Archive | February 2012

the monster who modeled for T.J.

“It appears that T.J. Lane had violence in his life from the beginning.”  So begins the article by Rachel Dissell in the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday morning.

“The father of the teen who authorities say shot five students at Chardon High School in Ohio on Monday had been arrested many times for vio­lent crimes against women in his life, including Lane’s mother, records from Geau­gu County court show. More than once, police or courts warned him to stay away from the boy and his mother.”

Dissell goes on to write that “The father was later charged with assaulting a police officer, and he served time in prison after trying to suffocate another woman he married several years after his son was born, according to court records.  He held the woman’s head under running water and bashed it into a wall, leaving a dent in the drywall, the court records said. But soon after he went to prison, the woman wrote a letter asking that he be released early. She had divorced Thomas Lane but said in the letter that he was always a good father to their twin daughters and a son she had before they married.”

“He was always a good father …. ”   If you, dear reader, are seeing these words and are realizing that they are also describing the man you are living with, a man who has modeled violence as a means of communication to your children, a man who has threatened your life or worse, please listen up.  HE IS NOT A GOOD FATHER.

Not every young man who grows up witnessing domestic violence grows into an offender.  Not every young woman, who watches her dad beat her mom, becomes a battered wife.  Quite the contrary.  But what happens in a home where rage is constant, where walking on eggshells around the batterer is a daily part of life, the message is preached loud and clear that this is NORMAL.

There are now three young people dead, others physically and emotionally wounded, and one 17 year old who will spend the rest of his life in prison.   Chardon High School and the local community will never be the same again.

The Courts need to take a serious look at a system that messed up by not protecting the children from the evil monster they called “dad” and by not giving their mother the support and education she needed to create a life without him, and then they need to consider just who should be behind bars, this time with no chance of parole.   The monster still walks.

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what’s in your treasure chest

This past weekend I was saying “ahoy matey” with the best of them.  My adorable, normally princess, grand daughter had decided that she wanted to become a pirate and so the sofa became a ship, and her auntie became her “assistant.”  This meant “you make my bed, clean my room and get me anything I want.”

This also meant a trip to the local Michaels craft store to make a treasure chest fit for the pirate princess, and we even found golden doubloons in the section advertising St. Patrick’s day.

As our little one filled her chest with her treasures, I was reminded of the story in Matthew 6 that talks about the anxiety that comes when we worry about filling our earthly treasure chests, when what really matters is taking care of what God cares about.

Each one of us today will come in contact with hurting people.  For some of them, you will be the only one who may choose to reach out and care.   When you see a frazzled mom in the grocery store, smile and say “how special to have such a lovely family.”  Give people eye contact, even to the scary dudes, and nod your head and say “good morning.”  Because any morning IS a good one!   “Be kind: everyone you meet is going through a battle” (Plato or Socrates, no one knows for sure!).

Start taking some of those jewels out of your treasure chest.   Buy a homeless person a sandwich, give the next person in line your 25 cent Aldi’s shopping cart, hold open a door, praise a child, speak to an elderly person and remember that once they were young.   Be the hands and feet of Jesus to all you meet today.

Matthew 6:19–34

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

modeling kindness to your child

I love connecting with people, and Facebook has allowed me to get to know the next generation of distant family.  Through these lovely young men and women, I am meeting their little ones.   Awesome.

This blog was inspired by Lolo, one of these delightful young moms, and for that I thank her!

There is a wonderful blog called Creative With Kids.  The link Lolo shared suggests 100 ways to show kindness to your child.  Simple ways, quiet ways, thoughtful ways.  How different our world would be if BOTH parents modeled this for their children:

Tell to your child:

1. I love you.
2. love you no matter what.
3. I love you even when you are angry at me.
4. I love you even when I am angry with you.
5. I love you when you are far way.  My love for you can reach you wherever you are.
6. If I could pick any 4 year old (5 year old, 6 year old…) in the whole wide world, I’d pick you.
7. I love you to the moon and then around the stars and back again.
8. Thank you.
9. I enjoyed playing with you today.
10. My favorite part of the day was when I was with you and we were _______.

 …. and 90 more.  You can download this list and encourage another young parent.

a wolf in the sheep pen

I am beginning to think that this forgiveness thing has gone a little bit too far.  At least its definition has been stretched to the lunacy stage.  As Christians, we are commanded to “love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,” but I don’t think a church in Florida has it quite right.

The elders at Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, have invited the newly released convicted child molester and rapist, Darrell Gilyard, to preach at their Sunday morning services.  This is the man who served three years in prison for admitting that, for over three decades, he sexually abused trusting women and girls under his ‘protection’ as pastor/shepherd in the churches he served, and who fathered a child with one of his rape victims.

At least there are glimmers of sanity in the community.   A Duval court has decided that all children shall be barred from attending his services – at least until the end of the month – as “the Department of Corrections has confirmed that Gilyard is in compliance with the rules of his probation as long as minors are not present when he’s in the pulpit. Gilyard also is refraining from performing any pastoral duties, such as counseling.”

So he’s not allowed to counsel any more.   Well, duh!

Apparently having a convicted rapist as a pastor is good press.  In recent weeks this little church, formerly having 10 members, has swelled to over 300.  Without kids of course …

There are reports circulating that he is allowed to preach as his sermons are amazing, that he has such a way with words, eloquently quoting Scripture.  Apparently he has sweet talked his way back into a place of authority as well.   Sounds an awfully lot like a wolf in the sheep pen, a classic narcissist who only uses remorse when he has been caught, who can turn on the charm like a tap and who thinks he is above the law.

Forgiveness does not mean that trust is automatically restored.  Forgiveness does not mean there will be no consequences, but even when prison time has been served, if trust is not present, then there can be no restoration of relationship.   I can choose to forgive the person who stalked me for three years, but I would never want to sit at a table and break bread with this person.  I can forgive someone for stealing from my home, but I would not trust them with my housekeys.

Relationship is a privilege that Darrell Gilyard has not had restored.   None of us is blameless and it seems right that we should all be given second chances, but there are crimes whose consequences can never be overlooked.   This man has lost the right to preach, unless it is to a congregation of sexual addicts and convicted offenders.   He stole the innocence of girls and young women who trusted him.  Their lives are forever changed.  He should never be exposed to another one of these lambs again.

Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2012-02-10/story/duval-court-hearing-no-kids-now-church-where-sex-offender-preaches#ixzz1n6pV7Fp7

healed name

One of my dearest childhood friends (and maid of honor from a hundred years ago …) is a missionary in Bolivia.  She also has a heart for the women and their children who have been trapped in the cycle of poverty and sexual slavery.

Shirley recently told me about a small business called Suti Sana, translation being “Healed Name,” an alternative economic option with therapeutic support, for women in prostitution in El Alto, Bolivia.  “When a woman decides she’s had enough, and realizes she’s worth more than a few night’s tricks, when she can begin to catch a glimpse of something better for herself and her children, Suti Sana can be her way out.”

Surrounded by a supportive community, a woman receives job security and skills training in a safe and dignified work environment.  One of the skills projects is learning how to make beautiful bags in numerous styles, for a variety of needs.   Each one of these bags is handmade in Bolivia by women who were formerly involved in prostitution.

I love the meaning of “Healed Name.”  When a woman is given the opportunity of having a new life, she literally gets a new identity.  She becomes a new person.

You can help support a woman in her journey to Freedom and Transformation. Suti Sana products are available for purchase through Sari Bari.  You may also place an order with a personal check or money order through their distributor.  Please contact adam.thada@wordmadeflesh.org for more information.


charmers and con artists

There are lots of wonderful men.  Men that generously and selflessly love their wives and children.  There is laughter in their homes, and tenderness in their hearts.  There are GOOD GUYS.

But this isn’t always the case.  For years women have come to my office and have talked about their husbands’ abuses, feeling that somehow they are to blame for these behaviors.

Since 2001, I have been able to give my clients a wonderful FREE handout called “Charmers and Con Artists” from FOCUS Ministries that clearly describes the narcissist they are living with.  Some of the qualifiers are:

“described as the nicest guy you will ever meet”

“seldom agree to therapy”

“look good on the outside”

“see themselves as victims”

“believe they are special and entitled to special behavior”

“have their own brand of logic and excuse for everything”

“appear to be giving, but there is always a price to pay for their attention”

“depends on lies and deception to maintain a good image”

“are intimidated by intelligent, perceptive women” …….

I ask my client to read the list and tell me what items describe her husband.  As she starts to share with me,  I see her body language change.  She sits a little straighter, closer to the end of her seat, her eyes open wide and she is amazed by what she is reading.  She is beginning to realize that maybe “she” is not the crazy one … and that there are other men out there just like him.  She also realizes that this means there are other wives just like her, and the lights in her head begin to turn on.

The wonderful folks at FOCUS have given all of us permission to re-print their articles and brochures.  Here’s the one described above:  CharmersAndConArtists

not your every day valentine

There were no chocolates or flowers from my beloved on Valentine’s Day this year.  Instead, he gave me a gift of time = research.  He knows my heart.  Priceless.

He gave me a modern day slavery map.  Yes, you read that right, slavery happening right here, right now, in my country, in my state.  Because I am a mother of a daughter, I immediately clicked onto her home town and found a reported incident ON HER STREET!  I scrolled down and found the link to the police report and learned of a precious, barely 18 year old that had been lured into prostitution straight out of high school.  Two weeks earlier, she had been sitting in English and math classes in her high school.  She left home after graduation to get out on her own, and the first people she met lured her astray.  She was beaten into submission and trapped until the police “liberated” her by arresting her.  Yes, you read that right too.

The up side is, that young Ashley was given a second chance before she was charged with prostitution.   She is now in a shelter, receiving the education and counseling she needs to recover from her trauma.

The U.S. Department of State estimates that 15,000 to 18,000 women and girls are trafficked in the U.S. each year. Up to 300,000 may be at risk because they live in poverty, have a family history of abuse or are vulnerable for other reasons.

Every captive is a person; every survivor has a story.  The developers of the SlaveryMap show the world that slaves exist among us. Restaurants and fields, construction sites and brothels, suburbs and cities: all are home to victims of trafficking in the United States and abroad. Twenty-seven million slaves in the world, and they want to find them, share their stories and educate us that we can no longer shut our eyes to what is happening …  on my daughter’s street.