Reunited

Via Golden Light Reiki School:

inner kingdom

people who appreciate

Via Lessons Learned in Life:

speaking and hearing

Via A Peaceful Warrior: 

tell the truth

big and small

some people


I recently received a phone call from a dear sister-friend, who had been missing from my life for several years. We met when I was pregnant with my now 13-year old daughter, and I was shopping for maternity clothes at my friend’s mother’s consignment store. My friend and I have both experienced first-hand the power of the government to destroy lives and tear families apart, and we have both grown stronger and wiser through our similar experiences. Many times we have been separated, sometimes for years, but we always find each other again and somehow pick up where we left off, as if never apart – this time was no different.

I also recently received a rather nasty comment on this blog – another in a series of bitter, hateful, accusatory and derogatory attacks which continue despite my repeated attempts to make peace. There is no making peace with this person, and as if the verbal vomit directed at me wasn’t bad enough, this person has taken to dragging my younger children into the fray. I have stated before, and I will state it again – this must stop.

The most recent spate of hate took issue not only with what I have written about parents and their children’s happiness, but with my assertion that if the personal attacks don’t stop I will have attorney take up the battle on my behalf. It is only a technicality at this point that I gave birth to this commenter, and blood ties do not require me to accept any type of abuse. If I cannot convince someone to stop harassing me, and to stop harassing my children, then I see no other option but to have an attorney do the convincing.

I have told no lies about my life or my past, and there is nothing in my life I have done that I harbor such guilt or shame over that I feel I must hide it. This does not give anyone permission to attempt to publicly mar my reputation, and especially does not give anyone permission to fabricate events – most especially to my younger children – that I must spend time setting the record straight about. I hope this commenter really has “unfollowed” me – but I doubt it – it’s apparently a great source of happiness (satisfaction?) for her to stir up trouble and this blog seems to be a favorite source for contention.

At any rate, as a parent with many years’ experience, I continue to abide by the hard-won understanding that parents cannot be responsible for their children’s happiness. This doesn’t mean a parent should have no interest in their children’s happiness, it simply means that children must learn their happiness does not come from others, or things. It comes from within. My younger children have learned this, but obviously my older children haven’t. And since they were taken from me (no, I did not give them away) and I was not allowed any contact with them – I did not raise them – I really cannot claim responsibility for the fact that they were not taught to simply be happy and not fall into the trap of claiming victimhood.

As for my dear sister-friend, I am most grateful for her return to my life. Dear friends like her are priceless, and I am blessed with many wonderful friends. These are the people I choose to surround myself with, who choose also to be with me.

We all deserve to be among people who understand us and love us for who we are, and who hear us when we speak.

Childhood Revisited

The Daily Prompt:

Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

There are so many things I wish had been different about my childhood…I have used these wishes to do my best to have my own children not have “issues” with their own childhood. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I fall short of the mark, but I do try!

One thing I remember about my childhood, or, more specifically, my teen years, was not being allowed to go to any school dances. Eventually I convinced myself I had no interest in those dances all through high school, including the prom, but I made up my mind that “someday” I would not hold my own children back in this respect.  And “someday” has arrived…

Just last night, I had the opportunity to make good on my promise to myself, as my oldest teen daughter was invited to her first school dance and I did not hesitate to approve her going to it. What I wish were different for her is my financial situation. My daughter is blessed with very wonderful friends who help her in so many ways, not the least of which was making certain she not only had a ticket to attend the semi-formal dance, but that she had a pretty dress to wear.

Exoneration

As much as I write about my own difficulties and struggle with my own pain, I remain keenly aware that I am not the only person whose  “fond memories were soon replaced by a nightmare”, and I’m not speaking here of my marriage.

Just this morning I came across a New York Times article about wrongful convictions for sexual assault, and even though I have never been convicted of that, many years ago my first husband was falsely accused of sexually assaulting our children and I was held responsible by government officials for having “allowed” him to do that. I have never figured out how I am supposed to accept responsibility for things that never happened, and although I never served prison time (but my first husband did) for those false accusations, I did lose my first four children…who were subsequently raised by my mother. But that’s another story for another time.

What bothers me is the “large number of cases where the so-called scientific work has been sloppy, result-serving and systematically poor. Wrongful convictions for sexual assault may be “the next frontier for junk science cases in Texas.” That’s good to hear, although it doesn’t repair the ruined lives or restore the time lost spent in prison – either physically or psychologically. Wrongful convictions for any type of child abuse should be part of that “next frontier for junk science” as well.

So many accusations are impossible to defend yourself against. How in the world do you prove that you did not molest a child? How do you prove that you did not abuse a child, especially when there is no physical evidence of it – or when the evidence has been fabricated? I know from experience that once you’ve been accused, your goose is cooked, so to speak, and I know when the government came knocking at my door a second time the first set of accusations rose up from my past to fuel the fire to cook my goose a second time.

I have never done any of the horrid things I’ve been accused of, and I know there are many people who never done any of the horrid things they’ve been accused of, either. One of the problems in so many cases is that “the children may have been coached, and that officials wanted to believe the girls. When you have a crime concerning children, it’s hard…[p]eople don’t know what to think.”

Actually, people decide what they want to think, and what they want to think is that when parents have been accused by anyone of harming a child those accusations are true. And officials will coach children and enlist the aid of doctors who will provide any “evidence” asked for in order to construct a case and secure a conviction. I’m not saying there aren’t real cases of real child abuse – I know from my own childhood those cases are very real and do exist – what I am saying is that those are far less prevalent than the public has been led to believe, or what the government wants to understand.

When my second set of children was taken from me several years ago, they were led to believe and make videotaped statements that I had slashed my wrists in front of them (among other abusive things). There were no scars on my wrists suggesting I had ever cut them in any way, and so obviously there was nothing in my medical records about my slashing my wrists because it had never happened. I kept insisting I had done nothing wrong, but again, how do you prove that you did not molest a child? That was what I was led to believe that the government had videotaped my children accusing me of, not that I had slashed my wrists…that bogus accusation.

What eventually brought that case crashing down was the fact that nobody bothered to ask me about that, or to look either at my wrists or my medical records until after I was forced to plea nolo contendre simply to avoid having my children go through the trauma of a trial. To this day, I wish I had taken the jury trial, although I had no way of knowing back then that was the better option. So many times there is no way to know what the better decision is in a situation until after the decision has been made, and it is useless to regret whatever decision was made.

It still took a year to get my second set of children returned to me, and while my own history bothers me (and that includes that year-plus that is now part of my youngest children’s history) I am still terribly bothered by the tragedy suffered by so many other families “rocked by accusations, often without a shred of serious evidence”, and ruined by government officials who are determined to misuse policy and ignore anyone’s constitutional right to due process.

At any rate, A Growing Battle for Exoneration is worth a read.

Related: On Second Thought

The Replacements

A recent post by a fellow blogger coupled with my own impending birthday got me to thinking about lots of things past and present. While I think it is unhealthy to dwell on the past, I believe it is good to glance back periodically – for nothing more than a progress check and an acknowledgement that it was the past that led to the present.

It is customary to celebrate children’s birthdays, although I have read about families who celebrate MOM on a child’s birthday; in ‘honor’ of my own birthday, I would like to celebrate my own children.

I wrote in a not-too-distant post of my own about things that happen twice in my life; having two ‘sets’ of children would be among those things. I have given birth to eight children…two sets of four, each three girls and a boy, in that order. I would have had more if time and health would have allowed, although a rather bitter comment on said post suggested that my second set is a replacement for the first. I chose not to ‘allow’ that comment, because I suspect it is from a person (party to the loss of my first four children) I would rather not argue with publicly, and because I also believe that sometimes the best response is no response. (Actually, I’d rather not argue at all, but some people are predisposed to arguing and a year of legal studies has made me keenly aware of my aversion to arguments). My response is here: no, the second set was not a replacement…would that question have been posed if I’d had five or six or ten more children? Or ‘just’ one? Children cannot be replaced. And, life must go on. Further, I will not apologize for things that are not my fault. ‘Nuf said, and time to move on.

For quite some time now, I’ve been asking my husband to help me scan in some old photos for I post I’d call “memories.” I have pictures I’d like to share of some horses I’ve had in the past, pets I’ve had, and most especially I have wanted to post pictures of ALL my children. But, the printer-scanner is connected to my husband’s computer – which I will not touch, for reasons I have explained elsewhere – and my husband has not yet taken the time to assist me in using his computer…so, the old photos remain on shelves and walls and in photo albums. The only photos I have to post are the ones I’ve taken in the last year or so…and so much has changed for the better even since just the beginning of this year, I am reluctant even to look at photos that are more than a month or two old.

Here, in celebration of my own birthday, are the not-replacements:

Trinidad:

Little Big Sister

who needs an umbrella?

sunsets are the best

award winning flutist

Rane:

awesome – academic achievement award!

BFFs

2 faves: Milo and Blue Blankie

future storm chaser

Eva:

Blazing Blades

with Wiggle Puppy

at the bus stop

the athlete

Zack:

above it all

a quiet moment

top of the world

(nearly) always on the go

It’s Over

My semester, the children’s school year….and, best of all: Copyright Law (well, technically speaking Intellectual Property).

The past several weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, and my schoolwork took a backseat to all the family activities I did not want to miss. I spent nearly an entire year entirely focused on my studies and so came to allow myself to take a much-needed break from that. I’ve been on hiatus for two weeks now, and I’m ready to face the next 9 weeks, which will be my final semester at Kaplan.

Also “over” is my plan to continue with legal studies at Kaplan; rather than pursue a Master of Science in Applied Legal Research, I am going to pursue a Master of Arts in New Media Journalism at Full Sail University. I will graduate from Kaplan with Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies on August 14th, and begin my (online) studies with Full Sail on August 27th.

I will be eternally grateful to Professor Oz, my Law and Society professor at Kaplan, for “turning me on” to the possibilities of the media in its many forms to communicate about law and society. I owe a debt of gratitude, as well, to Alexis Sclamberg, my Legal Philosophy professor, who believed unswervingly in my ability to persevere even through a lengthy illness; to Professor Beth Palmer for introducing me to the concept of “being an infinite person”; and to Professor Jill St. John, who inspired me to begin blogging.  I may still eventually attend (Concord) law school, but for now my focus is completing the coming semester with as much gusto as I have applied to my studies this past year, and then stepping into a new and exciting field of study at the end of the summer.

Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy. (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Stepping Stones

Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement. – Susan Taylor

Now that I’ve begun to understand and achieve more, it’s easier to relate to this quote than it was in years past. I no longer have regret, and I know that I am not making excuses when I say that I needed all the missteps in my life to bring me to this threshold of the latter half of my life.

That’s not to say there aren’t things in my life that I wish I could change; many of the things I would most like to change come from the missteps of my life (as do most of the things in my life I would not change)…but, each thing in this world is created with its opposite – much like a sheet of paper has two sides. It’s more than simply having to take the good with the bad; it’s accepting that light causes shadow, footsteps leave footprints, the sounds we hear are causing disruption to the air around us…and each thing we do (or don’t do) has some type of effect which is only good or bad depending on our perspective.

I’ve been explaining the concept of karma to my children this week; especially I’ve had to work to dispel the common notion that there is “good karma” and “bad karma” – there is neither. Karma is simply a force which can have desirable or undesirable effects, or which can be used to create or destroy, help or hurt. The example I have used most often is that of our breath, which can be used either to blow out a candle or fan a flame into a fire. The breath is the same, only the intent is different.  (Of course, we could fan a flame into a fire that causes massive destruction – but, the question would be: was the destruction our intent, or was the intent simply to have a fire to warm ourselves or cook with….).

As humans, it is very easy to get caught up in analyzing our actions and the result of our actions, rather than simply acting with the intent of doing the least harm possible to ourselves or anyone/anything else. What it boils down to is love, love for each other, love for life and living and love for ourselves. What we love, we will not harm. And the harm we do cause (harm, after all, is inherent in this world) we can call missteps – stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.

the coldest June day on record here in Oklahoma prompted my husband to start this little fire for a little cookout

Eva and Zack cooking hot dogs

 

Set in Stone

We drove to the Hindu temple in OKC again this past Saturday, this time to take a basket of fruit…one of the priests was so kind to take the basket to offer to God. How blessed an experience, and one I will never forget; I am so grateful to have found such a beautiful, peaceful, warm, welcoming place to worship.

As we were leaving the temple, my husband pointed out that there are carvings of Vishnu on the temple; he pointed this out because I have been so moved by our recent experience with a snake in our home (related in post: On Second Thought). What began as an unnerving experience turned into a transformative experience, and the impetus for our visit to the temple this week.

Aum Namah Sivaya