Help for a Friend

Almost 75% funded at 7:47pm central time on December 10, 2014!!!!!!!!
64% at 4:02pm!!!!
57% as of 3:50pm central time!
Update!! 50% as of 2:52pm central time!!!!!
Update: over 42% funded in just a few hours!!

Update: Over 20% funded in just one hour! You guys are AMAZING!!! Let’s do this!!

Friends, I need your help. I believe in connecting people and I think I’m good at it. I wouldn’t put this out there if I doubted the legitimacy of this– I know deep in my heart that this is an intense and immediate need. I’m going to give you a short version of a long story, but enough that you’ll understand why I want to do what I can to help, which includes asking you to help me help this family. So in the spirit of this season, can we help this family with a little kindness after what they’ve been through and are still going through? (who am I kidding? I *know* we can do this!!)

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My friend’s son has several disorders and in order to protect her son I’m going to be general about his medical history and I’m going to call him Joey. Joey has some issues and the family has dealt accordingly. Recently though, Joey was involved in a serious accident that might have been a suicide attempt. He had a lot of medical issues stemming from this. He is currently in long term rehab with post accident traumatic brain injury and will be hospitalized until February.

As if that’s not serious enough, the poor boy was molested (pre-accident) by a deacon in his church–who just so happened to be his godfather, and Joey’s mom thinks this is what pushed him to go off the deep end. After telling the church and the police, it was discovered this deacon/godfather was actually a registered sex offender. After a lot of time, Joey had to testify against this man. I don’t know all the details, whether or not the man was hiding his sexual offender status or what, that’s not the important part. Here’s the part I need you to help me with.

The man took a plea bargain which spares Joey a long, victim-blaming trial, and in his condition, this is really for the best. The family needs to make an 800 mile round trip to give victim impact statements to hopefully sway the judge into giving this disgusting human being a much harsher sentence.

The family needs to rent a car because they don’t have a car that will make an 800 mile trip and they don’t have a credit card, so they’ll have to put down a deposit. They need gas, food, and lodging for the whirlwind trip. They’ll leave their home, drive 400 miles, stay over, appear before the judge the next day and then head back home, hopefully with news that this man will be locked up for a really long time. I’m thinking $700 is an amount that will allow them to get this trip done and put behind them so they can focus on healing.

**some of you know this family and have been praying for “Joey,” have seen the news articles and photos of Joey in the first days after the accident, and have been cheering him on in his miraculous recovery. If you recognize this story, please keep the family’s real names silent. The molestation is something the family hasn’t talked about, understandably so, and would like to protect their son as much as possible. I’ve been given permission to tell this part of the story because it’s integral to the trip.




Helping Friends for Thanksgiving

Last year, my heart broke for several of my friends and their families. Five families I knew personally could not provide Thanksgiving dinners. So I decided to help. We raised enough to give each family nearly double the amount I set to give and then helped a sixth family with a smaller gift.

This year, I want to do that again. There are three families this year that I have in mind, none of them know I’m doing this. My goal is to raise $450 to give each of them $150 for groceries.

I KNOW we can do this!!!

I’ll update this page as we go!

As of 7:26 11/2, we’re OVER goal!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have an extra $85 to give to an additional family. A friend’s sister is in a really hard spot right now, so we’ll be giving the extra to her family!
As of 10:37 11/20, we’re up to $305!!
As of 9:18am 11/20, we’re up to $275!!
As of 8:11am 11/20, we’re up to $175!!
As of 12:54pm central time 11/19, we’re up to $135!!
As of 12:50pm central time 11/19, we’re up to $115!!




If you’re wondering how I decide who to surprise? I simply pay attention. People typically won’t ask for help. Status updates over months and months are clues to me. I can see when a family has had a bad run of luck, but they’re humble enough to keep their chins up and live in the positive moments of life. We all fall on hard times–well, most of us do, anyway.

June 7

Four years ago, I didn’t think I’d make through any June 7th without crying.

I didn’t know such deep healing could occur in my life. I actually didn’t believe I could be healed inside my head. I thought I’d always carry around the abuse. Spiritual, sexual, physical, mental.

June 1 was my best friend’s birthday. She’s been gone six years now. I didn’t cry on June 1st. I didn’t feel sad. I thought about her with such a supernatural peace that I actually thought it was a fluke. When the sweat lodge ceremony I was looking forward to was cancelled, I did cry. It was to be a very symbolic ceremony for me. The lodge represents the womb and you come out spiritually new. Considering all the healing I’ve been doing, the fact that the ceremony was to be held today, on the anniversary of my mom’s death, I thought that was important to my healing. After I received news of the cancellation, I asked if something else could be done. Hawkwoman volunteered to facilitate a drum circle. But this huge rain system was moving in and I was pretty certain we’d have to cancel. But we went. And it didn’t rain.

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I had decided I wouldn’t mention the significance of the date unless a clear opportunity presented itself. After a hour or so, Hawkwoman sang a prayer and after she mentioned mourning. So I mentioned the date and that led me to share some things that I’m not quite ready to share here. Phil and two others know the story, it deals with birth and death and it is, I believe, the pinnacle of my healing story.

A buck came out to say hello to me as well as a few crows.

Two and half hours later, after many gratitudes, prayers, offerings, and relaxation, it started drizzling.

And then it was a monsoon-type downpour.

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When I got home, I was soaked. I changed then grabbed the pics off my camera and sat down to blog this. I texted my brother to find out how he was doing today. I think he’s ok. He asked how I was and I told him about the drumming circle and the rain.

“Tears from heaven.”

Yep.

I didn’t have to cry, I didn’t need to cry, and it wasn’t just a fluke.

It’s real and I didn’t believe it could ever happen.

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Drumming and Healing

It started when a friend told me about EFT (emotional freedom technique or tapping.) The skeptic inside me said it was BS, but the other side of me said if it works, let’s try it. I read about it and watched this video and started tapping. And it works.

That led to research about drumming and healing. I downloaded some Native American drumming music and I’d lay on my bed with my earbuds in, and words fail to describe the peace and rejuvenation I felt.

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Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a live drumming circle at Prairiewoods. Our facilitator  was Hawkwoman. She brought some of her own drums, but Prairiewoods also has a wide variety of drums in their library. She took me to the library and the tops of all of the shelves were lined with drums of all colors and sizes.  Three others were in the room picking theirs. Hawkwoman told me to let the drum choose me. I looked at all of them not knowing how to do that, but I was drawn to a blue ceramic based drum in the left corner of the room. The others chose their drums and a gentleman named Luke asked if I wanted him to get one down for me. I nodded yes. He asked which and I said, “I don’t know.” He went straight for that blue one, grabbed it, drummed on it a few times, and said, “Yep. This is it. This is the one for you.”

We went back outside with our drums that chose us, gathered round a fire. I took off my shoes and chose to sit on the grass rather than in a plastic chair or on a rock semi-circle build around the firepit. As always, I needed to touch the earth.

Hawkwoman lit sage in an abalone shell for the sage smudging ceremony. This is a purification ceremony. Sage smoke releases negative ions in the air around a person, like waterfalls or the waves crashing the shore of the beach. It hooks itself to positive ions and neutralizes them.  The more negative ions around you, the more at peace you will be. This is why so many people feel such a sense of release and peace where there is running water. This is what happens with sage smoke as well.

We stated our gratitudes and intentions around the circle. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend, for Prairiewoods for hosting, for health and healing. My intentions were peace and healing.  We were asked if we’d like to bring anyone into the circle with us that could not be with us physically. I asked to bring my brother into the circle. As I said his name, for the first time since arriving at Prairiewoods, a crow cawed very loudly behind me and to my right. It was the only time in my three hours on the property that I heard a crow.

Then we started drumming. I didn’t know what to expect. Each of us had a drum and I thought maybe it would sound chaotic and disjointed with all of us drumming at the same time. That was not the case. Hawkwoman kept a low and steady beat. Luke was obviously a drummer because he provided us with very rhythmic and soothing beats. One girl seemed like she didn’t really want to be there. She wasn’t really drumming, but tapping lighting on the side of her drum. Another man, who had been to the circles before, was also drumming a steady rhythm, a slightly higher note than Hawkwoman. My own drum made sounds like rain.

I don’t know how long we all drummed together. The sounds overtook all other sounds. No cars, voices, phones, no negativity. Organically, the drumming came to a stop and we sat in silence. It was overwhelming and felt heavy and light at the same time.

Hawkwomen started drumming and singing. A few joined in with their own drumming rhythms. I felt I should be still. I sang a few of the verses with her. After the song, we sat in silence again.

We drummed again like the first time. Then Hawkwoman led us in a Drum Wash. We moved away from the fire and stood in a close circle. Each person entered the circle, said their name, we said their name back,  and we drummed while moving our drums up above the person’s head and down to their feet. It was an incredibly powerful experience. When I stepped into the circle, I stepped out from under the shade of a nearby tree to full sun. I closed my eyes and felt the sun warm my body and at the same time, I could feel the rhythms beating into my body from all sides. I wanted to stand there for hours.

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After we finished, Hawkwoman and I had a conversation. I told her that I’d been meditating inside of my sauna to the sound of drumming last week and four animals came to me in quick succession: butterfly, hawk, rabbit, eagle.  I felt like the order was very important when I had the vision, but I didn’t know why. As I was reading about animal totems and their meanings, I found there are four types of animal totems. A messenger guide, a shadow animal guide, a journey animal guide, and a life animal guide. I had no idea before today that this was true. I now see the butterfly is my messenger, the hawk is my shadow guide, the rabbit is my journey guide and the eagle is my life guide.

As we were talking, first one deer came, then two. Hawkwoman told me to pay attention, as they were likely messengers. I counted 14. As I made my way through the woods on the path, I came upon the sweat lodge that we’ll be using for a ceremony on June 7. A rabbit ran in front of the entrance of and scampered off to the right side and stopped to stare at me. I remember thinking that is probably significant.

I kept going on the path and made it to a labyrinth.  (As I’m typing this, a crow just flew into my back yard and cawed,) I took off my shoes and put down my phone and started walking. I kept a steady pace. I was mostly looking down but I glanced up and saw a deer staring at me. She was right on the edge of the labyrinth. I locked eyes with her and she didn’t move. The next time I looked up there were two. Then three. Then four. They stayed the entire time I made my way around the labyrinth. I sat in the middle and looked back at them. They just stood there, staring at me. I couldn’t help but cry at the enormity of it all.

“A deer’s senses are very acute. Its vision is designed for clarity at a distance. It is especially effective at detecting contrasts and edges in dim light. Its hearing is equally acute. Anyone who has deer as a totem will find increasing ability to detect subtle movements and appearances. They will begin to hear what may not be said directly.When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. ” –Ted Andrews,  Animal Speak

I stood and left the labyrinth. As I looked back, the first deer to join me stepped into the circle and watched me leave. I understand there is significance, but I don’t know that I understand the full message right now. It’s a lot to take in and learn.

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I’ve always paid attention to things that show themselves repetitively in my life.  One of those things is the number 14. So not only was it significant that I saw so many deer, but that there were 14 strongly suggests that this plays into the message that God has been sending me for many years now.

It’s a lot to take in and I’m still trying to unpack it all. What I know for sure is that I feel peace and I’m sensing a rebirth, like the butterfly. From my cocoon into my wings.  My word for 2014 (14!) is Listen.

And I am.

Hoarding

Not like the TV shows. But kind of.

Little mementos of the lives lived: birthday cards with their signatures, a Starbucks sleeve with a note on it, a broken He Stopped Loving Her Today 45lp, a frog figurine on a shelf, obituaries cut out of the newspaper, those little cards from the funeral home, ashes in container, a shirt that still smells like my mom.

I finally burned my journals with all of their negativity. So that’s a start.

A Time to Heal

First birthday cards, bands from his hospital birth, love letters from my husband, notes of encouragement from friends, rocks from various trips, old 35mm film that needs to be developed, camcorder tapes that surely contain the voices of the now-dead.

How do you purge these things? And why do I hoard them?

I’m closer than ever to getting rid of this stuff, but as I go through the stuff, I just don’t know how to throw it away.

Voice

That voice has always been here. It was here before I was “saved,” before I knew who God was, before everything I have memories of.

Make your judgments and move on, stay if you are willing to hear me out.

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The Voice of Truth.

The one that compelled me to ask the Catechism teacher why we had to confess to a priest in a box when we had Jesus.

The one that rose up with indignation when told that if my husband left me and I married again, I’d forever be an adulteress and God doesn’t hear the prayers of adulteresses.

The one that questioned the sanity of a man who said dreaming was not Biblical and if I was dreaming, I wasn’t following Christ.

The one that laughed when I pulled my shirt down a little lower at the SBC convention in Nashville to show off my Mickey Mouse tattoo when the patriarchy was voting on whether or not to boycott Disney.

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The one that asks: Did Jesus come to die and be resurrected for every person or just for a few who follow certain rules?

The one that calls me Beloved and comes to me at the deepest and darkest moments, the one that whispers, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”

The one that says, “You were never alone, we were never apart.”

This voice pushes me to always find the truth. To pick out the lies: you are dirty, you are filthy, you cannot ever be enough, you are not loved unless you do this thing, you are not accepted into the fold unless you say these words, you are not special enough to be invited in because you don’t think like we do, you cannot be who you are and also be who God created you to be, you must change in order to be loved.

If God loved me enough to create me, to give me a purpose, then he loves me enough to see past the things of this world that have clouded my vision. He takes delight in my eagerness to learn, to always seek, to ask the hard questions. He cheers me on when I show that I understand the path that leads to Truth. Many tears have been cried by Jesus over my hidden and calloused heart. Men and women in this world chose to treat my spirit as an object for their warped sexual gratification, as a punching bag for their anger, as a piece of disgusting trash because I had the audacity to question misguided spiritual leaders. Because not a single person on this earth showed me the kind of love that flows from a heart belonging fully to Jesus, I closed up shop and figured it was best to avoid any kind of interaction because they were all pretty ugly.

Even then, Jesus didn’t think I was worthless. He continued to speak Truth into my life. He strategically placed tools in my hand that helped to unravel the messy ball of yarn I had become. He held on to the only strand that matters–the Truth–and He helped me disentangle and extricate myself from that mess.

I sit here now, cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by long strands of every color yarn you can possibly imagine. I know the basics of crochet. I don’t know how to knit or weave. But I’m pretty sure I can learn to do this. Deconstructing a knotted mess doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It means that the task is simpler if everything is in order before the real work starts.

People tell me all the time that Jesus only loves me if I do or say certain things. What I know is that those people are missing the mark (sinning) in their belief that His love has conditions. He cannot knit me in my mother’s womb and despise me at the same time. He has always known the true me, he created me to be her. He has never hidden from me, it has been me, hiding from him in a bunch of strings I strangled myself with, strings that other people wrapped around me, trying to force me into their ways. We’ve successfully removed those rogue strands and are now ready to create something spectacular.

Silly metaphor? Maybe. But I can breathe again and that’s a really big deal to me.

The voice has always led me to Truth. I wish I could’ve learned to listen to Him from the beginning, instead of listening to the garbage others want to wrap me in.

This is the lesson I long to teach people.