Monday, June 30, 2014

I Run 4 Scarlett

A few months ago, I learned of a running group on Facebook called "I Run for Michael."

You can learn all about IR4 at this link.  Go on and go read it.  Check out the website.  The basic premise is that the group links up an able bodied and active person with someone who has some sort of special needs (child or adult).

The waiting list to be paired up is LONG.  I wasn't sure my name would ever come up!  And then, while I was away at church camp, I got the email telling me that I'd been matched!

Now, I run/move for Scarlett.  Check out this video to learn more about her and her beautiful family.

See?  They are beautiful!!  So real and so compassionate.  What a road they are on... and if I can be even a tiny part of helping to inspire Scarlett or helping to motivate Rachel (her mom) to take another step in a day, I'm IN.

I already told Rachel... I'm not a half marathoner or a marathoner or an ultra marathoner.  I'm just a regular old mom who does make efforts to be active.

I'm committing to doing 5K events in Scarlett's honor for the rest of the year.  I'm going to look for monthly events when I can and I'm going to figure out something special to do for Scarlett when I'm at Disney in a couple of months.

I can't make her better.  I don't live nearby so I can't make them dinner.  I can't offer to babysit.  And there are so many families in the world who have needs like this.  But one thing I can do is offer what I do have - my healthy enough self that can be active, even when I don't want to be.

IR4 Scarlett.  I'm going to Disney it all up for her as often as I can, in as many active ways as I can.

If you'd like to be part of Scarlett's journey, leave me ideas of fun ways to include her in my activities!  You can also make a donation towards a very special project in Scarlett's family right now on GoFundMe.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Health Update

Here is what I know as of right now.

Initial results for lyme disease bloodwork came back negative.

I'm staying on the Doxycycline Hyclate (antibiotic that treats lyme disease).  Lyme doesn't always present immediately so I've been advised to stay on the meds.  I'm also still on PredniSONE for treating all the bug bites and the hives.  It's all gotten a lot better.  A lot!  No more red, angry splotches for my hives - just some brown shadows or faint spots.  Most of the bites have faded but I can still see the spots.

I'm taking a strong probiotic to balance out all of the good stuff the antibiotic is also killing.

In addition, I was recently diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome).  I've got a mild version and I've had it my whole life and it's just a matter, for now, of taking a daily medication (minestrine FE).  The gynocologist was also concerned about my anemia so I am trying, again, to take a daily supplement.  The first thing they gave me made me really nauseous so I'm going a more simple route - Flintstones with Iron.

I have to take the minestrine FE at the same time every day (it's a birth control pill - the hormones should control the PCOS symptoms).

I can't take anything with iron or any vitamins in a 2 hour window of when I take my antibiotic.  I have to take pills with a full glass of water.  Take it with food.

I have a schedule of what pill I take and when and am using an app called Med Helper to prompt me on when to take each pill during the day.

I'm 1 week into the full regiment of all the meds and am either having new symptoms of an illness or I'm having side effects from the meds.  I just keep close track of what's going on with my body and will figure it out as I go.

On top of it all, I still need to go to an endodontist for a root canal (it was scheduled but we cancelled once the possible lyme disease thing came up), my kids need some dental work done tha thas to be scheduled, I need to schedule my own dental cleaning, I have a PCOS follow up in August...

The bottom line is that it is a whole lot of little and annoying things that, at this moment, aren't a big deal.  There are things that could become a big deal.  But for now - it's just a growing pile of little things to manage.

And life doesn't stop.  There are still jobs to work, bills to pay, play dates and birthday parties, ministry, and more.  I have an exciting new healthy living thing going on that I hope to tell you about very soon - working on gathering all the details before I share.  I am taking care of myself - I promise.

But all these little things?  I still see as a blessing.  Because it's just a bunch of annoying little things.  I might feel yucky from time to time.  I might struggle with nausea and hunger.  I might get really tired.  But these are things that will pass.  I am still healthy and blessed in more ways than I'm sick!

And one of the best things about facing any type of trial?  Whether what I'm dealing with it bigger than what you're going through or smaller than what you're going through... whether it's the biggest thing I've ever faced or just a tiny pebble of annoyance...

There are people in my life who love me and pray for me and reach out to offer support and help.  Which means that if these people are here for me in the little annoyances, I know they will be there for me and my family when we face bigger trials.

In my struggles, I am blessed.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014


Do you pray?

It's a pretty personal question.  Prayer is all about a conversation between me and God.  Right?

Sometimes we pray altogether.  Sometimes we pray a pre-written prayer and just recite it together.  Sometimes we hold hands and pray freely together.  And sometimes prayer is just a conversation between a person and God.

I pray.  A lot.  Daily.  Sometimes not as much as I'd like and sometimes prayer is the only way I get through my day.  I don't stop and kneel down and fold my hands an dbow my head every time I pray.  Sometimes it's just a conversation while I'm driving.  Sometimes while I'm at my desk.  Sometimes while I lay in bed.

Back in January, I set my Bible verse and word for the year.

I don't generally pray for certain outcomes.  I do sometimes, selfishly.  I will pray for healing, I will pray for things to go in the way I think is best.  I try not to but sometimes it just really feels like praying for what looks to me as the best outcome is ok.  But most of the time, I pray for understanding and for compassion and for relief and for peace.  I pray for God to use me in the situations around me.  I pray for God to work through me.

Maybe you aren't comfortable with prayer.  Maybe it's been a long time since you prayed.  Maybe you aren't sure that you even believe He's listening - or that anyone is listening.  I challenge you to take some time to pray each day.  Even if it's just to say hello.  Prompt yourself to pray each day and see if things don't feel different in a week or two.  See if your relationship with God hasn't gotten closer in some way.

And keep in mind that I love to pray for others.  So please never hesitate to ask if you need additional prayers!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Church Camp: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We are home and working on recovering.  Teagan and I had SUCH a wonderful experience.  There are downsides and I'll be honest about them.  But overall, the week at church camp was filled with unforgettable, long-lasting, incredible experiences and moments.


Teagan had some amazing first time experiences like canoeing.  My personal favorite memory of our canoe trip was singing praise songs loud and proud down the river.  And the 2 girls (teagan and her friend) were leading the songs - I just joined in.

Having gone down a day early, Teagan had a chance to climb the giant rock wall before the other campers arrived.  She made it halfway up, got nervous, came down.  When our camper group had the chance to tackle the rock wall... she made it to the top and came down the zipline!

Other favorite activites were daily trips to the pool (Teagan passed both swim tests - and this is the hardest swim test she's had to take so far), various tag games (elbow and toilet, to name a couple), and lots of fun songs.

Some of my personal favorite moments were watching Teagan experience those fun times and firsts and also some things that I didn't expect.  I didn't expect to love seeing my daughter connect to another mom from my church.  I always love when our church family grows a little tighter.  I expected my daughter to make new friends and strengthen some existing relationships.

I didn't expect that I would make new friends, too.

These are 4 amazing young people that I had the honor of working with at camp.  The girls and I led a group together.  All 4 are friends from school.  And they embraced me.  The old lady with the same sense of humor and same love for Jesus that they each had.  These are the faces of the future - and the future is bright for these 4.  I am eager to make plans to see them over the rest of the summer.


It was hot.  It was humid.  And I had to use my "counselor voice" from time to time.  Camp showers stink for the kids - they have to be super fast and efficient to get all the showers done in a reasonable amount of time.  And as a counselor, I had to monitor shower time and it wasn't a fun job.  It's also really, really hard to say goodbye to some of these kids, knowing I won't see them again.  


And the worst part... the camp has never ever had this issue.  And there are blessings in this playing out.  So please don't think badly of the facility as they are truly handling it as best as they can.  I came home with bed bug bites.  And I had seed ticks in my bed.  And it turns out that seed ticks can actually be deer tick larvae.  And it also turns out that I am allergic to bed bug bites so I broke out in hives.  The blessings?  It was limited to my room, I didn't get the bed bug bites until the last night, and it doesn't seem to have impacted any of the kids or other counselor (some of whome were older and some who had health issues and so on).  

However, I am showing possible signs of lyme disease.  I've been to immediate care twice - once resulted in getting on predisone for the hives.  The second time was after noticing the "bull's eye" mark on several of my spots.  I've started on doxycycline hyclate (the regular treatment for lyme disease) and await the test result (which can take 3-4 days).  I'mw atching for sings of exhaustion and any soreness in my joints.

Our belongings came home in big black plastic trash bags.  I left behind my suitcase and laundry hamper and flip flops.  I've tossed out the bags containing the bedding.  I'm tossing out other bas as I salvage the truly important things.  We will need to replace a lot of baggage, clothing, and eventually bedding.  The good news is that material things are replaceable.  I can't take a risk of bringing bugs or ticks into our home.  

The end

That's about it.  I'd love to do it all over again.  I'd love to say I'd be a counselor again or that I'd be quick to send my daughter or son to camp again.  I have to admit that right this second, I have my reservations.  I'm kind of breaking up with nature right now.  I think I'll stick to volunteering at VBS where no beds or nature is involved.  I loved it.  I did.  And I don't hold anything but esteem for the facility.  They've handled things well - they brought in an exterminator the very next day and they confirmed to me what was found and the action being taken.  This is a problem that has never ever ever happened there before - which is a miracle, really.  Once we get past these bug issues... I'll just focus on treasuring the long list of positives about being at camp!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

My Child Shall Lead Me

I've been reflecting a bit this afternoon.  About learning important things.

For me.

From Teagan.

This girl can sure put me through the wringer.  She can push my buttons like nothing else.  Sometimes her choices leave me... embarassed.  Frustrated. Uncertain of my parenting.  That doesn't happen often but it's been a big part of parenting to learn that lesson so early in this job.

Most days, I enjoy her humor and her thought process and her energy and her need for affection.

Recently, she has impacted my life in 3 big ways.

First, a random little comment.  But it meant so much.  I was getting ready for work.  Actually, I was looking in the mirror in the bathroom, trying to decide if I really had to go through and take the flat iron to my hair or if I could somehow make the sticking out parts pass for stylish.  I'm a low maintenance mama so if I can skip a big to-do over my hair, I'm all for it.  Teagan walked in to the bathroom, looked at me and said, "You're so pretty."  And then walked out.  A simple compliment that meant a lot.  She and I have been talking lately about how people have seen a picture of me from when I was around her age and they say she looks just like me.  And I've been an advocate before - if you tell your child they look like you and then you criticize how you look, you are criticizing your child.  Her confidence has been boosting lately and I felt like her compliment to me wrapped around to also be a compliment to herself.

Me and my mom, circa... 1983, maybe?

Second, I had a major proud mama moment and I have gushed to her about it privately because I wanted her to know that I was happy with her.

Today, Teagan and I went to my sister-in-law's baby shower.  We made friends with 2 women at our table - one a friend of my sister in law's and one a co-worker of my sister in law.

The games started.  The third game was a word un-scramble.  The friend we were sitting with and I (with Teagan as my helper) both tied and won (candles were the prize).  A couple more games go by.  Teagan, being a rather competitive child, is enjoying them.  I remind her, gently, once or twice, that we already won.  Another game comes up and Teagan and the co-worker end up talking through it, working together.  Teagan wins the game.  Another candle.  She passes it to the two women so they can smell it.  She then asks the co-worker which one she likes best... and then gives her that candle.  The woman tried to run it down and Teagan said, "Oh no! You and I worked together on that game! And my mom and I already won something.  I want you to have it!"

I don't know that I could have felt more proud.  And humbled at the same time.

Third.  Gulp.  This one is going to require some big changes.

Teagan's class worked on New Year's Resolutions at school.  From what she has told me, they each set a resolution for school and for home.

Her resolution for home?

She wants to start running.

Just like Mommy used to do.  Hard to believe it's been 3 years since I peaked.  And then quit.

So we're formulating a plan.  She wants to start running in the evenings 3x per week after winter - say, in March.  Which is ideal for me to do Couch to 5K.  But I'm so out of shape now that I still won't keep up with her.

I need to start now.

So it's time to get organized.  Time to start hitting the gym on my lunch hour.  Walking on the treadmill.  Riding a bike.  Hitting the elliptical.  It's time to go through my workout clothes, evaluate my shoes, pack a gym bag.

Because my daughter wants to run.  With me.  And she wants to do a 5K in June.

My child shall lead me.


This was originally posted in January of this year.  Given that this week has been a week I'm spending with my daughter at church camp, it seemed appropriate to have this reminder.  The time I spend with my child is always an opportunity to learn - about her, about me, about us.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dear Cloth Diapers

Watch out Mommy blogs - the Dads are making a splash!  I haven't met Creed but he's friends with my friend @BgKahuna and with a mom friend of mine.  Well, he's married to that mom friend.  Anyway - I think it's pretty cool that Dad bloggers are getting a more noticable voice in the blogosphere.  And this post shows just how in touch Dads are!!  ~Liz


Dear Cloth Diapers,

We are on the cusp of a major event. We have officially, with the blessing of our son (finally!), begun potty training. The significance of this operation means many things to the rest of us: no longer will I have to play the "Restroom Roulette" game of discovering whether there is or isn't  a changing table in the men's room; I get to remind two youngsters to potty before we go on adventures; I finally get to try the Cosby technique for potty training - Cheerios (sink those ships); and last, but not least, I get to have more incoherent discussions with the kids about the need for a restroom that evolve to disagreements that end with one, or several, of us running to a restroom. I'm okay with all of that, and fully accept the challenge that waits for all of us.

But before I get to that, I feel like I need to take the time to say goodbye. Your time with us is dwindling, limited, set to expire. And before I say goodbye, I need to say thank you.

When I suggested the idea of using you, my wife thought I was crazy. Mind you, I did not have a complete idea of the undertaking, but the thought was that we could save two birds with one stone - errr, something like that. We could do something good for the environment and (my big selling point) we could save money. And save money (and the environment) we have.

People misunderstand you. Yes, there is a time commitment for upkeep, but we gladly donated that time in order to save money, I mean the environment. People think you are stinky, but what they don't realize is that if you are properly taken care of - no one notices you. People think that you are too expensive up front, but like anything else in America, you can be found at the right price online or in stores. A few weeks into our adventure with you, my wife found a number of different places to find you at reduced prices. I joked that she had discovered a black market/craigslist of cloth diapers. She was the architect and built an awesome arsenal of shells and inserts that created a comfortable rotation.

I will admit that I will not miss laundering you, and my wife will not miss stuffing you. My son will miss you when he decides to jump from two couch stories up and lands only to find that you aren't there to cushion him. We will miss your dependable snaps and Velcro enclosures that reduced the chance of leakage and collateral damage from blowouts.

Cloth diapers, 10 years ago (before I ever had kids) I would not have imagined us ever being united. But here we are. For now.

Please know that as we cheer our son on, we aren't dismissing you. We aren't disrespecting you. We are just two proud parents, happy that our son is progressing to the next level. The next level that happens to be without you.

Thank you, Cloth Diapers. You have served us well. Goodbye.

Creed Anthony

Creed Anthony can be found at and He is also the Co-Organizer of the new IndyDadsGroup.


We never cloth diapered our kids.  But we did use a lot of cloth diapers because they were the best burp cloths.  In fact, we still have a good stack of various cloth diapers that we now use as household rags.  My husband has even discovered that the non-pre-folds can make a great sweat catcher when working outside (yes, my husband has worn a cloth diaper as a 'do rag - which is hilarious and effective on many levels).

Moms - share that Indy Dads Group with your husbands or other dads in your life!  Indy area people can hook up with other dads for playdates (I think they go with the more manly "meetup" though).  You can follow The Captain on Twitter @acjlist. And check out Creed's blog because it's hilarious and real!  Thanks for your post, Creed!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Quick Tips: Disney

1.  Don't let Disney be your child's first amusement park experience.  Rides and 3D movies can be overwhelming.  If your child has experienced things at the State Fair, Holiday World, King's Island, etc - they will be better prepared for what Disney World has to offer.  We knew the kids wouldn't be doing big rides like roller coasters but had hoped they'd enjoy 3D experiences.  Instead, we learned that anything with a boat was a winner and we enjoyed shows like Finding Nemo: The Musical and the Indiana Jones stunt show.  However, a 3D experience was out for Zach.  Anything that was dark was scary for him.  It was very hard to adjust our hopes for the trip to what Zach needed the trip to be.  We were able to divide and ride for some things - Jeff took Teagan on Haunted Mansion, Jeff and I took turns on Star Tours.  Zach did great on things like the Buzz Lightyear ride and Toy Story Mania.  But he mostly did best with show type experiences - Monsters Inc Laugh Floor was a big hit for him.  He also liked little rides like Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan and he loved It's A Small World and the Country Bear Jamboree.  Magic Kingdom was definitely the best park for him.  At Epcot, his best ride was the one in the Mexico pavilion in World Showcase.  We rode it twice.  But if my kids were the kind of kids who were eager to go to amusement parks - Disney would have been a chance to kick it up a notch instead of a place full of overwhelming experiences.

2.  Tip your housekeeper daily (you could have a different person each day).  We tipped Mousekeeping each day ($5 per day) - and left little notes.  In one note, we just said thank you.  In another, we told them we were coming up on our last day and that we've enjoyed they're hard work in our room.  In another, we told them that the kids thought it was really Fairy Mousekeeping because they had worked magic in our room!  We also left a picture of ourselves out one day (from the arcade photo booth) so our housekeeper could "see" us.  Our housekeepers made our room fun to return to each day - and also left us extra bottles of shampoo and conditioner and extra bars of soap!

Here are some of the treats left behind by Mousekeeping:

3.  Keep your room organized.  I can't say enough about having a shoe organizer and a pop up hamper.  We were very glad to utilize the laundry room at our resort.  Having a set place for dirty clothes to go at the end of a hot and sweaty day was great.  And the shoe organizer was fantastic - the kids could wake up and grab a bite to eat without any issue.

4. Be friendly with all cast members.  I can't tell you how many times our day was saved by a friendly cast member!!  Especially when we were tired, hot, sweaty, cranky... a little eye contact and friendly smile was often the cue for a cast member to go above and beyond.  Not in big ways - just little things to make the day better.  For example, at Epcot, Zach was overwhelmed by all of it and it came to a head when we stopped for a snack and a fly landed nearby.  He freaked out about the fly.  Crying and scared and my normally happy dude was overcome with tears.  A cast member was nearby, cleaning tables.  She saw how upset our boy was and came over to find out what was wrong.  She sat and talked with him and brought him colring pages and crayons.  And she stayed with him until she knew he was happy.  Another night, after a long and fun and tiring day, we got picked up by a bus with a driver in training.  His trainer, Bob, let my kids sit in the seat right behind the driver and then kept them happy and entertained all the way to our resort.  He made faces and joked with them and gave them each a "Safety Tip" card.  Teagan is still doing his routine of pushing her nose to make her tongue pop out and then pulilng an ear to move her tongue to the side... As we were leaving Magic Kingdom - again, tired and hungry - we were greeted by a cast member in the Emporium and she squatted down and talked with our kids for a good 5 minutes about their day and the rides and the characters and when we left that store (we didn't buy anything), the kids were bubbling over with excitement.

5.  Character meals are the best way to meet characters!!  If you want autographs or pictures with characters, the single best way to make it happen is with character meals.  We started out at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary and got to meet the big guys right away - Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Mickey and Minnie.  We met some of the main crew again at Tusker House at Animal Kingdom - Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Goofy.  My favorite character meal was breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian - Pooh Bear, Tigger, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter.  There are other character meals - I think you can find one for just about any favorite character.

6.  Dollar store glow sticks are awesome.  We didn't have to buy any glow sticks for night things.  We weren't even tempted.  And we discovered that having a little glow stick or bracelet meant that Zach had a little candle to hold on to for darker rides - it was his bravery shield for Pirates of the Carribean.  Plus, we were able to share some Disney magic with other families by handing out glow sticks and bracelets to others!!

7.  No matter how tired you are, take notes!  At the end of the day, take notes.  Jot down the things that made the day special and the things you want to do differently going forward.  Otherwise, there is no way to remember it all!

That's it for now - if you're headed to Disney anytime soon, those would be the top things on my list.  Shoe organizer, tips for house keeping, hamper, glow sticks, journal, reservations for character meals.  Any favorite tips from your own experiences?

This was originally posted in June of 2013 after our first family trip to Disney.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monkey Do Project

Fantastic guest post from my friends at Monkey Do Project today!


Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. – 1 John 4:11-12

I’ve read the above words many times, but when I read them again last week, they really struck me. If we love one other, God’s love is perfected in us! Isn’t that amazing? What an awesome thing, to think that the love we show each other testifies to the love God has for us. It’s a powerful motivation to go out and serve others, and to share even a tiny piece of the love, grace, and mercy that God has shown me.

God has provided me with an amazing opportunity to share his love through my position on the board of the Monkey Do Project. The Monkey Do Project is an organization that is dedicated to feeding and assisting people in the poorest area of the country, the Appalachian region. Some parts of Appalachia have poverty rates over 150% above the average rate of poverty in the United States. Many people in Appalachia live in conditions that we imagine only happen in third-world countries.

Many children in Appalachia only have balanced meals when they are at school, where government programs have made these meals inexpensive or free. When summer comes and school ends, the regular meals end, too. This leads to the problem of summer starvation – kids going the whole summer without regular meals. It’s a problem Monkey Do Project wants to fight. Six out of seven children participating in school lunch programs won’t have access to regular meals over the summer. That’s a startling figure.

We’ve partnered with local food banks in Appalachia to provide regular food for these children and their families. We’re asking others to help us by making a financial pledge to fight summer starvation. Your donations, big and small, can help feed hungry children who have no other options over the summer months. And you have a powerful opportunity to show love to someone else, by providing something most of us take for granted.

Talking to people about poverty in the United States is a tricky thing. People have very strong opinions about things like government assistance, welfare, health care, and what people “deserve” help. These are complex issues with no easy answers.

But when I open my Bible, I see a Savior who has given me a love that I didn’t (and don’t) deserve. And that’s my motivation to serve. What the government does doesn’t really factor into it. I’ve been called to show the same love I’ve been given. I’m thankful for the opportunity to do just that.

Your motivation may be different than mine, but if your heart breaks thinking about children going an entire day with no food, please consider making a donation. You may think that what you can afford to give is too little is too much; it’s not. I believe in a God who can feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. He can take whatever you can give, and He can use it to bless someone in a mighty way.


Friends - You know that childhood hunger is also an issue close to my heart.  I've got mad love for my friends at Monkey Do and the work that they do to offer aid to part of America's most impoverished people.  If you feel called to do so... I'd invite you to click on that link up there and make a donation.  Even $5 goes a long way!

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Strippers Aren't Objects. They're People.

Regular readers will know that I have a tendency to look at people and wonder about their stories.  Everyone has something going on under the surface, something in their past, something happening in their lives that might be influecing their decisions now, might be impacting how they feel right now.  I see tis insight as a huge benefit because it helps me to recognize that everyone I encounter has a story to tell - and that most of the time, there is no point in getting angry at the person who cut me off on the highway because I'm not part of their story.  I don't know what's going on in their world, in their life.

My friend Karen is one of those people - you might catch a glimpse of her in the background of a picture, you might see her at the store or driving down the street.  You'd see a beautiful woman with a beautiful family.  And just like so many of us - she has a story.  And she's sharing a piece of it here today.


This is a very difficult post for me to write. It’s been in the making for a number of years, as it is both embarrassing and extremely painful. I’m in the process of healing, but it’s a long process, and acceptance is part of that. Accepting that I made some terrible past decisions that are affecting my present life in ways that were highly unexpected at the time. Many couples visit strip clubs together or use pornography together to enhance their sex lives or spice it up a little. We don’t. Ever. Many men have porn in the house or occasionally go to the club for a bachelor party or look at naked girls on the Internet. My husband won’t (by his choice, not by my permission). This post is why.

I keep writing this and then deleting it. For years, I’ve written it, decided it’s no good and won’t make a difference, and deleted it. For years I’ve decided it was too painful, and I’ve deleted it. For years I haven’t healed. I’ve been a sinking ship. Now I’m taking my family down with me. I’m not just hurting me anymore. It’s time to repair the wounds.

Worthless is a word that I use to describe myself often. Useless and failure are a couple more of my favorites. Purposeless. No good. Garbage. I have a very hard time looking at my wonderful life, my beautiful children, my amazing husband, my dream home, and feeling as though I deserve any of it. I’m positive that at any moment, my family is going to realize what trash I am and it will all be taken from me. For years, this is what I was told. For an entire decade of my life. I still believe it, and I’ve got to stop believing it, because if I don’t, the prophecy will self fulfill. Not because I’m worthless, but because I’m too damn negative, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

I’m 34 years old. I’ve been with my husband for 6 years and married for 2. I have a BA in Political Science from Indiana University, where I won a scholarship for having the highest GPA in the department, graduating with a 3.995. I raise two boys and a girl, who are amazing little people. I’m funny, I’m pretty, and I’m smart…and I started sex work when I was 18. I didn’t find anything wrong with it at the time. I had monetary goals, and it seemed to be the way to meet those goals as quickly as possible. I didn’t have any feelings one way or the other about sex or nudity or modesty. I’d been working other jobs for years, and it just seemed like another job to me, only higher paying. I was hanging out on the streets of Broad Ripple one day and was approached by some guy offering lots of money under the table, so I took it.

I made one decision on one day of my life when I was 18 years old, and it has ruined my life ever since. At 18 years old, I made the decision to become an object instead of a person.

I have been a member of quite a few Internets groups over the years, a lot of them full of moms. Every now and again the discussion of pornography and strip joints comes up. Whose husband is allowed to go, whose husband isn’t, whose hides it, who goes as a couple, etc. It always ends in a fight about the definition of infidelity and respect for one’s spouse or significant other. The camp of “strip clubs destroy marriages” versus the camp of “jealousy destroys marriages”.

I’m in a completely different camp. The camp of “strip clubs destroy women.” My reasons for not buying have nothing to do with infidelity. I’m not a jealous person. I do not feel disrespected if my husband finds another woman attractive. We don’t partake of this sort of spice because I absolutely refuse to pump money into an industry that destroys lives. Not the lives of the PATRONS (via broken marriages) but the lives of the WORKERS. If you are visiting these establishments or buying these movies or clicking these websites, you are absolutely, 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, helping to ruin these women’s lives. I know that may be hard to hear, but it’s straight from the horse’s mouth. Insider info. THE TRUTH.

When you walk into a strip club audition or to a casting for a porn movie or to apply for a job as a “live” model at the jack shack or submit naked pictures of yourself to a number of websites, they verify your age with several pieces of identification to make sure you are a legal adult (to cover their asses with the courts). What they do NOT verify is that you are mentally stable, have no past history of abuse, or that you’ve been taught what is and is not a healthy sexual relationship. Why would they? If they only hired empowered women who ENJOY sex work for the sake of the work, they’d be left with, maybe, 1% of their employees.

I worked all over the country in the sex industry over a decade of my life. I have met thousands of sex workers, from the girl in the rinky dink strip joint in the middle of nowhere to the high-profile, multi-million dollar porn star. I believe that out of these women, THOUSANDS of women, I have met MAYBE 2 that had a healthy view of WHY they were doing the work they were doing. If the stripper you’re talking to tells you how much she loves her job, she’s lying to you. If you think you’re watching the 1% of workers who enjoy it, you’re lying to yourself. Porn stars do interviews talking about how wonderful their lives are, how sexy they feel, how much they love to turn YOU on. THEY.ARE.LYING. They have a product to sell! They aren’t going to sell if they go to a magazine and whine about how much of a piece of shit they feel like day after day. Consumers believe them because it makes them feel better about getting off to these women. I have sat in hotel rooms with many a high-profile porn star. All of them have personally told me how much they hate their jobs. Most of them have gone on about how they hate themselves, as well, and almost all of them were addicts. I know because I was sitting in their hotel rooms because I was delivering their drugs.

The rest of us are just trying to survive. The industry counts on women like me. Down and out, nowhere to go, depressed, abused, told we aren’t worth anything. Then along comes some guy, and he tells you you’re pretty and can make a ton of money to get out of whatever situation you’re in, except they glamorize the situation you just got yourself into.

So you think to yourself, I can do this, it’s no big deal, it’s just another job. Only it’s not. You go for a few shifts, and it’s great! You make a ton of cash and everyone tells you you’re pretty because you’re the new girl.

Then you aren’t the new girl anymore, and your freshness has worn off. Some other barely legal, gullible or abused woman has taken your place. This is when the road to ruin really starts. This is when every flaw you ever had, and even flaws you didn’t know you had, begin to be pointed out to you, hundreds of times a day. Men come into the club, and they verbally abuse the women because they want to look at the women, but they don’t want to give them a dollar, so they make up reasons not to. If they’re mean to the girl, the girl will walk away in a huff, and the dollar will stay in the wallet. So each day your breasts are too big, your ass is too small, your face is too round, your ribs are showing, you have too many freckles, you have an ugly haircut, your nose is too far to the left, one of your knees is a little higher than the other. And who cares, right? You’re just a stupid stripper, and that’s all you’ll ever be. You’re not even human…

There’s a LOT more to this story, but I’ve reached my pain cap for the evening.


I invite you to click over to this post on Karen's blog - Pride and Parentage.  You can read parts 2 and 3.  And hopefully this opens your eyes and your heart and gives you another look into something you maybe never knew about people.  A grim reality that society wants to sweep under the rug.

I also hope you'll leave messages of support for Karen.  It takes a lot of courage to share something so private so openly and I'm honored that she let me share part of her story here.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Guest Posts

As you know... in the coming week, I'll be off at camp.

And that means you get to meet some of my friends!  This week, you'll have guest posts from my friend Karen, a dad friend named Creed, the Monkey Do Project, and I recycled a couple of older posts.

For those guest posts - I hope you will read, share, comment and give encouragement.  A warm welcome, you know.

And don't forget to keep me and Teagan and all of us at camp in your thoughts and prayers, please!

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pre-Camp Prayers

It's no secret that I'm a little bit excited about next week.

In 2 days, Teagan and I will be leaving home for a solid week.  We'll be heading to church camp.  A sleep away camp that focuses on worship, Bible lessons, forming friendships, and having FUN.

Summer camp was never something I got to do as a kid.  I don't have a lot of memories of how I spent my summer vacations but I know there was always a trip to "Camp Grandma and Grandpa."  But it was just me and my grandparents (and most of my time was really spent with my grandma).  I cherish those memories.  But I always wondered what summer camp would have been like... I read books and I must have heard stories from other kids over the summer or when we came back to school.

This year, Teagan was finally ready to consider summer camp.  But I knew the only way she would successfully make it through the week is if I could go along.  Thankfully, the camp is set up to have parents volunteer as counselors.  So I signed up!

I have to admit that a part of me was a little... hesitant.  I'm giving up a week of vacation time for this.  Could I really burn up that time?

And during one of my times of fretting, in my brain, about losing that time... I realized that I wasn't burning it up or wasting it or losing it.  I was giving that time to God.  And what better way is there to spend time?

As we approach camp... it's easy to get caught up in the packing and planning and wondering and excitement.  But my heart is tugging in that important direction of knowing that this is God's work.  I'm going to be a camp counselor.  But I'm also going to be a witness, a guide, a teacher.

I invite you, I ask you, I encourage you... would you pray for me?  Pray for the kids attending? Pray for the other volunteers and the directors? Pray for the regular camp staff?

It's going to be an awesome week!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Learning: Summer Camp Care Packages

Teagan and I are off on a brand new adventure next week.  We are going to church camp!  I'm going to be a camp counselor and Teagan is a camper.  It's a sleep away camp - with cabins, thankfully.

One of the cool things about camp, from what I hear, is mail call.  Letters from home, letters from loved ones, and maybe even a care package to enjoy and also share with your bunk mates...

These days, sending snacks inc are packages isn't as "acceptable" as it used to be.  So I've been scratching my head about what fun things Daddy can send to us in a care package.  Here's what I've come up with so far... and after the week is over, I bet I'll have some other ideas!


We will have "flat on bunk" time each day - time to rest, read, craft quietly, write letters, etc.  But time to be quiet in your bunk.  So kids like my daughter will certainly need some entertainment.  And since my girl loves to read... some books about camp would be awesome!  Since we're going to church camp, it would be nice to send a devotional for girls or something like that. 

Here's a list I found on Goodreads of Summer Camp Fiction for Young Readers.  It includes one of my favorite memories... one of the books I read over and over as a kid - 


We will be packing the Rainbow Loom and also embroidery floss for friendship bracelets.  Teagan enjoys crafts and there are some great crafty books/small kits that she would be able to do independently.  It can't be stuff that's going to require cutting or taping or glue or help from an adult.

Duct tape in fancy prints or colors and printed instructions on things to make.

Cat's Cradle Kit
This Pipe Cleaner Book

Fun Stuff

Hit the dollar store or something similar and get some bubbles, glow sticks, jump ropes, frisbees, temporary tattoos, stick on mustaches.  And at just a dollar an item, send a few extras for the camper to share with friends!  

Camp Needs

Hair things like hair elastics or headbands for girls.  Lip balm.  Aloe spray or lotion.  A flashlight.  A fresh pillow case.  Extra pairs of fun socks.  More bug spray, sunscreen.  Bottles of water and the liquid flavoring. 


If food is allowed, it's always fun to get a sweet treat or favorite snack from home!  Especially when you can share it with your friends.  Pop Rocks, Gummy Bears, Gum, Tic Tacs, Swedish Fish, Animal Crackers, Fruit Leather,  bag of favorite chips.  I'd think it's best to only send a small amount of food - you want the kids to eat it up right away and not let it sit in the bunk.

But best of all... letters, emails, cards.  Just something to let that camper in your life know that he or she is being thought of and loved.  I plan to take extra stationary and cards so that I can write notes to any kids that we notice aren't getting mail - because every kid should hear their name at least once at mail call!

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Friday, June 6, 2014

I've Got Disney Fever

I've got a fever. Disney fever.

Jeff and I are eagerly awaiting our upcoming trip at the end of August.  We'll celebrate our 11th anniversary and my 40th birthday and our first ever no-kids vacation!  We still haven't told the kids we're going to Disney without them - only that we're going away for a weekend.  And we don't plan to tell them!

We've had a loose plan to go back as a family in the summer of 2015 and Teagan hasn't forgotten it.  She often mentions the things we will do when we go to Disney next year.

So you can imagine how happy I was to check out the Disney Store online and find our family shirts on sale! Seriously - how CUTE are we going to be???  (Jeff - stop rolling your eyes!)

And do you know it nearly broke my heart when I didn't see this shirt in my size?  I considered buying a shirt 2-3 sizes too big just to have it.  Thankfully, I did find it in a different section in my size!! Wahoo!  Pooh Bear AND free hugs???  It seriously should just have my name literally on it.


I wish we could all go right now.  But I also know that the youngest in our family still isn't quite ready.  In a year, I think he will have a new level of bravery and be able to enjoy the rides in a bigger and better way.  Plus, in a year, Teagan will be 10 and Zach will be 7 and those feel like perfect ages to be able to really enjoy a full day of fun and an evening of fireworks!

It's silly, really.  I find myself perusing websites and blogs and Pinterest and so on, looking for something I don't know about Disney, something I need to study and learn and absorb.  But really - Disney is something you experience and you learn as you go.  I "studied" like crazy before our family trip last year and I feel like I learned a ton but it was being on the ground that really mattered.  I'll need to brush up before Jeff and I tackle the parks - but when it's just the 2 of us, the strategy will be a bit more laid back!  But then that fever starts to creep in and I want to plan and study and... let's be honest, I want to daydream about being at Disney World!

Side note - A big reason why I don't worry so much about planning and knowning everything before I hit the ground is because I have a travel planner in my back pocket named Katie from Hi Ho Vacations.  She is at my fingertips before we go and while we're there and can help us with any situation!  I highly, highly recommend using a planner! It costs you nothing - if you do all the planning yourself, Disney gets the planning fee.  If you use Katie at Hi Ho, Katie gets that fee instead of Disney.  It totally rocks.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014


School's out and summer is here!  The kids have jumped right in to summer day camp at the YMCA and are busy with swimming and creek stomping an camp songs and crafts.  Our weekends are filling up with fun things like pool dates and sleepovers and baseball games and farmer's markets.

Last day of school!
For us, the routine of the weekday stays the same.  We get up at the same time.  Jeff and I still go to work.  The kids go to camp at the same time that they would have gone to school.  But the evenings are more laid back.  And the weekends are less chore and errand focused.

We've had some serious fun already.  We've spent time at the pool.  Zach and I went to our first "con" at Indy Pop Con.  Jeff was super proud and excited to have us there.  Teagan has overcome most of her anxiety about sleepovers and has kept a busy social schedule.  We've inherited a neighbor's trampoline and we have kids that love to come over and jump with our kids - which also means snacks, juice boxes, popsicles, and eventually the sprinkler comes out!

Zach and I being Wolverine!

Oh! Captain America! He's sooooo dreamy!
More adventures and summer time fun are on the docket for the coming months... summertime for us includes:

- Days at the YMCA pool
- Trips to the Farmer's Market
- popsicles, ice cream, watermelon, corn on the cob, strawberries
- The Indiana State Fair in August
- gardening (I've planted cilantro, tomatoes, green pepper, and jalapeno)
- Fireworks (we get to enjoy displays for different events right from our backyard or driveway)
- church camp (Teagan going for the first time, I'm going as a counselor)
- weekend getaways

How about you? What are you most excited for this summer?

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Their Stories

I've had this strange fascination lately.

It's the people in my pictures.

Not the people I know.  The people I don't know.  The people in the background.

For example, when we went to Disney World last year.  Lots of other people ended up in my photos.

Like this picture from Epcot where Jeff got pulled in to participate with an Itlaian street entertainer.

I see this kid and a guy behind him with an identical smile that I wonder... is that his dad?  What about this was so entertaining to them? Do they always find this much joy in things?  

 And who is this?  A somewhat grumpy teenaged older brother?  Or maybe someone secretly wishing they could get out of their own skin and also enjoy the show and silliness?

 I think about the people I know...

You wouldn't know by looking at her that my friend is sometimes struggling to maintain balance as she works her way through seminary.

You wouldn't know by looking at her that my friend who just loves people uncontrollably also suffers from a terrible lack of self esteem.

You wouldn't know by looking at him that he lost his wife a few years ago.

You wouldn't know by looking at her that her husband is a cancer survivor and she discovered amazing grace within herself through that struggle.

You wouldn't know by looking at him that he was struggling with unemployment and fears not being the man his family needs him to be.

We all have a story going on behind our faces, our vacations, our shopping, our errands.  Putting ourselves into someone else's shoes... imagining ourselves in someone else's pictures... maybe that can help us be a little more understanding when the waiter isn't as fast as we want him to be on refills or a little more forgiving of someone who cuts us off on the highway or a little more grace filled when dealing with a frustrating person at work.

The world would be a different place if we could look at people and just be aware of all the things we cannot see.

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