An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

Hi. I’m Chloe and I’m 16. Divorce happened in my life when I was one year old.

This is the first Christmas I’m looking forward to. Any other year I couldn’t care less if tomorrow was Christmas and to be honest, I learned to dread all holidays.

Today I will be a voice for the four year old who doesn’t understand why this Christmas Mommy is not at Daddy’s house to open presents.

Little kids may not be able to speak out yet so I will for them.

I dreaded picking whose house I wanted to be at and dreaded the stress of hurting someone’s feelings that comes with it.

I also dreaded being forced to go to either house when I didn’t want to go.

My feelings matter.

Half a day here and half a day there is not fun. (And thankfully my parents did not make me do this.)

I dreaded presents I wouldn’t like but was told gift cards are tacky to ask for. They are not. Gift cards are okay to ask for.

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

Divorce changes a family but not many people think of how the kid was affected.

You don’t “have” me or “get” me for Christmas.

I “get” chicken pox.

I “have” a rash.

I “have” to “go.”

I “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What? You don’t “have” him like you have a rash. You’re blessed to spend time with him this Christmas. And if you’re truly blessed to spend Christmas with him, then treat him like it.

And don’t let him feel the divorce was his fault. Don’t be fake, either. You’re the grown up and if you want your kid to be part of your family, too, then act like it and take the first step.

While I understand some kids with divorced parents act like they don’t care because they’re getting extra presents, some place underneath it all they actually do care and they’re hurting.

Most of the time I couldn’t care less about the presents because hurt and sad memories were attached to them. Because every time I see the game that was at the top of my wish list, I remember the tears of missing my mom, and of brokenness that went along with this present.

A lot of us feel hurt that Christmas isn’t “normal” (whatever normal is.) Or kids are sad that their family is broken. Or they feel like a bother because Christmas family vacations aren’t whole. Or they feel left out of family events. Being a kid is hard enough. Please don’t add stress of your divorce to my life.

The divorce was not my fault. And I should get to hear that. Often.

Contrary to what many kids from divorced parents think, I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still feel stuck in the middle – because I AM.

I’m stuck between Mom and Dad and words like “biological” and “step.”  (I’m SO done with the word “step.”)

I’m stuck between two homes.

I’m stuck between feelings of brokenness and extra love.

I already feel torn and broken that you guys aren’t married anymore so please don’t add to that by forcing me or guilting me into coming over. I didn’t ask for the divorce and I’m not the grown up.

I’m the little kid who is learning that happily ever after isn’t always true.

Just talk to me.

Even as little kids we understand a lot more than you think we do. Talk with me WITHOUT trashing the other parent. It is okay for me to love Mom and Dad and I can even love new parents and new siblings. God doesn’t limit or divide our love. He increases it.

I get it. You’re grieving. I need time to grieve, too. Something died and it’s okay if I’m upset. Tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I lost something too. I lost Christmas the way I wanted it to be.

Just love me today and spend time with me today. Pray over me. Remind me it’s okay to love Mommy AND Daddy and all the rest of this messy family – because it IS okay and I should get to hear that.

I will be okay and you will be okay.

I will love you BOTH and anyone else I choose to love – and you need to be okay with that.

I am blessed to get to spend time at Christmas with two parents, even if at separate houses, who love me and are nice to (and about) each other.

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

Sometimes there are things that we never would have thought of before divorce that are now real life for us.

Celebrating on “the actual date” doesn’t matter anymore. You celebrate when you can and with the people who can be there.  And that’s okay.

You learn to accept that life looks different now – and that is okay. Even if other people don’t understand everything, that’s still okay.  We know that every situation is different.

You pray over your children and encourage them to enjoy time at the other parent’s house. Sure. Let them know you miss them but more people to love and care about any child in a healthy way is a good thing. It is okay for kids to enjoy Christmas at either house. I KNOW it’s rough. I spent many hours crying because holidays didn’t feel whole anymore. In fact, I spent many hours crying over just missing regular, everyday life moments.

If you’re a single mom or dad, we know it’s tough. We’ve been there. A lot of presents aren’t necessary. Your time just hanging out and listening to your kids matters more. If the other parent can afford more presents, that’s okay. If not, that’s okay, too.

We will be okay and you will be okay.

We wish you a peaceful and stress free Christmas – however that looks at your house.

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

[Note:  Unfortunately, there are many times a child should not be in the care of someone.  Please do pay attention if something seems unsettling.  Everyone involved in a divorce can probably benefit from counseling if needed.]

 

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I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]

 

Fun ways we give hints for Christmas presents:

(Just something fun we do at our house.)

Let’s say I bought a new sweater as a Christmas present for my daughter.

My daughter, who really wants to know what the present is – and a little bit kinda enjoys NOT knowing what it is – asks for hints as the days go by, trying to guess what is in the box.

Our hints go like this:

You could use it as an umbrella, but I wouldn’t.

You may like to take it for a walk on a leash, but I wouldn’t.

You can paint with it, but I wouldn’t.

You could wear it on your head, but I wouldn’t.

You could eat it, but I wouldn’t.

You can tell time with it, but I wouldn’t.

You could try to read it, but I wouldn’t.

You could heat it in the microwave, but I wouldn’t.

You can wear it on your feet, but I wouldn’t.

You may put icing on it, but I wouldn’t.

Maybe you could use it to start a fire… but I wouldn’t.

(Eventually the questions stop.)

It’s a fun way to give hints without telling someone what the present actually is.

 

 

Marriage is probably the toughest job ever.

There are a lot of tough jobs in the world but marriage… just wow!  I know we’re not alone when we say this.

Many people share great ideas and it’s always fun to learn new things that work for other couples.

I’m always trying to figure out how to make our marriage better and help others at the same time.  My husband is a praying man and asks God how to be a better husband to me and better daddy to our kids.  And I ask God to show me how to be a better wife and mommy.

Here is something we started about a year ago. It’s helped us sometimes when we argue.  God put this idea on my heart and I shared it with my husband.  We didn’t waste time getting to the store.

We bought a ball (A 12 to 15 inch ball is best. And NO. Not a baseball or bowling ball even though it’s something that some people may think they’d like to do sometimes – Just don’t.) and when we’d argue, we’d pass the ball back and forth.

It is harder to stay angry when we are playing catch.

We both take turns talking (Toss it.  Don’t hold it.  That’s the point.  It’s easier to talk this way sometimes.) and maybe a few times we threw it rougher than we should have but it really helps during fights.

You could try it and see if it helps for your marriage. If someone can learn anything from our mess we’re glad to share.

We really do like each other.  It’s just that sometimes we forget.

 

Note: If you play ball in the store, they may -or may not- appreciate it so very much. You probably don’t need to ask us how we know this.

 

 

It Is OKAY To Like YOU

Remember that time when you did that thing you thought you couldn’t do? And remember how you were a little amazed by that? And if you’re honest with yourself, maybe you did it better than you thought you could?

When you think about YOU do you think more about that stuff or the “other” stuff… you know… the times you messed up… again?

The way we think about us in our own heads, about how we messed up, about how often we mess up, is just too much for our spirits sometimes. Be kinder to you.

Would you let someone else talk to you the way YOU talk to you? Would you let someone else talk to your husband, wife, kids, or parents the way you talk to you? Is it kind of… possibly… bullying yourself?

Stop.

Please?

Take a breath and think something nice about you.

It is OKAY and (dare I say) “healthy” to speak and think good things about yourself and your abilities!

Somehow the world has taught us that we can’t be glad about something we’re good at or have learned to do because if we say we’re proud of it, people may think we’re bragging or conceited or whatever.

What if we make it a “good” whatever!

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Philippians 4:8

YOU are amazing. Take some time to THINK ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU. You know why I know you’re so great? Because Jesus didn’t die for “nobody.” He died for YOU. And if HE thinks you’re worth dying for, then maybe it’s time for you to see that in yourself also.

You have permission to like you!

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

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Please share?

This is bigger than just our family.  This is more than 4 people moving to Alaska.

This is huge!  This will take much more than money.  This will need volunteers, paid employees, land, buildings, donations, beds, food, chairs, computers, desks, clothing, sewing machines, counselors, police, lawyers, cooks, janitors, financial guys, etc.

Prayers please?

The same God Who gave Power to David’s sling and stones is able to lift us to do His Work when we obey & look to Him & give Him the Glory.

 

 

She said, “Because I know how important this is.” (Addiction)

I remember that time in the alley with my friends.  They didn’t know.  I didn’t know.  They had a pack of cigarettes and offered me one.  They weren’t aware that this would change my life (or theirs) forever.

Many people talked about how smoking looked “cool.”  Most movies showed the “hero” as a smoker.  There were sexy scenes and the “lady” stood in a smoky room and you could see her curves and she was smoking.

I’ve heard stories about how the military purposefully GAVE cigarettes to soldiers because they actually thought it would make them tougher.

It did not.  It made them prisoners.

People didn’t talk so much about never try even ONE cigarette.  Honestly I didn’t think much of it when I tried it and the first time is all it takes to be hooked.  I happened to try it 3 times in 3 different years before I was hooked and would never recommend trying it to ANYONE.

If you’ve never searched your back yard for any half smoked cigarettes laying on the ground, then maybe you’re not addicted.

If you’ve never counted how many you have left and how long til you could get to the store, then maybe you’re not addicted.

If you’ve never said to yourself, “Maybe I should smoke one now, because it will be 6 hours until I can have one again,” then maybe you’re not addicted.

My husband wanted to stop.  I didn’t.  I didn’t even think it was possible.  We asked for prayers at church and this guy said his sister in law had a book she read and that she’d stopped.

It was agony.  It was misery and pain and I sobbed.  I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.  Finally, I called her.  She was SO kind and stopped her day and drove to meet me.

My tears were flooding the parking lot where we stood as I looked at her speaking words of blessing over me and that she KNEW I could stop too.

She was my hero.  I asked her “Why?”  “Why would you stop your day to meet me like this?”

She said, “Because I know how important this is.”

It was a book.  I’d never heard of anyone reading a book and being able to stop smoking.  What a concept!

This book tells you that if you still smoke to KEEP smoking while you read the book.  Crazy idea.

Allen Carr smoked 100 cigarettes a day, then he realized WHY we smoke, and stopped and wrote this book.

It’s called The Easy Way To Stop Smoking.  You just gotta read this book for yourself!

I read half way through the book and I was done smoking FOREVER.  Just like that.

No chemicals.

No willpower.

Nothing I did (besides read this book) made me stop.

I am happy.  That’s right.  I hadn’t heard much about happy ex smokers.  But I am one.

I know I was a slave to smoking.

It told me when to go outside, when to go to the store, when to be close to my family and when to avoid them.  Smoking made me stink to myself and others.

It is not your fault.

They were DESIGNED to hold you for a life sentence.

YOU CAN BE FREE.

They even said they guarantee it.  There is a class you can go to and people have quit in one day.  I believe there is a money back guarantee.  Check out allencarr.com

I will ALWAYS be grateful to this man and praise God for him.  (My family will too.)

If someone knew of a cure for a disease he should share it.  If someone knew the best recipe for the best desserts he should share it.  God led me to the key to get out of prison.  I HAVE to share it.  Check it out for yourself.

And you can know

without a doubt

that I am YOUR cheerleader!

You CAN do this.  It is easier than you think!

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

The world lies. Forties are sexy and fun! There’s no “over the hill” about it.

Mommy is a pole dancer for Daddy (and that is healthy)

I wanted to look sexier for myself and for my husband (even though he already likes the way I look and he’d never ask me to work out unless it was with him and for fun. He seems to have eyes that see me kinda the way God sees me. As beautiful.)

The best thing was to just tough it out and do regular work outs like regular people but working out is not one of my favorite things to do. Knowing I NEED to work out even though it’s torture

I chose to look for a more fun way to do it.

I found a pole dancing exercise place just for women. What a GREAT idea! I’d work out, feel sexier, look better, AND have a special private show for my husband.

Yes it really was a great idea but if I did this I knew I’d want to install poles in our bedroom so I could do my work outs at home for date nights also.

It may sound silly but this was heavy on my mind. I REALLY wanted to do this. But HOW could I install a pole in my bedroom when we have kids? WHAT would we tell them? Do I install two poles and say they are for support for our ceiling? Do we put a hammock hanging between them? “Oh kids, look at the metal trees.” Do we install one and say it’s a Maypole? (You know, those poles where children dance around it holding the ribbons.)

But we don’t lie to our kids. And some day they’ll eventually see a pole somewhere and they’ll know what the dancing is about and they may go into shock remembering

“that wedding anniversary when mommy and daddy installed the pole in their room.”

Lying on the counselor’s couch they’ll say, “So THAT’S what that was for! Say it isn‘t so!!”

I asked several girlfriends what they thought I should say to my kids about it. Nobody had the perfect answer that wouldn’t be dishonest. After a few months I gave up. I didn’t take the pole dancing class. I didn’t install a pole. I didn’t dance for my husband and I didn’t work out most of that year.

A while after that I was talking to my mother in law. She’s a preacher’s wife and a good, fun, God fearing mother and Grammy. She’s not afraid to give her opinion and we like that about her.

I told her it would be fun to take this class together if we lived closer to each other. I told her of the debating and agony I went through and that I’d want a pole in our bedroom if we did that exercise class.

I said THE reason I didn’t take the class is because I didn’t know what to tell her grandbabies about the pole. This sweet preacher’s wife had the best answer EVER. She said, “Well that’s easy. Tell them you had a REALLY FUN MARRIAGE!”

Time to sign up for that class!

I didn’t even know if I WANTED to stop smoking.

I never thought I’d be free. I didn’t know I COULD be free.

And the biggest TRICK about it is I didn’t even know if I WANTED to be free.

I’m here to tell you that I do NOT miss it. Just a couple weeks ago I realized it’s been two years since I smoked. I’m not counting the days BECAUSE I don’t miss it. And you won’t miss it either.

It’s a trap. It’s a genius trap really. The creators of cigarettes and cigars fooled us. And we pay them our hard earned money to keep doing it. They KNEW what they were doing. We were naive. We tried it and then the world laughs and mocks us as we suffer.

Most people do not understand.

This was NOT your fault.

It doesn’t matter what color you are, what gender, what age, or what your belief about God is regarding the target audience. It is a trap designed for YOU. And once you’re there, you BELIEVE that you’re stuck because the world TELLS you you’re stuck. It’s the world that tells you that you cannot quit. It’s the world that tells you it’s hard to stop.

THE WORLD LIES.

You are NOT stuck.

You CAN be free.

You can breathe again and want to know something FUN about it?

You will NOT miss it. You are not “giving up” anything because there is nothing to give up. It IS easy and you CAN just put them down and never want them again.

How do I know?

Because I am living proof. Once you know this stuff, it helps you unlock your brain because that’s where the lock is. In your brain.

Most people don’t know HOW to talk to people who smoke. They cannot speak the language because they don’t understand what it’s all about. They go on and on about how bad it is for you and say, “Don’t you want to live?” and, “Here. Look at these dead lungs. You don’t want that to happen do you?” And telling me how much money I could save if I just quit doesn’t help me quit.

I know what it’s like. I lived it. On rainy days I was standing outside. On 30 degree days I was outside. On the hottest summer days, outside. There I was. Breathing in the poison and believing that I’d always do it.

It is a trap. It’s a trap with a lock.

And I needed a key.

Most people do not realize it is nothing more than a trap. Somebody telling me how bad it is for me does not give me the key to get out of the prison. By the time I’m stuck I already know it’s bad.

I asked for prayers at church. This guy said his sister-in-law swore by a book she’d read. I couldn’t bring myself to call her. I wanted to call her but…

What if it worked? What if I couldn’t smoke anymore?

What if it didn’t work? What if I did keep smoking?

I was trapped.

A guy realized what the trap is. He smoked 100 cigarettes a day and then realized WHY we do it and did not smoke any more. Just like THAT. Then he wrote this book. Want to know what it is called? The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. (I don’t remember if he gives the glory to God for this book but I certainly give the glory to God for me being led to it!!)

You CAN be free!

Don’t know if you want to be free? That’s okay. Me too.

Don’t know what life would be like without it? That’s okay. I didn’t either. Maybe you like to smoke? I get that.

That is how powerful the world’s brainwashing is.

This guy UNbrainwashes you.

I will want this for you forever. Read it. What do you have to lose? Nothing. That is the answer. You have NOTHING to lose.

You can know that every day I’m praying for your freedom. You CAN be free. You just have to believe it. The belief is what is holding you captive. You WILL love your freedom. You CAN do it.

Now every day when I wake up there is a part of me that whispers, “Thank God I don’t have to do that today.”

And the great news is neither do you.

Not right. Not wrong. Just thinking.

What if I poisoned you?

I didn’t poison you. But what if I did? You’d probably be pretty mad at me, huh?

No. Wait. What if I tricked YOU into poisoning yourself? What if I tricked you into poisoning yourself and inviting your friends to do it, too? And what if I tricked you into celebrating as you did this?

What if I made poisoning yourself legal? And what if I tricked you into paying your very own money for it that you spent so many hours working to earn? What if you worked all week hating your job and then on the weekend you were poisoned so that you could forget about the very job you’re working at to earn your money?

What if I made movies where most of the “fun” looking parties and dates had red cups full of soda or spiked with whatever poison you chose? What if, instead, I made movies and shows letting you see people enjoying life without “the cup” in their hands? What if I showed you movies about groups of friends who went around and did good stuff for their neighbors? Would you believe that’s a pretty cool way to have fun? I think you would. If you have the courage to retrain your own mind you will see this is fun.

Movie and television guys have spent hours and years and millions of dollars to trick us. Why do you think it’s called “programming?” The culture and world have programmed you to think a certain way. Think not? What about a couple on their anniversary date in a movie? What do you see? A bottle of wine in the middle of the table? What if it was a pitcher of water instead?

And before you go write 1,000 words to me about Christians and drinking, let me tell you this:

I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was 21 so do not think I don’t know what I’m speaking about. I do. (And though I really like Dr. Pepper I’m not quite sure it’s that good to drink, either.)

And I’m NOT telling you it’s right.

And I’m NOT telling you it’s wrong.

Jesus turned water to wine.  Not sure when soda was made.

I’m not going to debate this with you. And I’m not sure that I will quit either completely or if I still will occasionally. After realizing this stuff I think I’m leaning a lot more toward the not any more side.

There are MANY stages in between being a soda or alcohol prude and sodaholic or alcoholic so please remember this when speaking to someone who does drink these drinks. Are you wanting them to listen to you as you ask them if it’s poison, or are you pushing them away from you as you speak? Usually it’s our own choice to or not to poison ourselves.

And as for water connoisseurs, yeah, some water may be better than others. I’m not writing this to argue with anyone.

I’m writing this because God’s put it on my heart. But I know that if you’re in the mood, there are many other people who will enjoy debating whatever good points you have.

And you absolutely DO have good points and opinions. (I’m just not going to debate them with you.)

Have a party without soda or alcohol. Ask God to show you how to have real fun. Teenagers have fun all the time WITHOUT these things. I’ve been in groups of 15 year old kids and they talk and laugh and enjoy each others’ company for HOURS and DON’T end the evening throwing up or with a hangover the next morning.

Ask God to lead you to a job you really like where you can use the talents He’s given you. In my opinion most people in the world are not laughing enough or enjoying their jobs in life. Ask God to show you and to open doors for you. God can open a door that nobody can shut. And God can close a door that nobody can open.

All I am asking you to do is to simply think about this with every sip of your favorite soda or alcoholic drink:

What if YOU poisoned YOU?

That Doesn’t Even Rhyme

Sometimes people say mean things and try to cut you down to their level.

You can say, “No thank you.”

You can say, “Get lost.”

You can say, “Hey, you’re really being mean.”

But I think maybe a better thing to say is, “That doesn’t even rhyme.”

 

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She is Somebody’s Daughter (Pornography)

My marriage was attacked by brokenness.

Women who pose in pornography films and magazines are broken inside. Period. If you could just see the pain inside the heart of the girl in the porn video or magazine, you’d ache for her with a different part of you. You’d want to help her find healing. You’d treat her like the Child of God that she really is. She just doesn’t believe it or know that she really is yet.

She is somebody’s daughter. She is someone’s niece, aunt, sister, mom, grandma, but most importantly she is WORTHY of so much more than the life she’s trapped in.

Pornography was holding my husband’s attention and we did not realize HOW much it was wrecking our marriage. After a few months in marriage counseling my husband and the best marriage counselor on the entire planet came to the same conclusion.

Pornography was the culprit and was destroying our marriage. There is just NO place for it anywhere. Anywhere.

But the problem is that even soft porn is EVERYWHERE. He has to “bounce” his eyes a lot. The sad thing is you cannot UNsee what you saw. Yes God CAN take the images out of your head but sometimes our brains hold onto stuff when we don’t even want it there anymore.

Even now, 4 years after he’s been able to break free from that trap, and it absolutely IS a TRAP, set on purpose to enslave you forever, there are many times that the residual effects crawl out of the corners of the darkness and claw at our marriage threatening to destroy it.

One thing we’ve noticed is that after we’d be together, he wouldn’t speak to me much for about 3 days. This was killing me. I felt like he didn’t care. He sure cared enough a few days ago. He didn’t even realize he was doing it. We figured out together that it was from the past of seeing pornography and then the shame from it just overwhelmed him. Well, if he’s feeling that shame, he may not want to talk to me because it hurt me and he knows it.

But this was our marriage and it was OKAY for him to be together with me. God designed sex for married people. It’s fun and healthy when there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything involved in any way. As long as you both consent, and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, then pretty much your imagination is the limit.

But the trap that pornography IS does THIS kinda damage and lots of it. Sometimes we’re not even aware of as the cycle keeps on going;  Together. He ignores me for 3 days. I feel like I’m invisible.  And this is only ONE example of the damage pornography does.

If you are upset with me for writing about this I apologize. Our kids hear WAY yucky stuff from kids at school, online, and unfortunately we as parents and people at churches mostly don’t talk about healthy sexuality but we MUST talk to our kids. They WILL learn about stuff somewhere and aren’t YOU the very best person to talk to him or her about such important things? I believe that you are.

So I’m just putting this in here to say I’m very sorry if it offends someone to talk about pornography. It unfortunately is a bigger problem than lots of people realize and we just have to take off our blinders and masks and get down to the stuff satan uses to attack our families every day. It’s not easy to talk sometimes but we just gotta.

This may be a forever thing my husband has to work on and I am willing to be here for him and with him. He’s worked very hard to walk away from that.  In fact, he actually ONLY was able to break free because of God’s help.

I’m so proud of him learning to bounce his eyes and save ALL of his desire just for me, his wife.

There’s NO better way to tell a woman she’s beautiful than this very thing.

It’s been a really tough thing to do and with God’s help he was able to get out of that hell. He’s also a great man for other men to talk to about this subject and many have asked his advice and asked about what books have helped him on this journey of freedom.

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My husband wanted to add to this story:
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Well my awesome wife posted a story about some of our journey today. After reading what she had written I thought there were a few things that needed to be added so here it goes.

I’m a preacher’s kid and have been in and around church my whole life.

As some of you know we are moving to Alaska. We feel we are being led there. I won’t go in to all the details just now but there have been a lot of things happen and it seems God wants us to go to Alaska and these days I am all about faith. I have turned into a faith-junky-God-loving-Jesus-freak and I can’t see being any other way.

I guess my story starts off around 16 when someone gave me my first pornography video. From that point on life was all about sex.

Around age 21 I went to prison for armed robbery. Why would I get in to armed robbery? Well it all falls back to me not liking me and that is a story in itself. I’ll tell you that one later.

On my way out of prison I went to a work release. It’s a place where the city gives the state a place to put prisoners and in return the prisoners work for the state. My last job working there was for the city electric company and while I really learned a lot, the problem is that’s where my pornography problem picked back up.

The guys there found out I was good at fixing things like TVs and computers so they started bringing computers for me to fix and equipment for me to build new ones. Well guess what? When I went in – no internet. Now there is internet. For those of you who don’t remember, when the internet first came out if you did a search online and you spelled the word wrong it would pull up pornography websites. People who know me know I am the worst speller ever. By the time I got out of prison and was at this job my pornography problem was bigger than ever.

To shorten the story I will jump to me and Kerri getting married. Kerri and I knew each other as teenagers in different church youth groups.  We didn’t know who we were to each other back then.  I have always loved Kerri deeply but there is no way a wife can match up to a fantasy in any way. Through our marriage I worked on beating my addiction to porn and the longer I was married the more I saw the damage it was doing. I got to the point where I only stumbled every great once in a while.

The problem was the effects after watching it were not going away. I prayed and prayed for God to take it from me and to make me see my wife in a new way.

The strangest thing happened. Kerri and I started going to a new church and they were talking about doing a “mustard seed offering.” Up until this point we had given off and on when there was extra money to be given but we had never made a commitment.

The day they took up the mustard seed offering they gave everyone a packet of mustard seeds and they told everyone to write on the packet things that wanted God to do for them. My first two things on the list were a better relationship with God and a better relationship with my wife and kids. Since then we give out of every paycheck, bonus, and gift.

Lately my wife has been asking me what has gotten into me. Why am I liking her so much? Why am I doing things I have never done? And I told her it’s all because of God and my better relationship with Him.

So if you have something you are praying about and nothing seems to be happening maybe it’s your lack of faith that is stopping things from happening. Maybe you’re not being able to move on from a sin you’re struggling with because you’re not acting on faith or maybe you’re not letting go so God can take control.

So here’s my challenge to you; If there is something in your life you have not acted on because of some reason take a leap of faith, put it in God’s hands and see how wonderfully your life changes.

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It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “Dude, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it could be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”

40 Thing Pick Up

Make Jobs Fun
40 Thing Pick Up

Let’s face it. We’re gonna have to clean up and do the grocery shopping and laundry, whether we like it or not. So, my idea is to make it fun. As fun as possible, if you hate those things.

When we pick up toys, I may say, “Okay, let’s pick up everything that has red on it.” And when we are doing a pick up through the house, I say, “Let’s do a 40 thing pick up.” This is when we EACH pick up 40 things in each room, making each room look nicer than it did. Sometimes we do that just in one room. So, even though I don’t particularly like math, let’s do it. Four of us picking up 40 things in any room equals a whole bunch of things in that room. Now there probably aren’t many times when 928 things are out of place in any room at one time, so we make it fun by counting each shoe as one thing. Sometimes we count a PAIR of shoes as only one thing. If I tell my kids this detail before we start there’s not arguing. (If 24 crayons need picked up that’s not 24 things. Making this clear each time you do a 40 Thing Pick Up seems to help LOTS.)

Sometimes if there is a lot to put away when you look around the room it feels kinda overwhelming and you don’t know where to start.  I have found that my kids (and husband, too) do not mind as much when I ask them to help pick up quickly this way. They concentrate more on the number of things they’ve picked up instead of the mess the room is in. (And I get sweet attitude help!) And no, I don’t give prizes for cleaning up a room. Taking care of where you live is something we all have to do. It’s part of everyone’s job no matter what. (But more about this later: getting paid money for jobs vs. doing stuff you need to do just because you live there.)

Tiny mess. 25 Thing Pick Up. Works great for younger kids, too!