Sunday, October 4, 2015

Addressing Antisocial Behavior due to Attachment Disorder

Things I would tell a foster parent:

1. The problems this person has are not your fault.

2. This is a tough job, and that's precisely why you are called to it.

3. Even if you have to eventually draw a line in the sand to protect yourself and other family members, always convey love to the individual, and first give it all you've got.

4. Take breaks to protect yourself.

5. It's going to get bad before it gets better.

6. Getting better takes many years and may never be as good as you had hoped it would be.

7. There is hope.

8. Don't be another person who gives up on this individual.

9. You can be the difference for this person.

10. This person is acting this way because he has been to some very dark places.

11. Praise him for surviving.

12. Let him rise to the challenge of learning.

13. You can't love him out of it.

14. Don't not set boundaries because you feel sorry for him.

15. Don't take the awful things he says to you personally, because they are not personal and are coming from a place of pain from abuse we can't even imagine.

16. Take it one day at a time or else you're going to burn out; celebrate the progress and blessings of that day.

17. This person has some amazing strengths and you will be blessed that they came into your life.

18. You won't have all the answers; they only come from God.

19.  They are delayed emotionally because of such horrific abuse and neglect.

20. When they say I hate you, tell them how much you love them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sex Addiction Plagues People With Special Needs

I have had the privilege of working with many individuals with disabilities over the last fifteen years.  As shocking as it has been for me to learn about the epidemic of sexual deviance in the neurotypically average population, I have uncovered an even more alarming discovery that people with developmental disabilities struggle hard with sex addiction.

As a society, we tend to ignore the fact that people with disabilities have sexual urges just like the rest of us.  As much as we ignore sex eduction with our children, we do so even more with children with special needs.  They grow up recognizing that they are sexual beings, but they don't realize how to express themselves as such.  Whereas marriage and subsequent procreation are the social norms for fulfilling our sexual desires as Christians in general, people with developmental disabilities are discouraged from marrying and having children.  In fact, we tend to totally avoid recognizing or discussing with them how to manage their sexuality.

People with mild intellectual disabilities (which comprises the largest group of people with intellectual disabilities) usually recognize that overtly acting out sexually is morally wrong and will bring more negative attention to themselves than they already receive from a society who stigmatizes them.  However, if they are not receiving the proper education or support for their sexuality, these desires go underground.  And, as it has been said, "we are only as sick as our secrets."

Many teens and adults with developmental challenges are caught in the nasty web of pornography, paraphilias and serious sexual addictions.  There is also a conundrum as to how to discipline someone who is intellectually impaired if they are prosecuted for sex crimes.  We tend to either impose harsh consequences for someone who doesn't fully grasp sexual rules or we keep them from receiving necessary consequences for their actions that results in further deviance.

Just as we would with any other child, we need to educate children with special needs about their sexuality on a developmentally-appropriate level.  This will depend on the learning style and the receptive skills of that individual. Fostering independence in this population is about more than just guiding them as we see fit.  It is about providing all of the necessary education about the choices they can make, and helping them arrive at the best decision for themselves.  Every person's life has value, and persons with disabilities deserve the same guidance we would offer to the rest of our nation's kids. 

What Would Jesus Do Isn't Just A Catch Phrase

Because I tend to be an anxious person by nature and ruminate over everything, I find the act of forgiving others very challenging.  In my perfectionistic manner, I tend to set very high expectations not only for myself but also for everyone else.  When someone sins against me, I find myself holding resentments and am let down.

What I have been working on is the fact that no one is perfect.  Just as Christ meets me where I am today, so too must I try to engage with others where they are at in their walk with God.  I take things far too personally always.  If you think about it, when someone hurts you, it's not really you they have the problem with; it's God.

I am coming to realize that much of my anxiety comes from being held captive by what others think.  What I need to focus most on is what God thinks.  As long as I am respecting myself and interacting with others in the way He sees fit, then I can rest and have joy that He will protect me from all harm.

Every person has a reason for their life, and God has love for every person even if He favors those who walk closer to Him.  It follows, then, that we can look to Christ as our example for how to interact with those who offend us.

Jesus showed mercy and grace to all mankind by dying for our sins.  We must forgive everyone in the same manner that Christ sacrificed Himself for us.  For those who do not display a willing heart, all I think we can do is demonstrate Christ to them as best we can and keep ourselves at a safe distance.  But, for those who have a heart that yearns for God, we should support them, teach them, and forgive them so that we can fully understand and allow them to experience the love of Christ.

Perfect love is not easy, but it is beautiful and fulfilling and deep.  It is life-sustaining.  We are the hands and the feet of our Lord.  It is a challenging job, but it is one that I am trying to take more and more comfort in every day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fast Women and Slow Men

The things I hear and see in our society today make me cringe when I think about my growing boy.  My biggest goal as a Mom is to prevent him from becoming a cast member of the Lord of the Flies.  I look at the behavior of grown men and think "they really don't have a clue about how to function in society."  We have trained our men to be so self-focused and so aggressive that it is only through their own idea of what would be devastating consequences to them do they stop to evaluate their personal behavior.

I've been watching the Women's Fast-pitch World Series over the last week, watching my husband's ever-surprised and amazed facial expressions.  Yes, women can be aggressive, and yes women can be extremely competitive.  There are many women who love to play sports, and they play sports well.  So many men are conditioned to focus on themselves, to do whatever it takes to get to the top, to win, to mark their territory and to behave in whatever way that makes them feel good about themselves.  This totally leaves out empathy and understanding of the opposite sex, the other half they are expected to become one with in marriage.  As a culture, we are setting men up to fail...big time.

I don't think most men are oblivious to who women are as individuals out of meanness, but more out of just ignorance that they are as special or important as the man himself is.  Society has trained us this way.  Society tells us that women play support roles at best, not that they can be the main character.

When a man is asked who most women's heroines are, they may be surprised that Kim Kardashian isn't nearly as high on our list as it is on theirs.  There are so many serious female athletes out there, and yet the bleachers are as empty as the player's pocket books.  It is so sad to me that very often the only time women are noticed at all is when they are taking off their clothes.  Women are great athletes, they are geniuses, they have biological urges and bodily functions they must perform.  They have big dreams of success and they have sexual fantasies.  They put their pants on one leg at a time.

Guys, if you truly want to develop empathy and understanding of women, get to know them.  Talk to them.  Show interest; ask questions about who she is.  Learn that each woman is as unique as each man.  Show her you value her as much as you value yourself.  Support her in her goals and dreams.  Treat her with respect in front of her and behind her back.  Don't just pay lip service to respect; monitor the shows you watch, the magazines you buy, the sites you click on whether she's with you or not.  Learn about yourself.  Challenge thoughts about the opposite sex you may have once thought were perfectly fine.

Be the change.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why Is This So Hard?

Last night my husband and I went to try out this dinner and a movie place to try and unwind from a stressful week.  The college Fastpitch tournaments were on as we were waiting to go into the movie, and I was delighted because he was taking what seemed to be a real interest in watching it with me.  

Suddenly, a man from the kitchen came out and turned the softball game off, tuning the channel to show a male sport.  He didn't even look to check to see if anyone was watching the softball game, he just took it upon himself to change the channel.  I thought, isn't that a good metaphor to what we as women go through in life?  These women were playing their hearts out on the screen with skill and tenacity, and he didn't care.  He knew there would be men coming into the bar and he wanted to keep them there as long as he could to make money; what man wants to watch a female sport, right?

It is disturbing how few fans go to see women's sports live; what a slap in the face to serious, female athletes.  I do believe there is a professional softball league of some kind still going, but the amount of money those athletes make is laughable compared to their male counterparts.  

My husband got up to go speak to the bartender.  I thought, cool he's confronting the injustice he's clearly seeing played out before his eyes!  I was feeling so proud, until I saw him walk back through with a cigarette in his hand.  What?!  Among his many addictions, this one has had probably the worst stronghold on him.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing!  He had just had dental surgery, and the hygienist specifically instructed him NO SMOKING.  How sad that is to realize that he was willing to jeopardize his health for a drug, and how quickly he was able to turn from my pain and discount it because he was focused on a sinful craving.

I went into the theater clearly upset.  Things continued to spiral down as I watched scantily-clad women dance provocatively across the screen as we waited for our Disney Movie to come on.  Of course that triggered my response of 'is he watching her, what is he thinking about, how can he buy into all of these cultural lies and seduction when he says he loves me so much?'

The movie was filled with some positive messages, ironically, mostly themed around Feeding the Right Wolf, the slogan for a pornography-treatment program.  But, it really does come down to that.  I found myself asking, why won't he feed the right wolf?  I thought we were both committed to Truth.  How can I support him in his ministry when all I can see displayed before me is hypocrisy, worldly lust, and ultimately-betrayal?
Toward the closing of the film, the main character talks about how the world is becoming such a dark place, but people can change that; so why won't they?  I reflected on my husband ignoring that man changing the Fastpitch game and wondering what was so powerful inside of him that made him accept the disrespect toward the woman he is supposed to love more than anyone else, and how could he in turn provide more of the same?  Why won't he stand, not because I ask him to or tell him it's important to me, but because inside himself he is sickened just as much as I am by the degradation of women?  That scares me to think that maybe he doesn't share that same belief, and maybe the talk that goes on about his wanting to walk in the Light is superficial-that maybe down deeper is a blackened heart.

Last night was hurtful.  My husband has a way of wanting physical attention when he knows he has hurt me, and that is hard for me to give.  I still love him to my core despite the offense, but I just don't want to reward that behavior or feel like I'm selling myself out when I am so desperately trying to stand strong in my self-confidence and values. The worst of all, though, is when we came home and he rolled away from me and went right to sleep, snoring that loud snore that goes through me like a knife when I'm feeling alone and depressed.

Ontop of it all, I had gotten word that while my son was with my parents on a weekend trip, he had accidentally fallen and broken my dad's ipad.  That was followed by my father screaming and cursing at my son.  My heart sank inside me, and I felt like a complete failure as a mother for allowing my child to go into the cesspool that I dealt with growing up.  I just wanted him to have a good time.  I layed there in bed thinking how alone I felt and how sad from so many years of hurt at the hands of men I love and who mean the most to me.  

I went to my son's bedroom and I laid there, crying, missing him, wishing I could hold him and protect him from this dark world; hating myself for knowing I allowed him to go so far away with people who had wounded me so.  My adrenaline was pumping, and I tried desparately to work it off by hanging clothes, but to no avail.  I continued to cry most of the rest of the night, and I tried my best to commune with my Father, because I knew that no human ears heard my cry in the night.

Since I learned of my husband's sexual addiction, nights have become particularly difficult for me.  I think it's because I am so busy and have to keep it together for so many tasks during the day that I can't really address what's hurting inside of me until I lay down to rest.  I can be, like last night, totally exhausted but suddenly be filled with such emotional pain that I am filled with energy.  My heart pounds, my mind races, and I just can't lie there and listen to that snoring that seems so flippant and cruel.

The nature of addiction is selfishness.  I hate it.  I hate that it ever came into my life.  I was not told about it, and I did not sign up for it.  I know that I must focus on myself to survive, but that is difficult when you see it sucking down the person who you once thought was one of the people who walked closest to God.  

There have been many good days since we started recovery, but last night was not one of them.  I'm putting my pain out here so that others might think it over before they head down the path of sexual addiction; because dear, there will be days like this.  I will pray for you; please pray for me as I do my very best to show the love of Christ and forgiveness in a marriage that is very important to me.  Please pray for my husband's heart.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When Men Are Abused

Men receive messages in our society to be the opposite of women, because our society hates women.  Guys, females represent the other half of God.  There is no shame in showing your emotions, being vulnerable, or being more than a set of muscles.  I believe that while man represents, for the most part, the protective and warrior side of God, he should also strive to learn and seek after the other side that comprises our Deity.  Same for women.  We can't truly know God or be close to God until we experience how Big and how encompassing He is; men and women are both image-bearers of Him.

Men suffer a great deal of abuse because of Satan's lies, that he only has value if he is aggressive and muscular.  Males feel real pain when they are insulted, when they are sick or injured, or when they are sexually manipulated or abused.  As a society, we do not validate that pain.  We encourage males to repress their pain and ignore it, to "suck it up" and move on with life.

The denial of emotional or physical pain and/or the lack of the coping skills to manage said pain, leads men evermore toward anger and aggression.  Anger, we have taught our boys, is the only acceptable emotion they may feel.  And we wonder why, then, that our men are dying of heart attacks or that they have road rage or that they become dominators of women and children.  If you don't talk it out, you will act it out.

Men and women should see themselves as teammates.  We have a lot we can teach men about how to express and manage emotions and they can teach us how not to make decisions based on emotion or to allow emotions to overwhelm us.  God, in His infinite wisdom, has given us one another to learn from and to comfort one another, support each other through this crazy life.  When we put Christ at the center of our lives, we realize that we have nothing to feel ashamed of.  We are ok just because of who we are, and life is in Him, not in abuse of others.  He made you exactly who you are supposed to be, enough.

Men, please realize that if you feel yourself being harmed by this world, do not continue the cycle of abuse.  Give it over to God, work through it with a good counselor, seek support in your spouse and parter in life and love.  You are made in the Great Creator's image, but so too is every other person.  You don't have to retaliate.  God will take revenge upon those who do not know Him.  Trust that.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Men-Twenty Things You Can Do Besides Clicking On Porn

1. Think about the fact that while you are seeking pleasure for yourself, you are sinning against God.

2. Think about the fact that while you are seeking pleasure for yourself, you are deeply wounding your spouse and your kids.

3. Think about the fact that you are hurting yourself and ruining any chances at a healthy relationship with another person.

4. Call your sponsor.

5. Exercise.

6. Plan a romantic evening for your wife.

7. Tell your daughter that you believe in her.

8. Explain to your son why "real men" don't look at porn.

9. Read what the Bible says about sexual sin.

10. Hang with a buddy who realizes that women aren't just photoshopped body parts.

11. Ask yourself how you would feel if your wife was looking at naked men.

12. Imagine your daughter being the model and the most greasy, red-necked man you could imagine masturbating to her photo.

13. Imagine what it would feel like if you had to show the world your penis to make a thin dime.

14. Remember that good guys such as yourself started out looking at porn before they got arrested for other things.

15. Remember that just because someone may have hurt you, that gives you no damn right to hurt someone else.

16. Know that all things done in "secret" will soon come to light and you are jeopardizing your soul for all of eternity.

17. Realize that once you go down this road, you may never come back.

18. Help somebody out instead of tearing someone down.

19. Know that you are loved and worthy of respect as well as responsible for respecting others.

20. Reach out for help.

Our Female Soldiers Do Not Deserve Shame

My grandfather was a war hero of the Second World War.  I loved to sit with him and hear intense and dramatic stories about how he crawled on his stomach down the hill at the Battle of the Bulge and translated German to English because he was fighting our ancestors, how he corresponded to one of the German guards in a Concentration Camp who was in fact his uncle.  He helped stamp out the atrocities of an entire nation of people.  I remember the pride I felt that my grandpa was brave, a man of honor.

My father did not fight in Vietnam, but he made the decision to enlist and to do whatever his country called him to do.  I admired that bravery, and I always looked at the military as a place where leaders went to show their nobility and love for their fellow man who were being persecuted or oppressed.  I remember feeling that strong pull to be one of these brave souls.

My husband also put on a uniform by his own choice and was willing to sacrifice himself so that I could enjoy freedom.  I admire these three men in my family so much for the unselfish choice they made to serve in the armed forces.  There are times where I feel a bit envious that I can't tell others that I made the same choice.  However, I realize that this is just about me wanting recognition, and these three guys didn't want that.  That is true sacrifice and honor.

I have learned that the purpose for my life is to work behind the scenes, as a civilian.  God desires humility in order for Him to get the true glory.  I can receive honor from Him, and I don't need the accolades of the world.  My contribution to helping others comes from a much darker place; there is another side of the military that I must tell.

I always admired my father's drive to succeed.  There are a lot of ways my dad hurt me, but this is truly one way he graced my life.  He encouraged me to dream big dreams and instilled in me the notion that there was not anything I could not become.  He knew my heart for honor and integrity and strength, and so he encouraged me during high school to set my sights on attending the United States Airforce Academy.

I was confident that I could overcome the high bar of receiving entry to the Academy.  I was at the top of my class, an athlete, involved in lots of volunteer organizations and school clubs.  I knew people in high places.  However, when one of my teachers shared a catalogue of the coursework with me, I knew it was not the place for me.  It was so heavy on the hard sciences.  I didn't want to be an astronaut; I wanted to help people.

So, I set about looking for a way to be a part of the military elite without having to be a mathematician or scientist.  I found out that the ROTC offered a scholarship, and that upon completion of college, I could become a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.  That sounded rather appealing to me at the time.  I completed the interview, and I was awarded the scholarship.  However, the scholarship was for nursing, and I knew dealing with bodily fluids and needles was not where my heart was at.  So, I declined this opportunity.

At first, I beat myself up emotionally over my decision not to enter the military.  I thought, not many people would ever get the chance to receive this award or the chance at such a bright future and I turned it all away.  I thought about turning down the chance to attend Tulane Law School or to save souls as a Chaplain on the battle field.  It sickened me that I would never be a hero.

And then, as time passed, tragic event started to unfold.  Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  I thought wow, I would have been right in the middle of that hurricane if I was in Law School at that moment.  A female cadet reported her rape at the Air Force Academy.  Again I thought, maybe that wasn't all I thought it was.  And then, the war.  Did I really want to kill people unless I absolutely had to?  Not at all.  I realized that God had saved me from myself.  His grace and mercy had led me down a different path.

I appreciate all of the men and women who have fought in our armed forces so that I have the ability to write this blog post today.  But, I must tell a very sad side of the military. The military is brutalizing young women.  The Pentagon itself reported that in 2012, there were 26,000 sex crimes in our United States Military, 70 sexual assaults EVERY DAY!

The majority of these crimes against women were never reported because of fear of retaliation or further abuse.  Today, I thank God that he saved me from this, where instead of honor, I might well have been laden with shame.  I pray for those women who are serving, and I stand with them to fight dishonor that is being brought on females who are there to serve you and I.

May God Bless and protect our women in the armed forces until they win their own battle against their allies.  Please join me in helping them win.  No one may ever see us in a uniform or know our names.  But, together, we can get the word out, we can advocate.  And that, is also a true hero.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Testicles On Trucks

Have you seen them yet?  Red-necks everywhere are attaching artificial testicles to their trailer hitches.  What do you suppose this is supposed to mean?  If this person is in a relationship with a female human being, why in the world would she tolerate this?

In the culture we live in with so very many sexual overtones and blatant sexism, this is just one more thing to have to figure out how to deal with oneself much less explain to the kids.  It seems like so many men think this sort of thing is so cute; well it's not, so just stop.

At least the Calvin peeing sticker has a female counter part, though you may have guessed that I would only purchase it if she was standing to pee!

A Poem I Wrote For Moms Who Have Miscarried

Nine years ago, just before Mother's Day, I miscarried my first child.  Through the years, Mother's Day has been very painful for me when I think about my loss, and I know it is for so many of you.  I wrote this poem to celebrate the joy that we have because their lives mattered and they are with our Lord.  Blessings to you, and a great big hug.

To those who mourn on Mother's Day-
You are loved in the highest way.
Because the day our loved one died
They took their place at Jesus' side.

-Go Girl 4125

What Do You Do On Mother's Day If Your Mom Totally Sucks?

Isn't it always a challenge to look through the beautiful, lacy and mushy cards when you're standing there thinking that your mother has never really been there for you when you needed her?  This is always the case for me.

I have long been envious of that mother-daughter bond, someone to talk to about how special women are in God's Kingdom, a shoulder to cry on with that first broken heart, someone to do your makeup for your wedding, to bring you a personal gift when you're having a bad day, someone's arms to jump into when you find out your pregnant for the very first time or to hold you when you learn your baby is dying inside your womb.  I have had to settle for surrogate mothers who were this person for me and to be that person for other little girls.

Still, there is a broken place in my heart that I wish my mother could have filled for me.  I honor the positive qualities about her and the moments I feel she really tries.  I also recognize that I can always turn to my God, because he also has a maternal side.

Today I challenge you, if you have her in your life, hold her close and tell her just how much she means to you, and even if you don't, model who you wish she would have been for you to someone else.  I truly become disheartened by the lack of closeness and the criticalness I feel from her, and still I pray that I can be the daughter God has called me to be.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Code Word: Bottle Rocket!

One of the things I have found particularly helpful in dealing with my anger and shame brought about by sexual maltreatment and abuse I have experienced throughout my life is to recognize when I am being triggered, notify my spouse that I have been triggered, and promptly set about coping.

As you may have caught by now, my husband and I have a fun, humorous relationship, though we take serious matters quite seriously.  We know that God has a sense of humor, because after all, he created the Duck-billed Platypus.  So, we set about to find an appropriate "code word," if you will, to help us both recognize in public situations, when I am experiencing a sexual trauma trigger.

We settled on "bottle rocket."  That describes the hot, angry and this could result in me ending up behind bars kind of feeling that get which I have to quickly recognize and contain or else it will land on the roof and burn the whole house down kind of thing.  Of course, you have to practice at it so that you aren't confronted, which results in taking away all of the personal power.

This went seriously wrong for me when I went for my post operative check-up with my oncologist who performed my laproscopic hysterectomy.  I thought of saying "bottle rocket" when he asked where my fifth incision was (where were you when you were supposed to be performing this surgery?) but reserved it for when he unannounced and without permission, invited a male intern to watch as he lifted my top...

Before he could get to breast level, I rustled out "bottle rocket."  My darling husband who seems to be losing his hearing at critical moments, was having trouble hearing what I was saying, so I nearly screamed it.  BOTTLE ROOOOOOCKET!

Shockingly, the oncologist had the nerve to smile at me very condescendingly and ask what it was I had said to my husband?!?  I resisted the shirt rising to breast level like a dog during a game of tug-of-war as I told him it was an inside joke (clearly, he wouldn't have understood).

I Bought A Nerf Gun Because Murder Is Illegal

Some things you just can't un-see.  For me this is Kate Upton in that sleazy Hardees commercial.  I knew there was a reason I wretched every time I saw the woman on that horseback Game of Thrones commercial-yep same person, though I have to say her cleavage was less than impressive on the latter.  As the wife of a man I love dearly who also happens to be a pornography addict, I deeply resent this woman because of what she perpetuates onto all women, not to mention the degradation she apparently doesn't realize she brings to herself.

My husband tells me she is just a victim too, and with that I must agree, unfortunately she is suffering as she makes her next bank deposit while I am being sexually harassed by these images every few minutes through my tv screen.  It wells up in me a rage that is almost uncontainable.  I kept processing ways I could release this beast within me.  So, I decided to buy a Nerf Gun.

I was enamoured by the commercials of the "Nerf Purse" originally and had fantasies of strolling along in my stilettos and mini purse when some misogynist assaulted me with some red-neck slur and BAM-blast him with my Nerf bullets.  However, in strolling the toy aisle at my friendly Walmart, I noticed that there were no Nerf purses in stock (imagine that), but I did find a much larger lavender Nerf blaster.  

Because I am a nice person, I haven't been able to bring myself to shoot at any targets of actual people faces (including the aforementioned model).  I realize that this is a societal problem, and it will take all of society to make change.  Nonetheless, I did have a great time playing commando in the yard with my husband and son.  But, to my chagrin, their guns shot harder and farther.  I should have known.  

What are some creative ways that help you feel empowered?

The Day My Husband Gifted Me With A Woman Cave

My husband and I worked long and hard to purchase our home.  It's not a mansion.  It's not a new home.  But, it's ours.  We purchased this home from sweat, tears, and faith together, and it is loaned to us from God.  Moments after our home became "ours," my husband and son started about creating their man cave.

They hung various memorabilia from all of their favorite sports teams, put in an air hockey table and a popcorn machine.  They have their video games and comfortable furniture.  It's a wonderful space for male bonding between the two of them, and I feel blessed that they often invite me into their space and we share some lovely times as a family down there.

One of my most treasured memories of coming into this home is when my husband looked at me and told me that I deserved a "woman cave."  As women, we so often consider the needs and wants of others that our selves get lost in the process.  How wonderful it was that my husband honored me in that way.  My woman cave is full of romance, an oil painting of a carriage ride my husband and I shared around Savannah, Mardi Gras colors from our family vacation to New Orleans, and Scripture and gifts from Christian friends who have helped protect my heart.

My woman cave is a place where I cry out to my God and study His Word, where I pour out my heart onto paper, where I craft and where I work.  It is a private place of refuge for me where I can either close my door or welcome my loved ones in.  The spaces in our home are so precious to me because they display who we are as individuals and the respect and love we have for one another; At the same time, they represent our vows in our family unity.

It is important for every human to have a sacred space.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Just Me and My Freshette

Well, Go Girl has a much better name, but I can't imagine that any of the Female Urinary Devices/Directors that I have read about or tried could match my Freshette.  Like most FUDs, it is a funnel concept, but it is made of a very comfortable plastic, is thin (but not too thin) with minimal chances for spillage.  You can also get it in camouflage and avoid the whole pink is the only color women like insult.

My favorite part about the Freshette is that it comes with a five inch tube so that you can pop it in through your fly, pull your underwear to the side to place it, and you pee straight out your fly without undressing or showing yourself off at all.  In that respect, I think this device allows for an even better advantage than the penis for males, because they still have to expose themselves when they pee at the urinal.  And, because your pee shoots out of the tube, you can direct it away from your body and get pretty good distance!

There are two main drawbacks that I see to this device.  One is that it took me a bit to figure out how to hold "my tube" just right so that my stream would flow out straight without shooting off to one direction or the other.  However, with that being said, I have learned through this process that it's not quite as easy urinating like a man as we females often times perceive.  There is the making sure you're close enough to catch the dribbles concern, the holding it straight enough and far enough down so it doesn't spray everywhere concern, and finally the shaking the end of the tube enough so that the dribbles don't drip down your leg or stain your pants.  My husband assures me that this is very similar to male urination.  He is even gracious enough to do my laundry when I have a mishap.

The second draw back is the bag for the device.  It has a full explanation of what is inside and what it is for.  That's not private in any way.  And, over time, if you aren't in a spot where you can rinse, the bag becomes pretty rank.  The name Freshette becomes a bit ironic.

Two major cautions with this device: Make sure you spread your legs so that you don't have any spillage, and lean forward at the end so you KNOW that all of the urine has flowed out of the trough.  Otherwise, you will need to find an extra change of clothes pronto.

 I have found that my confidence has soared since I bought this little puppy, as silly as it sounds, but such a small thing in our culture really does have such a tremendous impact on females.  (Little girls can use this device too, dads!!!)  I'm working myself up to using this in public restrooms and on camping trips; I'm trying to prepare myself for the possible insults or freaked-outedness I'm sure will follow.  Best wishes on your new freedom, ladies!

I would love to hear your stories!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Menstrual Cups, What?

I have been reading a lot about menstrual cups being the latest trend for catching menstrual flow.  Apparently, because they are similar to a condom in their chemical makeup, they are much more biodegradable to the environment than tampons or pads.  For that, I applaud the invention.  However, all I can say is these things look like we are regressing back to Victorian times.

I applaud the She Hulks out there who can put these things in and get the perfect fit, without any leakage, and to be able to carry out their normal day.  I personally can't even bring myself to put in a contact lens.  Some of them have this thing projecting off of them that looks like it would saw you to pieces.  I can just imagine how awkward and messy it would be to pull the thing back down for cleaning.

Sometimes I laugh to myself and wonder, "do men know half of what we deal with in just the course of one day?"

My Bra Size Is DDD, But This Is Why You'll Never See Them

If you are a woman that has participated in or is currently a part of the sex industry, please let me first say to you that I am in no way judging you.  You are one of the biggest reasons I started this blog.  In many ways, I am you.  I do not believe that the sex industry is God-honoring or empowering to women in any way, and for those reasons I would urge you to get out of it.  I want you to know, most of all, that you are deeply loved by God and that I care about you.  You are worthy of love.

As a child, I was constantly chasing after my father's attention.  Unfortunately, through loose sexual boundaries and an environment of patriarchal domination and control, when I came of age, I found myself lusting after much older men.  This led to an array of sexual escapades, embarrassing to me now as I look back on them.  I was sexually assaulted.  I engaged in extramarital affairs, I had sexual relations with people that I didn't even really like, just to get the approval I never got (appropriately) from my father.

I used to think if I used my attractiveness, if I showed off my body, that I would feel in control and powerful in a very imbalanced society.  My value as a person was totally wrapped up in men chasing me or engaging in sexual relations with me if they were in a forbidden situation; that made me feel "special."

Through working the twelve steps and through a deep spiritual connection with my Lord, I recognized that I have worth just because I am me.  I don't need the approval of men, or of anybody else, except for my God and myself.  What I began to realize over time was that the more I kept myself covered, the more I could focus on aspects of myself that were going to help me meet my personal goals and dreams, that were going to keep me in a strong and healthy relationship with my Higher Power, and were going to help me start working from the worldview that if I was being true to myself, then I could be truly happy.  I am not in anyway saying that looking attractive is not ok nor am I saying that the atrocities of sexual violence are a woman's fault.  I absolutely enjoy showing off for my husband, but that is it.  My husband.

Men and women alike, when they are acting out sexually, are like a horse with blinders on.  They are behaving from core beliefs about themselves and a distorted worldview, again all based on the lies of Satan.  We don't stop to think about the consequences our actions are placing on us, on our families, on other peoples' families or on relationships we may enter into in the future.

The sex industry whether it be strip clubs or pornographic magazines, porn on the internet, movies, whatever, is set up to degrade females.  You are better than that and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.  And the truth is, when you put yourself out there, it is not the attention of men who want to engage in intimate conversations about how special you are or who would defend your honor or who want anything more from you than just cheap, un-complicated sex that you are attracting.  That is not who you need or want in your life!

Dancing, prostitution, modeling for pornography, none of these are "victimless" behaviors.  Sexual sin has a devastating snowball effect that leads to catastrophic consequences for all involved.  If we are revealing our beauty to gain the attention of men, we have to think about the fact that many of those men are husbands and they are fathers.  The wives and girlfriends of men who view pornography experience great pain and shame, and many times, their family is broken because of it.  If you put yourself out there, men are going to look, and you cannot control who looks.  You cannot control that what you show of yourself may lead that man to relapse into a sexual addiction that he hates as much as his wife does.  I know this because I am also the wife of a recovering sexaholic.  Not only have I been the sought after, I have been the victim.  And it is a pain beyond comparison.  Finding out about my husband's addiction caused me to return to that place in my wounded childhood that I was acting from before I was in recovery myself.  I experienced PTSD all over again.   I continue to be triggered by pictures of Kate Upton and the Victoria Secret Angels on commercials, because these images are continuing the ideology that women are no more than body parts, and I do mean just parts.  My son has to sit through these commercials.  Magazines which are supposed to be innocuous trigger my husband on a daily basis, and therefore trigger me.  I can't drive by Hooters without wanting to drop a match.

As a wife I can tell you it truly sucks to still be quite young but to have your beloved partner in life fantasizing about "barely legals."  You may be there one day.   I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  I thank God that today we are experiencing peace and joy because this problem was brought into the open and we have both committed ourselves to communicating and working our individual programs.  We value each other, and we value our relationship and our family.  And, we value you.  That is why we both have our own ways of educating and reaching out to others.  It is our calling.

Guys and gals, do not buy into the lies.  Join me in being a part of the solution.  I wish for you a relationship with your God, a celebration of everyday as yourself, and a relationship with a significant other that brings you honor and happiness.

If you are reading my posts, you understand by now that sexual degradation is such a multi-layered problem, and men and women both work at tearing each other and themselves down, but there is help to get out and reclaim your life.  You're worth it!

Female Athletes Need Cups Too

Most boys and men I have ever encountered carry with them this "protect the male private parts at all cost" mentality, some of which is perfectly understandable.  To be hit in a sensitive area is no laughing matter.  However, for males, this topic has become so cliched that nearly every movie about boyhood or that involves potty humor involves a boy or man being hit in the crotch, to wit he immediately falls into a fetal position.  Boys and men viewers groan along with the character on the screen and are in disbelief or ready to tell females  "you don't understand because you don't have anything there" if a female nearby makes a comment like "here we go with that again."

One thing I truly hate is potty humor, particularly about males peeing or their crotch shots.  This is all heavily-laden with messages to females that "you aren't a part of this club because you are without male genitals."  As a former fastpitch softball catcher, I will explain how this concept plays out even in softball, a tradionally female-dominated sport.

The problem with the ideology that "females are without male genitals" is that they are viewed from a perspective which is lacking, which as I have shared in previous posts, has the capacity to turn into abuse and discrimination of females.  This obsession with the blows to the male crotch has forced women to feel they have to allign with males on this as if to say "you're right, your genitals are so ultra important that we have to recognize this repeatedly and admit that we have no value between our legs."  

When I entered the realm of baseball, playing with my brothers and my dad, as a young girl, I was immediately aware that the fathers and male coaches elevated the need for boys to wear a cup to a ridiculous level.  Again, I am not saying that I don't encourage this (my son wears a cup at every practice or game).  What I am saying is that males in our society have a fixation with it, looking for opportunities to talk about it.  My assistant coaches (male) last season must have commented a dozen times about cup rules in our Little League despite any effort on their part in helping me coach effectively.  Already this season, I have gotten emails about the almighty cup and overheard the coach repeatedly asking the boys if they have one and fathers elbowing each other as they talk over and over about the boys wearing cups.  It's an obsession.

The position of catcher in baseball requires in the rule books that the player wear a protective cup.  However, in my years playing at the varsity level of softball in high school, no one ever mentioned that my female genitalia was worthy of any kind of protection.  The equipment given to me didn't even have a flap that juts down from the chest protector.  And, of course, that softball coming in at a high rate of speed, found my crotch.  It became very apparent, at least to me, that yes, while they are not male parts, there certainly ARE parts down there that were now in serious pain. 

 I think the injury I sustained while riding on a male friend's bike several years previous was worse pain, because I fell on the bar of the bike which then forcefully jammed up between my labia.  I could barely walk for most of the afternoon I was in so much pain.  Nonetheless, following the blow to my vulva on the softball field, my pelvic bone was so deeply bruised that I couldn't withstand any sort of pressure on it for quite some time.  But, I never told anyone about it because I knew it would fall on deaf ears.  I made a note to myself to consider inventing a cup for female catchers one day.

I am sad to report I didn't have the opportunity to carry out my idea for my invention, because someone else beat me to it.  But, I am delighted that he did, and that he told reporters that he did this because he was told to by the Holy Spirit.  That was so comforting to me when I read about it, because it was like God was confirming to the world that female sex organs are equally important to males, and they deserve to be protected too.  The female cup, or as it is often called, the pelvic protector, has a similar design to the male cup; the wider part is placed at the top to protect the gonads, which for women are internal.  The thinner portion of the cup covers the vulva.  

This whole fetal position phenomenon and the demands of males to recognize it deeply offends me.  It's not that I don't understand that it's painful, it's that I don't understand how males can forget that our genitals are made out of the same tissue and nerve endings and that we suffer through many painful gynecological experiences throughout the duration of our lives that last longer than a crotch shot.  Female swimmers are not allowed to curl into the fetal position; they're told to shove a tampon up their vagina and keep on swimming (while on their period).  I had my uterus pulled through my abdomen and told the next morning I was ready to leave the hospital.  Respect flows both ways.  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Porn Problem

Many Americans wonder how a person can come to a point where they rape another human being.  One of the key issues lies in the objectification of women.  It is absolutely noted that boys and men are raped (a topic for another post).  When females are seen as less than males or as non persons (this may take the form of I don't know you so I can see you as someone's wife, daughter, sister, etc.), it becomes possible to commit atrocities toward them.  Pornography is the embodiment (pun intended) of female objectification and degradation.  Sexual sin thrives on secrecy and unrestrained natural urges.  It is not only wrong in and of itself, but is like a gateway drug into more and more debauchery.

Because they are visual beings, males are drawn to pictures of female bodies like a moth to a flame.  The male "group think" in our society is that "all men do it," as if to say viewing pornography is acceptable or a right of passage.  Pornography is emotional, physical and spiritual death.  It perpetuates lies about who females were created to be.  It keeps men from bonding with and performing for their wives sexually.  It is a nasty secret that enslaves evangelists.

 Because our culture is so sexually obsessed, music and media messages lure boys and men into this deadly trap.  The commercials such as Hardees have desensitized a nation of people into accepting the sexual degradation of females and bound males to chains they don't know how to break free of if they desire to.

Cancer Below The Belt

You are never prepared to hear that you have cancer, even if you may suspect it.  Despite many years of menstrual irregularities and pain that date back to my adolescence, I went for regular checkups with no indication of a serious problem or need to run any tests or perform any procedures.  Then, fertility became an issue and the miscarriage of one child.  This was all handled as a "normal" course of events until I was told four months ago that I was entering into uterine cancer.  Suddenly, it became a crisis.  My uterus and tubes were yanked through my abdomen and I was then, again, told to be about my merry way.  Until, I developed a life-threatening blood clot in my groin that extended the entire length of my leg.  I was rushed (after seven hours in the emergency room) to a hospital bed so that the hospitalist could "watch me closely."  I found that quite ironic as I was hooked to no monitoring devices whatsoever and turned out promptly the next morning.  Now I'm considered "recovered" because the swelling and pain in my leg have decreased.  There is nothing about my mental state that has recovered from my frustration of this travesty of gynecological care that is happening in our country.  How did I get to this place of ending my child-bearing years and left with grief and the passion to make change that is going unrecognized in the medical community?  I trust the Spirit of the Great Physician to guide a multiple layer of recovery I need and the wisdom to know how I can be a part of helping prevent other women from suffering in the same way.

Women in Professional Baseball

It's baseball season!  This is one of my favorite times of the year since I am a rabid fan of the game.  Last year, I fought serious discrimination when I chose to coach a boys' Little League Baseball team to experience a hobby (we both love) with my son.  I was an outstanding coach, but I was undermined from the start when I was given a roster of the youngest, most inexperienced players.  The one little girl who signed up and paid her $100 dollars to play was so intimidated by the gender bias she quit baseball all together and lost her money.  This was followed by the men who were my assistants holding runners at third base to throw the games or laying against the outfield fence to avoid helping the fielders. They made demeaning remarks to the boys about how they were "playing like girls" and would not support my efforts to discipline the kids when they showed me disrespect. I was in no way trying to be a man or to detract from what these fathers were teaching their sons about baseball.  However, the lesson I learned was that many men feel threatened in their manhood by a woman who can perform a traditionally male skill better than they can.  The result is that they will use any means necessary to force out the threat.  I hope that through my emotional strength, I taught my boys a lesson that means much more than the game, that women deserve respect for who they are.
Many of the greatest professional baseball players of all time were women.  However, most of us have never heard of them because of the male agenda to keep them quiet.  I proudly give you some of their names.  Helene Britton-owned the St. Louis Cardinals from 1911-16.  Lizzie Murphy was the first person to play for both the American League and the National League in all-star games.  Sophie Kurys holds the record for the most stolen bases (1946).  Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig only to learn her contract was immediately cancelled.  Did you know "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was written about a female baseball player's love for the game?  Many lyrics have been deleted from the song we now sing.

At the end of the season, I bought each boy a trophy and publicly acknowledged his unique ability as a player.  To my knowledge, none of the male-led teams received anything unless they won the tournament.  My most special moment came when a father of one of my players told me how wonderful it was that I made his son feel so special.  That, in turn, helped me know that I did the right thing by toughing out the season and there were men out there who appreciated me just as I am.  That's what it takes to be on the same team.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stand Up and Pee To Be Counted

If they will admit it, most women resent not being able to stand up to pee.  The very nature of the societal norm for women to lower herself to a toilet, or if she's lucky enough to be in company who isn't embarrassed by her "copping a squat," is sexist.  There is no reason a man couldn't sit down to urinate.  Once again, to have a penis, means to have power, even in our modern society, or maybe especially in our modern society.  The infrastructure around us supports this distorted idea.  Why do men need their own special toilets (urinals) that are not found in womens' restrooms?  I remember feeling so dejected as a kid because I had to use the uncool, generic bathroom.
I am against public urination, but I am even more offended when boys or men pee in front of girls or women who don't feel like they can pee right alongside them.  It feels as if some guys do it because the female is present.  Some boys or men use potty humor to publicly shame females.  There is nothing worse than to be laughed at if you're already feeling less than.
Females encounter many obstacles with just trying to relieve themselves.  Most men don't realize that public restrooms for women are much worse than what they encounter.  I have stood in line for an hour.  I have gone into stalls where someone has apparently been afraid to even hover and peed a lake right onto the floor, visited a toilet that had menstrual blood slung across the seat, and come eyes-to-breasts (while changing clothes) with a pre-teen boy whose mother found it acceptable to allow him to use the lady's room.  I have gotten a rash from getting too far in the weeds so cars couldn't see everything I've got.  For all these reasons and I'm sure more if I thought more about it, I am an avid supporter and user of a Female Urinary Device.
My FUD allows me to unzip, pee through my fly, and avoid all of the aforementioned obstacles all the while gaining a new sense of freedom and self-respect.  In my research, I have learned that some women prefer the all naturale route of spreading their labia and peeing through their fly in very much the same way as a male would.  And, I am delighted that some women have even determined that because of their shorter urethras, they can pee much further than most men-you know that distance contest we were always jealous of as kids, ladies?
The bottom line is that all of the jokes and debasing of girls and women because they have different anatomy is cruel and wrong.  And, it needs to stop.  So, girls and ladies, stand up and pee if you want to.  It'll make you feel better; I promise.

What Dads Can Do

The first thing that dads can do to truly love their baby girls is to get excited when they hear "it's a girl!"      A female child is a gift from God, and remember men, you are being entrusted to fulfill a purpose as a father of this precious one.  That is an awesome calling, to be the father of a little girl, because you will be her hero.  The way you can lead is as the Spiritual leader of the family.  Speak life.  Show respect for her mother through kind and loving words and actions that demonstrate your wife is special and an equal partner in life and love.  Buy Mom flowers, offer a shoulder for her to cry on when she's hurting, support her hobbies and honor her with affirming words.  Listen to her ideas and compliment her often and publicly.  Defend her honor, because her femininity is under attack, and lead her even as Christ gave up His life for the Church.  Grant Mom the same respect you would want from her.  See her emotional and sensitive design as a treasure, because she can teach you just as you can teach her, how to be more like God's image that you complete together.

Once your daughter sees that her mother has your respect because of her feminine design and because of who she is as a person, it will only naturally follow that your little girl will see herself as worthy of respect and unselfish love.  While your wife is Queen, your daughter must be the princess.  Please note that not all princesses are the same either.  Some like an occasional romp through a mud puddle or to hit a home run.  Much of the strength of an emotionally stable woman comes from the validation she receives from her father as a young child.  She becomes able to choose a man who gives her full honor when her father has confirmed for her from The Beginning, that she is enough, just because of who she is.  You should come into her world with her guidance, share with her in her interests, even if that means tea parties and tiaras.  Most importantly, you should allow her to come into your world.  One of the negative reinforcers of women feeling not as good as a man stems from feeling she is on the outside of a special club that she cannot enter into because she is not innately an equal of a man.  Take her fishing if that's what you're into, or teach her how to kick a football.  Her future husband will thank you for it and she will be so grateful to be on your team.

Dads, don't be embarrassed to talk to your daughters about their bodies, alongside or even apart from their mothers.  With age-appropriate education comes much empowerment for her.  Read to her about women of the Bible and the qualities they possessed that led God to seek them out.  Watch movies with her that show females as the heroine of the story.  Introduce her to women who have invented things, changed the world, and let her know you believe in her too.  Discourage boys and other men from using language or viewing images that are degrading to women, and do NOT do these things yourself.  Do not allow society through Satan's influence to tell you that to build yourself up as a man you have to tear a woman down.  That is a lie, and you must know that you are more valuable than that as well.

Her Vagina Is Enough

From the time they are in their mothers' wombs, little girls are defined by their lack of a penis.  You may have seen an ultrasound where the penis of a male child has been circled with a bright red marker, shown off proudly to inquiring friends and family members by parents everywhere.  Little girls carry this message with them like a millstone around their necks from the time they are old enough to think about how to define themselves as a human being.  The foundation they build from is that they are lacking, they are not enough in their very design, nor can they ever be.  Many girls feel betrayed by their source of existence, their God.

It is not uncommon to see a little boy publicly masturbate or stop playing outside just long enough to pee on a nearby tree.  Parents laugh it off as "boys will be boys."  But, when a little girl attempts to touch herself or, Heaven forbid, lower her panties to urinate outdoors, these same parents are completely mortified and look to punish the girl.  I have seen so many little girls wince in pain or walk around shamefully with urine-soaked shorts because their parents forced them to hold it until they got to an "appropriate" restroom facility.  The message this sends is that girls do not have the same rights as boys and are not capable enough to even complete a basic bodily function without getting grief for it. It also results in some nasty urinary tract infections.   Oh, and the little girls who attempt the freedom of standing to pee, if their parents were anything like mine, got the beating of their life (by the way, by my mother).  While my brothers stood next to my father on the bank of the fishing pond relieving themselves, I stood watching, awaiting the explosion of my bladder.  

Many good guys secretly, or not so secretly, hope for a male child when they become fathers.  Little girls  might as well be aliens, because while we teach our girls not to learn about or discuss their female genitalia, grown men know even less about them.  They fear changing diapers because someone might accuse them of molesting their own daughter.  They don't want to be seen playing dress-up, because after all, doing anything "like a girl" is just about the worst put-down any man can receive.  Once again, little girls receive the message very early on in life that they are not as good as a male child, and some feel downright unwanted.  Some are openly told a male child was preferred over them.  Friends, we are killing the spirits of our little girls, and these messages we send to them damage females at a soul-level and keep males in bondage to the lies of Satan.  This puts their souls in jeopardy as well.

From the beginning, none of this was so.  The Truth is that God made woman as an image-bearer of Himself just as important and special to Him as was Adam, only displaying different and unique traits of Himself.  Our problems with gender equality really began in The Beginning, when Eve was striving to be more by plucking that apple, flaunting it over Adam, and in turn causing him to well up inside himself the desire to conquer Eve.  Satan loves nothing more than to see the demise of Eve, the beautiful, finishing touch of God's Creation.  Out of these lies, women and men join as co-conspirators with Satan and turn from their life-giving partnership to behaviors that stink of death.  It is from this basic belief, that a little girl's genitalia is not good enough, that pandemics such as pornography have been created.