Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Open Letter to the Young Man Who Introduced my Son to Porn...

An Open Letter to the Young Man Who Introduced my Son to Porn…

I know who you are. I know the circumstances. You viewed them as an initiation into high school. You thought it was funny to see the looks on all those “Mormon boys’ faces”. You thought it was funny to talk about women as property, as sex objects, as items to be “had”. You had your entertainment.

You weren’t there to see the private struggles my son has gone through. You weren’t there as he bared his soul and bore the shame of discovery at school. You weren’t there as he sat in the principal’s office as I – his mother – was called, again. You weren’t there, seeing this broken young man sobbing the words “Mom, I think I’m addicted. I think I need help.”

I’ll admit, two years ago, I failed my son in not getting him the help he so richly deserved and desperately needed. I failed my son in my teachings and examples. I failed my son in so many ways. I thought if he went to the bishop, he could be directed through this. Sometimes, it’s not that easy. I should have been more involved, more concerned and as such, I failed. But, I’m here now and he is an amazing young man.

I’ve struggled with forgiving you. I even laughed and got a perverse satisfaction in your struggles and failures. How could I forgive you?

I almost immediately forgave my son. He’s a great person. He is, after all, my child. But you? I’ve struggled to find a way to forgive you. How can I? You put filth in front of my son! You convinced him it was “just a picture. You can look. Once won’t hurt.” But you were wrong; it did. You were the instrument that brought about my son’s addiction. He made the choice, but you put it there for him to grasp.

I fought with myself and finally went to my best friend and cried on her shoulder. How can I forgive someone who has hurt my son so badly. In her immense wisdom she asked me how much I loved my son. “I’d die for him. You know that.”

“And you love him so much that you’re willing to drive over 100 miles every week to take him to the Addiction Recovery Classes.”



“Because he’s worth it.”

“Exactly. And the other boy is too. He is worth your forgiveness. You don’t know what his circumstances are and were. You have no clue what his family life is. You don’t know if HIS mother loves him enough to help him through his addictions. Be grateful that this happened to your son at this juncture. He will be so much stronger. He will be able to reach people that no one else can because he’s been there. He’s struggled down the path of addiction.”

I sat in shock - dumbfounded as she continued.

“If you were sitting in the Celestial Kingdom with your family and you saw this boy walk in, what would you think?”

“He shouldn’t be there.”

“You’re wrong. YOU shouldn’t be there. If he has walked into that room, that means he has repented, made amends for the wrongs he’s committed. If he’s there, Christ has paid the price for his sins as well as yours. If you feel he shouldn’t be there, then you haven’t dealt with your issues. You have failed to forgive.”

At this point, I was sobbing. My family is worth any sacrifice, any price. “How?”

“Pray, honey. Give it to God. He’ll figure it out and soften your heart.”

I have worked very hard at forgiving you. Some days are so much better than others. Sometimes, my forgiveness train totally derails and I cry as I pick up the pieces and put myself back on the right track. I’m not a perfect person and neither are you. I pray you find someone who loves you enough to help you find peace and direction. I pray you find someone who loves you as much as I love my own son. Then I remember, God loves you more than that. HE will help you through everything you need help with. He will put people in your path to direct your steps, soften your heart. I pray for you as I struggle through this with my son. I hope beyond hope that you find peace, love and success.

With all my heart,

My son’s mom

Struggling with Inner Demons

I've really struggled with this post. It affects so many people. I don't wanna step on toes. I don't wanna put anyone under the microscope. I don't wanna upset anyone. Finally, last night after much prayer and discussions, I decided to share at least a small part of my journey as I struggle with the Inner Demons of my soul.

It's been almost a year since this leg of the journey began in earnest. We had been unknowingly spiraling downward until there was a rock bottom - or at least a ledge that we landed on.

I got the dreaded phone call from the school. My son was in trouble - again. We had battled with this issue for two years. And I was blissfully unaware of just how deep the crevasse was. Completely blindsided by the depths we would need to crawl out of, inch by inch. My son, crushed and broken, uttered these simple words. "Mom. I think I need help. I think I'm addicted. I've tried. I can't stop. Please...."

He broke off and we both cried. That look of utter despair is never one I want to see on one of my children's faces ever again. We discussed options. We prayed together. I finally saw a ray of hope brighten his young face.

I've never been so proud of this young soul as I was that night. I knew he had character. I knew he had charisma. I knew he had compassion. But this issue... this addiction almost broke my soul apart, and his. He thought of himself as a failure. He thought of himself AS his addiction. He is NOT his addiction. Yes, it is a part of him. He, as a young teenager, admitted to a problem that most grown men will never allow themselves to admit is a problem. This young man, my son, is so much bigger than most grown men. This young man is a superhero.

He has stepped up and taken ownership for his problems, his addictions. He has willingly and happily attended the LDS Addiction Recovery Classes with me almost every week for a year.

As I prayed for guidance in how to handle this situation, I was prompted to send a text. "Call me when you get a minute. I need your help." Those simple words broke a dam within myself. I had asked for help and I received it. I received a list of LDSARCs in the area. None of which felt right. So we expanded our search. Overwhelmingly, Preston became our focus. Preston was where we needed to be.

I was able to rearrange my work schedule to accommodate the class. I was able to discuss options for my son with his coaches who wholeheartedly agreed that his mental and spiritual well being was so much more important than sports. So, one night each week, he is dismissed and we drive.

We talk, we laugh, we eat sandwiches, we sing along with the radio, we discuss future plans and goals, we learn about each other, we have grown so much closer. I LOVE my son! I'm so thankful for what this challenge has given me - and him. This challenge, this addiction, has brought me my son. It has brought me closer to Christ. It has given me so much MORE! More blessings than I could ever have hoped to receive. I'm posting a letter I wrote (in a separate blogpost) that has helped me with my recovery. I pray it will help others who may find themselves struggling. Hugs and Prayers Always & Forever.

Monday, September 28, 2015

On The Farm Side...

My sweet jersey cows, JoJo and Blossom, are in the field with the bull. He's a 2 year old red Holstein. Hopefully, we'll see some cute calves in about 9 months. Ninja, JoJo's calf, is romping through the pasture and seems to be enjoying himself.
Beauty and Beast are adjusting well enough in their field by themselves. It's rough being weaned!
The goats, Rayne, Hera and Zeus seem to be enjoying themselves. Zeus is quite stinky already... it is the rut season after all. I'm not overly fond of his smelliness. But, he should make some adorable babies.
The three turkeys are beyond ready to be butchered! They are trying to eat me out of house and home! I swear they're worse than teenagers!
The hens aren't laying which isn't making me happy. I'm hoping as soon as the turkeys make it to their appointment in the "hot tub", they'll start laying.
The piggies are growing like little weeds. Unfortunately, we can't get them to a butcher before Thanksgiving so they'll just continue to grow. At least that means more bacon for me!

This summer, my oldest and I build a new raised garden for my strawberries. I LOVE IT!
In trying to get the raspberry patch tilled, we discovered one of the previous owners had buried some sort of wood - i'm guessing it's railroad ties. I'm not overly excited about having to dig them out... so i've put it off all summer.

I was able to get some free 2x6 boards. They've been wonderful for all the building projects I've worked on this summer. I'm also planning on making some raised beds in the garden area.

Then, i bought some used windows for the mobile greenhouse. I'm very hopeful that I can get them installed before the weather turns ugly.

It should be a busy fall!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Miscellaneous Updates :)

In late August, I completed a re-write of my novel Push to Happiness. Due to some software changes and some issues I had with my recently resuscitated computer connecting to various websites, I put my books on WattPad so that my beta-readers would have better access to my writing. You can read along with my beta-readers here. My beta readers buoyed up my confidence levels so much so that I also started writing my novel Saving Grace. SG only had 3-4 chapters completed. I got stuck for a week or so, trying to decide where I wanted a scene to go. 

During this lull in writing, many other activities happened. We got a winter's worth of firewood for my parents - cut, hauled, split & stacked in ONE day! Had a few appointments. Attended Senior Day with my son - I think I was the only parent there and as such, had the wonderful opportunity of embarrassing him! he he he!  There are also many other things that came up that were addressed. 

I've also had a very hectic schedule with my six kids... two still at home and the older four still in school for another year. My oldest is a senior this year and I'm having issues with my new reality that I have very limited time with him before his mission and college adventures start. I have college prep lists that are least 17 miles long! I got my son registered for his second go at taking the ACT test. Because of the programs he's enrolled in, he has one more "freebie" before we have to pay for the test. We've also been told of a myriad of scholarships that are available because of income, classes, grades, field of study, etc. It looks like I may have just inherited yet another full-time job ;) 

We've also almost completed a horrible chapter in our lives. It is unfortunate but in the end, we are all realizing exactly how far family will go for each other. I wouldn't trade my family for anything! They've got my back and I've got theirs. I hope someday, my kids will come to realize exactly how much we, as parents, love them and how much we're willing to sacrifice for them. I'm choosing to focus on the positives. Without this situation, I'd have had several crucial scenes in my books end up horribly wrong. I'd also not have had the opportunity to do a ride-along and a tour of the local jail scheduled. I'm excited about the opportunity. We're trying to coordinate our schedules.

Have a wonderful weekend! Keep smiling! And always remember to look for the silver lining. It's always there... sometimes, we just need to look harder than others. Sometimes, we need to think outside the box

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Epiphany - My Return to Writing

Once upon a time...
I was working at my "paying job". For those of you who know me, I have so many jobs but very few actually PAY me. It had been a trying day already. I had taken all my littles to Evanston so my oldest could get his driver's license and become an "official driver". YIPES! At any rate, he did great. Passed the test. Got his new ID ordered. And... we were heading home. My car had a lapse in good judgement and lost all it's radiator fluid. Apparently, a seal went bad. We limped to the nearest Jiffy Lube. They diagnosed to the best of their ability and there I sat... with SIX kids.... in the summer heat. My amazing mom immediately came to our rescue but she was an hour away. I called my hubby and he drove home, swapped vehicles, hitched up to the car-hauler trailer, and headed our direction. My mom arrived first and helped me get the parts we needed to fix the beastly machine. Hubby got there and was immediately thankful that it was still driveable enough to get it on the trailer with very few problems.

I had agreed to take half of one of my co-worker's shifts but with the car problems I had, I barely made it to mine in time. The whole shift went downhill. My hubby came in to tell me he had already fixed the car :) That's the bright spot of the day.

Then a customer came in. She changed her mind at the deli counter over and over so I was second-guessing the order. Then, she decided she needed a drink so she left her order sitting there and with a line behind her. Totally one of my pet peeves. I moved to the adjoining register and continued ringing customers through as she dawdled. When she came back, I was in the middle of ringing out another customer. She started making demands. I'd nod my head and kept helping the other customer.

She got mad because I didn't drop everything to help her. Then, when I clarified the order, she told me she'd NEVER received such horrible service even in "the big city".  She went on to tell me I had no business working in the service industry. I was the worst cashier in the history of all cashiers. She insisted on speaking to a manager. So, I had to call one at home. He'd just finished a 16-hour shift. I called from my cell and explained everything to him. While she was talking to him, I finished getting her items and ringing them through the register.

She hung up the phone and almost threw it back to me. "I'll have your job by the end of the week."

That was the straw. That proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I'd been holding everything together for so long, it just exploded. I went in the back and cried for over an hour. I called my manager and vented to him. He just laughed it off. "Steph, you've been doing this job for almost 10 years. You're one of the best cashiers we have. Don't worry about it."

While I was crying my eyes out, I grabbed a piece of paper and mapped out one of my stories that have been hibernating on my computer for two years. I couldn't write. Couldn't justify the time it took away from my kids. BUT... while I sat there and cried, I realized I desperately needed ME TIME. I needed that time, even just a few minutes a day to vent. I needed that time to readjust my attitude. I needed that time to reconnect and release.  I needed that time to be happy.

And I AM HAPPY! I love writing! I love the release I get watching the stories unfold on the pages. I love if I'm having a bad day, I can turn to my computer and pour my heart out onto the screen, filling page after page. Sometimes with gibberish. Sometimes, with total manure that will be deleted! Sometimes, the best thing ever written.

I am so thankful for my epiphany. For being able to realize I needed to readjust my thinking. To make time for me. I'm happier and amazingly, so is my family.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bad Blogger...

Holy smokes! It's been forever since I've updated. I'm such a bad blogger!

A few minor updates.... We haven't been able to take the vacation we wanted for several reasons. The main one was that we used the funds we had for our Disney trip to pay off the house when Jay lost his job. He has a great job now with retirement and medical.

Jaydon is still hanging in there. He's still at a stage 4 with his kidney disease. He's been there for almost 3 years now. We're hopeful we can still make our goal of getting him through puberty before we do a transplant.

I started writing again. It was insane the circumstances that culminated to shove me back on my writing path. Everything went horribly wrong. My car broke down. I was late to work. It was horribly busy. We had impatient and rude customers. Then the cream of the crop customer. She insulted me up one side and down the other. Telling me I wasn't fit to work in the service industry. I'm good at my job. I've done it for 9+ years. I'm sure it was just everything piling up to this one tongue-lashing. I cried for a good hour. My amazing staff took care of everything. I'm so happy they are such wonderful, caring and understanding people. When I got home, I wrote. Words flowed from my fingers. If I didn't have a computer, I had a notebook. If I didn't have a notebook, I'd record notes onto my phone.

In a month, I did a major re-write on my book, A Push to Happiness. You can find it on wattpad.

Happy reading!