Monthly Archives: December 2018

Lost and Found

Already drunk, lonely, angry, feeling hopeless, I walked purposefully down 6th Street to another bar. I don’t remember what pushed me over the edge to making this life-changing decision. I do remember the inside of that dark, elbow to elbow,  smoke-filled bar. I remember walking up to a total stranger and asking if he had any ecstasy for sale. It was the mid-1980s, and I was a college student living in Austin.  A recent breakup had left me lost and obsessed with why it happened and in an emotional storm that I made much worse with drinking. Going to class became hit or miss. I was living alone in a one bedroom apartment and had no real friends. I can barely remember anything before this night, not what classes I was taking or if I was working or what I was doing before I walked into that club, probably due to PTSD.

“I don’t have any on me, but I can get you some.”, he said, looking at me suspiciously, as if it was a trap. Who was this dumb White chick walking up to him, assuming he had drugs? I guess it was common enough back then for him to decide I was not a cop.  Why I didn’t say “never mind” and just walk away and go home, I don’t know. I went with him, leaving the safety of the crowd, getting into a car with him and another guy on the premise that we were going to get ecstasy somewhere,  and Satan took over from there. My brain has blocked out some details, but I remember some of it. I was taken to a secluded place, by then I was wide awake and terrified. Terrible things were done to me. I’d rather not describe it because some people in my life would be very hurt to read this. It’s making my heart rate increase just typing this. The good news is I am ALIVE to type this. The men who did this seem to be the type that would be okay with murder as well.

After they committed the first crimes against me, they decided they wanted to commit more crimes and made me take them to my apartment because they wanted my debit card which I had lost and I said I had another one there, hoping that if I cooperated, they wouldn’t hurt me more. When we arrived there, I left the door of the apartment open , I can still see it open in my mind even though I only lived there a very short time and can’t remember anything about that apartment. I give God the credit for telling me to run, because I hadn’t exactly had good instincts up to that point. I was able to get outside the door, making some comment to them, I don’t remember what I said, and I took off running across the parking lot. I was not a runner back then, but I probably ran faster than I can run now.

It was still dark of night and I saw some people partying on their balcony and I yelled help me , help me! I ran toward where I figured the door would be and after that I don’t remember much. I think they called the police and I was taken to the police station at that point and I do remember making a report and then calling my brother who came to get me.

My life changed after that. I was able to move into a different apartment, but I lived in fear that those men would come looking for me. I cut back on partying , but I still drank too much. I stopped going to those bars. I was still depressed and somewhat self-destructive, but I knew I really wanted to be alive. I just wanted to be happy and not lonely. Eventually, the PTSD was too much and I dropped out of school. On an impulse one day, I loaded up my car and drove through a snowstorm to Denver and slept on my parent’s couch for a few months. I got myself together enough to go back to college and I graduated. Then I started my own business. Then I got married. Then I had six kids. And here I am.  A mostly happy, fairly productive, basically normal person with a #metoo story.

What was done to me by those men left mental scars and bad memories,  but it wasn’t the end of my life. I am not bitter and I choose to leave their judgment to God since nothing ever came of my police report. I do have some lingering fears that I continue to work on and running has really helped me with that , along with getting closer to good people and truly learning to turn to God instead of just going nuts and following my emotions. I have forgiven myself for my mistakes and for putting myself in harm’s way that night by trying to buy drugs, but I do not blame myself for their actions. Rape is an act of violence and always the fault of the perpetrator , not the victim. In case anyone has any questions, yes, I tried to talk them out of it and tried to resist and I was beaten. There was no way to escape until later when I ran. But this all happened a long time ago and yet, not long enough.

I wanted to share this true story in hopes of helping other victims. You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You can heal. You can live your life with hope. There are good people in the world. You can learn to protect yourself from the bad ones, sometimes, but it can still happen. Don’t live in fear, but don’t put yourself in danger either. If you are in a bad place in your life , seek help. There is hope!

If you’ve read my other blogs, you might know that I am a strong Christian. You might wonder if I was a Christian at that time. I thought I was . I was saved as a child, Baptized, loved Jesus,  reading the Bible and going to church. I even went to church after I moved to Austin. But I had strayed far from God. I was living a life of rebellion, making my own rules, deciding what was okay, no longer studying the Bible for God’s truth, but instead making my own interpretations. I had fallen in with a crowd that I had no business with. Yes, I was a Christian. I think God saved me from a worse fate that night, but He let me see where I was headed if I didn’t turn off that path. He showed me a very dark and seedy side of life, where there were no rules, certainly no fear of God’s judgment. That was not me. I am a child of God! Up to then, I was just playing around with sin and danger, but that night, I left the road completely. Up to then I had never tried to buy drugs from anyone or broken any laws. I still had goals and cared what people thought of me.  Did I want to die? Not really, but I was full of self-pity, depressed, and maybe looking for drugs from strangers was a cry for attention. I don’t really know, but it woke me up. I completely stopped some of the things I was doing and began to rebuild myself. Of course, God was working on me, but I still thought I was in charge and it took time. Running home to my parents was not optimal , I lost credit in my classes and I lost the money I spent on them and my apartment deposit and I am not really sure what happened to all my furniture and stuff, maybe my brother went and got it for me. But I needed to feel safe and have time to get myself together. When I returned to school I was ready to finish. I was okay with being alone.

Are you in rebellion? Are you still lost and don’t know that Jesus can and wants to save you? Are you making up your rules or feel like there are no rules and life is pure chaos? If you’re reading this , you at least have access to the internet where you can read and study and learn about God. Start with confessing your rebellion, ask God to forgive you! Then Believe that Jesus is real and is the son of God as the Bible teaches and ask him to forgive your sins forever. Are you a Christian living in sin? Confess it and ask forgiveness! God will let you rebel and wallow in sin if that is your desire. Humble yourself and cry out for help! But also make real changes if you need to, like getting away from people who encourage you to sin or rebel with them. There are plenty of them. But there are plenty of good people out there, too!

Let me add that I do not believe that all rapes or bad things are a result of a person’s being in rebellion against God.  This is my story and I am just sharing what was going on in my life and I do think it contributed to my putting myself in danger, even though I do NOT blame myself for what was done to me. But criminals, rapists, evil people, they are opportunists. They look for a chance to get something they want without too much risk. Don’t put yourself in that position. Sometimes rape happens when we are with someone we trust and there is really nothing anyone can do about that. We can only be on alert for any signs of odd behavior and even then, some people give no warning of their bad intentions. If you can take self-defense classes and/or carry a weapon, I do think that can help your chances of escaping or preventing an attack. If it’s already happened to you, I am very sorry. I pray that you will be able to heal and live the rest of your life with no thoughts of it being your fault. I pray that you will get any help you need to feel safe and whole again. Rape does not have to destroy us. We can choose to take control of our thoughts and feelings about what happened. We can choose to believe that we are not damaged goods. We can look for the good in the world and, even more, in Jesus.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. Romans 12:17-19

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The world is not going to get better in the end, but that’s okay

In my blog feed, I follow two types of writers, believers and non-believers. Within those types I notice two additional types. Believers who faithfully encourage and uplift with hope, trusting that God has things under control , versus the ones who aren’t so sure He can be trusted and have a lot of fear in their hearts. And then there are non-believers who are truly lost and have never had faith,  versus those who used to, or want to believe but for various reasons have decided God doesn’t exist or care about them or this world.

To me the scariest one are ‘Christians’ who think that God needs our help to fix this world and that it can be fixed. These people have not studied the Bible or have been lead astray by false teachers into thinking that God is waiting for humans to do certain things to usher in a new prosperous, peaceful world. That is not what the Bible teaches! This is a false teaching. Things will go up and down as far as war and peace and poverty and prosperity, but they will trend downward until Jesus returns in judgment against Satan and his followers. If you don’t follow Jesus, you follow Satan, whether you believe it or not. Satan has used people to do his earthly deeds of destruction since the beginning, starting with Cain, moving on to Herod, Roman emperors, and modern day dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. He also works in local governments, schools, churches, synagogues, and mosques. The progressive movement is actually a religious movement disguised as a political one. It is actually the HUMANIST movement which denies the existence of the spiritual world and even believes that religion is the cause of the world’s problems and should be abolished. Progressives have figured out over time that by dumbing down the schools, keeping people focused on the wrong things like celebrities, their bodies, sex, working to maintain a false sense of security,  and now addictive electronics, they can gradually destroy the family, the church and American freedom and government without anyone really fighting back. Based on the last few elections, they have almost succeeded. Christians must guard themselves and their families.

For the lost ones, I pray for you. For the discouraged ones, turn back to God.  For the misled ones, read your Bible.

If you give a mom a camera for Christmas….

 

She will hug you and know that you are a special person!

Then you’ll both have fun learning how to use all the settings.

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Nikon D3500

 

Then you’ll spend a couple days trying to connect to her ancient laptop.

Then you’ll learn what all the buttons do.

Then you’ll try it out on the full moon.

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Then she’ll take lots of photos of you and your friends.

Then she’ll go for a hike and take pictures of dad and trees.

Then your little brother will make plans to use it to make a video of himself riding his dirt bike.

Then she’ll want a telephoto lens to take bird photos.

Then she’ll need a new memory card and USB cable and case and photo storage website and ……..a trip to the mountains to take photos!

Merry Christmas!

Counting My Blessings

Rather than tell you all the things that have gone wrong this month, big things that leave me wondering, but also trusting and waiting to see how God is going to intervene this time, I’ve decided I need to share some good things.

1)Running this race gave me a much needed mental boost. I guess I never blogged about it! Brazos Bend 100 was an almost 28 mile long trail marathon complete with people in costumes and distances from a half marathon to 100 miles.  Lots of mud, some sprinkles, huge puddles , and puddles is not really strong enough of a word to describe the mini-lakes on the trail,  a major bonk , and I had to leave early, but I enjoyed my time with other runners/friends in the park. I am still having some leg issues from the mud, but I’d say it was worth it.

2)I posted an anxious post about not having money for Christmas.  You can read it here. Having Joyful Holidays on a tight Budget Well, that is still kinda true, but there are plenty of gifts under the tree! Yes, I did resort to charging some of them on a credit card, but not all of them. The unexpected blessing was that my kids got in the Christmas spirit and bought each other gifts! They came up with this idea on their own. I really underestimated them. I think I mentioned that God provided my 15 year old with a job, well he decided to let his 13 year old brother go to work with him so he could buy gifts. He was willing to split the loot! But thankfully, the very generous man that they are working for paid them both. AND gave them a Christmas bonus to boot! This man is a Christian pastor and I am so thankful God brought them together. My 20 year old also bought some gifts. And my oldest called me from the store where he was shopping, not sure what he is up to. Last year my next-to-oldest son really came through with the big surprise, Playstation 4s for both my youngest sons! So I don’t know if he plans to shell out big bucks this year or take the year off, no word from him. He is the silent type! Each and all of my children are a huge blessing to me .

3)Another good thing, kinda , is that even though my daughter got pretty sick this month, we did not have to spend any time in the hospital. That made a huge difference in how much stress her illness caused since I was able to stay home and take care of her instead of being gone and leaving the rest of the family to take care of themselves while they were all sick with the same thing.  I am very thankful to have the equipment here that she needed, namely oxygen and suctioning.  And I’m thankful that I know how to  use and that I was not sick when she was! I got the virus but I got over pretty quickly.

4)Another somewhat sideways blessing is that even though we ended up having to spend it on plumbing repairs, we were blessed that my husband found some money he had forgotten he had put aside.  He just suddenly one day decided to clean his side of the closet and found it up there. Of course it was a little, or a big, letdown to have to give it all to the plumber, but I am thankful it popped up at the right time. God provides in unusual ways sometimes!

5)Lastly, I’m excited because I had no gift ideas and then they started coming to me in waves of inspiration! I can’t wait to see if they like them. A couple of things have already been given because they were needed, like rubber boots for my son. He loves them. And a robe for my husband because he accidentally saw it. He loves it.  One gift that I hope is well received is matching t-shirts for the whole family. If they will wear them, I’ll share a photo. If not, I may be reselling them! And I’m really excited to give my mom her Bluetooth speaker. She loves gadgets like that, and music.

So , there, you see, it only seems like this month has been terrible. Broken plumbing, illnesses and broken down vehicles , etc, happen to everyone. I can’t let myself be overcome with discouragement at life’s trials.  I will take the bad with the good.  My cozy country home is decorated with a lovely tree and plenty of lights.  I ordered 6 dozen tamales  and we will feast on Christmas Day and celebrate the birth of Christ and the joy and salvation that  only He could bring into the world. The stockings will be full of candy and the gifts will be given with love . My mom and sister and her daughter will be coming over and it will be a good day. I will be thankful for my blessings!

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The Tightrope Act

Anticipation and anxiety begin to rise.

Everyone waits to see what today’s mood will be.

Relief or resignation settles in.

What must be done to soothe and manage will be done.

It will be bedtime soon and we can relax again.

Strength or weakness?

Denial or acceptance?

It’s not our fault.

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Oh , how I love my parents!

It’s been a rough week.  What to write about? Running is always on my mind, but so is my as of late not so happy life. Looking at my $8 lamp on my donated dinner table that I currently  use as a desk,  I think I will write about my life.

How about a little background to who I am? Well, my dad was almost given away as a baby. His mom was so poor that she considered giving him away to I’m not sure who, but decided to keep him. My dad adored his mother! Maybe because he knew he was loved. My grandma was married to a drunk, which seems to be a strong gene in our family. They were poor and my dad was born in 1939 after several other children.  He picked cotton as a kid in East Texas. Later his family moved to Houston, which was a smaller city at that time.

My dad’s grandpa was  a preacher. My family is a mix of alcoholics, drug addicts, Christians, and food addicts. We like to overdo things.

My dad was awesome. Everyone loved him. He was very good at social skills, unlike me, but he worked at it. He took courses from Dale Carnegie. He was the #1 salesman.  But before that he was  a ‘kid’, working in a grocery store,  who caught my mom’s eye. She was just a girl, 15, whose mom had died unfairly from blood poisoning, when she was just a wee girl. Raised by a Black housekeeper and her dad, along with 5 brothers,  that shaped who she became, an amazing woman. She determined she would marry my dad and she did, God bless her. They had three kids in 4 years. Then a few more for good measure.

Deep breath. My dad had a knack for bullshitting so he was good at customer service and sales. He spent his life selling various things including cars. He started having some health issues in the year 2000. Who knows what caused it but he had cancer and he died mercifully at a very young age.   I miss him so much! If ONLY I could speak to him now! I hope you are proud of me dad. I love you so much!

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Dad in red shirt with his  youngest brother and  his older sister. They were very close. My Uncle Paul and Aunt Mae are still alive.

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Dad in the tie . Father in law with camera. At my second son’s birth, the nursery. 

 

Sorry, I got a bit emotional there. My dad loved gardening, dominos, dogs, fishing, being outside, his mother,my mom,  food, and people. Oh how I wish we could spend more time together! I am so thankful for the good times. My dad and mom had six children. My sister Susan Kay died, and I was born after her, so they named me Paula Kay. Now you know.  My dad and mom were very traditional. She did all the housework and never complained. Then later she started working to help pay bills. She was and IS the best mom ever! My mom is amazing.  She is 77 years old and still working. She works for American Express Travel. They should give her a  raise. She is the QUEEN  of corporate travel. I love hearing her stories of how she has rescued various clients from impossible situations. I am so proud of you, mom!  I am so blessed by my parents. Another deep breath.

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My mom is the tiny lady behind my daughter in the wheelchair. Then we have my nieces, my sons and my son’s girlfriend.

 

Okay enough. I could brag on my parents all day and night. Sure, they made mistakes, but as a middle-aged parent myself, I am very sympathetic to how hard parenting can be. The patience and forgiveness and love they gave is really extraordinary. I can only hope to do the same with my brood.

If we, I mean, We will make it through December! Race week !

I started this post on Wednesday night. It was going to be about how crazy the past two weeks have been. Then I woke up Thursday morning feeling renewed. Hmm, I thought. Looked at the calendar, yep, it’s a New Moon! Still a crazy couple of days, but I feel a new sense of hope that it will get better. I don’t think everyone is as aware of moon cycles and spiritual things as some of us, so they just think it’s all random or caused by this or that and they try to fix those things and when they feel better they think they fixed it , not realizing the changing moon cycles were at least partly responsible.

Wait!, you say. I thought this was a Christian blog! It is ! But God made the moon and the moon has strong effects on the earth, so why would it not affect the people God also made? Do I worship the moon or think that I should be very concerned about it, no. I trust that God is more powerful than anything He created. I pray constantly for His help and I feel his presence in my life , especially during crises. God is in charge!  He can even blacken the sun when he wants to make a big point.

The road has been rocky for the past two weeks. Everyone has been passing around a virus which meant that eventually my daughter would catch it and she did. I had to put her on oxygen to help her breathe on Wednesday, but Thursday she was looking much better! All this sickness meant we got very little school work accomplished, but we did work on math and reading. Today my husband feels terrible so I will be taking care of him as well as her.

The other things that have happened have been mentioned I think, unexpected plumbing expenses, car troubles and expenses, no money for Christmas, stress and worry over a depressed husband and son, my own sickness, not being able to get out and run this week, and trying to be ready for a race this weekend with all this on my mind. We also missed Bible Study class yesterday due to the virus. But God is good and I just keep praying and asking my friends to pray. Oh, yeah, after a few nice sunny days, it’s now raining and will be raining during the race unless God answers my prayers to change the weather. I have a pretty good record with God giving me good weather for races, so I try not to complain. My best friend lives in upstate New York and it seems to rain every time she races! I don’t want to live there.

The race will be exciting! Rain or not. There will be some famous elite runners there as well as many sub-elites. Ian Sharman, (UPDATE :Sharman won the 50 miler in around 6 hours in mud!) who until recently held the 100 mile Trail record, Gordon Ainsleigh ( I didn’t see him), the father of the famous Western States 100, some of the Tarahumara runners from Mexico might be there , and many other fast runners  are coming in from around the country to this lil’ ol’ state park in Texas that is mostly known for its’ large alligator population, many small lakes and bird-watching. Many of my friends will be there, some attempting their first 100 mile distance, others running other distances or volunteering or pacing.  This event was recently chosen for the 100 mile Trail Championship race for 2019 which is a big deal for the race director, who is a friend of mine, so congratulations to Robert Goyen of Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT)! https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/usatf-mountain-ultra-trail-council-announces-2019-national-championship-races/ 

 

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Brazos Bend State Park 

I did my packet pickup, errands and weekly grocery shopping yesterday, so today I will be trying to ‘rest’ for my race while I take care of everyone and do my usual cooking and chores. I know most runners do not get to rest much before a marathon and I usually don’t,  so this is not a big deal. But I’m glad I don’t have to go into Houston like I did yesterday! The traffic!  I am just not fond of the city anymore after 15 years of country living. But I have to be thankful that  I did get in and out fairly quickly and with no trouble, not counting the time I had to circle around  for awhile to get in the lane I needed to get on the freeway. I felt a slight urge to hit some of the millions of stores in Houston, but instead, I headed west on I-10, away, away! I stopped at Buc-ees for a soda and ended up doing some Christmas shopping there.

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Every good road trip includes a stop at Buc-ees

 

What is Buc-ees? It’s a gigantic gas station with over 60 gas pumps at this location and a huge carwash, a restaurant (BBQ and sandwiches) and bakery, clean restrooms, a huge convenience store with every imaginable snack and drink item and coffee, AND a huge gift shop! In other words, a Texas-sized gas station. Take a look here . It’s quite impressive! However when I got home I looked at my receipt and found that I had been charged for a sandwich I didn’t buy, which made me a bit upset since that store is not known for it’s bargain prices. I sent them an email which is the only way to contact them. I’ll update if I get a refund. ( Update: I got a refund !)

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Mmm, Beaver Nuggets! (Sugar coated corn snacks)

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Some fun gifts I bought for my sister in Utah who is always positive 🙂

Well, my time is up. Sick husband is trying to cook himself food and it’s not going well. Have a good day my friends!

Deuteronomy 4:15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.