the influence my grandmother had on me, AND it was our first anniversary I was going to miss!! "I know, but Brad really thinks it would be a good thing to do." GL:"But he doesn't know your grandma!" :) she was right, I knew it, but what to do??
While in YV, we shared our plan with the Gs (we were staying with them), and they STRONGLY advised against me staying in BHC after Brad left for home,"It's one thing to have your husband with you, and another to be alone."
I also talked to Mrs.A, while in YV and she also encouraged me to not stay with my grandma and mother, but go home,"You belong with your husband. Especially on your first anniversary."
I know how they all prayed!
When it came to the moment of Brad's departure I melted down. I begged him to not leave me there. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the reality as nasty as she was to me in our alone moments while Brad was there, she would be worse after he left. I couldn't stay!
When I got home and informed my friends I didn't stay, they were all thankful (and so was I).
Well, we went to help my mother move. Somebody had had a tantrum or two in my room, then it appeared have become a catch all for garbage that wasn't sent to the dump. The rest of the house was worse… I couldn't remember living so filthy, but maybe dwelling in it all my life made it not so noticeable. But was BAD. And she had packed maybe 10 or 12 boxes and was supposed to be moving in like two or three days…???
We got the few treasures I wanted, got her necessities and threw everything else away. I know some of the stuff that we sent to the dump made my stepfather furious when he returned, but she claimed she wasn't taking him back and that stuff needed to go anyway! Ewe!! When we got to BHC and my grandmother… she was syrupy sweet to Brad, but as soon as he wasn't around she was telling me "who hasn't been molested?' that's just something you deal with., Somebody is lying I will find out who it is.". Etc. Etc. Etc. "I hope you will keep in touch with your mother, she had no idea! She has never ever in her life told a lie or said a bad word." I told her,"I have told her if he is around, I will not be. The choice is hers."
The pressure was incredible! I can't even begin to describe it… my grandmother was determined to make me a liar to protect her daughter! When informed of experiences Brad had while I was asleep, the reaction was shock and disbelief…
Our perfect little plan: wait two years have baby #1, wait another year or two and have baby #2, stay in house #1 for about 5 years then upsize to one a little bigger… and live happily ever after. LOL. That might have been our perfect little picture, but it obviously was not God's truly perfect plan…

Before we married I went to see a gynecologist to get birthcontrol and to see what damage may have been done by the abuse I had endured. There was no damage (though, we did later become aware of an STD), but I was diagnosed with PCOS. Easy to treat with birthcontrol pills, and the effects and risks caused by it are reduced by the regulating of cycles that comes with bc and pregnancy can help make the symptoms of PCOS subside, too. No worries then… bc pills for now and we'll see from there.

Then my stepfather got arrested, my mother decided to move, but she needed help, AND she said if I didn't come get my perfect dog she was going to put her to sleep!!

She couldn't take all four dogs with her, one had cancer and wasn't doing well anyway, and Daisy… I don't know, I guess cause she was my dog…

So we had a plan (again): we would go help her move, get my dog (something Brad REALLY did not want), and even though it was over our first anniversary, I would stay and visit for a week, to help mend the rift and hopefully encourage my mother to break all ties to my stepfather…
Not sure anybody else but me would have Christmas colors for her Easter time wedding… but I have never claimed to be normal! Besides that gave the ladies I asked to decorate a challenge. They liked to shop! And they met the challenge and did a beautiful job!!
I wanted to invite close to everybody in YV church to the wedding, but I was afraid my parents and grandmother would find out and show up. So I only invited the two couples I was closest to, and I asked them to participate in the day. I asked the one to oversee the receipt of gifts and the other was my Matron of Honor (because she was/is 33 years older than me, several people thought that was cool. lol)
The wedding only had one glitch… the pastor had planned to have "Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets" interrupt the recessional as we were leaving the sanctuary… the tape player malfunctioned. For that I am thankful… he still got to play it at the reception, but I am not too sure I would have appreciated that surprise.
The hardest part of the day was saying goodbye to everyone, especially those that came from so far and would be gone when we got back… and I didn't know when/if I would see them again.
Now I can go on with our perfect little plan :)
Grandma Lady knew my plan was to quit work two weeks before the wedding and just focus on the last minute stuff… but by the end of Febraury she was starting to worry that I might not make it. My headaches were bad! Lasting longer and longer all the time and hurting worse and worse… I remember asking Brad if I could borrow a gun for a moment because if I could get something in to that most painful spot… maybe it would help. Not rational thinking… a bullet might have relieved my pain, but it wouldn't have given me the outcome I was looking for. Anyway. They were BAD, and the grandmother in her was worried, so she offered to let me come back, to quit my job three weeks early, and come back to their house rent-free and just relax and do nothing until the wedding. I jumped at it!! Maybe too quickly, I think I may have hurt the feelings of the wife of the people I was staying with. I was desperate to get a break from my headaches, and I knew out at the Ks I had had that relief.
The day I moved back, my headache started to lift as soon as I got there, and by bedtime it was gone and I didn't have another headache until I moved back into town after the wedding ("It's the Climate!", I guess).
Our wedding was unique. We wanted to include the teens (because Brad was the youth pastor), and some of our closest friends are a few decades older than we are, so the ages of the people in our wedding party ranged from 16-63! Not including mother of the groom or "grandparents" of the bride.
Well, since I am backing up in my story, you know I didn't have to return home. :)

Another "K" couple were available for God's use in my life and offered to let me rent a room from them for the same price the grandparent people were charging! God is good!!

I have migraines. I had them pretty severe in YV. But they went away completely during the year at gma & gps Ks. When I moved to my new home they started up again. My diet changed and included more "triggers", the hours I worked wreaked havoc with my sleep patterns, they had all florescent lighting in their home, and part of me wonders if I am not allergic to something in the air in the woods surrounding their home, and the altitude was a little different… I know the barometric levels makes a difference! But whatever the problem was I had a rough time… plus aside from the stress of dealing with my stepfather and waiting for the police to act, after December 21, we were planning a wedding and having a house built (the man at the store where we picked out light fixtures wished us luck because building a house has been known to cause divorce!).

Brad took me to the hospital for demmoral injections for my headaches, several times during those months. It wasn't uncommon for me to spend days at a time in bed with a headache… I was even sent home from work a few times because I pushed myself and tried to show up anyway.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We were married in 1999, and we had our perfect little plan all figured out.

Someone once said,"If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans." God has a plan, if we want what He wants we have to be willing to change our minds, plans and goals to match His… even when we "know" we are right!

Brad was able to buy a newly constructed house before we married… was finished and ready to move in three weeks before our wedding… hmm. Maybe I'll back up and start back a bit further…

In February of 1998, I was still with the Ks. Grandpa Man came to me and said they believed it was time for me to start learning to make and keep a budget. And as part of showing me how to do that they also wanted me to start paying some rent. That was fine with me, I was surprised that they hadn't said something sooner…. Then in August they came and said I was going to have to try to find another place to live. Grandma Lady's blood pressure was acting up and she thought maybe the stress of having me there was having an effect… she couldn't help but worry…

I pretty much panicked. I had no place to go… and everywhere I looked wanted at least five times what the Ks were charging… was I going to have to go back home afterall??
I need to be clear about something… I haven't gone back and read this, I might one day, but I don't feel the need right now, but I know I haven't put a lot of emphasis on Scripture or what I was learning in church or Sunday School. I guess that is because it was such a part of life the things I was learning and growing……… life just happened.
The one portion of scripture I claimed and held on to the tightest was Psalm 37… when I was working at the school in in YV the kids in our class had to memorize the first 5 verses… having 22 kids repeat the same thing to you over and over everyday, sort of pounds it in there… a beautiful promise at a very dark moment in time… exactly what I needed.
Aside from the message from 1 Samuel 16 that I told you about earlier, I don't know that I can give you any other SPECIFIC scripture references. As I learned and grew, under the influence of BK, LG, SG and others, I started, because of their encouragement, to read my Bible every day (twice a day for a while… really should get back to that!), praying for those I knew, and truly working at knowing God and what He had for me.
I had no strength or ability to do what He wanted and I still don't. It is the truth that we can do nothing without Christ… he is our strength, our strong tower…
I have survived the life I had, because He had a purpose and a plan and He gave me the whatever to do it- He did it in and thru me… I was just willing to be used.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The end of that drama ended just about 10 years ago. Yet it seems at least ten times longer than that. There is so much more detail… the little things people did that meant so much…

In order to come to Oregon, do the responsible thing concerning my stepfather, to just move forward with life… I had to choose what God had for me regardless of what anyone else thought. I had to not only say I was willing to walk away from my mother (who seemed to need somebody to protect her), had to be willing to do it. And because I was willing He made me able because I kept my focus on Him… and He has blessed me! I have always had a mother figure to turn to when I needed it. And the cool thing about that my moms change with my needs… he knows what I am going to need and when and he draws different relationships closer for those moments that are perfect fit for that "moment". That is why I call them my "Mom of the Moment" because even if it fits for years (like the current one has), it could change in an instant. Anything can happen, friendships fade even when you don't want them too, feelings get hurt unintentionally, life happens… I try to be so clear that I know and understand and appreciate the gift of love in the way of time and energy, comes because God has seen fit for whatever reason, to use THEM in my life… I have been SO blessed!! God is SO good!!!!
I was excited! Overjoyed! He was in jail!

The excitement was short-lived. B.K. (not Grandma Lady, the other one) asked me a question and pointed out a scripture that took me to my knees. It was made obvious to me that I was rejoicing in my stepfather's punishment rather than simply praising God and being thankful for being safe and able to do what He required.

I wasn't certain that was true so I prayed that if that was my attiude, vengeance instead of justice… then for the Lord to make that obvious to me, I wanted Him to be glorified.

My stepfather spent a whopping 30 days in jail. He got off because it was 12 months and three days from when I reported until he was arrested… the statute of limitations had run out.

During that 30 days we went down to YV and helped my mother move to BHC, near my grandmother. When we moved her I told her if he ever came back into her life, I would be gone. She said OK… as soon as he was released he was welcomed back by her.

She made the choice for me… until someone else speaks out he roams free…
When I contacted the detective here, he was surprised to hear I hadn't heard anything since the previous September, when we went in to make the phone call to my stepfather. He said he would call LAPD and see what was going on.
He called back a while later and said, somehow my stuff got kind of lost in the shuffle. It got set aside. The person who knew about it missed it because someone else didn't know what it was and set it aside and said nothing about it. They found the recording of the phone call and the paper work from my initial report and they were hoping I hadn't relit the fire under them too late.
The detective in L.A. Contacted me for her own collecting of information. She said they would make the arrest soon, but she couldn't say exactly when because they had to Co-ordinate with San Bernardino County, since he was living there and part of the abuse happened there. They had to decide what was going to happen where. So I was left waiting again, but at least I was being informed enough to know something was happening.
At the same time I recontacted the police, I sat down and wrote three letters. One each to my mother, grandmother and stepfather. I explained why I hadn't had any communication with them. I confronted my mother and stepfather and I warned my grandmother of what was coming.
Finally… I got the news he was arrested!
We went to Victoria, Canada for our honeymoon. The alternator died on the trip north. It was raining, we had to take a detour because of road construction, and we couldn't use the wipers or headlights… Brad got very frustrated… once he decided we weren't going to make it to the ferry in time he relaxed a little. The second battery of the trip died just as we pulled up to the door of the hotel in Port Angeles. I don't know how he got the car started to get it on the ferry, but he did and we drove straight to the hotel in Victoria, and left it parked for four of the five days we were there, opting to walk everywhere instead. Then the last day Brad decided to go ahead and get the car fixed, so we could go to Buchart Gardens.

We had some difficulty with my comfort because of the abuse from my stepfather. Poor Brad had to deal with things for months/years…

Anyway. Overall it is still what we both consider our best vacation ever… we both just had fun doing whatever, whenever. No time schedules, nobody needing our attention… it was great!

When summer started to get closer and the police still hadn't showed at my parents house I was starting to wonder what was going on…
On the eighth day of Christmas… it was the one year anniversary of our first date. I had moved out of the Ks house in August (3 days short of a full year in their home) and moved in with some other Ks. Anyway.
Brad kicked his mom and sister out of the house and fixed me dinner. He had a dozen roses on the table when he brought me to the house. We had a very nice meal complete with dessert. We watched the movie "The Preacher's Wife". Then he proposed. Obviously I said yes. Then he gave me my 8th day present… a ring holder. So when he took me home (after the people I was staying with were asleep), I left the roses and the ring holder on the kitchen counter for them to find in the morning. :). The only one who knew when Brad was going to ask was Mr. Grandpa Man, he said," because it's the longest night of the year."
We decided to marry on Brad's parents' anniversary. That gave us about four months. Do you know it is very difficult to find winter colors to decorate for a wedding in the Spring. LOL.
I asked my S.G. to be my matron of honor. I invited L.G. to be in charge of guarding the gifts (guaranteeing both sets of Mr.& Mrs.G. would come to the wedding. I asked them to not say anything about the wedding until afterward… I was so afraid my family would try to show up if they knew the when and where. Thankfully, my family didn't try to come.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not talking to my family wasn't too hard, since most communication had been stopped already…
I remember sitting at the counter after having a phone conversation with someone and Grandma Lady was there, she said something to me about it will work out and be fine. I could honestly tell her,"I know. It like I can tell I am in a tunnel and I can see the other end, I just need to get there." (that would be the peace that passes all understanding!!)
Life went on…
Brad and I continued dating. Only going out after church, since church days were the only days I had off. For my birthday that year I was invited to Brad's. His sister had made steak fondue. And the family invited a few friends over, too. Brad bought me a large Teddy bear with a ladybug on it's paw. I had seen it when we were out shopping, I thought it was so cute. Anyway, the people at the party wanted me to tear the bear apart because they just knew a ring had to be in it somewhere… they were wrong, I knew it, do I didn't listen to them :). But he said I had to go with him to get my real birthday present… it was expensive and he wanted to make sure it fit… it was great to mess with people's minds :) he got me a very nice dress coat.
Then for Christmas Brad did the 12 days of Christmas…
It was already my intention to go to the police, but Mr.B. Made sure to encourage me to do it, pointing out I probably wasn't my stepfather's only victim, and now that I was gone and not returning, he probably had someone new , and it was my responsibility to speak up, do that and hopefully nobody else would get hurt. Wow. I knew all that. I agreed with all that. Having heard someone else say it, made it SO much more urgent.
So we set up a time to go to the police department and I made the initial report and the detective set up a time for us to come back and see if we could make a phone call and record it.
On Sept. 10,1999, Brad went with me to make that phone call. I don't remember much of what was said. I remember lots of "I'm sorrys", I know I was on speaker phone to start and asked him to take me off of speaker, and that my mother was sitting right there in the same room thru the whole conversation. He admitted things, he said he knew he didn't have to worry about me getting pregnant because he is impotent. And other things…
I was amazed by the peace and calmness of spirit I had thru the whole experience. But…
The detective said he was going to ship the stuff to LAPD immediately, because I had been gone from home long enough and I was so old (23!), that they only had 12 months to do anything. And to not talk to any of the family until my stepfather was arrested.
Brad took me home, or followed me home, after our talk, and we went in the house. I can still see Grandma K on the couch and Grandpa in his glider rocker doing the crossword in the newspaper. I finally got the words together and spit them out… it seemed kind of anti-climactic. Not sure what I expected, but the reply was: Grandma Lady," I know it. Doesn't surprise me at all. Just couldn't do anything without proof." Grandpa Man," Yeah. We kinda suspected it, but you never said anything to let us know for sure.". I think I expected them to be caught completely off guard, I thought I did a pretty good job keeping my secret… Hhmm… I guess not.

The next thing I did was call the Pastor in YV and let him know the truth and confessed I had lied on the paperwork I filled out to work at the school. Then I called B.&S.G (Mr.&Mrs.G) Mrs. G had the same reaction as the Ks. And the same excuse for not doing anything…

Then I called B.&L.G.(Mr.B & Mrs.L) And told them. Again they were not surprised. He explained it wouldnt have done any good to speak to the authorities until I was ready to do it myself. He was right, if anyone of these extra special, extra dear to my heart people had said anything before that moment, I would have denied it. (I had looked one of my dear widow ladies in the eye, the day before I left for Indiana and lied to her about my stepfather abusing me.) Mr. B. strongly urged me to go to the police.
When we got in Pastor's office (Brad's at the time wasn't big enough for two people, lol), we sat down, I hemmed and hawed for a while, then I tried to say my problem was nothing and to nevermind, but he wouldn't settle for that and he wouldn't let me put it off until later… so finally I gathered what I had, and spit out the words,"my stepfather molested me." that was the first time I said it, outloud to anyone… including myself. I won't tell you Brad's initial verbal response, but it shocked me :). Then he went on to reassure me it wasn't my fault, I hadn't done anything wrong… God still saw me as innocent and pure… anyway. But now I had told somebody, and now I was responsible to go to the authorities. Yikes! Could I do this? I barely had the guts to tell Brad.

Well, I needed to tell others too. The Grandparent people needed to know. I was still in their home and who knew what kind of chaos would be headed our way… I felt I should let a few of my most trusted friends in YV know, because something was about to hit the fan and I wanted people there who were about to hear it, to hear the truth from my own mouth.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brad was the youth pastor of our church. Since we were dating, I got included in some of the teen activities.

One night after an activity in the summer, we took some kids with us to take a girl home who lived like 50 miles away. The girls we had with us were joking and teasing with eachother, then suddenly one leaned forward and asked Brad what he would say if I asked him to marry me. He said, he would say no, because he believed it was the man's place to ask that question. Then he was drawn into a conversation about the roles of each gender in a relationship… I love debates as much as he hates it (opposites, lol). Anyway.

After we dropped off all the teens and we started out toward my house, he asked me what I would say IF he asked me… "I dunno". I am not much for hypothetical questions.

But that got my brain thinking, I had some reality to deal with… that reality would be a problem if I were to get married and not say something.

I didn't know how I was going to say what needed to be said. Or even IF I could say it. But it slapped me up side the head-I couldn't go any farther until I delt with my past.

So, coward that I am, I wrote Brad a note saying that we needed to talk, and I left it on the door of his camp trailer at the fireworks stand.
My grandpa Hank. He wasn't my grandpa, he was a close friend of my family most of my mother's life. He was probably the most stable force in our life, and he was skitzophrenic.

He was a good man. Patient enough to put up with my grandmother. Generous enough to repeatedly help my mother. Kind enough to entertain me while my mother and grandmother went and did whatever. He always took me to lunch at least once when we would visit my grandma (he always lived within 30 minutes of drive time from my grandmother), and if possible, he took us to church on Sunday when visiting grandma. He came to at least three of my birthdays and taught me and my friends to play blackjack. Of all my family, I knew he loved me… now he was gone. That was Hard, plus the reality that I wasn't going to be able to attend his funeral… I still haven't been by his grave…

But in a way it was a relief, I didn't have to worry about him asking when I was going to return, or come see him again.
The Ks and their family went out of their way to make my birthday and holidays special. Good memories…

The New Year started rough. Both of the jobs I had ended with the end of the year. I applied every where I could think, except fast food. Was not gonna work at McDonadls!! No way…

Guess I had some pride to deal with because I had been saving money since I started working… I had enough to pay my few bills for two months. I actively searched for work, I didn't think (OK I knew) the Ks wouldn't have me stay with them without a job, even if they weren't charging me rent. They had high expectations of me…. I was down to 37.00 in my account, and I had to pay I think twice that for health insurance, plus I had car insurance, a car payment (to the Ks) and I had to put gas in my land yacht… freaking out would be an understatement. What was I Going to do? I couldn't stay if I didn't have a job. Guess I would have to go home and hear "I told you so…". So out of desperation I applied at McDonalds. I got the job right away, the first check came in timely enough fashion that I didn't miss a single payment on a single bill!!

Also in that first few months (starting in March and ending on Easter) we got a phone call a week telling us about someone in YV passing away. We were getting very nervus about answering the phone. The last of those calls was about my Grandpa Hank.
"Obey… in the Lord". I knew that verse for as long as I could remember, but that last part was like a totally new concept… I never realized that to be a condition or guide. I always thought it meant obey and that was it. There was never an explanation before about if you need to choose who to obey, God or parents… it was always assumed God gave you these parents, so His will is for you to obey them. Getting the last three words of that verse to penetrate my braine and my heart was shocking, revolutionizing, freeing! I was able to let go, because the choices my mother was making were against God's will.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(Backing up a little)
Once I was in Oregon and my family knew where I was I got many harassing phone calls from my stepfather. After a few weeks (or maybe a few days… sometimes things feel a lot longer than they are) he called, cussed me and told the Ks that if they wanted me they could have me cuz they (parents) were done with me and didn't give a #%*@&$ any more. That was fine with me, but I knew it was just a game, trying to guilt me in to doing what they wanted. I don't remember how long it was after arriving in Oregon, but I eventually got the courage (with the support of those who loved me) to refuse my mother's phone calls. That was one of the hardest things I ever did… to say,"I don't want to talk to her.". But it was necessary, they were so heavily pouring on the guilt for me breaking my promises to return and accusing me of lying about my motives in leaving home, I could hardly handle it. It was making me a nervus wreck.
I was so encouraged my first Sunday at FBC. Sunday School was a lesson on the kind of parents we had… and the sermon in the 11:00 service was on the family, and the Pastor sang "People Need the Lord.". The Ks and their family were a great support and encouragement to me, too. Especially when someone pointed out I was supposed to obey parents IN THE LORD, and my parents weren't guiding me in the way of the Lord.
I was confused. Who would be calling me at nearly 9:30 at night? It was the Assistant Pastor? He wanted to know if I wanted to go with him to Sunday Dinner followed by some shopping in the cute little tourist trap town not too far from here. I said OK. Didn't know why… I had all the birthdays of everyone in the church. I knew he was too old for me, so it couldn't be a date! But He didn't know how young I was!
When I hung up the phone and told Grandma Lady who it was and what he wanted, she asked,"Like a date?", when I said no, she said,"Well, what then?". I had no idea!LOL
So that following Sunday, when I got to church several people commented on how nice I looked. Odd, I always dressed my best for church, and I'd worn that dress before…
We went to dinner at a very nice restaurant, the nicest I'd ever been to. When the check came… his credit card was rejected. LOL. But luckily, he had a second card to use :). Then we window shopped for a while and he took me home. The grandparent people were not going to church that night (said they were too tired), so Brad offered to take me to the evening service and bring me home. So I said "sure.". After church that evening we went to Burger King before he brought me back home. On the next Sunday he invited me for Mexican and of course I wouldn't refuse Mexican food :). Then on Sunday night at church Brad's older brother was there sitting with Thier mom. I sat next to a lady who asked me if that was Brad's brother. I said," Yeh. I think his name is Scott, or something like that." and she said," Oh yeah! You're getting to know the Elkins really well.". I gave her a confused look. And she added,"But don't worry, I won't talk to anybody. Just me and God!" LOL. I knew I was in trouble. LOL.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I went to church here just like I did in YV-every time the doors were open and Prime Time meeting whenever I could. I was only 30 years too young, but I'd always been a Prime Timer, so why not… plus I got the invites here, too. My jobs were co-operative about me having Sundays and Wednesdays off.
Then in December there was a Young Adult Christmas party. As far as I knew, everyone in that class was married. I did not want to go and be the only single there, so I was gonna skip it. Well Grandma Lady wanted me to go, so she talked her grandson into going with me. Rather than viewing us as cousins doing something together everyone thought we were dating, I guess. This motivated one B.E. to get his act together. :)

From what his sister says, he grumbled all the way home about who was that guy and where did he come from???… LOL. He was just a poor guy doing his grandma a favor…
But like I said it motivated Brad. A few days later grandparents K. and I went to a Christmas open house at the home of some "dear" :) people in the church. When we got home that night the phone rang. Not usual for it to ring that late, so Grandpa Man answered it. He talked for a few minutes and then gave me the phone.
Just as I had convinced myself that as long as I was enduring the abuse, then nobody else was, I convinced myself that now that I was 900+ miles away I would be OK and I could ignore/forget what my stepfather is and what he did.
So, I started life new and fresh. Telling as little about where I came from as possible. We had fun with people asking if the K.s were my grandparents, I'd say "No. She's not my grandma, she's my Grandma Lady.". It was great fun to see the confusion on people's faces.
I brought my birthday card ministry with me… it was a great help in getting to know people. And since I went to the church office for my information, nobody knew I knew their birthday until I handed them a card… that was cool!
When I asked about getting a list of birthdays, the Assistant Pastor mentioned I could order cards through the church's bookstore, and save a few dollars. So I set up a time to stop and look at catalogs before work one day that week. He had his mother there with him when I got there (so we wouldn't be the only two people on the property), we visited for close to an hour before I left.
It wasn't long before the Assistant Pastor's sister was talking to me every service and inviting me to sit with her in church…
I cut myself off from most of my people down in YV, but there were a few that convinced me to keep connected, because they didn't talk to my mother much, or were certain they could handle any questions she may ask them. One of these people was S.G.
Even though she had no problem with me leaving home, she didn't see it as a wise choice or timing (remember she didn't know the details of my life-even though we talked and/or saw each other everyday). I still have the letter, she knew home was bad, to go where I knew almost nobody, with no job and no way to get around on my own… there wasn't even a boyfriend there to be moving near. When I got the letter I called her and we talked… I don't remember what was said, but by the time we hung up, she was behind me 100%.
I wasn't cut off from very many for very long, it seems. My parents figured out really quickly and easily where I was. They started calling and harassing almost the very day I arrived in Oregon. He tried yelling and she tried crying. He threatened to come get me, or call the police. They wouldn't do anything, I was 21. There was nothing they could do, but try to get me to change my mind, and I had a support system that encouraged me to resist my parents control.
I was free! I was safe! Though it was a while before I was sure my stepfather wasn't going to try to come after me… afterall he had reason to be worried.