Peace through Education

12:50 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I've been going through the story of my marriage to a Pakistani and my own health crisis but I'm going to take a break from it with this post. I've just finished reading the book 'Three Cups of Tea' by Greg Mortenson and Oliver Relin. I'm full of admiration for Mortenson who took on the enormous task of seeing that young children, especially girls, got an education in rural Northern Pakistan, Afghanistan. There is no better gift than that of knowledge! My oldest daughter, Aliyah, and I are going to start saving our loose change to make a donation to his charity. Knowledge can never be taken from you and with it you have the power to change your life and those around you! One of the girls that was among the first students of one of the schools he built is studying medicine to help the people she grew up with.

Here's a link to his site: go to the How to Help tab on the menu, it's got some helpful tips.

I urge you to read this book if you haven't already. It will move you!

If I Can Help Just One

4:13 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I've been impressed that so many talk shows are addressing the Chris/Rihanna situation and domestic violence. I don't think this is an optimistic post but if, by posting on this, I help just one person get away from abuse it will have been worth it.

I posted a few days ago about a few of my experiences in an abusive relationship. I escaped. I found the power I needed to make that step. It was not easy, never that. Even after I left I went through a period of such depression that it was over. I realize now that I felt powerless, I felt like I wouldn't be loved or have a man in my life. I didn't feel that I was worth being loved and treated with respect. I was able to go because I had good friends and my family to help me. If you are someone who is friends or family of an abused person know this: YOU CANNOT CONVINCE THEM TO LEAVE THE RELATIONSHIP! THEY HAVE TO MAKE THE DECISION TO LEAVE ON THEIR OWN! You can be there, support them whatever their decision. That if they decide they want out you will help however you can. BE THEIR FRIEND, DO NOT WRITE THEM OFF!

It's not just having someone lay hands on you. It's mental anguish too. They are master manipulators. Nothing is their fault, it's all you. Then when you leave they convince you that they can't live without you. You want to believe the best in people, want to believe they will change. They try to isolate you by saying things like "if you loved me", "if you cared about me". They try to keep you from spending time with other people. You feel that if you just loved the person enough they would change, the abuse would stop. It won't work. The justice system, sadly, frequently doesn't protect abused people. Restraining orders are just a piece of paper........hopefully it discourages but if an abuser is determined to get to the victim they will find a way despite the piece of paper. It's difficult to prosecute. I'm not saying victims shouldn't use the justice system, just don't expect it to be the whole solution, find other ways to protect yourself in addition to this system.

I know also that my current husband was/is abusive too. It wasn't physical but emotional. He would cut me down frequently escalating to what he did last winter. I'm separated from him and we are both working on making our relationship more healthy. I still don't know how this is going to go. I'm taking things day by day, I have two girls to protect, to help them find the power I didn't have.

You need to, as a victim, hit rock bottom, it seems, before you get help or to leave. Like someone with a drug or alcohol addiction. I went to alanon meetings for awhile because I was with an alcoholic. I still look to those twelve steps now to try to keep my life balanced. I still lose my way frequently.

A coworker has a blog for women on the mend from these relationships. She has a lot of info and stats on abusive relationships. She escaped her own nightmare and I have tremendous respect for her for finding the power to leave.

To those who are reading this, who are in this sort of relationship, if you want to leave there are a great deal of resources to help you. The first step is admiting that you are in trouble. The next step is to get counseling for yourself.

I'm writing this off the cuff so don't have a lot of resources for people. I'm watching Oprah's show on domestic violence and I'm sure she will have excellent resources for people.

I pray daily for those who are victims of abuse.

Not A Blessing

4:52 PM Edit This 4 Comments »
I'm sitting here watching Oprah's Friday show where she has the table discussions with three other people. They briefly addressed the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident and the negative message being sent out to impressionable youth that it's "okay" to go back to an abuser. I listened while they read the police report/affidavit that was filed. It tore me from the present back to a Spring day 20 years ago. First, here's a copy of the affidavit: warning it's graphic.

The statement, excerpted below, indicates that Brown shoved Rihanna's head against the passenger door of his vehicle, punched her repeatedly in the face, and issued threatening remarks to her, including: "I'm going to beat the s--t out of you when we get home! You wait and see!'"

In addition, after Rihanna 'faked' a phone call to her assistant during the incident, in which she pretended to request the police to be called, Brown lashed out and said: "You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I'm really going to kill you!"

Brown was driving a vehicle with Robyn F. as the front passenger on an unknown street in Los Angeles. Robyn F. picked up Brown's cellular phone and observed a three-page text message from a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with.

"A verbal argument ensued and Brown pulled the vehicle over on an unknown street, reached over Robyn F. with his right hand, opened the car door and attempted to force her out. Brown was unable to force Robyn F. out of the vehicle because she was wearing a seat belt. When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against he passenger window of the vehicle, causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion.

"Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.'s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.

"Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, 'I'm going to beat the s--t out of you when we get home! You wait and see!'"

The detective said she then used her cell phone to call her personal assistant, Jennifer Rosales, who did not answer.

"Robyn F. pretended to talk to her and stated, 'I'm on my way home. Make sure the police are there when I get there.'

"After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, 'You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I'm really going to kill you!'

"Brown resumed punching Robyn F. and she interlocked her fingers behind her head and brought her elbows forward to protect her face. She then bent over at the waist, placing her elbows and face near her lap in [an] attempt to protect her face and head from the barrage of punches being levied upon her by Brown.

"Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand, causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand.

"Robyn F. then attempted to send a text message to her other personal assistant, Melissa Ford. Brown snatched the cellular telephone out of her hand and threw it out of the window onto an unknown street.

"Brown continued driving and Robyn F. observed his cellular telephone sitting in his lap. She picked up the cellular telephone with her left hand and before she could make a call he placed her in a head lock with his right hand and continued to drive the vehicle with his left hand.

"Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He stopped the vehicle in front of 333 North June Street and Robyn F. turned off the car, removed the key from the ignition and sat on it.

"Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.'s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness.

"She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown's body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions.

"Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F.'s plea for help and called 911, causing a police response. An investigation was conducted and Robyn F. was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order.

Well what I experienced was not nearing as bad as what Rihanna went through and it was the beginning of the end of my first marriage.

My ex-husband(referred to hereafter as eh) was/is an alcoholic and drug abuser. I loved him, or thought that I did, and even though we had awful drag down knock 'em around fights (he perforated my eardrum once)I stayed with him. This Spring day we had gone to the Northern part of the state to visit his father. It was getting late when we got there and he (eh)had been drinking beer all the way, it was a 2 1/2 hour trip. His father went to bed when the sun set and it had set. We were going to stay with his sister but when we got to her house she and her husband were gone. We waited around for awhile but then eh in his drunken stupidness demanded we go to see his father. No rationalizing with a drunk person. I thought if we got in the car and I drove around for awhile that he would pass out and I could get help later getting him in to his sister's house. He didn't pass out. He got mad, started hitting me yelling to take him to his father's. He slammed the car into park at which point I took the keys and threw them out the window. I saw where they went but he didn't. I got out of the car and started walking down the dirt road. He tackled me from behind and flipped me over. I couldn't get away. He sat on me, put his hands around my throat and began slamming my head into the dirt road while choking me. Only hearing a car coming stopped him. We both jumped up and when the car came around the corner the couple asked if we were having car trouble. We lied and said we had something blow out the window. I went and got the keys. I got in the car and went to his sister's which was about a half mile away. I left him to walk or do whatever the heck he wanted to. His sister was home by then and helped me inside and helped me clean up. I wasn't bruised on the face, never that. But I did have a concussion, should have seen a doctor, but didn't because I know that this sort of injury requires a report to the police. By the end of the weekend we had made up like we always did. I always took him back, wanted to believe that this time was different, that he would change. So young and so deep into denial.

Another time his sister was visiting us. She had become fed up with her husband and had come down to our house to get away for awhile. Same thing. We were drinking. He got drunk, then started acting like an ass. He was carrying on about something when I was trying to sleep so I got up and told him if he wouldn't go sleep somewhere else I would. He again pulled me down and was trying to choke me. I yelled for his sister to call the police. She did. I had enough red marks on my neck to get him arrested. He resisted and got a baton across his leg. Then the justice system being so great (read great sarcasm here) they called me the next day to tell me he had been released just as he was showing up at the door. I was so afraid he was gonna pound the crap out of me. He didn't. Long story short here is that I once again stayed with him. It wasn't until I was visiting his sister and my brother (they were married)that I found out I could get financial aid to return to school for my degree. I was an LPN at the time. I decided that it was time to make a decision. I wanted to do this, I still wanted eh but only if he could give up drinking. I went home, found him at one of his friend's house and laid it on the table. Come with me and quit drinking or we would get divorced. He said he wouldn't quit drinking. I went home, called a friend to come over as I packed all his things up and stuck them in the old beater VW van he had. I parked it at the end of the driveway. Forgot to say that I also had him give me the key to the house. He came back that night drunk as ever and wanted in. I told him to leave or I would call the police. He left. I was divorced withing 3 weeks.

I've seen him since then, several times. He hasn't changed in that he still drinks and does stupid things. I'm no longer in danger from him, though. I hurt so bad for women and children who are victims of abuse. It's an emotional battering as well as physical. You start to think that you aren't good enough, aren't smart enough. The abusers are so good at their manipulation. Women who stay aren't stupid, they are hostages, and getting away from their captors isn't as easy as walking away. They have to finally find that strength within themselves to shut the door on their current life.

I truly hope that Rihanna will find her strength and shut the door on her life with Chris Brown. He did it once, he will do it again.


8:29 AM Edit This 0 Comments »
I've been drawn to a couple blogs since this past fall. The buttons are to the left of this page "I read Nie Nie" and her sister's blog "C Jane". I mention them because I dropped in to their blog this morning and, let me tell you, those women can really write! I was choked up by both their entries for today. Here's the links:,

They really inspire me, these ladies. Through their trials they remain positive and find the happiness in each day. I feel for CJane because I can remember thinking that I would never have the chance to have babies. Not that I was having fertility issues, more issues of a partner to have the babies with. Never the less I can understand that deep longing and the boundless joy to have that prayer answered.

With Stephanie's blog. Since she's returned after her accident I can feel her pain through her writing. I wonder if I could be as positive as she seems? I don't know. I couldn't imagine the type of pain she's going through and adjusting to such a huge difference in her life.

I wish the best for these two, who I don't even know except through their writing. They give me hope and the desire to find the goodness in my life. I often write about the bad I've experienced. So much that I am tempted to take down old posts and start new. But then they are a part of me, what I've experienced or felt.

Guess that's it for today. Didn't really have anything else to write about today. It's beautiful, the sun is shining, it was already 30 degrees at 8am. Gonna try to soak up the sunshine to give my vitamin D a boost that's badly needed.

What's it worth?

6:15 AM Edit This 3 Comments »

What's it worth to you to get your 1 yr old to sleep through the night? To get your 4 yr old who's in the 10th percentile for weight, nibbles at a limited variety of foods to EAT when it's mealtime and snacktime? For me, I was willing to pay quite a bit to remove those major frustrations from my life!

First the sleeping problem. I wrote about getting through the problem on here. I just didn't know what to do. Then I found a site that gave me hope. It's 'The Baby Sleep Center' . For $37 I got her basic program. In about a week and a half I had Layla laying in her own crib going to sleep on her own. She wakes up very early, around 5:30-6:00 and it's not nice but I do get more sleep than I was getting prior to trying this.

The current issue is with Aliyah. She is just so skinny and won't eat much at meals or snacks, yet asks for things to eat throughout the day. She won't try new things very easily and mainly eats chicken, crackers, chips, rice, SODA (yikes). The last straw for me was that two days in a row she refused to eat at daycare AND IT WAS FOOD SHE LIKES!! My mom had found a site that seemed like what I needed. It was 'Food Sense' I haven't received the hard copy stuff but I did get a quick start guide I could download. Let me tell the first few days of this were hell. She can throw a tantrum to end all tantrums. I just stuck to the plan and it's working. She's not eating a lot but she is eating what's prepared for a snack or meal. One night supper for her was just cucumbers and carrots but that's what she took from what was on the table. My hope is that eventually she will at least try new foods. She started to whine this morning after eating a strip of Tacon and a couple spoonfuls of yogurt that she wanted crackers. I told her if she was hungry she could eat the rest of her yogurt, there would be nothing else coming from the kitchen. After a few minutes I noticed from the corner of my eye that she had picked up the yogurt and was eating a bit more. Can't make eye contact when she's like this.......if she sees us looking at her she screeches and won't do what she was doing.

I feel like I have so much more support where I am now. I also feel like I don't have to constantly worry that if some decision I make regarding the children is wrong that I'll be criticized as I was in the same house with my husband. I think the girls are thriving in this environment, too. They have definite limits set which are adhered to even when I'm not around unlike before when a certain caregiver *cough*hubbie*cough* let them do and eat whatever they wanted.

Hear my prayer

12:18 PM Edit This 3 Comments »

My mom had breast cancer 12 years ago and had a mastectomy. After 5 years of tamoxifen she was pronounced cancer free at her yearly checks. Then this past spring a spot showed up on her lung. She had a CT scan and it was decided to recheck it in 6 months to see if it had grown. She had the CT scan before Christmas. It had increased slightly in size. Next step was a needle biopsy. We just found out Wednesday night that it was positive for the same kind of cancer as that found in her breast. She's working on a referral to the University of Minnesota Cancer Center to plan the next steps. At the very least a wedge resection of her lung or lobectomy. Then she will have to be on medications to suppress the cancer for the rest of her life. I'm praying really hard right now that the rest of her life will be a really long time and that it will be spent cancer free after this. I can't begin to explain just how close I am to my mother. We're best friends and I've really had a lot of support from her, especially now. My father would be devastated if he lost her, we all would. I'm asking that everyone keep her in your prayers. The power of prayer is incredible, it's brought me through some of the most difficult times of my life!

So God I know You're listening. Help me and my family get through this, to find strength and courage to face it and the uncertain future it holds.