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Two years ago my daughters moved back in with me. It’s been a whirl wind ride since then learning how to live with each other again, and how to heal from past hurts and move forward in love. In July of this year my 15 year old ran away from home with some street kids because they had convinced her how awesome it would be to explore the world with no restrictions, no rules, total freedom.
The night she left I contacted the local police department and their advice was “just wait for her to come home”. I have to tell you, that was the worse advice I’ve ever received. That night and for the next 5 days I scoured the city on foot looking for my baby girl. I followed the advice of police and contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Every direction I turned I ran into road blocks and red tape. I was told that even if the police located my daughter they could not detain her and return her to me because in Seattle, running away from home is not a crime. I was told by friends to just let my little girl be, let her explore and make her own life and her own mistakes. And I knew in my gut and in my heart that everyone was wrong.
I had family in Salt Lake who jumped in immediately to help. We set up a web page on Facebook with photos and a description of my daughter. Within a few hours of the page going live I got a call from a friend who’d had a friend contact him with a sighting of my daughter about 300 miles south of where we lived. I tried to get the detective on my case to act on this information and was told that she was too overwhelmed with all of her cases to act on a “potential” sighting.
Finally after 5 days of one of my family members was able to convince my daughter to tell us where she was. I left within the hour to pick her up. You may think this is a happy ending to our ordeal, but it was just the beginning.
When I got to the town my daughter was in, the local police had already picked her up and were holding her for questioning. In the state of Washington, if your child is over the age of 13 then police need to get the consent of the child to discuss their case with the child’s parents. So I was not allowed to see my daughter until the detective was done questioning her. After waiting for 2 hours I finally got to see my girl and my heart broke. She was covered from head to toe in bruises and bite marks. She hadn’t eaten the entire time she was gone and the boys she was with had kept her drunk and high. She was raped repeatedly but because of the circumstances she thought it was “consensual sex” and told the detective as much.
I was advised to take my daughter to the hospital anyway to do a rape kit on her. We spent the next 8 hours at the children’s hospital while my daughter was poked and prodded, forced to talk about what she’d been through with complete strangers. She was so scared and battered that she kept wanting to just hide from everyone.
When I finally got my little girl home, she decided to take a bath. As soon as she undressed in front of the mirror she fell to the floor in hysterics because of all the bruises and bites on her body. She insisted that I cover all of the mirrors so that she wouldn’t have to see what had been done to her. That night as she was trying to fall asleep there was a loud boom outside our window which startled her so much she nearly jumped out of the bed and couldn’t stop shaking and crying. She was terrified that the guy who had done this to her knew where we lived and would come after her. It was at this point we decided to abandon our lives in Seattle and move back to Utah where I could get the love and support of my family and where my daughter would feel safe.
With this decision I had to leave my job and break the lease on our new apartment. My sister and mom drove up to Washington, we packed what we could into my sisters car and left everything else behind. Everyone kept telling me that we would figure things out down the road and not to worry about it right now, just worry about the safety and well being of my daughter.
We went to live with my mom. We brought our cat and dog with us, which was not ok with my mom’s new husband. We decided to stay in their small camper where the pets would be allowed to reside. We figured this would be a very temporary situation and before winter hit we would be in our own place once again.
For the first month we were in Utah I tried diligently to find housing, get food stamps and medical coverage for my family. Every step I took there were roadblocks and delays. I was denied services because the State of Utah couldn’t communicate directly with the State of Washington to confirm that my case there had been closed. During this time I also worked closely with the detective and Prosecuting Attorney in Washington to attempt to find justice for my daughter. Justice was not to be found. The boy who had done this to my daughter was 2 months under the limit of pursuing rape and assault of a minor child (he was almost 19 she was 15). He was charged with a felony assault after 30 days in jail and was released to prey on other young girls.
I asked family in Washington to help clean out what was left in my apartment and send the remainder of our clothes, coats and shoes to us. That never happened. Our belongings were given to the Good Will instead. A few weeks later I received a notice from the apartment manager stating that I owed $4800 in fees for breaking my lease and cleaning of the apartment. Being unemployed and homeless I had no way to pay those fees so I created a Go Fund Me Campaign ( https://www.gofundme.com/xf3syv5f) in an effort to raise the money to pay off my apartment. Unfortunately that campaign has only raised $300 to date which doesn’t even put a dent in the money owed.
So now here we are, nearly 5 months later, still living in a camper with the weather getting more frigid by the day and no end in site. Relations between my mom, her husband and other family who live there become more and more strained as time passes. I now have a wonderful job which will go a long way toward helping me become self sufficient once again, but the reality is sinking in that we will be stuck in this camper, in the cold through the winter and that breaks my heart.
I’m writing this post now for several reasons. I need to express the pain and trauma we have experienced. I need to ask for help in getting my family back on our feet and I need to remind those who asked me to “come home” why it is that we are in the situation we are in.
In asking for help: If ever my words have touched your soul, if ever you’ve felt the desire to help a family who truly needs the help, if ever you’ve wanted to do a great good in this world I am presenting you now with a perfect opportunity. Please visit my Go Fund Me page located here: https://www.gofundme.com/xf3syv5f. Every penny helps. In this giving season, this is a cause worth giving to.
Thank you for letting me share my story once again.
Last month I moved back to my childhood home. This has been a difficult transition for me, but an important one. There is a person who lives in this neighborhood whom I harmed in a very deep and long lasting way 20 years ago. In all this time I never talked to this person to express remorse or shame for my actions, even though there have been many opportunities. Instead, every time I saw this person I judged them for the bad decisions they were making in their life.
Today, for the first time in 20 years this person confronted me about what I had done. It came completely out of the blue and after an already intensely emotional day of processing old baggage. I didn’t know what to say or do. All I could say was I’m sorry, over and over again. This person whom I’d harmed was gracious and forgiving, their significant other was even helpful in a way I specifically needed at that moment. I was and am still in shock. All I could say was “Thank you” and “I’m so sorry”. I told this person that if there was ever anything I could do for them, to please let me know. And then I went home and my mind started processing the day’s events.
This next portion may be hard for some to read and hear from me, and I will gladly accept any judgement you make of me.
When I first harmed this person I was scared for myself. I thought I was going to go to prison for a very long time and have a permanent record of Sexual Assault on a Minor Child. Yes, that’s what I did. I should have gone to jail, but I didn’t. The universe has a strange way of working things out sometimes. Instead of going to jail I had sexual assault perpetrated against me and my children time and time again. I learned the very real and intense pain of being the victim of such a crime. I never connected the two things. I never realized that I was being taught in a very real way what I had done to someone else.
The pain I caused didn’t end there. The entire time I was judging this person for the bad decisions they were making, did I once stop to think that maybe my actions were partly the cause of their actions? No, I didn’t. Not once. Did I ever stop to think about how my actions would affect this person entire future, and their children’s and grand children’s future? No I didn’t, not once. The ripple effect of that terrible wrong I did spread out and affected so many other people. I never thought about those long term effects and I’m so sorry for the pain I caused.
Today I’m grateful for this deep realization about myself, and my actions. I hope that I am able to learn and grow from this lesson. I hope that I am able to heal the wrongs I’ve done and that I am able to be forgiven for this horrible mistake. I’m grateful that the person I harmed was able to finally speak up and confront me for what I’d done, and I’m grateful for his ability to forgive and move on.
First I would like to apologize for not posting in so long. I guess that’s what happens when your world gets turned upside down by the Universe granting you your deepest desire of re-uniting your family (well – most of it anyway).
But I digress – this post is about something different. I am a work in progress. I am far from perfect but I strive every day to do my best to improve the human that I am. One of the ways I keep my sanity is by singing. I sing pretty much every where I go, even in crowded public places. Typically the response I get is either praise or people simply ignore me. Today for the first time in my life, my singing disturbed someone and they asked me to stop singing because they didn’t want to hear the song. I’ll admit – I was shocked and hurt. The song I was singing was a love song, not hurtful, mean, caustic or obtuse. Of course I stopped singing to comply with this person’s request, but as I stood there packed like a sardine on the public bus, my anxiety started increasing and before I knew it tears were rolling down my face. This is when the amazement began. My sister gave me the best advice I have heard in a long time. It’s called the four agreements and they are as follows:
1- Be impeccable with your words.
2- Don’t take anything personally.
3- Don’t make assumptions.
4- Always do your best.
I typically don’t struggle with the first agreement – unless my emotions are very high. I also work daily to adhere to number four. It’s those middle two which I seem to have the most difficulty with in my life, and which cause me the most problems.
My first lesson for today is to not assume – you know they say when you assume you make an ass out of you and me. I don’t know why this person didn’t want to hear the song I was singing and it is wrong of me to assume anything with regards to their reality.
My second lesson for today – and this one is a difficult because it’s something I do all the time – don’t take anything personally. The four agreements explain “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.” What a powerful lesson that was for me.
Today I will continue to work on not taking anything personally and on not making assumptions. I will also strive to write more often as that is another way I keep myself sane, and if people don’t like what I write, they don’t have to read it. 🙂
Be well wordpress readers! Have a blessed day.
A simple reminder about the laws of attraction. Thanks Jeff!
Last weekend my son came to Seattle for the first time to visit me. We had an amazing weekend together and it was so fun getting to know him. He is so smart and funny and full of energy. During our visit he told me about his Ballroom Dance team (though he refused to show me some moves, because he does that enough!). Over the past two years I’ve seen him progress through the creative arts. He consistently performs well, and I think it’s amazing that he has a creative outlet like this for all of the energy inside of him.
This fall his Ballroom Dance team is going to Disneyland to celebrate the fact that they went to Nationals. As you can imagine this is a pretty expensive trip, which the parents need to pay for. My son has started doing chores around the house to earn extra money, as well as mowing the lawns in the neighborhood, but that won’t quite cover the costs. My sister has created a great website where people we know can go to support my son and help him earn his way to Disneyland. We figure if even 100 people donate just $10, Loni will have enough to go and have a great time with his team.
I’m posting a link to the donation site in the hopes that any of you who have enjoyed what I have to say, have been touched by my words, or the words of my daughter (who also posts on my page) or who would like to support a fellow performing artist can help make my little guy’s dreams come true.
This is such a great post! Spending justly…what a great idea!
Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns.
Relate: I know, the picture and the title are a bit provocative. For those that don’t get it, there was a documentary done about 8 years ago with that title talking about the various ways Wal Mart exploits its workers both in the US and internationally in order to force down low prices and force out small businesses. I never did see the movie, I lived it. For about 3 months I was employed by Wal Mart a decade or so back. They wouldn’t let me have a week off to work at a Christian camp so I quit. Best thing I ever did.
React: I do, however, feel like a bit of a hypocrite even writing that last paragraph…
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I was told last night that someone who barely knows me HATES me. When I asked why I was told that it’s because my laugh is annoying…huh…okay?
HATE? Hate is such a strong word…strong emotion…I can honestly say I don’t believe that I HATE anyone. I may have disgust, pity, revulsion, but not HATE…and for someone to have such a strong emotion over something so inconsequential is so funny and sad to me. Mostly sad though.
I feel bad for this person and others like her who go through their lives being angry, bitter and full of hate for no apparant reason. In my experience, people are this way because of disappointments in their own life which they have been unable to come to terms with and move on from. I’ve found that hatred, anger bitterness breed more of the same. In the same way that love, kindness, sympathy, empathy breed more of the same.
If this person had taken one moment to get to know me as a person rather then make a judgement based on the limited interactions we’d had, they would realize that I am a good person, I am full of love and happiness and kindness…but no..that will never happen, not with this type of person. They will continue to go through their lives angry, bitter and full of resentment. They will continue to have a sad and lonely existence because they cannot see beyond their own pain and disappointment.
Thank you God, Universe, whatever the higher power that is which allows me to rise above suct contempt and continue to live my life the way I choose. And thank you for the forethought to not make such rash judgements about others. My hope is that more people in this world live their lives the way I do. That would make for a much happier human race.
I’ve done what I can do, I work full time, I pay my bills on time, I’m a good friend and a good person. I quit drinking so that I could have clarity of thought, I’ve started working on my physical health so that my body can be the temple you’ve intended, but God – you keep throwing more and more at me. I said ok. I’ll be stronger and better, but I don’t know that I can be any stronger right now. It takes everything I’ve got right now just to stay positive and get up every morning and stay sober. I don’t have anymore to give God. I can’t do anymore. Please God, can you send a helping hand? Can you please ease this burden on my heart and on my soul? Please God help me to know what I’m supposed to do, and open the doors for me to accomplish what I’m intended for.
I’m visiting my family in Utah where I was born and raised for the holidays. It’s a tradition for me to come here every Thanksgiving and I love my time with my family. I do not however love Utah. Here are some fun things about my trip thus far.
The first thing I notice when I board the plane is that I’m surrounded by Mormons. I can hear groups of people around me talking about being born and raised in Utah, how much they love and miss it, conversations about The Church and how important it is to their lives. I put on my music and tune it all out – unwilling to expose myself to the propaganda.
When I get off the plane I observe how “vanilla” everything is. The airport staff lacks ethnic diversity (which I love), it is for the most part made up of Caucasians Oh wait, there was that one Islander and one Hispanic employee. I walk to the baggage claim and just to be obnoxious I keep my music on and start singing my heart out while waiting for my luggage. I get a couple of looks – some smiles, but mostly people ignore me. They don’t feel comfortable around those who do not fit their idea of normal so they ignore instead.
I spend the next couple of days in a small Mormon town south of Salt Lake. I am surrounded by cookie cutter women and men, families and babies – uncontrolled breeding everywhere and I cringe, our planet is already beyond it’s capacity to support the existing population yet these people with their religious beliefs of “populate the earth” are still breeding like crazy. I see countless large vehicles which are so bad for our already declining environment and I sigh, missing my ecologically friendly city already.
After a couple of days in Small Town Utah, I go up to the big city to stay with my mom. Finally I see a bit more diversity both ethnically and religiously. My first morning in the city I go to water aerobics with my mom, the class is a lot of fun and the instructor is superb at engaging all of the attendees. After the class we soak in the hot tub. Most of the people in the tub are elderly and I think they are surprised at my ability to converse with them so well. A woman comes and sits on the edge of the tub and I can’t stop looking at her. She is beautiful physically and spiritually and I tell her so. Later in the locker room we chat and I see the beauty of her soul even more.
When we get back to mom’s house I take a shower and I have to laugh. The water is so hard that I can feel it damaging my skin and hair. Soap doesn’t lather the way I’ve grown accustomed to, and the temperature is inconsistent – going from hot to cold and back to hot again. I shake my head in the knowledge that it will take a couple of weeks back in Seattle for my skin and hair to recover. I’m so glad I brought my coconut oil to help protect against the damage I know I am doing.
That night I get to spend a couple of hours with my new step-brother, we visit for a while and then he takes me on a thrilling motorcycle ride. I love the wind in my face and the humming of the engine between my thighs. After the ride I go to one of my sisters house to do a Tarot reading. She asks me if I’m comfortable doing one for a friend of hers, I agree of course. I do my sister’s reading first to get my juices flowing. She is astounded at the results of the reading and how my abilities have improved over the last year. Next I chat with her friend for a few minutes so that I can get a feel for who he is as a person. He’s never had a real tarot reading done before and I’m a little nervous that he will be disappointed. The reading, although not a very positive one, goes very well. I’m able to interpret the cards and explain how they pertain to him and his situation. After doing two readings I’m exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to do something of that nature and I tell my sister that in the future I am going to need to charge for non-familial readings. I pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow. Lucky for me (that statement is dripping with sarcasm) my body regenerates quickly so after a couple of hours I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. My boyfriend keeps me company via text until I’m able to finally drift back off to dreamland.
Today I had the opportunity to visit briefly with a neighbor whom I’ve known my whole life. I’m slightly uncomfortable at first (still shy in spit of the good face I put on) but I enjoy the conversation and the opportunity to let my old neighbors know that life is good to me. I’m getting some much needed R and R today. Sitting here alone in my mom’s house. The place I lived from the time I was 12 until I moved to Seattle (sorta?). I love the feel of my mom’s home, but it’s different now. She’s married and has blended her home with her husbands, still a good feeling, just different. OH! My mom’s house is haunted. It always makes me laugh when people freak out about that. I guess I’m just used to it because I’ve always had spirits or energy beings around me. I haven’t experienced anything on this trip yet. There are two cats which live here so I think that they help suppress most activity. Even when it’s active though, it doesn’t really bother me.
Tomorrow I get to go out to the West Desert to ride an ATV for the first time in my life. Even though I grew up here I never had the opportunity to do this. I am so excited! I will be operating the ATV, so I’m a little bit nervous about that. I haven’t even driven a vehicle in 6 years, let alone a recreational vehicle! Good thing we will be in the desert eh? The weather has been beautiful! It’s been blue skies with temperatures in the mid 50’s. I brought all of this super warm winter stuff and haven’t needed any of it! The snow capped mountains are so close, they are breath taking. At night with the clear skies I can see the constellations I’m so familiar with – in the same positions they’ve always been in. And why am I getting teary eyed writing about this? I have so many fond memories of this place. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with the patio door open and I feel so safe. I don’t think I could do that in the neighborhood I live in now.
On Thanksgiving I am going to my step-dad’s big extended family dinner that they do every other year. I’m nervous because it’s going to be a lot of people and I don’t do well with large crowds. My step-brother, the one who took me on the bike ride, promised to be my guide. I’m also excited because it just so happens that a niece of my step-dad is one of my best friends from high school (now THAT is a great story I will have to share!). I haven’t seen her in about 18 years. Thanks to Facebook we’ve been able to keep in touch recently.
The day after Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE day! It’s the event I look forward to the most. All my sisters, their families, mom and dad get together for a Left-Over party. Everyone brings their leftovers from the night before, plus anything else they want to make for the event and we all have a wonderful informal, rambunctious, let your hair down party. My sisters and I are vulgar – much to the chagrin and humor of my mom. The kids all interact well with each other. We play games, sing, dance and love. It is my favorite time of the year. Something I think about when I’m sad and look forward to always.
I’ll be heading home to Seattle on Saturday afternoon. The day of departure is always blissful and disheartening all at once. By the time I go home, I’m usually ready to BE home because I enjoy my peaceful low energy life in Seattle. And yet – I’m yet again leaving my family behind. I know when I get home we will all just keep on living our lives. Chatting occasionally, but all of us busy and wrapped up in our own day to day dramas. This year, I’m thankful that I have such a wonderful family that we can do these things and be these ways, and still have so much love for each other.
This week I celebrated my 37th birthday. On my special day I didn’t have to work (upon orders from my boss) and neither did my boyfriend. So he and I laid around my apartment all day eating, playing video games and enjoying each other’s company. Exactly what I wanted to do!
I’m still reeling from last year’s birthday debacle where I was forced to go to dinner with 3 persons – only one of whom I’m still friends with. That incident started a year-long war between one of the dinner attendees and myself. As a result of that I wanted a quiet day alone this year.
My kids called me to wish me a happy birthday and tell me how excited they were for my upcoming visit. My mom and step dad had sent me a card and my step dad sent me an email wishing me well, my step-sister and her daughter called, and that was it – which was just fine for me. I was supposed to go visit my brother’s bar to watch the election results but after eating an entire loaf of my lovely magical banana bread I was in a serious weed coma and didn’t want to do anything.
The next day I got belated birthday wishes from a couple of friends and that evening one of my sisters called. I answered the phone expecting a belated birthday wish and instead was bombarded immediately with my sister’s urgent need to vent. No mention was made of my special day. Instead I was treated to a circuitous web of half-truths and lies explaining my sister’s anger about a situation she was involved in. After hearing her version of the story I kind of chuckled at her and pointed out the positive aspects of the situation – explaining that if it were me I would actually be HAPPY about the resolution of the situation (which she completely overlooked or lied about).
After about 15 minutes of asking specific questions and getting shadowy answers my sister seemed to pick up on the fact that I wasn’t particularly interested in the conversation and abruptly got off the phone. After hanging up I sat there in my bed, chuckled and shook my head. Some people are so self-absorbed and insensitive – but guess what…I don’t really care. I had a great birthday and no one can take that away from me!