Sharing My Secrets

I read something today on The Moments We Stand that shot straight to my core, “The darkness of the world has left many of us stuck. We have buried its secrets within us, and we are afraid to let them free.” For three years I carried deep dark secrets. Secrets that ate at me every day. Secrets that made me question every single part of my being. Then one day like a miracle my mom asked me one question that made all of those feelings and secrets rush out of me like a volcano. She asked “Lori, has your dad touched you inappropriately?”.

I remember that day like it was yesterday only it was 15 years ago. We were driving alone in the car. As soon as those words left her mouth I felt the volcano build from my core and head straight up to my mouth. I no longer had to carry those terrible secrets. I started to hesitate in my answer with tears welling up in my eyes, so at the red light she turned to me and said “You can tell me anything. Your not in trouble!”. I couldn’t hold back any more. I told her everything I could remember of the past 3 years of pain that man had put me through. When I was done I asked her how she knew. She said she had overheard me the night before yell “NO! GET OUT OF MY ROOM! LEAVE ME ALONE!” as soon as he returned to his room (they were separated and sleeping in two different rooms until he found a place live) she asked him why I was yelling and he told her some of what he had been doing.

Just like that all those secrets and the burden I was caring were gone. My mom didn’t stop at our planned destinations that day, instead she drove straight to the county court house to file claims against him for what he was doing to me. She also filed for a divorce.

My mom never once questioned the things I said. She held my hand each time I had to recount what happened to the police, district attorneys, and child welfare people. She walked the long journey ahead by my side.

He never told me to keep it a secret. Somehow there was this unsaid threat that I felt. I truly lived each day waiting for someone to approach me, to ask me what he was doing to me. I prayed each day that the moment would come that I could share my secrets. I wore a happy mask over all of the uneasy, scared, helpless feelings I had. I never knew when he would try to attack me but I thought he would leave my younger siblings alone if I didn’t say anything to my mom. I thought I would “cause” my parents to divorce and split up our family if I said something. I was alone with my secret and feelings.

That sunny morning 15 years ago I finally shared all of the secrets that had been eating at me for three whole years. The secret that my biological father had been molesting me. (This abuse happened from when I was 10 to 13.)

This wasn’t the only time I would be granted a miracle in sharing a big secret. About a year after my parents divorced my mom began dating a man. He seemed friendly, charismatic, and was nice to us kids. We would soon realize that he was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing looking for his next prey. He raped me countless times over 4 months (later I found out he raped my mom and countless other girls and their moms in our area, along with many other crimes including theft).

I had became very ill and my mom was tired of me staying home sick numerous days each week. She finally had enough so she loaded me up to take me to the ER, he insisted on coming with us. As normal procedure they needed a urine sample. When the nurse led me to the restroom to get a sample she came into the restroom behind me and said “Sweety is there any chance you could be pregnant?”. I froze, could this lady know my secret just from looking at me? I stared into the mirror at myself only all I saw was a ghost staring back and small voice in my head screaming “this is your chance Lori, take it!”. I took a deep breath and replied “Yes”. Not because I thought I was pregnant but because somehow I knew this was a way for me to share my secret and hopefully stop the abuse.

We left that night with no answers as to why I was so sick. The next day my mom got a call at work from the hospital. They told her that when they ran my urine sample they noticed my white blood count was really high, they believed I was sexually active and possibly pregnant. However the urine test was inconclusive so I needed to have a blood test done. My mom hung up, immediately called me at home and said “The hospital just told me your sexually active…did he do something to you?”. And just like that I was taken back to that moment, volcano building, tears flowing. I cried and told her yes he had been hurting me. She asked if he was there at the house with me, when I explained that he had left for the day she told me to pack us all an overnight bag and she was coming to get my and my siblings right then. She drove us all to my grandma’s house where we met the police so I could tell them everything that had happened.

I was 14 and under normal hospital procedure they wouldn’t have told my mom that they thought I was pregnant but I truly believe I had an angel that day. That nurse was my angel. She didn’t know the secrets I carried but she was sent there that day to ask me that question and to violate procedure by calling my mom. That nurse will never know the extend of what she did for me that day. She will never know that she saved me from more torture. She will never know she gave me back my life in that one question and phone call. She will never know that she gave me the release to share my dark secrets. The secrets that I was raped.

Over the years I’ve gone through times when I’ve felt comfortable and safe to share my life’s secrets with others. I know that in sharing my story it is healing for me, plus it may help others. But there have been times when I can’t talk about any of it, the pain is just too much, and I hate that I have to live each day knowing those things happened to me. What always brings me through is knowing I am a survivor. I am free; free to live, free of abuse, free to be me, free to be happy.

If you are carrying secrets, I hope that you find a way to share them with someone. To lean on someone you trust to share those feelings you have about those secrets. You don’t have to carry any secrets alone! You can be freed of the secrets.

 

 

Your voice. Our future. Logo -- fixed clock

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I am trying to spread awareness and get people talking about this topic. We can all make a difference by educating ourselves! Find more information and helpful links my post HERE from last week! 
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Childhood Sexual Abuse Awareness Month & Somethings Parents Need to Know!

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As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I wanted to shed some light on a topic that I think we as parents tend to shy away from, CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE. I am going to try to have several posts this month on my blog talking about sexual abuse. I will try to share some of my story to hopefully shed some light on things for parents, as well as anyone who have/are being sexually abused. This is not an easy topic for me to discuss but I know how important it is that we all start talking about it.

Recently I’ve read a few articles giving parents ‘tips to avoid sexual predators’. Although I am glad people are speaking out and sharing ideas/info I was angry because my mom had followed every single one of the tips and yet I was still preyed on, not by just one man but two! That being said the biggest thing I was upset about was the false sense of safety the parents commenting had. They say things like “Oh I already do all of these so no one will get near by children.” or “I’m mama bear and everyone who meets us knows this so they know not to mess with my kids.” The comments go on and on like this. And as much as I applaud these parents for getting informed sadly their comments and mind set are all wrong!

It has been 15 and 13 years since the sexual abuse I survived. Yet I still lay awake at night wondering why I was preyed on. My mom and I had a close relationship. I was a strong girl that knew what I wanted in life. I wasn’t sad, depressed, or any of the other ‘typical’ things some of the statistics say children are when they are sought out by a predator. I’m sure my mom has spent just as much time as I have wondering these same things. Or what she could have done to prevent it. The bottom line is there is no ‘full proof’ way to make sure your children wont be preyed on. It can happen to ANYONE.

I wanted to share a good source of helpful material for parents to read from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (nsvrc.org). Don’t wait to start reading all of the resources they provide!! Start educating yourself now!!

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This month I am supporting the #SAAM campaign to help spread the word about sexual abuse! You can help speak up too!

  • On Instagram you can spread the word with the #30DayOfSAAM and tag @NSVRC in your posts. 
  • On Twitter you can do the #TweetAboutIt Tuesdays! It’s an hour-long town hall discussion every Tuesday in April on Twitter. 
  • Follow NSVRC on Facebook and share the resources they post!

It’s time to take action! Start speaking! Start listening! Start getting information! Start now!!
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Helping to Center our Active Children

**Guest Post**

Park Playing

When you have a child with a lot of energy it can be hard to know what to do with them. They always seem to be moving and going, bouncing off the walls. The ability to control that energy for useful tasks or even structured play is important for active children to learn at a young age.

Active children need much more scheduled activity than do other children. Often you will see an active child with too much free time getting out of hand or noticeably stressed. Because of their energy and constant activity at times they need to be reeled in and there needs to be definite boundaries in place for these children.

As parents or caregivers we need to pay close attention to the specific dispositions of each child. All children need some structure in their lives because it gives them security; active children need structure all the more because they have difficulty keeping themselves from spiraling out of control.

There need to be carefully adhered to bed times and nap times, regular times for meals, and scheduled play with other children and close supervision. Another very important activity to schedule is quiet time for reading or playing alone or one on one with a parent or other adult. They need to experience being able to do things quietly and calmly and get practice in doing this daily. It will serve them well as they become adults and it will help them realize that not everything they do that gives them pleasure requires strenuous activity.

On observing adult behavior in office situations or structured work environments you can often spot out an adult that has difficulty keeping focused on the task at hand. This is more than likely due to the fact that they were not trained as a child to be able to have quiet downtime that did not involve sleeping. We are doing a disservice to our children if we do not give them the tools to function in any environment.

When an active child is channeled properly and their energy used for specific scheduled and goal oriented events they can achieve great things. But when this energy is allowed to flow willy-nilly throughout their lives, driving them here and there with no purpose they become self involved and have great difficulty staying on task.

My own son was an active child and is not an active young adult. We were very careful to keep him in predominantly structured activities. And I do not mean structured as putting him in classes or other events outside the home. But at home he had very definite times for naps, eating, and quiet activities. Everyday as a family we would have a bike ride to the park or take a walk to the bayou to check out the tadpoles. He spent time outside with free play but we always made sure he had something constructive to do. He loved to build things and to use a hammer and nails and someone was always there with him supervising when he was young. We encouraged him to play ball with the neighbor children or to climb safe trees with his siblings.

We also scheduled study time. It helped our son to sit down with his sister and do their homework together. She could do her homework anywhere and if it was a project we of course allowed her to do it on her own. But most nights she would sit with him and encourage him in his studies. I would be on hand in the kitchen to assist and was always involved as well. He had difficulty sitting for long periods of time when he was very young so we made sure that study time did not go on too long and perhaps if there was too much work we would take a break.

Craft time was something he loved and he could stay focused for thirty or more minutes when given a craft he liked. He especially liked working with craft sticks and hot glue guns but was very carefully supervised of course. He also enjoyed making houses out of sugar cubes using cake icing as the glue. We would often color the icing with food coloring to make it even more interesting for him. We had an Easy Bake oven and a Queasy Bake oven and both our children loved to spend time baking up treats or creating yucky bugs and creatures.

We found that having a nightly schedule of taking a nice warm bath and then spending fifteen or twenty minutes reading or telling stories before bed was a wonderful way to get our active child relaxed and ready for bed. He could easily spend an hour in the bath tub if we allowed it. He had a pirate ship and other bath toys that kept him interested and soaking until we told him he was turning into a prune and had to get out. This seemed to relax him so much and then bundling him up and getting him into his pajamas for story time kept that relaxation going. Good sleep habits really help active children a great deal.

We also made a point of keeping him occupied during his free time on more than just video games and television. He could sit for hours at the computer if we allowed it. A little computer is fine and a television show here or there also but we thought it important to not let those things become the predominate forms of entertainment in his life. We played games together as a family, did chores together as a family, and spent time talking about our days especially at dinner time. Staying well connected with what your active child is thinking and feeling as well as making them feel connected to your thoughts and feelings can really help to build strong relationships. Because of their level of activity relational attachments are sometimes hard for them and they need these types of bonds to keep them focused on others.

Keeping your active child on a schedule and keeping them well balanced physically, emotionally, and mentally will give them the tools they need as they grow into adulthood. We need to help them to channel their energy and in so doing show them how they can be very successful using this gift of energy that God has blessed them with.

Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.

You can’t keep a good mom down!

I rolled my ankle during my Zumba class on Saturday morning. I’d previously injured this ankle 18 years ago and it still has a pin in it to hold the bones in place. Between the large amount of swelling and the worry that the pin my have shifted we decided it was best to get x-rays. A few painful hours later we found out that I had only severely sprained it. I am on crutches with an aircast for the next week or two.

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My left injured ankle compare to my right not injured ankle.

It has only been a couple days but I can already see how being on crutches and being a mom just don’t go hand in hand very well. Here are just a few of the reason’s you can’t keep a good mom down…

  • My kids all vowed to be big helpers, until I need help then they all whining, crying, or running in the other direction to get out of helping.
  • I may starve during the day because I have no way to carry food to the table to eat. Standing at the counter is painful so instead I opt to wait until the older kids are home to help bring me food.
  • Laundry will not likely get done in a timely matter this week.
  • Grocery shopping sounded like something I could manage (pushing a cart while hopping or hobbling on one leg) until I realized I would have to carry all of the bags into the house ALONE, then put it all away ALONE. So we may be eating cold cereal for a few days.
  • Stairs are RIDICULOUS! We live in a two story home, our room being on the top floor. Getting up the stairs is iffy but coming down is just an accident waiting to happen so I scoot on my butt while my kids carry my crutches. (Plus side I get a good work out going up and down the stairs this way.)
  • The house will look like a bomb went off which will stress me off but I just can not carry anything while on crutches.
  • Crutches might as well have pins and needles at the top to stab your arm pits while you walk. It’s brutal.
Resting is hard

This is how I spent the weekend.

My type A, multi-tasking, busy body personality doesn’t handle all of this rest and put your foot up directions the doctor ordered. This resting time should feel like a vacation but instead it feels like torture. I must admit that I can’t wait to be back to walking, back to cleaning, back to zumba, and back to my normal life.

When it comes to being a mom we have the need to care of others. It is difficult to have things like injuries, illnesses, etc that slow us down or make us stop all together. I have a new appreciation for moms everywhere that have terminal illnesses or other conditions that slow them down on a daily basis. I am making a promise to myself to take more time to  appreciate what I have and stop complaining about what I *think* I need.

My helpers, sometimes

They worked together to do homework so I could rest with my foot up.

 
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OCD Mom Confessions and Tips

OCD Mom Confessions and Tips

I read this We can’t be friends. by Dugans Inchoots blog post last week. It doesn’t at all explain how my house looks but MANY of my friends were sharing it on FB so clearly it resonated with them. This was what I wrote in response to my friends and family:

“So this has been shared a lot today in my feed. I just want to say that when you come to my house it will be orderly (most of the time), everything has it’s place, things get returned to their place when they aren’t in use, and we clean often. However I love all my friends no matter how their house looks. When your at my house I might clean up after you but it’s not to be rude it’s just in my nature. When I am at your house I will make my kids clean up after themselves (I’ll fold your laundry or do your dishes if you’d like me to, just ask). It’s all a part of who I am but I don’t judge any of my friends or family based on the way they keep their home AND I certainly don’t expect anyone to run around cleaning before I come. Just know that my house will most likely be clean when you come, not because I ran around cleaning for your visit but because it’s in my nature to keep it this way. We CAN all be friends, we just have to accept and embrace our differences!

I really meant what I said and clearly I am still friends with all of you who do have toys on your floor or dishes in your sink. (I also want to add that I am not making light of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at all. I really do have OCD, not because my house stays clean but because I used to count things, touch things a certain number of times, etc to help me cope with anxiety. Since having four children I have had to let go of many of my OCD tenancies to make my life more manageable and enjoyable for my family.)

Anyhow I got a lot of ‘Likes’ on my post as well as some friends asking for a little help or tips from me to help them organize their house. I thought I’d start series where I share my biggest OCD mom tips and tricks. I can’t promise you’ll become OCD but I can hope that you’ll take some tips away from this to use in your home.

TOP TIPS:

Prioritize! – Decide what area of your home you would like to keep organized most of the time. Then decide what areas can have organization but would be okay to have children playing in with a mess.

Multitask! – I am the queen of multitasking, just ask my husband he’ll complain for hours on end how I hold a conversation in person while reading a book and yelling at the kids to stop fighting. You must learn how to juggle a couple things at once to get your home tidy in a timely fashion without wasting time making lots of trips around the house.

My challenge to you is… to make a list of room of your home. On the list decide one area/thing in each room that needs your attention to organize/re-organize. 

Also keep track of how much time you actually spend cleaning each day for an entire week. That will help you decide if you aren’t already multitasking how much time you might be able to save in the future.
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Beef Shepherds Bisquick Bake

Beef Shepherds Bisquick Bake

My family had been asking for Shepherds Pie only I didn’t have any potatoes so I decided to get creative. I made my own version of Shepherds Pie with a yummy Bisquick Biscuit on top! Paired with some fruit for this perfect easy to make meal! I hope your family enjoys as much as we did!

Beef Shepherds Bisquick Bake

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2lbs Ground Beef
  • 1pkg Frozen Mixed Veggies
  • 2 cans Diced Potatoes
  • 2 TBS Garlic Salt
  • 1 tps Black Pepper
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 4 TBS Flour
  • 1/2 cup 2%Milk
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup Milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Cook ground beef then drain off grease. Meanwhile in a saucepan heat butter until melted, add flour, then slowly whisk in beef broth and milk. Bring to a low boil and let thicken.
  3. Once meat is cooked add seasonings, frozen and canned veggies. Heat for about 10 min.
  4. While meat/veggie mixture is heating. In a mixing bowl combine bisquick and milk until well blended (batter should be slightly runny).
  5. Pour meat/veggie mixture into a 8x10 glass dish, scoop spoonfuls of bisquick batter onto the top of meat mixture. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot!
http://www.mysixringcircus.com/2014/02/11/beef-shepherds-bisquick-bake/

Beef Bisquick Bake
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Resolutions/Goals Check In (Month 1)

February Goal and Resolution Check In

Back in January I shared my 2014 New Year Resolutions and Goals so I wanted to share how I am doing and check in to see how you are all doing on your goals and resolutions. Here are my goals for the first three months…

Goals for first 3 months of 2014:

  • Loose 4lbs
  • Run at least once a week
  • Spend no more than 1 cumulative hour checking my phone, facebook, instagram, etc, each day
  • Spend more time playing with my kids
  • Go on one date night a month
  • Read one book a month

Here is what I’ve been up to so far this year…

> I joined the local YMCA and started working out/running twice a week. I’ve not lost any weight but I am keeping track of the food I eat in order to eat healthier on MyFitnessPal app.

> I did a really good job of only checking my phone twice a day (at nap and bedtime) the first two weeks of January but have gotten worse about it the last two weeks. So I am going to work harder not to be on my phone.

> I’ve spent time playing trains, legos and reading books with my kids. Plus I take opportunities to play in the yard or take them to a park.

> My husband and I have been going on date nights once a month plus doing a daily ‘dating my spouse’ task to help us reconnect.

> I have read one book a week so I just finished my fourth book for the year. AT this rate I should probably invest in a Kindle. ;-) I am also going to join a neighborhood book club to encourage even more reading!

Doing these things has helped me feel a sense of rejuvenation in the new year. I feel like I am making some sort of head way with my life because I have a purpose with my goals set and I am actively trying to meet them! 

How are your goals or resolutions going a month into the New Year?


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San Antonio’s NEW Children’s Museum Name Unveiling

Last week I shared this post about the June 2015 opening of the new San Antonio Children’s Museum. My family and I went to Lions Field this past Saturday to check out some of what the new museum has in store for us all PLUS we were there for the name unveiling!

Fun in the sun at Lions Field

Here they are enjoying the sun at Lions Field!

Sling shot stuffed animals.

Sling shooting the stuffed animals across the field was a highlight for my kids!

Hanging sheets to make forts.

Volunteers helped the kids hang clothes to make forts/houses. 

The DO SEUM

Children from the audience were chosen to help count down to the name reveal and throw confetti!

THE DO SEUMBIG ANNOUNCEMENT: The name of the new museum is THE DO SEUM!

Now we get to wait in anticipation for the opening in June 2015…watching as the huge buildings become a great new museum here in San Antonio!

 
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InspireU: A Mentoring Program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Big Brothers Big Sisters South Texas (BBBSST). I was compensated to participate but all opinions are mine.

When I learned about the student mentoring program, InspireU, in San Antonio it made me think back to my sophomore year of high school. On the first day of school my English teacher asked the class to write a paper on what we wanted to do after high school, what degree we would seek, at which college, to bring us closer to our dream career. Like most kids in my sophomore class I had absolutely no idea what career I wanted or college degree I would seek.

Fast forward to my senior year, I still had no idea what college degree I was planning to seek and no direction of what career I wanted. However there were a few students that had began doing internships during high school, even taking college courses our senior year to jump start their schooling. My husband was one of the high school students to take advantage of an internship. He interned with an oil field company. I used to tease him asking “what at the chances you’ll really seek a career in the oil field after college?”. Boy did he prove me wrong. He knew after those few years of interning that the oil field was the perfect career for him. I was left with no clear career direction.

Looking back I realize just how volatile those years were for each students future. All of the students that did an internship in my high school ended up going to college and following their dreams to their career. What if you could offer a student some insight into their dream career and help them plan for their future? Well now you can…

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas has a mentoring program, InspireU, that matches “Littles” (mostly high school and middle school students) with “Bigs” (co-workers) to mentor at their place of business. These Bigs give one hour of each month to eat lunch and talk to their Littles about their future. Together they set goals, talk about possible careers, and plan for the Little’s future.

This video shares what some students and mentors in the InspireU program are feeling. (You might want tissues handy.)

Trisha (a Little in the InspireU mentor program) said, “My mom didn’t go to college, but Annie (mentor) did and she’s been through all that so she helps me.”  “My mom wants me, of course, to be someone in life and get a great education. Having Annie help me and guide me through everything has really helped me a lot.”

BBBS mentor month

There is no time like the present, being that January is National Mentoring Month, for you and your co-workers to begin mentoring with InspireU. Here is an InspireU Partnership Flyer with more on information on how you can get involved. 

 

Wondering just how effecting mentoring programs like InspireU are? I was too so let me share what I found…This LOCAL Chase Impact Study shows results of students paired with volunteer mentors from Chase Bank in “Beyond School Walls,” BBBS’ workplace mentoring program in the 2010-2011 school year. Of the 24 students in the program:

  •  20 improved their reading scores on the 2011 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) from the previous year, many by as much as 100 points 6 of the students were commended for their performance (compared to none the year before being
  •  6 of the students were commended for their performance (compared to none the year before being mentored).
  •  In the 2011 TAKS math scores, 20 of the 24 students improved their scores* (3 students did not have scores from the previous year available to compare).
  •  9 students mentored by Chase mentors were rated commendable for their Math TAKS performance.

PLUS according to the Program-Based Outcome Evaluation surveys completed by the students’ teachers, 96% improved their academic performance from the previous year and the school counselor confirmed that every student in the Beyond School Walls program advanced to the next grade.

Clearly this mentor program made quite the impact on those students as well as the volunteers.

A "Little" with her Clear Channel Mentor

A “Little” with her Clear Channel Mentor

I am known to say this often because I truly believe it and live by it, “You get more out of volunteering than you’ll ever be able to give.”

So what are you waiting for? Get your business involved in InspireU today by visiting BigMentor.org, send an email to info@bigmentor.org, or call 210-225-6322. Just think of what mentoring just one our a month could do to help change the future of a child! 
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San Antonio Children’s Museum Free Family Event

SACM_Announcement_Invite (FINAL)Did you know that the San Antonio Children’s Museum is building a new home at 2800 Broadway just south of E. Mulberry Ave. here in San Antonio? This new museum will open June 2015! It will have over 65,000 square feet of exhibit space (that is 50% larger than their current location downtown) that will have an emphasis on interactive science, technology, art and literacy activities for all ages to enjoy. This new site will also include 30,000 square feet of outdoor space and 240 free parking spaces for it’s visitors to use.

The name of this new museum will be announced on Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lions Field, 2809 Broadway St, San Antonio! To celebrate the new name and future direction of this museum they will offer this FREE FAMILY EVENT with live music, food from local restaurants and food trucks! PLUS activities for children; including record-breaking connect-the-dots, designing and decorating giant sheet forts, science and art in play activities and many more!!

As the event’s grand finale, the new name and logo for the San Antonio Children’s will be revealed to the public. This event will be free to attend and open to the public.

My family and I will be at this event as we are anxiously waiting for the new museum to open! If your looking for a fun family activity I highly suggest coming out on Saturday to check out what all they have going on! YOU CAN RSVP FOR THIS EVENT AT sakids.org/rsvp

 

 
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