Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Story...

I was born to a mentally challenged mother whom physically abused me and allowed different men to physically and sexually abuse me as well. I won't go into details on this blog as this reaches different age levels of readers.  Lets just say that back in 1984 it was one of the worst cases the Fort Worth Police Department had ever seen... As the CPS Investigator told my current mom... It was the worst in Tarrant County at the time. It was so bad it made the news..

I remember a lady named Sheryl "befriended" my biological mother and her husband (my "step dad"). She became my friend and I felt very comfortable talking to her about things that were happening to me.  One day she came to our house and my mom told Sheryl that she needed to take me because she was fixing to kill me.  Sheryl didn't know what to do but she knew she had to get me out of that house one way or another, so she "kidnapped" me and took me to her house.  I don't remember how long I was at her house but I remember being woke up one night by screams and banging on all the doors and windows. Everyone was frantic and scared.. Next thing I knew the house was surronded by cops, TV news crews and helicopters.. I was rushed out wrapped in a blanket handed to a woman who got in the back of a police car with me.

I awoke the next morning in a strange place, scared and alone... I was in a Foster home... My old life left behind... Mommy and all...

Strange as it may sound, considering all that I had endured... I loved my "Mommy" and I didn't want to leave her.. She was all I knew..

I was adopted at the age of 5 by my birth mothers cousin and her husband and they loved me as their own..

I lived with them until the age of 17 when I decided I knew it all.. I knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and could not be told different..

I met a guy and fell madly "in love" and since I knew everything I decided to run away and go live with him.  We moved into a drug infested neighborhood which in turn led me to become addicted to drugs... Methamphetimines to be exact..

The beatings started the second night of us living together..

He would beat me so bad I thought he would kill me. He would punch, slap, kick, bite me etc etc... All because he loved me... I thought this was what love really was... I mean after all... My biological mom and dad loved me and they did all those things.. This is what love is so I might as well get used to it..

I was knocked out, hung off a bridge, beat with anything he could find, drug by my hair down a flight of stairs and accross a gravel parking lot.... All because he "loved" me...

He would drive me out to the country... Beat me until I was almost unconscious then rape me repeatedly.. On the way back into town he would tell me how much he loved me and that he only did these things because he was so scared of loosing me.

Why did I stay you ask... "Your stupid for putting up with it" you might say "You deserved what you got for not leaving" you might think.... But you see leaving takes careful planning.. Or you might just get killed.. It takes so much strength and courage to leave and I didn't have either of those.. He had sucked all my strength, courage, self esteem and self worth right out of me... He LOVED me... I mean he told me so, He told me each time how sorry he was... I thought I could change him... I could make him love me... I was dead wrong and almost died trying...

I did finally get the courage to leave... after 7 long years... I am remarried now to an amazing man and have 2 amazing daughters of my own and amazing "kids" by marriage..

Why did I just spill my guts on a public site for the world to see... Because someone, somewhere needs to see this and know that there is hope.. If I found a way to survive all that I've endured and make an amazing life for myself... You can too.. Don't use your past as a stumbling block and a crutch.. Use it as a stepping stone, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving...

If you are in an abusive situation right now... get help... get out if you can... talk to someone you trust.. I offer a support group for victims and survivors of domestic violence.. contact me if you want to.. Just please do not become a statistic.. change your destiny...

If you know someone in an abusive situation... DO NOT judge them, talk down to them or threaten to distance yourself from them... This will only push them further away from the help they need.  Be there for them, listen to them... JUST LISTEN... You have NO idea what they are going through so don't pretend you do unless you have been there yourself.. Dont play God... Don't get mad when they repeatedly run back and forth to the abuser... Just give them the support they need.

It is only by the grace of God that I am here today... nothing more and nothing less... The night I was able to break free, things happened that could only have been because of God.  It was almost supernatural..

If there is someone reading this that needs courage.. I pray you find it before its too late...

God bless... Laura

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Giggle Juice....

The most exciting part of surgery for both my girls is the part when they get their “giggle juice”…. Not the taste of it… but the effects of it. The taste is actually quite nasty, very bitter or so I’ve been told but the effects of it make memories that forever stay with us.

Lets take Tay for instance.. When she takes hers she sees multiple fingers instead of one, she sees zebras EVERYWHERE in the room (I almost started seeing them too!), she let all of us know just how big our noses really are and that they were not where they should be on our faces. Everything she saw… she saw multiple.. She laughed non stop!

Bri on the other hand gets a little scared when she takes hers.. She knows what to expect and she knows it will cause her to see things that aren’t there and even cause her to see multiple objects.. But it still scares her. She has sees elephants, clowns etc. This morning she saw multiple TV’s floating around the room, and started worrying. She started asking me, through mumbled words, “Can you see my panties?” “Do my feet stink?” “Why is my finger red and on fire??” (talking about the red light they put on her finger) then she starts getting scared.. I pray with her and it eases her mind for a few minutes but then Bri being the natural worrier that she is, (she gets it ALL from her daddy) starts getting scared again so I tell her “Bri.. Fear replaces faith, faith replaces fear.. Where there is faith there is no fear, where there is fear there is no faith..” She looks at me very intensely through her grogginess and ever so honestly says “Mom… where’d ya make that up from?… Where’d ya learn that at?” I said “Well… God Bri” and she says.. “Oh.. That was good, I knew you didn’t come up with that on your own!”

See… giggle juice brings out the best in all of us, the honest sometimes funny side of us. I don’t know how many more “giggle juice” doses my kids will have to take through out their lives but I am thankful for the memories that this “juice” gives us. As I look around the waiting room here at the hospital, I realize just how blessed we really are. I try to do this each time we take the girls in, not always easy but it helps me stay grounded and keeps me from throwing a pity party right here in the waiting room.. If I had balloons and streamers.. I might still throw one.. I know there are many parents out there who have children going through similar or worse struggles than what we face and I hope they too can find the joy in “giggle juice” as we have. Even though I was just informed by my ever so loving husband that I need to talk about how stressed I am… I think I’ll save that for another day..

Today Bri has gone back for a rectal / vaginal scope to check for a fistula between the two. A fistula is a small tear in between the two canals that allows stool to come through the vagina. We are praying there is not one there. When she was 4 months old she developed one and had to have a colostomy for 9 months to allow it to heal. If she has one today… that will be our end result.. A colostomy..

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things I love....

I had an unexpected "vacation" this week.. Due to our whole family being "under the weather" so to speak.  We were supposed to be gone for a week to Youth Camp... God had other plans.. We are now on our way to Waxahachie to spend the last night of camp with the kids and its giving me time to reflect on some things... God is so good.

I have been reflecting on a lot of things this week.. On things that I love and hold dear to me..

I love that I have a God who loves and forgives me no matter what I do or say
I love the way my girls smell when they get out of the pool
I love the way their eyelashes stick together from being wet
I love the way no matter where I am in the house..... They find me... not always a good thing..
I love the way they hate each other one minute but best of friends the next
I love the fact that I have the freedom to be whoever and whatever I choose and so do my girls
I love that my husband loves and adores me and our family with a love that cannot be contained
I love how my girls feel free to talk to and share with me their most private secrets
I love that they would rather spend time with Greg and I than their friends
I love that they love and value family as much as Greg and I do

Things I love about Brianna
I love that Brianna is the most free spirited fun loving 9 year old I know, she has no fear
I love that she speaks her mind and doesn't think twice about it
I love that she will take up for her sister in a heartbeat
I love that she will take up for me in a heartbeat
I love how she stands behind me in stores when people are staring at me.....
I love how she stands behind Taylor when people are staring at her...
I love that she eats tomatoes like they are apples
I love her love of animals
I love her compassion for others
I love that she is one of my best friends

Things I love about Taylor
I love that Taylor is the funniest most free spirited 13 year old I know, so full of confidence
I love that she loves to and knows how to dance her butt off
I love to hear her sing... beautiful voice
I love that she also stands behind me in stores when people stare....
I love her compassion for others
I love that she is constantly thinking of ways to help others
I love the dreams she has about God...
I love that she is one of my best friends
I love that she could care less what people say or think about her
I love her confidence and self esteem

Things I love about Greg
I love his love for God
I love his dedication to his family
I love his love for me...
I love his work ethic
I love that he is a man of his word and is very honorable
I love everything about this man and couldn't imagine a life without him
I love the life he has given me and our family
I love his kids like they are my own...
I love our life together

God has given me so much to love and to be thankful for... I'm so glad he doesn't base His love on my talents, gifts and works.. If He did... Well lets just say I'm pretty unloveable!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Looking Around

Looking around at all the devastation that is going on through out this world, it makes me very sad but at the same time makes me realize how blessed I am. 

I have a home, may not be much right now but it is a home, a roof over my head a bed to lie down on, a husband lying next to me, 2 beautiful little girls laughing and playing together (most of the time screaming at each other), food in my cabinets, clothes on my back and a God who provided it all.

We all have troubles, trials, tribulations but its how you react to those, thats what shapes us, molds us, grows us.... We can let our past hurts keep us confined, or we can change our thought pattern and use those hurts as stepping stones... not stumbling blocks. In order to move past the pain.... be healed of the pain... you have to feel the pain, relive the pain...

We can allow others to tear us down, or build us up, we choose... People spit on you they make you wet, YOU make you mad... Its all about your thought pattern.. Change your thought pattern and you will quit feeling sorry for yourself, you will quit lying around like a bump on a log and you will do something to get better, not bitter...

I learned this and am working on it everyday.  It's no where near easy, but it can be done... People survive things everyday and use those experiences to help others.. Change your thought pattern, it will change your life... It did for me..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If tear drops were money... I'd be a millionaire..

Is there an old saying "If tear drops were money, I'd be a millionaire" or did I just thnk of that? Anways, whoever said it... had it dead on.  When your children hurt, you hurt, when your children cry (from something serious) most generally.. we cry.  Pain is not fun in anyway, shape form or fashion.. but it does grow us, teach us, mature us.  My journey has been a long one and it is far from over but I can honestly say I wouldn't change a thing.  I embrace the bumpy roads, the pot holes, the dead ends because had it not been for those... I wouldn't be where I am today.  Life is about choices, you choose to be happy, you choose to be sad, you choose to be bitter or you choose to get better.  I always try to stay in the positive, relying solely on My Father up above, you know the Big Man upstairs.  He is my strength, my comfort, my shield. 

Before I was adopted, yes I was adopted, my life was really tough but even then I KNEW, felt it, that "someone" was looking out for me.  Then when I grew older, became rebellious, left home and got into some very bad situations, I still KNEW someone was there, watching over me.  I still know today that the same "someone" (God) is still here, still guiding and directing my every move and protecting me with His love and Word. 

When Taylor was in Kindergarten- Second grade she was made fun of alot.  Kids were very mean to her because she was "different".  I remember sitting in her room holding and rocking her while she asked me "Mommy, why did Jesus have to make me this way? Why do I have to be so different? Why can't I be normal like everyone else?" Talk about tears falling.... At the time she couldn't see the bigger picture (nor could I in all honesty), she just thought she would never have friends, never live a normal life because she was "different" by having Dwarfism.  She would cry and beg me not to make her go to school, plead with me to make her normal, that hurt...  We pulled her out of school when she was in the third grade and home schooled her for a while.  This was the best thing we could have ever done for her at the time.  She developed her self esteem, she had light back in her eyes and became who she was meant to be, a happy bright little girl.  My little girl.. God directed that path.. not me.

Its not always children making fun of her, adults are very bad about staring and saying things to us.  I have had several people approach me and tell me "what a shame it is that she has to be like that, she will never have a normal life" or "whats wrong with that girl... why does she waddle (as they are imitating my daughters walk) like a penguin?" "She's to pretty for something like that to ruin her life" EXCUSE ME?!?! After many times of me getting angry, loosing my cool, Taylor helped me realize, "Mom...Quit worrying about it, I am who I am and nothings going to change that.  I don't care if people stare and make fun of me, its their problem, not mine and YOU shouldn't care either!" OUCH!!! I guess you could say SHE TOLD ME huh?!? She actually has taught me so much.  That doesn't mean that I won't step in front of her or behind her if I catch someone staring, or that her little sister won't ask you how your doing or "if we can answer any questions you might have about my sister?" We are a team, a pack and we support and look after each other.  Thats what families are for.

The same way God has protected and looked after me for so many years, I am relying on Him to protect and look after my children. 

Yes Taylor "waddles" but she also has a passion for life, for horses and for helping others.  She has an amazing spirit that I would LOVE to bottle up and sell! Yes Brianna has problems of her own but she also will be one of the first to lay her hands on and pray for you if you need it. 

The other night Brianna was sobbing and asking why she can't be normal and why no one can "fix" her and Greg said "Brianna, God has healed you once before, have you prayed that He would heal you again?" Her response was "No dad, I'm not supposed to pray for myself, I have to pray for others."  Wow... what an awesome kid!

I hope I leave my kids a legacy that they can be proud of, I hope they learn from my mistakes and I hope they learn to rely solely on God, because He is the only one who will NEVER let you down.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The History of My Girls

Taylor and Brianna, My Girls, are very special... and both have very special needs.  You see.. Taylor has Dwarfism, Pseudoachondroplasia to be exact.  Try saying that without googling how to say it! We didn't know when she was born that she had it, we found out when she was almost 2 and started walking, yes she started walking very late. I noticed she developed a duck like waddle when she walked and her limbs (arms and legs) were starting to look different, so I took her to the Pediatrician.  She sent us to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children where we got the diagnosis. They also informed me that I had a 50% chance of having another child with the same diagnosis. In all honesty, I was devasted.  I had no idea what Dwarfism meant, I had no idea what to do or say.  I was in shock.  I remember asking myself and God what I did wrong and Why MY child.  I was scared.

Fast forward.. 2001 Taylor turned 3 and I just had another baby girl!  My happiness was overshadowed by the looming knowledge that this child too could have Dwarfism.  When Brianna was born she was born with what they call a Anal Rectal Malformation, in English.... her rectum was in the wrong spot.  We thought, oh well, no big deal we will have a quick surgery, move the rectum and all will be fine! BOY were we wrong!

We were sent to Cook Childrens Hospital when Brianna was just a few weeks old and told that yes we would be having surgery.  Within the same few weeks we were told that Taylor would be having surgery as well, to straighten her legs.  Her dwarfism causes her legs to "bow" out causing a "waddle" when she walks so this has to be periodically corrected with surgery.  Just had the 3rd surgery and going for the 4th this April. 

Anyways, Brianna had surgery in January of 2002 to move her rectum, we went home after a day or two in the hospital.  Then we noticed she started having stool coming through her vagina.  We rushed her back to the hospital and were told she had developed a rectal vaginal fistula, a hole between the two, and it had to be repaired immediately.  So, they did another surgery to correct it, sent us home after a day or two and it started all over again.  We went back to the hospital, this time they admitted us for a while, they tried to correct it again, it still didn't hold then the Dr said we have no other options.... We have to do a colostomy to let it heal on its own.  WHAT?!?! A "colostomy"?? So, we got our lovely colostomy.  We stayed in the hospital about a week, learning how to change the bags, clean the stoma etc etc.

One week after we left the hospital with Brianna, Taylor had surgery.  Her surgery involved cutting out a portion of the bone in her lower leg, putting it back in and holding it in place with metal screws then casting both legs for 6 weeks.  I seriously gained some major muscle in those 6 weeks. While tending to Taylor in the hospital, I also was changing colostomy bags for Brianna and watching for infection in her incision, which she did get.  We went home, casts, bags and all! Brianna kept her bag for 6 months, Taylor kept her casts for 6 weeks, I much would have rather had the bag for 6 weeks...

WHEW! We thought we were done!! Wishfull thinking maybe?  3 years later Taylor was 6 and had another surgery on both legs, then 2 years later had another surgery... on just one leg this time.  Have you ever tried lifting a 70 or 80 pound child with 2 casts on? Let me tell ya... It ain't easy! Even with just one cast, it ain't easy! 

In April of 2010, Brianna had another surgery because she was developing Rectal Prolapse which was causing her to have leaking of stool.  This was supposed to be a simple procedure and once done, she would be fine and should have no problems.  I think they forgot who they were dealing with...  This was an in and out day procedure and the next day her incision tore apart.  A huge gaping tear.  We took her back in and the Dr said there was nothing he could do, it had to heal on its own.  Well it kept getting bigger and he kept saying "It will be OK", I kept saying "No its not, this is not normal" but I'm not a DR so I had no grounds to stand on.  Time went on and she was not healing, in fact she was only getting worse.  She lost all bowel control and her rectum was a constant open hole so you can imagine what was happening. 

I took her back to the surgeon time and time again and on the last visit he said "You know, she was born like this, so this is something she is just gonna have to deal with for the rest of her life"  WHAT!?! I DON'T THINK SO!! She had a working rectum before the surgery, why not now??  That was the last visit to that Dr and my husband and I set out on a mission... A mission to find help for our little girl.  My Boss, a Family Doctor, did research and found a world renown Doctor in Cincinatti Ohio at Cincinatti Children's Hospital.  From our understanding if anyone could fix our daughter, this man could.  My husband and I took 2 weeks off of work, and set out on our journey to get our child fixed!  We drove to Cincinatti Ohio from Texas, the Doctor did a procedure on Brianna and informed us that he could not fix her AND she had something wrong with her bladder as well.  WOW! Talk about total devastation! We spent another week in Ohio trying a bowel management program, in hopes to keep her clean with no soiling, the program did not work for us.  We drove back to Texas deflated. 

We met with a local Colo rectal Specialist this past week in hopes that maybe just maybe he could help us, he gave us the same response.  We have been told so many things as to why Brianna has no bowel control... She was born this way (which she was not, it happend after the last surgery), to much scar tissue (which the last Doctor says he does not think is the cause) and the latest... Her rectal muscles are just not working.  Can you imagine the devastation Brianna is feeling? The humiliation, the embarrassment, her self esteem has gone way down. 

Anyways, this is the history of my girls and in a later post I'll feel you in on our daily living! Oh by the way, Brianna does not have Dwarfism, we beat those odds!