The Game of Tag Question

I haven’t played tag since I was a kid so I’m guessing this is a grown up version of tag.  It’s been a few days since Bird @ Everyone Has a Story asked me to play so here it goes…….

Photo Credit:  Microsoft Office

Tag – you’re it!’ – The rules:

You must post these rules.

 Answer the question the “tagger” listed for you in their post,

  1. And create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  2. Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.
  3. Let each blogger know that you have tagged them.

Bird’s question for me was,  “If you could change just one thing about the American public school system, what would it be?”

I’ve only been in the schools talking about abstinence for the past year, so “intellectually”, I don’t know enough of the politics within the school system to really give an educated answer.  Having said that, I’ve decided to answer the question showing my readers some of the questions I get asked by students during a small group meeting outside the school environment.

If I am able to speak to a group of teenagers more than once then before ending my first session with them, I tell them they can have a blank index card to write a question they want me to answer on my next visit.  It’s no surprise that several hands go in the air to receive a card but only after promising anonymity.

Once I am home, I take the cards out and begin reading each one carefully.  Some make me laugh but most of them bring tears to my eyes knowing these precious children need something to believe in.  After many prayers, lots of research and conversations with a minister/colleague of mine at Women’s Hope Medical Clinic, I put together some information for these hurting children.  So here are only a FEW of the questions…..

  1. Can you help me make goals and plans for my life?
  2. How can I get over being raped?
  3. How can I make my dreams come true living in foster care?
  4. How and when do I tell a boy I don’t want to have sex?
  5. My parents can’t afford college.  How can I go if I can’t pay for it?
  6. I heard it was safer to have sex in the water.  Is that true?

There are so many other questions I could list and I just might do that in another blog (thanks for the idea Bird!).  So, what should we be teaching in the school systems?  I don’t know if I have the right answer but what I do know is that a huge problem exists and I only reach a small percentage of these children.  Should the schools be teaching the answer to these questions?  Yes to some of them, but maybe parents should teach their children the answers to ALL of them.  Can’t parents answers all the above questions?  We (parents) say we don’t want the school teaching our children about certain issues, yet there’s a reason why I get asked these questions.

To get back to the game, here are the following fellow bloggers and I would love to hear from.

  1. LuckyLeo – At what point in your life did you know you were known as “edgy” and what does that look like?
  2. Coach Sue – How many clients do you usually have at one time?
  3. Laura Dickey – Other than writing, where is another avenue your creative energy flows?
  4. Sherry – What is the toughest question to answer by a client at Women’s Hope Medical Clinic?
  5. ks ballou – What’s the farthest you have traveled to take one of your posted pictures?
  6. Even a Girl Like Me – What steps have you taken to improve on the “people pleasing” issue?  (I have the same problem)
  7. MomMeetsBlog – How’s those tweezers been treating you lately?

Please excuse me from the other 4.  For now 7 will just have to do.  I had a great time answering my question and hope you will too!



The Day I Wore The Hat And Carried The Broom

As I walk by the tables in the corridors of the college, students drop their heads probably silently saying, “Please don’t stop, please don’t stop.”  Walking from building to building many students are handing out information about their organization or cause. They see me coming and quickly turn the other way or just act like I don’t exist as I pass by.  Do I have wart on my nose and a big black hat while carrying a broom?

No, but I might as well.  I probably remind them of their mother and they just don’t know how to approach me.  Well a person can only let this happen so long before you just have to do something about it right?  Plus, I need a little excitement in my life from time to time and that day seemed as good as any.

I entered the College of Business and a young woman and man dressed in business suits stood at the door.  It wasn’t unusual to see the suits but it did seem odd they were by the door just standing.  Anyway, I passed them without a single word and almost turned the corner when I heard her say, “Here is some information on “Jane” (not her real name) and we would like for you to vote for her in the upcoming student elections.”  I stopped dead in my tracks. Should I say something or do I just keep walking?  Nope, I’m saying something.

I’ve been dismissed by these young ones for over a year now and that’s long enough.  I’m a student too!  Can’t they see that? I turned around and asked, “Do I not look like a student?”  Let me say here neither one of them really didn’t know what to say or even how to handle this awkward situation I just created.  The girl looks at the guy and then back at me and replies, “No.”  Picture me now with my authoritative “momma” voice telling her, “Well I am!”  “Can’t you see this bright pink book bag on my back?”  By this time I know she’s thinking that I’m completely nuts and probably unstable.  She then does the only thing she knows to do and asks me if I want the pamphlet.  I told her, “Not now.”  “Your gonna miss my vote” and turned and walked away (smiling of course).

If I have to carry around the hat and broom, I might as well use it.

Good Men Really Do Exist

Life is good.  Prior to marrying Emory, I read many of the Nicolas Sparks novels in search of a glimmer of hope. True love must surely exist or how could Nick possibly write such great love stories? Someone, somewhere must have experienced it right?  Finally after many years, trials, and heartaches, I understand real love.

Caution to the reader.  What you are about to read could make you gag.  After a couple of lines you may just quit reading and say, “No one gets treated like that.”  You may even laugh and call me a liar.  My hope would be that you see love is real and if I can find it, so can you.  So here we go.

Every morning I wake up to my husband bringing me a diet coke in the bed. As I am getting ready, Emory is preparing my breakfast and no it’s not just a bowl of cereal. Sometimes it’s pancakes, waffles, sausage or even grits because that’s what we eat in the south.  I know what you’re thinking….well is that what makes you feel loved?  Yes and no.  Yes because I love being spoiled and having someone do nice things for me, but no in the sense that I don’t measure his love by what he does.  It would be impossible to measure that, although he always tells me he loves me more.

It’s his consistency.  For almost three years he’s treated me the same way everyday without fail.  At first my head was full of skepticism.  Like every other woman who suffered a failed marriage, I thought it would be only a matter of time before the “real” Emory rose to the surface.  To my delight, acting like a gentleman is just his nature.

Emory has been an Alabama State Trooper for the last 23 years so strength, honor and courage are three words that greatly define his character.  Every traffic stop has the potential of going bad, but yet he does it anyway.  He works all the overtime possible to make up for me working part-time.  He cleans the house, does the laundry and cooks dinner every night so I can study.  He supports my dreams and is willing to make sacrifices to see them come true.

I owe so much to him for my well-being.  My thoughts are finally clear and my life is coming together.  I feel safe, fear has left me (for the most part), and I am now able to trust another person.  Bottom line, I have a great man who is truly a gift from God.  He understands scripture and what it means to love a woman.  I’m grateful God sent this man to me and for his dedication to our marriage.  His love helps me everyday to recover from the many years of mental abuse I endured in my previous marriage.

I dedicate this post to my husband.  I thank him for showing me the real meaning of love.

Does anyone do that special something for you?  I’d love to hear about it.

What Did You Just Ask Me?

  I’m not allowed to talk about God.  I can’t tell them He is the real answer to leading a fulfilled life.  I can’t tell them that although people here on earth will let us down, we serve a God whose love is never-ending.  If I did, I would be asked to leave and never get invited back.  Where in the United States are we not allowed to talk about God?  It’s in the school system.  So what did I do when asked a question about a sensitive subject?

For the last year or so, I’ve been teaching abstinence only and healthy relationships to youth groups around my community and to junior high students within our county school system. Some say it’s a miracle for Women’s Hope Medical Clinic being allowed in the schools at all.  Maybe it’s because we are in the deep south where it is still acceptable to have prayer before a football game or graduation, but I’d like to think it’s because God is in control and desires for His children to know the truth.  God wants us to show these young people that they can have hope.

While I can’t bring the subject of God up, it doesn’t mean I can’t respond if someone says something like, “The Bible says that you shouldn’t have sex before marriage.”  I will agree with the student but really I am the facilitator of this conversation and the students are the ones doing the talking.  Again, God is doing His work and I’m just the tool in which it’s done.

During one class  as I explained some of the consequences of sex before marriage, I get the question, “What is an abortion?”  I simply answer, “It’s when someone decides for the baby to come out before it’s ready.”  I can see their heads shaking as they ponder over my answer but I wasn’t expecting the next question, especially coming from the teacher when he asked, “Do you think abortion is murder?”  I decided to act like Jesus and speak in a parable and just told a story.  I told them of an experience I had many years ago while working as a sonographer.  I spoke of a patient needing an amniocentesis and my job entailed directing the physician to a “good pocket of fluid”.  A perfect site is found and I could see the needle with the ultrasound (you don’t want the needle near the baby’s head or back).  While monitoring this procedure, the baby kicked and hit the needle with its foot.  The baby started moving around almost in a frantic like state.  The doctor quickly pulled the needle back flush with the uterus until the baby calmed down (which was about 5 minutes) and once the baby settled down, we resumed the procedure.  That’s where I ended the story.

I believe in self-discovery.  I could have stood up there and given those students an answer but feel lessons are better learned if a person can figure it on their own and not someone telling them what to think.  I didn’t want them to mourn for the baby that is gone and then hate the mother for deciding to end the pregnancy.  Jesus loves both the mother and baby equally and my job is to give those students tools on how to make good decisions for their lives, not condemn another person for their choices.

The students seemed satisfied with the answer and many made remarks of their opinion of the situation which is exactly what I wanted to happen.  I’m thankful to God for bringing that story to my mind so quickly because it’s probably been over 15 years ago since it happened but that’s how much He loves us.  He had already prepared me for that day, I just didn’t know it.

Not One, But Two……

Auburn University College of BusinessMy dream of going to college is finally a plan in action and it humbles me to know what God is doing for me. He graciously hand picks every class and professor because each one thus far exceeds any expectation I’ve had.  Having said that, it certainly isn’t cheap to attend college and I don’t qualify for any financial aid.  I must rely on the trusty student loan to help get me through this journey. So when it came time to apply for scholarships, I said, “Why not?”

For the College of Business scholarship, I had to write a 600 word essay on what I would do with a $1,000.  I simply wrote from the heart telling of my experience working at Women’s Hope Medical Clinic for the last year and a half and how I to speak to young people about goals and plans.  I write that my hope is to show them dreams can come true because I’m living proof.  I continue with the $1,000 could really become perpetual if enough children would inspire others to do the same thing. The essay ended with me saying, “I didn’t have anyone like this coming to my school to show me how important it is to have a plan and maybe if I had I wouldn’t be 41 and in college.”

I’m happy to say that I received a letter from Auburn University yesterday and not only did I receive the College of Business scholarship, the Auburn Board of Trustees gave me one too!  Have you ever had that one moment in your life where you felt accomplished?  Yesterday will forever be high on my list.  God is showing me everyday that if your plans are His plans, you can’t go wrong.

Can I be a Good Friend?

I stink at being a friend…..It’s not that I don’t care,  I just don’t know how to go about it.  My “girly, needy” side never blossomed and it always seemed a complete waste of time to associate with a group of women that I assumed only talked of broken fingernails or one less day at the gym (tragedy).  I found myself non-sympathetic to any of that and mostly considered it nonsense.  My few attempts at friendships were not fulfilling probably on either part and usually withered away.  I didn’t want to admit my skills for being a friend were extremely underdeveloped.

I can see a number of reasons for my guarded heart with the first one being my strained relationship with my mother. Secondly, my sister and I never really connected as children, although we’re now taking strides to make the necessary changes for a better relationship. Thirdly, I married at 17 and became isolated from the world to a certain degree, so my immediate family was my only form of close relationships and it would stay that way for over 18 years.

How was I going to change this unhealthy mindset?  I had lunch with my sister yesterday and we started talking about this very subject and she said something that made total sense to me.  She said, “Kathy, we are not in the habit of each other.”  She’s right.  How do you get better at anything?  You have to practice, practice and practice some more.

My environment has changed within the last 6 years and I married a wonderful man over two years ago that has been extremely patient with me and taught me the true meaning of a healthy relationship.  There’s no way I could have tried to improve this area of my life before because I didn’t have a clue (which is why I probably haven’t been that successful).  I don’t place blame on anyone for my shortcomings but thank God for showing them to me.  I can’t say this will be easy for me and will need lots of work on my part but I know that with God’s help, I’ll eventually get to where I need to be.

I’m grateful for those special people in my life and look forward to making my relationships with them stronger (especially my sister).

She’s Building Our Testimony

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned.  Of course you can either give up or just trust in God.  You can read the Bible, you can pray and tell yourself you have lots of faith but what about when it gets tested?  Will you pass the test or start trying to fix things yourself?  My journey with my new grand-baby, Dakotah, is certainly a testing of my faith, but I have decided to trust God because He created her exactly the way He intended.  He never makes mistakes and He certainly didn’t start with her.  She is the most beautiful baby and while she doesn’t know it, she’s building a wonderful testimony in our family.  I haven’t asked for a miracle because I already see one in my sweet baby girl.

Kristin calls, “Mom, come get me, my water broke.”  Her husband, David was at work and it seemed quicker for me to take her to the hospital and have him meet us there.  As I arrived to the house, things were calm.  That’s just the way our family works.  We don’t panic or freak out when a big event happens.  We just deal with it whether it’s a good  or bad situation.  I helped get her things together and out the door we went.  As I pulled up to the hospital, I could see David waiting on us.  After giving my motherly instructions, I kissed my baby and left.  David and Kristin decided this time to not have the huge crowd at the hospital  A big change for me since last time I was actually in the room watching the birth of my other grand-daughter Jayden.  Again my faith in God allowed me to support their decision and just be a praying mom, mother-in-law and grandmother to the people I love.

As the play by-play text messages came, around 4:00 p.m. that afternoon the “one” came.  It was a gorgeous picture of Dakotah.  I eventually spoke with Kristin and she invited us to come see the baby.  Thrilled, Emory and I headed out the door and to the hospital.  On the way to the hospital the phone rang.  “Mom, something’s wrong with Dakotah.”  I wasn’t sure what to do or say.  We’ve never had anything wrong with our babies.  She told me Dakotah had been born with a cleft palate.  Our conversation went on for another few minutes and I told her I would be there as quickly as I could and we hung up.  Tears began filling my eyes and I wasn’t sure what to think.  I immediately began calling out to God asking him for strength.

We walked into the hospital room and began discussing how we were going to take care of Dakotah and meet her needs.  There really wasn’t any reason for sadness  if we were to trust God.  So what does this mean for her having been born with a cleft palate ?  Of course, Dakotah was in no imminent danger and we had time to digest everything.  The doctors biggest concern was her ability to eat.  Everything inside was open from the floor of her mouth to the roof of her nose.  But looking at her, you couldn’t tell anything was wrong.  God had spared her face.  From the outside you see beautiful lips and a perfect little nose.  I left that night knowing it would be fine.  God made her special and if He made her this way, He would also make a way for her to eat.

There are special bottles designed for cleft palate babies, so He was meeting Dakotah’s needs  Our next journey was to see all the specialists at the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.  It was a good visit and as each specialist came in, they gave my daughter their plans for her.  Everyone agreed that if she could eat and keep up her weight, it’s best to wait around 9 months of age to do the reconstructive surgery.  I reminded Kristin of how God specially made her and He has a plan.

So it’s back to the local doctor visits and again she is gaining weight but just not enough.  I would like to take my hat off to my daughter now and say that she is the best mother.  She’s been keeping up with her intake and tirelessly pushing her to eat more and it’s working.  She goes to the doctor next week and I’m sure they her progress will be pleasing.  You can actually see tiny rolls starting to develop in her little legs.  I know she’s gained weight and look forward to what they doctors have to say.  She looks healthy, she’s attentive and has even started cooing.

But here’s the thing, even if her appointment doesn’t go well next week, I still believe God has things under control.  I’ve never been this calm in a situation such as this.  God has truly prepared my heart and given me faith to know that Dakotah will be fine.  She’ll have the surgery and be over it before she’s one and won’t remember any of it.  The only memories will stay in the minds of the adults who had to watch her go through this tough journey.  I don’t know what the  future holds and have no idea if there are any issues we don’t know about yet, but what I do know is that through all of this I have put my trust in God.  He knows what’s going on with her and will make a way for her just like He does for everyone.  I am grateful for my grand-baby and especially how God is showing me to rely on him for my strength.

I would like to thank Jenny Rogers from JProgers Photography for taking such beautiful pictures of Dakotah.  Thanks Jenny.