Friday, November 6, 2015

Consider the Source.....

There is no greater blessing than a family hand that lifts you from a fall; but there is no lower curse than a family hand that strikes you when you're down.     -- Wes Fessler

It's taken almost a year but the other shoe finally dropped. Around this time last year, I discovered my sister had posted a lot of horrible things about me on her blog. That didn't surprise me. What did, however, was the fact that she had mentioned that I had been talking crap about her to my brother and his wife - a statement I knew was a complete lie. I fumed about it for awhile, going back and forth between wondering if my sister was saying this because she expected me to read her blog and believe her lie so it would destroy the last remaining relationship I had in my family….OR… had my brother and his wife really been lying to her about what I was saying?

Truth be told, both had a ninety-nine percent probability of being true. I decided to confront my brother. His reaction was complete anger and he wanted to know where I heard that from because he was going to "get to the bottom of these lies" since he was so sick and tired of his family being attacked. Hmmmm….Ok. So I pointed him in the direction of our sister's blog. Once he found out it was coming from her, he told me, "Seriously? Consider the source. Come on. It's Jill." They both swore up and down they had said nothing bad and they had tried and tried with both Jill and our other brother, Tom, to get them to talk things out with me and fix the family.

I believed them - at first. But then I began going over and over things in my head. Since I had removed Jill from my life, I had talked to John and his wife a total of four or five times - in over a year. I remembered these conversations mostly because whenever they came around I felt guarded. My senses were alert like my body knew what my mind didn't want to acknowledge. It felt as though they were digging for dirt because each and every time they came over, they would bring up Jill and be negative. Then they'd bring up Tom and be negative. Then they'd bring up Tom's wife and complain about her. I didn't engage in this bashing and would try to change the subject. I continued to tell them that I was trusting God with these relationships and He knew when the time would be right. I wasn't worried about it.

It was during one of these visits, my grandson's first birthday party, that they brought up Tom and his wife again. It felt like when I wouldn't take the bait, they would spill more crap. They had me in tears believing that I had lost my brother for good and that his wife was alienating him from his family.
I starting trying to piece things together- their stories changed a lot; facts changed; details they had been quick to spill during one visit would be suddenly 'forgotten' and couldn't be recalled. I like to watch people's faces and how they talk with their words and bodies. When you're a child of sexual abuse, you become keenly perspective on levels a normal child doesn't have to think about. You're always on high alert - you can smell a change in the air, unconsciously catch the twitch in the abuser's cheek before he grabs you….you notice things. I noticed quite a bit with my brother and his wife.

So fast forward to this past spring. My brother, Tom, and I began hashing things out and getting reacquainted. It was during one of our talks that the first shoe dropped. I'm not going to share any details of our talks because Tom is the only family member I have that I know I can always trust. We can be real with each other and that's what I crave most is real, honest relationships. He did let me know that John had repeatedly told them that my daughter and I were continually badmouthing them. I remember my mouth falling open and I was speechless. He had told me and my daughter the same thing about them. All lies.

Again, I've been stewing about this for a few months now. I was going to confront him but kept putting it off. A few days ago, I get a text from him giving me his new phone number and he asks if my phone is broke because I haven't been responding to his calls. I went on to tell him that I was mad at him because of what I'd found out.

 Hold on....THIS is how you get your family back together? By lying?

Notice I gave him an opportunity to fix things here by suggesting we get together and talk about it with Tom. If Tom was lying it would have been the perfect opportunity to call him out on it. 

Or, if John had really wanted to get his family back, be honorable and do the right thing.....this would be the time to sit down and talk about it. again. " I don't remember anything that has been said." This is a classic line with these two when they can't keep all of their lies straight. 

Now suddenly he's OK with us fighting? Just a second ago didn't you say.....something else? 

Oh, yes. You're the only one in the world who has to face life on a daily basis. You're also the only one with problems.
 Uh. What?! 

Get. Over. It.

This is simply a demeaning way for someone to say, " I know I hurt you. I know I was wrong. BUT...I don't care!"

Ok, you've been lied to your whole life (Please. Seriously?) so it's completely acceptable for you to do it to others. Uhm. NO.

I really have something to say here. No. I'm NOT quick to force people out of my life. 

I'm 45 years old. FORTY FIVE! 

Just in the past few years have I even begun to believe that I am worthy of love and respect and taking care of myself. I've learned that I matter. I MATTER! How I feel matters. How people treat me and how I allow them to treat me matters. 

I used to be a door mat.
Followed the crowd and did what I was told.
Didn't speak up for myself.
Took a lot of shit from a lot of people.
I was a very negative person.

But NO MORE!  

I don't remove people from my life on a whim, simply because I get upset by what they've said or done. I remove them when I notice a pattern of years and years of the same crap, same lies and same behaviors. 

Those same people are so fast to point fingers at me and scream that I'm being unfair, unreasonable and looking for drama. Nope. I've changed. I cannot and will not be controlled by anyone any more. I think for myself. I do what I need to do to take care of myself. 

"Stop focusing on the negative and look at the good shit." Believe me - I am. That's why I've removed so many people from my life. I surround myself with the good because I don't have time for the drama.

No - not all things can be talked about and worked through. I gave you that opportunity and you shot it down. (See above.) Plus, when you refuse to acknowledge your behavior and change what you're doing - there is no hope of a relationship.

 What the fuck have you done, Indeed!  
Well, for the record.... we've never had any issues between us. And there's never been a time I cut you out of my life. So much for THAT history. It can't be history if it hasn't ever happened before. 

You know....the content of what you said doesn't matter one teensy, tiny bit. 


You repeatedly approached people I love and lied to them about me. You. Lied. About. The. Words. That. Never. Came. Out. Of. My. Mouth.

So, THIS, my dear brother is why I remove people from my life. 

When they....

 And now the world can know..... I haven't bad mouthed my sister, my brother or my mother. Someone else was doing it for me without my permission. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

#14 Things That Confuse Me

The Matrix


Math - specifically Algebra. Numbers and letters should never be mixed!

Swans and Geese. Hahaha! Inside Joke.

People that lie to their family to create problems between family members.


Who killed Jimmy Hoffa?

Why do dog paws smell like Fritos? 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

#13 My Dream Jobs


Author - novels and children's books

Clinic Manager

Coffee Shop Owner

Professional Fitness Model

CEO of Childhood Sexual Abuse Non-Profit organization that is larger that that pink ribbon one.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

#12 Things I Learned This Week

It takes teamwork and communication to paddle a canoe.

Sean does not belong in a canoe.

Cards Against Humanity is deliciously genius. 

Some people will be fake and lie to your face until the day they die. 

London has putrid mustard, corn on the cob that tastes like cardboard and waiters that should pay you to put up with their service.

I'm ready.

Friday, September 11, 2015

#11 Best Friends

Thursday, September 10, 2015

#10 Favorite Souvenirs

  • Tan lines
  • Memories
  • Photos
  • Shot glasses
  • Seashells and Rocks
  • New Friends

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#9 On My Fall List

Wow....I think this is the smallest list I've ever had for things I want to do! Can we say....Relaxation?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#8 My Pinterest Boards

Oh, what would we do without Pinterest?!

Monday, September 7, 2015

#7 What I would do if I knew I couldn't fail

Sunday, September 6, 2015

# 6 - My Favorite Things to Eat for Breakfast

Saturday, September 5, 2015

List #5 Movies That Make Me Laugh

I know I'm forgetting SO many!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

# 4 Things That Keep Me Up At Night

Thursday, September 3, 2015

List # 3 Favorite Days of the Year

Favorite Days of the Year

Thanksgiving - Not simply because of the food. Mostly due to the fact that it's time everyone sets aside to come together and be Thankful.

1st Day of Spring - Everything is so full of promise and new.

The day Big Brother begins!

1st Day of Fall - Crisp air, sweatshirts, the smell of bonfires....

Halloween- Love seeing the children dressed up and scaring the teenagers.

Lazy, Curl up with Netflix Sundays

Stormy, Saturday Afternoons

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

List # 2 Today Can Be Best Described As...

Today can be best described as....


A little bit chunky


Hustle and Flow



An uncomfortable clothes day. UGH.

A full brain day!

Never-ending phone calls

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

List #1 What You Might Have Heard About Me...

If you know me, you realize that I am an incurable list maker. 

I Love Lists!

I joined a 30 Day List challenge in the hopes that it will rouse my writing passion again because I've somehow misplaced it. 

So. Here is goes......

What you might have heard about me....

I'm a Big Brother FANATIC.

I hate being lied to.

Writing is my passion.

I'm an introvert.

I'm addicted to Candy Crush and Soda Crush. 

I'd rather snuggle up at home than go out and party.

I'm a little OCD about certain things. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rise of the Phoenix Healing Support Group

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Giraffe, a Booth and Me

So many things happening right now! Today I'm spending some time finalizing things for the Rise of the Phoenix Healing Support Group - agenda, rules, goals, etc. Hopefully I'll be able to finish planning our first lesson/ discussion this weekend, also. We start in just a hair over two weeks!! After dreaming of this for 6 years - I can't believe how incredibly FAST it has all come together. 

This morning I manned (womaned) the booth for the Sexual Assault Center at the Buffalo Wellness Expo. Truthfully, I was kind of dreading it even though I had volunteered myself.

  • I'm not an outgoing person. Huge introvert here!
  • I hate small talk with people I don't know.
  • I was going alone.
And the biggest reason..... people avoid anything relating to sexual assault or abuse like the plague. It's like having a booth where you give away free STD's - no one is going to visit it. I had just set up the booth when one of the administrators for the Expo came over and explained that our booth was one of the places visitors had to stop to receive a stamp in order to be entered in the drawing for the iPad mini.

 I giggled a little. Ha! You will all HAVE to acknowledge this issue today! 

Then she gave me my stamp. It was a Giraffe! My favorite animal - next to the goat. It was like a sign. A sign that I was in the exact spot where I was supposed to be today. For four hours I watched people as they started down the aisle where I was located. Some of them would make eye contact with me.....and then see the sign on the tablecloth. They looked as if they had just witnessed their parents having sex and quickly moved on only to realize I held one of the keys they needed to unlock the golden egg. They would return, almost shamefully, and ask in their most polite voice for a stamp. I would oblige, of course, with a huge smile. Ha! Gotcha! 

I actually had two people - 1 male and 1 female- make jokes. 

"Hey! I haven't been sexually assaulted in years. Where do I sign up?!" 
"I was told at one of the other booths that I can get sexually assaulted for free at your booth." 

I felt like punching them both in the throat but I managed to refrain. If they had ever been a victim of sexual violence or had a loved one who had been - rape jokes would not be funny to them. But this is how our society is. Rape jokes are 'funny'. Sexual assault is the victim's fault. Sexual abuse should not be talked about because it is shameful. Hello, People! Educate yourselves. 

This subject needs discussed because the silence and jokes only hide the issue and destroy lives. 

Others, surprisingly, were not in avoidance mode and walked straight up to the booth to grab fliers, ask about our services and support groups. I became choked up on more than one occasion when person after person came up to me and thanked me for what I was doing. 

"My daughter is a Survivor." 
"I work with several kids who use these services."
"I am a Survivor. I know this too well."
"I've never needed these services and don't know what it is like but there is more of this out there than anyone knows. Thank you." 

I don't do what I do to get recognition. Anyone who truly knows me knows that it makes me uncomfortable to be in the spotlight. I do this because I lived the shame, pain and fear. I made it through the darkness and want to help others find their way. But today it felt good to hear Thank You so many times. Every time someone said those words to me I heard a still, small voice inside say, "You belong right here. This is your path." 

This past week, I've received confirmation after confirmation that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. That every step I've taken to get here has served its purpose. That each decision I've made has been the right one. Even the painful and negative (in some people's minds) decision to cut my parents and siblings out of my life has been reaffirmed to me this past week. It never ceases to amaze me that God knows the exact time we need to hear things. 

I feel a shift happening. A shaking off of all things painful, negative and oppressive that have hung over my head for so long. There is this ball of energy I feel deep within my soul that feels as if its about to burst and I can't wait to see what emerges! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Phone Call, Tears and......

I got a phone call today that brought me tears. Good tears. Tears of Gratitude. Tears of realization that I have completely come full circle. But - I digress. Let's back up a bit.

In November I completed my retraining with the Central MN Sexual Assault Center to become an Advocate again. It was not as difficult this time around. The first time through I struggled. Really struggled. I was brand new on my Healing Journey and trying to come to grips with my Truth and I wanted to take on the world! My heart was already chasing the calling I felt. Truth was- I just wasn't ready and still had a lot of work to do on myself. The biggest piece this time around, I think, was that I was more prepared within my mind and soul. I am completely comfortable with my Truth and the journey I have taken. I am at peace with not having my parents or siblings in my life. Most importantly - I LOVE the Me I discovered hiding under all the pain, lies and ugliness of the past.

We were constantly reminded each week to wind down, treat ourselves kindly and do something relaxing because this line of work and subject matter can be extremely difficult and stressful. Since I had a 45 mn ride home, I would pop my boy, Kirk Franklin, into the CD player and blast it. (Yes, I even blew a speaker. Hubby is not happy about that.) Throughout my journey when I needed strength, to be reminded who I was and where I was going, and to find my center I would turn to this song - Declaration (This Is It). It's the song I listened to on repeat for over 2 hours while I waited to give my victim impact statement. It's my life's theme song. And yes- the one I blew my speaker on.

I had started experiencing anxiety, doubt and fears during the early part of training. I won't even go into all the things that were being thrown at me, but the past came to life again. All the years of hard work felt as if they'd never happened. I was being attacked for removing my parents and siblings from my life. Lies were being told about me. My PTSD reared its ugly head and I became jumpy, couldn't sleep, was on constant high alert. So many  things came at me and attacked me. I kept asking WHY?! Why is all this happening? One night driving home, I just started yelling at God and demanding answers. I was Fed Up. I kept hitting repeat on the CD player and Declaration kept playing over and over and over. And OVER. Then I heard it. I heard God's voice in the song.

I look back now, I look at how you tried to break me
To take my life, my peace of mind and drive me crazy
My self esteem, my dreams, my destiny
So, God allowed it, because He knew He had big plans for me
It's your grace, I know today it's how I made it
Thank You, Jesus
When I thought that it was over

I am Healed. I overcame my past, the abuse, the pain - everything. God brought me through it and WE (joint effort) did a lot of work on this girl. I believe that God has huge plans for me. It does not explain the abuse I endured but the journey I've taken has completely prepared me for those plans. And here I was - pursuing the call and passion He has placed on my heart. You know when God is using you in a mighty way that the devil wants to steal your joy, your blessing and discourage you to the point that you quit. He wants to blind you so that you can no longer see where you are or remember the good things God has already done.

Anger instantly flooded my veins. My blinders were OFF and the game was ON! I began screaming at the top of my lungs while driving down 94…….Oh, no you didn't!! You will NOT steal from me! You can't take my joy, my blessings, my calling - my life! You're a liar. You hear me? A LIAR. I am healed! I am WHOLE! God gave that to me and it's not yours to take! You tried to destroy me as a child through what was done to me. The joke is on you! God's taking something horrible and ugly that you gave me and has turned it into something beautiful, amazing and is using me to touch others. Get out of my life! You have nothing on me and no power over me!

I yelled so loud and for so long that my throat ached. Seriously, who does he think he IS?! Guess what? The anxiety, fear, doubts - Left. POOF! I had found my Strength again. Let's go back even further…..2009… fill in some more gaps. Sitting in my support group, fresh on my Healing Journey, angry, raw with pain and my advocate asks me, "Tell me what it looks like when Lori is a Thriver." (There are 3 stages: Victim, Survivor and Thriver. That calls for a separate post at a later date.) I was so taken aback and angry by her question that I told her she was a fucking lunatic. Really - I haven't even come to accept where I am RIGHT NOW. How dare you ask such a stupid question! I love my advocate. Truly LOVE her. She took no offense and even giggled a bit. She explained that even though it seems completely impossible at this very minute, I will reach that level one day and it's important to visualize what that will look like for myself. Could I dig inside just a bit, push past the anger and pain, and see the future Thriver Lori?

Fine. In a perfect world, where I've worked through all this crap, Thriver Lori is an Advocate for those who are struggling to find their voice and their Truth. She's helping others on their own Healing Journey and showing them that there is Hope. She's running her own support group(s), blogging about childhood sexual abuse and involved in bringing awareness to the issue.

Did I believe that would ever happen? Honestly - no. In that very moment I thought my pain, shame, guilt and anger were here to stay and were my new life. They felt like permanent appendages. Weights that would surely drown me and cause my death.

Fast forward to today. TODAY. 

I am an Advocate. Blog about my journey. Get PAID to blog. I am constantly Tweeting, Facebooking and bringing awareness to Childhood Sexual Abuse. I am not ashamed of my Truth or to speak out.

This week I attended the Board of Directors Meeting for the center. I am in the process of becoming a member. ME. ME! Lori the THRIVER! And….. Drum roll, please……

I got a call from the center and am being given my own support group here in Monticello. ME! THRIVER LORI! I can barely hold back the tears as I type this. God is so GOOD. He just keeps opening doors for me. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and so proud of myself. I have come full circle. GOD HAS BROUGHT ME FULL CIRCLE.

So, God allowed it, because He knew He had big plans for me
It's your grace, I know today it's how I made it
Thank You, Jesus