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Monthly Archives: June 2016

More Deaths for Unborn Children

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Sue's Pen 2 Paper Blog


Hillary Says More Death for Unborn Children is a Victory – Is This Presidential?


News releases for today included the call of Pope Francis for us to apologize to gays and Hillary’s proclamation that the ruling of the Supreme Court to strike down a Texas abortion law was a solid victory.

Which subject should be covered in today’s issue du jour?

It was a choice between the Pope’s apostasy in mis-leading 1.2 billion Catholics or the callousness of a presidential candidate who will one day see these words in a panoramic optic of her own life and be asked what they mean.

Jesus’ words: “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in…

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ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

Serbian bread, Author Srdan Vesic (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported, GNU)

Pantomime dates as far back as ancient Rome.  A form of entertainment which conveys meaning without using words, pantomime is today generally geared toward children.

That, as it turns out, is highly appropriate.

Children – especially the youngest – lack words for many of the things they experience.  They can, however, convey information without being aware of doing so.  Most of us are familiar with the use of puppets and toys to elicit information from little ones who may have been abused [1].  Pantomime can play a role, as well.

Food and Children

Food has emotional significance for children.  Food represents nurture.  It is life.  Children require both physical and emotional sustenance.  When one is lacking, the other may serve as a temporary substitute.

Food and Abuse

This can be useful in the short term.  Even as adults, we recognize…

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My Peace I Give to You

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The birds, high above in the trees, chirp their welcome. They sing with their various whistles for all the world to hear. An ant crawls across the grass with determination, a rabbit scampers, then stops to look at me quizzically, then hops on.

The sounds of natures are all around me and the peace I feel as the cool water ripples around, over, and between the rocks downstream is calming. The smells of nature fills my nostrils. I breathe slowly in and slowly let it out.

In times when we have thoughts invade our mind or the worries of life invade causing our peace to skitter away we can take a moment and visualize our safe peaceful place. We all have an image of where we would like to be, a place that fills us with peace. Some may find that peace fills them as they sit by a flowing brook and some may find that peace standing high on a mountain top looking out over a scenic view, while others may find it as they walk a long sandy beach with the sea breeze kissing their cheek, but wherever we find it God will take us there.

In times when things seem overwhelming we can stop and take a few minutes and ask the Lord to take us to our peaceful place. He knows where it is. For me I see myself in my mind’s eye sitting under a large tree next to a flowing stream. I hear the birds, I see the rippling water and hear its sounds as it gently meanders downstream to its destination. It’s path has been determined by God and nature and to sit there quietly, with no thoughts, brings peace.

Christ said it is His peace He gives us. His peace seeps into my soul and gives me calm. It replaces the worries, it replaces the memories of the past, it fills those spaces that the enemy wants to invade. Sitting quietly, Jesus has arrived. He sits down beside me and we quietly bask in the beauty. My peace is complete.

“Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means.” 2Thes. 3:16

Blessings to you.

Booo to Lousy Dad’s.

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I don’t go to church on Father’s Day. Like many others who have had a lousy Dad I don’t want to hear all the beautiful stories of what others had that many of us didn’t. I don’t need the reminders of what I should have had, but didn’t.

There are those who had mean, alcoholic, abusive fathers. There are some of us that were abandoned and left to never know a smiling face of a father, or share the laughter and shouts at a ball game with Dad, or hear how pretty we are without roaming, pawing hands.

There are some of us that knew the harsh words and the sting of a belt across our back, legs, or butt. Some of us may have known all of the above as well as violent sexual encounters over and over and over with this man who was to love us, protect us, and grow us in the ways of the Lord Almighty.

To hear the loving testimonies can bring anger from deep within for some of us because those testimonies of love, security, and cherished memories only bring up the pain of not having had that love and sharing. We were cheated of what so many others had, and still may have, that they are honoring.

Even with healing we can still grieve that loss and feel the sadness deep within us for the day and then move on. Oh yes, we forgive. Some of us do anyway, but forgiveness does not erase the memories. It eases the pain but it does not render us with amnesia.

To hear the loving testimonies being spoken, we try to forget but it doesn’t always work. Some of us whisper to ourselves, “I’ll celebrate my Father in heaven,” that is if we have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ as our Savior. But what about those who haven’t? Who and what do they celebrate? Most probably don’t celebrate. They probably try to forget the day society calls Father’s Day. But it’s plastered all over T.V., stores have reminder banners. It’s in our face for weeks before the dreaded day.

Many do not realize that even though we have a Heavenly Father that loves us like we have never had before, that we still have, or had, an earthly father. Some may not understand this and some may take offense but no matter it be a step father, a father figure that was in our life or God Himself, nobody can replace a biological father! Even if he was never known. Why else do some want to know about their biological father? It goes deeper than curiosity.

Others can step in and love us but it’s like having a pet that we love deeply and lose, we can get another one but it never replaces the one we lost. There’s always a special place in our heart for the one lost. No matter the cruelty, abandonment, or suffering we have experienced from a biological father he cannot be replaced. God placed an in-born love for our parents within us, whether we acknowledge it or deny it or never really felt it on a conscious level, it’s there, waaaaay down deep. If it weren’t – why does it hurt so much? Why the curiosity?

God, through His Son, will give us the love we never had. He will nurture us, care for us, meet our needs, and hold us close. He is like no other father, but – He was not the one who was supposed to tuck us in our beds, He isn’t the one who was to take us to the ball game or the one who was supposed to walk us down the aisle on our wedding day. He isn’t the one who was supposed to read us a night-time story or kneel beside our beds with us in prayer.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, the Lord Almighty was at all of our various events! He saw what was going on and cried with us, laughed with us, and knew our deep seeded anger and hurt. Did we know He was there? Did we know He saw all we did and felt all we felt? The Bible says He did, and still does, whether we are aware of it or not.

So as many celebrate their earthly fathers they love, and laugh about silly incidents, and recall favorite stories there are some of us that want to wipe this “celebration of fatherhood” off the calendar. I hear the gasps and the “oh that’s so sad.” Don’t feel sorry for us!

As Christians what we celebrate is having a Father in heaven that helped us to survive all that was done to us and not having the love, care, and nurturing of a biological father.  We survived and it was by the Grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father that we did!

So while you that were/are blessed with a loving and caring biological father I’ll stay home and thank God Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit for helping me and many more survivors to survive the atrocities, to be able to deal with a painful past, to seek counseling and heal from our abusive fathers, and to grow to be adults that can laugh, cry, shout, and love others.

We may feel sad for a day but His mercies are new every morning and we can still rejoice and move on.

Happy Father’s Day to my Father in Heaven.

Blessings to you.

Sunday Morning Morality

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A Lawyer's Prayers

Rally to raise awareness of sexual violence on campus, following rape report, Johnson Hall, University of Oregon, Author Kamala McCullum (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Two campus rape cases have recently been in the news:

  • In the Turner case, a Stanford athlete convicted of raping an intoxicated woman at a fraternity party was sentenced to 6 months in jail [1].
  • In the McClure case (a Title IX action), victims at the University of Kansas assert the school took little or no action when they reported having been raped [2].

The vast majority of men would never inflict inflict violence – sexual or otherwise – on a woman.  The question arises:  Why did ethics and morality not act as deterrents, when the crimes in question took place?  Why do some men who seem well-adjusted feel no compunction about raping the women in their lives, if the opportunity arises?

The violence directed against…

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20 Minutes

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ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

Brock Turner, a Stanford University athlete with Olympic aspirations, was convicted in March of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at a fraternity party.  Turner was caught in the act, and chased down by two witnesses.

Though facing up to 14 years in prison, Turner received a six-month sentence [1].  Even this slap on the wrist was viewed as excessive by his father.  Dan Turner had opined, in a letter to the court, that jail time would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action” [2].

While it is difficult to overstate the sheer stupidity of this remark, the remark itself is extremely revealing.  Clearly, here is a father who taught his son nothing about ethics or morality, since he himself cannot grasp the violation that occurred.  Evidently, women are merely to be viewed as sexual conquests…a convenience – like party favors – particularly if they are unconscious…

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We change our minds, we change our clothes, but . . .

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The Problem With Compassion.

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The Problem With Compassion

Shannon Gallagher  Writer, editor, and content coach. 24/7 love abiding citizen.

Shortly after the birth of my daughter I had a series of very uncomfortable, heartbreaking realizations about my own mother. Being the information-obsessed Gemini that I am, I read every book, article, and blog post I could about maternal narcissism in an attempt to rationalize and analyze and intellectualize my way out of all of the feelings (as is my way). I was in the initial “shock” stage of grief. Shocked that my experience was an experience. Shocked that it was not unique. So not unique that there were professionals who’d dedicated their entire career to researching and helping people like me.

As much as I identified with the intimate descriptions provided in these texts, I kept getting stuck on the word “codependent.” I was more than stuck, I was downright insulted. It felt like my whole life I’d been struggling to establish independence and autonomy — how could I be codependent? Then one day, someone explained codependence to me in a way which I will never forget. It went something like this:

Imagine you have this house — your dream house. The house and everything in it fills you with joy, and you work diligently to keep it clean and organized. You are comfortable there. One day, your mom/partner/friend is coming for a visit. You see them coming down the road, straining under the weight of a ginormous sack, quadruple their size. You walk out on the porch to meet them. “Come help me with this thing, it’s heavy!” they shout. You suggest they just put it down. They refuse. As they get closer you catch a whiff of what approaches. It smells awful. Putrid. Nauseating. You start to panic. Are they bringing that to your house? They reach the porch with their giant bag of trash and again ask for your assistance in bringing it inside. “Why don’t you leave that outside? It doesn’t need to come in,” you plead. They balk at your insistence. “No, it comes in. I want it with me. I feel better when it’s with me.” You nervously insist. “But I just cleaned, and it seems like it will make a really big mess.” They aren’t having it. “It comes in with me. I need it. It will be fine.” With a sigh of defeat, you open the door and they haul their trash inside. You hurry about, opening windows, lighting scented candles and incense, but the stink rapidly seeps through the house. Before you know it, they’re unpacking some of the bag, tossing rotten garbage over their shoulder as they dig for who knows what. Their garbage spreads throughout your precious house, yet they remain oblivious to the mess they’re making. And when it’s time to go they pick up their bag — a little lighter now — and head out without offering to help clean up, leaving you in a house that smells, that feels somehow less your own, less comfortable.

That is codependence. Metaphorically, the house represents your emotional wellbeing, your life. And their bag of trash could be anything — addiction, trauma, mental illness. When you’re codependent you allow the person you’re enabling to run roughshod over your feelings, needs, and desires. They come first. Someone with healthy boundaries would firmly and lovingly say, “Hey, so glad you’re here, looking forward to our visit, but the bag stays outside.” And if that inspires anger or vitriol from the stinky bag-wielding visitor, they are welcome to leave. But the codependent is more afraid of what might happen if they say no, so they let the visitor do what they want to do and figure they’ll manage around it.

When you are raised to do this, to put the needs and feelings of others before your own, it makes for tricky adulting. It makes all relationships — friendships, lovers, work — more difficult. In part because you will continue to attract people who equate a lack of boundaries as loyalty and love, and in part because you remain so disconnected from your own feelings and needs that true happiness and contentment is always just beyond your grasp.

It’s no way to live. And so I stopped.

Over the last several years I’ve gotten very good at telling people to leave their garbage outside. So good in fact, that I haven’t spoken to my own mother for almost two years. I’m still working on some of the finer points of boundary setting — 30 years of emotional conditioning can’t be undone overnight — but in general, I no longer struggle to differentiate between what belongs to others and what belongs to me. If I catch a whiff that someone is the bring-a-stinky-bag-up-in-your-house type, I steer clear. But for me, and many others I know, the tricky piece is that in addition to my codependent upbringing, I’m a highly sensitive person. An empath. This means I often put myself in someone else’s shoes without trying. It is a gift and a curse, and has silently been wreaking havoc on my relationships in a very insidious way.

A few months ago I found myself standing on a street corner with a guy I had a brief fling with. It had ended badly, in a hailstorm of gossip and hurt feelings, and this was the first time we’d talked since the night the shit hit the fan. We had just left dinner — which had been pleasant enough though I’d been distracted the entire time, wondering if and when he’d say something about what had happened. He did not, but I needed to address it, and so as we walked to my car, I broached the subject. His energy shifted — he bristled, closed up. But then, stopped at the corner, he offered an apology and an explanation and somewhere in the middle of him talking I noticed that I wasn’t in my body. I was listening to what he was saying with a flustered urgency, fully compassionate to the position he’d been in and the way he is and why his feelings were his feelings. And while I was so focused on empathizing with him, I left my own inner child unsupervised. The next day, when friends asked how I felt about the conversation, I had nothing to say but “I don’t know.” I had no idea how I felt. I was paying so much attention to him that I missed myself.

This is the problem with compassion. When we let our understanding of another take up so much space that we don’t leave space for ourselves.

Compassion and empathy, listening and understanding, is a crucial part of intimate relationships. But it becomes a defense mechanism when, in understanding the other’s point of view, we ignore our own. Or minimize our bad feelings because we understand why the other person acted out. We let them bring their garbage in our house, because we’re lonely or because we’d rather have to clean up the mess of their wake than admit how angry or sad we are. We let our compassion distract us from tending to our own broken hearts.

Once I realized this I started to recognize it everywhere. I started to notice how my “evolved” girlfriends, the ones who meditate and do yoga and go to therapy and are profoundly self aware, would skim the surface of outrage or upset after their partner or colleague did or said something undeniably hurtful or unfair. They’d give a little voice to their frustration, their disappointment, their sadness, but then start justifying and empathizing, trying to convince themselves it was okay by trying to convince me. They gave voice to the other’s feelings, respect to their person with intimate acknowledgement of their fears and insecurities and intentions, but gave no voice to their own. They used compassion to rationalize, analyze, and intellectualize their way out of their bad feelings. But what you resist persists and so the same situations would play out over and over.

Also, no way to live.

These days, when I catch myself over-empathizing, I make sure to refocus on how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, and what I need. I let the compassion be a tool to keep me open, receptive, and kind, but if I’m not feeling good, I make my priority honoring that. Because it matters. How I feel matters. And if I don’t have compassion for myself first, then what I’m offering the other isn’t really compassion either — it’s my own bag of garbage, and an expectation that they can hold it for me, for just a little while.


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ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse

“Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery” by Guercino (c.1621) at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (Accession No. DPG282) (PD)

Many abuse victims are tormented by perfectionism.  This is the unrelenting pursuit of perfection.  Perfection and perfectionism are not, however, the same.  One is, in fact, antagonistic to the other.

Perfection as a Standard

Perfection has special significance for abuse victims.  As children, abuse victims come under constant and unjustified criticism.  Harsh criticism may be accompanied by still harsher punishments, penalties far beyond anything a loving parent or guardian might administer for a childish infraction.

With time, victims conclude that perfection alone would satisfy their tormentors.  We strive to achieve that.  In reality, no amount of effort could attain the impossibly high standards set for victims.  But the effort is engrained in us, as is the self-criticism.  So perfectionism begins.

The Need for Approval

As adults, abuse victims are frequently motivated…

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The Root of Bitterness

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The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

The root of bitterness…
from which “bad fruit” grow…
and it’s these negative things…
that we all need to know.
For the root of bitterness…
is exhibited by anger and wrath…
and it’s these deep seeded roots…
that will lead you down a wrong path.

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