Aside

Abram Messer regarding obedience

*Disclaimer: This is a letter written in its entirety by Lynn Messer’s son Abram Messer. These are his memories, opinions, and accounts of interactions and conversations. I am committed to publishing works of integrity. In that spirit, I offer this letter to my readers; however, the story, the experiences, and the words are the author’s alone—told from his viewpoint. The testimony presented in this letter does not constitute legal facts, a guarantee, or a prediction regarding the outcome of advice given.

Aarron Messer fathers quote

~Aarron Messer

Regarding Obedience

By: Abram Messer

As many of you know my father Kerry has announced that he is planning a memorial service for my mom at First Baptist Church of Festus Crystal City. Many of you also know that our family also used to attend First Baptist FCC as well. In fact we were members there for over a decade, and pastor Charles McClain even baptized some of my children. We still have many dear friends who attend there. Those friends we thought so highly of, we were sure to invite to my mother’s memorial service in December of 2016. My brother Aarron, was also sure to send invitations to my mom’s friends and acquaintances at First Baptist FCC as well. Due to questionable weather conditions, many of our friends were not able to attend. And sadly, almost everyone else that Aarron invited declined to attend or even respond to their invitation.

So what does this have to do with obedience?

The Word of God has plenty to say about sin, repentance, obedience and reconciliation. And 2 Tim 3:16-17 tells us “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This tells us that any questions that we have about ‘what to do next’ can be found in the infallible Word of God. All we have to do is be obedient. We do not have the luxury of picking and choosing what portions of the Word we ‘feel’ like obeying. Nor do we get to skip over the parts that are hard, challenging or that make us uncomfortable. When it comes to our current circumstances, it can be easy to feel very lost… but God has not abandoned us and has left us with a very specific course of action in dealing with sin.

*Just an FYI, I am NOT perfect. I have made plenty of mistakes, struggled and failed repeatedly to wholly live up to Gods standard. I have also never hid these shortcomings, and sought both God’s forgiveness as well as done everything within my power to be reconciled to those that I have offended.

Obedience in response to sin

The Word of God gives us a very detailed outline of what to do when a brother (or sister) is in sin. This process is not one to be taken lightly. It should be done with all seriousness and humility before God, as Ezekiel chapter 3 and Romans 1 lay out our biblical responsibility to call out sin as well as presents Gods firm condemnation on us if we sit quietly by. The consequences of this “sin of silence” ought to be more than enough to demand our attention.

This outline we biblically must follow starts in Matthew 7:1-6

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

Church goers are always quick to point out verses 1-4, while conveniently editing out the rest of the passage… namely that confronting sin is a serious thing, and our first stop is not the person whose actions are in question. Our first stop is on our knees at the foot of the cross. Dealing with sin always begins with personal reflection, to ensure that our hearts and minds are right before God.

After we have dealt with our own heart before God we move on to Matthew 18:15-20.

“If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

If we have made certain that our hearts are right before God and we are operating out of the right motivation, then we are commanded by Jesus Christ Himself to go to the individual who has sinned and in love confront them about the issue. If they do not repent, go back with more fellow believers and confront them again. If they still refuse to turn from their sin, we are commanded by God to bring them before the church, and finally… if steeped in their rebellion they refuse to submit to the Word of God, they are to be treated as a nonbeliever and a tax collector. The term “tax collector” here which is used is very interesting, considering He was referring to the Jewish people who had betrayed their countrymen by cutting a deal to work with the Roman officials to extract and extort Gods people.

If an individual still refuses to repent of their sin and submit to God, He still has commands for us.

Ephesians 5:11-17

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

1 Timothy 5:20-21

“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”

The Word of God stands in stark contrast to the way most churches deal with sin… and sadly this is the case with First Baptist Church of Festus Crystal City. You see I think Dr. McClain kind of was obedient. He did do some things… he did go to the MBC president Dr. Yeats and together they made the decision to remove my father Kerry from his position representing the MBC at the capital (a position, they were very careful to explain was basically a verbal agreement formed through the CLC). But here is where something happened.

I started meeting with Dr. McClain in June of 2015 after discovering my father’s secret relationship with Spring. We met off and on through the end of the year, and I followed up with him repeatedly until the end of the legislative session in May of 2016. All in all, for 11 months we had an ongoing dialogue. That my friends, was a lot of time, tears, and prayer.  I met personally with Dr. Yeats in Jefferson City in the early months of 2016, and he recounted for me his personal conversations with my father in which my father was informed that he would no longer be publicly speaking on behest of the convention. As time went on things continued to disintegrate. My father has refused to speak to me since December of 2015. Despite my pleas for him to repent, and in spite of the fact that I had gone to him in private (multiple times) begging him to repent; in love desperately seeking that he would be reconciled to God, so that our relationship could be healed, he has refused to do so. He has ignored the fact that my brother and I both sat down with him, calling him in love and tears to repentance. His first response was to attempt to pacify me by telling me he was going to turn MFN over to me (which I never asked for) and finally place my home in my name, but also failed to follow through with anything he pledged to do, setting himself up with the legal authority to remove my family and me from our home.

Partial obedience is disobedience

1 Samuel 15 tells us about King Saul being given a direct command from God. Saul then goes out and does… most of it. King Saul does most of what God commanded, but decided that he knew better than God. God responded in 1 Sam 15:22-23 by saying

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Partial obedience is in fact disobedience; it is nothing more that rebellion before God Himself. Let me phrase that a little bit differently for you… “To not act is to act”.

The hardest part of this whole mess has not been the abuse and betrayal of my own father. It has not been losing my home and career. It has not been the long-term trauma of my mom’s missing persons case, or the years of searching.

It was realizing that Dr. McClain and the MBC, as far as I can tell, chose partial obedience.

I was getting concerned that the MBC was more interested in making sure that they had covered their backside than being obedient when I tried to follow up with Dr. Yeats in 2016. When I finally was able to reach him, he recounted a completely different version of his conversation with my father. A new version which completely whitewashed the very issues which we were attempting to deal with. Furthermore, when various media reached out to the MBC, they chose to tell a third version of why my father was no longer representing them, this time fabricating the story that it was due to budget cuts.

It is with the deepest heartbreak that I tell you that when I met with Dr. McClain days after my father fired me, he chose a side.

I am not telling you this because I am angry and lashing out, nor am I out for blood as some have accused me of. I am telling you this because I believe that I have a biblical responsibility to tell you. For the same reason that I chose to publicly “expose” the sin that my father has become involved in. Someone else’s disobedience is not an excuse for you to be disobedient too. We are responsible to God Himself to be obedient. No matter what.

In May of 2016 I believe Dr. McClain chose to lie. I think he chose to outright lie about the content of 11 months of meetings, and place himself firmly in support of my father. He has not chosen to follow the biblical outline for dealing with sin, choosing rather to be partially obedient. He has done just enough to pacify his own conscience. When I asked him about going before the church, or least of all the deacon body he said “that’s not even going to happen.”  It was not biblical for him to tell me to not tell anyone else at church anything about the investigation, and it was not biblical for him to respond to my tearful voicemail begging him to please call me, but instead he waited a few weeks before emailing me and telling me I should find someone else to counsel with.

This is why we left First Baptist Church of Festus Crystal City. Not because of my father, but because of what I considered blatant, unbiblical actions and the chosen path of Pastor McClain.

I would be amiss if I did not also point out that there are still a tremendous amount of good people who still attended there. PLEASE do not misinterpret my public calling out of church leadership as condemnation of a whole church body. I am well aware of the manner in which information has been used to manipulate and keep people in the dark. For those members who truly have no idea what has been going on behind the scenes, I am truly sorry. I love all of you, and the deepest desire of my heart is that we may all be reconciled. I know there are godly people at First Baptist, many of whom I am still in regular contact with. Some of them have even reached out to me here and there and I look forward to their warm embrace when we see one another around town. I even had one brother reach out to me once, and I hope that as the months go on his schedule would open up enough for him to continue our conversation.  But it is sickening to hear the ongoing criminal investigation of my father regarding my mother’s death and disappearance referred to as a “family dispute.” To do so is to completely disregard and devalue my mother’s life and ministries. All while gravely downplaying open disobedience to Gods commands. I would truly like to have conversations with Dr. McClain about these issues but I fear that is not an option. The last two times that I saw him publicly, he looked right into my eyes, his face got red, and he started breathing heavy… then he physically turned his body away from me and refused to acknowledge my existence. The second time he did this I knew that it was not a case of mistaken identity.

So here is the bottom line. What are you going to do about the memorial service that is being planned at First Baptist? Remember, people don’t typically have another funeral just because they missed the first one. This is not about my mother; this is not about honoring her. If you truly seek to honor her, then walk in obedience, stand for the Word of God. Refuse to accept partial obedience, stand up for Truth. I would encourage you to follow the biblical outline, start with yourself. And in that time of self-examination ask yourself “what if it was my mom?” or sister… or daughter. How would you react to the news that the church leaders who lied to you and withdrew their support from you in the most desperate time you have ever been in, had decided to put together another service without any family involvement. But most importantly, how should you biblically respond?

08/12/2017 3 PM, I would add two things to this in response to various comments I have read.
1. I’ve heard people say for almost 3 years now that my father has not been charged with a crime yet so what can the church really do?
This is very problematic from a biblical standpoint. Go back and reread 1 Cor 5 and Mat 18. Then message me and point out to me where the Word says something about charges being filed. It’s not there. We have to stop confusing sin, with the term “crime”. Crime is sin, but legally not all sin is considered a crime. Is it a crime to cheat on your wife? Nope. Is it a sin? ABSOLUTELY. So we must stop thinking about our biblical responsibility in terms of man’s law, because it is about obedience to a higher law- Gods law.
2. There isn’t really anything more that the pastor of First Baptist can do.
Wrong. Biblically, if you are a member of First Baptist you are under the spiritual leadership of the pastor. The pastor (also referred to biblically by terms like “Shepherd” and “overseer”), is required by the Word to bring sheep who have wandered back into the fold… not passively offer lip service and watch the sheep walk off a cliff.
I would encourage Dr. McClain to have the Biblical and moral fortitude to “reign in” my father and not allow him to continue to control this service they way he is.

 

Click link ‘LYNN MESSER’ in margin for more articles.

#JusticeForLynn fundraiser: YouCaring

The pastor that ignores an abuser’s profound and hateful lack of love, in order to deal with a relatively minor fault with the victim, has allowed themselves to be manipulated into becoming an instrument of cruelty in the abuser’s hands.

~Psalm 82 Initiative (Facebook forum)

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Lynn Messer: 1st Forensics Results

Lynn

The pathology and forensic test results are beginning to be released by investigators.

Here is what the family has been told so far:

Lynn has really been gone the entire time and her body has been exposed to the elements the entire time. Police said it just confirmed what they already knew. There were no other specifics, which leaves many questions.

This laid to rest questions and thoughts that have occupied Lynn’s loved one’s minds. Such as, if Lynn had left of her own will, wandered off, and came back after organized searches.This disproved that idea.

A reminder to my readers: The soil samples are what we have been praying about…See: Lynn Messer: Reversal of Destiny

 

KFVS 12 just updated this: According to Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff Gary Stolzer, a medical examiner in St. Louis said that she does not believe Lynn’s bones moved since she disappeared. Stolzer said that would indicate that her body remained in the same spot since she disappeared in July 2014.

March 24, 2017, 5:00 p.m. update:

I’m learning that there may be some conflicting headlines regarding today’s report. Not all forensics and pathology reports are in right now and it may require putting multiple reports together to reach conclusions. So my understanding is…today’s report from The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office states it appears Messer’s body was out there for the two year time period.

Someone may have jumped the gun on this statement being the same as… the body was located at that same spot the full two years. The soil samples are not in yet.

I’m sticking to my original statement, Lynn has really been gone the entire time and her body has been exposed to the elements the entire time.

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Aarron Messer: In His Own Words

This is a letter Aarron Messer posted on his personal Facebook page last month. He has agreed to share it with my readers.

 

“I waited till after I spoke with my brother before sharing this. My brother and I were raised in the same home but while we are close in age we experienced greatly different impressions of our parents over the past few years. You may not find that when you get done reading this but my world has been turned upside down and I am just trying to grasp it.

This article, Daily Journal Online: Son shares another perspective on disappearance is his (Abram’s) story—his sentiment. I can’t say there isn’t another side to much of the content of the stories he shares; there is. I know that the content is true even though I didn’t see it as abuse at the time. However, from my perspective there are things you should know.

My ex-wife and I don’t agree on much, but you can ask her—I have always felt that the most important thing to me in my former marriage was to not be my father. I have never wanted to make excuses but I never knew a different set of parents than mine. So I only knew them as they were, while I never liked my father’s dominant control over my mother it was just the way it was and it was what my mother accepted.

I was just as blind to the abuse as I am sure my mother was. I have always considered my father’s attitude toward my mom as off and distasteful. I have been very frustrated and angry at him in the past for the way he treated her in private. To be completely open with you when I married at 19 I was desperate to treat my wife any way but the way he treated my mom.

The little things like the way he called her, “woman.” The way he referred to her in an analogy in a family wide text message after my mother’s hip replacement surgery, when she had trouble and had a fever, he didn’t tell us mom has a fever, he jokingly talked about her as if she was a car at the mechanic and her temp was running high. It made my stomach sick.

A few years back when I was pastoring, my mother had a rather lengthy private discussion with me about wives and submitting to your husband biblically. She expressed concern because she believed it was her duty to do what her husband says even if it meant doing something you believed to be sinful because it was on your husband if he told you to do wrong. Your duty is to obey him. She was seemingly shocked when I objected and told her,
“No absolutely not. It doesn’t excuse you from doing wrong.” She told me her “friend” was forced to do sexually repulsive acts and participate in viewing pornographic material with her husband because he told her too and it was her duty to obey. She didn’t really feel that it was right to do those things but that the wife couldn’t be guilty of doing something wrong if she was just submitting to her husband.

I heard many a time as a young man before I got married the instructions from my dad repeated by my mom to pick a young one so you can train them right. It was disgusting and laughed off, “Oh that’s Kerry making a joke.” My parents met when my dad was a high school senior and my mom was 14. The story I was always told was that my mother ran away from home to be with my dad and they got married when she was 17.

My dad did not involve my mother in financial matters and my mom was always—always terrified of their financial state. In the last few years it became clear to me that my dad kept her from knowing financial affairs because he had to be in control. Despite my best efforts, that behavior followed me into my marriage and was a major contributor to the deterioration of my marriage. I know that I thought I was protecting my wife…she can’t panic about what she doesn’t know; after all that was what my dad did.

In the past few weeks before mother disappeared she was panicking about the steers, and their finances. She told her grandchildren that the grain to feed those steers had cost so much money that the kids probably wouldn’t make a dime after they paid their grandpa back. Of course this was nonsense; more of my dad keeping her in the dark. It wasn’t a joke…my dad refused to tell my mom what was in the bank. As he would put it, “She can’t handle that.”

There was good.

I can’t remember a time where my parents didn’t start their day taking a bath together and doing their daily devotional together in the bath tub. The arguments and disagreements weren’t ugly because my mother complied. My wife did not. In retrospect, she shouldn’t have. I don’t regret that my wife wasn’t submissive, but that I had been taught she was expected to be. My mother may have been trained, she may have been brow beaten and conditioned into compliance, but my mother was absolutely devoted to my dad. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t abuse.

I have always known in my heart that the way my dad dominated my mother was wrong. But I allowed myself to believe it was just the way their relationship was. She chose to be with him. She believed she was doing the right thing. Of the many wrongs my mother experienced—not recognizing the signs of abuse and not helping her is one of my biggest regrets.

Even now, looking back…conversations, parenting decisions, jokes such as, “we don’t believe in divorce, murder yes—divorce no,” they all take a new light. I am reconsidering my childhood all over. Still, none of this makes my dad guilty of murder. None of it answers where is my mom, did dad do something too her? It is truth and it pulls back an ugly curtain and shines the light on every dark blotch of my parent’s lives. I don’t want my mother to be thought of as an abused, depressed wife driven to suicide.

Doesn’t every child want to see their parents as perfect? What do you do when one disappears and the other one is the only suspect?

I have said this before and it’s the plain truth, when the police asked me what I would think if my dad hurt my mom, “anyone is capable of anything.” I don’t have evidence. If they do then use it to file charges. Where is my mom? I haven’t a clue today anymore than I did 2 years, 14 days and 18 hours ago. My attitude hasn’t changed. My dad has destroyed his own reputation and I am sick to my stomach, but get it right folks; he did this too himself. He has had every opportunity to come clean, to let the truth be told, and he has always chose to keep the public in the dark…hide the real you…don’t air that dirty laundry.

He has managed his public image and your impression of him for 30 years. He isn’t going to change today. Maybe that’s the real mistake my brother and I have made, thinking that finding our mother is more important than what you think about my dad. If you can’t tell, Find Lynn Messer has nothing to do with finding her, just managing your impression of the grieving husband. Ignore the replacement for her that he’s had for the past 100 weeks, of 106, since she disappeared.”

Aside

How To Get Unstuck During The Christmas Holiday: Guest Post

How To Get Unstuck During The Christmas Holiday

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I cancelled Christmas.

Or at least that’s what I was accused of.

Several years ago, Christmas fell on a Sunday and I challenged our church family to spend Christmas visiting people they wouldn’t normally visit to give gifts to people they normally wouldn’t give gifts to.

Instead of coming to church that Sunday I challenged them to be the church. Jesus came to us in person. So what better way to capture the incarnation than to go to people in person.

I didn’t feel like I was canceling Christmas. I felt like I was promoting Christmas.

A week before Christmas, an 8-year-old Jesus follower in our church, named Jacob, went door to door in his neighborhood making himself available to do odd jobs. He took all the money he earned and all the money he had saved in his piggy bank and went to the mall to buy the nicest winter coat he could find.

The reason?

His buddy at school stood on the playground during recess in an old over-sized sweatshirt shivering because his parents couldn’t afford to buy him a coat.

So on Christmas morning, Jacob handed his buddy a $160 North Face Coat and said, “Jesus wants me to give this to you!”

He then generously reached into his pocket and pulled out $37 and said, “This is all the money I have left and I want you to use it to buy whatever your family needs.”

Across town a 6-year-old girl named Rebecca baked brownies and stood at the entrance to the library at the University of Kentucky on Christmas morning and gave a free brownie to any college student who walked by during finals week.

“Why are you giving away free brownies to total strangers?” a Muslim student stopped and asked.

Rebecca is sassy. So she put her hand on her hip, and with a “no duh” kind of tone said, “Because Jesus wants me to. That’s why!”

Little did she know that this Muslim student had been wrestling with what he believed and had been questioning the tenants of his faith for over 2 years. Dumbfounded by her emphatic response he said, “Can I come to church with you?”

“Sure you can!” she blurted out without consulting her parents.

So here’s my favorite part–instead of bringing this PhD student into the big room with all the big people on Sunday, she took him into her children’s ministry environment where he sat on the floor and heard a lesson about Jesus’ love for Zacchaeus.

After months of sitting and listening he took a stand for Jesus and was baptized. His family told him they would kill him if they ever saw him.

As scary as that threat sounds, he’s safe.

He’s safe because he’s saved.

And all of it happened because a little girl partnered with Betty Crocker and the Holy Spirit.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

When we express the love of Jesus in simple ways, people express their need for him in beautiful ways.

I challenged our church family to go to every restaurant in town on Christmas and buy as many meals for strangers as possible and leave as many big tips as possible.

One high school student went to the bank and emptied out his savings account. He had been saving for a car. He went to the Waffle House and as he got to know his waitress, he felt like God was saying, “She needs help.”

So he ordered a $.75 cup of hot chocolate, then put $1,000 in an envelope, stuck the envelope between the salt and pepper shaker, went outside and hid in the bushes to watch her reaction. When she opened it, she put her hand over her face and started to cry. So overcome by emotion, she sat down in the booth as he ran back inside and hugged her.

He learned that she was a single mom trying to raise two teenagers by working three jobs. She and her children are now part of our church family and someday you’ll get to meet them because a high school student decided, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.”

Fifteen minutes later at the same Waffle House, another family from our church walked in and ordered breakfast. Their waiter was a struggling college student who was behind on his bills and had just been told that he would not be able to return the following semester until he paid off his debt. To make matters more frustrating, his car had broken down and he couldn’t afford to pay for the repairs, which meant he couldn’t get to and from work.

So the family went to the very same bank the high school student had gone to and the parents emptied one of their accounts and they took a check back to the restaurant. They wrote him a note that said, “We believe in you and want you to be able to pursue your dream of being an artist, so this should cover your debt and the next two years of college. We’ve also enclosed the keys to our car…it’s the blue Volvo sitting next to the newspaper stand outside…Jesus gave his life up for us, so it seems the least we could do would be to give you our car.”

And they walked home that day!

Like the Muslim student and the struggling single mom, that young waiter didn’t need much convincing to give his life to Jesus because he had seen Jesus in that family.

“The only thing that counts,” Paul writes, “is faith expressing itself in love.”

The only thing that counts?

Yes, the only thing!

On a lighter note, I recently applied for a job at the Waffle House in hopes that someone would give me a blue Volvo!

On a serious note, don’t just celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, be Jesus to the people who live near you by expressing his love for them in simple ways.

__________________________________________________________

Jon Weece is Lead Follower of Southland Christian Church in Central Kentucky, one of Outreach Magazine’s 100 fastest-growing churches, and author of Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does. You can connect with him on Twitter @jonweece or jonweece.com.

Photo Credit: shil via Compfight cc

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Aside

Black Bean Salsa for Your Labor Day Weekend

Tex Mex Black Bean SalsaThis Labor Day Weekend provides the perfect opportunity to use which ever fresh tomatoes you’re still harvesting from your garden. I usually plant a variety of tomatoes so I have optimal continuous harvesting through the summer season. The best time of year to eat this Black Bean Salsa is when you have fresh Roma tomatoes from the garden; although, any fresh from the garden tomato will work. If you don’t have a garden then pick up some Romas at the store. My daughter and I make this salsa throughout the year and often use store bought tomatoes.

My sister, one of the best cooks ever, introduced me to this recipe years ago and I have since adapted it to my taste bud’s preferences. I like Roma tomatoes, Serrano peppers and lots of lime juice.

Fresh ingredients

Fresh ingredients

Black Beans and Shoe Peg Corn

Black Beans and Shoe Peg Corn

chopped veggies

Chopped Veggies

Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

This Jalapeno Corer tool is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It works for any type of pepper and also cores the tops of tomatoes. My favorite use is for coring Jalapenos. Cut the tops offs and rotate the corer down inside the pepper to remove veins and seeds. This allows you to stuff the Jalapeno for baking, grilling or placing in a smoker. The Serranos above are small and need to be cut in half, then deveined and seeded one half at a time.

I ordered my Jalapeno Corer at Amazon.com. I also ordered the Jalapeno Roasting Rack for use in the oven, on the grill, or in a smoker.

Jalapeno Corer Tool

Jalapeno Corer Tool

Limes juiced

Juiced limes

Toss chopped veggies with lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder

Toss chopped veggies with lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder

Add tomatoes

Add tomatoes and mix

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

TEXMEX Recipes

Tex-Mex Black Bean Salsa

1 can black beans

1 can Shoe peg corn

1 bunch cilantro, minced

½ Bell pepper—any color, chopped

1 small or medium purple onion, to taste, chopped

4 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 Serrano peppers seeded and deveined, minced

Juice of 2 medium limes

1 T. Canola oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Drain and rinse beans and corn. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add cilantro, bell pepper, purple onion, Serrano peppers then mix in lime juice, Canola oil, salt and garlic powder. Add and mix chopped tomatoes. Serve immediately. Refrigerate left overs.

Serve with Restaurant style white corn tortilla chips or Tostidos Scoops.

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Toxic Tuesday: I Am Known As a Liar

Toxic Tuesday: I Am Known As a Liar

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

Today I am reminiscing of the road I lingered on for several years to see my former husband go to prison for sexual crimes against children.

For more on this read: Reversal of Destiny, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin, Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 1Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 2and Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 3

Sixteen years of anticipating justice was a long wait and the only reason I kept my sanity was that the Lord’s great love endures forever. And I understood His voice in my heart, soul, mind and strength telling me to trust Him because He was working. I was to keep silent, except for prayer, and wait on His sovereign timing.

God did use other people to stand up for the little children but when a defendant suffers from a narcissistic personality you can bet your bottom dollar most people will believe and defend the accused. Why? Narcissists are the best of the best actors and liars.

A few weeks ago I shared in, My Destructive Marriage, about a friend who knew the extreme depravity of my husband and yet was not able to come to terms with it. I posted the letter of rebuttal I received from this friend.

Well, George (from My Destructive Marriage) wasn’t the only person who didn’t believe me. Truth be told; I lost most of my closest friends and dozens of ministry friends. While my soon to be ex-husband made his rounds to secure believability and support; the Lord gave me His peace, provision, a supportive family, and some of the most amazing female friends for which I ever asked.

I had to live with the reputation of being a liar; of lying about my husband because that is what he told anyone and everyone who would listen. You may know the saying “People believe the first thing they hear.” This is especially true when it is the only thing they hear.

Here is another letter.

Please note as you read the below letter that the Christian association which sent out the letter did not bother to tell their supporters the charges for which my ex-husband was arrested. I think the supporters deserved the whole truth so they could make an informed decision about continued financial and prayer support.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Co-Laborers in Christ,

In past years you have read of Evangelist S in our newsletters. S joined as an Overseas Evangelist several years back and served honorably and successfully winning many souls to Christ. S was not full time, he was part time. His full time service was as the Minister of a Church in Independence, Kansas, where he preached and was loved by that congregation for over 6 years. One year and a half ago S was suddenly arrested and jailed in Independence and he has remained in jail ever since. Many of us are grieved because we believe S is 100% innocent of the charge that has been made against him. We are asking all Christians to pray for Evangelist S. He is your brother in Christ. He was baptized as a boy at the County Christian Church in Kansas, where his father and mother were among the founding members of that church. S was also ordained to the ministry by the Elders of the County Christian Church after graduating from Bible College. S’s trial will take place at the courthouse in Independence, Kansas, the first week of August. Several of us who live in Joplin and surrounding towns plan to be present for the trial and will be in constant prayer that God will lead the Defense Attorney to accurately present S’s side of the story. Please pray for S, pray for his wife, pray for the Judge and for each member of the jury. Pray that S may be acquitted so he can continue his effective work as an overseas evangelist. Thinking about the Apostle Paul. During S’s incarceration I have often written to him and he has written many letters to me. Receiving a letter from S in jail is very similar to reading Paul’s Prison Epistles in the New Testament. I want to share with you one of S’s letters:

“Dear R and E,

Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging letter I received from you. I so much appreciate the news of our evangelists’ work around the world. I am keeping these in my thoughts and prayers—and hope to join you in the work again soon. How could I possibly express how thankful I am to both of you for watching out for, comforting, and encouraging my wife through these terribly difficult times? May an abundance of grace be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:16-18). Jail has exposed me to men who have engaged in the worst of all behaviors. Many brag about their addictions to drugs and sex—the most lewd descriptions I have been forced to hear. It is sickening to hear it day after day. The word to best describe it is TORTURE! The good news is that one-by-one, they have come to me and asked questions about the Bible. There are moments of shame and despair. I pray throughout the day for all of them—for the Lord to reach their hearts.

One man, convinced that “all men are equal,” (not believing that anyone was better than him)  reacted violently toward me when I said, “Yes, I believe there are some who are better than others.” I used examples like Noah and Job and Enoch and Elijah. He nearly hit me he was so angry; he said that I was Satanic. Then after telling him that I loved him, I left the room. Later that day, I handed him a Bible reference…”Consider others more important than yourselves…” (Philippians 3:2). It amazes me how so many do not esteem others beyond themselves. Needless to say, there is little to no respect for authority. I have always had “heroes in the faith”. These men refuse to consider anyone as being better than themselves. While I understand that “all have sinned” and “all need the Savior”, there are many who are “walking in a manner worthy of their calling.” We are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” These are foreign concepts; they demand respect, but often forget to give it. The hardships are discouraging, and sometimes I lose hope—but my faith is strong. I cannot deny the Lord’s word, nor can I deny His faithfulness. Thank you again for all you are doing to help us in this difficult situation. I believe the Lord will deliver me home and restore my joy. I love you both beyond words.

S,   Psalm 103

OUR APPEAL IS THAT A LARGE ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS WILL SURROUND S WITH YOUR PRAYERS TO GOD FOR HIS ACQUITTAL.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A friend messaged me as an alert that this letter was circulating to all the world-wide prayer and financial supporters of this evangelistic association.

Weeks later, a different friend, called to tell me they had spoken with the man who wrote the letter. They pleaded with the man to step back, pray about it, research narcissistic personality disorder, and allow the law to do its job because this arrest was overdue, necessary justice and future protection for innocent children.

The evangelist found my friend’s remarks impossible to believe. He said he knew the defendant intimately from traveling the world with him on mission trips and had spent much time in prayer with him. He would consider it but doubted what he was being told by my friend.

I would like to ask this man, “How did you think I felt? I was his wife. I loved him, supported him, was intimate with him, believed him, and listened to him preach, pray and lead people to Christ week after week. It took years to rectify my heart and mind with facts—years!”

This letter literally made me sick to my stomach for multiple reasons.

This evangelist later attended the trial and the sentencing as a supporter of the defendant.

Twenty three plus years ago I knew this evangelist, and his wife, from North American Christian Conventions that I attended with my then husband; the defendant. We would visit with them at their exhibit table and eat meals together with our mutual friends; Dewey, Barbara and their daughter and son-in-law who were close friends of mine.

Did the evangelist and his wife ever wonder what happened to me? Why didn’t they inquire about why the defendant was divorced? Did they not find it odd that he had no contact with, or rights to, his biological child? Did they not remember that far back? Why did they not have questions or concerns since this man would be traveling with them to foreign countries for the purpose of working in orphanages?

I saw the evangelist’s wife stare at me multiple times in court. I wondered if she remembered me, if perhaps she thought I was an absolutely wicked woman, or if she was trying to make sense of the difference between the defendant’s first wife and second wife. I held out little hope that everything was adding up to her and she now realized the defendant’s guilt.

There is NO understanding this without understanding the influence and believability of a narcissist.

“Though I am glad this predator was finally caught and removed from having more opportunities to abuse little ones, I am sickened by the fact that the faith community has embraced him and advocates for his innocence. I have no doubt these individuals will one day be called into account for their failure to protect the vulnerable as they were too busy protecting evil. So glad that justice finally arrived…” ~Boz @ G.R.A.C.E.

The moral of my story is this: Narcissists are nearly impossible to identify. This is maddening to any woman who finds herself married to one because when she finally finds the courage to tell the nightmare she has lived through; very few people believe her since the narcissistic husband has hidden his real self to the world while letting it all hang out at home. The extended family knows, the wife knows, the kids know. The sad aspect is the wife is considered the crazy unstable person by many friends for exposing her reality when in fact, the opposite is true; the husband is unstable. Narcissists mirror all accusations toward the accuser, framing the victim as the perpetrator. Read more about this aspect of NPD here..

To this day I have people who believe I am a liar and who still believe I lied about the reasons for which I divorced my husband. This—after his conviction which led to being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. I can live with it because I know who I am, I know Who loves me, and He who loves me knows the truth. Nothing else matters.

This article is for the women out there in cyber space living a similar nightmare. Many of you arrive at GiveMe Chocolate from countries all over the globe looking for answers and help for your toxic marriage. You are not crazy, you are not alone, and you are not wrong. You are a woman of God!

“I am a woman of God

Redeemed by Jesus Christ

Loved, pursued and chosen

Equipped with words of life

Clothed in strength and dignity

Commissioned here and now

Gifted by the Spirit

Forgiven and unbound

Blessed is she who believed”

~Living Proof Live with Beth Moore

Click below to listen to the song version and commit it to memory. Next time you feel crazy or like you might lose your sanity at any moment; sing the song and remind yourself who you are according to your creator and the lover of your soul.

Click here to download this song to your computer from the Living Proof blog.

Aside

Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

I didn’t know her but I adored her heart.

Through her books, radio programs and daily devotions delivered to my email inbox she taught me about purposeful living and being a strong woman of integrity and godliness.

A quote by Elisabeth Elliot has encouraged me in this season of life while raising and homeschooling my children.

The routines of housework 

and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death,

and it is appropriate

that they should be,

for they offer the chance, 

day after day,

to lay down one’s life for others.

~Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot (née Howard; born December 21, 1926) died this morning (June 15, 2015) at the age of 88.

She was a beautiful woman of whom the world was not worthy.

Here is her brief testimony, told in her typically understated way: READ MORE: Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

E Elliot quote

Elisabeth Elliot

Aside

CHOC-O-LOTTA-LOTTA CAKE

 

CHOC-O-LOTTA-LOTTA CAKE

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

 

In honor of A.J.’s recent birthday I am sharing my recipe for his favorite Birthday cake.

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My first memory of A.J. being introduced to chocolate, post utero, was walking in the house to find Farm Boy sitting in the recliner feeding my precious little baby milk chocolate  M&M’s.  I saw A.J.’s mouth smeared with chocolate and heard his sweet little lips smack with shear baby bliss while he sucked chocolate M&M’s from between Daddy’s fingers.

A.J.’s in-utero chocolate experience began day one of conception , with a mid-night Chocolate Buffet Extravaganza aboard the ms Massdam, Holland America, cruise ship and most likely occurred every day of my pregnancy; as well as, his nursing days. The child did not stand a chance of disliking chocolate.

A.J.’s first word was Ma-Ma but shortly after he learned choc-o-loda-loda-loda.

We all adored hearing baby A.J. ask, in a deep raspy baby growl, for choc-o-loda-loda-loda. Sometimes he would get severely stuck on the lodas and say seven or eight of them. He was serious about his chocolate. Still is!

I made this cake for A.J. when he was two or three years old and he has continued to request it every year.

 

CHOC-O-LOTTA-LOTTA CAKE Recipe

Cake

1 Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge, follow recipe except instead of water add 1 cup milk.

Bake according to the directions, cool. (Aldi’s sell a terrific inexpensive Baking Spray which, in my opinion, works better than Wilton’s Bake Release Spray.)

I use Wilton’s Bake Even Strips with my cake pans to eliminate high-rise centers, cracked tops and over-cooked edges. Just dampen the strips and wrap around the pan before baking. The moisture in the strips keeps the edges of the pan cooler for level and deliciously moist cakes—every time! 

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Frosting:

8 Hershey Candy bars, place these in the freezer while mixing the frosting. If the candy bars are room temperature they turn soft when you chop them in the blender.

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese,  softened  DSCN3225

1 (16 oz.) container whipped topping

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa powder

(Keep 1 cup of mixed white frosting out of recipe before adding the cocoa to use for decorating the cake.)

Mix together

 

Take the candy bars out of the freezer and place 2 at a time in the blender or food processor.

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Fold chopped candy bars into frosting and spread on the cake. This recipe is enough forDSCN3231 frosting a 9” triple layer cake.

Chill frosted cake in refrigerator for 2 hours or more; or overnight. The frosting is delicious enough to eat by the spoonful like a thick mousse so if you have leftovers it will not go to waste.

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Some years we pipe frosting around the edges and the bottom of the cake.  You can also use extra chopped candy bar to put around the bottom edge and on top of the cake.

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A.J. is perfectly happy eating the frosting by itself.

I am perfectly happy chopping an Aldi’s Choceur Dark Chocolate Candy bar for folding into the frosting and eating it straight from the bowl!

~Enjoy!

 

Aside

Motorcycle/Camry Accident and the ICU: Part 2

Motorcycle/Camry Accident and the ICU: Part 2

Last week I described the time I witnessed seeing a motorcycle rear ended by a car.

Although I was at the scene of the accident from beginning to end, I somehow missed seeing if the patient was placed in the life flight helicopter or in the ambulance. Did he die and; therefore, not need the helicopter?

When the fire truck, which had been blocking the road, pulled away I was able to continue on in the left land. I attempted to drive away but found I was extremely emotionally distraught and not ready to safely operate my van. I pulled over at the next intersection in a gas station parking lot.

“Why,” I asked, “Why is this so profoundly disturbing me?

All these thoughts went through my mind:

  • He’s human just like me.
  • He was created by the Creator and his life has value.
  • Surely he has family. Someone loves him.
  • He needs the Lord!
  • He may die in this condition or may have already died and have no possibility of eternity with Jesus.
  • Maybe he isn’t as injured as I think he is.
  • Why don’t I take the Great Commission more seriously? This man is not the only one living in denial of, or rebellion to, the Lord. I should be this concerned about all of humanity’s eternal destinations.
  • I hope my children never drive motorcycles.

I continued in prayer, asking God to not allow my thought life to be taken over by the images and sounds of this accident.

When I finished praying I called my sister, Chasady, to tell her about the accident. I hoped talking about it would help me stop shaking; perhaps be able to change the subject and move along in my day.

I get giddy when I’m upset and when I am retelling serious or traumatic events. It is a weird quirk, I know, but it is exactly what happens to me. I wish I could explain why I sound giddy when I am truly distressed.

While my sweet sister listened to me, in all my afflicted giddiness, the ambulance pulled away leaving a view to the two flatbed tow trucks called to the scene. One of the flat beds had the motor cycle and the other had the car.

The car! I saw the car involved in the accident and realized it was a new Toyota Camry and I had heard in the news about Toyota vehicles that were accelerating suddenly without warning and causing accidents and injuries. There was an investigation going on at the time due to law suits which had been filed against Toyota. Could that be the reason the driver did not remember or know what had happened? Did the car accelerate on its own or did the driver indeed have a seizure?

Talking on the phone was not helping me to calm down so I said goodbye to my sister and sat with my eyes closed while taking deep breaths and praying. After about ten minutes my shaking had subsided enough that I thought I could safely drive to Kim’s house to reclaim my children.

My plan was to retrieve my kids and go straight home; however, my nurturing friend thought it best for me to sit down, put my feet up and receive the warmed neck-roll she had heated up for me. She had also prepared a  hot cup of calming Chamomile tea for me to sip. Then she listened to me tell some of what happened, minus the details of the injury, which were  too troubling for me to think about. Kim prayed for me then I gathered my children and drove home, taking a different route.

I spent the next few days looking for the accident information: I turned on the five o’clock news hoping to hear about the accident and the fate of the cyclist; however, it never made it to television or radio news outlets. I looked online but could not find any report or article about the accident.

I continued praying for the man every time I thought of him which was obsessively often.

Knowing that in the St. Louis region St. Johns’ Mercy Hospital receives the highest level trauma victims I called the St. Johns’ emergency room. I explained to the person who answered who I was, what I had witnessed, the time and location of the accident and that the Life Flight helicopter had come for the patient. I clarified that I just wanted to know if he had lived. I was told that the helicopter happened to be cancelled after it arrived and that the ambulance delivered the man who, at this time, remains listed as a patient. “At this time,” was emphasized. I thanked the staff person for answering the question for me. After hanging up the phone I cried over the implication of, “At this time.”

Did the helicopter get cancelled because they knew it was too late to save him? Reviewing the accident in my mind was at least an hourly reoccurrence. I really wanted to get the images, sounds and thoughts out of my mind. Why was it affecting me this way? I kept praying for the man, his buddy and family members. Family. Did he have family? I wept and wondered why this mattered to me so much?  I did not even know this man whom the Lord required me to go pray over. I did what was asked of me. It was over. Why could I not let it go? Why could I not stop praying for him?

I checked local newspapers online and finally found a small report about the accident which listed the man’s name. He was retired from his job and lived in a small town about an hour from St. Louis. The article did not mention family, did not have the accident accurately detailed, did not mention if there were any new findings regarding the driver of the car nor did the article mention anything about the ongoing investigation of Toyota vehicles that were accelerating suddenly without warning and causing accidents and injuries. The article did give me a name and with a name I could call the hospital to see if the man was still a patient. He was! Hospital information had him listed in ICU. No one answered in the ICU waiting room but the nurses’ station confirmed he was a patient and he was still alive.

My preoccupation did not stop with one telephone call. I called again that night and the next morning to find he was still in the ICU; however, late the next afternoon he was no longer a patient in the hospital. I rang the nurses’ station and told them I was a witness to his accident which was why I was interested in knowing if the man was moved to a different room or or if he had died. They informed me he was deceased and that he had never regained consciousness.

I cried again. I wanted to know, was he loved? Will he be missed? What kind of legacy did he leave?

I continued searching his name on the internet in hopes of an obituary or an update to the accident report. I found a brief notice of his death which placed his passing a day later than his last day in the hospital. I wondered, “Why was the date off by a day?” Next of kin was not listed in the obituary nor was a service or burial date.

I asked my brother-in-law, who happens to be a physician, about the discrepancy in the date of death. He told me it was possible the patient was discharged from the room and moved to an operating room to harvest organs if he was an organ donor; thus, making his death a day later.

I assumed death would be the end of my thought life fixating on the accident but it continued to consume me and I wanted to close this chapter of life and move on. Why did this bother me so deeply? I cried every time it came to mind. I felt so traumatized by something that had nothing to do with me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Little did I know God was going to renew a steadfast spirit within me. He had a tender moment in store for me.

God had also taught me a lesson that I would have to draw from; instantly, with no advance preparation in a mere six more months.

I had no idea what was coming—but God did.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Until next time…

“One reason a morning prayer time is so critical

is because we never know when a matter is going to arise

that needs attention ‘at once.’ We don’t get to deliberate

about it for several weeks and study our options.

If we’re not surrendered to God already that day

with our hearts and minds guarded by scripture, we’ll

more likely react by impulse than by the Holy Spirit.”

Beth Moore

Aside

Toxic Tuesday – Protecting Children from Predators: Part 2

Toxic Tuesday:  Protecting Children from Predators—Part 2 

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

First let us clear up misconceptions I have heard from people regarding how to identify a child predator:

Myth: “You’ll know because the hair will stand up on the back of your neck when you see or hear them.”

Truth: Most predators are someone the you know; and most often, someone you trust.

Myth: “They give off vibes; you’ll know!”

Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.

Myth: “I’ve taught my kids about ‘Stranger Danger,’ we are prepared.”

Truth: Most predators are someone the child knows; and most often, someone the child trusts.

Myth: “I know my child and I know my child would tell me if anyone tried to do something to them.”

Truth: Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999). 

Boys tend to have a more difficult time with abuse than girls and are less likely to report sexual abuse than girls. Lyon, T.D. (2002). Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation. In J.R. Conte (Ed.), Critical issues in child sexual abuse (pp. 107-138). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. (on-line:http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?65+Law+&+Contemp.+Probs.+97+(Winter+2002 )

Myth: “If they are normal looking, well-educated and/or a well-known leader they do not fit the description of a predator.”

Truth: Predators love the general public’s assumptions. This makes their attack all the easier. Child abusers come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual.

 Myth: “I can’t believe he is a molester, after all, he has been alone with my children several times and never touched them or made them uncomfortable.”

Truth: Predators are very careful in their selection so as not to get caught. They do not molest all children they come in contact with; contrary, they select few and the victimization is a gradual process.

Here is an admission from a convicted molester: When a person like myself wants to obtain access to a child, you don’t just go up and get the child and sexually molest the child. There’s a process of obtaining the child’s friendship and, in my case, also obtaining the family’s friendship and their trust.  When you get their trust, that’s when the child becomes vulnerable and you can molest the child.” (Salter, 2003, p. 42)

Myth: “Once an abuser is arrested everyone will know their guilt.”

Truth: People are too quick to believe that the accused is innocent, even if there is plenty of supporting evidence. According to Dr. Salter, “Normal, healthy people distort reality to create a kinder, gentler world than actually exists” (p. 177). Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our children. New York: Basic Books.

Myth: Molesters are usually unmarried men in need of sexual release.

Truth: They are often married; sometimes for the purpose of throwing people off their tracks. Sexual gratification is not necessarily the primary motivation for victimizing children.  Power, control and anger are often the primary motivators. Again, studies show that most predators are married or in consenting relationships.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favoring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behavior of an adult or young person if they:

  • Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
  • Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
  • Regularly offer to babysit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
  • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
  • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
  • Treat a particular child as a favorite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
  • Pick on a particular child.

*From: Parents Protect! http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm

 

Other warning signs:

  • They enjoy watching their children play naked.
  • They bathe with their children of the opposite sex past age two.
  • Play seemingly ‘innocent’ games involving bondage where the children become frightened and have to beg to be released.
  • Takes pictures of children who are not their own; at the park, at parties, in the neighborhood.
  • View child pornography. Child pornography viewing/possession is punishable by law. TURN THEM IN TO THE AUTHORITIES.

Be Alert:

  • Be alert to people, especially men, who work with youth but do not themselves have youth in the activity. If they have a strong desire to be with youth and you notice they seek affection from the youth; there is great reason for concern.
  • Watch who your children hang out with in the neighborhood, park, church or youth club. Get to know the leaders. Offer to assist with the activities.
  • Internet safety is paramount. Consider a ‘No technology’ policy in your home when guests are visiting; or keeping all technology in the kitchen within everyone’s sight. Just like a coat rack, shoe rack or bench; you could have a tech bench where all guests’ electronics are placed.
  • Consider having an ‘Open door’ policy when your children’s friends are visiting. Bedroom, office, family room doors stay open for safety purposes. You should never assume you know what goes on in another person’s home. You never know what has been said or done by a family member, relative or neighbor that a child may unknowingly act out or repeat.

Most Importantly:

Pray for and with your children. Keep avenues of discussion open and let them know how much you love them. We cannot protect them from everything by micromanaging their lives, but we can watch, listen and be proactive.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Child abuse is not a private matter and we as a society need to stop treating it as such. By doing so we protect the guilty and further damage the victim. We tend to be so, ‘hush, hush’ about it. Yes, it is ugly. Yes, it is destructive. IT IS REAL! Talk about it. Seek counseling for it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities.

If you suspect abuse; do not ask your child questions. Allow a trained professional to interview them. Asking questions is considered leading the witness and the issue will most likely be thrown out in a court of law.

If your child tells you of abuse inflicted on them…

  • Keep calm.
  • Tell the child you believe them.
  • Show interest, care, and concern.
  • Reassure and support the child.

Take action – it could save a child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency AND to your local police/sheriff. Also seek professional help from a pediatrician and a licensed child psychologist.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 What does an online predator “look like”?

1) Blends into society

2) Is typically clean cut and outwardly law abiding

3) Is usually white, middle-aged or younger, and male

4) Uses position in society to throw off suspicion

5) Can rise to be a pillar of society while actively pursuing children

6) Often engages in activities involving children

7) Appears trusting to both parents and child

 “One of the devices that predators use in the interactions with kids is sending them explicit photos of themselves.  What they’re trying to do is sort of deaden the nerve endings.  They’re trying to beat down the resistance.  It’s part of the grooming process to normalize what they’re trying to do.  And it’s pretty insidious.”

— Ernie Allen, President & CEO, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 Grooming:

Remember: The ultimate goal of the “groomer” is to arrange an in-person meeting to engage in sexual relations with the child or teen!

For more internet safety tips go to: http://www.internetsafety101.org/profileofapredator.htm

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Predators are in all professions.  Unfortunately, we have seen doctors, lawyers, law enforcement and clergy.  There is really no common trait.  In fact, many of them are drawn to those particular professions which give them access to children.”

 —Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. District Attorney, Western Pennsylvania. Enough IS Enough

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All of this information is magnified when a mentally ill predator enters in to the scenario.

For the difference between a molester and a pedophile see a previous post:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Psalm 5 – A prayer for the children. A petition for child abusers/molesters/pedophiles to be found guilty in a court of law.

Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
Hear my (the children’s) cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
    you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

images

MORE RESOURCES:

EIGHT COMMON MYTHS ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE (#7 & #8 are must reads if you have doubt about a child’s accusation of child molestation.) http://leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/csa_myths.html

CHILD MOLESTER MYTHS:  http://www.child-safety-for-parents.com/child-molester.html

http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/ is a top notch resource for parents who want to protect and/or help an abused child.

I also have Christian resources listed in the right margin of my blog. Hover over each entry to see the details for each link.

Aside

Peanut Butter Cup Bars Recipe

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

Peanut Butter Cup Bars Soothe Super Bowl Wounds

Super Bowl season could not have been more exciting for this Denver Broncos fan. Until the game that is.

After 20+ years I still am, and will always be, a Broncos fan.

And that’s all I have to say about the game.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But the food—well there is always plenty to discuss regarding the food; including, forgetting about eating Gluten Free  when I saw the Jalapeno Poppers come out of the oven. I couldn’t see straight or think straight. I wanted, I had to have; hot, ooey-gooey, cheesy Jalapeno Poppers. I was so overcome with glee at the sight that, “Wrong. Bad decision. Don’t eat those. Alert! Alert!” never entered my mind. An unknown force took over and before I realized what was happening I was half way through my second popper. Then I remembered, “Gluten, these are coated with wheat.”

I felt like a teenager experiencing the rush of an unknown force; otherwise known as, out-of-control hormones. My middle-age female hormones were screaming for one of my favorite appetizers.

I am resolved to never again lose my mind to the sound of Jalapeno Poppers seductively calling my name. The attraction is over!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The week before the Super Bowl required making decisions on what food to take to the party, compiling a shopping list and going to the grocery store.

My friend, Kim, always makes certain there is a delicious spread of food for her guests. Some attend the party for the food and some of us attend for the game.  We all attend because we enjoy each other’s company.

While preparing food Saturday; including, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (I posted this recipe last week) I realized I did not have enough hours in my day to make everything on my list. Then, Colson added that he wanted to make homemade chocolate peanut butter candy to take to the Super Bowl party.

That is when I remembered my,  “Chocolate Emergency Preparedness” stash which included a case of Chocolate Almond Bark. Almond Bark! It is always easy and quick. It does take time to melt but I had plenty of other recipes to mix and bake during the wait. Plus my boys were helping me in the kitchen and Colson would take care of collecting the ingredients and mixing the dough/batter.

DSCN2999(Left)My helpers were busy using the side of a pan as a magic mirror. They laughed hysterically while making silly faces in the concave and convex curves of the pan. Free entertainment for boys.

I placed my double boiler on the stove with water in the bottom pot; on medium heat.  I Double Boileropened a package of Almond Bark and placed it in the top pot along with two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stirring occasionally until melted. If you do not have a double boiler you may find alternative options in my, “Chocolate Almond Bark Recipes: There Might Be a Run on Chocolate!” post. (I’ve included 3 pictures of different options.)

Double Boiler using a pot and bowl Double Boiler with 2 saucepans

We lined a jelly roll pan, bottom and sides, with wax paper. (A jelly roll pan is known to some as a four-sided cookie sheet.)

We poured half the melted chocolate into the jelly roll pan and, for the sake of speeding up the process, placed the pan flat in my freezer.

Ten minutes later we spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire pan of chocolate and returned the pan to the freezer. I wanted the peanut butter firm before pouring heated chocolate over it. Then we poured and spread the remaining chocolate on top of the peanut butter and returned it to the freezer for ten minutes.

It came out looking like a giant candy bar. I used a sharp knife to cut it into 1 ½ inch X 3 inch bars.

DSCN2992I don’t know who enjoyed the bars more, the adults or the children, but they could not stop eating the Peanut Butter Cup bars and said they tasted just like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. I returned home with an empty plate which hours earlier held a pan full of bars.

DSCN3005The worst part about me cooking and baking in the kitchen is that I make many of my recipes up as I go. Then when someone requests the recipe I have to recall the ingredients and measurements. Fortunately, I usually do not forget chocolate recipes. Here it is:

PEANUT BUTTER CUP BARS

2 cups peanut butter

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups confectioners’ (powder) sugar

1 package chocolate Almond Bark

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Melt the Almond Bark and chocolate chips in a double boiler. Do not add liquid or oil to melted Almond Bark. It will ruin the consistency and make it crumbly. Extract flavorings are fine.

Cream together the peanut butter, melted butter and confectioners’ sugar in a medium mixing bowl until a uniform consistency is achieved.

Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper.

Spread half of the melted chocolate in the entire bottom of pan and allow it to harden.

Spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire pan of chocolate and place in fridge or freezer to allow the mixture to chill.

Pour the remaining half of chocolate over the peanut butter and spread until all the peanut butter mixture is covered.  After it hardens, use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 ½ inch X 3 inch pieces. When placing in a container or on a platter place a sheet of waxed paper between the layers of bars for easy removal.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Peanut Butter Cup Bars will make your taste buds happy! Gluten Free taste buds will be super happy!

Aside

Toxic Tuesday: Pedophile or Molester?

Toxic Tuesday: Pedophile or Molester?

Today’s Toxic Tuesday post will discuss child predators/pedophiles/molesters. Not all toxic people are pedophiles but all pedophiles are toxic. Pedophiles prey upon children simply because they can.TOXIC TUESDAY warning

What does a pedophile look like? They don’t necessarily look like a creepy, dirty or unkempt person; in fact, they usually dress nicely to attract children to themselves. Examples we have heard of in the news over the last two years are: athletic coaches/personnel, teachers both male and female, pastors and priests, a bus driver, Sunday School teachers, babysitters, neighbors, friends, day care workers, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, a spouse, a shopper in Wal-Mart, swimmers at water parks…are you understanding how far-reaching abuse goes? It could be anyone anywhere at any time.

Why do pedophiles molest?

They have an unnatural sinful desire which could stem from their own childhood trauma, from viewing pornography and/or from mental illness. I am in no way saying that all mentally ill people molest; they do not, the thought never enters their mind. But mental illness can be a contributing factor for some pedophiles.

They are hurting flawed individuals who do not have the courage to seek help and healing; or if they do seek it—the dark memories are so overwhelming they choose to leave them where they are instead of bringing them into the light.

Many pedophiles in a position of authority often know a child’s mental state and family conditions because a parent confides in them; believing that the teacher, pastor, neighbor, friend, or (you fill in the ___________) will have the child’s best interest at heart.

They love the trill of not being caught. For many; they want to be caught and even leave clues yet are exhilarated when they are not discovered.

The most alarming reason, to me, that predators prey on children is society’s silence. People decide to cover it up, not report it or not believe it. Always believe the child. Do not confront the abuser. Report the abuser and allow the law to investigate. “Easy Lie = “No, it didn’t happen” / Most Difficult Lie = Detailed report of a traumatic event. False allegations of child abuse are rare.” netgrace.org.  Many people want no involvement in the process of bringing an offender to justice. Why? It is emotionally draining, judicially slow and financially difficult. There is rarely an eyewitness who saw what happened to the child. By the time the child tells what happened to them, if ever they tell what happened to them; the DNA evidence is usually washed away.  97% of rape cases are never reported. According to dosomething.org; 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. This statistic holds true for the Christian community. 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68 percent are abused by a family member. Many adults believe the pedophile/molester over the victim; telling the victim to shut up and stop causing problems. Silence is breaking children.

You may be asking, “Is there a difference between pedophiles and molesters?” The answer: Yes.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 Pedophiles and Child Molesters: The Differences (calcasa.org)

Although virtually all pedophiles are child molesters, not all child molesters are pedophiles. Pedophiles have a clear sexual attraction for children. The focus of a pedophile is a child or children generally under the age of 13. Pedophiles often report they are attracted to children in a particular age range (DSM-IV). Child molesters are sexual offenders who have committed either intra-familial sexual offense (incest) against a child victim or extra-familial sexual offenses against a child victim or both.

Pedophiles:

* True pedophiles may abuse family members, but the majority of their offenses is extra-familial and is directed toward vulnerable children whom they court or groom for the purpose of victimization. Their relationships with children are based on exploitation of the children for sexual gratification.

* Offenders, who seek out children to victimize by placing themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters, can have hundreds of victims over the course of their lifetimes.

* Pedophiles, especially those who molest boys, or both boys and girls, are the sex offenders who have the highest recidivism (relapse) rates after incarceration and/or treatment.

* Pedophiles frequently are uncomfortable with adult intimacy and may spend their lives maneuvering to be near children. They may be extremely charming and skilled at manipulating adults, and they may use adult relationships to gain access to children.

* The pedophile may spend years working up to a position of authority and trust within a church, school, or youth organization in order to have access to children. Of course, most such individuals (clergy, teachers, youth leaders) in these types of authoritative positions have no sexual interest in children.

Child Molesters:

* The non-pedophilic molester is someone whose primary sexual orientation includes adults, but who may molest children in a maladaptive attempt to meet emotional needs.

* Research has found that many men who molest their own children or related female children have sexual interests that are indistinguishable from those of non-offending males.

* Data suggest incestuous offenders, regardless of the gender of the victim, have lower numbers of victims and are less likely to be rearrested for new sex crimes after they have been convicted.

* A child molester may turn to a child for sex out of a perceived inability to be close with an adult partner, out of poor self-esteem, or to escape feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. This type of offender usually has had appropriate (but often dysfunctional) relationships with peers and may be married.

* Outcome studies have demonstrated consistently low rates of recidivism (relapse) for incestuous offenders.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

New studies are showing many pedophiles, mostly male but some female, choose their field of study/career path according to which profession will give them authority over children and easy access to children.

The continual increase in the use of internet pornography is alarming. Males, females; children and adults, have instant access to it. Hearts will continue to harden, brain chemistry will continue to change since addiction always requires—more— requires different. One view of porn can lead to another; can lead to more wrong choices which lead to a seared conscience. Victims become no more than objects in an abuser’s life because emotional relationships have been replaced with images and fantasy. Because of the seared conscience the victimizer does not believe they are doing anything wrong; and may even believe the child deserves it.

If the perpetrator has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and/or is a sociopath they have no other point of reference than themselves. They believe the world and everything/everyone in it exists for their needs and wants. They live their life on stage acting according to how they believe their audience, at the moment, wants to see them. They often are charming, have terrific personalities, ooze compassion, can be dynamic speakers/preachers and are Academy Award worthy actors. When backed in a corner or caught; they have the ability to talk their way out of everything. Here me: They could violate you, violate your child, burn down your house in front of your very eyes and then; with a few hours and persuasive words, convince you they did not do it, someone else did it, and they were set up to look guilty. The worst part: You would believe them. That is how good they are with words and acting.

Next week’s Toxic Tuesday will address: What child predators look for when choosing a victim, ways you can protect your child, and symptoms of child sexual abuse.

If you are in danger or you have a child being abused, please leave immediately and seek help. Instances of children making up stories of child abuse are rare. Always believe the child. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse, and a link for Christian survivors.

Aside

Toxic Tuesday: The Therapeutic Separation and Child Protection

TOXIC TUESDAY warningThe Therapeutic Separation and Child Protection

The most important piece of advice I can give you is; pray. Daily. Hourly.  Whenever you think about it.

Buy a spiral index card notebook and write your favorite scriptures in it; along with, pertinent scriptures.  Keep the notebook in your purse so it is always with you. This way no matter the impossible scenario confronting you; the only thing you need to be concerned about is using your scripture notebook to help you pray to Jesus, with whom you hopefully have a personal daily relationship. Allow Him do the work.

I recommend a therapeutic separation only as a last resort to help the person in crisis.

Your goal is to bring your spouse to repentance, restore the marital relationship and provide emotional healing.

If you have a child, or children, and safety is of concern this will prove to be a difficult undertaking.

This is a subject that will vary state by state and country by country. The internet will be a helpful tool in your search. Many law firms offer a free fifteen minute consultation via a phone conversation or a free thirty minute consultation if you go to their office.

The first and most important piece of advice is DO NOT imagine a judge, attorney, doctor or officer of the law will actually know their law or profession like the actors on TV shows or the movie stars on the big screen. It will not happen because shows and movies are not real life. The professionals you seek help from do not know everything, will not remember everything and will not put all the information together correctly. Very few are capable of doing a near perfect job and those who can get the job done are usually in higher positions than the general public has access to.

You are your child’s best advocate so do not assume someone else will care about their safety and protection as much as you do.

I recommend that you make a list of questions and call law firms for the free consultations. Ask different attorneys some of the same questions because you might be surprised at the different answers you receive. Keep using your free phone calls until your questions have been answered. Take good notes during your phone conversations and then decide if you want to retain one of the firms you talked to or if you need to pursue free consultations, in person, at other law firms.

If you are asking an attorney about a specific law; ask them for the statute name or number. I know someone who called several law offices asking about a law they had heard referenced many times but the first twelve to fifteen lawyers all said they had never heard of the law and the law did not exist. Finally an attorney recognized the law being referenced and was able to give the statute number. Needless to say, this was the firm hired and it provided a successful resolution.

Child safety is a difficult subject to breach in a Therapeutic Separation and/or Divorce because the family court judge typically frowns on accusations of child abandonment, neglect, abuse or endangerment. Voicing an opinion without physical evidence, or other eyewitness testimony, leaves the potential for the judge to dislike you and; therefore, rule against you. Many judges consider the allegations to be false and just a case of “She said. He said,” due to emotional unrest and what the judge believes to be two people saying things to spite each other or because the parents do not want to share child visitation. This is a false supposition in most cases and research is beginning to disprove this dangerous assumption.

Here is a link to one study on the topic of Child Sexual Abuse Allegations in Custody and Visitation Disputes:

http://www.missouristate.edu/assets/swk/Module-12_Handout-2_Fact_Sheet_Divorce_and_Allegations.pdf

If child abuse is going on within your marriage you need to seek professional help. Go to the doctor, a child psychologist, domestic abuse, a child advocacy center and the police. You need help and more importantly your child needs help. You need a professional to care for your child.

If abuse is taking place; your testimony of what your child told you or showed you is sometimes useless during separation and visitation proceedings. Concerns need to be brought to the court by a professional doctor. A child psychologist will tell you to not ask your child questions about the abuse. This is called leading the witness and even the doctor does not ask the child questions. Revelation comes from the child through playtime at the doctor’s office. If your child tells you or shows you something; write it down and tell the child’s doctor. Journal your concerns, dates of doctor appointments and topics discussed at the appointments.

Child victimization cases rarely produce compelling physical evidence, even when evidence is given or testimony is immediate. And with the help of the internet—abusers are becoming more careful than ever. “They avoid inflicting injury; because doing so will likely interrupt the grooming process and trigger a report. Further, the genital area is blood-rich and heals very quickly even if tissue is damaged.” Roger Canaff: Legal expert, Anti-Violence & Child Protection Advocate.

 In the past decades childhood victimization investigations have been lacking; reaching insufficient conclusions. The last few years have provided helpful training and better protection for many child victims.

I am thankful that adults and children are learning to bring their abuse to light. Satan likes to keep physical and sexual  child abuse in the dark where no one sees it. But when it is brought to the light; Satan cannot standstill for it and flees.

One of the worst mistakes adults make regarding a child reporting abuse is believing they know the perpetrator better than God does. Unfortunately, many people living with alcoholics, unknown pedophiles or untreated mental illness learn too late what has been going on in their own home. Therefore we should not assume we know what goes on in someone else’s house. What we believe we know about friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues is simply not relevant since we do not know what they are capable of and we do not know the indicators to look for. Sometimes, most times, there are no signs to be seen. Please hear me; I am in no way attempting to plant ideas in your head that someone is abusing your child. I am simply, but firmly, stating that if your child comes to you and tells you of abuse, shows you something that is sexually not age appropriate, or does something to you that is not appropriate; BELIEVE THEM!

Do not take maters into your own hands and confront the abuser. The ONLY action you should take is reporting them to the authorities; not their boss, not the church leadership, not the school administrator, not their family, not their psychiatrist or doctor; inform the law.

Innocence will be easy to prove if a child lies because their abuse accusation will have to remain the same through several interviews with multiple people and agencies to be considered credible.

“Individuals who suffer sexual abuse often develop mental illness subsequently. And, if the condition was pre-existing, it tends to make sufferers tragically logical choices for abusers who know they won’t be believed.” Roger Canaff: Legal expert, Anti-Violence & Child Protection Advocate.

If you are in danger or you have a child being abused, please leave immediately and seek help. Instances of children making up stories of child abuse are rare. Always believe the child. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse, and a link for Christian survivors.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you are actively praying about this; asking God what His heart and will is, then ask for it in the name of Jesus—you can be sure He heard you and He has a plan.

Do not take matters into your own hands. Read Genesis 15 and 16 to recount God’s promise to Abram and Abram’s wife, Sarai. “Abram believed the LORD, and God credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6. Yet Abram and Sarai did not understand God’s timing, and rightfully so if thinking by human terms, so they decided to help God along in His promise to them. One of the worst mistakes we can make is placing God in a box of when and how He can accomplish His purpose. Oh please hear me. I am shouting from the mountain top: God has no box! Be thankful!

So if you are having some crazy idea of taking your child and fleeing the country for the purpose of protecting them; do not do it! You will be found, you will go to prison, and where will that leave your child? Exactly! With the abuser who will now look like the reasonable good parent. Wait on God, even when you cannot see His timeline.

You may be asking, “What does Abram and Sarai acting prematurely have to do with me protecting my child?”

Abram and Sarai decided perhaps God meant for them to be responsible for how and when God brought His promise to fulfillment. Sarai took matters into her own hands by giving Abram her maidservant, Hagar, to have a child. Abram accepted and participated.

Abram and Sarai interfered with God’s plans.

  • Many historians place the location and identity of Abram and Hagar’s son, Ishmael, as Arab people living in Arab territories.
  • Biblically Ishmael fathered 12 sons who became leaders of warrior tribes.
  • Ishmael is mentioned over 10 times in the Quran.
  • Christianity, Islam and Judaism are historically identified as the three primary Abrahamic religions.

None of us need be history majors to realize the differences between Judaism and Islam or Christianity and Islam, and the problems exponentially created in Genesis 16-21.

Unlike Abram and Sarai, wait on the Lord to work out His plan. He is working it out—in His way, in His time, for your child’s good and to His glory. Even when you cannot see it. Learn the lesson on waiting from the text book. You do not want to learn this one the hard way!

I encourage you to take the posture of pray, wait and obey.

I am praying for you.

*I am not a professional. I am simply passing on lessons learned.

When I waited so long, when my tears were my song
With my hope nearly gone You held me God
To believe in the face of the dry, weary place
When You felt far away You held me God

Oh, there is freedom in surrender, oh I know it

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing, always singing over me

The chaos in the cause teaching me to see Lord
The beauty in the storm so I believe
When I see through Your eyes, through the testing of time
Every cloud silver lined ’cause You’re with me

Oh, there is freedom in surrender, oh I know it

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing

Give me faith
Give me strength enough to wait
To stand in faith
And listen for, listen for Your melody

Your songs have never stopped
Your songs have never stopped

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing, always singing over me

Your songs have never stopped
You’ve been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You’re singing, always singing over me
Always singing over me, always singing over me
Always singing over me

Aside

Lego Storage vs. Death by Legos

Lego Storage vs. Death by Legos

Those of you with Lego obsessed kids in your house can feel my pain; literally and figuratively.

lego

I will error on the conservative side and say we have thousands of Legos in our home.

I am certain Legos are a challenge for every mom who thrives in an organized home. Legos do not equal organization. Ever. Not possible—unless your children do not play with their Legos; in which case, I am coveting your clean floors!

I organized storage bins by color hoping this would help to keep the floor clean. I at least hoped for a path through their bedroom. Nope! They HAD to spill all the reds, blues, yellows or whatever colors they were looking for because some of the pieces were SO tiny that they could not find them in the storage bins.

I finally reached the point that I told the boys I could no longer tuck them in at night because I was not subjecting my feet to voluntary torture by Legos. They had to give me hugs and kisses at their door if I could not walk across the floor.

lego scale 1 to 10

I was certain that if I attempted to tip-toe and maneuver around the Legos I would trip in the process; thus, acquiring lasting Lego indentations all over my hands, arms, legs and face. This was not a possibility but rather a probability.

death by Legos

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I did not invent the storage drawers but every time I walked in our garage and looked at Farm Boy’s garage organizers I fantasized about tipping them upside down, emptying them and toting them off to the boy’s room. I visualized, romanticized and day dreamed about one day reaching Lego land storage euphoria and I needed the garage storage bins to do it.

DSCN2984

The best part? They work! The boys no longer scatter Lego pieces all over the floor in search of the itty-bitty, unusual or specialty pieces. The larger containers now stay sorted according to color because the boys are no longer quarrying through them looking for microscopic Legos. There are still Lego creations and works of art in progress all over their floor, but we can see the floor. Best of all, I can tuck my sons in at bedtime.

This was a win-win situation.

Stack-On 39-Drawer Storage Cabinet

The multi-drawer design allows for storage of multiple teeny-tiny, easy to lose, difficult to find Lego pieces. Clear see-through drawers provide quick identification of each drawer’s contents.  Large drawer pulls make it easy to access contents. Drawers easily pull out all the way and are a cinch to put back in place.  It easily mounts on the wall or stands on a dresser or shelving unit. A.J. and Colson move theirs around according to where they are building so I did not mount the drawers.

I found ours at Lowe’s Home Improvement for $19.96. They are originally for garage organization: Nuts & bolts, nails, screws and washers.

44 Drawer organizers can also be found but unfortunately Lowe’s did not have them when I was shopping. Below is a link of to internet company selling the 44 drawer option:

http://www.casa.com/p/akro-mils-44-drawer-plastic-storage-cabinet-black-805733?site=CA&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc_C&utm_term=WBA-006&utm_campaign=GoogleAW&CAWELAID=1920101711&utm_content=pla&adtype=pla&cagpspn=pla

This is not my child; I found the picture on Pinterest and it made me laugh hysterically. I love to laugh!

going to spank me

TRUTH!

 

Thoughtful Spot

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